Thursday, December 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



14-year-old cooks up kidnap tale 
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
Fear of parent’s anger over the loss of money led a 14-year-old boy to cook-up a story of his kidnapping, which left the parents and relatives panic-stricken for almost 24 hours and gave anxious moments to a team of the city police that in the backdrop of the sensational Sonu murder case remained on its toes at all through.

Sunil (name changed), a student of class IX, in a local school and a resident of a colony near Karimpura bazaar had gone yesterday morning to his school. His father, owner of a shoe-selling shop had given him Rs 200 to deposit fees in the school. When the boy did not return by 4 p.m, the usual time, his parents become worried and began searching for him everywhere. While the search proved to be futile, the boy with swollen face and hands tied at the back suddenly walked into the house at about 9 p.m.

The parents heaved a sigh of relief but were shocked to the boy’s condition. He seemed to be in a state of shock and was not telling anyone where he had been. It was only late at night that he told his parents that two persons had kidnapped him from near the school and took him away to an abandoned room where he was stripped and beaten. The alleged kidnappers also took away Rs 200 from him. He claimed the kidnappers left him near luxmi cinema from where he walked back to home.

Tension engulfed the colony as this news spread. A large number of people came to his home to inquire about the incident. The news spread like wild fire as the boy belonged to Rajashtani community, whose children have been the main targets in the child kidnapping and sodomy incidents earlier this year.

The shocked parents informed some relatives, who in turn informed a couple of mediapersons. Sensing a second incident of child kidnapping, two days after the macabre killing of Sonu, a resident of Guru Arjun Dev Nagar, the mediapersons along with photographers rushed to the boy’s house. However, the boy’s version of events appeared to be doubtful. Due to some injury, the boy was not able to straighten his right arm where as he had returned home with both arms tied at the back.

The police had been informed already but when the parents took the boy to the Division No 5 police station around noon today, he spilled the beans. Terrified from the police, the boy revealed he had cooked up the entire story as he had lost the money somewhere. He said as his parents were not well-off and he feared their fury at the loss of money. He said he had roamed here and there and had also spent some time with some of his friends. 



Has the Punjab Govt really empowered SCs?
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
Though the Punjab Government launched a publicity blitz to prove that it has empowered the scheduled castes, for about one-third of the state population, most of which is educationally, economically and socially backward, however, the facts speak otherwise.

Take the case of the Punjab Scheduled Castes Land Development and Finance Corporation (PSCLDFC), the nodal agency constituted to empower these communities. Its performance during the past three years belies the claims of the State Government pertaining to the improving the lot of SCs.

According to the Corporation officials here and at its head office, Chandigarh, the state government has not released adequate funds during the past four years. The result: Under the Central Government’s scheme to rehabilitate the scavengers in other professions, though 500 scavengers were identified by the corporation in the state, the number of beneficiaries is negligible. It has also failed to provide any loan or subsidy to the SC youths to set up ventures under the Bank tie-up or other schemes.

Sources say that the state government had promised to contribute Rs 9.80 crore to its share capital in 1999-00, Rs 4.90 crore in 2000-01, and Rs 4.90 crore during the 2001-02 budget, however, no funds were reportedly released during that period. Interestingly, in the absence of the state government’s contribution, the PSCLDFC failed to get about Rs 20 crore from the Central government under different schemes as part of the matching grants.

One of the senior officials, on the condition of anonymity, said, “The government has not provided any funds, kept under the special components plan, during the past three years. These funds have rather been diverted to other heads. The government has also failed to increase the share capital of the Corporation from Rs 30 crore to Rs 60 crore, promised under the budget.”

Criticising the role of the state government , Mr D.P. Khosla, state vice-president of the BSP, said, “The government should concentrate on economic empowerment of the youths of the Scheduled Castes, instead of false propaganda in the media. However, we have lost all hopes. The corporation has failed to fulfil any of its objectives,” he added.

Enquires with the district office revealed that out of the 81 scavengers identified in the city, only 2 persons were reportedly given loans. No person has succeeded to get any loan under the bank tie-up scheme, under which beneficiaries could get loans up to Rs 35,000 including Rs 6,000 subsidy to set up their ventures. The number of beneficiaries under the ‘Loans for Motor Vehicles Scheme,’ Animal Husbandry, and Economic Ventures Scheme is almost nil.

The morale of the corporation employees is very low as they fear that the corporation may be closed down any day. “We are just getting salaries out of our funds, though there is virtually no work. Only 39 loan cases have been processed during the current year, under direct loaning scheme. Other schemes are almost dead though the target was to help about 2400 families this year,” said another employee here. Consequently, in Ludhiana alone the SCs have been deprived of Rs 1.02 crore subsidy this year, he added.



PAU website fails to click
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, December 5
The website of the Punjab Agricultural University launched about four years ago in an apparent bid to provide the ‘latest’ information has not only failed to achieve the objective, but may rather mislead or confuse anyone who wants to know something about the university and its activities.

The official website of the university,, reports events that occured way back in 1997 and 1998 and gives names of such persons on administrative posts, who have retired for over one year.

The text of the site has been divided into various sections including about us, education, research, extension services, library, sports, news and events, alumni, medical aid, virtual tour, vacancy and accommodation, most of which are under construction for the past four years and gives stale news.

In the ‘‘about us’’ section, the site gives information regarding the history of the university along with a list of the names of persons on administrative posts. It gives the name of Dr R.S. Tamber as Dean, College of Agriculture, Mr S.K. Bhatia as Comptroller, and Dr M.S. Bajwa as Director Research, though they have retired several months ago. The charges have now been vested with Dr M.S. Tiwana, Mr Gopal Das and Dr G.S. Nanda, respectively. Dr K.S. Sekhon has been stated to be the Dean, Postgraduate Studies and Director Students’ Welfare although now Mr G.S. Toor handles the above. Besides, the post of Pro-Vice Chancellor, which was abolished, has also been specified in the list.

The ‘‘extension services’’ section has been divided into five sub-sections including departments, krishi vigyan kendras, farmers’ advisory service, central facilities and communication centre. While the first four sub-sections have not been activated, only the last sub-section gives details of functions performed by employees of the centre.

The sections on ‘‘medical aid’’, ‘‘vacancies’’ and ‘‘alumni’’ are non-functional. The ‘‘sports’’ section simply gives a passing reference of the 12 sports facilities available without giving details of procedure for membership and events held on the campus.

In the ‘‘news and events’’ section, the site gives six pictures with captions of honouring ceremonies and convocations held in 1997 and 1998 stating Ramandeep as captain of Indian Hockey team, Dr G.S. Kalkat as the Vice Chancellor and Dr K.S. Aulakh as the Pro- Vice-Chancellor.



ASI acquitted in graft case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
The special Judge, Mr G.R. Banyal, has acquitted Assistant Sub Inspector Ram Kishan in a corruption case, as prosecution failed to prove the charges levelled against him.

The ASI was booked by the police station Vigilance Bureau, Patiala on May 7, 1997 under the Prevention of Corruption Act, on a statement of a property dealer, Henry Stephen Bhatti.

According to prosecution, the complainant had lodged a complaint with the DSP — Babu Singh alleging that he had some property dispute following which he had filed a written complaint to SHO police station Division No 3, who deputed ASI-Ram Kishan to investigate the matter.

But he allegedly threatened to book the complainant in a criminal case on his own complaint and demanded Rs 1,500 as illegal gratification. Thereafter on the complaint of property dealer Vigilance Bureau allegedly nabbed the ASI while accepting Rs 1,500 near the police station. As the charges levelled against the accused were not proved with cogent and convincing evidence, the learned judge acquitted him.



Living in the shadow of disease & bias
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, December 5
Shunned by society because of their disease, persons suffering from leprosy live in a locality away the world of normal persons. These 78 families, that add up to 140 members, have come from all parts of India and managed to stay in the Ashram for Lepers. They are from every religion — Hindu, Muslim, Christian. Kusht Ashram in Islamlamgunj presents a picture of secular living. The inmates of this ashram have been living here for decades. The coming in and going out of successive governments has made no difference to their lot. Formerly, there used to be a small school for the children of the inmates. But now that leprosy is curable, the school has been closed and these children are now sent to institutions in Delhi, Bahraich and Dehra Dun, run by Christian missionaries. Those who are left behind go to nearby schools.

Mr Ram Samajh Pandey, who has been the secretary of the ashram since 1984, says, “The NGOs and the government should open schools for our children. Schools started by various religious organisations give education up to the matriculation level. These schools do not impart any technical training to enable them to get jobs. When they fall ill, they are sent back to the ashram. Institutions run by Christian missionaries impart technical training to bright students and also help them get jobs,” he said.

He said they had a democratic set-up in the ashram. Every year, elections are held for the posts of president, secretary and treasurer. All festivals are celebrated with equal zeal.

There is a general feeling that serving these people is a pious act. People come with gifts of fruit, clothes, food etc, for the inmates. Most of the time these gifts are not sufficient for all the inmates. The names of those who get the gifts are noted down. When the next person comes with gifts, the others are called in. Thus everyone gets the gifts by turn.

The ashram is run on donations and charity. Persons with disease-eaten fingers cook their meals. Some of the women inmates say that when they get cooked food, they feel relieved.

Mr Ram Samajh Pandey said that at a Sangat Darshan, they made a representation to the Chief Minister that they should be exempted from paying water and sewerage bills. The matter is pending with the Municipal Corporation. They have been exempted from paying the electricity bill. Mr Badal had ordered that their houses be repaired and the road to the colony be metalled.

A long time ago, a three-wheeler was donated to the ashram by the district administration and the Rotary Club used to send a doctor, but the practice had been discontinued. 



A sangat darshan sans the name...
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
What is in a name? A lot, at least for the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu who presided over the sangat darshan programme of the Ludhiana Rural Assembly segment in the presence of the Assembly Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, the Technical Education Minister, Mr Jagdish Garcha and the Shiromani Akali Dal — Badal in charge of the segment, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon.

Mr Sandhu distributed cheques worth about Rs three crore at the programme that had all the elements of the special sangat darshan programmes otherwise presided over by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal himself, before he suffered a hip fracture. The cheques were distributed for various developmental projects in the Assembly segment. However, Mr Sandhu insisted that the programme must not be called sangat darshan as only the Chief Minister presides over such programmes. He said, he had only distributed cheques for various developmental projects in the presence of Mr Atwal, Mr Garcha and Mr Dhillon.

Ludhiana Rural is one of the largest assembly segments in the state with about 4 lakh voters listed on the electoral rolls. While cheques to the tune of Rs 2.9 crore were distributed today, Rs 20 lakh had already been sanctioned to the gram panchayat Alamgir, which also falls in the same assembly segment. However, the amount appeared to be small given the population and the area falling in the assembly segment.

There was an unusual rush of people at the programme. A large number of people from all villages led by their sarpanches had come to Jiffco Resorts at Sahnewal to try to get grants at the programme. There some disappointed faces also, who could not get anything except an assurance. A group of Muslims from Alamgir wanted that the DC issue orders of the spot for providing a road that would lead to the village graveyard. They claimed that they had been asking for the same for the past over 30 years, but the government had not provided the way for the grave yard. As many as 33 wards of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation also fall in this assembly segment besides, 62 villages. While Rs 1.75 crore was distributed among the 62 panchayats, Rs 1.15 crore was distributed in various wards. Rs 15 lakhs was also provided to the Notified Area Committee of Sahnewal for developmental works.

Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, who is tipped to be the SAD-B candidate from this Assembly segment, later told the reporters that it was ensured that each and every complaint would be studied by the Deputy Commissioner himself. He said, the programme was organised to give boost to varius developmental works in the assembly segment.

While a number of people had come here to redress their grievances, most of them had come in support of Mr Dhillon, demanding a ticket for him from the Ludhiana Rural segment, which is currently being represented by the Panthic Morhca MLA, Mr Hira Singh Ghabria. Mr Ghabria had won as an Akali candidate and later switched his loyalties to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra at the time of the Akali split. 



Boy’s murder: 30 rounded up
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
The police has failed to make any headway in the murder of an 11-year-old boy, even it has launched a massive manhunt for the accused, suspected to be some ‘tantrik’.

Nearly 30 suspected ‘tantriks’ have been rounded up by the police and a number of police teams have been formed. Senior police authorities are personally interrogating suspects, but no conclusive evidence against anyone have been established so far. Raids were conducted in slums and areas close to the Tajpur road and the Samrala chowk last evening as well as this morning to round up the suspects. However, some of them were released in the evening.



SAD-BJP govt accused of corruption, nepotism
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
The Sarb Hind Shiromani Youth Akali Dal (SHSYAD) has charged the SAD-BJP government with complete failure to get pending demands of Punjab settled during a period of almost five years, even though the ruling SAD remained a constituent of the NDA combine in the Centre.

Addressing a meeting of party workers, organised to finalise the programme of a rally here on December 9, its secretary-general, Mr Sukhwinderpal Singh Garcha, further remarked that the present government would be known as the most corrupt government in the history of Punjab. Lashing the ruling combine and in particular the Chief Minister, he further said genuine development works were given a go by in favour of sangat darshan programmes, which were nothing but stage-managed shows to shower favours upon the favourites of the party functionaries. The gross misuse of funds by the government had emptied the coffers, the industrial economy had become sick and there were no funds available for infrastructure development.

Mr Garcha also made attacks on the Congress, holding them responsible for causing immense damage to Punjab and Punjabis.

The youth Akali leader gave a call to the people of Punjab to defeat the SAD-BJP and the Congress candidates and give their mandate in favour of the Panthic Morcha, which, he claimed would provide a clean and efficient government and safeguard the interests of the common people.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sohan Singh Goga, its district president, said the government had put all burning demands of Punjab on the back burner in its blind lust for political power.

A former activist of the Youth Congress, Mr Kishore Kumar, announced during the meeting that he had quit the YC along with a large number of his supporters to join the SHSYAD. Both Mr Garcha and Mr Goga extended a welcome to the new entrants and assured them that they would be given due status in the organisation.



Tohra joins issue with Vedanti
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president, All India Shiromani Akali Dal and former SGPC chief, has joined issue with Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti and maintained that only the Akal Takht Jathedar was competent to issue a “hukamnama”. There was no need to associate the other four High Priests and he could seek their opinion only.

Commenting on the statement of the Akal Takht Jathedar that the “hukamnama” issued on December 31, 1998 by Bhai Ranjit Singh for maintaining unity in the Akali Dal was not a “hukamnama” but an appeal. Mr Tohra said the “hukamnama” was always issued by the Akal Takht Jathedar on the letter- head of Akal Takht with the stamp of the Jathedar.

Mr Tohra said the “hukamnama” issued by Giani Sadhu Singh Bhaura directing Sikhs to snap all links with the Nirankaris and boycott them was also in order and proper.

Tracing the history of the issue of the “hukamnama” from Akal Takht, Mr Tohra said before Partition a round table conference was held with the British rulers. Members of the Congress and Muslim League and Sikhs were invited to the conference. The Congress had boycotted the RTC and Sikhs were also asked to boycott the same. But Sardar Bahadur Buta Singh announced that he would meet the British representatives. He was warned by Akal Takht against meeting them and he appeared before Akal Takht and accepted the punishment of Rs 1,100 of presenting ‘prashad’ at the Harmandar Sahib.

Similarly, he said, Mr Jeewan Singh Umranangal had complained against Master Tara Singh to Akal Takht that he had broken his oath and he should thus be punished. The Akali Dal working committee had taken a stand that Master Tara Singh had broken his fast under its directions. The Akal Takht Jathedar had punished both Master Tara Singh and Sant Fateh Singh. They were asked to clean shoes for seven days and the working committee was directed to sweep the “parikarma” of Harmandar Sahib.

Mr Tohra said it was only Prof Manjit Singh who as acting Jathedar of Akal Takht had started associating the other four High Priests while taking the decisions at Akal Takht.

He maintained that the Jathedars of the Akal Takht could seek the advice of the other priests and it was the Jathedar of Akal Takht who was supposed to implement the decisions taken by the five priests. There was no violation of “maryada” if the Jathedar of Akal Takht issues a “hukamnama” under seal and at the letterhead of Akal Takht.



Muslim community vows to support Pandey
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
The sitting Congress legislator from Ludhiana north assembly segment, Mr Rakesh Pandey, got a shot in the arm when a large gathering of Muslim Community at an ‘iftaar’ party in Chawni Mohalla here last evening, vowed to whole-heartedly support him in the coming assembly elections.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Mohammed Nadeem Ansari, chairman, district (urban) unit of the minority wing of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, who presided, expressed confidence that the electorate in Punjab would repose confidence in the Congress in the ensuing assembly elections and would rid the state from the ‘misrule’ of the SAD-BJP combine.

He recalled the significant contribution of the then Chief Minister, Mr Beant Singh in restoration of peace in this border state after turmoil which lasted for over a decade. “In the relentless war against terrorism, Mr Beant Singh sacrificed his life for the sake of unity and integrity of the country.” But during last more than four years, the SAD-BJP combine had been pursuing such policies that had led to stagnation in the economy and disenchantment among all sections of people, he observed.

Mr Pandey expressed his gratitude for being given the opportunity to join the community at such a solemn occasion. He said the holy month of Ramzan conveyed the message of love, peace and sacrifice to the entire world. Mr Pandey, who had successfully contested the assembly poll thrice in succession from Ludhiana north, assured that he would strive to serve the constituency and its electorate in a dedicated and earnest manner.

Prominent among those present at the occasion were Mr Mohammed Ansari, Mr Ashok Kundra, Mr Harpal Singh Jassal, Mr Janak Raj Sharma, Mr Ashwani Kumar Sarpal, Mr Vinod Kundra, Mr Mansoor Alam, Mr Zakir Hussain, Mr Mohammed Feroze Alam and Mr Asghar Ansari.

Addressing another meeting during a tour of Ludhiana rural assembly area, in Sherpur locality former minister Mr Malkiat Singh Beermi, termed the government decision on abolition of octroi as a political stunt.


Lottery addicts play losing game
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, December 5
Chowk Ghanta Ghar, the hub of the city’s lottery trade, is teeming with hectic activity from morning to dusk as seekers of easy fortunes throng the place. However, most of whom are broke by the end of the day. Business here is really brisk, to say the least.

Apart from the lottery sellers, there are those who make money by selling various charts of updated records of a number of lotteries. Lottery addicts buy these charts and pore over the same for hours together to ‘find out’ the next likely number of a particular lottery. Very engrossing indeed.

These “poor” fortune-seekers are not the only ones there as a handful of rich people also try their luck in lottery bazar. With all that money at their disposal these rich persons find the lottery business to be a lucrative one as they can easily afford to buy more than one or two numbers. In case they do not succeed with one particular lottery, they have the money required to have a go at the next one. So, while the big players have a chance of making good their losses, there is not much that small players can do. The day-dream that one day they would be rich enough to buy a car but ironically they only become poorer with each passing day.

So great is the demand for lottery tickets that the supply falls far short of the actual demand. To meet this requirement, a large number of people in the city are giving plain paper slips in lieu of the tickets. Among them are the lottery traders and other ‘khaiwaals’ who do not want to miss any opportunity of making a fast buck. A number of persons near Ghanta Ghar, engaged in trades other than the lottery, are into it.

In Vishwakarma Colony in the Focal Point Area, the mini lottery market is also quite popular with migrant labourers and other daily wagers who eke out a living by doing menial jobs. They come with all their earnings and mostly go away a disappointed lot.

Another favourite lottery market of the city is located at Cheema Chowk. Here too, it’s the same story. Those who cannot lay their hands on a particular number of a particular lottery can easily find a bookie who would issue a paper slip indicating the time of the lottery and the number of tickets for which it is valid.

Away from these scenes of ‘sarkari satta’, as the state lottery is referred to by and large, there is a group of men near the Daresi grounds who are discussing the day’s ‘news’ and making their own guesses about the next day’s ‘news”, i. e. the number to be announced somewhere near Delhi which is circulated over most parts of the Northern India. The vital number, which is anywhere between 01 to 100, on the basis of which millions of rupees change hands and fortunes are either made or marred.

Within the Daresi area alone, there are at least four ‘khaiwaals’ who are engaged in the ancient business of satta and ‘darra’. In fact, services of a ‘khaiwaal’ are available in every area of the city, be it the Industrial Area or the Civil Lines or any other locality within the old city. There is no dearth of these “khaiwaals”, most of whom are small time operators.

Investigations by this correspondent revealed that perhaps the biggest shark of the satta business in the city is a trader whose business is located at Cheema Chowk. He is said to be doing “satta” business worth crores a month because a large number of satta bookies pass on their collections to him as they cannot afford to pay the winners on their own. The man is said to have reached the top because he is quick to pay up the winners.

Though the police of various police stations knows about the “khaiwaals” working in their areas, they think it better to arrive at a “settlement” with the party than trying to book him under the law. A couple of months ago, an inspector, who has since been transferred to a desk job, had picked up some “khaiwaals” from a locality in old city area and asked for a “monthly” of Rs 15, 000. However, when they expressed their inability to pay such a hefty amount every month, they were booked under the Gambling Act.



Withdraw Electricity Bill 2001: PSEB engineers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
The PSEB Engineers Association has urged the Centre, the Punjab Government, as well as all MPs and political parties to consider serious negative repercussions of the proposed Electricity Bill 2001 and get it withdrawn from the agenda of Parliament. It further decided to undertake mass awakening programme and meet members of Parliament and state legislatures to mobilise opinion against the enactment.

This was stated by Mr M.S. Bajwa, president of the association, after a meeting held here today. It was held on the call of the National Coordination Committee of Engineers and Employees, endorsed by the All- Indian Power Engineers Federation. The meeting expressed concern that the Union Ministry of Power had not consulted eminent technocrats and power experts in making the draft of the Bill. Mr Bajwa apprised the members about the salient features and negative consequences of the proposed enactment.

Power engineers were of the opinion that this Act would open flood gates for the multinational companies and IPPs, which had only one aim to enter into this field for maximising their profit on the investment. It was strange that no limit or ceiling had been proposed on the percentage of profit to be reaped by private licensees. This situation will lead to increase in tariff for different sections of consumers, thereby retarding economic activity in industry and agriculture sector.

Mr Bajwa said the new legislation would promote mushrooming of licensees in transmission, generation and distribution areas. The proposed Bill mainly aimed at substituting state electricity boards with licensed companies in generation, transmission and distribution areas. However, various sections and classes in the Bill were ambiguous and vague and lacked clarity and depth. It proposed that any licensee company could generate or transmit or distribute electricity for a limited definite period and even during this period licence could be suspended and an administrator appointed. It was, therefore, ridiculous as to how a licensee company, having developed its system for generating or transmitting or distributing electricity, would quit the area if no suitable substitute licensee company came forward to purchase its system.

Further, it was also not spelled out clearly as to how hundreds of licensee companies would be regulated by the national load despatch, centre and regional load despatch centres. Similarly, there was no clear matrix of relationship as to how central transmission utility, state transmission utility, national load despatch centre, regional load despatch centers and state load despatch centers would function with a large number of licensee companies in each field. Thus new enactment might ruin the existing infrastructure of the power sector management in public sector, whereas it would not offer any alternative workable solution.

He said the Centre and the state governments had to realise that our country, with the present socio-economic parameters, could not afford this all important power sector to be transferred to the private sector under any pretext. Electric power, being not a luxury but a necessity, cannot be managed on the basis of competitive market forces, as economic imbalances in various regions, states, areas and sectors demanded differential power tariff structure.

The association lamented that role of the power sector had not been understood by the government properly and this sector was getting least support from the Centre and respective state governments. Despite the fact that the entire economic activity of industrial, agriculture and territory sectors depended upon the availability of electricity at affordable rates, the state government had been using electricity boards for furthering their populist schemes from time to time, matching with their political interests. There was hardly any state electricity board in the country which had received adequate attention and importance with suitable budgetary support from the state government.

Mr Bajwa maintained that if the government intended to provide cheap electricity to poor agricultural consumers and low income strata of large population, it had to be compensated either through budgetary support or through cross subsidisation from other sections of consumes such as industry. However, the idea of cross subsidisation had not found favour in industrial classes in any state and any move of cross subsidisation had been resisted by industrial lobby vehemently. On the contrary, the industry had been opposing even rational tariff structure, pushing the boards to the debt trap and financial bankruptcy.



Chrysanthemums capture visitors’ hearts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
The sheer beauty and variety of chrysanthemums flowers at the Chrysanthemum Show delighted countless visitors today. The show, organised by the Department of Floriculture and Landscape, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), was inaugurated yesterday.

While inaugurating the show, the Vice-Chancellor of PAU, Mr Kirpal Singh Aulakh said “flowers play a vital role in our lives as they spread God’s bounty around. Flowers help us to conserve environment”. His message to the farmers was to adopt floriculture in a big way to earn more money.

He advised the scientists to explore the possibilities of collaborating with other flower research centres in the country to find out how to promote the cultivation of flowers on a large scale in the state. Among the large varitey of chrysanthemums displayed at the show, the pride of place went to Punjab Gold variety developed by the Floriculture Department recently.

This variety is most suitable for 15cm pot culture. The beauty of this variety is that it changes’ its colour from crimson to gold and finally to yellow.

The commercial variety exhibited was Ratlam (creamish in colour) Selection , Baggi, and Birbal Sahani ( named after a popular Botanist of Lucknow). Button chrysanthemums in yellow and white hues too were appreciated by the visitors. The other varieties on display were Chadrama, Basanti, Nanako.

Dr J.S. Arora, ex Head of Department of Horticulture, advises that after the flowers fade away, the tops of the plants should be cut off. The plants should be separated at the end of February or in the first week of March. They should be kept in shade. In the last week of July or first week of August they should be re-potted and kept in sunshine. One can multiply one plant into many.



'Say no to Shahtoosh'
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
Opposing the wearing of Shahtoosh shawls, which are prepared from the wool of an endangered animal called 'Chiru', also known as the Tibetan Antelope, the Wildlife Trust of India has stated that those who manufactured such shawls misled people by saying that they collected the wool shed by the animal when it grazes amid bushes and rocks in hilly areas.

Mr Ashok Kumar, Senior Advisor and Trustee of Wildlife Trust of India, in an exclusive interview to Ludhiana Tribune, said today that there was no truth in such claims of the manufacturers of such shawls. He said that the wool was collected after killing the animal and because of this reason, the 'chiru' species had become endangered.

Mr Ashok Kumar and Ms Urvashi Dogra, Manager-Communications, Wildlife Trust of India were in the city to conduct a seminar at Lakshmi Ladies Club here today. "Our aim is to make people aware enough to say 'No to Shahtoosh", said Mr Ashok.

"This is the first seminar in Punjab by the organisation. Women in Ludhiana are specially crazy for Shahtoosh shawls. But it is sad to know that the number of this endangered species, which is found only in Tibet is only approximately 75,000. Around 10,000 to 15,000 chirus are killed every year for making shahtoosh shawls. The chiru wool is smuggled to India mainly through the Nepal border, from where it is carried to Srinagar", said Mr Ashok.

Ms Urvashi said,"The hair and/or wool of every species of animal is structurally different from that of another species. By microscopic examination, a pattern can be seen on the surface of the hair and also in the core. These are called cuticular and modular structures. Hair samples taken from Shahtoosh shawls, when tested under the microscope, revealed that they had patterns which were found only in the hair of the Tibetan Antelope or Chiru".

Mr Ashok said that these Tibetan Antelopes live on the Tibetan plateau and the wool protects them from the extreme temperatures. If this protective coat is removed, the animal can not survive. There is ample evidence to show that Tibetan antelopes are killed in large numbers. Samples of wool taken from Shahtoosh shawls have pointed ends called the apical points which show that the wool was never sheared, maintained Mr Ashok.

He also said that Ludhiana women had a great passion for shahtoosh shawls. "For this they could pay any price, but the reality is that now the original toosh was hardly available and women were getting the mixed stuff for an exhorbitant price", he added.

Mr Ashok also warned that anyone owning these shawls in homes should have them declared it to the government and obtain an ownership certificate within 30 days of promulgation of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

It may be mentioned that the organisation had also filed a contempt of court petition in the High Court of J&K, against the J&K government for non-implementation of a ban on Shahtoosh shawls by the Chief Minister, Mr Farooq Abdullah.



Panthic Morcha gearing up for Dec 9 rally
Tribune news Service

Ludhiana, December 5
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Panthic Morcha) is gearing up for a massive show of strength at a rally being organised at New Sabzi Mandi here on December 9. Senior Panthic Morcha leader and former minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal claimed here today that the rally would mark the beginning of the electoral campaign of the party and will give a clarion call to the people of the state to remove the Akali-BJP government for its various ‘acts of omission and commission’. The Panthic Morcha leader expects “at least one lakh people to attend the rally, which will sound the death-knell for the corrupt Akali-BJP government”.

The senior morcha leader disclosed that the rally will mainly focus on the appointment of Mr K.S. Badungar as the SGPC president, despite his alleged relationship with the controversial Baba Bhaniara, the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and the rising corruption and unemployment in the state.

He observed that now was the time for the people of the state to wake up and see the writing on the wall.

“If the Badal government is not removed, it will spell disaster for the Panth in particular and the state in general”, the morcha leader said.

Ruling out any scope of any rapprochement with the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the morcha leader claimed that the December 9 rally will clear all the doubts and apprehensions that may be prevailing somewhere about the morcha strength.

“The rally would be a historical one as it will give a new direction to the Panthic politics”, the leader announced, while pointing out that the very presence of a large number of people, who are expected to attend the rally will reflect the mood of people, who are already disillusioned with the current dispensation in the state and want a change.

Mr Grewal claimed that this was a battle between the followers of Guru Nanak and their opponents. “It is now for the people to decide as with whom they will side”, the former minister observed. “We will provide them a reliable and viable platform that would be committed to Panthic principles and democratic norms”, he claimed, while disclosing that all the morcha leaders, legislators and the members of the SGPC have fanned out across the state to mobilise support for the rally.



First BSNL telephone directory released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
Mr S.R. Srivastava, General Manager, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) Ludhiana, released the new telephone directory of the district at his office today. The supplementary directory will be released in May-June, 2002.

While talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Srivastava said that under the special scheme, the department was offering the registration of a new telephone connection for Rs 840 in various localities of different exchanges of city. The scheme would cover a number of localities of Bharat Nagar Exchange, Mata Rani Exchange, Dholewal Exchange, RBN Exchange, SBS Nagar Exchange and Jugiana Exchange.

The telephones-on-demand scheme would be helpful as there would be no additional deposit or security deposit.

The GM said that certain conditions would be applicable for the applicants. "These new connections will not have the STD/ISD facility. Defaulters will not be entertained under this scheme. Advance rent for one year will be charged in the first bill”, added Mr Srivastava.

In addition to this, Mr Srivastava said that certain areas at Tajpur Road, near Central Jail, Daulat Colony, New Madhopuri and Guru Arjun Dev Nagar had made feasible and new telephones would be installed there. The capacity of Jagraon Telephone Exchange had been increased from 7,800 to 8,800 lines. From April onwards, the exchange capacity for 10,196 lines was added by the department, said the GM. 13054 new telephone connections had also been provided in the district.

Mr Srivastava, however regretted that for some reasons, the Wireless Loop facility (WiLL) which could not be completed earlier would now be completed by the end of the present month. The Khanna exchange, with 6,000 lines facility, would be ready within this month, he added.



DCC (U) to hold rally on December 8
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
In pursuance to the decision of the Congress high command to hold assembly segment-wise rallies to prepare the ground for the ensuing elections, the District Congress Committee (Urban) today decided to hold the first such rally in Basti Jodhewal, falling in the Ludhiana North Assembly constituency in the city on December 8.

Mr Surinder Dawar, president, DCC (U), who presided over a party workers’ meeting in Congress Bhavan here, urged the rank and file to mobilise public opinion and propagate the programmes and policies of the Congress among all sections of people. He observed that the electorate in the whole state, feeling betrayed and discriminated against by the ruling SAD-BJP combine, were just waiting for an opportunity to throw the government out and vote the Congress back to power.

According to the DCC chief, the rally would be attended among others by AICC treasurer Moti Lal Vora, PPCC president Capt Amarinder Singh and Leader of CLP Choudhry Jagjit Singh, besides many other senior leaders.

Prominent among those present at the meeting were Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, MP, group leader of Congress councillors, Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia, a former Punjab minister, Mr Harnam Das Johar, Mr Varinder Gandhi, Mr Jiwan Dhawan and a large number of party councillors.



Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 5
Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, president of the District Congress Committee, Ludhiana (rural), has appointed Mr Bhupinder Singh Dhillon as general secretary of the DCC, Ludhiana (Rural), on the recommendation of Capt Amarinder Singh, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.



One dies in accident 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case under Sections 279,304-B and 427 of the IPC against an unknown driver of Maruti Zen car ( PB 61-G 6410) who hit a cyclist near Malhar Cinema yesterday and fled the spot. The victim later succumbed to his injuries at the DMC Hospital.

According to the FIR lodged by Mr Baldev Singh, son of Mr Balwant Singh, resident of Maharaj Nagar near the PAU, he was going on a cycle with Darshan Singh,a relative, when the vehicle hit the cycle and sped away. He escaped unharmed while Darshan Singh, who was seriously injured in the accident, succumbed to his injuries. An investigation is on.

House usurped

The division number four police has registered a case under Sections 448,380,341 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Gurdial Singh Thapar, an NRI living in US, against Jagdish Mehta, son of Mr Piara Lal, resident of Thapran mohalla, Ludhiana. The NRI complained that in his absence, the accused forced open the lock of his house in Thapran mohalla and took illegal possession of the house. The accused also stole his household goods and threatened him. No arrest has been made so far.

Two cases of fraud

On the complaint of Mr Rakesh Khanna, son of Mr Satparkash Khanna, resident of Sham Singh road, the division number five police has registered a case under Sections 420,463,464,471 and 120-B of the IPC against his brother Suresh Khanna, resident of Urban Estate, Dugri Road, for allegedly forging the signatures of the complainant and getting two of his telephones transferred to his own place. No arrest has been made so far.

Another case of fraud was registered at the same police station yesterday under Sections 420,467,468,472 and 120-B of the IPC. Mr Balwinder Singh, son of Mr Ram Singh, resident of Urban Estate, Dugri Road, complained to the police that Ram Kaur, wife of Mr Bhagat Singh, resident of Mohali; Balwant Singh, son of Mr Kartar Singh, resident of Ludhiana; Amarjit Singh, son of Mr Kartar Singh, resident of Model House, Ludhiana, forged documents of his Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar plots in their names while he had made full payment for the plots. No arrest has been made so far.

Liquor seized

The Model Town police arrested Dinesh, resident of Verma village in UP, now residing at Dashmesh Nagar, yesterday and recovered 12 bottles of illicit liquor from his possession. He has been booked under Section 61 of the Excise Act.

The Sarabha Nagar police also seized 20 bottles of illicit liquor from Ranjit Singh, resident of Gobind Singh Nagar, Shimla Puri, yesterday from near the Lodhi Club and booked him under Section 61 of the Excise Act.

One booked:
Sudhar police has registered a case under Section 307 of the IPC and 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act against Jaswinder Singh alias Rinku of Shehzad village, on the statement of Mr Rajinder Singh of the same village. According to the complainant, he was fired at by the accused due to old family rivalry. He alleged that he was returning to his house around 8 p.m. when the accused, standing on the roof of his house, fired a shot at him from his rifle with the intention to kill him. However, as he missed him Rinku fired another shot. But by then, the complainant had entered his house.

Condemned: The Punjab Lambardar Union, in its meeting held under the presidentship of Mr Pritam Singh Hans, condemned the state government for large-scale corruption prevailing in its departments. The union resented the attitude of the government towards its long-pending demands, and threatened that it would not support the SAD-BJP candidates during the ensuing elections if its demands were not met with immediately.



Cop killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 5
Mr Satnam Singh of Sohian village, a Head Constable, was killed and his wife, Jaswinder Kaur, injured when the scooter they were riding was hit by a Ludhiana-bound car which was trying to overtake another four-wheeler, near Chowkiman. The couple was coming from Ludhiana to attend bhog A case has been registered under Sections 304 A, 279, 338 and 427 of the IPC at the local police station. Gurjit Singh, driver of the car, fled the scene.



Electroplaters seek subsidised land 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
The Ludhiana Electroplaters Association has urged the state government to instruct the Punjab Small Industries and Exports Corporation ( PSIEC ) to provide the land, which it recently recovered through court, at the pre -fixed price.

It has claimed that the land was kept for the rehabilitation of the polluting industries located in the residential areas.

Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Ludhiana Electroplaters Association strongly condemned the corporation’s decision to denotify the 70 acres in Phase-VIII.

He alleged the corporation had handed over about 100 acres, which was either encroached upon or under litigation, to certain influential persons of Mundian Kalan village at a much lower rate than the market rate.

He claimed that the corporation had sold the land at a rate of Rs 3 lakh per acre, the land price in 1993-94, at simple rate of interest. On the other hand, the undeveloped land was allotted to big industrial houses at a rate of Rs 6. 30 lakh per acre.

The association alleged that due to the negligence of the PSIEC, the number of applicants who had applied in response to the advertisement of the corporation in 1993 and 1994, had been deprived of the allotment.

It is learnt that about 110 acres of about 350 acres, proposed to be developed as an industrial area, was encroached upon.

Subsequently, at the time of the allotment of plots in 1996, the size of plots was reduced.

Mr Joginder Kumar demanded 30 acres of land out of 110 acres (undeveloped area) in Phase -VIII be allotted to the association at a rate of Rs 126 per sq. yard at which it was allotted to six big industrial houses.

Referring to the directions of the Supreme Court, he said this land could be utilised to relocate the electroplating units from the residential areas to the industrial area. The undeveloped land could be developed under the IID scheme of Development Commissioner (SSI), New Delhi, for its members.

The leaders strongly demanded that an enquiry by the Central Vigilance Commission or the CBI might be conducted to expose the irregularities committed by some officials of the Corporation and to probe how the land was denotified, whereas it should have been allotted to the applicants, deprived of it in 1993-94. 


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