Thursday, February 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Practical farce at practicals
Students carry stoves, food, cylinders to labs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 20
Taking board practicals can be tough at times, ask these Class X students who took the home science practicals of the Punjab School Education Board here today.

As most of examination centres were without an adequate number of stoves and the other material, students were told to fetch these from their homes. While some students returned home, those who lived far away had to hire stoves and the LPG cylinders from nearby shops and buy the rest of the cooking material. This caused confusion and the examination got delayed by at least an hour.

The students were seen going to examination centres carrying gas stoves, the LPG cylinders, and bags full of vegetables, bread, potatoes, noodles, rice, oil, spices, sugar, milk, cooker, plates, spoons and paper napkins. Some students had to bring their mothers or sisters to help them carry and take care of the material.

Though home science is considered a subject for girls only, several boys, who had picked this subject for the first time this year, were also there to take the test. These included 22 boys of the Basti Jodhewal Vidya Mandir High School who had their centre in the Bharat Nagar Government Senior Secondary School here today.

The boys said they should have been told at least a day before the test that they would have to bring stuff from home. The examiners said they were also helpless, as they had not been given any cut-list of candidates. They were shocked to see 80 students at the centre today.

With just one home-science laboratory on the campus, the students had to light the stoves on the ground for the practicals. Besides, 21 students of Class XII, taking the test of the vocational-studies subject of food processing and canning, also had to wait for over four hours to before the practicals could begin, as the only laboratory was not big enough to accommodate them all. They had to waid till the Class X students left. Till then, they were kept busy by examiners, who asked them to write down procedures of the allotted experiments on answer-sheets.

Even 19 students of the typing course had just four typewriters at the centre, so, they had to wait for an hour for their turn. Commercial arts and garment-making practicals were also held in the school.

In the Jawahar Nagar Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School, there were 50 Class X students for the home-science practicals. While the school did not have a stove, four burners brought by students from their houses were used for the practicals of all students, including 17 private candidates. The school Principal said a number of private candidates had come to take the computer-techniques practicals today, but had to be sent back as the school did not have a computer. She said students had been told to return tomorrow for the examination.

Class XII students were there in the Jawahar Nagar Government Senior Secondary School for Boys for the practicals of vocational courses like horticulture, knitting technology, garment making, automobile engineering and the TV and radio repair.

For 13 students of knitting technology, there was just one machine and candidates had to wait for long for their turns. Besides, the Class X physical education and science practicals were also held. Students of Class VIII took the Punjabi/ Hindi written examination.


Salesmen robbers’ pay the price
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 20
A group of local youths learnt the consequences of taking to “crime” the hard way here today. A few months ago, they were among the thousands of salesmen earning an honest livelihood, but then, they began “playing ‘satta’ and committing robberies” to clear the ‘satta’ debt.

Now, they are in the custody of the CIA-I wing of the local police and admit to having learnt a lesson. After busting this 6-member “gang of salesmen robbers”, the district police told all local shopkeepers and industrialists here today to get the particulars of their salesmen and the other employees registered with the police.

The arrested persons have admitted to having robbed the owner of Batra Cloth House of Rs 1.6 lakh in 2001. The police said more cases were likely to be solved after further interrogation of the accused.

The five persons who have been arrested had formed the gang recently. They had been planning a big strike when they fell in the police net. The incident has again brought the ‘satta’ meance in focus, where so many losers before this have also adopted criminal ways to get money for playing high stakes or clearing debt.

In their statement to the police, the arrested youths said they had played high stakes with the stolen money and lost most of it. The police could only recover Rs 10,000 from them.

Inspector Wazir Singh, head of the CIA-I wing, said the employee verification drive had been launched to avert robberies. He also urged all employers to maintain strict privacy in money transactions.

He said the police had also recovered a stolen scooter and seized a .12 bore gun and some other weapons from the youths. The five persons who have been arrested are Darshan Singh ‘Kaka’, Inderjit Singh ‘Bobby’, Mahesh Kumar ‘Raju’, Harish Kumar and Simran Singh. The sixth member of the “gang”, Anil Kumar, has absconded.

Mr Wazir Singh said, “The gangsters knew when shopkeepers transacted money because they were salesmen in nearby shops. They were planning to rob the owner of a large shop here and another in Jhansi. They had been tracking the movements of a Delhi-bound trader, looking for an opportunity to rob.”

One of the “gangsters”, Inderjit Singh ‘Bobby’ said he was an orphan who wanted to make a fast buck. He said he had tried to earn an honest buck, but ended up being lowly paid. Then, he met this group of “friends”.


Gang of car thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 20
Close on the heels of the recovery of 14 cars from an inter-state gang of thieves, the CIA-II wing of the local police has claimed to have busted another gang of thieves which apart from cars, even stole trucks from the region. The police has sent raiding parties to arrest a key member of the gang who acted as fake transport officer and issued fake vehicle numbers as well as registration certificates of the stolen vehicles.

The arrested gang member has been identified as Prem Masih, while the alleged fake transport officer Puran Singh was still absconding. Mr Waryam Singh, in charge of the CIA-II wing, said the police had been trying to nab Prem Masih for the past several months as he was one of the main persons operating in the area.

The modus operandi of the accused was to steal a vehicle, change its number plate and prepare a fresh registration certificate. The vehicles were then sold off in different parts of the state, mainly in Gurdaspur and Mukarian cities.


What’s corrupting building branch
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 20
The registration of an FIR in a corruption case against three employees of the building branch of the local Municipal Corporation and the subsequent suspension of their services have done little to curb the corruption in this branch.

The MC employees — Amarjit Singh, head draughtsman, Lakhwinder Singh Jassi, inspector, and Vikram, a peon, in the building branch — had been accused of taking bribe from Jagmohan Singh Grewal, an NRI, for allowing the construction of some shops in Sekhewal village. They were forced to return the bribe because the shop structures were demolished.

The case, however, has not solved the problem of corruption in the branch and civic employees will soon be “back to business”.

Even senior civic officials know that the branch needs to improve its regulation of building activities and enforcement of bylaws. In these times of heavy building activity here, it is shocking that the MC income from building application fee and composition fee is decreasing.

The dwindling revenue of the branch may be because the “collection” from offenders goes to individual coffers of employees. There are political and bureaucratic pressures in regulation and enforcement by the branch.

Most persons who lived here believed that any violation of building bylaws could be excused at a price. “It is easier to get the violations excused by paying bribes or exercising political influence than by following usual cumbersome procedures,” a leading builder said on the condition of anonymity.

After some of controversial demolitions here last year, the process had slowed down, which gave birth to the misconception that one could get away with anything. Violations of building bylaws became a routine and the MC a mute spectator. A veteran municipal councillor, said the civic administration should realise that half-hearted measures would not solve the problem.


PMRY: new vistas for unemployed youth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 20
The Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yozna (PMRY), introduced in 1994 by the Centre government, to encourage educated unemployed youths to set-up their own ventures, has opened new vistas of employment for some youth here. Under the scheme, the selected youth are provided training and easy loans through district industry centres.

Says Mr Harbans Singh, General Manager, District Industry Centre ( DIC), here, ‘‘ The scheme is part of the government’s strategy to create employment in the rural, semi-rural and urban areas by providing credit and training to the educated youth of marginal sections, who are willing to start their own work but lack financial sources. The most interesting aspect of the scheme is that it has a provision of providing loans without any bank guarantee for an amount up to Rs one lakh.’’

He disclosed that thousands of youth in the district had already started their own work by benefitting from the scheme. Regarding the performance of the scheme during the current financial year, he said, “Against a target of providing loans to 1,000 youths by March 31, 2002, we have already ensured loans from the banks to 973 persons till today. Out of these, 614 persons have already received loans ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2 lakh. The remaining candidates would be sanctioned loans by February 28.’’

He said that most of the beneficiaries have taken loans to set up small repair shops, provision stores, computer centres and even trading centres. Mr Pushpinder Singh, who had taken a loan of Rs 1 lakh in 1995, to set up a manufacturing unit of door hinges and other small engineering products said, “ The scheme is really good for unemployed youth. My monthly sales are now in the range of Rs 7-Rs 8 lakh. But the major flaw of the scheme is that the government aims to provide loans to youth belonging to lower middle class and depressed castes, who are unable to give bank guarantees. But the banks are interested only in youth belonging to the affluent class, who can provide bank guarantee. This contradiction between the policy of government and the banks needs to be removed, to make the scheme more successful.’’

Mr Harbans Singh agrees that banks are sometimes reluctant to give loans without security. However, he adds “We involve them in the selection of candidates, and prefer to recommend candidates, who are sent by the banks. It ensures that they get loans without much difficulty”.

He also stated that the repayment rate of loans of more than 63 per cent was quite satisfactory as compared to other districts in the state.

Mr Modi, incharge of the scheme at the centre, says that one of the major objectives of the scheme is to create employment through easy credit and training. He informed,‘‘ Any youth belonging to the lower income groups between the age group of 18-35 years can avail of loans. They have to invest 5 per cent of the cost of the project as margin money and 95 per cent cost of the project would be provided by banks through loans including 15 per cent subsidy, with a maximum limit of Rs 7,500. The experts of R& D Centre of Bicycle and Sewing Machines have been given charge of providing training to these youth.’’ 


Criminal activities on rise in Mandi Gobindgarh
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 20
Terror prevails among the residents of this industrial town due to increase of criminal activities in the last few days.

As per reports, a miscreant reportedly stole Rs 1.15 lakh from a scooter on February 15. Kala, an employee of a Mandi Gobindgarh-based steel re-rolling mill, came to the railway road branch of Punjab National Bank to withdraw cash. After withdrawing cash, he put the cash in the box of his scooter. He parked his scooter near a stationary shop when he returned, he found that the cash was not there.

In another incident, robbers struck at the residence of a Cooperative Bank employee of and reportedly took away a colour TV, jewellery and Rs 30,000.

A bag containing valuables was reportedly stolen from shop of a goldsmith on February 14. According to Mr Kulbhushan Verma, owner of the shop, the miscreant stolen the bag, which contained valuables of about Rs 60,000.

An attempt was made by some unidentified persons to kidnap two children in Mohalla Iqbal Nagar, but due to alertness of some women of the area, their attempt was foiled. As per the report, some car-borne persons tried to kidnap them but when woman around cried, they fled from the scene.

Robbers struck at the residence of Rajesh Kumar, a sanitary inspector, and looted Rs 15,000 a colour TV, VCP, a wrist watch and other electronic valuables in the first week of February.

When contacted Mr Parampal Singh Sidhu, SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, he said he had deputed police officials to investigate the cases. He said due to elections, most of the police personnel were deployed for maintaining law and order.


PSHRC adopts Begowal village
Our Correspondent

Doraha, February 20
“Begowal village has been adopted by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission and the British Council. Steps have been taken to ensure all-round development of the village.” This was stated by Mr V.K. Khanna, Chairman, Punjab State Human Rights Commission.

He was speaking at a function organised at the village. The function was presided over by Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, DGP. Mr D.R. Bhatti, Additional DGP, Dr P.S. Jassi, Adviser, Unicef, Mr Gursharanjit Singh, Secretary, Punjab Police State Apex Committee for NGOs, and Ms Poornima Chauhan, programme adviser, Helpage India, were the special guests on the occasion. The function was organised by Mr Rajwinder Singh Mangat in the collaboration of the gram panchayat and the Bhai Kanahia Welfare Society.

Mr A.P. Bhatnagar said the village would now progress by leaps and bounds. Aged people were provided help in cash and kind by the Helpage India. Sixty community health volunteers were given kits by the BSB Society. Notebooks were provided to 14 children on this occasion. Mr Rajwinder Singh Mangat, Mr Gurmit Singh and Mr Jatinder Puri were honoured at the function.

A day-care centre for elders was inaugurated by Mr V.K. Khanna at Satnam Nagar. The second round of training for community health volunteers of Doraha, was also inaugurated by him. Mr D.R. Bhatti, Mr P.S. Jassi and Mr Gursharanjit Singh also spoke on the occasion.


BKU to oppose verdict on SYL canal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 20
Members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) would stage a dharna at the residence of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in Delhi on February 26 to register their protest against the Supreme Court decision on the SYL canal.

Claiming that thousands of farmers from Punjab would join the protest, the BKU president, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, and the secretary general, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, remarked that the Union Government had always given a step-motherly treatment to Punjab and following in its footsteps, the apex court had also shown its anti-Punjab attitude by delivering a judgement which could prove fatal for Punjabi farmers.

The BKU activists hailed the public stand of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress against the judgement on the SYL canal and the assertion that not a drop of river waters from Punjab would be allowed to be given to any other state. They said as the first step of the agitation, the BKU was preparing to organise a dharna in Delhi and if these political parties were really serious to protect the interests of Punjab, they should join the protest. The BKU had written letters to Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh to join hands with the Punjab farmers on this vital issue, Mr Lakhowal added.


Cable operators feel threatened
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 20
The Northern India Cable Operators Association has alleged that Multinational Companies were pushing thousands of cable operators out of business to establish their monopoly in the market.

Talking to mediapersons here today, the association president Mr Sonu Sehgal, said TV channels had suddenly increased their monthly subscription rates and cable operators were finding it difficult to pay huge amounts to these channels. “Unless immediate steps are taken to check the price hike, over 20,000 cable operators in the state may have to down their shutters”, said Mr Sehgal. He further added that some operators had already been forced to shut down their business.

The president said that the pay channels which had increased their subscription included Star News, Star Plus, Star Movies, Star World, National Geographic Channel, Channel V, Zee Network, Sony Entertainment, SetMax, AXN, CNBC etc. He said that besides this, the operators had to pay Rs 15,000 per year to the government as lump-Sum tax.

The Northern India Cable Operators Association will meet again on February 22 to decide their further course of action. “We will have to stop providing our services if the matter is not resolved. We will then provide the packages of free-to-air channels to our subscribers”, added Mr Sehgal.

The association members said that though their business was categorised as a small Scale Industry, yet they were not given any subsidy by the government. “We are perturbed by the unsympathetic attitude of the government”, Mr Sehgal said.

One of the members even alleged that cable operators had to give Rs 7.60 per connection to the government for telecasting the DD Sports Channel. Mr Sonu Sehgal said,”We do not have much hope from the government as it itself charges us a fee and is unlikely to intervene in the matter”, he added showing the helplessness of the operators.


Towards the end of all knowledge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 20
He not only believes in the philosophy of the Vedanta that preaches “You live by choice, not by chance”, but has dedicated his life to spreading Vedic knowledge. “Vedanta — the end of knowledge for mankind, is basically the knowledge of life and living and unless you understand this, you cannot live a full life”, says Gautam Jain, who has dedicated his life to the research and propagation of the Vedanta.

A senior disciple of Swami Parthasarthy, founder of the Vedanta Academy in Maharastra and author of the Vedantic Treatise that has come to be acclaimed as the “Book of the Planet”, ‘Gautamji’, as he is known to the world, gave up several lucrative job offers from multinationals after his brilliant academic career in the USA for dissemination of the Vedanta knowledge through public discourses and seminars. He is currently in Ludhiana to deliver a series of four lectures on “Karma Yoga - The Yoga of Action” from the Bhagavad Gita at the Satluj Club over the next four days starting February 21.

“Bhagavad Gita is often believed to be a post-retirement pastime. But it is not so, the Bhagavad Gita is a technique for dynamic living and must be understood and applied to life”, says the young philosopher and Vedic teacher. He says that the Bhagavad Gita contains knowledge which when applied to day-to-day living can produce a perfect balance between an outer dynamic life and inner peace.

Elaborating his point in a meeting with Ludhiana Tribune, Gautam Jain said, “Generally, we find that the West is involved in dynamic action leading to plenty of prosperity, but as a by-product the United States has recorded a 60 per cent divorce rate and stress has emerged as the highest cause of absenteeism in the United Kingdom”. Contrary to this, in rural India and in South East Asia people are relatively peaceful, but there is a total lack of energy leading to abject poverty. “It is a paradox that peace and prosperity do not co-exist, on the other hand, it is the Vedanta that combines both and teaches people to live a complete life”.

Gautam Jain says that in the Bhagavad Gita, Arjun represents humanity at large and the battlefield challenges that common man faces in his day-to-day existence in his personal, professional, business and social life, etc. The common man invariably slips into stress like Arjun did before the Mahabharata and cried before Lord Krishna like a child. It is the Bhagavad Gita which provides solutions to all challenges in life and makes a common man emerge victorious in the same way as did Arjun.

He adopts a scientific approach to the Vedanta and says, “You do not have to accept anything for granted, apply the principles of the Vedanta to everyday incidents and verify the principles for yourself. The Vedanta is an experimental science and can be easily verified”.

The learned philosopher believes that the role of a preachers is very similar to that of a signpost - it only shows direction, while the rest depends upon the efforts of the individual wanting to benefit from the Vedanta, that is ‘sanatam dharma’ — relevant at all times to all people. He says it is due to the lack of this knowledge that mankind has slipped into worries and unhappiness.

Hailing from a business family in Mumbai, Gautam Jain left for higher studies in United States after Class XII in 1990. In the USA, he excelled in academics and graduated with college honours including the International and Hackman Scholarship, the Charles Dana Foundation award and the Albert Bell prize for academic excellence. But upon completion of his studies education, he chose to follow the path shown by his guru, Swami Parthasarathy.

Currently, he is on the faculty of the Vedanta Academy that conducts three-year residential courses on the Vedanta for boys and girls between the ages of sixteen and thirty. Here students are taught a systematic programme of study that imparts techniques of living which promote “progressive action with inner peace”.


Two injured in accident
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, February 20
Two scooterists were reportedly injured in an accident on the Sahnewal-Kohara road yesterday.

According to the FIR, Makhan Singh and Sukhdev Singh were going on their scooter on the Sahnewal-Kohara road when they were hit by a Tata 407 (PB-10-AE- 9962). Both of them were injured and were admitted to a hospital. The driver of the vehicle ran away leaving the vehicle behind.

A case under Sections 279, 338 and 427 of the IPC has been registered. The accused is still at large.


Tipsy ‘winemen’ get a punch
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 20
Members of a marriage party beat up three tipsy intruders who had entered a marriage palace here and demanded money for drinking. Force had to be used as the intruders could not be persuaded to leave peacefully.

According to the information, the intruders said they were wine contractors and would not allow them to drink there. When members of the marriage party refused to fulfill their demand, the tipsy intruders started beating up some members.

At this, the other members of the party became angry and beat up the intruders before the police came there. The police caught two of the intruders, but let them go with a warning after they apologised to members of the party.


Body fished out
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 20
The body of a 92-year-old man, Joginder Singh, was found floating in a pond of Baddowal village on Monday. Reportedly, Joginder had gone out to relieve himself on February 15 and fell into the pond while washing his hands. The police removed the body from the pond.

Frauds alleged
The Division Number 2 police has registered a case under Sections 420, 506 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of a woman, Ms Jatinder Kaur Bali of Salem Tabri, against Parkash Singh ‘Pappu’, his father Swaran Singh and mother Piar Kaur, all of Talwandi Kalan village. The complainant accused them of duped her of Rs 50,000 on the pretext of getting her a government job. She did not get the job or her money back. When she asked for the money, the accused threatened her with dire consequences.

The Division Number 3 police has registered a case of fraud under Sections 406, 420 and 506 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Sohan Singh of New Subhash Nagar against Umesh Jain, an eye specialist.

The complainant had accused the doctor of taking Rs 1.25 lakh from him for getting him a BAMS degree. The promised degree never came, nor did the money.

The accused gave the complainant three cheques for Rs 25,000, Rs 70,000 and Rs 30,000, respectively, but the bank did not honour these.

Beaten up
The Jodhewal police has registered a case of assault against three persons — Shera, Pala and Ajmer Singh — on the complaint of a man Gulzar Singh of Vardhman Colony on the Rahon road.

The accused had “entered” his Gulzar’s house and “beat him up” for not paying them the daily “extortion money”. However, no arrest has been made, so far.

The Civil Lines police has registered a case under Sections 323, 341 and 34 of the IPC on the complaint of a Bihari migrant, Bablu, against some unidentified persons. Bablu alleged that the accused had intercepted him near the Feroze Gandhi market on Monday and injure him in an attack.

Key-maker booked
The Kotwali police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Pawan Batra, a shopkeeper of Ghumar Mandi, who had come to stop a key-maker from grabbing the money of some workers, near the railway station on Saturday.

The accused in the case are the owners of Chawla Bag Store and Midhha Garments and about 25 other shopkeepers who had “attacked” Mr Batra outside the Kotwali police station.


‘Remove controls to boost economic growth’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 20
“The history of economic growth reveals that whenever the governments have tried to control the economy, it has only led to corruption and decline in economic growth. The economies of West and China have been put on the fast track by dismantling various controls on the industry, on the other hand, India has lagged far behind due to slow pace of liberalisation and government controls on different sectors of economy,” said Mr S.K. Rai, Managing Director, Hero Cycles Ltd. He was delivering a lecture on ‘The growth perspective of management thoughts and ideas in the last 100 years’ here yesterday. The lecture was organised by the Ludhiana Management Association as part of its monthly series.

Referring to the history of economic growth, Mr Rai said, “The economies, which had given due emphasis to accumulation of knowledge, its application, science, and technology, have experienced high economic growth.” However, the Indian economy has badly suffered due to unwanted controls, lack of innovations and desired attitude among the public, he said.

He described in detail the fundamentals of scientific management, brand management, quality management and knowledge management during his hour-long discourse. Expressing the essentials of economic growth, he said, “The economists and politicians have played a significant role in the economic development in Europe. Economic growth is a process of economic change. For any society to grow economically, it must be driven by openness to change, polity and strong economic institutions.”

Commenting on the role of migration in the economic growth, he said, “Though under the present rules of the WTO, the migration of labour has been restricted as compared to capital, but historically it has given a fillip to the economic growth, whether in the USA, Europe or even in Punjab.”

Earlier introducing the subject, Mr V.K. Goyal, General secretary, LMA, said management of talent, competitiveness and continuous innovations were prerequisite for the survival of organisation in current times. Taking a dig on those who are against materialistic aspirations and possessions, Dr M.A. Zaheer, Dean College of Basic sciences, PAU, maintained that honest profit was not a dirty word.

The meeting was attended by over 150 eminent personalities from business, industry and academics. 

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