Friday, August 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Man disappears from police custody
Tortured to death, allege relatives
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Mr Jeet Nath along with a relative waits outside the CIA wing, Ludhiana, for information on Bhalwinder Nath
Mr Jeet Nath (left) along with a relative waits outside the CIA wing, Ludhiana, for information on Bhalwinder Nath. — Photos Pradeep Tewari

Ludhiana/Sirhind, August 21
Close on the heels of the arrest of the local CIA in charge, Nagender Singh Rana, in a corruption case, the CIA wing is in the eye of another controversy as an alleged robber has disappeared mysteriously after being last seen in the custody of this wing along with other alleged members of a robbers’ gang.

If the relatives and some eye-witnesses are to be believed the man, Bhalwinder Nath, had allegedly died due to police torture in the custody of the CIA about a week ago. His body was allegedly disposed off somewhere to cover up the case.

The harassed relatives and friends of the missing man today came to the CIA office in his search but their visit was futile. The CIA in-charge was behind bars and other officials in the wing rubbed their hands off the matter.

Eleven persons, all hailing from different parts of the state but living in a dera of snake-charmers at Sirhind, were picked up by the Ludhiana police from Sirhind on August 4. While four persons were booked and six released, the whereabouts of the eleventh person, Bhalwinder Nath remains unknown.

The Tribune contacted the released persons at Sirhind today to verify the matter. One of them, Tegar Nath, said the police picked them on August 4 from Sirhind when they were taking part in the marriage of a dera-inmate’s daughter. They were kept in CIA till August 12 and were beaten up several times. He said the police was forcing them to admit they were involved in several cases of robbery but they did not confess anything.

“We were shifted to various police stations and were told that the victim Bhalwinder Nath along with others had fled. This was impossible as the victim could barely walk because of police beating when I had seen him in CIA on that day,’’ he claimed.

Other released persons Chinder Nath, Bhagel Nath, Akbar Nath, Josna Nath and Gona Nath who were present at the dera today afternoon corroborated his statement. The dera, which is also called the ‘Nathan da dera’, had called a meeting of the dera inmates today late evening to decide the future course of action.

Only four persons were formally booked in a case of robbery by the Focal Point police. They were presently lodged under judicial custody in Central Jail here. These were Jarnail Singh, Balwinder Singh, Kala and Sonu.

But what happened to Bhalwinder Nath is a mystery. Jeet Nath, a maternal uncle of the missing man, who led a group of dera inmates to the CIA today morning, alleged that as per the statement of the accused persons lodged in the jail here, the police had brutally tortured them all in the CIA wing. Bhalwinder Nath could not bear it all and had collapsed. He was taken away in a Gypsy on the night of August 12 and that was the last time they saw him.

SSP Narinderpal Singh said the alleged incident was not in his notice. He said the man’s disappearance was a serious matter but there has to be some proof that the police picked him up. He said he would conduct an inquiry into the matter but has not received any formal complaint from the relatives of the missing person.

Mr Jeet Nath, however, claimed that the CIA officials had told him that the man was missing but the police had nothing to do with it. He said some official said the man had run away from police custody while others said the police had released him. Interestingly, the police had not lodged any FIR in the city regarding the running away of the man from police custody.

He claimed that the officials admitted before him that they had picked up the man but did not know about his whereabouts. 



SAIL chief rules out hike in steel price
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 21
The Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) Chairman, Mr V.S. Jain, has assured that there would be no increase in the prices of steel by SAIL in near future. He said in case there was any proposal to increase the prices of steel again, it would be announced well in advance. Mr Jain also ruled out any further hike in the steel prices from September 1, as reported in a section of the media.

Mr Jain gave this assurance to a delegation of the Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) led by its Regional Chairman, Mr S.C. Ralhan, and consisting of representatives of the Ludhiana Hand Tools Association and Forging Industries.

The delegation, which comprised Mr Avinash Gupta, chairman of the EEPC, Mr Rajdeep Jain, Mr Raj Thapar, Mr Vipin Gupta, Mr Sukhdev Aggarwal and Mr Rajeev Syal, made a thorough presentation to the Mr Jain. Mr Ralhan said Mr Jain was apprised of the problems faced by the small-scale industry, which has directly hit the growth of export of manufactured products in engineering sector.

The delegation expressed its concern over the rising prices of steel. Mr Ralhan pointed out that while earlier SAIL used to increase the prices of steel after every quarter, it was now increasing the prices every week.

The EEPC delegation also raised the issue of short supply of billets and other steel products, which was earlier to the tune of 60,000 tonnes per month in Punjab and has come down to only 10,000 tonnes. The delegation urged the SAIL chairman to supply at least one lakh billets to Punjab immediately to bridge the gap between the demand and the supply. Mr Jain assured the delegation of its immediate supply to Punjab.

Mr Ralhan said Mr Jain agreed that SAIL was morally responsible for maintaining proper supply of steel in the domestic market. He reportedly told the delegation that it was evolving a solution, particularly about the small-scale industry in the country. The chairman disclosed that the supply from the Blast Furnace at Durgapur Steel Plant had resumed.

The EEPC delegation also met Mr J.P. Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Steel, and strongly pleaded the removal of the provision of Bureau of Indian Standards on the import of steel. Mr Singh assured the delegation that the government was already working on it and a positive decision was expected to come very soon.



PAU gets facelift to welcome President
Our Correspondent

Preparations are in full swing for the President’s visit at PAU
Preparations are in full swing for the President’s visit at PAU, Ludhiana. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, August 21
Final touches are being given to Punjab Agricultural University to accord a welcome to the President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who will visit the campus on September 4 to inaugurate Kisan Mela.

Besides visiting the PAU, the President will also address a meeting of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) and interact with children before returning to New Delhi in the afternoon.

This will be the first visit of a President of the country to the university since its inception in 1962. On June 4, the President had invited Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, for the crop-cutting demonstrations of herbal garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan where the Vice-Chancellor invited Dr Kalam to visit one of the premier agricultural research institutes of the country.

Dr Aulakh was also invited by the President on August 15 to attend At Home hosted at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The university campus is being given a facelift and three important buildings — Thapar Hall, Dr Mohinder Singh Randhawa Library and Kairon Kisan Ghar — are being given a fresh coat of paint.

Besides, landscaping of the campus has also been done with the plantation of more than 600 trees, according to Dr Aulakh. These trees include bottle palm, Ashoka, kanakjampa and amaltas mausari, both along the entry points to the university and roads inside it. Roads have also been widened and repaired.

Dr Aulakh said the President would arrive at 12.30 pm and after inaugurating the agro-industrial exhibition at the mela ground will address the farmers. He will be with farmers for about one hour.

The Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will also be present at the mela.

The President will inaugurate the Punjab Agricultural Management and Extension Trading Institute (PAMETI) building, which has been constructed with the funds provided by the ICAR and the World Bank under the national agricultural technology project (NATP).

The President will spend 45 minutes with members of the LMA before proceeding to the campus.

The district administration is busy making arrangements for the President’s visit.



Aided schools continue to fleece students
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, August 21
Unmindful of the recent raids conducted by the Vigilance Bureau, frequent inspections made in the schools by the Circle Education Officer and innumerable complaints lodged against them by the welfare societies with the education department as well as the state government, many government-aided schools of the city continue to fleece the students as well as their parents by overcharging of fees and funds.

While all such schools have presented their affidavits to the Education Department stating that they would charge the amount of fee equivalent to government schools, overcharging to the tune of five to six times the normal fee is still a common phenomenon. But the school authorities are smart enough as they make sure that that they do not leave behind any proofs. This they do by showing the charges less in the receipts issued against the payment made. Even the records of fee payment maintained by the school have also been kept clean, devoid of any signs of overcharging.

As per norms, the charges to be levied from Class I student annually are Rs 5 as sports fund, Rs 2 as building fund with 5 paisa as Red Cross Fund to be paid monthly. No tuition fee is charged from any students studying in any primary class. However, in a visit to an aided, elementary school near Vishwakarma Chowk, it was found that the school authorities were charging Rs 40 as monthly fee and Rs 250 as the admission charges.

Similarly, in the girls’ wing of the same aided school, the Class X students said that they were paying Rs 800 as the annual funds and Rs 85 as the monthly charges. When inquired from the Education Department, it was found that the prescribed charges were Rs 40 as sports fund and Rs 9 as building fund to be levied annually. The monthly charges included Rs 6 as tuition fee, Rs 6 as admission fee, Rs 4.50 as amalgamated fund and 50 paisa as Red Cross Fund, making a total of Rs 17.

Even if the school was taking some amount as PTA funds, the charges levied by the authorities were still far from the set pattern.

In another school located near Campa Cola Chowk, the school authorities said that even though the time of admission was over, they could accommodate a student in Class VI for they had one seat vacant in the class. A written test prior to admission, they said was a pre-requisite. The amount of fee demanded was Rs 800 as the admission fee and Rs 60 to Rs 70 per month. But going by the charges set for the class in aided schools by the Education Department, the pattern is Rs 20 as sports fund and Rs 7 as building fund to be levied annually. The monthly charges include Rs 3 as tuition fee, Rs 3 as admission fee, Rs 2.75 as amalgamated fund and 25 paise as Red Cross Fund, making a total of Rs 9. Even if the case is taken as that of late admission, it certainly amounts to overcharging.

In yet another aided school situated near the bus stand, Class X students said that the monthly charges were Rs 160 in addition to Rs 850 being charged at the beginning of the session. The school Principal clarified by saying that the monthly charges included Rs 80 as computer fee, Rs 30 as PTA fund and Rs 20 as tuition fee. He said that this makes to a total of Rs 130 and the rest, justifying the remaining Rs 30 as some miscellaneous charges owing to some added facilities that the children were getting in the school.

Mr Teja Singh, state president of the Aided School Teachers’ Association, said that it was impossible for the schools to continue with the charges set by the government. He said that the amount of fee or funds prescribed for the schools is the same as these were way back in 1970s. He said that expenses have increased but not the fee. He said that even though the government was paying 95 per cent aid, it unusually came late to the schools.

Besides, he said that the number of covered posts had not increased since 1967 but the strength of such schools had become manifold. He said that the number of staff members has increased in the schools and authorities have to shell out their salaries of the surplus staff from their own pockets, for which they were facing problems. He said that he had sent the representation to the Punjab Government time and again but there had been no response.

Mr Bachitar Singh, District Education Officer (secondary), when contacted, said that it was the parents’ responsibility to sent their complaints to the Education Department. He said that a few complaints had come to him, but since no proof could be gathered from the official records or receipts issued by the school, the authorities had to be allowed to go scotfree. 



Target Gill Road, victim motorists
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 21
In spite of good performance by the Municipal Corporation in some key areas, the civic body has been found wanting in one vital task which has a direct bearing on the quality of life in the city. As far as addressing the problem of dealing with temporary and permanent encroachments in the city is concerned, much more is left to be done to bring some semblance of order to residential colonies, commercial centres and the city roads.

Like other major roads, Gill Road, right from Vishwakarma Chowk up to Sidhwan Canal Bridge in the city, is under massive encroachment, causing harassment to residents and motorists. Being a state highway between Ludhiana and Malerkotla, the road has a high volume of vehicular traffic, but unlawful occupants on both sides of the road have impeded the movement of traffic much to the annoyance of the motorists.

As a large number of shopkeepers have extended their sales counters towards the roadside by constructing verandas or display counters for merchandise, quite a few rehris (pushcarts) and even trolleys are parked on the roadside to sell fruit and vegetables. Similarly, several unauthorised taxi stands are operating on this section of the road, with a heavy concentration opposite ITI College and PSEB office. In a blatant show of scant regard for the regulations, vehicles are parked in bus shelters and at places where parking is prohibited by the authorities.

Scooter market outlets, dealing in sale and purchase of secondhand two-wheelers, at the mouth of Gill Road on Campa Cola Chowk have not only gobbled up the entire sidewalk on both sides but also portions of the road, clogging the movement of traffic. To add to the misery of the people, traffic lights have not been provided at canal bridge crossing even after persistent demand by area residents.

According to Mr Sher Singh, President, Environmental and Welfare Association, jhuggis are proliferating all along the canal bridge, which is a result of absence of enforcement by the civic body.

The condition of streets in localities on both sides of Gill Road is no better. In the absence of adequate drainage facilities in the area, the rainwater at times overflows from choked sewers, inundating the streets and houses. To check the backflow of water towards the buildings, the residents have constructed cement dykes or slopes, which hinder the traffic and also serve as an impediment in the way of drainage of accumulated water.

Many other roads and streets in the area, especially Daba Road, a major link between Gill Road and several other localities, are in bad shape with some of these full of potholes. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) authorities recently raised the level of cable duct chambers to an abnormal height in the middle of the road, making many stretches of the road prone to accidents.

Mr Amarjit Singh Saini, general secretary of a residents’ association, pointed out that the authorities had failed to tackle the menace of stray animals in the locality even after a tragic incident in which a bull had knocked down a person to death in Grain Market. Immediate and effective steps were called for to remove stray animals from the area, the residents emphasised.



All not well between Centre, Punjab Govt
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 21
The confrontation between the Congress Government in Punjab and the NDA Government at the Centre is set to increase in the days to come. The political developments of the past two days clearly indicate that all is not well between the two governments.

The first confrontation between the Centre and the Punjab Government was witnessed over the question of inauguration of bridge over the Beas between Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur districts. The construction of the overbridge was started during the SAD-BJP Government in Punjab with the efforts of Mr Vinod Khanna, Union Minister of State for External Affairs. Mr Khanna has been elected to the Lok Sabha from Gurdaspur parliamentary seat on BJP ticket. No doubt Mr Khanna brought some financial assistance for the bridge from the Centre but the major share of the funds was provided by the Punjab Government. Now when the SAD-BJP Government has been defeated during 2002 Vidhan Sabha elections, the Congress formed its government in Punjab. The Congress Government did not want that the credit for the inauguration of the bridge should go to Mr Khanna who again is a serious contender for the BJP ticket in the next Lok Sabha election. Mr Khanna, maintains that he wanted to invite the Prime Minister to inaugurate the bridge and he could get some more benefits for Punjab state. But the Punjab Government under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh was not ready to let Mr Khanna get any credit out of this bridge. Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister of Punjab who hails from Gurdaspur district was also not in favour of Mr Khanna inaugurating the bridge. Thus there was a dispute which ultimately led to a protest demonstration by the BJP and Akali Dal workers on Wednesday when Mr Khanna went there to inaugurate the bridge. The police had to resort to a lathi charge and also fired in the air to disperse the mob. However, the Punjab Chief Minister inaugurated the bridge on Thursday as announced by the state government.

This small issue was unnecessarily made a prestigious by the two governments. The major confrontation between the Congress Government in Punjab and the Centre is brewing on the issue of action against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister and his family members over the issue of corruption charges against them. The Vigilance Bureau has registered an FIR against the former Chief Minister and his kin alleging disproportion assets and enquiry into the same has been at an advance stage. The Chief Minister has repeatedly declared that the state government would not arrest Mr Badal but put the challan in a special court for his trial. The Deputy Prime Minister and a senior national leader of the BJP along with Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, who is another senior BJP leader and Uma Bharti participated in the shaheedi conference at Longowal village to observe the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal who was gunned down by the militants after the signing of the Rajiv Longowal accord

Mr Advani administered a warning to the Punjab Chief Minister to give up the politics of political vendetta and told him to deal with his opponents decently. Similarly, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti also extended their support to Mr Badal and the Akali Dal in Punjab in the fight against the congress government in Punjab.

The BJP has been a silent spectator over the development in Punjab for the pastone and a half years-ever since the Congress Government started targetting the akali ministers of the Badal Government.

Captain Amarinder Singh was shrewd enough not to touch the BJP leaders in Punjab on the charges of corruption who were ministers in the Badal Government. So the BJP Central leadership did not extend any worthwhile support to the Akali Dal in Punjab and did not take any serious notice of the anti-corruption drive of the Amarinder Singh Government. However, things came to a pass when the Punjab Government registered an FIR against Mr Badal and his kin and political affairs committee of the Akali Dal threatened to withdraw its support from the NDA Government at the Centre.

The BJP leadership knows it well that it (BJP) cannot win any Lok Sabha seat without the support of the Akali Dal which has its major vote bank in the rural Punjab. Therefore, the BJP leadership could no longer keep quiet on the issue and came to the help of the Akali Dal leadership in Punjab. Moreover, the elections to the four Vidhan Sabha in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh also compelled the BJP leadership to so its stand vis a vis the Akali Dal.

The participation of Mr Advani and other senior leaders, including Mr George Fernandes at a political conference at Batala on August 12 has given a shot in the arm to the former Chief Minister and president of the Shiromani Akali Dal in his fight against Amarinder Singh Government. Mr Badal has also got strength following unity with the rival factions led by Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Jathedar Tohra’s support has also great meaning for Badal because the former also has grass root following among the Sikhs.

The Congress Government in Punjab has started observing martyrdom of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal from last year only. Earlier the Congress Governments did not organise any such conference in memory of Sant Longowal.

Captain Amarinder Singh knew Sant Harchand Singh personally and had great respect for the slain leader. The Congress Government also come to the help of the family members of Sant Longowal as it provided jobs to the members of his family.



Villagers pay tributes to pilot
Tribune Reporters

Saharan Majra, August 21
Glowing tributes were paid to Flying Officer Kuldip Singh Johal, an Indian Air Force pilot who had embraced death to save this village on this day 33 years ago, at a function organised here today.

Flying Officer Johal had laid down his life while protecting the residents of this village in 1970. Relatives and friends of the martyr, hailing from Johalan village in Jalandhar district, also participated in the function.

The village is perhaps the only one in the region where a crash victim is honoured. While it is quite common for pilots to save residential areas during an air crash, it is uncommon for a village to remember the sacrifice of those who lay down their lives in the process, more so after 33 years.

While the relatives of the Flying Officer are happy with the gesture of the villagers, they are sour with successive governments for not remembering the sacrifice of the pilot. Mr Kirpal Singh, a cousin of the martyr, thanked the villagers for keeping his memories alive. He said: “Hailing from a poor family of Johalan village, Flying Officer Johal had decided to join Indian Army in 1965. However, a high-rank defence officer advised him to join Indian Air Force and referred him to Air Force Station, Bangalore, where he got selected. He was about to complete the stipulated period of his training when he was sent for a sortie, which proved to be his last one.”

Recounting the woes of the family of the pilot, Mr Rajinder Singh, another relative, said: “His helpless father Sagar Singh and mother Karam Kaur had to visit various offices to receive the meagre amount as pension, as the same had been started temporarily. No government job on compassionate grounds was offered to the family. In the absence of any help, the poor parents left India for good and settled in Canada.”

Mr Teja Singh, a retired engineer of Indian Air force, who attended the function after learning about it through a curtain raiser carried in Ludhiana Tribune, said he was an old friend of the martyr. “The sublime heroism, supreme gallantry, and flying skills displayed by Flying Officer Johal in the face of certain death have set new heights in Air Force tradition,” he said.

On August 21, 1970, which was incidentally a Raksha Bandhan day, the Flying Officer left his home after his sister Sawinder Kaur tied the rakhi on his wrist and took off for a routine sortie from Halwara air base. The plane developed a technical snag when it was flying over the Saharan Majra village.

Dr Jaswinder Singh of Saharan Majra revealed to Ludhiana Tribune that the officer had the option to bail out of the cockpit but he did otherwise because he was flying over a residential area. 



Women told about their rights
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 21
To highlight the problems, social status and rights of women, a five-day awareness generation programme, organised by the Jagraon Citizens Welfare Council at Malak village, concluded today. It was organised under the guidelines of the Punjab State Social Welfare Advisory Board.

The programme was attended by nearly 200 girls and women. It was inaugurated by Mr Parshottam Lal Khalifa, Director, Punjab Khadi and Village Industries Corporation, Punjab Government.

On the closing day, Mr Jagdish Pal Mehta and Mr Mohinder Singh Chashma expressed the need of small-family norms and rooting out the evil of female foeticide. Dr Ghamanda and Dr Major Singh Buttar said women were maliciously being held responsible for spread of AIDS and birth of girls only, whereas for these issues male-dominated society should be held answerable. Ms Paramjit Kaur, a beautician, imparted vocational training to the participants. Mr Khalifa told them about a number of loan schemes for setting up village or cottage industries.

Mr Rajinder Singh Jassal, Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Jagraon, spoke on the social welfare schemes for widows. Mr Sher Singh, Welfare Officer of the board, Mr Gurmukh Singh Hira of the INTUC and Ms Gurmeet Kaur, a social worker, also expressed their views. A cultural programme was organised and saplings were planted.

Mr Baldev Singh, English lecturer, District Institute of Education and Training, Jagraon, urged the people to wage a war on female foeticide, dowry system and domestic violence.

In the end, Mr R.S. Jassal, Mr Khalifa, Dr Ashok Sharma and Prof Baldev Singh gave away certificates to the resource persons.



Bangles inspired by TV, movies
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, August 21
Most bangles available in the city market are no longer known by their characteristics. They are infact known after the TV and film actresses who have adorned these during their latest telecast. Ask any shopkeeper in Basaati Bazaar, Meena Bazaar or Gur Mandi about the new variety in bangles, they would call these as ‘Chandramukhi’ and ‘Paro’ bangles from the movie ‘Devdas’, ‘Tulsi’ bangles of ‘Saas Bhi Kabhie Bahu Thi’, ‘Ramola’ bangles of ‘Kahin Kissi Roz’ and ‘Kamolika’ bangles of ‘Kasuati Zindagi Ki’.

And why not, the shopkeepers would tell you that this was how their customers, most of them being housewives watching prime time serials, were lured. The ‘Devdas’ bangles are metallic types with colourful crystals embedded in it and a jhumki with kundan work hanging down.

The ‘Tulsi’ bangles are light in colour and made of plastic. These have silver beads impregnated in them or a patch of zircons at small distances. ‘Kamolika’ bangles on the other hand are never round in shape. These are metallic, multicoloured in the shape of heart, zig zag, hexagon and square with ghungroos and bells hanging down from every edge.

All such bangles are priced from Rs 15 to even Rs 750. Those higher in the range have a microgold polish which come with a guarantee. Unlike the conventional bangles which were counted in dozens, such bangles come in sets of four. However, the shopkeepers would usually mix these and form sets where the number varies. While the old sets had broad bangles on sides, such bangles come in the middle in new sets.

Most of the shopkeepers said that all trendy things first come from Mumbai and then the artisans based in Rajkot, Jaipur, Delhi and even locally could imitate these.

They said that the cost of fresh items was over Rs 500 and within a period of one month when the same thing was copied, its price came down to as low as Rs 100. Some shopkeepers are also selling square shaped bangles with open ends, which they say are imported from Taiwan. The bangles have designs and patterns made intricately in the plastic. They said that the plastic used in the bangles now was so hard that it did not get broken, how so ever one tried to turn these. The cost of such bangles is Rs 35 each.

There are other bangles which are round from their inner side but are hexagon or octagen in shape from outside. Each edge of such bangles bears a different colour, matching these with almost all kinds of dresses. Mr Bajinder Singh, a shop keeper in Basaati Bazaar, said that customers always looked for something new. He said that these days plastic bangles also known as ‘sip ki chuddian’ were in vogue.

Mr Om Prakash, another shopkeeper, said that even though the bazaar was rich in variety of bangles all through the year, it was during karvachauth and other festivals that maximum customers poured in. He said that Ludhianvis always wanted to be dressed up in a traditional attire in festivals and asked for chooris to match alongwith their outfits.



Festivity, jubilations all over city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 21
Janmashtmi was celebrated with religious fervour at various temples in and around the city last night, with large number of devotees breaking their fast at midnight.
People started thronging temples early in the evening. Tableaux depicting scene from the life of Lord Krishna were tastefully decorated. Children were seen dressed up as “Kanahyas” at temples. Men and women waited in long queues for their turn to pull the strings of swings carrying Lord Krishna. “Raaslila” was enacted by children at several temples. Devotional songs filled the air amid serving of “prasad” at the temples.

Devotees in large numbers paid their obeisance at Krishna temples in Model Town and Shastri Nagar. Janmashtmi celebrations at Durga Mata Mandir, near Jagraon bridge, also attracted large number of devotees.

At Shree Siddh Peeth, Civil Lines, Rishi Onkar Dutt ji and Pt Raj Kumar Sharma highlighted the relevance of Janmashtmi. The Shri Radha Madhav Sankirtan Mandal rendered bhajan.

Mr O.P. Munjal, Managing Director, Hero Cycles, inaugurated the celebrations at Shri Durga Mandir at Dugri.

At the ancient Sanglan Wala Shivala in the old city, men and women queued up to pay their obeisance.

At Ram Sharnam Ashram in Naulakha Bagh Colony, a religious programme was organised where Brahmchari Ram Parkash ji greeted people.

A religious function was held at Ram Sharnam Ashram in Kitchlu Nagar from 7 pm to 8 pm. Shri Naresh Soni ji exhorted the gathering to follow the path shown by the Lord.

At Ram Sharnam Ashram in Civil Lines, the festival was celebrated under the supervision of Narkewal Bedi ji, head of Amritwani Dharmarth Trust. A Harinam sankirtan was also held.

A play depicting the bond between the Lord and his childhood friend Sudama was enacted by children at Shri Gyan Sthal Mandir, near the Subhani Building. Tableaux depicting scenes from the life of Lord Krishna were also displayed. Surinder Arora and party captivated the audience with bhajans.

A function and “raaslila” by children were held at Shri Vishwakarma Mandir in Basti Jodhewal. At the Maharishi Mukt Sewa Mission Ashram in Basti Jodhewal, bhajans were rendered by the Mahila Sankirtan Mandal. An “aarti” was performed at the conclusion of the function.

“Raaslila” and Harinam sankirtan were organised at Nav Durga Mandir in Sardar Nagar.

A special programme was held at the Shiv Mandir at Mohalla Gobindsar in Shimla Puri under the supervision of head priest Krishan Kumar Sharma. Mohan Arora and party captivated the audience with bhajans. The day was celebrated at Shiv Mandir in Ramesh Nagar also.

At Gopal Mandir in Janak Puri, the festival was celebrated under the supervision of Pt Chaman Lal.

Other temples where the festival was celebrated were Sheetla Mata Mandir in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar; Satya Narayan Mandir on Jassian Road; Haridev Mandir in Bagh Wali Gali; Shri Krishna Mandir, Naya Mohalla, near Lakkar Bazar; Hanuman Mandir in Khud Mohalla; Shiv Mandir in Kailash Nagar; Shri Shiv Shakti Mandir in Kidwai Nagar; Shri Dandi Swami Tapovan Ashram; Shri Harmilap Mandir, Mandir Illaichigiri in Lallu Mal Street; Shri Durga Mata Mandir in Field Ganj; Shri Vaishno Devi Mandir, Haathi Wala in Islam Ganj; Shri Ram Bhakt Hanuman Mandir in New Madho Puri; Shri Ved Mandir in Daresi Grounds; Shri Ved Niketan Dham in Bajwa Nagar; Shri Sanatan Dharam Mandir, Model Town; Shri Rang Ji Mandir in Shivaji Nagar; Shri Shiv Shakti Mandir in Hargobind Nagar; Mai Jeuni Mandir in Purana Bazar; and Mai Bauni Mandir in Tilak Nagar.

Janmashtmi was also celebrated at Shri Govind Gaudham, Haibowal, where free swings and elephant rides were available for children. A “kar sewa” to lay the floor of Shri Radha Govind Mandir, which is under construction, was also opened for a week.

Shri Gaurakshini Sabha also arranged beautiful tableaux at the Gaushala in Madho Puri.

At the newly opened ISKCON temple in Sterling Towers, Civil Lines, Janmashtmi was celebrated with the offering of 56 “bhogs” brought by the devotees to Lord Krishna. Special replicas of Lord Jagannath, Balram and Subhadra, made of rare wood from Orissa, were tastefully decorated. 



‘Radhas’, ‘Krishnas’ galore
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 21
Several ‘Radhas’ and ‘Krishnas’ enthusiastically participated in Janmashtmi celebrations organised by Nritya Bharati.
The students from 5 to 15 years of age dressed as ‘Radhas’ wearing colourful and matching clothes, bangles, earings, and beaded necklaces danced to the popular tunes of songs featuring ‘Radha’ and ‘Krishna’. “Krishnas” were hopelessly outnumbered by “Radhas”.

The songs selected were ‘Radha kaise na jale’, ‘Mayeea Yashodha’, and a student danced on ‘Tikama’, a song from South India.

The judges, Ms Shivani and Dolly, had a tough time choosing the winners among 90 participants.

Age group: 5-6 years — Sukhman I, Sumiriti Poddar II and Swanshi Pahwa III; age group 6-7 years — Arshiya I, Ritika Jain II and Anisha Singhania III; and age group 7-8 years — Nupur Walia I, Shobhika Poddar I and Aafreen Arora III. Many students won consolation prizes.



Unethical behaviour of legal community

The recent tussle between the warring factions of the District Bar Association, Ludhiana, which took a bloody turn, has left all the members in a shock. It is most unfortunate that the legal community, which is supposed to show the light to society, is fighting with each other like killing gangs. The behaviour of all those who were involved in the chain of events, right from the day one, is highly condemnable. Certain vested interests instead of condemning the sad incident there and then, preferred to accept small baits. However, besides calling it as a ‘Black Day’, we wish to request the executive and president of DBA to put up a joint fight against the administration for providing the better facilities to all the members of bar and litigants as well. An ethical code of conduct may also be evolved to weed out the rowdy elements from both the factions so that no such worst occurrence takes place in future and the members may have the feeling that their interests are safeguarded by their elected representative in a democratic manner.

Pradeep Sharma

Political donations

Parliament has passed a Bill whereby companies, firms and individuals will be permitted to contribute liberally out of incomes to recognised political parties and such payment will be permitted as deductible expenditure in the hands of the donor of computing taxable income. There can be two issues relating to wisdom for this new enactment. Transparency is a point in favour of industry since political contributions will be clearly known and officially paid. However, negative part remains that most of the political parties patronise and promote unwarranted social elements of society. Out of the hard earned income of the people, including companies, now these political parties and their beneficiaries will enjoy these funds. Contributions made to social institutions like NGOs promoting welfare activities qualify for limited benefit that 50 per cent of the contribution is deductible expenditure. It is always seen with suspicion. Accounts of political parties are maintained merely for name sake. These are not scrutinised by the Income Tax Department or any other authority. Therefore, hurried amendment of People’s Representative Act, Income Tax Act and Companies Act authorising payments to political parties is not in the interest of the country. President of India should not give his assent to this bill.

S.R. Mittal

DAV tradition

In continuation of the DAV tradition of excellence in education and human values of which we are all an integral part, we are all working with total development to keep this flag flying high on the horizon of academics under the able guidance, grand vision and farsighted understanding of the socio and educational scenario of Mr G.P Chopra, in this new age of globalisation when knowledge has become an industry.

However, ours is a college working in the most restricted conditions with little, or practically no, infrastructure to cater to the new age educational requirements. This requires very bold initiatives so that we also not only feel comfortable among our prosperous brethren but also hold our head high everywhere else also. We have taken some stringent measures and hard decision, notwithstanding our limitations, to achieve this end this year.

N.R. Misra

Plight of education

Apropos the write-up of July 22, 2003, by Asha Ahuja. The writer deserves many cheers for this meaningful pointer, which really strikes at the roots of an important social evil of Bharat at present and is directly related with the custodians of tomorrow’s India.

To my mind, it needs immediate and thorough probe, (as it may be just a tip of the iceberg) to reach at the roots/bottom of the greater and dangerous social evil. It may lead to a serious scam not only in the college, but higher secondary, professional/ technical schools, colleges and institutions (Government/Private/aided or unaided).

It is a known fact that many heads of the institution are given extension after extension (even though they had reached to their maximum superannuation) because such practices prove very useful and helpful to the managements who matter in controlling the academic affairs very easily as all such heads who had enjoyed many concessions, usually dance to the tunes of their higher/ appointing authorities/bosses) even though that may be against the interests of the staff/ students/ public/ institutions.

P.S. Walia

Generator menace

Diesel generators which are installed everywhere in the city, both in residential and commercial areas, pose a great danger to the health of the citizens. These generators are responsible for creating both noise pollution as well as air pollution. Noise pollution puts a great mental strain and the air pollution is responsible for spreading various physical diseases. Permissible noise level as per recommendations of the National Pollution Control Board for residential areas is 50 DBs during the day and 40 DBs during the night and Ludhiana exceeds both these limits. The very purpose of the creation of Environment Protection Act, 1986 is defeated if the rules framed there-under are violated by each and every person.

In residential colonies a trend is picking up where a single heavy duty commercial type generator catering to the need of various families of different houses is installed in the narrow streets of thickly populated areas. Generator users do not realise their social liabilities at all as in most of the cases no silencer is attached to the generator and even pipe of the smoke is pointed out directly to the nose of the neighbour which creates havoc and the gravity of the situation can well be realised than explained.

It should be mandatory for all generator users that the generator should be of good quality giving out the minimum possible noise and smoke. Every user must compulsorily be made to attach a good quality tractor type silencer to the generator and the vent pipe of the smoke must go vertically high towards the sky rather than towards inhabitants directly.

K.S. Premi



Sukhpal is Rotary President
Our Correspondent

Doraha, August 21
Mr Sukhpal Singh, who runs Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, Doraha, has been installed President of the Rotary Club, Doraha, for the year 2003-04 at a function held yesterday.

Mr G.S. Bawa, District Governor of the club, was the chief guest and planted a sapling to mark the plantation project of the club. He presented awards to students of local schools.

Later, Mr Sukhpal Singh held a meeting with six office-bearers and chalked out plans for forthcoming activities. Dr Gursaran Sidhu was honoured for becoming District Secretary of the club. Rotarians from Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Khanna attended the function.

Mr Romesh Rana, Assistant Governor, and Dr Ravinder Singh Sidhu, outgoing President, were also present.

Ludhiana: Mr Atam Jit Singh and Mr Ravi Thapar were installed President and Secretary of the Rotary Club (Ludhiana) Central by the District Governor, Rotary International District 3070, Mr G.S. Bawa, here on Wednesday.

On this occasion, Dr Inder Jit Gill Vashisth, Principal, Government College for Women, and Mr G.L. Pahwa, President, Krishna Charitable Hospital, were inducted as honorary member of the club.

The club has presented scholarship of Rs 5,100 to 10 students of Ramgarhia College and a cheque for Rs 5,100 to Ek Prayas for assistance to special children.

A special package was announced for Ek Prayas under the Rotary International Matching Grant Programme.

The club also honoured the parents of Richi Sood, a student of DAV School, who stood first in Class X examination by securing 93 per cent marks.

Mr Pardeep Bansal, secretary of the club, presented the report of previous year.

Nitya Singla and Pritma Chadha gave dance performances.

Mr Sukhpal Singh and Mr Prabhdeep Singh were also installed as President and Secretary of the Rotaract Club (Ludhiana) Central.



2 held under Essential Commodities Act
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 21
The Focal Point police has registered a case under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act and Section 285 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Mohinder Singh, Food and Supply Officer, against Ravi Kumar, a grocery merchant doing business in Gias Pura. The complainant stated that the accused had taken out gas from cylinders and filled it in other cylinders before selling these in the market.

The Division No 7 police station has also registered a similar case against an owner of Mukesh Cycle Works and Gas Service located in the Amar Nagar area of Mundian Kalan village.

Dowry case: The Salem Tabri police station on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 406, 498-A, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Paramjit Kaur, a resident of Ahmadgarh in Sangrur district, against her husband, Nazar Singh, a resident of Salem Tabri, Gurmeet Kaur, Resham Lal and Gopal Singh. The woman alleged that the accused beat her up and tortured her for bringing insufficient dowry.

Assault cases: The Focal Point police station on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 324, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ram Parshad, a resident of Kanganwal village, against Shambhu, Vijay and three others. The complainant alleged that the accused stopped him, beat him up and threatened him on Wednesday.

The Division No 7 police station on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Guru Arjan Dev Nagar, against Vijay Kumar, Ashok Mehta and Raj Kumar, all residents of New Delhi. The complainant alleged that the accused intercepted him on the way, beaten him up and threatened him.

The Sarabha Nagar police station registered a case on the statement of Ms Veena Rani, a resident of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, against her husband, Vijay Kumar, and Ashok Kumar, both residents of the same locality. The woman alleged that her husband had beaten her and her child up and also threatened them.

The Division No 7 police station on the statement of Gaurav, a resident of Tajpur village, registered a case on Wednesday against Monu, a resident of Jamalpur, and two others. The complainant alleged that the accused came to his house on August 19 and beaten him up.

House burgled: The Haibowal police station has registered a theft case on the statement of Mr Sanjiv Sohi, a local resident. Mr Sohi reported that someone stolen a TV from his house on Wednesday.

Case registered: The Haibowal police station on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 447 and 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Jatinder Kumar, a resident of Guru Nanak Dev Nagar, Haibowal, against Gurbax Singh, his wife, Kulwant Kaur, and his son, Tajinder Singh, all residents of Haibowal. Mr Kumar alleged that the accused had forcibly taken the possession of his plot.

Fraud alleged: The Civil Lines police station on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 468 and 471 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Harvinderjit Singh, a resident of New Model Town, against Parminder Singh, Kuldeep Kaur, Hardeep Singh, Mohinder Singh, Harpreet Singh, all residents of Hargobind Nagar in Chander Nagar. The complainant stated that he had purchased a plot from the accused and paid Rs 2 lakh to them. But the accused did not transfer the plot in his name nor returned his money.



Banks slow in recovering dues
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 21
Even after a year of the passage of the Bank Securitisation Act, 2002, the banks have not been able to make any headway in the recovery of outstanding dues from various defaulters. The process of recovery or possession of the defaulters’ property, which started about six months ago, is yet to gain momentum. Although the banks claim to have made some recoveries, these remain too insignificant in the face of huge outstanding amounts.

A leading nationalised bank has a list of 234 defaulters in Ludhiana alone, with an outstanding amount of Rs 2,496 lakh pending against them. So far the bank has initiated action against seven defaulters only and taken possession of the property worth Rs 51.1 lakh. The banks have been maintaining that although they have been empowered, yet there are so many legal loopholes and hurdles which hamper the process of recoveries. A senior official of the bank maintained that a number of defaulters were trying to circumvent the Act by taking legal recourse. “Although they (the defaulters) also know that they have to pay back the amount pending against them, yet they try to delay the process and bide the time”, he observed, while pointing out that certain loopholes still existed which needed to be plugged for effective implementation of the Act.

The Act provides certain processes and procedures to be adopted before taking possession of the defaulters’ property. It takes some time. Moreover, once the defaulters make their mind that they are not going to cooperate with the bank, the process becomes very complex. The banks maintain that there is no shortcut as the defaulters can approach the court and try to exploit the loopholes.

However, there has been one positive impact of the Act also. After the Act, the banks started serving notices on the defaulters asking them to settle their accounts. The bank officials said several defaulters came forward for settling their accounts. One bank has recovered Rs 4 crore during the past six months.

In case the banks decide to take possession of some property, mortgaged to the bank, or auction it, the bank has to spell out clearly under which provision of the Act the property will be auctioned or possessed.

Even these formalities hinder the recoveries and at the end of the day, the officials find that they cannot gain much from a long exercise, which involves so many processes and procedures.



Ludhiana Stock Exchange back in business
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 21
The Ludhiana Stock Exchange is back in business. The exchange, which had closed all sort of trading on December 31, 2001, is once again witnessing a lot of activity. The average daily trading is put at over Rs 100 crore.

The continuous buoyancy in the stock markets is attributed to several factors. While the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) sensitive index has already crossed 4000 mark, the all-time high in the past 30 months, brokers here are equally excited and optimist, hoping that market will remain stable at least for the next six months.

Most of the trading in the Ludhiana exchange is done by the LSE Securities Limited. While there are nearly 300 members in the exchange, the LSE Securities Limited has 244 members. There are only 100 active members who do regular and daily trading.

According to Mr Jaspal Singh, Chairman, LSE Securities Limited, it is after a long time that the exchange has seen a revival. He said people had regained faith in the market. In fact, the process of revival started about a year ago.

Mr Sumel Chawla, a broker at the LSE, attributes the boom to various factors. He pointed out that the boom was triggered primarily by the banking sector, specifically after Punjab National Bank brought out its public issue. He said while the PNB issue was allotted for Rs 31 this year, the market value of the issue is Rs 164. The market sentiment was further strengthened by some other public issues like the Maruti Udyog Limited, which registered almost 100 per cent gain in a span of two months only.

Mr Chawla said there were other stocks like that of the Steel Authority of India (SAIL), Telco, Bharti, Mahindra and Mahindra and several others which contributed to the boom. “Earlier there was negligible trading in the Ludhiana exchange. Now the activity has multiplied and people have started trading in shares once again as they are getting a better price”, he said, while pointing out that nobody would think of trading the SAIL shares which sold for Rs 7 only six months ago and now the same shares have gone up to Rs 39. Only two days ago the price touched Rs 69”.

Mr Jaspal Singh was of the opinion that several factors combined together contributed to the boom. He pointed out that the reduced interest paid by the banks on savings and the tax exemption on stock dividend income in the Budget turned the investors towards the stock market.

“After a gap of a few years, people’s faith seems to have been restored in the market”, he observed. He listed other factors also like the massive investment by foreign financial institutions and mutual funds in the stocks.

Mr Harjit Singh Sidhu, General Manager, LSE, observed that the good monsoon was also one of the reasons for this boom. “Since agriculture is the mainstay of the Indian economy and the purchasing power of the farmers has a direct bearing on economy, it is obvious that good monsoons result in good economy”, he remarked. He attributed the boom to the coming out of PNB and MUL issue, besides the massive steel exports.



Exim form anti-business, says industry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 21
“Industry of Punjab will oppose the exim form since the move is bound to take the industry backwards. No state in the country, except Haryana, has this type of form. Some other states have entry forms only and exports from the state are free from shackles. Moreover, the states which have entry restrictions have not gained any revenue boost.”

These observations were made by Mr P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in a statement here today. He said with the introduction of exim form, functioning of the industry would be retarded and many weak industrial units would be wiped out. In this period of stiff competition, dispatch of goods have to be swift and punctual. Payment from customers were also linked with dispatch of goods and if goods were delayed, past payment would also be delayed, making the situation chaotic.

“For getting exim form from the buyer, outside the state, there is always an element of uncertainty. All couriers are not reliable. Even the best of couriers sometimes miss the documents and it takes days to locate them. In such a situation dispatch of goods from the factory shall be delayed indefinitely.”

Similarly, the dispatch of goods from the factory was most sensitive part of the business. If this task was given in the hands of officials, no factory would run efficiently. It was a well known fact that getting a form from the Sales Tax Department was a project in itself. Permission to issue form would have to pass at least three hands and there would be such times when one or the other would not be present. The situation would become more difficult during holidays in government offices.

The Sales Tax Department has been evolving different procedures for the last 15 years. First of all it empowered the officials to intercept goods carriers at will and power of search under Section 14-B of the GST Act. Thereafter, it introduced the filing of purchase returns. No wonder the officials had been receiving purchase returns but had not even opened them. Then came the information collecting centres at the barriers. These information collecting centres should be foolproof to check unauthorised goods coming into and going out of the state and there should be no need for further restrictive measures.

Mr Sharma maintained that the very concept of exim form was wrong, ill-conceived and anti-business. The Chief Minister ought not to play in the hands of people with vested interests and saddle the trade and industry with such uncalled for exercise which could mar the economy of the state.


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