Saturday, December 8, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Families’ endless wait for missing children
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
The recent gory murder of a child, suspected to be a case of tantrik killing, has renewed the heartache of certain families belonging to Rajasthani community, whose children had been missing since earlier this year when there was a spurt in cases of child kidnapping and sodomy.

Life has become just an endless wait for the families, whose children are yet to be traced. Their condition has come to such a pass that whenever they read or hear a news about the arrest of a child-lifter gang in any part of the country, they rush there in hope of getting some news about their children. At other times, they make rounds of religious places hoping to get divine blessings.

While the police seems to have forgotten about the two children, the families keep on hoping against hope of finding their lost children. Even the announcement of a cash award by the not so well off families has failed to produce any result. With the recent incident of suspected tantrik killing, the families have now urged the police to investigate their children’s disappearance from this angle as well. Both the families are employed in the shoe-making business, the traditional means of livelihood for the Rajasthani community families living in the city.

Take the case of Gopal, an 11-year-old boy, who disappeared on February 22 from Prem Nagar, Islam Gunj. Like any other day, he had left home for his school, but never returned. The youngest of four brothers and a sister, Gopal was known to be an obedient child not likely to go anywhere without his parents’ knowledge.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Luna Ram, the eldest brother of Gopal said they had left no stone unturned in searching him. “We have travelled to Vaishno Devi and other religious places, to Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, in his search but all the visits have proved futile”.

With tears rolling down her cheeks, Ms S. Devi, the mother of the lost child, wondered where her child could be, “The police said they had informed police stations of other districts and states. We have splashed his photographs in the newspapers but still there is no trace of him”, she said empathising with the parents of 11-year-old Sone who was found murdered four days ago at an abandoned plot in the city.” Only families like us can understand their real pain as we are living with it each day”, she adds. The other brothers and sisters of the missing child said life had changed completely for them in the past few months. They used to laugh and play together while helping their parents in making shoes but ever since Gopal, the most jolly one, had gone away, laughter seems to have evaporated from their lives.

For the family of 8-year-old Laxman, who went missing in April, every day starts with a new hope of locating him somehow but ends with disappointment at sunset. The only brother of three sisters, Laxman was a student of Class III. Recalls Mool Chand “He had gone out in the evening to play out on the street but never returned . No one saw anyone taking away the boy or where he went as due to power failure, there was complete blackout in the colony”.

Mr Mohan Lal, Municipal Councillor of the area, who along with the other residents of the area participated in the search operation said the entire locality was scared as after the spurt in child sodomy and kidnapping incidents. He said the police had searched extensively for two months but then their interests fizzled out. This family too like the other one has visited the places where any child resembling Laxman was spotted.

Members of both the families accuse the police of loosing interest in the case. “Earlier some policeman came once or twice a month to inquire if there was any news about the children’s whereabouts or to inform about the progress in the case. The visits were mainly done in order to complete the paper formality”, the family members alleged.

Mr Mohan Lal also demanded proper power supply in the colony as most of the crime and the child kidnapping incidents took place during power failure during the evening hours.



Lost childhood in city of rich
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
Just a few steps away from the historic Clock Tower in the heart of the city known for its riches and rag pickers, Sunny Singh, a boy in his early teens, hawks battery cells and other gadgets of Chinese make. He was forced into this job as his father, a rickshaw puller is an alcoholic and is unable to bear the burden of his family. So, the entire burden is being shouldered by Sunny and his mother, a soap vendor.

‘‘ I was in the sixth class and doing well in school when all of a sudden I had to quit studies and shortly after that I found myself in Chaura Bazar with cells and other wares in both hands running from one person to an other and making desperate attempts to sell the goods to them’’, says Sunny. The look in his eyes suggests that he has gone back to the past, though momentarily.

‘‘For three months it was hard to forget my school and friends. But now I have adjusted to my new environment and rarely recall the school days. It is all over for me as far as studies are concerned’’, he says.

Whether he would spend entire life in the chowk? No, I would like to see myself going up on the ladder of life.

Sunny is not the only child in this city to have such a misfortune. There are thousands of such unfortunate boys who have to quit their studies half way to earn a livelihood, however meagre it may be. Parmod, a 10-year-old boy, landed here from Bihar leaving his mother and father behind. He was in class IV in a school in Bihar. ‘‘The teacher used to beat me quite often, So I left the school and reached here and started staying with my elder brother’’, he says. Similar is the story of Bipin , the only difference being that he has never been to school. Both work at a tea stall here.

In the morning, one finds the Bhadaur House market crammed with shoe-shine boys. Most of them never have been to any school. In fact, there was no opportunity for them to go to school. As they mostly come from local slums and for them the battle with poverty began even when they were in the womb. And because of the poverty, their first priority is not education but earning some money by the evening to fill their stomachs.

Nothing wrong as far as the working on tea stalls, hawking the goods and polishing of the shoes is concerned, though, there are laws against child labour. But it seems that such laws are meant only for the outside world to show that India also feels concerned about its poor children, millions of whom die before even entering adolescence because of malnutrition.

But the biggest question is about the effect of bad company on these impressionable children and the resultant vices they imbibe . Thus it is not surprising that most of these boys end up as criminals. They can be seen using all sorts of intoxicants, including liquor and also smoking frequently. They even resort to gambling after the day's hard labour.

Why has Ludhiana the highest rate of petty and even major crime? Law makers, those enforcing it and social scientists perhaps have not applied their minds to this question as yet. The root cause most likely appears to be its thousands of youth ,especially those belonging to the lower strata, who are roaming around without any direction and purpose and are easy prey for anti-social elements.

Of course, the Punjab Government has initiated an extensive survey to enlist the names of non-school going children between the age group of 6-14 years. But it would be a great challenge for those conducting the survey to enlist such youth as make the subject matter of this story. In fact, teachers doing official duty would not be able to perform the task.

In the light of such ground realities, will the education guarantee scheme, for which the Union Government has decided to provide Rs 136 crore in the next four months, till March end, end up as another failure? Earlier, though the Union Government spent hundred of crores through various state governments and non-government organisations on adult education but it remained just a paper exercise and also a source to mint money for officials and others involved in the exercise.

First of all, the government should realise that parents belonging to poor sections of society would not like to send their wards, who do odd jobs to earn money, to schools especially during the day time. Moreover, it would not be easy to persuade them to attend schools.

A serious effort would be required to motivate them to attend schools and to wean them away from vices like gambling etc. One alternative could be the opening of night schools.

The need of the hour is to ensure that such children do spend some hours in schools meant for them. And whatever methods and techniques are required to be adopted to ensure this, should be adopted and practiced by everyone who is involved in the process.

If these children are not taken care of right now, Ludhiana would soon turn into a big centre for underworld activities. Underworld dons are always on the look out for petty criminals and train them for big tasks. If the authorities concerned do not pay due attention to the problem and tackle it at this stage, Ludhiana would soon become an unsafe place to live in.



FMD spreading among PAU farm animals
Authorities busy in operation ‘cover-up’
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
The spreading of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) dairy farm is assuming serious proportions as the number of animals suffering from the disease has gone up to 35. Interestingly, the PAU authorities were today seen busy more in an operation ‘cover-up’ to stop the supply of news and identifying the sources of the news report instead of concentrating on the urgent need to check the spreading of the disease.

While the officials were not willing to give any information about the control measures being taken by the university to check the disease, panic that had gripped experts as well as attendants of the farm, the authorities were said to have launched a campaign to identify the person who had leaked the news of the spread of FMD to the press.

Many PAU employees on the condition of anonymity confided in Ludhiana Tribune that the authorities were trying their best to single out the person who had given the news to the press.

Dr D.R. Sharma, Head, Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Science, who has been assigned by the university to provide treatment to the sick animals, said that he was not the authorised person to give any details about the disease. He directed The Tribune to talk to Dr S.S. Sodhi, ADR (veterinary).

Dr Sodhi, when contacted, also said that he was not authorised to speak to the press. He said the university had specially assigned Dr D.R. Sharma to speak to the press about the control measures being taken to check the disease. He said that the media was blowing up the matter unnecessarily and there was no need of the panic as the disease never killed any animal.

He said that he did not want to divulge any details about the control measures to the media as he said these involved the technicalities which mediapersons would not understand. He said that even after vaccination the disease could spread. He said: “Even in U.K. last year the cases of FMD were reported.” Although it is a wide reported fact that as per the U.K. policy, the animals are not vaccinated but are slaughtered if they show symptoms of FMD.

Meanwhile, the experts on the condition of anonymity, said that the only measure that can be taken to check the further spread of the disease was to isolate the infected animals, check the entry of human beings to the isolated animals and administer antibiotics to the diseased animals to check the secondary infections.

Meanwhile, PAU has stopped the entry of human beings near the dairy farms, although a gate of the university which opens in Mandeep Nagar is being used by the trespassers. Some experts are even linking the use of passage by tresspassers with the disease as some days ago FMD was reported from Haibowal area which is located right near this gate.



Marriage palace owners remove outer wall
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
Owners of the White Rock marriage palace today removed the outer wall following directions from the district administration. They were reportedly asked to remove the wall that had been erected after the demolition of the palace following High Court orders.

Yesterday, the owner of the marriage palace, Mr Shammi Kapoor had complained to the police that some army men had detained five of their workers who were cleaning the lawns. Mr Kapoor reportedly developed chest pain and was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Hero DMC Heart Centre.

None of the owners could be contacted today for their comments. The issue had hogged headlines for about a month sometime ago when four huge marriage palaces were razed to the ground on court orders. 



Two injured in roadside brawl
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
Two persons suffered bullet injuries in a brawl that took place at a roadside dhaba on Gill road near canal today morning. The brawl took place among three persons, two of them Nihangs.

The injured have been identified as Jaspal Singh and Tarsem Lal, an ex-servicemen. The accused now in police custody has been identified as Gurpratap Singh.

According to the police and the eye-witnesses, the accused Gurpratap, a Nihang, was taking tea in the dhaba, when Jaspal Singh, along with his friend Tarsem Lal came to the shop and began quarrelling with him. They accused Gurpratap of spreading rumours about Jaspal Singh.

The argument led to fisticuffs at which Gurpratap took out his .32 revolver and shot at both the attackers. The shots hit both in the stomach. The accused was overpowered by the crowd that had gathered there and handed over to the police. The injured have been rushed to the Civil Hospital where Jaspal Singh was said to be in a serious condition.



Irregularities in sewer connections?
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, December 7
Irregularities have been alleged in the sanction and issuance of sewer connection by the local Municipal Council.

According to sources, there are around 3,000 such connections in the town, out of which more than 1,000 have reportedly been given without any sanction. While those having the illegal connections are not being billed, those seeking new ones are being harassed.

A resident, Paramjit Singh, who approached the council for a sewer connection for his house was told to contact a plumber appointed by the council. He allegedly demanded Rs 2,000 as “labour and file charges” but did not give the details. He claimed that he had to pay part of his earnings to certain officials. He refused to do the job when Paramjit Singh did not buy material from the shop recommended by him. Other plumbers also showed reluctance to do the job.

One of the councillors, on condition of anonymity, admitted that there were gross irregularities in the functioning of the Water Supply and Sewerage Department. Holding the officer in the charge of the department responsible for the irregularities, he disclosed that the official had been transferred from the Moga Municipal Council after a resolution about his misdeeds was passed by the council. Many complaints were pending against him here also, the councillor added. He alleged that there were many illegal connections, which were not on the council’s record. Maps were generally altered and plumbers took road-cutting measurements as per their convenience. Though they did not put their signature on the maps, the officials accepted them, thanks to the nexus between them and the plumbers. The councillor also cited many examples where substandard projects were cleared. One such example was the cement-concrete flooring in ward no 9, which had broken down within two months of laying.

When contacted, the sectional officer could not give any information about the number of connections. He refuted the allegation of any nexus with plumbers and said he was not responsible for the jobs done before he joined this council.

The Billing Department also declined to give any information but it was learnt that it had written to the Sewerage Board, Malerkotla, regarding the non-submission of file containing the number of connections issued by it. The board office, when contacted, maintained that no paper work was pending regarding the connections issued by it.

Mr Kishori Lal Badhan, president, Municipal Council said he would constitute a committee comprising eminent citizens to investigate the matter. He added that stern action would be taken against the guilty.



Dr Ambedkar’s anniversary observed as ‘dalit chetna diwas’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 7
Rich tributes were paid to the Father of the Indian Constitution, Dr B.R. Ambedkar on his death anniversary at the several prayers meetings organised in the city yesterday. The Block Congress Committee observed the anniversary as ‘Dalit Chetna Diwas’.

In a function held in the office of the District Valmiki Sabha, Dr D.P. Khosla, vice-president, Bahujan Samaj Party, expressed the indebtedness of the dalit community towards Dr Ambedkar, who had worked relentlessly for the welfare of the weaker and neglected sections of society. “It is only due to the special status provided to them that today members of dalit community are occupying some of the highest posts in the country.”

He said the need of the hour for the dalit community, was to stand united at a common platform and to follow in the footsteps of ‘Baba Saheb’ in order to gain political power. It would not only be a real tribute to him, but in a way it would be the fulfillment of his cherished dream of seeing dalits in seats of power. Referring to the efforts made by BSP supremo Mr Kanshi Ram towards this direction, Dr Khosla remarked that the task left unfulfilled by Dr Ambedkar, was taken upon himself by the BSP president, who had been working for the empowerment of dalits.

Mr Ram Parkash Gill, chairman of the sabha, along with Mr Kishan Lal Rahela, Mr Nek Kumar Gharu, Mr Walaiti Ram Moong, Mr Rakesh Ghai, Mr Naresh Manchanda, Mr Naresh Thapar, Mr Sanjiv Neeta, Mr Raj Kumar Nahar, Mr Bhag Ram Sidhu, Mr Manjit Khosla, Mr Deepak Sahota, Mr Vijay Manchanda, Mr Deepak Charan, Mr Joginder Kumar, Ms Pushpa Thapa, Ms Neeelam Kumari and Ms Tripta Jain paid obeisance of Dr Ambedkar.

The Block (No 1) Congress Committee observed the anniversary of Dr Ambedkar as dalit chetna diwas in a function, held at Dharamshala Shahi Mohalla here. Mr Chander Shekhar Sahota, president, BCC presided over the function, which was attended, among others by Mr Varinder Gandhi, General Secretary, DCC, Mr Parveen Grover, Mr Dina Nath Sidhu, Mr Jagdish Gill, Mr Bittu Chawla, Mr Joginder Joshila, Mr Dhani Ram Kataria, Mr Kuldip Sharma, Mr Baljit Singh Shunty, Mr Rajiv Pappu, Ms Sandhya James and Mr Som Dutt Sahota.

The speakers flayed the attempts by the BJP led NDA alliance in the centre to amend the constitution and perpetuate discrimination against the dalit community. Mr Sahota claimed that only the Congress party was committed to the political and social emancipation of dalits. He also cautioned against those opportunist political parties, which were seeking votes from members of dalit community in the name of Dr Ambedkar.

In another function, organised by the SC/ST Cell of Punjab Youth Congress at Railway Mandi here, Mr Jasbir Johny, Convener, SC/ST Cell of PYC, Mr Ajbed Kumar Nahar, General Secretary, SC/ST Cell of PYC, Mr V.P. Chanda, president, SC/ST Cell of DYC (Rural), Mr Kuldip Singh, Mr O.P. Rahi, Mr Gyan Chand, Mr Maninder Singh, Mr Chanan Ram, Mr Dina Nath Sidhu, Mr D.P. Singh, Mr Chander Shekhar Sahota, Mr Randhir Nikka and Mr Inderjit, among others, paid rich tributes to Baba Saheb.



Dec 1 sounded death-knell of dhabas
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 7
December 1 sounded a death knell for the dhaba business as octroi was abolished that day. One man’s food is another’s poison. Traders seemed to have benefited  a lot from the abolition of toll tax. Moreover the truckers wasted a lot of time paying the tax as there were endless queues. The entire system raised a lot of stink. The Akali Party had to grant this relief to the traders as it was a long-standing promise to them.

It is too early to asses the benefits and losses due to abolition of the toll tax, but what is evident is that the dhaba business has almost come to a stand still. Amarjeet, who owns a dhaba near the Octroi Post of Chandigarh was in despair. He said,” As you can see all my workers are standing idle. Earlier it was mandatory for all trucks to stop for Octroi, and we did roaring business. We served food day and night to hungry truckers. We were hardly ever free. We used to make larger profit. But now the scene is totally reversed. Since now stopping for truckers is not compulsory, very few of them stop. We were without work for the larger part of the day. What to talk of profits, we are incurring losses everyday?

Another dhaba-owner said we are wondering what to do now. We can bear the losses only for a few days. But the way things are going, we think we will have to close the dhaba and start a new business. Everyone knows that in the time of recession, how difficult it is to switch over to a new business. We are at our wit’s end and are looking for an alternative solution but none seems to be in view.

The Octroi post on Ferozepure Road has number of dhabas. The hustle and bustle associated with dhabas was missing. Since the truckers had to stop at the post they used to partake their meals at the dhabas. Moreover, the dhabas serve fresh and to the taste of the truckers, the dhabas, did brisk business. Different truck drivers patronized different dhabas, as the dhaba owners gave discount to their regular clients.Charan Singh, owner of a popular dhaba, was a picture of gloom. He said,” No doubt the traders and businessmen are happy, but the Punjab Government never ever thought about us. We have no dhaba union that could take up the matter with the government. What are we supposed to do now? Since the last week we have been idle and have been twiddling our thumbs. We do get a few truckers who liked our food, and we have some families on long journeys which stop to eat their meals, but that is surely not enough to meet our standing expenses. After all we have to pay the rent, pay the workers, and spend money on buying ingredients.”

Another dhaba-owner said, earlier we knew how much of ingredients to buy, but now we are not sure for we do not know how many people will stop by to eat and thus we suffer more losses as we do not serve stale food. So every day we are throwing the excess food as we have not been able to gauge how much quantity to cook”, he lamented.

It is all the politicians gimmick to earn votes without thinking of the small businessmen like us who earn daily and spend daily. Without work how will we maintain our expenses. As it is the government cannot provide employment to us. We are enterprising people and we had been earning on our own steam, thanks to the short sighted policies of the government, the Dhaba owners of Ludhiana will now have to suffer. They say. Will the government find an alternative solution of providing a source of earning? Most unlikely!



PNB distributes loans worth Rs 3.41 crore 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
In two separate functions, the Punjab National Bank has distributed Rs 3.41 crore under retail lending scheme.

The Salem Tabri and Karimpura chowk branches of PNB in association with Rajpura Road, Haibowal Kalan and Basti Jodhewal branches distributed these loans.

According to the press note of the bank, loans amounting to Rs 3.41 crore were distributed under various retail lending schemes, such as housing, conveyance, consumer durables, trading, personal pension and education loans which were distributed to the beneficiaries during this function.

Mr K.I. Singh, Senior Regional Manager, in his inaugural address, said, ‘‘The total deposits of the bank has reached Rs 1,350 crore with a loan portfolio of Rs 1,100 crore.

Out of these advances over Rs 450 crore have been given to the priority sector. The bank is emphasing on retail banking in addition to priority sector, by providing housing and consumer loans.’’

Mr S.C. Malhotra, Chief Manager, in his address, highlighted the deposit scheme of the bank. Mr L.C. Sarvagi narrated the salient features of the retail lending scheme of the bank.

Mr Malkiat Chand, Lala Veer Bhan, Mr Piara Singh, Mr Deep Birla, Mr Sobti Ji, Mr Jaswant Singh and other customers also spoke on the occasion.

They appreciated the customer service being rendered by the bank. Mr G.D. Rishi, Branch Manager, Salem Tabri and Mr V.K. Dogra, Branch Manager Rajpura Road thanked the customers and other participants for their presence and making the programme a success. 



RSS plans dharna on December 9
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
Adopting a strong posture on the issue of the sorry plight of the Bangladeshi Hindus, the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) today warned all political parties, including its ideological affiliate, the Bharitya Janata Party, to take serious note of the situation in Bangladesh. The RSS is staging a nationwide dharna on December 9 to press its demand to impress upon the government of India to take up the issue with the Bangladesh government. The RSS is also staging a dharna on December 9 to protest against the victimisation of Hindus in Bangladesh.

Addressing a press conference here today, senior RSS leaders, including the local sangchalak (chief), Chaudhary Satprakash, and Mr Phool Chand Jain, today said that the Hindus in Bangladesh were being victimised not only by the fundamentalist forces but also by the government over there. They wanted that the Government of India take up strong note of the situation so that life, honour and property of the Hindus is safeguarded there.

The RSS leaders wanted that the Government of India should allow free entry to the Bangladesh Hindus as they were being vitcimised there. He alleged, that “while the Muslim infiltrators were allowed to enter into the country, thanks to the vote bank politics of the Communist government in West Bengal, the Hindus were being denied entry”. He charged the West Bengal government with allowing the Bangladesh Muslims safe entry into the state for creating their own vote bank.

Chaudhary Satprakash and Mr Jain wanted that the Hindus in Bangladesh be given the same respect, honour and security as the Muslims are given in India. He pointed out, “Muslims are safer in India than even in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Moreover, they are accorded all the privileges like any other citizens... and we have had Muslim Presidents and also the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court”.

The RSS leaders announced that to protest the incidents of rape, murder, arson, looting and other type of victimisation, the RSS activists will stage a dharna on Sunday at the Clock Tower. 



Goldsmith turns to selling pakoras
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, December 7
Ludhianivis believe that variety is the spice of life. When it comes to eating out, they can pay any price to bite into a different delicacy. No matter in which corner of the congested old city do they find eatables to their taste. They do not mind walking through narrow streets of the city if they know that they can eat as many as 14 different types of pakoras.

Bhima Datta has been selling 14 types of pakoras in the Mali Ganj Street. One cannot think of any type of pakora which would not be available at Bhima’s shop. Bhima is probably the first, who has made available some special Bengali Pakoras in the city like aloo masala tikki and aloo masala filled green chilly. Besides this, one can have spicy samosas,cheese masala pakora, cutlets, palak pakora, masala onion, finger chips and cauliflower pakora and brinjal slice.

One does not have to spend a lot of money as pakoras here are very cheap. But one does have to have patience as the shop often remains over crowded.

When a goldsmith, Bhima Datta visited this city two years ago for exploring business opportunities, he observed that selling eatables could be a good business. He opened a Pakora Shop in the Mali Ganj Street and from day one, he had a considerable fan following. Now he needs no introduction as his pakoras have him a prominent man of the area.

When Bhima found the business profitable, he called his brother, Debu Datta to leave goldsmith’s job at Delhi and to assist him and he did, to their profit. Now Bhima is doing good business. He is quite satisfied with the response of his customers.

Bhima, who belongs to West Bengal, was doing a goldsmith’s job two years ago, in a jeweller shop at Karol Bagh, Delhi. After working for 12 years as a goldsmith, he found the job not very lucrative. Bhima, while talking to The Tribune, said, “The jewellery business is seasonal. A skilled worker could not depend entirely on this vocation, as for four months in a year, one has to sit idle. That is why I decided to do some other job. I had learnt to make different type pakoras in childhood as I was very fond of eating. Now in adversity, this hobby has paid me a lot. “



Gurmat smagam begins
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 7
A three-day annual gurmat smagam got underway at Gurdwara Nanaksar near Samrala chowk here today.

The smagam began with Sant Baba Jaswant Singh inaugurating 21 non-stop recitations of Guru Granth Sahib this morning amid showering of floral petals by the devout. Before the beginning of these recitations, a kirtan was performed by Bhai Shiv Charan Singh and Bhai Harjit Singh.

The purpose of the smagam is to inspire and motivate the devout to worship the Almighty and create a bond with the Guru. Devotees from abroad are also coming to attend the smagam, according to Mr Kirpal Singh. Devotees from England, Canada and Australia have already reached , he added.

Bhog of the akhand paath started today would be performed on December 9 at 10 a.m, after which a huge deewan would be held. From 6 pm on Sunday to 6 am on Monday, there would be number of deewans in which saints, kirtani jathas, and heads of various Sikh communities would participate.

Mr Kirpal Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that Amrit Sanchar would be held under the leadership of Panj Piaras at 1 pm tomorrow.



Donations sought for Flag Day Fund
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 7
Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner has made a fervent appeal to people to make generous donations towards the Flag Day fund.

He said Flag Day was an occasion to express our respect towards the armed forces for their dedicated services to the nation. These donations would help the widows of valiant soldiers, disabled army personnel and their dependents.

Mr M.S. Randhawa, Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare presented a badge of flag to the Deputy Commissioner.



First five star hotel in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
The Park Plaza has become the first five star hotel in the city today. According to a press note issued by the management, the hotel has got the classified five star status. For Indian food lovers, the Lodi Ruwayat would offer exclusive north Indian cuisine with panache in a royal ambience and live music. It has also opened at beauty saloon to cater to its clientage.

A special entertainment for children has been worked out and Christmas carols and Santa Clause from December 21 to 24.



Woman commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
A minor argument between a husband and his wife over who would do babysitting took a tragic turn when the woman committed suicide by hanging herself from the roof at Kot Mangal Singh in Shimla Puri yesterday.




SAMBHAV ‘SURCHAAP’: Punjabi Bhavan; 10 a.m. onwards.

ANNUAL FUNCTION: Nightingale Public School; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.



Booked for dowry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 7
The Model town police has registered a case under Sections 406, 498A, 420, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Sukhdeep Kaur, wife of Jagjit Singh, daughter of Mr Pritam Singh Rajpuri, resident of Dugri against Jagjit Singh, son of Kamaljit Singh, Gopal Singh, Devinder Kaur, wife of Karamjit Singh and Hari Chand, son of Karamjit Singh, all residents of Dakha village, Mandeep Kaur, wife of Ranjit Singh, resident of Rajjanan, Ludhiana. The complainant stated to the police that she was married to Jagjit Singh on February 22, 1999 but the accused demanded more dowry and harassed and threatened her for failing to fulfill their demands.

Booked for abusing

The division number five police has registered a case under Sections 354 and 294 of the IPC on the statement of Gian Singh, a resident of Railway Colony no. 11, Ludhiana, against Arun Kumar, son of Mr Subash, care of Shinde Da Dhaba, Ferozepore Road, Ludhiana. The accused is alleged to have abused a daughter of the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.

Beaten up

The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Rajvarinder Singh, son of Mr Sarabjit Singh, resident of J-Block, BRS Nagar, Ludhiana, Gautam, resident of the same block, Hardev Singh, resident of Ranjit Nagar, Deep Grewal and five to six other persons. The complainant stated to the police that the accused beat him up and injured him yesterday. No arrest has been made so far.



CM proposes, FM disposes?
No relief for cash strapped SSIs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 7
The small scale industrial associations in the state have alleged that the Finance Ministry of the state was not ready to implement the orders of the state chief minister, announced in a meeting to them in June 2001 here stating that the state government would release Rs 185 crore worth of capital subsidy, out of the about Rs 800 crore pending for the past many years.

They said thousands of tiny and small scale units, set up under the Punjab Industrial Policy, 1996, had already become sick or dead due to the non-release of this subsidy. The units had appealed to the government number of times to release the funds, but without any result.

In fact, under the Punjab Industrial Policy, announced in June 1996, the state government had promised to pay up to 30 per cent capital subsidy to the industrial units set up in the industrially backward regions and border areas and 20 per cent capital subsidy to the units set up in other industrial areas of the state. The maximum limit for the individual units was fixed at Rs 50 lakh for the first category and Rs 30 lakh for the second category.

Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Ludhiana Electroplaters Association, alleged, “Under the Industrial Policy, the government has promised subsidy to the units on bank interest rate, and capital investment in land, building and machinery up to Rs 50 lakh. But the government never made adequate provisions in the succeeding budgets. Consequently, the total amount payable to the industry has accumulated to nearly Rs 800 crore.”

In fact, hundreds of units had come up in the Industrial Area- A, B, focal points and the rural focal points in Ludhiana district. A number of hosiery, cycle parts and dyeing units, set up here, have already been closed or have become sick due to the non- payment of this subsidy amount by the government, said Mr Joginder Kumar.

Incidentally, the government had also announced sales tax exemptions to the industrial units set up after June 1996 for the next 10 years in A category and 7 years exemption for the B category units. Later on, as per the consensus of the finance ministers of the states reached last year, the state government had withdrawn sales tax exemptions for the new units to set up after April 20, 2000. But the units set up before that date continue to enjoy sales tax exemptions.

Enquires made with the Department of Industries revealed that they had submitted the case with the Finance Department, which has expressed its inability to release subsidy on account of lack of funds. One of the officials, on the condition of anonymity, said, “If the Finance Department is not ready to release funds, what can we do? Unfortunately the amount may not be released by the present government at all.”

The industrial associations have asked if the CM could distribute crores of rupees through sangat darshans, why were they made scapegoats. Funds should be immediately released otherwise the closure of units would result in unemployment of thousands of workers, which may prove too costly for the ruling alliance in the ensuing elections.

While criticising the state government for the delay in payments, Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Ludhiana Electroplaters Association (LEA), said, “industrialists have been waiting for the disbursement of incentives for the past many years. The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in a meeting held in May, 2000 at Ludhiana had assured to pay the subsidy during the financial year 2001-02, but nothing has been done till date.”


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