Thursday, October 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


City resident alleges police harassment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
A city resident is having a harrowing time for the past few weeks courtesy the Sherpur police which instead of arresting some persons accused of beating up the resident, is allegedly favouring them openly.

To cap it all, some cops from the Sherpur police post allegedly went to the resident’s house in Gurpal Nagar a few days ago, along with the accused, whom they were, ironically, supposed to arrest in the first place.

The resident, Narinder Pal, a shop-owner, showed presence of mind and clicked some pictures of the cops and the accused outside his shop, after they visited his house to intimidate him in withdrawing the complaint. However, this proof has, so far, not come as any help to the complainant, as no action has been taken against the accused cops. The shop-owner said he may be one of the very few persons who dared to click such photographs but unfortunately the desired action has not been taken.

Mr Harjinder Singh, incharge, Sherpur police post, denied that any of his subordinates went to the complainant’s house to intimidate him. He claimed that the complainant had made false allegations against the accused. He said noone had shown him any photographs and only senior officials would be able to comment on the issue.

Sticking to his claims, Narinder Pal narrated his tale of woe. He said on September 25, some persons attacked him in his house due to some personal enmity with him. A large number of his household goods, including a TV and a telephone set, were damaged in the attack. Fortunately, some cops on beat duty in the area reached the scene and arrested the three persons.

However, the Sherpur police released the persons without taking any action against them. On the intervention of senior officials, a case was registered against them under non-bailable sections of the IPC, including (506, 452, 427, 323, 306, 148 and 149) but till date no accused had been arrested.

He said ASI Harjinder Singh became angry with him on approaching the senior officials and threatened him. He said again on the instance of senior officials, the Sherpur police raided some places and nabbed the two accused but surprisingly released them again.

He said early this week, he was shocked to see two accused along with a constable at his house. When he asked the constable about the matter, the constable directed him to shut up and record his statement in front of the accused persons. He said one of his family member brought a camera and clicked some photographs of the cop and the accused.

The cop and the accused tried to run away besides hiding his face. They also tried to snatch the camera but had to flee as more people came in support of the victim’s family.

Mr Narinder Pal has demanded immediate action against the accused besides stringent punishment to the guilty cops.



Flouting ‘no-entry’ rules
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 9
In the wake of ongoing work on the elevated road project on Old G.T. Road, the Municipal Corporation had enforced ‘no entry’ orders for three wheelers and mini buses, plying between Do Moria Bridge and old Sabzi Mandi as well as from Chand Cinema to Jagraon Bridge to ensure smooth flow of vehicular traffic in these congested areas. Keeping in view the needs of the commuters, the civic administration had allowed special permission for entry to five three wheelers each from Domoria Bridge side and Chand Cinema towards Railway Station and similarly four mini buses were permitted to ply on these routes.

However, in practice the “no entry” experiment had failed miserably and three wheelers and mini buses continue to ply on Old G.T. Road with impunity, causing frequent traffic jams and serious hindrance to the movement of vehicular traffic on the entire stretch of Old GT Road between Chand Cinema and Jagraon Bridge. Though the traffic police personnel had been deployed at Do Moria Bridge and all entry points to Old GT Road at Old Sabzi Mandi Chowk and Mata Rani Chowk but to no effect.

As a result, the entire route from Do Moria Bridge to Deepak Cinema Chowk and from Chand Cinema towards Clock Tower Chowk and Railway Station side virtually remains choked throughout the day with the traffic policemen either finding it beyond them to tackle the amount of traffic or watching the situation like helpless spectators. The pathetic condition of the Old GT Road right from Chand Cinema to Jagraon Bridge has further compounded the problem and the vehicular traffic had been, for all practical purposes, left to fend for itself.

Despite tall claims by the city traffic police and the civic administration, the traffic situation on both sides of the Old GT Road defies description and only those, who suffer the agony of being stuck in the traffic jams for hours together, can feel the mess they have been put into by the apathetic and indifferent authorities.

The Clock Tower Auto Rickshaw Association, in a memorandum, submitted to the district administration and the MC, has alleged that many of the three-wheeler drivers and mini bus operators were flouting the ‘no entry’ rules in connivance with traffic police personnel. 



Childhood withers with ‘motherly’ responsibilities
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, October 9
“God could not be everywhere so he made mothers,” goes a very popular saying. But for India’s poor, it is not the mothers but the child mothers that are seen everywhere taking care of their younger siblings.

Lachho is one such girl who is like a mother to her younger siblings. Her parents who work as labourers on a construction site bring their four children to the site, and ill clad Lachho, who does not even know how old she is, looks after all of them carrying the youngest all the time. By the end of the day, her whole body aches due to carrying the child, yet she does not remember a day when she was free of carrying the babies and her body never ached.

Although the girl child is not a particular favourite in society and her birth is never welcomed as boys are the ones on whom the sun rises and sets for the parents, yet it is the girls who help in lessening the burden of parents. When a daughter is barely five or six years old, the mother dumps the responsibility of the younger siblings on her without a thought and without realising that she also deserves the joys of carefree childhood with tears welling up in her eyes Rano say. All the time my mother is asking me to carry babies. I have to quieten them when they cry due to hunger. My mother is carrying bricks and cannot take a break. My head starts splitting with the incessant noise. I do not know why God is angry with me for giving me such a hard life. I feel tired and hungry all the time. My parents have no time to love me. They are always scolding me.”

Prem, a mother of five says," What can I do? I have to work in order to feed the family. I feel bad that Rano always has to take care of the younger children but do we have any choice? However, the fact that having lesser children would make things easier does not find a favour with her. As on being asked about 'family planning' she expressed her ignorance and said, ‘‘These children are gifts of God. We face problems in feeding them but after the initial problems, they will all start earning and then our bad days would be over.’’



Presence of mind averts rail tragedy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
A tragedy was averted here last night due to the presence of mind shown by a shunter when the Ludhiana train traffic movement staff reportedly cleared the same track for an engine being shunted out and an incoming passenger train.

Narrating the sequence of events to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Amarjit Singh, the shunter driving the engine detached from 3006 DN, said “I was on duty yesterday night at about 9.30 p.m. when I was asked to shunt the engine of Howrah Mail passenger train, which had arrived from Amritsar some time ago on platform number 3. The power line was detached and I was told to take the engine back to the yard from track number one.”

“Complying with the order, I brought the engine onto the allotted line but was shocked to see another train, 2 JNL DMU, a passenger train, also coming on the same track. I immediately reversed my engine and stopped at some distance from the incoming train, thereby averting a major tragedy since about 500 persons were on the incoming train. The train was coming from Jalandhar,” he added.

“The railway authorities have recorded my statement in this context and further inquiries are on”, he added.



Youth stripped, beaten up
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
A resident of Phalewal village near Dehlon has accused a dairy owner of the village of stripping him naked and beating him up for refusing to work in the dairy.

The 18-year-old youth, Baldev Singh, was admitted to the Civil Hospital here after he complained of pain in the urinary tract due to injuries suffered allegedly during beating. The Dehlon police today recorded the statement of the victim but was yet to register a case. Police sources said they were investigating.

According to Mr Tarsem Jodhan, ex-MLA, who had taken up the youth’s case, the victim worked as a worker in the dairy but was not paid much. When he refused to come to work, the dairy owner allegedly kidnapped him and beat him up two days ago.

Mr Jodhan said the youth was stripped and beaten up for several hours. He was not given water to drink for several hours and whenever he demanded water, the accused allegedly spit at his mouth. The youth was thrown near Latala village on Monday from where he managed to reach home.



Gambling under cops’ protection
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, October 9
Gambling in the public park adjoining the Dasehra ground in the Jamalpur area along the Metro Road is currently in full swing under the alleged protection of the PCR staff roaming the area on their white bikes.

The park had been in news earlier also for this reason. Some cops then “leased out” the park for Rs 160 a day (at Rs 10 per person, four groups of rummy players).

After a report was published in Ludhiana Tribune, the higher police authorities moved swiftly and area residents heaved a sigh of relief at the closure of the open-air gambling den. For more than a year, the park remained peaceful because of the absence of such elements.

However, the good news for gamblers is that their ranks are fast swelling these days in view of the Divali season.And so it seems to be for the cops too.

A visit to the area revealed that gambling was also going on in the Urban Estate Park on the Chandigarh road. The place is also being used as an open-air “ahata” even during the day time because of its proximity to a liquor vend across the road.

A visit to the place was revealing as far as the conduct of the PCR staff was concerned after they discovered the illegal activity. People spoke in hushed tones about what happened after the gambling lot comprising auto-drivers, rickshaw-pullers, idlers and so on were herded together in the vehicle of an auto-driver, a meek young man among the herd, and released near the Vishwanath temple on the Metro Road , about 300 yards from the site of their arrest.

After reportedly depriving them of their money, the cops told them to mention this to nobody. All of them kept silent for some days but started spilling the beans slowly. There is a pattern to all this. The “motorcycle-wale” drop in every now and then to walk off with their “hafta” and the show is going on. The gamblers are, ironically, eagerly looking forward to a hectic schedule ahead without realising that they might lose their last penny in the game.

With the Divali-time gambling fever picking up, people can be spotted gambling on roads of the city. The police would go ahead with the registration of usual number of cases under the Gambling Act during the Divali fortnight. But this does not seem to make any noticeable difference in the open-air gambling scene in the city.

Public parks and roadsides are for poor gamblers. Rich gamblers have their own clubs and exclusive gambling dens in hotels and residential buildings. These dens are operated by influential men having some clout with the police.

The police, on its part, confesses that it is indeed very difficult to trap big-time gamblers in the game. The hassles raised by the wealthy and influential gamblers at the time of the raid are enough to derail the proceedings midway. So a “game”, which is really big, is seldom caught by the police and the real game goes on. 



“SAD’s anti-farmer face exposed”
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 9
The District Congress Committee (Rural) has hailed the announcement of Rs 30 per quintal as bonus on paddy by the state government. The committee president, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, and the PYC senior vice-president, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, said in a joint statement here yesterday that the Congress had fulfilled one of its poll promises by announcing the bonus, which would provide a big relief to the farmers.

Criticising the ‘negative’ role of senior leaders of the SAD and the BJP in the announcement of the MSP by the Union Government, the leaders observed that the real ‘anti-farmer’ face of the erstwhile ruling combine had been exposed before the people. “These parties have always adopted double standards towards the farmers and their policies have been guided by their political interests rather than welfare of the masses,” they added.

Meanwhile, the DYC president, Mr Parminder Mehta, said political leaders could not be expected to safeguard the interests of trade and industry and this sector should send its own representatives to the Vidhan Sabha and Parliament.

Addressing a meeting of the members of trade and industry in the New Shivpuri locality here, Mr Mehta said for quite sometime now political leaders had ‘used’ the trade and industry for furthering their own political careers but no one had really tried to solve the problems which the trading community faced. “Not only this, certain self-styled ‘beopari’ leaders, who have vested interests, are also responsible for the failure of agitations by trade and industry and lack of communication channels between the government and the trade and industry.”

The DYC president urged the Union Government to do away with Central Sales Tax Form C for the hosiery trade and asked the state government to simplify the sales tax structure and rationalise the system of checkposts to save the trade and industry from the unnecessary harassment.



Dry bed fishing is not fishy
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, October 9
Dry bed fishing? Sounds fishy but nonetheless true. The foursome — Ravi, Sonu, Bipan and Hari — dressed in poor clothes with hair unkempt had more serious business to attend to rather than taking care of their appearances. Survival! Though just in their early teens, they were working in dhabas, puncture shops, workshops, but presently jobless. They have to contribute towards the upkeep of their families. Some money is required to keep the kitchen fires burning. Hence they were found catching fish in the canal near the Jawwadi bridge. They all live in shanties around that area. Their parents and siblings all are doing some petty jobs.

The water in the canals have been stopped so pools of water appeared here and there. It seemed far-fetched that boys could find fish. But to prove their point, they took out more than a dozen fish of varying length.

Sonu, the most vocal of the four, said: “Actually we were in some kind of jobs, but at present we are minus jobs. So we try our hand at fishing and we are good at it. We sell the fish caught and divide the money among us. You can well imagine that after division, our share is very meagre”.

What about studies? Don’t you want to receive an education? They all laughed derisively. What education! the one that gets in the government school. Our friends that go to these schools recount the miseries. They are forced to do menial work. If they do not understand anything, they do not dare ask their teachers lest they get beatings. Ravi said: “Even if they get matric certificate, are the jobs lined up for them? It is better to pick up jobs when young like at our age. By the time we are in twenties we would be quite experienced and would be earning enough to raise a family”.

The boys had learnt ample lessons from the book of life, were street smart and seemed capable of looking after themselves.



Signature drive by bankmen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
The Punjab Bank Employees Federation has launched a signature campaign to highlight the plight of banking institutions.

A petition with over 50,000 signatures would be handed over to the President of India on November 27, according to the Punjab Bank Employees Federation Secretary, Mr Naresh Gaur.

Over 50,000 bank employees from all over the country under the banner of the All-India Banking Employees Association (AIBEA) will participate in a march to Parliament next month, he said.

Detailing the demands of the banking employees, he said: “We demand that the bank’s privatisation should be abandoned which is against the interests of the nation. Stringent efforts should be made to recover bad loans of the bank, which has crossed the mark of Rs 100000 crore. The flow of bank credit to agriculture and the rural sector has considerably slowed down. Steps should be taken to ensure accelerated flow of bank credit to the agriculture and the rural sector in the interests of employment generation and poverty alleviation. We strongly urge for upward revision of the bank’s interest rates, particularly for small savings, which has adversely hit the common man, retired persons and widows”.



Parking fee woes

I on behalf of the occupants of commercial establishments of Nehru Sidhant Kender Shopping Complex, Feroze Gandhi Market, Ludhiana, would like to bring to your notice that the shopping complex is situated in one corner of Feroze Gandhi Market adjoining Pakhowal Road. The complex has its own parking space which is absolutely private and is not part of the parking area of Feroze Gandhi Market.

However, the person who is a licence holder of the parking area in Feroze Gandhi Market is forcibly charging parking fee from our clients/customers which is absolutely illegal. It effects our business adversely. We have requested him to stop charging illegal parking fee, but he misbehaves and threatens client often resulting in heated arguments and scuffles. We request the administration to intervene and ensure that he charges parking fee only as per legal authorisation.

Dr Kewal Dheer



As per the orders of the administration also displayed on signboards put up at various sites in the city, the rate of two wheeler parking is Rs 2 only. But the attendants invariably charge Rs 5 for parking of two wheeler. On resistance the attendants behave rudely and use abusive language. To avoid harassment, the people has no option than to pay Rs 5.

The Deputy Commissioner is requested to look into the matter so that his orders are fully implemented.

S.P. Kundra


Bring Sandhu back

The worst thing that could happen to Ludhiana, the emerging cosmopolis in the recent past, was the transfer of Mr Sandhu its Commissioner on as flimsy a ground as that of exceeding his brief in demolishing the encroachments made by the temple authorities near Jagraon Bridge.

Removing the encroachments made by any individual society or a religious body can hardly be taken as an action inviting punishment. It could only be justified by selfish, greedy and corrupt politicians who could go to any extent to safeguard their own vested interest at the cost of the public welfare.

Mr Sandhu during his tenure as Commissioner Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, had done excellent work in nearly transforming the city to look like a megacity. His biggest contribution, more visible and useful to the citizens, amongst many others was the improvement of roads in whole of Ludhiana particularly that of Ferozepur Road right upto octroi post and even beyond, G.T. Road (old), Chandigarh Road right from Cheema Chowk onwards, Pakhowal Road, Dugri Road to some extent and highly improving the internal roads of localities like Sarabha Nagar, Gurdev Nagar, Model Town and Model Town Extension transforming these colonies into modern ones.

Apart from the improvement of roads as mentioned above he has also made a noticeable dent in sanitary conditions of the city apart from removing a lot of encroachments.

The right thinking citizens of Ludhiana will forever remain indebted to Mr Sandhu and will always remember him.

Ever since Mr Sandhu left Ludhiana the city has fallen to bad days. No worth while work is being done in any area of Municipal Governance rather the work done during Mr Sandhu’s tenure is also not being properly maintained.

Mr Sharma the New Municipal Commissioner though an excellent PRO having clout with the politicians and the Press has nothing to show in the form of some good work having been done or being done.

He should realise that appearing in the Press time and again with good words from the Press are one thing and producing results by doing good work for the public to see and appreciate, is something entirely different. His soft attitude towards his corrupt and negligent municipal staff will hardly help him in achieving something worthwhile for this great city. Mr Sandhu produced results because he was a no-nonsense officer and was never found wanting in taking stern action against the erring subordinates. I as a senior citizen and a retired soldier request the present incumbent, for the sake of the suffering citizens of this city, to leave the rhetoric and realise ground realities and produce some results for the public to see and appreciate.

The roads are in bad shape, sanitary conditions are worsening by the day, encroachers are having a field day and pollution is increasing at a fast pace. About the parks in the city less said the better.

Mr Sharma please act fast and use the resources which are available in abundance with you as per your own admission in the press the other day and save this great city from decaying and slow death.

I also request the soldier in the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to keep aside his personal likings and transfer Mr Sandhu back to Ludhiana as Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, so as to enable him to complete his unfinished task of transforming this great city into one of which we all Punjabis could feel proud of.

Major S.S. Khosla (Retd.) A Senior Citizen


Non-release of DA

As per the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission dearness allowance is revised half yearly according to increase/decrease in price index, six months average taken into account. The price index as on June 30, 2002 stands at 468.41. Under this formula an increase of 3 per cent with effect from July 1 has become due. Normally the orders are issued in the second week of September and the dearness relief is payable in October. The delay in issuing orders has put the pensioners as also the serving employees in a quandary and there is great resentment amongst them.

K.L. Chitkara, General Secretary


Traffic lights

It has been observed a number of times that almost in all crossings in Ludhiana and Chandigarh the time for yellow light is too little. Many a time motorists crossing on the basis of green light can hardly cover the distance before the red light is switched on after yellow light. This not only leads to number of challan cases on “false pretext” that a person had not stopped inspite of the red light, but also results in accidents.

In Dehli at many traffic light points computerised self-written meters have been installed visible from distance that indicate how much time is left for a particular light. These meters run from given point of time to zero as soon as light changes. Similar meters need to be installed in Ludhiana and Chandigarh and other places also for the convenience of public.

S.R. Mittal



Patwaris strike work
Our Correspondent

Samrala, October 9
After locking the Patwarkhana in the tehsil complex, all patwaris of Samrala tehsil staged a dharna in front of the office of the administration yesterday.

Mr Parminder Singh Toor, president, Samrala Patwar Union, along with the Kanungo Association, the Punjab Lambardara Union and the Chaukidara Union participated  in dharna.

The Patwaris are demanding for the implementation of Anamoli Committee recommendations.

The SDM, Mr Jaspal Singh Jassi heard the problems of the Patwaris and assured them that these would be solved within a week. Following this, the dharna was lifted.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Chauhan, cashier of the Punjab body, and Mr Paramjit Singh Dhillon, senior vice-president of the Ludhiana Patwar Union were among others who spoke on the occasion.



Shobha yatra today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 9
The Urban Estate (Dugri) Ramlila Dasehra Committee will hold a shobha yatra tomorrow in connection with the “Sita Swayamvar” to be enacted.

The yatra would be inaugurated by Mr Sat Pal Gosain. A press note by Mr Shiv Gupta, general secretary of the committee, here today said that Ramlila would continue till October 14 and Dasehra would be celebrated the next day.

A function would be held on the occasion at which Mr Malkit Singh Birmi, MLA, would be the chief guest. Lala Lajpat Rai, MP, would preside over the function while Mr Vinod Dhall would inaugurate the mela. 



Lawyers boycott courts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 9
Members of the local Bar Association today boycotted local courts on a call given by the Amritsar Bar Association in protest against the arrest of Mr Rajan Puri and his brother, Mr Vikram Puri, lawyers, in connection with the kidney racket and the behaviour of the police against them.



Four held for thefts

Ahmedgarh, October 9
The local police has arrested four persons who were allegedly involved in stealing and snatching valuables including vehicles. They were caught while riding a scooter which they had reportedly stolen from near a local mill.

A pistol was also recovered from one of them.

According to information received from Mr Amandeep Singh Rai, SSP, Sangrur, the gangsters were arrested by a local police party led by the SHO, Mr Kamikkar Singh . Mr Mukesh Kumar, one of the pillion riders aimed a pistol at the police party when it signalled the four to stop. The other three were later identified as Rahul, Billu and Vicky all brothers. They were arrested by the police. The scooter they were riding belonged to Sridhar, an employee of local GIS Ltd.

The accused had stolen the vehicle in the month of may. Preliminary investigations revealed that the gang consisted of some women also who were wanted by the Delhi police in connection with many cases.

The police has registered two separate cases under Sections 379 of the IPC and the Arms Act. OC



‘Make textile industry competitive’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 9
The Indian cotton textile industry had started showing signs of growth during the months of April, May, June and July following some measures taken by the government in the central Budget and opening of European markets. But it has again slowed down because of quota restrictions imposed by the USA on readymade garments. Besides the export of readymade garments, the export of items like cotton fabric also increased during the first four months of the current financial year.

Enquiries show that the current situation with regard to the export of garments and other items to the USA would continue till December. However, the export of cotton yarn has been going on steadily to the tune of Rs 625 crore per month.

According to Mr D.L. Sharma, executive director, Mahavir Spinning Mills, the major consuming countries of cotton yarn are Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Middle East and European countries. India is facing competition from Pakistan and Indonesia in the export of cotton yarn. As a matter of fact, Pakistan is the major rival in the export of cotton yarn.

Mr Sharma explains that China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are the major competitors of India in the export of cotton apparels (readymade garments and other textile items like fabric). For garments, the main markets are the USA, EEC (European Economic Community). The quota system in the garments section will continue till December 2004 and from January 2005, there will be no quota system under the WTO. “If we are able to become competitors, we will benefit and if we fail, China will finish the domestic market,” warns Mr Sharma.

To make the textile industry competitive, the government has to make labour laws flexible and reform the taxation system. The infrastructure should be further developed like quick transportation of goods to ports. The industry can produce quality products and it is fully equipped to meet the challenge, maintains Mr Sharma. The Indian Government earmarked a sum of Rs 25000 crore for technology upgradation in 1999-2000 for five years and out of this, Rs 10,000 crore had been spent on the upgradation of technology so far. The industry was shy of taking loans as it lacked confidence if the loan would be returned. The Union Government also set up a committee with N.K. Singh, Member Planning Commission, suggesting ways for the development of textile industry, and some steps were taken in the central Budget, including the rationalisation of the central excise duty. This has resulted in rise in the revenue for the government. Now the industry is seeking the withdrawal of exemptions.

The USA is the major buyer of cotton garments in the world with annual buying worth $ 82 billion. Interestingly, some of the major brands of the USA are sourcing the Indian exporters and manufacturers and getting their brands made in India. After the USA, Western Europe is the major buyer and the third major buyer of the garments in the world is Japan. Japan buys textile goods worth $ 25 billion every year. India has a vast scope for tapping the Japanese market, as at present China dominates the world market . The total world trade in cotton textile is worth $ 350 billion per year and the share of India is only 3 per cent ($11 billion), while the share of China is 17 per cent in the world market.


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