Thursday, February 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Ten minutes of madness
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Those were the ten minutes of madness on the Mall Road last night when Bollywood filmstar Fardeen Khan arrived here to promote Provogue products. Although late by two and half hours, the fans remained there waiting for him with patience and curiosity. And when he arrived, it was cheers and shouts with boys and girls trying to outreach each other to shake hands with one of the most seductive stars of Mumbai.

As he got down from his white coloured Mercedes, he was escorted by police personnel and personal security guards. It was hardly a distance of 10 metres between the car parking to the showroom but it took a much longer time with a number of fans elbowing the security personnel to have a glimpse of the hero.

Teenaged girls, dressed in their choicest and glamorous best, appeared to be passionately mad about him. Some of them had no inhibitions. A young girl said to Fardeen, “I want to touch you”. And he curtly shook hand with her.

Fardeen wore the casual look with his casual dress and red cap. As photographers struggled to click the right pose, somebody suggested Fardeen to turn the cap around and make his face visible.

Since he was already late and had to leave for Chandigarh, he stayed barely for about 15 minutes and most of the time passed in signing autographs and waving to the crowds. And he did not disappoint anyone. Whoever offered his, or her hand received a warm response. Throughout the time, he kept smiling.

Even while leaving, he from inside the car waved to the crowds who had started gathering along both sides of the Mall Road. And as the convoy of cars zoomed past, everyone wished him to have stayed for a more while. The mad crowd did not even let the strong posse of scribes, who were waiting for the star for over two hours to ask any question.



Widow in red tape mesh
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, February 26
Red tape is the culprit here again. Even though a year has passed ever since her husband passed away, Ms Tripta Devi has not been able to retrieve the pension dues of her late husband from Punjab Agricultural University, where he worked for over 35 years.

Slow movement of files, too many hands involved and a large number of formalities have resulted in the official delays, claims Ms Tripta Devi. Since January last year, she said, she had been moving from pillar to post to retrieve an amount of nearly Rs 5 lakh due to her after the death of Rishi Kumar Gupta, her husband, who was working as an Office Assistant in the Department of Computer Sciences and Engineering in the College of Agricultural Engineering of the university.

Ms Tripta Devi, a resident of Haibowal, said since she was working as a teacher in a government school at Sahnewal, it was difficult for her to spare time to go to the Comptroller’s office time and again. She said every time she approached the superintendent or the clerks they dilly-dallied on the issue. “While earlier we were not being issued the last pay certificate (LPC), now there has been some objection to the gratuity. There have been so many hassles that I have now lost hope. Even my son, who works with a private insurance company, has been visiting these officials time and again”, she lamented.

Ms Tripta Devi said while the superintendents in the department of Comptroller had been uncooperative, the department where her husband had been working had in fact been quite supportive. She said the department had even cleared a payment of Rs 1.5 lakh three months ago. Mr Jagmohan Singh, Head of the Department of Computer Sciences and Engineering, confirmed that there was a problem. He said there were too many loopholes in the case. He said during his tenure, her husband had been shifted to various departments. “He had shifted to my department from that of agronomy just three months before he passed away. Besides, he had taken loans from the university that had to be adjusted. Even his leave record had not been properly maintained,” he informed.

Mr Jagmohan Singh also claimed that the university officials had been quite sympathetic with the family. He said on several occasions, officers in his department had personally gone for clearance of the dues.

Even though Mr Gopal Dass, Comptroller of the university, was busy at a meeting, his superintendent, when contacted, said he had sent the file back to the department. He claimed that the delay was not on part of the university but the family, which had not been providing them with required documents on time, he replied.



Paddy relief disbursed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 26
The government has disbursed paddy drought relief to farmers of the state at the rate of Rs 20 per quintal. The Central Government had announced a relief of Rs 20 per quintal for paddy to compensate the farmers of the country following drought-like conditions in various states during the last paddy season.

The Punjab Government had set up committees consisting of representatives of farmers, arhtias and officials of the Food Department under the chairmanship of the SDMs to prepare a list of farmers who had sold their paddy to official agencies of the Punjab Government. The committees had prepared the lists and were about to begin the work when the government reversed its decision and decided to disburse the compensation through the arhtias.

The official agencies had purchased more than 80 lakh tonnes of paddy during the season out of a total of 125 lakh tonnes procured by the agencies and private traders. The rice millers had purchased paddy to the tune of 15 lakh tonnes and the Central Government, while fixing the price of levy rice, had added Rs 20 as drought relief in the same. The millers had been asked to disburse the relief to the farmers against the paddy purchased by them in the open market.

The Centre had refused to accept the levy rice of paddy which was purchased by the millers below the minimum support price. But the Punjab Government and the rice millers made a representation to the Centre and it withdrew its decision.

According to Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, state Secretary Finance, in Ludhiana district, relief worth Rs 19 crore had been distributed.



Protest against bottling firms
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 26
Activists of the Ludhiana Sewa Sangh, led by their president Suresh Gupta, held demonstration against multinational bottling companies for allegedly setting harmful and substandard bottled mineral water to people. They emptied the contents of the mineral water bottles on the road.

Addressing the protesters, Mr Gupta said the Centre for Science and Environment had concluded after intensive tests and chemical analysis of the bottled mineral water, marketed under leading brands, that it contained more than permissible quantity of residual germicidal chemicals, which were injurious to health. “The bottling companies are looting people by selling substandard and harmful mineral water while the government is watching the situation like a mute spectator,” he said.

He said the authorities could not absolve themselves of the responsibility by merely saying that harsher regulations would be enforced for bottled mineral water from April. The government should come down heavily upon the erring companies for playing with the health of people and those companies which failed to maintain the stipulated specification and standards should be asked to close down.



Hoteliers thank Jagmohan for revival of tourism
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Mr Rajinder Kumar, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India, hosted a reception here for Mr Jagmohan, Union Minister of Tourism, and declared him ‘tourism man of the year’.

In his welcome address, Mr Rajinder Kumar said: “We have often heard that Mr Jagmohan is a right man at wrong place. His services towards promoting tourism are enormous and include the improvement of facilities at the Vaishno Devi shrine, which has increased religious tourism.”

“His initiatives for developing tourist spots in the country like the Red Fort, the Raj Ghat, Ajanta, signing of an MoU with China and efforts in developing Buddhist tourist circuit in the country will boost tourism in India. Successive generations will always draw inspiration from him,” he said.

Mr Jagmohan thanked all members of the HRANI and the FHRAI and said a lot more would be done for the development of tourism in India. He talked about various issues related to tourism in India. “Good times have returned for hoteliers,” he said.

Mr N.S. Nanda, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab, thanked the minister for declaring Amritsar the 26th tourist destination of India and clearing projects worth Rs 5.5 crore to develop the holy city. Mr Nanda also said the minister had done a good job in writing to UNESCO for listing the Golden Temple as a World Heritage Site. He said it would be a befitting honour for the city, to coincide with the 2004 celebrations related to the establishment of Guru Granth Sahib.

Mr S.K. Khullar, president of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India, proposed a vote of thanks and praised Mr Jagmohan for his services towards developing tourism in India.



Date for refresher courses extended
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
The deadline for doing refresher courses, compulsorily required under the career advancement scheme for the teachers of the agricultural universities has been extended up to December 31.

Earlier, the teachers were required to attend at least two such courses before December 31, 2002.

This information has been received in a letter circulated by the ICAR to all Directors of ICAR institutes and Vice-Chancellors of the State agricultural universities. The letter stipulates that in case the requirement of completion of summer institutes/refresher courses is not fulfilled by December, 2004, the promotions given to the scientists of ICAR/teachers of SAUs will be withdrawn.

Dr A S Joshi, president of the PAU Teachers’ association, has welcomed the step of the ICAR for giving more time to meet this compulsory requirement. 



Give clemency to Bhullar, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
“I am willing to talk to anyone where the issues facing the people of the country, the state and the Sikh panth are concerned,” says SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal. He was in the city to attend the bhog ceremony of the daughter of party vice-president Amarjit Singh Bhatia here today.

Taking to mediapersons, he said he was not averse to taking up the causes of people with his opponents like former SGPC president G.S. Tohra and SAD (A) chief Simranjit Singh Mann .” I went along with them to take up various issues facing the people and talked to Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and Union Law Minister Arun Jaitley. We are always positive in our approach and are committed for the welfare of the people whether in power or out of it,” he added.

Commenting on the issues discussed with the ministers, he said we impressed upon Mr Advani to take the necessary measures for granting clemency to Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, who had been convicted in the 1993 Delhi blast case. “The times have changed and the atmosphere in the state is peaceful. Moreover, Bhullar has not been convicted on a unanimous verdict of the Bench and was deported from Germany which had asked for a guarantee that he would not be awarded capital punishment,” he pointed out.

Mr Badal said the ministers assured him that they would act after the case was heard by a larger bench. An appeal would be filed in the coming days but we were hopeful for a positive outcome of the case, he added.

On the helmet controversy, he said the issue was raised with the Law Minister who was sympathetic to our plea that Sikh religion forbade wearing any kind of cap. The necessary changes would be brought about in the Motor Vehicles Act granting the exemption, he said.



SAD, Congress head-to-head 
Our Correspondent

Doraha, February 26
The election campaigns of the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal for the March 2 Payal Nagar Council elections are in full swing. The contest is between the SAD and the Congress in all 11 wards here, except Ward 7, where the contest has became triangular, with the coming in of an Independent candidate.

Both parties are strengthening their positions before the elections. At a Payal election rally today in support of the SAD candidate from Ward 11, Capt Kawaljit Singh, a former Finance Minister of Punjab, said: “The SAD has always fought against repression; and the SAD workers and leaders are being repressed by the Congress government in the state.” He charged the government with discontinuing all welfare schemes launched by the previous government.

He said the people of the constituency should make “a wise choice”. He also said immoral conduct of the Congress ministers had tarnished the image of Punjab. Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh Gill, head of the Payal unit of the SAD, said the party was campaigning door-to-door.

Mr Surinder Dhall, president of the Payal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party; Mr Bharpoor Singh Rauni of the SAD, Mr Hardev Singh Matharoo and the other candidates of the SAD also spoke at the rally.

The Congress organised a similar rally at the inauguration of the office of Mr Malkit Singh, a candidate from Ward 9. Mr Gurkirat Singh Kotli, grandson of former Chief Minister Beant Singh; and Mr Gurmit Singh, a former political secretary to the leader, said the party was hopeful of a huge victory at Payal.

The campaigners said: “The people would never let the SAD regain power. The SAD leaders amassed wealth and made personal fortunes, so, the party will fare badly in the Payal Nagar Council elections.”



86 file papers  for civic poll
Our Correspondent

Amloh, February 26
On the third day of filing nomination papers of the Mandi Gobindgarh Municipal Council, Mr Aukhwinder Bhambri, Mr Dhram Paul, both president and vice-president, respectively of the council, besides Mr Tejinder Singh Salana filed their papers.

As many as 86 candidates filed their papers today. Mr Harcharan Singh Nasrali (BSP), Youth Congress president Harinder Singh Bhambri, Ms Neelam Kaur Bhambri, Ms Rita Garg and Mr Gurmeet Singh Mander were among the candidates.



Power consumers plead their case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Consumers, both commercial and domestic, are sore at the frequency and quantum of power hike following the formation of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC). They said the PSEB had chosen to raise tariff but had not implemented any recommendation of the commission pertaining to the downsizing of the staff and stopping distribution losses.

While severed domestic consumer welfare outfits were conspicuous by their absence at the meeting of the commission here yesterday, entrepreneurs were there to plead their case.

Talking to TNS today, Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Punjab), said he had pleaded against frequent hikes. “I brought to their notice that prior to the setting up of the commission, the hikes had been affected every two years. Now it has become an annual ritual and the quantum of the hike has also increased.

He said the commission had no comments on whether the PSEB had implemented its recommendations on the cutting of staff or controlling distribution and transmission losses. The transit losses in coal were also high.

He said field functionaries of the PSEB should be made accountable for losses at every feeder. The power supplied to the feeders should be metered and revenue should be realised on that basis.

It was also suggested that the night tariff for industry should be 75 per cent of the normal working hours. Some incentives should be given for higher power factor maintained by each consumer, he said.

He said the commission had agreed to give 15 days to enable the consumers to file their objections against the PSEB’s proposal for the hike.

It was also brought to the notice of the commission that the board levied high consumption charges during summer and now it was being charged for the entire year. The board, however, denied this.

Mr Sandeep Jain, Secretary of the North India Induction Furnace Association raised the issue of minimum charges. The board authorities said these charges were levied to check power theft.



Dreams cost him his son
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
After an agonising wait of about two months, a farmer’s family at Dhamnewal village of this district has realised that it would not be possible to perform the last rites of their son, who was found dead under mysterious circumstances at Hong Kong early this year, over here.

The last rites would be performed by only one member of the family. Despite the efforts of the family, the body of Jagroop Singh could not be sent to India.

The deceased’s father Jarnail Singh draws consolation from the fact that one of his sons will be performing the last rites tomorrow.

His heart, however, bleeds. He had sent his son abroad in search of greener pastures which proved too costly for him.

Not only did he lose his son, but also could not see his son’s body for the last rites time.

The family received the shocking news of his death in January. They left no stone unturned to bring the body here, but the authorities in Hong Kong were not cooperating.

Family sources said they were indebted to Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, President of the Lok Bhalai Party, who arranged for the departure of Jarnail Singh’s younger son to Hong Kong.

Jagroop’s brother Karamjit reached Hong Kong today and told his father over the phone that he would go to a gurdwara tomorrow and would report the next course of action then.

Jarnail Singh had not told his wife about his son’s death. She had been asking her husband about the rush of people but he somehow managed to evade it.

He had sent his son abroad in order to improve their financial condition.

Jagroop (24) was found hanging from a tree in a city in Hong Kong. His body was claimed by a gurdwara where it has since been kept.

Jarnail Singh, a farm labourer, does not even know whether it was a suicide or a murder.

“I wish I had not sent him there. There is no dearth of opportunities here. When he was leaving, he had told me not to worry. He had assured me that he would bale us out of the crisis,” he said tearfully.



Rose Garden no more the same

I visit India every year from England to stay with my parents, who live near the Rose Garden. I have fond childhood memories of growing up in the city and going for a walk in the Rose Garden at around 7 a.m. Alas, it is not the same anymore. Nowadays, I experience great difficulty due to the smoke from burning of rubbish, especially near the Rose Garden. I wonder what is the point of thousands of citizens walking around the garden to breathe fresh air inside the garden and then going out to breathe in the pollution and deadly smoke which can cause lung cancer and asthma among the populace.

I, being an asthmatic myself, have many times suffered a bout due to inhaling the polluted air and smoke. I feel that the whole exercise undertaken with the intention of inhaling some oxygen is totally futile. Besides this, the foul smell negates all the freshness which rejuvenates a person. The corporation officials rise to the occasion and ensure the elimination of pollution at least in the localities around the much admired Nehru Rose Garden. I hope the authorities swing into action and do the needful to make the Rose Garden a better place to walk.

A. Malhotra

Cricket mania

“Cricket, cricket, cricket.....................”, is the buzzword these days because of the ongoing World Cup 2003. Everybody these days is infected by the World Cup virus and everybody these days is praying for the success of the Indian team and even girls are not behind going by the news item, “Girls prayers for Indian win” in the Ludhiana Tribune dated February 21, 2003. Following the Indian team’s dismal performance in the last two matches against Holland and the World Champions Australia, a lot of demonstrations were held all over the country and effigies of players were burnt and even mud and slush were thrown at the house of key players.

According to me, the poor performance of the Indian team was due to the low morale which dogged the team before the New Zealand tour. All the dreams of the Indian team were shattered at the pitches of that country. The Harare win will definitely prove be a soothing balm to the wounds of the national team. I further add, ‘Raat bhar ka hai mehma andhera, kiske roke ruka hai savera, there is a morning after every night.

Ravi Chander Garg

Voice of the masses

We, the inhabitants of Bhaura locality near Jalandhar bypass, are extremely grateful and thankful for your timely support and contribution through ‘Ludhiana Tribune’ by raising the voice of the masses on January 30 regarding basic amenities which were redressed by the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana.

Hoping the daily will remain in the forefront in the coming years also.

Harvinder Singh and Others

Misleading advertisements

In this modern age, media and TV channels are the best source of advertisements to popularise products and their manufacturers. Advertisements in catchy styles and in multicolour easily befool the people. Even educated persons get carried away by the illusion on screen. With attractive incentives and advertisements on products, often based on false, deceptive and fraudulent features, companies highlight them in such a way that people affirm their faith for the time-being, and later on, when they come to know about the actual position, it is too late. There are no legal checks on such misleading and misguiding advertising practices by the government which are defrauding the public in a big way.

The moral standards have fallen to a new low that some ads cannot be watched in the family drawing room. A pertinent example are the ads of some herbal capsules which proclaim instant improvement in the mental, physical and sexual weakness with special emphasis on the latter debility. They are popularised by often scantily clad female announcers in such a shameful manner that one is embarrassed and forced to switch channels.

Here are certain prevailing herbal capsules with different names along with the unethical pictures.1. Royal Gold Capsule, 2. AISH (Dil Chahta Hai........Once again), 3. Recharge Plus Capsule (Which does not extinguish the flame of love), 4. Herbal Sainik Capsule (to get pleasures of life in 4 days), 5. OzPlus, 6. Commando Capsule, 7. Maharaja and Maharaja Gold Capsule, 8. 2 Much Gold (Agar tum na hote, strength is life, weakness is death), 9. Midnight Gold (Two feet ahead for all), 10. Shakti Ton Plus Santushti Capsule, 11. Purshath Capsule, 12. Rasian Batti and 13. BT- 36 for women.

How much these capsules are effective, none can tell? Now stress is being put on diabetic patients to use it regularly but no doctor has ever prescribed such capsules. I think, the companies and pharmacies are all out to prey on the gullible and innocent people who go for them on purely face value.

Advertisements of all such herbal capsules in newspapers and through TV channels should be restricted until and unless these herbal capsules are approved by competent and legal authority of the government.

After approval of the same, the government or its agencies should issue license or certificate to manufacture which further authorises the dealers /chemists to sell the same in market.

Without licence or authorisation letter, guilty manufacturers/sellers must be booked and penalised under the prevailing laws. That there are no side-effect of such capsules, should be ensured by the qualified doctors.

Advertisements of these capsules on channels or media should be avoided keeping in mind the social and moral responsibility rather than to consider their monetary interests.

People are also advised not to believe and follow the advertisements blindly. One must consult their doctors before taking such medications.

Kuldeep Singh Kreer


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