Tuesday, December 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Financier owing over Rs 20 cr claims insolvency
Financial empire crumbles
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
In a sensational case a city financier owing liabilities worth over Rs 20 crore has declared himself insolvent, leaving many people in lurch. The financier has been claiming that he has himself been duped by the people as he had further invested the money in the market which could not be recovered. One of his creditors is reported to have got his house registered in his own name allegedly by using the name of a senior police official with whom he claims to be on good terms.

The sensational development has shaken the city’s unauthorised financial market which runs into hundreds of crores of rupees. None of the transactions is brought on record and everything goes on trust. Moreover, most of the money invested in the market is unaccounted for. The creditors are finding it difficult to make any claims lest they may themselves fall in the income tax net and invite more trouble and penalties.

About a week ago the financier declared himself bankrupt claiming that he was unable to repay the debts that he had taken from the creditors. One of his creditors, who is himself a leading financier, is reported to have claimed that the bankrupt financier owes him about Rs 5 crore. And there is nothing on record. There are many others to whom the financier is supposed to pay amount ranging between Rs 20 lakh to a few crores.

The financier, who had a phenomenal rise within a short span started from a scratch and within a span of a decade only had accumulated assets worth crores of rupees. These included a palatial house in the posh BRS Nagar and two farm houses, one situated in the Jamalpur area and the other on Humbran Road. He would organise lavish parties regularly in these farm houses. Only a few months back he had hosted a party in honour of a senior Punjab Police officer. The party was also attended by Kapil Dev. In fact Kapil Dev and the said police officer were honoured for their outstanding contribution in their respective fields at this party.

Over a period the financier won over the trust and confidence of most of the leading financiers and businessmen who would unhesitatingly come forward with money. While he would take money on lesser interest he would lend it further on a higher rate of interest. The chain kept on growing and for some time the financial business seemed to go on well. However, everything started collapsing as the financial chain was broken. He found it difficult, rather impossible, to maintain the circulation of money and ultimately had to declare himself bankrupt.

Sources close to the financier revealed that he had lent the money to some leading and well connected industrialists and businessmen of the city from whom it is difficult to make any recoveries. They disclosed that he may ultimately come out with the names of these people who have forced him to insolvency but it would be very difficult to confront them as these persons have a lot of influence in the corridors of power.

On the other hand the creditors maintain that the financier had indulged in some shady practices. He would also organise the monthly kitties where people would contribute lakhs of rupees every month. In these he would allegedly use fictitious names and show payments against these thus duping the other genuine contributors.

Moreover, they claim that the financier had turned insolvent much earlier and he had kept his creditors in dark about it. They also apprehend that his property which is claimed to have been taken away by one of the creditors, who happened to be his friend, had willingly been transferred so as to secure it from being liquidated. As of now, the financier is claimed to be possessing nothing as all his moveable and immovable assets have already been “taken away” by some of his creditors.



Canine distemper could have killed lions: experts
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
Investigations into the death of some lions at Chatt Bir Zoo recently have narrowed down on the possibility of the spread of canine distemper disease or massive inbreeding among lions.

Expressing concern over the death of more than 10 lions and with as many as seven ill, veterinary pathologists of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) said there was an immediate need to take precautionary measures to check the increasing mortality rate.

A team of PAU scientists consisting of eminent veterinary pathologists that visited Chhatt Bir zoo on Saturday said at least 1,000 lions had died of similar disease in 1994 which was later identified as canine distemper.

The death of these lions, who had been keeping good health, has become a cause of concern for the zoo officials as well as veterinary pathologists.

A post-mortem examination of a lion was conducted at PAU today. Samples of the serum would be sent to Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareily. More samples were likely to be sent to laboratory in Tanzania.

The scientists have, however, not confirmed the disease. They claim ed that the deaths could also be due to excessive inbreeding among the lions.

While talking to The Tribune ,the experts said if the disease was not controlled, it would become an epidemic and could even consume all the lions.

The scientists said nearly 1,000 lions were killed due to this disease on Serengeti plains in Africa in 1994. They said the disease was caused by canine distemper virus which was transmitted into lions through dogs.

The infection in this case could be because the lions were often let loose in the zoo where they could fed themselves on dogs.

They added that the lions suffered from staggered movement and tried to climb upon the wall of the enclosure but there was no rise in temperature.

According to the experts, ring vaccination of stray dogs within an area of 5 km from the zoo was the only way to prevent the disease from spreading.



Servant’s death: murder case registered 
against employers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
The mysterious death of an 11-year-old domestic help at Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar here yesterday took a new turn with the Sarabha Nagar police registering a case of murder against his employers this morning.

The case was registered after family members of the victim along with migrant labourers managed to convince the police that the boy had not committed suicide but was allegedly murdered by his employers.

The case now hinges on the post-mortem report, which will establish if the boy was strangulated to death or died due to hanging. The post-mortem was not conducted today as the aggrieved family wanted setting up of a board of doctors to conduct the examination.

The boy, Avdesh Kumar, was found hanging in a bathroom of house No: 203-C where his employer, Vivek Gupta, a cycle spare parts manufacturer, lived as a tenant. Initial reports quoting Gupta said the boy had committed suicide.

He gave a statement to the police last evening that he along with all his family members left the house in the morning to attend the marriage of a relative. The servant was alone at home at that time. When he returned at around 4.30 pm, no one answered the door bell. He informed the landlord and they entered the house through a window and found the body.

However, the relatives of the boy led by his father, Gyas Din, refused to accept this theory. They lodged a protest against the police move to deal the case under Section 174 of the IPC. Finally, on the intervention of senior officers, the police registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC against the employers.

Talking to mediapersons this morning, Gyas Din, who belongs to Uttar Pradesh, alleged that his son was ill-treated by his employers and even beaten up several times. He claimed that even his son was not paid salary for the past one year. Once they wanted their son to leave the job, but the employers forcibly took him away. He said they did not complain to the police as they wanted the unpaid salary and hoped the employers would improve their behaviour. However, this did not happen.

Police sources said they had registered the case on the statement of the victim’s father and would not arrest anybody till the investigation establish that the boy was murdered.



UGC proposal evokes mixed response
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 2
The recent proposal of the Union Grants Commission (UGC) to appoint college teachers on a contract basis has evoked a mixed response from local educationists. While college managements have favoured the proposal, teachers and principals have opposed it.

Members of college managements have said that since the Punjab Government was not sending them grant-in-aid regularly, it was getting difficult for them to appoint teachers on a regular basis. They also favour it, for they would not be liable for ensuring pension and gratuity scheme for their staff. In addition, they believe that the new proposal would enable them to retrench the inefficient staff easily. Giving such views, Mr Gurbir Singh Sarna, general secretary of the managing committee of the Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, said financial instability on account of irregular disbursement of the 95 per cent grant from the government was the major reason for supporting the UGC proposal. Besides, he wanted to provide best staff for his students which would be possible only with contractual appointment. Since the teachers would strive to get their contract revised, they would have to perform up to mark, he said.

On the other hand, college principals and teachers have largely opposed the new proposal as they said that there were other ways to ensure good performance from the staff. They said that with contractual appointment, the teacher-taught relationship would be affected, as in a short span they would not be able to develop any attachment with the students or the institution. They said that the teachers would simply focus on bringing good results and pay no heed to improve the overall personality of the students.

Mr Tarsem Bahia, Principal, AS College, Khanna, said there were chances that market forces would overpower quality of education as the teacher who would be ready to work on minimum wages would be given preference at the time of selection. He said that to improve the standard of education, focus should be on appointing teachers on merit ignoring nepotism, money or power.

Mr Bahia also said that instead of taking industrialists on commissions for formulating education policies, academicians solely should be given the chance to moot any new proposals. Otherwise, education would become purely commercial.

Stating her views, Ms Charanjit Mahal, Principal, Guru Nanak Girls College, said that she favoured permanent appointment instead of contractual one, for she believed that frequent shuffling of the staff would lead to more chaos in the college. She said that new teachers would take time to settle and adhere to the system where as in case the teachers were appointed permanently, there would be more integrity between the management and the employees.



Liquor contractors ‘creating nuisance’

Ludhiana, December 2
District Youth Congress president, Mr Parminder Mehta today alleged that liquor contractors in the city were holding people to ransom. In a representation to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Mehta alleged that only yesterday some liquor contractors assisted by some goons barged into a marriage palace and tried to disrupt a party.

Mr Mehta said the contractors asked the host to show them the permission and the proof that he had purchased the liquor from their vend only. The Youth Congress leader said, this created bad taste in the party and the host and other guests were taken aback at this midnight coup by the contractors.

He said timely arrival of the police and excise officials prevented the situation from taking an ugly turn. But he demanded that the liquor contractors should be asked not to indulge in such unlawful activities and bullying of innocent people. He disclosed that the liquor contractors and their goons had barged into the marriage palace with their weapons terrifying and terrorising the hosts and the guests. He demanded that this should be stopped at all costs. TNS



World Disabled Day today
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, December 2
The recent directions issued by the district administration to all the district heads of different departments to ensure facilities to the disabled persons in their offices, though, have provided respite to the disabled persons, still a lot has to be done for providing them equal opportunities in society.

Though Ludhiana has become the first district in the country to provide artificial limbs, tri-cycles and hearing-aids to all the handicapped persons, the disabled persons find it extremely difficult to reach many government offices and public and private buildings as they do not provide separate toilets and ramps for them.

Ms Radhika Jaitwani of ‘Ek Prayas’, a school for both mentally and physically challenged children, feels that the government should ensure that the guidelines given in the act for the disabled persons were implemented in government, public sectors and private places. Regarding the problem of admission for disabled children in the schools of the city, Radhika said, “It is unfortunate that not many schools accommodate the disabled children. It should be mandatory that each school accommodates certain disabled children and the concerned authorities should ensure proper care of these children in schools”.

Ms Ritu Bhardwaj, mother of a 14-year-old visually impaired child said , “Voluntary organisations like Bharat Vikas Parishad, Ashirwad and Ek Prayas have been regularly contributing for the disabled persons in the district. If more and more social organisations and clubs would mobilise to extend proper assistance and help, I am sure the rights of these challenged persons will be fully protected and they will not be deprived of anything”.

Mr Amrit Sanyal, a physically handicapped person said; “God has been unkind to us but if society will not extend cooperation, we will be left out.

There is a need to induct ramps in government buildings and private complexes so that when there is a rush of people, we can easily visit these places for our daily chores”.

Mr S.P.Malik, Secretary, District Red Cross Society, said that they have already identified different kinds of handicapped persons in the district by organising camps in different areas and had provided artificial limbs, hearing aids and tricycles to more than 4000 needy disabled persons free of cost so far.

Dr S.N.Tiwari, Civil Surgeon, said that Health Department had made certain arrangements for issuing disability certificates to the handicapped persons at Civil Hospitals in Khanna, Jagraon and Samrala once a week. “We have also asked our health workers to prepare the list of 40 per cent and above disable persons in the district by December 31, 2002, so that they will be issued disability certificates and could be benefitted”, maintained Dr Tiwari.

Deputy Commissioner Anurag Aggarwal had also recently announced that to identify the students with low vision, the eyesight testing charts and other equipment would be provided by the District Red Cross Society to all the schools on rotational basis which could be used to identify suspected cases, which would be referred to the anthropologists in the Civil Hospitals for final checking and treatment. 



City lecturer’s brush with glamour
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 2
Ms Rashmi Gangwani has done the city proud by reaching the finals of Mrs India Contest held in Mumbai recently. Incidentally, she was the only participant from Ludhiana and from North Zone, a Delhi model, she led the zone whereas there were a total of 21 contestants from three other zones.

Rashmi flushed with her success says, “My husband spotted the form and urged me to send it. I was quite pleasantly surprised when I received the letters from the organisers, Zee TV, Bombay Dyeing and Glad Rags magazine, communicating that I have been selected to participate in the Mrs India competition. We had to send our bio-data and portfolio. We were told to leave 15 days before the contest on November 23 as we had to be trained.”

When the contestants arrived in Mumbai, they were taught how to walk on the ramp, to face the camera and were also given lessons in diction. The contestants were shortlisted after this. Mega model Ms Rakhi of Gladrags and many other experts honed their talents.

Rashmi says, “After training from professionals, my confidence grew a lot. I was not at all nervous on the final day.” There were four rounds in the first round, the contestants had to wear their bridal outfit and husbands’ had to introduce their wives and tell about their qualities. In the second round they were dressed in semi-casual Western fusion clothes designed by Mumbai-based dress designer Payal Singhal. The contestants were escorted by famous singer Nitin Bali. The round three was the evening gown round. Rashmi says very proudly that her gown was designed by her and that had surprised many as they never thought that a small city girl could be so versatile.

In the last round the 10 contestants were reduced to five finalists. Rashmi says, “I was very excited and also a little anxious whether I would be there. But my name was called out first.” In the last round the girls had to wear sarees designed by Payal Singhal. They had to write answer to the question “What would you like to change if you were the prime minister”?

She said being a teacher she could write the answer very lucidly. In her answer she wrote that the thing she would do would be to enhance the level of literacy and provide quality education and easy access to education to all. Second thing she would like to change would be to reduce corruption and thirdly to decrease the level of poverty.

Though she missed the coveted crown, yet she came back richer in experience and confidence. In future if she gets a chance, she would definitely like to participate in more such events. She enjoyed the shoots. The show would be telecast on Zee Channel on December 7 at 8 pm among the nine judges were the famous actress Ravina Tandon and Ayesha Shroff.

Rashmi, a mother of two, has always maintained her figure by exercising and looks svelte. Married for a decade now, her looks belie this fact. She heads the Management Department of Khalsa College for Women and this is her sixth session in the college. Her students are thrilled with her success and so is her husband, her ardent supporter. Her parents and her -in -laws who took care of her children while she was in Mumbai for one month have always been by her side which helped her to participate in the contest with a free mind, she said.



Training centre for rural artisans opened
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
The first training centre of the state to facilitate and encourage the use of modern equipment by traditional artisans in the rural areas was inaugurated at Bet Sidhwan in the office of the BDPO office by Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner, today.

Addressing the trainee artisans, he informed that this was the first training centre in the state where the latest machines have been provided by the two private companies — Dewart Power Tools Servicing and Marketing and Bajaj Ventures.

The DC said, “Our artisans — mainly carpenters and mechanics, are using the traditional equipment and machinery in their daily work and their output and earnings are marginal, with which they were unable to feed their families.

He claimed that with proper training imparted by the engineers of these companies the over all output of the artisans would be enhanced manifold and they would be able to earn handsome amounts for a bright future. Mr Agarwal said the unemployed youth in the rural areas would also be persuaded to get the training, so that they could start the new ventures and be financially independent.

The DC informed that after the five-day training, a society of artisans would be formed and registered, which would later on run the training centre for other youths of the areas.

Each member would have to deposit Rs 500 to become a member of the society and the district administration would arrange loans from the financial institutions for the purchase of the new machinery to these trained.

He exhorted the youth and young artisans to make the maximum use of this scheme.

Addressing the function Mr Sumer Singh Gurjar, ADC(D), who is also the nodal officer to implement this pilot project informed that maximum number of beneficiaries would be provided with this training.

Mr Anirudh Burgaonkar and Mr Mangesh Thakrey both representatives of the companies have informed that latest equipment available for the use by carpenters and other artisans has been made available at the centre for imparting training to the local artisans.

Also present on the occasion were Mr Gurmit Singh, SDM, Jagraon, and Mr J P Singh, Secretary, Zila Parishad.



Drug awareness campaign
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
The state government, in collaboration with social, educational and sports associations, will launch a drug awareness campaign to motivate the youth to come to the playgrounds and channelise their energy for constructive purposes.

This was announced by Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister, while addressing the concluding function of 22nd Shaheed Manjeet Singh Memorial Tournament at Dhamot village, 35 km from here, last evening.

The minister expressed concern over the decreasing standard of sports in rural areas. He said the state government would provide good coaches and sports equipment of international standard to rural sports associations, which had been making efforts to organise sports festivals.

He said the state government would honour and give monetary aid to the players who win medals in international competitions. He exhorted the youth to adopt a game and practise daily.

The minister announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the construction of drains and pavements in the village.

Earlier, Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, MP, said in rural areas various sports clubs had been making efforts to engage the youth in the sports activities and called upon the people to ensure maximum involvement of the youth in development activities.

Mr Galib announced a grant of Rs 3 lakh for the construction of a stadium in the village. Among others who addressed the function included Mr Najar Singh, president, Block Congress Committee, Mr Baljit Singh Dhamot, ex-MD, Central Cooperative Bank.



Contaminated water supply irks residents
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 2
Residents of Mohalla Soodan Jagraon have been forced to use contaminated drinking water for the past 10 months in spite of protests lodged with the Executive Officer and president of the Municipal Council. Leakage in the underground sewerage has led to the mixing of sewage with the drinking water, allege residents.

Residents of the locality were being forced to use the contaminated water for washing their clothes and were facing the threat of catching serious diseases.

The residents of the locality today held a protest at the office of the Municipal Council and submitted a memorandum to the DC Ludhiana and Director, Local Bodies, Chandigarh. 



Seven baptised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 2
Seven teenagers, including three girls, were baptised at a function organised by the SN Jain Biradari, Rupa Mistri Street, here today. Samrat Shri Shiv Muni Jainji Maharaj and Shri Ratan Muniji gave ‘deeksha’ to them and made them ‘sadhus’ and ‘sadhvis’, according to Mr Vinod Jain.

Their names have also been changed. Ganesh is now Nishant Muni, Gaurav is Niranjan Muni, Rakesh is Neeraj Muni and Yogesh is Nipun Muni. All these boys are from Nasik. Three girls also became ‘sadhvis’. Manisha from Ludhiana is now Sadhvi Rishija, Moksha and Poonam, both from Sirsa and Jind, respectively, are now Sadhvi Paranjal and Sadhvi Jagriti, respectively.



Mystery shrouds death of student
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
Mystery shrouds the death of a 14-year-old student, who died at Guru Gobind Singh Senior Secondary School Indra Colony today afternoon. While police and school authorities claimed that the student had died due to brain haemorrhage, there were reports that the child was beaten by a teacher.



SHO booked
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 2
A team of the Vigilance Department raided the house of Mr Mangat Singh, SHO, Dharamkot, at Sant Nagar here and recovered one illegal .303-bore revolver along with 147 cartridges. The team was led by Mr Narinder Pal Singh, DSP, Vigilance, Moga. At the time of the raid the outer door of the house was found locked. But when officials entered the house after breaking the lock, all members of the house, excluding the SHO, were present. 



Thailand keen on forming rice cartel with India
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 2
Thailand and Australia have sought formation of rice and wheat cartels with India in order to promote export of rice and wheat to various countries.

Stating this in an exclusive interview, Mr S.S. Channy, Managing Director, Punjab Markfed, said Thailand was the biggest exporter of rice in the world and had requested India to have rice cartel. The Australian ambassador also had discussions on the subject for having wheat cartel with India, he added.

Mr Channy said Punjab Markfed had exported wheat to the tune of around 18 lakh tonnes to various countries and had earned foreign exchange of $ 166.4 million (Rs 808.43 crore in terms of Indian currency). Markfed had further wheat export orders for three lakh tonnes.

He said they were facing the shortage of railway rakes to transport wheat to the ports and had requested the Union Government to allow them to move it through road transport. Markfed currently required at least 156 rail rakes and the request was pending with the railways.

Mr Channy estimated that wheat export by Markfed would touch the figure of 5 lakh tonnes by March, 2003 and would earn foreign exchange worth Rs 11,000 crore. “Markfed is the only agency to have been allowed five stock points at the ports and can keep 50,000 tonnes of wheat at each of these points. We can immediately meet the demand for export order by doing so,” he said. Markfed is exporting wheat to Philippines, Korea, UAE, Vietnam, Indonesia, Yemen, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sudan and Oman.

Mr Channy added that they had suggested to the Union Government to save Rs 552 per tonne on paddy by allowing Markfed to have its paddy milled procured under the national foodgrains reserve. This would lead to value addition in terms of upgrade of rice and packing. The clearance in this regard was expected from the government soon, he added.

According to Mr Channy, more than 90 lakh tonnes of wheat and 80 lakh tonnes of rice had been exported from India to various countries. He said Basmati rice under the brand name of “Sohna” had been accepted in countries like the USA, Canada and the UAE and had orders for further export.

He said ready-to-eat canned vegetables of Markfed were also finding good market overseas.

He added that Markfed had also entered the cotton markets of the cotton belt and would buy 50,000 bales of cotton on commission basis for the cotton mills.



Tiny units’ ultimatum to govt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
The Federation of Tiny and Small Industries has given a month’s ultimatum to Capt Amarinder Singh to either solve its long pending problems or face an agitation.

Mr Joginder Kumar, President of the federation, Mr R.C. Singla, President, Trade and Industry Forum and Daljeet Singh Sohanpur, Vice-President, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings told TNS here today that Punjab was considered the Mecca of small industries in India. This sector was the backbone of economy of the state as it generates maximum employment after agriculture.

The entrepreneurs also said while the state government was crying hoarse over the financial crunch being faced by it, they had issued a white paper and at the same time it was squandering away valuable revenue on unproductive plans and policies. The government is going to allow sales tax exemption by extending the last date but alleged that it was only to accommodate a few big industrial houses in alleged connivance with some leaders of the ruling party and certain top bureaucrats.

Mr Joginder Kumar said the fate of the tiny sector is in doldrums and urged the CM not to allow ST exemption and convene an urgent meeting of representatives of the SI sector to listen to their grievances and take corresponding measures.



‘Upgrade bicycle research centre’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 2
The need to upgrade the technology at Bicycle and Parts Research and Development Centre was emphasised at the governing council meeting of the centre held here yesterday. The upgradation of the technology was needed to meet the global challenges. The council, which met with Mr T.R. Sarangal, Director, Industries, Punjab, decided to assess the requirements of the industry and it was felt that at least Rs 5 crore was needed for bringing about the desired changes in the technology.

The UNIDO has offered to give an assistance of Rs 2 crore for upgradation of technology, according to Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, and member of the council. He said the centre was already busy in making all-purpose machines for the cycle industry.


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