Monday, March 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


A night of celebrations
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
From a virtual curfew-like situation after the start of the Indo-Pak match to a night of festivities, the city witnessed two divergent scenes yesterday as India scored an exhilarating victory over Pakistan. The mood and frenzy was reminiscent of India’s historic World Cup victory in 1983 and India’s victory over the same team during the last World Cup.

It was a virtual Divali last night after the Indian cricket team registered its win against Pakistan in Centurion stadium. Soon after the winning four by Rahul Dravid, Ludhianvis virtually went berserk with happiness and rushed out on the roads to celebrate.

Crackers were burst all over and the city roads and markets, which remained deserted yesterday since the start of the match in the afternoon, were flooded with people who had come out singing and dancing on the roads. For around half an hour, the sound of fire-crackers filled the environment.

Frenzied residents cheered and congratulated each other and distributed sweets to celebrate the Indian victory against it arch rival. The Sarabha Nagar market, that wore a deserted look in the evening, had become a sea of humanity within a few minutes after the victory. While in the evening there were no cars parked in the market, a favourite hangout for youngsters, a massive traffic jam was witnessed there.

Some youths had put up a barrier and asked everybody to dance on the road. Whosoever passed through the market had to shake a leg and sing. This was for the first time that even PCR policemen did not stop them. Two PCR policemen were also seen dancing with the boys, only to realise soon that they had to maintain the law and order.

The SMS sent before the match and after the match had their own reflections on the mood — “Wear blue for India’s victory” was the message in the morning and in the end it was — “Wear white for the neighbour’s funeral at Karachi tomorrow”.

While the match fever had gripped the city residents. Muslim community members were no exception. They had gathered at Jama Masjid yesterday and had offered namaz for India’s win. Later, around midnight, they distributed sweets among all passersby.

The mood outside cinema halls and restaurants showing the match on projection TVs was euphoric. Spectators started dancing inside the halls only even before the Indians could score the winning runs.

The happiness over the victory proved too much for a city resident, who had a heart attack soon after the win. Chander Sen of Sunder Nagar, who found the excitement unbearable, was rushed to a local hospital. 



Fans for Bharat Ratna to cricket ratna

The local chapter of the Indian Muslim Council has urged upon the Indian Government to give Bharat Ratna award to Sachin Tendulkar for his excellent performance in the ‘‘big game’’ against Pakistan yesterday. The Shahi Imam of the local Jama Masjid, Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman in a statement here today, said the blistering innings by Tendulkar had annihilated the Pakistani attack and he deserved an award no less than Bharat Ratna for the same. Stating that 26 crore Muslims residing in India were praying for the Indian team, Maulana Rehman said all Indian players did well and should be given an award of Rs 10 lakh each. 



Saplings defeat ‘Pakistan’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 2
It was another wonderful day at Saplings Nursery School as cricket was in the air. Tiny tots decided to have a match. A team represented Saplings while the other team was called ‘Pakistan’. Saplings defeated ‘Pakistan’.

Saplings is not just another school in another lane in the neighbourhood. It's a school providing a congenial, healthy and lush green environment for child's overall development. Here stress is laid on correct pronunciation of English and etiquette.



Rivalry over love leads to murder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
In a hair-raising incident, a man madly in love with a minor girl murdered his rival by damaging his private parts and later buried the body in his own house at Makkar Colony three days ago. The case came to light today when the Focal Point police exhumed the body from the house.

The police claimed to have solved the case within four hours of the recovery of the body.

The body has been identified as that of a migrant labourer, Vinod Kumar, about 25-years-old, who lived in Doraha. He was allegedly murdered by another labourer, Jaspal. Both were in love with a minor girl, Mona, daughter of a migrant labourer living in Focal Point.

The murder was committed in a gruesome manner, the police said. The police said in the FIR that the victim was strangled to death after his private parts were crushed.

The accused, after committing the murder, allegedly dug up a six-feet-deep grave in his house at Makkar Colony. The police got wind of the crime when the minor girl, who was allegedly witness to the crime, revealed it to her friends.

The police said the accused was at large was expected to be caught soon.

Initially, Mona had an affair with Vinod but the girl allegedly started seeing Jaspal also. Both lovers became enemies over the girl’s love.

The police said three days ago Vinod went to the accused’s house in Makkar Colony after learning that the girl was with Jaspal there. The two men allegedly had a bitter argument which ended in the murder of Vinod.

Jaspal dug up a grave in a room, for which he had to break the concrete floor of the house. He also poured several kilos of salt on the body so that it decomposed rapidly.

A crowd gathered outside the house this morning when the police broke the locks open and began exhuming the body. A pungent stench emanated from the body once it was taken out.

The police had recorded the statement of the girl and her father.



Plan to open computer labs in schools: DPI
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
The Punjab Government has decided to make computer education compulsory in every school. The government will open a computer laboratory in every school of the state. Mr J.S Khatra, DPI (Elementary) Education, Punjab, said while talking at a state-level seminar on “non-monetary inputs to re-invigorate education in government and Adarsh schools of Punjab”, held at Punjab Agricultural University here today.

Mr Khatra said the government had already tied up with a Mohali-based computer company to set-up laboratories in all schools, that would start functioning in the next 10 months. All schools would be connected through a network. He said in the current times computer education had become mandatory.

Besides computer education, the government had also made arrangements to provide education through computer aids. The state government was getting educational compact disks prepared so as to make the computer-based education a reality in the state, Mr Khatra said.

He said as per the new education policy of the state government, the Punjab Rural Education Promotion Council would preform the role of a watchdog in getting the policy implemented. The council would also help collect funds to supplement the grants given by the government for education in rural schools.

On the occasion, Mr Sadhu Singh Randhawa, Director, SCERT, Punjab, said the state government had identified 2,57,000 poor children in the age group between 3 and 14 years. These children were engaged in labour to help their parents rather than studying in school. The government, he said, would soon launch a programme to bring all such children to the classroom. He further said 19, 400 rural development committees had been formed for this purpose.

Mr Randhawa said school education in Punjab was being made into a two-tier system from the existing three-tier system. With this, he said, the number of schools in the state would come down and the level of education would improve. He said 10,586 educational centres were being opened for such students who could not join schools as they lived away from them.

These centres would accommodate between 40 and 50 students. Later these centres would be provided with the status of a school. The school teachers, too, would be provided with refresher courses and for this they would be put through a 20-day training camp. For this purpose Punjab had been divided into 216 segments.



Two arrested for forgery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
Police investigations into the mysterious disappearance of a scooter from the Atam Park police post in January have led to the arrest of two agents operating from the district courts complex. The two agents had allegedly forged some court papers to take away the scooter.

Police sources disclosed that the arrests were likely to lead to the busting of a major gang operating from the district courts. The two persons have been identified as Chander Shekhar and Munish Kumar both of Chowni Mohallah here.

The police said Chander Shekhar was the main accused. He ran a STD-PCO booth-cum-photostat shop in the courts complex. He also worked as an agent for depositing challan fee.

He allegedly began forging papers using fake court stamp and signatures.

The traffic police had impounded the scooter, Bajaj Chetak (No.PB-10-AA- 2151), owned by Mr Daler Singh of Shahpur road here in early January from Dugri area. 



Budget unkind to farmers: BKU
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 2
Terming the Budget as ‘anti-farmers’ and influenced by the policies of WTO, the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has said that it would send the stagnating farm economy into deeper crises.

In their reaction to the Union Budget, the BKU president, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, secretary general, and Mr Bhupinder Singh Mahesari, general secretary (press), in a joint statement here today said the Budget appeared to be a run up to the implementation of WTO policies in January 2005. While the government had made it a point to withdraw various facilities and concessions enjoyed by the farmers, it had failed to keep a check on fiscal deficit, a pre-condition of WTO.

“According to an economic survey by the Union Government, the food grain production has gone down by 13 per cent during last year, which indirectly meant that the total income of the farmers has proportionately decreased. In addition, the farmers have spent comparatively more by way of cost of inputs and a large number of them have sustained losses during the year due to drought and other natural calamities.”

Focusing on the woes of the farmers, BKU activists lamented that successive governments had been promising more investment in the agriculture sector to make the farmers prosperous but other than the lip service, noting worthwhile had been done in this regard. On the contrary, the farmers had been made to carry more financial burden in the name of cut in subsidies, which had led to a hike in prices of urea, DAP and other fertilisers. Increase in the price of diesel would further hit the farming community hard.

The BKU leaders alleged that with an eye on the next elections, the government had provided various concessions to traders, industrialists, employees, and housewives, while the farmers had been left in the lurch.

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has hailed the Budget, terming it people friendly and progressive. At a meeting of the Executive Committee today, Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan and Mr Avtar Singh, president and general secretary of the chamber, apprised the members about the provisions of the Railway Budget and the Union Budget.

The members of industry stressed the need to keep the prices of essential raw materials under check. They urged the Union Government to help check the arbitrarily hiked price of basic raw materials like H.R. Coils, C.R. Strips, M.S. Plates and M.S. Rounds to save the engineering industry of the state from an imminent crisis.

During discussion on the draft VAT Act, the chamber president said CICU had already filed objections on various non-congenial provisions of the VAT system. He said the chamber would soon organise a seminar in which the members would have an opportunity to discuss the VAT system and other taxation problems with senior officials of the Sales Tax Department. It was also demanded that the date of filing of the fact sheet should be extended up to March 15, 2003.



Set up panel to settle Panthic issues: Badal
Our Correspondent

Khamano, March 2
The Shiromani Akali Dal working committee will chalkout its next course of action against the Congress government at the next meeting. This was stated by the President of the SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, talking to mediapersons at Gurdwara Baoli Sahib, Bathan Kalan, near here. He was here to attend the Annual Sant Sammelan.

He said the state government had closed all welfare schemes that were started by the Akali government. He said all sections of society were being harassed. The government had failed on all fronts, he added.

Asked about the removal of Prof Manjit Singh, tussle between 1984 riot victims and the Jathedar of Akal Takht, and fighting between Khalsa Panchayat members and the task force of the SGPC, he said a committee should be constituted to sort out all Panthic issues. He appealed to the people to support the SAD. The gathering was also addressed among others by SGPC member Kirpal Singh Khirnian, Sarwan Singh Suhavi and Sant Darshan Singh. A blood donation camp was also organised on the occasion, where at least 50 persons donated blood.



Doctors resent admn move
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
The district administration and the city doctors appear to be heading towards a conflict over what is being termed as an “overzealous drive to implement the PNDT Act” by the former. While, the Civil Surgeon has issued a directive to all doctors running genetic/ultrasound clinics, making it mandatory for them to attend a meeting on March 8, in this regard, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) is all set to take the administration head on saying that the administration’s proposed steps for the implementation of the PNDT Act would only cause harassment to patients.

As per directions, which have already come into force from March 1, it is now mandatory for the doctor to affix a passport-sized photograph of all females in the age group of 15 to 45 years who want to undergo an ultrasound examination for any illness (non-pregnancy illnesses included). Besides the female patients would also have to furnish proof of residence in the form of voter ID card, phone/electricity bill, etc. The doctors are required to affix the same on their patient registers.

As per the Civil Surgeon’s directive, the March 8 meeting to be held at the Bacchat Bhawan here would be chaired by the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana. The notice has been sent to all doctors in the district.

The Civil Surgeon has stated “a large number of wrong addresses and discrepancies have been noticed while monitoring the record under the PNDT Act, 1994, and the Amendment Act of 2002. Under Section 29 of the said Act, it is incumbent upon any doctor running genetic centre / hospital / ultrasound centre to maintain and preserve complete record for a period of two years”.

The notice further says “under Section 17 A of the Amendment Act of 2002, in order to keep full record of the identity of patient (case), it is instructed a passport size photograph may please be pasted at right top corner of Form F. The photograph must be got signed by the patient. To authenticate the postal address, a photocopy of driving licence/ ration card/passport/ID card, etc of the patient or husband/father (as the case may be) be appended to the form. However, emergency bleeding cases (female patients) should be immediately attended and proof of identity may be obtained afterward when the patient is convalescing satisfactorily”.

Doctors in the city maintain that they are already maintaining full record of the patients and the move of the administration would only amount to harassment to the patients. “Every female in the age of 15 to 45 must carry passport photos and proof of identity in their bags as they never know when they will need them”, said a doctor who received one such notice.

City-based physicians say that they do not have any objection to the order provided it were to be implemented throughout the state. “Causing such hurdles would push the patients to other districts to avoid harassment defeating the very purpose of move”, the doctors said.

The doctors are meeting today under the banner of the IMA to discuss the issue.



Welfare schemes launched: MLA
Our Correspondent

Amloh, March 2
The Congress has launched a phased programme of welfare schemes in the state, as promised to the electorate. This was stated by Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, MLA, Amloh, while talking to mediapersons today after the first death anniversary function of Jagjit Singh Dhami at Sounti village, near here.

Dhami's sons, Mr Pargat Singh and Mr Nirbhai Singh, are the sarpanches of Anian and Sounti villages, respectively.

On behalf of Ms Jal Kaur, her two sons handed over the keys of a classroom to the headmaster of the local elementary school, built in memory of Dhami, besides giving a computer set and a water cooler. Sweets were distributed among students of the school on the occasion.

Earlier, addressing the gathering, Mr Sadhu Singh, MLA, paid tributes to Dhami and appealed to the people to work for the betterment of society.

Mr Baldev Singh Mian Pur, state president, Bhartiya Kisan Union, lauded the services of the family towards the society. Among others Mr Sadhu Ram President Block Congress Committee, Sirhind, Mr Joginder Singh Naraingarh, member, Block Samiti, Mr Nirmal Singh, Mr Randhir Singh Gill, president, Shellers Association, Amloh, and Mr Hari Chand, president, SAD, Amloh circle, were also present on the occasion.



Readers’ day organised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 2
The Bahurang Sabhyacharak Club organised a readers’ day at Laltonkala village. Regional coordinator of Punjab and Chandigarh Jaswinder Singh Kooner gave Rs 2,500 to the library. Mr Jaswant Singh was honoured for donating an almirah to the library. A cultural programme was also presented. 



Marriage palace owners booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
After facing demolition for allegedly violating the Supreme Court’s stay orders on the marriage palaces located within 1,000 yards of the Baddowal ammunition depot, the owners of the palaces are in for more trouble. The district police has started registering cases against them for flouting the Deputy Commissioner’s orders banning the bursting of fire-crackers.

The Sadar police has booked the owners of the local Megha Resorts for allegedly flouting the orders of the Deputy Commissioner within 1,000 yards of the depot.

The owners of Megha Resorts, a marriage palace located within the prohibited area near the depot, Raj Kumar Aggarwal and Vijay Verma have been booked under Section 188 of the IPC for allegedly allowing the clients to burst firecrackers in the palace.

The case has been registered on the complaint of Mr H.K. Vadhera, Administrative Officer for Commandant, Baddowal ammo depot. According to the crime file issued by the local police department, the accused were allegedly bursting firecrackers despite the ban orders.

The ban orders were issued a few days ago by the District Magistrate-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Agarwal. 



SSI sector hails cut in bank rates
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 2
The small scale industry (SSI) has hailed the cut in interest rates by commercial banks as indicated by the Union Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, in his Budget speech. The minister made an announcement that the banks would not charge interest from small scale units at more than 2 per cent over the PLR under any circumstances and at the same time the interest rate would not be less than 2 per cent below the PLR from any unit.

According to Mr P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the SSI sector was highly discriminated against in the matter of interest rate. Almost all banks were charging interest rates from the SSI units at 4 per cent above the PLR. At the same time, the banks were offering an interest as low as 5 per cent less than the PLR to some other borrowers. In this manner, there was a massive difference of 7 to 8 per cent in the lowest and highest rates of interest.

He claimed that the matter was taken up vigorously by the chamber at the highest level. Detailed memoranda were submitted to the Union Finance Minister, the Minister of State for SSI, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and the Reserve Bank of India. In an open letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, the president of the chamber, had observed that it would not be hard for the BJP to search for the reason of their defeat in state elections. “Ground realities tell that government is squeezing the smaller sector with one solid example of the bank interest rates.”

Mr Sharma said he had held a series of meetings with the Minister of State for SSI on the issue. The minister was told that the sub-PLR lending which stood at 17 per cent in 2001, had shot up to 37 per cent in 2002. The matter was also brought to the notice of Mr K.C. Pant, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.


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