Monday, October 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Mother’s mission ends; Army to unveil 
martyr’s statue
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ms Surinder Kaur, mother of Capt Ravinder Singh, with the picture of her son
Ms Surinder Kaur, mother of Capt Ravinder Singh, with the picture of her son.  — Photo Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, October 8
After lying covered for almost 10 months, the statue of a 1965 Indo-Pak war martyr at Latala village, near Ahmedgarh, will finally be unveiled by some officers of the 18th Cavalry Regiment of the Indian Army later this month. The statue had remained covered all this time as the old mother of the martyr wanted only the regiment officers to unveil the statue.

Finally bowing to the sentiments of the old woman, Ms Surinder Kaur, who lives in Ludhiana, a communique from the regiment currently stationed somewhere in the western sector, states that some officers will visit Latala village and give due honour to the martyr.

Eighty one-year-old Surinder Kaur had kept the statue of her late son, Capt Ravinder Singh, covered all these months, while making rounds of the Army offices, local Sainik Welfare Board and district administration for the fulfillment of her demand.

The veiled statue of the Captain
The veiled statue of the Captain. — Photo Inderjit Verma

She persisted that her son had laid down his life for the country and only regiment officials should unveil the statue as a mark of honour to the martyr. She did not want any political leader to unveil the statue. The regiment officials could not respond positively saying they were deployed at some sensitive place.

Ludhiana Tribune had earlier highlighted the plight of the woman and the sorry state of the statue. A visibly delighted Surinder Kaur today said she was happy that the regiment officials had eventually acceded to her demands. She said several old colleagues of her son, who had fought with him, would also grace the occasion. The function is likely to be held in the last week of October.

She was angry at the local administration and politicians for their apathy and said no one had come forward to take up her case.

She was promised 10 acres of land in 1965 by the Punjab Government as a compensation for her loss. She is still awaiting the piece of land. Her husband, a retired military engineer, died in 1996 with the wish unfulfilled. The villagers had also mooted a proposal asking the government to name the village school after her son.

The woman proudly possesses a letter written by the then President of the country offering his condolences on her son’s demise. She said she felt sad that she had to wait so long for the fulfillment of her wish.

Appallingly, a number of political leaders, bureaucrats and defense personnel had been passing by the statue on the Latala-Ahmedgarh road but no one cared to look at its plight.

Captain Ravinder Singh was born on December 5, 1942 and got selected in the Indian Army, when he was studying in BSc second year. He was soon posted in Jammu and Kashmir during the Indo-Pak war in 1965 and achieved martyrdom while fighting the enemy.



But for citizens, it’d be dust stand
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Troubled by flying dust , president of the Ludhiana Auto-rickshaw Workers Federation, Jathedar Kulbir Singh , waters broken roads at the local bus stand
Troubled by flying dust (left), president of the Ludhiana Auto-rickshaw Workers Federation, Jathedar Kulbir Singh (right), waters broken roads at the local bus stand to make the dust settle. — Tribune photos 

Ludhiana, October 6
Fed up with writing applications to the authorities concerned to get the bus-stand inroads repaired, members of an auto-rickshaw association have, now, been taking turns to water the area to keep it dust-free and operational. The members have been doing it for three months now; and were forced to take this step because the dust had been keeping prospective fares away from the auto-rickshaw stand.

The move was the brainchild of some auto-rickshaw drivers and coolies, but now, almost everyone working near the bus stand chips in with an effort. There is widespread resentment among the workers here against the roadways authorities, who collect a handsome “adda fee” everyday, but spend nothing on the upkeep of the area.

There is virtually no road between any of the platforms and at the main gate. Huge potholes continue to trap buses, making travelling a nightmare for everyday commuters.

Jathedar Kulbir Singh, president of the Ludhiana Auto-rickshaw Workers Federation, said, had the association not taken up the task of watering the broken roads to keep the dust down, most auto-rickshaw drivers here would have been either ill or out of business.

The federation has, now, decided to organise a “kar sewa” with the help of persons living in the vicinity to build makeshift roads on its own inside the bus stand.

This is, otherwise, the responsibility of the roadways. While, so much is being done by citizens, the roadways officials say that inefficiency on part of their seniors is keeping things in a bad shape.



Tibet’s freedom his ultimate aim
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, October 6
“I do hope to see free Tibet in my lifetime and the meaningful dialogue with China has started in this direction.” These were the words of Prof Samdong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of Tibet Government in exile. He was in the city today as he was invited as chief guest for the celebrations of 109th Anniversary of Chicago Address at Government College for Boys.

In an impromptu talk, the Prime Minister, Prof Samdong said without India’s support, they would not have existed for one day also. Four members had gone for a dialogue to MainLand China. A dialogue has begun. We are very hopeful that with meaningful dialogues, the problems of Tibet could be solved.”

Asked if USA was helping Tibet, he replied that the issue of Tibet always comes up whenever the USA and China have bilateral talks. The USA is keen to resolve the Tibet issue. He said the problems relating to the violation of human rights continue in Tibet. The saddest thing is the demographic change in Tibet. Chinese are going out of the way to settle Muslims and members of other ethnic minorities and this is severely affecting the demographic balance. Soon the Tibetans would be in a minority. The people are so repressed there that if they protest, they are imprisoned. Yet I believe that Gandhi’s way of non-violence is the only way to get freedom.

On being asked about Tibetan youth resorting to violent means, he said he does not think that Tibetan Youth has resorted to non-violence. But he rued the fact that forgetting their own traditions and culture, Tibetan girls were taking part in beauty pageants. He said, “It is indeed a matter of grief that Tibetan youth is being influenced by present modern materialistic civilization. The switchover to modern from tradition values is unfortunate.”

Basically an educationist Prof Samdong Rinpoche was the Vice-Chancellor of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. But he had to enter politics as his countrymen wanted him to be their leader.” He said: ‘‘By being the Prime Minister, this is Tibet Mukti Sadhna and if my small contribution helps in any way, I will consider myself fortunate.’’



Chicago Address commemorated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 6
The Swami Vivekanand Study Circle, Ludhiana, today held a function at the auditorium of the Government College for Boys, Ludhiana, to celebrate the 109th anniversary of Swami Vivekanand’s address at the World Parliament of Religions in the USA in 1893.

Swami Brahmishanand, secretary, Rama Krishna Mission, Chandigarh, who presided over the function, said: “What Vivekanand maintained then holds true rather his words of wisdom are more relevant in the present troubled times. People should have greater tolerance, possess purity of thoughts and deeds and follow his doctrines in religion which does not lie in dogmas, nor in international argumentation”. Tracing his life history, Swamiji said how Vivekanand displayed traits such as courage, sympathy for the poor and his supreme thirst for knowledge since his childhood.

Prof Samdog Rinpoche, Prime Minister of Tibet Government-in-Exile, who was the chief guest, said: “Five major things are plaguing the world. The greatest misfortune is the religious intolerance that has developed and doesn’t auger well. The divide between the haves and have nots is too sharp. Fifteen per cent of people possess the resources. The growing pollution and the increasing terrorism which touched the peak on September 11 can all lead us to third nuclear war.”

He appreciated the help rendered by people of Ludhiana to Tibetans. He said: “There are 98,000 Tibetans in India. Out of them 80 per cent survive on hosiery trade directly or indirectly. He appreciated the cordial relations between the two communities.”

Mr J.B. Goyal, the founder president of the circle, said the society aimed to fight against poverty and disease.

Mr C.S. Talwar, the founder general secretary, also spoke of greatness of Vivekanand and how his whole life was motivated by his high ideals.



Market committee faces Rs 40 lakh loss
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, October 6
The Punjab State Marketing Board has separated the Koomkalan Mandi from the Market Committee Machhiwara through a notification issued recently. The Koomkalan Mandi has now been attached to the Sahnewal Market Committee. As a result, the Market Committee Machhiwara will have to bear a loss of Rs 40 lakh per annum being earned earlier as mandi fee.

According to the information available, this government’s decision has drawn controversy since the other 35 villages falling under the Koomkalan Mandi will continue to remain attached to Machhiwara. Consequently, the revenue earned by the Koomkalan Mandi would go to the Sahnewal Market Committee, while the 35 villages will remain dependent on Machhiwara for development. The Machhiwara Market Committee is likely to face financial implications because of an expected fall in at least one-fourth of its annual income.

On the other side, this sudden and unexpected decision has created problems for commission agents of the Koomkalan Mandi. These arhtiyas who are presently licence holders of the Market Committee Machhiwara will have to obtain the licence of the Sahnewal Market Committee. Most of these arhtiyas are from the Grain Market Machhiwara.

Commenting on this decision of the Mandi Board, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, former MLA, said during his tenure he had not allowed any such move. He alleged that the Congress government had deliberately done so to affect the development of the area that is totally dependent on the funds (rural) fetched in the form of market fee. 



Protest against detention of society leader
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
More than hundred activists of the Tarksheel Society Punjab, Association for Democratic Rights, Punjab and Maha Sabha, Ludhiana today staged a dharna for several hours outside Sarabha Nagar police station and in Block-L of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar (also known as Sunet village) in protest against the alleged illegal detention of a tarksheel leader by the police yesterday.

The dharna followed yesterday’s tension in BRS Nagar, when a team of Municipal Corporation razed alleged illegal structures, including some portions of a religious place. A group of residents upset at the demolition exercise had protested against it. They vent their ire on Jaswant Singh Zirakh, a tarksheel leader, accusing him of being behind the demolition. The residents pelted stone at his house. The victim called the police for help but was surprisingly arrested on the charges of misbehaving with the police party.

This angered the supporters of Jaswant Zirakh, who collected in large numbers outside Sarabha Nagar police station and raised slogans. The protests continued today also as Jaswant Zirakh was not released. Police sources, however, disclosed that they have booked leaders of both the groups under Sections 107,151 of the IPC to maintain law and order. They claimed that the situation was under control.

The activists of the organisations supporting Jaswant Zirakh have in a press note issued here today demanded action against some policemen who had allegedly detained their leader illegally. They said the organisations had launched a campaign against illegal encroachments in the area due to which the affected people had become their enemies.



SHSAD flays Badal, Badungar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 6
The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal had made scathing attacks against former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and SGPC President Kirpal Singh Badungar, charging them with shielding ‘corrupt’ and making ‘silly’ remarks.

Addressing a news conference at Gurdwara Akalgarh here yesterday, the SHSAD general secretary, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, maintained that his party had nothing to do with the alleged harassment of certain SGPC members by the police and Vigilance Bureau. He pointed out that the executive committee meeting of the SGPC, in which he was also present, had unanimously resolved to stand behind ‘political motivated’ vendetta against the SGPC members. The allegations levelled by Mr Badungar that the SGPC members were being hounded out at the behest of the SHSAD, were uncalled for, false and figment of imagination.

“However, the SHSAD will not intervene in police action against those SGPC functionaries, involved in criminal activities or those facing charges like corruption and misuse of position.” Mr Bhaur made it clear that his party would oppose vindictive action with all its might but would not come to the rescue of criminals and crooks.

The SHSAD leader also described Mr Badal’s charge that the outfit was trying to gain control of the Sikh religious institutions with the help of Congress government as ‘ridiculous’. He said it was under Mr Badal’s regime that the Sikh institutions like SGPC and Akal Takht were denigrated and reduced to the status of being puppets of the government. He asserted that as far stand of his party towards the Congress was concerned, it considered Congress as its first and foremost enemy.



Johar’s assurance to dhaba owners
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
A delegation of the Punjab Dhaba Welfare Association met former Speaker and legislator, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, at his residence yesterday and sought his help in making the state government to withdraw the 8 per cent sales tax imposed on them.

The delegation comprised the association president, Mr Gurdeep Singh, secretary, Mr Subash Chander, Mr Madan Lal, Mr Sardari Lal Sethi, chairman Ludhiana Dhaba Association, Mr Ashok Dogra, Mr Jabir Singh, Mr Inderjit Singh Gill, Mr Hira Lal, Mr Raj Kumar and Mr Ashok Kumar Sethi.

The association pleaded with Mr Johar to use his influence with the government as the dhaba owners were being harassed by the Sales Tax department people despite assurances from the government that the decision would be reconsidered.

Mr Johar agreed with the dhaba-owners that the decision would mostly affect the labour and working classes. Moreover, he pointed out that most of the dhaba-owners are not literate to maintain their accounts. He assured them that he would meet the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, and the Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Sardool Singh so that the sales tax is withdrawn.



Terrorist attacks condemned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
A meeting of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) was held here today under the chairmanship of its state general secretary, Mr Ravinder Arora. The meeting condemned the spurt in the terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir which had led to the loss of so many innocent lives. The party criticised the state and central governments for being lax towards the terrorists and Pakistan, who are directly responsible for the ongoing violence in Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting took serious note of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and stressed upon the government to take immediate action against the terrorist forces that were targeting innocent civilians.



Man stabs ex-wife
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 6
A man, enraged over the marriage of his former wife with a resident of the Tajpur Road locality, allegedly stabbed her and injured last evening outside her house.

The man, identified as Satish Kumar, and his brother who was accompanying him, were overpowered by some residents of the area and handed over to the police.

According to Ms Bimla, mother-in-law of the injured, Rinky (27), Satish and Rinky had parted ways eight months after their marriage following a divorce authorised by a panchayat. Later, Rinky married her son Sonu.

When Rinky was on her way to the house of her sister-in-law who lives in their neighbourhood to borrow something, the accused accosted her telling her that they wanted to have a talk with her.

On her refusal, her former husband stabbed her in the arm.

When she raised an alarm, the residents overpowered the duo while they were trying to flee the scene. Rinky, who was rushed to a hospital, is stated to be out of danger.

Diamond ‘thief’ held: The police has arrested Vinod Soni from a village of Bikaner district who had allegedly stolen diamonds worth Rs 15 lakh given to him by Mr Arvind Bhola, a Chandigarh-based diamond dealer, about a year ago. The dealer had alleged in his complaint to the police that he had given the diamonds to the accused for selling these in Ludhiana. The accused , instead of selling the stones, told him that he had lost the diamonds, he added. He was produced in a court here yesterday which remanded him in judicial custody till October 19.

Prisoners threaten staff: The police yesterday registered a case against Sunil and Vikas, prisoners of the Central Jail here. Mr Dalip Singh , Head Warden of the jail, had lodged a complaint that the prisoners started threatening the jail staff that they would bang own heads against an iron grill and implicate the jail staff for the attack. After sometime, the prisoners started banging their heads into the grill. When the staff tried to stop them they started quarrelling with them. When some inmates of the jail tried to intervene, the accused abused them also, added the complainant.

Truck rams into house: Charanjit Kaur, a medical student, who was returning to her house in Model Town Extension last evening on a scooter, was injured when a truck hit her vehicle and rammed into Dhillon Niwas , next to her house . According to information, the accident occurred due to failure of brakes. The truck driver of the truck fled the scene. A case has been registered.

Cyclist killed:
Harnek Singh, a resident of Baina Buland village near here, who was riding a cycle, was killed on Saturday when an Ambassador car coming from the opposite side hit him at Amloh-Khanna byepass. The car was later impounded near Khanna.



Robbers were two, says police
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
Police investigations into yesterday's robbery-cum-murder incident at BRS Nagar has revealed that in all probability the number of robbers was two. This assertion is based on the statement of the injured victim Manroop Singh, who was discharged from a local hospital this morning.

Police sources said they were awaiting the report of the fingerprint experts for final confirmation about the number of robbers. The report would throw light on the possibility that some ‘insider’ could have committed the crime. The police has also taken fingerprints of some ‘insiders’ in the family for examination.

Manroop Singh had said he saw two persons only. The police says fingerprints of only two persons have been found from the site. The police said Manroop Singh had given an oral statement so far. His detailed statement which would include the actual loss of amount would be recorded tomorrow. His statement was not taken as he had been discharged from the hospital and his wife's cremation was held today, the sources added.

Meanwhile, heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the cremation ground, where the last rites of Sandeep Kaur were performed. The cremation was largely attended.



Knitwear manufacturers meet Hanspal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
The Federation of Knitwear, Textile and Allied Industries Association, has sought intervention of the Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, urging him to use his influence in the government getting the 4 per cent entry tax on yarn withdrawn. Otherwise, the federation said, the hosiery industry, with exports over Rs 3,000 crore annually, would collapse.

Mr Hanspal attended a meeting of the federation representatives that was held in the Knitwear Club office here on Friday. Federation representatives told Mr Hanspal that the 4 per cent tax on yarn had not only added to the woes of the industry, but also to that of the common people. Giving reasons for the opposition to the entry tax on yarn, they said higher input costs on machinery and yarn would encourage exports from other knitwear centres of India like Delhi, Mumbai at the cost of Ludhiana. They asked, “Is this the vision of the government for the industry in Punjab”.

They said the current system of taxation was leading to decline of the garment industry in Punjab and manufacturers were migrating to other states where tax rates were low. This would lead to Ludhiana losing the competitive edge it enjoyed so far, he said. Now the exporters were shifting their base to places like Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Rajasthan and Mumbai. The phenomenon, they said, had already been noticed by the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), which instead of setting up the Garment Manufacturing Technology Institute in Punjab shifted it to Jaipur.

The federation representatives, including its president, Mr Vinod Thapar, and the Chief coordinator, Mr Narinder Miglani, said. “There was already 4 per cent tax on yarn, then there is 4 per cent sales tax on the end product and again there is a tax on recycled yarn that is produced from knitwear waste”. They said there was a multistage taxation and an additional burden of 4 per cent would lead to collapse of the industry.

While appreciating the concern of the hosiery and knitwear manufacturers, the PCC president assured them that he would take up the issue with the government. At the same time, he pointed out, the state was passing through a sever financial crunch and everybody would have to share the responsibility. But he assured, it would not be at the cost of industry.


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