L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Students burn 3 buses, block highway
Accidental death of a college student
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Policemen try to pacify students agitating against the death of a student in Jagraon on Tuesday
Policemen try to pacify students agitating against the death of a student in Jagraon on Tuesday. 

Jagraon, November 18
Thousands of students of five Jagraon colleges damaged three buses and blocked traffic on the Ludhiana-Moga highway today for over four hours in protest against the death of a fellow student, who was crushed under the rear tyres of a bus owned by Libra Transport yesterday. A demonstration was also staged outside the house of a college lecturer, who was accused of not arranging blood for the injured youth in time.

The siege was lifted only after the police and the civil administration succeeded in convincing the demonstrators that due action had been taken and suitable compensation would be paid to the deceased’s family.

The students, including a large number of girls, were agitated at the alleged police inaction and improper medical help provided to the youth in a local hospital. The accident took place near Jagraon last afternoon. Amrik Singh, a student of B.Sc-I of Government Science Research Institute, Jagraon, fell while trying to board the bus from the rear side and was crushed under the tyres. He was rushed to Satluj Hospital, where he allegedly died due to shortage of blood in the evening.

The SSP, Jagraon, Mr Mukhwinder Singh Chhina, however, claimed that the student agitation was unwarranted. He said the police had registered a case against the bus driver and arrested him. He said some local politicians hijacked the agitation for their own vested interests and indulged in senseless rioting. He said the students were demanding the registration of a murder case against the driver, which was not possible as it was an accident.

The students were angry with the college lecturer also who had arranged a blood camp a few weeks ago in the college but expressed his helplessness to arrange blood for the youth. They were demanding his suspension. The lecturer, Ms Swaran Madkan, however denied the charges. She said that she and some students of the college had formed a Young Blood Group Association and had organised some blood camps. She said the blood collected in the camps was sent to the Red Cross and she tried hard to arrange some bottles for the injured youth, but to no avail.

The students laid siege to the highway at about 9 a.m today and vented their ire on the buses whose drivers dared to venture in Jagraon despite being cautioned by the police. The buses belonged to New Fatehgarh Sahib Transport and Libra Transport. The buses were badly damaged.

The police had to provide security to the college lecturer to prevent any untoward incident.

The student who died was the only brother of four sisters. He was cremated at his native Singhawala village in Moga. It was largely attended by students of Jagraon. Interestingly, though many political leaders were seen at the demonstration, very few turned up at the cremation.

The situation threatened to turn ugly at one moment and the police had made arrangements of tear gaskits and lathi charge. There was a division among the students over the issue of the intervention of the political leaders.



Police takes traffic offenders for a ride 
Seized licences, RCs go missing
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 18
Documents seized by traffic cops against a challan for violations of traffic rules in the city many a time fail to materialise in the courts. As a result, the victims are made to move from pillar to post for months together to locate the ‘missing documents’ be it a driving licence or a registration certificate (RC).

Mr Rajesh Sood, a resident of Civil Lines, is one such person who has been making rounds of the city traffic police headquarters and the judicial courts for almost a year in search of the missing RC for his two-wheeler.

Says a dejected Mr Sood, “I was challaned for not wearing a helmet by an ASI, wearing a name plate of Niranjan Singh on November 29 last year and the RC of my scooter PB-10AD-4523 was seized by the traffic cops. I was directed to appear in the court of Mr Balwinder Kumar, Judicial Magistrate, for disposal of the challan. However, every time I went to the court, the staff concerned told me that the said challan or the documents seized by the police, had not been sent to the court. The court officials gave me the same reply on my repeated visits.”

On further inquiries, both with the police and the court, he learnt that the challan issued to him was also not entered in the challan register maintained at the traffic police headquarters and the court of the judicial magistrate. “On being asked as to what had happened to the RC of my scooter, the police as well as the court officials expressed their helplessness,” he informs.

Mr Sood, having lost all hopes of getting back the missing RC, is sore at the indifference and insensitivity of the police officials and the casual manner in which the loss of important documents was being taken. He felt that once slapped with a traffic challan, the vehicle owners had every right to get back their seized documents intact after payment of the penalty. With the loss of documents like driving licenses and RCs, the affected persons were forced to go for a long-drawn and complicated procedure to get duplicate documents and in a way were being punished twice for a single offence.

In a written complaint lodged with the SSP and the SP (Traffic), Mr Sood has called for an inquiry to fix responsibility for the loss of documents and failure to forward the challan to the court within the stipulated period. He also wanted that the erring traffic police should own the responsibility for loss of documents and arrange to make available duplicate copies of the documents seized by them at their own level from the Transport Department.

The SP (Traffic), Mr Gurdial Singh, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune said no specific complaint of this nature had come to his notice so far. “Once in a while, the forwarding of challans with accompanying documents, to the courts, is delayed for various reasons and in such cases we try to assist the affected people with details like despatch and receipt numbers.”



Commission upholds ruling against PSEB
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 18
Dismissing an appeal filed by the Punjab State Electricity Board, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission held that the Consumer Forum, Ludhiana, had rightly held that the PSEB had not complied with its own rules, while raising a demand of Rs 3,13,928 on a consumer on theft charges.

The District Consumer Forum had quashed the bill raised on the charges of theft in March, 2001, while accepting the complaint filed by Mr Rajesh Kumar Arora of Ganeshpuri. Dissatisfied with the order of the forum, the PSEB had filed an appeal.

Justice H.S.Brar, President of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh, observed, “No evidence was brought to our notice that the meter was duly packed and properly sealed before it was sent to the M.E. Laboratory for checking and the signatures of the complainant or his representative were obtained. It was not stated that the complainant or his representative had refused to sign the report of the M.E. Laboratory. There is no evidence on record which can prove that the complainant had been informed of the date on which the M.E. Laboratory would test his meter. Thus, the opposite party had flouted its own rules”.

However, the commission provided one more opportunity to the PSEB. The commission held that if the PSEB reached at a conclusion that the meter was defective and was running slow by 90.54 per cent, it would be at liberty to refer the matter to the Chief Electrical Inspector under Section 26 (6) of the Indian Electricity Act for his decision and thereafter, take appropriate action in the matter, in accordance with the law, if so advised.




IT was a great day for Ludhiana, 171 teachers from all over the country were in the city for almost three days earlier this week. This time they were not here to teach. Rather they were here to put their heads together to workout strategies in the field of education keeping in mind the global trends. Besides other events, Principal Suresh Chandra Vatsyayan, an epitome of Hindi literature, who belongs to the city, was honoured for his contribution to the language

Local media

Till the previous year, there were hardly six to seven local papers carrying Ludhiana news items. But of late, many local newspapers have been launched. But the eminent educationists, physicians and industrialists are not happy with the development. Till the past few years, their news items were being used in top newspapers and read all over the region. But now, their news items are carried in the local papers and the readership is confined only to the city and neighbouring towns.

Raised hopes

The winter rain has raised hopes of the woollen hosiery industry in the city that had been going through a rough phase during the past several years. The sudden change in weather coupled with reports of early snow in Himachal Pradesh has not only driven Ludhianvis to equip themselves for a harsh winter but also brought in retailers and wholesalers of woollens here from as far as Manali and Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. The industry is now only hoping that its expectation of good sales is not dashed by yet another change in weather.

Traffic chaos

The traffic on city roads is getting worse and some of the problematic spots for traffic movement defy all attempts on regulation and enforcement to the extent that the city traffic cops have virtually washed their hands of the problem. Their efforts to intervene in cases of prolonged traffic jams are, at best, half-hearted and marked with helplessness. Traffic moving at a snail's pace at Fountain Chowk, an intersection of six busy roads in Civil Lines and serpentine queues of vehicles on both sides of Domoria Bridge all through the day are best (or worst) examples of poor traffic regulation. The victims of poor traffic management wonder if the traffic cops lack the will and initiative or they are ill-trained to come to terms with the situation.

Press(ing) problem

The president of a large number of vehicles of all models, makes and kinds with the word ‘PRESS’ written over them gives an impression that the media brigade has become affluent and had graduated from Maruti 800s and Maruti vans to swanky cars like Safaris, Accents, Santros, Zens, Esteems, Palios and Indicas and utility vehicles like Qualis, Tata Sumo and even pick-up vans. But there is more to it. Rather than the genuine mediapersons owning and driving all these vehicles with ‘press’ marked on them, it is the gross misuse of the word with the intention to take undue advantage of the fact that the police and other enforcement officials tend to have a soft corner towards the members of the fourth estate. As the police is almost oblivious to this menace, MUVs like Sumo and Qualis, with ‘press’ boldly written on them can be seen parked at various taxi stands in the city. Occasionally, LCVs and pick-up vans, with “press” written on them can be seen on the roads transporting various goods. One city halwai reportedly transports sweets in one such vehicle to evade tax officials.

Busy shopkeepers

With the falling of the temperatures in the past two-three days, the sale of woollens has suddenly picked up in the city. People of all age groups are seen wearing sweaters and jackets. The air-conditioned market in Bhadaur House, where people used to get relief in summers while shopping, has suddenly flooded with a lot of woollens. People are visiting the market to get the woollen stuff of their choice.It is indeed a busy time for shopkeepers, thanks to the snowfall in upper regions.


A villager was giving his email address to his friend. He started dictating him the spelling of his name. Then asked him to put a full stop and then the spellings of his second name. When the spellings of his name were over he suddenly told him , “hun ghundi jehi paa de”. His friend told him that it was called “at the rate”. Pat came the reply: “Yes, I know but I don’t like to say this word about myself. It looks as if I am on sale.”

Waiting for VIPs

For Ludhiana scribes, it is a common practice to keep waiting for the start of a function or a press conference, especially if it is to be started by a VIP. Same thing happened at a press conference convened by the Chairman of Punjab Pollution Control Board, Rana K.P. Singh. The conference started at least half an hour late. Similarly in the function of the local Government College for Girls, the mediapersons were kept waiting for an hour because the chief guest, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, was stuck up in a meeting of the Chief Minister. Well, he had a reason but at least the college authorities could have informed the press people, many of whom had left another function midway to reach there in time.

‘We don’t know’

In the agitation the students, who were protesting against the accidental killing of a student by a bus in Jagraon, some participants did not know why they were staging a protest. These were the children of Government Senior Secondary School, Jagraon, who had come to the venue in uniforms. They were carrying sticks in their hands and sitting among the protesters. When they were asked about their demands they had no answer. One of them said, “We don’t know. We were asked by college students to join them.”

Height of optimism

Maxwell Moore, an Australian citizen, who was nabbed by the local police for his alleged involvement in NRI marriage frauds, had never thought he would be in the Indian police net. He had come to India to take Ravneet, another accused, along with him. Little did he realise he would have to pay a heavy price for it. This 75-year-old man had fancied marrying Ravneet (26). When he was asked by a mediaperson why he wanted to marry her, he said: “I wanted to give her a good life in clean environs of Australia.” With a dirty look on his face he added, “What would she do here in flies, filth, pigs and stary dogs? She would better marry a 75-year-old man.” Height of optimism!

Media savvy

The local schools have turned media savvy for the past few years. But this time, broken all past records were as Sentinel received over 35 invitations for Children’s Day celebrations from nursery, private and even government schools. On November 14, the Ludhiana Tribune Office received more than 50 press notes from various local schools. Almost all schools sent news items with photographs and a request that their picture should be used along with the news item.

Prolonged fest

Guru Nanak Dev’s birth anniversary fell on November 8 this year, but it has been more than 10 days and many social organisations and educational institutions are still busy with Gurpurb celebrations. Likewise, Children’s Day falls on November 14 but many schools started celebrating the day five days in advance and continued on for a few days after the occasion. Interestingly, many of them have become smart enough and know that if they celebrate the function in advance and send a press note, they would get a good display. If they celebrate it on the same day, their news would be abridged and the possibility of a picture getting printed would be less. In case they celebrate it after the actual occasion, they know that the chances of a news item getting printed would be too low. Smart Ludhianvis!

Remove posters

The Hibird Lions cycle rally, in which thousands of schoolchildren participated, was held recently. Its aim was to give the message of keeping the environment clean for better health. While the rally was going on, the organisers provided water to the rallyist in paper glasses. All fine. But they had forgotten to provide dustbins . So one saw paper glasses strewn all over the place. Moreover, many posters about the event were pasted on walls. Four days have passed, but the posters are still there. If the organisers are really concerned about the cleanliness and environment, they should remove the posters immediately.


Seen written on the rear screen of a car, “Kutta rakhan to pehlan te dost banaun ton pehlan nasal zaroor parakh lao.”




Mann flays Hanspal for statement
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, November 18
SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann has taken a serious note of a statement of PPCC chief H.S. Hanspal in which he had omitted “Singh” word from the name of Baba Banda Singh Bahadar and called him “Banda Bairagi”. “It has hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community. Mr Hanspal must know that Baba Banda Singh Bahadar had established the first independent Sikh state and minted currency in the name of Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh. He abolished the jagirdari system and gave land-ownership rights to the tenants,” Mr Mann asserted.

Mr Mann criticised Indian historians for distorting facts regarding Baba Banda Singh Bahadar’s achievements. It has been written in the history books that the French Revolution in 1789 gave birth to the first republic state and abolished the jagirdari system from there, but the same steps had been taken much earlier in 1710 by Banda Singh Bahadar, which have no mention in the history textbooks, he said. Mr Mann has appealed to the PPCC chief to apologise for the mistake.



Mystery shrouds death of Head Constable
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 18
Mystery shrouds the death of Punjab Police Head Constable Satish Kumar, who died of a gunshot injury at his house in the police lines this morning.
While the family members claimed that the middle-aged man had died after being accidently hit by a bullet when he was cleaning his gun, the injury at the temple of the head suggested otherwise. There were reports that the man’s alleged relationship with a woman was a subject of domestic quarrels in the family.

The deceased was rushed to the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital here a few minutes past 8 am when the incident took place. The police, tight-lipped about the exact cause of the death, said investigations were on under Section 174 of the CrPc.



Hike in nickel price resented
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 18
The availability of basic raw material at competitive rates is the integral constituent of competitiveness in the global market, asserted Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings here today.

The prices of nickel, a basic raw material, had gone up by Rs 300 per kg from June, 2003, to November, 2003, making a big dent in the competitiveness of the finished goods in the foreign market.

Mr Pardhan said the engineering industry in Punjab was deprived of this integral lever of smooth availability of raw material and competitive prices. In addition to the unprecedented hike in the steel prices, the similar hike in the prices of nickel had disturbed the engineering industry, especially the cycle and cycle parts industry.

The international rates of nickel quoted by the LME had shown a repeated hike in the prices of nickel. In August, 2003, the rate of nickel was $ 8400 per metric tonne in September, 2003, $ 9800 on September 15, and $ 10,110 per metric tonne on September 30. In October, the rate of nickel had risen to $ 11,570 per metric tonne.

In addition to the above hike, the import of nickel further escalated the prices of nickel in the Indian market with the addition of customs duty on nickel, total to the tune of 32.7 per cent in aggregate.

The MMTC should come to the rescue of the industry by purchasing nickel from other sources, where it was cheaper, and distribute the same among the industrialists in Punjab. The nickel consuming industry was at the verge of closure as the profit margin had considerably gone down.

Mr Pardhan urged the Finance Ministry to take protective steps by slashing the rate of customs duty on import of nickel to make the availability of nickel to its users at the cheaper and competitive rates. “Needless to say, the engineering industry is passing through hard times, aggravated by the unprecedented spurt in the prices of nickel," said Mr Pardhan.



Tax relief to HP likely to hit Punjab industry
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 18
The special package announced by the Union Government for Himachal Pradesh providing massive tax relief to the industry there is likely to hit the local industry hard. The industrial circles here maintained that although the massive tax relief was expected, but with the formal notification issued only now the impact would soon be felt.

Recently, the Union Finance Industry issued a notification announcing a special package of incentives for industrial units to be set up in Himachal Pradesh. Under the package, a special 15 per cent central investment subsidy will be paid on plant and the machinery subject to a ceiling of Rs 30 lakh. Besides, there will be an outright 100 per cent excise duty exemption for 10 years and 100 per cent income tax exemption for five years. The income tax exemption will be 30 per cent after five years.

Mr P.D. Sharma of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry maintained that the incentives in Himachal Pradesh would hit the textile and hosiery industry hard in Punjab. He said other sectors like steel might also have an impact but not to that extent. He disclosed that while so far there had not been an exodus of the industry from Punjab to Himachal Pradesh but the process had already started.

Mr Sharma said besides massive taxation relief, the power was also relatively cheap in Himachal Pradesh. Moreover, Parwanoo was fast coming up as textile and hosiery centre and might pose a tough challenge to Ludhiana, which had the monopoly in the north so far. He pointed out that with easy availability of raw material, yarn industry was moving towards Himachal Pradesh. The Vardhman Group of Industries had already set up a yarn plant which could meet massive demands.

The Knitwear Club, an apex body of hosiery and knitwear manufacturers, has been feeling that the impact of tax relief to the hill state is gradually being felt here. Mr Vinod Thapar, president, Knitwear Club, Ludhiana, said those industrial units which had surplus finances and manpower had already set up their units in Himachal Pradesh. It was not that the units were winding up here and being set up in Himachal Pradesh, but with massive incentives available there, the industry was quite upbeat about setting up units there. A number of leading exporters had started their units there.

And some of those who could not shift to Himachal Pradesh found another way out. They will manufacture goods in Ludhiana but the billing will be done from Himachal Pradesh to avail the tax exemption. However, the central taxation agencies are reportedly cracking down upon such defaulters.

However, the main worrying factor for the industry here remains the slow and steady movement of units from here to Himachal Pradesh. First they will start with expansion and ultimately may move to Himachal Pradesh completely, remarked Mr Thapar while seeking immediate attention of the government to take preventive measures.



BSNL’s on-line cash counter installed
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, November 18
To meet the long-pending demand of the residents of the historical town, an on-line cash counter of BSNL was installed at the local telephone exchange yesterday.
Mr G.S. Julka, General Manager, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Ludhiana, inaugurated it in the presence of many dignitaries, including the SDM of Samrala, Mr Jaspal Singh Jassi, DSP, Mr Jasbir Singh, Naib Tehsildar, Mr Manjit Singh, president of the Nagar Panchayat, Mr Anil Sood, District Congress Deputy Chief, Mr Tejinder Singh Kooner, and a former TAC member, Mr Kasturi Lal Mintu.

Addressing the mediapersons, Mr Julka said with the installation of 45th cash counter in the Telecom District, BSNL, Ludhiana, had become number one throughout the Telecom Circle, Punjab, so far as count of on-line cash counters was concerned. Now subscribers of the area would not have to stand in long queues in front of post offices to pay their bills, he added. Describing the success rate of BSNL Mobile, he said Ludhiana Telecom district had also got the highest number of connections in the state. Now BSNL, Ludhiana, is planning to extend WLL services in rural area of the district, for which 17 towers had been installed in the rural exchanges, he further added. He assured to start BSNL mobile service in the Machhiwara area at the earliest.

On the occasion, Mr Amit Singla, DGM, said three on-line cash counters one in Khanna, other in Mullanpur and third in Samrala had already been installed for mobile phone users. In the end, Mr S.S. Dhami, Divisional Telecom Engineer, expressed gratitude to all for gracing the function.



Cycles under loan scheme disbursed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 18
"It is a small step, but a giant leap indeed", said Mr O.P. Munjal, Co-Chairman and Managing Director of Hero Cycles, on the disbursement of the first lot of 11 cycles financed under the Hero Corp Cycle Loan Yojna'. This was a long-awaited move as none of the existing finance schemes were targeted at acquiring bicycles on easy monthly instalments.

Bicycles continued to be a popular and cheap mode of transport among the masses, especially the weekest sections of society like labourers, factory workers, small and marginal farmers and small traders.

Hero had always been a step ahead of others, in providing this nation with respect and glory, he claimed. It was this social commitment which inspired. Hero to join hands with 'Corporation Bank' to start 'Hero Corp Cycle Loan Yojna'. It was a maiden step towards facilitating needy borrowers to acquire bicycles for travel and transportation, he said.


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