Sunday, August 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cycle parts factory gutted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 3
Stocks, machinery, building and other structures worth crores of rupees were reduced to ashes in a massive fire that broke out early morning in a cycle parts factory in Focal Point area here. The main shed and some other adjoining structures and fixtures along with machinery and material literally turned into smouldering heaps with main concrete building and lintel also developing cracks at several places.

According to fire brigade officials, the fire, apparently caused by an electrical short circuit, started at around 2.15 a.m. in the packing section and the inferno soon engulfed the entire factory. A heavy stock of raw material and finished goods of bicycles, cycle parts, tyres and tubes suffered total damage, according to factory owners.

When the mishap occurred, around 100 persons were working in the factory but had enough time to rush to safety.

The fire brigade sources claimed that at least 12 fire tenders were pressed into service and the blaze was brought under control around 5 a.m. However, there were some areas in the factory where rubble of burnt material, especially tyres and tubes, were emanating smoke and occasional sparks. “We are keeping an eye and two fire tenders are still stationed on the factory premises to deal with any recurrence of fire,” a fire brigade official told Ludhiana Tribune.

However, the factory owners were critical of the performance of the Fire Brigade Department. According to them, though the first fire tender had arrived within no time from the Focal Point fire station, it had a faulty water booster engine and the fire-fighting staff could do precious little with their water hoses being non-functional. During the intervening period till more fire tenders responded to the call and joined the fire-fighting operations, the blaze had caused havoc and taken its toll.



More cases likely against Tangri, associates
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

A copy of receipt indicating alleged illegal collection of money by Jagdish Tangri.
A copy of receipt indicating alleged illegal collection of money by Jagdish Tangri. The receipt carries his signatures.

Ludhiana, August 3
The district police is likely to register more cases against Jagdish Tangri and his associates following the revelation of more evidence of his alleged involvement in fraudulent activities ranging from illegal construction of shops on encroached MC land, then leasing out the shops on rent, collecting hafta from the rehriwallas, migrant labourers and even pocketing funds of a temple in the Gur Mandi.

Most of these allegations were being referred earlier also but it is for the first time that some evidence in form of receipts, showing the alleged illegal collection by the accused, besides some affidavits and complaints filed by some victims, have been collected by the district police.

Mr Dhan Raj Thapar, president, Mahavir Mandir Trust, Gur Mandi, who was appointed by the trust after Tangri was booked by the police, has also given a detailed complaint accompanied with proofs to the city SSP, Mr H.S. Sidhu. Mr Thapar told Ludhiana Tribune that the district police has given a nod for registration of fresh cases on the basis of this complaint. Mr Sidhu was not available for comments.

Sources, however, have confirmed to Ludhiana Tribune that the stage was set to register more cases against Jagdish Tangri, his son Sunil Tangri and other associates. Following are the allegations levelled by Mr Thapar and others:

It 1981, Jagdish Tangri, his son Sunil Tangri and their associates encroached upon the land of Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, which was adjacent to the temple and got constructed around 30 shops illegally. Since 1981, Jagdish Tangri has been realising the rent of these shops at various rates. An amount of approximately Rs 70 lakh has been collected by Tangri and his allies from these shopkeepers and this money has been misappropriated by him for his personal benefits.

Apart from these 30 shops, there are 15 shops, which are owned by Mahavir Mandir Trust. While Jagdish Tangri encroached upon the temple in an illegal and wrongful manner, he started realising rent from the tenants of the trust. About Rs 21,600 are collected by Tangri for these shops every year.

There are four rehriwalas inside Gur Mandi and they were being charged at Rs 50 pre rehri per day for stationing their rehri inside Gur Mandi.

Similarly, on the Talab Bazar Gate of Gur Mandi, Jagdish Tangri illegally constructed a shop on the MC land and the same has been let out by him to some tenants for Rs 6,000 per month. Sunil Tangri is accused of charging Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,00 for five shops.

Whenever there was any change in the name of occupants, heavy premium was charged by them from the occupants and from 1982 to till date an approximate amount of Rs 40 to 50 lakh has been grabbed by aforesaid persons. Forged receipts were issued to shopkeepers to realise rent and Nothing is deposited in the mandir’ account and was collected is used for personal benefits.

Sunil Tangri is a tenant of one shop bearing Municipal No. B-IX-52 and paying rent for Rs 6,900 per year. But because of his muscle power, he has now inducted three persons inside that shop along with him and is charging Rs 13000 per month from them and has pocketed approximately Rs 30 lakh since 1982.

During Divali days, owners of various shops used to be set up for fire crackers inside Gur Mandi were compelled to have shelter under the administration of Jagdish Tangri on payment of Rs 20000 to Rs 30000.

Since 1981, the arms and weapons are being allegedly sold from the den of Jagdish Tangri by camouflaging them as weapons of Hindu gods and deities. The inquiries revealed that from 1984 to 1988, approximately 10 lakh trishuls’ were manufactured and sold at the rate of Rs 31 per ‘trishul’ not only in Punjab, but other states also.

Sunil Tangri, his father and other allies allegedly collected approximately Rs 16 lakh under the name of Jai Mata Fund for upliftment of Hindu religion.

Moreover, since 1982 onwards, LPG cylinders were sold by Tangri and his men. It has come to the light that the damaged cylinders used to be purchased from the person, who used to have crushing contract from the LPG companies and after acquiring those damaged cylinders, they used to be filled by committing theft of genuine gas cylinders. The sale of LPG cylinders without any licence and storing the same attracts various provisions of Essentials Commodities Act as well. In or around the year 1995, to the knowledge of the applicant, some case was registered against Sunil Tangri and his allies in this regard and the Chandigarh police had come to arrest them. The case, however, did not reach any logical conclusion.



Where wires pose threat to lives
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
Even as many tragedies have occurred in the city in the past due to electrocution, the Punjab State Electricity Board authorities are perhaps waiting for another tragedy to happen if the condition of power supply lines is any indication.

In the Bet Ganj and Ghas Mandi areas, which are the biggest cloth markets in the city, network of uncovered high-tension wires is posing a threat to the lives as well as goods stored in the shops. Any spark in the wiring can reduce the entire market into ashes in a few minutes. A couple of journalists had a miraculous escape a few days ago when sparks emanating from naked wires fell on them. Old-timers say a few years ago the market was completely destroyed in the devastating fire that took place due to sparking.

A survey of the area revealed that the market was congested and the network of loose and live wires was the order of the day.

Shopkeepers as well as passersby walk in the market very carefully. The threat to life and property has in fact been compounded by several rehriwallas who park their rehirs under the overhead wires. The shopkeepers have also contributed to the problem by throwing wastes and other combustible material haphazardly.

Mr Vinod Miglani, a shopkeeper in the Bet Ganj area, said he had been watching the scenario for the past many years, but nothing changed for the better. He said his father also died due to electrocution, but nothing happened even after that.

Another shopkeeper of the Ghas Mandi market said the association of shopkeepers had written to the PSEB authorities a number of times but nobody had paid any heed.



Child suffers severe burns
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, August 3
Playing pranks has cost 10-year-old Manpreet Singh severe burns that have virtually crippled him for the moment and forced him to be confined to a bed in Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here.

With 52 per cent burns and virtually no money for the treatment that is likely to cost his parents nearly Rs 1.5 lakh, it all happened when Manpreet casually started playing with a string outside his residence at New Bhagwan Nagar, Basti Jodhewal, on July 29. No sooner did he casually fling the string tied to a stone at an alleged ‘kundi’connection, he got pulled up by high tension electric wires passing nearby. Eyewitnesses told his parents that he was pulled up around eight feet and then tossed back to the ground setting him to flame in the process.

His father, Malwinder Singh, said that Manpreet was a IV standard student of S.K. Model School, Subhash Nagar. “I was not at home but my wife told me that he went outside the house with some string in his hand. She suspected something when she heard a loud noise like that of a bomb explosion. She ran outside the house and found that two passersby were trying to get control of the flames that were coming out from Manpreet’s body”, he said.

The two eyewitnesses told Malwinder that the child was pulled up 7-8 feet from the ground. By the time they tried to take care of him, his (Manpreet’s) body had caught fire.

Malwinder Singh said that he was working in a hosiery earlier and was paid about Rs 3000 per month by the employers. “I am doing the overlocking work of the garments but now due to the recession in the market, we are not being paid much. I am worried for my child. I have three more children and all are studying. My eldest son is in class X. How can he help me? I do not want to put any kind of burden on him as he is also young but at the same time, I cannot do everything on my own. We have already spent Rs 20,000 till date on the treatment. When he was admitted here at the hospital I had only Rs 250 in my pocket. I believe in God and he will help me out in this situation”, said the father.

He said when God saved him from such circumstances, this phase will also go.

Manpreet’s mother said being the youngest in the family, Manpreet was her laadla puttar (pampered son). “He is not only good looking but innocent also. I cannot live without him. God cannot be so unkind to us”, she said.

Dr Vijay Obed, head of the plastic surgery unit of CMC, and the attending doctor said Manpreet suffered from 52 per cent frail burns and most of these were superficial and healing should be no problem, but the child was too young to bear the pain. “He needs a treatment around Rs 3000 daily for three weeks. If all goes well, surgery will be required and the cost will obviously go higher”, said Dr Obed.

In addition to the monetary help, Manpreet is required to get a proper healthy diet with lots of milk, eggs and protein powders, maintained Dr Vijey Obed.

Contributions/donations (bearing the child’s name) can be sent either at the Medical Superintendent’s office or at Plastic Surgery unit of CMC.



Join duty, appeals DMCH management
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 3
Dr S.C. Ahuja, Principal, Dr Sandeep Puri, Medical Superintendent and Dr Rajoo Singh, Medical Superintendent (P), Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, on behalf of the institution have appealed to the employees, who have not yet joined their duties, to join the hospital as soon as possible for the welfare of the patients and the institution.

In a press note issued here today, Dr Ahuja said the hospital was opened and faculty members and staff were attending the departments. All efforts were being made to normalise working. The OPD was fully operational and patients were being attended by the consultants, claimed the Principal. “We are a family and family disputes are best resolved within the family. The DMCH reiterates its commitment to resolve all pending matters to the satisfaction of all concerned”, said Dr Ahuja.

According to the press note, 410 faculty members and junior doctors attended to their duties in their departments and OPDs and 569 employees reported for the work today. Six endoscopic procedures were carried out and X-ray department, ultrasound and CT scan carried out various investigations pertaining to their particular specialty. The Bio-chemistry and the pathological laboratory functioned normally and the tests for the OPD and other patients were done in normal manner. About more than 150 patients who visited the OPD were attended by senior consultants.



Parties rap admn over DMCH issue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
An all-party meeting of various political and social organisations held here yesterday criticised the district administration for its failure to resolve the issue related to the ongoing strike in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital. The meeting expressed concern over the “indifference” of the Deputy Commissioner towards the problem.

According to former MLA, Tarsem Jodhan, the meeting also decided to hold a convention in “defence of human rights and against police repression on August 6”. An organisation, Citizens Committee in the Defence of Human Rights, was also formed on the occasion.

The meeting expressed concern that despite the lapse of two days time, which the Deputy Commissioner had sought for solving the problem, nothing had been done. The meeting said no positive action had been taken by the administration. Instead, one more employee was arrested on frivolous charges.



DMCH staff to burn effigies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 3
The striking employees of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) will burn the effigies of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, and SSP, Mr H.S. Sidhu, tomorrow.

This was stated by DMCH employees sitting on a dharna today at Punjabi Bhavan. The employees were joined by leaders of various other organisations. The leaders alleged that the administration and police were treating the employees in an inhumane manner.

Those present on the occasion included Mr D.P. Maur, Mr Tarsem Jodhan, Mr Jaswant Jeerakh and Mr Jarnail Singh.



Gift shops woo teenagers
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, August 3
Exchanging greetings and gifts, moving out for a movie, going on a geri route or getting together at an eating joint — teeny-boppers of the city have made several plans to celebrate the Friendship Day tomorrow.

Even though the day falls on Sunday and several colleges and schools have been lying closed for the past one week, nothing has been able to dampen the spirits of youngsters here. This can been clearly observed from gift shops that are attracting school and college students in large numbers and have been tastefully decorated with friendship day cards, posters, gift packages and friendship bands.

This time, friendship bands have come in unusual varieties ranging from glowing radium bands, metallic bands with cartoons and tweeties to the normal knitted types with fluorescent colour threads. Price range for most of these is between Rs 15 and Rs 50. Gift packages consisting of a poster, friendship band, diary, pen and a greeting card are also in demand. Colourful, illustrated 20 to 25 page quotation books are also available at several gift shops.

Similarly, posters in various sizes with colour pictures are also quite common. Most of these carry beautiful, terse quotations such as: Friends are like stars... you don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there. But soft toys and chocolates, which were much sought after gift items till the past few years, are not in vogue this time.

Mr Gurbir Garewal, owner of a gift shop in Civil Lines, said most of the buyers this year were college-going girls. He said most of his customers were going for packages as they were presentable, complete and affordable.

Since the day falls on Sunday, the students, who otherwise manage to play traunt, are certainly finding it difficult to make excuses to their parents. Smiti, a BA final-year student, said her boyfriend was insisting on going out on a long drive with her tomorrow. She said she had purchased a card and band for him but was still working out the ways to move out of her home.

Khushboo, another collegiate, said yesterday she had bought a gift for her friend but could not bring it home. She said she had kept it with the gift shop owner and would collect it from his shop tomorrow before she goes out to see ‘Bend it like Beckham’ with her friend.



Dal Khalsa plea to govt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
The Dal Khalsa has urged the Punjab Government to make it mandatory for all social and religious organisations to get themselves registered by stating their motives for operating here so that Malout-like incidents could be avoided.

According to Mr Harmeet Singh, secretary of the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, many outfits were operating in the state which were not doing anything for the common good of the people but trying to create tension in the society by playing with the religious sentiments of innocent people.

He added that it was appreciable that many organisations were doing yeoman’s job by running old-age homes and dispensaries but they should stick to social service and not whip up sentiments of people by distorting shabads from holy scriptures.

Meanwhile, the Dal Khalsa has condemned the police firing and cane charge on the Sikhs Sangat protesting against the holding of a sammelan by the chief of the Nurmehlia sect at Malout.

A senior office-bearer of the outfit, Mr S.S. Ghuman, said it is ironical that on one hand the Chief Minister is ordering an inquiry into the incident while on the other, he has rewarded the SSP, Muktsar, by promoting him as DIG. He said the incident was an apt pointer to the Sikh community of the intentions of the Congress in the state.

He appealed to the SGPC chief K.S. Badungar to initiate strict measures so that self-styled godmen like Ashutosh Maharaj were unable to play with the religious sentiments of people.



Move on power cuts opposed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
Ludhiana-based businessmen and associations have opposed the proposed 14-hour power cut by Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) on all categories of industrial consumers, including small power, medium supply, domestic and commercial establishments.

Terming the move as a bolt from the blue, organisations like the Tiny and Small Industries of India, the Focal Point Association, the Ludhiana Focal Point Association, the Ludhiana Electroplaters Association and the United Cycle and Parts Manufactures Association said the cuts had resulted in the unprecedented hike in the prices of raw material.

Leaders of various associations, including Mr Joginder Kumar, Mr O.P. Jindal, Mr Vinod Dhall, Mr Rajan Gupta, Mr Ashok Kumar, Mr Chhabber Singh, Mr Manmohan Singh Ubhi and Mr Jaswant Singh Birdi have demanded that if there is shortage of power, then uninterrupted power supply may be assured for five days a week. They demanded that at least small power and medium-supply consumers should be exempted from cuts.

They further stated that it was not only difficult but rather impossible for the entrepreneurs as well as workers to start work at 11 pm. Moreover, during night hours the efficiency of workers gets reduced substantially particularly in the summer season. The associations urged the board and the state government to workout an alternative so that the already suffering industry in the state is saved.



Curb crime, demand parties
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
An all-party meeting was held here today at Gurdwara Akalgarh to discuss the rise in crime in and around the Gyasspura area, where a woman was killed by robbers on July 16. The meeting, while expressing concern over the situation, regretted that the district police was acting as a mute spectator and the SSP, Mr Harpreet Sidhu, was not prepared to take serious note of the situation.

Later talking to mediapersons, leaders, including a former Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, his son and MLA from Kum Kalan, Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, a senior leader of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Charan Singh Lohara, a former MLA, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, and the acting president of the SHSAD, Thekedar Surjan Singh, gave an ultimatum to the government to arrest the culprits by August 20, failing which they would be forced stage a demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

According to these leaders, the entire belt between Gyasspura and Machhiwara has witnessed a spate in robberies and loot during the past few months, while the administration remained unmoved. On the night of July 16, the robbers struck in a house in Gyasspura and killed the housewife, while seriously injuring her husband and daughter. They are still in a critical condition in Christian Medical College and Hospital.

The leaders revealed that although local residents had nabbed one of the robbers on the spot, who had revealed the names of others, including one assistant sub inspector, no action had been taken against them. They said they tried to meet the SSP three times to bring to his notice the gravity of the situation and the concern among the public, but each time he refused to meet them.



An arduous journey of faith
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, August 3
Come ‘sawan’ and Kavadias, a sect of Shiv Bhakts, start their arduous journey on foot from all parts of India to Hardwar. A large number of them can be seen carrying pots of holy water in the traditional style. They carry two pots tied at the end of a bamboo which they sling across their yokes.

The aim is to get the holy water of the Ganges for religious rituals throughout the year. Every year during this time, Kavadias can be seen in colourful clothes of red and yellow carrying pots of water trudging homewards to bathe the Shivling on Shivratri.

Haricharan, one of the devotees form Nakodar, said: “Our son is also travelling with us. The God has given strength to his young spindly legs and he has been walking along with us. We set off in couples as we cannot put the holy water down under any circumstance. When I get tired, my wife, Nimmo, carries the holy pot. We undertake this journey every year as we are convinced that the successful completion of our pilgrimage helps us in fulfillment of our wishes”.

What is amazing is that these Kavadias receive a lot of hospitality on the way. Birju said people in almost all cities to Hardwar have set up camps for the devotees.

Every year in this hot and humid month, hundreds of Kavadias with faith in their hearts and courage in their attitude start the long journey. The return journey is fraught with difficulties as they have not to keep the pots on the ground. So while they eat or rest , they have to take utmost care that the pots are kept hanging much above the ground.


Paddling all the way to Amarnath
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, August 3
In today’s world where everyone is self-centered and materialistic, there are people like Pandit Harinarayan Sharma, who pedal all the way to Amarnath every year for spreading message of peace and pray for the welfare of society.

A resident of Sehnata village, District Boombi, Rajasthan, Harinarayan is not an ordinary man. He owns several acres of land in Rajasthan and runs his own tourist company. But he believes that one should do something for others and for achieving this aim, his parents and wife have always stood by him.

This will be Harinarayan’s eighth journey to Amarnath on cycle. It takes almost two months to accomplish his mission every year. “I consider it as a blessing of God that he calls me every year to meet him. I started this yatra in 1994 with my parents in train. But after that I decided to go by cycle and that too barefoot”, said Harinarayan.

Going for over two months on cycle to Amarnath has not always been easy for Harinarayan. According to him, in the year 2001, there was a bomb explosion near his camp and many people had died. In the year 2000, he had a narrow escape from a bullet when militants attacked their group.

“I have seen many encounters but I am not afraid of death. Death is the best companion because it waits for you for long and ultimately takes you. So why should one bother? You do whatever possible for the mankind”, maintained Hariharan.

Hariharan has also done “Bharat-bhramana” a few years back. It took him 11 months and 17 days to finish the task. “I spent Rs 43,786 on this bhraman. I have made a beautiful temple sadbhavna on my cycle. The cost of this temple is around Rs 10,000. It weighs 35 kg”, he said.

The messiah of peace started his yatra on July 6 from Rajasthan. During his journey, he covered places like Kota, Diggi Malpura, Khatu Sham and now he will be covering places like kangra mata, Chamunda mata, Nandpur Saheb, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Katra Vaishnodevi, Udhampur, Ramvan, Anantnag, Pehalgam, Sheshnag, Panchtarni and Amarnath.

Hariharan said these yatras had become a routine for him. “Out of the total 12 months, I am away from my home and family for almost three months. I pray to god for the welfare of human beings. I am a fully contended man. Whenever I start my yatra, my wife and parents always encourage me with all their love and affection”, said Hariharan.



The Ludhiana-Lahore axis

IT is simplistic to believe that geography is the mother of history. Location of a place is a factor, a vital one in some cases only. The rocky sun-baked Aravali range of low hills infested with bushes and snakes was certainly not inviting. Delhi rose by several names and fell. Stays on as New Delhi, despite water-shortage, heat and dusty storms. Lahore was and is no different: Oven-hot summer loo, biting winter-winds, heavily humid rainy season. The well-water being heavy with salts and brackish. Yet, we listen and value: Kaun jaey Dilli ki gallian chhod kar! About Lahore: Lahore is Lahore. No such socio-cultural phrase about Ludhiana. Strangely, Ludhiana has better geographical location than many cities, including Lahore and Delhi. The Sher Shah Suri Marg linked many towns and cities. Grand Trank Road did that more concretely. Progress followed. The Railways did the rest; faster journey, quicker progress. Historically, Ludhiana was linked with Delhi by rail earlier than Lahore. It is an arithmetical coincidence: Ludhiana is 191 km away from Lahore, 191 miles from Delhi. God made the country. Man made the town. Unmade too! What a piece of work, man!! All ruins tell a tale. All living ones narrate a story. Cut-off date August 15, 1947.

Lala Lajpat Rai (Jagraon, Dhudike) settled at Lahore. He was a versatile man. Organised many commercial institutions bank, insurance company, etc. He taught at the National College. It offered a B.A. degree. Being an institute of radicals the Government of India did not accord recognition. The great trio — Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev — met at Lahore. Sukhdev Thapar hailed from Ludhiana. Punjab was the main field of freedom fighters with Lahore as centre. What Babbars are to Doaba, the Ghadris are to Malwa. Ludhiana leads with Kartar Singh Sarabha as symbol. All were tried at Lahore, put in Lahore jail, hanged there. There is a blood-bond as axis between Lahore and Ludhiana. The apex was the hanging of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru with Sukhdev contributing the Ludhiana share.

Before Partition, Ludhianvis earned honours, created niche in several fields and won wider notice. Mr Gopal Singh Khalsa MLC, rose to be Parliamentary Secretary. Mr Dasaundha Singh and Mian Abdul Hayat were Cabinet Ministers in the unionist government. Urdu writer, Gopal Mittal, tried his luck as journalist here. For rise, he left for Lahore. He remained in the thick of literary activities with centre at Arab Hotel near Islamia College. His son runs a publishing house in Gola market, Delhi, by the Neharwali Haveli of General Musharraf who now relishes to be identified with Gujranwalia Punjabis!

It is our Sahir who won instant notice at Lahore after leaving Ludhiana! He accepted no mentor, no promoter. All by self he stood, created a niche. Manzil Restaurant located at sloping joint of Circular Road, Chamberlain Road, was a must with the literary youth of 1942-47, courtesy Sahir. No wonder, he edited the prestigious Urdu literary monthly, Adab-e-Lateef. Did Ludhiana proud. Lahore was a capital of journalism with a score of dailies, hundreds of periodicals. Ajit appeared in Urdu. The editor was Lal Singh (Kamla Akali), an MLA (1945-46 elections). He belonged to Bhanohar.

— M.S. Cheema



City — a permanent abode for migrant labour

TIWARI, Upadhaya, Panday have become household names in Ludhiana. The city attracts regular works force from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh and Nepal. Many migrants have made the city their permanent abode and visit their home towns during festivals or family functions only. Coming from far off places, these migrants find the city the most ideal place to work and settle down. Completely free from labour union problems, fully work-oriented city culture, environment full of entrepreneurship and complete absence of communal feelings make Ludhiana an ideal place for migrant workers.

Mr Ram Kumar, working as a ward boy in a local hospital says, “I feel comfortable in the city. I have constructed a small house and there is no question of going back to my village in Bihar. My parents regularly come here to spend few months every year. What I have gained in Ludhiana, I could have never achieved in my home town.”

There is a very wide variety of jobs these migrants are doing. Beginning from Manual, clerical jobs, computer jobs, running small shops, they have started taking small building contracts. Sanitary labour work in the city has virtually been taken over by workers from Orissa.

Mr Rajeev Lochan Mahajan from Engineering Enterprises is highly appreciative of the contribution of the migrant labour in the industrial growth of the city. He feels that migrants are more than willing to give extra hours of work and absentism is very less among them as compared to the local labour. According to him, there are many areas where local labour force is not available and there is no option but to hire migrant workers. Mr Lochan cannot imagine Ludhiana industry functioning without migrant workers.

It is not only the industry which is almost dependant on migrant workers, even hospitals, nursing homes, shops, hotels, restaurants and dhabas have become completely dependant on them. Cooking has become an exclusive domain of Nepalis and Garhwalis.

In spite of their contribution in the growth of the city, most of migrant workers live in highly pitiable conditions, completely devoid of basic civic amenities. There is no organised rehabilitation programme from the state government for their housing, schooling and health care etc. Most of the workers are at complete mercy of small-time unqualified medical practitioners. No wonder that morbidity and mortality rates are very high among the migrants as compared to the local population. But because of their limited financial resources, most of them are unable to take the help of qualified doctors and keep on falling victim to a number of acute and chronic ailments.

Recent economic recession has also affected the migrant workers, since many units have been closed and others have reduced their work force. This has slowed down the inflow of the migrant workers to the city. But in spite of such handicaps, they give city a great hope of life and prosperity.

— Dr Rajeev Gupta



Worm found in tap water
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 3
The family members of Mr Vijay Nagi, a resident of Sarabha Nagar, got a shock of their life when a live worm with a snake-like appearance came out with the tap water here last evening. Upset over the development, the resident reported the matter to the area councillor, Mrs Amrit Varsha Rampal, and handed over the creature, which was put in a bottle, to her.

While the officials of the Municipal Corporation were apparently not prepared to buy the theory that the worm could have come through the faucet from the main water line, the agitated family members stood their ground. According to Mrs Nagi, she had opened the tap of the kitchen sink and had put a glass under it when she saw a thread-like thing moving in the glass full of water. “I was horrified to see that it was a live creature and I immediately put the water in a bottle.”

The area councillor told Ludhiana Tribune that she was shocked, as it was a serious issue that needed to be addressed on top priority. She said the officials of O and M Cell of the MC were directed to visit the area and take necessary corrective measures. Mrs Nagi, however, said no one had visited their residence till this evening.



Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 3
Capt S.K. Datta, convener of the Human Rights Department of the Ex-Servicemen Cell of the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee, has nominated Mr K.L. Malhotra as district convener of the Ludhiana (Rural) unit.

In a communication to this effect, Mr Malhotra has been authorised to nominate office-bearers of the unit at block, ward and booth level and give shape to organisational set-up to fight against violation of human rights against ex-servicemen.



Robbers kill 3 of family
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 3
Panic gripped the town in the wee hours today when in a barbaric act, three members of a family were murdered with sharp-edged weapons by some robbers.

Four members of a family were sleeping on the terrace of their house in Dr Gurmukh Singh Colony here on Friday night, when at about 2 a.m. some robbers attacked Harcharan Singh, who ran away to the house of his sister Kanwaljit Kaur, married in the same street, and raised an alarm.

When Harcharan Singh along with his relatives and residents of the area reached his house, they found Shamsher Singh (65), son of Kishan Singh, Surinder Kaur (62), wife of Shamsher Singh, and their son Devinder Singh (32) lying in a pool of blood. No member of the family was present to provide details of the incident.

Mr B. Chander Shekhar, SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Sushil Kumar, DSP, Amloh, and Mr Harinder Singh, SHO, Mandi Gobindgarh reached at the site. The police said nakas had been established at strategic points. However, no arrest has been made so far.

On the statement of Kanwaljit Kaur, the police registered an FIR on Saturday under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC. The post-mortem examination of the bodies was conducted in the local Civil Hospital and the bodies handed over to their relatives.


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