Tuesday, March 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Contractors join issue over quarrying
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Bholewal, March 17
Two groups of sand mining contractors, one of them reportedly owing allegiance to a senior Congress leader, are at loggerhead these days over the matter of quarrying in the Sutlej riverbed in two villages of Alewal and Bholewal. The controversy has once again brought to the fore allegations of illegal sand quarrying causing loss of crores to the state exchequer.

While one of the groups was alleging that the contract of the sand mining from Alewal and Bholewal villages was in its name so the right to charge royalty rested with them, the other group owing reported allegiance to a Congress leader, claimed that the other group was using the roads falling in their area.

Mr Harjinder Pal Singh, one of the directors of Gurnam Mineral Excavations Limited, claimed that though his company was authorised to quarry the sand from Alewal and Bholewal villages, but the other group was forcibly charging a royalty of Rs 100 each from the persons quarrying the sand from these villages.

But a representative of other group, Mr Jaswinder Singh, however claimed that he has had the contract for many villages in Jalandhar and the other party was using the roads falling in Jalandhar district to quarry the sand. But he denied allegations levelled by Mr Harjinder Pal Singh stating that the persons charging royalty were planted by a political rival to bring a bad name to the Congress.

When a Tribune team reached the spot, the two parties seemed ready for an altercation over the issue of royalty. When a man reached the place where royalty was being charged, he was stopped by Mr Harjinder Singh’s party. The former could cross only after paying Rs 100.

Just after a few meters some other persons, carrying receipts, also stopped him. The two groups, who were all set for a duel, cooled down after seeing the Tribune team. Then the other party let the miner go without paying.

The miner said that this had been happening for the past more than 15 days and he was being forced to pay the royalty twice. If he refused to pay, musclemen were ready to force him to pay.

Soon after, another man with a loaded trolley passed through the spot and both the parties charged royalty from him. Interestingly while Mr Jaswinder Singh denied that the persons demanding royalty were planted by his political rivals, but the receipts being issued to the miners were bearing his name as the contractor.

Mr Jit Singh, a man posted at the spot carrying receipts bearing Mr Jaswinder Singh’s name, said that he was told to do so by a senior Congress leader. He did not know the details of the case and directed the Tribune team to speak to the Congress leader only. 



Ruckus cuts short CII meeting
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 17
A meeting on procedures of central excise organised by the northern chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) was cut short here today due to ruckus and hooliganism. The Chairman of the northern chapter of the CII, Mr S.P. Oswal had to call off the meeting as some small-scale industrialists disrupted the proceedings. The meeting was aimed at removing confusion about central excise. Senior excise officials, including Commissioner H.K. Mittal and the Joint Commissioner, had come to answer queries of industrialists. The purpose of the meeting was defeated as nobody was allowed to speak.

Contrary to the agenda, which was interaction on the issue, some persons, claiming to represent the small-scale industry, started raising slogans, demanding that central excise be withdrawn. They claimed that they were on the verge of bankruptcy and had to close their units and were not in a position to pay central excise.

Repeated pleas for order by Mr Oswal and Mr Mittal fell on deaf ears. While Mr Mittal was speaking and giving clarifications, one person shouted, “We do not need any clarifications, we only want it withdrawn.”

As Mr Mittal tried to clarify that it was beyond his powers to withdraw central excise and he could only put forth their point of view to his seniors, others joined the chorus. Some of them went in front of the dais and staged a dharna in a bid to embarrass Mr Oswal, who had organised the meeting.

A visibly upset Mr Oswal had to cut short the meeting as nobody seemed to listen to his request for order. He later said he was aware of the apprehensions of small-scale industrial units, but the protest should be in a proper manner. He regretted the behaviour of some persons which forced the organised to call off the meeting.

Mr Mittal assured the small-scale industrialists that he would put forth their point of view again, but for now, suggested that the industrial unit owners should appreciate and cooperate with the department and understand the procedures involved. He tried to allay fears about harassment or procedural difficulties. 



Holi takes on Chinese colour
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, March 17
On Holi you must have your fill of dher saree mithai, treat yourself with special kesaria thandayee.
Faces and colours have purana nata After all once a year yeh festival aata.

This is the message of Holi on one of the 150 cards brought out by Archies this year. The large variety of cards in Hindi shows that the colour of Holi has become quite commercial. Now children have a rollicking time using button-operated “pitchkaris”. Imported from China, these are available in various sizes and the prices range from Rs 40 to Rs 500. They are sturdier than the Indian ones available in the market.

Ravinder Verma, who is selling colours on the roadside in the Daresi area, says that Chinese “pitchkaris” are smaller but have more attractive shapes. The traditional Indian “pitchkaris” have undergone a little change, becoming larger.

In the Daresi area of the walled city, “gulal” of various colours lies in small mounds, available at Rs 10 per kg. Ravinder says generally the migrant population buys these colours. Others buy “gulal” sold at Rs 60 per kg as this variety has arrowroot mixed with colours and is more skin-friendly. Wet colours are also available in condensed form and these are generally diluted by people.

Mr Gurvinder of Archies says in the upmarket Sarabha Nagar, people are generally buying colours made of natural dyes, even though a packet of this kind of “gulal” costs as much as Rs 300 a kg. But people are buying them as they do not irritate the skin. Moreover, an Indian firm has bought coloured sprays, especially for Holi. These canned sprays have a myriad of colours, from gold to silver to glitters, perfumed ones and one can spray even snow.

Archies have also brought out special “thalis” containing colours, sweets and a card. Similarly, special gift pouches containing small packets of “gulal” and sweets. On a purchase above a certain amount of money, free Holi caps, shaped like Nehru caps, are given free.

People are making colours out of Tesu flowers. The flame-red flowers are boiled and leave a rich red colour.

If you want to send gifts to your dear ones far away, you can send packages like the “Rang barse” pack from Archies containing “gulal”, “gujiya” and a personalised card or you can send “Rang Tesu ke sang” containing a pouch of Tesu flowers, “gulal” or “panjiri” ladoos, a Holi cap and a personalised card. 



Conviction of chemist upheld
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 17
Dismissing the appeal of a chemist, convicted and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for selling spurious drugs, Mr H.S. Madan, Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, today upheld the sentence of the lower court.

Mr Ravinder Singh, proprietor of Sukhchain Medical Centre, Dehlon, had been convicted to three years’ imprisonment by Mr D.P. Singla, Judicial Magistrate, and he had filed the appeal against his conviction. The accused had been convicted in a case filed by the drug inspector, Ludhiana, under Section 27(C), read with Sections 18A(1), 17-B, 28 and 18/A, of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

Mr Madan rejected the plea and said the judgement passed by the trial court was based on proper appraisal and appreciation of evidence and correct interpretation of law.

The drug inspector had pleaded that on August 27, 1992, the chemist shop of the accused was raided. Eight strips, each containing 10 tablets of trimethoprim and sulphamethoxazole, alleged to be manufactured by Ekant Pharma, Bilaspur, were taken into possession. The price of the sample was paid.

Thereafter, the sample had been sent to the analyst, who gave report that, the contents of trimethoprim and sulphamethoxazole were found nil against the claim of 80 mg per tablet and 40 mg per tablet, respectively, and were not of standard quality and rather were spurious. A show-cause notice had been served upon the accused along with a copy of report given by the analyst.

In response to the notice, the accused had replied that he had purchased the medicines from Punjab Medical Hall, Dehlon, and so he had no liability. The authorities concerned had then served a notice to the owner of Punjab Medical Hall, who had denied the sale of drugs to the accused.



Scuffle over parking claims life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 17
A truck driver was killed by another trucker at Kesar Gunj chowk here today morning. The deceased, identified as Surinder Kumar, hailing from Delhi was allegedly clubbed to death by Shingara Singh, the driver of a Tata-407 truck, with an iron rod after a minor altercation over parking of trucks, the police said.

According to sources, the two vehicles collided when both drivers tried to park their respective vehicles in a vacant space. The accused grabbed an iron rod from his truck and hit Surinder on his head.

Surinder died on the spot. The accused, however, managed to flee. The police has registered a case of murder against Shingara Singh.



Paddy MSP: BKU threatens stir 
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 17
Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, general secretary, BKU, at a press conference at his residence today here, said the farmers had lifted the dharna at Patiala after an assurance by Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister Punjab. But the farmers would continue a symbolic dharna of 5 members of BKU everyday up till April 1 to give time to the government for implementation of the BKU demands, he added.

Mr Rajewal warned that if the government failed to fulfill its demands, the farmers would assemble in large numbers and intensify their stir to increase of MSP of wheat and to protest against freezing MSP of paddy, Mr Rajewal declared that more than one lakh farmers and women would gherao the Parliament in New Delhi on March 31.

Mr Rajewal said that the Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, had released an amount of Rs 50 crore as part of installment of paddy bonus to be paid to the farmers and had promised to release the balance shortly so that it was paid to the farmers through arhtiyas by April 30.He also declared to pay the second installment on the spot at the time of procurement of wheat. Both these installments would cost the state Rs 200 crore but provide benefit to the farmers. Mr Lal Singh had also declared to amend the co-op Act to delete Section 67A of this Act during the current Assembly session, so that no farmer was arrested in case of default in repayment of cooperative loans.

Mr Rajewal also said that Mr Lal Singh had declared to release the pending 20,000 tubewell connections shortly who had already returned their completed documents after completing all formalities.



Filters clean water for only 2 months
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 17
If you believe that by installing a water filter in your home and office, you are drinking clean water, you may be wrong. On the contrary, you are probably drinking water that is even more contaminated than your tap water.

These were the findings of a research conducted by Dr Param Pal Sahota, Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Punjab Agricultural University. The findings revealed that water filters gave good results only for the first two months and as the time passed, water filtered became more contaminated. Even though bacteria continue to be screened, it was the toxins produced by the bacteria that did not get filtered and keep flowing out in the water.

Dr Sahota’s research revealed that Aquaguard, Zero-B and candle filters, that hold organic deposits inside them and get constant supply of water, formed a good host for the bacteria. Most filters equipped with ultra-violet lights caused genetic mutations in the bacteria, making them even more resistant against antibiotics, it was found. The research, thus, proved that all types of filters, including those using candle sticks or ultra violet radiation, were ineffective. However, water purified by boiling method was found to be the cheapest and safest.

It had been suggested in the research that instead of using water filters, there were two other ways of getting potable water. The best method was boiling of water for which geysers could be installed in the kitchens and water could be stored in clean, see-through glass containers or bottles with air-tight lids. Plastic bottles should not be used as their sides tend to become slimy and dirty, it has been stated. Since boiling of water results in loss of useful ions, a B-complex capsule must be consumed each day to make for this loss.

The second method, according to the research, was storing the water in a clean bucket and adding a tablet of chlorine to it. After the chlorine tablet dissolved, its deposits settling on the bottom could be discarded and the rest of water could be stored for consumption, the study suggested.

The PAU scientist said that a certifying authority should be set up to verify the functioning of the much-expensive water filters. She also pointed out that the Municipal Corporation should ensure that the water supplied in the pipes to the residents was not contaminated.

Besides, the Department of Microbiology in PAU, had also set up a test centre for collecting and testing the water and food samples for microbiological contamination. She said that a revolving fund had been set up in the department for the purpose. Ms Sahota, who is in charge of the centre, said that more than 70 per cent of the water samples from various areas of Ludhiana tested by her in the department were found to be unfit for drinking purpose. 



Discussion on ‘Anhoe’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 17
An analytical discussion was held by the Punjabi Novel Academy on Padma Shri Gurdial Singh’s novel “Anhoe” (non-existent) yesterday at Punjabi Bhavan. Gurdial Singh is the winner of more than two dozen awards and has written nine novels, 10 story books, three plays, and more than 10 books for children.

The discussion was held by Mitter Sen Meet, T. Vinod, Prof N.S. Tasneem, Dr S.S. Khera, Surjit Gill, Dr Harbhajan Singh Bhatia and Dr Rajinder Singh.

The central character of the novel, Bishna, is a true representative of a rare class of labourers that cannot be swayed by the lure of money and are not willing to be exploited by men in authority. Gurdial Singh shared his experiences and disclosed how he got the inspiration to write the novel. He shared some interesting anecdotes with the writers. He said he had worked for five and half years to complete the novel.

Mr Karamjit Aujla, vice-president of the academy, said it was for the first time that the society had organised a workshop with the novelist himself there to share his views. Gurdial Singh also interacted with young writers and answered their queries.



Birmi assures reforms
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, March 17
Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Minister of State for Jails and Urban Development, was given a warm welcome by residents here yesterday.
After visiting the tempo union and the grain market Mr Birmi followed by his slogan raising supporters passed through the main market. The municipal councillors, including Mr Swaran Singh, Mr Jasminder Sandhu, Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu, Mr Jeewan Kumar Kapila, former president, Municipal Council, and Mr Sushil Puri, sarpanch, Nattan Mr Charanjit Singh, Sarpanch, Gobindgarh, Mr Darshan Singh Sarpanch, Jugiana, and Mr Manjit Singh, Sarpanch, Dharaur, were with the minister.

He said funds would be provided for additional yards in the grain market. Work on the main market road will begin by month-end, he added.



Website launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March17
Yabli Inc. launched its portal www.yabli.com here today. The website is a complete fun site. It will provide international news, e-cards, jokes, chat, e-mail, online dictionary and daily horoscope. Yabli means something said to convey an absurd meaning and yet it holds some sense. Visitors can also send their yablis. Wallpapers will also be available on the site soon.


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