Friday, February 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Exam day spent on roads...
...looking for a centre with computers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 21
Hundreds of Class X private candidates for the Punjab School Education Board computer-education practicals were a harassed lot today as teachers at their allotted centres refused to take their test.

Several such students had to move from one school to another to take the practicals as authorities of various schools declined to let them take the examination, as there were not enough computers anywhere. The students, who began from their homes at 8 am, had to be on the move for six hours till they finally found a school that was ready to accommodate them.

Students of a private school of Rishi Nagar here said the board had made Government Model Senior Secondary School on the Punjab Agricultural University campus their centre for today’s computer-education practicals. They said they had reached the centre on time, but the school authorities had refused to accommodate them, saying that they had not received any authority letter in this regard from the board.

The students, on their bicycles, went all the way to the District Education Department, from where they took an authority letter of the Deputy Education Officer, Mr Surinder Singh, for taking the test at the PAU centre. The students again went returned to the school, where they presented the letter, but, this time, they were told that several other students were already in for the practicals, so, they could not be accommodated today.

The much-harassed students approached Mr Surinder Singh again and apprised him of the situation. The Deputy DEO then issued a new authority letter to the students, allowing them to take the test in Government Multipurpose Senior Secondary School on Cinema Road, where again, the authorities told them to go to some other school, as the centre already had many students.

The boys went back to the District Education Office and told Mr Surinder Singh what had happened. The Deputy DEO, then, issued a third authority letter to the students for reporting in the SAN Jain Secondary School on Daresi Road, where they were, finally, allowed to take the test.

The boys said four hours of constant shuttling had exhausted them so much that they did not fare well in the examination.

Students of another private school on Benjamin Road came to the Jawahar Nagar Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School for these practicals. However, the school Principal, Ms Nirmal Kaur, told them that there was no computer in the school and sent them to a nearby school, where they took the examination.

Meanwhile, Class XII students took the practical examinations in horticulture, food preservation, physical education, garment making, knitting technology, textile designing, computer techniques, radio and TV repair, mechanical servicing, auto-engineering and furniture making at various centres like Government Senior Secondary Schools in Jawahar Nagar and Bharat Nagar and on the PAU campus and Cinema Road. Students of Class VIII took the physical education written test.



Class V examinations begin
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 21
Thousands of students of Class V appeared for examinations conducted by the primary wing of the District Education Department that began here today.

The two-hour examination which was to start at 10 am was delayed at some of the centres as the superintendents failed to reach on time. Few schools faced problems of overcrowding as over 300 students including those appearing from nearby schools had to be accommodated in small buildings. The students were given three sets of question papers of mathematics to avoid copying.

A Block Primary Officer informed that at several schools falling in old city area received wrong sets of question papers. Papers received by the centre were in Hindi medium while the students appearing were from Punjabi medium schools. The problem was later solved but examinations was somewhat delayed.

Meanwhile, the Government Primary Teachers’ Association said several superintendents appointed for examinations were facing problems as they had to daily go to the block headquarters to fetch the question papers. Stating this, Mr Piara Singh Dhillon, president, said some headquarters were located 20-25 km away from the centres and department should depute a team to deliver question papers to such centres.

Mr Dhillon further said students of Class V were facing much problem due to three types of sets allotted to them. Students and teachers were much disappointed after the recent announcement of increasing percentage from 25 to 35 per cent and they were demanding a roll back of the decision. 


MC charged with selective demolition
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 21
A resident of Tagore Nagar, Mr K. C. Mahendru, has alleged harassment at the hands of the Municipal Corporation officials who demolished the front portion of his house, which was constructed without passing the building plan but with the consent of the official concerned. Mr Mahendru alleged that despite the fact that there were many other illegal construction works without the approved building plan in the locality, no such action had ever been taken against these.

Mr Mahendru said that he had constructed a car garage in front of his house a few days after seeking the approval of the Assistant Town Planner, Bhagwant Singh, and Building Inspector, Mr Swamidass, whom he had allegedly given Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000, respectively, on account of composition fee for violation of building bylaws. He further said that both officials had assured him to issue receipts of the said amounts but had failed to do so.

According to Mr Mahendru, some MC employees descended on his house a few days ago, when he was not at home, and in the presence of his wife, demolished the said part of the house, stating that the portion was constructed illegally. He further alleged that at the time of the demolition, the MC employees called women cops when his wife protested against the demolition.

Mr Mahendru has, in a signed affidavit, alleged that the demolition had been done illegally and forcefully as no notice was issued to him before demolishing the said construction. He further alleged that due to the demolition, his old adjacent property had been affected as two walls and main gate were broken and cracks could be spotted on lintel and pillars.

He has lodged his complaint with the Commissioner, MC, in which he has demanded that both officers should be directed to refund Rs 15,000 which he paid to him along with Rs 2,00,000 on account of loss of reputation and mental agony.

The Joint Commissioner as well as in charge of zone D, Mr Prem Chand, under whose jurisdiction the area falls, said that the demolition could be done in case of encroachment or making construction without approval of building plan. He disclosed that in this case, the building plan had not been approved and demolition was justified. Commenting on the charges of corruption levelled against the two officials, he said that if the charges are substantiated, an inquiry would be conducted.



All arrangements in place for counting of votes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 21
Elaborate security and other arrangements for smooth counting of votes of all the 12 assembly constituencies have been completed at different counting centres for each constituency where the Electronic Voting Machines have been kept after polling on February 13. The required counting staff has been deputed for this purpose.

Giving details of the arrangements, Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy, Commissioner and District Election Officer informed that the counting of voters would start from 8 am and continue till the completion of the counting of all the votes under the supervision of the concerned Returning Officer. At all the counting centres, sufficient number of tables for counting were being put up and each candidate would appoint counting agents, who would remain present during counting.

Mr Sandhu further informed that at every counting center sufficient security have been deployed and proper barricading was being erected to keep the crowd of the supporters of the different candidate at a reasonable distance. As the voting was held through the EVMs, the counting process, this time, would be much easier as compared the previous elections when the ballot papers had to be counted manually. He said that the number of counting staff required was also half and this time, only two employees including a supervisor and a counting assistant had been deputed for each counting table. he said that in all, around 4000 counting staff had been deployed and the rehearsals had been conducted for the staff by the respective Returning Officers.

The Deputy Commissioner informed that the concerned Returning Officers had been asked to erect barbed wire round the counting tables in all counting centres. Further, no person other than those authorised by the Election Commission of India, the candidates, their election agents, counting agents and staff on duty for continuing, would be allowed to enter into the counting centers.

Elaborating upon the counting process, Mr Sandhu said that one Electronic Voting Machine would be provided at each table in each round for counting and the next round would start on all tables only after the submission of the counting slips by the supervisors with the Returning Officer regarding the previous round. Nobody would be allowed to leave the counting hall till the completion of the counting process.

He informed that the counting of votes of Jagraon constituency would be held in Lala Lajpat Rai DAV College, Jagroan; for Raikot segment in Swami Ganga Giri Sr. Sec. School Raikot; for Dakha in BCM Arya Model School, Shastri Nagar Ludhiana; for Kila Raipur in Rotary Club, Sarabha Nagar, Ludhiana, for Ludhiana North in SCD Government College for Boys Ludhiana; for Ludhiana West in Khalsa College for Women, Rani Jhansi Road, Civil Lines Ludhiana; for Ludhiana East in Arya College for Boys, Ludhiana, for Ludhiana Rural in Shastri Hall in Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana, for Payal in Government Senior Secondary School, Payal; for Koom Kalan in Government College for Women, Ludhiana, for Samrala in ITI Samrala and for Khanna in Hindi Putri Pathshala Senior Secondary School, Khanna.

According to Mr Sandhu, to provide time-to-time latest information to media persons, a fully equipped Media Centre had been set up in the office of Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) at Mr Mini Secretariat here, where the information from all the counting centers would be collected and passed on to the media without any delay. He said that each candidate could depute one counting agent for each counting table in the counting hall, for which, the identity cards would be issued by the concerned Returning Officers against applications submitted by the candidates in Form-18 along with two passport size photographs of each counting agent three days prior to the counting day.


The cop who cares for ‘colleagues’!
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 21
Mr D. P. Singh, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, has set an example for IPS officers in the state by deciding to live in the barracks meant for constables during his six-month training period. Being the first-ever IPS officer to take such a step, he stole the limelight at today’s function regarding the inauguration of a new police control room, at the police lines when the DGP Punjab, Sarbjit Singh, went to the barracks to meet him and see for himself where he was putting up.

The DGP learnt about the ASP’s ‘act’ after the function was over and most of the dignitaries had left. Taking time off from his tight schedule, the DGP, along with SSP Harpreet Singh Sidhu, immediately went over to the barracks and surprised the ASP officer, as well as the constables living in the barrack. The DGP appreciated the officer’s move and commended him for taking his training so seriously.

While most of the officers after passing out from the Police Training Academy Hyderabad immediately start relishing the facilities provided to them, Mr D. P. Singh said he opted for living in the barracks with the constables as he wanted to have a first hand feeling of life in the lower rungs of the police force.

‘‘I want to understand their problems and expectations from their seniors. I also want to mingle with them to explain to them what the senior’s expectations from them were’’. said the 25-year-old ASP in an exclusive interview to Ludhiana Tribune.

He said he had even learnt of several tricks of the trade from the constables, which were not known to him during his IPS training at the Police Academy. The officer said he has learnt that apart from the commendation certificates or medals, small gestures to the lower rank police personnel or officers go a long way in boosting their morale. He said he had learnt that policemen expect the officer to salute them back but unfortunately most of the officers do not do so.

The ASP hails from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh and had joined police services as he wanted to do something different from his family members and relatives, none of whom was in police service. Under the norms, an ASP was required to work at the grassroot level during initial months of his probation period.

The ASP said he was posted at Police Lines Ludhiana on February 12 and sought the permission of the SSP Harpreet Singh Sidhu to stay with the constables, which was immediately granted.

A number of constables living in the barracks told Ludhiana Tribune that they were overwhelmed with joy at the initiative of the IPS officer. They said they were enjoying every bit of his presence despite the fact their natural behaviour was affected by the presence of a senior officer.


Conditional interest-free payment of arrears approved
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 21
The recently-held assembly elections in the state and the expected ouster of ruling SAD-BJP combine cast its shadow on the stormy General House meeting of the Municipal Corporation, with the BJP councillors, led by Deputy Speaker of Punjab Assembly, Mr Sat Pal Gosain and Group Leader Mr Pran Bhatia staging a dharna in the well of the house to press for interest-free payment of arrears pertaining to water supply, sewerage and house tax. The BJP councillors and Mr Gosain threatened to disrupt the proceedings till their demand was accepted.

After extended deliberations, the proposal was adopted by the house, albeit with the condition that the portion of interest will be kept in abeyance till the proposal was approved by the State Government. In case the government decided against the move, the interest would be recovered along with future bills. The facility for interest-free payment of arrears along with regularisation of illegal water and sewerage connections would be available till March 31.

The venue of the meeting was shifted from the Committee Room of the MC Headquarters to Guru Nanak Stadium and unlike previous occasions, mediapersons, except for press photographers, were kept out. The City Mayor Mr Apinder Singh Grewal presided over and Mr R. L. Kalsia, Commissioner was also present.

At the outset, there were angry exchanges between councillors from several parties on one side and the Mayor and the MC Commissioner on the other, over statutory powers of the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC). Many of the councillors felt that the authority and supremacy of the house was being undermined.

In its last meeting on November 22, the general house had stayed some of the decisions of the F&CC, on the grounds that these should be brought before the house for reconsideration. However, the F&CC adopted a resolution on December 14 to vacate the stay imposed by the general house and the information to this effect was circulated among the councillors by the Mayor through his letter dated December 14.

Quoting section 46 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1976, Mr Grewal made it clear that the F&CC, in addition to the Corporation and the Commissioner, shall be a municipal authority to carry out the provisions of this act. Further, section 42(4) of the act clearly stated that the F&CC of the Municipal Corporation shall exercise all powers of the corporation in relation to contracts to be entered into on its behalf and the purchases so made by it.

Intervening in the discussion, Mr Kalsia asserted that the F&CC was an independent authority, which enjoyed powers granted by the PMC Act and it would be wrong to assume that such powers were delegated by the general house to the F&CC. He informed the house that the Department of Local Government had been apprised of the development and the Principal Secretary Local Government Dr B.C. Gupta had expressed his agreement with the contention of the administration.

A consensus was evolved that the past tradition be continued in order to avoid any confrontation and all items approved by the F&CC and brought before the General House would be adopted in future.

Mr Grewal and Mr Kalsia, while briefing mediapersons after the meeting informed that the house had authorised the MC Commissioner to take a decision in consultation with the Traffic Advisor and Traffic Police on restriction on movement of cycle rickshaws and handcarts between Old Sabzi Mandi and Jagraon Bridge during peak traffic hours. A proposal to drop the Town Planning Scheme of New Shivpuri Part I and II was carried to be sent to the Government for final decision.

The house decided to maintain status quo on the procedure for sale of municipal property through open auction. The house also voted in favour of permitting commercial buildings in Sarabha Nagar locality beyond the present height of two-and-a-half storeys. Final approval of the government would be sought for the move.


AITUC to hold rally against Indo-Nepal Treaty today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 21
The All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) is holding a massive rally against the misuse of Indo-Nepal Treaty on February 22 at Sherpur Kalan near here. It has alleged that misuse of the treaty, under which acrylic yarn and edible oil produced in that country could be freely imported without paying any duty, has created unemployment for at least 50,000 workers in the spinning industry here.

Mr O.P. Mehta, Punjab General Secretary, AITUC, informed that they have decided to hold a massive convention to press upon the government to review the treaty. Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, Member Parliament and Mr Bant Singh Brar, National General Secretary, AITUC, would also address the rally. The convention would draw government’s attention towards the interests of the workers.

The worker’s leaders said the government should demand in the next review meeting, to be held on March 5 between the representatives of both the countries, that at least 80 per cent of material in these products should be of Nepalese origin to become eligible for duty-free exports to India.

Incidentally, a delegation of local spinners had also submitted a memorandum to the state and Centre Governments to bring to their notice that the misuse of the treaty had forced them to close down their shutters. They were unable to compete with the duty-free imports, when they had to pay about 25 per cent taxes. In fact, before the amendments in the treaty in 1996, it was compulsory for the manufacturers that they should add at least a certain per cent age of value, to gain access in the Indian market. However, that clause was removed through amendment with that result that number of foreign suppliers are now dumping fibre in Indian via Nepal, without paying any import duty.

The industry representatives alleged that number of factories have come up in Nepal recently, which were importing fibre at almost zero per cent duty, and after making acrylic yarn, pushing to India. In fact, hundreds of spinning units in the city have been forced to close down or decrease their production, as they were unable to compete with the Nepalese producers. They said there is a price difference of Rs 17 per kg between the two countries. Almost 60-70 per cent of the Nepalese yarn, they say, is currently exported to India due to that price difference.

The workers leaders lamented that a neighbouring country cannot be helped at the cost of local labour. They have warned the government to review the treaty in the interests of workers and industry otherwise they would be forced to intensify their agitation.


McDonalds opens first outlet in Ludhiana
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 21
Ludhiana is all set to have the first McDonald’s in Punjab that will provide a drive through a restaurant-cum-entertainment center of international standards. To be located on the GT Road, McDonalds India Limited is currently busy finalising the set-up that would be inaugurated by none other than Ms Sonali Bendre towards the end of next month, according to senior executives of the company who are in town to oversea the completion of the work on the project.

Though it would be the first McDonald outlet in Punjab, this would be the 35th family food outlet for McDonald India. A well-known fast food chain overseas, McDonald India has had its presence in the fast food segment since October 1996, with 18 outlets in Delhi and 11 in Mumbai. India is the only country in the world where McDonalds’ does not sell any beef products, according to Mr Daljeet Kataria, a spokesperson of the company.

Mr Kataria said that besides providing a variety of Indianised fast food menu, the McDonald’s drive through would provide complete entertainment for the entire family. Located in an area of 4000 square feet, McDonald’s would have a seating capacity of 180 with an exclusive playfield for children both inside and outside the location, besides huge parking lots.

McDonald’s, though a multinational company, is owned and managed in India by Indians. In Delhi, McDonald’s restaurants are owned and managed by Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. of which Mr Vikram Bakshi is the Managing Director and the joint venture partner. In Mumbai, Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd., is headed by Mr Amit Jha.

According to the company’s spokesperson, McDonald’s India and its suppliers have already contributed directly or indirectly a sum of about Rs 60 crore as revenue to the Centre and the state governments towards sales tax, house tax and income tax in the last five years. By 2005 this amount shall be its yearly contribution towards government revenue.

Besides this McDonald’s is also associated with social and child-related activities. In 1999-2000 McDonald’s in association with UNESCO, Readers Digest, the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Walt Disney organised “Millennium Dreamers” — a nationwide search for child achievers, who have contributed to the community. Three achievers were selected to represent India at the International Millennium Dreamers Summit at Orlando in May, 2000.


26 complaints settled in weekly sangat darshan
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 21
Out of the 42 complaints, 26 were settled at the weekly sangat darshan held at Bachat Bhavan here today. The sangat darshan was presided over by Mr A.K. Sinha, ADC (Development).

According to a statement, 16 complaints could not be settled as the officers concerned had been on duty in the assembly elections. The remaining complaints will be settled after 15 days. Mr Jeet Singh, a resident of Dhandari Kalan, complained that after over 20 years he was not able to get back the security amount which he had deposited in 1978 with the cooperative society of the village.



Boy killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 21
Sagar, an 11-year-old sewadar of Baba Ghala Singh, was killed when the carbine of SPO Kuldip Singh, gunman of Baba Ghala Singh, went off accidentally and a bullet hit him.

The SPO was cleaning the carbine at that time. According to information available, Sagar along with Baba Ghala Singh and Kuldeep Singh had gone to Gurdwara Sahib at Jhorran where this incident happened. The body has been brought to the Civil Hospital here for a post-mortem.


Cops injured
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 21
Constable Balraj Singh, driver of an Esteem car (HR-20G 0754), and Jasvir Singh, PHG, were seriously injured when a tempo (HR-37-7175) hit their car in the on Tuesday night.

According to a complaint lodged by Mr Pradip Monga, of the ICICI, Ludhiana, he was travelling in his car (Esteem DL-6C-974) followed by an other Esteem Car and was coming from Ludhiana to Jagraon when the above mentioned tempo coming from Jagraon to Ludhiana hit his car first followed by a head-on collision with the Esteem being driven by the cop near Dalip filling station about 2 km from here.


Id-ul-Zuha on Feb 23
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 21
Id-ul-Zuha is being celebrated on February 23, according to sources in the local Jama Masjid. The sources said that though various calendars and diaries recorded the festival on February 24, the Muslim community all over the country would be celebrating it on February 23.


Series of robberies in city; 3 held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 21
Three persons were injured in as many incidents of robbery yesterday , in spite of tall claims by the police that petty crime had been curbed in the city.

In the first incident that took place in Daulat Colony falling under the division number four police station, Pyare Lal was admitted to the Civil Hospital with half-a-dozen stab wounds on his back and hands. The brother of the injured man, Thakur Yadav , told newsmen that they had arrived in the city only about a week ago and were selling vegetables for a living. His brother was going to the new vegetable market in the morning to buy vegetables and while he was passing through Shiv Puri, he was attacked by some unknown persons who wanted to rob him. But when the victim resisted their efforts, he was stabbed and deprived of his cash. The police has registered a case but no arrest has been made so far.

In the other incident, Som Nath, a resident of Qila Mohalla, falling under the division number four police station, was hit on the head by some unknown persons near Chand Cinema yesterday. According to the victim, he was returning from a marriage party on a cycle-rickshaw. On the way, the rickshaw-puller asked him whether the ring worn by him was of gold. When he replied in the affirmative, the rickshaw-puller halted at a place near the Cinema on the pretext of relieving his bladder. Soon he was attacked by about half-a-dozen persons. He was hit on the head and fell unconscious. An acquaintance, who happened to pass the scene of the crime later, recognised him and took him to his house while he was still unconscious. When he came to, he found that his ring and cash were missing. He has been given eight stitches on the head and the matter has been reported to the police.

In the third incident, a rickshaw-puller named Laxmi was attacked with sharp-edged weapons by some unknown persons with the intention of robbing him near the Guru Nanak Stadium and decamped with Rs. 500 . He has been admitted to the Civil Hospital. The police has been unable to make a breakthrough in any of these cases so far.

Three injured

Three persons were injured in various incidents of violent dispute in which swords were used freely. While two of the injured have been discharged after first aid, the condition of Sunil Kumar, a driver, is stated to be serious. The driver was attacked after a dispute arose over parking his vehicle at the parking place near Dholewal chowk. He was attacked with a sharp-edged weapon and was taken to the hospital by shopkeepers of the area.

Gurjit Singh, a resident of Dashmesh Nagar, near Gill chowk, was attacked with swords by some persons after a dispute on business matters. Old enmity also existed between the two parties. A report has been lodged by the injured man at the police station of division number six.

And Manjit Singh, a resident of New Janta Nagar, was injured by four attackers who attacked him with sharp-edged weapons after a brawl at a marriage party on Tuesday night. Both the parties were allegedly under the influence of liquor at the time of the attack.

Fraud alleged

The division number five police has registered a case of alleged fraud on the complaint of Surinder Chhinda, a singer, who has an office in Dhian Singh Complex, against Sanjiv Sood, a resident of Harnam Nagar, Model Town. The singer had alleged that he had given Rs. 25,000 to the accused on an assurance that he would pay back the money. But the accused had refused to pay any money to him.

Five held

The Civil Lines police arrested five suspected criminals from the Rakh Bagh park on Tuesday night while they were allegedly planning to commit a crime in the city . But their sixth accomplice managed to escape. During a search , a 12 bore desi pistol, a kamanidar knife, an iron rod and a bunch of keys were recovered from their possession. The accused have been identified as Inderjit Singh alias Bobby, Manish Kumar alias Raju, Harish Kumar, Simranjit Singh and Darshan Singh alias Kaka

Intimidation by cops alleged

Bhagwati Parshad, a milkman residing in Sita Nagar on the Jassian Road, has complained to the SSP against chowki in charge of Jagatpuri and two other cops who allegedly entered his house and tried to intimidate him on the night of February 19. He also alleged in his application that the chowki in charge had forcibly taken away his son to the police post and tortured him. The chowki in charge maintains that he had taken the milkman’s son into custody for questioning in connection with a theft case as he had received a tip-off about his involvement in the crime. On satisfying himself that the youth was not involved in the crime, he had released him.

According to Bhagwati Prashad, the chowki in-charge and two other cops used force as they broke open the door of his house and started abusing him. The milkman further alleged that the in charge demanded Rs 5,000 from him but when he refused to do so, the chowki in- charge brandished his service revolver and took away his 22-year-old son, Om Parkash, along with him while threatening to implicate him in a case. Copies of the complaint have also been forwarded to the Sessions Judge and the DGP as well.

Robber held

Lal Babu, a migrant settled in mohalla Krishna Nagar, Ghumar Mandi, was nabbed by the CIA staff on Tuesday and booked at the division number five police station on the charge of robbing migrants of their belongings after giving them some sedatives mixed with tea or food. The accused used to accost newly- arrived migrants in the city and win their confidence. Later, on one pretext or the other, he used to ‘drug’ them and vanish with their belongings.

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