Saturday, August 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Steel Policy by March 2004
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
The Government of India will finalise the National Steel Policy by March 2004, which is aimed at addressing various issues concerning the production and use of steel in the country. Stating this here last evening while addressing a reception organised in his honour by the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), the Union Steel Secretary, Mr V.K. Duggal, said all sections of people and sectors concerned with steel would be taken into confidence before finalising the policy.

The Steel Secretary had to face a volley of questions from representatives of industry, who alleged that steel prices were being increased with due patronage by the government. He asserted that the government was very much concerned about the seriousness of the issue. That is why he had come here along with the Chairman of the Steel Authority of India (SAIL), Mr V.S. Jain. He clarified that the Union Steel Minister, Mr B.K. Tripathy, never made any observation that steel be exported with no need to care about the domestic industry, as alleged by some industry representatives.

Referring to the concern shown by the industry about the export of steel to China at the cost of domestic industry, he said the National Steel Policy would take due care of the import and export issues related to steel. He said lessons could be learnt from the international market also and the Chinese experience could serve as a good example. He said the policy would also take note of tariff and non-tariff barriers. He said due care would be taken about the needs and concerns of the small-scale sector, which happens to be the backbone of the Indian economy.

Earlier, CICU submitted a memorandum to Mr Duggal and sought various measures to curb the steel prices. It sought “to enhance competitiveness both domestically and globally, the basic raw materials for the engineering industry should be made available at the viable rates”. It also demanded that the “stipulation of BIS got impressed by the vested interest by the DGFT be withdrawn in order to permit level playing field and enable the Indian industry to import cheaper iron and steel from Ukraine and other countries”.

The chamber also urged the government that the “custom duty on imported scraps should be reduced from 25 per cent to 5 per cent (for manufacturers and traders)”. Similarly, it added, “the import duty on HR coils should also be reduced from 40 and 25 per cent to 16 per cent slab, equivalent to the excise duty prevailing in our country”.

Other points raised by CICU included removing non-tariff trade barriers and allowing free flow of steel from oversees, rationalising the export incentives for steel, restricting the exports of HR coils and sponge iron to the extent that the local requirement within the country of such items should be made available at normal rates.

Others present on the occasion included senior BJP leader and MP, Lala Lajpat Rai, the Director-General of Foreign Trade, Mr L. Mansing, Chairma Engineering Export Promotion Council Mr Satish Dhanda, president of the CICU Mr Inderjeet Singh Pradhan, Chairman SAIL, Mr V.S. Jain, Principal Secretary Industries, Punjab Mr Subodh Aggarwal, Director Industries, Mr S.K. Sandhu and a number of representatives of the industry. 



Industrialists lose cool at minister’s meeting
Tribune News Service

Angry industrialists, sporting black badges, protest against the rising steel prices, while the Union Minister for Steel, Mr B.K. Tripathy
Angry industrialists, sporting black badges, protest against the rising steel prices, while the Union Minister for Steel, Mr B.K. Tripathy, (right) threatens to call off the meeting at Ludhiana on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, August 29
Uproarious scenes were witnessed during the 17th meeting of the National Steel Consumers’ Council held here today under the chairmanship of the Union Steel Minister, Mr B.K. Tripathy. At one stage the minister had to intervene and he even threatened to call off the meeting in case the industrialists continued to behave in an “unruly” manners.

As expected, the industrialists who had come to attend the meeting raised the issue of rising steel prices in the country. Some of the industrialists had also worn black badges to register their protest. Almost all local industrialists, including Mr DS Chawla of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers’ Association, Mr VP Chopra of the Federation of Small and Tiny Industrial Association, Mr PD Sharma of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry supported by others rose on their feet shouting slogans and demanding slashing of steel prices.

Mr J.P. Singh, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Steel, who was conducting the stage, continuously appealed to the industrialists to exercise restraint. However, when the industrialists refused to listen to him, Mr Tripathy rose from his seat and took the mike and told the industrialists to keep quiet otherwise he would be forced cancel the meeting. He told them in unambiguous terms that they were speaking at a wrong forum as the meeting had a different agenda.

While the industrialists refused to yield, senior BJP leader and local MP Lala Lajpat Rai, who was also sitting on the dais rose from his seat to intervene. He tried to cool down the tempers by telling the angry industrialists that he was with them and would go to any extent to support their cause. It was only after his intervention that the industrialists became quiet and the meeting was allowed to continue.

Earlier, during the protest the industrialists raised anti-government slogans and accused the government of patronising the select five steel manufacturers of the country. They questioned the logic behind the government’s policy to allow exports to China, when the domestic industry needed supply of steel.

Although the meeting went on smoothly later on, but the rising steel prices continued to dominate the proceedings. Representatives of various associations of steel consumers raised the issue of rising steel prices. They also opposed the export of steel to China when it was not adequately available in the country.

At one stage even the police had also to be called inside as the protesters refused to return to their seats. The industrial representatives had come from different parts of the country. However, it was the local industrialists who were more vocal and vociferous and wanted the minister to make a statement immediately.

The industrialists did not appear satisfied when the Union Steel Secretary, Mr V.K. Duggal, while speaking on behalf of the minister expressed the helplessness of the government to reduce the prices. He however, announced that the ministry would recommend the abrogation of BIS clause for steel imports, which would facilitate the import of cheap steel from other countries.

One of the industrialists rose from his seat, at the conclusion of the meeting, asking the minister “Mr Minister will you please tell us what you have given us?”. The Minister invited an industrial delegation to Delhi for sorting out the remaining issues.

Today’s meeting was attended, among others, by the Chairman SAIL, Mr VS Jain, CMD of the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), Mr B.K. Panda, Principal Secretary Industries, Punjab, Mr Subodh Aggarwal, Managing Director PSIEC, Mr Arun Goel, Director (Industries), Mr S.K. Sandhu, several senior officers of the state and Central Government and the representatives of industrial associations and the steel manufacturers.



Brar-Gupta group sweeps PAUTA poll
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
For the sixth time in a row, the Brar-Gupta group made a clean sweep in the annual elections of the Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association (PAUTA), the results of which were announced late last evening. All candidates of this group defeated their rivals by a comfortable margin.

Dr A.S. Joshi, a Professor in the Department of Economics has been elected President of the PAUTA for the second consecutive year. He defeated his rival Dr R.S. Brar with a margin of more than 100 votes. Dr Joginder Singh Bains defeated Dr Kamal Nain Singh for the post of Secretary by a margin of 142 votes.

Dr A.S. Sohi (568) defeated Dr Gurmeet Singh Bains (378) for the post of Vice-President. Dr Harmeet Singh Kingra was elected for the post of Joint Secretary by defeating Dr Kulwant Singh Sandhu by a margin of 28 votes.

Dr Jagdev Singh Deol was elected the Treasurer of PAUTA as he defeated his rival Dr Mandhir Singh Aulakh by a margin of 190 votes. Dr Joshi’s team also took all seats of six councillors which were bagged by Er Sarabjit Singh, Dr Devinder Kaur, Dr Bhupinder Singh, Dr Parambir Singh, Dr Paramjit Singh and Dr R.J.S. Sahota. They all were elected unopposed on the day of withdrawing the nominations. The other four, including Dr Amrita Lal Sharma, H. Sandhu, Dr Vipin Kumar Sharma and Dr Jagjit Singh defeated their rivals with a comfortable margin.

Enthusiastic at the victory of his team, Dr Joshi said his team would work for the welfare of the teachers and would fulfill the promises made in the election manifesto. Listing the promises made to the teachers, Dr A.S. Joshi said his group would take up the court cases relating to the implementation of Career Advancement Scheme from January 1996 besides total service benefit and leave encashment. He said his party had also promised withdrawal of new commutation formula of Punjab Government, increment for teachers holding post-graduation degrees, removal of anomalies in pay fixation, Ph.D increments and disparity in different cases.

He said the PAUTA became instrumental in providing incentive increments for M. Tech and Ph. D teachers. Another notable achievement claimed by him was the awarding of the Non-Practice Allowance (NPA) allowance to the veterinary faculty.

Meanwhile, Dr Brar of the opposition camp stated that the mandate of teachers was gradually shifting towards his side. He claimed that while last year Dr Joshi was elected unopposed the opposition party’s incumbent had won with a margin of 435 votes two years ago. And this year the margin was only 117. He said had the outstation faculty members participated in the election his team would have won.



Cong leaders flay Mann
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
Senior Congress leaders, including the MLA from Dakha, Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha, the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka and the general secretary of the PYC, Mr Gurkirat Singh have condemned the statement of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief Mr Simranjit Singh Mann in which he had said his party would organise a demonstration on August 31, against the organising of the state function on the death anniversary of Late Mr Beant Singh a former Chief Minister of Punjab, who was killed in a suicide bomb blast.

In a statement recently Mr Mann had declared that he and his party workers would also demolish the memorials of Late Beant Singh, Ms Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. He had said his party did not consider them to be the martyrs.

The Congress leaders observed that Mr Mann was not making responsible statements as it was unbecoming of him to speak like that. They alleged that it was people like Mr Mann who had encouraged terrorism in Punjab and were responsible for years of bloodshed in the state. They pointed out, it was Beant Singh who had brought the state back to normalcy. They demanded strong action against Mr Mann for making such “anti national” statements.



Baazigar family kills Boriya robber
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Raikot, August 29
A robber was killed and three persons of a family were injured in a scuffle between a seven member gang of robbers and the family at their house in Baazigar Colony in the outskirts of this town at about midnight last.

The unarmed family members fought the robbers and forced six of them to flee and killed one of them. Police personnel at Raikot police station did not respond to a phone call about the incident in time.

A head constable posted as a munshi in the police station, has been suspended for negligence of duty. The robbers succeeded in snatching away ear rings and nose pins worn by the women. The women suffered injuries but continued to fight the robbers.

The bravery of Basant Singh’s family was the talk of the town today. Belonging to the Baazigar tribe he lives in his house on the outskirts of the town towards Lakha village with his three sons and daughters-in-law. The robbers came at 1:30 a.m. when the family was sleep. The robbers were armed with sticks and sharp-edged weapons.

The injured family members under treatment at the Civil Hospital here were Basant Singh, his son Tara Singh and daughter Manjit Kaur.

The police has registered a case under Sections 469, 380, 148 and 149 of the IPC against the seven, robbers. No case has been registered against the family members for the robbers death.

SHO Raikot Mohinder Kumar praised the family’s act of bravery. He said no case had been made against them as they had acted in self-defence. The slain robber was clubbed to death by the family members.

The police suspects that the gang belonged to Boriya tribe, active in the region.

Tara Singh said the family was sleeping outside. there was noise from fields. They were startled when some persons armed with sticks and sharp-edged weapons pounced on them.

“My three sons, women and I all succeeded in over powering them”, he said lying on a hospital bed.

They snatched sticks from them and struck one of them hard on the head. As he fell down, the others took to their heels. They could only take away some gold jewellery. The death of a robber scared them and they decided to flee.

By them their neighbours woke up and advised the family to report to the police. The police was informed at 8:15 a.m, according to SHO Mohinder Kumar.

He said the munshi had got a call at 2 a.m, but failed to take action. 



Residents resent illegal slaughter house
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
Even as the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC) has directed the Municipal Corporation Ludhiana (MCL) to check the slaughter of animals and birds in the open, some city residents have also joined the issue with the MC urging upon the authorities to ban the illegal slaughtering.

In a complaint to the MCL, residents of Pipple Wali Gali in Dr Ambedkar Nagar on Dugri Road, have stated that a chicken corner was operating near their residentence.

Stating that the local residents had constructed their houses in the area thinking that they would lead a peaceful life but the opening of a slaughter house illegally in their area had made their lives a virtual hell.

The complainants said the chances of the outbreak of diseases like cholera, gastroenteritis, food poisoning etc could not be ruled out. Besides this, the slaughtering also violates the citizens’ fundamental right to health and the right to religious freedom.

Furthermore, the PSHRC in its order on May 2003 has directed the MC to take a serious note of all illegal butcheries and slaughtering of animals and birds in the open. The commission directed the MC to fix a date with the complainants in consultation with the chief sanitary officer and conduct raids at the said places where such activities were taking place.



Diagnostic centre accused of duping supplier
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, August 29
The dispute between a firm supplying medical equipment and a local diagnostic centre took an ugly turn today when a Chandigarh-based distributor of medical equipment lodged a first information report (FIR) with the local police, claiming that the diagnostic centre had fraudulently taken supplies worth Rs 21 lakh and was now refusing to make the payment.

In the FIR, Mr Shri Krishan, proprietor the Shri Imaging and X-ray, has said that his company had supplied medical stents to the diagnostic centre and received part payment through cheques. But later the cheques, when presented for encashment, were dishonoured. The FIR further says that when the company approached the diagnostic centre, the doctor concerned misbehaved and refused to make any further payments.

Describing the allegations as baseless, and the matter being sub judice, one of the directors of the diagnostic centre said that they were being unnecessarily harassed by the police for the past 10 days due to the involvement of certain politicians. “We owe some money to one Delhi-based company. Since the company has good connections in Chandigarh, it is building pressure on us by demanding more money than the actual amount through people we have not dealt with before.

We have already filed a writ petition in a local court as well as the High Court. Now an agent of this company has lodged an FIR against us in one of the local police stations here to pressurise us into a settlement”

The complainant in the FIR said that they were the distributors of the “Heli” brand of stents, which are implanted in the arteries of the heart by way of angioplasty. Mr Krishan further alleged in the FIR that the directors of the diagnostic centre called him and demanded the “heli” brand of stents (mounted/bare stents).

They gave us an assurance that the payment would be given within 45 days to the distributors. "In good faith, we started supplying the stents to the diagnostic centre and supplied stents worth Rs 21 lakh against the bills within a short span of six months”, said Mr Krishan.

The complainant further maintained that he was given 16 post-dated cheques worth Rs 8,51,000 with an assurance that the cheques would be encashed on presentation in the bill.

But the cheques were repeatedly dishonoured on presentation in the bank. He further said that he visited the directors of the diagnostic centre many times but to no avail.

Mr Krishan, in the FIR, said that he again went to the diagnostic centre on August 12 and requested for payments. “He told me to hand over the cheques so that he could do the cash payment. But he started tearing all the cheques and said that he (the accused) had no intention to pay him the money”.

The complainant said that he used to supply various sizes of stents to the accused through challans. The accused, after selecting the stents that fitted their patients, used to inform him about the selected piece and used to issue a bill for the same

“At present 23 stents worth Rs 9,23,500 are lying with the accused. The accused, when asked to return the stents, openly refused to do so.

They have not paid a sum of Rs 18, 27, 500 out of purchase worth Rs 21, 05,000”, alleged Mr Krishan.



Life term for killing wife
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Inderjit Kaushik, has sentenced Lakhwinder Singh of Pakhowal village to undergo rigorous life imprisonment for killing his wife. A fine of Rs 5000 was also imposed upon the convict.

However, the court acquitted Mukhtiar Singh, father, Gurdial Kaur, mother, and Amarjit Kaur, sister of the accused. An FIR was lodged against all the accused on February 1, 1999 at Raikot police station, on the statement of Sajjan Singh, father of the deceased.

The accused were facing charges under Sections 302/201/304-B, 498-A and 34 of the IPC. The court sentenced the husband under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC as other charges were not proved. The court observed that Gurmit Kaur, wife of the convict, died after seven years of the marriage and so the case did not fall within the ambit of 304-B (dowry death).

According to the prosecution, the accused killed his wife on January 25, 1999, and cremated the body on the next day without informing her parents. The complainant, his brother along with certain persons were going to Burj village to attend a bhog ceremony. When they were crossing Dhallian village they found that a body was being cremated. He was told that his daughter had committed suicide. But later on Dharam Singh, son of the deceased told the complainant that his father strangled his mother to death. Thereafter he lodged the report with the police. 



D.S. Gill to represent Opposition on SYL issue
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
It is good news for Punjab on the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal front as the Supreme Court has clubbed the cases filed by the state with Haryana, while the latter and the Centre have sought three weeks to submit their replies on various points raised by Punjab.

The apex court had decided the case in favour of Haryana and had directed Punjab to complete the canal by January 15, 2003. Punjab had moved a petition challenging the validity of the various agreements on water inked in the past. The case had been listed for hearing in July.

Haryana had recently submitted an action plan to the Supreme Court proposing a five-member committee to monitor the work on the SYL project. The Union Home Secretary, the union water resources secretary and the chief secretaries of Punjab and Haryana will be the members of the proposed committee headed by the Cabinet secretary. The state had also suggested that the canal should be completed by the Border Roads Organsiation (BRO) in consultation with the Central Water Commission (CWC).

Commenting on the latest development, Mr D S Gill, Chairperson of the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO), which has been authorised by the Opposition in the state to take up the case in the Supreme Court, said it was a positive development since it would provide the state to clarify its position on sharing excess river waters with Haryana and other neighbouring states.

He said Punjab Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh had told him that the cases had been clubbed and that the Centre and Haryana had sought time to submit their reply. Going by the progress of the case, a decision was likely in the coming months, he added.

Mr Gill said the question of completing the canal did not arise since the basic question — determining the quantum of excess river waters — was yet to be determined. That was the reason why the state has sought to nullify various treaties and accords inked in the past. The ground conditions, including the depletion of ground water and the climatic changes in the past two decades, too, had been taken into consideration by the state before submitting its reply to the apex court, he pointed out.

“If the state does not vigorously pursue the matter at this stage, it would mean that the matter would go in favour of Haryana at the cost of the Punjabi farmers, who are already crying for water. This would mean that the Congress would fare even worse than the Akalis, who had betrayed Punjab’s interests for sinister political gains by signing the Rajiv-Longowal accord in 1985,” he pointed out.

He said the decision of the Congress to observe the death anniversary of Sant Longowal, too, had sent a wrong signal to the people since the Sant had betrayed the people by signing he accord. Similarly, the state should desist from going in for political gimmicks like releasing canal water to Rajasthan since this creates an impression that the state had surplus water and was being stubborn in releasing the same to Haryana, he opined.

Appreciating the strong stand taken by the CM, he said any economic packages given by the Centre later on will not do the trick, if we lose out on this vital issue. The state government should prepare itself for the long haul with a new thinking besides distancing itself from the outmoded, stereotyped and deceptive framework built round the Rajiv-Longowal Accord, he added.

Mr Gill said he had previously written to the CM that the principle embodied in Entry 17 of the List II (State-List) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India says that river waters and hydel power had been kept as a state subject upon which only the said State had full and exclusive legislative and executive powers [Arts 146(3) & 162].

He further pointed out that whereas, the Centre (parliament) can legislate only in regard to inter-state rivers [Entry 56 of List I (Union-List) of the Seventh Schedule and Article 262 of the Constitution] and not in regard to the waters of a State river/s over which the concerned state alone has full and final authority.

Going into basics of the case, he said “ Article 21 guarantees the right to life and the Punjab River waters are a lifeline and God blessed natural wealth of its people. And, the riparian Punjab has its sovereign right over its rivers that cannot be taken away by any means. Unfortunately, Punjab has been a victim of discrimination on several accounts, especially over its waters, disregarding its right over waters without any consideration (Article 31). Over 75 per cent of its waters are being looted under the garb of the so-called arrangements, awards and agreements, including the unconstitutional laws and amendments made to deprive it of its natural wealth, despite the fact that Punjab needs more water than that of its own three rivers,” he pointed out.

This riparian right has been acknowledged by the Tribunal made under the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956, in case of Narmada river, that passes through MP, Maharashtra and Gujarat and not through Rajasthan. Rajasthan, being non-riparian state (as it is in case of Punjab rivers), could not become a party to share the water of Narmada because under the Act, 1956, only co-riparian state can do so. The Tribunal was presided over by the sitting judge of the SC and the best talent of the country, such as Mr Daphtary, Mr Palkhiwala, Mr Nariman, Mr A K Sen and Mr Niren De argued the case.

Interestingly, the Supreme Court’s decision (AIR 2002 SC 685) says: “It is true that the aforesaid agreement (July 24, 1985) was entered into by Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, the then President of the Shiromani Akali Dal and as such, had no constitutional sanctity to bind the State of Punjab. But having regard to the fact that in terms of the paragraphs 9.1 and 9.2 (of the Accord), a tribunal was constituted and even the provisions of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956, were amended, thereby granting Parliamentary recognition to the so-called agreement, the terms of the said agreement cannot be thrown out as piece of paper only, he added.



No groups in Congress: Goel
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 29
There is no friction in the Congress party. Whenever the Congress had come into power in the state, it had completed its term of five years, said Mr Brij Lal Goel state vice-president of the Congress party and in charge Fatehgarh district. Mr Goel said this at a meeting with the local Press Club members on Thursday.

Mr Goel strongly refuted the allegations of differences between Captain Amarinder Singh, and Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats, being highlighted in the press by Akali leaders. The Congress is united under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh and the Congress chief Ms Sonia Gandhi. It will complete its term in the state, he asserted.

People are aware of the performance of the Akali Party which is in the habit of launching morchas by misleading people when it is out of power. On gaining power, it forgets all demands of the state, he said. Now the Akali leadership is bent upon false propaganda of corruption against some ministers in the previous Congress Government, he maintained.

The Punjab Government is celebrating this year as development year. It has given powers to the panchayats and zila parishads and the party would implement its promises made to the people in the election manifesto. On the basis of its pro-people policies, the Congress would win all 13 Lok-Sabha seats in the state, Mr Goel added.



Digital traffic lights to ease congestion on roads

Tribune lensman Pradeep Tewari catches traffic at Domoria Pul during a peak hour and at an intersection when lights go off in Ludhiana

Ludhiana, August 29
According to sources a plan was in the pipeline to replace the existing traffic lights at many busy crossings in the city with ultra modern digital traffic signals in order to ease out congestion and to provide safe passage to the pedestrians, motorists and other road users. For the convenience of the visually challenged persons, the new traffic signals would have a sound track and would also be equipped with power back up facility to operate in case of power failure.

A notable feature of the digital traffic signal lights, to be installed at a cost of Rs 4.50 lakh each, was the electronic sensors, which would automatically increase or decrease the halt time at the junctions in terms of the volume of the traffic at any given time. Further, for the convenience of the vehicular traffic and to curtail the instances of rash driving and jumping of traffic lights, these digital signals will have the down counting facility, and the remaining time for the change of traffic signals would be on constant display. The pedestrian sensor signal would be an additional feature that would facilitate the crossing of road at these junctions. The MC had already approved an expenditure of Rs 32 lakh for the new signals. After an exhaustive survey and physical inspection of the major traffic junctions in the city, the MC has identified seven crossings with heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic for the installation of digital traffic signals. The traffic junctions to have digital signals include Bharat Nagar Chowk, Bhai Bala Chowk on Pakhowal Road, Jagraon Bridge, Gill Road Chowk, Noorwala Road Chowk, Giapura and Samrala Bypass Chowk on Chandigarh Road.

On the erratic functioning of the traffic signal lights in the city, official sources maintained that effective steps had been taken for the better maintenance of the existing traffic signals at 31 different junction in the city. "The zonal commissioners have been asked to assign the task of constantly surveying and monitoring the movement of traffic in their area and to take all necessary measures, including those for the installation of more traffic signals and blinkers, wherever needed. The field engineering staff and the streetlight staff in particular, have been directed to regularly check and periodically clean and paint the traffic signals for proper regulation of the city traffic. Regular record is being maintained about the working of the traffic signals at the zonal level.”



The story so far

For the residents of the city, traffic movement has almost become synonymous with chaos and misery that they have to live with each day. The prevailing situation, gloomy as it is, cannot be solely attributed to a huge number of vehicles on the roads and rampant encroachments. Poor traffic planning and slack enforcement also have share blame.

Fountain Chowk in Civil Lines locality, sticks out as one of the major problem areas that has defied all regulatory measures tried so far. Half a dozen roads join the crossing with a very high volume of traffic throughout the day, particularly during morning and evening hours. Several experimental measures and installation of traffic lights (which remain non-functional) to bring some semblance of order in the traffic movement at this chowk have failed to yield a positive result. The only alternative left with the traffic cops during a traffic jam, which is a frequent affair, is to close one or the other road to vehicular traffic, which further compounds the problem rather than solving it.

The Domoria Bridge Road from Gole Market Chowk to the next point, where it forks out towards Old Sabzi Mandi and Deepak Cinema is yet another section that has remained a chronic traffic bottleneck. The road provides major link from Civil Lines and other adjoining localities to old city areas with a heavy volume of traffic and persistent traffic jams at regular intervals. The traffic police or the Municipal Corporation have failed to take simple measures like 'one way traffic' to avoid the bumper-to-bumper stream of vehicles cutting across each other and creating chaotic situation on the road.

The Clock Tower Chowk and Mata Rani Chowk on Old G.T. Road continue to be a source of harassment to the motorists, who are at their wits’ end due to prolonged traffic jams all through the day.

Towards the old city area, the Brown Road from Lakshmi Cinema to CMC Chowk, Subhani Building, Daresi Road, Mochpura Bazar, Kesar Ganj Chowk, Lakkar Bazar, Gokal Road, Karimpura Bazar, Samrala Chowk are other bottlenecks standing in the way of smooth flow of traffic. Persistent congestion at points like Vishwakarma Chowk, Jagraon Bridge, Gill Chowk, Transport Nagar and Dholewal Chowk in the industrial belt also add to the woes of the motorists and other vehicle drivers.

While the traffic police focus mostly on highways and posh localities, booking drivers for violations of traffic rules, there is no enforcement worth the name in these congested commercial centres and the people are left to fend for themselves in the midst of traffic jams, which at times, continue for hours together.

If the traffic policemen remain elusive, from where and when they are needed the most, the traffic lights put up by the MC at various traffic junctions also leave much to be desired. From out of almost three dozen points where the traffic lights have been installed, about 10 to 25 per cent remain non-functional creating further confusion for the road users.

Sources in the MC, however, claim that the MC was responsible only for creating infrastructure while enforcement and regulation were the duty of traffic police. 



Conjunctivitis — a blessing for some
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
Conjunctivitis is turning into a blessing in disguise for many.
Mr Amit Seth(not the real name), a manager in the factory said that that for the past five days, he was on leave. He said when his employer, ever reluctant to grant leave, learnt about his eye-flu, he suggested him to stay home till he recovered. “Now he will not cut my pay also”. Now I am absolutely fine. I will go to work after two days. Why waste this golden opportunity?”, he chuckled.

Seven-year old Aakriti, a student of a reputed school here, said that her class teacher had suggested to her parents not to send her to school for six days. Aakriti said: “All my class-mates go to school, but I enjoy being at home. Though, it pains and irritates, but I am getting a lot of attention by my mother. She calls my friends in the evening and does all my homework.”

A bank manager in the Civil Lines area said that more than half a dozen bank employees were suffering from eye flu. “Initially, only one person got the infection but he kept on coming to work wearing dark glasses. Next day, two other employees complained of itching and redness in the eyes. The infection was spread and today more than six people have reported conjunctivitis. Because other employees object, I have requested them to stay away from others. They have also not been given much work”, said the manager.

But Mr Rakesh Kumar, a rickshaw-puller, who got the infection recently, complained that. “People do not prefer to sit in my rickshaw. I have not been able to get even Rs 100 for the past five days. Though, I am getting the medicine but the redness and itching is still there”, said Rakesh.

Mr Devesh Kumar and his wife Neeta, residents of Field Ganj, who have been suffering from eye-flu feel unfortunate because they could not celebrate the first birthday of their only child. “We were planning for the celebrations for the last two months, but this conjunctivitis dashed all our plans”, they said.

According to ophthalmologists in the city, approximately half of the city population, has been affected with conjunctivitis. “This epidemic occurs almost every year, but this year the number of infected people was unusually large. Isolation is the only solution to this problem. One should avoid shaking hands with the infected person and avoid sharing his pillowcases, towels etc said private practitioner.



President to be in city on Sept 4
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is the third President to visit Ludhiana. He will be here on September 4 to inaugurate a Kisan Mela at Punjab Agricultural University.
Earlier Dr Rajindera Prasad, the first President, visited Ludhiana on April 8, 1956 to lay the foundation stone of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College.

The Nankana Sahib Education Trust which runs the College had started the diploma course in 1953 and the degree college started in 1956.

Former President N. Sanjiva Reddy also visited the College in 1979 and presided over its silver jubilee function. Dr S. Radhakrishnan and Mr V.V. Giri also visited Ludhiana as Vice-President.

Dr Radhakrishnan inaugurated the auditorium of Arya College on May 4, 1958 and addressed the students and faculty of the college. On the same day, Dr Radhakrishnan also inaugurated a new block of the Christian Medical College and Hospital.

Meanwhile, the district administration and the authorities of Punjab Agricultural University are busy in finalising the arrangements for the visit.

Mr S. Chatoupadhya, DIG (Ludhiana Range), accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma and SSP Narinderpal Singh visited the mela site on the campus. They also visited Government College for Boys grounds where a helipad would be made for landing the President’s chopper.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, gave the details of Kisan Mela. The university authorities have finalised the minute to minute programme of the visit. He will reach the campus at 12-30 pm and remain at the mela site for one hour.

Before the President’s address, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab Governor and Chancellor O.P. Verma would welcome the President.

The Punjab Kisan Club an affiliate of the PAU will present a phulkari to the President and also tie a turban to him before he addresses the farmers.

The Club was formed in 1966 after the establishment of the PAU and has a membership of 3200, including 600 woman farmers. The Punjab Kisan Club meets once a month to exchange information with university experts.

The President will address the Ludhiana Management Association (IMA) at Guru Nanak Bhawan at 11am.



LMA awaits visit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
“The coming month of September is going to be a month of pride and honour for the residents of Ludhiana in general and the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) in particular when all these people along with several other important people of Punjab will get a chance to interact with Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the President of India, at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan”. This was stated by Mr Manjit Singh, president, LMA.

“There is no getting away from the fact that it is the biggest of all the meeting that we have organised in the past. When the confirmation from the President’s office came on August 19, it was a dream come true. Two and a half decades ago, when the LMA was born we never thought that a day like this shall ever come. The members of the association are bubbling with enthusiasm over the meeting.” Mr V.K. Goyal, general secretary, LMA, said.

Industrialists Mr S.P. Oswal, Chairman, Vardhman Group of Industries, Mr B.M. Lall Munjal, Hero Group of Industries, Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, Managing Director, Hero Corporate Services, Mr Shiv Prasad Mittal, Chairman, Aarti Group of Industries, Mr Rajinder Gupta, CEO, Trident Group of Industries, will also be part of this programme.

More than 1000 entrepreneurs, management professionals, academician, many Cabinet ministers of Punjab, members of Parliament, members of Legislative Assembly, Chief Secretary of Punjab, DGP, Senior Central, State and District Government functionaries shall attend the function, Mr Goyal said. 



Punjab flayed on exim form
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal has castigated the Punjab Government for its adamant attitude on introducing exim form from September 1, which was bound to adversely affect the trade and commerce in the state.

In a joint statement here today, the state president of PPBM, Mr Amrit Lal Jain, general secretary, Mr Sunil Mehra, district president, Mr Katuri Lal Mittal, general secretary, Mr Mohinder Aggarwal and Baba Ajit Singh observed that the government move was aimed at covering up its failures and lapses and rampant corruption in the Excise and Taxation Department.

Mr Jain said a deputation of the Beopar Mandal had met the Financial Commissioner (Taxation), Mr Mukul Joshi, in Chandigarh on Thursday. While the discussion was inconclusive, Mr Joshi failed to give a satisfactory explanation for the alleged trading in unaccounted goods despite the existence of 33 information collection centres and other check barriers on all entry points. “It is obvious that certain officials of the department are in collusion with unscrupulous traders.”

The PPBM functionaries, while charging bureaucrats with instigating the political leadership against the trade and industry, wondered as to why the government did not open a dialogue with the representatives of traders when recently decisions like abolition of non-practising allowance (NPA) for doctors and imposition of sales tax on CSD items, had been put on the hold. The government had already given enough proof of its being anti-trade and against the urban population by taking a volte face on election promises like scrapping of octroi and putting an end to inspector raj.



Blindfolded rider on the road
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
In a city where it is difficult to drive safely with open eyes, blindfolded Jadugar Samrat Shankar riding a motor cycle negotiated curves and bends in the congested CMC area. The daring feat stunned the residents.

He started from Shingaar Palace at 11 am Dr S.C. Verma, an eye surgeon here covered the magician’s eyes with 10 layers of cloth and two swabs of cotton.

Mr Pritam Singh, IPS, SP-II, Ludhiana flagged off the event. The magician has performed this show more than 17,000 times in India and abroad.

After starting from Shingaar Palace, Jadugar crossed Samrala Chowk, Bus Stand Road, Satguru Pratap Singh Chowk, Gill Chowk, Gill Road, Vishwa Karma Chowk, Jagraon Bridge, Local Bus Stand, Gyan Sthal Mandir Chowk, CMC Hospital, Number 3 Division Chowk and Baba Thaan Singh Chowk.

The Jadugar was flanked by the city crowds. Many stopped him to shake hands. Some asked him to read dailies. Finally he was back at the starting line of Shingaar Palace.

As the bandages were removed Shankar said: Telepathy guided me in the congested areas.” 



Sales tax advisory panel meeting
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
The District Sales Tax Advisory Committee meeting was held here yesterday under the presidentship of the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr M.S. Brar. Mr Brar appealed to the members of the committee to extend their sincere cooperation for enhancing government revenues in the shape of sales tax, which, at present, was only Rs 1100 crore from the state out of the total revenue of Rs 3100 crore. He urged the Ludhiana industrialists to sell their hosiery goods through sale bills, invoices so that no hosiery manufacturers or suppliers were unnecessarily harassed. He said that no official would be allowed to misbehave with businessmen.

Dr Shiv Gupta, secretary- general, Anti-Corruption Council of India, suggested that time-bound period should be adopted for the registration of new sales tax numbers. The Excise and Taxation Commissioner said that all such cases would be disposed of within a month. 



Pilgrim dies of brain haemorrhage
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
Mr Goddu Mal, a pilgrim, who had come from Kheragaon (Maharashtra) to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Nanaksar on the 60th anniversary of Baba Nand Singh ji, died of brain haemorrhage.

Ms Sushila Goddumal, the wife of the deceased, said the two along with their son Govind Goddumal had come to Gurdwara Sheeshganj Delhi from Maharashtra, where from they had travelled to Gurdwara Nanaksar to attend the bhog anniversary of Baba Nand Singh ji to be held on August 29. After paying obeisance, her husband fell and vomited blood and was immediately shifted to the Civil Hospital at Jagraon, where he breathed his last in the early hours today.



Rally for green
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
Activists of the People for Common Cause (PFCC) took out a rally from the park adjoining General Bus Stand here today. The activists wearing green bands and carrying placards, with messages for greening the city marched up to Chattar Singh Park.

Mr Arun Attri, president of the body exhorted the city residents to plant saplings and helps those grow. He said each citizen should adopt at least 10 plants and take personal care to ensure their growth.



Rs 12,000 looted 
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 29
Some armed unidentified robbers struck at Co-operative Agricultural Multipurpose Society Goraya office, and looted Rs 12,000 from the office late last night. The miscreants attacked and seriously injured society chowkidar Paramjit before leaving the society office. Goraya police has registered case and investigating the matter.

Body found: The body of a youth was found in some bushes near Dana Mandi Goraya last night. The police identified the deceased as Gurpreet Singh of Patt Jalo village. The body was sent to the Civil Hospital, Phillaur, for post-mortem examination.

Girl found: Goraya police has succeeded in tracing a young girl Raje at Jaddi village in Uttar Pardesh last night. The girl was allegedly abducted on June 29 from a brickkiln in Dhdhwarr village in Phillaur subdivision. The police has also arrested her alleged abductor Ram Milan and produced him before Judicial Magistrate Phillaur. He was sent to police remand for two days for further interrogation.



Fraud case registered
Our Correspondent

Doraha, August 29
The Payal police has registered a case under Sections 420 and 468 of the IPC against Baldev Singh of Bivani village for taking Rs 5 lakh from Bhagwan Singh of Bathinda in 1998 promising that he would send the latter to the USA.

Bhagwan Singh made repeated attempts to recover the sum after he realised that Baldev Singh would not honour his word. He got a case registered against him. The accused is, however, reported to be at large. He is wanted in similar cases of fraud.


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