Friday, December 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Rs 25,000 snatched; 1 hurt in chase
Tribune News Service

Khanpur (Ludhiana), December 27
In yet another daring incident, two unidentified car-borne youths snatched a bag containing about Rs 25,000 from some workers of a petrol station situated on Ludhiana -Doraha road along side the Sidhwan Canal near this village, about 15 km from Ludhiana this morning. A red-alert was sounded in the police district after the incident. Interestingly, the police was already on maximum alert since yesterday after the robbery outside the LIC office.

A young son of the petrol station owner suffered multiple injuries when he met with an accident while chasing the robbers on his scooter. Showing exemplary courage, the youth even managed to climb on the car, in which the robbers were fleeing, but he fell down near the southern bypass. He is under treatment at Bagga Nursing Home in Dugri.

The petrol station is owned by a decorated ex-servicemen, Jit Singh, who was given the petrol station by the Ministry of Defence for his bravery in the Indo-Pak war in 1971 Bangladesh. The soldier was awarded Sena Medal and later praised by the Indian Army for his selfless service after retirement to the Army during the Operation Bluestar .

The incident took place at about 8 am today. Mr Rajbir Singh, elder son of the ex-servicemen, told a Ludhiana Tribune team that the area was engulfed in dense fog and two youths came to the petrol station in White Maruti (DL-8C-8660). While sitting in the car, the youths, both clean-shaven, directed a worker to fill petrol worth Rs 450. The worker had just finished the job when the youths snatched a bag, containing the cash, from another worker and sped away using a duplicate key. Kuldip Singh, another petrol station worker, who was entering the premises, tried to obstruct the car’s path and also pelted stones at the vehicle. But he only succeed in damaging a windowpane of the car.

Hearing the cries of the workers, Sukhbir Singh, younger son of the owner, who was in the office, came out and chased the robbers on his scooter. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune from the nursing home, Jit Singh said that his son, risking his life, almost managed to climb the car but fell down near the southern bypass. His scooter banged into a foundation stone on the road and was damaged. The youth’s jaws were broken and he suffered multiple fractures.

Police sources said Additional SHO Sadar Jagjit Singh Sidhu was investigating the case. Sources said the police suspected that the snatching could be the handiwork of a gang operating in the city. The police also suspected involvement of some students in the incident.



Security beefed up in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
In view of the recent incidents of robbery and snatching in the city and its periphery, the district police has directed the Station House Officers of police stations here to step up the surveillance at sensitive places. Managers of financial institutions, banks, insurance companies and railway-booking agencies have to inform the police about the movement of cash.

Unable to post security guards at each such point in the city, the police has also directed owners of business establishments to make their own security measures. The owners, however, have been assured of police assistance and constant vigil.

The police sources said, after yesterday’s incident of robbery outside the Sham Nagar branch of the LIC, security outside these places had been tightened. However, cocking a snook at the police, two youths snatched Rs 25,000 from petrol station workers in the periphery.

The police department has been organising meetings of the officials regularly for the past one month and setting up special checkpoints to control crime, but criminals seems to have been scoring over the police. A red alert was sounded in the city and its adjoining areas after yesterday’s incident and the police was present everywhere, still, criminals struck at the petrol pump.

Mr Pramod Ban, SP (city-II), said the police had taken adequate precautions in view of the situation and there was no need for the public to panic. He also said the culprits would soon be arrested.

Sources said the police had decided to provide security guards at sensitive places now after its previous plan of posting policemen in plain clothes at such places had failed. The police efficiency is being tested.



Marriage palace demolished
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 27
Officials of the building branch of the Municipal Corporation razed an industrial shed on Link Road near Shingar Cinema here today. The shed was being used as a marriage palace in violation of building bylaws.

A team of officials comprising the Assistant Town Planners of Zone C along with a police contingent descended on the spot at about 9 am and carried out the demolition. The operation lasted about two hours. According to the MC officials, the building owner had been issued a challan and several notices before the demolition.

The Senior Town Planner, Mr B.S. Brar, said the MC had imposed a heavy penalty for unauthorised conversion of the industrial shed into a marriage palace. The penalty was challenged by property owners, who had, later, obtained a stay order from the court. Following the vacation of the stay order in September, the structure was demolished.

Though there was no resistance to the MC action, a representative of the building owner said the demolition had been stayed by the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge on December 22. The MC officials, however, said nothing was on record.



Fog engulfs city, surrounding areas
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
Dense fog engulfed entire region throughout the day throwing normal life out of gear, leaving the visibility to a minimum. Traffic moved at a snail’s pace causing inconvenience to hundreds of commuters. Trains and buses were also delayed. Fortunately, no major accident took place on the highways.

About five persons were injured in different accidents. Three of these were injured in a jeep-truck collision near Sahnewal this morning.

While urban areas had their share of sun, rural areas were covered under thick fog. Vehicles were moving with their headlights or foglights on. Traffic was mainly affected on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road, the Ferozepore-Ludhiana road and the GT Road. Only minor accidents were reported from the region.

On the city’s periphery and rural areas the visibility was reduced to 2 or 3 metre only. People had the feeling of the chilly winter for the first time in the season as the temperatures dropped considerably. The fog was thickest in areas nearing the canal. The people preferred remaining indoors amidst the cosy environs. The city roads were not busy as usual.

Barring a couple of hours in the afternoon, the fog remained throughout the day. In some places, especially around Jagraon and Samrala, the sun remained elusive. Agriculture experts said the fog, though causing inconvenience to people, was very good for the crops. They, however, added that if it continued for long, it could have adverse affects.

Weather experts have forecasted more foggy days in future.

The fog failed to dampen the spirits of the villagers putting up langars on roadsides in view of the martyrdom day of two sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh.



Phone directory released
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
The Department of Telecommunications has released the \new telephone directory. Official sources informed that all the subscribers to the BSNL could get copies of the new directory free of cost by showing their telephone bills to the exchanges concerned.

It has about 750 pages and a few yellow pages as well. It has included the new telephone numbers up to August 31, 2001.

A few subscribers have, however, complained that the department has failed to bring out a comprehensive coverage in the yellow pages. Further the font size used is so small, making it very difficult to read the numbers.



Intense lobbying for Cong ticket
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
With the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) having initiated the process for selecting candidates for various Assembly segments, intense lobbying has started for the ticket. While about 50 candidates have applied for four Ludhiana urban seats, it is the Ludhiana West which has remained in focus, with some strong candidates having emerged on the scene.

Ludhiana West remains an open seat for the Congress. In the last elections its candidate, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, lost to Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal by a margin of about 13,000 votes. Doubts are being raised about the nomination of Mr Johar this time, as the Congress has reportedly decided not to field any candidate who has lost by a margin of over 10,000 votes in the last elections. However, Mr Johar continues to be in the race for the ticket from here.

The front runners in the race include Mr Pawan Dewan, Mr Ajit Singh Chawla, Mr Jeevan Dhawan, Mr Gopal Bhushan Gupta, Mr K K Bawa and Prof Satish Sharma. While Mr Dewan has been actively associated with the party and remained district president of the youth wing, he is currently the national chairman of the Indian Youth Congress (urban development cell). Besides being young, he enjoys a clean image in the party.

Mr Chawla has been lobbying intensely from this segment. He has several strong points.

During the last elections he took direct confrontation Mr Mann Singh Garcha, they younger brother of the Minister for Technical Education, Mr Jagdish Garcha. He had to face the wrath of the ruling party as two FIRs were registered against him and his office premises were demolished, despite a court order in his favour. He enjoys the support of urban Sikhs, who constitute considerable chunk of voters in this segment. Besides, Mr Chawla is being patronised by some top industrial houses of Ludhiana.

Mr Gupta has been laying equal claim for the party ticket. He belongs to an influential business family with a long association with the party. He has been lobbying hard for the ticket.

Mr Jeevan Dhawan, also a businessman, is currently the general secretary of the District Congress Committee. Both Mr Gupta and Mr Dhawan have also served as general secretary of the Satluj Club.

Mr K K Bawa is the chairman of the labour and employment cell of the PCC. He is also considered among the front runners. So is Professor Sharma, who is the member of the Panjab University Senate. Both Mr Bawa and Professor Sharma enjoy good influence among the public in the city.

The PCC Mahila Wing president, M Gurkanwal Kaur, who is also the daughter of former Chief Minister Beant Singh is also believed to a strong contender for the ticket from here. She is claiming the ticket for being the head of the women wing of the party. However, the intra-family feud within the late Chief Minister’s family may prove to be her undoing. Her brother, Mr Tej Prakash, has already been renominated from Jalandhar cantonment, while her nephew is trying for the Payal Assembly segment, thus weakening her chances from here. 



Shiv Sainiks burn Musharraf’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 27
Hundreds of Shiv Sena workers today organised a protest march and burnt the effigy of President Gen Parvez Musharraf, — charging the Pakistan Government with attempts to destabilise India through open acts of terrorism.

The party president, Mr Jagdish Tangri, who led the protesters, observed that thousands of innocent people had fallen victim to terrorism during past over two decades, and the rulers of Pakistan were directly responsible for this massive loss of human lives in the country. He cautioned the government to take effective and strong steps immediately to curb the menace of terrorism, failing which the unity and integrity of the country might be in peril.

Openly supporting military option against Pakistan, Mr Tangri said time had come that the Indian Government rise to the occasion and take the hostile attitude of its neighbour in the proper perspective. Even though the bilateral relations between the two countries had been anything but friendly for quite some time now but still India had taken several initiatives to improve the ties which unfortunately did not elicit the same kind of response from successive governments in Pakistan.

He said each and every worker of the Shiv Sena was prepared to make all kind of sacrifices for the sake of unity and integrity of the nation and the party was committed to wage an all-out battle against terrorism and separatist forces. Mr Tangri called upon the government to withdraw motivated criminal cases against party activists who had launched an agitation against the Delhi-Lahore bus service.

Among others, Mr Raju Thakur, Mr Krishan Sharma, Mr Rakesh Kumar, Mr Gurmel Singh, Mr Radhey Sham Gupta, Mr Mangal Singh and Mr Kuldip Rana were present at the occasion.

Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) has announced that it would contest three urban and one rural seats in this district in the coming assembly elections. Addressing a two-day session of the party which concluded here today, the state party chief, Mr Pawan Gupta, disclosed that two city councillors had joined the party and had expressed the desire to contest election from the Ludhiana East constituency.

Lambasting the ruling SAD-BJP combine for its “mis-governance”, he alleged that the government had done nothing except sucking the blood of urban population during its tenure. He pointed an accusing finger towards BJP legislators and ministers who were charged with indulging in corruption. “The people have seen the real face of the BJP, and its candidates will lose their security deposits in the ensuing election.”

Mr Pawan Sharma, state spokesman, and Mr Ravinder Arora, general secretary, also addressed the party workers.



AISSF burns Pak flag
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 27
Activists of the All-India Sikh Students Federation (Boparai), led by Mr Navpreet Singh Jawaddi, a former general secretary and member of the Policy Formation Committee, lodged their protest against the terrorist attack on Parliament House in Delhi by holding a demonstration and burning the Pakistani flag.

A large number of AISSF functionaries marched in procession from Miller Ganj office to Vishwakarma Chowk where the Pakistani flag was set alight amidst angry slogans against Pakistan and terrorists outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jawaddi urged the Indian Government to take the attack on Parliament House seriously and initiate the necessary steps to give a befitting reply to Pakistan which was lending overt and covert support to trans-border terrorism. Terming the suspension of the Delhi-Lahore bus service and calling back the Indian envoy from Pakistan as steps in the right direction, he said if the government permitted the AISSF activists were prepared to organise morchas on the Indo-Pakistan border to convey the sentiments of the Indian public to the Pakistan rulers.

The AISSF functionary strongly condemned killing of three Sikh women in Kashmir and warned the Pakistan-supported terrorists of stern retaliatory steps. "The Sikh community neither perpetrates repression nor does it tolerate excesses and injustice."

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Mr Charanpreet Singh Shunty, Mr Pankaj Kumar, Mr Gurmit Singh Chaney, Mr Tejinder Pal Singh, Mr Gurbachan Singh Bittu, Mr Gurpreet Singh Nanny, Mr Sukhbir Singh, Mr Hardev Singh Chan, Mr Sushil Kumar, Mr Parmod Kumar, Ms Gurmeet Kaur Oberoi, Ms Ram Dulari, Mr Satinder Singh, Mr Ravi Kumar, Mr Harsewak Singh and Mr Ankush Kumar.



Freedom fighter cremated with honours
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 27
Renowned freedom fighter Amar Singh Wadhera (85), President, Punjab Freedom Fighters Association and Vice-President, Dhan Pothohar Brotherhood, who died yesterday due to a heart attack, was cremated here today with full state honours.

Mr Sat Pal Gosain, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr S.R. Kaler, ADC (General), Mr Darshan Singh, DPRO, Mr N.S. Nanda, President, Punjab Hotel and Restaurant Association, and Diwan Jagdish Chander, President, All-India Freedom Fighters Federation, laid wreaths on the body and paid their respects.

A large number of persons, including office-bearers of different associations and city councillors, participated in the funeral procession. A police contingent presented salute by reversing arms and fired shots in the air. Mr Kulwant Bir Singh, eldest son of the deceased, lit the pyre.

Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, in his condolence message sent to the family, said that Mr Wadhera was a legendary patriot, who struggled hard for the liberation of the country and underwent imprisonment in British jails. After Independence, Mr Wadhera had worked hard for the rehabilitation of the displaced persons and for the welfare of the freedom fighters and their families.

Mr Wadhera was active even in the age of 85 and last evening, when he suffered a heart attack, was in the driving seat of his car while going to Jagraon to attend the antim ardas of a fellow freedom fighter, Captain Bhag Singh Thind of the INA. Mr Wadhera had served as a Captain in the Indian National Army formed by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and was closely associated with Gen Mohan Singh of the INA.



Factionalism in Cong surfaces
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, December 27
In an attempt to keep the upcoming party incumbents in good humour, Congress leaders are doling out ‘important’ designations to them, caring little about the number of persons holding the same post.

Even as the faction lead by Ms Razia Beghum, a claimant of the party ticket, managed to get the designation of the Block Congress Committee president for Mr Abdul Satar Rohira, Mr Ravi Sharma is still functioning as the BCC president as he has got the blessings of Mr Gurcharan Singh Dirba, president, District Congree Committee.

Similarly, the Youth Congress has also two block presidents. Mr Harinder Sheera, former district president of the YC, had appointed Mr Subhash Kumar as block president but Mr Jagtar Singh Dhanaula, new district president, has appointed Mr Ashok Kumar Dabbi in his place. Both are working for their own factions.

A number of local leaders have also been absorbed in the state-level committees. While Mr Rajneesh Sharma Gudda, former OSD to the CM, has been included in the working committee, three more leaders from here have been appointed as the state general secretaries. Ms Ramesh Rani and Ms Amarjit Mander have been made the general secretaries of the women wing. The former is also a member of the District Grievances Committee and convener of the District INTUC (women wing). Ms Asha Gogna has been appointed as a general secretary of the Employment Cell by Mr K. K. Bawa, chairman of the cell.

Mr Parmeshwar Singh (president, INTUC), Mr Jaswinder Singh (president, BC Cell), Mr Sohan Lal Bagra (president, Dalit Cell), Mr Bhag Singh (district general secretary) and Mr Vinay Goyal (district vice-president) are the other local leaders who have been given important designations to please various factions of the party. However, the senior Congress leaders are upset over factionalism in the party, which, they think, would benefit the rivals.



Brotherhood to contest 10 seats
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
The Dhan-Pothohar Brotherhood of Punjab has decided to contest 10 Assembly seats in the coming elections. Mr N.S. Nanda, head of the brotherhood, said this here today. A meeting of the executive body of the party was held here yesterday. The constituencies provisionally selected by the brotherhood for itself include Ludhiana East and West, Patiala, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Govind Nagar, Kanpur (UP) and Udham Singh Nagar (Uttaranchal).

Mr Nanda said the Dhan-Pothohar Brotherhood represented about 60 per cent of the urban votes in these segments. He said, “The elections will be time for us to show our strength.”

Some of the district heads of the party submitted their recommendations for the allotment of tickets.

Mr Nanda said he would contest from Ludhiana West and he already had several names in mind for Ludhiana East. He said, “Our organisation will not align with any party, but support those candidates who can safeguard the interests of members of the brotherhood.”

He said Master Tara Singh, Gurmukh Singh Musafir, Mr I.K. Gujral, Ms Maneka Gandhi, Mr Kartar Singh Duggal, MP, Mr Jagjit Singh Anand, a former MP, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, belonged to the Dhan-Pothohar region.

Mr Nanda said a resolution had also been passed to thank Mr Raja Singh, Chairman of the GRD Academy, for giving a piece of the academy land for Pothohar Bhavan.

Those who attended the meeting included Mr G.S. Bindra (Jalandhar), Mr Daljit Singh Anand (Amritsar), Mr S.S. Chandhok (Mohali), Mr Jaswant Singh Kohli (Patiala), Mr T.S. Rekhi (Patiala), Mr A.S. Wadhera, Mr Lochan Singh Bhan, Mr Harpal Singh Jagi, Mr R.S. Behal, Mr Ravinderpal Singh Khalsa, Mr G.S. Mokha, Mr S.S. Lamba (Ludhiana).



Living with dignity in the twilight of their years
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, December 27
Life no longer holds any joys for them as they are bereft of love and affection of their children in the evening of their life. Though the inmates of the local Senior Citizens’ Home feel pain over being “kicked out” by their offspring's, they do not harbour any ill feelings towards them. However, their enthusiasm to celebrate the New Year, or any other festival for that matter, has long given its way to pessimism.

“The New Year does not have any meaning for me. I had four sons, but three of them have expired. The only surviving son is a manager in the Industry Department. As his wife is also working, they cannot spare time for me. However, I am leading a quite comfortable life here,” said Mr S. Lal, who has been residing here for the last over 11 years.

Recalling his ‘happy and prosperous’ yesteryears, he said: “We used to hold grand celebrations to usher in the New Year when we all were together in America. I have also been to Europe, but I had never thought that I would have to lead such a life one day. Now the only thing I pray for is that this be the last year of my life as I am no longer useful for anybody.”

Mr S.L. Khurana, an octogenarian bachelor staying in the old-age home since 1982, felt that the government should spare a thought for the problems of old citizens. “We are paying Rs 1,350 per month for staying here. This is apart from the electricity charges. And almost everybody here is suffering from one ailment or the other. How can we bear these expenses with a meagre amount of pension? Moreover, the government has reduced the rate of interest from 11 per cent to 9 per cent, and is planning to reduce it even more. It should shed its indifferent attitude towards us, and be a little considerate to our problems,” he said. Another citizen, who joined the Citizens’ Home after his retirement, said that he had one son and one daughter. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, he said, “I have my own house in Model Gram, but my son forces me to sell it as he wants to buy a new car for himself. Though he is married and has a daughter, I give him Rs 3,000 per month as he is unemployed. I wish that he starts taking interest in work as I will not always be there to help him.” The old man added that his wife had chosen to stay with their son rather than him. He said that New Year was just like any other time for him.

Kanwaljit Dua has been living in the old age home for the past four years. She has two daughters, who are happily married in Chandigarh and Delhi. Her husband expired in the year 1983. She wishes that the New Year brings happiness and prosperity for her daughters. She said: “My husband was district Food Controller, and had supplied material when this home was being constructed. I had never thought that I would have to spend the last years of my life here.”

Mr Rajinder Kumar, another senior citizen, is so much fed up of life that he says: “I want that a war breaks out and everyone dies.” He adds: “The government does not provide us any facilities and does not care even for our health. So, we don’t expect anything from it in the New Year. I do not expect anything from my children also as they have left me here. And they did not come here even once to see me. My life has become purposeless. However, I am not going to beg anything from anyone.”

Most of these old people chose to live in the senior citizens’ home as they could not bear the humiliation at the hands of their own children. They feel that ‘me-oriented’ culture has eroded the traditional values like the joint family system.



Cheques distributed
Our Correspondent

Doraha, December 27
Foundation stones of three link roads of Rampur village were laid and cheques worth Rs 1 lakh distributed today at the village by Jathedar Sadhu Singh Ghudani, MLA, Payal.

Mr Acchara Singh, sarpanch, Rampur, and Mr Harcharan Singh Mangat, general secretary, Writers’ Association Rampur, said the foundation stones of roads, from the office of cooperative society to main road, from S.C. Dharamshala to Reru Sahib Chowk, and from Baba Balak Nath Mandir to Balmik spot were laid by the MLA. The donated money includes Rs 50,000 for Harijan dharamshala and rest for the graveyard.

On this occasion, the panches, sarpanches of the surrounding villages thanked Mr Prakash Singh Badal for appointing Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Director, Markfed, Punjab, as the president of the youth wing of the Shromani Akali Dal. They also requested Mr Badal to grant the ticket for the Punjab assembly elections from Payal to Jathedar Sadhu Singh Ghudani as he has proved his worth in the past five years.

Mr Harnek Singh, sarpanch, Katana Sahib, Mr Babu Singh, vice-chairman, Market Committee, Doraha, Mr Swaran Singh malipur, Mr Gurnam Singh Araichan, Mr Dhindsa, SDO, Mr Ajmer Singh and Mr Balwinder singh, both junior engineers of the PWD, were honoured on the occasion by sarpanch of Rampur and Jathedar Ghudani.


Office-bearers of PPCC cell
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 27
Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, Chairman of the Labour and Employment Cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), has nominated the office-bearers of the state unit of cell as well as some of the district chairmen. The list of the following office-bearers, duly approved by the PPCC President, Capt Amarinder Singh, and Mr Bir Devinder Singh, in charge of the front organisations, was released here today by Mr Bawa:

Mr Rajinder Pal Syal (Vice-Chairman), Mr Roop Singh Jassal, Mr Harchand Singh Dhir, Mr Kala Hans, Mr Jang Bahadur Bindra, Mr Karnail Singh Mann, Mr Balraj Singh Sekhon, Mr Sat Pal Beri, Mr Ashok Makkar, Lala Jiwan Kumar, Dr Jai Ram Kakkar, Mr Radhey Shyam Ahuja, Mr Shiv Kumar Gupta (General Secretaries), and Ms Pammi Sidhu, Major B.S. Kooner, Mr Chander Mohan Sharma, Mr Bhushan Kumar Sukhija, Mr Pawan Malhotra, Mr Dwarka Dass Bawa, Mr Sanjeev Gupta, Mr Chaman Lal Batra, Mr Bhupinder Singh Seera, Mr Pawan Garg, Mr Mohinder Singh Sheenh, Mr Darshan Singh Boparai, Mr Anil Sethi, Mr Inderjit Chopra, Mr Sunder Lal Mehta and Mr Hans Raj Gagat (Secretaries).

In addition, Mr Harjinder Singh Grewal and Mr Gurbhej Singh Chhabra have been nominated district chairmen of the rural and urban units of the cell.



3 killed, 2 injured in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Doraha, December 27
Three persons, including a minor, were reportedly killed and two injured in various road accidents, in and around Doraha, in the past 24 hours. According to the police, a man and his son, Sukhwinder Pal Verma and Jugal Verma (7), who were coming on cycle were crushed near Katana Sahib, by a Tata Indica ( PB 10AK-0241). The driver, Arun Kumar Saksena, a resident of Housing Board Colony, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Ludhiana, fled with his car from the site. The case was registered against the driver on the complaint of Charan Singh of Rampur.

In another case, Amarjit Singh succumbed to his injuries at CMC Hospital, Ludhiana. He was injured by a tractor near Doraha flyover, when he was on the scooter. The driver of the tractor absconded from the scene. 



LSE closing turbulent year on a pessimistic note
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
The stock markets have once again taken a nosedive with the hovering of war clouds over the Indo-Pak borders. The trading volumes of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE), which were about Rs 30-35 crore in January, reportedly came down to zero yesterday, as almost all the brokers shifted their business to its subsidiary LSE Securities Limited.

The exchange, like other regional stock exchanges, had started the year on a positive note, however, things started deteriorating with the presentation of Centre Government’s Budget, when the SEBI proposed to close down over century-old badla system from July 2. In the meantime, the UTI’s decision to suspend the trading of US - 64 scheme, and the exposure of corruption in the highest echelons of polity by tehelka. com, further affected the morale of investors and brokers in the market.

Says Mr H.S. Sidhu, General Manager of the stock exchange,‘‘ The market has virtually remained in turmoil throughout the year. The business of the LSE has shifted to its subsidiary due to the impact of SEBI’s new set of rules. Majority of brokers and investors have suffered heavy losses in the market. However, with the start of derivative trading at the LSE Securities in the next few days, the prospects seem to improve.’’ Subsequently, the management may take decision to close down trading at the LSE, and can shift its total business to the subsidiary route.

Incidentally, a section of about 300 brokers at the stock exchange decided to close down their business at the exchange due to decreasing volumes. The rate of the membership ticket, which had crossed Rs 10 lakh once, declined substantially. The members tried to save the situation by changing the management. Mr R.C. Singhal, president of the exchange, was replaced by Mr Jaspal Singh and his group, who have tried to boost their confidence by taking some initiatives like providing an exit route to the members, registration of their rooms, and have successfully taken the sanction of the NSE to start derivative trading.

The management is now in the process of installation of software to start the trading. The Master Trust Limited, a neighbouring company, has already started the trading in futures and options, the instruments of derivatives. Interestingly, about 100 companies of the region, who had brought out Rs 2-7 crore public issues in the early nineties, failed to pay any dividend to the investors. The trading of their shares has been already suspended, and majority of them have even defaulted in paying the listing fee to the exchange. It has badly affected the confidence of investors in the regional companies.

Commenting upon the performance of the exchange, Mr Tarvinder Dhingra, former vice-president of the exchange and a leading broker, said,‘‘ Unlike other regional stock exchanges, we had taken the decision at a right time to set up a subsidiary to trade on BSE and NSE, otherwise the brokers would have completely lost their standing in the profession. The management has rightly taken some decision on time to save the interests of investors and members.’’

Echoing the hopes of the brokers, he does not forget to add,‘‘ This year may not have proved a beneficial for us, but we are hopeful about the new year, and expect positive developments in the market provided the tension on the border does not further escalate. The expected pubic issue of the Bharti Telecom by the end of January, of about Rs 1,000 crore, would be a litmus test for the primary market. It may restore the confidence of the investors and brokers in the market.’’



Low interest rates affect investment habits’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 27
With the reduction of interest rates, the investment habits of Ludhianvis have been affected a lot. Investment in the PPF has become the most preferred tax saving method, followed by other schemes like the NSC and LIC policies.

These were the findings of Rahul Bajaj, an MBA student of the Punjab College of Technical Education, in his study.

The study included a survey of 120 investors — professionals, businessmen and servicemen. The study revealed that 87.5 per cent respondents were aware of the changes in interest rates. Nearly 72 per cent of them invested less than Rs 1 lakh and the rest invested more than Rs 5 lakh annually. It also showed that 35 per cent respondents invested for safe keeping of money and 32 per cent of them invested for tax-saving purpose. The rest of them were investing because of availability of surplus money and earning high returns.

The study showed that even after reduction in the interest rates, the PPF is the first choice for tax saving for 45 per cent of the respondents. This is followed by investment in the NSC and LIC policies and other post office schemes and bonds. For 32 per cent of the respondents, fixed deposit was the most preferred way to save surplus money, followed by investment in property, shares, LIC policies and PO schemes.

Dr K.N.S. Kang, director of the college, said that government was moving towards low rate regime and all nationalised banks and private banks were following the process. He said that the investment habits were bound to change due to cut in interest rates on the PPF, NSC and post office schemes.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |