Thursday, May 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Strategy chalked out for panchayat poll: Badal 
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal addresses party workers at Gurdwara Alamgir
SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal addresses party workers at Gurdwara Alamgir near Ludhiana on Wednesday. — IV

Alamgir, May 28
SAD was prepared to counter all ‘oppressive measures’ which the Congress might take during the forthcoming panchayat polls, and the rank and file of the party was fully geared up for the same, says former CM Parkash Singh Badal. He was addressing an impressive gathering of senior leaders and party workers at Gurdwara Alamgir here this evening.

Referring to the unity moves, he said: “We are ensuring that the polls are held unanimously in villages where there are opposing party candidates. The Congress was banking on the unity move to backfire but had been proved wrong. The illness of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra has postponed a formal announcement in this effect. I called on him yesterday at Patiala and enquired about his progress. He is doing fine and will be back with us in the coming days”, he added. He, however, refused to answer further queries on this issue.

Commenting on his visit to Akal Takht on June 5, he said he will fully participate in all the discussions and abide by the verdict of the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs. “I have always been a devout Sikh and have held Akal Takht, besides other institutions, in the highest esteem. I have already intimated, the jathedars of my position and will clarify any other points which will be raised on that day”, he added.

He also pointed out that the strategy for the upcoming polls had been chalked out and the workers have been assigned their duties. We have asked them to be prepared to resist the ‘strong arm tactics’ of the ruling party but have asked them to desist from violence. The party would also print posters highlighting the achievements of the Akali regime and urged the people to vote in face of the non-performance of the Congress, he added.

The party also adopted five resolutions at the meet which were passed by voice vote. They include expressing outrage at the burning of Birs at Mehmudpur in Patiala district. This incident should be probed by the government and the guilty brought to book. The party also appealed to the people to vote fearlessly in the elections so that the verdict could serve as a mandate for the disillusionment of the masses with the Congress.

The meet also expressed its sorrow at the Khud Mohalla and the Frontier Mail fires which claimed scores of lives. They also expressed grave concern at the killing of a Sikh in America on the basis of mistaken identity. This is the second time that the Sikhs have been attacked and killed in USA. The matter should be raised by the Centre with the American government so that the unarmed and innocent members of the community are not harmed.

In another resolution the gathering condemned the recent hike in power rates. This is an anti-people step which would add to the burden of the common man. This government has hardly carried out any developmental activity but had levied fresh taxes. The additional taxes on the transport sector too needs to be rolled back.


Preity drives into people’s hearts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 28
“Movies are failing at the box office because of large-scale piracy. People are watching movies in their homes on VCDs and DVDs instead of going to theatres,” said Bollywood star Preity Zinta. She was in the city this morning to present keys to buyers of new models of Hyundai Zing.

Dressed in a light turquoise parallel suit and sporting danglers, Preity looked as glamorous as ever and left people awestruck.

Being the brand ambassador of Hyundai, she visited Hyundai’s showroom Godavari on the Ferozepore road and the Pioneer showroom on the GT Road to present keys to first four buyers of cars. Aman, Jaswant Singh, Mukesh and Mr Bansal received the keys from Preity.

Preity said she loved coming to Punjab and enjoyed Punjabi food like “kadi chawal” and “sarson ka saag and makki ki roti”. When asked what gave her the courage to stand firm when her co-stars like Sanjay Dutt had backtracked on their conversations with underworld dons regarding extortion, she said, “I like to stand by the truth.”

Talking of her forthcoming movies, she said, “I am doing ‘Koi Ho Na Ho’ with Hrithik Roshan. In ‘Lakshay’, I am co-starring with Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan. I like to essay different kinds of roles. That is why I did a role with negative shades in ‘Armaan’. It is up to the people to accept me in negative roles or not.”

Regarding her co-stars, she said, “They are all very good to me. I share a good relationship with each one of them. So I like working with all actors. I am an independent sort of girl, and I travel by myself without my mother in tow.” But she has a bodyguard who said she needed security.

Talking of road safety, she said, “I urge all people to wear seat-belts while driving cars as they are safety devices. People sitting in the back seat must also wear belts. For safety’s sake , everyone must do so, even if the ride is only of 5 km.”

Mr B.V.R. Subu, President of Hyundai Motors India Limited, fully endorsed Preity’s views regarding fastening seat-belts. He also advised that children should not be seated on the front seat.

He said the new Zing models of Hyundai had adopted all European safety norms. “The models that one will get in India will be exactly the same as one would get in any other country,” he added.

Mr Kim, an official of the company from Korea, said the new model was more beautiful and more fuel-efficient.



Mentally challenged ‘need care’
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, May 28
The recent revelations about a large number of mentally ill patients being chained in solitary confinement for years may have shocked an ordinary man, but city-based psychiatrists say that this is nothing new and such incidents of chaining the mentally ill have been reported since time immemorial. But what they say is that such a treatment is counter-productive and makes the mentally deprived more chronic, making their treatment tougher. If such cases are brought for treatment at an early stage of their ailment, many can be treated to lead normal lives.

The district administration had recently asked officials at the village level to conduct surveys to find such people after media reports highlighted about 6 such cases.

Dr S.K. Prabhakar, ex-consultant, neuro psychiatrist National Health Service, UK, currently working at SAS Grewal Memorial Hospital said such reported cases should not be taken lightly. Those chained were the vulnerable people belonging to lower strata of society. Media should highlight their plight. “In our country if someone is having fever, cold or cough, even the economically weaker section would rush to a doctor to get the medicine but if someone is mentally disturbed, no body will bother. What made the person so violent that he or she was forced to be chained, one never gives any thought to it”, said Dr Prabhakar.

He stressed that in the absence of any day hospital, rehabilitation centre, such persons needed a close monitoring and not the harsh treatment. “Some patients are chained because people think that it is curse of some evil spirits. While others fail to get treatment because of lack of financial resources.

Dr Rajiv Gupta, another psychiatrist said it was unfortunate that except for the mental hospital at Amritsar, no other government hospital in the region was treating the mentally weak patients. Government should build more mental asylums to accommodate the patients. Treatment at private hospitals was too expensive and a majority of people were unable to bear the expenses of the treatment.

Meanwhile, four persons rescued by a team of the district administration from a Charitable Institute near Ladowal a few days ago, have still not been sent to mental hospital at Amritsar for the treatment. These patients have been kept in the trauma ward of Civil Hospital here and are being looked after by the doctors and para-medical staff.

Dr Manjit Kaur, SMO, Civil Hospital, when contacted said since these patients were abandoned by their relatives, the hospital authorities had already written to the authorities concerned that they had no such provision to treat these patients and they should be sent to Amritsar at the earliest.



Now ‘cable mafia’ in Ludhiana!
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 28
After the Amritsar “cable operator mafia” came to light a similar group has started operating in Ludhiana also.
If the New Ludhiana Cable Operators Association is to be believed certain cable operators in the city were indulging in malpractices, which included not only overcharging of the subscribers but also intimidation of cable operators and fudging of accounts to cheat satellite channels.

Mr Kamlesh Bhardwaj, chairman and Mr Raman Mohan, president of the association, respectively, have asked the Punjab Human Rights Organisation and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to take action in this regard. They said if the monthly subscription for a cable connection had gone up from Rs 100 or 150 to Rs 350 in the past few months it was due to the strong-arm methods being adopted by these cable operators.

They said there were around 1 lakh cable connections in the city and Siti Cable, Win Cable and City Home were virtually monopolising the cable business with the first two companies accounting for almost 75 per cent connections. Mr Bhardwaj said the association has made an offer to the Chief Minister, DGP, Punjab, and PHRO chief Ajit Singh Bains that they were prepared to provide full details of the activities of the “cable mafia” in Ludhiana.



The city had been beckoning me: Yana
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 28
She is not just gorgeous. She is voluptuous too. That is Yana Gupta, the “Babuji zara dheerey chalo” girl, who was here today to launch the Christian Dior watches. For Yana, Ludhiana has an added attraction as her husband Satya Gupta belongs to this place.
The Czech-born model, who is settled in Mumbai, felt excited to be in the city of her husband. It is for the first time that she has visited Ludhiana, although she has been married to Satya for over three years.

Talking to The Tribune, Yana said her husband had so many memories attached to this city. “I feel as if this place had been beckoning me,” she said. Although she has been into modelling for over six years now, ever since she came to India, but it was the sizzling item number in “Dum” that gave her unprecedented fame. But she had already made it to the covers of top magazines like Femina, Cosmopolitan, Elle and L'officiel. She is only the second woman after Kareena Kapoor to have been on India Today newsmakers list twice in a year.

About the dance number in “Dum”, Yana said she enjoyed it though it was considered “too bold”. She did not think there was anything wrong, unusual or offensive in the dance that could make anyone feel apologetic or embarrassed about it. “I thoroughly enjoyed the dance and the music and it gave me a lot of fame”, she said.

Following “Dum”, many offers have come her way but she has declined them. She is not too keen on joining the film industry, probably due to her language problem. The language may be a problem for her, but not the culture. She has adopted and tuned herself to the culture of the country and its people.

When asked what she liked most in her husband, she said, “His overall personality”. They are a happily married couple for whom there seem to be no continental, cultural or linguistic barriers. There is total understanding between them, she says with a smile.

She has also been much impressed by the spiritual culture of the country. It was her spiritual interests that drew her to this land, where she had come for a vacation but decided to make it her permanent home far away for the city of Brno in Czechoslovakia. 



Christian Dior watches launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 28
Christian Dior today launched its watches in the city. Model Yana Gupta, who was named “Miss Dior” for India, was also present at the launch.
Regional Managing Director, LVMH Watch and Jewellery, Mr Ravi Thakran, unveiled the India range, which is in line with the global collection. The launch follows LVMH Watch and Jewellery’s promise of bringing the latest products to the Indian market at the same price as that in the global market, Mr Thakran said.



Parishad adopts Dhadhera village
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, May 28
In response to a story published in Ludhiana Tribune regarding woes of traditional well-diggers of Dhadhera village, near here, the local unit of the Bharat Vikas Parishad has come forward to adopt the village. The members will also procure group insurance for the villagers and will also pay for the initial premium.

Mr Jagjit Singh Jaggie, president of the parishad, said a committee would be constituted under the chairmanship of Mr Barjinder Singh, advocate, which will visit the village and learn about the difficulties faced by the residents. They will then do the needful to mitigate their suffering.

He said, “We will first concentrate our attention towards the welfare of the dependents of those who lost their lives while deepening the wells to enable farmers to tap the ever declining water table. Lack of knowledge and education being foremost reason of their misery, the parishad will arrange for free education to the children of the diggers.”

Mr Barjinder Sharma, chairman of the committee, informed that legal aspects will be explored to enable the dependents of the deceased to get compensation from the government. “We will also arrange for imparting technical training to the unskilled labour.



Dharna by telecom employees
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 28
Members of the Sanchar Nigam Executive Association (SNEA) today staged a dharna at the General Manager (Telecom) office in protest against the alleged adamant attitude of the Circle administration.

They alleged that in a meeting of the Punjab Circle Office at Chandigarh yesterday, the authorities refused to properly address the grievances of the staff and the union was compelled to walk out from the meeting.

The members said the administration was deliberately creating unrest to defame the union in the eyes of the general public. However, they assured that the subscribers would not be put to any inconvenience. “But the administration’s foul play will not be tolerated anymore”, asserted leaders.

The dharna was addressed by the district secretary, Mr Sanjeev Gupta, the all-India senior vice-president, Mr Inderjit Singh, Mr APS Chawla, Mr Lachhman Das, Mr J.S. Grewal and Mr Gurpreet Singh.



Two fire victims die
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 28
Two of the three persons injured in the Saturday night’s fire incident in Madhopuri area succumbed to their injuries in the Christian Medical College and Hospital here today. The bodies have been sent for a post-mortem examination. The deceased have been identified as Ram Narain and his wife, Ved Kumari.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case under Section 307 of the IPC against Naresh Kumar son of Ram Narain.

It has been alleged in the FIR that Naresh Kumar had a dispute with his father over the possession of property. On Saturday night, he reportedly set the room on fire in which his parents and his niece, Shelley, were sleeping. Shelley is still struggling for life in the hospital.



Complete flyover on schedule

I am running my business on the G.T. Road and is facing inconvenience as the flyover from the Jagraon bridge to Chand Cinema has still not been completed. The project seems to have come to halt. I urge the authorities concerned to explain the reason behind the delay and complete the project on schedule.

Kuldip Thapar

Opening casinos not wise step

The decision to open casinos in Punjab is not a wise step. Since the Congress came to power it has done nothing for the welfare of the state so far. Whatever it has done, especially the crusade against corruption, is negated by the levying of fresh taxes, Cabinet expansion and raising of the salaries of the ministers, MLAs, Speaker in addition to many other facilities.

The casino move is being made under the garb of development of tourism in the state.

Instead of showing the right direction to our youth this step will only misguide them.

This is not the proper way to cover up financial losses. There are many other ways to develop tourism in the state and to earn revenue. Development of historical and religious places in the state is one such step

So keeping in mind the future of our youth the government must reconsider the issue and scrap the idea of opening casinos.

Kuldip Singh Kreer

Disturbing trend

The media hype regarding the so-called donations taken by various prestigious schools of the city is a disturbing trend. People go about claiming that these schools admit students by taking donations and that meritorious students suffer.

What is amazing is that if all meritorious students get admissions in second-rate schools then how come these private schools have good results and why does everyone in the city want to get their children enrolled in these schools. These schools have been imparting quality education where the state has miserably failed. By dragging these schools into an avoidable controversy the very fabric of culture and education is being shredded by a few people with vested interests. If people think that these schools do not count merit then why are they interested in getting their wards admitted here.

Another question which crops up is that under what authority does the district administration recommends students for admission in these schools. Are they not encroaching on the rights of meritorious students? The very people who are spearheading the agitation are the ones who had ‘sifarish’ but was not accepted.

I have three children and have appeared for interviews at some of these schools but was never asked about donation.

Dr J.S. Sekhon

DR not charged

This is a matter of regret that the SBI’s Shimla Puri branch here did not charge 3 per cent DR sanctioned w.e.f. January 1,which was announced in the first week of April. The arrears for three months were also to be charged.

The railway station, Civil Lines, and Chaura Bazar branches of the SBI paid the arrears along with the pension of April. To my query the official official told me that no order was received and neither had any pensioner given them a cutting of the news published in this context. The official also failed to contact the zonal office or main branch of the SBI in this connection. This shows the carelessness of the bank official in question.

There are clear orders from the RBI that the DR should be paid on the basis of news published in papers. Then why did the branch in question did not make the payment to the pensioners. You are requested to take disciplinary action against the defaulting official.

Sher Singh

Call corrupt anti-national

Sloganeering and promises against corruption by the political leaders does not serves any purpose. On the contrary, we read in papers that certain persons holding responsible positions feel no hesitation while accepting bride.

All those people charged with corrupt should be considered as anti-national and given severe punishment on a par with terrorists. Only then we can have a clean government and corruption-free society.

D.V. Saharan

Subscriber awaits connection

We are a Siti Cable subscriber. Most of the times it is out of order or the signal is not clear. We became a subscriber of Win Cable. When the Siti Cable operator came to know about this one of their workers cut the cable. When we spoke to Win Cable they expressed their inability to provide a connection to those customers who were already a subscriber of Siti Cable.

Will the authorities concerned take action?

D.P. Aggarwal



Rehriwallahs hold protest 

Ludhiana, May 28
Hundreds of rehri-phariwallahs today held a dharna at Jagraon Bridge against brutal assault on a rehriwallah by a mobile police control room (PCR) personnel in the city. Demanding stern action against the erring police man, activists of Punjab Rehri pharri Union threatened to launch a mass agitation if the excesses by police personnel and the administration continued against the poor rehriwallahs in the city and elsewhere.

The union president, Mr Bal Krishan Pappi alleged in a complaint lodged with the police that a PCR police man had asked for 2 kg of mangoes from a vendor Asgar Ali, who was selling fruit on a rehri near Baharat Nagar Chowk. When asked for money, the police man reportedly lost his temper and beat up the rehriwallah so badly that right arm of the victim was fractured. OC



Man booked for smuggling liquor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 28
The Excise Department has seized a case of liquor meant for sale in Chandigarh and booked Raj Kumar, a resident of Sekhanwala Chowk, Moga, on the charge of smuggling whisky bottles.

A case under Section 61-1-14 of the Punjab Excise Act has been registered. Mr T.L. Jindal, a spokesperson for the Excise Department, said a joint naka was set up under the supervision of Mr G.S.Bahia, Excise and Taxation Officer, Ludhiana, on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road near Hedon village to check the smuggling of whisky from other states to the district.

Mr Jindal said checking for evasion of sales tax was also done at the naka. He said a car and a Tata Safari were intercepted and detained for carrying taxable goods without proper documents.


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