Friday, April 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rights panel summons top officials
Torture victim still lives in fear
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ghungrana (Ludhiana), April 4
In the Ghungrana treasure case, where a youth was tortured and charged with stealing jewels from some urns found buried in an old Haveli, the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) has taken cognisance of the youth’s complaint, in which, he had sought compensation for himself and punishment for the accused. The PHRC has asked the Principal Home Secretary of Punjab and the IG (Litigation) of the Punjab police to appear before the commission on April 18.

The youth, Nirmal Singh ‘Dhiddi’, who carries torture marks on the legs, the arms and the fingers, said he was happy at the PHRC move, but feared the future. Immediately after the PHRC move, a number of policemen and “middlemen” have started visiting his house to intimidate him into withdrawing the complaint or having an out-of-court settlement.

According to the PHRC notices, the complaint has been considered under the provision of the Human Rights Act of 1993. The letter of cognisance has been signed by Mr Maninder K. Mattewal, a member of the commission.

The youth has been demanding punishment for a police official whom he accuses of having tortured him for four days to recover the stolen jewels. He wants that the jewellery he had found should be returned to him or a suitable compensation be paid to him.

Nirmal Singh said his family and he were under constant threat. This correspondent traced him with a great difficulty at this village because he had been changing his location constantly, fearing an attack.

“I cannot live at one place. Some persons have been visiting my house and telling my family members to get the complaint withdrawn,” he said. He showed his injuries to this correspondent and, holding back his tears, said he still suffered from fits as a result of the torture. He, now, has permanent injury marks on various parts of his body. His fingertips have turned black because these were crushed during the torture.

“My injuries remind me of the injustice that I have suffered,” said Nirmal Singh. His brother, Baldev Singh, said the whole family supported him in this fight.

This newspaper was the first one to carry the news of treasure and torture, after which, the Jagraon police had suspended Inspector Nirbhajit Singh, who had allegedly tortured the youth and detained him at the Dehlon police station for four days without registering any case.



Row over MC parking lot refuses to die down
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 4
The row over allotment of a part of the green belt near New Sabzi Mandi in the Salem Tabri locality on the Old G.T. Road to a contractor for parking of vehicles continued for the third day here even after relenting to pressure mounted by area residents and shopkeepers, the Municipal Corporation had earmarked an alternative site just across the Budha Nullah bridge on the left side of the Old G.T. Road.

In an attempt to diffuse the situation created by an angry protest by the people after the MC staff had pulled down a part of the boundary wall of a park and a full-grown tree in the park, meant to be used for parking purposes, the police had arrested around 10 persons, all of them employed by the parking contractor, early this morning under Sections 107 and 151, IPC, for an apprehended breach of the peace.

The area residents as well as the shopkeepers in and around New Sabzi Mandi, while strongly opposed to conversion of parks into parking lots, which they felt would kill the very purpose the green belt was developed for, also apprehended disruption of normal life due to movement of vehicles in the parks, adjoining thickly populated localities in the area. The arhtiyas association had further alleged that the parking attendants were directed by the contractor to use strong arm methods for collection of parking fee from customers visiting the Mandi or the adjoining markets.

There was widespread resentment among the people over the award of contract for parking lot, comprising two parks on the left side of the national highway right in front of New Sabzi Mandi. The parking contract had yielded Rs 31 lakh against the last year's contract for Rs 25 lakh. The civic administration had also handed over the possession of the site to the successful bidder after necessary documentation.

The site, originally earmarked for the parking lot had been carved out from a part of the green belt, which comprised of fully developed parks, equipped with rides and other playway material for children. The decision had sparked off a strong protest from the residents as well as arhtiyas and shopkeepers in the area.

In a bid to give voice to the resentment of the people, political activists led by Mr Pran Bhatia, group leader of the BJP Councillors, and Mr Hira Singh Gabria, former Akali Dal legislator, had staged a dharna on Tuesday against the MC decision to utilise the green belt for parking of vehicles. Later Youth Congress activists also arrived at the spot and criticised the site selection by the MC which they remarked would create many problems for the area residents, besides damaging the fully developed parks. The Sabzi Mandi Arhtias Association had also threatened to observe a token strike if the MC persisted with its stand on the site of the parking lot.

However, inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune from various sources revealed an altogether different story. MC officials asserted that this particular part of the green belt was already being used for parking of vehicles last year and in view of the existing site being far too inadequate, some more area was added for being used as parking lot.

It was reliably learnt that behind the organised protest were quite a few shopkeepers in New Sabzi Mandi who were using service lanes, parks and even part of the main road in front of their shops for putting up “rehris and pharis” and were even collecting rent for hawking of fruit and vegetables. With the parking contractor taking possession of the site and the civic administration launching a drive to clear both the temporary and permanent encroachments in the locality, the shopkeepers apprehended that their source of income from rehri and pharis walas would dry up.

A senior MC officer, when asked for comments, remarked that the protest was politically motivated and certain political outfits were trying to foment trouble for their selfish motives. “We have no other choice but to use part of the green belt for parking of vehicles.”

Mr Madan Lal Bagga, area councillor, who is also Chairman of the Ludhiana Sabzi Mandi Arhtias Association said that the people were upset over the use of fully developed parks for parking of vehicles. “The protest is aimed at harassment of residents and shopkeepers by the parking contractor.” He said if the MC administration had provided an alternative site for this purpose which was away from the main gates of New Sabzi Mandi and the thickly populated locality of Peeru Banda towards Salem Tabri side, the people would not object to it.



Village land in the thick of controversy
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
A 13-acre piece of land in BhathaThuha village, near Hambran, originally belonging to the panchayat but given on lease to tillers, is in the centre of a controversy following claims of its ownership by two different parties of the village. The controversy threatens to take an ugly turn in the near future.

One party led by the panchayat presented its complaint before the Deputy Commissioner in the fortnightly grievances redressal forum meeting, and on the directions of the DC, the DDPO has given permission to the panchayat to harvest ripe sarson crop standing in the fields. However, the Jagraon police said the second party led by Mr Sardara Singh and others were the rightful owners of the crop and they would allow the harvesting only if the district administration gives written orders for it.

The issue came to light at the meeting of the District Grievances Redressal Forum chaired by Deputy Commissioner Anurag Aggarwal. Led by sarpanch Nachattar Singh, a delegation of the villagers, including Hari Singh, Gurmail Singh, Dalwinder Singh, the claimants of the piece of land, alleged that the panchayat was the rightful owners of the land and should be given police protection to harvest the crop. They showed the stay orders in their favour by a court of law. They also alleged that the Jagraon police was helping the other party.

The DC referred them to the District Development and Panchayat Officer Mohinder Singh Grewal, who, as claimed by the villagers, refused to provide police force but said the panchayat can go ahead with its plans to harvest the crop. The panchayat told Ludhiana Tribune that they had decided to do harvesting tomorrow.

The Jagraon police, however, claims that the panchayat was legally wrong in the case and the other party led by Mr Sardara Singh was the rightful owner. A senior official, who did not wish to be quoted, rebutted the allegations and said the police was not playing any partisan role in the case. He said the panchayat had earlier also gone to sangat darshan programmes and had got orders but when the police showed the documents of the other party, the district administration officials were convinced in the other party’s favour.

The official said if harvesting was done they would act according to the law. It may be mentioned here that the piece of land had become a thorny issue for the last couple of years and had caused some violent incidents, including a shootout in which the present sarpanch Nachattar Singh was injured.



Case against woman leader of Cong
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
The local police has registered a case against three persons, including a woman leader of the Congress, and charged them with misbehaving with some employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board and obstructing them from performing their duty.

In the FIR, Mr N.K. Sharma, Assistant Engineer, has said that the staff members of the PSEB were doing a routine check in Rajiv Gandhi Nagar here yesterday when the president of the women’s wing of the District Congress, Ms Usha Malhotra, another woman named Ms Neelam Rani and some other persons misbehaved with them and obstructed them from performing their duty.

The Congress leader, Ms Malhotra, however came to the fortnightly meeting of the District Grievances Redressal Forum (formerly ‘sangat darshan’) here today and said she was innocent. Her complaint has been admitted. She said the PSEB officials had visited a house in Rajiv Gandhi Colony here yesterday evening and asked some residents to produce their power-supply bills. When the bills were shown, the officials allegedly asked for a bribe of Rs 2,000, at which, some persons approached the leader and she went with them.

She said, on reaching the spot, she had found the officials to be in an inebriated state. She said they had misbehaved with her and even beat up Mohinder, one of the persons who lived in the area.

“They threatened everyone there and left,” she said. In the morning, she found that the police had registered a case against her. Ms Malhotra said she had been falsely implicated in the case, which if not withdrawn, would force her to launch an agitation. She also met the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, at the fortnightly forum.

Mr N.K. Sharma, Assistant Engineer, further alleged that the board had received information that some persons had been pilfering power and taking supply from illegal connections. 



Promised driver’s job: taken for a ride
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 4
A young man of Mumbai, who dreamt of finding a job in Ludhiana, was duped of his suitcase by a Punjabi boy who had been with him all through his train journey from Lucknow to the city. The Punjabi boy had even told him that he would find him a nice job in the city.

The victim said he had met the Panjabi boy in Lucknow, where he had gone to see his aunt and look for a job. The Punjabi boy told him that his name was Jasbir Singh and he lived in Indira Nagar of Lucknow. He also told him that he could find him a lucrative job in Ludhiana to where he was going the next day and he could accompany him if he wanted. The Mumbai youth was told to reach the Lucknow railway station on time and he did so. On the way, Jasbir Singh kept telling him that he would have a driver’s job soon after reaching the city.

However, on reaching here, Jasbir took him to a tea shop near Laxmi Cinema and ordered tea for two. Meanwhile, the Mumbai youth went away for a while to relieve himself and, on return, found no sign of his friend and luggage (a suitcase that contained some clothes and about Rs 1,000).

The man has not reported the matter to the police because he considers his loss a minor one. He was left with only Rs 50 and, fortunately, his driving licence. The man from Mumbai is thankful to those who live in the area, particularly some drivers who have offered to collect money for his return to Mumbai. For the time being, he is trying to get a driver’s job because he still has his driving licence.



Minorities Commissioner seeks probe into 
Gujarat riots
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 4
The National Commission for Minorities has urged the Prime Minister to order an impartial inquiry into the Gujarat violence, by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court. The commission has also urged the Prime Minister to announce a package for the rehabilitation of the victims, who are still based in 93 camps in Gujarat.

In a letter to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, Justice Mohammad Shamim, has expressed concern over the large-scale violence in Gujarat and called upon him to share the victim’s anguish. A delegation of the Minorities Commission had visited Gujarat on March 13 and 14 immediately after the lifting of curfew in Ahmedabad.

Justice Shamim has stated, “The damage done to the economy of the state due to the orgy of arson and violence has created untold misery and economic losses. The the Muslim community has been specially hit. The Prime Minister may care to announce a liberal grant from his relief fund. In addition, the state of Gujarat must announce and provide adequate compensation for loss of life and property and ensure that it reaches those concerned.’

He has emphasised that assessment of losses needs to be done and equal compensation paid to the kin of the deceased Justice Shamim, while welcoming the decision of the Prime Minister to visit Gujarat, has pointed out that the foremost need is to create a sense of confidence among the minority community, not merely the 97,000 victims currently housed in 93 camps, but to all people of Gujarat who have suffered from violence and disruption of their nature, for over one month.

Justice Shamim has suggested that the RBI should be asked to send a team immediately to assess the damage in terms of property and business so that financial packages can be worked out and suitable instructions given to the public sector banks to waive loans on already availed and give soft loans for those affected by the riots.

The damage to religious places, has been considerable. The Chief Minister had assured the commission of his immediate action to restore these. So far little has been done in this regard. The restoration of places of religious would go a long way to bring back a sense of confidence.

Justice Shamim has further drawn the attention of the Prime Minister to the fact that there is an erosion of confidence of the public in the administration and the need of the hour is to restore it at the earliest possible opportunity.

Justice Shamim regrets, ‘There have been instances of exemplary work done by police and civil officers during the worst days of violence but regretfully reports have recently been received that they have been specially targeted and transferred instead of their exemplary acts being recognised and commended.

He has further emphasised that the state government must work out short term and long term measures to rebuild the state and bring back confidence in the administrative machinery by evolving whatever system it wants, so the incidents of communal tension in Gujarat do not get repeated in the rest of the country.

He has also suggested a joint meeting of religious heads from all communities in order to restore amity in the state.



Surjit Pattar speaks of his plans
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 4
Surjit Pattar, winner of the Punjabi Sahitya Akademi award, has been elected President of the Punjabi Sahitya Akademi. He defeated Deepak Manmohan, Dean of Colleges, PU, Chandigarh, by 73 votes. The elections were held last week.

Stating his reasons for contesting elections, in a letter written to the Akademi, he said,” My aim was not to fight against an individual, but to prove wrong the deep-rooted belief that only a bureaucrat or an academician of the level of Vice- Chancellor can head the institutions. It is thought that they can generate resources. But I wanted to prove that a writer can also be an able administrator and raise funds. If I collect Re1 from a crore Punjabis, I will have no shortage of funds. Besides the Punjabi NRIs can contribute generously.”

“My primary aim is similar to that of the Punjabi Sahitya Akademi and that is to start a movement called ‘ Punjabi Chetna Lehar’. We have a quarterly magazine which is circulated among almost 900 members of the Akademi. Through that magazine, members will be made aware of their responsibilities in promoting Punjabi.

He further said he would encourage writers through seminars to link literature to real life. If it was related to the common problems of the people, people would take interest in it, he said. “To encourage young writers in colleges, we will to organise street plays based on the importance of mother tongue. Other burning issues like ecology, foeticide will form topics of their stories, gazals and poems. The best creative works would be given prizes. Nari kavi darbars’ will also be organised,” he added.

He said,” We want to save Punjabi at any cost. We are organising a seminar on ‘Future of Punjabi language-fears, hopes and plans’. We want to devise a workable plan to promote the cause of Punjabi, which is dying slowly. In fact, we want to take cudgels against the government. The Akali government, introduced English from class1 which is not good. Up to class 5 the children should be taught in their mother tongue. Now the Congress government wants that the working in Vidhan Sabha should be in English and Hindi. We do not understand why a step-motherly treatment was being meted out to Punjabi by its own govt”. 



Curtailment of powers of panchayats irks MCPI
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana April 4
The Punjab state unit of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) has taken serious notice of the Punjab Government’s decision to hand over powers of gram panchayats to the Block Development and Panchayat Officers (BDPOs) and other bureaucrats. Issuing of cheques and operation of gram panchayat accounts have been subjected to the control of the BDPOs which was unnecessarily hampering the development works initiated by the village panchayats.

Mr Kuldip Singh, secretary of the Punjab MCPI, who is also the sarpanch of gram panchayat, Kila Raipur, said in a statement here that this step ran counter to the spirit of democracy and popular will. It had led to the encroaching upon the powers and rights of gram panchayats and strengthened the hands of bureaucracy.

The MCPI functionary opposed the decision to hold early elections of panchayats in the state as still more than a year was to go for expiry of the term of the present panchayats. “It appeared that the Congress government in Punjab had no faith in the root-level democracy. Panchayats should be allowed to complete the full term of five years.” 



MC fails to achieve budget targets
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 4
Pleas like the budget targets for the financial year 2001-2002 being unrealistic and abolition of octroi affecting the revenue, notwithstanding, the financial performance of the Municipal Corporation during the year has been dismal, if anything. Despite many exercises to step up the income and a vigorous drive to collect the arrears of water and, sewerage bills and building composition fee towards the fag end of the year, the total income of the civic body was lower by almost Rs one crore in comparison to the last year.

Information collected by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that against an annual budget of Rs 262 crore, which was later slashed to Rs 201.98 crore, the MC could achieve only Rs 186.03 crore during the year. Going by the comparative figures, the abolition of octroi in December 2001 did not cause significant damage to the income since the total receipt during the year, including three instalments of a little over Rs 27 crore received from the state government to make good the loss of revenue from octroi, was Rs 98.50 crore against Rs 109.09 crore during the preceding year.

Barring income from house tax, octroi on electricity, composition fee, building application fee and advertisement tax, the civic body could not even achieve the truncated budget estimates. The only bright areas, where the revised budget estimates were not only jacked up, but the income during the year was actually higher than both the previous year and the original budget estimates, were development charges (income Rs 1.16 crore), court challans (income Rs 9.34 lakh) and police challans (income Rs 12.90 lakh).

Income from house tax, the second biggest source of revenue after octroi, was Rs 32.40 crore against a revised budget of Rs 32 crore (original budget Rs 40 crore), followed by water supply at Rs 17.55 crore (budget Rs 30 crore), additional excise duty at Rs 11.38 crore (budget Rs 15 crore), octroi on electricity at Rs 8.54 crore (budget Rs 12 crore), composition fee at Rs 6.21 crore (budget Rs 9 crore), building application fee at Rs 1.5 crore (budget 2.75 crore), tehbazari at Rs 82.97 lakh (budget Rs 1 crore), rent from property at Rs 26 lakh (budget Rs 40 lakh), licence fee at Rs 1.34 crore (budget Rs 2 crore), advertisement tax at Rs 15 lakh (budget Rs 1 crore) and other income at Rs 2.60 crore (budget Rs 5.10 crore).

In case of sale of property, as against an ambitious target of mopping up Rs 10 crore during the year in the wake of the government decision to give ownership rights to tenants at 40 to 50 per cent of the reserve price, the total sale proceeds were mere Rs 1.48 crore.

Not that it would have made much difference, but the MC officials attribute lower collections, particularly from water, sewerage bills and house tax to uncertainty created by frequent demands by councillors to waive domestic water and sewerage charges and the election promises made by several Congress functionaries during the campaigning for Assembly elections held recently.

In order to liquidate the massive arrears of civic charges, the MC, while giving effect to a unanimous resolution adopted by the its general house, had granted the facility of payment of water bills and house tax arrears without interest till March 31. The interest portion was deferred till the state government took a policy decision and would be collected at a later date, if the government refused to waive off the interest on arrears.



Pot luck for beating the heat
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, April 4
Earthen pots have always been part of the traditional Indian household. The credit of sustaining this age-old utensils market, goes to third-generation potters like Noor Mohammad and Phool Mohammad. Despite not getting good returns, they have kept alive this ancient method of beating the heat.

As the mercury rises these days, Noor Mohammad, and Phool Mohammad with the help of family members have increased production by five times. Every year the scorching sun in summer brings good business, as everyone feels the need for cheap and portable earthen water pots. But the demand in summer alone does not help these poor potters much as they have to sell their product at throwaway prices to retailers. The retailers intact earn profit.

Remuneration is not the only pitch for these potters in the city. Getting the right the type of earth for making these pots is also a big problem. All potters bring earth from areas which are as far as 50 to 100 km from the city. While talking to The Tribune, the Noor Mohammad said, “I have to go to Jagraon to fetch earth. “Moreover, arising the rest of the year, we have to depend upon the sale of earthen ‘diyas’ during the festival season, and flower and plant pots and other utensils which are not in much demand.” he added.

The earthen pot is available in different sizes, and costs range from Rs 20 to Rs 100. If one wants to get the cool water as well as decorate his or her home, the option of getting ‘Surahi’ is also open at Rs 15 to Rs 50 depending upon the size.

Interestingly, once upon a time a large number of potters used to live in Ghumar Mandi area, which is now considered as one of the posh areas of the city. The used to produce enough earthen waterpots to meet the need of the whole city. While talking to The Tribune, a earthen pot-seller in Ghumar Mandi area, Kashmiri Lal said, “This is a misconception that only poor people use earthen water pots to survive in the summers. A large segment of the upper strata of society also use them. You won’t believe people come in luxury cars to buy earthen water pots saying water cooled this way is good for health. “ He further said, “Some customers also tell me that doctors advise them to do so,.”



Supam — a born crusader

FOR some age and maturity may have no correlation, but Supam seems to be a born crusader. At 13, she has not only shown signs of maturity but has also taken upon herself the task to tell the world that the women, if not better, are as good as their counterparts in every field.

Perturbed over the rampant murder of the female foetus, a class IX student, Supam, took upon herself the task of educating the misguided. No doubt, a number of families still find it a matter of pride to have a son rather than a daughter. But there are people who are totally against the practice. The living example is the parents of a 13-year-old girl who proved that she in any case is not less than boys.

Supam, who has just passed the standard VIII examinations, has completed her 10-day-long journey on bicycle. She passed through a number of villages during her trip. She started alone on her bicycle journey from Ludhiana on March 20 and returned on March 31.

Peddling her bicycle for 10 days, she toured various villages like Jodhan, Halwara, Raikot, Barnala, Badaur and other places. Instead of wasting the vacation on seeking the coaching classes for cooking, stitching or painting like most of the girls often tend to do, she opted for this adventure. And she was lucky that her parents supported her. They arranged a mobile phone, listed for her the telephone numbers of friends, mediapersons and police officials for any emergency. They also made her aware of the various routes of the villages as well as Ludhiana district.

Reacting to the award she said, it was really a great honour for her, particularly when it was duly acknowledged by the people. Moreover, she disclosed that she got a warm response from the people she met during her cycling journey which made her feel proud.

She was awarded the trophy at Punjabi Bhavan by the president of the Sahitya Akademi, Prof Surjit Pattar, for spending the vacation in a different way. “She is a brave and bold girl and will definitely attain great heights very soon”, commented Professor Patar while addressing the function. He also congratulated Sukhjeet Singh and Paramjeet Kaur, parents of Supam, for permitting their daughter to do such a work.

Suruchi Arora



Scots and Punjabis

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, make the United Kingdom. We know very little about Scots and their land. Restricting it to Punjab, we discover some Scottish links.

During the Raj, several educational institutions were established at Ludhiana, Batala, Lahore, Daska, Sialkot and Rawalpindi. Forman, Baring and Scotch Mission were well known. Allama Iqbal and others are products of Scotch Mission School (Sialkot). Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Kuldip Nayyar, Jeet Singh Seetal, besides S.K. Rampal are products of Murray College.

Sir Walter Scott never visited Punjab. His epic Lady of the Lake, did reach here. An employee of Punjab University (Lahore), Lala Kirpa Sagar, based his Punjabi epic, Lakshmi Devi upon it.

A mason, Allan Cunningham, a Scot, met Sir Walter Scott. The chance meeting became a life -long link. It passed on to the next generation. Allan Cunninghan collected and edited the songs of Scotland, ancient and modern. Later his creative genius led him to write accounts of the lives of the eminent British painters, sculptors and architects. Allan Cunningham expired in 1842, but direct link with India in general and with Punjab in particular survived.

Allan Cunningham had four sons. The eldest was Joseph Davey Cunningham. He was born in 1812. He excelled in mathematics, had inclination for a career in army. He left the road to Cambridge to seek fortune as a soldier in India. Sir Walter Scott managed a job for him with the east India Company. Later, he worked with Sir Charles Napier. Also under Colonel Wade and his successors at Ludhiana . As political officer he was posted with Sir Harry Smith. He was an eye witness to Baddowal and Aliwal (Ludhiana) battles during the first Anglo-Sikh War (1845-46). On February 10, 1846, he was at the battlefield of Sobraon as aide-de- camp of Sir Henry Hardinge, Governor-General.

He wrote ‘History of the Sikhs’ Professor of History H.L.O. Garrett, I E S, Government College, Lahore, edited this classic book. The theme of the book is ‘From the origin of the nation to the battles of the Sutlej.’ Till date no historian could afford to ignore this volume. J.D.Cunningham served for eight years, and did so in close contact with the Sikhs. He witnessed the historical interview of Maharaja Ranjit Singh with Lord Auckland at Lahore in 1838. Book is meticulous in details. He lost his job for speaking the truth. He did a service to history by preserving facts, particularly of the battles of the Sutlej. He died in 1851 at the age of 39 at Ambala.

The second son was Alexander Cunningham. He also got job with the army. He was a qualified engineer. He worked at Gwalior, Multan, etc. and served as Chief Engineer of Burma. He retired in 1861. He became a Major-General. The Government of India appointed him as the Archaeological Surveyor of India. He went round India and formed teams of experts. He examined sites, re-examined evidence to get at lost facts. He visited Sunet in 1878-79. He records,” from the total absence of coins of Tomar Rajputs of Delhi as well as of all Muslims dynasties, it appears, that Sunet must have been destroyed during one of the invasions of Mahmood of Ghazni and afterwards remained unoccupied for many centuries.” Coins found at Sunet are preserved in the British Museum London, courtesy General Alexander Conningham.

The third was Peter Cunningham. Sir Robert Peel helped him to get a job in the prestigious Audit Office. He wrote the classic ‘Hand Book of London’. It was he who edited his elder brother’s book. Punjab owes it to his efforts.

The youngest, Fancis Cunningham, served in India. He visited Punjab, stayed at Lahore , Multan and Jalalabad. He published editions of authors like Marlowe and Ben Jonson. He died in 1875. This single Scott family is directly linked with India, especially Punjab.

M.S. Cheema 



People making fortune out of food

Ludhiana, April 4
The city residents’ love for eating stems mainly from lack of other worthwhile alternate activities available to them. For pizza lovers there’s Domino’s, for coffee lovers, Barista and for people who like ‘shahi’ food, it is Sanjeev Kapoor’s Yellow Chillies and Baskin Robins for ice-cream lovers which tops the list.

These eating joints are doing flourishing business in the city, providing people with good food and good service. Domino’s, which is famous for its pizzas, according to one of its managers, gets an order of 130 to 150 pizzas daily. They also provide home delivery. On weekends people prefer to dine at home than going out. Most of the visitors are between 20- 25 years of age. Even children are fond of pizzas.

Barista claims having about a 100 customers a day. Given the taste for coffee in the region, it is considered to be a good number. Ludhianvis prefer chocolate-flavoured coffees and people from all age groups frequent it.

Sanjeev Kapoor’s Yellow Chillies is also a well-known food joint. Sanjeev Kapoor chose Ludhiana in the region knowing of the love for good food among people here. People prefer this place for dinners, lunch, kitty parties and other small gatherings. They have a wide variety of vegetarian and non vegetarian preparations with exotic names such as Handion ka khazana, Rotiyon ki Dawat, Basmati ki khusboo.

Different people have different reasons for eating out. Ritu, a house-wife, is a frequent visitor to various such places. She says she loves to come to such places on weekends. This, she says, is the time when she is free from her routine. All eating joints provide her with a wide variety of food. Harpreet, a college student, says that it is only for a change that they come out for eating. Vishal, a school student, says that for birthday parties they go to these places or sometimes only to indulge in ice-creams.

Emphasising the importance of hospitality the industry, Mr N.S Nanda, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association says, “It has emerged as one of the major industries earning foreign exchange of about Rs 13,000 crore at the national level, which is expected to go up.” He said, eating joints contribute substantially towards this and Ludhiana is one of the important centres of this industry in the region.

People have made fortunes out of food. Perhaps ‘Bectors’ tops the list with Bector Foods becoming a household name in the country and even being recognised internationally. McDonalds, too get their bakery supply from them.

Satwant Sekhon



Honing traditional skills

Ludhiana, April 4
For the preservation of Sikh heritage, a number of city-based missionary organisations hold training sessions for imparting traditional skills like performing the gatka fencing and horse-riding. And their is no dearth of students for them. Competitions or ‘dharmik prikhia’, are held regularly and prizes awarded.

Simarjit Singh, 13, who is a class VII student at the Saint Farid School in Focal Point, says he had been inspired by his ‘gatka’ instructor, Mr Jaswinder Singh, who holds regular classes at Gurdwara Singh Sabha in HL Colony, to participate in the ‘dastaarbandi’ competition that was held a couple of years ago by the Sikh Missionary College, Field Ganj. In spite of the intricate turns and twists of a turban, he was through with the job of tying one within just two minutes. It was the first time in his young life that Simarjit, nick-named Dimpy, received a prize, Rs 50 and a memento for winning the turban-tying competition.

A regular student of the missionary college now, his father, Mr Rajinder Singh, who is a cloth merchant and a devout Sikh as well, is all praise for the management of the missionary college, which he thinks, is inculcating qualities of a true Khalsa in the young pupils.

The little ‘Khalsa’ also enjoys the support of other family members including his grandparents and his mother, Ms Balwinder Kaur, who takes keen interest in his activities.



Close monitoring for consumer sake: NFCR
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 4
The National Forum for Consumer Rights (NCRF) has appealed to the administration to monitor closely the public and private institutions providing services and products.

According to a press release issued here today, the general secretary of the NCRF, Dr Ajay Shahi, has said the consumers are facing a lot of problems which include health services, entertainment and vehicle parking. At the general meeting of the NCRF, all the members have decided to constitute four-member committee which would look into the matter and talk to the medical practitioners in the mega city.

This committee includes Dr Ajay Shahi, Dr Sanjeev Uppal, Dr Pardeep Sareen and Dr T.P. Singh. The committee would talk to the representatives of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the Indian Dental Association (IDA), the Ayurvedic and Homoeopathy Council and the laboratory and charitable hospitals for better coordination and cohesive approach in public dealing.

The president of the NCRF, Mr Surjit Singh, has said that soon the forum would launch an awareness and education programme against the overcharging and tampering with LPG cylinders and petrol machines at some petrol stations in the city. This campaign would be started on April 10 in educational institutions.



Taken for a ride by property dealer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
Next time you plan to buy some property, beware. You can fall prey to certain property dealers who may accept money from you and instead of giving it back, may land you in jail.

This is exactly what happened with Ms Indu Bala, a resident of Shivaji Nagar, who paid a property dealer an amount of Rs 7,200. She neither got her money back nor could she finalise a deal to buy a plot, but she landed herself in jail for three days. The property dealer got a case registered against her for taking away his scooter forcibly.

She had given a representation to the Deputy Commissioner at the sangat darshan sometime ago, who had directed the SSP to inquire into the matter. After the inquiry, the FIR against her was cancelled.

She wanted the grievances Redressal Forum today, to punish the quality and that she should be compensated for her unnecessary stay at jail. She also demanded action against the ASI Tara Chand, who she alleged had detained her illegally. But she was told to move the civil court for defamation charges.

An exasperated Indu Bala while talking to mediapersons, said that the property dealer had himself given her his scooter saying that the moment he returned the money he would take it back. But surprisingly one morning police picked her up from her residence and took her into custody for allegedly forcibly taking the scooter away from the house of the property dealer.

She said that she was detained in the police station for two days and was even sent to jail for one day. She said that the ASI had illegally detained her as inquiry had proved that she was not guilty. She demanded immediate action against the ASI.



Seven injured in five incidents
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 4
As many as seven persons were injured in five incidents of violent clashes in and around the city last night.

According to information, some persons, armed with sharp-edged weapons and ‘lathis’ arrived at the office of a transporter, Mr Pritam Singh, in the Transport Nagar area and started Mr Rajiv Kumar, 22, a resident of Baba Thaan Singh chowk, who was sitting there. When Mr Pritam Singh tried to rescue Rajiv, he was also beaten up by the alleged attackers who later fled from the spot.

Both the injured were taken to the Civil Hospital. Mr Rajiv alleged that the accused, Prem Lal, a resident of Benjamin Road, along with his cronies, had attacked him with the intention of killing him due to some old enmity. The division number six police has registered a case against the accused and is investigating.

Kidnapping alleged: Twenty-year-old Balwinder Singh, a resident of Jawahar Nagar camp, was kidnapped from a chowk by two unidentified persons and taken to a house where he was allegedly hung upside down from a ceiling fan and beaten up by the kidnappers. He was later released. Mr Parkash Chand, the victim’s father, has alleged that his son had been mercilessly beaten up with sticks. A case has been registered at the division number five police station.

PCO customers injured: Two PCO customers were injured in an altercation and a resultant clash that occurred between them and the PCO owner in Tagore Nagar falling under the Haibowal police station here last night.

According to information, Hira Lal, a resident of Naya Mohalla, Haibowal, and his friend Munish arrived at the PCO to make a phone call. An altercation over some matter ensued and the customers were allegedly attacked by the PCO owner and his cronies with broken bottles and knives. Both friends were injured in the attack. Hira Lal is said to be in a critical condition. The Haibowal police has registered a case.

Two injured: Mr Amar Nath, an employee of the Telecom Department, has lodged a report with the Model Town police that he had been seriously injured by an employee of Mandi Board posted at Kila Raipur, who hurled a brick at him when he was returning home last evening. In another case, Parminder, a boy working at a tea shop in Rangian village falling under the Dehlon police station, was allegedly injured by one Bashir of the same village. The injured boy, who has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital, has alleged that he had loaned out Rs. 2000 to the accused. When he demanded his money back, the accused attacked him. The Dehlon police has registered a case.

Labourer succumbs to burns: Hardeep Singh, a labourer, who was charred by electric current at a construction site falling under the Sadar police station a couple of days ago and admitted to the hospital succumbed to his injuries here yesterday. His body was handed over to his relatives by the police after an autopsy.

Booked for jamming traffic: The division number three police has booked Mast Ram, a migrant from UP and Harcharan Singh, a resident of Gaushala Road, on the charge of parking their rehris in the middle of the road and obstructing officers from discharging their duty. While Mast Ram was arrested on the spot, Harcharan Singh managed to flee.

The division number one police also booked Swaran Singh, a mini bus driver of Khanpur village, on the charge of parking his vehicle in the middle of the road and impeding traffic.



Foundry owner booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
The district police has registered a case, for causing nuisance and endangering the lives and property of the resident of Vishvakarma colony, against Mr Darshan Singh, owner of J.B. Foundry, where a powerful explosion took place yesterday morning.

The police has registered the case under Sections 268 and 290 against the foundry owner on the complaint of Ms Gurjit Kaur, a neighbour. The FIR said the explosion broke window panes of several houses and also damaged the walls besides causing panic in the area. The police has, however, not arrested anyone in the case so far.



SSI units seek increase in credit flow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
The Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations in a memorandum submitted to the Standing Advisory Committee of the RBI has sought to increase the flow of credit to the small-scale sector. In a memorandum submitted at New Delhi today, the association urged the Centre to direct the nationalised banks to fix sub-targets to provide credit to the tiny units under the SSI category.

Mr V.P. Chopra, president of the association, disclosed that in a recent study conducted by the RBI in 33 commercial bank branches in five districts clearly indicated that lack of limited powers of bank managers, wrong assessment of capital requirements and high collateral securities demanded by the banks, were the major reasons of the poor performance of banks in extending finance to the SSI sector. He said that the Nayak committee had also recommended various measures to simplify the disposal of loan applications, but without any results so far.

He told the committee that though the advances to the SSI sector by the public sector banks stood at 14.2 per cent of the net bank credit at the end of March, 2001, but the banks should be instructed to fix sub-targets for the tiny sector as well. Interestingly, the number of SSI units, said Mr Chopra, financed by the public sector banks had drastically declined from 33 lakh to 23 lakh between March, 1996, and March, 2000. Moreover, the gross investment credit to the SSI had also come down from 18.32 per cent in 1997-98 to 7.36 per cent in 1999-2000, which was a matter of great concern.

The federation pointed out that banks like the SBI were charging up to Rs 10,000 per sanction of the limit beyond Rs 25 lakh from the borrowers which was unjustified and such practices need to be discontinued. 



‘Spell out cluster development policy’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
The garment exporters have urged the Union Ministry of Commerce to spell out the benefits available under the wool cluster development programme, announced by Mr Murasoli Maran, Union Minister of Commerce, on March 31 under the new Exim policy. While hailing the town of excellence status granted to Ludhiana, the export associations have urged the Centre to provide all the facilities currently available to special export zones ( SEZs).

Mr Sanjiv Gupta, president, Apparel Export Promotion Council ( APPEAL), said, ‘‘The Centre has rightly announced the export-house status at Rs 5 crore from Rs 15 crore. The policy should now primarily focus on procedural simplification, cut in incidence of duties and facilitation of experts at the ports and DGFT offices through better coordination, which could improve the competitiveness of the exporting community.’’

Mr Ajit Lakra, a leading exporter, said, “The export of textile garments can substantially increase, provided adequate initiatives are taken by the government. However, the government should provide at least Rs 100 crore instead of Rs 42 crore proposed under market access initiate programme for 2002-2003.’’

Commenting on the new policy, Mr Gupta said the simplification of the DPEB scheme, dispensation of the logging of DEEC books and redemption of advance licences on the basis of shipping bills would help exporters. The association also welcomed the reduction of interest rate from 24 to 15 per cent in the case of non-fulfilment of export obligation for exporters under the various schemes.

He further said the measures announced should be followed up with quick implementation. The special focus on export status holders, export-oriented units and industrial clusters would help in tapping the inherent strength and opportunities to propel economic activity and promote exports.

Mr V.P. Bhandari, one of the leading wool garments manufacturers, said, “Before making any new policy, the government should ensure that amounts pending under the DEPB is refunded to the exporters at the earliest, which is pending for the past over five months. Further, the state government should be asked to release the capital subsidy worth Rs 500 crore towards SSI units, pending since 1996.’’


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