Friday, April 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Five police pickets closed
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
The district police has closed down a number of police pickets erected specially during the terrorism era in the district in order to meet shortage of staff, reduce financial burden and to meet the demands of police presence in the freshly coming up colonies in the Ludhiana police district. A re-thinking on the shifting or closing down of over 20 police posts and pickets is also currently under way in the district police.

At least five pickets, each having a strength of 10 to 15 employees have been closed in the recent past and four more police pickets are under observation for one month before deciding whether these are to be closed or not. These are the police pickets in Punjab Agricultural University, Mattewal under Koomkalan police station, Raghunath enclave and the Old Jail police picket in the city. The district police may either completely shut down these pickets or shift them by temporarily suspending them. Interestingly, the police pickets are known as full police posts.

The decision to erect or close a picket or shift a police post was significant from the public point of view. The presence of post directly affected the residents living in the vicinity besides acting as deterrent for the criminals. The pickets were erected on the public demand and according to the need of controlling the crime in a specific area. An apt example was the setting up of the Old Jail police picket near the Civil Hospital, which had been erected to control incidents of child kidnapping and sodomy in the Old Jail premises. The incidents ended completely after the police presence.

While the police had its own needs and plans, residents of some of the areas where pickets closed down, especially those in rural areas, complained they would have to travel long distance now to lodge their complaints. The police authorities, however, asserted that the decision to close had been taken after complete consideration. It had come to light that the residents had been going to police stations despite the pickets, which were only used for erecting nakas.

Police sources said these pickets were given one month’s time in the recently held monthly crime meeting of the district police. It had come up during the reviewing of crime scene that the pickets had not much to show performance wise and were without any serious work at their hands. With at least 10 employees in the each picket, the work suffered in other places.

The latest police picket to be closed was near Lalton village on Ludhiana-Pakhowal road. The picket had come up during terrorism days and is the last picket in the Sadar police station. The police sources said the picket was not required as it was mainly used for erecting a naka on the road. Other requirements were handled by the police station.

Residents of Lalton village were, however, unhappy at the decision. Gurmeet Singh, a resident, said the picket was quite important for them and several other surrounding villages. They used to take their complaints to this picket instead of travelling 20 km to the Sadar police station.

SSP H S Sidhu said the review of the existence of pickets and posts was definitely on as he had found that the staff at the pickets erected during terrorism days was underutilised. ‘‘We need staff at other places where the area needs adequate coverage. Then the public keeps on demanding that they need police surveillance in this or that areas and thus shifting of staff is a routine affair’’. The SSP said he would not comment on the issuance of warning to staff at several police pickets who had been told to perform.

Police sources said the pickets had become unnecessary after the launching of PCR motor cycle scheme as well as continuance of night patrolling. A senior officer said the police might open new pickets or posts at some places where the public demanded them.



Mayor, 6 councillors join SAD(Badal)
Our Correspondent

Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Ludhiana city Mayor Apinder Singh Grewal
Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Ludhiana city Mayor Apinder Singh Grewal along with other members of the Tohra group that joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal).
—Photo by Paramjit Happy

Ludhiana, April 11
The City Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, along with six other councillors, today formally joined Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal). The announcement was made by Mr Grewal and his colleagues in the presence of former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, during a hurriedly-convened news conference at the official residence of the Mayor.

In the process, the Akali faction headed by the former SGPC President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, suffered a severe blow since the number of councillors of the party stands depleted to four.

Besides Mr Grewal, those who shifted their loyalty from Tohra camp to Badal camp were Mr Harcaharan Singh Gohalwadia (Ward No. 26), Giani Baldev Singh (Ward No. 42), Mr Ranjit Singh Dhillon (Ward No. 6), Mr Swarn Singh Maholi (Ward No. 27), Mr Kashmir Singh (Ward No. 29) and Mr Harnek Singh Mankoo (Ward No. 30).

Welcoming the new entrants to the party, Mr Badal in his short speech said the move, a shot in the arm for the party, would consolidate the Panthic unity. Making a special mention of the performance of the City Mayor, he said Mr Grewal had risen above party politics and worked hard to see major development projects through in the industrial capital of the state.

In the civic elections held in 1997, the party wise successful candidates were SAD 20, BJP 18, Congress 16, Bahujan Samaj Party 2 and Independents 14. Among the Independents were mostly rebel candidates of SAD and the Congress, who had, in the course of time, returned back to their party folds.

In fact, going by the poor track record of Akali faction led by Mr Tohra right after he parted company with Mr Badal, the councillors, as well as the City Mayor, owing allegiance to Mr Tohra, were trying to find an opportunity to join Badal camp and with the civic elections just round the corner they had to hasten the process somehow.

During the last one and a half year of tenure, Mr Grewal was virtually on a love-hate relationship with SAD and BJP councillors and at times the ruling coalition, barring a few exceptions, had risen in revolt against the Mayor, who had to seek the support of the Congress group for his survival. When the controversial elevated road project was put to vote in the general house of the MC, during middle of last year, there was a showdown between the two sides and even though they failed to muster majority in the house, a section of SAD and BJP councillors had walked out and staged a dharna against the Mayor.



Scientists warn against early paddy sowing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Coming together to discourage early sowing of paddy in order to reduce the pressure on underground water, eminent agricultural experts have warned farmers to start cultivating paddy nurseries only by mid-May.

In a joint statement, Dr Sardara Singh Johl, eminent economist and agriculture adviser to the chief minister; Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor of PAU and former VCs of PAU, including Dr G.S. Kalkat, Dr Sukhdev Singh, Dr Khem Singh Gill and Dr Amarjit Singh Khaira, have expressed serious concern on the reports about the sowing of paddy by some farmers in the first week of April.

Scientists have said that by resorting to early sowing, farmers will be wasting precious underground water for about six weeks.

If the trend continues, the underground water in upper layers will get depleted. As a result the present centrifugal pumps will have to be replaced by submersible pumps to draw water from the deeper layers. This will involve a huge cost, which the farmers, who are already reeling under heavy debts will not be able to afford.

Warning farmers that if they resorted to early sowing they would be doomed, the experts have said in clear terms that the procurement of paddy would start from the first week of October and the Punjab Government was of the firm view that procurement would not be preponed in any case.

Therefore, there will be no buyers for the paddy sown early which will ripen by September. The farmers will have to face the difficulties in selling this paddy.

Moreover, the early sown paddy is more likely to be damaged by rains and high moisture content, because there were more chances of rains during the month of September.

The message comes at an appropriate time as the farmers not only in the district, but the entire region, have started cultivating the nurseries of paddy. In some villages of the district they have even started digging tubewells as the underground water level had gone down. In some villages it has been reported to be as low as 350 feet. 



PAU seeks more funds
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, April 11
Punjab Agricultural University has a deficit budget of Rs 18.90 crore for 2002-2003 and the Punjab Chief Minister has been urged upon to meet the financial needs of the university.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, has met the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in Chandigarh and brought to his notice the financial conditions of the university. He told the Chief Minister that the state government had promised to meet the financial crises by making substantial contribution, but the same was not forthcoming.

The Vice-Chancellor pointed out that the government had promised to create a corpus fund of Rs 100 crore for the university and the interest accrued from it would be used for research activities. The government had not released any amount so far.

He said the university had passed its budget estimates worth Rs 144.24 crore for 2002-2003 against the budget of Rs 137 crore of the previous year. The contribution of the state government was Rs 108 crore and the ICAR Rs 23.82 crore. The PAU would generate funds worth Rs 8.55 crore. The deficit was Rs 19 crore. The university would spend 52 per cent of the budget on research, 25 per cent on teaching and 9 per cent on extension education activities.

Dr Aulakh brought to his notice that the university had been allocated 1,250 acres of land at the central seed farm, Ladowal, near here, in lieu of the land of sugarcane research station at Jalandhar. The government has also promised to give Rs 15 crore for the establishment of the research station there. However, the government had asked the university to pay the price of the land at the rate of Rs 1 lakh per acre. Besides, the university had been given 179 employees of the seed farm for absorption.

He told the Chief Minister that the university was not in a position to make any payment for the land given to the PAU by the government. Rather the university had lost a prime land and established sugarcane research station at Jalandhar.

However, the Chief Minister assured him that the government would not get any price for the land and would help in the establishment of the sugarcane station at Ladowal. The Chief Minister also asked the authorities concerned to transfer the land belonging to the open air jail at Nabha to the university without any further delay.

Capt Amarinder Singh also assured him that the government would help the university in procuring funds from financial institutions and the state exchequer.



Bio-technology course for CBSE schools 
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, April 11
Keeping in view the immense potential of bio-technology with regard to career opportunities and academic pursuits, the Central Board of Secondary Education has decided to introduce bio-technology course as an independent elective subject in its affiliated schools from the current session.

While a majority of the schools do not have any information regarding the matter, the website of CBSE has already announced the introduction of this course. The online circular issued by Mr G. Balasubramanian, Director (Academic), to all heads of affiliated schools states that the course would be introduced for Class XI of academic year 2002-03 and Class XII of year 2003-04.

According to the circular, all schools desiring to introduce the course in current session have to send their requests to him or to the Education Officer (Science) by April 15, following which final selection of schools would be made exclusively by the Board after assessing related facilities available in the schools.

The circular mentions that the course would be aimed at provide understanding of elementary concepts of bio-technology and its applications in different fields. The syllabus would have components of theory, practical and project work and the entire textual material would be published by CBSE, the circular says.

It is also mentioned that the course would be introduced in as many as 100 schools of India which would be willing to provide related facilities to students and meet requirements of the board for infrastructure, reference books and other facilities.

A few principals from local schools who have managed to download the information seem quite willing to introduce the course from this session. Ms Paramjit Kaur, Principal, BCM Arya Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, said that the course would be a good option for the students who choose science stream. She said that the course would open new career alternatives after they finish Class XII, as they may take up the subject in higher classes.

Ms Paramjit Kaur said that the expenditure for setting up infrastructure would be more than Rs 2 lakh for setting up new laboratory and equipments for the subject. However, she said that the school management was willing to accept the proposal.

Ms I. Kumar, Principal, Kundan Vidya Mandir, said that she had learnt about the introduction of the course at a recent meeting of CBSE schools. She said that even though she has not received any circular yet, she came to know about online circular from a school teacher. She, however, said that she would first like to know about the syllabus of the subject and its benefit for the students before she applies for it. She said she was in no hurry and she may apply for it next year. 



25 interrogated in robberies’ case
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 11
More than 25 suspects have been grilled by Criminal Investigation authority (CIA), Khanna, in connection with the three robberies which took place at Mahoun and Bhadla Tota villages on GT Road in which three persons were injured and Rs 45,000 and gold worth more than Rs 1 lakh was looted on Monday night. But the police is still clueless about the identity of the robbers.

More than nine masked robbers had struck at the farm of Jagmel Singh in Mahoun village at about 12.30 a.m. on Monday. They ordered eight migrant labourers who were sleeping at the tubewell to stand in a queue, threatened them and looted Rs 9,000 from them before escaping.

At about 3.30 a.m. the robbers struck at the farm of Nachhattar Singh of the same village where seven migrant labourers were sleeping from whom they looted Rs 11,000. In the third incident which took place on the same night in which three persons were injured, including one woman, the robbers looted Rs 25,000 cash and gold worth over Rs 1 lakh.

The three injured persons are still admitted at Rajindera Hospital, Patiala. One of them, Shambu, is still in a critical condition. SSP Devinder Singh Garcha, IPS, said a joint FIR had been lodged in Khanna Sadar Police Station in connection with these robberies.



Bhattal all praise for Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
A senior Congress leader and Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, yesterday described Capt Amarinder Singh as the “best Chief Minister”. She also said there was no need to appoint a separate president of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC), since Capt Amarinder was performing the dual responsibility very well.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday after inaugurating an athletic meet at Punjab Agricultural University she observed that the Congress high command had taken the best possible decision by appointing him as the Chief Minister. She said although the period of less than one and a half month was too less to judge the performance of a government or a Chief Minister, “still we can say that he (Capt Amarinder) has started off very well which is being acknowledged by the public.”

Ms Bhattal, who has herself served as Chief Minister of the state, said Capt Amarinder was proving to be a good team leader and was taking all of them into confidence before taking any major decision. She expressed full confidence in his leadership and said the government was doing pretty well.

Ms Bhattal was not satisfied with the minimum support price for wheat announced by the government.

However, when it was pointed out to her that Dr S.S. Johal, an eminent expert and adviser to the Punjab Government, had hailed it, she said those must be Dr Johal’s own views. She also clarified that the recommendations to be made by the committee set up by the government and headed by Dr Johal may not be necessarily implemented in toto. “We will study and examine them thoroughly and see how far they are viable for the agriculture in our state,” Ms Bhattal stated.

Denying that the decision to hold panchayat elections in the state one year in advance was politically motivated, she defended it arguing that it was better to hold the elections in advance than to delay these. “What is wrong if these are held in advance,” she asked.

To a question about one-year delay in introducing the BT cotton in the state, she said, the government was aware of the matter and all preventive measures would be taken this year.



MC poll: Cong invites applications
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 11
The aspirants for Congress tickets for the ensuing municipal elections in the city could have the application forms from the office of the District Congress Committee (Urban) and filled up forms could be submitted during office hours, along with the stipulated fee, latest by April 17, according to the DCC (U) president, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa. The application fee of Rs 1,000 for general and BC categories and Rs 500 for SCs would have to be submitted in the shape of a demand draft favouring the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.

Meanwhile, the acting president of the SAD, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, said the SAD would contest elections jointly with the BJP and other like minded parties.

According to Mr Parwinder Singh Khalsa, press secretary of the district unit of the party, the list of party ticket aspirants would be soon submitted to the high command for its approval.

He said the party leadership was urged to immediately initiate disciplinary action against Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia and his supporters, who had openly opposed the party candidate in the Assembly elections.

Mr Jatinder Pal Singh Saluja, general secretary, SAD, said in a statement here that the party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had assured a deputation of party activists that only those workers would be nominated to contest civic elections who had significantly contributed towards development of their respective areas. Further, the leadership was in the process of taking action against those functionaries who had revolted against the party during Assembly elections.

The city unit of the SHSYAD called upon the party high command to nominate persons with dedication and unblemished track record to contest the coming elections.

The national secretary-general of the party, Mr Sukhwinder Pal Singh Garcha, assured the party workers that youth would be given their due share in the nominations and exhorted the workers to be fully prepared for the battle.



BJP leaders discuss defeat
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
The foundation day programme of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) organised here last evening was marked by leaders blaming for the defeat of party candidates.

Mr Satpal Gosain, in whose area the function was being organised, came to the dais after repeated requests from the stage secretary. It was on the request of party’s Beopar Mandal leader, Mr Harish Bedi that Mr Gosain relented.

Throwing a spanner, the leader of the BJP in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, Mr Pran Bhatia, who lost from Ludhiana North to Mr Rakesh Pandey by a huge margin, blamed two former ministers of the party. The high-handed attitude of these ministers had alienated the workers, he said.

Mr Gosain attributed the defeat to the growing ambition of certain party workers. Certain prominent workers were giving preference to personal interests over the party interests which had renewed resentment against the BJP.

Mr Rinwa told reporters that merit would be the top priority for selecting candidates for the Municipal Corporation elections. The BJP will fight elections in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and may have an understanding with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), he added. 



Badal blames media
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 11
The leader of Opposition in Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today charged the state government with resorting to cheap gimmicks.

In an informal chat with mediapersons at the official residence of the City Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, here, he said the government had failed to take proper follow up action with the Union Government on procurement of wheat and the minimum support price (MSP). 



Rescuers of blast victims honoured
Our Correspondent

Doraha, April 11
Mr D.R. Bhatti, IPS, ADGP, Punjab and Chairman Punjab Police State Apex Committee of NGOs, honoured the rescuers of the bomb blast victims that occurred here last month.

Among those honoured were Dr Ravinder Sidhu, Head Constable Manjit Singh, five railway employees, four police first aid post employees and nine social workers of Satnam Nagar.

The programme was presided over by Dr P.S. Jassi, Consultant, UNICEF, North zone. Among the guests were Mr Devinder Singh Garcha, SSP, Khanna and Mr Gursharanjit Singh, general secretary, Punjab Police State Apex Committee for NGOs.

The function was organised by the B S B Centre, Satnam Nagar here. Twenty children were provided free slates and 60 community help volunteers were given scholarships.

Mr Om Prakash Bector, was also honoured.

Mr D.R. Bhatti said Satnam Nagar has been adopted by the Human Rights Commission and the British Council. He added,” Every poor child of the area would be provided with free books and bags.”

Among others who spoke were Mr Rajpal Singh Mangat, Mr Kulbhooshan, Mr Jatinder Puri and Mr Gurmit Singh.



How to care for beauty
Our Correspondent


Klara Doert, demonstrates facial techniques at a seminar in Ludhiana on Friday.
Klara Doert, demonstrates facial techniques at a seminar in Ludhiana on Friday. —PT

Ludhiana, April 11
Ms Asha Hariharan, a Mumbai-based beautician, was in the city to conduct a beauty seminar on hair care, hair styling and skin care, organised by Beauty and Salon, the personal care and beauty magazine, here today.

In an interview with Ludhiana Tribune, Ms Hariharan stressed that people should use only good and professional products as they become available to the customers after a lot of research by beauty experts and dermatologists. “No doubt they are a little more expensive but there should be no compromises in this regard”, added Ms Hariharan.

Ms Hariharan said, “I have taken training from reputed institutions and companies in Europe and Hong Kong and worked with world-renowned beautician like Roger Craig, Tim Robinson and others. But in recent times, people have become very beauty conscious and as a result of the skin care has also advanced “.

Ms Hariharan admitted that earlier women used home-made products and they used to stay at home and their skin used to glow naturally. “There has been an awareness among the masses regarding skin care. It is the need of the hour because in the past the pollution and the radiation level was very low. Stress level was also not much, so women did not require any extra care for their skin”, she said.

She said women should consult some good beautician before getting any facial treatment. “We examine a lot many things, including the water level, the kind of skin, the sweat, the hormonal imbalance etc, only then we can say which facial is suitable to the client”, she said.

Earlier during the seminar, Ms Hariharan demonstrated the slide-hair-cutting technique and presented style for long hair.

Ms Klara Doert, a German aesthetician, demonstrated techniques of facial massage and methods for white secret facial (for skin lightening) and pure secret facial (for oily and acne prone skin).



Sack Modi govt: Left
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Members and sympathisers of the All-India Students Federation (AISF), All India Youth Federation (AIYF), Punjab Istri Sabha, All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) held a rally at Clock Tower Chowk here today.

They demanded immediate dismissal of the Narender Modi government, ban on the Sangh Parivar outfits — Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal. Mr Kartar Singh Bowani and Dr Arun Mitra also spoke on the occasion.



POTA anti-people: Lok Morcha
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 11
To protest against the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), the state unit of the Lok Morcha organised a rally here yesterday.

Mr Himmat Singh, secretary, Lok Morcha, Punjab, in a press note stated the rally, which started from the Labour Office Gill Road here, passed through Dashmesh Nagar and Chet Nagar. The protesters were carrying placards and black flags.

The rally was addressed by Lok Morcha leaders, including Mr Parminder Singh and Ms Manjit Kaur. The leaders said POTA was not anti-terrorism, but anti-people.



Cop, family booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
The district police has registered a case against a head constable and his three family members including his wife for allegedly teasing, harassing and threatening a school principal, her staff and students near Club Road here.

Head Constable Dara Singh, his wife Balwinder Kaur, and sons Kala Singh and Lakha Singh have been booked under Sections 294, 506 of the IPC on the orders of SSP H.S. Sidhu. Ms Simi Gupta, Principal, Model School, Club Road, had complained to him that the cop and his family had been harassing them all. The male members of the family had been regularly teasing and harassing women students and teachers also. When she told them to stop, they threatened her with dire consequences.

The police has yet to make any arrests. 



Excise duty on bicycle units flayed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 11
The Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India has criticised the government’s decision to levy Central Excise Duty on the parts and accessories of bicycles and cycles rickshaws.

In a letter written to Ms Sonia Gandhi, president, All-India Congress Committee, and Leader of the Opposition, Mr Joginder Kumar, president of the federation, has urged her to take up this national issue with the Prime Minister to ensure that the decision to levy Central Excise Duty was withdrawn as it would lead to unemployment problem.

The president said the bicycle industry was a major industry of the state and was concentrated in and around the city. The first few bicycle manufacturing units had failed due to their heavy cost. The units like Hero Cycles and Avon Cycles were manufacturing bicycle components developed from the SSI sector.

He said all parts except frame, rim and chain were reserved for exclusive manufacture in the SSI sector in 1978. Later on, hub and freewheel were de-reserved. The reason for the concentration of this industry in Punjab was due to job specialisation and optimum utilisation of the material by them.

Mr Joginder Kumar said bicycle was a poor man’s conveyance and it was pollution free. “Thousands of units in the tiny and the SSI sector have been affected and the excise duty 4 per cent Cenvat has given a severe jolt to this industry,” he said.


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