Tuesday, March 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


5 of Panchkula family drown in canal
Army Major and six-day-old baby among the victims
Jupinderjit Singh and Mahesh Sharma
Tribune News Service

A diver ties a rope to the
A diver ties a rope to the
Maruti car to pull it out of the water on Monday. —Photo Inderjeet Verma

Dehlon (Ludhiana), March 18
In a tragic incident, five members of a Panchkula-based family, including a serving Major and a six-day-old baby girl, died in an accident when the car in which they were travelling fell into a canal near Dehlon late last night. The car seemed to have lost balance at the narrow overbridge and fell into the deep canal.

The accident came to light this afternoon when some passers-by spotted the roof of the car in the canal and informed the Dehlon police which along with the aggrieved relatives was searching for them since last night. The victims included Major Arvinder Pal Singh (30), his wife Rupinder Kaur (28), her mother Baljit Kaur (60) and daughters Alisha (about 4 years) and a six-day-old girl who was yet to be christened.

A joint rescue operation conducted by the police and volunteers of nearby villages succeeded in finding all the bodies except that of Alisha. While the body of the Major, who was recently transferred to Ferozepore, was found about 50 metres away from the accident site, the other bodies were found badly entangled in the mangled parts of the car.

The rescue work to recover the remaining body were still on.

According to a relative, Kuldip Singh, the family belonged to Mandi Ahmedgarh and was returning from Iqbal Nursing Home, Ludhiana, last evening after getting the newly born baby vaccinated. The baby was born in the nursing home last week. He said the family lived in 763, Sector 12, Panchkula, with the Major's father, Col Devinder Singh (retd).

The Army officer had told some relatives over the phone at about 7 last evening that he was returning to Mandi Ahmedgarh.

However, when the did not come after several hours, some of the relatives went in their search and also informed the Dehlon police.

Inspector Sikander Singh, SHO, Dehlon, said no one had any clue that the car had fallen in the canal. The vehicle was spotted by some passers-by in the afternoon who informed the police.

He said fortunately the water level of the canal was gradually reducing since morning as it was the turn of the other canal to get the maximum supply. ‘‘Had the water level not reduced, the chances of recovery of the bodies would have minimised,’’ he said.

He said thanks to the selfless work done by volunteer divers, the car and the bodies were recovered, but despite all attempts, the body of Alisha could not be found. The police was appreciative of the work done by volunteers, including Mr Kala and Mr Pardeep Kumar.

He said the exact cause of the accident could not be known but it seemed that the car driver could not see the bridge boundary due to the head lights of some vehicle coming from the opposite direction on the narrow bridge and fell into the canal.

The car did not hit the barricades and fell through a wide space just before the beginning of the bridge.

The accident attracted quite a crowd at the site and the police had to post policemen to clear the bridge. Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the Dehlon Civil Hospital where aggrieved relatives had come from Mandi Ahmedgarh to claim the bodies. Colonel Devinder Kumar was putting up a brave face and was quite composed.

The Colonel had two daughters and one son.

A number of villagers said they had requested the police and civil authorities several times for installing warning signs or reflectors at the bridge site.



Fired teachers blast VC orders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Two teachers of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), whose services have been terminated, staged a dharna in front of Thapar Hall, administrative block of the university, here today. They were protesting against the termination orders issued by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh. Such a protest is the first in the history of the PAU.

Dr Amarjit Singh Grewal, senior immunologist before dismissal, and Ms Sarabjit Dhaliwal, an economist before her dismissal, said, if the university and the Punjab Government did not redress their grievances, they would intensify their agitation. They said they were protesting against the “misrule” and “high-handedness” of the PAU authorities.

They said the PAU authorities had sent security guards to their houses on the PAU campus today to intimidate them into putting off the dharna. Dr Grewal said he was not home then and his wife had sent them back.

Ms Dhaliwal said a security guard had visited her house twice and told her to report at the PAU police post before staging a dharna. She refused. Both teachers alleged that they were being victimised and intimidated.

Dr Grewal said, while the Prime Minister was urging the NRIs to come to India, the VC had refused to adjust him here, saying that he was not a citizen of India.

He said he had a Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card and even while holding the citizenship of Australia, according to a notification of the Ministry of Home and External Affairs, he had the right to enjoy parity with the citizens of India in all respects.

He said when he had joined the PAU in 1986, the then VC, Dr Sukhdev Singh, had told him that had no need to renounce the citizenship of Australia. There was no policy in the PAU and India to debar Indians with foreign passports from serving the country.

He said the termination of his project by the government was not his faultm but that of the PAU. As per a report of the Punjab Audit Department, the PAU had failed to fulfill the condition of having a central-air-conditioning plant and the other infrastructure in its laboratories, he had said.

“Due to the non-functioning of the laboratory, the scheme could not be implemented properly. The PAU failed to create the requisite infrastructure in the Tick-Borne Disease Research Center due to the AC plant scam and the numerous CBI probes,” Dr Grewal said.



Daily-wagers work as domestic help for
 PAU officials
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
While the Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, has expressed his concern over the fact that 93 per cent of PAU budget is spent on its establishments, certain daily paid labourers (DPL) hired for university farms are reported to be working in the houses of certain senior officials and faculty members of the university.

Hundreds of such DPLs employed by the PAU are paid by the university as per the directions of the state government. While the fund starved university has to spend from its pocket to pay them, some officials, instead of making them work on university farms, are assigning them their household jobs. While this matter has been reported many a time to the authorities, no concrete step has been taken by the university to stop the practice.

The university has about 500 DPLs and many of them have been working for more than 20 years as daily-wagers only. Their only interest for spending so many years working for the university is the hope that their services would be regularised by the university some day. This feeling is allegedly cashed in on by certain officials who promise them that they would be regularised if they helped them in their personal work.

The labourers are hired by various departments of the university having research farms. Many of them are employed to do harvesting and threshing of certain crops grown for experiments on research farms. The Department of Agronomy and Plant Breeding are the two departments where most of the labourers work. The rest work as gardeners in the university.

Ludhiana Tribune recently received a complaint from one such peeved DPL, who alleged that he had been working in the university as well as in the house of a senior official for the past many years as the latter had promised him that his services would be regularised. But nothing had happened on that front and he is still working as a DPL. He claimed that he had given in writing to the PAUTA also but to no avail. He did not want to be identified for obvious reasons.

Dr M.L. Gupta, secretary, PAUTA, said that the association has not received any such complaints. He said most of the workers go to teachers’ and officials’ houses by their choice only. Moreover, if after their work in the university is over, they work in the houses and eat food there, there is no harm. That way they save on food and utilise their free time, he added.

He also said that there could not be any check on the teachers who make these people work in their houses. This practice can only be stopped if teachers exercise certain ethics. Otherwise nobody comes to know as the people who make them work in their houses mark them present in their offices concerned.

Many DPLs said that they had formed a union also but it could not do anything for the labourers as they were found in plenty and annoying the authorities by agitation meant they would lose this job also.



‘Suspecting husband’ burns boy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
A middle-aged man burnt a 16-year-old youth whom he suspected of having an illicit relationship with his wife, in Islam Gunj Colony here yesterday. The police was considering it an accident till late yesterday when the youth regained consciousness and gave a statement against the man to a magistrate.

The boy, Fateh Singh, with 75 per cent burns, is in Christian Medical College and Hospital here, where his condition is said to be serious. On his statement, the Division Number 2 police has registered a case of attempt to murder against the middle-aged man, Billu Singh, who is yet to be arrested.

According to the youth’s statement, he and the accused were tenants of Gurbaj Singh of Islam Gunj Colony and Billu suspected him of having an illicit relationship with his wife. The boy had tried to clarify things with the accused several times, but to no avail. There had been several arguments between them earlier as well.

According to the statement, the boy was sleeping in his house yesterday when the suspecting husband poured kerosene on him and set him ablaze. After the man ran away, the boy was rescued by his relatives.



Garchas’ ‘truce’ with Amarinder
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Has the family of Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, a senior Akali leader, former minister and a close confidant of outgoing Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal made peace with the new Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Mr Mann Singh Garcha, younger brother of Mr Garcha, who is a well-known liquor contractor, reportedly met the Chief Minister at the latter’s residence at Patiala on March 11 to offer birthday greetings to the CM.

His visit to Capt Amarinder’s residence seems to have created ripples in the political circles of both the ruling Congress and the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal, given the family’s (Garchas) close relationship with Mr Badal. Mr Mann Singh Garcha was seen sitting with the Chief Minister at Patiala on latter’s birthday.

The Garchas wielded tremendous power when Mr Badal was the Chief Minister. In fact, Mr Badal’s election from Kila Raipur in 1997 was managed by the Garchas only, as Mr Badal was busy across the state. And the family got handsome dividends, with Mr Badal subsequently vacating the seat for Mr Jagdish Garcha who got elected from these and was later appointed as the Minister for Technical Education. The family enjoyed unbridled power for full five years of Mr Badal’s rule. The most paying was the liquor business. Although the family was already into the liquor business for quite some time, it consolidated its position during Mr Badal’s regime. It was because of the patronage of the Badal family, particularly Mr Sukhbir Badal, that Mr Mann Singh Garcha dared to confront the Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Adesh Pratap Singh, on the issue of auction of liquor vends in Ludhiana. Mr Adesh Pratap is Mr Badal’s son-in-law.

With Mr Badal having been ousted from the seat of power, the Garchas reportedly started sending reconciliatory feelers to the new regime. And the birthday of the Chief Minister could not have come at a better time. While the CM’s birthday was on March 11, the auction for liquor vends was to be held on March 15. And the scheme seems to have worked well as the Garchas did not face any resistance on their previous holdings. They bagged all the group of vends that they had got last year. The liquor trade is their mainstay, which helps them to stay in politics also.

The volte face of the family was too apparent on the day of auction itself. While last year, the Garchas were not prepared to compromise over even a single vend that they thought should go to their kitty, obviously because of their proximity with the Chief Minister and his son, this time they reportedly reached a compromise in advance with their arch rival Mr Ponty Chadha a leading liquor contractor from Uttar Pradesh. Last year, the Garchas had been so adamant on their stand, that the auction for Ludhiana liquor vends had to be postponed time and again. But this time they were totally different in there approach.

It is not just Mr Ponty Chadha with whom the family has reportedly reached an understanding, the Garchas have also entered into some business partnership with Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, another leading liquor baron of the region and a Congress MLA from Samrala. Incidentally, Mr Dhillon is closely related to the Garchas. And the family has reportedly used this connection in making peace with the new regime. And the new found love between the Garchas and the ruling circles has caused many heartburn among the Congress circles, who have been feeling that the family may once again start wielding the same power it used to during Mr Badal’s regime. And that is the skill Mr Mann Singh Garcha is best at and known for. Making friends from amongst the foes. 



No new wards for civic elections
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 18
The new Congress government seems to be in a tearing hurry to go in for the civic polls which are due to be held during April — May this year and the Punjab Local Bodies minister Choudhry Jagjit Singh, gave ample indication to this effect during his visit to this city on Sunday. Due to the intervening period being far too inadequate for the elaborate exercise of delimitation of wards, the proposal to have at least five new wards in the wake of increase in the population in almost all city localities has been shelved for the time being.

The general house of the Municipal Corporation had also held detailed discussions on a proposal for extension of municipal limits to include several new colonies at the periphery and to proportionately increase the number of wards. However, the proposal was deferred at that time due to the Census 2001 operations being in progress at that time.

The proposal for extension of municipal limits of the city did not find favour with the ruling combine and even some of the Congress councillors, who were pleading that the exercise should be delayed till the existing colonies within the municipal limits were provided with basic amenities like water supply, sewerage and other infrastructure like roads. The councillors, particularly those from Bharatiya Janata party and others representing outer wards (comprising under developed areas), vehemently opposed the extension of city limits on the ground that it would create further liability for the MC and the development of existing areas would be adversely affected.

The civic body, however, under the directions of election officials in the Local Government, Punjab, had taken up the work of delimitation and the process for recruitment of quite a few persons on daily wages for the onerous job was on. In addition to the adhoc employees recruited for this purpose, surplus employees from the Octroi Department were to be put on the job. But the unambiguous announcement made by the minister to the effect that there would no delimitation for the coming municipal elections has taken the MC administration by surprise and total confusion prevails on this account.

According to sources, election officials in the Local Government Department at Chandigarh have asked the MC administration here to put everything on hold for the time being, till the matter was finally decided in consultation with the Minister for Local Bodies and the Principal Secretary.

The revision of electoral rolls for the civic elections was also yet to be taken up and the MC officials were waiting for a green signal from the Election Department. The government was learnt to be in two minds on the rotation of wards, reserved for different categories, including those for women. While the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, makes provisions for rotation of wards, the State Government enjoys certain discretionary powers and the mandatory provisions for this purpose could be bypassed through a notification as was done recently in the case of coming elections to the Delhi Municipal Corporation.

The opinion among councillors and other political functionaries, on rotation of wards for all reserved categories in the city, was divided, based on their own personal interests. Certain politicians, who could not contest from the wards they belonged to due to reservation, wanted that the rotation system, as provided in the Act, should be scrupulously followed so that they were eligible to contest next time. But those, who claimed that they had nursed their respective wards during the five-year term, were stoutly opposed to the rotation system.

Echoing the sentiments of councillors, the City Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune said that the concept of rotation did not fit into the present political set up and the election system. “In simple terms, why would a councillor nurse the ward during the term if he or she knows that as a part of rotation, next time the constituency is bound to change.” However, many others contended that why should any particular ward remain permanently reserved for particular category and wanted others to get a chance to contest after each civic elections.



Pay taxes or be ready for chaos
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
“The salaried class and other eligible persons should pay income tax honestly for the smooth functioning of the economy. The bad shape of the economy is resulting in increase of unemployed persons in the country. In case, the affluent sections failed to take care of them by paying adequate taxes, the country will have to face chaos and political upheaval,” said by Mr Sudhakar Verma, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Ludhiana. He was speaking at a seminar ‘‘ Budget 2002- issues and challenges,’’ organised by Ludhiana Chapter of NIRC of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India.

Addressing a gathering of company secretaries, Mr Verma said,‘‘ It was unfortunate that a large section of the unorganised sector entrepreneurs in city were engaged in income tax evasion. So there was no option before the IT officials except to tighten the noose around them. In a routine survey of around 10 persons, we have recovered more than Rs 3.5 crore of undisclosed income during the past few days. The large- scale tax evasion by the local industrialists and medical fraternity have eroded our faith in voluntary compliance by them.’’

Mr Verma asserted that the so-called charitable trusts in the region were just engaged in making money. They were simply commercial organisations and there was no justification in providing tax exemptions to them. He lamented that in developing country like Kenya, more than 90 per cent of population was paying income tax, but in India, merely 3 per cent people pay IT tax. There was a need to widen the tax base. Referring to taxing of dividend income, he said,‘‘ The shares of most of the companies are concentrated in few hands so this measure would help the government to collect more money from these rich people.’’

The seminar was also addressed by Mr Ajay Vohra, a leading advocate of income tax and senior chartered accountant and Mr Satvinder Singh, a senior company secretary and advocate. 



Reintroduction of octroi on cards?
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
If the public sentiment expressed at several places during the civic reception of the Minister for Local Bodies, Labour and Parliamentary Affairs, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, here the other day is an indication, then in all probability the Punjab Government is contemplating to re-introduce the octroi in the state. However, the minister refused any comment on the issue saying, “There is no such proposal as yet”. But he agreed that some strong remedial measures were needed to improve the financial health of the state in general and the corporations and municipalities in particular.

Chaudhary Jagjit Singh was here to lay the foundation stone of a flyover between Civil Lines and the Old City. He was accorded a civic reception also later in the day at the residence of Mr Gopal Bhushan Gupta, a leading businessman of the city, which was attended among others by the Minister of State for Printing and Stationery, Mr Rakesh Pandey, former Speaker and MLA from Ludhiana West, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, many senior Congress leaders and the representatives of a cross-section of society.

The speakers at the reception including Mr Pandey, Mr Johar and others exhorted upon the minister to withdraw the decision of the octroi abolition. They pointed out that the decision was taken by the previous Akali-BJP government under populist pressure. They said it did not concern many people as it benefitted only a few. Mr Pandey suggested that instead of abolishing octroi, the government should provide relief to people in other ways like relaxation in house tax and sewerage tax. “At least the benefit will reach the common man”, he argued, while suggesting reintroduction of the octroi in the state.

Similar opinion was given by Mr Johar. They were supported by Mr Gopal Bhushan Gupta and other businessmen also in their argument. They said all sensible people appreciated the position of the government and it was necessary to reintroduce octroi in the state to ensure development and cleanliness in the city. Mr Gupta said, “We businessmen, who are presumed to have been benefitted from the octroi abolition, realise how precarious is the financial health of the state so we do not mind if octroi is reintroduced as it will ensure development in the cities”. He was supported by other businessmen, lawyers, teachers and others who had assembled at the reception.

Appreciating the sentiments of the businessmen and the political leaders, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh assured them that the government will ensure development of the cities. However, he was non-committal on the issue of reintroduction of the octroi. The best he could say was that he would convey these sentiments to the Chief Minister.



Retire, pack your bags, get set and go!
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, March 18
“Superannuation is not the end of life, but a time to indulge in your hobbies and live the life of your choice as responsibilities towards your children are over. Since we were both adventurous, we have taken to hiking as a major hobby”, said Surjit and Parkash Grewal, who are presently in Ludhiana to meet relatives. They are both 66 years of age and keep themselves fit by undertaking adventurous trekking trips.

Alumni of the Government Colleges for Men and Women respectively, they settled in Uganda for 10 years after their marriage in 1965. Africa provided ideal treks where they joined adventure clubs. They took to trekking and hiking in right earnest after Surjit’s retirement in 1993 as Commissioning Manager for Nuclear Power, Canada after a service of 32 years. The golden handshake provided them enough money for funds for hiking trips.

Meanwhile Surjit had to go in for a kidney transplant as both his kidneys failed. After being on hemodialysis for sometime, he received a kidney from a cadaver. That was way back in 1982. After 20 years of the transplant, Surjit is fit to climb mountains. Say the couple, “Retirement does not mean the end of life, rather a beginning. Even a person with a kidney transplant can live an adventurous life. With proper medication, exercise and diet one can lead a very normal life,”

Both the Grewals went climbing Mount Kiliminjaro in Africa at a height of 20,000 ft. Surjit stopped after scaling 17,500 ft, whereas Parkash was able to climb to the top. Surjit had earlier scaled the same mountain in 1989. They have trekked the Ganaras Wilderness Trail as well as the Rideau Trail both of which are hazardous trails.

They also enjoyed the tough Inca Trail in Peru last year, as it was very tough and they had to walk for eight days. The highest point in the trail was 16,500 ft.

The adventurous couple has hiked in New Zealand and walked the Milford Track. After New Zealand they climbed the highest mountain in Australia. In England, they have travelled from the East coast to the West, starting from Robinhood’ Base and ending at St. Bees.

This September, the couple plans to take the Elacmino -de-San-Diago trail. It was the path which the old Christian pilgrims undertook and lies to the North of Spain. They toughen themselves by walking a lot and climbing stairs before they go for a trek. Both say that Ludhiana has changed beyond recognition since their college days. “We feel so sad that there are no lanes for pedestrians. We do feel cooped up sitting at home. Unfortunately we did not get return tickets of an earlier date and so we have to stay put for another few weeks.”

Trekking is one of the best ways to discover the beauties of nature and of keeping robust and fit. “Trekking provides us opportunities to meet a lot of new people as we always go in a group. Moreover, we see breathtaking scenes. Our advice to the prospective hiker is to go on short distance hikes in the beginning, to buy a good pair of hiking shoes however expensive, travel light and do regular exercise to maintain the level of fitness that would enable one to endure the rigours of hiking.”



Strike by civic staff
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, March 18
All the employees of the local Municipal Council observed strike and activists of various employee unions held a protest march and a rally in the town to impress upon the police to arrest the accused wanted in a case registered under Sections 452, 427, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC and Sections 3/4 of the Untouchability Act.

Mr Dulia Ram, district president, and Mr Ramesh Kumar, district secretary, respectively, of the Safai Majdoor Union, warned that if the accused was not arrested immediately, the district unit would call all the units of the state to struck work. Mr Suresh Bhatti, president of local unit of the Safai Mazdoor Union, stated that Mr A.T. Vinayak, former president of the Bharatiya Yuva Morcha, and his four associates have been absconding for the past three days after assaulting Mr Kishori Lal Badhan, president, Municipal Council. Mr Ashok Bains, senior vice-president, District Safai Mazdoor Union, Mr Bhushan Bains, president, employees’ union, and Mr Dev Raj condemned the incident. In the meantime, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, SAD MLA, Ms Razia Sultana, MLA, Malerkotla, Mr Isher Singh, sarpanch, Dhulkote, Mr Sanjeev Puri, president, Nagar Panchayat, Malaud, and Mr Nusrat Akram Khan Bagga, former minister, condemned the incident and urged the police to take stern action against the accused.

Mr Kulchhinder Singh, DSP, Malerkotla, said that police had raided various places. The victim, Kishan Lal Badhan has appealed to all the unions to maintain peace.



Telephone cable damaged
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 18
Due to the construction of a flyover from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema, the underground telephone cable network has been damaged near the Raikhy chowk.

Mr V.S. Srivastava, General Manager, Telecom, in a press note today said that the subscribers of Gokul Sood, Buteshah Mandi, Baghwali Gali, Shivala Road, Railway Colony and Gujjarwala Road will get intermittent disturbance during the changeover process for at least one week. The affected cable route was being changed, said the GM.



Women rob man of Rs 70,000
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, March 18
Disappointed at police response, Mr Makhan Lal is now visiting deras of fortune-tellers to know the whereabouts of women who stole his money while he was travelling by an autorickshaw, on Thursday. Officials at various police stations refused to listen to him because he did not know the exact place where the incident had occurred.

Mr Makhan Lal Goyal, a local trader, stated that he was duped of Rs 70,000 on Thursday while he was travelling by an autorickshaw on the Gill road. He boarded the autorickshaw from near Arora Palace. Some women also boarded the same vehicle near Janta Nagar. Some time later a woman, who was sitting next to him, threw her shawl on his face which was probably soaked in some anaesthetic substance. This made him unconscious. When the vehicle reached near the Jagraon bridge, he saw that the zip of his bag was open, but the envelope containing money was still there. After alighting from the autorickshaw at Mata Rani Chowk, he reached the place where he was to hand over the money. There he found that Rs 70,000 were missing.

He had borrowed the money from his friends to help one of his relatives who was admitted in a hospital. He immediately contacted the police party which was on duty at Mata Rani Chowk. He was asked to lodge a complaint at Chowki No 2-1/2, Vishawkarma Chowk. Officials on duty asked him the exact point where the money was taken out of the bag, but he could not say anything with certainty. Later, he was sent to the Janta Nagar police station from where he was redirected to the Sadar Police Station. Munshi asked him to wait for the SHO.

He is now loitering about the deras of fortune-tellers to know the whereabout of those women.



Intruders beat up housewife
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 18
The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under sections 323,506,427,148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Balbir Kaur, a resident of Chet Singh Nagar, against Dinesh Kumar, Mukesh, Bal Krishan and his daughter. The complainant had alleged that the accused entered her house on Saturday, ransacked it, beat her up and also threatened her,. The accused also damaged her household goods, she added. No arrest has been made so far.

Assaulted: The Sahnewal police has registered a case of alleged beating on the statement of Mr Amandeep Singh, a resident of Bhairon Munna village, against Jaspal Singh and two of his sons, Lovely and Bunty, residents of the same village. The complainant had stated that the accused beat him up outside his house on Saturday and threatened him before leaving the scene.

The Civil Lines police, on the complaint of Mr Nazar Raza, a resident of Jawahar Nagar camp, has registered a case of alleged beating against Soni alias Mota , Roda and two other unknown persons. The complainant had alleged that the accused beat him up at the taxi stand near the general bus stand on Saturday and injured him seriously, No arrest has been made so far.

Minor ‘kidnapped’: The Salem Tabri police has registered a case of alleged abduction of a minor girl on the statement of Mr Munna Lal, a dealer in old books, against two youths of Bhaura village. The book seller, who also lives in the same village, had alleged in his statement that Vipan Kumar, who lives in his neighbourhood and deals in scrap, with the help of his friend Bittu, managed to kidnap his 14- year-old daughter, Jyoti, who is a student of Class V. The police is trying to locate the alleged kidnappers.

Another case of alleged kidnapping was registered by the police under sections 363 and 366 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Suraj Mal, a resident of slum near Kartar Nagar, against Suresh, a young neighbour. Mr Suraj had alleged on Saturday that the accused had kidnapped his 19-year-old daughter about twenty days ago.

Booked: The Sarabha Nagar police has booked Sobti Ram, a resident of Vikas nagar, under section 283 of the IPC on the charge of jamming traffic by positioning his rehri in the middle of the road on Saturday.

Four booked for drinking: The Basti Jodhewal police arrested three persons on Saturday on the charge of drinking at a public place and booked them under sections 61,1 and 14 of the Excise Act. The arrested persons have been identified as Prem Lal Sharma, a resident of New Shiv Puri, Surinder Pal Singh, a resident of Shiv Puri and Jagjit Singh, a resident of New Gagandeep Colony. The Sadar police arrested Soni Lal on the same charge and booked him under the same sections of the Excise Act on Saturday.

Eve-teasers booked: The Sadar police has registered a case of alleged eve-teasing and intimidation on the statement of Ms Harminder Kaur, a resident of Dhandra village, against Manjit Singh and Gurdip Singh of the same village. Ms Harminder Kaur had alleged that the accused threatened her daughter, Daljit Kaur, and daughter-in-law, Balwinder Kaur, on telephone and used foul language while doing so. No arrest has been made’ so far.

PCR cops transferred: Two cops riding a PCR motorcycle ( Number 18) who allegedly beat up two residents of New Kundan Puri in an inebriated condition on Saturday night, have been transferred. According to information, Mr Karamjit Singh and Mr Nand Lal were sitting outside their houses when the PCR cops who passed that way, beat them up without any provocation. Angry residents of the area demonstrated against the excess at the division number eight police station, following which action was taken against the erring cops.

Burglar alarm causes scare: The burglar alarm in a branch of Allahabad Bank on the Chandigarh Road near Samrala chowk that started ringing due to some technical snag last evening caused a general scare in the area. Passersby stopped in their tracks when they heard the alarm. The police, informed by a neighbour, arrived soon after, but found that the alarm had started ringing on its own due to some technical fault. It may be mentioned here that on Shivaratri holiday, burglars had attempted to open the safe of the same bank but had fled without accomplishing their task because of the alarm.



Woman murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Some unidentified robbers murdered a woman in South City here today and looted her house. The woman was alone in the house at the time of the incident which took place at 5 p.m.

The Haibowal police said the exact loss of property could be known only after the arrival of relatives of the deceased. The deceased has been identified as Gurdev Kaur. She lived in A-1 house in South City. According to the police, some neighbours had seen some unknown persons entering the house. The body was later spotted by a visitor to the house.



Cash stolen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Some unidentified persons broke into a gurdwara in Salem Tabri last night and decamped with Rs 2,500, besides some valuables.

The incident was reported to the police by Head Granthi Mangal Singh. He complained that when he came to gurdwara Gur Sagar Singh Sabha this morning, he found the windowpanes of a door broken.



Cutting costs in auto parts sector 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
An innovative programme initiated by the Auto Component Manufacturers’ Association in association with the CII resulted in drastic cuts in cost of production in the sector. Fourteen autopart units of the country including Talbros of Faridabad, Sandhar Locking Devices, Gurgaon, Minda Huf, Noida, Hitech Gears from Bewari, Rajasthan, which had adopted the programme in January, 2001, have succeeded in cutting down total cost of production by about 5 per cent, resulting in higher profit margins and improvement in the quality of production.

This was disclosed by Mr Jagat Singh, Managing Director, G.S. Autos International Limited here today. He was speaking to mediapersons after the 10th review meeting of the programme held here today. Mr Jagat Singh informed that G.S. Autos, a Rs 38-crore group, was the only unit in Punjab, to have adopted this innovative programme, based on a Japanese model to improve productivity. The programme has been started in association with the CII’s Total Quantity Management Cell.

Mr Jasbir Singh, joint managing director of the company, said, “It is a comprehensive three-year programme to minimise waste in the whole process of production and improve the quality of products by involving employees and management. Monthly meetings are conducted to monitor the progress of the programme.”

Asked about the genesis of the concept, Mr Jasbir Singh said that after the coming of MNCs in the auto sector, small autopart-making units here, had failed to meet quality parameters and lost business to modern units. But the ACMA took initiative to modernise the industry and to cut down costs. G.S. Autos was one of the companies selected by the ACMA under the programme.

Elaborating the concept of the programme, Mr Jagat Singh said that first, a complete data bank was generated about the inventories, rejection rate of material, energy consumption, customer complaints and other factors. Then the experts, in consultation with management and employees, prepared time bound programmes to cut down wastes and improve quality.

He said that they had already achieved Rs 60 lakh to 70 lakh annual savings in cost by adopting the programme. It included reduction in power bill, rejection rate, interest rate paid to the banks. Mr Jagat Singh proudly said, “We have not increased the rates of our products for the past few years due to continuous cost cutting. The company is now supplying auto parts to all four-wheeler manufacturers, including Telco, and even exporting to major European markets.” Mr RPS Kalsi, in charge of the project in the company, said that the programme would be soon expanded to other auto-part units in the city.



Tech show gets good response
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
It was for the first time that Ludhiana witnessed a complete exhibition on IT products. The three-day Tech-Show, 2002, concluded here yesterday at Welkom Palace. It attracted good response from the IT savvy youth and educationists.

The latest products from the field of IT were displayed and some companies also launched here latest products in the show. The participants displayed latest products to allure the customer and to develop a dealer network. Some of the visitors were surprised over the latest developments in technologies and new products. One of the visitors said, “We looked for the first time latest books at reasonable rates, and soft loans from ICICI and Bank of Punjab for computer education.” One of the industrialists said that he ordered some software solutions offered by a local unit. The HDFC had also put up its stall to offer new insurance products.

Expressing his satisfaction over the response, Mr Paramjit Singh, vice-president, Media and Publicity, Blue Chip Exhibitors, said: “We got a good response from the public. The exhibition created awareness about the latest technology. Many aggressive companies like ADCOM, VIA, Compaq, EPSON, HP, HCL and others are participating in this show.”

Mr Anuj, another director of the Blue Chip exhibitors, said: “The company had planed this event very carefully, keeping in mind the trends of the city. The company is now planning to organise same type of events in other parts of the state to provide a meeting ground for suppliers and customers. We are satisfied that the participating companies have realised the potential of the regional market.”


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