Thursday, July 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


39 MC contractors face action
Work delayed on projects
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 3
Following a review of all ongoing development works in the mega city after assuming charge of office, the Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, Mr S.K. Sharma, has initiated penal proceedings against 39 contractors of the civic body for either leaving the work incomplete or failure to start work after issuance of the work orders.

The erring contractors, slapped with show-cause notices for debarring them from bidding for the works in future and forfeiture of their security deposits, had yet to start work on 27 development projects estimated to cost Rs 1.87 crore while another 12 projects, entailing an expenditure of Rs 1.05 crore, were left incomplete.

According to Mr Sharma, action was being taken against the defaulting contractors after an exhaustive review of the development projects when, during a visit to the area of Daba Road, residents complained that the contractor had left the work half way, leaving them in the lurch. "The Executive Engineer (Projects) has been directed to tone up for the progress of all ongoing projects and make up the delay or deficiency within a fortnight."

Elaborating further, the Commissioner disclosed that 13 major projects had been taken in hand by the civic body involving a cost of Rs 76.25 crore. These included three rail over bridges at Dhuri Line, Dhandari and Lakkar Pul, elevated road from Jagraon bridge to Chand Cinema, five buildings of fire stations, a stadium on Pakhowal Road, squash court, skating rink and Zone D building of the MC. In addition, 206 other works, estimated to cost Rs 21.93 crore, were in progress in different city localities. He maintained that a sum of Rs 21.52 crore was already paid to the contractors against payment of running bills for different works and no running bill was pending at present.

Commenting on the status of project for the construction of road along budha nullah at a cost of Rs 12.73 crore, Mr Sharma observed that the project was in the final stage and an amount of Rs 8.98 crore had already been spent on the work. The major impediment in the way of completion was private land and properties falling on some sections of the road and refusal of the owners to negotiate the price for acquisition. "While the Executive Engineer, in charge of the project, has been asked to explain reason for his failure to take immediate remedial steps in this regard, the revenue officials of the MC have also been asked to carry out a survey immediately and report the description of land and property which needs to be acquired for completion of the project."

Claiming that work on 82 different works for providing new streetlight points in various city localities had been taken in hand at an estimated cost of Rs 2.12 crore, Mr Sharma said the officials of electrical wing of the civic body had been asked to ensure that work for transfer of electricity lines or installation of new points by the PSEB against funds deposited by the MC was executed on a priority basis and the utility certificates obtained from the department.

He further said officials entrusted with the job of execution of development works had been asked to keep the concerned area councillors informed on progress of all projects in order to bring about complete transparency in the working of the civic body.



Erratic power supply irks residents
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, July 3
Long and unannounced power cuts, frequent technical snags and busy complaint numbers of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) have caused much harassment to residents here.

The most affected are residents of Model Town Extension, Dugri, Urban Estate, Sarabha Nagar and Mata Rani Chowk areas where power cuts lasting more than 12 hours are imposed almost every alternate day. Under such circumstances, inverters stop functioning as these cannot get re-charged; fuel of generators gets exhausted and water supply is also halted for as much time.

The residents complain that the power cuts are more frequent in the late hours of the evening or wee hours of the morning which result in sleepless nights. They say repeated efforts to call up on the complaint numbers prove futile as these numbers remain constantly busy.

Womenfolk of the area have a lot more to complain about. Narrating her tale of sorrow, Ms Harinder Chhabra, a resident of Model Town Extension, said, ‘‘The electricity cut which began at 1:30 am today due to some technical snag has still not been corrected even till 5 pm. This has now become a routine problem here. All eatables, including milk, dairy products, vegetables and fruits, kept in refrigerator get spoiled too soon. The worst part of it is when family members and kids ask for cold water and I cannot serve it to them. If I have guests during such times, I really feel like running out of my home.’’

Irked over the apathy of PSEB officials, Mr Narinder Singh Chauhan, another resident of the area, said, ‘‘It seems that the department personnel does not want to listen to our complaints. While the board had informed through newspapers that new complaint numbers had been installed, today, when I called up on the number 455551 of my area, I was told that I should call up on the number 457000. I have been Model Town, said instead of imposing power cuts on the residents who paid electricity bill on time, checks should be made on defaulters who used kundi connections and acquired excess load at home and industries. The residents should be informed about the cuts at least 24 hours before imposing these and in case there were some technical snags, methods should be devised so that these were quickly corrected, he said.

Similarly, Mr Kuldip Singh Kareer, general secretary, New Millennium Club of Urban Estate and Dugri, said sleepless nights due to frequent, long and announced power cuts were making the life of the residents miserable. He said under such circumstances when the PSEB could not ensure a regular power supply, its move to introduce a hike in power tariffs was totally unjustified. He said he had already sent a representation of the residents to the Chief Engineer of the board in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association has condemned the decision of the PSEB to impose 1-hour power cut daily on the industrial sector in addition to the ongoing one day weekly off. Mr Charan Singh Kohli, general secretary of the association, said the worst part of the new decision was that the 1-hour cut was unannounced and imposed as and when required, affecting the work in the industrial sector. He further added that such a cut usually lasted for more than two hours on some days. 



Flying high on wings of success
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, July 3
Shailja Dhami, 20, a resident of Haibowal Kalan has added a feather to her cap by being the first woman from the NCC Air Wing at Ludhiana to join the Indian Air Force as a Flying Cadet. Her dream of flying high in the sky finally came true when she received her training orders here yesterday.

“I am feeling on the top of the world. I am thankful to God that people have appreciated my hardwork. I could not be at this position without the blessings and encouragement of my parents and brother. Sq Leader P.P. Singh has always been the pillar of strength to me with all his cooperation and guidance”, said the simple looking, soft-spoken Shailja while talking to Ludhiana Tribune.

Shailja hails from a middle class family. Her father is a junior engineer in Punjab State Electricity Board, Phillaur and mother is working as an assistant in PWD Public Health.

“We hail from Sarabha village and I have always been inspired by the tales of the great revolutionary of the village — Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha”, maintained Shailja.

She did her schooling from Government Senior Secondary School, Punjab Agricultural University and passed her BSc Non-medical examinations from Khalsa College for Women.

Her father, Mr Harkesh Dhami, said his daughter was always the best NCC cadet. She also held NCC ‘C’ grade A certificate. She also stood third in the National Open Gliding Championship which was held at Hisar. Shailja claims to be the only woman candidate in India selected under the batch 19 SSC FWTA/80084.

“We are very happy at the success of our daughter who had appeared for the first time in the exam and had cleared the test. We have always supported her because we trust her. I think parents should always be encouraging and friendly towards their children”, said Mr Dhami.

Her hobbies include flying, reading books and watching hockey matches on the television. She also likes soft music. “I always wanted to become a hockey player when I was in class X but as soon as I joined NCC in college, I turned towards flying. Initially I was a bit nervous but everything went smoothly once I was determined”, stressed Shailja.

Shailja said,”I am very nervous because I have very little time. I have to join duty at Hyderabad on July 6. Tomorrow we will be leaving and I have to get so many things. I want to visit my family and friends also”, said Shailja excitedly.

Meanwhile she feels sorry for the people who believe in gender bias. Parents should consider girls to be equal to boys. They should protect the rights of the girl child. She can achieve success in every field if an affectionate and caring atmosphere is given to her, maintained Shailja.

Shailja desires to serve her nation following the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.”I will try to march forward to victory with dedication and devotion”, added Shailja.



‘Explore trade ties with Latin America’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
In order to explore business opportunities in the Latin American countries like Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and others the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in coordination with the Ministry Commerce and Industry organised a seminar — ‘Building Trade with Latin America: Opportunities and Challenges’. Representatives of leading industries, the ministry and the CII participated in the day long seminar.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Varunesh Tuli, Director, Business Development, Latam Trade, based in Brazil said the bicycle, bicycle parts, auto parts and the knitwear industry had a great scope in the Latin American countries. He said the Indian industry stood greater chances as there were already lots of exports from India to these countries.

Mr Tuli also cautioned against some difficulties that could be faced there. “It is not as rosy as it may seem. There are lots of difficulties which the businessmen face in these countries. However, that should not be any constraint and it should not discourage investment of export to those countries”, he clarified.

Mr Mahesh Munjal, the Managing Director of the Majestic Auto belonging to the Hero Group, said they were already exporting items to the Latin American countries.

Representatives of other industrial houses wanted export insurance, export security besides reducing the red tape and other obstacles. Ms Geeta Muralidhar, a representative of the commerce ministry, assured that the government would provide all possible aid and help to the industry in promoting the exports.



DMCH deadlock continues
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
Despite being told by the city administration in yesterday’s meeting at the mini secretariat to maintain peace in the hospital, the employees' union, of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital today again resorted to unethical means to show its protest by putting up posters containing filthy language on the walls of the hospital. Without caring for the orders of the city administration,
they kept on sitting on illegal dharna and defaced the walls of the hospital.

The management in a press statement here has condemned such illegal activities of the union in the strongest words and said that this has exposed the union’s claims of holding the dharna peacefully.

The management also revealed that, in the light of the agreement done between the management and the union in 1994, the protest of the union was illegal. In the agreement signed by both the parties in 1994, it was decided in the interest of the institution that all the employees of the DMCH Employees Union shall faithfully follow all the provisions of the service rules in force from time to time.

Meanwhile, the union is adamant on its stand. Union members alleged that they had the proof of the management’s misusing the DMCH funds.

The IMA Ludhiana, has urged the striking employee of the DMCH to end the stalemate at the earliest. “The continued strike has started bringing a bad name to the medical community, and the paramedical staff is part and parcel of the medical community,” said Dr Gursharan Singh, president, IMA, Ludhiana.

He further added that the matter could be solved across the table amicably. The members also requested that health care should not be disrupted at any cost. “We request the striking employees to give a chance to Dr Raju Singh and Dr Sandeep Puri as they are very capable administrators”, said Dr Gursharan Singh.



Mann: Govt neglecting farmers
Our Correspondent

Amloh, July 3
Commenting on the results of Delhi Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (DGPC), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP and President, Akali Dal (A), called the success of Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra in capturing 27 seats, to be the success of the Congress, which had openly supported his candidates. Mr Mann was in the town on way to Naraingarh village to attend the bhog ceremony of the son of his party activist Gurmail Singh.

While talking to the mediapersons Mr Mann expressed concern on the development of Mr Tohra depending on the Congress for the survival of his party, and added that the SAD (Badal) had already fallen into the hands of the BJP. He said, “Both Akali Dals have become dependent on the two big anti-Punjab parties”.

The future of people of the state, particularly of the farmers has become more bleak, when two major kisan unions too have adopted the same path as one faction led by Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann is pro-Congress, while the other union led by Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal is alligned with the BJP, he alleged.

On account of the new political developments in the state, no Akali Dal or Kisan Union is fighting for the interests of the farmers. The MSP of paddy was fixed at Rs 530 per quintal last year but the government has not made any increase, this year in spite of the fact that the prices of diesel, fertiliser and machinery have gone up in one year. Farmers in the border areas of Gurdaspur, Ferozepore and Amritsar were not allowed to transplant paddy in their fields by the Army due to trouble with Pakistan.

Mr Gurdial Singh Ghulu Majra, senior vice-president, district Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Ravinder Singh Khalsa, general secretary, Youth Akali Dal, Fatehgarh Sahib district, Mr Krishan Singh Salana, president, Amloh circle, Mr Mal Singh Tibbi, Mr Amar Singh Khanian and Mr Raghbir Singh Bhadal Thuha were also present in the press conference.

Meanwhile, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, president Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, said the result of the Delhi Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee will have no effect in the state and added that the state and Delhi Governments had worked against the SAD candidates.

Mr Badungar further said while the SAD alliance with the BJP was an open secret, the Congress had helped the SHSAD from the back door. A meeting of the Political Affairs Committee would discuss important issues in this regard at the residence of Mr Parkash Singh Badal in Chandigarh on July 7 at 11 am. He was talking to the mediapersons here on Wednesday evening.



‘SAD (B) working for purely vested interests’
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 3
“Sri Akal Takht is the supreme religious Sikh institution in the world to which every dedicated true Sikh bows his head and attains religious and political spirit. But since the last few decades this precious institution is being converted by certain forces into an institution which should solely serve their vested political interest.”

This was stated by Dr Paramjeet Singh Ranu, national president of the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation (SSF). He further charged the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) with misusing religious bodies like the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and Akal Takht to further its political prospects.

Strongly reacting to the statement of the Akal Takht head Priest, Jathedar Joginder Singh, against the voting right to “sehajdhari Sikhs” and labelling them as non-Sikhs, Dr Ranu said that Jathedar of Akal Takht was just like a ‘Pope’ of the Sikh community’ and was considered to be the highest religious authority.

“The Akal Takht Jathedar does not represent any particular section, political party or individuals and it ill- behoves his prestige to be playing in the hands of cheap politicians.”

The SSF chief said Akali factions like SAD (Badal) and SAD (Mann) were unnecessarily creating differences between the sikh community by raising issues of “amritdharis and sehajdharis”, when the Sikh Gurudwara Act, 1925, and amendment 1959 already treated “sehajdhari sikhs” as voters by considering them as the integral part of the Sikh religion. Those Sikh leaders, who had launched a campaign against the section of Sehajdharis Sikhs were betraying the religion and violating the law of the land.

“As the matter is already subjudice, pending disposal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for final hearing, the statements of Akal Takht Jathedar are only tantamount to contempt of court but also an attempt to pressurise the judiciary and create confusion.” Dr Ranu observed that the remarks of Jathedar Vedanti had hurt the sentiments of lakhs of Sehajdhari Sikhs in the state. Recalling that in the past the then head priests of Akal Takht, Jathedar Ranjit Singh and Bhai Puran Singh, were sacked due to vested interests, the Akal Takht Jathedar must maintain his neutral position and prestige for the sake of religion.



Tough time for rail commuters
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
Though six new trains have been introduced in the Ferozepore division of the Northern Railway from July 1, hundreds of workers, employees and businessmen who commute every day on the Sangrur-Dhuri-Ludhiana section, falling under the Ambala division, have been taken for a ride by the authorities concerned.

Commuters on the route were taken by surprise on July 1 when they came to know that the evening train leaving Ludhiana at 5.40 pm from platform number seven would be leaving from platform number four. So the train, which had been leaving at the scheduled time, left late by 20 minutes on the first day of the sudden change. And the next day, that is Tuesday, the train left at 7.15 pm, one hour and 35 minutes behind the scheduled departure. The harried passengers started wondering whether it was an undeclared change of timing.

Passengers who have been travelling by the train for the past many years pointed out that before July 1, the train had been leaving on time as the bogeys used to be on hand well in advance of the departure. Now , with the introduction of more passenger trains in the Ferozepore division, the same rake is being used for the Ludhiana-Ambala passenger train and the 5.40 train for Jakhal now comprises the train that arrives from Ferozepur around the same time. That makes the task of the commuters all the more difficult. Now they have to play a guessing game all the time and until unless the passenger train arrives from Ferozepore to take them home. In other words, the railway’s authorities have totally ignored the interests of hundreds of commuters by leaving them at the mercy of a train driver who may be running late more often than not.

Passengers are demanding restoration of the system as it prevailed before July 1 or the provision of a new rake so that they do not have to sweat it out while cooling their heels on the platform.



Bifurcation of J&K opposed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
The Lok Janshakti Party, headed by a former Union Minister, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, has opposed the demand by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) for bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir. The party has urged the President of India to intervene for imposition of a ban on communal and fundamental organisations like the VHP and detention of radical elements under POTO.

A meeting of state-level office-bearers and district presidents of the party was held here under the presidentship of state chief, Mr Amar Singh Mehmi. Prominent among others present at the meeting were national secretary and in charge of Punjab affairs, Mr Sita Ram Akela, Mr Dalip Kumar Valmiki, youth wing president, Mr Manjot Singh Grewal, state president of the Dalit Sena, Mr Kiranjot Singh Gehri, national general secretary of the Dalit Sena, Mr Balbir Singh Gharounda, women wing chief, Ms Pinki Mann, and president of the students wing, Mr Jasbir Singh Boparai.



Theme party for kids held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
The Strawberry Club, organisers of theme parties for kids, held a disco party for small children here on July 1.

Ms Shivani and Ms Shikha, the two organisers, in a press statement today, said the party was organised for children in the 2-8 years age group. The theme of the evening was “shimmers and glitters”. The children danced to various tunes of English, Hindi and Punjabi pop numbers.

The two judges on the occasion were Dr Lily Walia from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital and Ms Puja Munjal, Director, J.D. Institute of Fashion Technology.

The Best Dressed kids were Sharoz Saini, Gursirjan Chawla, Mehak Awasthi, Manya Jain, Navin and Radhika Uppal.

The awards for the Best Individual Performance were given to Devang Chaudhry, Sara Choudhry, Banveet Kaur and Nadish Bharti.

The Best Dancing couples were Jagjit and Bani and Shree and Chirag.

The Best Group dancers were Simran, Sanchit, Rahat, Tanya, Shreya, Amubhuti, Pragati, Vanshika, Aanya Thapar and Palak.



Aziz’s book of poems released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
‘Nawan Sawera’, a collection of poems penned by Sardar Santa Singh Aziz, a noted writer and poet, was released to commemorate his second death anniversary at a function organised by Sahitkar Sadan, a literary wing of the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, here today.

On he occasion, Prof Kartar Singh Kalra, former DPI, Punjab, discussed the poems which are based on the erosion of ethical values, drug addiction, dowry and youth going astray from the rich heritage. Mr Kulwant Jagraon, poet, spoke on the life and achievements of Aziz. During the same function, an English tract, ‘A Glimpse of Sikhism’ was also released for non-Sikhs in European countries, the USA and Canada. ‘Virse di Pehchaan’, third edition of another collection of poems by Dr G.S. Barsal, was also released. Principal Ram Singh, chief organiser of the circle, was also present on the occasion. 



CICU opposes tariff revision move by PSEB
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has strongly opposed the proposed move of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to review the electricity tariff for making up the losses. CICU has stressed that the PSEB should improve work efficiency and plug the loopholes to make up for the losses and not lay the additional burden on the consumers.

Voicing its strong resentment to the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission, a delegation of CICU, led by its president, Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, identified several reasons for the massive losses suffered by the PSEB, which are ultimately thrust on the consumers. He said it is basically due to various omissions and commissions of the PSEB which leads to losses, and for which the consumers are made to suffer.

Mr Pradhan pointed out that the average loss of coal in transit from coal mines to thermal plants is to the tune of 4.63 per cent of the total purchase. Also the coal being supplied by coal mines is of inferior quality, having less weight than charged and there are also no arrangements to weigh the coal at the pits. The coal is not washed as it contains impurities.

The CICU president said the number of employees in the PSEB was the highest among the 10 leading electricity boards of the country. He said the national average cost per unit on establishment was 45 paise against the PSEB average of 61 paise.

He contested the claims of the PSEB about the transmission and distribution losses and technical losses at 26 per cent, while the Punjab Chief Minister had clearly stated that the losses were about 46 per cent the PSEB had done nothing to reduce the losses.

The CICU delegation said the PSEB was not doing anything to check power theft, being done in connivance with the PSEB staff.

The delegation also expressed surprise over the claims of the board that outstanding amount from the consumers was over Rs 500 crore. As per the PSEB rules, the supply of electricity to the consumer was stopped temporarily after seven days after the date of payment and permanently after 30 days. The delegation asked how had the loss accumulated to such a huge amount and responsibility needed to be fixed for the same.

Mr Pradhan demanded that the PSEB should realise the actual tariff from the consumers and not on the basis of minimum charges, as there was great recession in the industry resulting in under-utilisation of the industrial units. It also stressed the need for installing quality meters and immediately replacing faulty meters.



DP Singh is Pepsi Vice-President
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
Mr D.P. Singh has taken over as Vice-President of Pepsi. He will be in charge of the sales and marketing operations of the company in Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir.

He was earlier working as General Manager, Coca-Cola, and was in charge for Punjab. Talking to mediapersons, he said Pepsi was making phenomenal gains in the cold drink market with its market share registering a significant increase. He pointed out that the demand for cold drinks had increased in great proportion and now people use to take cold drinks for at least 10 months in a year. 


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