Wednesday, April 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Hosiery strike draws flak from people
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
There is much resentment among the people over the continued strike by hosiery manufacturers who continued to suspend work for the ninth day today. The strike has been described as “unjustified and uncalled for as it aims only at getting tax evasion legalised”.

A cross-section of people today observed that the refusal by the manufacturers to pay the central excise duty was “ridiculous” as it had no justification about it. They pointed out that hosiery manufacturers were trying to hold the state to ransom by staging protest demonstrations everyday.

Mr Avtar Singh, an employee of the PWD pointed out, “it is the service class only which paid most of the taxes while businessmen seldom paid any tax. Even when they paid tax they showed their income far below the actual amount. He stressed that the government should not succumb to the pressure and withdraw the excise duty.

Similar observations were made by other people, who said, most of those staging the demonstrations were in a position to pay the Central excise duty. Mr Rohit Kumar, a lawyer, observed that the exemption system should be totally dispensed with. He said in case the government sets the exemption limit at Rs 5 lakh, most of the manufacturers would show their income at less than this amount. And if the exemption limit was extended to Rs 10 lakh, there would hardly be any manufacturer who would show his turnover more than this amount.

Dr Gurinder Singh, a senior physician, was more forthright in his comments. “It simply amounts to the demand that the evasion should be legalised,” he pointed out while adding that there were hundreds of manufacturers who had hailed the central excise duty. Such manufacturers had already got themselves registered with the Central Excise Department.

Some manufacturers had even disagreed with those on strike. Mr Rajiv Sharma, a small-scale hosiery manufacturer, observed that the basic problem was that of tax evasion. With the central excise, everything would have to be brought on record. He disclosed that there were a number of manufacturers, with turnover running into crores, without having even registered themselves with the Sales Tax Department.

Such practices only led to massive tax evasion and loss to the state exchequer. A number of manufacturers agreed that it was wrong to assume that the introduction of the Central excise would lead to harassment by officials.



Head teachers cry foul over postings
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 8
It was a shock for over 50 head teachers who had come to Government Senior Secondary School for Boys at Jawahar Nagar for an interview to get promoted as centre head teachers. Majority of them, who are on the brink of their retirement, were refused postings of their choice even on compensatory grounds. They were instead told to join the centres in villages at least 8 to 10 km from their homes.

The head teachers came to the interview centre with a hope that they would get appointment in coveted centres within the city or in its outskirts. But they felt as if they were taken for a ride, when they were shown a list of 47 centres, none of which was located in the city or within 5 km from octroi posts. The candidates told that there were 30 posts for centre head teacher lying vacant at centres within the city and its vicinity, but none of these was made open to them.

Alleging a foul play on the part of government officers, the candidates said all such posts were probably kept secured for the kith and kin of ministers and other influential persons. The candidates held long deliberations with Mr C.M. Puri, District Education Officer (Elementary), who was given the charge for conducting interviews. They were told that he was simply abiding by the instructions of the DPI.

The head teachers had no choice but to accept the decision of the government. Many of them, however, clearly told the DEO (E) that since they were to retire in a month or so, they would simply go to the centre for a day, give their joining report and then proceed on leave till they retire. This was indicative of the fact that the posts would once again remain unfilled for a year or more.

But a few of them, who still had six to eight months in the job and felt that they were physically weak and incapable to take up post at far off villages, had no option but to decline to accept the offer of promotion.

Mr Baldev Krishan Moudill, president, Government Primary Teachers’ Association, said since the DEO was without any written orders from the DPI, the head teachers believed that there certainly was some kind of bungling involved on part of higher officials. He said he, along with all candidates, would approach the Education Minister and seek justice.



Children take out march against US attack on Iraq
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 8
Over 1000 children of various schools took out a march here today in protest against the US invasion of Iraq, which has left thousands of people, including children, dead and seriously wounded. They decried the attack and demanded immediate cessation of the hostilities. The military action, they felt, had totally ignored the human factor and had been done with an eye on Iraq’s oil and Bush’s arrogance to show the USA’s military might to the world.

The students carried banners and placards. The protest march was organised jointly by the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) and the Bharat Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha Ludhiana.

The march started from the Khalsa College for Women, Ghumar Mandi, and passed through Ghumar Mandi Chowk, Bhaiwala Chowk to the Mini-Secretariat, where one student from each school went to the ADC General and presented a peace charter to be forwarded to the embassy of the USA, UK and Iraq. In this charter they asked the world community to not just pay lip service to the Iraqi people but also take immediate concrete steps to end the aggression. Before the march, a rally was also organised at the place of assembly.

Schools from which the students participated were Guru Ram Dass Public School, G.N. Khalsa High school for Girls (Gujjarkhan), BCM Arya Model School, Government Senior Secondary School PAU, Shaheed Bhagat Singh School, Government Chanan Devi Memorial Girls High School, Government Senior Secondary Multipurpose School, Government Girls Senior Secondary School for Girls (Bharat Nagar), SVM Senior Secondary School, New Public High School, Sargodha Khalsa Girls Senior Secondary School, Ramgarhia Senior Secondary School for Boys and Nankana Sahib Public School.

Among those who addressed and participated in the march were Dr Arun Mitra, Dr P.S. Jassal, Dr Shakti Kumar, Major Sher Singh Aulakh, Dr S.N. Sewak, Prof. R.S. Bakshi, Prof. K.B.S. Sodhi, Prof D.P. Mour, Mr Kuldeep Singh Binder, Mrs Gurcharan Kochar and Mr Sohan Singh.



Effigies of Bush, Blair burnt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
The local unit of the Inquilabi Kendra and the Lok Morcha today staged a demonstration against America's unilateral attack on Iraq.
The agitators, including a large number of women, held a dharna in front of the mini-secretariat and raised slogans against the policy of spilling blood for oil and carrying on with the war in the absence of UN approval and widespread protests across the world.

Various speakers alleged that the war was being waged with the objective of having a greater control over Iraq oil and the installation of a puppet regime in Iraq. The protesters later burnt the effigies of US President George W. Bush and Prime Ministers of the UK, Tony Blair.



Sikh forces’ victory over British remembered
Tribune News Service

Hassanpur, April 8
The 157th anniversary of the Anglo- Sikh war was celebrated at an impressive and largely attended function here today. The gathering resolved to raise a befitting memorial to the soldiers and said it would come up on 50 acres at a cost of Rs 30 crore.

While the state government and the Archaeological Survey of India have turned a blind eye towards the commemoration of historic events in the district, residents of a number of villages in and around Baddowal have taken it upon themselves to commemorate the great Sikh Victory over the British forces in 1846 on their land.

The function was organised by the Anglo Sikh War Memorial Trust, comprising area residents and some NRIs. Those who spoke on the occasion included Sant Hardev Singh, Baba Sukhchain Singh, Dr Sarup Singh Alagh, Prof Anurag Singh, Mr Bahadur Singh, Ms Gurbachan Kaur, Mr Surjit Singh, Ms Kuljit Kaur and Ms Jasvir Kaur.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Surat Singh Khalsa, an NRI, and chief sewadar of the trust, lamented : “Neither the former nor the present government has done anything for the preservation of the monuments. Most of the historic places associated with the great victory have gone to the dogs. Some are in the process of being lost. These are the places we aim to save for posterity,’’ he said.

The Trust has extended invitation to all political parties and is hopeful that Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would help the trust in the conservation work. The trust has announced an elaborate plan of Rs 30 crore for constructing a memorial, a gate, an engineering college, a Khalsa college and a gurdwara on a common piece of land.

The Baddowal Anglo-Sikh war has got laudatory references in books of several historians. It was the greatest victory of Sikh forces against the British, who were gaining ground in Punjab at the moment.

The glorious victory is remembered by the Punjabis. This is because of two main factors. One, the British army was being led by Generals like Henry Harding, Harry Smith and others who had earlier beaten Napoleon’s army.

Second, the Sikh forces, outnumbered many times by the British, comprised mainly of untrained villagers, who swarmed the battlefield with any kind of weapon they could come cross. They fought with sickles, sticks, shovels and even kitchen knives and agriculture tools.

Mr Khalsa revealed that residents of Hassanpur, Bhanuar, Dakha, Mullanpur, Munidiani, Pandori, Rurka, Jangpur, Khandur, Ratna, Chokkar, Jodhan, Mansooran, Pamal, Pamali, Lalton Khurd and Lalton Kalan were the brave ones who fought the British.

The Sikh forces had imprisoned 33 British officers in the war, said Mr Khalsa. He, however, rued that vested political interests sabotaged the villagers’ hope of erecting monuments in the region. He accused the former Akali government in the state of giving funds to the construction of monuments in Pamal and Baddowal village.

Mr Khalsa said the trust would organise a function every year. It was also in the process of compiling a book about the Great War.

Mr Khalsa said the Rs 30-crore worth project would require help from the state government, social, religious and Sikh organisations. He said a memorandum had been sent to the state government requesting its help in the task.



Mangoes make entry into city markets
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 8
When the summer comes, can mangoes be far behind? Mangoes have made their royal entry into city markets much to the delight of mango lovers. Like other years, this season too, the first to enter the markets are two varieties — ‘totapari’ and ‘safeda’. Later on, many more varieties like langra, Banarsi, alphansos will be available in plenty as these are not being exported to Gulf countries due to war.

As ‘totapari’ and ‘safeda’ are fresh entrants, the prizes are little steep.

Young members of a mango-crazy family of Bhatias of the Civil Lines say, “Thank God! Mangoes have come. Now drinking milk will not be a problem as both in the morning and evening, we will have mango milk-shakes.”

Senior members say,“ We now have no problem about desserts. Mango souffles, mango fruit cream and mango ice cream are very delicious desserts. ”

A figure-conscious teenager ,Sugandha, says,“ The very sight of mangoes makes my mouth water. I know because of their sugar content, mangoes are fattening, but I cannot restrain myself to eating only one mango. I like to eat a couple of them at a time sucking the ‘kernel’ and making a mess . For my love of mangoes, I do not mind jogging an extra mile, but mangoes I must have.”

The juice of mangoes that tastes like nectar also is very rich source of vitamin A and C and provides a lot of useful calories for my growing child, says Anshu, a fond mother. But, Seerat and her husband say sadly,“ We can never eat mangoes for we are diabetic. Can we?”



Declining water table affected farm produce’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
Reiterating the commitment of the Punjab Government to the growth and development of agriculture in Punjab, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Minister of State for Agriculture, remarked that the Punjab Government averted the drought-like conditions in the state through its meticulous crisis management strategy.

He was speaking on the occasion of the 38th All-India Annual Rice Group Meeting organised by the Directorate of Rice Research (DRR), Hyderabad, in collaboration with Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. He said the government had also embarked upon reinvigorating agriculture in the state through the recommendations of S.S. Johal Advisory Committee.

The minister drew attention to the fact that though Punjab had only 1.5 per cent of cultivable land, yet it was contributing 40 to 50 per cent of paddy and 60 to 70 per cent of wheat to the Central pool. However, the remarkable achievements in the production had, of late, been set off by problems like declining water table, soil infertility and surplus food grain stocks.

Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, in his presidential remarks emphasised that access to food did not imply simply physical access but economic access too. Here he observed that even though the foodgrain stocks were overflowing in the country but the per capita availability of foodgrains was as low as 180 kg. He also noted that the unchecked geometrical progression of population in the country was responsible for this and unless measures were taken to check it, there was a danger of Malthusian theory overtaking us.

Dr G. Kalloo, Deputy Director General, ICAR, called for raising the total factor productivity as a means of escape from this dilemma. He also highlighted various areas in which rice research could make a dent. In this regard, he spoke of the role of transgenics, functional genomics, precision farming and indigenous technology.

Dr B. Mishra, Project Director, DRR presented the highlights of rice research in the country over the past one year. He mentioned that 1,464 trials (1364 in kharif and 100 in rabi) covering major disciplines in rice improvement were conducted by 44 DRR-funded and 69 voluntary centres representing all rice growing eco-systems and states. As many as 25 new varieties of rice had also been released last year. He stressed that bio-technology would play an important role in rice research in the years to come.

Dr G.S. Nanda, Director of Research, PAU, welcomed the delegates and Dr S.V. Subbiah presented the vote of thanks. Around 400 scientists are attending this four day workshop.




It is interesting to watch as to how a professor of a college in Civil Lines has publicised about his own premature retirement. The professor has put a big red-coloured banner outside his house at Model Town with a message implying that he has taken retirement and would work whole-heartedly for an institute for improving spoken English. In fact, the professor was already taking classes in his institute being run in his house. However, since private tuitions were banned for all government and aided-college professors, he could not practice it openly. Now that he has taken retirement, he has a chance to publicise about it.

Pensioners’ blues

Thousands of pensioners in the city are up in arms against the manner in which pension is disbursed at the local treasury office. Housed in the mini secretariat, pensioners have to walk all the way to get to the pension counter as vehicles are stopped far away for security reasons (the adjoining building houses the SSP’s office). The administration is totally ill-equipped to handle the growing rush. Consequently, the officials themselves suggest that the pensioners should shift their pension to nationalised banks.

Dodging propaganda

For most people a written word is the ultimate truth and for this reason they believe that anything written about by newspapers cannot be false. The US led attack on Iraq has begun to alter this. People now realise the importance of media in a propaganda campaign. Though, “yellow journalism” has existed ever since newspapers came into existence, it is only recently that people have come to realise that media can be used to win battles psychologically and much more effectively than physical combat. Shifting between news channels is precisely an attempt to dodge the campaign in search of truth.

Canine concern

The new Out Patient Department (OPD) at the local Civil Hospital has started functioning after a long wait for the people. But interestingly, as you approach the OPD you are not greeted by any doctor, nurse or hospital staff. The welcome is provided by none other than man’s best friend. But unfortunately not all consider the canine his or her best friend and are, therefore, put to a lot of hardship.

Ash dear

Scores of Aishwarya Rai fans in the city are concerned about the wellbeing of their heartthrob. We at Ludhiana Tribune received a rather unusual request the other day. An ardent fan wanted us to, find out Ash’s address in Mumbai and pass it on so that the fan could send her get well soon greetings. Repeated suggestions that the greetings could be sent to Hinduja Hospital failed to deter the fan. He further suggested that we run a get-well series in the newspaper for Ash. Though that may not be possible, but through these columns we wish her a speedy recovery.

Snoozing cop

At the two-day exchange conference between UK and Punjab police at Phillaur, quite a few Punjab cops did no good to their sullied image by snoozing during the presentations or lectures. This embarrassed the seniors as well as the British cops. The height of the moment came when a gazetted officer, sitting right next to a standing UK cop who was presenting a crime detection system in their country, went into a slumber. The unknowing UK cop during his lecture, extended his hand for a handshake to the officer to show how DNA samples can be taken from a handshake. To his utter bewilderment, the Punjab cop was snoozing coolly. The embarrassed visitor could only say, “Oh! He is snoozing. Was he on night patrol duty or was my lecture very boring?”

Politically correct PPA

The officials of the Punjab Police Academy, most of whom are posted here after the change of government, cannot dare to be politically incorrect. This is displayed through a small photo gallery in the shooting hall of the academy premises. Pictures of former Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and several other Akali bigwigs are displayed proudly at the hall. There is not a single picture of a Congress minister, not even of the Chief Minister. Normally, the pictures of leaders of a party voted out of power are rarely seen displayed in such a manner. But the officials cannot dare to ignore him. They have framed target sheets of a shooting board at which Maharaja Sahib had tested his shooting skills. The shots were very good and spoke volumes about the CM’s ability in this field. The PPA officials do not miss any chance to praise his ability to visitors.

Sheepish UK chief

There were embarrassing moments for UK police inn the two-day conference. Assistant Chief Constable Steve Chamberlain failed the firearms ability test. He got a poor judgement certificate. Another officer was found wayward and off the mark. Their struggle was quite amusing for the Punjab cops and the journos. The sheepish UK cop could not help but praise the firearms training and ability analysis system of the Punjab Police.

Chaati di lassi

Selling chaati di lassi has become a very lucrative business in the city for the ruralities. They have made a beeline to the city to sell the much sought after drink during blistering summer. On every nook and corner of the city, one can see tables put up by the lassi sellers bearing a big banner — pind waali chaati di lassi. And obviously they are doing brisk business. Priced for Rs 5 a glass, the sellers get free by the afternoons going by the demand. It is sure to give a tough competition to the big outlets selling malai wali lassi as it is free of bad cholesterol and lighter. But keep your fingers crossed for the purity of water.

Unreliable diagnostic labs

A renal failure patient’s life hangs on reports of the tests conducted by the diagnostic labs. It is very upsetting and unnerving for the patient when the labs show enormous discrepancies in their results. Like a lab showed traces of albumin in a urine sample and the same lab after a week showed ++++ albumin in the urine sample. Four plus shows maximum protein loss from the kidneys. While the urine culture after 48 hours showed no formation of any sort, the desperate patient got urine sample tested from another lab. The results showed formation of growth and albumin was +++ within a gap of three days. The nephrologist asked the patient to get yet another sample tested. What happens to the poor patient who worries himself sick over the varying results? Can’t the diagnostic labs be more serious while conducting tests?

Irresponsible two-wheeler drivers

In the crazy traffic of Ludhiana, the two-wheeler drivers, be it cyclists or scooterists, cause maximum problems to the four-wheel drivers. When there is a traffic jam, the cyclists never get off the seat and keep moving in a zig- zag manner to surge ahead, causing a lot of hardship to car drivers. In a similar manner the scooterists weiggle their way between cars and create a proper chaos. They soon form a most disorderly traffic jam in no time, and if by chance a car touches the cyclist or a scooterists, the crowd always blames the car driver. Moreover, in the night also, the driver has to be very alert as more often than not the cyclists do not have reflectors on the rear. Can it be made mandatory for cyclists to fix reflectors on their cycles?


An SMS message sent out recently said “Saddam Hussain has finally decided to give up Iraq on just one condition — that is if he is allowed to live in the White House”.

— Sentinel



Toll tax issue has commuters fuming
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, April 8
As per a notification issued by the Government of India, same toll rates will continue for all vehicles at Doraha till further orders. The notification has once again come as a bolt from the blue for commuters who were under the impression that the toll tax collection will end after March 31.

The scheme has invited much criticism from various social welfare organisations and associations. The road users called it a ‘highly undemocratic move’ for the common man and ‘an open loot’ of the trading community.

A local committee constituted to consider the implementation of toll tax once again has expressed resentment on the governments’ decision to continue the scheme further and the non-revision of rates.

Mr Arun Bector and Mr Pritam Singh Jaggi, chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the committee, said: “As the prices of almost all essential commodities are increasing, the government shall give maximum relaxation in toll tax. The via routes which the public is forced to adopt due to the exorbitant rates can be discouraged by minimising the amount, thus providing beneficial to the authorities concerned as well”.

Commuters and passersby, in order to avoid toll, have adopted various via routes, including the Rajgarh-Doraha route and the Kanech-Rampur route. The unchecked passage of both light and heavy-commercial vehicles have made the life of villagers hell.

According to Mr Tarlok Singh Jaggi, Chairman, All India Retailers’ Federation: “At the time of the implementation of the scheme last year, Centre-level officials, who had visited Doraha, announced that the toll rates would be reduced after March 31. But it is sad to see that the same rates are continuing and that too without mentioning any deadline”.

Mr Jaswant Singh Gill, Principal of a local college, who travels from Ludhiana to Doraha, frequently said: “The people have more or less made toll a part of their daily routine. But the non-acceptance comes when one feels that the implementation of the scheme is uneven”.

The commuters have demanded the end of toll scheme or the reduction in toll rates.



PMCs threaten to move court
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 8
The local Federation of Park Management Committees has decided to launch direct action against the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, and Secretary, Ministry of Local Self Government, Punjab, if they failed to release the outstanding legitimate payments due from February, 2001, within 15 days. The corporation entered into a legal agreement with respective PMCs of various localities in October, 1999.

Mr S.S.Chana, president of the federation, at its general body meeting held here yesterday, said the absurd and impractical rate of 50 paise per square metre subject to a ceiling of Rs 1,000 per park with the stipulation of 50 per cent cost sharing by residents, proposed by Secretary, Ministry of local Self Government, was rejected by all PMC members.

Mr Pawan Sood, general secretary of the federation, alleged that no concrete action was taken by neither the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, nor the Secretary, Ministry of Local Self Government, in spite of repeated meetings. “The casual treatment of this problem affecting pollution in the city was strongly regretted.”

The members of the federation threatened to launch public demonstrations and take the matter to the Punjab and Haryana High Court through PIL and appeal through the Human Rights Commission .

The federation had already written to the Chief Secretary and the Chief Minister in this connection.



Streetlights ‘inaugurated’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has installed streetlights in the Gurdev Nagar area. Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, today inaugurated the streetlights. Ms Amrit Varsha Rampal, councillor, ward No. 44, said streets of the area would be widened. Among others present on the occasion were Mr B.K. Rampal, Mr Ravinder Sehgal and Mr S.P. Gogna.



Rs 60,000 looted
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, April 8
Two scooter-borne miscreants snatched Rs 60,000 from a salesman, near here, yesterday evening. Sandeep Kumar, a resident of Mali Ganj, Ludhiana, and working as a salesman with Airtel at Gita Communication, Ghumar Mandi, lodged a complaint in which he stated that he was carrying Rs 60,000 after collecting the amount from a customer at Sahnewal and was heading towards Kohara when two scooterists coming from behind attacked him with a hockey and snatched away the cash.

A case under Sections 382 and 34 of the IPC has been registered at Sahnewal police station.


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 |