Sunday, February 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


PUDA notices to 883 violators of bylaws 
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Taking a tough stand against building bylaws violators, the Punjab Urban Development Authority, (PUDA) has issued notices to as many as 883 violators to ‘mend their ways or face stringent action’.

The house of a local resident has already been resumed as he had not constructed the house as per the approved housing plan. The house was taken over by PUDA after the violator allegedly failed to comply with the rules even after receiving several notices.

Notices have been issued to the owners of 211 houses and 672 plots in PUDA colonies for not constructing their houses as per the provisions of building bylaws. A thorough survey was conducted by the authorities during the past three months before taking action. Department sources said more notices were likely to follow.

“We had to takeover the house of a violator under Section 45 of the Regional Planning Act, 1995, as the owner was not taking the notices seriously. He had even gone to the extent of saying that nobody could ever take an action against him.

So we gave him about four months’ time, but when he did not budge from his stand, we resumed the property. Now it is up to the state government to decide on the issue,” said Mr Sudarshan Kumar Sharma, Estate Officer, PUDA.

He said initially 30-day notices had been issued to the defaulters, but he would give more time to them to make changes themselves, otherwise PUDA would be forced to takeover their property.

He said about 50 more such cases had come to his notice and he would soon be sending them letters in this regard. After getting response from them, he would decide on the future course of action. He added whatever might be the circumstances, he would strictly follow the rules till he was there on the post.

He said he was receiving feelers from violators that no official had ever bothered them so much.

He added that the he had joined here only about five months ago and more than 900 violators had already been identified. It would not take much time to identify more such persons, he said.

Mr Kuldip Singh, Administrator, PUDA, said the violators would be dealt with firmly and nobody would be spared.

Some of the persons, who had received notices, had registered their resentment with the authorities.

They said while they had constructed their houses years ago, they were never served any such notices. They further said no officials had ever been so strict with them as they knew that the issue was very sensitive.



Poll honorarium demanded

Machhiwara, February 1
Employees of Punjab who had performed election duty in Jammu and Kashmir are still waiting for their honorarium.

These employees who performed their job at risk to their lives were promised Rs 15000 and Rs 12000 for the elections' phase 3 and phase 2 , respectively, and 80 per cent of the sum was paid to them in advance.

Besides , a daily allowance of Rs 135 per day was promised to pay them. Now after four months , they had yet to receive 20 per cent of the honorarium and DA.

These aggrieved employees have sought the intervention of the Deputy Commissioner to sort out their problem.



Can’t call cops, they haven’t paid bills
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, February 1
As the telephone supply to the Payal police station and the Doraha police post has been off for the past more than a-month-and-a-half due to the non-payment of bills, townsfolk can’t call the police in emergency.

There is a widespread insecurity in the area, as townsfolk say that, in the absence of any telephone link with the police, everyone in the area has become defenceless.

“No matter how great the emergency, immediate police aid is out of reach.

To lodge a complaint, we have to visit the police station, by which time, generally, it is too late,” says a person who lives in the area. Routine crimes, too, cannot be reported, if one does not want to visit the police station.

“We have to spend sleepless nights, as we lack security and cannot alert the police on telephone any longer, if need be,” says a local shopkeeper. Townsfolk have sought an immediate restoration of telephone supply to the police station and the police post.

Mr Gurdip Singh Gosal, head of the Payal police station, and Mr Karnail Singh, head of the Doraha police post, when contacted, said they had already told the Senior Superintendent of Police about the situation.

The Telephone Department has been urged to let the police receive calls, at least, so that, the public may not be inconvenienced.

The Police Department is facing an acute shortage of funds, so, it can’t pay the bills. More funds have been sought from the government.

When asked about this, officials of the Telephone Department said, even after the final intimation to the police before snapping the connections, the incoming-calls service had continued for 15 days. “It has, now, become a routine, forcing us to take such a step,” the officials say.

The police never pays its pending telephone bills; the ultimate sufferer is general public.



BSNL bills not on time
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Thousands of subscribers of the BSNL have been put to undue harassment and financial losses as they could not get bills in time. The subscribers had to collect the bills on their own and pay along with penalty. And a number of those who did not go to collect bills had to pay with their telephone services being disconnected.

Heavy rush of the subscribers could be seen at BSNL counters with people looking for the duplicate copies of their bills. There was unprecedented rush and not many of them could get the duplicate bills.

Rajiv Dogra of Haibbowal, one of the harassed subscribers, said he had not received bill for the past two months. Since the telephones of some of his colleagues had been disconnected, he went to the office himself and traced the bill. It took him a few hours to get a duplicate bill and subsequently deposit it. But not without the penalty.

There were hundreds others who complained that they did not receive the bills. Like Mr Vijay Verma and Mr Amir Chand, whose telephones were disconnected for the non-payment of the bills. They said they were surprised since they had no idea about it as they did not receive the bills. They observed that it was highly unfair on the part of the BSNL to disconnect the telephones without intimating the subscribers.

They pointed out, “It would not take the BSNL more than a telephone call to intimate the subscribers about the non-payment of bills like the private operators before discontinuing the services”.

A senior official of the BSNL regretted any inconvenience caused to the subscribers. However, he said the bills were being sent to the subscribers through courier services. He pointed out that given to the huge to number of subscribers it was quite possible that the delivery of some bills might have got delayed. But most of the subscribers were served the bills in time and there were not many complaints.

He assured that the department would take care that the bills were dispatched and delivered in time to the subscribers.



Wrong report costs woman her life
Ravi Inder S. Makkar

Machhiwara, February 1
Mr Bahadur Singh had got his wife Raj Ravinderpal Kaur medically examined in 2000 at a nursing home for pain in her breast. Doctors said an operation would have to be performed and asked him to bring medicines for operation. After the operation, a sample was sent to Chandigarh and the report mentioned no features of cancer. The doctor concerned told Mr Bahadur Singh not to worry as there was only a swelling which would subside within two or three days.

The patient regularly visited the clinic but was never told that she was suffering from cancer. When her condition deteriorated, she went to the PGI at Chandigarh where a fresh test confirmed some features of cancer. The laboratory which had made the earlier report told them that the PGI report was wrong. Mr Bahadur Singh took the first slide sample to the PGI laboratory for review. The report confirmed the initial findings.

Raj Kaur was operated upon in the PGI and her breast was removed. Later when Mr Bahadur Singh confronted the nursing home doctor, he was threatened with dire consequences.

The victims lodged a complaint with the State Consumer Disputes Redress Commission, Punjab, and the case was decided before the death of the patient. The commission said: “For two and a half months, the complainant had to suffer due to a wrong report and her operation was prolonged. In such circumstances, Rs 50,000 is found to be a just and reasonable compensation to be granted to the complainant. Dr Anju Bhandari of the laboratory is directed to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation along with Rs 5000 as cost of litigation.”

Mr Bahadur Singh now plans to approach the National Consumer Court. He said he didn’t want money but wanted justice.

He appealed to people to be wary of such degree-holders and said tests should be got done only from recognised institutions.



Conductor pushes out student from bus
Our Correspondent

Doraha, February 1
A bus conductor reportedly whistled and blocked the entry of a student who boarding the bus, making him fall.
Jasbir Singh of Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, said after attending college he went to the bus stand where a state roadways bus had stopped. “I was in the process of boarding the bus when the conductor whistled and pushed me out, as a result of which I fell down and received injuries. A bus coming from behind had to apply brakes to avoids running over me,” he said.

Students said it was a routine matter and many a time they had to face harassment at the hands of bus drivers and conductors.

Jasbir Singh has lodged a complaint with the police. The Principal of the college, Mr Jaswant Singh Gill, has also written to the DC, Ludhiana, and the state Transport Minister about the problems of students travelling by buses.



YC to gherao Vajpayee
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
About 10,000 Youth Congress workers from Punjab are likely to participate in a rally to gherao the Prime Minister. The rally will be organised by the Indian Youth Congress on February 4 in New Delhi. The Pradesh Youth Congress president, Mr Devinder Singh Babbu and the senior vice-president, Mr Pawan Dewan, said the arrangements were being made for mobilising the workers.

They said the rally was being organised in protest against the disinvestment process, rise in the tariff of basic telephone services and rise in the prices of petrol and diesel products in the country. They alleged the Vajpayee government was only watching the interests of the rich and the powerful. The leaders pointed out that the Central Government was selling the profit-making public sector units to its favourites.



Judiciary saffronised, says Mann
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The president of the SAD (A) and MP Simranjit Singh Mann today announced that the party would celebrate the birth anniversary of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale on February 12 at Fatehgarh Sahib.

He said the party had chalked out a major agitation programme for taking up the cause of sugarcane farmers, the date for which would be announced after the festivities at Fatehgarh Sahib.

Commenting on the Bathinda refinery imbroglio, he said the Centre should clarify whether the refinery would be set up or not. Either the PM or the top brass of oil companies should disclose the official decision in this context, which was a prestige issue for Punjabis.

Referring to the verdict in the 1984 genocide and the death penalty to Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, he alleged that the judiciary had been "saffronised" and that the minorities were being discriminated against in the dispensation of justice in the country.

While Hindu fundamentalists were having a free run in the country, he pointed out that there was inordinate delay in the persecution of those accused of atrocities against the minorities.

Mr Mann said this feeling had crystallised over the years and had shaken the faith of the minorities in the judicial system in the country. It took the courts 18 years to hear and acquit all main accused in the 1984 genocide, while those accused in the Parliament attack were sentenced to death in just a year, he remarked.

Similarly, the case in the murder of missionary Staines and his two sons was yet to be decided.

In the Bhullar case, Mr Mann said "the presiding judge let him off but the two other judges of the bench chose to convict him. There must be unanimity among the bench members when capital punishment is to be pronounced. This is glaring since the main accused in the case have been acquitted in the past. Moreover, the government has deported Bhullar from Germany, a member of the EU, where death penalty is not awarded", he said.

Coming down heavily on RSS chief K Sudershen, the MP said :" he has spewed venom against the minorities during his visit to Amritsar and hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community. The PM must take notice of the utterances and dissuade him from making such volatile statements future '',he added.

He alleged that the Akalis and the Congress had chosen to remain silent on this issue which could snowball into a major controversy.



SAD (A) morcha from Feb 12
Our Correspondent

Amloh, February 1
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) has served an ultimatum till February 12 on the centre and the Punjab government that in case they fail to make payment for cane to the farmers at the rate of Rs 105 per quintal as announced by the government, the SAD (A) would jam trail and road traffic at the Phillaur bridge indefinitely .

A decision to this extent would be announced during the birth anniversary celebrations of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale on February 12 at Fatehgarh Sahib, said Mr Simranjit Singh Mann during a press conference at the canal rest house here on Thursday.

A meeting of the party had been called at Akalgarh Gurdwara at Ludhiana on February 3 to chalk out details of the agitation.

Mr Mann was critical of the members of parliament, who got elected with 90 per cent votes of the poor but represented the cause of rich industrialists and traders in parliament.

Mr Mann was critical of the views expressed yesterday by RSS chief Sudarshen Babu terming all Sikhs as Hindus, which had hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs. the Punjab Government should file a suit in this connection, he said.

It was also wrong that during partition in 1947 ,the RSS had saved Harmander Sahib. during the Sikh massacre in 1984 at Delhi, why had the RSS not fought against those forces, he asked.



Arrest Sudarshan: Talwandi
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
A senior Akali leader and former president of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, has criticised the remarks made by the RSS chief, Mr K.S. Sudarshan, in which he had reportedly described Sikhs as Hindus and said that Sikh gurus were propagating Hindu religion.

Demanding his immediate arrest under POTA in a statement here today, Mr Talwandi said the RSS chief had shown utter disrespect to Sikh gurus and it could not be tolerated. He called for a meeting of the SGPC executive committee to discuss the situation.

Mr Talwandi said through his objectionable remarks against Sikhs and other minority communities, Mr Sudarshan was trying to incite communal violence in the country. On one side, minority communities were being attacked and on the other, they were being termed as Hindus. “It should be understood once for all that Sikhs and other minorities, being citizens of this country, are beyond doubt Indians, but they are not Hindus.”

He said the RSS had chosen to once again play ‘Hindu card’ with its eyes on the forthcoming Assembly elections. The provocative statement against Sikhs would not only create dissensions and insecurity among members of religious minorities, but would also adversely affect the unity and integrity of the country. Mr Talwandi added that Punjab and its people had already undergone more than a decade of turmoil and such remarks by the RSS chief against Sikh could once again disturb the situation in the state.

In a scathing attack on Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Talwandi expressed his surprise over the ‘studied silence’ being maintained by Mr Badal over the reprehensible conduct of the sangh pariwar. He charged him with ‘playing in the hands of the RSS’ and being a total failure in effectively dealing with anti-Sikh and other blasphemous elements during his five-year rule in Punjab. “It is due to lackadaisical attitude of the SAD leadership and the erstwhile SAD-BJP government that elements like sangh pariwar, Piara Singh Bhaniara, Ashutosh Noormahlia and Sacha Sauda, Sirsa had gained strength in the state,” he alleged.



Residents seek removal of encroachments
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 1
While the Municipal Corporation here claims to be committed to the removal of encroachments, an altogether different approach is adopted when the defaulters are well-connected. This has been alleged by the Dr Kitchlu Nagar Residents Association.

In an unprecedented incident, involving the widening of the main road in a posh locality of Kitchlu Nagar, the scheduled work was put-off and the funds diverted elsewhere in the colony. Besides, the funds for the widening of the road, precisely Rs 11.83 lakh, were spent on the resurfacing of such roads in the area, which were in a reasonably good condition and did not need repair.

Alleging massive irregularities in the utilisation of funds, Mr Varinder Bhakoo, General Secretary of the Dr Kitchlu Nagar Residents Association, lodged a complaint with the state government which has asked the Secretary, Local Bodies, Punjab, to look into the matter.

According to Mr Bhakoo, the underlying reason for the failure of the civic body to execute the scheduled widening of Arneja Lane in the locality is encroachments on both sides of the road by the residents. In some cases, the encroachments are being used for commercial purposes.

An estimate of Rs 11.83 lakh was approved in March, 2001, for the widening of the road and the work order was issued to the contractor in October, 2001. The road width, according to the master plan of the colony, was 60 feet and the work order stated that the 54 feet width be surfaced, leaving 3 feet footpath on each side. However, the contractor found that the actual width of the road was much less due to encroachments as wide as 10-12 feet on each side.

According to the residents, the work for the widening of the road was stalled and the funds diverted for relaying roads in B, D and E Blocks of the colony. Ironically, some of the resurfaced roads in these blocks had been extensively repaired and laid just two years ago. The Residents Association has expressed dismay that the site for the work was changed and the funds diverted in an unauthorised manner. It has further alleged that the contractor was using sub-standard material in relaying roads.



Raise memorial to city heroes

Ludhiana, February 1
Raise a memorial, but only if the intention is good. Great cities perpetuate great memories and good citizens offer gratitude. History is the creation of our love for the past, inspired by a matching curiosity. The story of humanity rests on sustained discovery of sources and the invention of tools of investigation and verification. History, a partial tale of time, stocks more blood than honey.

Nations build institutions, others destroy these; it is the spirit to rise again that deserves a collective salutation. The maker comes first, admirer next. Indian history has heroes who stand higher than the tallest peaks of the Himalayas. Many Punjabis are part of this history, out of which, some are Ludhianvis.

People who admire heroes preserve the past. Kolkata is proud of its Nobel Laureates and Pune worships Shivaji and the Peshwas. There is a well-lit road around Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad. Life-size statues of Andhra greats stand there. Ludhiana has no such thing; maybe we have forgotten our heroes.

We must raise a memorial to our heroes and eminent artists should be commissioned to prepare their portraits. Baba Ram Singh Namdhari, advocate of swadeshi, and Bhagat Puran Singh have done a lot for the poor and the suffering and deserve no less than the Nobel Prize for their work. Kartar Singh Sarabha, Bhai Randhir Singh, Baba Gurmukh Singh and Gen Mohan Singh deserve more honour than given. The Thapars — martyr Sukhdev, Karam Chand Thapar (industry, banking, engineering education), Gurdial Singh Thapar (sport, architecture) — are the other heroes.

We have decorated war heroes like Gen Gurbachan Singh Buch, Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon and Gen T.N. Raina. We have S. Mangal Singh of ‘Hindustan Times’ and Lal Singh Kamla Akali of the ‘Ajit’. The city colleges alumni like space scientist Dr Satish Dhawan, Everest hero Col A. S. Cheema, Sahir and Harkrishan Lall have achievements no less. Mr Hervey, founder Principal of their college, and P.N. Thapar, founder VC of Punjab Agricultural University, are pioneers and city’s pride.

Dr Edith Brown, founder of Christian Hospital College, Sudha Sen, founder of the Government College for Women, and Bibi Harparkash Kaur, founder of Sidhwan Education Institutions, also deserve a place in the hall of fame. Devotional singer Bhai Samual Singh, classical-music wizard Sohan Singh and tabla artist Dalip Singh deserve recognition. Husam-ud-Din to Hans Raj Dhanda in hosiery, Nauharia Singh Kalsi to Baba Gurmukh Singh in mechanical engineering, besides the houses of Hero, Avon, Ralson and Oswal, have a place in history.

The display gallery of Guru Nanak Dev Bhavan can be converted into a hall of fame.

M.S. Cheema



City Walk — a thematic restaurant
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
City Walk, an entirely new theme for an eating place, the first of its kind in the city, has come up at Ferozepur Road at a place earlier known as Vijay Palace. It had a grand opening recently. The theme is of a street surrounded by eating joints with specialities where one can just walk in and pick according to his wish.

All joints serve mouth-watering cuisines at reasonable prices in convenient and customer-friendly ambience. All these restaurants have separate cash counters. The management targets to make deliveries within six minutes of order placement, said Mr Amit Verma, who has just returned from the USA after doing his Masters in Hotel Management from New York University.

He said City Walk had different restaurants on the ground floor which were attended by expert chefs. These included Hot Plate (South Indian), Pizza Boy (Italian), Java Jazz (coffee shop), Mr Lee’s (Chinese), Kold stone (ice cream parlour) and Masala Mix (vegetarian Indian food).

All these worked on a “live kitchen” theme where chefs were available inside the restaurants for direct interaction. A customer could make his own choices or combinations form a large variety of options available and a dish could be prepared accordingly. Pizza Boy would bake 15-inch pizzas, perhaps the biggest in India. And one could even purchase separate slices instead of a whole pizza, he said.

The basement housed Nawab-e-Kebab, an Indian restaurant, offering table service to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. This would have a “fine dine” theme with a fixed menu of salads, snacks, main course and desserts. Here also the chefs with their ovens, stoves and barbeques could be seen to be given direct and even special orders. Something always desired by the people of good taste but hardly ever delivered, claimed Mr Verma.

All these restaurants had a matching custom made ambience suitable to the theme of the restaurant giving City Walk, a unique feel and look. He said City Walk aimed to give its customers a really hassle-free experience and had even provided a kids cabin equipped with games and rides for children. The central street also had sitting areas where one could have a truly international experience in a cool comfortable environment. The staff had been specially trained and hand-picked to make the visitors feel “pampered”, claimed Mr Verma.



Class IV staff hold rally
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 1
Members of the Class IV Government Employees Union organised a protest march in the main bazaar here today and staged a rally in front of the municipal council complex where the indefinite fast of two employees, Kishmiri Lal and Rajinder Kumar, entered its third day. They raised slogans against the “anti-employee” policy of the government.

Addressing the rally, Mr Hari Chand, district president of the union, said the Congress had given an assurance to accept the demands of the employees before coming to power but now the government was moving towards privatisation.

He said Mr Jai Kishan Sharma, MC Executive Officer, had called a meeting of the union on Monday to discuss the demands.



Govt indifferent to industry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February1
The Bharatiya Janata Party, while condemning the exim form imposed by the state government, has said that the Congress government in Punjab appears to be completely indifferent to the ailing condition of trade and industry and is pursuing policies that would destroy the economy.

The state secretary of the party, Mr Anil Sareen, said in a statement here today that trade and industry were undergoing an unprecedented recession.

Unmindful of the damage this would cause to the crisis- ridden trade and industrial establishments, the government had gone ahead with repeated hikes in power tariff and 'repressive' laws.

He charged the government headed by Cap Amarinder Singh with lacking direction, vision and grip on the administration.

In a fervent appeal to all trade and industrial organisations, the BJP functionary asked them to unite on a single platform to launch a mass agitation against the' black laws and anti-trade policies' of the government.

He said the party would stand by them in this hour of crisis.

\Attacking self- styled trade leaders, who were blindly supporting the Congress government, Mr Sareen challenged them to come to the rescue of trade and industry.

Meanwhile, a meeting of office bearers of district and mandal units of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha held here today decided that the signature campaign of the party against terrorism would be completed by February 7.

Mr Sanjay Kapoor, general secretary of the district unit of the BJYM said the mandal presidents would render their weekly progress reports to the district leadership on each Monday when they would also be given further guidelines.

The following were nominated in charge of mandal units in the city : Mr Surinder Kapila (west mandal), Mr Aman Kumar (north mandal), Mr Satvir Garg (south mandal), Mr Bharat Bhushan Sharma (south - B mandal) and Mr Vipin Jain (east mandal).



Industry opposes exim form
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 1
The Punjab Government's notification of January 13 to impose exim form without considering related problems is great injustice to trade and industry, said. Mr Bharat Bhushan Jindal, president and Mr J.P. Sharma, general secretary, of the Steel Chamber in a joint statement. The trade and industry in the state would oppose tooth and nail the decision of the government to introduce exim form with retrospect effect from October last year.

With implementation of this decision, the trade and industry would be brought practicably under the thumb of excise and taxation officials for all intents and purposes, giving rise to corrupt practices. Punjab totally depended on other states for industrial inputs, which would cause delay in imports. 



Knitting contest for jawans’ wives
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
Vardhman Spinning and General Mills Limited in association with the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) organised a knitting contest for wives of Army jawans. Over 100 women ladies participated in the contest at Dholewal Army Complex.

AWWA is committed to work for the welfare of “fauji” families. It undertakes vocational courses and personality development programmes for women and educational programmes for children.

The chief guests were Mr V.K. Goyal, Chief Executive of the mills, Mr Mahesh Arora, Vice-President (Vardhman), Brig Sunil Dhawan and Col Ranjit Kumar.

The judges were Mr Harish Bhatia, in charge of hand-knitting and fancy yarn, Vardhman, Ms Rita Dhawan, (AWWA), and Mrs Harjit Chhabra, a knitting expert. The following are the results — Ms U. Sangeeta (1), Ms Lakshmi Devipal (2) and Ms Kusum Lata Rai (3).

Ms Nirmala, Ms Rajesh Dev, Ms Ashu Dabbas, Ms Parvati Krishnadev, Ms V.J. Latha, Ms Manju Prasad, Mr Manju Lal and Ms Sonia Verma got consolation prizes.


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