Tuesday, February 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


NRI’s 3-yr-old son found dead
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, February 17
Panic has gripped the residents of Ashahur village, near here, after the recovery of the body of a three-year-old boy from a field today afternoon. The boy, one of the three sons of an NRI, had gone missing under mysterious circumstances from his house yesterday afternoon.

The incident assumes significance following a spate of incidents of crime against children. A couple of children were found dead under similar circumstances in Ludhiana and Jalandhar recently.

Ajay Kumar had gone missing from his house on Sunday. Vijay Kumar, child’s father, is an NRI settled in Greece. The family was likely to leave for Greece shortly. All efforts by the family members and villagers to trace him proved futile. The family’s worst fear came true when some villagers spotted the body in a field on the outskirts of the village. A pall of gloom descended on the village soon after the news broke in.

Police sources said no clue to the cause of the death had been established. The child apparently died of asphyxia as no injuries were found on any part of the body. Also, there were no strangulation marks on the neck. The police has ruled out any attempt on the child to sodomise him.

The police said the family did not suspect anybody in the case. It had not received any demand for ransom or threat call. The post-mortem examination conducted at the local Civil Hospital also failed to suggest the cause of death. Sources said the cause of death could not be ascertained as there were no injury marks on the body. The viscera has been sent for a chemical examination. Police said it had started the investigation but would wait for the chemical examination report.



Juhi Babbar pins hope on ‘KAHH’
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, February 17
To promote her debut movie “Kash Aap Hamare Hote”, (KAHH) Raj Babbar along with his daughter, Juhi Babbar, were in the city late last evening. Juhi looked very fetching though a little nervous as she felt that the release of her first movie was at the time when cricket fever was running high among the city people.

In a press conference just before her film started in Orient Cinema, Raj Babbar , the film actor, and producer of the film said,” We are Punjabis and our are roots are deeply embedded in the Punjabi culture. If you people appreciate our movie, we will feel our efforts have met with success.” Ravinder Peepat, the director of the movie, was also with the father daughter duo.

Talking to media Juhi said,” We have worked very hard on this film. It has got a powerful script, tight direction, and we, actors have given our best and we do hope that audience will like the movie. The big problem that we face is a massive competition from World Cup. I am a through patriot and I do want my country to win. But at this point of time, I would like people to focus their attention on “Kash Aap Hamare Hote” as Indians are not doing too well at the moment.”

Juhi said she would wait and watch and if the movie was successful she would make films as her career and if the film flops at the box-office, then she will fall back on her career as a dress designer. As it is in Hindi films, heroes hog all the limelight. Hardly there are any heroine oriented films. She also said she would love to act in a Punjabi film provided that it had a strong story line and a good script.

Juhi said she was thrilled to be in Punjab as she was proud to be a Punjabi. Raj Babbar said he felt that his daughter had done a good job in the film. He said objectively speaking her daughter has spontaneity, is sincere and hard working. She has taken after her mother Nadira Babbar as far as passion for work was concerned. He and Juhi both also had a good word for the hero Sonu Nigam who they feel has a lot of talent.

Ravinder Peepat who originally hails from Khanna left Khanna 25 years ago for archlights. He has directed Waris, Lal Dupatta and many others. He said that given a choice , he would repeat the same leading pair.



Invigilators ‘absent’ from board exams
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, February 17
Lack of invigilators for Class VIII examination continues to be a major problem at most of the centres of the Punjab School Education Board.
Since the duty of invigilation in most of the city schools has been assigned to teachers from Samrala, Jandiali, Alamgir and other areas on the outskirts of the city, most of them fail to reach their centres in the morning.

This becomes a problem for the superintendents at the centres who have to urge teachers from nearby schools to take up the charge instead. At times, when the teachers from nearby schools cannot be arranged, it becomes a problem for the school authorities who have to daily spare their staff from the primary sections for the purpose.

Due to this the normal functioning of the school gets disturbed.

At Guru Harkrishan Public School, four of the seven teachers have not turned up on any of the three days of examination. On request of the centre superintendent, Principal Hardial K. Chhina had to depute four teachers for duty in the examination hall. She said she had apprised the local Education Department authorities of her problem but was told that the same situation existed in many schools.

At Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School, where 201 students are appearing in the examination, two of the seven teachers have not joined the duty ever since the examination started. The superintendent approached the school principal with the problem, who then deputed his computer teacher and librarian for the duty.

Mr M.R. Bhatia, Principal, New Senior Secondary School, Civil Lines, said he, too, had a few invigilators in his school.

In contrast to such grim situations in most of the schools, the board has appointed 14 invigilators at Sanatan Vidya Mandir for 252 students. Ms Sadhna Sharma, Principal, said she had appointed two teachers from Shishu Niketan as two of the deputed teachers were not coming on duty.



Cup of misery for many
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
The excessive excitement about the World Cup cricket seems to have fizzled out with the miserably poor performance of the Indian team, including that of Sachin Tendulkar. While the performance of the team in its initial match against Holland was disappointing but against Australia it proved to be too hopeless to leave any scope for further expectations.

The trade and industry seem to be the worst hit by the poor performance of the Indians against the Australians. Everything seems to have gone topsy turvy for the businessmen, particularly the city hoteliers and the dealers of the consumer items, as they had pinned great hopes on the cricket.

Interestingly on the day on India-Australia match, hotel Maharaja had announced various schemes for India’s victory and fours, sixers and the fall of the opponents’ wickets. Ironically, only one sixer was hit during the Indian innings and only one wicket claimed by them and that too in the dying moments of the game, when the outcome of the game had been as good as decided.

Almost all hotels and restaurants had planned special programmes during the course of the Cup hoping to cash in on the World Cup euphoria. Now all of them, without any exception, feel shattered. “Each one of us had made investments worth lakhs of rupees to provide different and suitable ambience during the World Cup, but the Indian team has disappointed everyone”, said Mr N.S. Nanda, president of the Punjab Hotel and Restaurant Association.

The giant screens installed at various places are hardly left with any viewers with the common refrain from everywhere being that the Indian team should withdraw from the World Cup. “They have been consistently miserable in their performance”, said Mr K.B. Kapoor, an ardent cricket fan.

While the euphoria about the game was so much that every single showroom had displayed banners praying for Indians’ good performance but the team’s poor show against Australia seems to have prompted most of them to remove all these banners overnight. “God helps those who help themselves and in their (Indians’) case even God cannot help as they are not prepared to do anything themselves”, said Mr Vipin Gupta, proprietor of the Hind Sarees at Cemetery Road.



Rakh Bagh to get new lease of life
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 17
The historic Rakh Bagh complex in the city is all set to have a new lease of life. Perhaps the only major recreation centre with lush green lawns and thick cover of trees in olden days, the complex had run into an extended bad patch due to poor maintenance and neglect.

Though attempts were made in the past as well to restore the lost glory of the most popular place for morning walkers, joggers and others seeking a whiff of fresh air during the evening but half hearted measures did not have the desired results. Besides a jogging track, an oval park, an old swimming pool and a mini-train for children, the complex is surrounded by an international standard new swimming pool, a squash court, a gymnasium and parking facilities.

According to Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, the complex would be intensively beautified and developed as a picnic spot under an ambitious plan. The civic body had called for suggestions and designs from leading architects and consultants before a final plan is devised for this purpose. “Under the beautification plan, in addition to the other infrastructure and required facilities, the jogging track along the inner boundary of the park will be relaid, adequate lights will be provided, new toilet sets will be constructed and a musical fountain will be installed.”

The comprehensive beautification plan for Rakh Bagh also envisaged a new international standard gymnasium and an ultra modern club in the place of old swimming pool. The proposed new complex would have a swimming pool, another squash court facilities for other sports for the city residents.



MC: water not contaminated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 17
In the wake of reports that water supplied to the Issa Nagri colony in the city — where a few cases of jaundice and other water-borne diseases had been reported — was contaminated, the Municipal Corporation authorities today asserted water supplied in the area was chlorinated and potable.

The Superintending Engineer (O and M) of the corporation said in a statement here that all 10 water samples drawn from different sources in the area on February 14 and 15 were found duly chlorinated and fit for human consumption. Therefore, the outbreak of jaundice could not be attributed to contaminated water supply. One complaint of contamination of water was received from the area on February 6 which was immediately rectified, he claimed.

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Variation in temperature brings ailments
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, February 17
The increase and then sudden decline in the temperature in the last many days has brought with it many ailments like cold, cough, mild fever and bodyache to the city residents. Medical experts confirm that people complaining of many other problems like bad throat, acute gastroenteritis and viral infections were pouring in at various city hospitals and clinics due to the fluctuation in the temperature.

Dr Gursharan Singh, president, IMA, Ludhiana, said on an average he was getting 10-15 such patients everyday at his clinic. “These present symptoms of cold, cough, bodyache and throat pain. Though these are not serious ones, the infection is communicable. When the temperature rises, people start removing their woollens, which is wrong. The warm clothes of children especially should not be removed immediately. They catch virus easily, so precautions are a must. Patients also come up with gradual problems of cold, cough, bodyache and mild fever these days”, said Dr Gursharan.

Dr S.Khurana, a paediatrician near Dandi Swami, said that he received cases of children with cough, running nose and mild diarrhoea. “The virus multiples in this season. Children catch the chill easily and their warm clothes should not be given up soon”, stressed Dr Khurana.

Meanwhile, health officials also reported more than half-a-dozen cases of jaundice in some of the localities, including Dugri and Issanagri, allegedly on account of contaminated water supply in the area. The area residents complained that contaminated water was being supplied to them for the past many days and they had complained about it to the authorities concerned but no action was taken by them, they alleged.

Some of the residents maintained that they were getting yellow-coloured water in the area. One of the residents said, “Everyone can not afford to have a water-purifier. It is the duty of the government to provide us pure water.”

Meanwhile, Dr S.N.Tiwari, Civil Surgeon, and Dr R.C.Garg, District Health Officer, could not be contacted as they were on leave. Dr A.S.Chawla, however said that the department had already taken five samples from the affected area and the report was still awaited.



‘Mini bus service to start soon’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
The district administration today assured the city residents that the local transport system will soon be introduced in the city and mini buses will ply on the roads to help check the ever growing pollution.

Reacting to a Tribune report, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Agarwal said the introduction of mini buses was in the last leg. He said the selection process to issue new route permits of the mini buses for providing a dependable and efficient local bus service had already started and the candidates seeking route permits were being interviewed.

Giving details the Deputy Commissioner who is also Regional Transport Authority for Ludhiana city area said in response to the advertisements given in the newspapers for the allotment of route permits, total 278 applications were received.

He said to allot route permits for route numbers 1 to 10, around 129 applications were called for interviews by the selection committee headed by him on February 10 and for route numbers 11 to 20, as many as 149 applicants were called on February 11. On both the days, 234 applicants appeared for the interview to seek the route permits along with the desired documents, where as, 44 applicants did not turned up. The Deputy Commissioner further informed that to give another opportunity to these 44 absentee applicants, they have been called for interview on February, 21. For this purpose separate letters have been issued to them.

Referring to the importance of the special local bus service for the city, Mr. Agarwal said it was the only way to control the fast increasing vehicular traffic caused by the illegal Auto- Rickshaws plying on the roads in large numbers and to provide a dependable and efficient bus service to the commuters. He said after completing the interview, 74 route permits would be allotted to selected candidates and they would be asked to bring their buses on the routes with in a stipulated period positively.



BKU for Ganga-Yamuna link canal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 17
The Bhartiya Kisan Union has urged the Union Government to take up the construction of Ganga-Yamuna link canal to provide river water to Haryana since the state of Punjab had no surplus water.

In a meeting with the Prime Minister Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee in New Delhi, the BKU President Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, and the secretary general, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, maintained that there was no point in providing river water from the SYL Canal to Haryana which was in the Ganga-Yamuna basin. They further told the Prime Minister that in view of alarming fall in the ground water level in Punjab, the state might not have enough river water for its own requirement and the diversion of water to Haryana through SYL canal would adversely affect farm operation in Punjab.

The BKU functionaries expressed solidarity with agitating farmers in Gurdaspur where the office of the Deputy Commissioner was under siege. They called upon the government to immediately concede the demand of the farmers for payment of sugarcane arrears and spot payment for the fresh crop.

Mr Lakhowal and Mr Kadian expressed grave concern over marginal increase in the procurement price of some rabi crops and no enhancement in the MSP of wheat, saying the decision was disastrous for the farming community. Demanding remunerative prices for the farm produce, they pointed out that on the basis of price index of 1966-67, the prices of farm machinery, fertilisers, labour and other inputs had gone up by more than 40 per cent whereas the hike in the prices of farm produce was between 20 and 25 per cent. The BKU activists called for revision in the MSP of wheat at Rs 980 per quintal and those of pulses and oil seeds at Rs 2860 per quintal.

According to Mr Lakhowal, a special meeting of the BKU would be held here on March 1 to discuss pending demands of the farmers and modalities of the proposed agitation to focus on the problems of sugarcane growers.

Meanwhile, the district president of BKU (Ekta), Mr Darshan Singh Koohli, has condemned the Centre’s decision of maintaining the MSP of wheat at the prevailing level. He said the anti-farmer move of the government was influenced by the WTO policies.

Mr Koohli rued that the increasing gap between the prices of farm inputs and the agricultural produce had pushed the farmers in the ever increasing debt burden with the result that farmers were forced to commit suicides. He gave a call to the farmers to be prepared for a decisive battle against the government to seek a remunerative price for wheat crop which worked out to be a minimum of Rs 790 per quintal.



YC demonstration against NDA govt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
Youth Congress activists today staged a demonstration against the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre for its ‘wrong policies’ and for having ‘failed the expectations of the people’. The demonstration was led by the District Youth Congress president, Mr Parminder Mehta. They also handed over a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner to be forwarded to the President of the India seeking dismissal of the NDA government.

Addressing the demonstrators Mr Mehta alleged that the NDA government was pursuing the communal and sectarian agenda which had only contributed to creating fissures in Indian society. He alleged that the NDA government was being guided more by the Sangh Parivar, including the VHP, Bajrang Dal and the Shiv Sena, than by the secular democratic principles as enshrined in the Constitution.

The YC leader warned that in case the activities of these forces were not tamed, they would lead to anarchy. Making a strong case for the dismissal of the government, Mr Mehta alleged that it had only added to the problems of the people. Moreover, he said it was not only communalism but also corruption which had become the hallmark of the NDA government. He pointed out the Tehelka expose was a live and irrefutable evidence against the government as to how corrupt it was.

He also criticised various policies of the NDA government like the hike in the prices of diesel and petrol. Besides, he pointed out, the NDA government had also proposed to enhance the tariff of the telephones and it was no longer going to be the poor man’s telephone. He claimed there were several other ‘anti-people policies’ which the government was pursuing just for its own vested interests.

The Congress leader also condemned the ‘failure’ of the NDA government to curb terrorism in the country.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Mr Balbir Billa, Sarbjeet Bunty, Nek Chand, Nirmal Virk, Mushtaq Alin, Daljit Bhandari, Jasveer Gill, Inderpreet Parmar, Kewal Arora, Ashok Arora, Rakesh, Rajinder Kala and others.



‘Akal Takht Jathedar will not be removed’
Our Correspondent

Khamano, February 17
The SAD has full sympathy for the widows of 1984 riot victims but Akal Takht Jathedar will not be removed as demanded by them. This was disclosed by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister, while talking to mediapersons after a social function at Maneli village, near here. He was here to attend the bhog ceremony of Jathedar Prem Singh Maneli, Circle President of SAD, Khamano.

When asked by mediapersons that why the issue of death sentence had not been raised by SAD, he said SAD was also against the death sentence and representatives of the party had been included in the committee, constituted to take this matter with the authorities concerned and SAD would stand by the decision taken by this committee.

He said SAD had always fought against repression. He flayed the repression let loose on Akali leaders and workers by the present Congress Government in the state and charged the government of closing all beneficial schemes for poor people, started by the Akali government.

He declared that SAD would continue its struggle against injustice and anti people policies of the state government.

Former MP Bibi Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, SGPC member Jathedar Kirpal Singh Khirnia , district president of SAD Swarn Singh Chanarthal, Congress leader and Chairman of Block Samiti, Khamano Harbans Singh Pandher and Kisan Union leader Ajmer Singh Ranwan also spoke on the occasion.



SAD activists seek Cong’s ouster
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 17
Activists of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) today demanded ouster of the Congress government in the state, headed by Capt Amarinder Singh, on moral ground after two members of his cabinet and a legislator were booked by the Gujarat police for their “sexual exploits” during their election tour to Ahmedabad.

In a joint statement, the SAD vice president, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, Mr Atar Singh Makkar, Mr Kirpal Singh Chauhan, Mr Sharanjit Singh Sibbal, Mr Parlad Singh Dhall, Mr Charanjit Singh Pannu and Mr Rajinder Singh Bhatia have observed that the bureaucracy as well as the political leadership in Punjab was involved neck deep in immoral activities.

Criticising the Chief Minister, the SAD-B functionaries remarked that Capt Amarinder Singh had given clean chit to his cabinet colleagues without going into the facts of the shameful incident. “The dubious activities of the Congress ministers and a senior bureaucrat has tarnished the image of Punjab and the people have been made to hang their heads in shame.”

The SAD-B leaders were of the view that the Congress government had no moral right to stay in power and needed to seek a fresh mandate from the people.



Gill quits Shiv Sena, joins SAD (A)
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 17
Mr Gurnam Singh Gill, Vice-President of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) district unit has resigned from the party and has been nominated as vice-president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), SAD (A), Mr Ravinder Singh Khalsa, District unit President said in a press note issued here today.

Mr Avtar Singh and Mr Karamjeet Singh were nominated as president and senior vice-president, respectively, of the Mandi Gobindgarh rural circle and Lakhbir Singh Kotla and Kashmira Singh Gonian as president and senior vice-president of the urban unit.

Mr Karnail was appointed president of the youth wing of the Kheri Nodh Singh circle and were authorised to nominate their executives.

Mr Gurdial Singh Ghulumajra, district senior vice-president SAD (A), Dr Nasib Singh and Kishan Singh Salana, circle President of Mandi Gobindgarh and Amloh circles were also present on the occasion.



Work on voters’ lists begins
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 17
The process of preparation of new voters lists for municipal council wards of Khanna municipal council was started here today. As many as 81 employees from different departments have been deputed for this task along with 11 employees of municipal council who have been deputed to give details of the demarcation of the new wards constituted by the Delimitation Board last month.

Mr Jaspal Mittal, SDM, Khanna, said in a press note here today that the process of new voters lists which was started today would continue till February 24. He said three employees had been deputed for each ward. The Municipal Council Khanna, will provide one employee for every three wards to give details of the demarcation of each ward. He said a supervisor had been deputed for every three to four wards.

For Wards 1 to 4 Block Development Officer, Khanna has been appointed as supervisor, for Wards No 5 to 8 C.L. Bains, SDO, PWD, has been appointed, for Wards No. 9 to 12 Mohan Singh, Secretary, Market Committee, for Wards No. 13 to 15, CDPO, Sunita, for 16 to 18, SDO, Public Health, for Wards No. 19 to 21 Parmjit Singh, Executive Officer, Improvement Trust, Khanna, and for Wards No. 22 to 27, SDO, Sewerage Board, Khanna, has been deputed as supervisor. He said these employees would submit the new lists in the office of the SDM, Khanna on February 26. The objections and claims can be raised from February 26 to March 6. The hearing of objections and the claims will be done on March 13. The final lists will be published on March 17.



Ads that add to gender bias
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 17
“It is our first night,” laments a young woman as her husband drives away in the car that his fiance had shown him before marriage.
She had boasted of its speed and fine accessories and the guy had been interested more in the car than the girl. After marriage, he zips away in the car and wife is most upset to find him gone on the first night of their married life. Preposterous, isn’t it? Does this advertisement try to convey that material possessions are more precious than the bride?

“That in fact is true or else there would not be so many dowry deaths. The media fans such desires in men folk. Such ads frustrate all efforts to reduce gaps between the two genders and bring about equality, says Ms Krishna, who has three daughters and wants her friends and people around her to accept the fact that girls are better than boys. She is very upset to watch such advertisements.

“How dare they give precedence to a lifeless material thing over a lovely girl”, she adds.

Similarly, in another advertisement, the out of job father, keeps drinking cups of coffee and when asks for another cup, the mother rudely snubs him saying that how long will he be sucking on his daughter’s income.

This also projects gender bias and Indians’ penchant for fair complexion. The model applies some fairness cream and lands a job of air hostess.

In another ad a dark-complexioned girl cannot find a good match and her father suggests her to try ayurveda and viola!

She does become fair and lovely and lands a handsome beau. Such advertisements that are shown often create inferiority complex in the minds of girls?

Monica Jairam, a IIIrd year student says “If I am not fair, will I never get married? I know that I am attractive despite having not so fair complexion.

Do they ever show a male model asking in despair- Who will marry me. I am so dark? Is the darkness of skin more important than darkness in the soul? We girls are tired of gender bias forever being propagated in the society?”

Several other college girls when Ludhiana Tribune spoke to said, “Not many of us are blessed with fair complexion. Will we never get married? Why are they always making such an issue about the fair skin? Should beauty be skin deep only?

In one ad, a guy goes to see a girl instead he falls in love with sanitaryware accessories used in her toilet. Thank god they have deleted the latter part from the advertisement. But the society is too gender biased and we do not know how long will girls have to bear all this. It is high time that such portrayals are stopped.



Telegraph facility sought
Our Correspondent

Amloh, February 1 7
Mr Dalip Singh Pandhi, former minister, has urged the government to provide telegraphic facility to the local post office of sub-division headquarters and the people have to go to Mandi Gobindgarh or Khanna towns for this purpose.

The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) should also open its cash counter in its local office whereas the people of this town have to deposit their telephone bills in the post-office, which is already lacking staff. This causes inconvenience to the public who visit the post office for other purposes but the officials are busy to dispose off the long queues of telephone holders.



Harkishan Singh to visit city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
Mr Harkishan Singh Surjit, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) will visit the city on February 19 to attend a seminar in Hambran village.

He will be the key speaker in a seminar ‘Globalisation, commercialisation and privatisation’ organised at Grain market, Hambran by the district unit of the CPI(M).

Mr Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon, Secretary of the district unit, said several other important speakers would participate in the seminar. The seminar will begin at 11 a.m.



Three killed in bus-truck collision
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 17
Three persons, including a woman, were killed and 18 injured in a bus-truck collision near Sartaj Palace, G.T. Road, 4 km from Jagraon, today. A PRTC bus going from Ludhiana to Faridkot was hit by a truck, killing the driver of the bus, Gurdeep Singh Bhodiwal village and Raj Rani of Tibba Road, Ludhiana on the spot and injuring 18 other passengers of the bus. The truck belonged to Mittal Rice Mills, Jagraon. All injured were brought to the local Civil Hospital, from where nine of them were referred to DMC, Ludhiana.




PRODUCT LAUNCHED: Nahar Group of Industries, manufacturers of the Monte Carlo brand of products, has announced the launch of Cotton County, a low-cost branded product at competitive price. The Cotton County starts from Rs 399 and goes up to Rs 975 per piece. The group has set a target of Rs 400 crore for the coming season. TNS


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