Sunday, October 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Community resource centres for 7 dists: CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today announced the setting up of Community Resource Centres in seven districts of the state and directed the Municipal Corporation Ludhiana to provide space for erecting beat boxes for the police beat officers in the city.

The Chief Minister made this announcement after attending a workshop of Salahkar Samitis at the Police Lines here. He also laid a wreath at the Police Martyrs’ Memorial and visited the Police Training School in the area.

The Community Resource Centres, which will provide a single window service to the public for police-related work, would be set up in Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Moga, Bathinda and Sangrur.

Later, explaining the concept, Mr M.S. Bhullar, DGP Punjab, and Mr A.A. Siddiqui, ADGP and OSD (Law and Order), stated that the concept of community policing was being institutionalised by setting up of the centres.

Each of these centers will have a public information-cum-service window where the public will have a single window for passport verification, criminal complaints, traffic challans, stolen/recovered motor vehicle information etc., and it will also house a victim relief centre and a library.

The state government will give an initial grant of Rs 10 lakh to each district for building up the infrastructure for the centres and will be followed by annual grants under the police modernisation scheme for meeting the recurring cost. Each centre would work as an umbrella organisation for the overall community policing effort in the district.

A large number of members of the samitis, general public, political leaders, including MPs, MLAs, top brass of the Punjab Police, district administration and municipal councillors attended the function.

A workshop on “Salahkar Samitis” was conducted during the function. Members of the samitis, beat officers, senior police officers and members of the community shared their experiences related to the working of Salahkar Samitis in Ludhiana since their inception in November, 2001.

A Salahkar Samiti is an advisory committee constituted by the best officer of a police station comprising about 30 member of the community belonging to various sections of the society falling under the area of that beat. For example, it may consist of manual labourers, rickshaw-pullers, shopkeepers, businessmen, housewives, students etc. The samiti meets once every fortnight under the chairmanship of the beat officer. During the meeting, problems related to policing and non-policing matter like eve-teasing, traffic-related problems, Municipal Corporation and Health Department related issues are discussed.

The proceedings of the meeting are noted down in a register and the action taken is reported in the next meeting by the beat officer. The advantages of Salahkar Samitis are manifold. Firstly, it has generated huge response in the field of community policing. The cutting edge of the police i.e. head constable or constable now interacts directly with the common man. Secondly, as the police is itself approaching the community for advice and feedback, there is a better interface between the police and the community. The inhibitions about the police and its working are shed off. Thirdly, the beat officer becomes a regular and easily accessible point of contact for the common man.

Fourthly, the action of the police against anti-social elements and undesirable behaviour of the residents are legitimised by the support of the samiti members. Finally, the information on bad elements of the locality gained during the samiti meetings becomes an effective tool against crime.

A short skit, directed by renowned artist Jaswinder Bhalla, was staged in which senior police officers Mr Naunihal Singh, Superintendent of Police, City-II, Ludhiana, Mr Sandeep Goel, Deputy Superintendent of Police, City-I, and Mr Snehdeep Sharma, Deputy Superintendent of Police, City-II, also participated. The skit was directed towards explaining the concept of Salahkar Samitis to the general public in a simple and humorous manner.


Rain damages paddy in mandis
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
Anxiety was writ large on farmers’ faces after the post-monsoon showers that lashed the district today. The harvesting is still going on in the region and most of the produce is lying in the mandis.

The showers not only affected the produce but also delayed the harvesting as wet fields are unsuitable for a combine to operate. Farmers said they would definitely suffer losses, especially in ‘kacchi’ mandis, where the yield got spoiled due to water seepage.

While the rain lasted for not more than 30 minutes, the produce in the ‘kacchi’ mandis in villages was damaged as the plinth level of the markets is low. In local mandis, too, which otherwise have concrete floors, water entered sheds due to leakage of roofs.

Farmers who had brought their produce in the Salem Tabri grain market were furious as sheds were leaking. They were seen covering their produce with tarpaulin sheets. Farmers of several villages, including Jodhan, Dango, Shahpur, Pakhowal, Leeran, Dhalian, Tusse, Nangal, Sarabha and Rajgarh, were ruing the conditions in the mandis. What was more disturbing was that even after a brief spell of rain grain markets converted into a pool of water and mud.

In the Pakhowal mandi, which is a ‘kacchi’ mandi, employees of the market committee and farmers were busy in saving their produce. Water got collected there as the plinth level is very low. In the mandi, a large numbers of paddy bags were seen partially submerged into water.

The work of draining the collected water was being carried out manually. Some farmers were draining out with brooms and buckets.

Mr Jagroop Singh, a farmer, while ruing the lack of proper infrastructure, said every year the government promised that the plinth levels would be raised, but nothing happened. “I have spent my life here but nothing has changed. I have to take my yield back home as it would take another week to get it dried”.

Another farmer, Mr Balwant Singh, said he had brought his produce in the mandi yesterday but due to the rain 20 per cent of it was damaged.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Mandiani of Mandiani village said they might face problems in selling the paddy as its colour had changed.


Forum orders refund to power consumer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ruled that an amount of Rs 27,020, recovered by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) from its consumer, Mr Rattan Singh, a resident of Khanna, was not sustainable. Admitting the plea made by the consumer, the forum quashed the demand and ordered the amount to be refunded within one month along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent from the date of deposit till actual refund.

Mr Rattan Singh had submitted before the forum that he had got his load extended to 14.46 kv under voluntary disclosure scheme and consequently the PSEB authorities had changed his power meter from single phase to three phase in March 2000. While no copy of the ‘Meter Change Order’ (MCO) was given to him, the removed meter was sent to ME lab in unpacked and unsealed condition.

According to the complainant, the three-phase meter installed at his premises was faulty from day one and went dead after one month. On being intimated, a junior engineer of the PSEB visited the premises and submitted a report after which the meter was removed and taken away, once again in a loose condition. As was done on an earlier occasion, no intimation was given by the PSEB authorities about the checking of meter in the ME lab.

The PSEB issued bills to the consumer in May and July 2000 on the basis of sanctioned load and thereafter on the basis of actual consumption. However, in a bill received by the complainant in Nov 2001, an amount of Rs 27,020 was added as sundry charges on account of difference due to wrong tariff. When the consumer lodged a protest against the arbitrary and unlawful demand, the PSEB authorities allegedly threatened him with disconnection of power if he failed to pay up. Mr Rattan Singh also pleaded that the bills issued on the basis of sanctioned load in July and August, 2000, amounting to Rs 12,619 be also quashed and further demanded a compensation of Rs 5000.

In his order, the president of the forum, Mr Hardial Singh, observed that to the extent of sending bills on sanctioned load basis in the months of May, July and August, 2000, the PSEB authorities were justified since the meter was dead during this period. However, the contention of the PSEB that the sundry charges imposed on the consumer were based on actual consumption, was not sustainable because the record produced by the PSEB showed that during the period under dispute, the meter of the complainant was dead and a defective or dead meter would not record any consumption. No order was made as to cost or compensation.

The complainant was represented by Mr S.S. Sarna, consumer consultant.


ASI arrested on graft charges
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau today claimed to have arrested an ASI, Labh Singh, of the Punjab police, posted at Jodhan police post in Jagraon police district, on corruption charges.

The cop was caught red-handed from the retiring room of his office while accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000 from a complainant to get his work done.

The police also recovered two cases of liquor from the cop’s retiring room. He was subsequently booked under the Excise Act for possessing liquor more than the permissible limits.

DSP (Vigilance), Darshan Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that a man, Sarwan Kumar, was making rounds of the police post for action on his six-month-old complaint against a school teacher, who was allegedly harassing his sister-in-law. However, the cop was allegedly demanding Rs 25,000 to act on the complaint.

Sarwan Kumar paid him Rs 15,000 with a promise to pay more after the work was done. However, the cop insisted on advance payment. The complainant approached Mr G.S. Sandhu, SP (Vigilance), who laid a trap to catch the cop.

The DSP said Rs 5,000 were recovered from the cop’s pocket.


73rd Amendment: employees to step up agitation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
A convention of government employees, convened by the Democratic Employees Front (DEF) today resolved to step up stir against the 73rd Constitutional Amendment under which the process for scrapping 29 government departments dealing with social and community welfare, was initiated by the government.

It also gave a call to other bodies of the employees to launch a joint struggle on the basis of a common minimum programme. Presided over by trade union activists Mr Tek Chand Kalia, Mr Rajinder Singh Lalton and Mr Narinder Kumar Pappi, the convention was addressed, among others, by Mr Ramanjit Singh Sandhu, Mr Gurbachan Singh Mangli, Mr Devinder Singh Chahal, Mr Jasdev Singh Lalton, Mr Surinder Singh Raikot, Mr Mukhtiar Singh Machhiwara and Mr Naib Singh Rasoolpur.

The participants adopted several resolutions, condemning the anti-employee policies of the state government and the Centre while calling upon the trade unions to join hands and wage a decisive battle to seek a better deal for the employees.

Giving details of the deliberations, Mr Ramanjit Singh Sandhu, District Secretary of the DEF, said that several key issues like adverse effect of the WTO on Indian economy, move for privatisation of Punjab Roadways and the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation, adequate fleet of buses for the state transport, proposed handing over of the Departments of Health, Education and Animal Husbandry to panchayats, abolition of over 50,000 posts and ban on new recruitment and decision to freeze payment of all allowances were discussed at the convention.

It asked the government to review its policies towards the employees to ensure a fair and just treatment to them. Further, the convention urged the Union Government to revoke the policy of privatisation, being pursued under the influence of bodies like the WTO and the IMF and to give a second thought to such economic policies, which were causing irreparable damage to national economy.


Discussions for solid waste disposal project on
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
As another step towards the scientific handling of solid waste, senior officials of Municipal Corporation held detailed discussions with representatives of a global company, M/s Onyx, here on Thursday. The company officials also made a presentation detailing their expertise in the disposal of solid waste in the metropolitan city of Chennai and 40 other locations in different parts of the world.

According to the MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, the civic body had issued a public notice for the installation of a solid waste treatment plant for disposal of about 800 metric tonne of municipal solid waste, generated in the city every day. The Onyx team, led by Mr Patrick Huard, General Manager of the Chennai Plant of the company, gave a live demonstration of the technique of handling solid waste being used in Chennai for the safe disposal of approximately 1000 metric tonne of solid waste through land fill method.

Another purpose of the visit of the representatives of the firm was to study the topography of the city and the kind of the solid waste generated in order to recommend viable and the best technique.

The MC Commissioner, during interaction with the members of the visiting team emphasised that the corporation was desirous of adopting such technology that was environment friendly besides ensuring the use of end product of the disposal in one or the other form.

The Onyx representatives also inspected the sites available with the civic body for disposal of the solid waste at Tajpur and Nurpur Bedi villages.

Mr Sharma said under the project, which would be under his personal supervision, the MC wanted to have a complete plant for handling and management of solid waste which would include street cleaning, collection of garbage, segregation, consolidation, transportation and subsequent treatment before the final disposal.

Mr Sharma told the visitors that the Central Government had already notified the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and handling) Rules, 2000 which made it mandatory for the local authorities and other agencies generating solid waste to dispose it off in accordance with the prescribed scientific method.

The company officials were asked to put up a comprehensive proposal based on the best suited technique after making detailed study and scientific analysis of the solid waste of the city with reference to its contents, calorific value and possible end product.

Mr Sharma further made it clear that the civic body was not in favour of or against any particular technology and interests of the city population and environment would be the main para meters for a final decision in this regard.

However, factors like economy, and returns from the end product like electricity, compost or bio-gas, would be kept in consideration for selection of the execution agency for the project.

The proposed treatment plant for handling and management of solid waste would be set up by the appointed agency on the build, own and operate (BOO) basis at their own level while the MC would provide land for the same.

According to the Commissioner, the civic body in the mega city had become the first MC in the region to successfully install a Bio-Medical Waste Disposal Plant on BOO basis. The plant had already commenced trial run and would operate on its installed capacity in the coming days.


Police-tout nexus thrives
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, October 12
The police-tout nexus continues to flourish in this town despite reports that featured in Ludhiana Tribune last month on how innocent people were being trapped in the name of “compromise” and made to part with their hard-earned money.

Police harassment, meted out at the behest of touts, has become the order of the day. A person, with or without a criminal background, is lifted by the police and implicated in one case or the other. A tout then strikes a bargain to bail him out of trouble before he is formally booked under the law. In rare cases, where the accused is booked, the tout makes his money by arranging a “bail”. The ranks of these touts, who have little to look up to for a livelihood, are swelling slowly. Some of these are scribes who are paid nothing or very little by their newspapers and indulge in “touting” for the police for their own political and personal benefits.



2100 gm of opium seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
The Jagraon police today recovered 2100 gm of opium from a resident of Rajasthan who was caught red-handed while carrying the narcotic near Malsihan Bhaike village.

Jarnail Singh of Beehala village in Rajasthan was carrying a bag of opium and was crossing the railway line near Malsihan Bhaike village when he was nabbed by a party of the CIA staff. A case under Section 18/61/85 of the NDPS has been registered against him.


Industry resents govt scheme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
The Fastener Manufacturers Association has opposed the move of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation to allot residential plots in the Industrial Focal Point Phase-V, Ludhiana. The association said while on the one hand the government was insisting on shifting industrial units from residential areas due to their hazardous nature, on the other it was planning to build a residential area in the heart of the industrial complex.

Mr Narinder Bhamra, general secretary, and Mr Arjinder Singh, vice-president of the fastener Manufacturers Association of India, said if by any reason some mishap like gas-leak occurs, it will prove catastrophic for the residential areas.

Mr Bhamra and Mr Arjinder Singh demanded cancellation of the building scheme for the residential area in Industrial Focal Point. Instead, the vacant land should be allotted to industrial units so that industries, which are located in the residential areas of the city, could be shifted to the Focal Point. Alternatively some commercial complex or market should be developed at the site, they added.


Tourism fair at Park Plaza
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
To promote foreign travel among the people of Punjab, a two-day tourism fair started at Majestic Park Plaza here today.

Talking to TNS, Mr Rajneesh Kumar, Managing Director, Kirsol Consultants, said the state, with the highest per capita income in the country occupied a prime slot in the target of the tourism industry. The fair was an attempt to exploit this potential, he said.

He added that India was one of the top four domestic markets of the world and by 2004, the number of Indian outbound travellers would cross the 10 million mark. The fair would provide out bound travellers to plan their itinerary besides getting feedback about a wide array of packages to exotic destinations in the country and abroad.

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