Tuesday, December 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Computers that hate abort command
...join fight against female foeticide
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, December 23
To curb female foeticide in the district, the District Health Department and the administration have adopted computerisation to keep track of all women between the age of 15 and 45 who have undergone an ultrasound test at any hospital or nursing home in the district. The district administration says that the step will reverse the female foeticide figures.

Punjab, according to the last Census report, is high on female foeticide, with an adverse sex ratio in the country. The administration says that the situation has deteriorated since the Census report came in in 2001. Sex ratio in Punjab had been rising consistently from 1911 to 1991. Then, it showed a decline from 882 in 1991 to 874 in 2001.

Dr S.N. Tiwari, Civil Surgeon, said this was for the first time in the country that a Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test (PNDT) Cell had been created in the office of the Civil Surgeon with the assistance of the District Red Cross Society. He said the cell would help the administration reverse the trend. “Every ultrasound machine will be given an identification number, that will be fed into computer. The Red Cross Society has supplied booklets of Forms F and G to all ultrasound centres in the city to record every ultrasound test conducted here,” Dr Tiwari said.

The data used to be filled in a different form earlier, but, now, things will change with the data being fed into computers. “Under the Pre-natal Diagnostic Detection and Prevention Act, the special forms have been introduced in the district today. Owners of ultrasound clinics are required to submit the copies of the record every week to the PNDT Cell,” said Dr Tiwari.

Every four months, the data will be tallied with all birth certificates prepared in the city. If some of the entries are found missing, inquiries will establish whether the foetuses had been aborted illegally or not,” said the Civil Surgeon.

When asked what would happen if mothers, in connivance with doctors, got ultrasound tests done without filling the forms, Dr Tiwari said all sonologists had strict instructions that ultrasound tests of all women in the given age-group, if conducted without filling Form G (the consent form), would be considered illegal.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, said female foeticide was a complex issue. Women who aborted female foetuses had a different perception of the issue from what medical professionals, religious leaders, opinion makers and planners thought. Since education, financial well-being and religious upbringing did not have any impact on the psyche of women who did it, this made combating this menace rather difficult.

Meanwhile, the Health Department has also served show-cause notices on owners of about 30 ultrasound clinics for not attending a conference-cum-workshop on comprehensive monitoring of the PNDT organised in Bachat Bhavan here yesterday. These persons have been told to collect the forms immediately from the Red Cross office or face action.



Dark, fog... and poles in the middle
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
The elaborate exercise of road widening taken up by the civic authorities in the city has proved to be self-defeating, as it has left numerous electricity poles in the middle of the widened roads. These poles have become traffic hazards; and a few days ago, a car crashed into one of these at night, resulting in injuries to many persons.

The Punjab State Electricity Board has done nothing to rectify the problem. There are about 24 such poles on the road from Chhatar Singh Park to Montgomery Chowk and, from there, to Tikona Park in Model Town. Though the overhead wires have been taken down, the poles have not been uprooted.

This road, though widened, cannot be used fully, since the space between the curb and the poles is being used by many for parking vehicles.

This road connects old colonies near the bus stand to the new ones on the Dugri-Ferozepore side; and witnesses rush-hour traffic.

Sources said, for shifting the poles, the Municipal Corporation had deposited Rs 2.88 lakh with the PSEB. Subsequently, the PSEB told the MC to deposit Rs 83,334 more for shifting the transformers along with the poles. This sum, too, was deposited accordingly.

The councillor of Ward 39, Mr Jaswinder Singh, said the corporation had started widening this road from Chattar Singh Park by constructing a divider and a roundabout. However, leaving the poles in the middle had not only rendered the exercise cost-ineffective, but also turned the poles into traffic hazards.

He said, in this regard, the MC had written to the Executive Engineer of the PSEB at Model Town on August 4, 1999; July 18, 2000; August 30, 2001; August 2, 2002; October 8, 2002; and October 14, 2002, but received no reply.

“A number of accidents are taking place due to these poles, in the absence of streetlights. The condition of Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital Road and Dugri Road, metalled and widened in the past few months, is no better. The poles are posing a danger to road users there, too, and in case of a major accident in the foggy days ahead, the PSEB should be held responsible,” he said.



Bhateja pleads innocence, joins issue with DC
All for Rs 17 lakh ‘DC’s kin wants’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 23
A local industrialist, Mr Pradeep Bhateja, who has been in the eye of a storm, for earning the wrath of the district administration and charged with committing a fraud of over Rs 1 crore with the Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC), today contested the allegations levelled by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, in a news conference.

The Deputy Commissioner had, on Saturday, charged Mr Bhateja with duping the PFC and availing the loan against inflated cost of machinery, which was literally in a junk condition and not worth more than Rs 5 lakh. He had further maintained that the factory was closed down and more than 90 per cent of the Rs 71 lakh loan had been embezzled by the beneficiary.

In a statement released to Ludhiana Tribune here today, Mr Bhateja maintained that the Deputy Commissioner was out to ruin him, his family and business only due to his brother-in- law Mr Sanjay Garg, a former business associate of the industrialist, who wanted to recover Rs 17 lakh, showing it as a business debt. To substantiate his allegation, he said Mr Aggarwal has been posted in the city for last more than a year, but during this period, he has not inspected any other industrial unit except for his factory.

Mr Bhateja further contested the assertion of the DC that the machinery installed at his spinning unit, assessed at around Rs 70 lakh, was not even worth Rs 5 lakh at present. “The disbursement of the PFC loan of Rs 71 lakh was made to the unit during the year 1999-2000 against proper bills of the machines purchased and further, the unit had created adequate assets and collateral security of about Rs 45 lakh was pledged with the PFC.”

Giving elaborate details of the machinery purchased for the spinning unit, which had gone out of production due to various factors governing the spinning industry, he said the card machine was purchased for Rs 25 lakh in 1999 but the price of the machine had gone down now due to diminished demand, increased production and latest technology having been adopted by the manufacturers.

Similarly, the ring frame machines were purchased for Rs 5 lakh each from local units, which assembled these machines from some parts acquired from outside and others made locally. The same machines, marketed by some reputed companies, commanded a price of Rs 20 to 36 lakh each.

Mr Bhateja vehemently denied that any fraud had been committed with the PFC in securing the loan for the spinning unit. “Since the disbursement of the loan, I have repaid around Rs 30 lakh to the PFC, of which Rs 10 lakh has been repaid as being principal amount and another Rs 20 lakh towards interest.” Moreover, the outstanding amount of loan was secure since the present value of the land and building was about Rs 36 lakh, the machinery worth another Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh and property, pledged as collateral valued at Rs 45 lakh.



Shopkeepers burn PUDA effigy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 23
The controversy over prime commercial land, auctioned by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) almost three years ago on Old G.T. Road near Lakshmi Cinema, took a new turn as almost 50 affected shopkeepers staged a demonstration and burnt an effigy of PUDA administration here on Sunday. The protesters charged that PUDA officials, in connivance with the builder, were out to uproot the shopkeepers, who were lawful tenants of the shops, owned by the Municipal Corporation, for decades together.

The civic authorities had also expressed their strong reservation against attempts by PUDA to hand over some additional land towards the Old G.T. road side to the buyer and the state government had to intervene with directions to the Deputy Commissioner to sort out the issue, which still remains unsolved.

The office-bearers of the Luxmi Shopkeepers Union claimed that 48 shopkeepers were occupying these shops for well over four decades and were paying regular rent to the MC. Many of these shopkeepers had given consent to the civic body to buy the shops and had already paid a part of the sale consideration. They alleged that at the instance of the buyer of the plot, adjoining these shops, the PUDA administration had hatched a conspiracy to get their shops demolished and uproot them to provide bigger frontage to the land in question. The shopkeepers expressed their resolve to fight against the injustice with all their might.

It may be recalled that PUDA had sold the prime commercial land, measuring 7,889 square yards at the site of Government Knitting Institute, near Lakshmi Cinema on Old G.T. road in the city for Rs 8.05 crore to a private builder in December 1999. However, the buyer, an influential businessman, who wanted to develop the site as a commercial property, had, ever since the purchase of land, been making efforts to encompass the 15-feet strip of land towards National Highway side of the plot, which is 282 feet in length. On earlier occasions, the MC administration had foiled the efforts to put up a gate on the extended boundary and put up barbed wire fencing around it. Similarly, the builder had also sought to create an entry to the site from Lakshmi Cinema side but had to drop the idea in the wake of stiff resistance by the civic administration.

During last month, PUDA officials made yet another bid to ‘oblige’ the buyer of the land. They undertook an elaborate exercise of measuring the entire piece of land once again in the presence of the buyer and it was solely due to their complicity and helpful attitude that despite resistance by the MC officials and shopkeepers, the builder had successfully put up an iron gate on the extended boundary. At the instance of the MC, the state government had directed the Deputy Commissioner to intervene and to make sure that no portion of the national highway was given away to the builder. The final decision on the dimension of the PUDA land, which was to be taken on the basis of revenue record, was still awaited.



City to have 20 more public toilet blocks
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 23
To meet the growing need for better public facilities in different localities, the Municipal Corporation has decided to provide 20 more toilet blocks in the city. The respective zonal commissioner of the MC have been directed to carry out surveys in this regard to identify the areas where these facilities could be provided.

The MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, held a meeting with Mr A.K. Singh, Chairman of Sulabh International, an organisation engaged in the construction and maintenance of the public lavatories all over the country, to devise ways and means for strengthening the public convenience facilities in the city localities in general and slum areas in particular. It was decided that the staff of Sulabh International would also be associated with the preliminary survey for identifying the sites for the construction of toilet blocks.

According to Mr Sharma, the civic body had set up 32 toilet blocks so far in the city which were being maintained by Sulabh International. The toilet blocks were already functional in City Kotwali, Khwaja Chowk, Railway Station, Bhadaur House, Civil Hospital, Daresi Ground, Subhani Building and Court Road in zone A; Transport Nagar, Industrial Area, Industrial Area-A Extension, Cheema Chowk and Link Road in zone B; Kabir Basti, Partap Chowk and Gill Road in zone C; and opposite Nirankari Bhavan, Rakh Bagh, Rose Garden and near Old Dayanand Hospital in zone D. In addition, 12 public toilet sets were located in different sectors of PUDA colonies that were transferred to the MC for maintenance in the recent past.



Electroplaters decry notices 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
Members of the Ludhiana Electroplaters' Association are up in arms over the closure notices issued to 726 units by the Punjab Pollution Control Board(PPCB). They have demanded a high-level enquiry into the denotification of the land, earmarked for them by the government in 1993.

Mr Joginder Kumar and Mr Manmohan Singh Ubhi, president and secretary of association, said there had been a haphazard growth of industry in the city during the late 1970s, despite the Water Act, 1974. Even these 726 units were registered for electroplating and dyeing by the Industries Department.

Seized by the problem of polluting industries and a view to relocate these units with other dyeing units in the city, 872 acres of land was acquired by the Punjab Government after an interaction by the then Secretary, Industries, with representatives of the association in July, 1990.

They said 349 out of 872 acres were handed over to the PSIEC and 110 acres earmarked by the PSIEC for polluting industries. Specific pockets were identified which were either encroached upon or were under litigation.

At the time of allotment in 1996, the PSIEC reduced the allotment by 110 acres, thereby reducing the number of plots of various sizes, advertised in 1993 and 1994.

Mr Joginder Kumar lamented that no concrete steps were taken by the PSIEC in 1993 to identify pockets for the polluting industries, other than the earlier ones.

He added that 160 acres of land was allotted to the Oswals in 1993 at a meeting chaired by Mr A. S. Chatha. 210 acres of undeveloped land, meant for the relocation of the polluting industries, was allotted to four big industrial houses in 1994, he alleged.

The two office-bearers said 110 acres of land, handed over to the PSIEC, was denotified for reasons best known to its officials and the previous government.

Neither the state government had taken concrete steps for the relocation of the polluting industries nor the PPCB taken any initiative to pressurise the government to allot suitable land so that these units could be shifted from residential areas.

They demanded that an enquiry into the denotification of 110 acres of land be ordered and the land allotted to the six industrial houses, lying vacant for the past nine years, vacated and 30 acres of undeveloped land , at a rate of Rs 126 per sq yard, allotted to the association so that units were shifted at the earliest.



‘Exempt Sikh women from wearing helmets’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 23
Claiming that the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, making wearing of helmets mandatory for women driving and riding pillion two-wheelers have caused widespread resentment among the Sikh community, the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle has urged the Punjab Government to make a proper representation to the high court so that the Sikh women are not forced to wear helmets and their religious traditions are maintained.

In a meeting, convened by the central sub-committee of the circle here today, Mr Ram Singh, chief organiser, and Mr Gurmeet Singh, chief secretary, observed that the directions to Sikh women to wear helmets in violation of their religious traditions seemed to be based either on some misrepresentation or definite designs of certain persons who had raised this matter before the court.

The study circle asked the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to explore the possibility of developing some viable safety alternative for Sikh women in place of helmets.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has decided to submit a memorandum to the President through the district administration demanding exemption to Sikh women from wearing helmets.



Dhaliwal Award for Gill
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 23
The Punjabi Sahit Kala Sangam, New Delhi, has selected the Editor (Punjabi) of Communi-cation Centre, PAU, Ludhiana. Mr Gurbhajan Singh Gill, for Dhaliwal Award in recognition of his contribution to the field of literature, art, culture and journalism, according to a letter received from Mr Harbhajan Singh Rattan, president of the Punjabi Sahit Kala Sangam.

The award carries of Rs 21,000, a memento, a citation and a shawl. The award will be presented to Mr Gill on December 27 at the Trvenikala Sangam, auditorium, Chowk Mandi House, New Delhi, by Mr Bharion Singh Sekhawat, Vice President. The award ceremony will be presided by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers.

Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra, MLA, Samana, will be the guest of honour. In his congratulatory message Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, PAU Ludhiana, has appreciated the role of Mr Gurbhajan Gill in creating awareness about various social, economic and environmental problems through his writings.



Abduction bid foiled, two held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 23
An attempt on the Tibba Road to kidnap an eight-year-old girl by four youths was foiled last evening after they were spotted by some kite-flying youths in the vicinity.
According to information, Durga, daughter of Mr Deepak Kumar, a vegetable seller in New Shakti Nagar, had gone to call her younger brother who was flying a kite in the fields near the road. The alleged abductors, who were hanging around the place, caught hold of the lonely girl and tried to take her away. But as the girl raised the alarm and tried to free herself from the clutches of abductors, some other youths, who were also flying kites nearby, rushed to her rescue at which two youths managed to flee, while the other two were nabbed and handed over to the Jodhewal police. Some pornographic books were seized from them.

Rapist booked: On the basis of a complaint filed by Ms Usha Rani, mother of a rape victim, the Focal Point police has registered a case under Sections 376 and 511 of the IPC against Jeetan, the youth who raped his neighbour's eight-year-old daughter on Saturday and fled.

Girl receives burns: Fifteen-year-old Neelam was admitted to the Civil Hospital yesterday after she sustained burn injuries while cooking in her house in Dhandari Kalan yesterday afternoon. According to information, the girl was trying to light a kerosene stove when her hair caught fire and she was engulfed in flames.

Theft cases: The Jodhewal police has registered a case under sections 457 and 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Arun Sharma, a resident of Gaushala Road, against burglars who broke open the lock of his office in New Shakti Nagar on Sunday night and decamped with a colour TV set, Rs 800 and two watches.

The Focal Point police has registered a case of alleged theft under Section 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sushil Kumar, a resident of Ram Nagar, against Durrey Khan and Gungay Khan, residents of Railway Colony in Sherpur. The complainant had alleged that the accused had committed a theft in his factory in Focal Point

The Division No 7 police has registered a case under Sections 380 and 454 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Rajesh Joshi, a resident of Gobind Colony in Jamalpur, against burglars who allegedly broke open the locks of his house and decamped with clothes, important documents and cash. Cloth worth about Rs 1.25 lakh was allegedly stolen from Raja Cloth House in Baba Deep Singh Nagar on Sunday night by burglars who broke open the shutter of the shop. Sweaters worth about Rs 1 lakh were stolen from a shop in Bhagat Namdev Chowk on Sunday night. A case in this regard has been registered at the Division No 4 police station.

Frauds alleged: Three cases of alleged fraud have been registered at the Civil Lines police station.

On the complaint of Mr Krishan Lal, a resident of New Sabzi Mandi on the Karabara Road, a case was registered under Sections 406, 420 and 448 of the IPC against Tilak Raj who runs a property dealing business. The complainant had alleged that the accused had broken open the lock on the gate of his plot and forcibly taken possession of his plot. The other case was registered on the statement of Mr Khem Chand, a resident of Street No 7 in Jawahar Nagar, under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC, against Surinder Kumar, a resident of Amritsar, Jatinder Singh, a resident of Hoshiarpur and Prithpal Singh, a resident of Sunam. The complainant had alleged that the accused were running a karate training centre under his supervision but they issued course certificates to the students by using his forged signatures on the certificates without taking him into confidence. The accused had thus committed a fraud on him, he added.

Another case of alleged fraud under Sections 406, 420, 467, 471 and 120-B of the IPC was registered on the statement of Mr Rameshwar Lal, a resident of Meera Nagar, against Phool Chand and his wife, Suraina, residents of Gobindgarh village. The complainant had alleged that the accused had prepared forged documents pertaining to the ownership of his plot on the basis of which they got it transferred in their names.

Beaten, threatened: The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Sections 452, 323, 148, 149 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Indermani, a resident of mohalla Arjun Nagar on the Radha Swami road, against Jatinder Verma, Varinder verma and four other persons. The complainant had alleged that the accused forced their way into his house, beat him up and also threatened him before running away

Another case of alleged beating was registered at the same police station under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kishan Singh, a resident of Bulara village, against Balwinder Kaur, Sukhwinder Kaur, Mohinder Singh and Sony. The complainant had alleged that the accused beat him, his wife and other family members and also threatened them.

The Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Joginder Singh, a resident of Detwal village, against Harnek Singh, Swaran Kaur, Soni, Lali and Ninder of the same village. The complainant had alleged that the accused beat up his wife and injured her. The accused threatened her also, he added.

On the statement of Ms Janki Devi, a resident of Naali Mohalla, the Kotwali police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323 and 506 of the IPC, against Seema and Kaushal along with their other family members. The woman had alleged that the accused arrived in front of her house, beat her up and also threatened her.

Eve-teaser booked: On the statement of Ms Kulwinder Kaur, a resident of the Chimney Road, the Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Sections 294, 509 and 509 of the IPC, against Iqbal Singh. The complainant had alleged that the accused teased her by hurling obscenities at her. When she protested, the accused started abusing and threatening her, added the complainant.

Opium seized: The police has seized 5 kg of opium from a Jeep at a naka near Hambran. Three persons, Lekh Raj, Bikram Singh and Sugriv Kumar, have been arrested under the NDPS Act.


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