Monday, January 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC draws flak for poor supply of water 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 12
The general house of the Urban Estate Phase 11 Dhandari Kalan Residents Welfare Society has expressed its disappointment over the poor supply of water by the local Municipal Corporation despite repeated complaints lodged with the authorities concerned in this regard. The society has urged the Commissioner and the Mayor of the corporation to look into the matter and to ensure regular supply of water.

The general house that met here today also expressed disappointment over the neglect of 470 odd parks in the city by the Municipal Corporation.

This society had been allotted four such parks for maintenance, for which the Municipal Corporation had agreed to pay Re 1.00 per square metre per month under a duly executed agreement which expired in June last.

The corporation paid the agreed amount up to January, 2002, and refused to pay the same for remaining months (February to June, 2002), stating that the payment would be made at Rs 1000.00 per month per park, irrespective to its size.

The society has decided to seek legal recourse to effect the recovery of the amount spent by it for five months (February to June 2002) with interest at the market rate. It was further resolved that the legal action mentioned above would be taken along with other Park Management Committee which had been involved in the maintenance of the parks on similar terms and conditions. The number of such committees is more than 125.

The general house further expressed its sorrow at the current plight of the parks in question. They have become dirty and full of garbage. The trees, flowers and shrubs are withering for want of watering.

The grass is not mowed and the litter of rags, waste paper, plastic bags and leaves of trees are found all round, as there is no arrangement for cleaning and brooming of the parks. When these parks were looked after by the society, these were clean and green, feel the residents. People like to have strolls and enjoy the beauty of the flowers. The parks had become pollution free.

The flower beds and shrubs were regularly protected from the stray cattle, pigs and dogs etc. Now things have changed for the worse to the utter dismay of the people who no longer seem to be interested in entering the parks which have become open urinals.

The general house felt that the Commissioner and the Mayor had been apprised of the whole matter but they have shown no interest towards improving the plight of the parks nor have they cleared the dues of the park management committees in spite of the fact that there is no paucity of funds with the corporation now.

Strangely enough, the corporation has asked the people to “Keep the city clean and green” through various boards. In case, the corporation is unable to maintain the parks to the satisfaction of the residents of the city, such slogans should be struck off from the board, said the residents.



CM faking concern on SYL: Badal
Naveen S. Garewal

Ludhiana, January 12
The former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has dubbed the state Chief Minister’s concern at the Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal (SYL) issue as a political gimmick. “Capt Amarinder Singh was merely playing a political game and is not at all serious about watching the interests of Punjab”, Mr Parkash Singh Badal said during a visit to the city today.

Mr Badal, who is President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), asked the Chief Minister to prove his seriousness on the SYL issue by publicly condemning the Indira Gandhi Award with regard to the construction of the canal and the subsequent withdrawal of Punjab’s case from the Supreme Court by the then Congress Chief Minister Darbara Singh.

This case, he said, had been filed by the Akali-BJP regime led by Mr Badal himself. He said things would have been entirely different if the case had not been withdrawn.

Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who was also in town, agreed with Mr Badal and said the proposal of summoning a special session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to discuss the SYL issue was useless as the issue had now become a purely legal one and the state had to fight a legal battle in the apex court. This move, he said, was only to fool the people of Punjab.

Mr Badal said his party was fully prepared to take up cudgels for the rights of the state and the second phase of the Akali morcha, that would take the shape of ‘rasta roko’ would start on February 10.

This, he said, was being done to safeguard the interests of the state.

He accused the Punjab Government of deliberately not filing a revised petition in the Supreme Court during the 11 months of its rule. Now that the last date for filing this petition i.e. January 15 was round the corner, the Congress government was unnecessarily raising a hue and cry.

On disinvestment, Mr Dhindsa said keeping KRIBHCO, IFFCO and other cooperative sector organisations out of the bid would have meant closure of the Bathinda, Panipat and Nangal fertiliser factories. Mr Dhindsa said a new condition had also been imposed in the case of disinvestment so that the successful bidder would have to give an undertaking that he would continue to run these factories for a period of at least five years.



All set for kite-flying contests
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, January 12
Kites have been dotting the city skyline for past many days. And with Lohri round the corner, the Daresi road shops are so crowded with kite-flying enthusiast that it has caused a traffic jam in the bazaar.

Regular shopkeepers selling cloth, shoes, small-time mechanics and small tea stalls in the area have rented out their shops to kite-sellers for a fortnight for a sum of Rs 2,500 or even more depending on the size of the shop.

This alone speaks volumes for the popularity of kites. The shopkeepers have brought in their relatives from Lucknow, Muradabad and Amritsar as kites are made in these towns on a large scale.

The sellers have not only brought in fresh stocks of kites and razor-sharp threads but also the requisite manpower to handle the massive number of buyers.

The shopkeepers have no time to answer the queries of boys in hordes who are jostling with each other to reach the shop of their choice. Fateh, a buyer, said: “I had bought a stock of kites, but our guests took away almost all of them. So I had to go through the heavy rush and come to buy more kites as we are having kite- flying competitions tomorrow. I had to not only spend more money but also more time going in and coming out of the crowd”.

The kite enthusiasts are all set to buy as many kites of different variety like ‘tuggal’, ‘pari’, ‘chajj’ and ‘gudda’.



A festival full of joie de vivre
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 12
Shops in the city are decked up for Lohri festival, which falls tomorrow. Shopkeepers have stocked large quantities of groundnuts, rewaris, gajaks, bhuggas for the occasion. The sale of kites of different shops and sizes has also greatly picked up.

Lohri is an extremely popular Punjabi festival and is celebrated by people with great gusto and enthusiasm by lighting bonfires.

There is a lot of dancing and good cheer. Punjabi festivals are full of joie de vivre, where wine flows freely and mouth watering dishes are served to guests. People sit around fire, sing songs and listen to music.

Traditional sweets like gajak, and rewaris and peanuts are up for grabs. Keeping in mind the cold season, jaggery and sesame seeds provide warmth. According to Mr Surinder Kapil of Lyall Pur shop, people are tired of eating sweets of Divali and look forward to eating khasta gajak. This kind of gajak is good for children and elderly people and is quite affordable at Rs 60 a kg."

“This year, gajak made from honey, sugar and nuts is very popular. Out of rewaris made of jaggery and sugar, the ones with jaggery are more popular."

While Lohri’s bonfire is burnt at night, the day belongs to the kite-fliers. These days Bush and Laden, Aishwarya and Madhuri and many such rivals are involved in severe fights in the skies. Surprised! Well these persons’ faces appear on the kites.

The kites which carry depictions of famous personalities are finding a lot of buyers. Meetu told excitedly to his friend Gurvinder that his Laden had cut Bush and he is flying down and would soon touch the ground.



Industry opposes power tariff hike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 12
Various industrial associations have opposed the move of the government to revise power tariff in the state and increase it by about 25 per cent. The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) and the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations in separate statements said the tariff hike would further add to the woes of the industry.

According to Mr V.P. Chopra, president, Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations, th power supply in Punjab was unpredictable with undeclared cuts everyday. He said, in spite of the steep hike in the electricity tariff and revenue coming from the farm sector, there was no improvement in the power supply. He observed that the regular supply of power was one of the major factors worrying the industry and a cause of concern for economy.

Mr Chopra said the industry was being seriously hit as production was coming down and the prices of raw material increasing.

He said although there was an urgent need for improving the efficiency of the Punjab State Electricity Board, the government had done nothing. He pointed out for improving electric supply there was a need for reforming the PSEB.

The industrial associations were unanimous in their stand that there was no need to hike power tariff, particularly after the government had started charging the agriculture sector for the same.

In a separate statement, Mr Inderjeet Singh Pradhan, president and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary CICU, said : “The hike in the power tariff has further created a chaos in the industrial sector”.

They said “the chamber was of the opinion that there should have been no hike in the power tariff when free supply of electricity to the agriculture sector had been stopped.



Shiv Sena burns effigy of Jethmalani 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 12
The Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) unit of Ludhiana burnt an effigy of Ram Jethmalani at the Clock Tower chowk here this morning. The Shiv Sena unit is protesting against Mr Jethmalani for being the defence lawyer of the terrorists who had attacked Parliament last year.

The court had ordered death sentence for the terrorists. The Shiv Sena led a protest march under the leadership of state general secretary Pawan Sharma and district president Krishan Sharma.

The procession started from the railway station with shouting of slogans against Mr Jethmalani. The protesters were carrying placards against Mr Jethmalani. Addressing the Shiv Sainiks, Mr Pawan Sharma said, “The Shiv Sena is going to demand from the President that the terrorists who attacked Parliament should be hanged to teach a lesson to others from attempting such things again.”

Mr Krishan Sharma said when judiciary has sentenced the terrorists to death, Mr Jethmalani is all out to save them in a court of law. “How can he call himself an Indian?” he asked. He is playing with the feelings of patriotic Indians. He appears to be giving shelter to anti-India forces and the Shiv Sena will not tolerate this.

Among those who participated in the protest march were Suresh Manchanda, senior vice president, Shiv Murti Sharma, secretary, Krishan Bansal, propaganda secretary, Harish Rai, general secretary, Anil Singla, Sagar Mishra and Om Parkash.



Shiv Sena chief gets bail
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 12
Shiv Sena Rashtrawadi chief Jagdish Tangri was granted bail by a local court yesterday. He was facing charges of supplying arms for Godhra riots. Tangri has already got bail in five other criminal cases.

Granting the bail, Mr J.S. Bhatia, Additional Sessions Judge, observed that the case was registered long back and till date no recovery had been effected.

He said in view of the age of the accused he must be released on bail on surety.

The defence counsel had pleaded before the court that the sole intention of the police was to harass his client. After the surrender of his client in another case, he was not arrested in the present case.

But when he was about to be released on bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the cops had secured production warrants of the accused from a city court. As there was no evidence against him in this case, he was released on bail.

It may be recalled that an F.I.R. no. 45 was registered at police station (Division No 3) under sections 121-A/122 of the IPC. Tangri was booked in five other cases too.

The police had booked him in two cases pertaining to extorting money on a complaint by Pawan Sharma and Vipin Thapar. He was also booked under the Excise Act and for selling obscene books/posters.

Meanwhile, the same court rejected the bail application filed by Sunil Tangri, son of Jagdish Tangri.



Bet belt poverty-stricken, cries for attention
Ravi Inder Singh Makkar

Machhiwara, January 12
In the Bet belt adjoining the Sutlej, residents are longing for basic necessities even after 54 years of Independence. Though the outgoing SAD-BJP government had constructed all pucca roads leading to these villages, buses are yet to be seen on the newly built roads.

Most of the people of this belt belong to the Rajput community. Elderly Rajputs narrate their tale of woes, saying that they have not gained anything by living for so many aimless years because they could not see any ward of theirs who had studied after matriculation. To complete the formalities of free and compulsory education, there are a few primary and only two middle schools in the whole belt but the empty chairs of teachers in these schools do nothing more than irritating students. If by chance any teacher gets appointed in this area, these so-called builders of nation manage to get themselves transferred immediately in such a fashion as if they were being chased by some communicable disease.

In the primary school, Mand Jharaudi, Mohan Singh is only teacher for 51 students who has also been sent on deputation from Jassowal village for the last three years. This teacher has to cover a distance of 150 km up and down from Jarg village. Government High School, Panjgrain, and Government Senior Secondary School, Lubangarh, which are situated at least at 10 km from these villages, are also terribly short of teachers.

Perhaps health facilities don’t exist in the plans dictionary meant for these people. Doctors seldom visit to do their duty in one or two existing dispensaries. Consequently, the people have to go to unregistered medical practitioners for treatment. The poorest and petty arrangements in the veterinary dispensaries have opened the doors for the mobile untrained veterinary quacks who loot innocent people because a majority of these people depend on milching animals for earning their livelihood.

One feels that the people living along the bank of the Sutlej, the biggest river of Punjab, must have abundance of drinking water. Polluted water here is inviting serious diseases. Though the Public Health Department and the Panchayati Raj Department have constructed water tanks for every group of 2-4 villages, these water tanks are awaiting inauguration due to apathy of the departments concerned, which don’t want to annoy their favourite politicians by starting the tanks on their own.

The panchayat ghars and dharmshalas of these villages are in a bad shape. The panchayat ghar and Dalit dharamshala of Milkowal village are in ruins. Due to non-availability of required infrastructure for primary schools, children have to sit in the open in the chilling air. On the other hand, politicians and bureaucrats remain in rooms equipped with heaters and pretend to be making plans which would never be executed to improve the quality of the life of those people.

It has been rightly said that a problem does not come alone. Now these people have been instructed by the Forest Department to vacate 750 acres of greenland and the houses in which they live because the department is planning to control pollution by deserting the hard task masters.

The helpless and poor people cast their votes after every five years with a ray of hope that the new govt might give justice to them but all in vain. Now their only hope is help from God.



RLD, SHSAD form united front
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 12
The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) have formed a joint front to fight the “anti-people” policies of the state and central governments, stated Mr Avtar Singh Janjua, state President, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Punjab, in a press note here today after a meeting of office-bearers of both parties. In Punjab the Lok Dal would be supported by the SHSAD whereas the Lok Dal, which had a strong base in Delhi, would support the SHSAD.

The joint meeting was chaired by Mr Janjua, which was attended by Dr Inderjeet Singh Maggo, state Organising Secretary and Mr Jaswant Singh, state Vice-President of the Sarb Hind Yuva Akali Dal respectively, Mr Balkar Singh Bhau, Senior Vice-President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, and Mr Harbhajan Singh Namdhari, district president.

Vice-President Dr R K Chatur-vedi and General Secretary Anil Kumar of the Rashtriya Lok Dal were present at the meeting. It was felt that the dispute on Punjab waters should have been settled during the previous SAD-BJP government because both the Punjab and Haryana governments were then allies of the NDA regime at the Centre but the Badal government was not serious on the issue.

The present Congress government was also shedding “crocodile tears”.Mr Badal’s boycott of the all party meeting called by the Chief Minister, Punjab, on the issue was a “political stunt”.

In a short period of less than a year, all sections of people, including farmers, employees, workers and traders were fed-up with the working of the government, which had failed to fulfil the promises made to the electorate in the election manifesto.

Both parties would bring about awareness among the people on the policies of the government. 



Facilities in villages top priority
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 12
Punjab Government has declared 2003 as development year during which Rs 80 lakh and Rs 1 crore would be spent on providing facilities in each village with a population of upto 2,000 and above. Priority would be given to those villages already covered under the water supply scheme, said Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, Minister for Public Health and Rural Development, in an interview here last evening the first instalment of Rs 101 crore would be released on January 15 under the Integrated Rural Development Scheme.

Mr Randhawa said in the first phase in each constituency of the state two villages would be selected on recommendations of the MLA concerned. which would be provided urban facilities. Tooran and Ladpur two villages of Mandi Gobindgarh sub-tehsil had already been adopted under this scheme as declared by Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab. The minister said his parental village, Lakha Singh Wala near Amloh, had also been brought under this scheme. The MLA of Amloh would add two more villages. Thus, five villages in this block would be benefited by this scheme.

The minister said for the success of the scheme a special meeting of officers of the Rural Development and Public Health Departments had been convened by Bibi Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Rural Development Minister, for January 15 at Punjab Bhavan, Chandigarh.



Poetry flows at meeting

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 12
A meeting of the Punjabi Sahit Sabha chaired by Mr Mehar Singh Raiwal was held at the local Government Senior School last evening, as stated in a press note. Master Ishar Singh recited his poem “Nawen vareh to zindgi de saz te geet gai jaange.” Bhupinder Bhuri presented a song in his melodious voice “Rulde firan sianey narey koi launda nee,” depicting the neglect of the elderly.

Mr Lakhbir Singh Naraingarh presented “Jo kitey undrley tnhye vekh lenda”. Avtar Bunty gave a call to women to fight for their rights. Mehar Singh Raiwal’s song “Tenu nawey saal diyan sajjana lakh-lakh haun vadhyan vey” was appreciated by all.

Mr Dharam Paul Anwar presented “Nitt nawey gama nall mera vasta penda rhiya” and Mr Surjeet Seet sang “Lok chhad den chudhian da pakh purana.” OC



Two robbers arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 12
The Jagraon police claims to have busted a gang responsible for a spate of robberies and thefts in the city. According to the Jagraon police, the CIA staff nabbed two persons who have confessed their involvement in several cases of theft and robbery.

According to a communication by the district police chief, a police party headed by CIA In charge Jaswinder Singh, SI, arrested Kuljit Singh, a resident of Issewal, and recovered a pistol of .12 bore and with live cartridges. His interrogation led to the arrest of Gurcharan Singh of Faridkot from whose possession ammunition was recovered.

Meanwhile, Makhan Singh, who presented himself before the Civil Judge today, accused the Jagraon police of torturing him. The victim accused the SHO of Sidwan Bet Police station of keeping him in illegal confinement for two days and torturing him.

Hearing the victims tale of woe, the Civil Judge ordered medical examination of Makhan Singh. The Jagraon police claimed it had picked Makhan Singh on January 8 on charges of smuggling opium. The court has ordered a 14-day judicial remand for Makhan Singh.



Bank claims success
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Punjab National Bank has the highest credit-debit ratio among all public-sector banks operating in Punjab — 67.92 — which includes food credit.
According to Mr U.S. Bhargava, General Manager of the PNB, Punjab Zone, the CD ratio of the bank was 48.57 on March 1999, when the deposits of the PNB in Punjab Zone were Rs 7,314 crore and advances Rs 3,553 crore. He said aggressive marketing had made it possible.

More credit flow to farmers with the help of the PNB Krishi Cards and schemes for the SSI sector and retail segment had paid rich dividends in accelerating the pace of credit offtake in the time of recession. The bank’s advances at the end of 2002 increased to Rs 7,440 crore and deposits to Rs 10,954 crore. 



Knitting machinery exhibition
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 12
Notwithstanding the much-claimed slump in the hosiery industry, the two exhibitions, displaying knitting machines, have claimed to have done a good business. While one exhibition organised by Mr Satish Sharma at Welkom Palace concluded today, the other being organised at Maharaja Palace will conclude tomorrow.

The business during the exhibition was not along the expected lines. The exhibitors attributed the relatively low response to the intense cold and also to the slump prevailing in the industry. However, they claimed that the response might not have been overwhelming, but it was not dismal either.

The manufacturers of machines who have set up their stalls in the two exhibitions rued that the dates coincided. They said had the dates not clashed the response would have been very positive and encouraging. "After all the buyers are the same belonging to the same city", a stall owner said.

But the exhibitors maintained that it hardly mattered whether the exhibitions were held simultaneously or not. Instead, the buyers got a good choice. 



Admn’s decision annoys traders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 12
Resentment prevails among small businessmen of the city over the decision of the district administration of not allowing the holding of “Sunday bazaar”. The administration has cited “law and order” as the reason for the decision keeping in view the security requirement for the Republic Day on January 26.

The Ludhiana Clock Tower Association has stated that this has led to chaos and has affect small businessmen who had been putting up this bazaar for the past 50 years. A spokesperson said that “Sunday bazaar” had functioned normally even during the days of terrorism in the state.


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