L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Residents resent PUDA eviction notices
Block traffic against decision
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Hundreds of residents of Dhandhari Kalan, Phase-IV flats, today blocked traffic on the busy Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway in protest against the notices served by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) to close down the commercial establishments in the residential area.

The blockade caused inconvenience to the commuters who were stuck in the jam following the protest. The dharna continued for an hour which was lifted only after the intervention of policemen.

The residents claimed that as many as 1,000 families of the area were issued notices by PUDA to close the shops till December 1 failing which these would be vacated forcefully by the authority.

The residents claimed that they were allotted the flats in 1972 by the Punjab Housing Development Board when PUDA was not in existence. The then Chairman of the PHDB, Mr Ram Lal Chittee, had encouraged the residents to start commercial activities in the area so that the people could be attracted and more flats were bought by the public.

Mr Harminder Singh, a resident, said at that time the area was a suburb of the city and not many people wanted to buy a flat there. So the authorities concerned asked the people to come forward and start commercial activity as no space for commercial establishment, or commercial shops was allotted.

He added that the area was later transferred to PUDA in 1975. But all these years, none of the officials asked the residents to close down the shops. It was just recently that they were issued notices to vacate or face action.

The residents claimed that PUDA had registered their houses along with the shops and now it was harassing the residents. ‘‘We have not breached any term of the deed nor are we liable for any action. Even the act which governs PUDA is applicable to the allottees. The contents of the allotment letter and the proposed action on behalf of PUDA are quite different. The residents have not committed any breach of the terms,’’ claimed Mr Harminder Singh.

He added that the residents were dependent on the shops for their livelihood and they would be unemployed if such an action was taken by the authority. He threatened to intensify the agitation if PUDA did not withdraw the notices.



DC’s directive to book ex-sarpanch
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
The Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr Anurag Verma, has written to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagraon, to register a case of embezzlement of gram panchayat funds against the former sarpanch of Bassian village in Raikot subdivision.

The former sarpanch, Mr Ved Parkash Rawal, was accused of having embezzled panchayat funds to the tune of around Rs 7 lakh and he even failed to reply to the chargesheet issued by the authorities. Moreover, he did not deposit the amount, which was to be recovered from him.

Mr Verma said that the action comes in the wake of a report by XEN, Panchayati Raj, Public Works, about the siphoning out of funds amounting to Rs 6,96,505 by the former sarpanch. He added that Mr Gurmit Singh Sidhu, Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Raikot, vide his registered letter no 1667 dated 29.7.03 had asked the sarpanch to submit his version regarding the embezzlement of the funds within 15 days, but the latter had not submitted any reply to the letter till September 19, 2003. The letter was also delivered personally to him through Panchayat Secretary Mr Parminder Singh.

The DC said that the BDPO has written to the former sarpanch that the outstanding funds amounting to Rs 6,96,505 were recoverable from him with an interest of 15 percent amounting to Rs 33489. He added that the BDPO, Raikot, executing the powers vested in him under section 216 of Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, assessed the total outstanding amount of Rs 7,29,994 (including interest) and had ordered the recovery of the same.

Mr Rawal was issued a notice (number 2655, dated 19.9.03) to deposit the outstanding amount within a period of 30 days in the accounts of Gram Panchayat, Bassian. But he failed to deposit the amount till date.

Mr Verma said that the case was discussed in the meeting of District Planning and Development Board held under the chairmanship of Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab on November 6 and it was decided to register an FIR against the former sarpanch to recover the said amount of the village Panchayat.

Meanwhile, Mr Ved Prakash Rawal, the former Sarpanch of Bassian village, said that he was a victim of political vindictiveness as he was associated with the Akalis and his competitor in the village was a Congressman. He alleged that he was being harassed at the behest of an influential Congress leader of the area.

Further alleging that the action was based on the allegations only, Mr Rawal said the evaluation of the works undertaken by him was not done in his presence. He said that he was not called by the inquiry committee at all and it was a one-sided exercise.

He admitted that he had not replied to the charge- sheet as he had no trust in the inquiry report and he had given it in writing to the Deputy Director, Panchayats and Rural Development in April this year. But it was not taken into consideration.

‘‘I have always thought on the lines of developing this village into a model village. I also gave piece of my land to the telecom centre of the village behind my house only. How can they say I misappropriated funds? This is political vendetta. I am being made a scapegoat for being a sarpanch belonging to an opposition party,’’ added Mr Rawat. 



SAD coterie has sidelined me: Tohra
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 10
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the SGPC, has held the “coterie” in the Shiromani Akali Dal responsible for not allowing him to come up in the political arena. He said it had confined him to a religious body (SGPC) under a conspiracy.

Participating in a programme “Khariyan Khariyan”, telecast by Lashkara channel last night, Mr Tohra said he could be a top political leader of the party but constant campaign kept him away from the political scene. Refuting the allegations that he was a communal and a fundamentalist leader, Mr Tohra maintained that he had been raising his voice against its communal propaganda of the majority community and fought against the oppressive policies, as a result of which he was labelled as a communalist and a fundamentalist. He asserted that he would continue to raise his voice against the oppressive policies of the majority community. It was his duty to continue his fight for the preservation of the identity of the Sikhs.

Mr Tohra said he was inducted in the Akali politics by Master Tara Singh and when it was time for him to be active in the Sikh politics, he was sidelined to a religious programme.

He said he was first given the ticket for the SGPC elections by Master Tara Singh and was also given a sum of Rs 2,000 for the election campaign. However, he won the elections and organised the campaign in Rs 700 only. He returned the balance amount of Rs 1,300 to Master Tara Singh.

Mr Tohra also ridiculed the RSS propaganda that Sikhs were Hindus only and said the Sikhs had their separate identity and “we are a minority and to preserve our culture and identity, a minority has to work hard.”

The SGPC chief also ruled out the possibility of the emergence of a new leadership in the Shiromani Akali Dal. There was no possibility of any new leadership in the SAD in the near future. The old leadership should allow a new leadership to emerge in Punjab. No one would retire; even Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was not ready to retire, he said.

Asked if any of his wishes had not been fulfilled, he said all his wishes and aspirations had been fulfilled and he wanted that the political leadership should unite and work for the welfare of the people of our country.

Mr Tohra said at the end of his interview that those who wanted public offices would work against “me in the Akali Dal”.



High court moved against closure of post office
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 10
Sore at the move of the Department of Posts under the Union Ministry of Communications, to close down the post office in the Kidwai Nagar locality, along with four others in different parts of the city, Public Cause, a representative body of residents, has approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court to strike down this decision.

The Department of Posts closed down post offices at Dugri and Girson Mills from today while those at Kidwai Nagar, the general bus stand and the GT Road, near Sherpur, would be closed on November 17. According to department sources, the step was aimed at cutting costs exercise at the national level under which post offices, running in losses or located at a distance of less than 1.5 km from another post office, were to be closed down.

Public Cause, in its representation to the Chief Justice of the High Court, has termed the decision as unwarranted. Mr Yash Pal Ghai, director of the society, said the withdrawal of postal facilities would create problems and people would have to go to far off places to make use of the postal facilities like booking of registered letters, parcels, money orders, payment of telephone bills and purchasing instruments of small savings. Even otherwise, sudden denial of postal facilities without any valid reason or logic to the people would tantamount to discriminatory treatment.

He said these post offices were opened decades ago and the population had increased manifold. Not only the residents of colonies, but a large number of business houses, trade and industry, educational institutions and banks made use of postal services on a regular basis.

He said since representations sent to the Prime Minister, the Union Minister for Communications, Director-General of Posts and the Postmaster-General (Punjab circle) had failed to elicit any positive response, the residents had pinned their hopes on the judiciary.



Study finds 50 pc of jail inmates sick
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Revealing startling information about the health of jail inmates, a six-day long study-cum-medical camp conducted by a team of 12 doctors in the Central Jail here has found nearly 50 per cent of the inmates suffering from various ailments.

As many as 400 inmates have been found suffering from various skin diseases, particularly scabies which is threatening to become a major headache for the jail authorities. More than 90 inmates have been identified as suspected cases of tuberculosis, besides 20 others, who were already under treatment.

The study has found that 46 inmates require immediate surgery while 63 others have been diagnosed as medicine patients. Among other ailments discovered are hypertension, epilepsy and blood pressure. Doctors said the life in jail, past experiences were the factors responsible for this.

A large number of inmates have been found to be suffering from eye disorders and dental ailments. The study has requested the jail authorities to organise a separate study and medical examination camp for detecting such patients.

The first-ever extensive study conducted on about 2,400 inmates of the jail has concluded that withdrawal symptoms of drug addiction, lack of proper medical care, besides overcrowding, unhygienic jail conditions and pollution caused by industries around the jail are among the major factors contributing to health problems of the inmates.

The absence of regular check-up of the inmates, along with the apathetic attitude of the authorities has also been identified as a major problem.

A befitting example is the preventive measures taken after the outbreak of dengue. Even though the city is under the grip of dengue, especially polluted areas along the Chandigarh road where the jail is situated, the authorities have anti-dengue fogging only once and that too long after the dengue strikes. There is only one doctor and a pharmacist posted in the jail to look after nearly 2,400 inmates. Besides, there is a problem of the distribution of medicines.

An initiative by the Jail Superintendent Swaran Singh and the local Civil Surgeon, S.N. Tiwari, the study began on November 4 and concluded today.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune in the jail premises, Senior Medical Officer Dr G.M. Singh and Jail Superintendent Swaran Singh revealed that the health problems confronting the inmates is a cause of concern.

The newly-posted Jail Superintendent Swaran Singh had requested the Civil Surgeon's Office to conduct a study to detect the problems so that regular treatment of the patients could be started. He said he was sad to find the large number of patients requesting him for medical treatment for various ailments.

He said it was decided that a thorough examination of the inmates and regular treatment thereafter was the only solution.

The team in charge, Dr G.M. Singh, said jail authorities face a momentous task of maintaining regular treatment, monitoring the progress as well as arranging funds for those requiring expensive treatment and surgery.

He said the undertrials could get treatment while on bail but for the convicts, the jail authorities would have to bear the expenses. Sources said the financial constraints might not allow treatment for all and so the jail authorities would require help from non-governmental organisations and social workers.

Another area of concern was the withdrawal symptoms being faced by hundreds of inmates. According to an estimate, 35 per cent of the inmates were suffering from these symptoms and required counselling and medical help.

The jail inmates have been enthusiastic about the camp. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, a number of inmates were thankful to the authorities for the medical examination and the camp.



Panels to probe lawyer chambers scam
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) today constituted two committees of lawyers and building experts to investigate the local lawyers chambers construction scam and to pursue the matter with the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s Construction Committee and the Punjab Government as they have already taken cognisance of the matter.

The IHRO Chairperson, Mr D.S. Gill, constituted an investigation committee, comprising advocates, Mr D.K. Malhotra, Mr Kuldip Singh Grewal, Ms Sushma Bishnoi, Mr Mohinder Singh Grewal and Mr Iqbal Singh Sandhu, formerly a chief town planner. The committee will suggest ways and means to reshape the lawyers’ complex, besides finding out whether the funds for the construction have been used judiciously and skillfully.

Another five-member action committee constituted by the IHRO includes advocates, Mr Dev Raj Sharma, Mr Jagjit Singh Gill, Mr Kuldip Singh Bihla, Mr Harjasdeep Singh Rana and Mr D.S. Gill, who would pursue the matter with the high court, the state government and the Vigilance Bureau, if the need be, said the IHRO in a statement issued here today.

Meanwhile, Mr Dev Raj Sharma has individually sent his representation to the high court construction committee and the Punjab Chief Minister, urging them to hold an inquiry into the chambers episode as the size, etc of the chambers, promised by the Bar President, have been reduced in a “clandestine” manner to reduce the cost of construction. Thereby, the persons involved in the construction and completion of the chambers seem to have usurped the money collected from the lawyers and equally shared by the government.

The IHRO, on behalf of some 434 practicing advocates, has already taken up the matter with the Chief Minister, Punjab, who has marked the complaint to the department concerned to reshape the chambers as per the building rules provided by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Chief Engineer, Mr Kansal, from the Public Health Department has already visited the place and probably submitted his report to the government, added Mr Grewal.

Mr D.S. Gill along with Mr Anmol Rattan Singh Sidhu, president of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, had also met Mr Justice V.M. Jain and other judges of the construction committee in this regard, he said, adding that even the Chief Justice, Mr B.K. Roy, had asked the local Bar Association to write about the defects in the judicial complex building when he visited the local bar.



Labour laws being violated, says union
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 10
Taking a strong note of the violation of labour laws and reign of terror let loose against the industrial workers under the garb of new industrial and economic policies by the government, the Moulder and Steel Workers Union gave a call to the working classes to launch a concerted fight to achieve their rights.

The working committee of the union, which met here today under the presidentship of Mr Mohan Singh, condemned the repressive tactics being used by the employers against the agitations by the workers.

Addressing the meeting, the president of the union and other speakers, including Mr G.S. Johri and Mr Harjinder Singh charged the owners of several industrial houses like Hero Cycles, Bhogal Industries, Avon Cycles and Kumar Auto Parts with resorting to vindictive action against the agitating workers. The speakers alleged that the managements were not giving them correct pay slips, penalising workers on the charges of less production and threatening with suspension and dismissal. On the slightest pretext, the police was called to terrorise the workers, they alleged.

Through a separate resolution, the union mourned the death of a worker in Metro Tyres factory in a furnace blast and called for adequate compensation to the deceased worker and those injured in the mishap, along with comprehensive safety measures in the unit.



Marxists decry bid to muzzle freedom of press
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 10
The Marxists Communist Party of India (MCPI) has expressed concern about attempts by the Tamil Nadu Government to muzzle the freedom of the Press through its authoritarian action against journalists of The Hindu and another publication.

The state committee of the MCPI, which met here with Mr Labh Singh Bhangoo in the chair considered the uncalled for action of the AIDMK supremo. Ms Jayalalitha as a direct attack on the democracy and violation of fundamental rights of the Constitution.

According to Mr Kuldip Singh, state secretary of the Punjab MCPI, the meeting attacked the proposed freezing of the minimum support prices (MSP) of farm produce with the plea that the step would ruin the already sagging agriculture economy. It took a serious note of the continuous trend of a sharp rise in the prices of all essential commodities, stressing upon the government to effectively control the prices. “While the government has miserably failed on the prices front, the workers are being denied the payment of minimum wages as a result of which the poor and the middle class people are finding it difficult to have two square meals.”

The meeting mourned the death of Ms Jarnail Kaur, retired Principal and freedom fighter, while placing on record her contribution and services to the freedom struggle and the social and educational field.

Mr Kuldip Singh, while releasing the proceedings of the meeting, said the party had extended support to the cause of the state-level convention being organised by four Left parties — the MCPI, the CPM, Punjab (Pasla), the CPI-ML (Liberation) and the Punjab unit of the Forward Block at Chandigarh on November 20 against the anti-people economic policies of the BJP-led NDA government in the Centre and the Congress Government in Punjab. The convention would focus, among other things, on policies of communalism being promoted and pursued by fundamental and communal elements of all religions, colours and shades. The detrimental economic policies of liberalisation and globalisation being thrust upon the people of the Third World countries by WTO and other imperialist agencies would also be discussed at the convention, the MCPI activists added.

Meanwhile, Public Cause has strongly condemned the Tamil Nadu Assembly’s action. In a press note it condemned the action and said that it was entirely the misuse of legislative privilege by the assembly.

It was not an attack on the 125-year-old institution of The Hindu or on its five journalists, but an attack on the entire state of democracy and freedom of expression in Tamil Nadu.



Lack of communication behind 
drug abuse, says psychiatrist
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, November 10
Ratish (name changed), a Class X student, took money from his parents to go for his tuition class but instead spent the time and money doing drugs with his friends. Only when he became abusive and aggressive towards his parents that they sat up and took notice. On the advice of their family doctor, Ratish was taken to Dr Rajeev Gupta, a city-based psychiatrist.

Dr Gupta says he deals with four or five such cases every day. The communication gap between adolescents and their parents has widened due to an altered lifestyle. A large percentage of adolescents take tuitions in one or the other subject. Moreover, most of the parents are working these days. Members of the family go into their own rooms and watch the television programmes of their choice. Meals are also taken in the confinement of their rooms as timings of different members differ. The greatest casualty as a result is communication.

Dr Gupta says it is due to lack of communication between teenaged children and their parents that the gap is widening between the two generations. Communication is the only bridge that will help parents reach out to their young children.

The teenagers are becoming violent, insolent and aggressive and, at times, they even hit their parents, especially mothers. Their grandparents are more vulnerable and also easy targets of anger and violence of the teenagers.

“Adolescence is a critical age. Most people of our society are not prepared to deal with modern problems like drug abuse, stress, violence, HIV and suicide that are faced by these young adults,” says another psychiatrist, Dr Ravinder Kala.

The doctors advise the parents to insist on discipline, but with great tact. Under no circumstances, the children should be physically punished or humiliated in public. The adolescents only respond to reasoning, says Dr Gupta.

He says parents, in their fondness, give large sums of money to their children. The children should not be given a lot of money to buy mobiles, designer clothes with no accountability as money is the root of all problems.

Dr Gupta says if parents notice any behavioural changes in the daily pattern of their children’s lives, then they are definitely facing some problem. It will depend on the communication level between the parents and the child whether the letter confesses his wrongdoing or talks about the mess he is in. Fear of punishment and humiliation makes the adolescents hold back. In these type of cases, counselling is essential to sort out problems.

There is physical and emotional bonding in a family in which communication lines are open. This bonding can only be established by spending time together like sharing at least one meal a day, watching TV together and spending a part of the holidays together. There may be some disagreements, but they can be sorted out amicably after a healthy discussion. Where bonding is there, the parents can reach out to their children easily even in difficult times as children have faith in their parents and know that they would support them in trying circumstances too.

At times the young person is physically present but not emotionally. The parents have to be vigilant and must know what their children are up to especially when drug abuse is so very common. In case they find that their child is taking drugs under peer pressure, the parents have to be sympathetic and take children for counselling instead of punishing them.

Children have to be handled in a psychological manner and need professional help, says Dr Kala.

If the parents are watchful, they will notice the change and can make themselves available to their children in crisis and save their lives from ruin.



Her hair make her proud
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, November 10
She feels proud when people on the road stop to have a glimpse of her long hair. “I feel happy for this asset of mine when people, especially women, appreciate my long, bouncy hair, she giggles.

A resident of Durga Puri, Haibowal Kalan, 24-year-old Alka Rani is proud of her six-feet-long black hair. When five-feet-two inches tall Alka, opens her hair after a wash, they touch the ground. “I cannot leave these in open regularly. I let these loose for two to three hours after a wash or when I go to attend a family function or party, she said.

Alka runs a beauty parlour in her locality. “Though I have done post-graduation in Hindi, but I was always inclined to open a beauty parlour. I have taken thorough training in it also. My clients often ask me the secret of long, bouncy black hair”.

On how she managed her hair, Alka says, “It is very difficult to manage such long hair. At times, I take help of my mother or sisters while washing these. After washing, my mother helps in combing my hair. During the rainy season, these start falling in bunches but I do not get worried because I know, once the season is over, these will become normal”.

She says it is difficult to manage these in extreme summers. Then I just fold these twice or thrice”.

“I do not do any extra effort to make them long. I massage my hair with a good oil before taking a head-bath. I shampoo my hair and then apply a good quality conditioner”.

Alka is all set to send her name in the Limca Book of Records. “Earlier, I was ignorant but then I was suggested to get my name registered in the Limca Book of Records. I am completing all formalities, let us see what happens”, she said.



Wine shops annoy pilgrims
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, November 10
Pilgrims from the far-flung areas visit this town to pay obeisance in Gurdwaras where Guru Gobind Singh had stopped after coming from Chamkaur Di Garhi, but they are disappointed to see wine shops on either side of the road leading to the holy place.

Though residents had demanded from the previous SAD-BJP government to give Machhiwara the status of a holy town, several wine shops have been opened near Shree Charan Kanwal Sahib gurdwara. Three liquor shops are being run on Guru Gobind Singh Marg. Another liquor shop is in Baliveg Colony that is adjacent to the gurdwara.

Religious organisations have urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Excise Department, Ludhiana, to look into the matter.

The AETC-3 of the Excise and Taxation Department, Ludhiana, expressed ignorance about the “unauthorised” wine shops. He said action would be taken in this regard.



Aggarwal re-elected dharamshala panel chief

Ludhiana, November 10
Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal has been re-elected president of the Ludhiana Dharamshala Committee, Chintpurni (Himachal Pradesh) with its head office in Ludhiana here yesterday. Mr Aggarwal, a former director of the Ludhiana Aggarwala Cooperative Housing Society, has been heading the body for the past over 25 years.

The election of six office-bearers and 15 members of the executive committee was held at the head office of the committee. The following have been elected office-bearers: Mr Surinder Kumar Gupta, senior vice- president; Mr Baldev Raj — vice-president; Mr Devinder Kumar Gupta — general secretary; Mr Rajesh Bansal — joint secretary; and Mr Ved Parkash Gupta — treasurer. Mr Saroj Parashar, Mr Surinder Kumar, Mr Anil Kumar, Mr Sanjeev Gupta, Mr Arvind Jindal, Mr Kuldeep Singla, Mr Vas Dev Prasad, Mr Kamal Krishan Garg, Mr Sushil Kumar are members of the executive committee. OC



SHO sent to Police Lines
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Sub-Inspector Randhir Singh, SHO, (Division 7) was sent to the Police Lines yesterday following a controversy involving a cable operator of the city.
No police official has replaced him so far.

Highly placed sources revealed to Ludhiana Tribune that the cable operator had complained against the cop to the SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, who ordered immediate shifting of the SHO.

Confirming the orders, Mr Narinderpal Singh told reporters that the cop had been shifted on administrative grounds.



Lean season for hosiery manufacturers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Hosiery manufacturers here are awaiting winter. With the day temperature still hovering around 30°C, they are desperately waiting for the winter to arrive.
They feel, if the day temperature did not fall, it may spell doom for them. The huge stocks piling up in godowns may have to be disposed of at throwaway prices.

Ludhiana is the main centre for hosiery goods in the north. However, due to the warm climate in the north still, the manufacturers are keeping their fingers crossed. Usually, the booking for winter starts in midsummer.

According to Mr Aneesh Dhawan, an exporter, retailers, are not returning with repeat orders. He said the hosiery trade was facing a bad time. “We are not sure about the climate which had a direct bearing on our sales”, he said.

Mr Sunil Dat, of a hosiery unit, said the repeat orders from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi were slow. “This is because winter is yet to set in and people do not feel the need to wear woollens so far”, he said adding that the retailers were cautious to place orders lest they blocked their money. With the change in style, the manufacturers cannot keep the stocks for next year. 


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