Sunday, February 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


PSEB raids 170 premises
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
The Enforcement Wing of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today carried out large scale raids on all categories of consumers across the state. The board has constituted 39 teams for the purpose and raids were today carried in Amritsar and Jalandhar.

In Ludhiana, scores of officials in 22 teams today fanned out across the city and raided the premises of some industrial and domestic consumers. The raids were conducted in the distribution divisions of Focal Point, Model Town, Janata Nagar, Estate, City Central, City South, CMC and Sundernagar. The meters of all categories of consumers were checked.

The sources said 170 premises were checked in which irregularities in 50 cases were detected which pertained to overload, wrong connections to slow down the reading besides tampering with the meter. Fines of more than Rs 25 lakh were levied on defaulters, the sources added.

The motive behind such an elaborate cross-checking exercise was not only to nail the defaulters but also to check the functioning of the local enforcement wing.This also ensures that a maximum number of connections would be checked in one go and discourage any cover-ups, the sources added.

A spokesperson for the board said there was no political motive behind the exercise and such unscheduled raids would be a regular affair from now on. More raids had been planned in all major cities in the state and the schedule had already been given to the enforcement wing. All raids would be conducted under the supervision of the Director, Enforcement and the Chief Engineer of the wing.

It has also been cautioned that while no defaulter should be allowed to go scot-free, innocent consumers should not feel harassed. The board has also appealed to the consumers to desist from wrong practices which will land them in trouble besides affecting power supply in the state.


Go! Get it, say cricket fans
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 8
Inconsistent performance by the Indian team during the last couple of tournaments notwithstanding, cricket mania is gripping the city and the game fans are keenly awaiting the event to get start. This mega event is slated to start tomorrow, February, 9 in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and the final is scheduled for March 23.

The Indian team, which had scripted a memorable victory over England in July last year in England and thereafter faired equally well in the ICC Trophy matches in Colombo, disappointed the people against the West Indies during the home series and then early this year failed to come up with their reputation against New Zealand, losing in the Test matches as well the instant version of the game.

During an interaction with a number of game followers, this correspondent found that there is great enthusiasm and interest among the youth despite the fact that the annual exams are about to begin early next month. The elders, too, have drawn out their schedule in order to spare time to watch the matches, particularly those involving India.

Meanwhile, students of different colleges have compiled signatures to wish the Indian team good luck for the upcoming tournament. These messages would be sent to the Board of Control for Cricket in India to further deliver the same to the team members in South Africa.

And to encash this excitement, some companies have come up with attractive schemes to lure customers. A number of television manufacturing companies have introduced packages such as four year- World Cup to World Cup warranty, scratch scheme with prizes like tickets to witness the matches. The shopkeepers, dealing in these items confirmed that there was a good response to the new schemes and expressed hope that the sales might witness increase once the World Cup got underway.

India are placed relatively in a tough pool ‘A’ which has Australia, Pakistan, England, Zimbabwe, Holland and Namibia, while pool ‘B’ comprises hosts South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Kenya and Canada.

India begin their title hunt on February 12 against minnows Holland at Paarl.


Congress bags top ZP posts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
The Congress has bagged the positions of Chairperson and Vice-Chairman of the Zila Parishad, Ludhiana, with its candidates Ms Mohinder Kaur Dangian and Mr Bhalinder Singh Advocate being elected unanimously. Mr S. R Kaler, Deputy Director, Local Bodies, was the Returning Officer for the election.

The name of Ms. Mohinder Kaur Dangian (SC) for the post of Chairperson was proposed by Mr Bhajan Singh Barsal, member, ZP, and was seconded by Mr Kulwinder Singh Manewal. Since no other proposal was received for the post of Chairperson, Ms. Dangian was declared elected unanimously. The name of Mr Bhalinder Singh (general) for Vice-Chairman was proposed by Mr Manjit Singh Hambran and seconded by Mr Avtar Singh Gill. He too was elected unanimously.

Prominent among others who were present on this occasion to congratulate the newly elected-office bearers included Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister, Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib and Mr Shamsher Singh Dulo (both MPs), Mr Amrik Singh and Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha (both MLAs) and others.


Baba dupes 15, arrested
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, February 8
The local police has arrested a self-styled baba who is reportedly facing charges under Section 420 of the IPC at Handyaia police station for allegedly duping 15 innocent persons on the pretext of sending them abroad with his kirtini jathas.

According to Mr Amandeep Singh Rai, SSP, Sangrur, an anonymous caller informed Mr Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu, DSP, Malerkotla, that a man of suspicious character was roaming in the town along with a firearm. He deputed the local police to trace the man and investigate the matter. A police party headed by Mr Mahavir Saini, ASI, succeeded in nabbing a youth dressed like a preacher.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the person who was later identified as Jasbir Singh, was a swindler who had earlier been booked by the Handiyaia police under Section 420 for allegedly duping as many as 15 innocent persons on the pretext of sending them abroad. The amount collected by him was estimated to be around Rs 1 crore by the district police. It was revealed that Jasbir Singh, who had been preaching religion and holding ‘diwans’ in the rural belt of Malwa for a long time, originally belonged to Bankar Gujjran village of the district. He along with his associates had grabbed a gurdwara at Naiwala village. Within a short span of time he became the owner of many luxurious cars and buses. He used to move around with a couple of armed ‘sevadars’ and at one time came in confrontation with Baba Daler Singh, another saint of his own age. Mohan Singh of Mushkabad, was one of Jasbir Singh’s victims who had been duped of Rs 5 lakh, which was paid to him (Jasbir Singh) as an advance payment out of Rs 7 lakh demanded for sending him abroad. Neither could Mohan Singh go abroad nor Jasbir Singh returned the money.


MC poll: bogus votes worry candidates
D.B. Chopra

Ahmedgarh, February 8
The prospect of bogus voting is causing a great deal of concern to new candidates contesting the municipal council poll likely to be held in the first week of March.

Several candidates, who are entering the fray for the first time, are faced with the uphill task of identifying such votes and reporting to the authorities concerned about the discrepancies found by them in the voters’ lists. They allege that those councillors who have been in power for the past one or two terms, have managed to create hundreds of votes in their wards to perpetuate their rule.

A first-time candidate from ward number nine has sent in his objection to the Election Commission at Chandigarh against 165 votes which had been incorporated in the voters’ list to ‘ensure the victory of the present councillor’. The candidate , after conducting a door-to-door survey, has furnished a list of these bogus votes citing reasons. He has pointed out that persons living in Chandigarh and even Canada have been listed as voters for the municipal polls. People living in villages around the town have also been enlisted as voters. Then there are persons who have expired but their names continue to figure in the voters’ list. All such votes, surmises the candidate, would be polled in favour of the candidate defending his seat in order to ensure a smooth sailing for him.

Another new entrant contesting the poll from another ward had also identified 27 votes which had been at a single address that had only a tiny room. Following his objections, however, these votes were deleted from the list.

A careful scrutiny of the voters’ lists of various wards reveals that some of the votes simultaneously exist in more than one or two wards. Like , there are a couple of votes which exist in ward number 12 and 9 at the same time. Experienced poll observers told this correspondent that such cross-voting was the result of a mutual understanding between councillors of different wards.

The role of some of the employees of the local municipal council, who have been associated with work on the voters’ list in the past, has also come under a cloud with the detection of bogus votes. Recently, a superintendent posted at municipal council, Gobindgarh, and four others were found guilty of tampering with voters’ lists by the Election Commission and were punished.

However, when Mr S.P. Sharma, Executive Officer of the local MC was contacted by this correspondent , he said his subordinates were nowhere in the picture in the making of bogus votes and it was up to the SDM at Malerkotla to take any action in the matter. 


Probe purchase of shoes: jail guards
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
Members of the Punjab Jail Guards Association have demanded a high-level inquiry into the shoe purchase done by the Jails Department during the last year. The members alleged that the quality of shoes issued to them was very poor.

They stated that they would observe a dharna outside all jails of the state in protest against the non-issuance of uniforms to them for the last five years.

They claimed that while the entire northern region was shivering due to biting cold wave this season, jail guards had to discharge their duties round the clock without woollen uniforms.

They threatened that if their ‘‘just’’ demands were not met they would be forced to intensify their agitation. They said they had made representations to the top authorities also but to no avail.

Mr Gurdeep Singh, President of the Jail Guards Association, said if they were not issued uniforms within a fortnight they would sit on a dharna outside all state jails on February 20 from 12 noon to 2 pm.

The guards, most of whom belong to the lower income group were paid very low salaries and could not afford to buy good quality woollens on their own.


Kalpana’s link with city

Kalpana Chawla's first space-voyage was historic, it made her a living legend. She earned name and world-wide fame and became a celebrity. The US hailed her success. India had an event of national pride. The Chawla family of Karnal stood at the summit of joy. The Pahwa family of Ludhiana distributed sweets. Lighted up their residence and shared greetings with many others. It was then that the neighbours recollected bubbly Munto, who had become famous now as Kalpana Chawla!

Model Town, Civil Lines, Atam Nagar, Naya Mohalla and Millerganj phones rang. Many called Chawlas at Karnal and Delhi. Some went to congratulate her parents and grand-parents.

Chawlas and Pahwas had migrated from Gujranwala. Lala Labha Mal Chawla, grand father of Kalpana Chawla, and Lala Ram Lubhaya Pahwa belonged to several inter-related families of yore. Sudarshna Pahwa, daughter of L. Ram Lubhaya, wedded Darshan Lal Chawla, an uncle (chacha) of Kalpana Chawla. This relationship brought Karnal and Ludhiana closer, industrially also. Chawla brothers: Banarsi Lal, Amrik Chand, Darshan Lal and Satish Chander raised an industrial estate at G T Road junction at Karnal bypass, Delhi-side. Super Tyres emerged as a pioneer. Sons of L. Ram Lubhaya, Sant Parkash and Om Parkash, took it as model. They knew nothing about manufacturing or cycle business. An industrial miracle took place on the same G T Road. This time at Dhandari-Ludhiana. The initials of saintly and simple person, Ram Lubhaya-R L , were joined by a vowel(A) for pronunciational requirement to be followed by son, symbolising the Pahwa Sons. Thus, Super Tyres led to Ralson. It expanded to several units and factories, brand names and products!

The tale of two cities and industrial houses, families and relatives, has a significant chapter throwing light upon the potential and psyche of two young girls. Kalpana Chawla and Neeraj Pahwa. Both were born in 1961. Ms Sudershna Chawla, chachi of Kalpana Chawla is also bhua of Neeraj Pahwa. Thus the girls grew closely as loving cousins, agemates and classmates. They also shared academic interests.

Both joined best schools of their cities, passed the class X with science subjects. Neeraj was advised to do Pre-engg. Kalpna's imagination got better of her. Both shared dreams. Kalpana joined Dyal Singh College Karnal for Pre-engg. As no women college in Ludhiana then had this provision, therefore, Neeraj joined S D College, Ambala. Girls often met, kept corresponding. Both did academically well. Kalpana loved stars and skies, Neeraj her home and hearth. Kalpana visited Ludhiana and shared her cooking talents and sense of cleanliness.

Kalpana joined Panjab Engineering College, Chandigarh and opted for the most challenging branch of specialisation. Neeraj was on the merit list of Thapar Engineering College, Patiala. By sheer bad luck her car developed trouble on a rainy day and she missed her interview. A waiting list candidate got chance. Neeraj did M.Sc. (Maths) from Government College, Ludhiana.

Kalpana proved true to her name. She dreamt high. Aimed for the sky. Established her imaginative potential as a star. Neeraj, the Kanwal, is realistic, down to earth. A successful wife and mother of two sons. Kalpana symbolises space. Neeraj, the mother earth.

The Chawlas and Pahwas are inspired by Sant Baba Nikka Singh. A tribute, namely ashram/school/senior citizens home, stands at Karnal. Kalpna's grand father's samadhi is there. Her uncle, Amrik Chand Pahwa, following in the footsteps of his father, is fully devoted to Karnal Nirmal hermitage and Ashram. No two families are as alike.

M.S. Cheema


Geri route: debate

As the countdown for Valentine’s Day begins, lovers have already made plans for celebrating the day that exclusively belongs to them. The two popular geri routes for lovers — one in the Sarabha Nagar market and the other opposite Khalsa College for Women, Ghumar Mandi — are again the places to be watched and looked upon with envy as the youngsters zoom past each other, some with their beloveds and others in search of them.

At the same time, there is a debate going on — whether these geri routes should be left open or closed since there are some unscrupulous elements who spoil the show. While most of the youngsters want the routes to remain opened, albeit with adequate security arrangements, there are others who suggest that the routes should be closed to avoid any untoward incident. Both youths and their parents are invited to email their views not exceeding 150 words at for reproduction in this newspaper.


Stress management seminar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
The six-day national level vertical interaction programme for senior police officers of different states of India and paramilitary forces on the theme of 'Stress Management for High Stress Managers' concluded today at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur. The programme was attended by officers of the rank of Additional DGPs, IGPs, DIGs, Commandants and SPs of the country.

According to Dr G.S. Aujla, Director Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, eminent speakers and renowned experts interacted with delegates. Apart from these sessions various games, video presentations and psychological awareness sessions along with cultural programmes were included in the programme. The valedictory address was delivered by Mr Joginder Singh.


IT Dept, industry should ‘interact’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
The Income Tax Department has sought the cooperation of the industry for its smooth functioning and mutual benefit. Addressing a function organised by the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Mr Sudhakar Verma, emphasised on the need for greater interaction between the department and the industry.

He said the mutual fear and mistrust needed to be removed for the interest of the both. He pointed out, taxation was an important job and it had to be enforced. He said the number of Income Tax payees was increasing. "But we have to go a long way as there are only one crore tax payers in a population of about 100 crore", he pointed out.

Reacting to various demands of different industrial and trade associations he said, the IT department always did its level best to ensure smooth relationship with the industry and the tax payers. On the demand that the department should reduce the number of surveys, he expressed his helplessness and pointed out their importance. He argued, the department never conducted surveys without any justification and disclosed, a lot of spade work was done before it was conducted.

On the issue of refunds, Mr Verma said, the refunds had been cleared for those who had filed their returns till April 1, 2002. He maintained that the work was being speeded up and the returns would be refunded at the earliest. He revealed that so far an amount of Rs 75 crore had already been refunded by the department to various tax payers.

He stressed on the need for getting the PAN cards issued and added that so far 40,000 PAN cards had been issued from here only. He underlined the need for giving clear and correct address for the PAN cards. He said, 22,000 PAN cards had returned undelivered as the addresses were found to be incorrect. 


PSB sets Rs 1150 cr business target
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
The Ludhiana zone of Punjab and Sind Bank (PSB) which has already crossed the total business of Rs 1050 crore has set a further target of Rs 1150 crore by the end of this financial year ending March 31.

Disclosing this here today, the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the Bank, Mr N.S. Gujral said, the bank which was a leading bank of the district had 52 branches of which six were specialised branches. In addition, one service branch is also here which is providing service of the clearance of local and outstation cheques/drafts. The cheques and drafts received from outstation upcountry branches are cleared within the shortest possible time.

He said the progress on achieving targets like core deposits, advances, non fund business, NPA recovery, profit and house keeping was very encouraging. As on date the bank has achieved 92 per cent of targets set for the reduction of NPA and achieved 75 per cent of target of non fund income and profit of 2002-03 and has also achieved 55 per cent of the budget of the core deposit.

In priority sector lending the zone was also leading and had surpassed the targets. The priority sector advances are 67 per cent of the total advances against the national goal of 40 per cent. The Bank ‘kisan credit scheme’ was very popular among the farmers. It had already issued more than 7500 PSB kisan credit cards to eligible farmers, he disclosed.

The zone had already disbursed more than Rs 70 crore under retail lending with special emphasis on housing loans, education loans and trading activities. He said, “in housing finance our bank was offering minimum floating rate 8.75 and EMI was also lowest which had also been highlighted by “Times” property edition dated January 25.

Recently on January 15, the zone had taken a lead by converting the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle branch into the Women Entrepreneur Branch. It is the first such branch in the North India.

The Chairman said, the Zone had won the Raj Bhasha Shield (first prize ) for 2001-2002. He said, the bank was actively engaged in the recovery of NPAs. So far an amount of Rs 5.30 crore had been recovered in NPA accounts and it was expected that by March 31 this year another amount of Rs 3.55 crore would be recovered. Thus a minimum amount of Rs 8.50 crore would be recovered in this financial year 2002-03.

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