Monday, April 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Scrap worth Rs 5 crore being pilfered by nexus
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Nexus between transporters, scarp dealers and police personnel posted at the Dhandari police picket, near the city’s dry port, is depriving several top industrial units of imported scrap worth several lakhs of rupees each month. It is estimated that around Rs 5 crore worth of ferrous and non-ferrous scrap, on which customs duty has been paid and cleared, is pilfered before it reaches its destination, causing extensive losses to the importers.

Despite contributing towards the cost of patrolling by police personnel, members of the Customs House Agents Association say precious little has been done to stop the theft of imported scrap. “It is the same scrap dealers that are caught by importers time and again and handed over to the Dhandari police picket, but within minutes these people are let off.”

Around half a dozen top furnaces pay between Rs 125 and Rs 150 crore as customs duty annually for the scrap they import for remoulding. According to the association, the modus operandi is simple. Once the truck loaded with scrap leaves the Dhandari dry port after paying requisite customs duties, it is stopped on the way to the destination by some local scrap mafia and nearly 5 per cent of the truckload is thrown on the roadside in connivance with the truck operator, while personnel from the local police picket provide protection.

According to customs house agents, numbering 25 at the port, the pilferage or theft of around Rs 30 lakh takes place each month. Last year, the major importers of scrap i.e. Thapar Ispat, Aarti Steel, Garg Furnace, Sharu Industries, etc. had taken up the matter with senior police officials and consequently the theft had stopped for a short time.

In a recent complaint to the Dhandari police picket, the Thapar Ispat wrote that on April 18 it apprehended a truck (HR37-7129) and caught some persons throwing scrap off the truck. A person, identified as Manoj, who was riding a scooter (PB-10-5890) was supervising the operation, the complaint said. It further requested the police to arrest the accused. But no action has been taken so far.

Victims of the organised mafia that pilfers scrap accuse the local police of being hand in glove with the accused. They allege that a sum of around Rs 1 lakh is shared between all those involved in the racket every evening.

When contacted, Mr Madhusudan Kumar of Star Impex, a customs house, confirmed that organised pilferage of scrap had been going on for the past several years.



RBI to withdraw notes with Ashoka emblem
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to withdraw the currency notes of all denominations, carrying the Ashoka Pillar emblem, owing to their soiled and worn out condition. From now onwards only the new currency notes in Mahatma Gandhi series will be found in circulation.

In its directive to all public and private sector banks, the RBI has asked them not to re-issue the Ashoka Pillar series notes of all denomination to the public. The apex authority has, however, instructed that it must be ensured that the Ashoka Pillar series notes tendered over the counters are accepted.

As per the directions of the RBI, a copy of which is with The Tribune, since the printing and issuing of fresh Ashoka Pillar series notes was stopped a couple of years ago, most of these were worn out and soiled and were being withdrawn by the RBI in the normal course. However, some were still found in circulation and were in extreme soiled condition.

So the nodal authority has decided to phase out these notes from circulation by ensuring that such notes are not reissued to the members of the public by various bank branches. The RBI has sought education of all staff dealing in currency chest branches to successfully implement the decision and provide prompt service to the public to exchange these old Ashoka Pillar series notes.

The banks have been directed to sort out these notes immediately and deposited in the currency chests, which should send these notes to the RBI issue offices as soiled note remittances in the normal course for disposal in the usual manner.

The RBI has further directed all the branches of the banks that the notes in Ashoka Pillar series would continue to be legal tender and, therefore, acceptable for all transactions and no member of the public be denied exchange facility.

Meanwhile, the local bank authorities have urged upon the public not to panic over the issue as any such note would always be accepted as a legal currency note.

The notes carrying Ashoka Pillar were printed till 1994-96 when the new notes in Mahatma Gandhi series with additional security features were issued all denominations. The new notes contain portrait of Mahatma Gandhi on the right side of the notes and watermark window on the left side of the notes. 



Forgiveness heals: Ms Stein
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, April 27
Gladys Stein believes in forgiveness as she feels that it brings healing within oneself and to others and kills bitterness, which is the main cause of all problems. She feels that these hardships are for testing her faith in God. She said she would always continue working for people to fulfil her husband's dream to live in peace, harmony and work with one another towards human concern.

It is her unflinching faith that persuades her to seek pardon for Dara Singh, sentenced to death for murder of her husband and two sons

Gladys Stein is the wife of Graham Stein, 58, who along with his two sons Philip,10,and Timothy, 8, were burnt alive on January 23, 1999, when the vehicle in which they were sleeping was set afire.

Gladys was on a private visit to Christian Medical College and Hospital yesterday .She delivered a sermon on“ Life and forgiveness” at CMCH Chapel last evening.

In an interview to The Tribune, Gladys said she and her husband were Australian missionaries, who had been ministering to lepers for the past 20 years.

She said:"I can not express that how I felt when I got the news of my husband and sons being burnt alive. I told my daughter Esther that though we had been left alone but we would forgive and my daughter replied,"Yes mom, we will".

She was married to Graham in 1983. Her orientation towards missionary work was gifted by her parents. Her mother used to tell her stories of missionaries working all over the world. "I knew the hardships and trials a missionary goes through his/her life, still I chose to be a missionary", she said .



Govt fails to provide free books to SC students
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 27
Mr Baljit Singh Anian, a social worker, said in a press note here yesterday that the state government had failed to supply free books to Scheduled Caste students in local schools here, although one month of the academic year had already passed. The government had also announced to supply free books to all schoolgirls irrespective of their caste or family income, but even that had not been done, he added.

The results of students were declared on March 25 instead of March 31 this year with an intention to include six more days to the new academic session, but the non-supply of books had made a mockery of all such claims, he said.

Mr Parminder Singh, District Welfare Officer, said the books for the SC students had arrived and these could be collected from the Tehsil Welfare Officer concerned after April 28. He said 30,716 SC students would be given books worth Rs 34 lakh this year. However, he said he had no information about supply of books to the girl students up to class VIII. Many local booksellers said several books ment for various classes were not available in the market.

Mr Balbir Singh Ghuman, district president of the Government Teachers Union, said the delay in supply of books had created problems for parents, students and teachers.

Mr Paramjit Singh Janjua, sarpanch of Khanian village, also criticised the new system of education. He said he had got prepared 40 new desks for the class VI of the primary school that had been upgraded an elementary school. He said 50 students had been given admission in the school, but the Block Primary Education Officer had not given his assent to the school. 



Effigy of school ‘donations’ burnt
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
The Shiv Sena (Hindustan) here, held a rally to protest against the private schools’ move to seek huge donations from the parents at the time of admission of their wards.

They burnt an effigy of “donations” at Clock Tower. Later, a rally was taken out from Railway Station through Raikhy Chowk which ended at Clock Tower.

The Shiv Sainiks were shouting slogans like “Don't commercialise education” and "Stop asking for donations”, and were carrying placards bearing similar messages.

Addressing the rally, Mr Pawan Sharma and Mr Krishan Sharma said schools were collecting a large sum of money in the name of building fund, admission fee, tuition fee, uniform fee. The fleecing of parents made education out of reach of the common man

These leaders demanded that the government should take strict action against educational institutions which charge huge donations. When the media was reporting such incidents than the government cannot act like an ostrich and pretend that it knew nothing, they said

The leaders also demanded that private institutions should adopt a lottery system so that students from different strata would be able to get admission.

They said if the government did not take any action against unscrupulous schools, then they will do gherao the Education Minister and go on fast.



‘Ludhiana to be made most beautiful city’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor Ludhiana, today announced equal funds for the harmonious development of each ward, irrespective of the political party of the councillor, along with developing Ludhiana as the most beautiful city in the northern region of the country during his tenure.

Mr Gill was addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone of a road, Kalgidhar Marg, in ward No. 28 in New Simla Puri here.

The Mayor said the speed of development works in the city had accelerated during the past 10 months and prestigious projects worth over Rs 110 crore were under way in the city. He said during the year each ward had been allotted a sum of Rs 67 lakh each as funds for carrying out important development works and assured that in the coming year, a sum of Rs 1 crore each would be given to each ward.

Mr Gill claimed that the state government was committed to the all round development of all cities in the state and had released Rs 100 crore as funds during the last financial year. The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation had received its share of Rs 14 crore for undertaking different development projects in the city, he added.

He claimed that the MC had released Rs 6.70 crore for the development of ward Nos. 20 to 31 in Simla Puri area and assured that all promises made during the elections would be fulfilled.

Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA, while addressing the gathering, said various Congress regimes had focussed on development works in the urban areas, while the SAD-BJP government had ignored the interests of the urban population. He said funds amounting to Rs 158 crore had been given by HUDCO for laying of sewerage in all parts of the city and the project for supplying of drinking water to the population in the city had been completed under the Congress regime.

He assured that during the coming year Rs 1 crore would be spent on every ward in Simla Puri area and all roads would be completed on priority basis. He also announced that the work on the sewerage project from Daba Road to Dhuri Railway Line via Lohara and Beguana would be completed shortly.

Among others who addressed the function were Mr K.K. Bawa president District Congress Committee, Mr Palwinder Singh Taggar, councillor, Mr Santokh Singh, president, and Mr Nirmal Singh, general secretary, Sewa Samiti, New Simla Puri.



Ex-Mayor’s parents have narrow escape
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
An Asian-record holder in veteran hammer throw event and his wife, had a narrow escape when their car collided with a bus near Verka Milk Plant on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore road here today. The couple are parents of a former Ludhiana Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal.

The car was damaged in the accident. Over 50 passengers travelling in the bus also escaped unhurt.

According to Mr Apinder Singh, his father Rajinder Singh Grewal and mother Kartar Kaur were on their way to Agar Nagar. The PRTC bus hit the car from the rear. The aged couple was rescued by some passers-by and bus passengers.



IHRO’s caution on gender bias
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The IHRO has warned the SGPC and clerics that in case the sewa issue is not resolved it would lead to serious consequences and would also label the Sikh religion as gender biased.

Mr D S Gill, chairperson of the organisation, said the concept of human rights has in theory, included women, but in practice abuses of women have been ignored, dismissed, or have generally gone unpunished just because the victims are female. These abuses include gender violence, female infanticide, trafficking, rape in times of conflict, neglect and abuse of girl children, murder and sexual assault, as well as denial of civil, cultural, religious, legal and economic equality with men.

The denial by the SGPC to disallow Sikh women to perform palki sewa is no exception. It is a serious violation of the religious right of the Sikhs, if not a crime, as is in the case of abovementioned violations. The issue would definitely backfire if not properly addressed by the SGPC. A major restoration initiative should be conducted at the earliest, he asserted.

The organisation has hailed the UK Sikh activists for the noble cause they have taken up with the SGPC since the SGPC has forgotten that Sikh gurus advocated equal status for women with men in all spheres of life. The Gurus honoured women as the symbol of domestics harmony and happiness, social cohesion and unity, a helping hand to man in the achievement of salvation.”



Book of poems released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
Dosti, a book of poems written by NRI writer Swaran Singh Parwana from Denmark, was released by Sant Harpal Singh Sewak at a function organised by the Sirjandhara at Punjabi Bhavan yesterday evening.

Sewak said, “The book contains spiritual message for the readers and urges them to serve humanity in unselfish manner and with dedication. The book also gives message of universal love and brotherhood.”

Mr Paramjit Singh Aujla and Prof Kulwant Jagraon, president and general secretary of the Sirjandhara, respectively, praised the poetry of Parwana.

Prof M.S. Cheema, a scholar, said Parwana’s poetry had great depth. Dr Kulwinder Kaur Minhas presented a paper on Parwana’s poetry. The paper of Prof Joginder Singh Bedi, a Punjabi critic from Chandigarh, was presented in his absence. Inderjit Hasanpuri, Biba Kulwant, Namdhari Garib Singh, Prof Gurbhajan Singh Gill, Prof Gurcharan Kaur Thind and Prithpal Sohi also spoke about the literary contribution of Parwana.

In the later half, a poetic symposium was held in which Mahinder Singh Grewal, Jagtar Singh Dhiman, Manu Sharma, Trilochan Lochi, Surjit Singh Albela and Mandeep Badhowal enthralled the audience by rendering their compositions.


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