L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Migrant labourers protest against eviction
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
The eviction of some migrant labourers from their houses in EWS Colony, near Sector 32, by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) evoked protests by them as they claimed that the action was in violation of a stay order by a Ludhiana court.

A team of PUDA officials along with the police descended on EWS colony in the morning today and evicted 20 families from their houses, which according to PUDA officials were occupied illegally.

The household goods of the migrant labourers were removed from the houses and the houses locked by the officials. The officials claimed that the possession of the houses would be given to the allottees of the houses.

While the migrants claimed that they had stay orders (dated November 5) from a local court, the officials of the Enforcement Wing of PUDA did not even look at them. Migrants claimed that they tried to show the orders to the officials but to no avail.

Satiram, a migrant labourer, said he and his family had been staying in the one-room house since 1995. He said he and another migrant were provided a yellow card each and allotted the house by the authorities after displacing them from a jhuggi near Vardhman factory. He said at that time the officials had opened the house for him and now they forcibly threw him out.

He said two women and six children staying in the one-room apartment were turned homeless. ‘‘Where would we go now? If I will erect a jhuggi then they will say I am encroaching. Now they are not allowing me to stay here. The nights are becoming colder and we are really helpless,’’ he said.

Ram Narain, another migrant whose house was also vacated, had a court order in his hand. He showed it to The Tribune team and claimed that the PUDA officials refused to see it. The orders dated November 11 read, ‘‘The defendants (PUDA officials) are restrained from dispossessing the plaintiff (Ram Narain) from the suit property till the disposal of the case/ till application for the modification of the order is moved.’’

The migrants were seen sitting with their belongings on the road. The women were crying bitterly. They were even cooking on the road opposite the vacated houses.

Mr Harvesh Khullar, SDO, Building and Enforcement Wing of PUDA, said the action followed the orders of the district court directing the authorities to hand over the possession of the houses to the originally allottees. He said he was not aware of any stay orders by the court and nobody showed him any such orders at the spot.

He said the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, had passed standing instructions that if anybody showed stay orders at the spot no action was to be taken against him. 



Cable subscribers a harassed lot
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 11
Cable network companies here known for their pressure tactics are at it once again. Two major cable networks, Win Cable and Siti Cable, went off air for about six hours on Sunday just because a director of Win Cable was involved in a brawl with staff of a restaurant here last week.

The scuffle was a personal matter and should have been sorted out in that manner. The police had registered a case and some persons were even arrested and were released on bail later. “What was the provocation to observe strike and make thousands of people go without their favourite TV programmes on a Sunday,” asked a company executive.

This is not the first time that lakhs of cable subscribers had been taken for a ride. Sometimes, it is about monthly charges while on other occasions it is rivalry between cable operators over territory or issue of pay channels.

The cable network companies are sometimes unmindful of their commitment towards the subscribers and the contract that is binding upon them to provide uninterrupted and reasonably good services against the monthly subscription charged by them.

While a representative group of cable subscribers, the Cable TV Upbhogta Action Committee, has been agitating against the exorbitant monthly charges and poor service being provided by the city cable operators, a large section of cable operators have also been charging the network companies with monopolisting the market and adopting arm-twisting methods.

A consumer rights activist, Mr Harsh Vir Singh, was of the view that the administration should come down heavily upon cable network companies for deficiency in service and overcharging. “The cable networks, in this particular case (of arbitrarily stopping signal in the city for hours or even otherwise are not the victims as they are pretending to be but perpetrators of crime against the subscribers,” he said.



New Microsoft products to benefit city business
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Ludhiana became the first city in the north and the third in the country where Microsoft Corporation launched two of its latest products, less than three weeks after its global launch. Mr Pankaj Ukey, product manager of the company, said the city was selected for the launch keeping in view the vast small and medium industry that could benefit from the new software that had built-in business applications.

The two products launched yesterday included Microsoft Office 2003, Small Business Edition and Microsoft Small Business Server 2003. These included business applications like publisher and customer management relation software. According to Mr Ukey, the products had been competitively priced so that organisations and individuals could use licensed software. He admitted that according to NASCOM the use of pirated software in India had gone up from 65 to 70 per cent since 2000 - 2001.

Microsoft officer business edition was a version of the popular desktop designed for small businesses. The product would help small businesses strengthen customer relationships, improve marketing reach and sales efforts and increase employee productivity by providing easier access to information and better protection against junk e-mail.

On the other hand, the Small Business Server 2003 is a fully integrated server product that is optimised to help small businesses protect their data, significantly increase their productivity and reduce complexity and administration time. Commenting on the launch, Mr Ukey said, “Small business customers tell us that for technology to effectively address their business challenges, they need solutions that are simple, familiar, economical and comprehensive.” Office 2003 Small Business Edition and Windows Small Business Server 2003 enable small-business customers to optimise their business computing and unlock the value of information at incredibly cost effective price points." Office 2003 Small Business Edition is an integrated offering that includes Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Outlook, Power Point, Publisher and the new Microsoft Office Business Contact Manager. It will cost Rs 85,000 for five users.

While the Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 is an integrated offer that includes Windows Server 2003 along with the latest versions of SQL Server (Database Server), Exchanger Server (Messaging and Collaboration Server), Internet Security and Accelerator Server (Firewall) and the Microsoft Shared Fax Service among others. The estimated retail price of the standard edition of Windows Small Business Server 2003 is Rs 28,153 for five users. The ERP for the Premium Edition is Rs 70,453 for five users and will include SQL Server and ISA Server in addition to Exchange Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 and Share Point team services which are provided as part of the standard edition.



Fear of dengue worries hosiery manufacturers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
After the continued dry spell, it is the spread of dengue in the city that is the cause of worry for hundreds of hosiery manufacturers in Ludhiana. As the reports of dengue deaths spread through out the country through the electronic and print media, the retail buyers are learnt to be finding yet another reason not to visit the city.

The hosiery manufacturers, who are already faced with a severe slump in the market, are maintaining that the reports of dengue might prove to be the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back. “In the first instance the buyers were not too inclined to come to Ludhiana as there was quite a low demand. Even if some of them wanted to come, they are too reluctant now because of the dengue”, said Mr Chanderkant Todi, general secretary of the Bahadurke Hosiery Manufacturers Association.

The manufacturers have another grouse also. The introduction of the exim form has also spread a lot of confusion among the traders and buyers in other states. Punjab happens to be one of the very few states in the country which has introduced the exim form. The traders from other states feel quite confused and apprehensive about it as they fear they may have to face sales tax officials, whose attitude is never too friendly.

Mr Anil Beri of the Beri and Beri Sons said that there were several factors which had combined together to cause concern among the manufacturers. But the issue of exim forms and the spread of dengue has really scared the buyers, thus adversely affecting the trade. He pointed out there is already a shrinking demand and added to it is the fear among the buyers that they might contract dengue in Ludhiana. That is why they are avoiding the place.

Hosiery manufacturers have been repeatedly appealing to the people in general and the media in particular to not to blow up the issue out of proportion. They said although there were several cases of dengue and even some deaths, but not to the extent which it has been made out to be. The fear among the buyers is such that some even started comparing the situation with the spread of plague in Surat a few years ago. Nothing seems to be going well with the manufacturers right now.



Trust staff blocking development: Chairman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Fifteen employees of Ludhiana Improvement Trust, are blocking the development works undertaken by the trust in the city and the authorities are seeking their transfer.

Trust Chairman Ashok Singh Garcha said he had identified 15 employees in this connection. He was addressing mediapersons here today.

He alleged that a mafia of the trust staff and property dealers was operating in the office and their vested interests were hampering all development works. ‘‘I am convinced that nothing short of a near complete overhaul of the staff manning important seats can save the trust from its present inertia. These people are standing in the way of development schemes,’’ he said.

Mr Garcha said he had taken up the matter with the Local Bodies Minister Jagjit Singh, who had taken a serious view of the issue. He claimed that he had promised to transfer some members of the staff.

The chairman said the transfers would be effected in two or three groups within the coming weeks. He said he had demanded that none of the new employees should have worked with the trust. He stated that no development work was undertaken in the city after 1977 and these persons, working for more than 15 years, were responsible.

He hailed the action taken by the Vigilance Bureau in nabbing three employees while accepting a bribe in his absence. He added that he was away to England at that time and now he would render all possible help to the bureau in routing corruption from the local body.

Referring to a letter written by a former administrator of the trust, Mr Raminder Singh, who had written a letter to the Local Bodies Department regarding the transfer of certain employees, Mr Garcha said his predecessor had felt the need for the same. He rued that his drive against corruption had not been fully successful. “They have managed to skip procedures in all works,” he claimed.

He added that he was contemplating action against some erring employees. He said that he had issued warnings to some persons, but they had not mended their ways.



Power supply of District Education Office cut
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Owing to the non-payment of electricity bill despite several reminders, the district administration has cut power supply to the District Education Office in the Mini-Secretariat building here. Six other departments face similar action if they do not submit the pending amount of power supply bill within a week.

There was darkness in the office rooms and the employees were finding it hard to work without artificial lights. The design and architecture of the building has no provision for enough daylight. Work had come to a standstill.

‘‘We have to act tough against the erring departments,’’ said Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma, while confirming the orders. He said his office had sent several reminders to the authorities to furnish the bill of Rs 2 lakh in time. ‘‘They were issued warning notices that the power supply would be disconnected,’’ he added.

Sources in the Education Department revealed that they were unable to pay as the state government had not appointed any regular District Education Officer after the retirement of Mr Bachittar Singh last month. No officer had been given the drawing and disbursing powers.

The office of the Deputy Commissioner submits the electricity bill of all departments, barring the police, housed in the building. The police has its separate power supply meter. The bill amount is divided among various departments according to a formula devised several years ago.

Mr Verma said earlier, all departments used to suffer for the non-payment of dues by one department. He said it was then that the formula of sharing the bill was designed.

He said he had issued notices to six other departments for immediate payment of their dues or else similar action awaited them. He did not reveal the names of the departments.

Mr V.K. Singh, Special Secretary, Education, Punjab, said he had issued the orders of temporary charge to an officer and the problems faced by the department would soon come to an end. Sources said the department might continue to go without power for a week till the amount was paid.



I’m a Ludhiana girl, says Pooja Batra
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 11
“After marriage you get a partner with whom you can share everything and feel comfortable. But life, to me, as such, is as simple as it was before marriage. There is no big change”, these views were expressed by Bollywood star Pooja Batra, who was in the city today to honour the “best customers” of the VLCC, who had lost almost 20 kg weight.

Ms Vandana Luthra, Chairperson VLCC, emphasised on the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. She said, “The expansion of the VLCC in Punjab is but natural since Punjab offers a client base of health-conscious people. On account of the increasing consumption of cooking oil, desi ghee and dairy products, the incidence of obesity is increasing in the state. Our aim is to assist people in maintaining good health in a relaxing environment”.

Accompanied by her husband, who is an orthopaedic surgeon, Pooja likes to be called Ludhiana girl because she did her 10th class in 1990 from Kendriya Vidyalaya (Central School) here. “I have some good memories of the city. My relatives still live here and it feels great when you visit your old friends and relatives”, she said.

After her graduation, Pooja did her MBA in marketing from Pune. Her father was in the army so she had an opportunity to travel to different places with him. She started her modelling career in 1993. Pooja said, "When Madhu Sapre performed well in Ms Universe 1992 contest, I thought I will also try for Miss India contest and I was adjudged Miss India second runner-up in 1993. Ever since there has been no looking back and I got many offers to advertise for products like Liril, Head and Shoulders, etc.




The traffic chaos in the city is the nothing new but it seems that the local traffic police have started believing that nothing much can be done about it. They have stopped responding to SOS messages from different areas. A simple exercise of making the Domoria Bridge one way has many -a-time come to the rescue of those stuck in the traffic. But several times during the day when the traffic is not regulated here, the traffic lines are as long as the old district courts on the Civil Lines side and Mata Rani Chowk on the other side. It may be a good idea to demark the area as one-way permanently, thereby saving the cops and the commuters from a harrowing experience.

Police postings

The manner in which some local policemen in the state have managed to get their transfers cancelled, allegedly with connivance of politicians, has put a question mark over the working of the police. The move has sent the impression among the masses that these cops enjoy political patronage and thus not many people would come out openly to point out the acts of omissions and commission of the policemen. All that the aggrieved now have to say is “wait till the Akalis’ return to power”, but the not so optimist question, “what if they manage their way with the Akalis, too?”.

Disappointed designers

In a recent jewellery exhibition held in the city, the young designers who had crafted exquisite jewellery in silver were a disappointed lot. They said while in Delhi sophisticated ladies who wear big solitaire diamonds do not mind wearing stones set in silver if it matches their ensemble, in Ludhiana, the ladies appreciated the stones set in silver but shied away from buying. Puja, one designer, said,” Ladies in the city still have ‘chayaik tastes’. They have not been able to rise above the lure of yellow metal wheras the ladies of metros are hanging with the time and are more concerned with matching accessories, and the metal can be any — white gold, gold, silver or platinum.


Local residents have found a new method to say a majestic welcome to the guests if the functions organised in the city of late are to be considered. A pair of elephants, all preened up, is posted at the entrance of the function. While at the entrance they become an instant hit with the children. The mahavats also make good money as the guests do not disappoint them and give them a tip.

Unwelcome arches

Every other day due to some celebration or other, mostly associated with religious functions, welcome arches are erected at different points of the city. They come up after regular intervals. Chatoic conditions of Ludhiana city have been highlighed in Ludhiana Tribune many-a-time. The arches make the traffic even more difficult to negotiate and a bottlebeck is created, which takes endless hours to clear up. This is giving rise to ‘road rage’ and the consequences are going to be bad. A lot of time and energy of commuters is wasted and hundreds of hours are lost due to traffic jams. Instead of ensuring a smooth flow of traffic, the traffic is getting chaotic and messier. Administration should not give permission to construct these arches to anyone.

Sad atmosphere

Now that all the festivals, including Gurpurab are over, the atmosphere appears to be sad. More so as wintery days have crept in. All the arches and buntings which added gaiety to the atmosphere of the city have been removed. The city appears to be back to normal. There seems a strange kind of lethargy that has stepped in. Even the traffic has thinned out. Dengue and viral fevers that have gripped people has added to desolate atmosphere of the scene.


Sentinal noted one interesting graffiti written on the rear screen of a van. In capital and bold print it was written, ‘DON’T STEAL’, and below it was written in slightly smaller letters, “Don’t give competition to the government.”


It is not only the women who are breaking male bastions. The men are also making forays into the traditional arenas of women dominance. One such case was witnessed at the Youth Festival in BCM College. In the Rangoli competition a boy was trying his hand on a Rangoli with colours, It has been a woman’s field but the boy was seen giving good competition to the girls.

Doctor’s coat

The white coat of doctors not only provides them with a distinct identity but is also worn to maintain hygiene in the hospital. However, the young doctors are seen wearing the coats while driving two wheelers on the road. Some do not wear them but hang them loosely on the shoulders or arms. One wonders what is the motive behind the exercise and what kind of germs and bacteria they transport to the hospital.

Traffic lights

Traffic lights in the city continue to play truant. It has become a routine that one or the other traffic lights is out of order, causing chaos at the road crossings. But the funniest scenario is witnessed at the Bharat Nagar Chowk traffic lights. One can see both red and green light on at the same time. Bewildered commuters are confused at whether to stop or to go. Even media reports about the problem has not been able to force the authorities out of their slumber as the traffic lights continue to malfunction.

Tail Piece

Seen painted on a college wall, “Sun le beta Pakistan, baap hai tumahara Hindustan’’




MLA distributes cheques for Rs 2.41 lakh
Our Correspondent

Amloh, November 11
As many as 500 beneficiaries were given cheques for Rs 2.41 lakh out of the profit of the Co-operative Agriculture Service Society (CASS) at a function by Mr. Sadhu Singh Dharamsot local MLA, at Mullepur village here yesterday.

The state government has launched a project to provide urban facilities to residents of rural area under the consolidated Rural Development Project (CRDP), said Mr Dharamsot while addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone of the sewerage system at Mullepur village.

The MLA said the grants for development in the past had been misused but now the present government would not tolerate any lapse on the part of any official.

Presiding over the function, Mr S.K. Ahalluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, said, keeping in view the performance of sarpanch Lakhbir Singh, member, Zila Parishad, and president, CASS, he had recommended the name of the Mullepur panchayat to the Centre government for national award. Under the CRDP, one village from each block was to be selected for recommendation on the basis of its development at works, he asserted.

District Development and Panchayat Officer Jatinder Pal Singh Cheema said under the Rajiv Kalyan Yojna each Scheduled Castes family would be provided flush laterins at a cost of Rs 5,200 each. Executive Engineer Sewerage Board, Rakesh Vij and SDO Avtar Singh Kalsi said the first instalment of Rs 23.95 lakh had arrived and Rs 9.80 lakh would soon be provided for this project.

Mr Lakhbir Singh, sarpanch of the village, welcomed the guests.

Mr Harinder Singh Siddhu, District Registrar (Co-operative), declared to bring the local co-operative sabha under the multi-purpose scheme and said 29 sabhas had already been brought under the scheme so far.

Block Congress president Sadhu Ram Patmajra, Block Samiti member Sukhdev Singh and Political Secretary Sukhdev Singh Saimfulpur also spoke.



Akalis politicising graft issue: YC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
The President of the Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Devinder Singh Babbu, and the senior vice-president, Mr Pawan Dewan have criticised the Akali leadership for “politicising” the corruption issue. In a joint statement released here today, the two leaders maintained that the Akalis were feeling desperate as they knew that the government had got all proofs against the family of former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Babbu and Mr Dewan said that the law had been taking its own course.

They claimed that the rank and file of the party was firmly behind the Chief Minister.

The leaders also hailed the new policy announced by the Chief Minister to the effect that rice bran shall be lifted immediately and payment shall be made without delay and the farmers shall not face any difficulty in the disposal of their produce.



Harassment of migrants alleged
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 11
Activists of Bhartiya Jan Jagran Sangathan will hold a protest against the General Manager of the Northern Railway on his visit at the railway station here on November 13 to express their resentment over the alleged harassment of migrants by railway staff.

Presiding over a meeting of the sangathan at Sri Durga Mata Temple in the Jamalpur locality, its president, Mr Prem Pandey, alleged that the migrants coming from other states in search of employment were subject to assault and persecution at the hands of TTEs and other railway officials. He charged senior railway officials with shielding the erring staff.



Canegrowers seek payment of dues

Amloh, November 11
Canegrowers will launch a stir under the banner of the Kisan union seeking payment for the sugarcane procured by sugar mills in the state. Although some private sugar mill owners have made the balance of payment but Nahar Sugar and Allied Industries, Amloh, has not made the payment of balance to the farmers.

This was stated by Mr Pyara Singh Sounti, block president of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), while talking to the mediapersons here today. OC



Schoolgirl raped, youth booked
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 11
The police yesterday registered a case of rape of a school girl under Sections 363, 365 , 120-B and 376, IPC, against Bhupinder Singh (21) and his widowed mother, both residents of Panjab Housing Board Colony, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar.

According to information, Bhupinder Singh reached the school in the morning and allegedly abducted the girl in his Honda City car and took her to his house. When her friends informed the school authorities about the incident, the mother of the girl, Ms Paramjit Kaur, was informed. Since she knew about his intentions earlier, she went to his house and found it locked. She heard loud music from inside and went to the police which arrived on the scene and rescued the girl.

Two killed: Two cases under Sections 279 and 304-A, IPC, were registered at the Sarabha Nagar police station on Monday. The first case was registered on the complaint of Mr Mul Chand of Rajiv Gandhi Colony against the driver of a Punjab Roadways bus belonging to the Jagraon depot. The complainant had stated that the accused had hit his friend Sanjay Kumar while he was going on a cycle on Monday. He died on the spot.

The other case was registered on the complaint of Mr Sarabjit Singh, of Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Nagar against Puran Singh of Sudhar village. The complainant had stated that the accused was driving an oil tanker and had hit his mother Raghuvir Kaur near the Pakhowal culvert on Monday as a result of which she died on the spot. The police said on Tuesday that the accused was arrested and later released on bail.

Fraud alleged: The police on Monday registered a case of alleged fraud on the statement of Mr Harbans Singh of Jassowal village against Nirmal Singh Lambardar, Karnail Singh and Maghar Singh, residents of the same village. The complainant had alleged that the accused had got his property transferred on their names with the help of forged documents. No arrest has been made so far.

Forgery: The police on Monday registered a case on the statement of Mr Madhav Anand, ASI against Jagdish of Gurdaspur district and Gurmit Singh of a village near Moga. The police said on Tuesday that the accused were arrested and charged with preparing a fake registration certificate of a stolen motorcycle which was also recovered from them.



51 proclaimed offenders held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
The special PO staff of the district police caught 51 proclaimed offenders last month. The PO staff was constituted by the police to check the rising number of such offenders.

Mr Narinderpal Singh, SSP, said in a press note here today that a special drive had been initiated in the district to catch the fugitives. He said the PO staff was formed in late 2001 and had arrested 1486 fugitives.

The SSP further said many of these were wanted in more than one cases. They had jumped bail and were still indulging in criminal activities. They were also regularly shifting their area of operation in order to hoodwink the police. The police was facing difficulties in catching them as the records had old addresses. He also claimed that the arrests of the POs would go a long way in containing the crime rate in the city.



Cut in import duty on steel sought
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, November 11
The apex chamber of commerce and industry, Punjab has urged upon the union government to reduce the custom duty on import of steel from 25 per cent to ten per cent in order to encourage import of steel and check the rise in the prices of the same.

In a letter to Mr S. Naryan, Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister, Mr P.D. Sharma, President of the Chamber has pointed out that with 25 per cent custom duty, the steel producers were getting protection of around 31 per cent which was very high as well.

Thanking Mr Naryan for his concern over the unusual hike in steel prices Mr Sharma has said that the statement of the new Steel Secretary that the government could not tinker with the prices was really disheartening.

Mr Sharma charged that the main steel producers did resort to unreasonable spurt in steel prices without any economic justification. This was followed by the bail out package of Rs 7000 crore to the mail Steel Producers although some of them were not even eligible for the same. SAIL producers also raised the prices of hot rolled coil despite assurance by the steel minister in Ludhiana.


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