Saturday, December 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Burglary bid in bank 
Police caught napping
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 28
Sheer luck prevented a major burglary in the New Shiv Puri branch of the Punjab National Bank after midnight last night. Outsmarting the police and putting a question mark on its claim of taking adequate security measures in the city, a gang of unidentified thieves broke into the bank through the back door but could not succeed in opening the strong room.

Armed with a welding gun to cut open the steel gates of the strong room, the thieves had managed to cut only half the door as either they had run out of time or out of gas to finish the job.

The thieves, using the welding gun, easily managed entry into the bank. They had broken the door lock by melting it. Once inside the bank, the thieves ransacked the place in search of keys but could not find them. After failing to open the strong room door, the thieves left on their own.

Surprisingly, despite the recent spurt in incidents of robbery in the city, the bank had not stepped up security. The bank had no alarm system and it did not post a security guard for night duty. The thieves succeeded in breaking inside from the back door. Incidentally, some unidentified persons had attempted a similar burglary bid in the bank in February early this year but had failed to break into the strong room. No lessons seem to had been learnt from that incident.

While there was no loss, the daring attempt of theft had spread panic among the bank managers in the city. This was third crime incident in a row. The latest incident had once again put a question mark on the efficiency and the capability of the police in controlling crime in the city.

Most disturbing aspect behind this incident was that the police had already been observing a maximum red alert for the past two days. Though unprecedented security measures had been taken in the city but still the criminals seemed to be striking at will.

The Basti Jodhewal police has registered a case under Sections 380, 457 and 511, IPC, against unidentified persons. The police suspects the involvement of some migrant labourers in the entire episode as some biri stubs were found in the bank. Though no concrete evidence has been found so far, but the police was also suspecting the involvement of some present or former employee.

Mr Ashok Arora, Manager of the bank, said the attempted burglary came to light at about 9 am today, when a sweeper Rajinder pal Singh, came to the bank, who then informed the police. A dog squad was pressed into service but it failed to provide any lead.

Fingerprint experts, who could be arranged in the late afternoon only, also could not find many fingerprints from the place as no one had directed the employees or the visitors to keep away from select places.

It may be mentioned here that the police had began a special night-patrolling in the region in the wake of a robbery incident outside a LIC branch office in Sham Nagar on Wednesday and a snatching incident at a petrol station near Khanpur village yesterday. Senior police officers could not be contacted since last evening onwards as the officials were busy in meetings called to discuss security measures to be adopted in the city.

The bank has, meanwhile, began taking preventive measures in order to avoid any further robbery attempt in future. When a Ludhiana Tribune visited the bank, labourers were seen constructing a wall over the back door so that the entry was closed permanently. The bank staff said that a meeting of the senior officers was likely to be organised shortly to beef up security arrangements.



Clouds of war cause tension in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 28
In the wake of tension on the Indo-Pak border, the railway authorities have pressed into service Punjab commando battalions for the security of vital installations like bridges, oil tanks, railway workshops and other sensitive places. The commando battalions have been called as the Railways Department could not provide security at all these places due to shortage of staff.

The tension at the border is quite visible at the railway station where the convoys of the armed forces can be seen heading towards the border. The Army authorities today also posted a Movement Control Officer at the local railway station. The officer is always appointed when the clouds of war are hovering around.

Sources said that the commando battalions were deployed at the various railway bridges on the prominent rivers (names undisclosed due to security reasons).

Sources disclosed to Ludhiana Tribune that to take stock of the situation, meetings of various officials of Railway Police Force were being held frequently.

Convoys of the Army passing through Ludhiana railway station have become a source of attraction for people. Children were seen waving at the soldiers who were heading towards the Indo-Pak border.

The national spirit is ruling the minds of people in the city as the tension prevails among the two countries. The passing of various convoys through the city roads as well as the rail lines has made the city residents tense.



Thief dies while fleeing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 27
An alleged thief died while fleeing from a four-wheeler body building unit near Kangowal village after the owners and workers of the unit foiled the burglary attempt early this morning. The workers, showing courage, succeeded in nabbing another member of the suspected five-member gang.

On the basis of information provided by the nabbed thief, a team of the Dhandari police led by Inspector Mukhwinder Singh and ASI Malkit Singh succeeded in arresting three more alleged members of the gang from various hideouts in the evening. The identity of the dead or arrested gang members could not be established.

The incident took place at about 4 am. The Mansarovar Body Builders unit was lying closed for quite some time. Its owner, Charanjit Singh, has settled in Delhi. A gang of thieves had committed theft of machines and iron at the unit recently. The factory owners were staying in the unit for the past few days in connection with the earlier theft case when the alleged gang attempted another strike.

According to police sources, the gang members managed to broke into the unit by making a big hole in a wall. They had come with candles and torches. However, the workers and unit owners hearing the noise challenged them at which the thieves turned back to run away. One of the gang members collided with a pointed machine and died on the spot. He suffered injuries in the lower abdomen area.

Another gang member was nabbed by the workers. Unconfirmed reports said some labourers living close by had helped in nabbing the thieves but the police denies this.


Country boy on national radar
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 28
Ravinder Singh Grewal, a Class X student of Government Senior Secondary School at Thereekey, a village on the outskirts of Ludhiana, may look like any other country boy, but he possesses uncommon creativity. His intellect may not be matched even by the most brilliant students of the elite public schools of India.

Ravinder has designed a working model of a radar that was adjudged the best at the annual State Science Exhibition at Fatehgarh Sahib in the last week of November. He will now display this model at the North Zone Science Exhibition that is to be held in New Delhi from February 5 to 7. He has also qualified for the National Science Exhibition to be held next year.

Ravinder owes his success to his mathematics teacher, Mr Sanjeev Kumar Taneja, who helped him make the model. It took at least a month for the teacher and his student to develop the model that caught the attention of everyone at the science exhibition. According to Ravinder, the model shows the working of the radar using simple light-detecting-radiation (LDR) circuit. It comprises a control board, computerised display board, antenna with receiver and a transmitter to receive and echo radio waves. It also contains the height, direction and speed monitors to detect these movements of flying objects, besides an emergency signal.

Mr Taneja said, “The transmitter in the radar sends a beam of electromagnetic waves by means of an antenna, when these waves strike an object in the path of the beam, some are reflected from the object, forming an echo signal. The antenna collects the energy contained in the echo signal and delivers it to the receiver. Through amplification and computer processing, the radar receiver produces a visual signal on the screen which is a computer display monitor.

Given the resources available to the school, that does not even have a computer so far and where education is imparted in Punjabi medium only, Ravinder’s achievement is big indeed. Ms Kamaljeet Kaur, Principal of the school, said, “This creation has made the 450 students of the school interested in science.” Some students brought a generator set to the school from their home to operate the working model.

Ravinder’s father is a farmer and his family is not educated enough. He wants to settle abroad, as three of his five uncles have already migrated to Canada. Scientific innovations fascinate him, which prompted him to develop this model. Ravinder said, “Mr Taneja continued to motivate me and helped me maintain my interest in the project during those days of hard work.”



Begging racket busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 28
The worst fears of the Ludhianvis about the possibility of a well-organised gang of beggars in the city, which was contributing in the sudden increase of beggars, have finally come true with the busting of a gang of criminals indulging in kidnapping of children from different parts of the country and then forcing them to beg.

While the children brought the day’s earnings for the alleged masters, they were fed poorly and were living in filth. The activity came to light when some relatives of a handicapped boy, Navin, missing from Agra nine months ago, found the child begging in New Madhopuri Colony yesterday. After the emotional reunion, the child was taken to Kotwali police station where a case was registered against the alleged master, Lal Singh.

The police said here today that it had succeeded in arresting Lal Singh from Karimpura Bazar today and the hunt to arrest four more persons was on. The child narrated a chilling story to the police in which he told them that there were several other children forced to beg in the city. They were beaten by the masters and given Rs 5 or a little more to feed themselves.



Badal pledges steps for uplift of Dalits
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 28
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, announced that the government was committed for emancipation and empowerment of Dalit communities and it was in this context that several welfare schemes were launched for the uplift of weaker sections in general and the Dalit community in particular.

Mr Badal was addressing an impressive gathering of the members of the Valmiki community at his residence in Chandigarh last evening, which was taken in a big convoy of vehicles from Ludhiana under the leadership of Mr Vijay Danav, national joint secretary of the Bharatiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj (BVDS).

The Chief Minister recounted the significant role played by the members of Valmiki community during the freedom struggle and later in the task of nation building. He said it was unfortunate that the community was more or less a neglected lot even after 55 years of independence and attributed the phenomenon to discrimination and exploitation by the successive Congress governments, who considered the weaker sections nothing but a big chunk of vote bank.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Danav, who is also a member of the working committee of ruling SAD-B, assured that members of Valmiki community would stand solidly behind the ruling combine candidates in the coming elections and would ensure yet another victory for the coalition.

He urged Mr Badal to provide due representation to members of the community in allocation of party tickets.

Earlier, addressing the BVDS activists here, before leaving for Chandigarh, Mr Danav and other speakers outlined the objectives of the BVDS like putting an end to discrimination against Dalits and necessary social, religious and political measures for emancipation and empowerment of the Dalit community.



Left parties to oppose Cong, BJP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 28
Various Left parties in the state have decided to oppose both the Akali-BJP alliance as well as the Congress, which they described were communal and corrupt, respectively.

The decision was taken at a meeting held here today and was attended among others by Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, Mr Harkanwal Singh, Mr Kulwant Singh Sandhu and Mr Tarsem Jodhan of Punjab CPM, Pasla group, Mr Prem Singh Bhangoo, Mr Kuldip Singh, Mr Lakhwin Singh Buani and Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri of Marxist Communist Party of India and Dr Maninder Singh Randhawa and Mr Sudarshan Natt of CPI-ML (Liberation).

It was decided to forge and consolidate the Left movement in the state. Participant parties in the meeting decided to play a positive role during the ensuing Assembly elections for defeating the Akali Dal Badal-BJP, ‘a communal, corrupt and anti-people combine’ ruling in the state. At the same time it has decided to reject the ‘bourgeois-landlord, Congress party’, that initiated the new economic policy, opening the door for ‘imperialist globalisation in India’. While carrying out the programme, these parties would have no truck with the ‘fundamentalist communal elements of Panthic Morcha’ or any other communal elements.

This meeting decried the ‘unprincipled approach’ of Mr Harkrishan Singh Surjeet and CPI leadership, who were ‘shamelessly hankering’ for adjustment and alliance with the Congress. In this context, the meeting greeted the ‘overwhelming majority of CPM membership, who have rejected the unprincipled, revisionist policies and revolted against the leadership of CPM led by Harkrishan Singh Surjit’.

It claimed, it was a very positive development for forging a consolidated Communist movement in the state. With a view to forge and advance a Left democratic alliance in the state, this meeting set up a committee consisting of Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, Mr Mangat Ram Pasla and Dr Maninder Singh Randhawa, to identify the Assembly seats to be jointly contested and evolving adjustment within the Left democratic forces in the state.



Rajajung joins Congress
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 28
Dr Gurcharan Singh Rajajung, who recently resigned from the post of Chief Agricultural Officer, has joined the Congress party. He is welcomed by Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief and Mr H.S.Hanspal, Chairman, Disciplinary Committee, and senior leaders of the party.

According to a press release, Capt Amarinder Singh appreciated the decision taken by Dr Rajajung who came forward to fight the injustice and excesses. He added that inclusion of such intellectual, educated and experienced persons will be given due place in the party who were in touch with the problems of 80 per cent of farming community. The PPCC chief further added that Dr Rajajung had sacrificed his job to serve the people and his entry will benefit the Congress in framing the policies, particularly in agriculture.



Lots of ups and downs for MC
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 28
The year 2001 had many an upheavals in store for the local Municipal Corporation. The civic body in the industrial hub of Punjab was embroiled in quite a few administrative and political controversies, witnessing many ups and downs in the process.

The major events, that affected the city or the MC in one way or the other, were clearance of elevated road, administrative changes at the top level, abolition of octroi, ‘war of wits’ between the City Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal and the BJP councillors, extended boycott of MC works by contractors and demolition of a part of a temple, which led to exit of the then MC Commissioner ,Dr S.S. Sandhu, who had won the hearts of city residents for being a visionary and adept administrator.

A 2.5-km elevated road, claimed to be first of its kind in the region, proposed to be built over the existing Old GT Road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema in the old city area ultimately went on stream after a lot of political hassles and stiff opposition from a section of shopkeepers, whosw shops are located along the stretch of road which was to come under the proposed flyover. The clearance of the project in a dramatic manner in the General House saw the Congress councillors coming to the rescue of City Mayor while the Akali Dal suffered a vertical split and the BJP, opposed to the project on several grounds, was marginalised and went to the extent of withdrawing the support from the Mayor.

The issue of abolition of octroi, which came into effect on December 1, remained a hot topic of debate for the later part of the year and provided a forum to the MC employees for a protracted agitation. The apprehension that the loss of revenue from octroi, the biggest source of income, might adversely affect the financial health of the civic body.

It also forced the MC contractors to boycott both the new and ongoing development works. Even though the state government had fulfilled its commitment of making good the loss, so far that was, the contractors were still reluctant to take in hand new works on the ground that their old outstanding dues were yet to be cleared.

At the fag end of the year, inapt handling of demolition of an outer wall of Durga Mata Mandir, snowballed into a major controversy with the BJP, already nursing a grouse against the then MC Commissioner, got an opportunity to settle scores and on the pretext that the communal tension might take a turn for the worse, forced the government to transfer Dr Sandhu. The cloud, however, had a silver lining since Mr R.L. Kalsia, who replaced Dr Sandhu, too proved to be an upright, clear headed and a no-nonsense man, focussed on development and bringing a qualitative change in the civic life.

The focus of the MC administration remained on development works with a little over Rs 1 crore being provided to each of the 70 wards in the city. In addition, the MC spent a sizeable amount for creation of new infrastructure and renovation and repair of the existing sports facilities in the city for the National Games, which turned out to be the biggest sports extravaganza of the year.

With the octroi scrapped, there were a large number of changes at middle and lower level to adjust the octroi staff in other departments of the MC and there was a clamour by many of those being shifted to secure plum postings.

The horticulture wing of the MC remained in the eye of the storm, facing allegations in purchase of plants, irregularities in maintenance of parks and lax control over contractors, in particular context to a tragic accident in a park in Model Town locality, which took the life of a small girl. The spate of allegations was not confined to newspaper reports alone and the Vigilance Bureau did take notice and conducted raids on the office of horticulture wing.

Although, no formal report has been made public, but prima facie, several charges were established, according to reliable sources in the MC.



Mystery over child’s disappearance
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 28
The mystery over the disappearance of a child from a market near Do Moria Bridge and the subsequent recovery four hours later from a far-off place continues as neither the police nor the victim family has any clue to the incident.

Different theories were doing rounds in the absence of any concrete or exact information provided by the child, Jatin. The two-and-a-half-year-old boy of a hosiery factory owner, Mr Rajiv Kalia, had disappeared from a bakery shop in the afternoon and was found in a restaurant near Agar Nagar, 12 km away. No one knows how the child managed to reach there.

The restaurant owners had seen the child and informed the police. They had not seen anybody dropping the child there.

The police was working on two theories — one was that the child boarded some other car by mistake and the other was that the child was kidnapped by some persons. The police suspects that the kidnappers could have dropped the child in the restaurant as due to a robbery incident, special nakas were put up in the city, especially on the exit routes.

The family had, however, received no ransom call. 



Complaint against cable operators 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 28
The Rajguru Nagar Welfare Association has condemned the cable operators of Rajguru Nagar for being “indifferent and callous”.

Mr Jasdeep Maan, a member of the association, said that the cable operators of Rajguru Nagar had increased the monthly rent from Rs 150 to Rs 180 last month, but at the same time had failed to provide satisfactory services. Mr Maan said, "They have increased the rent suddenly. While other cable operators in the city have been offering 60 to 65 channels to the subscribers, the cable operators of our area are giving just 30 to 40 channels and also the service, the sound and picture quality are really poor”. Most of the residents of the area complained that the operators do not provide proper service also. Another person on condition of anonymity said that the servicemen always demanded “extra money” for the services.

Mr Maan said that he had approached the operators many times but they did not give any satisfactory answer.

The area residents also complained that the cable operators had threatened that they would not provide their services to the residents if they made any union and discontinued their services.



Eyes of father, son donated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 28
The eyes of both seven-year-old Mukul Verma and his father Sukhwinder Pal Verma, who died in a road accident recently, were donated to the Eye Bank Mansuran by their family.

Dr Ramesh, managing director of the eye bank, in a press statement said today that the father and son were the residents of Rampur village near Doraha. “The family showed a lot of courage and decided to donate the eyes of father and son and served for humanity,” added Dr Ramesh.

Dr Ramesh said that the eyes were transplanted, free of cost, to four persons, including a six-year-old child from Delhi and three other persons from different parts of the state.



Textile sector suffers due to lack of official survey 
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 28
The potential of the knitting and other garment manufacturing units here, which are the hub of the Ludhiana and the state’s industrial sector, has not been fully explored due to lack of any comprehensive survey in the sector.

In fact the lack of detailed information about the production of different products often results in over or under supply, resulting in heavy losses to small units. The Federation of Knitwear, Textile and Allied Industries Association (FEKTAA), which is the coordinating body of a number of small organisations, represents just a minuscule part of about 6,000 units. These units are spread over hundreds of small streets in the old city as well as in the industrial area.

The management of the FEKTAA laments that they have no exact information about total production, turnover or the number of workers engaged in this sector, which has an predominance in the national market and has a significant share in the total knitting garment exports from the country. The officials said they had recently decided to engage an agency to conduct a survey of the industry, but had to cancel the decision due to lack of its credibility. The members had feared that the information about production, profits or other factors might be disclosed to their competitors or even to the income tax authorities.

Incidentally, the state government, which earns crores of rupees annually from this sector in the form of sale tax, has also not conducted any comprehensive survey or study of the about 70-year-old industry. The officials in the Industry Department said, “We have limited information about the registered units, however, the majority of the units are not registered. The lack of staff and cooperation from the units have furthered blunted our efforts to collect data. Though the number of units are closed every year, or others expand their production, it is not mandatory for them to provide us information.”

Recently, the Textile Committee, a government body formed under the Union Ministry of Textiles, had decided to conduct an exhaustive survey of all the knitting and other garment manufacturing units in the city. The survey had been planned in December. However, it is now expected to be launched in the next few days. It would provide extensive and complete information about the number of units, total production capacity, workers, marketing, export and on other indicators.

This was disclosed by Mr B.S. Pal, Additional Textile Commissioner, Mumbai, to a delegation of the FEKTAA. The meeting was organised in connection with Mini-Mission II on wool under the wool technology mission regarding development of wool and woollen industry, that is spinning, weaving, knitting and processing.

Among others, Mr J.S. Rawat, Deputy Director, regional office of the Textile Commissioner, Amritsar, Mr Sanjay Goyal, AGM SIDBI, Mr Harbans Singh, GM, DIC (Ludhiana), Mr Deepak Nayyar from Textiles Committee, Mr K.K. Sharma, Mr M.L. Paul from regional office of the Textile Commissioner, Amritsar, and Nitra, representative were present at the meeting. 



ICICI organises safety yatra
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 28
ICICI Capital Services Limited (ICICI Caps), a wholly owned subsidiary of the ICICI, today announced here the launch of the “ICICI Safety Yatra” — a mobile investor awareness campaign, in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Starting on December 18, the 15-day campaign has been designed to increase awareness amongst the urban and semi-urban investors about various investment options, including bonds, fixed deposits and mutual funds. During the campaign, ICICI Capital officials and agents will traverse 45 districts on a decorated float and will organise investors’ meets at several places.

“As a responsible retail financial intermediary, ICICI Capital has time and again made endeavours to educate and inform investors about safe investment avenues. We hope to provide relevant investment information and help to thousands of investors during this Yatra,” said Amitabh Chaturvedi, Executive Director and CEO, ICICI Capital, while conveying best wishes to his team from Head Office, Mumbai at Chandigarh. 


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 |