Friday, March 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Panic buying of petrol
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 20
The proposed indefinite strike by petrol dealers all over the state from March 20, which was called off late last evening, led to panic buying, which continued today.

Hundreds of vehicles were seen in a long queues at filling stations, affecting traffic at several places. As panic buying continued throughout the day till night many petrol stations went dry by the end of the day.

The petrol dealers had threatened to resort to an indefinite strike against the adamant stand of the Punjab Government to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT) system for petroleum products from April. The Union Government has deferred the proposal till April, 2005.

According to Mr Yuvraj Dada, president, Ludhiana Petrol Dealers Association, the introduction of VAT system on petrol and diesel would result in abnormal hike in the prices as compared to other neighbouring states and the trade would be rendered uncompetitive.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Dada said the strike had been put off for the time being on the assurance given by the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, that a decision would be taken on the issue after consultation with the dealers and the Union Government. He further said the availability of petrol and diesel in the city would improve by the evening as fuel tankers were on their way.

The confusion over the strike was further increased as it was a holiday at most of the newspapers on account of Holi. And above all a local cable channel in its news telecast of 9 p.m. stated that the strike by petrol stations would commence from tomorrow (March 20), which further added to the uncertainty.

Meanwhile, the filling stations had a field day with their cash registers ringing. Even though the petrol dealers were aware that the strike had been deferred, yet they chose to take advantage of the situation and many filling stations continued with the sales till their stocks were finished.


2 held in watchman murder case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
A watchman employed with Ludhiana Steel Shuttering Store, Dugri Road, whose body was found from the store on March 15, was murdered by two youths.

Mr Harish Kumar, SP City-I, at a press conference today said the two accused, Narinder Singh, son of Parshotam Singh, a contractor working with the store, and Inderjit Singh, a friend of Narinder, were arrested and they had confessed to the crime.

The watchman, Giana Prashad, was found dead in an attic of the store.

Mr Harish Kumar said the police had got information that the victim had taken wages from the shop owner, Gurbhej Singh, on that fateful day and was to leave for his native village Devereya, Uttar Pradesh on March 16. The accused came to know about this. Moreover, Narinder had an argument with the Giana Prashad over some issue on the day of murder.

The SP said Narinder during questioning gave the name of his friend Inderjit as his accomplice in the crime.

According to Narinder, he and the watchman came to blows after an altercation started by him during which he allegedly picked up a hammer and hit him on the head. Inderjit hit him twice and Giana Prashad died on the spot. Both then decamped with Rs 1,140 found from the victim’s suitcase. Narinder also threw his blood-stained shirt in Sidhwan Canal.


Notice served on MC for demolition
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 20
The issue of demolition carried out by the Municipal Corporation at a controversial PUDA land near Lakshmi Cinema last week to clear certain unauthorised construction took a new turn with the property developer serving a notice on the civic body to claim damages. In the notice served on the MC Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner Zone A and Municipal Town Planner, the director of Gazebo Developers has termed the action illegal and unwarranted, while threatening to initiate legal proceedings if the loss was not made good within seven days.

According to the builder, a team of civic officials, headed by Mr P.K. Garg, Municipal Town Planner, had demolished a shed inside the boundary wall of his plot on March 13.

The builder further pleaded that the sale of the land was subject to the provisions of the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act, 1995 and rules framed thereunder. The building plan of the proposed commercial complex was to be approved by PUDA authorities in accordance with the conditions laid down in the sale letter and the MC had no locus standi to interfere in the building activity at this stage, he added.


CMCH ‘violates’ law on charitable bodies 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 20
The Brown Memorial Hospital Employees Union has served a memorandum to the members of the Governing Body of Christian Medical College and Hospital alleging that the present management is responsible for the decline of the institution and has failed to provide justice to the employees.

Mr B.M.Fredrick, general secretary of the union while submitting the memorandum said the management was exploiting the word ‘charitable’ for its own benefits to save octroi fees, import and custom duty etc. whereas in a charitable institution 10 per cent in-patients and 40 per cent out-patients were to be treated, free of cost, which was not there in CMC thus it was clear violation of its charitable status.

Mr Fredrick said the management had also planned to convert the present dinning hall of Margarita Craig nurses’ hostel into a public canteen which was against the interest of institution and nurses. Unclaimed money of provident fund which was approximately Rs 1 crore, had not been distributed among the employees. The dearness allowance to the pensioners had not been increased from 1998 which was against the minutes of November 28, 1994 meeting of executive committee of governing body.

The Employees Union demanded that the income generated from evening private consultation practice should be divided amongst all employees irrespective of their jobs whether clinical or non-clinical. 


2 PCTE students among BCA toppers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 20
Manpreet Kaur Makkar and Saakshi Khanna of Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE), 1999-2002 batch of BCA have bagged overall first and ninth positions out of first 10 positions in BCA examinations held by Punjab Technical University.

Manpreet Kaur Makkar has won the gold medal by securing the first position in the university in 1999 BCA batch. She has achieved an overall first position by scoring 3573/4200 with 85 per cent marks. She has topped the university four times out of six semesters. Saakshi Khanna also of 1999 batch bagged the overall ninth position in the university by scoring 3411/4200 with 81.2 per cent marks.

Manpreet will be awarded the gold medal and Saakshi with the merit certificate in the first convocation of PTU to be held on March 23. The President of India, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, will give away the prizes and certificates to the students.

Dr K N S Kang, Director, congratulating the students, said, ‘‘Since its inception in 1999, the students of PCTE have topped the university 18 times. It is clearly the hard work of students and teachers, which lead to an outstanding performance.’’

This is third gold medal of PCTE which Manpreet will be receiving in the first convocation of PTU on March 23. The other two gold medals will be received by Manveen Saini of MBA 1999 batch and Gurpreet Singh of MBA 2000 batch.


Kisan Mela from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will inaugurate a two-day Kisan Mela at the PAU on March 22. The mela would focus on rational use of natural resources.

Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, said the stagnation in agriculture could only be overcome by a close rapport of farmers with scientists.

Dr G.S. Nanda, Director of Research, said seeds of new varieties of crops would be distributed among the visiting farmers. A new paddy variety, PR-118, which is resistant to bacterial leaf blight, has been released as substitute to Pusa- 44. Similarly, super basmati has been produced that gives one and half times more yield than existing varieties along with a new moong variety, SML-668, that can be grown during summer as well as main kharif season.

The chief organiser of the mela, Dr J.S. Kolar, Director of Extension Education, said different departments of the university and other organisations from public, private and co-operative sectors would set up 200 stalls. The scientists would answer queries of the farmers. He also informed that arrangements for testing of soil and water samples and diagnosis of various plant disorders had also been made.

Dr S.S. Gill, Additional Director, Extension Education Centre for Communication, Languages and Culture, said literature on agriculture and allied fields would also be made available to the farmers.

Dr Gurkirpal Singh, Director, (Farms), informed that a number of counters had been set up for immediate disposal of seeds. Dr Jasbeer Singh Samra, Director (Seeds) said more than 40,000 packets of vegetable seeds had been prepared.


Cong nominees for Doraha MC poll
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 20
The Congress has declared its candidates for the election to the local Municipal Council to be held on April 5.

According to Mr Gurmit Singh Bhari, a former Political Secretary to CM, “Congress candidates, including Adarsh Pal Bector, will contest elections from Ward No. 3, Priya Sharma from Ward No. 4, Kiran Bala from Ward No. 6, S.P. Sood from Ward No. 8, Gurnam Singh from Ward No. 9, Mrs Raj Rani from Ward No. 10, Sardara Singh from Ward No. 12 and Jasbir Kaur Bajwa from Ward No. 13. The names of candidates for Ward Nos 1, 2, 5, 7 and 11 have been kept pending. The candidates for these wards will be declared shortly,” he added. 


Gurdev Badal not to attend Budget session
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 20
Former Agriculture Minister- Gurdev Badal’s case today took a new twist, when his counsel told the court that his client was not in a position to attend the Budget session, due to illness, so their application seeking permission to attend the Budget session may kindly be dismissed as withdrawn.

Mr Inderjit Kaushik, Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, disposed off the application accordingly.

On March 15, the court had stayed the implementation of previous orders vide which it had allowed the former minister to participate in the Budget session of the Punjab Assembly, subject to the condition, if doctors of the PGI declared the accused fit. The accused had been admitted to the PGI due to heart ailment. 


Dharna by postal staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
Members of the local unit of the All India Postal Employees Union, Class III, staged a dharna in front of the head post office here today.

Those who spoke on the occasion included Comrade Ramesh Kakkar, divisional secretary, Postman Union, C.L. Verma, divisional secretary, Clerical Union, Mr Roshan Lal, Mr Mewa Singh, Mr J.S. Dua, Mr Raghunath Sharma, Mr Rajinder Sharma, Mr Ramesh Sharma and Mr Kanwar Lal.

The agitators condemned the move of the Central Government to amend the India Post Office Act, 1898.

Their other demands include scrapping of the Panchayat Sanchar Sewa Kendra Service.


Blaring speakers worsen noise pollution

LUDHIANA has the dubious distinction of being a populated and polluted city. Besides air pollution, noise pollution has assumed alarming proportions and is the greatest irritant for the residents. Blaring speakers from religious places and marriage palaces have snatched the peace and tranquillity from our lives.

The blatant misuse of loudspeakers on religious functions, weddings and during elections has made life miserable for those living in congested localities. The cacophony, especially during night long ‘jagratas’ has become the biggest enemy of those wanting a well-earned rest during night. The growing prosperity of the middle classes has also made them more religious-minded. Roads are blocked and the traffic diverted for holding kirtans at night. During the day, many temples and gurdwaras test the patience of the people, besides their ears, by loudly playing religious sermons over loudspeakers.

We are indeed living in a strange country. Everyone seems to claim a birthright to create a nuisance and torture others in the name of religion. Only a stiff legislation, a blanket ban on the use of loudspeakers and other sources of noise pollution, can restore the tranquillity of our cities. Is someone listening ?


Ex-servicemen’s pension

For the information of ex-servicemen who are now to get one-rank one-pension, the orders in this context have been passed on to the respective District Disbursing Pension Officer to make the payments as early as possible. I have visited the DDPO, office, Ludhiana, and was informed by the office clerk that we will be given the respective forms within a few days and will complete the same in respect of ex-servicemen viz - Naik/Subedar, Commissioned Officer etc. etc.

You are hereby informed to contact D.P. D.O.s office along with your discharge certificate and pension book for putting the information in the form which is available in their office without any cost and free of any charge.


Appeal to PPSC

In The Tribune dated 22.2.2003, the Punjab Public Service Commission, Patiala, through Advt. No. - 01, declared the re-examination of PCS (EB) and Allied Services exam conducted in 1998. Though this news delighted many candidates, many like me were shocked to read that absentees of 1998 will not be allowed to take the exam even though otherwise eligible.

I came from Vizag to appear in the test at PBI University centre and it took me some time to locate the exam room, but when I entered the room at 10 AM sharp, the stubborn invigilator did not allow me in with another candidate. We were declared late entries in the room and marked absent. Such instances could have happened to anyone. Despite repeated requests, we were not allowed inside.

Through these columns I request the PPSC authorities to allow all the eligible candidates of 1998 to reappear in this test in the interests of equality and justice.


Mobile dispensaries

This is in reference to Mr B.B. Goyal’s letter in Ludhiana Tribune, dated 13.3.2003, on the need to have more mobile dispensaries. When everybody, from top to bottom, is busy pursuing their political and material goals, here is a man in the crowd who has the courage and conviction to raise his voice on behalf of the downtrodden, needy, sick and old and above all the handicapped people in our society.

It goes without saying that many people in society, belonging to the above mentioned categories, go without necessary medical aid for want of money. The scenario in the medical profession, both government as well as private, is disgusting. The government agencies are without proper infrastructure.

Under the circumstances, I would request the Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, to personally take an initiative in this matter and set the ball rolling. Despite the prevalent financial crunch in the state, I am sure the mobile dispensaries, as envisaged by Mr. Goyal, can see the light of the day. In case he takes a lead and involve the people, many large-hearted Ludhianavis will only be willing to lend a helping hand.

If ambulances for accident emergencies and PCR motorcycles for controlling the traffic chaos and containing the crime can be arranged by the police, why can’t mobile dispensaries be arranged for a noble cause with the help of the ever-helping public of the city by the medical fraternity?

The undersigned will be too willing to lend a helping hand along with his Rotarian colleagues and other like-minded associates.


Selective demolition

The residents of Ludhiana and Amritsar have voiced their anguish, time and again, over the pick and choose demolition policy followed by the district authorities, through various societies, including the media.

I would like to quote a unique case of illegal backyard boundary wall (which was spared action by Ludhiana MC) raised by the owner of property 451-B, BRS Nagar, Ludhiana. Since such a construction done by some owners lacking civic sense and against the norms is a matter of grave concern, the case has been well explored and hence is of interest for the information/awareness of the public about the working of the Municipal Corporation (MC), etc.

In this case, after the notice was served by the MC to the offender, the politician interfered in the demolition drive. Then, after a long period of inaction, Ludhiana MC authorities i.e. the present Commissioner and his administrative set-up, started tossing the case to another urban body, reflecting very badly on the manner of functioning of the MC, which is against the interest of the house at the back and the adjoining houses as well as the society in general.

The reasons as to why the MC governance has ceased to work in this case are obvious.

The MC authorities, be it at Amritsar, Ludhiana or other cities, should now seriously check building bylaw violations in all planned colonies and must take prompt action in demolishing the illegal constructions including the one as referred above.



Farmer’s body found
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 20
Body of a farmer Amolak Singh with multiple sharp-edged injuries has been found from his fields on Dholan-Rumi Road.

Amolak Singh (65) of Rumi village had left his house for irrigating his fields but did not return. His nephew Nirmal Singh and Mr Darshan Singh, a teacher in the same village, found his body lying in his fields. The body had multiple sharp-edged weapon injuries and was wrapped in a jute cloth.

The dead body of the deceased was brought to the Civil Hospital for conducting postmortem examination by the police today.


Body found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
A decomposed body of a middle-aged woman was found in a gunny bag from near Dad village today morning.

The woman’s face and abdomen had severe burns. The police said the woman, was in turquoise suit.


Daikin Shriram opens Solution Plaza
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 20
The leader Daikin Shriram Air Conditioning Pvt. Ltd. today opened their Solution Plaza, the first in Punjab and fourth in the country, to provide a single window interactive platform to air conditioner buyers. The concept of Solution Plaza is to educate customers about the entire airconditioning.

Later addressing a news conference, Mr Rajnish Ohri, General Manager, Marketing said the Daikin Shriram, was a 80 : 20 joint venture between the Japanese airconditioning major Daikin Industries Ltd and the Siddarth Shriram Group Company SIEL. The company manufacturers and markets only split AC units, both for domestic and commercial segments. 

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