Saturday, January 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India 


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Bank staff strike total
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, January 4
A total bank strike was observed here today on the call of different bank unions as part of the nation-wide protest against the transfer of some employees by Standard Chartered Bank.

The public was made to believe that the banks would remain open as various bank unions had announced boycott of the strike. However, the bank officials, whose unions had boycotted the strike, decided not to do any clerical work. Resultantly, there was no public dealing at all branches of nationalised banks today.

The work at private sector banks continued smoothly. They had a field day as most customers had to approach them, especially for drafts and cheques. Some persons were found using ATM cards of their friends at these banks. The ATMs of nationalised banks worked normally.

Officials of nationalised banks, who had marked their presence in the branches, though not doing any work, were found gossiping and playing cards in offices, with some organising parties. ‘‘The salary of clerical staff would have been deducted for participating in the strike. We have saved the amount without doing any work. There was enough free time for the celebrations,’’ said a bank official.

Mr Naresh Gaur, Secretary of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation, said in Chennai, the entire workmen staff except three had been forced out of employment by way of VRS. In Delhi, all workmen staff had been thrown out of service, he added. Fifteen workmen had been transferred from Kolkata to Chennai, seven from Mumbai to Delhi and seven from Kanpur to Delhi, he further said.

Among others, Mr Sudesh Kumar, Chairman PBEF, Mr P.R. Mehta, general secretary, All-India PNB Employees Federation, Mr D.P. Maur, president, PAU Employees Union and Mr Ashok Awasthy, president, PBEF Ludhiana Unit, also addressed the rally.

The employees of all local banks also observed a complete strike here against the ‘anti-labour’ policies of the management of the Standard Chartered Bank. This caused great inconvenience to the public, especially to the farmers, who had come here for execution of their sale or mortgage deeds and other purposes. Earlier, the employees raised slogans against the bank management.



Cable war’ hots up
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
The rivalry between cable operators over the rights of operating in an area is hotting up once again as in two separate incidents cables were either damaged or stolen from different parts of the city. While in one case cables and instruments belonging to Win Cable were stolen from Model Town last night , in the second some unknown persons damaged cables belonging to Siti Cable near Jagraon bridge by short circuit.

The police has registered cases in both the incidents. Sources revealed that while the second incident was being traced to the rivalry between two leading cable agencies in the city, the damage to Win Cable had allegedly been done by workers or owners of two cable operators in Model Town who had a dispute with it.

According to a case registered with the police on the complaint of Mr Amarpal Singh Director, Win Cable, the Model town police has booked two cable operators of Dugri, Vikas Nagar and Punjab Mata Nagar under sections 379,506,323 and 120-B of the IPC.

The Win Cable Director in his complaint has alleged that Baldev Narain, owner of Life Cable, Kamal, owner of K.K. Cable, Dugri, Kashyap Sood owner of Kashyap Cable, Vikas Nagar, Vikas Sood and Laddi, Cable operators based at Punjab Mata Nagar, had stolen the cables belonging to the complainant and had also threatened him. The accused had also allegedly damaged some instruments causing huge losses to the Win Cable apart from damaging its position by disrupting the services.

Mr J.S. Arora, Director Win Cables said the accused were earlier the sub cable operators of a main cable operator in the area. However, due to non-payment of dues, they had disconnected supply to the main cable operator. The main cable operator in turn had disconnected supply to the sub-operators who had allegedly stolen the cables and damaged the instruments. Sources said the sub-cable operators were angry at the disconnection as they were accusing the Win Cable of dictatorship in the area.

In the second incident the cable supply to several parts of the city was disrupted yesterday when some unidentified persons short circuited the main supply at the Jagraon Bridge. The police was investigating the case. Sources said the Siti Cale suspects it to be the handiwork of their main business rivals. A delegation of cable operators had also gone to meet the Deputy Commissioner in this regard. The outcome of this meeting, however, could not be known.

The two incidents were the latest in the war of monopoly among cable operators in the region. Last month also there was a show down between Win Cable and Siti Cable over interfering in each other’s area. 



Spurt in vehicle thefts in city
Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
The Ludhiana police district is witnessing an increase, not only, in crime incidents like robbery, snatching and murders, but also in the incidents of vehicle thefts as a record number of thefts were committed last year. The risk to vehicles, especially cars and scooters have become so high that the number of vehicles stolen this year is almost double than the last year’s figure.

With about 380 vehicles, including two-wheelers and four wheelers, stolen from the city and its periphery last year, it is safe to conclude that one vehicle is stolen every day in the region. Even the first four days of the new year, in which there was maximum police alertness, at least one car was reported stolen daily from different places in the city. The new year has thus began on bad note once again for the public as well as the police.

From 202 vehicles stolen in 2,000 from Ludhiana the figure reached 380 last year. In comparison, the three other police districts in the Ludhiana Range namely-Khanna, Jagraon and Ropar did not witness a similar spurt in vehicle thefts. In Jagraon, the number of vehicles stolen last year was 21 while in 2000 it was 13.The vehicle theft scene in Khanna remained the same. It was 17 in both years. The Ropar district saw a decline. Against 56 vehicles stolen in 2000, only 44 were stolen last year. Thanks to Ludhiana police district, the Ludhiana Range witnessed an increase of whopping 63 per cent this year.

According to a copy of the vehicle theft figures of the range sent to the state police department, the theft of vehicles of all kinds registered an increase in the Ludhiana police district. With this claims, the local police district continues to hold the dubious distinction of being the most crime prone district in the state. It may be mentioned here that the police efficiency is calculated on the basis of controlling crimes like vehicular thefts, snatching and robbery incidents. The local police cannot claim success on any front.

The maximum increase was witnessed in theft of cars and scooters. From 49 in 2000 the number of stolen scooters rose to 103 in 2001.

This does not include the figure of December month. The number of cars stolen were about 220 last year (complete year’s figures) while in the previous year it was 118.

The number of trucks stolen rose to 10 from 7, motorcycle 32 from 20, three-wheelers 9 from 2 and there were thefts of four jeeps last year where as in the previous year it was nil. The police achieved marginal success in recovery of stolen vehicles. While in 2000, 87 vehicles were recovered, last year 97 were recovered.



MLA’s car stolen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
The security around elected representatives residences seems to be not enough to dampen the spirits of car-thieves. Some unidentified persons stole a van (No. UP-14 P-3639) from outside the house of MLA Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal today morning.

A complaint has been lodged with the Model Town police in this regard. Mr Grewal while expressing concern at the deteriorating law and order situation in the city said the car was stolen despite the fact that the police was on high alert for two days and was conducting massive search of vehicles.



Ludhiana West seat: pressure on SAD(B)
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
A section of the leadership in the ruling SAD is reportedly mounting pressure on the party not to concede the Ludhiana West seat to its alliance partner BJP and instead field a Hindu candidate from here. The BJP is understood to be asking for this segment primarily on the basis of it being a Hindu majority area.

In the Assembly elections held in 1997, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal contested from here on the SAD ticket. The BJP maintained that the seat had been conceded to SAD on the personal intervention of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who wanted Mr Grewal to be fielded from here.

Since Mr Tohra and Mr Grewal are no longer with SAD-B, the BJP wants the seat back. It claims that Ludhiana West has traditionally been a BJP seat.

To counter the BJP on the issue that the segment has a Hindu majority, SAD has been exploring the possibility of fielding a Hindu candidate from here.

Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, president of the Ludhiana Bar Association, and Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal are believed to be strong contenders for the ticket. So are the acting district president of the SAD-B, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, and the party vice-president, Mr Amarjeet Singh Bhatia.

All four candidates have been actively lobbying for the party nomination. Only yesterday, an intellectuals’ meet was organised here to press for the nomination of Mr Dhanda from this segment.

The meet was attended by leading lawyers, academicians, scientists, doctors and other intellectuals. They unanimously urged upon the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to nominate Mr Dhanda from here.



Hands-on EVM training for poll staff
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 4
As a part of an exercise by the Election Commission of India to train the Returning Officers and other staff, entrusted with election duty, regarding the functioning of the electronic voting machines (EVMs), a training programme was conducted at Bachat Bhawan here today by a team of officers headed by Mr C.R. Brahamam, Secretary, Election Commission of India.

During this session, complete practical training for properly operating the EVMs was imparted to the Deputy Commissioners, Additional Deputy Commissioners, Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers belonging to five districts of Patiala Division which included Ludhiana, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sangrur and Ropar. In addition, some Returning Officers and AROs from Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur districts also attended the training programme. Mr Brahamam demonstrated the functioning of each and every part of the machine to the participating officers, in detail, and latter answered the questions raised by the officers regarding the functioning of EVMs.

In his brief address to the officers, Mr Brahamam said with this session, the process of imparting training had been completed, as two such training programmes had earlier been conducted at Jalandhar and Faridkot. He asked the Returning Officers to get themselves fully acquainted with the functioning of the machines and in case of any problem, raise any number of queries, so that they could enable themselves to further impart training to the polling staff under them deployed for election duty.

Setting all apprehensions and misgivings to this effect at rest, he said these EVMs were completely tamper proof and error free. It was impossible to tamper with or manipulate data on these machines and the polling data, once recorded, was retained even when the power pack was removed. Mr Brahamam further said that it was for the first time that the complete Vidhan Sabha elections were being conducted through EVMs in Punjab and the EVMs which had been directly brought from West Bengal were in excellent condition.

While welcoming the ECI officials, Mr S. K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, advised the officers to get themselves well versed with the functioning of EVMs, as later on, they would be required to give complete presentation and training to the polling staff.

Mr Shangara Ram, Under Secretary, Election Commission assisted Mr Brahamam in imparting training to the ROs and AROs. 



Salil Bhat pledges his eyes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 4
Mohan Veena maestro Pt Salil Bhat has pledged to donate his eyes after death. Son of Grammy Award Winner Pt Vishva Mohan Bhat, Salil Bhat announced his wish during his performance at 193rd Birth Anniversary of Louis Braille at the Vocational Rehabilitation and Training Centre here today.

Earlier, Salil gave a performance at the Braille Centre at Jamalpur. He played raaga madhuwanti for the students. Sandeep Kumar accompanied him on Tabla.

Ms Ruby Fernandes, a social activist was the chief guest on the occasion.

While talking to mediapersons, Salil said Louis Braille had done a commendable job by forming Braille script for the blind. He said he was running a training institute at Jaipur. “We are planning to turn it into a full-fledged music academy and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had also assured to provide land for that. It will be of great benefit for the students”, he said.



Young Voice
Quest for meaningful life

Bandeep Singh
Bandeep Singh

“Every child is an artist, but the problem is how to remain an artist when one grows up.” This statement of Pablo Picasso, a renowned painter, is often quoted by Bandeep Singh, an outstanding student of M.Sc. (Computers), who is a poet, singer, debater, musician, philosopher, photographer and social worker, all rolled into one.

Bandeep feels that as a person gets only one life, he/she should live it in his own way. Though he, himself, wants to remain a bachelor, he has decided to adopt three children and bring them up with all care, love and support. He wants to rise above social barriers as, he believes, they make a person selfish. He is pained to see what “man has made of man.”

This regular blood donor wishes to reform society by his radical views. He says, “Either read the books worth reading or do the works worth writing about.” Though he believes in God, he does not support ‘blind faith.’ OC



Bid to rob bank
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Notwithstanding the alert sounded by the police in the city in the wake of a number of robbery, snatching and murder incidents, a few unidentified persons managed to enter the Dhandari Kalan branch of Punjab National Bank on Wednesday night.

However, there were conflicting reports about the incident. Some sources said the burglars failed to steal the cash, while others claimed that burglary had taken place, but it was being denied.

Whatever the truth, the fact is that the burglars managed to broke into the bank itself puts a question mark over the measures taken by the police in controlling crime and by the bank officials in safeguarding public money.

According to the sources, the incident came to light in the morning when a sweeper reached the bank and found locks broken. He informed seniors, who called the police. Fortunately, nothing valuable was found missing.

One held

Mr Bhupinder Singh, SI, Ghumar Mandi police post, who was heading a police party manning a naka near the Rose Garden, arrested Avtar Singh, a resident of Shyam Nagar, as he ignored the police signal to stop and tried to speed his motor cycle past the cops on duty there on Thursday. The accused has been booked under Sections 279, 353, 186 and 506 of the IPC at the Division Number five police station.

Forgery case

The Division Number five police station has registered a case under Sections 467, 468, 471, 420 and 120-B of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Joginder Singh, a resident of Sarabha Nagar, against Sadhu Singh, a resident of Chugawan village, near Phagwara, and Brij Mohan, a resident of Neem Wala Chowk. The complainant had alleged that the accused sold the property of Bhagat Singh by preparing forged documents after his death.

Case registered

The Haibowal police station has registered a case of fraud under Sections 426, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC on the basis of a complaint of Mr Jagjit Singh Bedi, owner of Bawa Plastic Factory, Haibowal Kalan, against Gurdeep Singh, a resident of Guru Arjun Dev Nagar, Dalip Singh, and Jagjit Singh, a resident of Ajit Nagar, here. The complainant has alleged that the accused managed to get Rs 1,35,470 from him but refused to pay back. No arrest has been made so far.

One injured

The Division Number six police station has registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 338 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Jharkhand, against Gurmit Singh, a resident of Janod village. The complainant stated that while he was going on a bicycle near Dada Motor, GT Road, Ludhiana, the accused, driving a scooter, hit him as a result of which he was injured.

Liquor seized

The Jodhewal police on Thursday arrested Sohan Lal, a resident of Sardar Nagar, Basti Jodhewal, and recovered five cartons of illicit liquor from his possession. The accused has been booked under the Excise Act.



Bonanza for house loan clients
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
LIC Housing Finance Ltd has announced new year bonanza containing many new concessions for its home loan clients by reducing rate of interest with effect from January 2, 2002. Now onwards, rate of interest for 5-year term will be 10.25 per cent, irrespective of the loan amount. For a term of 6-10 years, it will be 11 per cent for a loan up to Rs 2 lakh and 11.75 per cent for loan amount above Rs 2 lakh. Again for a term of 11 to 15 years, rate of interest will be 11.25 per cent for loan amount up to Rs 2 lakh and 12 per cent for a loan amount above Rs 2 lakh.

According to a press note issued by Mr B. R. Mehta, Area Manager, Area Office, Ludhiana, here today, the LICHFL has also announced reduction in processing fees and administrative charges for new client by 0.5 per cent. Now, it will be 1 per cent instead of 1.5 per cent. Further, a floating rate of 11.5 per cent has also been announced for the first time by the company for its new clients.

At present, the Ludhiana area office is providing home loan services to its clients in three districts Bathinda, Mansa and Ludhiana. It has now decided to extend services to its clients from Bathinda, Mansa, Barnala and Khanna at their doorsteps, by holding regular camp offices at these places. For Bathinda, it will be every Saturday and for Mansa it will be second and fourth Friday of each month. Similarly for Khanna, it will be on first and third Saturday and for Barnala it will be second and fourth Saturday. These camp offices will be conducted in LIC branches at these centres from 10 am to 2 pm, he added.


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