Thursday, January 31, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


2 brothers freed from bondage
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
Deepak and Vishal, two child labourers, were bursting with happiness and joy. They had been reunited with their mother today after one year. They were released by a warrant officer, appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, recently, from clutches of their employer, who kept them as bonded slaves after giving an advance amount of Rs 1500 and one quintal foodgrains to their guardians.

According to their mother, Jyoti, a resident of Phillaur, who related her story before the mediapersons today, she had employed them with Pargat Singh, a landlord of Kamalke in Moga District. However, her sons were badly treated by the landlord and his family. They were under-fed and often beaten.

She was not allowed to meet her children. Her son Vishal (10), said he was made to wake up at 4 in the morning and was never allowed to play. He used to work till late in the evening. His elder brother, Deepak (12, said they were not paid anything. ‘‘We have been working for the past one year with them, but they are now demanding Rs 25,00 from our mother for our release.’’

Jyoti approached the National Human Rights Commission, the local police and the administration through Mr Jai Singh, a social worker. But no action was taken. Later, she approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the release of her sons. The Court appointed a warrant officer to inquire into the matter who with volunteers of the People's Vigilance Committee on Bonded, Child and Migrant Labour raided the premises of the landlord and freed the children.

Mr Jai Singh, said they had filed an application with the National Human Rights Commission a few months back, but due to the lengthy process of justice, no action was taken. In the meantime, we came to know that the landlord had started giving drugs to the children. Their mother used to cry whenever she met us. In November last, she was thrashed by the accused and was threatened that they would implicate her in some criminal case if she visited again.

Later, we decided to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Interestingly, when we the search party raided the house, the family had been informed by some villagers in advance, but we found the children from the inner rooms of the house.



Marriage palace owners allege victimisation
Say Army authorities threatening them
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
Three marriage palace owners, whose palaces were demolished in June 2001 have alleged victimisation at the hands of the Army authorities, saying they were selectively harassed and victimised although the case was pending in the Supreme Court and the Army authorities had no right to act of their own.

They alleged that the Army authorities were regularly visiting their palaces and threatening them with dire consequences. They disclosed that about a month ago Army officials had detained five labourers working at one of the demolished palaces.

Reacting to the reports of the contempt of court case reportedly being filed by the authorities of the Field Ammunition Depot, Badowal, the palace owners claimed that they had not disturbed the status quo as ordered by the apex court. “We have not placed a single brick after the demolition”, one of the owners said while denying the claims of the Army authorities that they were committing contempt of court.

He pointed out that the court judgement was silent on the issue of organising marriage parties. The palace owners pointed out, “The apex court has ordered status quo for all marriage palaces, including those which were not demolished. When they can organise marriage parties, why cannot we”.

The owners said they had only removed the debris much before the court order. “If our organising of marriage functions is contemptuous, so is by those whose palaces were not demolished because the court order is uniform and should be implemented on all marriage palaces”, they argued. They said they would contest the contempt case in the court of law as they had taken legal opinion for organising the marriages. They pointed out that the court order had not mentioned anything about organising of the functions. “Why should only three of us be prevented from organising functions, just because our palaces were demolished”, they asked, while adding, “with due regards for the court order, we have not done any construction work, but why should we be prevented from raising temporary tents”.

On the other hand, the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Kaler, clarified that the administration would strictly go by the court directions and ensure that the status quo was not disturbed at any cost. He said the administration was keeping a close watch on the situation and the activities of the palace owners. He added the administration was in constant touch with the Army authorities.



Congress instigating terrorism: Khurana
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 30
The Vice-President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and former Chief Minister of Delhi, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, has charged the Congress with spreading and instigating terrorism throughout the country with political motives. Addressing a largely attended election rally of Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, the SAD-BJP candidate from the Koom Kalan constituency at Machhiwara, last evening, he criticised the Congress on its Kashmir policy, which had resulted in the loss of one-third of the state to Pakistan.

Mr Khurana, recalling the dubious role of Congressmen during the 1984 riots at Delhi and elsewhere, wondered as to how a particular community could be branded as terrorists. “Terrorist activities have been taking place in states like Kashmir, Nagaland, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and many other parts of the country for quite some time now, but never has any particular community been blamed.”

Branding all Congress leaders as ‘bunch of crooks’, Mr Khurana said all were raising the bogey of corruption and demanding a ‘high-level inquiry’ to mislead the voters. If the allegations of corruption levelled by them were true, why had no body lodged a formal complaint with the Lokpal during the past five years, he asked.

Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, president, SAD-B youth wing, and many other senior party leaders also addressed the rally.

The DCC (Urban) president, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, addressing a meeting of party functionaries at Congress Bhavan claimed that all office-bearers of the DCC, block and ward Congress committees had been assigned specific duties to canvass for the party candidates.

Prominent among those present at the meeting were Mr Parminder Mehta, president, District Youth Congress, Ms Usha Malhotra, district president, Mahila Congress, Mr Harjinder Singh Grewal, president, labour and employment cell, Mr Amar Nath Bharti, and Mr Gurbhej Chhabra, both PPCC members and Ms Shashi Sood, general secretary, Punjab Mahila Congress.

The two-day visit of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who was on a damage-control mission, besides canvassing support for the ruling combine nominees, apparently had a dramatic effect on at least one of the prominent party rebels, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, Vice-President, SAD, who in a signed statement here today clarified that he had no connection, whatsoever, with the candidature of Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, an Independent in fray from the Ludhiana West Assembly seat. 



Dhakki Sahib dera head supports Panthic Morcha
Tribune News Service

Kila Raipur, January 30
Political confrontation between the Panthic Morcha candidate, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, and the sitting MLA, who is contesting on Shiromani Akali Dal ticket from this sensitive constituency, took a new turn today, with the head of the Dhakki Sahib dera Baba Darshan Singh declaring his support for Mr Grewal.

Baba Darshan Singh, who commands great influence in the area spreading to several Assembly segments, had so far remained indifferent politically. However, he today spoke from the Panthic Morcha stage and urged his followers to support and vote for Mr Grewal. His support could make a significant difference to the electoral outcome of the constituency.

Addressing the rally organised by Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Baba Darshan Singh blamed Mr Garcha of the burning of holy birs at his dera, in Dhakki Sahib. The baba had also brought with him some of the burnt birs. While pointing towards the half-burnt birs, he told the people, “This is the doing of the so-called Panthic government”. He urged people to ensure that this government was voted out of power.

Baba Darshan Singh was reportedly provoked to come in open support of Mr Grewal, as the SAD candidate and the Minister for Technical Education, Mr Jagdish Garcha, had reportedly been using derogatory and defamatory language against him. Baba had not been reacting to these charges so far. However, his supporters prevailed upon him as they had been feeling hurt over the “disinformation campaign launched by Mr Garcha against him”, said one of the Panthic Morcha leaders.

Mr Garcha, who had won in the byelection after the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had vacated this seat, was facing a tough contest this time. He had allegedly fought the last elections with the entire government at his backing. Now, he had been placed in a four cornered contest with an unpredictable outcome.

Besides Mr Grewal and Mr Garcha, Mr Tarsem Jodhan, Independent, and Bibi Gurdial Kaur Khangura, were also contesting in this constituency spread over in 82 villages. Mr Grewal had an edge, since he was the only Grewal candidate from here and about half of the villages were dominated by the Grewals. Last time, Mr Grewal had supported Mr Garcha as both were with the Shiromani Akali Dal at that time. Mr Grewal had quit later to join Mr Tohra.



Local Bodies Department transfers 85 MC officials
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 30
After running into trouble with the State Election Commission over mass transfers of more than 100 officials in the four Municipal Corporations in Punjab on January 18 and 19, the Local Bodies Department has apparently sorted out the matter and a revised list of new posting orders for as many as 85 officials, including Superintending Engineers, Executive Engineers, Assistant Engineers and Assistant Town Planners, have been issued by the department.

According to senior MC officials, most of the transfers were ordered on the basis of a stay of four years or more at one place while some other officials were shifted on specific complaints against them.

Earlier, the Chief Electoral Officer had taken strong exception on transfer orders issued by the Directorate of Local Government without prior permission, which was mandatory under the model code of conduct in force for the Assembly elections. Not only was the government directed not to give effect to the new posting orders but the Chief Secretary and Principal Secretaries of several departments, including Local Bodies, were also summoned by the Election Commission to seek their explanation for violation of model code of conduct.



PSEB unions irked by free power poll promise
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) unions have condemned the promises made by leaders of the ruling alliance and the Congress to continue free power supply to the agriculture sector. They have questioned the legal status of these populist measures in view of the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s recent guidelines issued to the state government to take appropriate steps within six months to ensure at least 3 per cent return on the capital invested in the power sector.

They urged the political parties not to make any such commitment, which would have an adverse effect on the financial health of the board, its employees and the state economy. They said the free supply to the agricultural sector and uneconomical rates for other segments of the consumers had already resulted in heavy losses to the board and decline in investment in this sector.

Commenting on the election manifesto of the Congress and the public announcements made by leaders of the ruling alliance, Mr M.S. Bajwa, state president, PSEB Engineers Association, here, said,‘‘ The free power supply policy would simply push the state towards darkness. The power tariff rates even for the industrial sector are currently 35-40 per cent lower than other states, including Haryana, Karnataka, Delhi and Maharashtra. Further after the formation of the State and Central Regulatory Commissions, the state government has no role to take decisions on the behalf of an autonomous electricity board’’.

The union leaders claimed that the free power supply to the agricultural sector during the past five years had resulted in losses to the tune of about Rs 1000 crore. Though the state government had promised to compensate the board for the actual losses due to policy decision, but promises had not been fulfilled.

The union had already approached Mr Sohi to take up the matter with the State Regulatory Commission, but he had delayed the matter reportedly due to election period.

Mr Bajwa disclosed that due to the efforts of officials and the field staff, the power theft had been drastically reduced by 7 to 8 per cent of the total supply. In view of the huge power theft in states such as J & K ( up to 70 per cent ), the state board was among the top five boards in the country, which had checked power theft. However, the state government’s decision to continue free power supply would have adverse an effect on this campaign as well, he said.

Mr Anil Miglani, state general secretary of the union at Patiala, asserted that the different election and public opinion surveys had already proved that the people were more interested in quality and uninterrupted power supply rather than ‘free lunches’. The political parties should resist themselves from making irresponsible and irrational promises that would hurt the interests of the state and thousands of employees of the board, he added. 



Father of the Nation remembered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 30
Rich tributes were paid to Mahatma Gandhi on his Martyrdom Day at several functions in the city. Activists of several political parties, freedom fighters and eminent citizens garlanded the statue of Mahatma Gandi in the Town Hall complex.

The District Youth Congress observed the day as ‘prerna divas’ at a function held at Ghumar Mandi. The DYC chief, Mr Parminder Mehta, and other party functionaries garlanded the portrait of the Father of the Nation and paid homage to all martyrs who laid down their lives for their motherland.

Exhorting the youth to follow the path of truth, hard work and sacrifice shown by the great leaders, Mr Mehta asked them to launch an all-out fight against rampant corruption.

Among others, Mr Harbhajan Singh Sohal, Mr Jang Bahadur Bindra, Mr Ravinder Syan, Mr Raj Kumar Kashyap, Mr Sarbjit Bunty, Mr H.S. Thukral, Mr Jasbir Singh, Mr Inderjit Makkar, Mr Jasbir Gill, Mr Anil Kanujia, Mr Vipan Kumar, Ms Rekha Passi, Ms Surji Devi, Ms Sunita, Ms Savitri Devi and Mr Deepak Bains were present.

At another function organised at Congress Bhavan, the District Congress Committee (Urban) president, Mr K.K. Bawa, noted freedom fighter Diwan Jagdish Chander, Mr Gurbhej Singh Chhabra, member, PPCC, Mr Ajaib Singh, Mr Varinder Gandhi, Mr Bittu Chawla, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Mr Amarjit Singh, Dr Hardev Singh, Mr K.K. Digli, along with several office-bearers and block presidents of the party offered floral tributes to the Mahatma.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bawa stressed on the need to follow the teachings and ideals of Mahatma Gandhi in order to cleanse the political system.

He said the glorious 117-year -old history of the Congress showed that the party had played a significant role in the freedom struggle and later in national reconstruction.



Security garrison
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
With four VVIPs in the city, it has been turned into a security garrison, giving tough time to both the police as well as the public. A senior BJP leader, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, the BSP chief, Mr Kanshi Ram, the NCP president, Mr Sharad Pawar, and the Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, scheduled to be here today. The police is literally on their toes.

This was preceded by a three-day visit of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who instead of putting up at the Circuit House stayed at the residence of a businessman friend in the Civil Lines area, making the job of the security agencies more difficult. Equally harassed was the general public as they had to wait on roads for the VIP caravan to pass or get thoroughly frisked at different places. Although it was a minor relief today after Mr Badal left, the security agencies had to remain alert today as well.

For the next few days the situation would remain like that for the next few days with more leaders coming for canvassing.



Verdict on Dhakki Sahib issue may influence poll outcome
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
The recent verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court directing a CBI inquiry into the Dhakki Sahib controversy will have effect on the Assembly elections, at least in two constituencies — Kila Raipur and Payal — to which Punjab Cabinet Minister Jagdish Singh Garcha and MLA Sadhu Singh Ghudani belonged and have been indicted in the case.

This was claimed here yesterday by the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) chairperson, Mr D. S. Gill, and its Women’s Wing (WW) secretary, Ms Inderjit Kaur. The organisation was the petitioner in this case and welcomed the High Court’s decision by Mr Justice K. S. Grewal, which has accepted the findings of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) in toto, with a direction to keep in abeyance any further proceedings before the lower courts against Sant Darshan Singh Dhakkiwale (Maksudra) and his followers until the report of the CBI is received.

The IHRO secretary-general, Mr Mohinder Singh Grewal, and its Women Wing chairperson, Dr Kanwaljit Kaur Bal, said in the statement that they were not for or against any political party, and said’, ‘‘We approached the High Court for protection of human rights on the basis of the Full Bench decision of the PSHRC, in which the commission had recommended CBI inquiry into the whole episode.”

The PSHRC had condemned the administration’s handling of the case involving Sant Darshan Singh of Dhakki Sahib and his followers and had directed, on April 30 last, the state government to hand over the investigation to the CBI.

Blasting the state government, the Full Bench of the Commission gave directions for entrusting the probe to the CBI ‘in order to repose confidence of the people in the administration of justice.’ The PSHRC had fully endorsed the report of the Additional Director General of Police A.P. Bhatnagar, which had recommended a CBI enquiry into the whole episode and a departmental inquiry against the DSP, Payal, Mr Balraj Singh Sidhu, and the then SP (D), Khanna, Mr Hartej Singh Sekhon.

The commission’s investigation agency reportedly had stated that the state Cabinet Minister Jagdish Singh Garcha and SAD MLA from Payal, Sadhu Singh Ghudani, had allegedly backed the faction opposing the Sant. Prominent among the opposing faction was Amar Kaur, the sister of Cabinet Minister Jagdish Garcha.

On May 8, 1999, a clash reportedly took place between the Sant’s followers and the faction supported by Garcha’s sister. A case of attempt to murder was registered against the Sant and he was arrested. His followers, mostly women, as the men had been rounded up, held a demonstration and blocked the traffic on G.T. Road. On May 10, they were lathi-charged; some molested and tortured by the police.

On December 2, 1999, the dera, which had been under siege of the other faction, was attacked. In that incident, three inmates were injured, 12 huts gutted and 500 gutkas and six sanchis of the Guru Granth Sahib were burnt.

The PSHRC concluded that Sant Baba Darshan being in a settled possession of the Dera Dhakki Sahib, the opposite faction, therefore, had the motive to set on fire the thatched huts etc., in order to force the Sant and his followers to abandon the dera.

The High Court Judge, Mr Justice Grewal, thus observed: “The dispute is with regard to land but appears to have acquired a religio-political colour as there are complaints of sacrilege and of involvement of politicians. It is essential that an independent inquiry should be conducted by the CBI as recommended by the commission.”



Doors closed on rebels: Amarinder
Our Correspondent

Samrala, January 30
Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, while addressing a gathering at Nankana Sahib Public School in favour of Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, Congress MLA and the local candidate of the party from Samrala constituency, said dissidents who had been expelled from the party for six years would not be allowed to rejoin the party even though any such expelled dissident succeeded in winning the election. He also said the present Lok Pal of Punjab would be changed as he belongs to the BJP.

Capt Amarinder Singh while addressing a press conference said after the formation of government in Punjab, the Congress would make its MLAs submit the list of their properties and would also ask them to do so after five years. He further said the party was set to win more than two third seats in Punjab, he also declared that the party after the formation of government would pay bonus to the farmers at the rate of Rs 30 per quintal for paddy sold by them during last year and also declared that a judicial commission would be constituted to probe the assets and scams of Mr Parkash Singh Badal which amounted to Rs 3,500 crore and would ensure that the amount was recovered from him.

Capt Amarinder Singh also said Mr Badal had damaged the interests of the state in order to get personal benefits in SYL canal issue. He also said the state government has deliberately contested the case of SYL in the Supreme Court effectively to cause loss to the interests of Punjabis.

He also alleged that during the regime of the present ruling party more than 200 farmers had committed suicide and industries had been closed and unemployment had increased and corruption was rampant. “Every job is for sale in Punjab now”, he said.

During this public rally Mr H.S. Hanspal, Chairman, Disciplinary Committee, Congress, stated Mr Parkash Singh Badal had given a wrong statement regarding the Namdhari sect. Mr Hanspal declared that more than 7 lakh namdharis in Punjab will vote for the Congress candidates.

Mr S.S. Dullo, MP, Ropar, said now it had become apparent that the next government in the state will be of the Congress.

At today’s rally, Mr Dharma Pal Sharma, president of the Nagar Panchayat, Khamano, Mr Raj Kumar Thapar, former Councillor BJP, joined the Congress along with their supporters. 



Casual labour savours poll-time ‘bounties’
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
Even as the fate of most candidates in the electoral fray hangs precariously till the polling day, its an all out win-win situation for hundreds of hitherto unemployed casual labourers in rural Punjab. These village folk have not only found work that pays well, but find themselves much in demand by the candidates who need a lot of manpower for tasks such as making of party flags, putting up posters or to add to the number of audience at the political rallies and corner meetings to make these appear well attended. Gurdial Singh of Lalton village, who had to virtually starve on several days when he did not find casual labour, is a different person today. Not one or two, but three square meals are assured at least till February 13, besides there is liquor and poppy husk in the evenings after a hard day’s labour.

This is not all, the Rs 150 in cash each evening besides the other goodies is like a dream. In all this Gurdial Singh is not alone; there are hundreds of others like him who wish that electioneering goes on forever. Several families in the Kila Raipur Assembly segment have called their relatives from areas like Ganganagar in Rajasthan and Sirsa in Haryana to cater to the heavy demand for manpower that is able to lend a boost to the election campaign. In this constituency particularly, heavyweights like Punjab’s Technical Education Minister Jagdish Garcha is locked in a quadrangular contest between an NRI Ms Gurdial Kaur, of the Congress, Panthic Morcha candidate and former Punjab Minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal and Tarsem Jodhan, an Independent candidate, each one of them trying every possible method to tilt the scales in their favour.

Makhan Singh has been quick to master the art of mounting Congress flags on twigs cut from “kikkar” trees and distributing them amongst party supporters at public rallies. “I voted for the Akali Dal last time, but this time I’ll vote for the Congress because the Congress candidate has provided me employment, so my loyalties are obvious”, he says. Similarly, all those who have found some work with a particular political party have turned loyal and are going all out to justify the three meals and the booze, not to mention the hard cash and the joy rides on the vehicles being used for the campaign. As compared to the normal work in the fields, the election duty is pretty simple and involves work like pasting posters and putting up banners only.

At party rallies these people raise slogans and when free they just sit in a rickshaw and campaign for their candidates with the help of a loudspeaker. The candidates too prefer these local rural folk as compared to those from the cities as firstly they are available for 24 hours and secondly the ruralities prove to be more loyal, says Mr Gurinder Singh, a campaign organiser in Latala village.

Kila Raipur, Latala, Mullanpur, Dakha, Payal, Doraha or any other place in the district has a very similar picture to offer. Among these “election workers” there are several sportsmen who generally participate in rural sports organised in most villages at this time of the year. Some of the sportsmen who depend heavily on the prize money for subsistence or additional income have archived their monetary targets from the election campaign. Unaware of any model code of conduct, all these people know is that they are on a paid holiday, at least till the polling day.



CM pacifies Ghudani
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 30
Mr Sadhu Singh Ghudani, MLA, Payal, who was annoyed with Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, for not giving him the party ticket from Payal was yesterday reconciled with the CM when he visited his house to pacify him.

Mr Badal then visited the grain market to address a rally. He was welcomed by Mr Bharpoor Singh Rouni and Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh Gill, the party candidate from Payal.

Speaking in favour of Mr Gill and Mr Ghudani, Mr Badal said, “Mr Ghudani has served the people sincerely and ensured that Mr Gill too will come up to the expectations of the people”.

He added, “We are once again standing in the people’s court, who are to decide our fate by weighing the pros and cons of the past crises and the changed times of today. It is the people who are to decide that how are they going to equate with the passive rule of the Congress for 45 years and the miraculous rule of the SAD-BJP for five years. The decision making process on the people’s side should be the spontaneous outcome for the development and growth witnessed by them in the past five years after a period of tremendous agony showered on them by the Congress”, he said.

“Our government with the active cooperation from the Centre has ensured peace and stability, worked for every section of society, fought for public interests, disbursed bank loans, house rent allowance, old-age pension, introduced shagun schemes for Dalits and stabilised industry and agriculture”. He appealed to the people to analyse their achievements rationally.



Voters worried at use of drugs in poll
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 30
A signature campaign for drug free elections initiated by the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle is getting a massive response from voters in the state.

Stating this in a press note, Mr Surjit Singh, zonal secretary, said over 20,000 voters had signed to show their concern against the use of liquor, poppy husk and other drugs during the elections to lure voters. They also pledged to root out the menace from society, he added.

Prof Sarabjeet Singh, Director, Social and Health Services Directorate, said the practice of free distribution of intoxicants not only reversed the efforts of de-addiction in the state but also made the society ill permanently. He said the study circle in association with the Anubhav Feature Service and Aas Kiran De-addiction Centre was carrying out an opinion survey among the voters to know about their concern and aspirations regarding the rampant drug abuse in the state especially during elections.

Prof Sarabjeet has appealed to the parties to issue strict guidelines to their candidates and workers not to depend on alcohol or other drugs for luring voters. 



Madhu, Tina are “perfect saas-bahu”
Our Correspondent

Winners of “Saas-Bahu and Sakhi” contest held
 in Ludhiana on, Wednesday

Ludhiana, January 30
VLCC organised an inter-club “Saas-Bahu and Sakhi” contest in which the participants of over six clubs participated. The event was based on the theme — how well you know each other.

According to a press statement, the two groups mainly saas-bahu and sakhi were judged on the knowledge about each other. A set of 10 questions was given to the saas and bahu, which they were to answer in 10 minutes.

Ms Madhu Taneja and Ms Tina Taneja of VLCC were the most compatible saas-bahu. The best looking saas-bahu were Ms Grower and Ms Kaveeta of Niharika. The prize was given to them on the basis of their skin texture, hair and overall personality. Ms Neena Mehta and Ms Vineeta Mehta of Triveni Club were declared the second best looking saas-bahu. Ms Roshan Gupta and Shalini of Geetanjali Club bagged the special saas-bahu prize. The best “sakhi” couple was Simran and Shaheen. Rupika and Shruti won the second prize and special prize was given to Ms Seeta Gupta and Ms Surinder who had been friends for the past over 35 years. The most compatible “sakhis” were Suman and Medha. Over 54 women participated in the contest. The two judges were Ms Rita Juneja and Ms Poonam Bindra.



PSEB official dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Samrala, January 30
Major Singh, Assistant Lineman posted at the local PSEB office, was killed in a road accident on Sunday. He was cremated at his native village, Majali Kalan, after post-mortem.



Tea seller sustains head injuries in attack

Ludhiana, January 30
Mr Balbir Singh, owner of a roadside tea kiosk in Gurdev Nagar, sustained head injuries in an attack yesterday. According to information, two unidentified attackers first beat up Mr Balbir Singh and then one of them hit him in the head with an iron rod as a result of which he was injured. The attackers also allegedly robbed him of cash in his pockets and from his cash box. A case has been registered at the division number five police station.

One dies in road mishap

The Salem Tabri police has registered a case against driver of a Mahindra jeep on the charge of causing death of a pedestrian by rash and negligent driving on the complaint of the son of the deceased. Mr Rajesh Kumar, a resident of New Ashok Nagar, stated in his complaint to the police that his father, who was hit by the jeep on the GT Road on Monday, died on the spot and the jeep driver fled the spot. The driver and vehicles could not be traced.

Three injured in road accidents

Three persons were injured in various road accidents in the city since Monday. Mohammed Ansar, son of Mohammed Subhan, a resident of Jassian Chowk, was hit by a scooter on Monday night while he was walking on the Jassian road. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital for treatment. A case has been registered at the Haibowal police station.

In a head-on collision between two scooters on the Rahon road on Tuesday, Mr Karam Singh, son of Mr Bawa Singh, a resident of Sasurali Colony, was injured. He was admitted to the Civil Hospital. A case has been registered at the Jodhewal police station.

In another accident a pedestrian Mr Prem Kumar (66), a resident of Naya Mohalla, was hit by a scooter on the Overlock Road near the Gill chowk on Monday night, as a result of which Mr Prem Kumar fractured his leg. He has been admitted to the DMC Hospital.

Dowry case

The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case of dowry harassment on a statement by Ms Gaganjeet Kaur, a resident of Phase-7, SAS Nagar, against her husband Rupinder Singh, father-in-law Harbhajan Singh, mother-in-law Kuldip Kaur and brother-in-law Surinder Singh, residents of Sarabha Nagar, Ludhiana. Ms. Gaganjeet had alleged in her complaint that the accused had harassed her for bringing less dowry and was demanding more but as she could not meet their demands, she was turned out of her house by the accused.

Kidnapping alleged

The Civil Lines police has registered a case of cheating and alleged kidnapping on a statement by Mr Piara Singh, a resident of Guru Nanak Nagar, Tajpur Road, against Amarjit Singh, his son Pritpal Singh and a nephew, residents of Sant Ishwar Singh Nagar.

The complainant had alleged in his statement that he gave Rs 50,000 to the accused so as to get his son, Jaswinder Singh, settled abroad. But the accused neither sent his son abroad nor returned the money paid to them on the other hand, they had abducted his son.

Cases registered

The Haibowal police has registered a case of beating under various sections by the IPC on the statement by Mr Raj Kumar, a resident of New Sant Nagar, against Vijay Kumar of the same locality. The complainant stated to the police that the accused beat him up over a minor dispute.

The Salem Tabri police has registered a case of beating on a statement by Ms Rajinder Kaur, a resident of New Ashok Nagar, against Pappu Pardhan, Jonu, Salil, Kamal and five to six other unknown persons. The complainant had alleged that the accused had beaten her up.


The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case against an unknown scooterist for causing injury by accident on a statement by Mr Ajit Singh, an employee of the PWD, who stated in his complaint that he was injured after a scooter hit him while he was going on his cycle.



Centre to re-negotiate Indo-Nepal treaty
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
The Centre is actively considering a proposal submitted by the Indian industry to re-negotiate some clauses of the Indo-Nepal treaty, to safeguard the interests of the domestic units, said Mr N.L. Lakhanpal, Director General of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce, here today.

He said the Commerce Ministry has taken up the cause of Indian industry, especially the acrylic yarn and edible oil producers, who have been severely affected by the misuse of treaty by some units there. He asserted that the ministry was well aware of the development needs of a friendly country, but it could not close its eyes to the interests of Indian manufacturers.

It was one of the reasons that the term of the treaty had been increased for just three months. “ We simply want to safeguard the interests of the Indian industry and the development of our neighbouring country,” he claimed.

He was in the city to participate in an awareness seminar on “Potential of Latin-American Countries for Engineering Countries,” organised by the Engineering Export Promotion Council of India ( NR).

Speaking at the seminar, Mr Satish Dhanda, Vice Chairman, EEPC, said, “The Latin-American countries with a combined GDP of about US $ .2 trillion and a population of nearly 500 million represent huge and growing market largely unexplored by Indian exporters. There was a great scope of increase in engineering exports provided government assists adequately.”

Later, while addressing a press conference, Mr Lakhanpal said, “As per its commitment to the WTO regime, the Government of India is determined to create a zero-rate tax regime for the exporters and importers. On the one hand, we are negotiating with the countries, which are adopting unfair and non-trade barriers to curb Indian imports, and retaliating wherever needed, on the other we are also minimising the direct subsidies to exporters, as per WTO norms.”

He outrightly rejected the demand of exporters to provide transport subsidy to the border area states, saying that it was not possible under the new rules. Though, it would continue for the agricultural exports due to its limited provisions under the world trade rules, he added.

Mr Lakhanpal disclosed that the Ministry of Commerce had kept Rs 100 crore this year to encourage the states to formulate exporter-friendly policies. He pointed out that the UP Government had already announced its exim policy, and they were cajoling the Punjab Government to announce that policy. Perhaps, the new government would take the decision after resuming power, he said. 


Biz Clips

Bumper draw: Mr Pawan Kumar, a resident of the Kitchlu Nagar locality, won a color TV in the BPCL ‘Nav Varsh Dhamaka’ bumper draw taken out at Azad Fuel Centre on Cemetery Road by the Area Sales Officer of the company, Mr Parveen Kaul, on Sunday. Winners of the draw received prizes from Mr Charanjeet Singh, an official of the company, at a function held on Wednesday. Mr Krishan Lal Malik, member, Pollution Control Advisory Committee, and Mr Brahm Dutt Kaushik, Manager of the petrol station, were also present. Other prize winners of the bumper draw and weekly draws are: bumper draw: second prize (electric iron) — Mr Ajay Malhotra, third prize (wall clock) — Mr Manpreet Singh. Weekly draws: first prize (electric iron) — Mr Parveen Gupta, Mr T.S. Thind, Mr Sanjeev Kumar; second prize (wall clock) — Mr S. Singh, Ms Shashi Joshi. OC


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