Monday, December 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



‘CIA’s yarn story fabricated’
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
The claims of the CIA-wing-II of the local police of busting an inter-state gang involved in theft of yarn from several industrial units has kicked off a row. A group of yarn traders armed with seemingly convincing documents accused the police of falsely implicating a yarn trader in the case. They alleged that the police had shown the trader’s own material as the stolen one and robbed him of jewellery and cash, besides showing only 6 quintals of yarn as recovered, whereas, “the papers showed that the impounded truck was carrying 13 quintals of yarn”.

The leader of the group, Mr Iqbal Mohammad, said here today that the group viewed it as an atrocity on the minority community and had taken up the matter with the Minorities Commission. A large number of group members were present in a district court where the petition was filed. Mr Iqbal said the traders would stage a demonstration before the offices of the Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police here tomorrow.

The CIA wing had claimed yesterday that the gang used to sell the stolen yarn in Uttar Pradesh. Officials of the wing claimed that they had arrested one of the gang members, confiscated a truck and seized 6 quintals of yarn.

The police sources, however, said the man had been falsely implicated as the CIA had been under pressure from the district police authorities to show performance. The wing was set up a month ago, but does not have a single achievement worth mentioning.

When contacted, Mr Iqbal Mohammad showed documents in support of the group’s claims. He showed receipts in the name of the accused and his company that proved that the “stolen” yarn actually belonged to the trader and he had been taking it out of the state legally.

Allegedly, while the papers showed the yarn in the truck to be 13 quintals, the police, in its FIR, had claimed that 6 quintals of yarn had been confiscated. The yarn is priced at Rs 40 to Rs 60 per kg. This means that 7 quintals of yarn worth about Rs 30,000 was missing. Mr Iqbal said, if the yarn was stolen, would a person take the risk of transporting it through a truck registered with a local truck union?

The district police authorities and the CIA officials concerned could not be contacted.



Selected JBT candidates in a fix
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, December 23
A number of candidates who have been selected as Junior and Basic Teachers are apprehending some fishy deal as they found their names missing from the final list.

Some of the candidates told The Tribune that when they reported at the Service and Training Centre at Bharat Nagar Chowk here in this morning, they found their name in the list. To their utter shock and disbelief they found that the last two pages from the serial number 129 onwards, which contained their names also, were removed by the officials in their presence.

Against the 400 vacant posts of teacher, 227 were appointed in the first phase and the remaining 173 posts were to be filled now by the Education Department. After proper shortlisting and selection, a list of 173 candidates was prepared and displayed on the notice board at the centre.

However, only 128 of the 173 candidates were given the appointment letters. The remaining candidates alleged that the officials at the centre tore up the list from the notice board, in their presence without assigning any reasons to them. Although after being selected, they were not told as to why they were not given the appointment letters.

The candidates disclosed that when they approached the officials concerned, they were told to contact the District Education officer (DEO). To their utter dismay the DEO, Ms Prakash Kaur, refused to entertain them and ‘dismissed them with disdain’.

“She did not let us enter into her office,” the candidates protested while pleading with the higher authorities to ensure that they were not being denied of their jobs that they had got after a lot of struggle and hard work. “Her indifference was such that she did not even care to look at us and instead continued with her paper work,” a candidate said.

The candidates, who were denied of their appointment letters, kept on waiting till late in the evening to know about their fate. However, none of the officials was prepared to talk to them and they had to return home dejected and disappointed.

When this reporter visited the centre in the afternoon, the remains of the torn list could be seen on the notice board. Four pages were displayed on the notice board with the last page mentioning a pointer for the fifth page. But there was no fifth or sixth page as they had already been torn out for the reasons best known to the authorities.

The DEO, Ms Parkash Kaur, refused to entertain any queries on the issue. In fact repeated pleas to the official fell on deaf ears as they did not let this reporter to go inside her office. Instead she shouted from inside that she did not need to talk to any one, not at least the Press. 



Scheme fails to attract investment 
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
The recent announcement of the Centre to increase investment limit from Rs 1 crore to Rs 5 crore for the small-scale sector has failed to promote investment in local knitwear units. However, the investment in Tirupur units, the traditional competitor of the Ludhiana industry, have increased.

The Ministry of Textiles has also set up a fund of Rs 2,500 crore under Technological Upgradation Fund (TUF) for the modernisation of the textile sector. However, only a few units have availed 5 per cent interest subsidy available under the scheme. Insiders said though quota regime was coming to end in 2004, however, the small-scale units were not coming forward to modernise the units. The increasing pressure from Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries in the domestic and international market has already affected the profit margins of the local units.

Enquires made with the Regional Textile Commissioner’s office in Amritsar revealed that only 29 knitting units from the city had applied so far under the TUF scheme seeking Rs 24.17 crore loans from banks. The SIDBI and IDBI have been made the nodal agencies to sanction the loan and subsidy amount. The applicants include Shivam Wools (Rs 30 lakh); VK Enterprises (Rs 9.51 lakh); Aradhana Fabrics (Rs 50 lakh); Arora Private Limited (Rs 80 lakh); NKH Garment Private Limited (Rs 85 lakh); and Balabh Yarns Private Limited (Rs 25.25 lakh). The banks are sanctioning the amount in phases for the modernisation of units. Officials said they had not received so far the information about the final investment made by the units.

Industrialists, however, lamented that lack of awareness among industrialists about the scheme, cumbersome procedures and the continuing worldwide recession had badly affected the investment in the units under the scheme. Mr Sunil Dutt, a manufacturer, said, “ The small manufacturers are not even aware about the increase in investment limit, what to talk of interest subsidy available under the scheme”.

Mr Sanjeev Gupta, president, Apparel Exporters Association of Ludhiana, admitted, “The scheme has failed to get desired response from the industrialists due to various reasons, including low demand in the domestic market and fall in orders from the USA and Europe after the September 11 attack. Only a few units have dared to expand their capacity in these circumstances”.

When asked about the steps taken by the units to cut cost of production, he said, “ The medium and large units are trying to cut cost of production by outsourcing their needs.”



Violence upsets children; now they want peaceful New Year
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 22
The events of the last 10 days, in the aftermath of the suicide attack on Parliament House, seem to have cast a deep shadow on the minds of the young ones, with most of them yearning for a peaceful new year. The young children, most of them school going, have been deeply perturbed over these developments.

Notwithstanding their age, the children are well aware about the Indo-Pak relations as well. Even those who are at the crucial stage of their career and preparing for various competitions are not untouched by the war cries that are being raised on both the sides. Besides, there appears to be a sense of fear among the children as they apprehend that anything can happen anywhere any time.

Sima Grewal, class XII student, is intensely involved in her studies as this is the decisive year of her life. She is simultaneously preparing herself for the MBBS entrance examination. She says: “The new year is going to be the most important and decisive year of my life and for others like me who are appearing for competition”.

She feels that the recent developments have an obvious impact on the mind of everyone including the younger generation.

Aashna Aggarwal, a student of class IX in Sacred Heart Convent School, wants that there should be no war at all in the new year. “I want a tension free, progressive and prosperous environment in the new year”, she wished. Ashna is fed up with the day to day violence which has almost become a routine now.

While some children cannot escape the influence of contemporary events, others want to talk of something else. “There is much more in this world than war and violence”, remarks Charandeep Singh, a plus two student. “Let us think about positive things. Let us think of peace and progress and social and economic wellbeing around the world and in our country”, he wishes, while urging his fellow youth to resolve for making the world a better place to live in, in the next year.

Rahul Chopra of tenth standard of Bharatiya Vidya Mandir wants a peaceful new year. He feels that India should take strong measures to strengthen the security system in the country. “As long as we are not strong, such problems like terrorist attacks and violence will always be there”, he observes, while adding that the government should also take some good measures to improve the lot of the deprived classes of society.

Surbhi, a class VIII student of the same school, feels that besides strengthening the security system the government should resolve that in the new year they will pay attention to social problems.



Mixed response to cancellation of train, bus
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
While the Union Minister of State for Railways, Mr Digvijay Singh, who was here to flag off a special train carrying about 1000 Jain pilgrims to different religious shrines across the country, justified the cancellation of the Samjhauta Express to Pakistan and the Lahore bus service, people in Ludhiana expressed mixed feelings on the decision.

Talking to reporters, Mr Singh pointed out, the Samjhauta Express had been started as a symbol of peace. So was the Lahore bus service between Delhi and Lahore. “But Pakistan has sabotaged peace by patronising and shielding those who have been resorting to terrorist activities on Indian soil, including the latest attack on the Parliament, so there was no point to continue with these symbols”, he observed.

Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member, Lala Lajpat Rai, endorsed the decision and said, India needed to take firm stand against terrorism much earlier. He asserted that India should have no diplomatic relations with Pakistan as it has always been creating trouble in one or the other part of the country. He lauded the efforts of the Government of India in putting forth a balanced response in the aftermath of December 13 suicide attacks on the Parliament House. “So recalling the High Commissioner and cancelling the Samjhauta Express and Lahore bus is the natural outcome”, he said. He advocated strong measures against Pakistan so that it desists from repeated misadventures.

However, the convener of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Panthic Morcha), Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, appealed for utmost restraint. He cautioned against any “hasty decision” which may have dangerous repercussions for the people of the country in general and the state in particular. He observed that the BJP-led government at the Centre may take some desperate step as it wanted to exploit the situation for political gains in Uttar Pradesh. Baba Bedi also condemned the USA for its ambiguous role in denouncing terrorism.



Shiv Sena workers hold rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
Activists of the Punjab unit of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackrey) took out a protest rally today demanding the withdrawal of cases against the police officials who were instrumental in eradicating terrorism during the days of militancy in Punjab.

The leader of Shiv Sena, Mr Rajeev Tandon, while addressing the rally alleged that some human rights organisations had got some false cases registered against these police officers allegedly in connivance with certain officials of Pakistan.

He said that around 1,600 officials of Batala, Tarn Taran, Majitha and Gurdaspur districts had been falsely implicated in such cases. While more than 60 to 70 cases were registered only 15 cases had come up in the court. The court has sentenced only 22 police personnel in eight different cases till date. 



City residents for action against Pakistan
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 23
There was a mixed reaction among the local residents to the steps taken by Union Government dealing with the problem of militancy being supported and funded by Pakistan. While some believed that recent steps were a mild reaction towards militancy, others believed that the worst fall out of these measures would be hampering normal ties between India and Pakistan. For majority of these people, Samjhauta Express and Lahore-Delhi bus service were the most affordable means of travelling to the other country and the withdrawal of these services, was naturally being resented by them.

A senior citizen, Mr G.R. Chopra, who advocated strong measures, said that if USA could come all the way to Afghanistan to punish the culprits of New York tragedy, then India also had the right to strike at very roots of these militants who tried to destroy Parliament House. He said that the steps taken by the government should be welcomed, but still the countrymen expected more bold and strict steps against country which wanted to prove its supremacy by means of violence.

A senior professional, felt other way around, he said that the age old social, economic and cultural ties had already suffered a lot under Musharraf regime and now with the Indian Government taking these steps, the industry in states along the border which thrived on imports and exports. However he also wanted strict action against Pakistan, but the measures to be taken by the government should not affect general public of the two nations, he asserted.

A businessman, Mr Kartar Singh Deb, was of the view that whatever the government did to curb the militancy in the country, but one thing must be kept in mind that the common man should not suffer due to any decision of the government against Pakistan. He said that calling back of the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan was an appropriate step to show our resentment to the world community, but termination of Delhi-Lahore bus service and Samjhauta Express was not a wise step.

A software engineer, Mr R.S. Bhogal, was of the view that these type of steps of the government would change the image of our nation from a 'soft state' to 'hard state' which was necessary at this point of time. But at the same time, he opined that the citizens of both the countries should not suffer in any case and the government should think once again on the decision of terminating the rail and bus services which was the only means of transport for general people of the two nations.

A professional, Mr Daljit Singh Devgan, said that these type of stringent steps were necessary at this moment to teach a lesson to a country which did not mind killing innocent living in the largest democracy of the world. 



Journalists boycott DGP’s function
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
The Punjab Journalists Association, the Ludhiana Crime Reporters Association and the Ludhiana Photographers Association today boycotted the visit of the DGP, Punjab, Mr Sarbjit Singh, to the city in connection with a function organised at Police Lines. The decision to boycott the function was taken at a meeting of the associations held here today. It was taken to express resentment prevailing among local journalists over the move of the district police authorities to invite selected journalists at the function.

The associations said the relationship between the media and the police had been dismal for the past few months. The associations have also cautioned a few journalists who were acting as the mouthpiece of the police. Interestingly, when the police got wind of the resentment they invited some journalists at the eleventh hour. The journalists did not accept the invitation as the function was planned since long and there was no sense in inviting them at a short notice.

The associations threatened to boycott all police functions in the future if the police attitude continued. They urged the DGP to intervene in the matter.



Young Voice
Tuition menace must be stopped

Amandeep Kaur Grewal
Amandeep Kaur Grewal

A gold medallist in M.Sc (industrial economics), this economics lecturer in Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, is perturbed about the tuition menace that has engulfed the education scenario in the state.

Amandeep Kaur Grewal has done her M.Sc thesis in “Pattern of energy consumption in Industries” and is concerned about the failure of successive governments in tapping non-conventional sources of energy. She has a different outlook from the other stream of teachers, for whom tuitions have become more important than teaching sincerely in the classrooms. She wishes to set an example for others by refusing to give private tuitions.

She feels that the tuition menace is the biggest problem confronting educationists and urges them to find ways to put an end to the commercialisation of education. She also advocates textbook learning since the modern generation relies more on guides and guess-papers.

Amandeep is also put off by the manner in which the government is handling the challenges put up by the opening of markets in the wake of the World Trade Organisation treaty. She feels that our country has the talent to compete with anyone, but due to the lack of infrastructure at the basic level the talent does not mushroom. She also wants the government to concentrate on infrastructural development in schools and colleges so that the youths are equipped with the latest in the technology world.



Anganwari workers hold rally
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, December 23
The Anganwari Mulazim Union of Punjab organised a protest rally at Kalsian village near here. Leaders of the Punjab State Subordinate Federation and the Lok Sangharsh Committee also addressed the rally.

Mr Tarsem Jodha, convener of the LSC and a former MLA, demanded action against Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, Social Security and Welfare Minister, for “humiliating women employees”. Ms Hargobind Kaur, state chief of the AMU, alleged that Mr Kanjhla had used abusive language against women.

She demanded that all those workers whose services had been terminated should be reinstated immediately and paid an honorarium with effect from May 1997. 


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