Monday, September 30, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Farmers to take to streets from October 1
Plan to block traffic on all major roads
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 29
Agitated over the Union Government’s decision not to increase the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy, farmers of the state have decided to take to streets in protest against the decision.

Stating this after an emergency meeting of farmers today, the president of the Bharti Kisan Union, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, said the farmers would resort to block traffic on all major roads of the state from October 1.

He said they had no other option but to take to streets to show their resentment.

“Instead of harvesting the crop and waiting for its procurement in ‘mandis’, the farmers would be seen staging dharnas in all parts of the state. He said the MSP would not even ensure the realisation of their investment, what to talk of profits? So it’s better to come out together and fight against the ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the Union Government,” he said.

Professor Manjit Singh Qadian, general secretary of the union, said the government had been stating that the MSP had been retained as per the recommendations of the Price Commission on Agriculture, but it was silent on the fact that the commission had also recommended a bonus of Rs 20 per quintal on the paddy in view of the drought-like conditions in the state.

“Why has the government not announced a bonus on the crop if it was committed to follow the recommendations of the commission?” he said.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Maheshwari, press secretary of the union, said the cost of production of paddy was all-time high this year as the farmers had to make additional investment to save their crops. “If they had known that their hard work and efforts would be wasted, they would not have spent so much.

Most of the farmers burnt litres of diesel to irrigate their crops and some even went to the extent of spending lakhs on the deepening their tubewells,” he added.

He said the facility of free electricity to farmers should not be withdrawn and all such discussions should be stalled immediately. He also demanded the rollback of four per cent of sale tax on agricultural products and a bonus of Rs 100 per quintal of paddy, besides reviewing the MSP.

Meanwhile, Lala Lajpat Rai, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and member of the Rajya Sabha, today criticised the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for allegedly trying to politicise the MSP issue for petty political and vested interests.

In a statement issued here today, he said there was no need for the Punjab Chief Minister to rush to the Prime Minister’s residence. He said the state government should not try to get political mileage out of a national issue. He said the MSP issue was not related to Punjab only, but also to many other states that produced more paddy than Punjab.

He said the Punjab Government should have prepared a blueprint about farmers’ problems and submitted it to the Central Government. Staging a demonstration outside the PM’s residence had only exposed his political motive, he alleged.


Medical council postpones exam
Docs with foreign degrees hardly relieved
Our Correspondent

Doctor threatens suicide

Dr Anwar Ansari, who is physically challenged, said he would end his life if the MCI did not revert its decision. “Imagine the plight of a father, buried under debt, who has had to borrow more money to help his son take part in a rally to make the MCI allow his doctor son to practice in India. Instead of starting earning, doctors like me have to pay other doctors for dressing up their wounds sustained in lathi-charge by the police,” he said.

“An adult son feels ashamed begging before his father for bus fare, when the father has even sold all his property to educate his son for seven years in a foreign land,” said Dr Ansari.

Ahmedgarh, September 29
Agitating medicine graduates of various foreign universities felt relieved yesterday when the Medical Council of India decided to postpone the Diploma of National Board Examination. The MCI had recently made it mandatory for them to clear the examination if they wanted to practice medicine in India. The examination, earlier scheduled to be held on September 28 and 29, will, now, be held on November 30 and December 1.

The graduates, who have just returned from various universities abroad, are happy with the decision. They say that this will give them time to plead their case with the MCI. Though the MCI recognises medical degrees obtained by Indian doctors from foreign universities, the latest guidelines had made it mandatory for all qualified doctors who had not finished their internships by March 15 to pass the examination to practice in India.

About 10,000 doctors had been fighting under the banner of the All-India Association of Foreign-returned Doctors for their right to practice in their motherland. Dr Sachin Grover, president of the association, said the MCI had misrepresented facts before the law-enforcing institutes and some political leaders like Mr Sahib Singh Verma had urged them to call off their strike. “Now that the MCI has postponed the examination, we hope to make it understand our case,” he said.

Dr Rahul Sharma, who has recently returned from Ukraine with a degree in medicine, says that he is confident that the MCI will register doctors like him sooner or later. He says that he is angry with officials of the Indian Embassy, as they do not cooperate with Indian students on foreign land. “When graduate doctors visited Indian Embassy at Ukraine to get their degrees attested, the officials refused to do so. Some of the doctors will have to go there again to get it done, even though it will cost them a lot,” he said.

Another medicine graduate, Dr Sushim Marhar, said the MCI had imposed the examination on doctors who already had degrees from universities recognised by the MCI. The MCI has not even prescribed any syllabus for the DNBE and the percentage of pass marks has been arbitrarily kept at 50. “Just to hike the capitation fee for future admissions to universities in south India, the MCI will not let foreign doctors get through,” said Dr Marhar. Students have not been informed of the change in the examination schedule.

Dr Subhan Ali, also a medicine graduate, said studies in Russian universities were more practicals-based than studies in India. “When we have cleared tests of tougher systems abroad, we should be recognised at home, too,” said Dr Subhan.Back


Men more prone to heart ailments’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 29
Myths about the cardiac problems cropping up only in the advanced age are fast exploding with latest findings revealing that the average age of the people suffering from different heart aliments has come down to 40 years only. And surprisingly, about half of the people suffering from heart ailments are not aware of the disease.

On the occasion of World Heart Day today, a free heart check-up camp was organised by the G.S. Heart Centre. According to the hospital sources Dr R.P. Singh of Sigma Heart Centre and Dr Gursharan Singh of G.S. Heart Centre examined about 200 patients. Dr G.S. Wander, cardiologist and the Director, Hero-DMC Heart Centre, also visited the camp.

About 150 patients of the 200 checked were suffering from one or the other disease and the average age of the patients was only 40 years. About 10 per cent patients were suffering from rheumatic heart diseases involving different valves of the heart. Only about 50 per cent people were aware about their cardiac problems, while the remaining 50 per cent did not know that they were suffering from the heart disease. Dr Gursharan Singh observed that such check ups need to be regularised.

The patients were also checked for blood sugar, cholesterol, ECG and other tests without charging any money. Medicines were also given to patients on the occasion. A cake was also cut by the doctors to mark World Heart Day today. All the investigations were carried out with computerised methods.

Dr R.P. Singh and Dr Gursharan Singh said, it was found that men were more vulnerable to the heart diseases than the women. They also found that there was too much ignorance about heart diseases and the patients suffer as they treat themselves for other symptoms while they are basically suffering from heart problems. Back


Drug trader’s Italian vendetta against NRI
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 29
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has come to the rescue of the members an NRI family of Khanna, who were allegedly being harassed for money by the police of Khanna and Ludhiana at the behest of a “narcotics smuggler”.

Acting on a complaint by the NRI, Mr Darshan Singh, a native of Lohara village in Ludhiana district, the PHRC has directed the IG (litigation) to file a reply in this case at the earliest. The SSP of Khanna has been told to make sure that the complainant and his family are not subjected to any harassment. Their personal liberties and right to life should not be jeopardised.

Mr N.K. Arora, acting Chairman of the PHRC, said incidents of harassment supported the allegations levelled by the complainant. Mr Darshan, who has been living in Italy since 1984, was on a visit to India when he alleged that he was being harassed by the police at the behest of a man called Baljit Singh and an MLA.

On February 28, he came to Lohara to visit his relatives and friends. Baljit Singh of Samrala had gone to Italy in June 1998, “stayed there illegally and established a drug trade there”. As both belonged to the same district, Baljit approached Mr Darshan in Italy to borrow money from him. The NRI lent Baljit money, as he found him to be seriously ill due to “drug addiction”. He also had no financial support whatsoever. However, Mr Darshan did not know that Baljit was using this money to “purchase drugs”.

With time, Baljit Singh started seeking more money; however, as his connections with “the drug mafia” were exposed, Mr Darshan turned down the requests. Baljit told Mr Darshan that he did not want his advice and wanted to lead an adventurous life.

Thereafter, the NRI told Baljit that he did not want to associate with him as he had become notorious among the Indian community there. It was then that Baljit threatened the NRI that he would make his life miserable.

Baljit did not visit him after that day, but the police came one day to enquire about the antecedents of Baljit. The NRI was told that Baljit had been running an illegal drug trade and staying illegally in Italy. Mr Darshan gave the police a temporary address of Baljit that he had with him. The police raided this place and arrested Baljit from there, after which, he was deported to India in August 2000. When Mr Darshan visited India, Baljit, “in connivance with the Simlapuri police of Ludhiana”, got proceedings under Sections 107 and 151 of the IPC initiated against him.

“With a view to framing the NRI”, Baljit, then, approached the Khanna police with the help of one of his relatives and an MLA of the ruling party. On September 5, eight policemen barged into the NRI’s house at about 9.30 pm when he was away and searched the house. They told his relatives to tell the NRI to report to the police on his return.

Mr Darshan said Baljit had conspired with the Khanna police to extort money from the him by framing him in a false case.


Hari Jaisingh gets LMA Award
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Sudershan Banerjee
Sudershan Banerjee

Ravi Boothalingam
Ravi Boothalingam

Ludhiana, September 29
Mr Hari Jaisingh, Editor of The Tribune, received the LMA-Dayanand Munjal Award for “excellent performance in creating public awareness towards an informed society”, while Mr Nirmal Jain, Director of Duke Group of Companies, and Mr Kanwar Deep Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of Toubro InfoTech and Industries received the LMA-Vardhman's Entrepreneur of the Year Award and LMA-Trident Young Innovative Entrepreneur Award for the year at the 24th annual day function of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) here today. The Uttaranchal Governor, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, presented the awards.

The LMA identifies and honours persons of eminence every year that could become role models for others. Achievements of the three eminent personalities in their respective fields were highlighted and their contribution to society acknowledged on the occasion.

Mr Hari Jaisingh assured the august gathering to continue his crusade in generating public awareness. He said he had started from a scratch with the belief that persistence paid and he had been proved right today. It was also a day when residents of Ludhiana witnessed members of two political parties sharing a common platform. The Financial Advisor of Punjab , Mr Surinder Singla, and a staunch Alkali, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, were the guest of honour and the chief guest, respectively, at the function.

Mr Barnala and Mr Singla spoke on the occasion and their speeches had many similarities. Mr Barnala talked about the new trends in business management, Mr Singla agreed with the chief guest while strongly defending his government.

Mr Barnala, a former Chief Minister of Punjab, was on his first trip to the city after taking over as the first Governor of Uttaranchal nearly two years ago.

LMA members remained glued to their seats, listening attentively to various speakers. Hindi couplets by Mr O.P Munjal of Hero Cycles kept the atmosphere charged.

Keynote speakers, Mr Ravi Boothalingam, Chief Executive Officer of Manas Advisory, and Mr Sudershan Banerjee, CEO, Hutchison Essar, expressed concern about the corporate sector and spoke about new teachings in modern management. Mr Boothalingam shared several anecdotes from the life of M.S Oberoi, the founder of Oberoi Group, in stressing his points about effective management.

He said the biggest challenge before the modern day leadership was to identify key values in business and foster these among workers.

Mr Sudershan Banerjee spoke about the four pillars in business management which could make a venture a success or a failure.

He said these included visions that made a person build a dream. A person without dreams cannot achieve, he said. Quoting management leaders he said, “build a dream and the dream will build you, but there is no greater sin than not having a dream”.


Fair men continue to be ‘unfair’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 29
Undeterred by a move to see that the Dasehra mela in the HIG Colony of Jamalpur be organised at a modest scale, the organisers have started covering more area, installing more swings at the site today.

A delegation of persons living in the colony had lodged a complaint at the Focal Point police station against the unruly behaviour of some hired men of the organisers late yesterday. However, the delegation was surprised to learn that the SHO had already given a no-objection certificate to the mela organisers. Neither the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority nor the Deputy Commissioner had granted any permission for holding the mela.

Persons who live in the area resent that no official arrived at the mela site to see the situation. Persons opposing the mela say that the “mela mafia” obtained the NOC from the SHO about a week ago. Late yesterday, some hired men, who had been drinking at the mela site, had threatened some persons with dire consequences if the holding of the mela was opposed.

Asked whether a report had been lodged at the police station in this regard, a man said the persons concerned had been intimidated into silence. No official of the district administration could be contacted today, but the SHO of Focal Point, Mr Vadera, said he had called up both parties to make them reach a compromise.

He also said, if the mela organisers obtained permission from the district administration, nobody could stop them from holding the mela. The application of persons opposing the mela was being processed.


Where does the money vanish
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 29
Whenever a big-time criminal or terrorist is nabbed by the police in any part of the country , the agency concerned claims the credit for seizing the arms and ammunition from the arrested. But little is revealed about the cash being carried by the suspect or the search of his hideout.

A police officer, who did not want to be quoted for obvious reasons, told this correspondent that every time a terrorist or a mafia member is arrested anywhere in the country a large quantity of cash is found on his person. Carrying plenty of cash all the time is a compulsion for such criminals as they have to meet unforeseen expenses in case they have to give the cops a slip. In addition to paying bills at expensive hotels, where they generally stay, and hiring taxis, these men carry extra cash for paying up their informers and cronies based in various cities across the country whose services are liberally paid for by them. A big wad of currency notes also comes in handy sometimes when it comes to “buying his or her way out of trouble”.

In some cases, the amount involved was so much as could put a big businessman to shame, opined the cop. But the same was never mentioned along with the recovery of firearms and ammunition by the police, he said, adding that over the years, it had become an established practice with the police all over the country.


PCCTU's protest plan
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana. September 29
A meeting of the office-bearers of the PCCTU (Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union) chaired by Prof S.S. Hundal reviewed with satisfaction the implementation of the call for three university level rallies held at Jalandhar, Patiala 12 and Ludhiana. All the protest rallies held after ''cease work on campuses'' were successful. The PCCTU would mobilise the teaches for the protest rally at Patiala on October 10. A mass casual leave and total ''education bandh'' would be organised in all the 172 non-government colleges in Punjab and Chandigarh on October 10.

The state leadership also decided to propose a ''save education awareness yatra'' in the first week for November, ''total cease work'' for indefinite period and ''jail bharo'' to the meeting of the general council of the PCCTU to be held on October 20 at the local GGN Khalsa College.

The joint meeting condemned the anti-education and anti-people policies of the Centre and the Punjab Government.


Bitter experience at food fest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 29
Women guests at the ongoing street food festival in Majestic Park Plaza had a bitter experience when a youth, in an inebriated condition, allegedly misbehaved with them.

Surprisingly, security personnel of the hotel did not intervene as the youth is reportedly an employee of the Food and Supplies Department and responsible for checking samples of food served at the hotel.

The incident took place around 11 pm when some women guests complained to the General Manager, Mr Nipun Vig, that a drunken youth was misbehaving and passing obscene remarks. The guests also requested the security personnel to turn him out of the hotel.

However, the security personnel remained mute spectators to the incident and it were the men, accompanying the women guests ,who took charge of the situation and turned the youth out of the hotel. But much to their surprise, the youth came back with his friends and started misbehaving with them again. Left with no option, the guests left the hotel while the youth and his accomplices stayed back.

A complaint in this regard has also been lodged with the police. 


LSE directors
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 29
Mr R.C. Singal and Mr R.K. Bansal have been elected directors of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange, while Mr Jaspal Singh, Mr Harish Chhabra, Mr Manoj Sarna, Mr Rajnish Garg and Mr Dharampal Gandhi have been elected directors of Ludhiana Securities Limited, a subsidiary of the LSE. The elections were held here yesterday and the results were declared late in the night.

For the LSE, Chhabra group and Jaspal group have won one seat each, while for Ludhiana Securities Limited the ratio remained 2:3, in favour of Jaspal group.

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