Tuesday, September 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Attempt to burgle advocate’s house
Tribune News Service

A door handle tied with cloth by the robbers
A door handle tied with cloth by the robbers. — Photo by Pradeep Tewari

Ludhiana, September 22
Two robbers made bid to rob a house of an advocate on Church Road in wee hours today. They fled from the spot after the owner of house raised the alarm as he noticed them cutting the wire mesh of a window.

The robbers had sealed all the doors with old cloth. They had removed the grills from the window and were all set to enter the house.

The incident took place at 2:30 a.m. today. The owner of the house, Stevon Soni, who was sleeping in his bedroom woke up with the sound of cutting. Dismissing it as movement of rats, he slipped in his bed. But the sound continued.

He checked his bedroom, but found nothing suspicious. Then he went to another room and switched on the lights. He saw two migrants cutting the wire mesh of a window. Seeing him in the room the two robbers, who were wearing underwears only, jumped over a backyard wall.

Mr Soni tried to chase them, but found the doors locked from outside. He said that the two were around 22-23 years old.

Mr Soni called up the police control room, but there was no reply. Then he sent a neighbour to division number-5 police station. From there he was directed to go to division number-8 as the area fell in their jurisdiction. The police reached Soni’s house at 4 a.m.

The police has detained the servant of the house who was on leave yesterday. Some workers of an ice factory, located opposite Mr Soni’s house are also being questioned. 



Sale sluggish due to Shradhs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 22
Shradhs, the days when the living offer food and other things to departed souls, are traditionally considered to be inauspicious for starting any new project or buying anything.

This has affected business and even the markets lack the usual hustle and bustle as people are not making new purchases.

The umpteen 'sales' offering hefty discounts too have failed to lure buyers due to the ongoing Sharadhs.

Some stores are offering discounts up to 80 per cent while others are offering free tickets to Australia on the purchase of goods worth a certain amount. The glut of sales has, however, not brought many buyers to these outlets.

The shopkeepers are offering such hefty discounts mainly to clear the old stock in order to bring in the new stuff for Navratras and the festival season of Dasehra and Divali.

The sale of gold has also decreased due to Shradhs. One of the jewellers says," Generally Sikhs keep buying gold as they do not believe in Shradhs. Those buying now would be able to save money as now 10 gms of gold costs Rs 5450 per 10 grams and it was likely to jump to Rs 6,000 per 10 gms after the Shradhs are over.’’

Interestingly, some of the superstitious persons are not even getting their dental treatment done. A young dentist, on condition of anonymity, said," We have no practice during this season. It is very baffling but people are not coming for dental treatment these days. Those with acute pain do come, but only for one sitting. As soon as they get relief from pain they stop the treatment. They keep on bearing the pain and avoid treatment during Shradhs.



ABVP activists tear film posters
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 22
Arya College Campus unit of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) organised a ‘Save Campus Culture’ drive in the college today.
Under the presidentship of Anand Kumar College President, ABVP college students tore obscene and vulgar posters of adult films pasted outside the college gate.

Sandeep Kapoor, District Coordinator of ABVP, said such posters spoiled the cultural environment of the campus. “An educational institution is a temple of learning for the students and if such posters were pasted outside learning institutions then it would be an insult of the institution,” he maintained.

The young students’ minds would be corrupted by these posters. This kind of open display of vulgarity is the cause of cultural pollution, the protesting students claimed.

Sandeep Kapoor urged the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, to pass an order prohibiting the theatre owners from pasting vulgar posters outside the educational institutions.

Rohit Sharma, Ludhiana union secretary of ABVP, said such the posters should be banned throughout the city.

College president Anand said ABVP would submit a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, to take action against the theatre owners found responsible for such an act. Ankit, Jyant Khera, Yogesh Kumar, Arun Sharma, Atul Sood, Amitoz, Varun and other students were present on the occasion. 



50 dengue patients admitted to DMCH
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, September 22
Dengue fever has started spreading throughout the state with more than 50 patients admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) alone. Apart from Ludhiana, about 40 patients have reportedly come from other districts of the state. The hospital authorities say the condition of the patients was stable. However, one to two fresh cases are being reported at the hospital daily.

Dr A.S. Chawla, epidemiologist, while giving details said 34 patients were admitted from Batala (Gurdaspur), three each from Jalandhar and Amritsar and one each from Kapurthala, Patiala, Sangrur and Ropar. “Eight patients are from Ludhiana including Model Town, Tagore Nagar, New Vishnu Nagar, Club Road, New Shimlapuri, Prem Nagar and South City. Teams of health workers are already on their job. They are telling the people to clean their water coolers, pits etc so that there is no breading of mosquitoes. The fever is at its peak from September to December and each year, dengue claims many precious lives,” maintained Dr Chawla.

Dr Sandeep Puri, Medical Superintendent, DMCH, said that in 2001, 102 patients of dengue sought treatment at the hospital. Dengue fever can be identified with the onset of sudden high grade fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes and in muscles and joints. Dengue haemorrhagic fever is its severest form and can be life threatening. Symptoms include bleeding and at times shock. The fever continues for five to six days and comes down on the third or the fourth day. There can also be frequent vomiting, with or without blood, black stools, mouth, gum or skin bruising, excessive thirst, and pale or cold skin.

Dr Puri stressed the fever could be prevented by taking simple precautions. He said, “The breeding places for mosquitoes are stored or exposed water collection systems like barrels, jars, drums, pots, buckets, flower vases, tanks, tyres, water coolers, cool and shaded places outside the house. For the prevention of dengue, one should drain out water coolers, tanks, barrels, drums etc. Water containers should be properly covered. The mosquitoes can be eliminated through insecticides.”

To prevent the mosquito bite, individual precautionary measures were also necessary, added Dr Puri. “One should wear full-sleeve clothes and long dresses. Repellent, coils, electric vapour mats should be used. The treatment should be prompt and one should consult a doctor immediately. Brufen and Aspirin should be avoided and a patient should be given ample fluid. Few complications can occur during dengue fever, which can be dealt effectively if treatment is given immediately. The platelet count of a patient can fall drastically. In that case, platelet-rich transfusion should be given. Platelets help in the clotting of the blood, whenever bleeding occurs from anyside. The normal platelet count is 1,50,000 to 4,00,000.Levels below 20,000 are dangerous as spontaneous bleeding could occur”, said Dr Puri.



Rain inundates roads, streets
Tribune News Service

GT Road near Manju Cinema submerged in water after rain
GT Road near Manju Cinema submerged in water after rain in Ludhiana on Monday. — Tribune photo

Ludhiana, September 22
One hour of downpour and the Grand Trunk Road passing through the city is inundated and traffic paralysed.
Monday was no different as light showers caused a flood like situation on the G.T. Road from Manju Cinema up to Savitri Complex near Dholewal Chowk. The approach to Samrala Chowk from Jagroan Bridge too got blocked.

The stretch from Cheema Chowk to Samrala Chowk, including areas in Transport Nagar and surrounding localities, witnessed a flood-like situation with almost over one foot rainwater at most places.

Several scooter drivers were stranded as rainwater entered into the spark plugs of their vehicles. At places near the flyover on the GT Road, water reached the waist level with the virtual collapse of drainage system. With the monsoons almost over, neither the administration nor the Municipal Corporation has paid any heed to this. Ironically, the Municipal Corporation is repairing roads at several places in the city, but has done precious little to repair roads in the area prone to waterlogging.

Those who have had a taste of the waterlogging following the slightest of rain in the area, include the Ludhiana Improvement Trust Chairman, the city Mayor and several other senior officials who use this stretch while going or coming back from Chandigarh.

The road leading to the bus stand from Cheema Chowk is dotted with potholes. Once the water covers these potholes, the traffic comes to a halt. Today also there was a traffic jam on this road and smooth flow of traffic was restored after over two hours.

According to experts, there is an urgent need to provide drainage in the area as being a low lying area water from all surrounding areas, including the flyover, accumulates here and takes several days to dry up.



New pension scheme opposed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 22
The new pension scheme approved by the Central Government for its employees who joined service after October, 2002, excluding the defence forces, has met with opposition from pensioners.

About 50,000 employees, who join Central Government service every year will have to pay 10 per cent of the basic pay and dearness allowance. Given the present pay scales and rate of DA, the wage cut will range from Rs 400 to Rs 4,000 per month. With the half-yearly DA hike, the deduction will go up. However, under the existing pension scheme, employees are not required to contribute even a single paisa.

Mr Yash Paul Ghai, additional general secretary, Government Pensioners’ Association, said today. “The new scheme is silent on the provision of family pension, commutation of pension, gratuity, leave encashment, medical reimbursement/medical allowance and other benefits for retirees. There is no provision of General Provident Fund and Group Insurance Scheme as well. It means that the new employees will be at the mercy of the Pension Regulatory Authority, which will fix the quantum of benefits for them”.

On attaining superannuation at the age of 60, it would be mandatory for new employees to invest 40 per cent of the accumulated pension money to purchase an annuity from a life insurance company, while there is no such condition in the existing pension scheme. The association has demanded that the new scheme should not be implemented.



A boon for building law violators
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 22
The scheme for one-time voluntary disclosure of building norms violation and settlement thereof, which was approved by the Punjab Council of Ministers a few days back and expected to be introduced through an administrative order in the near future, will prove to be a boon for builders of residential, commercial, industrial and institutional buildings as well as residents of unauthorised colonies in the four major towns of Punjab — Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Patiala.

The recommendations of the Cabinet sub-committee, comprising the ministers for Local Government, Finance, Housing and Urban Development and vetted by the state Cabinet, would provide for compounding of unauthorised colonies, regularisation of unauthorised buildings in unauthorised colonies and condoning different kinds of violations of building bylaws on payment of stipulated composition fee, purely on one-time basis and for a specific period.

The information collected by the Local Bodies Department from the four towns of the state, having municipal corporations, revealed that as many as 13,000 cases of violation of building norms were pending for disposal and many times more violations might have been undetected. More important, the random checks and detailed inspection of the records of building branches in these cities had led to a startling disclosure that case files of thousands of cases of building bylaws violations were either missing or left unattended for unknown reasons for years together.

According to highly placed sources in the Local Bodies Department, pending cases of building norms violations such as deviation from approved building plan, buildings constructed without an approved building plan, change of land use, excess coverage of floor area ratio, absence of minimum required parking space and violation of front parking area would come under the purview of the one time settlement scheme.

Thereby, such cases of non-compoundable offences, which otherwise called for demolition, could be settled under the provisions of the scheme.

The sources disclosed that the government intended to grant one time opportunity to defaulters for declaration of the violation of building bylaws for a period of two months from the date of introduction of the scheme, initially in the four major towns and later in other cities and towns of the state.

However, once the time granted in the voluntary disclosure scheme was over, the municipal corporations would be directed to get tough with undeclared cases of violations. Not only that, such cases would be dealt with strictly in accordance with the prevailing law where non-compoundable violations were liable to be demolished, the owners, tenants, occupants, builders, architects and concerned enforcement officers could attract criminal proceedings against them.

The sources revealed that in the wake of mass-scale violation of building bylaws, the acts of omission and commission by the enforcement officers in the MCs were also seriously considered by the cabinet subcommittee.

Strongly feeling that while the violators were being penalised, the staff of the civic bodies, the architects and others abetting the violations should not go scot-free, the government had decided to set up a high level committee, to be headed by the Principal Secretary, Local Government and comprising a nominees of the Finance Secretary and Town and Country Planning Wing of the Department of Housing and Urban Development which would propose action against specific erring officers, colluding with the violators of building norms.

The government would also recommend to the MCs that composition fee collected for compounding of violations under the scheme should be used for construction of parking lots, multi-storey parking complexes and upgradation of other infrastructural facilities in the respective towns.



Labour dispute settled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 22
The week-long agitation by workers in Bhogal Sons, manufacturers of cycle and auto parts, was resolved today with the workers agreeing to return to work from tomorrow. Mr B.D. Arora, legal adviser of the company, said most of the workers had already resumed work and the remaining would join from tomorrow.

Refusing to give details of the agreement, he said the workers were convinced that there was no reason for them to strike work. He said the management would conduct an internal inquiry and find reasons behind the strike. He clarified that the company was paying wages, according to government rules and regulations.

Mr Arora said the company had made it clear that it would not tolerate indiscipline and 14 employees suspended for indiscipline would not be taken back.

He disclosed that those on strike had wanted the 14 suspended employees to be taken back, which, he said was not possible at this stage. “Maybe the company would review their cases, but not at this stage” he asserted.

Meanwhile, managements of various companies have appealed to labourers and workers not to get carried away by the propaganda of some vested interests. A leading industrialist disclosed that some self-style labour leaders were luring the workers to get their dues settled in lieu of 10 per cent commission. 



Haircut case: DEO holds probe
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 22
Ms Sudesh Bajaj, Deputy District Education Officer (secondary), today conducted an inquiry into the incident in which a teacher had forcibly cut the hair of five boys studying in Government Senior Secondary School, Threekey, on Friday last.

Ms Bajaj heard the grievances of the parents of three boys today. The parents had complained that the hair of their sons, were forcibly cut short by the teacher when they did not abide by her orders. Parents of the other two boys have been asked to come tomorrow on the second day of inquiry for presenting their argument.

Ms Ravinderjit Kaur, the accused teacher, remained absent today in the school but she came to the District Education Department in the afternoon and apologised for her action before the District Education Officer, Mr Bachitar Singh, and the Deputy DEO. The DEO said even though the teacher had apologised, necessary departmental action would certainly be taken after the completion of the inquiry.

While the DEO had stated yesterday that a show-cause notice would be issued to the Principal of the school, Ms Kuldip Kaur, for not bringing the matter to the notice of higher authorities, today’s inquiry revealed that she was unaware of the incident till the matter was brought to her notice by the parents of the five boys on Saturday evening. It was found that the teacher had not told the Principal about the incident on the same day.



Faith heals many
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 22
Sarb Rog Ka Aukhad Nam Mission organised a five-day ‘rog nivaran camp’ from September 17 to September 21. As many as 98 patients with different diseases, including anxiety, joint pain, epilepsy and brain tumour, registered for the camp. Mr Gurbachan Singh, a patient from Mullanpur said, “I was suffering from fever for the past four months. It continued despite medicines. After the camp and I am not taking any medicine and the duration of fever has come down. Even my appetite has improved. I will get rid of the remaining problem soon through naam jap.”

Ramnit Singh (16) has been diagnosed with worms in brain. Ramnit says, “I had to take 90 tablets per day and when the dosage was reduced I developed complications. However, at the Rog Nivaran Camp my dosage has been reduced to the minimum. I have no body aches or fits.”

Many patients claimed that Gurbani helped them to heal. On the fourth day the founder of mission Hardyal Szingh, visited the camp. He gave a lecture on how to develop belief in Gurbani.

On the same day Vasudev Bhardwaj, a special correspondent of Gujarati Mitra came from Surat. He narrated how after listening to Akhand Path at the Golden Temple on May 2001, he got rid of bone cancer of third stage. He said, “cancer specialists from the USA had also come to see my sudden recovery.”

Dr Balwant Singh, president, Ludhiana chapter, Sarb Rog Ka Aukhad Nam Mission saizd, “The five-day camp is organised twice a year in March and September. Besides we organise daily one-hour Shabad Jaap at the residences of patients or anyone who wants to get it organised at his place.”



Residents for more PCR vehicles
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 22
Complaints of residents were heard at a police-public meet organised in the Sarup Nagar area of Salim Tabri here today.
The SHO, Mr Buland Singh, listened to the complaints of residents and assured them of all help from the police. The residents demanded that there should be more PCR vehicles for checking crime.

Dinesh Bhatia, a local resident demanded that the police should make efforts to check the sale of narcotics and drugs in the area. He said many youths were falling prey to these drugs as these were being sold openly.

Mr Buland Singh assured the people that he would speak to his seniors to add PCR squads. He exhorted the people to verify antecedents of their servants and inform the police in this regard.



Apex clubs to educate women
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 22
More than 40 Apex clubs in the country would focus on projects aimed at promoting women education and vocational courses in particular in order to make the women self reliant and to enable them to face the increasing challenges of modern technology in the global scenario.

This was stated by Ms Sagarika Bhattacharya, the first woman to become the national president of the Association of Apex clubs in India in an exclusive interview with the Ludhiana Tribune here.

She said the Apex clubs had made ‘women education’ its national project for this year and the clubs all over the country were being directed to organise programmes for career counselling of students on a regular basis. In addition, the clubs were taking up community development projects like blood donation, financial assistance for needy but brilliant students, tree plantation and workshops for health awareness.

Ms Bhattacharya, who was on an official visit to the Apex Club in the city on her way to Mansa to attend a regional conference of the clubs from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, said several clubs in places like Kolkata, Erode, Chennai, Hanumangarh and Komarapollayam had established permanent projects like higher secondary school, pathological laboratories, handicraft training centre for men and women with placement facility, school for the deaf and dumb, senior peoples’ home, creche and community centres.

“Established in the year 1932 in Australia, Apex Club came to India in 1961 with the first club being set up in Kolkata, the Apex movement gained a stronghold in Northern, Southern and Eastern India with inroads being made in Western states at present.” She said the international presence of the club was also impressive with Apex Clubs functioning in Fiji, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Singapore, Sri Lanka apart from Australia, the country of its origin. The Association of Apex clubs was also a component of an international body of eight clubs called the World Council (WOCO).

A widely travelled woman, both within and outside the country, Ms Bhattacharya further observed that the national theme for the year “join and promote” was being carried out with full vigour to forge stronger bonds and to expand both nationally and internationally.



Kuldip Nayyar to address LMA meet
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 22
Eminent journalist Kuldip Nayyar will address members of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) on September 24 at Hotel Majestic Park Plaza at 7.30 p.m. This was disclosed by the president of the association, Mr Manjit Singh, and the general secretary, Mr V.K. Goyal.

Mr Goyal said Mr Nayyar had always stood for high moral values in journalism and it was a matter of pride for the LMA to host his lecture. The theme of Mr Nayyar’s lecture will be ‘India of my dreams’.



Man dies as bus hits scooter; driver booked
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 22
The Civil Lines police yesterday registered a case of negligent driving leading to the death of a scooterist against Ram Bihar, a migrant from Uttar Pradesh working as a bus driver here, on the statement of Kamaljit Singh, a resident of New Mohalla.

The complainant had stated that his father was going on his scooter along with Bajinder Singh when it was hit by a bus near the ESI Hospital. Bajinder died in the mishap while Kamaljit’s father was injured. The driver has been booked under Sections 279, 427 and 304-A of the IPC.

In another case, the Sadar police registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Sukhpal Singh, a resident of Alamgir village, against the driver of an unidentified vehicle. Sukhpal said his father, Balwinder Singh, was hit by the car near Rannia village while he was going on a cycle. Balwinder Singh was rushed to the PGI in Chandigarh, where he died yesterday.

Woman beaten up: The Jodhewal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC against Paramjit Kaur, Kamlesh, Shanti, Jagat, Mintu and Rajni, residents of Juneja Colony, on the statement of Radha, wife of Gurjesh, a resident of the colony. The woman had alleged that the accused beat her up and also threatened her

The Salem Tabri police yesterday registered a case under Sections 353, 186, 427, 506 and 34 of the IPC against five unknown persons on the statement of Gautam Lal, a bus conductor working in Haryana Roadways and living in Karnal district of Haryana.

The complainant had stated that while he was taking the bus from Amritsar to Delhi, five persons stopped it at the Jalandhar bypass, beat him up and threatened him. He said the persons also damaged the bus and interfered in the discharge of his duty.

Factory burgled: The Focal Point police yesterday registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC on the statement of Dinesh Chand, a resident of Gurpal Nagar, who complained that some persons broke open the lock of his factory on the intervening night of September 20 and 21 and decamped with an electric meter and other goods.

Booked for eve-teasing: The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 294, 509 and 506 of the IPC against Mohinder Singh, a resident of New Kundan Puri, on the statement of Ms Sneh Lata, a resident of Preetam Nagar. The complainant had stated that the accused teased her daughter and also threatened her on September 20.

Gamblers held: The division No. 2 police arrested Lal Chand, a resident of Prem Nagar, Beeru, a resident of Amar Pura, Mool Chand, a resident of Islam Ganj, and Kishan, who lives near Gopal Mandir while they were gambling at a public place and booked them under the Gambling Act. The police said a sum of Rs 3,200 and a deck of playing cards were seized from their possession.

The division No. 6 police arrested Sharad Kumar and Sumit Kumar, both residents of Suddan Mohalla, and Bunty, a resident of Ambedkar Nagar, while they were gambling at a public place yesterday. A sum of Rs 5,050 and a deck of playing cards were seized from their possession. The accused, who were booked under the Gambling Act, were later bailed out.

Knife Recovered: ASI Mahavir Singh recovered a knife from the possession of Vijay Kumar, a resident of Muzaffar Nagar, Uttar Pardesh, near Barwala village today and booked him under Sections 25/54/69 of the Arms Act.



Glut in parallel finance market
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 22
There is glut of money in the parallel finance market. So much so that the money is available at interest rates lower than those offered by the banks. Not long before the private financiers, most of them running unauthorised business, would offer the money on highly exorbitant interest rates. This is attributed to some scandals which rocked the parallel financial market leading to huge losses worth crores of rupees to the investors. The huge amount of black money, which is used in this market, continues to remain unutilised as the creditors remain apprehensive about lending money. A lot of business in Ludhiana is run with the money borrowed from the private financial market.

This has led to the interest rates in the financial market going down by over 60 per cent. While only six months ago, the private financiers would lend money at a handsome monthly interest rate of 2 per cent (that comes to 24 per cent annually), now they are reportedly offering the credit for as low as 0.7 per cent (that comes to an annual interest of 8.4 per cent only).

Sources revealed that the creditors were keen on ensuring the safety of the money they lend. Only about six months ago, some private financiers in the city suffered a cumulative loss of about Rs 25 crore. About Rs 7 crore each were lost by only two of them. This has sent shock waves among the creditors who are now extra cautious in lending money.

All those financiers who suffered losses would lend money for hefty interest rates. They were mainly concerned with the interest without, worrying much about the safety of their principal amount. But after suffering huge losses they are now keen to lend money safely, even if they have to lend it at quite low interest rates. In some cases it is even lower than the bank rates.

A financier revealed that money was easily available in the parallel financier market. “It (the money) is still in abundance, but there is no guarantee of its safe return with the result the financiers have become very cautious”, he disclosed, while adding, he would offer credit on rates as low as 0.5 per cent (that comes to 6 per cent annually) only with the condition that the amount is safe and secure.

The sense of insecurity has led to the crisis in the business. More than half of the business in Ludhiana is run with the money borrowed from the parallel financial market only. Till recent past when the payments were made on time, the creditors remained liberal in lending. After the business suffered set back the payment position also went haywire leading to huge losses to many big and small financiers. With the result people in need of money are not able to get it, despite the fact that huge amount of money is lying in the market unutilised.

The problem of the financiers and creditors is where to keep and utilise all the money they have. Since most of it (rather all of it) is unaccounted and has not been shown anywhere in records or income tax returns it is not possible for them to deposit it in the banks. They can only seek solace by trying to preserve it safely with themselves only, as long as they can.


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