Thursday, September 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rights panel to probe cases of penalised students
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
Following complaints from parents, the Academic Affairs Committee of the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) will investigate into two recent cases of punishment given to students at Government Senior Secondary School, Threekey village, and DAV Public School.

Giving this information, Prof K.B.S. Sodhi, Director of the newly formed Academic Affairs and Women’s Wing of the IHRO, said parents of the affected students had approached him for intervention in the two cases.

He said a probe into the case of cutting of hair of students at Government Senior Secondary School had started today while investigations into the case at DAV Public School would be taken up later. He said reports in both cases would be forwarded to the authorities concerned for necessary action.

On September 7, two boys of Class XII were suspended by the Principal of DAV Public School for 10 days when they were found speaking in Hindi on the campus. Justifying the decision, the Principal had said that he had directed all students from Class IV onwards to converse among themselves in English on the campus. He had said that the students had themselves suggested that such a punishment be given in case they violated the orders.

In Threekey village, a science teacher of Government Senior Secondary School had on Friday cut the hair of five boys when they disobeyed her. An inquiry into the matter has been conducted by Ms Sudesh Bajaj, Deputy District Education Officer. A team of the Academic Affairs Committee of the IHRO held its independent probe today.

Confirming the inquiry, Mr D.S. Gill, President, IHRO, said the cases were still under investigation and it was difficult to comment on them at this stage. He said a probe was on into a case at GHG School, Gurusar Sudhar, where a boy had opposed the school code on wearing a turban on the campus. The boy’s parents alleged that the Principal had ordered his suspension, though the latter refuted the charge.


More skeletons tumble out of LIT cupboard
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 24
Even as the chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, has taken a serious note of manipulations of a particular group of contractors and certain officials, financial irregularities in some of the ongoing and completed works have come to light.

Mr Garcha had observed that most of the works in the trust were being allotted to a small group of contractors on their own terms.

On being briefed by a few contractors, who were either being denied to offer bids or were unaware of the manipulations of the successful ones, Mr Garcha had recently cancelled tenders for the construction of more flats. He had ordered to recall tenders in a manner that every contender got a chance.

The contractors concerned reportedly siphoned off Rs 1 crore in the construction of MIG flats at Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar and Rajguru Nagar, allegedly with the collusion of senior officers of the Engineering Wing of LIT.

As against an estimated amount of Rs 5.30 crore with a rebate of 9 per cent for the construction of 96 MIG flats at Rajguru Nagar, the trust had already paid an amount of Rs 5.74 crore to the contractor against his final bill whereas the flats were yet to be given finishing touches.

As a result, the expenditure jumped the estimated cost and the buyers of the flats, under the self financing scheme were directed to sell out Rs 38,000 each.

Similarly, for the ongoing construction work of 57 MIG flats at BRS Nagar, the tendered amount was Rs 3.37 crore with some rebate offered by the contractor. However, the LIT made a payment of Rs 3.19 crore for the incomplete work on 51 flats as sites for six other flats were not available due to litigation. According to sources the total cost of the project will exceed the estimated amount by 10 to 20 per cent for 51 of flats.

Inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the total cost of a project could not exceed the estimated cost and any increase in the quantity of material or work had to be approved by the Chairman of the LIT, which was not done in these cases.

Giving details of the modus operandi, the sources said for a particular work, such contractors had two sets of rates. While the rate quoted in a bid was competitive, many times more rate was charged for the same work at the discretion of officials of the Engineering Wing.

For example, in the item-wise bills for these two projects, rates for cutting groves in plaster have been charged at Rs 2 per running feet for 800 feet, whereas Rs 25 per feet has been charged for the same work.

For an area of around 8500 feet, Kota stone tiles have been charged for at Rs 224 plus 127 percent premium and Rs 650 per square meter, MS conduit pipes provided at Rs 13 and Rs 20 per feet, green marble tiles laid in place of white marble, which were not in the estimate and a payment of Rs 650 per square meter claimed.

The list of such disparities is endless and many more items and works in these projects were charged and paid for at rates, grossly disproportionate to the market rates. Supervisory officers deployed for regulation and enforcement were aware and deliberately ignored the matter to share the spoils.

The sources claimed the two projects were not isolated instances and if the LIT top brass held an investigation many more skeletons would come tumbling out of cupboards.


6 more dengue patients admitted to DMC Hospital
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
Though the health authorities have issued warning to the city residents to take precaution against the dengue fever, the number of dengue cases, being reported at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) is increasing with each passing day. More than 70 patients, suffering from dengue like symptoms have been admitted at DMCH.

Dr A.S. Chawla, district epidemiologist, while giving the details said six more patients had been admitted at DMCH in the past 24 hours. Four cases have been reported from Batala (Gurdaspur) and two cases from the city itself. “The two patients from Ludhiana are — Mr A.N. Verma from Kitchlu Nagar and Mr Dinesh Kumar from Railway Colony.

Those who have come from Batala are Vandna, Monika Handa, Sahil Aggarwal and Rajiv. With this, total number of patients from Batala has increased to 45 cases while 15 cases from Ludhiana have been reported to far. As many as 33 persons have been discharged after treatment and 37 were still admitted at the hospital. No death has been reported”, said Dr Chawla.

The health department staff is conducting door-to-door survey to educate the masses for taking precautionary measures. People have been told to empty and dry the water coolers. “One should not let stagnanant water accumulate anywhere to avoid mosquito breeding as the fever is caused by a striped mosquito”, said Dr Chawla.


Fake currency notes are here
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, September 24
On the very first night of Ram Lila performance, some rehri owners showed alertness by identifying a man with fake currency note of Rs 50 when he tried to cheat them. The fake currency holder was immediately handed over to the police. However, an accomplice of the accused managed to escape.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune Bhagat Ram an ice-cream vendor said he refused to accept the fake currency when the accused came to his rehri to buy ice-cream with a fake currency note of Rs 50. Bhagat Ram grew suspicious when the same person bought different eatables from different stalls with a new currency note of Rs 50 every time. After having a close look at the cheat, Bhagat Ram raised an alarm and caught the accused on the spot with the help of other vendors. The vendors said they had been given currency note Rs 50 notes all bearing the same number.

The accused is in police custody but the police refused to give any further information saying that SSP Khanna would give details in a press conference. There were rumours that fake currency was in circulation in the local market for the past some days but no person had been traced till now. With the arrest of this accused, the Machhiwara police may get some clues about a gang involved in the circulation of fake currency.


Sarpanch’s body identified
Our Correspondent

Khanna, September 24
An unidentified body cremated by the Bhadson police on September 9 was of the kidnapped sarpanch of Rasulra village, Rupinder Singh Gandhi.

The police said the fingerprints of Gandhi matched with those of the unclaimed body.

Sarpanch Gandhi was kidnapped on September 5. Eleven persons allegedly confessed before the police that the body was thrown in Bhakra canal near Ferozepur village in Fatehgarh Sahib district. The Bhadson police found the body floating in the Bhakhra canal near Lout village on September 8.

The S.S.P. Kapil Dev, told that fingerprints of the body were sent to Phillour by the Bhadson police. He said that the fingerprints were matched with those of Gandhi taken from his dossier. He said Gandhi had been involved in several criminal cases in the past.


Woman assaulted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
The Haibowal police has registered a case under sections 452,380,323 and 34 of the IPC on a statement of Ms Sunita, against Satnam Singh, a resident of Sidhwan Bet village.

She alleged that the accused forcibly entered her house on September 22, assaulted and injured her. The accused also took away a cylinder of cooking gas and Rs 1500 from the house. No arrest has been made so far.


Cable operators may switch off pay channels
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
The ongoing tussle between cable network companies, which represent satellite channels, and cable operators has intensified, with the latter threatening to stop beaming paid channels if satellite networks continue with their policy of exploitation through continuous hike in the rates.

A meeting of the New Ludhiana Cable Operators Association held here last evening gave a call to small operators to be prepared for an agitation against the alleged high-handedness and excesses of satellite channels and cable network companies, who were trying to throw the operators out of business.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Raman Maini, president, and Mr Anil Jogi warned satellite channels and their local representatives, the cable network companies, to review the existing rates within one month and desist from any further hike in the monthly charges, failing which the operators would resort to a boycott of pay channels.

They said the operators would also go ahead with other forms of protest, like holding rallies, demonstrations and burning effigies, if the companies failed to mend their monopolistic policies.

The association asked the state government and the district administration to intervene and take remedial measures without any further delay. Mr Maini said if satellite channels and cable network companies were allowed to have their way, cable subscribers might be burdened with a substantial hike in the monthly charges, ranging from Rs 300 to Rs 400.

Taking exception to an engineered campaign of vilification against cable operators launched by certain vested interests, Mr Maini and Mr Jogi claimed that the operators were making an average monthly payment of Rs 220 per connection to network companies against Rs 150 to Rs 250 monthly subscription being charged from consumers.

“If the operating expenses of cable operators are also taken into account, the business has become financially unviable,” they said.

The representatives of the association apprehended that cable network companies were pursuing a policy aimed at getting rid of small cable operators and establishing a monopolistic regime of satellite channels.

They urged the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to come out with a comprehensive policy to regulate the working of foreign satellite channels and “discipline” the cable network companies in the larger interests of the people.

Mr Maini said the association had set up a sub-committee which would interact with district officials and the media in this regard.


Gutkha vendors mushroom
Our Correspondent

Gutkha pouches being sold outside Gate No. 2 of Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana
Gutkha pouches being sold outside Gate No. 2 of Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana despite a ban. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, September 24
Gutkha and other chewable tobacco products are harmful for health and cause cancer of cheek and throat. Yet the sale of gutkha is registering a rise going by the number of stalls selling these in the city. Migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh find setting up of gutkha stalls very convenient and paying and thus set up these on roadsides.

An increasing number of Punjab youth are getting addicted to gutkha. “It is very painful to see that its users include youth and schoolchildren and it is sold openly like chocolates and toffees on tea stalls and on illegal canteens set up in and around the residential areas as well as around academic and religious institutions,” says Dr Charankamal Singh, Director of Services, Directorate of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle.

In a special meeting of the Directorate Dr Charankamal has urged the Punjab Government to impose a ban on the sale of gutkha immediately and emulate states like Bihar and Maharashtra.

He said gutkha first makes the user dependent and showly the blood vessels, heart, digestion and central nervous system of person are badly affected. The regular use of these products leads to oral cancer.

Low price, attractive packing and easy availability of gutkha attract children who use it in the beginning for fun and then its regular use makes them addict.

Easy availability of gutkha outside educational institutions is a temptation for the students. One can see gutkha being sold outside Khalsa College for Women, Gate No. 2 of PAU and countless other educational institutions though its sale is banned.

The step taken by the governments of Bihar and Maharashtra to ban its sale is appreciable. It is high time that the Punjab Government also follows the example of these states and save the youth of Punjab.


Traders’ rally on October 11
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
Irked over the “adamant attitude of the state government towards exim form and a volte face over other poll promises by the ruling Congress,” the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal will organise a state-level rally here on October 11.

Stating this, the general secretary of the mandal, Mr Sunil Mehra, and the district secretary, Mr Mohinder Pal Aggarwal, said a preparatory meeting of different bodies of traders would be convened here on September 28 to mobilise members of trade and industry against government policies.

A statement issued by the chief of the mandal, Mr Amrit Lal Jain, and other functionaries here today said the traders seeking exim forms from the Excise and Taxation Department were being harassed by corrupt elements and required number of forms were not being made available. Moreover, the department had not clarified how to get these forms on government holidays.

Alleging that officers and other functionaries of the department were involved in mass scale evasion of sales tax, Mr Jain urged the government to hold a CBI probe into the matter. He said if tax evasion continued despite 35 information collection centres and check barriers on entry points of the state, the government should be able to identify those responsible for evasion and their abettors.

The traders, he observed, were feeling cheated and betrayed by the Congress for backing from its election promises, including simplification of sales tax structure, ending ‘inspector raj’ and abolition of octroi.

Functionaries of the mandal said the members of trade and industry would give a befitting reply to the Congress at an appropriate time in the future so that the governments in future did not commit the mistake of underestimating the trade bodies.


Readers write
Ludhiana’s paradise in state of neglect

No doubt it has been very well engraved on a marble plate ‘Ludhiana’s Paradise’ fixed at the entrance of Rakh Bagh facing DC’s residence road. But this ‘paradise’ of Ludhiana is not being maintained by the Municipal Corporation, not knowing as to why it is being neglected. Outer circular road of this area is devoid of electric lights. Inner circle was provided with lights a few years back.

Outer road particularly, near the Government College for Women area, does not have even a single electric pole. Senior citizens who have lesser visibility are feeling the brunt of this problem. Stray black dogs are found lying on the road meant for walking. It is their goodluck that they do not suffer any dog bite.

About six months back two electric rods were provided which worked only for two or three months. For the last three months these are not working. The Municipal Corporation is caring little to this dire necessity of the morning walkers. Ironically, recently three big lights have been provided near the DC’s residence on the boundary walls of Sutlej Club where already electric lights existed. Will the MCs take some steps and arrange at least three poles/connections on the road near GCW?

K.L. Chitkara

Judicial complex lacks amenities

Apropos new item ‘Half hour ordeal’ published in Ludhiana Tribune September 18, 2003. Getting stuck in the newly installed lift in the district courts complex is not a new incident. However, the newly constructed judicial complex, besides lacking generator back-up is also lacking in various other amenities.

The fixed glass windowpanes on the upper side of the windows is giving a choking effect to the people visiting the district courts. Secondly, the echo of the voice is so loud that one has to speak at the top of his voice even when one is talking with a person closeby. Thirdly, most of the time the bathrooms are without water. Fourthly, the litigants are seen mostly sitting on the floor outside the court rooms. Neither inside the court room nor outside the court room are there is proper sitting arrangements for litigants.

Fifthly, smoking inside the newly constructed complex also gives a stinking smell inside the complex, which is causing breathing problem and other respiratory diseases to the persons working there.

I will suggest that the fixed glass windowpanes should be removed immediately so that the polluted air is released. Adequate water supply should be made available during the court hours if one is to ameliorate the sufferings of the advocates, litigants and officials working in the court compound.

Ajay Kumar Jindal

Speaking correctly

I was utterly shocked to read a news item in Ludhiana Tribune dated September 9, 2003, wherein the Principal of DAV Public School had suspended two students for a few days for not conversing in English in the school campus. Are we living in independent India or imperial India?

I strongly believe that English should be a compulsory subject in all schools and be taught right from LFK classes because English is an international language. In the international arena, Indian diaspora has always been at advantage over. Japanese, Chinese or even German and Italian counterparts because of better communication skills in English (both verbal and written). While students may be encouraged of converse in English but punishing them for not doing so is barbaric.

Unfortunately, despite such strictness, the quality of English that is spoken by the students who pass out from public schools is appalling. The language that is spoken is rude, grammatically incorrect and full of slang.

What is shocking is that rude and unspeakable words like crazy, stupid, idiot, rascal, nonsense, shit, shut up are sprinkled liberally in conversation and are quite acceptable long as the person is speaking in English. You only have to eavesdrop on a group of so-called trendy teenagers t o realise this.

We are a very unfortunate nation, indeed, as we are a shamed of conversing in our mother tongue or national language. Ironically, the same issue of newspaper carried a news item of another Ludhiana school (KVM) holding a workshop to promote Hindi. Holding such workshops and celebrating Hindi Divas at the national level and instituting national awards for writings in Hindi are meaningless so long as the students are being punished for speaking it.

I think we need to set our priorities right. What is needed is an inculcation of respect for all languages. Emphasis should be on learning grammatically correct expressions and speaking polite language.

Dr Seema Bedi

Physician, heal thyself

Landmark Forum, a part of “Landmark Education-India”, claims to help you to overcome your worries and problems in life through transformation. The followers, whether or not they know you, your personality or your style of living, start following you. The calls start dropping in from a number of landmark followers. They try to convince you to attend Landmark Forum. If they are asked why. The answer is “You can get all the solutions of all your problems”. If you don’t have a problem, they will help you to identify and discover one anyway. One would feel imposed with no oxygen to breathe.

Gopal Rao, the person who conducted Landmark Forum in Ludhiana from Sept 12 to Sept 16,2003, proudly introduced himself as “one of the 55 leaders worldwide”. The first thing he talked about was to encourage you to develop the habit of listening, which, in any case, didn’t seem to be followed by him during the forum.

While discussing the possibilities to overcome your problems in life, he powerfully gave an example of Mahatma Gandhi and his possibilities to achieve the freedom peacefully. But, when someone asked if you could explain what Napoleon meant with the statement “Everything is possible”, the forums leader’s instant and blunt answer was ‘I don’t know, you better go and ask Napoleon”.

Muktta Mahajan


Atrocities on Dalits: union seeks action
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
Continued, protests, rallies and dharnas by different organisations especially Pendu Mazdoor Union, for the arrest of the persons guilty of harassing Dalits of Dangia village have so far failed to yield any result. Mr Shamsher Singh Dangia, Block Chairman, is among those accused of committing atrocities.

In a protest rally organised here today in front of the office of the local SDM, different leaders criticised the local administration and the police for siding with the culprits. While addressing the protesters Mr Kanwaljit Khanna of Inqlabi Kender, Punjab, and Mr Avtar Singh Rasulpur, general secretary of the Pendu Mazdoor Union gave a call to the people to be prepared for struggle. They said in case their demand was not fulfilled then they would hold a dharna in front of Sadar Police Station on October 6.


Ambedkar mission staff hold meeting
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
A meeting of all executive committee members of Dr Ambedkar Mission Employees Federation, Ludhiana, Punjab (regd), was held under the presidentship of Mr J. Rai, Speaking on the occasion Mr Rai expressed concern over the illness of BSP founder, Mr Kanshi Ram. All members prayed for his speedy recovery.

Mr Karamjit Singh Kainth, general secretary of the federation, presented the election programme of the organisation. A five-member election programme committee has been constituted to conduct the fair election of the federation.

It was decided unanimously in the meeting to hold the election on October 2, 2003, at Guru Ravidas Bhawan, Ludhiana. The new executive committee will be elected for a two-year term.


One held for attempting suicide
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
Ashok Kumar, a resident of Purani Sabzi Mandi on the Daresi road, was arrested yesterday and booked under Section 309 of the IPC. Head Constable, Janak Raj, said the accused had tried to commit suicide by setting himself on fire after sprinkling kerosene. He arrested on the spot.

One killed

The Focal Point police yesterday registered a case under section 304-A of the IPC on a statement of Mr Bhinder Singh, a resident of Rajiv Gandhi Colony, against the driver of an unidentified vehicle. The complainant stated that his son, Ranjit Singh, who was driving an autorickshaw, was hit by the vehicle and he died on the spot. No arrest has been made so far.

Cases registered

Two cases under Sections 279 and 304 -A of the IPC were registered in the Sahnewal police station on Monday. The first case was registered on a statement of Mr Sanjay Sharma, a resident of Sector-11, Chandigarh, against Kamaljit Singh, a resident of Phase I, Ram Darbar, Chandigarh, who was driving a Matador. The complainant stated that the accused had hit and killed a migrant, Lathi Parshad, near Laton Dana village. The police today said that the accused was arrested on the spot.

The second case was registered on a statement of Raju, a migrant from Madhya Pradesh, against Rattan Singh, a resident of Sector 32-A, Chandigarh. The complainant stated that the accused had hit and killed his mother Lala Bai. The police said the accused was arrested on the spot, and later released on bail.


The Focal Point police registered a case under sections 279,427 and 337 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Dharam Pal, a resident of Vishwakarma Town near Atam Park, against the driver of a Contessa car. The complainant stated that the accused had hit his motor cycle, as a result of which he was injured and his vehicle damaged. No arrest has been made so far.

Cases of assault

Two cases of alleged assault were registered in the division number 3 police station yesterday. The first case was registered under Sections 324,323,341 and 34 of the IPC on a statement of Balwinder Singh, a resident of Khud Mohalla, against Sarabjit Singh, Ajit Singh and Surjit Singh, all residents of the same locality. The complainant alleged that the accused intercepted him on the road, assaulted and threatened him. No arrest has been made so far.

The other case was registered under sections 325,323 and 34 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Dinesh Bahadur, a resident of Hostel Road in Khud Mohalla, against Gagan Syam and his cousin brother, residents of the same area. The complainant alleged that the accused assaulted and injured him. No arrest has been made so far.

House burgled

The Haibowal police registered a case yesterday under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Sammy Kapur, a resident of Rishi Nagar, Haibowal Kalan, against unknown persons who broke the lock of his house and decamped with three cameras and other items. No arrest has been made so far.

Factory damaged

The Civil Lines police has registered a case under Sections 447, 448, 427, 506, 511 and 34 of a IPC on a statement of Mr Vinod Kumar Goyal, against Harmanpreet Singh, a resident of Gurdev Nagar, and some other persons accompanying him. The complainant stated that the accused forcibly entered his office on September 20 and threatened him. The next day, the accused damaged a shed of his workshop and dismantled it, causing a loss of about 2 lakhs. No arrest has been made so far.


Vendors to boycott Punjab lotteries
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
Reacting strongly to the increase in the price of weekly lottery tickets of the Punjab State Lotteries by the local distributors, the sellers have decided to boycott the weekly lotteries till the price hike was withdrawn.

According to Mr Bharat Bhushan Thapar, president, Ludhiana retail Lottery Association, the selling agents of the Punjab State Lotteries M/s Sugal and Damani and M/s Martin Agencies had increased the price of weekly lottery tickets by Rs 3.50 per 100 despite the fact that the government had not effected any enhancement in the sale price of these tickets. He said the unwarranted hike would hit the business of retail sellers of lottery tickets who were, even otherwise making marginal profits.

The general secretary of the association, Mr B.S. Saini lambasted the move to launch on-line lottery by the Punjab Government, saying it would create unemployment among the lottery sellers.

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