Thursday, September 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Security stepped up in city
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
The Ludhiana police has stepped up vigilance by putting up nakas and barricades all over the city after the terrorist attack on a temple in Gujarat yesterday. Special units have been put up outside mandirs and masjids.

The police apprehends that Kashmiri terrorists, who have in the past had a hiding base here, may react to a call given by Pakistan to retaliate against the elections in Kashmir. Police sources said the force was taking no chance and an alert had been sounded. Instruction to this effect had also been received from the police headquarters in Chandigarh.

The police is also taking due precautions to tackle the situation that may arise out of the call for a nationwide bandh in reaction to the killings. Local Shiv Sena leaders have given a call for the bandh. The police anticipates that some anti-social elements may try to take undue advantage of the situation and ferment trouble.

Police check posts have been set up mainly in crowded areas, business centres and old city. It may be mentioned that Ludhiana has in the past witnessed activities by Kashmiri militants. The city has a huge Muslim population of about five lakhs and police official says precautionary measures are essential to avoid a backlash.



PSEB turns a deaf ear to complaint
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
A shopkeeper of Sarabha Nagar is virtually running from pillar to post for the past four years to get his power connection restored.

Mr Bacchittar Singh, owner of booth No. 56-I, said a meter (No. 185080) had been installed in his shop four years ago. In November, 1988, he received a letter from the PSEB stating that the meter number was changed to 285361. But soon he started receiving huge bills bearing the new number even though the meter with the new number was never installed.

He complained to the office that the bill was excessive and it was not of his meter. But it fell on deaf ears of the authorities concerned. In January, 1999, the supply was cut.

He wrote a large number of letters to the authorities to sort out his problem but to no avail. In September, 1999, the PSEB cut the connection of his another shop (11-I) although it had no connection with the other shop’s bill. He wrote a letter to the authorities who told him to pay Rs 5,000 to get the connection of the second shop restored. They put the condition that the paying of this amount would not have any effect on the connection of the other shop. However, he paid Rs 5,000 to the PSEB. The connection of the second shop was restored after a few days.

Later he sent a registered letter to the XEN concerned on September 1, 2000, regarding the removal of anomaly. He even gave a legal notice to the PSEB in January, 2001. The authorities came into action in February, 2002, and wrote to the JE concerned to give a report about the number of the meter and whether it was actually changed or not. Surprisingly, the report on February 18, 2002, by the JE said the meter bore the number 185860, that was the old number and the supply was cut from outside the shop. The report overruled the claims of the PSEB that the meter was changed.

“I am going to their office for the past 28 days, but nothing has happened. They want me to pay the old bill so that they can adjust the charges in the new bills. But now they are not preparing the new bill”, said the complainant.



Akshardham killings condemned
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 25
The armed attack on devotees in Swaminarain Temple, near Gandhinagar, in Gujarat, has raised concern among the people here. The general consensus among the people is that the incident has been planned to create communal riots in the country.

Condemning the gruesome incident, the local residents have sought an early curbing of terrorism at both national and international levels. They observed that it was time for the government to adopt a strong and decisive policy to crush terrorism.

Prof Niranjan Tasneem, educationist, said the incident should serve as an eye-opener for everyone, particularly the government. He said the way, the devotees were butchered, indicated that anything could happen anywhere with anyone. Not even the places of worship were safe. He said “terrorism has to be curbed at both national and global level. India seems to be a soft target for the people across the border. There should be combined efforts and a national policy be made to safeguard the lives and properties of countrymen”.

Ms Manjeet Sodhia, former Principal, Government College for Women, said it was always convenient for the terrorists to attack at public places as it was impossible to check everyone. A super power like America was not able to stop such terrorist attacks. “No one has been able to stop militant attacks on schools, colleges, shopping arcades, busy markets and even religious places. We cannot always blame the government but the government should take necessary steps to safeguard the lives of people”, Ms Sodhia said.

Ms Pooja Chopra, working in ICICI Insurance (Delhi), said “The militants want to create an atmosphere like that in Jammu and Kashmir. This is height of their desperation that they attacked innocent devotees in the temple”.

Youth Congress leader, Mr Sumit Batish, blamed Pakistan for this incident and stressed upon the government to do something more concrete than mere rhetoric to check terrorism in the country. “This is high time when we should teach Pakistan a lesson”, he said.

The district secretary of the local CPI unit, Mr Kartar Singh Bowani, and the assistant secretary, Dr Arun Mitra, in a joint statement issued here today, said, “this is a dastardly act aimed at disturbing communal harmony in the country”. They appealed to the people to remain calm and show wisdom in dealing with the situation.”

The Punjab unit of the Indian Muslim Council has also condemned the incident and appealed the people to maintain peace and communal harmony. In a statement, the president of the state unit, Mr Atiq-ur-Rehman, condemned the killing of innocent people at the hands of terrorists and urged the government to identify the real culprits and punish them so that such acts were not repeated. 



CIA inspector booked
Our Correspondent

Khanna, September 25
A local municipal councillor, Mr Vijay Sharma, has lodged a complaint against the in charge of the Criminal Investigation Authority (CIA) here, Inspector Malkiat Singh, for threatening him and misbehaving with him.

Councillor Vijay Sharma had lodged a complaint with the SSP, Khanna, Mr Parmjit Singh Sarao, alleging that he was threatened by Malkiat Singh after he ordered the checking of Malkiat Singh's car by the police on Sunday.

He alleged that the Inspector had threatened him on telephone that he would eliminate him and teach him a lesson because his car was checked. Mr Sharma said members of his family had also listened to this call on a parallel line.

He further said a case under Section 306 had also been registered against him. Mr Sharma alleged that his life was in danger from the inspector. He urged to take necessary action against the inspector and to protect his life.

Meanwhile, the SP(D), Mr S.K.Agnihotry, has started an inquiry into the matter. Mr Agnihotry confirmed the complaint and said he had received the complaint marked by the SSP,Khanna.

However, Mr Malkiat Singh denied the charges.



Cong leaders shy away from J&K
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
With second round of poll in Jammu and Kashmir already having been completed, a number of local Congress leaders reportedly failed to show up there despite the party High Command having assigned different Assembly segments to them for the campaigning.

The party sources stated that not many leaders showed interest or inclination towards joining the party campaign there with most of them preferring to move out to Delhi or other places, instead of jumping into the battle field.

The party sources said after the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, could not go to Jammu and Kashmir due to the angioplasty performed on him, other leaders, including some party legislators and senior office-bearers, made themselves “unavailable” for the party work for one reason or the other. Since there was no monitoring of their participation in the campaigning in Jammu and Kashmir, they could conveniently skip their assignments.

It was learned that the party High Command had assigned most of the party legislators and ministers duties for elections in Jammu and Kashmir since the leaders from Punjab could easily go there because of geographical, lingual and cultural proximity. But the security concerns that weighed heavily on their minds, made these leaders skip the schedule.

While not many leaders were available for their comments, a couple of legislators who could be contacted admitted that they did not go to Jammu and Kashmir for security concerns. “In fact there was not much pressure from the High Command for going to Jammu and Kashmir particularly after the killing of a minister in the Kashmir Valley”, an MLA confided, while pleading anonymity. While they were given some concessions over Kashmir, they had been clarified that they should make themselves available in Jammu region, which is relatively peaceful and where the party stakes are also quite high.

The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee President, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has earlier served as the party General Secretary has a number of followers in Ludhiana. They reportedly met Mr Azad in Jammu and Delhi only and offered whatever they could in financial terms. But none of them was prepared to go to Kashmir, primarily for security reasons.

Another legislator defended himself for not going to the state. “I was supposed to go to Poonch along the Line of Actual Control... but it was not possible for me to go due to the increase in violence”, he said, while arguing, “even if I had gone there, what would have I done except for sitting inside the security rings”.

However, some leaders like the president of the District Youth Congress, Ludhiana (urban), Mr Parminder Mehta, and others did spend some time while campaigning in different Assembly segments of Jammu region. Mr Mehta campaigned in the border constituencies of the Jammu district like Samba, Suchetgarh and RS Pura. He claimed that the party was getting a phenomenal response in these areas.



Flying high the NCC way
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
A training camp of the air wing of the NCC is being conducted at Punjab Police Academy Phillaur and Sahnewal airport. As many as 500 boy and girl NCC cadets from various schools, colleges and institutions of Ludhiana, Ferozepore, Khanna, Samrala and Moga are participating in this camp along with their ANOs.

The cadets are being trained in various activities like flying gliders and microlight aircrafts, para sailing, aeromodelling, skeet shooting, rifle and small arms, drill towards physical fitness, besides guest lectures on various social causes like ecology and environment, preventive measures towards sound health, human rights, cultural activities and flying training of cadets to participate in All-India Vayu Sainik camp.

The air squadron is the only NCC unit in the northern region which provides flying training to NCC cadets and has been successful in participating in National and international flying completions. Training of cadets on microlight aircrafts is imparted by Squadron Leader PP Singh and on gliders by Capt H S Sohal at Sahnewal Airport on daily basis. Other activities of the camp are conducted under the guidance of Flying Officer H. S. Nagi of Government College, Ludhiana.

Some of the trainees like Harleen Kalsi, Harpreet Chahal and Jasdeep Sandhu said it was for the first time that they were being trained for air training free of cost. Earlier, they said, they had to pay for such training.



PSEB needs improvement’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
The PSEB Chairman, Mr Sudhir Mittal, today emphasised the need for improving internal efficiency of the board so as to bring about the desired buoyancy in the revenue collection by reducing the incidences of theft of energy, ensuring billing of all connections for which effective and accurate metering is required to be provided.

He was addressing a meeting of officers of the Central Zone here this noon. He further stressed that the period consumed in billing and realising the proceeds of sales of power needed to be cut short. The surplus meters lying in the stores of various JEs should be returned to laboratories of the PSEB so that the same could be reused after re-calibration and re-conditioning.

Further, the importance of energy auditing by providing accurate metering both at the PSEB’s end and at the consumers’ end, codification of consumers feeders wise, identification of areas prone to higher incidence of theft needs to be identified to reduce technical and commercial losses.

The Chairman also gave a clear message to the officers attending the meeting that they would have to show the marked improvement within a period of two months. They will have to make all-out efforts to show better results. Special attention is required for improving the customer-care service for which officers were advised to work with more devotion and dedication.

Mr Mittal declared that he would have another meeting after two months and review their performance in these areas without which survival of the board is not possible. He also informed the officers about regulatory commissions’ tariff order and targets given in the order. As such, no laxity should be shown in bringing the desired improvement, he cautioned.

Mr S.K. Anand, Member, Operations, and Mr Suresh Gupta, Member, Transmission, also gave similar advice to the officers attending the meeting. It was also attended, among others, by Mr J.N. Sachdeva, Chief Engineer (Operation, Central, Ludhiana), Mr H.C. Sood, CE (Commercial), and Mr V.K. Vij, CE (Enforcement). Similar meeting will be held in the North Zone on September 26 and at Mohali on September 27.



Memorials for martyrs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
Dr Harbans Lal, State Minister for Forests, Food and Supply Punjab, has reiterated that the state government is committed to setting up memorials in memory of martyrs who had laid down their lives while performing their duties in safeguarding the frontiers of the country.

He said the government would accord all deserving respect and sufficient financial assistance to their families.

Dr Harbans Lal was addressing a function after unveiling the life-size statue of Shaheed Pardeep Singh of 1st Sikh LI who laid down his life while participating in Operation Rakshak in Jammu and Kashmir. On the occasion of his first death anniversary at his native village of Sudhar, about 25 km from here, today.

The minister also laid the foundation stone of the Shaheed Pardeep Singh Memorial Complex for which land has been provided by the panchayat.

The minister while expressing his concern over the failure of the previous government in providing the announced financial assistance to the families of these martyrs assured that the Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh would pay attention to the welfare of these families. He announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the development of the Shaheed Complex in the village and informed that the Forest Department would ensure proper maintenance of the complex by planting ornamental trees. On this occasion, the minister and others planted saplings.

Mr Jarnail Singh, Divisional Forest Officer, informed that the Forest Department had sufficient number of plants available with them and 4 lakh saplings would be planted in Ludhiana district alone out of which 2.5 lakh had already been planted.



Preparations on for mela
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 25
The Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation has constituted a committee comprising Mr Parminder Singh, Mr Satvir Singh, folk singer Mohmaad Siddique, Prof. Gurbhajan Gill, Mr Harjit Singh Bedi, Principal Bharpoor Singh and Mr Gurdyal Singh Ramta of Denmark to shortlist distinguished personalities to be honoured on the 24th Bhai Mohan Singh Mela, said the foundation President, Mr Pragat Singh Grewal.

The committee will meet on October 1 and finalise the names. The chairman of the foundation, Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal said it was unfortunate that a controversy had crept between the famous folk singer Hans Raaj Hans and a cassette company.

Mr Jassowal urged cassette companies not to yield to the crass commercialisation but serve people by providing them good literary works of famous writers on cassettes. 



YC activists plant saplings
Our Correspondent

Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal along with other Congress and YC activists
Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal along with other Congress and YC activists plants a sapling in Ludhiana on Wednesday. 
— A Tribune photoghraph

Ludhiana, September 25
The Congress and Youth Congress activists organised a function to observe vanmahotsava in the Transport Nagar area here and planted saplings on this occasion. Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, general secretary, Punjab Youth Congress and Mr Gurbhej Singh Chhabra, Member, PPCC, among others, were present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Grewal emphasised the need for planting more and more trees in the city localities to combat the alarming level of environmental pollution in the industrial city. He said the green belts and trees serve as lungs and add to oxygen level in the air. Calling upon the residents to come forward and plant saplings at every vacant place, he added that the party would urge the Municipal Corporation and the forest department to join this task. Other speakers urged the government to take effective steps to prevent cutting of trees and erosion of forest cover.



Losing sleep over elusive scholarships

WE the students of Guru Nanak Engineering College are a frustrated lot. We receive scholarships under the post-Matric scholarships scheme to Scheduled Castes/Tribes students Degree session 2001 to 2002, but for the year 2001-2002, we have not received the scholarships. We are being made to run from one department to another but no scholarshp is in sight. The Principal of the college has also written to the, Director Technical Education yet no payment has been released. Earlier, the DPI used to release the funds but now the matter has been transferred to the Directorate of Technical Education. The delay in receiving the scholarship money is hampering our studies and is causing a lot of strain on us. The directorate should expedite the disbursement of scholarships.

Students of GNE

Mela ‘business’

The ‘melas’ being organised on the occasion of Dasehra or for that matter on other religious, social and cultural occasions have assumed scandalous proportions and need to be done away with in the larger interests of the community. Everyone knows that these melas have become big business for some people, especially the organisers and kingpins of this shady business. Rather than serving any religious or social purpose, these have become a source of fleecing the gullible people in the name of religion and filling coffers of a few select persons. The community leaders and every individual should raise a strong voice against this malaise.

Krishan Kumar Verma, Upkar Nagar, Ludhiana

Encroachment woes

We the residents of Maharishi Balmiki Nagar, Ashok Vihar, Mandip Nagar, Raman Enclave, KVM colony very much welcome and appreciate the developmental work being carried out by widening the main road from Rajpura Road towards Income Tax office. At the same time, we are pained to know that officials are intentionally ignoring encroachments made by some residents of Y block and illegal shops opened towards the road by the residents of Y block besides defacing the beauty of the colony, hurdles are being created which pose danger to the road users. Huts are coming up daily by the side of road. Houses and shops are being built on the trust land in the bylanes leading towards Mandeep Nagar, Raman Enclave thus reducing the size of road.

Through the columns of this newspaper we request the Commissioner of Corporation to visit this area to have personal assessment and provide relief to the general public by removing illegal structures.

Kailash Kapoor, V. Zanga, O.P. Sharma, S.C. Sood, J. Singh, K. Ram, B. Goyal

Gujarat killings

The recent incident of terrorist strike at Swami Narayan temple in Gandhi Nagar in Gujarat has shaken the entire nation. Every peace loving citizen of the country must be feeling concerned over such attack in which so many innocent pilgrims, including women and children, were killed. Such acts not only deserve verbal condemnation, but also need to be tracked down to their origin.

All of us know that these type of acts originate from Pakistan, where the hate machinery against India is working overtime to create disturbances in this country. The act is a clear indication of that country’s aim to push India into communal frenzy. The government at the Centre and Gujarat should work to ensure peace at all costs so that the people who conceptualised and carried out this dastardly act do not succeed in their nefarious and divisive designs. The government also needs to act boldly to crush such elements who are bent upon creating violence in the country.

Dr Ravinder Vatsyayan, Rose Garden, Ludhiana

Support protest

This refers to the nationwide bandh call given to protest against the terrorist strike at Swami Narayan Temple near Gandhi Nagar in Gujarat, which has left about 50 person including children and women dead. Irrespective of who has given the call for the bandh, every right thinking person should support it and observe strike tomorrow.

This will not only be a protest against the incident, but also as a tribute to those killed in the incident. Besides, it should also serve as a warning for the perpetrators of such heinous crimes that the country stands united and can face any challenge unitedly.

Darshan Singh, Ludhiana



CII seminar on financial competitiveness
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
The CII Punjab State Council on Monday organised a seminar on “Financing small industry for competitiveness” to update the industry on the available financing options in the globalised and competitive environment and the WTO regime. Representatives of various industries, banks and other financial institutions participated in the seminar.

Mr S.K. Rai, Vice-Chairman, CII, Punjab State Council, in his opening remarks said the CII accorded top priority to the development of small industry and was committed to address important issues including finance for the growth and development of this sector.

He stated that the development of the SME sector mainly depended on the supportive role of a financial intermediaries like banks or financial institutions, knowledge and technology. “If we can provide the right institutionalisation mechanism of timely finance and access to technology and proper marketing access, Indian SMEs can be best in the world”, Mr Rai said.

Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu, MD, Punjab Financial Corporation, in his special address gave an overview of the small-scale industrial sector and its role in the development of the state and economy. He maintained that the PFC was making all efforts to strengthen the SSI sector through its various schemes.

In his keynote address, Mr N.K. Maini, Chief General Manager, SIDBI, said that the contribution of the SSI sector towards exports were about 35 per cent providing employment to over 1.8 crore people. He also talked about various constraints facing the SSI sector. He said that India ranked 52nd in technology competitiveness in the year 2000.

Mr Maini disclosed that SIDBI had initiated a project “Technology Vision 2010” for the development of the SSI sector. He said SIDBI had sanctioned about Rs 75000 crore as assistance for the SSI to over 8 lakh units over a period of 12 years since its inception in 1990.

Mr G.S. Majumdar, DG, SBI, in his presentation provided an overview of the bank schemes and products, financial services and method of financing. He said the role of the SBI in promoting small industries was important.

Other prominent speakers in the seminar included Mr IPS Aurora, Executive Director, NSIC, Mr Sunil Trikha, GM, Exim Bank of India, Mr B. Sulkumanran, MD, Canbank Factors Ltd. and Mr Rohit Kumar from ICRA Advisory Services, Mr Vivek Gupta, Solution Manager and Mr Hardaman Seth, Public Relations Manager, ICICI Bank, Mr M.K. Sharma, DGM, SIDBI. Around 50 representatives from small and medium scale industries participated in the seminar.


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