Tuesday, November 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Participants bowled over by the beauty of PAU campus
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
The sprawling campus of Punjab Agricultural University has caught the fancy of a number of players and officials staying in the university hostels. In their free time, the campus, its lush green lawns, sculptures, landscaping and other places of interest are being frequented by the players.

The PAU officials managing such sites are on their toes as the rush is far more than when the PAU is opened. The entire lot of participants , their coaches and officials are bowled over by the beautiful fauna and the natural beauty that is found here aplenty.

Simply overawed by the PAU campus, the participants are so fascinated with the campus that they do not want to go back to their places. “The slightly cold mornings and pleasant evenings on the campus are refreshing. When we go back from here, the sure thing we are going to miss are the morning walks. It has never been so pleasurable for us. It seems as if we are in a hill station here,” says one of the participant.

The Rural History Museum of Punjab that displays the various aspects of rural life of Punjab years ago is attracting the participants. They are making a beeline to watch it. The beautiful mannequins dressed in Punjabi traditional costumes embroidering traditional phulkari sends them in raptures. Premlata Suryabhan and her companions from Karnataka who visited the museum today were so fascinated by the colourful and beautiful phulkari that they wanted to own a piece each.

The Water Museum, that explains the entire water management of the country, fascinated the visitors. The guests could be seen hopping from one place to another to see maximum places in the short time they got.

The open spaces, the lovely weather , the good food served to them has made their trip to Ludhiana a memorable one. Desimol, an athlete from Kerala, said, “Whenever I will feel low , I will think of my pleasant sojourn in Ludhiana. The very memories will fill me with the joy that I shared with my friends on the PAU campus.”

“The campus is really beautiful as there is a lot of green cover and it is far from the maddening crowd in the city. Coming back to these beautiful environs just helps me unwind from the anxiety of the fierce competition my team members are going to face later in the day,” said Anita Nimbargi of cycling coach from Karnataka.

The lush green lawns of the campus and the empty and clean roads are also fascinating the participants so much that they are encouraged to go on a walk in the mornings as well as in the evenings. “We wake up at 5 am everyday not to miss the walks. I will feel very sad as I am leaving the city tomorrow.,” said Rosemary and Desimol, two athletes from Kerala.



Villages appear haunted as males disappear
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
In an interesting offshoot of the ongoing controversy over the illegal sand-mining activity, an eerie silence prevails in the Kutbewal and Qasabad villages today as most of the males, booked in the recent SDM assault case, have vanished from the villages fearing police crackdown on them.

The villages appear haunted ones as not a single male was seen on the street or working in the fields. In their absence, only women and children were seen everywhere by a Ludhiana Tribune team that visited the villages in the afternoon. A number of women talking to Ludhiana Tribune said fearing police arrest, most of the males had disappeared. While it was natural for the males booked in the assault case to runaway, there were some related or linked to them who had also vanished as they apprehended the police might round them up. A massive raid was conducted by the Salem Tabri police in the villages in the afternoon. The raid was not successful as not a single accused could be found. The police rounded up some persons but they were let off after some time. Police sources said a number of raids were conducted in the past two days also but these too received similar results.

The police raids were planned after a delegation of the villagers opposing sand-mining met the Deputy Commissioner and alleged that the police was deliberately not arresting the accused. The meeting between the DC and the villagers led by Hira Singh Gabria, MLA, saw some unruly scenes as hot words were exchanged between the parties.

According to Mr Surinder Singh, sarpanch of a village, the Deputy Commissioner got angry at their inquiries that why did SDM Kuldip Singh not register a case against the accused. The villagers alleged that the accused were roaming free and threatening them with dire consequences.

A woman told Ludhiana Tribune to give a message to the district administration to solve the issue at the earliest so that the male members can return back. An old woman, while stressing that whosoever was guilty should be booked, said she remembered terrorism days when the villages gave a look due to fear of the police.

Police sources said they had rounded up three persons but later had to release them as they were not guilty.



Councillor misled the MC: engineers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
The Engineering Wing officials of the Municipal Corporation here are shocked at what they call “an attempt by a senior BJP councillor, Mr Pran Bhatia, to scandalise the relations between the MC engineers and a quality-supervision agency, the SGS India”.

At the November 22 meeting of the MC General House, Mr Bhatia had quoted from a letter written by one of the engineers to the agency that the engineer wanted the agency to give favourable inspection reports for a fixed sum. The facts were contrary to what the councillor had said.

A perusal of the letter written by Mr Kashmira Singh, Executive Engineer and leader of the Budha Nullah project, showed that it was an official communication, with a despatch number on it and all that. It said the payment to the agency for its work from February to April had been cleared at a rate of Rs 1.25 lakh per month and the balance payment for services upto July would soon be released.

According to the letter, the officials wanted the agency to “continue providing the MC with its services till further approval of the Finance and Contracts Committee (F and CC)”. The letter says that the MC is planning to allot more quality-control-supervision work worth Rs 20 crore, for which, further communication will follow.

Some of the MC engineers, on the condition of anonymity, said retaining or sacking the agency was a prerogative of the MC House that it had exercised. However, there had been an attempt by a senior councillor to mislead the house about the engineers and the agency.

The officials of the wing wanted the agency to continue, regardless of the MC decision allegedly taken under the pressure of contractors. The MC had discontinued the agency’s services. Sources in the MC said the agency had done a good job on the Budha Nullah road project, resulting in a 20 per cent cost saving.



Agency out, but strike continues
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
Even after their demand for the removal of the quality-control agency the SGS India has been accepted by the Municipal Corporation, enlisted contractors have refused to end their strike and respond to the MC tenders. There is little development work in progress.

A series of meetings between senior officials of the MC and the five-member committee comprising councillors and representatives of contractors had reportedly been successful in persuading the contractors to resolve the issue. However, recent indications show that the decision to abolish octroi has stalled this progress for the time being.

The contractors have had several misgivings about their payments from the day the government made known its intention to do away with octroi. They had started boycotting tenders, apprehending that once the octroi was abolished, the civic body would face a cash crunch and would not be able to pay them.

Several MC contractors, say that, even with the octroi receipts coming in, their dues have not been paid and their bills are not being cleared on one pretext or the other.

Timely payment and inspection of the ongoing development works are among the main demands of contractors, who have not been responding to the MC tenders for over two months now. They allege that frivolous objections were raised and repeated inspections ordered once final bills had been submitted after completion of the each work. “Delay in payment has caused us undue harassment and affected our ability to offer bids.” 

This issue was also raised in the House by several councillors, who feared that disruption of development works in their wards would affect their prospects in the coming MC elections. The MC Commissioner, Mr R.L. Kalsia, had said the system for payment of bills was being streamlined and the MC would ensure that the development works did not suffer due to this. Mr Kalsia said, while bills submitted by contractors before November 6 had been marked to various officials for completion of formalities and processing for payment, thereafter, a checklist had been prepared for this purpose.

However, the contractors decided to adopt a wait-and-watch policy. One of them said, “Let the MC clear our pending bills and explain how it will meet financial liabilities after abolition of octroi before we resume work.” The MC Contractors Union is to meet on Wednesday to take a further decision.



Disabled spectators feel handicapped
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, November 26
Physically challenged persons who are keen to watch the National Games here have no option but to stay home because the organising committee that has not bothered to make arrangements for accommodating these spectators.

Many such persons have not been able to get inside the stadium as there is no a single incline on which their wheelchairs could be towed.

Such spectators have been coming to the stadium not only from within the city, but also the other parts of the country. The lack of arrangements for them has disillusioned them. Mr Samir Lakhapal, a sports lover, has travelled to the city all the way from Raipur in Madhya Pradesh with the state’s contingent for the National Games. He had to suffer a lot of pain in his journey, but he endured it for the sake of sport.

“I have come here with my companion Mr Ashok. My friend Teja Singh is taking part in the weightlifting events, so, I want to watch him perform. My companion helps me find a place from where I can enjoy the games. Had a section or an incline been made for persons like me, our journey to the top rows in the stadium could have been easy. I suffer anxiety during my transportation to the rows.”

While he had come to the stadium on a rickshaw, his companion had come on a bicycle. He used to park the bicycle at a place in the media centre as the police had assured him that it would be safe there. However, yesterday, he rushed out, after depositing Samir at his usual place, to help a person who had met with an accident, but, when he returned, his cycle was not there. The police told him to take another bicycle parked there, but he refused. Now, Samir’s transportation to the stadium has become even more difficult with the theft of the bicycle. It was a borrowed bicycle and, now, the men don’t know what to do. Samir says, “There should be at least some security at the parking lot, where parking tickets could be issued.”

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, however, says that the physically challenged can sit with officials and watch all events. He also says that no one has complained to him in this regard. When asked had the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, visited the stadium how could he have been transported to the top rows in the absence of facilities, the DC said the PM was not physically challenged, though it was a common knowledge that he found it difficult to walk after his knee transplant. However, Mr Sandhu said the needs of the physically challenged would be taken into consideration.

Dr Tandon, Director Sports, said no attention was paid to how the physically challenged would enter the stadium. “If Atal ji had come, there could have been a problem.”

Sources said, if the PM had come, he would have been made to sit in a wheelchair and two strong men would have carried the wheelchair to the top rows.



Man spits in tea, serves it to boss
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
The Sadar police has registered a case against a daily wager in the Agricultural Society of Baddowal village for allegedly serving tea mixed with his spit for several days to a senior official.

Akbar Ali, the daily wager, is facing charges under Section 295-A of the IPC, which says that a case can be registered against a person for maliciously hurting a person, his or her religion, religious beliefs or class. However, the police sources said there was no provision for registering a complainant for spitting in tea.

The accused used to mix his saliva with the tea and serve it to a senior official because of a past grudge. According to the police, the accused was often reprimanded by the official and the daily wager did this to teach him a lesson. The unsuspecting official continued taking this tea for several days until two days ago he learnt of its contents. When the official asked the daily wager about it, he confessed to his offence and gave a written apology. The official, then, complained to the police. The accused is yet to be arrested.



MC president removed
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 26
The Khanna Municipal Council, president, Mr Onkar Rai Mehta, was removed from his post today after a no-confidence motion was passed against him. Mr Mehta was elected president of the Municipal Council as a Congress candidate by a margin of one vote in May 1998. Interestingly, he was elected president despite the fact that only nine councillors were elected on the Congress ticket in the 26-member house. The rest belonged to the BJP and Akali Dal alliance. Despite majority of the BJP and Akali Dal, Mr Mehta was elected president due to defections.

In the past, several allegations of corruption and misuse of power were levelled against him and he was dismissed from the post by the state government two times, but on both occasions he managed to get stay from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. 



Scooterist killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Kutbewal (Ludhiana), November 26
Traffic on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore road was affected for about two hours today following an accident in which a scooterist was killed. The deceased, Naresh Kumar, was an employee with the local Municipal Corporation and was killed on the spot when his scooter lost balance after reportedly hit a Punjab Roadways bus.

Though the police has booked the bus driver for the accident, eye-witnesses said he was not at fault. Eye-witness also revealed that the bus driver stopped the bus after the accident and went to traffic cops on duty and informed them that he was not at mistake.

The flow of traffic was hit for a couple of hours as the police took a lot of time in removing the body. The police said it could not lift the body till some relative of the deceased arrived. 


Rs 70,000 stolen
Our correspondent

Jagraon, November 26
A sum of Rs 70,000 and golden ornaments weighing around 200 gm, were stolen from the house of one Naresh Kumar in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar on the night of November 25. The family of Naresh Kumar was away to attend a marriage in Ludhiana and came to know about the theft on returning here this morning.

The front gate of the house was lying open and locks of other doors had also been broken. The family found household articles lying scattered all over, and cash and jewellery missing. The police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC on the statement of Naresh Kumar.



Wakf Board needs overhaul
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
Can one believe that in Ludhiana city, where rents and rates of property are touching the limits, there exist hundreds of shops and other properties for which the tenants are still paying nominal rents from Re 1 to Rs 10 per month? Thanks mainly to the indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned and the complex legal system. Further, there are hundreds of tenants possessing hundreds of acres of land not only in Ludhiana but in other parts of state as well, who are not willing to pay even a nominal rent.

The enquires made with the Wakf Board Department revealed that according to the Wakf Board Act, 1954, of the Central Government, modified in 1995, it has been given charge of all the religious properties belonging to Muslims in the pre-partition period such as of masjids, graveyards, imambaras and khangahs. The properties are spread over in all the parts of the city, especially in Chaura Bazar, Daresi, Amarpura, Islamganj, Salem Tabri and near Damoria bridge.

Interestingly, more than 50 per cent of the Wakf Board’s land worth hundreds of crores of rupees if not thousands, has been illegally occupied by tenants. About 10 shop occupants near Damoria Bridge want to pay Re 1 as monthly rent, which the board wants to be revised upward. The board is taking rent of Rs 100-500 per month for the properties, whose market rent is anywhere between Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh per month.

The officials in the board and its regional office at Ambala disclosed that they were fighting legal battle in the courts with more than 200 tenants. However, due to the lengthy process of the courts, the cases have not been decided for the past many decades. They said about one 1,000 tenants, possessing properties worth more than Rs 100 crore, were not ready even to pay Re 1 as rent, thus in illegal possession of the property meant for the welfare of minorities.

It is learnt that the board had been empowered to manage, control and maintain these properties. It manages these properties on behalf of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, without any right to sell these properties. The department has fixed a target of just Rs 2.35 crore to collect as rent on its properties during the current financial year against Rs 1.25 crore collected during the previous year. Though the actual rent could be more than Rs 100 crore if collected from all the tenants at the market rate.

The shopkeepers at the Damoria Bridge, when contacted in this regard, said they were paying rent of Rs 1500 to Rs 2000 per month to actual tenant of the property living on the first floor. One of the shopkeeper, on the condition of anonymity. said, “I am ready to pay rent directly to the Wakf Board provided the officials vacate the property, as our landlord is not paying anything to the board.’’ The others were tight-lipped as they feared reprisals from the landlord.

The board officials disclosed that they were collecting the amount to run various educational, vocational and social welfare programmes for the minority community in the state and other parts of the country. However, due to lack of state government’s support, they were unable either to collect rent or to vacate the property. The illegal occupation of the Wakf Board’s property in the city by some religious organisations, affiliated to the ruling party has further compounded the problem.

The critics, however, blame the Wakf Board management for the present state of affairs. Mr Dildar Khan, Deputy Director, Institute for Development and Communication, Chandigarh, who has done an extensive work in this area, said,‘‘ The Wakf Board has become a mine of corruption as it has failed to collect even the exact data of its property. Some of the officials have provided possession to the tenants by taking money. There is a need to overhaul the whole business of its property management. But who will bell the cat?’’ he asked.



Hike in MC income, officials praised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
While more often than not, the civic officials have to face strong criticism for failing to deliver and come up to the aspirations of their superiors and the city residents, in a rare instance, the general house meeting of the Municipal Corporation not only placed on record the spurt in the income from octroi and house tax in comparison to previous years, but unanimously resolved that MC officials, responsible for the sterling performance, be publicly recognised and given appreciation letters.

In his introductory remarks in the house meeting, the MC Commissioner, Mr R.L. Kalsia, told the members that the MC income from house tax had registered a whopping increase of around 70 per cent while the octroi income was also up as compared to corresponding period last year. The hike in octroi income had been achieved inspite of the fact that rates of octroi on iron and steel, woollen and yarn waste, the main raw material for engineering and hosiery industry in the mega city, were slashed in June while vegetables and fodder were exempted on single consignment basis.

Giving details, the MC Additional Commissioner Mr S.K. Sharma, who heads the octroi and house tax branches told Ludhiana Tribune that as against a total receipt of Rs 10.95 crore till the corresponding period last year, the civic body had netted an income of Rs 17.95 crore from house tax till Nov 22 against a targeted income of Rs 40 crore during the current financial year. The house tax had yielded Rs 22.13 crore and Rs 27.19 crore during the years 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 respectively.

The achievement, he said, was made possible through streamlining the entire process of assessment, billing, proper distribution of bills and constant monitoring at various levels. The entire staff in the house tax branch had been toned up and asked to submit time bound progress reports. Officers upto the rank of Zonal Commissioners were involved in the recovery proceedings which had paid rich dividends.

According to Mr Sharma, identification of defaulters and recovery of old arrears had been stepped up. As on Oct 1, 2001, a sum of Rs 19.64 crore was due as house tax from more than 3000 individuals. As a result of vigorous follow-up and proceedings under Sections 137 and 138 of Municipal Corporation Act, over Rs 4 crore had been recovered during the period Oct 1 and Nov 22.

Similarly, the octroi income of the civic body, unlike the MCs in Jalandhar and Amrtisar, was on a higher side at Rs 69.20 crore till Nov 22 as against Rs 68.50 crore during the corresponding period last year, Mr Sharma added.



NFB arranges marriage of handicapped
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
The NFB, Punjab, and the HIEF (Handicapped Institution Employees Federation) jointly arranged a marriage which was solemnised between Poonam Rani and Ashwani Kumar at the Ram Darbar Mandir, Kitchlu Nagar. The couple is visually handicapped. On this occasion, the general secretary, NFB, Mr Rajesh Mohan, blessed the couple along with the general secretary of the HIEF, Mr Dharampal Singh.

Mr Rajesh Mohan condemned the VRTC (Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre), management for its reckless attitude towards students; trainees and employees. He said that employees were appointed without any pacific rules, their salaries are discriminatory, moreover D.A. and M.A. of all the employees have been abolished. Blind women are treated like orphans and their rights are being violated. They are even deprived of the maternity leave and they are compelled to work for more than 12 hours a day. The ladies who had been working in this institution for the past 25 years were being paid less than the minimum wages which was fixed in accordance with the minimum wage act by the Punjab Government.

Mr Mohan charged that Mr E.M. Johnson (Director ) has made this institution a family business and entire management is controlled by Mr E.M. Johnson and his relatives. Mr Mohan also informed that federation has taken up this matter by writing to various officials of the Punjab Government.

He also said that the matter would further be taken up with the higher authority. Both federations (HIEF and NFB) have warned that if the conditions did not improve, an agitation would be started. 



Stamp to mark Sobha Singh’s birth centenary
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
The Union Ministry of Communications will release a commemorative postage stamp in the memory of acclaimed artist Sobha Singh on his birth centenary on November 29.

The Deputy Director General (Phil) of the Department of Posts, Mr Vinod Dhamija, has informed Mr H.S. Bhanwar, a local journalist and a son-in-law of the late artist that the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, will release the commemorative stamp at a function to be held in Shimla.

According to Mr Bhanwar, he was the one to have initiated the move for a postage stamp to perpetuate the memory of Sobha Singh. In this context, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president of Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal had written a letter to the then Union Communications Minister, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan. Thereafter, during Mr Paswan’s visit to this town, a deputation of the Sobha Singh Memorial Foundation had met him, seeking release of a stamp in the memory of the legendary artist to coincide with his birth centenary.

Sobha Singh, born at Sri Hargobindpur in Gurdaspur district on November 29, 1901, had done a one-year diploma course in arts and crafts from Government Industrial School, Amritsar, before joining Indian Army as a draftsman. During a mission to Baghdad in Iraq, he met a number of Western artists and was greatly influenced by them. He resigned from his job in 1923 and established his art studio at Amritsar to work as a commercial artist. After having brief stints at Lahore, Delhi and Preet Nagar, he shifted to Lahore in 1945, from where he came back in the wake of partition to finally settle at Andretta, a small village in Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh.

The artist is a house hold name in Punjab for the prints of Sikh Gurus’ portraits and his legendary painting of ‘Sohni Mahiwal’.



Conference of PNB Employees Union
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
The Central Government has launched an attack on the labour unions in connivance with the Opposition and a section of the media. The trade unions had, no doubt, failed in the past to address various issues concerning employees and the working class. However, with the changing times, they are also reviewing their strategy and functioning to justify their relevance.

These views were expressed by various trade union leaders gathered here to participate in the seventh conference of the PNB Employees Union. About 3,000 delegates from various parts of the country participated in this national-level conference.

Addressing the participants, Mr S.D. Dhopeshwarkar, president, All-India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), asserted that the employees of the nationalised banks would have to introspect about their contribution to the cause of labour and the working class. It was unfortunate that the small creditors had to pay higher rate of interest on small loans in addition to various difficulties. The role of bank employees union was not confined to seek higher wages for its members but also to promote the cause of downtrodden.

Mr P.N. Tewari, vice-president, AIBEA, said that the labour unions would have to build up public opinion to fight the onslaught of the government policies, which had resulted in massive unemployment and retrenchment during the past decade. The conference passed a resolution to work for the welfare of masses and its members through mass struggle.



One held, 5 kg opium seized
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
The Salem Tabri police yesterday arrested Avtar Singh, a resident of Gobind Nagar, and seized 5 kilo of opium from his possession. The alleged smuggler has been booked under Section 18 of the NDPS Act.

Stolen TV recovered: The division no 5 police yesterday arrested three persons — Bunty, Rahul and Saggar Kumar — all residents of Manjit Nagar, and recovered from their possession some stolen property, including a small TV set and a couple of music system. The arrested persons were booked under sections 379 and 411 of the IPC.

Booked: The division no 6 police arrested Subhash and Ram Dayal, migrants from UP, for quarrelling on the road and blocking the traffic yesterday in Industrial Area-A of the city. A case under section 160 of the IPC has been registered against the migrants.

Another case was registered with the same police station against Tilak Raj, resident of Janakpuri, for blocking the road in a couple of streets of the locality with building material including sand, bajri and concrete mixers. The accused, who has not been arrested so far, has been booked under Section 283 of the IPC.

Case registered: A bizarre case, perhaps the first of its kind , was registered under Section 295A of the IPC by the Sadar police yesterday on a complaint by Mr Amar Singh of Baddowal village against Akbar Ali of the same village. Amar Singh alleged that the accused had been often serving him with tea and water that were laced with Akbar Ali’s spit. No arrest has been made so far.

Accident case: The Sadar police has registered a case under sections 279,337,338 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Lakhvir Singh, resident of Tunga Heri village, now residing at Dehlon, against Jaswant Singh, resident of Isher Nagar, Ludhiana. According to the complainant, the accused rammed his Tata Sumo into his jeep injuring him and some other members of his family on Sunday night.

Gamblers arrested: During a special checking, the division no 3 police seized a sum of Rs 1,180 and a set of playing cards from Azad Singh alias Teeta, Harbans Lal alias Billa , Data and Ramu, all residents of Azad Nagar, while they were gambling. the accused have been booked under Sections13,3 and 67 of the Gambling Act.

Booked for stealing kerosene: A case under section 420 of the IPC and 7 EC Act has been registered against Pawan Kumar, Surinder, Narayan Dass and Nand Lal for allegedly stealing kerosene in a truck (PB 13G - 2842) on Sunday.

Man threatened, injured: A man of Dharaur village was allegedly threatened and injured by some persons. According to the FIR registered at the Sahnewal police station under sections 323, 324, and 506 of the IPC, Ujjar Singh said he was injured by Pal Singh and some other persons.

Booked for blocking the road: Phoolchand of Jandiali village, who was allegedly running a liquor shop illegally and creating nuisance for people has been booked. Harjit Singh , driver of a Tata 407 PB-10(AG-9676) was also booked for allegedly blocking the Kohara road. He obstructed the traffic by parking the vehicle in the middle of the road. A case under section 283 of the IPC been registered against the two. Later they were released on bail.



National Games fail to enthuse industry 
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
The golden chance for Ludhiana’s hosiery and cycle industries to capitalise on the National Games being held here seems to have been lost, thanks to the indifferent attitude adopted by those at the helm of affairs. Blaming the organising committee and the district administration for this, industrialists rue that they were not properly involved in the management of games.

Feeling upset over being ignored, Mr Vinod Kumar Thapar, president, Knitwear Club, said, “The hosiery manufacturers were hoping that our involvement in such a big event would help us promote our garments and other products in far-away markets, like North-East and south, through aggressive advertising and sponsorships. However, no one bothered to involve us, though we could have helped the organisers financially.” He added that the industry was involved in a much better way during the National Rural Sports held in the city in the early 90s.

“We had put up hundreds of banners in the stadium and had donated about Rs 5 lakh for these sports. Now, we have decided to honour the junior hockey team after December 15 at a separate function, which had won the World Cup recently. The industry association has already announced Rs 5 lakh award for the senior hockey team provided it wins any medal in the world tournament,” said Mr Thapar.

Mr D.S. Chawla, president, United Cycle and Cycle Parts Manufacturing Association, is more vocal in his criticism about the manner in which the games are being held.

He said, “The games have become just a family affair or at the most a government show. There is no involvement of industry or NGOs which would have provided a boost to the games. You could find more crowds in a district-level tournament than in these games.”

In fact, insiders said the district and state-level officials were not interested in involving industrial associations, as they feared they would have stolen the limelight in the media, now monopolised by them. In the times of recession no one is bothered about industry though sponsorships and better display of industry in the national media could have resulted in the promotion of the state’s products worth crores of rupees’ advertising. Commenting on the lack of industry participation, Prof M.A. Zahir of Punjab Agricultural University, said, “In fact the schedule of the games was changed two or three times.

Consequently no one was sure even before a month whether these games would be held at all. It is a matter of fact that there is no involvement of industry in the games. We have unfortunately missed a golden chance to put the Ludhiana’s industry on the national map.”


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