Friday, May 31, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Toll collection to begin on June 10 at Doraha flyover
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, May 30
All preparations have been completed for starting the collection of toll tax near the Doraha flyover, which will start operating from June 10.

The toll collection scheme is to be launched at every 80 km from Panipat towards Jalandhar. Three places have been fixed for collecting the toll i.e. Doraha, Shambhu and Karnal. All three would begin operating at the same day.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) based at Delhi, has assigned the work of toll collection to a company Shakti Kumar M. Sancheti Limited, Nagpur. The general manager of the company, Mr Daita Kinage, when contacted, said that according to the gazette notification the toll tax scheme shall start operating after 12 midnight on June 10. He added that they had been assigned the duty of collecting the toll tax and the company staff would be working as toll operators and the daily collection would go into the accounts of the NHAI. He further said that it was a routine road maintenance contract, which would be with us for the next one year. ‘‘The rates for vehicles shall be finalised by the Law Ministry in a day or two and the same shall be advertised in various newspapers of June 3’’ he added.

The preparations at Doraha have already been completed but it would take a few days more to complete the preparations at Shambhu and Karnal but the toll tax operation would begin on the same day i.e. June 10.

According to Mr I. K. Verma, Project Director, National Highway Authority, Jalandhar, ‘‘The toll tax scheme is being started for the welfare of the public as we plan to work on the basis of a foreign model by maintaining the roads and making it four-lane or six-lane highway’’. He also said that the toll collection on the Sutlej would end simultaneously when the toll tax operations start functioning at these three places as the distance binding from Panipat to Jalandhar was 80 km.

Mr S. S. P. Sinha, General Manager of the National Highway Authority of Delhi, was not available for comments.

However, some unofficial sources claimed that the scheme was unlawful and should not be launched at this time. The sources further said that the toll plaza at all three places should be computerised and only then it could begin with its work. The tender for the same that amounted to Rs 23 lakh, was to be put forth on June 3 and lawfully it should take 10 months more for the contract to finalise and the notification to be issued. The sources also revealed that the scheme was to begin on a temporary basis and would continue in case it did not invite criticism from any section of the public.


Products containing beef being sold openly
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Wrapper of a food product that contains beef gelatin (circled), but without the mandatory brown symbol being sold in Ludhiana.

Ludhiana, May 30
In stark violation of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (1955), many confectioners and cinema-canteen owners in the city are selling products with animal origin ingredients without labelling them with the necessary symbols as per a notification of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (No-GSR-463, Dated May 17, 2000). The District Health Department, it seems, has been caught napping.

While many shopkeepers are selling the products with animal origin ingredients in the city, residents, including vegetarians, are consuming them unaware of the fact that they were eating non-vegetarian products. Moreover, what may send a shudder down the spine of certain people, is the fact that these products also contain beef.

As per a recent notification by the Ministry of Health, (Number 245(A), April 4, 2001) all advertisements and brochures of products containing animal origin ingredients should put a brown square symbol with a brown dot in the centre (as shown in the picture). While the notification came into force on October 4, 2001, the District Health Department, as well as the Administration has yet to enforce it in the city.

A survey by Ludhiana Tribune of many cinemas and confectionary shops revealed that many products, such as chewing gums, sweets and other such products contained animal material and even beef in some cases. Intriguingly, neither the shopkeepers nor the buyers knew what they were selling and consuming, respectively.

After the survey, the fact that came to light was all these food products that carried beef were not manufactured in India but were imported from abroad. One such product named ‘Yupi Gummi Pizza’ was being sold in a local Cinema for Rs 25. Ironically, many people, especially the children who were buying it during a movie did not know that it contained beef as it was mentioned in the ingredients. They were shocked after being told that it contained beef as many of them stated that they were vegetarians. Moreover, those who were non-vegetarians told the Ludhiana Tribune team that consuming beef hurt their religious sentiments. But they were completely at a loss about the action to be taken.

When asked about a product carrying beef gelatin, a shopkeeper expressed surprise and said that he did not know about the contents. He said that after the opening up of the international market such products had started entering the market. He said that he did not know that he was supposed to tell the customer as per the law that he was buying a non-vegetarian product.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr J.S. Bhullar, when contacted, said that he had no knowledge about the issue and directed TNS to speak to the District Health Officer, Dr Birinder Pal Singh. Dr Birinder Pal Singh said that all food products which contained animal material were supposed to carry the square symbol as directed by the Act. He also said that the matter had not come to the notice of Health Department and it would soon start raiding such shops and would book them if they did not follow the directions of the Act.

Dr Sandeep Jain, chairperson of the local chapter of People For Animals, said that the matter had not come to his notice also. He said that the PFA would speak to the District Magistrate and try to solve the problem. He claimed that selling of beef products was banned in the state as was directed by Prevention of Slaughtering of Cows Act.


Looking behind the smoke screen
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, May 30
The whole world observes May 31 as No Tobacco Day. According to latest reports of the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco is responsible for millions of premature deaths worldwide. Almost eight lakh persons lose their lives every year, worldwide, due to tobacco use. Smoking one cigarette reduces life of a person by 11 seconds.

Tobacco users have double the risk of heart diseases, 10 times the risk of lung cancer and several times the risk of mouth, throat, oesophagus, pancreas, kidney, bladder and cervix cancer than a person who does not smoke. Tobacco users report two to three fold higher incidences of brain stroke and peptic ulcer than non-smokers, a two to four fold more risk of fracture of hips, wrists and vertebrae and a two fold increase in the risk of developing cataract.

In India, around 60 per cent men and three per cent women are smokers. Most of the tobacco users use ‘bidi’. Fifty per cent men and 30 per cent women in India are in the habit of tobacco chewing.

There are 18.4 crore tobacco users in India, out of which four crore are cigarette users, eight crore ‘bidi’ users and six crore ‘gutkha’ and ‘jarda’ users. Tobacco companies spend over $16.5 million on manufacturing and promoting their products and these companies are now targeting developing countries for the sale of their products.

Dr Deepinder Singh, Assistant Professor, Lord Mahavira Homoeopathic College, said a study conducted by the National Institute of Aging, Maryland (USA), states 15 per cent of tobacco users become impotent by the age of 40. He said passive smoking was even more harmful. “Children of parents who smoke have low birth weight, are more likely to be mentally retarded, have more respiratory infections, less efficient pulmonary functioning and higher incidence of chronic ear infection than the children of non-smokers,” he said. A recent survey conducted by the Children Environmental Health Center, Cincinnati (USA), revealed that passive smoking affected the memory of a child and decreased his ability to read, understand and reason.

Dr Ramesh, Medical Director, Eye Bank, Mansuran, said the agent causing addiction to tobacco was nicotine, which was as addictive as heroin. It was immediately absorbed through the mouth, nose and lungs and stimulated the brain. It gave a feeling of temporary activeness, but wanes out rapidly. “To get that feeling again, the addict gets compelled to take tobacco again,” he said.

Dr G.S. Wander, chief cardiologist, Hero DMC Heart Institute, said to mark No Tobacco Day, the HDHI and the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) would start the first anti-tobacco clinic-cum-counselling centre of the region from May 31. He said the services to addicts would be provided by a team of experts.

“We will provide services to people of all age groups who want to quit smoking, twice a month. The concept of anti-smoking clinic has been borrowed from America, where such clinics and counselling centres have drastically pulled down the number of smokers. Smoking is one of the major reasons of heart trouble in India, specifically in Punjab, but its treatment was still in its infancy here,” said Dr Wander.

Dr Shailendra Kumbhkarni, who will be counselling the addicts at the clinic, said 70 per cent of addicts want to give up smoking and 30 per cent try for this every year, but only two to three per cent succeed. The reason for such a low success rate was rooted in the vicious cycle of smoking. He said, “When one stops smoking, levels of dopamine and noradrenaline, which trigger good feeling, alertness and energy, go down. And one feels withdrawal symptoms and lack of pleasure and as a result one lights another cigarette to be relieved from withdrawal symptoms and to feel the pleasure again.”

The withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, irritability, anxiety, difficulty in concentration, restlessness, decreased heartbeat rate and increased appetite.


Two stage-managed cases solved, claims police
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 30
Lure of lucre reportedly led an employee and an industrialist to stage-manage different cases of robbery and theft recently. Police investigation, however, thwarted their plans and now the complainants have become accused in two separate cases.

Addressing a press conference here this evening, Mr S S Sandhu SP (City-II) and Mr Shiv Kumar SP (Detective) said owners of Pinki Knitwears in Salem Tabri had been indicted by the police of having fabricated a false theft case of Rs 4.25 lakh from their own factory, which had allegedly occurred on May 22.

The police has initiated proceedings under Section 182, IPC, against Mr Ashish Aggarwal and others for lodging a false complaint so as to pocket lakhs of money as insurance claim amount.

Giving details Mr Warryam Singh, SHO, Salem Tabri, said that Ashish Aggarwal, owner of the factory had complained to the police that some unknown persons had broken into his factory premises and stole Rs 25, 000 cash besides goods worth Rs 4 lakh.

Mr Warryam Singh said, however, when the police inspected the spot, it did not find any evidence to corroborate the complainant’s claim. The police found some clues like the manner in which the lock was broken and other things. Later, the complainants admitted they had state managed it to claim insurance money as they had taken a new policy recently.

Police officials said the police has also solved an alleged robbery incident that took place near Sherpur chowk on May 28. In this case, Keshav Singh, an employee with a Civil Lines-based financier Tarsem Lal Gupta had fabricated a false story of being robbed at gunpoint by two motor cycle-borne youths near Sherpur chowk of about Rs 10.75 lakh belonging to his employer

The man had complained that he was bringing the money to his employer after collecting payments from different parties. Two youths wearing helmets stopped his car near Sherpur Chowk and robbed him at gunpoint. Mr Snehdeep Sharma, DSP Industrial Area, said there were several loopholes in the man’s statements due to which the police was able to find he was the actual accused.

The employee had later confessed that he had pocketed the amount himself and fabricated the story. In his confessional statement to the police he said he got greedy. He has been booked under Sections 406 and 409. His employer said the man had been employed with them for the past 10 years.


New MC Commissioner assures transparency
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 30
Mr S. K. Sharma, newly appointed Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, assumed office here today. The outgoing Commissioner Mr R.L. Kalsia, handed over the charge to the new incumbent at the camp office.

Immediately after taking over, Mr Sharma convened a meeting of the MC officials and zonal commissioners to put across to them the agenda for development and to focus on the priorities for effective civic governance. The officers were asked to maintain total transparently in their working and to attend all public complaints on top priority.

Mr Sharma further directed the officials of the operation and maintenance wings of the civic body that in view of the coming rainy season it should be ensured that all nullahs and drains, passing through the city, were properly cleaned.

The MC Commissioner assured the officers that all innovative ideas, at the inception stage, shall be welcomed but no excuses shall be entertained once the projects took off. The civic officials, especially those entrusted with the task of revenue collection, were asked to make sure that the targets were duly achieved so that the development plans of the city could be vigorously pursued.

Mr Sharma assured the members of the public that the office of the Commissioner and other officers of the corporation would be open to receive public suggestions and complaints at all hours.

Meanwhile, in a joint statement, Mr O.P. Jindal, president and Mr Vinod Dhall, general secretary of the Focal Point Industries Association, hailed the appointment of Mr Sharma as Commissioner.

The Nigam Karamchari Union also welcomed the appointment of Mr Sharma. Mr Tarlcohan Singh, president of the union, termed the new Commissioner as development-oriented and a sympathiser of the employees. He said in Mr Sharma, the city had got an able administrator and a practical person, who knew the problems of the city well and could provide a good civic administration.



BJP threatens agitation against MC decision
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 30
The Bharatiya Janata Party has strongly reacted to the decision of the Municipal Corporation on issuance of TS-1 and has threatened to launch an agitation if the ‘dictatorial’ and anti-people order was not immediately revoked.

The vice-president of the district unit of the party and the group leader of BJP councillors in the outgoing house, Mr Pran Bhatia, said the MC directive for recovery of development charges from owners of residential and commercial properties in the city was arbitrary and uncalled for in the wake of the non-availability of basic amenities to a majority of the population in unauthorised colonies, falling in the outer wards.

“It is imperative for the civic body to first provide civic amenities like clean drinking water, sewerage, streetlights and roads to the residents and only then move towards recovery of development charges, Mr Bhatia added. Till that time, status quo should be maintained for issuing Form TS-1 for properties in the city,” he said.

He further cautioned the civic body to launch a stir and even resort to gherao the MC Commissioner if these repressive directions were not withdrawn.

The MC sources, however, revealed that the directive on issuance of TS-I (the entry regarding ownership of the property) was a follow-up of a resolution adopted in the MC General House, which said that like arrears of other civic charges, the development charges, should also be recovered before request for issuing TS-1 was entertained.

The civic body had fixed different rates of development charges for residential and commercial properties in the city, depending upon the size of the plot and the location of the colony.


Father alleges inaction in daughter’s murder case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 30
Mr Babu Lal, a resident of Ahmadgarh, whose young daughter, Geeta, was allegedly done to death on February 21 , about three months after her marriage, by her in-laws in Bangaru Mohalla here, is a disappointed man as far as the police investigation into the case is concerned.

The Division No 3 police had registered a case under Sections 304-B and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Babu Lal on February 21.

In the FIR, the complainant had stated that he had married her daughter Geeta to Vinod Kumar, son of Satpal, a resident of Bangaru Mohalla, on November 26, 2001. But after a month or so his son-in-law started pestering him to stand as a guarantor for a loan a of Rs 1 lakh. Since he was not in a position to do so, he rejected the demand. Ten days later, his son-in-law again telephoned him and asked him to be a guarantor for a loan of Rs 40,000 which he said he needed urgently Mr Babu Lal further stated in the FIR that instead of standing as guarantor for the loan, he had decided to give Rs 10,000 in cash to his ‘needy’ son-in-law but his wife dissuaded him from doing so.

The aggrieved father further stated in the FIR that he and his wife went to see their daughter on February 13 and on February 21, they got the news about her murder in which Vinod Kumar, his son-in-law, and other members of his family were involved.

The team of doctors, which conducted an autopsy on the charred body of Geeta, had cited strangulation as the cause of the death. But the report of the viscera, which arrived much later, states that the viscera contained poison in the form of phosphorous. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Geeta was first administered poison, then to hasten her end, she was strangulated and later burnt to destroy the evidence of the actual crime. In any case, it was team work accomplished by Vinod Kumar and some other members of his family.

Mr Babu Lal, who has made several rounds of the police station, to demand the arrest of all the accused in the case (Vinod Kumar had been arrested a couple of days after the murder), feels that the police is adopting dilly-dallying tactics and trying to shield the other accused.

The police officer investigating the case could not be contacted for comments.


Youth Congress activists burn Pakistani flag
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 30
Activists of the District Youth Congress (Urban) today burnt the Pakistan flag and warned the military rulers of the neighbouring country to desist from their provocative acts failing which the people of India would not hesitate to pay back in the same coin.

Addressing the party workers at this occasion, the senior vice-president of the party, Mr Sarbjeet Singh Bunty, and general secretary Mr G.S. pledged to pay any price to protect the unity and integrity of the country and if needed even to take part in the battle against Pakistan’s forces at the border.

The YC functionaries charged the Pakistan President General Parvez Musharraf, with misleading his own countrymen by making tall claims and provocative speeches. They observed that morale of Indian armed forces was very high and they were in a state of preparedness to guard the Indian frontiers and to teach the hostile enemy forces a lesson, if they ventured any kind of mischief.

Prominent among those present at the occasion were Mr Inderjit Singh Makkar, Mr Ram Partap, Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, Mr Pritpal Singh Miglani, Mr Ranjit Singh Gaba, Mr Rakesh Kumar, Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Gagandep Singh, Mr Rajesh Kumar, Mr Jaswinder Jassi, Mr Maninder Singh, Mr Jagpreet Singh, Mr Gurnam Singh, Mr Mohammed Salim, Mr Raju Ansari, Mr Abdul Gafoor, Mr Raj Kumar Khatri and Mr Puneet Kohli.


58 file nominations for samiti poll
Our Correspondent

Amloh, May 30
Fiftyeight candidates filed their nomination papers in the office of the SDM-cum-Returning Officer here today for 15 zones of the Panchayat Samiti covering 95 villages in Amloh block.

According to Mr Amarjit Singh Shahi, SDM, Amloh, the nomination process started on May 27. Withdrawals will take place on Friday, while polling will be held on June 9, for which all arrangements have been made.

Mr Hari Singh Virk, circle president, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), while talking to mediapersons, said that the block leadership of the SAD and the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, (SHSAD) had joined hands at the local level and put up joint candidates for the samiti and zila parishad elections.

Sources said that Akali Dal and Congress candidates will contest on their party symbols.

On the last day of filing of nominations, 37 candidates filed their nominations for Panchayat Samiti. The number of total candidates has reached to 55 now, said Mr Prem Chand Sharma, Returning Officer of the Machhiwara block. The nominations will be scrutinised tomorrow on Friday.

Sarpanch Ujagar Singh, who had filed his nomination from Zone 11 (Bondli), has been declared elected unopposed. The ruling Congress party and SAD have fielded its candidates from all the 15 and 14 zones, respectively, for the samiti.



Workshop for vet scientists ends
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 30
Over 250 veterinary scientists discussed the latest research and development in animal husbandry during the technical sessions that marked the concluding part of a two-day workshop at Punjab Agricultural University here today.

Research studies based on advances in vaccination, treatment of diseases, supplementary feeding for farm animals, increase of milk production and quality meat production were discussed through lectures, slide shows, transparencies and posters. Dr T. R. Sharma presented the vaccination schedule for farm animals.

Presenting the results of a survey of the conditions of slaughter houses and meat shops, Dr J. K. Sharma discussed the need to maintain proper standards. Dr K. B. Singh, Head of the Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension, conducted the question-answer session.

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