Sunday, May 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Boxes in place, waiting to take in ballots
Security up; remember to bring your I-cards
Our Correspondent

Election officials and security personnel load ballot boxes
Election officials and security personnel load ballot boxes in a vehicle for transportation to designated stations, in Ludhiana on Saturday. —Photo Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, May 18
Voting and security arrangement are in place at designated polling booths here for tomorrow’s municipal elections. There are, now, 9.13 lakh voters in the city, meaning that their number is up by about 14 per cent than before.

Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner, said all arrangements were in place and the required election material had been handed over to polling parties. He also said persons arriving at the polling stations without identification documents would not be allowed to vote. These documents include voters’ photo-identity card, passport, driving licence, PAN card, kisan card, post-office passbook, ration card issued before January 1, 2002, the SC/ST/OBC certificate issued by competent authority, students’ I-card, property documents like ‘pattas’ and registered deeds, arms licences, conductor licences issued by the Transport Authority, pension documents like ex-servicemen’s pension book and pension payment order, ex-servicemen’s widow or dependent certificate, railway/bus pass, certificate of disability, freedom-fighter’s I-card and service I-cards issued by the state or the Central Government, the PSUs, local bodies or private industrial houses and banks.

The DC said there would be a constant vigil at all stations and any impersonation attempt would attract strict punishment. He said there were 4,677 police personnel at 948 polling booths in the city. The polling would be between 8 am and 4 pm, after which, the counting would be at the booths only. One agent of each candidate, having an authority letter issued by the returning officer concerned, would be allowed to witness the counting. Results are expected to start arriving by 8 pm.

Mr Aggarwal said, to ensure peaceful polling and check corrupt practices, the administration had ordered all liquor shops in the city to be closed on the election day. He said the directions of the State Election Commission would be strictly enforced and no unauthorised person would be allowed within 100 m of the booths. No candidate would be allowed to ferry voters in his or her vehicles.



Political loyalties take a back seat
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
As the city goes to the polls tomorrow for the elections to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, there is all probability of supporters of one political party voting for a candidate belonging to a different party. In one case the brother of a contesting candidate from a particular party has been supporting a candidate in another ward belonging to a different party.

This is not just an individual case but only an example. Such situations are likely to emerge, since the MC elections are fought on entirely different issues. Moreover, the wards being spread in small areas and most of the candidates being too familiar with the voters are also feeling it difficult to make a choice.

A senior leader of a particular political party, whose brother is contesting from one of the wards on the party ticket was approached by some of his friends from another ward seeking his support for a candidate contesting on the ticket of a different political party.

The said leader, who is committed to his party and is also very much respected, willingly obliged his friends and asked his acquaintances in that particular ward to vote for the candidate his friends had asked him to support, even when it meant harming the interest of his own party candidate.

The said leader admitted to it, saying it was quite natural in MC elections. These elections are fought on local issues and local influence works much more than the party commitments. “No matter what your pronounced political commitments may be, but in such elections like these it is more the personal equation of the people that determines how many votes you get”, he said, while claiming that there was nothing wrong in supporting a candidate from a different political party.

While not many leaders of different political parties are bold enough to make such frank admissions, there are others who are doing it clandestinely and for different reasons.

There are many leaders who want their own party candidates to lose and they are also doing the same thing. Scripting the defeat of their own candidates by supporting the rivals. The number of such people is enormous in all the parties without any exception.



Congressmen hopeful of victory
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 18
The Congress MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, party legislator Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, District Congress Committee (Urban) president, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa and District Congress Committee (Rural) president, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, have expressed confidence that the party will score a thumping victory in the municipal elections and that the next City Mayor will be from the Congress party.

In a joint statement issued here today, the Congress functionaries observed that the electorate in the city would inflict a crushing blow upon the SAD-BJP combine, which had, in its tenure of past five years, pushed the state virtually towards bankruptcy. “Almost all party candidates are on a strong ground and the party is looking towards anything around 60 seats.”

Meanwhile, in the last round of door-to-door campaigning after the electioneering ended in the afternoon on Friday, the candidates, including those contesting on party tickets as well as the independents, stepped up their campaign in order to cover those areas in their respective wards, which they could not visit earlier. The candidates were leaving no stone unturned to ensure their victory and various factors like caste and community as well as relationship and other considerations were being exploited to gain the support of the voters.

In Ward No 46, Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia, group leader of Congress councillors appeared all set to score a hat-trick even after having to shift from his earlier Ward No 47, which was reserved for woman candidate after the rotation of reserved wards was given effect. Having been elected for the first time in 1992 with the inception of the Municipal Corporation in the city, he served as Senior Deputy Mayor under a Congress-BJP coalition and again in 1997 when he was elected leader of Congress councillors.

Mr Ahluwalia, a front runner among the contenders for the coveted post of the City Mayor, was pitted against Mr Parveen Goyal (BJP) and Mr Vishwa Vijay (Independent) in a triangular contest. His close supporters claimed that Mr Ahluwalia had an edge over his opponents for the simple reason that the voters wanted their ward to be in the privileged class of being represented by the Mayor.

Although the Congress leadership had not projected any body in particular for the post of the Mayor but others in the race were the PPCC, general secretary, Mr Nahar Singh Gill (Ward No. 18) and former Deputy Mayor (1992-97), Mr Prem Mittal (Ward No 37). Both of them were elected councillors in 1992 but in 1997, Mr Gill chose not to contest while Mr Mittal, contesting as official candidate of the party from Ward No 54, had to suffer a humiliating defeat, being relegated to third position at the hands of a BJP candidate and a party rebel.



Over 100 women in the fray
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
There are over a 100 women candidates in the fray for the tomorrow's elections to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. It is not that the political parties have turned too generous towards the women, but only for the reason that they have to give 33 per cent seats to the women compulsorily. Barring a few seats allotted to women by the Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal, other than in the ward reserved exclusively for them, none of the political parties has allotted ticket to a woman from the unreserved ward.

Except for some prominent women candidates, most of them contesting on different party tickets from different wards are being identified by their husbands. Particularly after the reservation for women was rotated, some sitting councillors could not contest from the same wards as these got reserved for women. They instead fielded their wives from these wards. And surprisingly, none of the political parties fielded the sitting women candidates from the same ward after these were declared open.

The (non)seriousness of the parties and their leaders about fielding the women from the wards reserved for them can be noticed from the fact that when they are asked as which candidate is contesting from a particular ward reserved for women, they will mention the name of the husband of the candidate and not the candidate herself.

"Because this does not lead to any problems while establishing the identity of the candidate, otherwise you have to go on telling people so and so, wife of so and so", explained a leader of a political party.

But defying this male chauvinistic mindset, there are hundreds of women who have been campaigning for their husbands and relatives in these elections. Ms Shikhsha Kumari, whose husband is contesting independently, has been campaigning for him for last one week.

She claims that these elections are contested on the issues which concern the women most, particularly the housewives more than the men. She said she was getting tremendous response from the women of the area.

In fact women candidates are getting more response and much attention than their male counterparts. "They are heard respectfully and attentively because they do not resort to deceit and cunning and are usually simple and straight in their statements", said Aman Kumar, a shopkeeper in the Civil Lines area. However, he added, but once they get elected they are usually guided by the men. 



MC poll: BJP expels councillor, 16 others
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 18
All is not well with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — an alliance partner in the erstwhile ruling combine. In the run-up to the municipal poll, scheduled to be held on May 19, the party leadership is faced with widespread dissidence within the party over allotment of ticket.

In a desperate bid to salvage the eroded image of the party and to send a signal that rebellion would be dealt with firmly, the district leadership of the BJP has expelled Mr Charanjit Kala, sitting councillor from Ward No 60, Mr Vikas Sood, president of the west mandal of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, and 15 others for anti-party activities.

The district chief of the party, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, said all these persons, charged with opposing the official party nominees in their respective wards, stood expelled from the primary membership of the party for a period of six years.

Mr Charanjit Kala, who had won the election from ward No 60 in 1997 as a BJP candidate with a margin of nearly 200 votes, was denied party ticket this time. Mr Sudarshan Kumar Sharma has been given the party ticket from this ward. Besides Mr Rajesh Jain of the Congress and the party rebel, Mr Kala, the BJP candidate is locked in a multi-cornered contest with as many as six other Independent candidates in fray.

Others who have been expelled are: Mr Jwala Prasad, Mr Jiwan Singla, Mr Raman Kumar (all from Ward No 60), Mr Radhey Sham (Ward No 10), Mr Baldev Pathak (Ward No 20), Mr R.K. Sharma (Ward No 26), Mr Jagan Nath Sharma (Ward No 4), Mr Ram Singh, vice-president of the south mandal, Mr Ashwani Jagota, Mr Deputy Lal, Mr Pran Nath Jagota (all from Ward No 37), Mr Ram Lal Changotra (Ward No 38), Mr Darshan Lal (Ward No 54), Mr Yash Pal Thakur (Ward No 66) and Mr Rakseh Jaggi (Ward No 33).

The alliance between SAD and the BJP continues for the civic poll. Both the parties are contesting 33 seats each. In the present house, the two parties have 20 and 18 councillors, respectively, followed by 16 of the Congress.



Candidates seek godmen’s blessings
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, May 18
Not leaving anything to chance, candidates are flocking to astrologers and godmen seeking divine and planetary intervention for their victory in the municipal elections.

While many of the aspirants wanting to sit in the ‘hallowed precincts’ of the council chamber had been regularly visiting astrologers since the announcement of the polls, others have been forced to do so on the advice of their near-and-dear ones, besides their supporters. The refrain: what does one have to lose.

Many of the astrologers had predicted a tough time for those in fray on account of the alignment of as many as seven planets in the past week. This had led to panic among many contestants and havans and pujas were done on calculated and auspicious lagnas. The ‘going rate’ too shot up since everyone wanted to make a killing while the going was good.

Those whose planets had malefic influences were asked to wear certain gems and stones while others were asked to wear a particular shade of clothes and others were asked to shun all kinds of intoxicants. Many more still, were asked to begin their campaign at certain time in the morning and evening and travel in a particular direction for better luck.

Charms and talismen were the other means suggested to many candidates to avert defeat and bad influences. The more superstitious combined all these just to make sure that they were not defeated on this account alone. Some of the candidates were sure of victory just because they had the blessing of certain godman.

While buying gems and paying for puja and havans was the easier part, many others had been asked to throw certain amounts of foodgrains and puja items in flowing river. With the onset of summer, the Sutlej, which flows at some distance away from the city , just about dries up and whatever. Water is flowing is too polluted to be of any use to the people, astrologically speaking. The option: the canal that passes near Doraha and Neelon, quite some distance from the city proper.

But at the end of the campaigning today, it is the voter who will decide their fate by tomorrow evening, talisman or no talisman.



Is religion above politics?
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Who says religion is above politics? Politicians can go to any extent for getting a handful of votes even if it means defying their own religious traditions. That is what happened during the campaigning for the elections to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.

Scores of candidates, particularly those adhering to the Sikh faith were seen thronging the Nirankari Dera situated at the Tajpur Road seeking the blessings of the local sect head. The candidates belonging to different political parties and different faiths, including Sikhs visited the dera.

The Nirankaris stand excommunicated from Sikh panth and all Sikhs are prohibited to have any dealings or relationship with them. Anyone found to be having any relation with them is liable to be excommunicated from the panth.

There are a considerable number of Nirankari votes in a number of wards of the MC. Obviously, no candidate can afford to ignore this section of the society. To ensure that they do not vote against them, almost all candidates made rounds of the dera. They were not only seen paying obeisance before the local sect head, but also made donations to the dera.

Although some of the candidates found it difficult to explain as to why they visited the dera despite the Nirankaris having already been excommunicated, they argued that in a democracy, no section of the society can be ignored. Without wanting to be quoted, they claimed that in democracy “religion and politics” were quite independent of each other and they should be kept that way only.



Independent candidate alleges vote shifting
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 18
It has been alleged that the district election officials have put 852 voters of Ward 4 in Ward 68 barely a day before the municipal elections here. The wards are close to each other.

Mr Surjan Kumar, an Independent candidate from Ward 4 supported by the Bahujan Samaj Party, says that the voters, whose names were earlier on the final electoral rolls with serial numbers 645 to 1496 for Booth No. 5 have suddenly been put in Ward 68 on the rolls and a supplementary voters’ list has been issued to make it public. According to him, in the recent Assembly elections, about 75 per cent of these votes were cast in the favour of the BSP.

In representations to the Chief Election Commissioner, the State Election Commissioner and the District Election Officer, Mr Surjan has alleged that the election officials concerned have done this under the influence of the Congress candidate from the ward. Mr Surjan says that his rival knows that these votes would be case against him.

However, the District Election Officer, Mr A.K. Sinha, refuted the charge and said no such change had been made after the publication of the final electoral rolls. “If at all such large number of votes were shifted from one ward to another, it must have been a corrective step taken on the basis of a specific complaint. Once the final electoral rolls are published and the nominations closed, no official can tamper with the voters’ list,” he said.



Tough time for poll staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Resentment prevails among the government employees put on Election duty as the basic facilities promised to them by the District Administration under the guidelines of the Election Commission
have not been provided.

The administration’s promises were exposed today when during and after the final rehearsal the polling staff reached their respective polling booths and polling stations only to find that for the staff, including women, arrangements, were made in such places where there were no toilets and no electric supply to the rooms where they were supposed to stay.

Similar problems were reported during the State Assembly Elections held in February, but the administration made no efforts to improve the conditions at the polling stations.

One such peeved Presiding Officer, Prof Ashwini Syal working in Government College of Boys, told Ludhiana Tribune that he had been put on duty at Government Primary School at Daba Road and there were seven rooms in the school of which three rooms did not have doors.

He said that he was given a team of 40 people including women, who were required to stay at the spot tonight to look after the polling material. He said not even a single room had electricity supply and there were no toilets in the school.

A disgusted Prof Syal said,”I am a class one officer and I am supposed to stay in a building where there are no toilets. Will I answer to nature’s call in the open? And what about the women? If somebody from our team leaves the place the authorities would promptly take action against us.” He said that he had spoken to the SDM (West) Malwinder Singh Jaggi also, but the latter had expressed his inability to do anything for them.

Many such persons who did not want to be quoted said that Ludhiana was already parched with heat and lack of proper infrastructure would make conditions worse for them. Moreover in the absence of toilets it would be very difficult to have even a bath.

SDM Jaggi said that this was the only school in his area where there were certain problems. He said that there were no fans and no toilets but he was really helpless and could not do anything about it.

He said that if the school did not have proper infrastructure, the same could not be provided in a day.



40 more booked for defacing property 
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Continuing with the crackdown on candidates contesting local Municipal Council Elections and indulging in defacement of public and government property, the district police has booked 40 more persons, including candidates and their workers under the Prevention of Defacement of Public Property Act, 1997. Those booked include 11 women candidates also.

The drive, which started yesterday has spread to almost all police stations in the district. Earlier, it was confined to Division No 1 and 2 only. The Haibowal, Focal Point, Model Town, Sadar, Koomkalan, Salem Tabri and Division No 7 police station have also joined in the crackdown.

With the latest FIRs, the number of total persons booked for such violation, including candidates and workers, has reached 52. Twelve persons were booked yesterday.

In total 21 FIRs have been registered for the violation of the Act. Among the FIRs, the highest number of persons booked in a single FIR was 19. The case was registered in Salem Tabri police station.

A perusal of the FIRs reveal that in their zeal to support a candidate, the workers on the directions of the candidates were pasting posters, pamphlets, banners on any place they could lay their hands on.

Roundabouts, colleges, schools, letter-boxes, electric or telephone poles, notice boards, neon signs, bus stop sheds and telephone exchange. The candidates were violating the Act with such impunity that certain places looked like a large collage.

A senior police official revealed to the Ludhiana Tribune that the police had adopted a two-pronged strategy to book the violators. One, the police stations were directed to book the candidate whose poster they saw on a property. Second special directions were given to keep an eye on persons pasting such posters.

The first strategy, clearly a simpler one, was found more convenient and over 90 per cent of cases were registered on this basis.

While the police action was being well received by the public, there was a general feeling that it had come a bit too late. With election scheduled for tomorrow, the police action would not do much to discourage candidates. Even if they stop now the damage had already been done.

A visit to the city revealed that almost every notice board, sign board or road map board had disappeared behind a number of posters of different candidates. This was causing a lot of problems to the public. Liberal handling of such violations during the recent Assembly elections is being perceived as the major reason for the continuance of the violation in the MC elections too.



Tribute to Sarabha still unfinished
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Sarabha (Ludhiana), May 18
Even as years have passed since the state government first announced that the ancestral house of Kartar Singh Sarabha would be preserved as a memorial, the work on it is still incomplete due to a lack of funds. The work had to be stopped halfway after the administration failed to release the grant for it.

Last year, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the then chief minister of the state, had promised to get the work done by the last birth anniversary of the martyr. The incomplete memorial stands as a testimony to that unfulfilled promise, as the next birth anniversary of the martyr (May 24) draws near.

A visit to the incomplete Sarabha Memorial showed that a part of the house had been given a new look, while the rest remained badly in need of repair. The watchman of the house said the masons had stopped coming as there was no money left for renovation.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, said he did not know anything about the memorial and the Executive Engineer (Provincial) of the PWD was the official concerned. The official, Mr Gurnam Singh, said the District Planning Board had released a Rs 40 lakh grant some months ago that had been spent on renovating a part of the house. He also said the total money required for the project was about Rs 1 crore and he had sought this money from the district administration and the planning board. “The work would be resumed the moment the funds come,” he said.

The memorial was inaugurated at the last birth anniversary of the martyr by the then minister for technical education, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, and dedicated to the state at a function in Sarabha village.

The work on the memorial had begun more than a year ago when the martyr’s cousin sister, Bibi Jagdish Kaur, recipient of the title of ‘Punjab Mata’, had threatened to renounce the title if the work was not started. She had even threatened to sit on a dharna in front of the residence of the then chief minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, after several false promises by successive governments.

The 95-year-old cousin of the martyr had also threatened to stop accepting a Rs 2,500 honorarium that the government had been giving her every month. “This honour means nothing to me if they don’t remember the sacrifice of my brother,” she had said.

The Archaeological Department of Punjab had declared the house a protected monument in 1998, after which, it remained abandoned for want of repair. When the idea for the memorial came up, the then government asked the relatives of the martyr to make available certain memorabilia for it.



Tulu pumps suck Ahmedgarh dry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 18
Ahmedgarh, an expanding township known for its grain market and sickle industry all over the country, is facing an acute water crisis, thanks to an inefficient civic administration and the current heat wave in the region. The problem lies in the failure of the municipal body to control the menace of Tulu pumps installed by the influential residents. During the tenure of Mr I.A. Khan, a former Executive Officer, Tulu pumps were seized from time to time, but after his transfer recently due to the Assembly polls, the same are being ‘encouraged’ by various municipal councillors.

Any resident who complains to them against Tulu pumps in his neighbourhood is advised to install one at his home as well.



Woman worker commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 18
Paramjit Kaur, a factory labourer, allegedly committed suicide by consuming Celphos tablets at Humbran near here yesterday.

Her co-workers rushed her to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital after her condition deteriorated at workplace. She had allegedly consumed the tablets before coming to work. It is said that poverty drove her to it.

Two of a gang held: The Sadar police said it had arrested two members of a gang who were involved in several cases of kidnapping, extortion and bank dacoity.

A police party led by Mr Balwinder Singh, head of the Laddowal police post, arrested these men — Sher Singh ‘Shera’ of Ferozepore and Jaspal Singh ‘Jassi’ of Moga — on a tip-off and seized a country-made pistol, two cartridges and a knife from them.

The police said, on interrogation, the accused had confessed to having stolen a car and a Jeep from Gurdaspur and Ambala. They also confessed to having killed a person in Khanna for Rs 30,000. They said they had kidnapped a person from Harike, planned to rob some banks in Lohian and Jalandhar and snatched Rs 25,000 from a man outside a bank.

The police says that the other members of the gang are likely to be arrested soon, following more disclosures by the arrested men.

Bid to kill: The Shimla Puri police has registered a case of attempt to murder on the statement of Mr Parminder Singh, a man who lives in Dhandra village, against Sukha, a person of Mansuran; Kala, a person of Jodhan village; Binda, a man of Ratna village; Amandeep Deol, a man who lives in Toose village, a man called Babla and about 20 of their unidentified cronies.

The complainant said the accused had intercepted him near the grain market on Gill Road on Thursday and tried to kill him. He has been admitted to Civil Hospital.

The Division Number 4 police has registered another case of attempt to murder on the statement of Mr Dharam Pal, a man who lives in Qila Mohalla, against a man called Raja. The complainant said the accused had given him stab wounds.

Traffic impeded: The Division Number 4 police has registered a case against Latif, a man who lives in Sangrur, on the charge of impeding traffic in the area. Reportedly, the accused was selling vegetables in the middle of a road when stopped by the police.

The Model Town police registered a case against a man called Sikandar Singh and the Haibowal police did the same against a man called Om Parkash of Jawahar Nagar Camp on the charge of obstructing traffic.

Fraud alleged: The Jodhewal police has registered a case of alleged fraud on the statement of a woman called Raj Rani, who lives in Hira Nagar on Kakowal Road, against Paramjit Singh, a person of the same locality.

The woman said she had borrowed Rs 20,000 from the accused, for which she had given him her property papers and bank cheques as guarantee. However, even after she had paid back the money, the accused refused to return the cheques and the papers. Rather, she alleged that the accused had come to her house and attacked her there.

Held for disturbing peace: The Model Town police arrested four men — Amarjit Singh, Rajan, Ranjit and Raju, all of Ambedkar Nagar — on Thursday on the charge of quarrelling in a street of the locality, thereby, disturbing peace.

Liquor seized: The Civil Lines police arrested Mohammad Jameel, who lives in a slum near the local railway station, on Thursday and seized 10 bottles of illicit liquor from him.

The Sahnewal police arrested Sham Singh, a man of Delhi, and seized 15 bottles of liquor from him.

Cases under the Excise Act have been registered against both.

One killed:
One person was killed and another injured in an accident that took place at Doraha bus stand at 7.30 pm on Friday. The deceased has been identified as Sudarshan Kumar, a resident of Bihar and the injured was Parmod Kumar of Bihar. Both were working as labourers at Doraha.

The fatal accident took place yesterday evening when they were about to cross the G T Road at the chowk. A car (No. DL 3C-4749) being driven by Dayer Ahmed hit them. The first aid team of Doraha immediately provided them first aid and shifted them to new Dayanand Medical College and Hospital at Ludhiana. Parmod Kumar was discharged after treatment. A case has been registered at Payal police station under Sections 337, 338, 279 and 304-A of the IPC and the car has been impounded and the driver has been taken into custody by the police.

One arrested: One person was arrested by Payal police on Friday for burning a man alive at Maksoodra, two years ago. A case under Sections 302, 326 and 34 of the IPC had been registered at Payal police station on June 9, 2000, in which Amarjit Singh and Malkit Singh were accused of burning alive Jasbir Singh of Maksoodra village after a dispute over the question of organising sports in the village. While Amarjit Singh has been arrested in the case, Malkit Singh is yet to be arrested.

The Sidhwanbet police arrested Naib Singh of Abupura village in a case registered under Sections 379, 427, 506, 148, 149, IPC, at the instance of Jagdev Singh of the same village as the accused along with Roop Singh, Ajaib Singh, Paramjit Singh, Dilawar Singh and Jaswinder Singh of the same village removed 19 cement poles along with barbed wire fixed in the fields of the complainant for the purpose of demarcation and also damaged his crop and threatened the complainant.



Doctor booked
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 18
The Khanna police has booked owner of Kamla Nursing Home, Dr Kamla Sunder, for violating the Pre-Natal Act, provisions. She was charged for not registering an ultrasound machine, possessed by her and being used at her nursing home.

The SMO of Civil Hospital, Khanna, Dr Dharampal, had lodged a complaint with the police on March 21, 2002 that as per list received from Director, Health Services, Family Welfare and Special Projects, Punjab, Dr Kamla Sunder had not registered an ultrasound machine possessed by her. It was requested to register a criminal case against her.

A police party led by DSP (D) Chand Ram conducted a raid at the nursing home, but did not find the ultrasound machine. During investigation Dr Kamla Sunder stated before the police that ultrasound machine was used by her late husband who also worked in the hospital. She maintained that she had sold the machine. But the police is of the opinion that Dr Kamla Sunder had hidden the machine somewhere. 



PSEB asked to improve customer services
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 18
The Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations (FOPSIA) has sought improvement in the consumer’s services provided by Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). In a memorandum submitted to the Chairman, PSEB, Mr Sudhir Mittal, the association said, “Customer services provided by the PSEB cannot be termed as satisfactory”, for many reasons.

They said it was the right of the consumer to avail of regular uninterrupted power supply as he was paying for it. But there were frequent and undeclared power shutdowns much to the harassment and production loss of the consumers. There was a need for more billing counters as during the last days for depositing bills, consumers had to stand in long queues.

Members said that an industrial consumer who wanted to get her existing load of power reduced, was to submit an affidavit to the effect that she will not apply for extension of load or new connection in the same premises for three years. The members said that this kind of attitude was absolutely against business ethics and natural justice as the consumer was the best judge of the requirement.

The memorandum said that there was a provision in the manual that two connections in one premises were required to be clubbed, but even two connections in two district premises were generally clubbed on the plea that passage was common. Though such pleas were untenable, but the haste of the Board’s officials put the consumer to a good deal of harassment of filing the case in the dispute settlement committee or Consumer Courts. PSEB should not interfere in two already existing connections, provided by it. Industrial units which export their products up to at least 75 per cent of their total production, should be exempt from the peak-load hour restrictions.

The members appreciated the Board’s concern of rehabilitation of sick industrial units. They suggested that from such units only charges for the electricity consumed be charged.

The association members said that industrial representatives should be included in all Dispute Settlement Committees of the state with equal status of the officers concerned at the earliest, as it would expedite the settlement of disputed cases and recovery of defaulting amount due to the PSEB.

The members also demanded the installation of electronic meters and augmentation of other measures to avoid any mentionable power theft in the Industrial Sector.


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