Tuesday, April 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


PAU students boycott mid-term exams
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Students of Punjab Agricultural University ( PAU) boycotted the mid-term exams and observed strike here today to protest against the alleged high-handedness of the police patrolling parties on the campus. The student unions warned the authorities that they would be forced to continue their strike and boycott of exams if their genuine demands were not accepted at the earliest.

However, the situation was saved from deteriorating with the intervention of Prof K.S. Aulakh, Vice -Chancellor of the university, who asked Dr M.S. Tiwana, Dean, Agriculture, to meet the representatives of students. Since Dr J.S. Toor, Dean, Student Welfare ( DSW) was on leave today, the students met Dean Agriculture and Vice-Chancellor in the afternoon. After the meeting, Mr Kanwaljit Singh, president, PAU Students Association ( PAUSA), said, “The Dean and VC have assured us that our demand of checking the harassment of students at the hand of patrolling parties of the Punjab Police, a room for student union and relaxation of entry rules in the boys hostel would be implemented.”

Later, Mr M.S. Tiwana, Dean Agriculture, disclosed that the genuine demands of the students would be accepted. Mr Kanwaljit Singh added that a delegation of the students would meet DSW tomorrow to finalise the agreement, and strike would be called off after the positive results of the meeting. He said, “In that case we would take the exams on Wednesday.”

Earlier, in the morning, the students held a protest rally in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office. Addressing the students, Mr Kanwaljit Singh said, “We are forced to announce the strike and boycott of the exams, as the patrolling parties of the Punjab Police often harass us. The students are asked to show their identity cards and not to mix with the girl students.”

He disclosed that the students had given a memorandum to the Dean Student Welfare ( DSW) about a fortnight ago, to involve the students in the utilisation of funds, meant for student welfare activities. Mr Gurmeet Singh, president, Punjab Agricultural Students Association (PASA), lamented that girl students of the Agriculture Department, who had to visit the fields in the evening in connection with their practical exams, were often harassed by the patrolling staff.

Prof Aulakh agreed that there was no dispute over the genuine demands of the students. There seems to be some communication gap between the students and university authority. He said, “I want to assure the students that the genuine demands would be considered sympathetically. Moreover, they should directly approach me to resolve any problem.” Mr Kanwaljit Singh hoped that the matter would be amicably resolved tomorrow. He appreciated the efforts of the VC and Dean Student Welfare to raise the issue of filling 300 posts of agriculture teachers in the schools.

He said, a delegation would meet the Minister of Rural Panchayats and Agriculture, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, next week to press upon the government to implement the decision of the government of the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to fulfil posts of agriculture teachers and declare agriculture as a special course in the senior secondary schools like non-medical and medical groups.



Infighting may hit SAD prospects 
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 22
Various factions of the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) seem to have learnt no lesson from the crushing defeat suffered by the party candidates in the Assembly elections in the city segments. As the civic polls draw near, the faction fighting between two groups of the party, headed by Mr Avtar Singh Makkar and Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, has intensified.

A new twist was added to the long drawn battle for supremacy between the rival factions when the former president of the SAD (Youth Wing), Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, joined forces with Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, whose head is already on the chopping block for his open defiance of the party directive and opposition to the official SAD(B) candidates in assembly elections.

While the political affairs committee of the SAD(B) had earlier announced a sub-committee, headed by former Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal to select the party candidates for the forthcoming civic elections, the Bhatia faction has sprung a surprise by setting up yet another panel for the same purpose. Headed by Mr Aliwal, the new selection committee has, besides Mr Bhatia, a sitting councillor Mr Darshan Singh Shivalik and Mr Pritpal Singh, President, Gurdwara Dukhniwaran, as its other members.

Mr Makkar, who claims to be acting president of the district unit of SAD-B and has an upper hand in the ongoing tussle by virtue of having been nominated the party candidate from Ludhiana West in the Assembly poll, had to face defeat at the hands of former Punjab minister Harnam Das Johar. He had attributed his defeat to organised campaign against him by the dissidents, mainly from Bhatia camp. Although the party supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had carried out a comprehensive damage control exercise just before the Assembly poll, the efforts proved futile as the two groups had several skirmishes during the election campaign.

Party sources, however, do not give much significance to the panel set up by Mr Bhatia, which was being described as a ‘comic collection of losers.’ While the leader of the group (Mr Bhatia) had been denied party nomination from Ludhiana West assembly segment, which had gone to Mr Makkar, both Mr Aliwal and Mr Shivalik, other members of the committee, had also lost Assembly elections from Ludhiana Rural and Dakha constituencies, respectively.

However, party workers and sitting councillors are confused in the wake of the ongoing rivalry between the two factions. In the prevailing circumstances, the party is bound to suffer further humiliation in the coming municipal elections if the party leadership fails to come to terms with the situation and deal with the infighting with an iron hand, the party sources observed.



Kiln labourer’s death triggers protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Hundreds of labourers employed with a number of brick-kilns today staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office, demanding action against officials of a brick-kiln, near Jodhan, for the death of a sick labourer.

The labourers carried the body of Megh Raj, who died late last night at Shakra brick-kiln after suffering from a heat stroke and later gastroenteritis for the past 10 days.

He was allegedly not given salary for the past several months. His family requested brick-kiln officials to provide them money for admitting him to a hospital.

Angry at is death, the labourers first gathered at the brick-kiln and raised slogans demanding police action against the accused. Later, officials fled from the scene and the labourers decided to approach the Deputy Commissioner.

Mr Tarsem Jodhan, a former MLA, who also joined the protest at Jodhan, said the tragic death sparked off protest by the labourers as most of them were suffering at the hands of employers. He said the labourers were almost living a bonded life and a majority of them were not being paid wages regularly. He gave examples of several labourers who were suffering from one diseases or the another, but were forced to work.

Mr Jodhan also claimed that several labourers had taken money in advance from kiln owners but they were not maintaining any record or informing them about how much money stands in their name.

The wife of the deceased, Chandni Kala, said her husband was ill for the past 10 days but he could not get any treatment. She claimed that when she met kiln officials, including the munshi, they gave her Rs 100 for treatment.

When she protested the meagre sum, the munshi allegedly snatched the money. Later on, other labourers demanded the arrears of their wages, but kiln officials first gave them Rs 200, then Rs 400 but they took them back when labourers demanded more.



Sonali Bendre takes Ludhiana by storm
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
Amidst a milling fan following arrived Ms Sonali Bendre, noted Bollywood star in the city this afternoon to be part of Limca Thirst Attack. Sonali Bendre lived up to the title of her extremely popular game show Kya Masti Kya Dhoom. With her arrival in the city a lot of ‘masti’ was generated and ‘dhoom’ reached its pinnacle.

Sonali Bendre has been the latest star to be roped in by Coca Cola. In fact, Sonali is the Limca brand ambassador and one of the most popular stars among the youngsters.

Limca cavalcade in the past from April 16 to 23 has been travelling throughout the city checking how many people were spotted drinking Limca. They even visited homes to check. Any family stocking Limca was rewarded with a scratch card.

Limca cavalcade has been travelling to various parts of the city with scouts and a DJ who entertained with music and spot games and contest. The Ludhiana lag has concluded today. Over 15,000 Limca consumers were awarded during the period. The crazy Ludhianivis have been chasing the cavalcade and it has provided them with a lot of merriment.

The drama reached its climax today as Sonali, the heart-throb of thousands of young fans arrived from Chandigarh. Her time schedule was tight. Her fans were a little annoyed as they did not know her exact schedule. In her first stop at Model Town, the awaiting crowd went delirious with joy. She was introduced to M.D. of Ludhiana Beverages, Mr Kailash Goenka, the local organisers of the contest. The police had difficulty to keep her away from the clamouring hands of her fans. At 5.30pm she toured the residential area of Sarabha Nagar to meet a few families. She moved to Sarabha Nagar market at 6.15 pm. Her fans burst out in cheers when they spotted her. She couldn’t make to McDonalds as scheduled. Her ardent fans had been waiting for her in spite of the heat to have a look at her at all the market places.

She travelled with the team today to all the markets, where she personally handed over scratch cards to the lucky winners. It looked like as if she was the Pied Piper and the frenzied mob followed her enthusiastically. Her popularity has zoomed after her ‘game show’ ‘Kya Masti Kya Dhoom’ in spite of four films of hers that sank at the box- office last year.

The youngsters, in spite of the hot weather, had turned up in large numbers to have a look at the svelte, sexy siren. Sonali appeared to be responding to the enthusiasm of her fans. Later in the night she would dine with the winners of Limca Thirst Attack.



Looking for meaty roles
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 22
In an exclusive interview with Ludhiana Tribune, tall, attractive Sonali Bendre who was in the city to participate in “The Limca Thirst Award” said, “There are bound to be changes in the film industry. I liked the movie ‘Company’ and with such film’s being appreciated by audience the whole pattern of movie making would undergo a sea change soon. Formula films based on boy meets girl themes will be relegated to the background. Even I am looking for roles in movies having different themes. If the film industry has to survive it has to bring different storylines and treat the films differently. The trends are definitely changing with the changing times and people want more than the routine stuff. If the film makers want the audience to watch their movies , then they have to give something different, meaningful and alluring.”

She was in the city as the brand ambassador for Limca. When asked about the latest advertisement for the soft drink featuring her, she said, “In the beginning I was reluctant to do that advertisement, as I also felt the idea was rather too far fetched. But when the concept became clear that she was so obsessed with the soft drink that she carried out with a single-minded purpose and forgot about everybody else.

She said very candidly that a lot of her films did flop but “I guess I am lucky. I get chance to act again and now I am doing a guest appearance in “Chori-Chori” and “Pyar Kiya Nahin Jata”. She is acting in another film of Amol Palekar.

About her appearance on small screen, she said “Kya Masti Kya Dhoom” takes quite a lot of her time. Sonali further said the game show has made her very popular with the masses. Asked whether she receives good remunerations for the serial, she answered.” Even if I did not get much, I would love to continue doing that show. I love doing it and enjoy it tremendously. Had I not enjoyed it, I would not have continued. I am a very optimistic person and I take things as they come.” The secret of her radiance and perfect figure is careful intake of food combined with moderate exercise.



Now Sekhon to sign MoU with US varsity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
The signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Punjab Agricultural University and San Jose University, California, USA, would now be done by Dr K.S. Sekhon, Dean, Postgraduate Students, on behalf of the PAU. Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, was scheduled to do it, but he could not reach that country because of possessing an unconfirmed air-ticket.

The VC had left Ludhiana yesterday and was scheduled to fly to California in the evening. He had to return back from New Delhi as his ticket was not confirmed. He had written a protest letter to the Indian Airlines authorities demanding immediate explanation. The VC said the Air lines had confirmed him through their Internet service that his ticket was confirmed, but when he reached the airport, he was told that it was not so.

Dr Aulakh said he had deputed Dr K.S. Sekhon to sign MoU on behalf of the varsity. 



Water, sanitation problems discussed 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
Effective steps for reducing water wastage, levy of appropriate user charges with necessary cross subsidies, rejuvenation of surface and ground water, protection of water sources from pollution, identification and reservation of exclusive water sheds for drinking water needs, promotion of rain water harvesting, recycling of waste water for non-domestic usage, private sector participation in capital investment and operations were some of the significant suggestions made by Mr R.L. Kalsia, MC Commissioner, at a seminar on ‘Integrated water and sanitation management’. The seminar was organised jointly by USAID and the Asia Pacific Urban Institute in the city of Honolulu from April 3 to 6, 2002.

Mr Kalsia was among the governors, mayors, chairpersons and officials of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) from more than 25 cities in the Asia-Pacific region who participated in the seminar. He spoke about water supply and sanitation action plan and impediments in the way of effective implementation of these plans.

In an interview with Ludhiana Tribune, he said in a report on the status of water supply and sewerage in the city, he had said in the global meet that presently the water supply coverage for the city population of around 14 lakh was almost 75 per cent while 55 per cent of the residents had the sewerage facility. The water distribution network was fed through 260 tubewells and 60 reservoirs. The civic body had laid 1075 km of sewer lines and the total investment on water supply and sewerage schemes in the city was about Rs 530 crore.

Mr Kalsia observed in his presentation at the seminar that cramped living conditions coupled with high population and housing density, cultural taboos and beliefs, poor institutional framework, poor policy making and tardy performance levels were some of the problems of urban sanitation maintenance programme which needed to be tackled at various levels.

According to Mr Kalsia, in a joint statement, issued at the conclusion of the seminar, the countries in the Asia-Pacific region were warned of the emerging global water crisis while highlighting the role of provincial and municipal governments in responding to the crisis.

The participants called upon donor agencies like USAID and International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) to continue financial support and expert contribution to these bodies under the integrated capacity-building and experience-sharing programme. 



Allot booths, say Sikh migrants
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
The Punjab Danga Peerit Welfare Council has called upon the government to implement pending demands and provide relief, as was decided by the SAD-BJP government, to the Sikh migrants without any further delay.

A meeting of the council held at Urban Estate Dugri here today under the presidentship of Mr Surinder Singh Dugri discussed in detail pending issues like allotment of commercial booths to riot-affected Sikh families. In a resolution, members of the society demanded that the allotment letters for booths be issued immediately and other related demands be acceded.

According to Mr Manmohan Singh Pappu, its general secretary, several members placed before the house many complaints of irregularities in the allotment process, reportedly at the behest of Mr Surjit Singh, who claimed to be the president of the society. “There were complaints to the effect that the said leader had collected money from a large number of Sikh migrants with the promise of securing them allotment of residential flats and commercial booths.” The council functionaries have made an appeal to provide them details of money paid to the ‘self-styled’ leader so that the matter could be pursued and proper follow up action taken.

Among others, the meeting was attended by Mr Amarjit Singh, Mr Manjit Singh Chawla, Mr Amar Singh, Mr Mehar Singh, Mr Jaspal Singh, Mr Kuldip Singh Kali, Mr Sampooran Singh, Mr Joginder Singh, Mr Pritam Singh, Mr Harbhajan Singh Bittu, Mr Amarjit Singh, Ms Sukhdev Kaur, Mr Tarlochan Singh and Mr Hardeep Singh Deepa.



They kept their promise but officials didn’t
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Almost six years ago, four divers, were feeling on top of the world when they were promised cash prize and a job in the Municipal Corporation or the district administration by officials concerned. They had toiled hard for almost three days to retrieve bodies of three labourers buried under several feet of sand in a colony in the city. Today, they continue to knock at the doors of the government authorities urging them to fulfill their promise, but without any result.

The heroic act of the four divers to recover some bodies by risking their lives brought them accolades from the administration, besides admiration in the media. Hailing from Bihar, the four divers —Satyan Sahni, Rutal Mahato, Naresh Shah and Bablu Shah — narrated their tale of woes to Ludhiana Tribune. They said in May 1996, three well-diggers had died after a well, which they were digging, had caved.

Officials of the district administration and the Municipal Corporation soon descended at the site, but could not retrieve their bodies. Someone told them about the divers, who were called immediately.

According to the them, municipal officials, led by an XEN who is now a Superintending Engineer, promised a cash prize and a government job to all if the three bodies were retrieved. The divers embarked on the work despite the fact that the walls of the well were shaking.

As the risk grew, they demanded some equipment, but the request was turned down. Some officials of the administration got angry and told them to stop the work. The administration began the work on its own, but it failed. The divers were called again. When they managed to reach near one body and wanted one special equipment, their services were suspended again.

In the process, seven days passed which also saw two demonstrations by residents of the area against the administration. The divers were called again. This time the administration did as demanded and soon the bodies were retrieved.

However, the labourers were not given the promised jobs and since then they have been knocking at the doors of MC officials, district administration officials and even political leaders for their prize.

After many rounds of the offices concerned, they managed to get an award of Rs 1,000, besides being honoured at Independence Day function in 1997, but the promised price was not forthcoming. One of them was given a temporary job in the corporation, but soon he was shunted out.

Airing their grievances, the divers also produced documents of their work in which they had saved lives of people drowning in Budda nullah, the Sutlej and having retrieved several bodies, by risking their own lives.



Writers dwell on Shamsher’s book
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
The International Punjabi Sahit Sabhyachar Manch organised a seminar on Shamsher Singh’s book ‘Peed Kawari’ at Punjabi Bhavan recently. Shamsher is a Punjabi poet from Denmark and in spite of living abroad has been working hard to promote Punjabi language.

Dr Madan Lal Haseeja, Director, Languages, Punjab, Dr R.S. Tarsem, president, Kendriya Punjab Lekhak Sabha, Dr Manjit Singh of Delhi University, Prof Tasneem and Kulwant Jagraon presided over the function.

The writers opined that his diction and choice of subjects was of universal nature. “He links the basic core of men of all continents. The human emotions, frailties, feelings of greed, jealousy, revenge and pride remained universal,” said Dr Haseeja.

Dr Manjit Singh elaborated on the various qualities of lyrical poetry of Shamsher Singh. He said typical Punjabi words had been used in his poetry to give new meanings.

Prof Gurbhajan Gill said he had raised the banner of Punjabi literature and culture in Denmark.

Mr Kulwant Jagraon, president of the manch, said the greatest quality of his poetry was his simplicity and musicality of his lyrics. He had translated the immortal ‘Zafarnama’ written by Guru Gobind Singh in Punjabi.



DC assures auto-rickshaw union
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, has assured auto-rickshaw unionists that he would definitely do something regarding the lifting of ban of plying three-wheelers at certain roads in the city.

A few days back in order to continue the construction of the Elevated Road Project on the GT Road from railway station to Chand Cinema, the Municipal Corporation has banned the entry of three-wheelers on certain roads.

Yesterday, a large number of auto-rickshaw unionists staged a dharna at the Domoria bridge in protest against the biased attitude of the police for allowing movement of three-wheelers of certain auto-rickshaw stands.



Man alleges murder by son-in-law
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, April 22
Mr Gurbachan Singh of Bir Imamgarh has alleged that his son-in-law Lakhvir Singh murdered his daughter Paramjit Kaur because she could not produce a male child.

According to him, Paramjit was married to Lakhvir Singh, son of Malkiat Singh of Gujjarwal, around 10 years ago. The couple had three daughters from the marriage with youngest one being two years old. Eversince the birth of the third daughter, Lakhvir had been torturing Paramjit both physically and mentally.

Five days ago, Paramjit apprehended threat to her life to her father. On April 20, when Gurbachan Singh reached his daughter’s house at Gujjarwal, he was told that she had gone to the field to give food to her husband where he had been engaged on a reaping job. Gurbachan Singh witnessed the attack on his daughter by Lakhvir Singh with a sickle.

She was taken to a private hospital at Ahmedgarh, but was referred to Ludhiana where she died. A case has been registered.



Man booked for assault
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
Mr Amarjit Singh was assaulted with empty bottles and iron rods by some persons at the Khwaja chowk falling under the Division No. 3 police station, here yesterday.

According to information, the victim had a tiff with someone over some business transaction. Soon the accused, with the help of his friends, assaulted Mr Amarjit Singh, who was rushed to the CMC Hospital. The police has registered a case.

Couple beaten up: Mr Vinod Kumar Malhotra and his wife, Anu, were allegedly injured in an attack by their landlord in Amaltas Enclave, here on Sunday.

While the husband was discharged after first aid, the wife has been admitted to the Civil hospital. The police has registered a case.

Frauds alleged: The Civil Lines police has registered a case of cheating under Sections 420 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ashok Batra, owner, Batra Hotel, against Harminder Pal Singh, a resident of LIG flats behind Vardhman Mills. The complainant alleged that the accused had organised a function in his hotel and had given a cheque to pay for the expenses incurred on it. But the cheque was not honoured by the bank concerned. When he asked the accused to make the payment, he started threatening him, added the complainant.

The Civil Lines police has registered another fraud case on the complaint of Mr Sarabjit Singh and Mr Surinder Singh, both residents of Santokh Nagar, against Kushal Kumar, a resident of Jalandhar, and owner of Dada Help Line and Dada Travels under Sections 420 and 506 of the IPC. The complainants alleged that they had paid Rs 65,000 to the accused, who promised to send them abroad. But the accused neither returned the money nor sent them abroad. When they demanded their money, they were threatened by the accused.

Dowry cases: The Division No. 6 police has registered a case of alleged harassment for more dowry on the statement of Ms Nisha Rani, a resident of Hargobind Nagar, against her husband, Baldev Raj, Loshi and Raj Kumar, both residents of Mohalla Amar Pura.

According to the complainant, the accused demanded more dowry. The accused forced her to undergo an abortion on December 11, 2001, added the complainant.

The Division No. 4 police has registered a case of alleged dowry harassment under Sections 498-A and 420 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Gurmit Kaur, a resident of Chhawni mohalla, against Lal Singh, Pappi, Bobby and Jasbir Singh, all members of her in-laws’ family. The complainant alleged that the accused often subjected her to mental and physical harassment and demanded more dowry.

Boy sodomised:
The Basti Jodhewal police has booked 17-year-old Sandip, a resident of Vishwakarma Colony, on the charge of sodomising a nine-year-old boy of his neighbourhood here on Friday. According to information, the accused lured the victim to his house on the pretext of playing and sodomised him. The doctor also confirmed sodomy.

Woman succumbs to burns: Sukhminder Kaur (21) a resident of Chalian Patiala village falling under the Sadar police station, who had been admitted to the DMC Hospital with burn injuries a few days ago, died here on Saturday. The police has registered a case under Section 304-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr Anand Singh, father of the deceased, and got an autopsy done on the body.

Theft bid: The Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 380, 511 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Gurdwara Managing Committee, Daad village, against Kuldeep Singh, his sons, Bahadur Singh and Roda Singh, all residents of the same village. The complainant had alleged that the accused broke open the locks of the religious shrine and tried to steal ‘langar’ utensils.

2 killed in accident:
A scooterist and a pillion-rider were killed in an accident when an unidentified vehicle hit their scooter near Raian village, here on Friday. The deceased have been identified as Gurjit Singh and Manpreet Singh of Bhamma Kalan village. A case has been registered under Sections 279, 427 and 304-A of the IPC.

Opium seized: About 1 kg opium has been seized by an ASI of the Ludhiana CIA from one Harvinder Singh Noni of Lallan Paddi, Ahmedgarh. A case under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the Excise-Act has been registered.

Driver booked: The Sahnewal police station has booked Surinder Singh, driver of a truck (PCK-4133), under Section 279 of the IPC for reckless driving.



Two murder cases solved
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 22
The police claimed to have solved two murder cases and several cases of theft with the arrest of six persons involved in these cases. This was stated at a press conference by the SSP, Mr Devinder Singh Garlha, at his office here yesterday.

He said six members of the gang had been arrested, while eight other members are still at large. The arrested members are: Rajan of Badanu, Vijay Bahadar alias Rajesh of Tampur village, Samastipur, UP, Surinder Kumar alias Painter of Gorakhpur, UP, Jia Lal of Jonpur, UP, Raju Bajigar of Bhorla, Khanna and Gurbax Singh Mehra of Nijampur under Payal police station. The police recovered Rs 17,000 in cash, Vikas Patar worth Rs 40,000 and around 200 gm of gold. According to SSP, they confessed to their involvement in two murders.



CICU chief’s election questioned
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Can anyone imagine that the president of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) here, who enjoys the power of a Cabinet Minister with regard to the settlement of industrial disputes and speaks on behalf of the Punjab industry at the national and international level, is elected through a questionable process?

The election for the president of the Chamber was held here on Saturday. Two candidates Inderjit Singh Pardhan and Manmohan Singh Marton were in the fray. The Chamber had about 1,600 members and about 800 members were eligible for voting. Others were declared ineligible as they had not deposited their annual fees.

Mr Marton, who had remained president of the United Cycle and Bicycle Parts Manufacturers’ Association for two terms, had launched an intensive campaign against Mr Pardhan as he had allegedly failed to provide any guidance or leadership to the industry, which has become sick during the past five years.

According to the election procedure, which was prepared by the executive body nominated by Mr Pardhan, the candidates contesting for the post of president had to file the nomination form 15 minutes before the elections. Mr Harbans Singh, General Manager, District Industry Centre, was the presiding officer.

According to eyewitnesses, the hall of the Punjab Trade Centre was packed to capacity, where the elections were to be held. Both candidates submitted their nomination forms to the presiding officer. Mr Marton said, “I submitted my nomination form to the presiding officer, which was proposed and seconded by two of my supporters.”

He said, “I was shocked when within two minutes the gathering was told that Mr Pardhan had been unanimously elected as I had withdrawn my candidature. The supporters of Mr Pardhan started raising slogans in his support. The presiding officer declined to listen to my protest and declared Mr Pardhan elected.

The copy of the nomination form, which is in possession of The Tribune, simply mentions that two persons who have proposed and seconded the names of the candidates would fill their address and sign at the mentioned place. Just before the place where the proposed candidate has to sign it is written “I withdraw my candidature.”

Mr Harbans Singh, when contacted in this regard, said, “I have just followed the procedure mentioned in the form, and rejected the candidature of Mr Marton. I have nothing to say about the form as no one raised question at the time of the election.”

Mr Pardhan also declined to make any comment on the alleged unfair election, and said, “The presiding officer has announced me as president.”

The supporters of Mr Marton alleged that Mr Pardhan has been nominated through unfair means in connivance with the presiding officer. Mr Marton has now decided to file a writ in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the “unfair” election and has written to Mr T.R. Sarangal, Director, Industries, to take appropriate action against Mr Harbans Singh.


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