Tuesday, March 11, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cong flag flutters high in civic poll
Violence mars polling; bungling alleged
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, March 10
During polling and counting of votes in the Jagraon municipal elections here, the atmosphere in some wards remained tense. The police resorted to cane charge at some places where counting or recounting of votes was being done. Some of the candidates have alleged bungling in counting and declaration of results. Out of 19 wards, Congress candidates were declared elected in 12 wards. However, Mr Baldev Krishan ex-president of the Municipal Council, Jagraon, lost the election.

According to Mr Gurmit Singh, SDM-cum-returning officer, Apar Singh (Akali) defeated Charanjit Singh (Independent) in ward No. 2, Rajinder Kaur Thukral (Akali-BJP) defeated Manpreet Dhaliwal (Congress); in ward No. 3, Darshan Singh (Independent) defeated Nirmal Singh (Congress); in Ward No. 4, Inderjit Singh (Congress) defeated Dev Singh (Independent); in ward No. 5, Charanjit Kaur (Independent) defeated Amarjit Kaur (Congress); in Ward No. 6, Lal Singh (Independent) defeated Sewak Singh (Akali ); in Ward No. 7, Darshan Singh (Independent) defeated Amar Nath (Congress); in ward No. 8, Babli defeated Raj Rani (Congress); in ward No. 9, Inder Raj (Congress) defeated Baljit Singh (Independent); in ward No. 10, Devinder Kathuria of Congress defeated Baldev Krishan (BJP); in Ward No. 11, Surjit Kaur of (Congress) defeated Sukhwinder Kaur (Akali); in Ward No 12, Atma Ram of (Congress) defeated Sukhdev Singh (Independent); in Ward No 13, Vinod Kumar (Independent) defeated Suresh Kumar (Congress); in Ward No. 14, Pushpa Jhanji was declared elected unopposed; in ward No 15, Purshotam Khaliefa (Congress) defeated Ashok Kumar (Independent); in Ward No 16. Raj Kumar (Congress) defeated Ravinder Kumar (Independent); in Ward No. 17, Paramjit Kaur Dhariwal was elected unopposed; in ward No. 18, Kanwar Pal Singh (Congress) defeated Sanjiv Kumar (Independent); and in Ward No. 20, Baldev Raj (Congress) defeated Vishnu (BJP).

According to the candidates in Ward No. 1, the police resorted to cane charge here and during the said episode the right arm bone of Mr Joginder Singh (Advocate) was dislocated. Defeated candidates of Ward No. 12 and 19 have alleged bungling in the declaration of results by the Returning Officer. The results were declared in the late hours after recounting. Mediapersons were not allowed to be present in the office of the Returning Officer at the time of the declaration of results. The place looked like a police camp. A number of people were awaiting results, but police made them to take to their heels. Even mediapersons were not spared. The camera of a mediaperson of Punjabi daily was snatched in Ward No 1. Fighting among supporters of various candidates was witnessed in Ward No. 19 and the police had to use force to control the situation.

Ahmedgarh: The Congress suffered a setback in civil body elections here. There were 15 seats in all. In Ward No. 11, Ms Sapna, a Congress candidate and spouse of a prominent Congress leader Murlidhar Gupta, could secure only four votes out of more than 1,200 votes. Ms Chiter Rekha Sharma, Principal of Janta College, defeated Ms Kiran Bala, spouse of a former Councillor, Mr Surinder Jatt, by a margin of 83 votes. Mr Kishori Lal Badhan, (Ward No. 3, 312 votes), Mr Jatinder Kumar Bhola (Ward No. 9, 743 votes) and Mr Sham Sunder (Ward No. 10, 529 votes ) also won the elections.

Mr Rajneesh Sharma Gudoo, (Ward No. 13) and Ms Santosh Rani, both Congress candidates, were declared elected unopposed. Mr Mohinder Lal (Ward No. 1, 739 votes), Mr Harpal Fouzi (Ward No. 4, 419 votes), Ms Ramandeep Kaur (Ward No. 5, 458 votes), Mohd Yaseen (Ward No. 6, 546 votes), Jaswinder Sodhi (Ward No. 7, 686 votes), Ms Beena Puri, (Ward No. 8, 461 votes), Mr Jagwant Jaggi (Ward No. 12, 666 votes) and Mr Jaswinder Lalli (Ward No. 15, 514 votes) won as Independent candidates. Ms Raj Rani defeated the Congress candidate who had been given ticket by cancelling her ticket.

Khamano: No untoward incident was reported during civic poll here. According to the Returning Officer, Mr Ravinder Kumar, SDM, there were 11 polling booths where 75 to 80 per cent voters cast their votes. The following were declared elected in various wards: Ward No. 1 — Harbhinder Singh (Congress); Ward No. 2 — Saroj Rani (Congress); Ward No. 3 — Ravinderpreet Kang (Independent); Ward No. 4 — Inderjit Singh Romy (Independent); Ward No. 5 Ranjit Kaur (Congress); Ward No. 6 — Major Singh (Congress); Ward No. 7 — Harkirat Singh; Ward No. 8. — Malkit Kaur Bagri (Congress); Ward No. 9 — Ranjit Singh (Congress); Ward No. 10 — Gurmukh Singh (Independent); and Ward No. 11 — Daljit Kaur. Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, MLA, from Samrala, thanked voters and assured them of a better administration.


Congress goes in for publicity blitz 
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

One of the hoardings that have been put up by the government
One of the hoardings that have been put up by the government all over the state. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, March 10
The Congress has gone in for a massive publicity blitz all over the state, erecting giant hoardings highlighting achievements of the Capt Amarinder Singh government during its first year in power. The hoardings, which can be seen at all important places, crossings, chowks and state and national highways, are carrying pictures of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the All-India Congress Committee, President, Ms Sonia Gandhi. The campaign was to be launched much earlier, but was delayed due to the preoccupation of the Chief Minister with the Himachal Pradesh elections.

Sources said although the publicity blitz had been planned by media advisers of the Chief Minister, this was being executed in the name of the Congress. The major achievements of the government, including a “clean and transparent government”, exposing and the indictment of the corrupt and also various developmental activities are being highlighted.

On the other hand, certain objections are being raised over the way the party (read the government) has been setting up huge hoardings against the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which has prohibited erecting of hoardings on national highways and important chowks or traffic crossings. However, some officials on condition of anonymity, maintained that there was nothing wrong in these as it was simply public information.

A senior government official pointed out that such hoardings were erected at different places even in neighbouring Haryana. He maintained that it was simple public information and no propaganda to which anyone should have any objection. Moreover, these were all transparent achievements and there was nothing exaggerated about these achievements. He claimed that it was wrong to assume that these hoardings were erected in contravention of the high court orders.

It is learnt that this is just one aspect of the massive publicity blitz planned by the Congress. There would be a media campaign in the shape of advertisements in television channels, newspapers, magazines and other journals, highlighting the achievements of the government. Besides, there would be frequent public meetings at regular intervals throughout the state to mobilise people and create awareness among them about the government’s achievements. This would be followed by the announcement of various developmental projects at each of these rallies.



‘Cong unfair means’ led to SAD debacle
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Kariana (Kum Kalan), March 10
“The debacle of SAD in the Municipal Council Polls is not due to any erosion of the mass base of the party but an indication of the strong arm tactics used by the ruling party to win the polls at any cost,” maintains SAD chief and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

He alleged that the government had used all unfair means booth capturing, intimidation of voters and rival candidates and posting of pliable officers in areas with a strong Akali following — to corner the polls. “We had brought large-scale irregularities to the notice of the Election Commission but nothing was done to stop the large scale violence and bogus voting that took place in most parts of the state,” he stressed.

Mr Badal, who was on his first visit to this backward bet area, addressed an impressive gathering on the 359th birth anniversary of Bhai Mani Singh, who was martyred by the Mughals for professing his faith. Those who spoke at the gathering included former speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, MLA Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, SGPC members and senior leaders of the Kum Kalan constituency.

Denying that efforts were afoot to forge unity among the Akalis, he said that too much was being read into the meeting with former SGPC chief G S Tohra. “He is a senior colleague and we have an association dating several decades and the visit was to fulfill my social obligations. We can have political differences but that does not mean that I have severed all social contacts with the latter. I had gone to wish him a speedy recovery after his bypass surgery,” he maintained. He, however, ducked questions if such a move was on the cards or whether the topic was broached during his stay.

Commenting on the completion of one year of the Congress, the leader of the opposition said not even a single brick had been laid in the state. Various prestigious projects were stuck for want of funds while all the welfare schemes launched by his government had been shelved. All sections of society were ruing the day they voted for the Congress, he pointed out.

Mr Badal said that the only achievement of the ruling party was the decadent culture ushered in by the cabinet and the bureaucrats. Besides this, another milestone had been added with the induction of more ministers and parliamentary secretaries today. While on one hand the government claimed it had no funds, on the other it had inducted more ministers to make it a jumbo-sized cabinet, he added.

Taking a dig at the Cabinet expansion, he quipped that the knives are out in the Congress and the disgruntled elements are bound to raise the banner of revolt in the coming days.

He said in future SAD in tandem with the SGPC will jointly celebrate the martyrdom day of Bhai Mani Singh at the state level.



Chinks in Cong over 2 new ministers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 10
Factionalism within the District Congress Committee, Ludhiana (urban), today came to the fore, with the DCC president, Mr Krishen Kumar Bawa, opposing the induction of two Ludhiana legislators, Mr Harnam Dass Johar and Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, in the ministry.

In a strongly-worded letter to the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, copies of which have reportedly been faxed to the AICC General Secretary, Ms Mohsina Kidwai, Ms Ambika Soni, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the PCC president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, Mr Bawa alleged that both legislators had serious charges of corruption against them.

Mr Bawa alleged that while there were charges of corruption against Mr Johar, Mr Birmi had levelled allegations against two ministers and accused them of indulging in immoral activities in Gujarat. He observed that this was the worst thing that the two legislators were rewarded for their indiscipline.

When contacted, Mr Bawa refused to comment, saying that he had already written to the leaders of the high command. He said, he would come to the press only after he gets some response from the high command. But he said, he was not happy with the induction of these two legislators into the ministry as they had always been opposing the party and had even been trying to rebel against the government.

The rivalry between Mr Bawa on one hand and Mr Johar and Mr Birmi on the other hand is quite old. They have not been seeing eye-to-eye with each other. Both Mr Johar and Mr Birmi had been consistently opposing Mr Bawa as the DCC president and had been lobbying for his ouster. Sources close to Mr Bawa said he did not expect any cooperation from the two ministers, hence he went on the offensive.

Mr Bawa is reportedly mobilising support from other quarters, including the councillors and some other legislators also to oppose Mr Johar and Mr Birmi. On the other hand, it is being said, Mr Bawa might have got some green signal from some senior leader about his offensive as both Mr Johar and Mr Birmi have their enemies in the PCC also. The coming days are likely to be stormy as both the ministers are likely to react strongly and demand action against Mr Bawa.



Who branded the undertrial?
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 10
The medical examination in the Central Jail undertrial branding case conducted by a board of doctors at the Civil Hospital here today has indicated that the branding took place about one and a half months ago. The branding was done with a sharp-edged tool and the wounds were not very deep.

The timing coincides with the claims of the complainant, Kewal Singh, an undertrial, lodged at Central Jail. He had accused three jail employees and two other undertrials of branding ‘chor’ on his back on January 21 while he was incarcerated in the jail in a theft and burglary case.

The investigation in the case now narrows down to the fact as to who branded the undertrial. He has alleged that the five persons had done it in order to teach him a lesson. He claimed that he did not agree to bribe a jail employee for getting some benefits in the jail. Jail officials, however, said the undertrial had branded himself with the help of his accomplices either inside or outside the jail.

The medical examination report would be sent to a district court that would take necessary action.

The undertrial, Kewal Singh, had created quite a sensation in a district court by claiming that he was branded. In an application before a district judge, he claimed that jail employees — constables Harvinder Kumar, Gurnam Singh Fauji and Dalip Singh, along with undertrials Amarjit Singh and Gurpreet Singh, had beaten him up on January 21 when he refused to bribe a jail employee in return of a favour.

The undertrial said he had no option but to wait for his next trial date in the court to complain about the ‘torture’. He alleged that the five caught him and one of them branded him. The undertrial is facing charges of theft of burglary. He belongs to Cheema village in Jagraon subdivision of this district.

The district judge had ordered a medical examination of the undertrial.

Mr G.S. Rai, officiating Superintendent of Central Jail, had maintained that the allegations were baseless. He claimed that the jail staff had conducted an internal inquiry and it was found that no such incident had taken place. He said the inquiry also incorporated the statement of other undertrials who were lodged in the same barracks with the alleged victim.

Mr Rai said the jail officials had sent a report regarding the allegations to senior jail officials as well as the District Courts. He claimed that the undertrial was caught several times and the word could have been engraved anywhere.



Fear grips liquor contractors
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 10
Despite assurance from senior officers of the Excise Department that the auction of liquor shops will be fair and transparent, fear has gripped liquor contractors of the state that UP liquor barons might get the major share due to their political clout and money power.

Mr Suresh Kumar, Excise and Taxation Commissioner, and senior officers of the department, have held a number of meetings with the liquor contractors of the state at the district level and have assured them that the state government would not allow a UP and Bihar-like situation to emerge in Punjab. The liquor contractors have been asked to participate in the auction without any fear. Enquiries reveal that UP liquor barons had a 44 per cent share in liquor trade in Punjab last year.

Punjab liquor contractors maintain that they are no match to UP liquor contractors as the latter can invest up to Rs 100 crore whereas in Punjab no liquor contractor can invest more than Rs 10 crore.

UP liquor barons entered the liquor trade in Punjab two years ago following a controversy between the son and son-in-law of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the then Chief Minister of Punjab. Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal was supporting Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, former minister, and his brother Mann Singh Garcha in Ludhiana district whereas Mr Adesh Partap Singh, the then Excise and Taxation Minister, wanted to end the domination of Garchas with the result that a UP group, led by Ponty Chadha, got entry into the trade. Last year, the Ponty Chadha group managed to procure the maximum share in Ludhiana and almost had complete control in Amritsar district. The Punjab contractors allege that this group enjoys a lot of clout in the present government also and they are apprehensive that this group will again capture the major share of liquor trade in Punjab.

Because of the monopoly certain liquor contractors have been selling liquor at higher prices than those fixed by the government. Country-made liquor, priced at Rs 80 per bottle, is being sold between Rs 100 Rs 110 per bottle. Similarly, Bagpiper, priced at Rs 150 per bottle, is being was sold between Rs 200 and Rs 250 per bottle. Some liquor contractors have even raised their own mafia groups which try to frighten people. Meanwhile, the Punjab Government has made an amendment to the Punjab Excise Act and fixed a heavy penalty an smugglers of liquor. Now, a person caught smuggling liquor from neighbouring states, can be fined up to Rs 1 lakh. The vehicle used in the smuggling can also be auctioned by the department. Earlier, cases were put up in court for trial.

The auction of liquor shops will start an March 14 and end on March 23. Ludhiana, which has the highest consumption of country-made liquor and IMFL in the state, will have the first auction. Ludhiana fetches the maximum revenue through excise duty. Amritsar was to have an auction on March 15, but UP contractors, who control the business, have allegedly managed to get the date changed to March 28 through their political clout.



English-medium students get papers in Punjabi
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 10
It was utter confusion for over 200 English-medium students of Class X, who appeared for their mathematics paper of the Punjab School Education Board at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Punjab Agricultural University, when they got question papers in Punjabi medium here today.

The situation left the students wondering what those questions implied. When the students approached the superintendent, they were told that they had received just 10 question papers in English and the rest all in Punjabi medium. The students lamented that instead of getting those question papers photostat, the superintendent started dictating out question papers to them.

Since there were five sets of papers, the process became so lengthy that when it was the turn of students with set ‘E’ of the paper, they were left with just half an hour to attempt it. The students said they complained about the case to the Principal who ensured them that she would represent their case with the board officers through the District Education Department and demand grace marks for them. Some of the students also demanded that the board should again hold their examination.

The students also complained that their drawing and painting paper was out of syllabus. They said lack of proper communication regarding their syllabus from the board was the cause of confusion. 



SGPC poll not before Nov
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 10
More than 57 lakh voters, including 7.52 lakh Sehajdhari Sikhs, have been registered in Punjab for the election to the general house of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee by January. In Haryana, the number of voters registered is 34 lakh, including 5 lakh Sehajdhari Sikhs.

The last date for the registration of voters for the elections was February 28.

According to Justice J. S. Sekhon, Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections Commission, Union Government, has extended the term of the commission by another year from February 28.

The registration of voters for one seat each of Union Territory Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh is 16,000 and 24,000 respectively.

The elections are likely to be held not before November this year as the preliminary process for printing of voters lists would be completed by April 17.

Justice Sekhon said then the objections would be received and the final publication of the electoral roll would be completed by September. After that the process for holding the elections to the 170-seat general house would be started.

Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry has not taken any decision on the issue of debarring the Sehajdhari Sikhs from casting their votes and lowering of the voting age from 21 years to 18 as recommended by the SGPC. The general house of the SGPC in November, 2001, under the presidentship of Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, had recommended to the ministry to debar the Sehajdhari Sikhs from casting their votes and the voting age be brought down to 18 from 21 years as was prevalent in the case of Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections.

Even the earlier Chief Commissioner for gurdwara elections ,Justice Harbans Singh (retired ), had also recommended to the Union Government that the Sehajdhar Sikhs should not be allowed to vote and the voting age should be lowered.

The Union Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister had also held a meeting with the representatives of the SGPC, chief ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh on this subject but no decision has been taken so far. The Punjab Congress government and the Haryana Government under Om Prakash Chautala had opposed the demand of the SGPC and stuck to the decision that the Sehajdharis should be allowed to have the right to vote .

Political observers were still not very sure if the general house election of the SGPC would be held in November which was already late by two years. The general election should have been held in October, 2001, before the election to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in February, 2002.

Prof Jagmohan Singh, General Secretary, Akali Dal (Amritsar), expressed his surprise over the unprecedented high number of Sehajdhari voters in Punjab and Haryana. He maintained that in 1996 general election to the SGPC, the number of Sehajdhari voters was less than 5 per cent of the total voters.

Prof Jagmohan Singh was also critical of the Union Government over ignoring the advice of the SGPC in seeking the withdrawal of right of vote to the Sehajdharis and lowering the age to 18 years. He said in normal course the Union Government had never ignored the advice of the SGPC and the involvement of the state governments was not required.

It is pertinent to mention here that two writ petitions are also pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this connection.



Ultra’s arrest highlights need for tenant verification
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 10
The police revelation that some terrorists and their accomplices were living in rented apartments in the city for the past several months and were frequented by agents of Pakistan’s ISI has once again brought to the fore the need for strict implementation of the tenant verification scheme of the local police.

The scheme, started with a bang about two years ago after a spate of crime incidents involving migrant labourers in the city, was discontinued last year. The police said the drive was putting too much load on the already staff shortage-hit police force. There was not much cooperation from the police of other states also. There was opposition from city residents, who alleged undue harassment at the hands of the police.

Now with the disclosure that terrorists and some other arms smugglers were living in Ludhiana without the notice of the police, and intelligence failure, the need for the verification drive has emerged stronger than ever.

One of the nabbed terrorists, Surjit Singh, a resident of Kaka Kandiala village, was living in a rented house in the Shimla Puri area here. Sandeep Johar, a terrorist who committed suicide, had also taken a house on rent at Punjab Mata Nagar here with his wife, Jayanti. They were living here for the past more than two months. They were visited by anti-national elements, including Tarik, a resident of Pakistan.

Neither the landlords of these tenants had informed the police nor any police personnel tried to verify the credentials of the tenants. Even the state intelligence had no clue about these people. The disclosure of their identity by the police has even surprised neighbours. Talking to TNS on condition of anonymity, a number of neighbours said they were shocked at the police raids and the information that their neighbours were anti-social elements.

Landlords said they were shocked more than others. The SSP, Ludhiana, Mr H.S.  Sidhu, has given indications that the police may re-start the drive. Talking to TNS, he said the drive was important, but it put lot of load on the force that was already facing a shortage of staff. He said the police would look into this aspect now.

He said the drive could not be continued because of multiple factors. Prominent among these were the increase in work load of the force and non-cooperation by landlords.

The only way to implement the scheme was to register cases against landlords who do not inform the police about the tenants, Mr Sidhu said.

City residents had raised a hue and cry when the drive was enforced two years ago. A large number of landlords, some of them prominent citizens, were booked for not following the orders. The residents had also alleged that they were facing undue harassment as they had to go to police stations for submitting the forms. Then the police started sending cops to houses, but even this could not continue for long. 



Yuva Morcha rally on March 21
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 10
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) will hold a state-level convention in the city on March 21 to focus on the problems of the people and ‘anti-people policies’ of the Congress government, headed by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. Among other senior party leaders, the national president of the morcha, Mr G. Krishna Reddy, would address the convention.

Addressing a news conference here today Mr Satish Punia, member, National Executive and in charge of Punjab affairs, lambasted the state government for what he described as ‘rape of democracy’ in the civic elections in various towns of Punjab. He said the ruling party had resorted to blatant misuse of official machinery, political opponents were threatened, voters were coerced and polling staff was influenced by Congress functionaries to their advantage.

Referring to forthcoming assembly elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Mr Punia claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would win the elections in the both the states with a convincing margin. Asked whether the defeat in Himachal Pardesh had come as a dampener and would affect the outcome elsewhere, he maintained that the state (HP) had a different culture. In addition various local factors had also affected the prospects of BJP. He disagreed with a question on need for more representation to youth in assembly and parliament elections saying the youth brigade was being adequately represented.

He said the exercise for reorganisation of the district units of BJYM was almost complete and out of 24 organisational districts in Punjab, 20 had already been recast. The remaining district units would also be in place before March 21 and thereafter the the party units at mandal, ward and village level would also be announced.

Mr Kamal Chatley, general secretary of the state unit, who was also present told that the Yuva Morcha workers would hold a demonstration at Jagraon on March 11 to protest against mass irregularities in municipal elections by ruling party functionaries in Jagraon.

Meanwhile, former president of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, has alleged that the Congress had resorted to undemocratic means, violence and police repression against political opponents to win civic polls in Raikot town. He has made a written representation to the Election Commission to order a high level probe against the high-handedness of the ruling party.

In a statement here today, Mr Talwandi said that during the entire election process, a reign of terror was let loose by the Congress, which was followed by bogus polling with the connivance of poll staff and police. “The Congress win in Raikot is in fact a victory of goondaism and repression.”



Rally by ex-servicemen
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 10
A rally of ex-servicemen was organised by the All India Ex-Servicemen Action Committee here at Neelon Bridge today. The rally was presided over by Committee’s president Brig. H.S. Yadav.

Col. H.S. Kahlon, Chief Coordinator of the Atma Raksha Sangh expressed gratitude towards all associations working for the welfare of ex-servicemen and pensioners of the central and state governments. Maj Harchand Singh Neelu highlighted the problems being faced by ex-servicemen and their demands in detail while addressing the members.

Mr B.R. Kaushal, President Punjab Pensioners Confederation, extended full support in their drive to save India from the clutches of corrupt unscrupulous political leaders. The pensioners and ex-servicemen appreciated and supported the crusade launched by Capt Amarinder Singh against corruption in the state.

They said the government should grant ‘One Rank One Pension’ to all without any delay. The members were of the view that any property of soldiers and exservicemen, be it commercial, agricultural or residential, should be vacated with the intervention of the administration, as and when required by soldiers/dependents in case of death.

The members also demanded that they should be given the right to buy land in all states, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Rajastan etc. free travel concession, once a year should be sanctioned to ex-servicemen. They should be exempted from Income Tax. Serving soldiers should be given the right to vote in any constituency — Parliament or Assembly.

They demanded that Arms licenses, passports should issued to the serving soldiers on the recommendations of their Commanding Officers and that there should be no need for police verification.

The security cover of ex-MLAs, former MPs and retired police officers should not be provided at public expense. No political leader or senior official should be allowed to go abroad for medical treatment at public expense. The government jobs should be reserved for the children of ex-servicemen.

The rally was addressed by Brig. H.S. Yadav, Col. H.S. Kahlon, Maj. H.S. Neelon, Mr H.K. Sood, Mr S.N. Vinayak, Mr Mahinder Singh Bajwa.



Stress laid on crop diversification
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 10
As many as 5,000 farmers participated in a novel scientific agricultural mela organised by the Young Blood Organisation and Welfare Club in collaboration with the Agriculture Department, Ludhiana, at Baldev Honey Farm, Landa, today, to discuss the changing equations of agricultural production in the context of globalisation and to gain people’s participation in imparting practical and technical know-how in this direction.

The seminar was presided over by Dr Sardara Singh Johal, Deputy Chairman, Planning Board, Punjab. He discussed at length the report on the Agricultural production pattern adjustment programme in Punjab for productivity and growth provided by the Chief Minister’s Advisory Committee on agricultural policy and research. He enlightened the farmers on crop diversification and stressed the need for optimum use of depleting natural soil and water resources. He appreciated the efforts of agricultural technocrats who, along with the active support of progressive farmers, are conducting farmer participatory and adaptive researches in the field of agriculture. He also highlighted the use of the bed-plantation technique. He also stressed the need for the cultivation of oilseeds and pulses by making the land free from the paddy-wheat cycle. He released a book, “Safal Vigiyanik Kheti” written by a farmer, Mr Mohinder Singh Grewal.

Dr Rajinder Singh Pandher, Chief Agricultural Officer of the district, discussed the policies adopted by the government on crop diversification. He congratulated farmers for adopting the hybrid mustard crop for cultivation on a large scale.

Dr Chaman Lal Vishist, general secretary, Agriculture Technocrats Action Committee, Punjab, talked of the constructive role played by the bee-business in the process of agricultural development. He asked the farmers to adopt it in the form of a subsidiary entrepreneur. Dr Somnath Tiwari, Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, enlightened the farmers on the health hazards posed by the burning of crop residue and suggested alternative solutions. Dr Rajinderpal Aulakh spoke on “Farmer participatory and adaptive researches,” Dr Harwinder Singh Battah on the role of pulses as regards Dr Tahal’s report,” Dr Daler Singh on “The future of Mint Crop,” Prof Balwinder Singh expressed his views in the book “Safal Vigiyanik Kheti,” and Mr Mohinder Singh Kanganwal spoke on his life-time agricultural experiments.

Mr Baldev Singh Landa, president, Punjab Kisan Club, extended a vote of thanks on behalf of the Young Blood Organisation and Welfare Club, Landa. Apart from others, Mr Didar Singh, Mr Karamjit Singh Aujla, Mr Kartar Buani, Dr Balwinder Butari, Dr Arneja, Dr Atwal and Mr Baljinder Singh Landa were present.

Mr Baljinder Singh, president, Young Blood Organisation and Welfare Club, later told mediapersons that a van had been donated by the association for the service of the people of the village and diesel and maintenance charges shall be borne by the organisation. They also donated two water coolers to the primary and middle schools of the village. A blood donation camp was also held by the organisation in which 50 volunteers donated blood. An eye check-up camp was also held in which Dr Ramesh, MD, Mansooran, examined 220 patients. 



Partition in retrospect
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 10
Partition was the most traumatic historic event that caused the deaths of 5 million people and migration of 12 million people of India and Pakistan. It was the biggest-ever migration recorded in the history of mankind. This was stated by Dr Prithi Pal Singh Kapoor, former Pro Vice- Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University.

He was addressing students of the government College for Women today on the occasion of diamond jubilee celebrations of the college.

He said he was very happy to be invited by the Old Students Association to a series of lectures in memory of its founder Principal, Ms Sudha Sen.

He said, “Pre-partition Punjabis were deeply rooted to their soil. Somehow after the Partition, the Punjabis are feeling rootless. In 1947, even when there were not many opportunities for Punjabis in foreign countries, there was exodus of Punjabis, though they had to earn money by doing unskilled jobs. After 1960s again a large number of Punjabis left their country for foreign shores, this time armed with skills they were better off.”

He said most of the Punjabis only got three-fourth of their land and properties left in Pakistan. Most of the land received by the Punjabis was not irrigated, yet by dint of their hard work, the Punjabis did bring in 'green revolution', yet they didn't feel rooted to land.

He said after Partition it took 15 years for refugees to settle down as they could not decide which place to settle down. Dr M.S Randhawa's ‘Out of Ashes’ and Mr Trilok Singh's works were very significant as they detailed the rehabilitation plans.



PSEB pensioners discuss demands
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 10
A meeting of the Joint Action Committee of the All PSEB Pensioners Association was held under the presidentship of Mr V.N. Sharma here recently to discuss their various demands. The meeting was attended by all PSEB members of the state.

The members decided to struggle for early implementation of their demands. Their charter of demands included grant of electricity concession, outdoor medical facilities, personal pay to pre-January 1, 1996, retirees, restoration of dearness relief to the family pensioners, submission of life certificate in a year as done by the Punjab Government and not twice. They demanded prompt adoption of Punjab Government circulars, grant of 23-years-service benefit, issuance of computerised cards or passbooks to pensioners, grant of gratuity to pensioner who retired between September 30, 1986, to July 1, 1993, after including DA and 0.5 per cent increase in pension for every six months of service rendered exceeding 33 years.

Various other demands and proposals also came up for consideration at the meeting. These included enhancement of medical allowance after linking it with price index, travel concession to be linked with DA and creation of a beneficiary fund.



Cubs to be released in safari
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 10
The local Tiger Safari on the Ludhiana-Jalandhar highway will have two naughty attractions for the visitors soon. Two tiger cubs, that were born in this zoo in August last, will soon be released in the safari for the visitors.

Six-month-old Paras and Mani, the two cubs, were kept in an enclosure all these months and were not released as the safari authorities wanted them to grow up a little before they could take care of themselves in the open environs of the safari.

The authorities said the cubs, who had grown up considerably, would be released within some days . For the past some days, they were being released in the safari for two hours everyday. They were also being kept with other adult tigers so that they could accept them in their habitat.

The cubs were born to a Royal Bengal Tiger couple, Rita and Pinto. As soon as their birth was announced, visitors from Ludhiana, Phillaur and Jalandhar had started pouring in to have a glimpse of the cubs.

With their release, the number of tigers would go upto 12 in the safari. According to Mr Raj Kumar Joshi, in charge, Ludhiana Zoo, the cubs had grown smarter and liked the environment of safari as they had vegetation and trees to climb up and peacocks to chase there.



Modernise, industry exhorted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 10
Mr S.K. Sandhu, Director (Industries), Punjab, has exhorted industrialists to make the maximum use of facilities announced by the state government to modernise and induct the latest technology in the industry under the new industrial policy of the state. He said it aimed to modernise the industry in Punjab to make it fully competitive at the international level, keeping in view the WTO Agreement. He claimed that substantial subsidies had been ensured to bring about the latest computer-based technology to the industrial units.

Mr Sandhu was addressing industrialists at the Knit Access Techno Forum on the concluding day of the three-day KNITACCESS-2003, jointly organised by the Knitwear Club and Garment Technology Expo, New Delhi, through a joint venture of Ludhiana Trade Promotion Organisation here today.

The Director informed that under the new industrial policy, inspectory raj had been completely eradicated and provisions had been made for the growth of the industry in a free and open environment. Mr Sandhu said the policy would enable the state to play the role of a “facilitator” and make “incentives” available under the changed nomenclature and the policy envisaged capital subsidy at the rate of 30 per cent of the fixed capital investment up to a maximum of Rs 30 lakh per unit in the three border districts. A provision of Rs 25 crore would be made in the state budget. Similarly, for the modernisation and upgradation of technology to help the industry, capital subsidy of 25 percent of the fixed capital investment up to a maximum of Rs 25 lakh per unit would be given to light engineering, textiles, hosiery and knitwear, sports goods and agro and food processing units. For this too, there would be a provision of Rs 25 crore in the next budget.

The Director said to give a competitive edge to export-oriented units, the policy ensured a freight subsidy of 1 per cent of the FOB value of exports up to a maximum of Rs 50 lakh per unit. For this the provision in the state budget would be Rs 50 crore.

Mr Sandhu said the industrial policy encouraged information technology, bio-technology, food parks, food processing, agri-business, textile infrastructure and cluster business. A three-tier mechanism had been introduced in the policy to reduce the grievances of the entrepreneurs.

Mr Vinod Thapar, president, Knitwear Club, Mr Deepak Arora of UNEDO, Mr I.S. Sahni and Mr N.K. Muglani also addressed the function. 



SSIs allege govt apathy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 10
Taking exception to a meeting of Mr A.S. Chatha, Adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister on Industry, with representatives of the big industry, the Ludhiana Electroplaters Association has charged the state government with being indifferent to the tiny and the small-scale sectors of the industry.

In a statement here today, Mr Joginder Kumar, President of the association said Mr Chatha held a meeting to discuss the new industrial policy of Punjab in which representatives of the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation, the Punjab Financial Corporation, the Confederation of Indian Industries and the Punjab and Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry were invited. However, the government chose to ignore the vital tiny and the SSI sector, which was passing through a crisis and needed to be rehabilitated.

Mr Kumar further lamented that the government was not serious in redressing the problems of the industry in general and the small and tiny units in particular, which was literally the backbone of the industrial economy. “The government has done precious little to implement the Chatha report submitted last year nor any effective steps taken to promote the growth of industrial sector in the state.”

Alleging that the government was deliberately sacrificing the interests of the small and the tiny sector, he said the problems of this sector were entirely different from the organised sector and that the government ought to discuss the industrial policy with the representatives of the small industry so that remedial measures could be taken.



City lad wins ticket to S. Africa
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 10
Mr Naveen Goel, a local resident, has won the Pepsi ticket to World Cup. He would be visiting South Africa to watch the World Cup final. The draw was taken out at a local restaurant in the presence of hundreds of people and officials of Pepsi.

The Vice-President of Pepsi, Mr D.P. Singh, disclosed that Pepsi had received phenomenal response to its campaign that ran parallel to the World Cup. The blue Pepsi which it launched in tune with the uniform of the Indian cricket team, he said, had got a response from the public.

Mr D.P. Singh disclosed that the scheme was part of a promotional scheme launched by Pepsi, which is one of the officials sponsors of the world cup. Under this scheme anybody purchasing Pepsi from any of the restaurants or hotel was given a scratch card to claim an on-the-spot prize.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |