Sunday, November 11, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



3-year-old survives 10 hours in sand
Step-father booked for murder bid
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
In a shocking incident, a man attempted to murder his three-year-old step-daughter by burying her alive in sand at Dhandra village near here yesterday. The girl miraculously survived after lying partially buried in sand for over 10 hours, She was rescued by a villager and admitted to the local civil hospital.

On the statement of the mother of the girl and other villagers, the Sadar police registered a case of attempt to murder against Beera Ram. He was yet to be arrested. The police said the man had thought that the girl would die under the sand, but she managed to keep her head out of the sand.

The police said the man, who was in a hurry, could not bury her properly, which proved a blessing for the girl.

Narrating the incident, Ms Babli, the girl’s mother, said she had two children from her first marriage, five-year-old son Pawan and Anjali. Their step-father, Beera Ram, did not like the girl since the day they were married a few months back. She said the man considered the girl a burden and had tried to kill her earlier.

Sobbing continuously, the woman said, she went to fetch sticks last evening and in her absence Beera Ram snatched the girl from her brother’s lap and took her away. The man returned empty-handed after an hour. When she asked her drunkard husband, he started abusing her and left the house. The woman ran in search of the girl, but could not find her. The incident was announced on loudspeakers.

About 10 hours later, a village youth, who was passing near an abandoned well, heard the crying of a girl. He saw a small girl buried neck-deep in sand. The youth rescued her and after enquiring from other villagers, handed over the girl to the woman.

The woman rushed the girl to the local civil hospital last evening, when the condition of the girl deteriorated. Doctors attending on the girl said she was out of danger, but were bewildered how she survived the cold.


PAU teacher booked
Girl alleges molestation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
The recent molestation case at Punjab Agricultural University has taken a new turn, with the registration of a case against the teacher concerned. The case has been registered under existing guidelines of the Supreme Court regarding harassment of women. The girl has named some university teachers, including some representatives of PAUTA, for pressurising and threatening her.

Following a recommendation by PAU to the police and a demand by the International Human Rights Organisation, the Sarabha Nagar police has booked the Associate Professor, Dr Harmit Singh Thind, of the Department of Soils, for criminal intimidation and use of force in a bid to outrage the modesty of a female student of the department. The SSP of Ludhiana, Mr H.S. Sidhu, has marked the investigation to the PAU police post.

According to a copy of the FIR, the PAU, through the Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor, had forwarded the recommendation for registration of the case. The recommendation had been appended with the complaint of the victim, forwarded by Dr V.K. Nayyar, Head of the Department of Soils. Though recommended by the PAU, no mention of the PAU inquiry against the teacher has been made.

According to the FIR, the girl stated that on August 20, she went to the office of the teacher for consultation about the research work related to her M.Sc degree. She alleged that after finishing her work, she got up to leave, but the professor caught hold of her hands and kissed her right hand. She added that shocked at this, she ran away.

Upset at the incident, she narrated it to a senior hostel mate, who advised her to ignore it and continue with the research. The girl then alleged that in the evening, she again went to the teacher, who while discussing the research, made some remarks about her. She said when she objected, the teacher grabbed her and kissed her forehead. The girl escaped and complained to the Head of the Department the next day. The department incharge, advised her not to pursue the matter.

The girl alleged that the next day, she was called by the head of the department and a number of university teachers, including representatives of the PAUTA, who pressurised her not to go ahead with the complaint. She alleged that some teachers threatened her that her degree would not be completed. One of the teachers said such as incident had happened earlier, but nothing had come out of it.

The girl said she then complained to the Vice-Chancellor, who formed a fact-finding committee to inquire into the matter. The committee indicted the teacher and suspended him for sexual harassment. The girl said, the teacher continued to visit the department and the research places, causing embarrassment to her. She said under such circumstances, she wanted to lodge a criminal complaint against the teacher.


MC in a soup over demolition of wall near temple
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 10
The undue carrying out the haste shown by officials of the building branch in the Municipal Corporation in demolition of a wall near Valmiki Temple in Model Town area, has landed it in a tight spot and despite parleys at various levels with the two groups, who were supporting and opposing the move, the civic officials have not been able to wriggle out of the mess, which is of their own making.

It may be recalled that following the demolition, the MC officials had to run for cover as an angry mob resorted to stone throwing, in which some employees sustained minor injuries and an MC vehicle was damaged. Both MC officials and functionaries of Valmiki temple committee had lodged complaints with the police, who had registered two separate cases in this connection.

In fact, the Valmiki community, which like all other communities, is divided on political lines, ironically finds itself on both sides of the fence with the followers of Mr Hans Raj Gagat, a Congress functionary, standing in favour of the demolition of the wall, which according to him, was aimed at encroaching upon a piece of MC land, adjoining the temple and obstructing a common passage. On the other side, the group, owing allegiance to the ruling SAD-B and led by Mr Vijay Danav, an advisor of the ruling Akali Dal, has charged the MC with hurting the sentiments of the community by razing down a part of the Valmiki temple.

The MC building staff had to face the ire of Mr Danav and his supporters in a meeting convened by Mr Raminder Singh, Additional Commissioner in his office, which was also attended by Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, Acting District President of the SAD-B. While Mr Raminder Singh and Mr Makkar pleaded with the Valmiki activists to observe restraint as the issue was being sorted out by the MC administration, Mr Danav demanded that a criminal case of assault, registered against some of the residents be withdrawn and on the top of it, he sought a public apology from senior officials of the building branch.

However, Mr Gagat, in a letter, signed by a large number of residents of the locality, has alleged that the construction of the wall was an act of high-handedness, perpetuated at the behest of certain ruling party leaders and it had denied the right of passage to more than 5,000 residents of the area. In a meeting with the MC Commissioner Mr R.L. Kalsia, he further charged that the functionaries of the temple committee had themselves damaged certain structures in the temple and the adjoining foundation stone to malign the MC employees. According to Mr Gagat, many of the residents of the locality were witness to the attack on the members of MC demolition team and were prepared to depose against the functionaries of temple committee before the police and in a court of law.

The senior MC officials were now in a piquant situation, because they would be calling for trouble by taking sides in view of the fact that both Mr Danav, a national joint secretary of Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj and a close confidant of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Gagat, a stalwart of INTUC, wield a considerable influence and following among the safai workers in the civic staff.



Deadlock over ‘sacrilege’ continues
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Tension continued in the city throughout the day over the alleged sacrilege at Guru Ravi Dass Mandir Basti Jodhewal on Thursday night, as the warring parties and the district administration failed to resolve the issue despite long meetings.

The police had to use mild force against members of some Sikh religious and political organisations who were staging a dharna outside Basti Jodhewal last night to protest against the arrest of three persons, who had allegedly committed the sacrilege.

While the members staging the dharna dispersed last night, they assembled outside the police station in the morning and continued their dharna till late in the evening today. A meeting between the representatives of the Sikh organisations, Guru Ravi Dass Mandir committee, district administration and some local political leaders is also going on at the Circuit house to resolve the issue. A number of meetings between these parties held earlier in the day had , however, failed to end the deadlock.

The protesters were demanding immediate release of three persons arrested for the alleged act. The three accused persons were released on bail in the evening on the orders of a district court.

The incident took political colour when political leaders owing allegiance to different parties arrayed along opposite lines. The situation was particularly embarrassing for the ruling SAD as its leaders belonging to different communities were sitting in opposite camps.

The situation remained explosive in Basti Jodhewal throughout the day as the activists of both the parties had assembled in large number in the area. While the activists of the Sikh organisations staged a dharna outside the police station, the activists of the Mandir Committee assembled at the temple. While yesterday the Mandir Committee was staging a dharna outside the police station today it was the turn of the other party which staged a dharna alleging false registration of case against three persons.

Heavy police force remained posted in the area for the whole day. Police force from several police stations was camped near the Basti Jodhewal police station and the Guru Ravi Dass Mandir to prevent any untoward incident.

No act of violence was reported from any part of the city even though a number of religious leaders had come to Basti Jodhewal with their supporters. No one was injured in last night’s use of mild force against the persons staging dharna.



Primary education: A saga of neglect
143 posts out of 256 vacant in Machhiwara block
Ravi Inder Singh Makkar

Machhiwara, November 10
The state government’s claims of providing computer education in government schools and teaching English from class I seem to be nothing more than a distant dream if one has a closer look at primary schools of Machhiwara block . Out of total, 256 posts of primary teachers (203 JBT, 44 head teachers and 9 centre head teachers) only 92 JBT’s , 24 head teachers and 8 centre head teachers are eagerly waiting for the rest to be appointed by the so called determined government.

An exclusive survey conducted by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the condition of 86 primary schools falling in Machhiwara block is miserable. There is not even a single teacher in 21 schools, 34 schools have one teacher each, 18 schools are having two teachers each, nine schools are with three teachers each and only four schools have four teachers each.

While the Education Department claims that there will be improvement in primary education after the constitution of elementary directorate whereas the teachers say that the creation of that directorate will be in vain. It will not be out of place to mention the situation which arose afterwards. In the beginning there were only 34 single-teacher schools. After transferring teachers from double teachers schools to without teacher schools, the tally of single teacher schools reached 60. In the next attempt when two teachers were transferred from every school having three teachers to schools without teacher, the count of single teacher schools rose to 70. This leaves little doubt about the standard of primary education 70 out of a total of 80 schools are having one teacher. If a teacher goes on leave due to one reason or the other, it in a virtual holiday for students.

For the smooth working of school in Machhiwara block it has been divided into nine centre schools which keep all schools in touch with the Block Primary Education Office. But it is ironical that there are no teachers in centre schools at Dhannor, Ubangarh and Chhaurian and an ad hoc teacher in each school is completing the formalities.

Now the question arises : Is it possible for a single teacher to teach five subjects at a time to five different classes? In these single teacher schools , the teacher- taught ratio is as : Manewal (1:286), Shatabgarh (1:163), Hambowal (1:155), Lakhoal Khurd (1:137), Kotala Bet (1:105), Gurugarh (1:103, Machhiwara II (1:111), Powal (1:100), Kaunke (1:97), Ghumana (1:95), Issapur (1:83), Jassowal (1:82), Chaklohat (1:78), Garhi Bet (1:18), Gaungarh (1:76) Raipur Bet (1:68), Machhiwara III (2:112), and Machhiwara IV (2:171). Apart from teaching five subjects to five classes at a time, the single teacher has to maintain the records of the school also.

The list of without teacher schools is as follows : Iraq, Jharaudi, Bullewal, Rahimabad, Shamaspur Bet, Lubangarh, Sainsowal Khurd, Milkwal, Rurewal, Dhanoor, Mand Sikhewal, Mubarkpur, Bairsal Kalan, Nanowal and Chhaurian, Bhaurla bet, Fatehgarhmand Shergarh, Hsanpur, Sikandarpur and Dupana.

At one time local MLA and the Speaker Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Charanjeet Singh Atwal, used to blame the previous Congress government for the decline in the quality of primary education. But it is most unfortunate that the present SAD-BJP government has completely failed in improving the standard of primary education in this constituency segment in almost five years. While the Chief Minister of Punjab is busy disbursing grants in wholesale in “sangat darshan” programmes but failed to kept but promises made for improving the quality of primary education. The Chief Minister who gave the slogan of converting Punjab into California might not have remembered that if such the standard of primary education in the state remained so poor then the day for is not when Punjab will be far behind, in this field, Bihar.



Pedestrians a harassed lot
D. B. Chopra

Ludhiana, November 10
The stretch of the GT road between the Jagraon bridge and the Old Sabzi Mandi Chowk has become a pedestrian’s nightmare thanks to encroachments all around.

In the absence of encroachment-free footpaths, the pedestrians have no choice but to move in the vehicular lane. The eight feet wide verandah outside the shops in Kamla Nehru Market, which should be left for the public, has been totally occupied with extensions. Not only that, even the small footpath provided for the pedestrians has not been spared by the space-hungry shopkeepers. Then follow the rows of parked scooters and other vehicles.

Next to the market, towards Ghanta Ghar, is a taxi stand. The taxi drivers too have scant regard for pedestrians while parking their cars at the stand or taking these out.

Further towards Ghanta Ghar, encroachments by peanut sellers, cigarette and bhang-sherbet venders and by the shopkeepers who have occupied a good part of the GT road have made it really very hazardous for the hapless pedestrians.

The problem has been further compounded with young boys dotting the road at every step. These boys, who stand right in the middle of the path, wave bumper lottery tickets at every passerby. They even stop scooterists and pester them to buy a ticket or two.

Same kind of congestion exists on the stretch between Ghanta Ghar chowk and the Mata Rani chowk. Here too, the GT Road has been encroached upon on both the sides by shopkeepers and roadside sellers of datuns, chana-bhaturas and so on. The shopkeepers have also extended their “shops” to several feet of the road. Here too, mini buses and auto-rickshaws pick up passengers for Phillaur. A pedestrian on this stretch is completely at the mercy of the drivers of various vehicles on the road. The road congestion created thus goes right upto the power station opposite the Chhawni mohalla.



Paddy payment to be cleared by Monday
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Government procurement agencies swung into action yesterday after the farmers and commission agents associations served an ultimatum to the state government to clear the payments of the paddy, sold to the state agencies till November 12 or be ready to face statewide protests from Monday onwards. The state agencies have reportedly delayed the payments worth more than Rs 150 crore in Ludhiana district alone.

Official sources in the district Food and Supplies Department disclosed that the department had received a grant of Rs 22.5 crore against a demand of Rs 25 crore from the state government. In a meeting held at Chandigarh yesterday, cheques worth more than Rs 1,000 crore were cleared to the agencies to clear the pending payments in the state. It would be released to the commission agents on Monday. The state agencies had already purchased 110 lakh tonne of paddy.

Mr Ranbir Sood, vice-president, Khanna Arthiya’s Association, said,” The state agencies had to pay Rs 77 crore to the commission agents of Khanna Mandi alone though they have stopped paddy procurement since October 25. A dharna was also held in the mandi yesterday. However, we have decided to suspend the agitation after the assurance of the Finance Minister to release the payments by Monday. We would wait and watch to see decision is implemented in letter and spirit.”

It is learnt that the DFCS has not made any payments after October 8, and the PUNSUP, Punjab Agro and other state agencies have also delayed payments for more than a fortnight. Consequently the commission agents have been forced to delay the payment to farmers, resulting in delay of sowing of wheat in some cases.

Mr Ranjit Singh, a farmer, lamented that government had failed to fulfill its promise of clearing payments within 72 hours after reaching of crop in the mandis. The farmers’ representatives have warned the government to clear the payments soon or be prepared to face the ire of their unions in the next few days. The officials have, however, assured them to clear the payments from Monday.


Mother Teresa of Maharashtra honoured
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
She is the mother of orphans and is known as Mother Teresa of Maharshtra. Sindhutai Sapakal is a name that is an institution in itself. An award conferred to her by Ludhiana-based Nehru Sidhant Kendra Trust was an honour too small for her. But her visit to Ludhiana means a great thing for the Ludhianvis.

She was awarded Sat Paul Sai Mittal National Award for her outstanding service to humanity by the trust and the award was given away by Mr K.P.S. Gill, former Director-General of Police, at Nehru Sidhant Kendra here today. She has already been awarded many prestigious awards like Anandmayi Award of Dinanath Mangeshkar Smruti Pratisthan, Fie Foundation award and Savitri Bai Phule Award and many more. The Tribune had a chance to have an exclusive interview with her.

She is a figure of motherhood, who never lets any child whom she confronts, deprived of motherly affection, love and care. She has adopted nearly 1,042 destitute children over a span of 30 years of her life. She has opened around five organisations in various states of Maharashtra and countless sister concerns in the whole region.

Having a startling tale to tell about her life, this short woman, clad in a saree typical of rural Maharashtra and a big red bindi on her forehead, was turned out by her husband when she was nine months pregnant. Recalling her tale with a smile on her face she says she was thrown out in a cowshed by her husband who was 20 years older than her. She was punished for raising a voice against injustice and was hit on her stomach.

Lying unconscious in the cowshed, Sindhu had delivered a girl and when she had gained consciousness she saw a cow protecting her and the baby from other animals of the herd. She had to cut the umbilical cord of the new born after smashing with two stones and that was the moment she rebelled against the situation and became a pillar to support several collapsing lives.

She begged for two years after that day with her daughter. She was forced to get her daughter admitted to an orphanage. “I did this because I wanted to bring up other children who were left by their parents due to one reason or the another. If I would have kept my own daughter, the pangs of hunger would have made me partial.” she says.

“Then I started wandering here and there with those children and seeing my dedication some of the tribals of Vidarbha erected a jhuggi for me and my children. I adopted all the children who had nobody to look after them, sometimes from the roadside, sometimes from a dustbin and once even from the dogs who were eating up a girl.”

Now many children are grown up and are married also. She had sent all of them to school. She has hundreds of sons-in-law and numerous daughters-in-law. Some of them are even helping her running the orphanages set up by her.

‘Mai’, as she is fondly addressed by her children, goes to various schools and asks the children for donating grains and their pocket money. She runs her institutions on these small donations only. The Rs 2 lakh award she has been conferred by the Nehru Sidhant Kendra is going to solve many of her problems for some time.

“I was surprised when I received a fax message from the trust that she would be given an award of Rs 2 lakh. I looked at the fax time and again as I could not believe it. Those were the days when I and my children had exhausted all the donations. I was asking the children to pray that we get some donations. So this award came as a boon from God.”

Mai Sindhu has also launched the Muskan Foster Parent Scheme and anybody who wants to help these children can become a foster parent of a destitute child by paying Rs 1,200 per year. 


Cong begins spadework for Assembly poll
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
With the elections to the Assembly drawing closer, the Congress has started its spadework. The urban and rural units of the District Congress Committee yesterday held two separate meetings to finalise the programme regarding the organisation of constituency level rallies in November. These would be followed by a joint rally of the urban and rural constituencies to be organised in the last week of this month.

The meeting of the urban unit was held in the morning and it was presided over by its president Surinder Dawer. He said, mass contact programme and corner meetings would be organised at ward level in the four urban constituencies. He assured that maximum number of workers would be mobilised during these rallies.

Two-minute silence was observed at the start of the meeting in the memory of those killed in the fire tragedy at Jawahar Nagar market on November 6. The meeting also demanded adequate compensation for the victims who lost property worth lakhs of rupees in the fire.

As a part of its election strategy, the Pradesh Congress Committee has decided to organise one big rally each in the 117 Assembly segments across the state. These rallies would be completed in December.

Later in the evening, a meeting of the rural unit was presided over by its president Gurdev Singh Lapran. Mr Lapran said representatives from all five rural Assembly segments attended the meeting. He said the main focus would be to highlight the failures of the Akali-BJP government and to make people aware of the party’s programme.

Prominent among those who attended the meeting, included Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, MP, Mr Malkit Singh Dhaka, Mr K.K. Bawa, Mr Pawan Dewan, Mr Prem Mittal and Mr Jeewan Dhawan.

Meanwhile, a separate meeting of the Indian Youth Congress (Urban Development Cell) was held at Amarpur under the leadership of its national chairman Pawan Dewan. The meeting was organised by local unit president Randhir Singh Nikka. The meeting criticised the SAD-BJP government for its total failure. Speakers alleged that corruption had touched all-time high during this regime. They promised that the Congress would provide a clean and corruption-free government. 


Need for good fire safety steps
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
The devastating fire in Jawahar Nagar market which led to the death of four persons and destroyed about a dozen shops has once again raised the issue of fire safety in the city, which is growing at a fast rate. While the administration is blamed usually whenever something like this happens, the common people also do not seem to bother about fire safety measures.

A senior Akali leader and former minister, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal argues that the government cannot escape its responsibility as it is the duty of the government to safeguard the lives and property of people. He felt that adequate measures had not been taken and it was due to the negligence of some officials that the illegal cracker shops had come up in the area leading to the fire. He said, the responsibility needed to be fixed and the guilty officials should be punished and held responsible for the loss.

A senior Congress leader and the national Chairman of the Indian Youth Congress (Urban Development Cell), Mr Pawan Dewan also said the fire safety measures in the city were not adequate. fire measures in the city. Mr Dewan who was at the site when fire broke out, revealed that the people of the area were claiming that some officials in the area had not bothered to prevent the illegal sale crackers and were unhand and glove with these sellers. He also observed that the administration had not learnt anything from the Gur Mandi fire tragedy in which about 70 persons had lost their lives about 10 years ago.

Dr Harbans Singh, retired principal of the Guru Tegh Bahadur College said there was a need to create awareness among people regarding the fire safety measures. He suggested that preventive measures should be taken in advance to avoid tragedies like the one that happened in Jawahar Nagar. Moreover, he emphasised that inflammable articles should not be stored in congested and populated areas.

Dr Bhupinder Kaur, working in the Guru Tegh Bahadur Charitable Hospital was of the opinion that government should be strict with those who violate the law. She observed, “most of the accidents take place due to our own negligence and only a little care is needed to avoid any major mishap”.

Mr Jarnail Singh Grewal, an activist of the Youth Congress called for a public campaign in this regard. He stated that such accidents take place during the festival season. He said the officials concerned of the area should have taken note of the illegal cracker shop running in the market place. 


City wakes up to fire hazards
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 10
The city, a virtual tinder-box on account of a large number of industrial units in residential areas, seems to have finally woken up to the menace of fire hazards following the devastating fire in Jawahar Nagar last Tuesday.

Illegal crackers shops in the old city have been closed down. The district administration has specified places for sale of firecrackers. The police has raided a number of places and seized firecrackers worth lakhs. The Municipal Corporation has also joined in.

Mr R.L. Kalsia, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, has issued an appeal to residents to observe certain precautions to avoid recurrence of fire which may lead to another disaster. About 15,000 pamphlets listing suggestions have been ordered to be printed and distributed in fire-prone congested localities.

It states that since most of the fires are caused by electric short circuits, people should get all wires in their houses and factories checked and replaced, if necessary, and keep all possible fire-fighting equipment ready. It also lists 10 precautions.

All inflammable objects should be kept away from fire. Inflammable articles such as kerosene and petrol should not be in the kitchen. All gas burners and kerosene stoves should be got cleaned from time to time. The valve of gas cylinder should be turned off after cooking is over.

If any gas leakage is suspected, neither should a match be lighted, nor should an electric switch be touched. In such a case, all valves should be closed and the gas company and the fire brigade should be immediately informed. Women should avoid wearing synthetic clothes while cooking. Smoking near places where inflammable material has been stored should be avoided.

All building roofs should be kept clean and there should be no waste or inflammable material. Water should be kept hands to fight a possible fire. All high-rise buildings, marriage palaces, cinema halls, factories, hotels, schools, colleges, hospitals, government offices, petrol stations and gas godowns should have adequate fire-fighting equipment. Officers of the local fire department should be consulted and only ISI-marked fire-fighting equipment should be installed.

The pamphlet further gives suggestions on what to do in case there is a fire in the neighbourhood. The place should be evacuated and goods which can be salvaged should be taken out. All doors and windows should be closed and the nearest fire brigade should be informed. When there is a fire, people should crawl out of the place.


Divali doesn’t brighten their lives
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, November 10
“Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be, the last of life for which, the first was made,” said Robert Browning. But in the “best” period of their lives, inmates of various old age homes of Ludhiana have no meaning for festival of lights. Rather, they are disillusioned with society and their relations and have no special plans for the day.

They are not eagerly awaiting the day, as the festivities of the day are only going to disturb them. They will recall the time when they used to be with their families. But, life has not treated them kindly and they are now forced to spend the twilight of their lives in loneliness, where a festival has no meaning for them.

A visit to some of the old age homes revealed the agony and the feeling of loneliness and hurt in inmates. Talking about the festival made them all the more miserable and nostalgic. Some of them did not come out of their shells and those who talked had only sad stories to tell. Yet, some were stoic and on being asked, said they had suffered the worst kind of fate and now nothing bothered them. Divali appeared meaningless to them as both society and their blood relations had forgotten about them and did not care whether they lived or died.

Recalling his good old days, when he thought himself to be a part of society, a dejected 85-year-old S.S. Lal, a retired officer from the Panjab University Extension Library, had nothing to look up to. He had been to the USA and Europe in his heydays to study about library science. Now almost deaf, he depends on the help rendered by his friends residing abroad. He lost his three sons and wife many years ago. He said, “I have totally forgotten about Divali, as I am staying in this home for the past 15 years. It is not a day to celebrate, but a day to brood over memories of the past. Divali is just like any other day.”

Inmates of Senior Citizen Home, Sarabha Nagar, were equally casual about Divali. They said nothing special was organised for the festival. “If someone sends us sweets, only then we realise that it is Divali, otherwise it goes unnoticed,” said one of the residents there.

Saying it was the attitude and the way to accept things that mattered, Onkar Singh said he was happy with the way the life had treated him. He said, “Loneliness bothers you if you think that the world is full of nice people and life is enjoyable with them being around. But, in actual existence, it is never like that. In this selfish world, no one really cares for others.”


Trade unions protest ‘anti-labour’ policies
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, November 10
Activists of the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and other trade unions observed ‘Anti-Globalisation Day’ and burnt an effigy of the WTO to protest against anti-labour policies of the government.

Hundreds of workers marched from the Municipal Corporation office here to the Clock Tower Chowk, where effigy of WTO was burnt amidst angry slogan-shouting by the protesters.

Addressing the rally, Mr Kartar Singh Rathor, general secretary, BMS, and other speakers castigated the government for pursuing anti-people and anti-labour policies in the wake of the WTO regime. They said agreements like the WTO and other measures for globalisation were a well-thought conspiracy by developed nations against under-developed and developing countries.

The activists of the BMS, a member of the Sangh Parivar, called upon the Union Government to quit the WTO in national interest and forge a new trade alliance of South Asian nations. The trade unionists apprehended that the national economy would be wrecked if the government did not take the decision to quit the WTO quickly.

Mandi Gobindgarh
Trade unions demonstrated against the anti-labour policies of the government being pursued under the pressure of the WTO, and staged a dharna in front of the local bus stand.

The unions flayed the government for the different anti-labour amendments in labour laws, especially in the Trade Union Act, 1926, and Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. These organisations urged the government not to pass these amendments and submitted a memorandum to the tehsildar. The unions also asked the government to save agriculture in the state. The organisation also asked the government not to withdraw subsidies on food articles.


Teachings of Gita relevant for business leaders even today
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
“The teachings of the great epic, the Bhagvad Gita, were relevant for business leaders even today. They should keep in mind the message of Krishna to Arjuna,” said Mr Anil Kumar, Executive Director, Shreyans Industries limited, here last night.

He was delivering a lecture on Leadership in Business and Industry. The lecture was organised by the Ludhiana Management Association.

Speaking on the important characteristics of a good leader, Mr Kumar said that a good leader should be a good motivator and able to impart knowledge to people down the line. Referring to the Bhagvad Gita, he said, ‘‘The moment you are plagued by doubt, your performance falls, so self-doubt is the most potent enemy in the way of effectiveness.’’

To lead by example was the third most important characteristic of a good leader, he added.

Leaders should also try to develop commitment among his fellows, instead of mere compliance. Earlier welcoming Mr Kumar, Mr V.K. Goyal, General Secretary, LMA, said that the real fuel for achievement came from aspiration. Business leaders should concentrate on attaining excellence in the business world in terms of continuous upgradations of quality, constant innovation, superior customer service and optimum use of all resources in general and human resources in particular, which were at the command of the organisation.

Expressing concern over the quality of leadership, Mr Goyal said that there was a great scarcity of action-oriented leaders in all institutions. There was a need for leaders, who could stand in the way of challenges posed by the present business and industry.

Dr M.A. Zahir, Dean, College for Basic Sciences, in his concluding remarks, said that a leader had to be a visionary because without a vision neither he could be a motivator nor could he become a missionary in his zeal.

Empathy was another quality for a leader to take effective decisions. Further skills must be supplemented with devotion, he added.

The meeting was attended by around 150 members of the association. 


Welfare projects for jail inmates
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 10
In collaboration with Ahsaas, a non-governmental social work organisation, the Department of Prisons, Punjab, today launched three projects for the welfare of about 2,500 inmates of the local Central Jail, Women’s jail and Bortsal Jail. The local jails have now become the second prisons in the state where such projects have been launched.

The first was the Patiala Central Jail. The success of the projects in Ludhiana matters a lot as it has the highest numbers of jail inmates in the state.

The projects -AIDS awareness campaign, de-addiction camps and meditation camps, were inaugurated by Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, Ministers for Jails and Justice, on the Central Jail premises here today. He also opened a newly constructed sports stadium for the inmates.

Jail inmates will soon be able to get training in industrial work. Mr R.S. Chalia, ADGP (Jails), announced that an abandoned Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in the Borstal Jail would be revamped. It will go a long way in imparting industrial training to the inmates, who after their release could be producitvely employed in the society.

A cultural function presented by the Roopak Kabir Welfare Society preceded the inauguration. A play titled ‘Bhawasur’ was enacted by the society and drew a huge applause. It aimed at spreading awareness about AIDS through the medium of theatre. An impressive dog show was also presented by DSP Suman Kumar posted at the PPA Phillaur.

Addressing on the jail occasion, Mr Ajit Singh Kohar called upon the inmates to forget the past and look at the future. He said they should aim to make their future bright. Mr Kohar said the projects would go a long way in improving the physical and mental well being of the prisoners.

Mr R.S. Chalia announced a number of new facilities for the inmates. He said a beautification drive of the jails was underway. He said the inmates should not consider themselves as prisoners here as they were here to be reformed. Mr Chalia said the projects were successful in Patiala Central Jail and urged the inmates to cooperate and make them successful there also.

Mr D.R. Bhatti, ADGP and Director Police Training Academy Phillaur, exhorted the inmates to utilise the time in the jail for self preservation, worship and taking education. Ms Rittu Sharma, Director Ahsaas, elaborated the concept of the projects.

She said the organisation would take up beautification of jails to provide the inmates serene surroundings and clean environment by planting decorative and fruit bearing plants. She said emphasis would be laid on the plantation of neem and peepal trees as the jail was situated in a high pollution area.

She said the AIDS awareness campaign was important for the inmates. Ahsaas would impart education about the disease to the inmates and 25 of them would be trained as peer educators.

Ahsaas will also organise regular medical check-up of the inmates in collaboration with the state health department. A three month programme on yoga and meditation for the mental well-being of the inmates will help in erasing negative emotional and mental patterns.



Oppn fomenting tension: SAD
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 10
The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has charged the major opposition parties with attempts to disturb peace and foment communal tension for their selfish motives and negating the achievements of the SAD-BJP government during the past about four years.

Addressing a party workers’ meeting, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Director, Markfed, observed the Congress was feeling frustrated because its claim that the present government would be short-lived, had been proved wrong. Although the ruling SAD faced a split due to factionalism, created by certain opportunist leaders, yet the unprecedented development on all fronts, was an ample proof that the state had ushered in a new era of peace and prosperity under the SAD-BJP rule.

Mr Dhillon remarked that during the current year, which was being observed as Development Year, the government, headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had provided grants, both for urban and rural development. He said the government had also taken effective steps for the expansion of power generation, modernisation of education and preservation of rich cultural heritage of the state.

At another function, organised by the All-India Youth Akali Dal (Badal) at Kanganwal village to felicitate him, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon outlined various welfare schemes, launched by the government for the weaker sections, widows and destitute women and senior citizens.


When ID card is not proof enough
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
The best way to prove one’s identity is through an identity card but the traffic police cops in here think otherwise. For them writing a person’s identity on a vehicle seems to be a better option. This was experienced by the correspondent while covering the controversy over an alleged attack on a temple in Basti Jodhewal.

Ranjit Singh, a traffic cop, prevented the correspondent from going to the temple. When the correspondent introduced himself and requested for the passage as he wanted to cover the incident, the constable suspected the identity saying ‘Press’ was not written on the scooter.

The correspondent showed him the identity card but the constable refused to admit the same saying a mediaperson is one on whose vehicle ‘Press’ was written. The constable said such identity cards were easily available. It was only after persuasion by other cops on duty that the constable allowed him the entry.


Bank strike in December
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
One million bank employees under the banner of the United Forum of Bank Unions and other central trade unions will go on strike along with other central trade unions in December in protest against labour law reforms dictated by the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank, said Mr Naresh Gaur, Joint Secretary, All India Bank Employees Association, here today.

Addressing the general body meeting of the State Bank of Patiala Employees Union of the Ludhiana region, he condemned the government’s move to privatise public sector banks, other public sector undertakings and even defence industries. 


Citibank’s world-class service now in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Citibank India, today announced the formal opening of its first full-service branch in Ludhiana, the fourteenth branch in the country. It would be the first branch of the bank in this part of the country.

Announcing the inauguration of the branch today, Mr Nanno Pamnani, Chief Executive Officer, Citibank India and Regional Head- Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, said, “Citibank will try to provide world-class services to its customers through various banking products. The bank was already catering to about 20,000 customers of Ludhiana through its Delhi and other branches. The emphasis would be on corporate customers and consumer loans.’’ He added that new branches had also been set up at Jaipur and Baroda during this year.

Mr Sanjay Nayar, Managing Director and Area Head - India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, Global Corporate and Investment Bank, said, “In Ludhiana, Citibank will offer customers both retail and corporate products. For individuals, the bank will offer unmatched services through its branch-banking products like citibank savings accounts, fixed deposits and Citibank ‘unnati’ account, credit cards, debit cards, personal loans, auto loans, durable finance, insurance and NRI services. Corporate customers will be able to avail of Citibank’s best-in-class services through citibusiness.”

Mr Nanno Pamnani announced that the next branch of the bank would be opened at Chandigarh soon. “The bank would try to tap the vast base of NRIs of the state to generate necessary deposits. There was a great scope of providing world-class services to the small scale and medium units of hosiery, cycle and auto parts besides their ancillary units”, he said.

Mr Sanjay Nayar expressed hope that the bank would be able to get at least 12,000 new customers in the next one year and in a 12 to 18 months’ period, they expected to match all the loans with the deposits generated through the local branch.


‘Computerisation due to competition’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 10
Global competition is the major factor forcing the local industry to go hi-tech. Heavy workload, data maintenance, secrecy and more efficiency are other factors for the change.

These were the findings of a study conducted by first-year MBA students of the Punjab College of Technical Education to identify various aspects related to switching over from manual working to computerisation by organisations. The students visited 50 industrial units, including five big units, 25 small and medium units and 20 branches of nationalised and private banks.

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