Friday, April 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Accreditation process on in PAU
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
A seven-member Peer Review Team of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), which is in Punjab Agricultural University as part of its accreditation process, went to the Colleges of Agriculture and Basic Sciences for academic and administrative auditing on its second day of visit today.

Prof V.L. Chopra, chairperson of the team, national professor of ICAR and its former Director-General, Dr Ranveer Singh and Dr Partap Singh went to the College of Agriculture while Dr Ram Mohan, Dr R.Vatsala and Dr H.S. Nainawatee visited the College of Basic Sciences. These two groups interacted with the heads of departments, faculty and students and asked them about various programmes and course curriculum being followed. The team investigated the laboratories and other infrastructural facilities available for teaching and research purposes.

Later, the team interacted with the members of the PAU Teachers’ Association. Later, the team to went to regional station of the university at Kapurthala. The team had yesterday held meetings with the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, Deans of all five colleges, Director Students’ Welfare, librarians, Registrar, Comptroller, Estate Officer, Director of Research, Additional Directors of Research, research coordinators and Director of Extension Services, during which the team was apprised of the goals, organisational set-up, academic programmes, curriculum, student development programmes and learning resources, human resources, fiscal resources, facilities for research and extension services, achievements of the scientists and impact of the various research works done.

As per the schedule, the team would visit research area, students’ farms and dairy farm of the university tomorrow morning. Prof V.L. Chopra, Dr Partap Singh and Dr Ranveer Singh would interact with the students and faculty of College of Agricultural Engineering, while Dr Amresh Kumar and Dr Ram Mohan would go to the College of Veterinary Sciences. Dr R.Vatsala and Dr H.S. Nainawatee would visit the College of Home Science. Besides, a meeting would also be held with the employees’ associations.

The Vice-Chancellor said that the team would inspect each aspect of the academic and administrative functioning of the university and finally submit its report of the ICAR after a fortnight. 



A gaping deathtrap
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
About 10-foot-deep open hole on the GT Road, near Mata Rani Chowk, about 100m from the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation headquarters, is an open invitation to an accident.

Few days back, on the complaint of some shopkeepers, the MC officials had put a cemented slab on it. But due to pressure of heavy vehicles, the slab fell into the hole.

Now the hole has become wider and poses a grave danger to the lives of commuters. In spite of many requests by the people, traffic cops did not make any effort to put any red flags or barricades around it.

One of the shopkeepers said the callous attitude of the MC officials and traffic cops could prove dangerous for the commuter. He said the only barricade put before the hole was brought him. When he put that barricade there, traffic cops argued that there was no need to put barricade there, he added.

The Assistant Commissioner (Zone-A), Mr O.A.K. Sondhi, admitted that he was aware about the hole. He said few days back a cemented slab was put on it, but it fell into it.

He said, “Since the road remains busy during peak hours, the repair work will have be carried out at night.” While commenting on not putting red flags near the hole, he said, “We have already put red flags there and the repair work would be done soon.”



Forum quashes PSEB demand of 2,04,342 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has quashed a demand by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) of Rs 2,04,342 from Ms Naresh Kanta, a resident of Ghelwal Road. Besides, the forum has directed the PSEB to restore the electricity connection of the consumer within 10 days.

According to the complaint, the complainant was the consumer of a domestic electricity connection with a load of .80 kw. The representative of the consumer, Mr S.S. Sarna, stated before the forum that the meter of the consumer was changed by board officials. He said that after changing the meter, a demand of Rs 2,04,342 had been raised by the PSEB through the bill issued on December 21, 2000. He further said that the connection was disconnected and the meter was removed from the consumer’s house on January 5, 2001.

Mr Sarna disclosed that the old meter was not packed and sealed properly after removal. Moreover, neither the consumer was intimated about the checking of meter in the M.E. Laboratory nor was she present in the laboratory during the testing of the meter.

Mr Sarna pointed out that as per the rules, it was mandatory to inform the consumer about the checking of the meter in the laboratory and the checking must be done in her presence. It was alleged that since the demand had been raised against the rules, it was illegal. Mr Sarna said that the demand was liable to be quashed and the connection should be restored at the earliest.

The PSEB pleaded that the meter of the consumer was checked on February 9, 2000, by the meter inspector. It further stated that it was reported that the two M.E seals were tampered with while the disc of the meter was running slow by 85 per cent. The respondent maintained that the checking was done in the presence of representative of the consumer, Mr Sadhu Ram.

The respondent explained that the meter was changed and checked in accordance with the PSEB rules and according to the M.E. Laboratory report, current coils of the meter were changed and the meter was recording less consumption of energy by 95 per cent. It clarified that it was a clear case of measured theft and that was why the account of the consumer was overhauled and the demand was raised. The respondent prayed for dismissal of this complaint.

The forum observed that the checking report bears signature of Sadhu Ram, but it was not clear as to what relation he had got with the consumer. He further observed that there was no evidence to prove that any notice was given to consumer so that she or her representative could attend the checking in the laboratory. Moreover, neither consumer nor her representative was present at the time of checking of the meter in the laboratory, the forum added.



Snooker pools face closure

FACING rough weather due to the sudden loss of attraction among the Ludhianvis, a number of snooker pools in Ludhiana have either been shut down or are on the brink of closure. Just two years ago the game had caught the fancy of the rich Ludhianvis, who, attired in expensive dresses, used to while away their time in the pools. The game had then become the ‘in-thing’ for rich residents craving for the stylish life. Now it is the ‘out-thing’ as interest is shifting towards other attractions like the bowling game or car racing in the go-karting arena.

Even though the city has produced some quality players who have made their mark in different championships, the game somehow missed becoming a permanent attraction. Some of the famous players of the game are Ashish Thanda, Sanjeev Vohra, Suneel Aulukh and Achint Verma.

Snooker, an indoor game, is played with a ball and cue (a wooden stick with a leather tip) on a special table. For this game special snooker pools had opened up in the city. According to the president of the Pool Association, Mr Inder Mehra, there are about 30 pools in the city. These pools charge between Rs 80 to Rs 100 per hour from per player. Though the charges are nominal, people don’t rush in. He said the craze had risen suddenly two years ago but then people lost interest. The major reasons for the loss of interest were that too many pools had come up and the people also began looking for other attractions.

A pool owner, preferring anonymity, said one of main causes of closing down was that some pools had become den for gambling. There were regular police raids at which the really interested people were discouraged.

Mr Jagpal Singh, owner of a pool in the city remembers the meteoric craze for the pools. ‘‘It was not a dull business always ’’, he said disclosing that two years ago when he opened a pool, city people were crazy about snooker, “but now I want to close the place just because hardly anyone comes to the place. It is not possible for me to bear the losses. That is why I have decided to close down my pool”, says Mr Jagpal owner of the Crazy Jacks, one of the snooker pools in the city

Interestingly, the craze is on the decline in the city but is catching up in some rural areas like Raikot, Mullanpur. Mr P.K. Kakkar, another owner, said he was not earning much as the attraction had shifted. He said a number of snooker owners had shifted to rural townships. He said he was also planning to close his place as the returns were hardly encouraging. He added that due to the students’ pre-occupation with the exams, these days the business is further hit. He said the age group, which mostly comes to the place, ranges between 20-25 years, and as the exams are going on their is hardly any student who comes to the place.

Mr Inder Mehra says that one of the other reasons for the decline was that some of the pool owners were not providing proper facilities to players. The repair of tables, balls, cues and other accessories were also costly and pool owners were not repairing these gradually.

Satwant K. Sekhon



Fire wipes out wheat in 1,000 acres
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
A huge fire broke out in the Jagraon subdivision of Ludhiana district today, which wiped out wheat crop in about 1,000 acres of Majri, Khanjarwala and Sabaddi villages. The fire that began at about 3 pm, was doused by firefighters from Ludhiana and Halwara Air Force Station after about two hours.

According to eyewitnesses, some persons were making tea on a makeshift stove when some logs from it ignited the nearby dry wheat. The fire spread quickly to fields of three villages.

An eyewitness, Mr Gurpreet Singh of Churchak village, who alerted the Ludhiana fire station, said villagers had brought in their tractors to plough the fields to prevent the fire from spreading further. The entire district administration headed by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, the Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) and the SDM of Jagraon, besides several other officials, rushed to the spot to supervise the firefighting operation.

The extent of the damage is still not known, but there has been no loss of life. Meanwhile, standing wheat crop in a field near Jaspal Bangar village falling under Focal Point police station was gutted in a fire last evening.

A spark from the harvesting machine is suspected to have triggered the fire which spread rapidly to the adjoining fields. Fire engines from the city rushed to the spot and controlled the flames.

Fire destroyed more than 100 acres of wheat crop in Buraj Kacha, Noorpur, Ratipur and Sehjo Majra villages. It is known that the fire broke out in the farm of Mohinder Singh when the combine harvester produced some sparks.

In the absence of any fire engine, the people of the adjoining villages controlled the fire. A loss of nearly Rs 15 lakh has been estimated.



The success story of a genius

It is a true tale of work-culture, graduating into book-culture, through book-production. It is the story of a genius with an eye for talent. It is the success story of a book-publisher living upto the expectations of his mentor. It is also an account of persons who got less and did more for society. In time it spans six decades (1942-2002). In space it covers four cities (Lahore, Ludhiana, Chandigarh and Patiala). It starts with commerce, with shifting scenes. Climaxes into culture, literature and letters forming major aspects.

An active and energetic young man holding master’s degree in English literature requested Bhai Jodh Singh to get him a job as college lecturer. Bhai Sahib knew Jiwan Singh as alumnus of Khalsa College, and advised him to start some publication house with Punjabi in focus. Lahore Book Shop (1943) materialised. After Partition Jiwan Singh shifted to Ludhiana (Clock Tower). Work for Jiwan Singh was discovered by his teacher. He confronted the complex problem of running the ruined business at Ludhiana with Amritsar, Jalandhar and Delhi as rival centres. In the publication history in Punjab, he will be remembered for recognition of talent, promotion of work-culture, besides literary atmosphere. He needed the services of a commercial artist to design the format and titles of books. Ajaib Chitarkar, working as a drawing master in a local school, was traced out. Jiwan Singh offered him job. Ajaib accepted. He got a boost in salary, met many established authors and prospective writers. Edited Sahit Samachar besides, Bal Sansar, magazine for children. Drew sketches and did a lot of work with pleasure. His reputation flourished. He wrote prose and poetry. Jiwan Singh provided the atmosphere for work. Ajaib discovered the avenue of creative works. The progressive movement of writers was at its zenith. Santokh Singh Dhir, Jaswant Singh Kanwal, Surjit Rampuri, etc., attended monthly meetings to share writings and exchange criticism. Ajaib authored books and won high awards.

A young migrant from Jelhum-Chakwal with seeking eyes and desperate heart asked Ajaib to help him find a job. Ajaib introduced Satya Pal Anand to Jiwan Singh who examined the talented youth struggling for bread. He had his mother and young siblings as moral liability. Anand worked as steno-typist. Meanwhile, he improved his academic qualification, did M.A. (English).

Satya Pal then lived in Iqbal Ganj near Jain Girls High School. Nearby, lived Kumar Vikal in a modest dwelling. He, too, was hard-up, had no patron, no helping hand. He was talented but highly emotional. Anand and Vikal knew each other. It was Anand now who made a foot hold possible for Vikal.

The fourth historical discovery of Jiwan Singh was Hazara Singh. Hazara Singh is a history-maker in the world of publication in the region. His life-story reads like one who had a score of lives lived in one single packed life. Hazara Singh was too self-respecting to ask for any favour. He was always considerate to meet others needs to the extent of denial to self. As a school student, he learnt the rudiments of press and printing. Did discipleship under Pritam Singh, called Daddy.

Dr Piar Singh was spotted by Bhai Jodh Singh who took him to Punjabi University. Dr Singh knew Hazara Singh. Bhai Jodh Singh saw through his potential. Mr Kirpal Singh Narang, Vice-Chancellor, got the best done by him. He headed the Punjabi Development Department. Became Head of the Publication Bureau of Punjabi University to which the Ministry of Information awarded first prize several times. 

M.S. Cheema



He has accepted life as challenge

NOT willing to be called as handicapped, Sarabjit Singh has set an example for the physically challenged. He has to his credit a cassette “vassi begumpure de” in which all the songs are sung by him. Unlike any common person who lives just for the sake of survival, a resident of Salem Tabri, he is struggling for making his life worth living. Inspite of having lost both his legs, Sarabjit Singh alias Sonu Ludhianavi has tried to live with a difference. At the age of one, as a result of improper vaccination he was struck by polio, making him handicapped.

But he always tried to live like a normal healthy human being. He owns a scooter and does his all work on his own. He did his schooling from a local school and passed graduation from Arya College for Boys. After completing B.A. he was in search for a suitable job but was unable to find it. The unemployment led him to do something to prove his worth and a cassette comprising of the religious songs was a result of this which he did with the co-operation of his friends.

“With God’s grace I am able to accomplish this work and I hope to do more in the future”, says Sonu Ludhianavi, as he is known by his friends. He started singing at the age of five years. “I am fond of singing from my childhood and it’s my passion. I pray to God to always keep his hand on my head and I will work according to the path shown by him”, says 22-year-old Sonu. He used to sing in the kirtans and actively participated in the programme arranged at the local level.

His interest in singing got appreciation in the darbar of Guru Tehal Das ji and he was respected for the programmes he performed. “I think my whole life’s earning is the respect I gained from his darbar and the support I got from the listeners of the darbar. And this was the reason to come up with the cassette for a good cause”, he proudly attributes.

His cassette with seven songs got a good response from the rural areas in comparison to the city people. Owing to the nature of response he is getting, Sonu had got a proposal to perform in a kirtan at England. He also got an invitation to sing at the New Ham city in London.

While planning to go abroad he says he will come up with another cassette but after a few months. He wants to analyse the response of his audience and is trying to refine his voice to make it more acceptable. “I want to make my own identity and it is long way to go ahead for it,” he says, while accepting that his voice is still not mature enough for another cassette.

Suruchi Arora



Journalist awarded
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
Dr Ranjit Singh, scientist and former Dean of College of Agriculture, Punjab Agricultural University, has been selected for the Mehar Singh Rawel memorial best Punjabi journalist award for the year 2002 in recognition of his contributions in the field of journalism. He will receive a cash award of Rs 15,000 and a citation on April 28 at a function to be held at Rotary Club Hall, Chandigarh.

Dr Singh is a columnist for the leading Punjabi dailies for the past three decades.



Raped mother accuses 5 of killing child
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
The Division Number 6 police has registered a case under Sections 302 and 376 of the IPC against a man called Bablu and his four cronies on the charge of raping a woman in New Hargobind Nagar here on Tuesday and killing her seven-year-old son.

According to the woman’s statement to the police, when she and her son were sleeping in their house on Tuesday, Bablu, a Bengali youth who had worked for some time at a barber’s shop near her house and been with her in an illicit relationship, entered her house at about 1 pm along with four of his cronies, who started raping her. They killed the boy with a sharp-edged weapon when he tried to raise an alarm after waking up.

A police team has been sent to West Bengal to catch Bablu, main accused in the case.



Abduction of girl alleged
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
On the statement of Mr Balsatar Shah, a man who lives in Kot Mangal Singh, the Shimla Puri police has registered a case of under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC against Rajinder, a migrant from Allahabad, and another man called Prem Ram.

The complainant said the accused had lured his 14-year-old daughter and kidnapped her.

Frauds alleged: The Division Number 7 police has registered a case of alleged fraud under Sections 406, 420 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Dhanjit Singh, a man who lives in Urban Estate of Dugri, against Sakattar Singh, a person who lives in Mundian Kalan village.

The complainant said he had made a deal to purchase a plot from the accused and even made full payment, but the accused had declined to get the plot transferred in his name. He said, when he had demanded his money back, the accused had threatened him.

The Salem Tabri police has registered a case under Sections 406, 420, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr Gurpreet Singh, Managing Director of Balwant Sales Limited, against Jagdish Chander, person who lives in Guru Nanak Nagar here.

The complainant said the company had sold a Tata Sumo vehicle to the accused on instalments, but the accused had not made the payment. According to the complaint, the accused also did not return the vehicle when the company demanded it back.

Beaten up: The Basti Jodhewal police has registered a case on the statement of Ms Roopa Rani, a woman of Daulat Colony, against her husband Lal Singh, mother-in-law Kuldeep Kaur and a sister-in-law. The complainant said the accused had beaten her up on Tuesday and threatened her. She had to be admitted to civil hospital. The Haibowal police has registered a case of alleged attack on the statement of Ms Harjit Kaur, a woman of Haibowal’s Dairy Complex, against three men — Kishan Sharma, Ravinder Sharma and Nasib Chand. According to the complaint, the accused had intercepted the woman on the way on Tuesday and attacked her.

Rape bid alleged: The Focal Point police has registered a case of attempted rape on the statement of Ms Birjosh, a woman of Rajiv Gandhi Colony, against Kamal, Sonu, Ramesh and three other accused are still unidentified. The woman said the accused had intercepted her on the way and tried to molest her. They also threatened her not to tell anyone about the incident.

Dowry demand: The Division Number 4 police has registered a case of alleged harassment for dowry on the statement of Ms Renu Bala, a woman of Hoshiarpur, against her in-laws — Sudesh Kumar, Bal Krishan, Kamla Rani and Monica — all of whom live in Kalyan Nagar.

The complainant said her in-laws often subjected her to physical torture and demanded more dowry than she had brought. 



Rs 20,000, ornaments stolen
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 18
Thieves stole Rs 20,000 and 30 gm of gold from the residence of Surinder Singh, a sports officer, posted at Khanna in a daylight incident here today.

Surinder Singh was away from his house. He had handed over the keys of the house to a neighbour. At about 12 noon, the neighbourer saw that the door of the house was open and the lock was broken. He informed the police. Bhupinder Singh, a brother of Surinder Singh, said the thieves took away Rs 20,000 and two ear-rings.



Powerloom industry seeks review of TUF scheme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
The Ludhiana Textile Industries Federation, in a memorandum submitted to the Union Ministry of Textiles, through Director & Secretary, Industries & Commerce, Punjab, has urged to review the Technology Up-gradation Fund Scheme (TUFS). TUFS, under which textile units are provided 5 per cent subsidy, has so far failed to provide any relief to the powerloom and handloom sector due to tough conditions.

The memorandum was submitted to Mr T.R. Sarangal, Director, in a seminar held here yesterday. Speaking at the seminar “Up-gradation and Problems of Powerloom Industry,” Mr O.P. Sabharwal, president of the federation, said, “The banks are providing subsidy under TUFS only to the medium and large-scale units because of higher investment limits. But the tiny units, which could investment just Rs 1 or 2 lakh for modernisation, have been totally left out.”

He pointed out the due to the small capital base of the industry, thousands of the units could not be shifted from the residential areas. The government should reserve at least 25 per cent plots for these units, whenever any new industrial estate is developed in the state. He urged the government to allot the vacant plots in the focal point area to the powerloom units at subsidised rates. Taking a dig at the free power supply to the agriculture sector, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, District President, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, asserted, “During the past five years, the industry has paid heavily for the free supply to farm sector. Now to compensate the industry, the state government should provide free supply to small units at least for the next five years, or make a commitment that power tariff would not be increased for the next five years.”

The speakers lamented that Central government’s decision to impose central excise on the dyeing of acrylic yarm, was totally unjustified because the cloth was mostly used by the poor sections of society. Ironically, said Mr Sabharwal, the government had not imposed any excise duty on the dyeing of woollen yarn, which was much more costlier than acrylic yarn.

Addressing an impressive gathering of about 300 industrialists, Mr Ram Kishan Gupta, Chairman of the federation, said, “A number of spinning mills owned by Spinfed in the cooperative sector had become sick over the past few years. The state government should hand over these units to the textile industry so that machinery and land worth hundreds of crores could be properly utilised. It would also help revival of the industry by providing yarn at competitive rates.”



Want to dine with Bollywood beauty?
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
In its latest marketing blitz, the Coca Cola has launched yet another campaign for popularising its aerated drink Limca. Under this scheme the marketing scouts of the company keep on moving in different places and wherever they spot a person drinking Limca, he is offered a scratch card.

According to Mr D P Singh, general manager, everyone who gets a scratch card is assured of a prize ranging from a pep Limca bottle up to four days’ holiday package. Yesterday the marketing scouts were in Ludhiana and moved in different areas. The scheme seemed to have picked up well as people purchased the drink with the assurance that they would get some assured price. Heavy rush of people was witnessed around the trolleys of the company in the Sarabha Nagar market.

Not just that, the marketing scouts also made rounds of different localities, knocking at the door of the people and asking which drink they prefer. In case the household consumed Limca, it was offered a scratch coupon with a guaranteed prize.

The campaign would have its climax on April 22, when Bollywood actress Sonali Bendre would visit Ludhiana and dine with the lucky winner of the final draw. 


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