Monday, December 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Nine-hour power cut has residents fuming
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 15
Normal life in the city was thrown out of gear today with a major power cut for over nine hours. Even though the electricity authorities issued a circular a day before, it escaped the attention of most of the residents who could not enjoy Sunday at home.

And this could not have come at a worse time when people were keenly and curiously watching the electoral results in Gujarat. And most of them had to rely on transistors to know about the results as the television sets remained switched off for the entire day. The power shutdown also hit hard thousands of punters in the city, who watch the matches continuously and too keenly for placing the bets. They had to arrange for generator sets and find suitable places since they cannot afford to miss the match.

PSEB sources said the cut was on account of urgent maintenance work with major repairs being carried out during the day at various grids and substations. Officials maintained that the repairs were being carried out during this time since the peak power consumption is low during October to December. The PSEB had issued directions that all such repairs should be completed by the month-end. This they said was necessary for the smooth and uninterrupted power supply during the coming months.

The cuts had the consequential effect over the supply of water in the city. Scores of complaints were received from different areas where there was no water supply during the day. Officials concerned also attributed the disruption to the power failure as they could not make alternative arrangements within a short time.

It was also a day of frantic calls to the public enquiry centres of the board to ascertain the duration of the cut. While a few residents switched on their gensets from 9 am to 5 pm others could do nothing but grumble and be content with a forced day out in the sunlight.

For late risers, it meant no water since the power to public tubewells, too, was not available. Taps remained dry and in many localities neighbours could be seen asking for buckets of water.

A number of industrial units had to remain shut today because of the power cut. The PSEB officials maintained that the power cut had been scheduled on a Sunday since most industrial units remain closed on that day. However, with the winter season already having started, industrial units are putting in additional working hours, and a number of these had to take a break because of the power cut.

A number of industrial associations have urged the PSEB to avoid power cut for long hours, particularly at a time when they have to meet demand targets.



Tangri’s police remand extended
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 15
All-India Shiv Sena (Rashtrawadi) chief Jagdish Tangri’s police remand was today extended for a day in connection with a case of supply of arms, allegedly used in the Gujarat riots. Yesterday, he was remanded in police custody for a day by the Ilaqa Magistrate.

Duty Magistrate D.P. Singla extended his remand after hearing the arguments of the public prosecutor and the defence counsel. He was produced in the court around 2 p.m. by the investigating officer, ASI Baljit Singh, under tight security. His supporters were present outside the court but they didn’t raise slogans.

Assistant public prosecutor Shiv Dutt Sharma sought 15 days’ police remand of Mr Tangri. He claimed that during the investigation, it had been revealed that Mr Tangri was supplying arms to Sunder Bhai Patel, who belongs to the Shiv Sena, in Ahmedabad. The arms were supplied in a Tata Sumo. The police is yet to find the vehicle used to supply the arms. Apart from this, the police had to thoroughly investigate the case as it was of a serious nature, the public prosecutor said with the prayer of extending the police remand.

Opposing the prosecution’s plea, the defence counsel argued that his client had remained in police custody for 15 days with the police of Division No. 3 police station and it had not been debarred from interrogating the accused on the points mentioned as grounds for extension of the police remand. This case was registered on March 21, 2002, but neither was Mr Tangri arrested then nor the police requested for any production warrant, he said.

The defence counsel alleged that in the FIR it was nowhere mentioned that Mr Tangri was supplying arms, which were used in the Gujarat riots.



Endless struggle to make both ends meet
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 15
Three years ago when Jagsher Singh had decided to donate his kidney in the hope of striking it rich abroad, he had no inkling that one day he would have to struggle even to get two square meals for his family.

Life is becoming tough with each passing day for Jagsher Singh, the alleged victim in the Pammian kidney case. Not only did he lose his kidney in the alleged fraudulent bargaining but he also seems to have lost all hope of getting a job. He feels more betrayed by the attitude of the people towards him than by those who had allegedly cheated him.

Getting an employment has become a major problem for him. Being the only earning member of the family, Jagsher Singh has been forced by circumstances to sit at home. Wherever he seeks employment, the first question he faces is if he was physically fit for the job.

Though medical fraternity declares that donation of one kidney has no effect on a person's health or strength, Jagsher Singh is having a different experience. He is a skilled driver and this is the only work he can do confidently. But ever since he donated one of his kidneys transporters as well as private employers are shy of hiring him.

‘‘The most painful time for me is the morning and the evening. My wife and children look towards me with hope that I will go out and get a job. But their hopes are dashed to the ground in the evening’’ rues Jagsher Singh. ‘‘ I and my wife have slept on a hungry stomach several times but how can we see our children starving. ’’

His former employers expressed their reservations about re-employing him by saying that they have heavy vehicles and the driver also has to help in loading and unloading of the goods.

‘‘ I have tried private employers also, who hire drivers for cars but people inquire where I was working earlier and I have to tell them everything. This is where I spoil my case but I cannot lie, as the employer will know the truth from some other channel ’’.

His wife Baljinder Kaur too is trying to make both ends meet for the family by stitching clothes, They have rented two rooms in their house and are somehow chugging along. ‘‘ But this won't go on for long. The expenses are increasing and only bleak future stares at us ’’ she said.

‘‘No one has come forward to the family help in distress. So much has been written about us but no NGO or social organisation has come forward. The case is also moving on at the usual speed.’’

Three years ago, Jagsher Singh was promised greener pastures for his family in Hong Kong if he donated a kidney to a person of Sahibana village near here. He donated the kidney and then the recipient’s family backtracked. It was after a struggle of two years that the recipient’s family took his wife abroad. She was, however, ill-treated and was forced to return.

The family's real struggle began only then. A case is on the Punjab Human Rights Commission. But much before getting justice the family needs a job for Jagsher to survive.



School heads from master cadre: DPI(S)
Our Correspondent

Mr Sohanlal said according to the fresh orders regarding the two cadres — JBT cadre and master cadre — the master cadre was to be counted senior, so the in charge would come from the cadre.

Ludhiana, December 15
The New Education Policy-2002 has raised a lot of dust. According to the new policy, the primary and middle schools have been planned to be merged. The question remains, who would head the institution? The Punjab School Education Secretary, Mr. B. Sarkar, had said the teacher who had put in maximum years of service in primary or middle school would serve as the head. But, yesterday, in a state-level educational conference organised by the District Education Department at Rangarhia Girls Senior Secondary School, Mr Sohanlal, Director Public Instructions (Secondary), assured the teachers that the controversy was about to end.

He said according to the fresh orders regarding the two cadres — JBT cadre and master cadre — the master cadre was counted senior, so the in charge would come from the cadre.

A letter issued recently by Mr B. Sarkar regarding the reorganisation and restructuring of the school education system had stated that the senior most teacher with maximum years of service in the elementary school would officiate as the head. This had sparked off a controversy as the officials in the Education Department had been maintaining that the teacher senior in the master cadre would be made the Head.

But Mr Sohanlal said he had spoken with Mr B. Sarkar and had given his consent to appoint the Head on basis of seniority in the master cadre.

However, Mr Piara Singh Dhillon, president of the Primary Teachers' Association, alleged that the DPI (S) had no authority to overrule the orders of the Eduction Secretary. The announcement made was a verbal one and had no significance till written orders came.

Mr Sohanlal further added that the Education Department from the next academic year would lay stress on computer education. English medium would also be started from Class 1X in more than 50 schools in state from the next session. Fresh teachers would be appointed for the purpose.

Mr Sohanlal said the department planned to construct buildings for the schools without one. The scheme would also include those schools whose buildings had been declared unsafe.



Don’t deride Tohra, Talwandi warned
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 15
Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, former president of the SGPC, who has been expelled from the Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has been asked to use caution and restrain himself from making any statement against Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president, All India Shiromani Akali Dal.

Mr Talwandi had a closed door meeting with the Panthic Morcha leaders, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, president, Sant Samaj, Mr Ravinder Singh , former Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and Mr Mal Singh Ghuman at Mansooran Headquarters of Baba Bedi. They were closeted for more than two hours and Mr Talwandi was reportedly perturbed over his expulsion from the SAD.

Sources close to Mr Talwandi disclosed today that he was advised by the Panthic Morcha leaders to be cautious and avoid any outbursts which could divide the Panthic Morcha leaders.

Though the Panthic Morcha is already a defunct organisation as Mr Simranjit Singh Mann has already announced his separation from the morcha, yet the leaders do not want to annoy Mr Tohra and want to keep him on their side.

Mr Talwandi was told in clear terms that the leaders of the morcha would not be able to fight Mr Badal without the support of Mr Tohra.

Mr Talwandi reportedly assured them that he would avoid making any derogatory remarks against Mr Tohra.

Sant Vir Singh Madhoke, who had contested against Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar and was also expelled alongwith Mr Talwandi was also present in the meeting. 



Forest Dept to resume drive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 15
Notwithstanding threats of violence by villagers, the Divisional Forest Department has decided to continue its drive of resuming 450 acres of forest land.
The drive that is on for the past many days was suspended for two days after armed villagers of Kot Umra village allegedly injured three employees of the department on Friday night.

The DFO, Mr Jarnail Singh, today said the attack had made department officials all the more vigilant and they would start acquiring land with the assistance of the police.

The DFO said there were no written order by any official of the administration to suspend the drive. So they would restart work from tomorrow. The department had almost acquired around 500 acres of land and starting from Macchiwara to Sidhwan Bet, 450 acres were still in the possession of cultivators.

He further said the department was deciding on the species of plants to be planted in the area which was considered very fertile.



Protest march by federation
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, December 15
The General Categories Welfare Federation Punjab yesterday organised a protest march in which a large number of federation workers and leaders from various districts of the state took part.

The state president of the federation, Mr Sham Lal Sharma, criticised the Social Welfare Minister, Mr Santokh Singh Chaudhry, for pressing for the implementation of the 85th constitutional amendment in the state, as it would mar the interests of general category employees in the state. The local administration and the police initially tried to stop the peace march by federation in the city. Consequently, federation workers and leaders threatened to jam the traffic on the GT road.

But a compromise was reached and the protesters were allowed to hold the peace march up to the office of the SDM, where a memorandum was handed over to the SDM.



Sewerage problem persists in Samrala
Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 15
The sewerage problem at Samrala has become a chronic one. The administration has in the past tried to solve the problem but all efforts have proved futile. All planned schemes have failed. Rather, they have added to the woes of the town dwellers and the public in general.

Whenever it rains shops and houses are filled with sewerage water. Traffic gets blocked and comes to a halt on Guru Nanak road, Chawa road, Dabbi Bazar, Chaura Bazar and in front of the Senior Secondary School.

Some prominent citizens have threatened to go to court if the problem is not solved. 



‘Address migrant workers’ problems’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 15
The Muslim Aman Society, while expressing concern over the plight of a sizeable population of migrant workers in the industrial city, has urged the government to immediately intervene and address the hardships being faced by migrants.

Addressing a meeting of the society in New Kundan Puri here, its president Mohammed Naseem Ansari observed that the government had been persistently neglecting the genuine problems of lakhs of migrant workers, who had come to settle here from states like West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other far off places.



LSE shows rise in business
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, December 15
The volume of business in the Ludhiana Stock Exchange through its subsidiary LSE Securities Limited has witnessed a sharp rise during the past two months ever since the markets throughout the country started looking up. The average daily volume of business which hovered around Rs 45-50 crore about two months ago has shot up to Rs 90 crore daily, showing an increase of more than 50 per cent. This includes the trading volumes of capital market segment of the BSE and the NSE and derivatives (futures and options) segments of the NSE.

According to Mr Jaspal Singh, Chairman, LSE Securities Limited, the average daily business has remained at Rs 90 crore for the past one week and both investors and brokers are happy as a result of the increase in the business. Mr R.C. Singal, former president of the LSE, is of the view that the volume of business at the LSE securities would further rise following steps taken by SEBI to tighten its noose ground the defaulting companies.

The decision of SEBI to allow derivative trading in 500 additional scrips would further help in enhancing the business when the same decision is implemented, says Mr Singal.

At present, only 31 shares are traded in derivative segments. With the decision of allowing derivative in additional 500 scrips, the total number of scrips will rise to 531. Besides, SEBI has allowed the stock exchange concerned to settle the shares for derivatives trading based on criteria laid down for the purpose and keep in place the basic containment measures for the same.

In another investor-friendly measure, the management of the SE has decided to launch depository participants (DP) services through its subsidiary LSE Securities Limited in various districts of Punjab, and to start with it will be at Jalandhar and Amritsar.

This will enable the members of the LSE and investors to avail of trading and investment facilities by speeding up transactions done through LSE Securities Limited by transferring or getting quicker deliveries. In the second phase, the LSE proposes to start DP services in Chandigarh, Patiala and many other small towns as well.

Mr Jaspal Singh said that the space for locating the offices of the DP services at Jalandhar and Amritsar had been taken on rent and the staff was being recruited for the purpose. He hopes that the depository participant services would be started within one month.

The search and seizure powers given to SEBI have been welcomed by the functionaries of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange. The government recently made amendments in the SEBI Act 1992 and gave powers of imposing fine up to Rs 25 crore against Rs 5 lakh only and the seize of SEBI has also been raised.

Mr Singal was of the view that the recent powers to SEBI and the amendment in the SEBI Act 1992 would help in better growth and regulations of the capital markets in the country. These would raise the confidence of the investors in the markets.

Mr Singal also welcomed the decision of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange to start DP services in other districts of Punjab as this would help in speeding the settlement of transactions.



‘Soyabean is food of future’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 15
Soyabean is going to be the food of the future. And more so in India, where health consciousness is growing among people. Soyabean being rich in protein has very less fat and cholesterol contents. The American Soyabean Association (ASA), a conglomerate of about six lakh soyabean producing farmers of the USA with an annual turnover of $ 26 billion, is targeting India as its potential market.

Mr Virgil Miedema, Regional Director of the ASA for South Asia, who was here today for Food Expo — 2002, said research-based studies had revealed that soyabean and its products are very nutritious with less cholesterol and other fatty contents. He said it had been proved that soyabean was the cheapest, richest and the best vegetable protein available in the world so far.

India is the fifth largest producer of soyabean with 5 million metric tonnes in a year. But only half of it is consumed domestically while rest is exported. But that does not seem to deter the ASA which has opened its office in New Delhi. Mr Virgil said the ASA considered India as a future investment. “We are targeting a massive market of one billion people… even if we are able to target 10 per cent people only that will serve our purpose to a great extent”, he said.

The ASA has come to India in 1996. As on now it has focused its attention on exploring and creating the market in India.

The ASA has also set up a pavilion at the expo in collaboration with five other food companies. Technical articles about the health benefits of soyabean were distributed among visitors.



‘Need to promote pilgrim tourism’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 15
Mr N.S. Nanda, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab, has congratulated the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for his efforts towards getting the Golden Temple in Amritsar declared as a world heritage site. He said it was an important monument not only for the people of the state but for the entire mankind and it would be a befitting honour on the occasion of 400th anniversary of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in 2004.

Mr Nanda, who met the Chief Minister in Patiala recently, urged him to identify some places for religious and cultural tourism to attract more tourists in the state. He mooted an idea to promote health tourism, spiritual tourism, rural tourism and farm tourism. Sikh Heritage Circuit linking Delhi, Paunta Sahib, Anandpur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala and Amritsar may be created to attract religious tourists, he suggested.

Since Patiala is a famous princely state and offers a rare blend of Punjabi Rajput and Moughal culture besides being popular for rich heritage and craftsmanship, it has been decided to organise “Heritage Festival” on February 14 there, he added.

Mr Nanda also presented a copy of Punjab Tourist Guide to the Chief Minister. Some office-bearers of the association along with Mr H.S. Bajaj, organising secretary, also attended the tourism conclave, “Opportunities for Developing Tourism in Punjab”, organised on December 12 and 13 by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi, in association with the Government of Punjab and INTACH, New Delhi.


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