L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Teachers hold dharna at minister’s house
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 19
Anti-Amarinder slogans rent the air during a protest march by around 200 teachers that started from Chattar Singh Park and Mr Harnam Dass Johar’s house here this afternoon.

Mr S.S. Hundal, president of the Punjab Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), said though they had informed Mr Johar of their programme, he was not available. His political secretary, Mr Jagdish Marwah, told them that Mr Johar had gone to Delhi for election duties.

The mounted police and a large posse of policemen were deployed to thwart any untoward incident during the protest. The teachers, after attending two periods, joined the protest march. The teachers came from all districts of the state.

Non-government affiliated colleges in the districts of Ludhiana, Moga, Chandigarh, Ferozepore, Muktsar, Hoshiarpur, under the jurisdiction of Panjab University, wore a deserted look as the agitating teachers held protest march.

Teachers from GNDU and Punjabi University areas also joined the march on a call of the PCCTU. The teachers were agitating against the alleged failure of the Punjab Government in meeting poll promises.

The agitators carried placards demanding full 95 per cent grant for all colleges, pension-gratuity, retrial security for the staff on the pattern of the Punjab government as per executive order of December 18, 1996, implementation of full UGC package, release of arrears, enhanced allowances and CPF for three years (January 1, 1996, to December 31, 1998), parity for DPEs and Librarians, due UGC scales for tutors, HRA and RAA for rural colleges and retention of plus two classes in colleges.

The union decried the anti-national policies of commercialisation and privatisation of education by the Central and state governments.

The PCCTU’s move has been supported by the Federations of Managements and Principals.

Addressing the gathering at Chattar Singh Park and dharna in front of the minister’s house, the union leaders denounced the stepmotherly attitude of the Punjab Government. They said it had failed to solve the burning problems in spite of making poll promises on 95 per cent grants and retrial benefits like pension gratuity. Non-payment of salaries to the staff for many months had become a regular feature. Mere CPF and that too at 10 per cent of basic salary was violative of constitutional norms. Basic human rights of the employees of private colleges, due and regular salary, pension gratuity benefits were being denied. Big advertisements with photos of Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Capt Amarinder Singh in the Punjab Assembly elections had promised full 95 per cent grant and pension gratuity, but they failed to live up to their word, agitating teachers added.

Teachers’ leaders said Mr Johar had not fulfilled his repeated assurances to the PCCTU that full 95 per cent grant would be given and that the pension gratuity scheme, prepared by him as minister in the Beant Singh government, would be implemented. The union had brought to his notice that grants had been reduced to Rs 56 crore as against the required Rs 102 crore for 2003-04 and that pension-gratuity scheme of December 12, 1996, had been scrapped by the government by issuing “Pension Rules: 2002”.

The union leaders warned the Punjab Government that its apathetic attitude would dig its own grave while the incompetent officials continue to rule the roost. The PCCTU would hold total education bandh in Patiala and union office-bearers would court arrest on December 5.



Students to get exam centre of their choice
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 19
All students who will appear privately in the examination to be conducted by the Punjab School Education Board this year will get centres of their choice.
This was stated by Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the board, on the concluding day of the state-level inter-school contests here. He had come along with Ms Tejinder Kaur, Secretary, School Education, Punjab, at the venue, Ramgarhia Girls’ Senior Secondary School, Millerganj, today. He said the students had been told to name any three schools in their vicinity in their forms and they would be given a centre from the three preferences.

Admitting that the private school students had a problem in submitting their forms, the chief said this happened because they had been told to attach a photocopy of ration card or any other document that could be a proof of their residence. He said that since many of them were wards of migrant labours, they had some difficulty. He said that their problem was solved when they were told to present an affidavit in lieu of any such document. The chairman said that this was being done as there had been numerous complaints of students taking examination in schools falling out of their district.

Dr Kehar Singh said since the number of examinees for middle class would be quite high this time again, he had decided that he would send a few men from his office in SAS Nagar to help the depot officers located in all districts of the state. But he said that this would be done only on the request of the district depot managers.

The Chairman said the cases of copying had come down in the past few years. He said that this could be made possible only with the introduction of five sets of question papers of the same level of difficulty for all the subjects. He said the problem of overcrowding in centres would also be solved as now no centre would have more than 250 students appearing privately.

Talking about the case of government school staff who had been found possessing fake certificates, Ms Tejinder Kaur said the services of all those who had been found presenting fake certificates had been terminated and police cases had also been filed against them.



Excise Dept tightens noose
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
In its sustained operations against the service tax evaders, the officials of the Central Excise department today conducted simultaneous raids at business and residential premises of the proprietors of Sood Studios, one of the leading photographers of the town.

Senior officials of the department confirmed the raids to the Tribune. They disclosed that following the reports that the studio was under invoicing the details and also reporting less work.

The officials refused to divulge any details and said the raids were still continuing. Photographers fall under the purview of the Service Tax Act and they are supposed to deposit the service tax. Recently the Central Excise Department had conducted an exercise urging all assessees to cooperate with the department. 



Narrow escape for Excise officers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Two Excise and Taxation Officers had a narrow escape on early Tuesday morning after a three wheeler load carrier driver tried to run them over. While one of them, Mr A.L. Bansal sustained a multiple fracture in his wrist, another Mr Lal Singh escaped with minor injuries. About four months ago Head Constable of the Excise and Taxation Department Mr Amarjit Singh, was killed when he was run over by a truck near Sangrur in a similar manner as the truck was trying to escape the trap laid by excise officials.

According to Mr Lal Singh, an ETO, he along with another ETO, Mr A.L. Bansal were on a routine checking on Monday night in the Lakkar Bazar area, in front of Ludhiana Railway Station at around 11.30 p.m. During the checking they stopped a three-wheeler, which was carrying two boxes of hosiery goods.

Mr Lal Singh disclosed that when the driver identified as Ajit Kumar, was asked to produce the documents, he admitted that he don’t have them. Mr Lal Singh claimed, a penalty at the rate of Rs 5,000 per box was imposed on him on the spot. Since he was carrying two boxes, he was supposed to pay Rs 10,000.

The excise official said the driver claimed that he was not carrying any cash and he would need to go for a while and get it. He parked his three-wheeler on the roadside and went away apparently to get the money for paying the penalty. He returned, according to the excise officials, not with the money, but along with 20 persons. They took away the three-wheeler and tried to manhandle the two ETOs, besides their driver and one constable, who were accompanying them.

Mr Lal Singh said, he and Mr Bansal tried to stop them, but the driver sped away with the three-wheeler at such a speed that they could easily have been run over. Although they tried to escape, yet Mr Bansal broke his wrist. He has been admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital and has already been operated upon.

The Kotwali police has registered an FIR. However, no one has been arrested so far. Goods were not seized as the driver managed to take these away with the help of the people who came to his rescue. Meanwhile, the ETOs’ Association, Punjab, has demanded strong action against the culprits. The general secretary of the association, Mr Paramjit Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that given the nature and extent of evasion, the excise and taxation officials were always under the risk . He pointed out, on July 26 a Head Constable of the department, Mr Amarjit Singh was run over by a truck as they tried to stop it for the routine checking. 



Cricketers disappoint fans
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
It could not have been more disappointing for the Indian cricket fans to watch the much acclaimed master batsman Sachin Tendulkar turning helpless and defensive and scoring just 22 runs for 48 balls, in full eight hours.

While the cricket fans remain disappointed with the worst performance of the team in general, they feel too bad about Tendulkar in particular.

Although Sachin managed to drag on to an apparently good score of 46, but he took too long to reach there.

And as always, when he was needed the most, he bid farewell to the crease and over one lakh spectators in the ground and millions and millions of others watching him on the television across the country.

Mr Arvind Kumar, a fan of Tendulkar, pointed out: “Sachin is always expected to perform better.

He is rated as ‘the best’ batsman in the world and his performance has to be ‘the best’, but it was nowhere near it and in fact it has seldom been near that”. Tendulkar has always been found wanting when he is needed most. It is too difficult to recall any match winning innings from Tendulkar.

Another cricket fan Sunil Kumar was more severe in his criticism, saying that instead trying to make him a demigod, it is high time that other batsmen are groomed who perform better and always rise to the occasion.

“Tendulkar’s talent has been blown out of proportion”, he remarked, while adding that “he might be a good individual record holder, but he seems to be a poor match winner”.

It is not the die hard fans of the Indian cricket team only, who are guided by emotions alone, but thousands of punters also whose calculations failed thanks to the poor performance by the Indians.

Right from the beginning India was termed to be the favourite for yesterday’s final at Eden Gardens, Kolkotta. Everything seemed to go well, with Australians being bowled out for just 235.

India remained favourite for quite some time even in the second session. Although at one stage Australia had become the favourite, but the Indians recovered thanks to some good batting by Rahul Dravid and Hemant Bidani.

But even they could not sustain the innings which was finished at just 198, thus leaving the fans and punters too disappointed.



Is BJP dharna a political gimmick?
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 19
There is more to it than what one sees in a dharna staged by the BJP at the main office of the local Municipal Corporation yesterday. More than the concern over the delay in execution of development works and political bias, the move is being seen as a gimmick to draw political mileage, particularly in the wake of the assembly elections in some of the states.

While the BJP councillors along with Mr Parveen Bansal alleged that development works in the wards represented by the party, were not being taken up. Sources in the corporation categorically stated that after an extended meeting with the Mayor and the Municipal Commissioner here on October 15 over development works in their respective wards, the BJP councillors or the party activists, including the district president, Dr Subhash Verma, had not submitted any details of the pending works to the administration.

That the dharna by the BJP was staged more due to political compulsions than any genuine grouse, is borne out by the fact that the Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, had reminded the party functionaries and the group leader of BJP councillors through a letter dated November 15 that even after one month of the meeting, they had not submitted any details of the pending works in the wards, represented by their party. The civic administration was yet to receive any reply in this regard.

The senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Prem Mittal, to whom the BJP activists had submitted a memorandum after the dharna since the Mayor had gone abroad, later said in a press note that the issues raised by the BJP in its charter of demands were in different stages of planning, approval or execution. “No specific instance of delay in execution of work or discrimination has been raised by the BJP,” he maintained.

Mr Mittal, while claiming that the municipal corporation was alive to its commitment for speedy development in all the wards of the city, irrespective of political considerations, said during past one and a half years, the corporation had spent Rs 16.18 crore on repair and recarpeting of roads and streets and pavement of drains. Similar works worth Rs 18.66 crore were in hand. Administrative approval had been granted and bids were invited for different kinds of development works in various parts of the city at an estimated cost of Rs 20.51 crore. All these works would be completed by the end of this financial year.

Giving more details of the major projects aimed at expansion of infrastructure and civic services, he said work was in progress on several projects, including elevated road, motorable bridge in place of Lakkar Pul, Dhandari flyover worth Rs 76 crore. An amount of Rs 14.20 crore had been spent on laying sewerage lines under a Hudco-assisted project and a project for complete coverage of water supply in declared areas of the city had already been completed at a cost of Rs 18 crore. The corporation had formulated a Rs 6.40 crore plan for strengthening the road network in industrial belts to be executed by March, 2004, Mr Mittal added.



Probe misuse of copter by CM, says Kalia
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, November 19
Former Punjab Health Minister Manoranjan Kalia has urged the election commissioner to enquire into the visits of Capt Amarinder Singh to other states for campaigning by government helicopter.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Kalia urged Capt Amarinder Singh to tell whether he had used helicopter on government expenses, personal expenses or from party funds. He said the situation should be made crystal clear.

Mr Kalia while commenting upon election speeches given by Capt Amarinder Singh in Bhopal said the Chief Minister had himself admitted his government’s failure.

Mr Kalia asked the Chief Minister to step down on moral grounds after admitting his failure. While describing the reasons of the Amarinder Singh’s Government failure, Mr Kalia alleged that the Chief Minister wasted his and his officials energies to implicate former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his colleagues in false cases.

Mr Kalia urged the Chief Minister to adopt positive attitude and leave the vindictive policies for the benefit of the state as his policies were harming the interests of the state.



Coloniser refutes charge of fraud
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 19
A property developer, M/s VHB Group, has claimed that the company was abiding by the law and press reports of defrauding the buyers and purchasing more land than stipulated in the licenses granted by PUDA were false and motivated.

Responding to a report carried in these columns on November 18, Mr B.S. Bhalla, manager of the group maintained in a sworn affidavit that the company was working according to the provisions of PUDA Act. “The company is in possession of valid licenses and letters of intent (LOI’s) for 339.98 acres and for another 67.98 acres, applications were pending with PUDA. The company does not possess even an inch more than the area of 407.96 acres of land for which it holds licences,” he asserted.

Mr Bhalla further stated that a majority of the development work in the said area was completed and completion certificates were available with the company. The ongoing and remaining development works would also be completed on scheduled.

The company charged the complainant, Mr J.S. Kular, with making false and fabricated representations to the authorities to draw undue and personal benefits and with an intent to defame the company. The VHB Group would initiate legal proceedings against Mr Kular, he added.

Mr Bhalla said certain unauthorised persons were developing land adjoining the South City (developed by VHB Group) for which the company was not responsible. The attention of the authorities had been drawn towards the unlawful activity, he added.



‘US, UK must withdraw forces from Iraq’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 19
The Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) has demanded immediate withdrawal of occupying forces from Iraq and their replacement with peacekeeping force under the UN supervision, which should oversee the development process there.

Dr L.S. Chawla president and Dr Arun Mitra general secretary of the IDPD while releasing a report compiled by Medact, London based affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear war, “‘Continuing Collateral Damage: the Health and Environmental Costs of War on Iraq 2003,’ observed that the war on Iraq and its aftermath had exacted a heavy toll of death and injury on combatants and non-combatants. The report estimated upto 55,000 deaths on all sides from Iraq war. Its conclusions, they said, were based on the best available information on a range of health indicators form sources in the public domain, and observations from expert individuals and organisations in and outside Iraq.

The report says, “Between 21,700 and 55,000 people died between March 20 and October 20, 2003. Between 7,800 and 9,600 Iraqi civilians and 394 coalition combatants are estimated to have died in this year. Estimates of the number of Iraq military deaths range from 13,500 to 45,000. There is extensive pollution of land, sea, rivers and the atmosphere that may have spilled over to neighbouring countries. Oil well fires created oil spills and toxic smoke. Troop movements destroyed fragile desert ecology. Explosive remnants of war and land mines killed and maimed people and animals and polluted the landscape. Bombardment destroyed grazing land along with the physical infrastructure of buildings, roads, railways, power stations, sewage plants and telecommunication.”

The report further disclosed that for every Ali Abbas, the severely injured and orphaned boy, now undergoing intensive treatment in the UK, there were thousands of maimed children with no safe access to adequate health services, let alone sophisticated rehabilitation. Limited access to clean water and sanitation, poverty, malnutrition, and disruption of public services including health services, continued to have a negative impact on the health of the Iraqi people. According to the author of the report Dr Sabya Farooq, poor health was further jeopardised by the extensive war-related contamination of land, rivers and atmosphere. The health and environmental consequences of the war would be felt for many years to come.

Dr Chawla and Dr Mitra further stated that there were reports that radioactive material was lying unchecked around several nuclear facilities in Iraq, one of them being Tuwaitha nuclear facility. “People from surrounding areas have taken away containers from these nuclear stations and dumped their food material in these. This poses serious risk to them in time to come. Unfortunately, the occupying forces are doing very little towards all this.

This was an ill-advised and illegal war using ferociously destructive modern weaponry.

They urged the USA and the United Kingdom to make certain that future US and British policies prevented pre-emptive wars. An international body headed by the UN must protect the health of the Iraqi people by providing massive help in the reconstruction of the infrastructure, the attackers had destroyed, and make sure that the aggressors paid for this reconstruction.



City looks forward to Food Expo 2003
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 19
Food gourmets, food chains and anything connected with it are in for a good time as Food Expo 2003 is being held in the city.
The exhibition is to be held on a big scale with the who’s who of the entrepreneurs and the intelligentsia forming part of the proceedings. It is to be held on December 19, 20 and 21, at Maharaja Palace here and will highlight various sectors of the food industry making it an ideal ground for purposeful interaction between the manufacturers and consumers.

A series of contests were held to set the stage for Food Expo 2003. After the Government College for Women, the series continued with the contests held at Punjab Agricultural University and Sandhu Home Science College Monday to Tuesday respectively.

Contests in microwave cooking salad making cakes and puddings making and soya cooking were organised.

The contests were an extraordinary show of talent as students came up with the most delectable gastronomic delights. The tastes range from the tangy subtle western taste to the tangy oriental spices. The enthusiasm shown by the participants took the judges by surprise who found the competition quite difficult to judge.

Dr (Ms) Mann, Dean, College for Home Science, PAU, and Ms Rashmni, Profesor, Khalsa College for Women were at the PAU while Ms Sukhbir Sandhu and Ms Baljeet Grewal were the judges at Sandhu Home Science College.

The winners in both the college were: Ravneet, Harpreet, Shivani, Gunveen, Monica and Gurpriya (from PAU) and Raminder Kaur Boparai, Sarita, Vikrant, Gurdeep Singh, Amarjeet SIngh and Jaspal Kaur (form Sandhu Home Science College). The students who clear the remaining rounds will be eligible for the finals to be held during the Food Expo at Maharaja Palace.

Mr Maninder S. Sethi, Director Excelsior Advertising said, “We have designed this expo in a manner that will create history. The event will be a showcase for the progress in the food industry world wide and the endless potentials that can still be tapped.



Seminar on Bhai Veer Singh on Dec 5
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
An executive body meeting of Dhan-Pothohar Brotherhood, Punjab, was held here today at Hotel Nanda under the chairmanship of its president, Mr N.S. Nanda. The meeting condoled the untimely death of great Punjabi singer Surjit Bindrakhia and observed two minutes silence in his memory.

Giving details of the proceedings, Mr Nanda said it was decided to organised a ‘sabhayacharak (cultural) programme’ on December 5 here and dedicated to the birthday celebrations of Bhai Veer Singh, a well known poet. A seminar would also be organised to mark the occasion and it would be attended by noted scholars who read out papers on the life and contribution of Bhai Veer Singh.

Mr Nanda said it was also decided to publish ‘Samriti Granth’ which would consist of the articles poems and literary pieces, authored by prominent scholars, writers, poets belonging to Dhan-Pothohar region. They include Mohan Singh, Gurmukh Singh Musafir, Harnam Singh Shan, Bhai Jodh Singh, Pritam Singh Safeer, Kartar Singh Duggal and many other prominent writers.

He said, the sacrifice of all Pothoharis made at the time of the partition and towards South Asian civilisation would also be highlighted in the granth. He said a Dhan-Pothohar Kosh (directory) which was under compilation consisting of the details of all members of the brotherhood, living in India and other parts of the world would also be released in January, 2004. Eleven eminent persons would be honoured on that day.

Mr Nanda said the 10 member delegation visit to Pakistan had been delayed by the Pakistan High Commission due to certain reason, which would be shortly finalised and communicated. He also welcomed the Pakistani theatre group, which had brought famous play ‘Bulle Shah’ being staged in different cities of Punjab.



Development must merge with surroundings

Development of infrastructure worth Rs 100 crore in Ludhiana envisaged in the news item 'Rs 100 crore MC plan for development' in Ludhiana Tribune dated November 15 is a welcome move indeed. These proposals will go a long way in ameliorating the chaotic conditions prevailing in the highly congested and polluted city. One only hopes that these ambitious plans, too, may not, as usual, end up as a paper exercise, but would be translated in letter and spirit on the ground because the Municipal Commissioner (MC) had been making similar promises from time to time.

Since some of the projects, proposed by the MC, have long gestation period, it is hoped that their speedy execution will not suffer with the change of guard as has happened with the construction of the elevated road and the maintenance of parks because of the inherent tendency, with some of the officers, to undo the schemes initiated by their predecessors.

Another point that needs to be emphasised at this stage is that every care should be taken to ensure that the beautification and other development works fully merge with the surroundings and not become an eyesore as the foot bridges constructed near Government College for Women and Vishwkarma Chowk.

Needless to add that proper maintenance and upkeep of the assets created at huge cost is a must, otherwise the whole exercise ends up in criminal waste of the tax payer's money. For example the fountains installed in Leisure Valley and Bhai Bala Chowk have remained non-functional after the initial trials. Similarly, the maintenance of existing traffic lights leaves much to be desired. Lest a further investment of Rs 1 crore, as proposed, for the extension of Leisure Valley meets the same fate as the amount already spent, the residents would urge the authorities to first ensure proper up-keep of the existing garden before incurring any further expenditure on its extension.

Before concluding it may be mentioned that Ludhiana already has a renowned and well-established officers' club. The city can hardly support another such club. Moreover, the club building will not only look odd but will also usurp major portion of the Rakh Bagh Garden which serves a vital need of the people living in the highly populated area. Why waste the tax payers' money for such a white elephant which would destroy a well-developed park? With such an attitude there is hardly any justification for developing new parks in the city.

S.S. Chana, Ludhiana

Revised pension formula unjust

More than 5 lakh Punjab Government employees and pensioners are up in arms against the revised pension commutation formula which has imposed a major cut in the commutation of pension of those retiring on or after July 31 this year. The formula is most unjust and it needs to be rolled back immediately.

'Under the new formula, a person who retires at the age of 58 will get commutation at the rate of 6.21 per cent instead of 10.46 per cent as was provided under the old formula. It means under the new rules, the retirees will get nearly Rs 60,000 instead of Rs 1,00,000. Besides, the rate of interest chargeable on the commuted pension has been raised from 4.75 to 8 per cent under the new rules. It is again a minus point of the new dispensation.

The revised formula does not apply in the case of Punjab Cadre IAS officers. They will get the commutation of pension at the higher rate than that of other employees. It is a case of sheer discrimination. Pensioners want the Punjab Government to restore the old formula.

Meanwhile, Central Government employees and pensioners, across the country, are deeply perturbed over the new pension scheme, approved by the Central Government, for its employees who will join Central Government service w.e.f. January 1, 2004, excluding the defense forces.

About 50,000 employees, who join the Central Government service every year will have to pay 10 per cent of the basic pay and dearness allowance, which, practically, amounts to a big wage-cut for them. Given the present pay scales and rate of DA, the wage-cut will range from Rs 400 to Rs 4000 per month. With the half-yearly DA hike, the deduction will go up. Under the existing pension scheme, employees are not required to contribute even a single paisa.

Sadly, the new scheme is silent on the provision of family pension, commutation of pension, gratuity, leave encashment, medical reimbursement/medical allowance and other benefits for the retirees. There is no provision of General Provident Fund and Group Insurance Scheme as well. It means that the new employees will be at the mercy of the Pension Regulatory Authority which will fix the quantum of benefits for them.

New recruits have another grouse that "on attaining superannuation at the age of 60, it would be mandatory for them to invest 40 per cent of the accumulated pension money to purchase an annuity from a Life Insurance Company, while there is no such condition in the existing pension scheme."

Employees term this scheme 'tension scheme' and demand its rollback.

Yash Paul Ghai, Ludhiana

Need to speed up elevated road work

This has reference to the news of austerity measures highlighted in Ludhiana Tribune dated November 8, 2003, vide which the Municipal Corporation (MC) has saved Rs 9 crore in past one year. By contrast a saving of Rs 28 crore was affected in the last one-and-a-half years in the execution of civic works, sinking of tubewells.

Further, it has been noticed that the work on elevated road, which should have been completed by now, is indeed very slow. This has to be speeded up otherwise further delay would increase the cost considerably, thus neutralising the savings claimed. The work on the flyover to replace Lakkar Pul should also be undertaken vigorously and completed at the earliest as the blocked roads near old courts is causing a lot of inconvenience to the public, apart from prohibitive cost if further delay is incurred. As the old overbridge has already been dismantled, the people are seen crossing the railway lines on foot, which is not only illegal but also quite dangerous to life and limb. As regards the tubewells and the saving, it is learnt that life expectancy of such wells as per claims of MC under the present contract system is estimated at 5 years, whereas according to the Chairman, Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board, it is about 10 years when similar work is undertaken by the board as reported a few months back.

Regarding Rs 100-cr MC plan for development (Ludhiana Tribune, 15.11.2003), the MC Commissioner should first ensure that the repair or resurfacing of roads, sanitation, etc. is maintained regularly. The upkeep of assets like parks, etc. already created has to be done continuously as pointed out repeatedly by the citizens of Ludhiana. The funds for the same as well as for the roads, etc. should be made available on permanent basis. Needless to say that there is hardly any maintenance of roads during the last financial year thus leading to above mentioned savings.

Dr Gurkirpal Singh, Ludhiana

Field Ganj 5 and 6 in terrible condition

The recent news that work has been undertaken by the MC to cover an open drain in Field Ganj in Ward no 51 in good news. However, the major problem begins in Field Ganj 5, which is the main traffic street. It is the junction between kucha 5 and 6 where the drain is choked and stinking. There is need to deepen the sewerage, adjust the downstream flow right up to the gurdawra and cover it. To undertake that work and have it cleared on a regular basis, illegal occupation encroachment by the shopkeepers must be removed.

It is a kind of a joke that more persons from the MC want to have a mention in the paper and in the photos than getting the real work done. Health of citizens is the responsibility of the MC. With the recent outbreak of dengue fever, Field Ganj 5 and 6 area is sitting on biological time bomb. Dead rats are often seen in these two streets and in the bylanes adjoining them. Add to that the misery of open sale of unpacked spices such as chillies, which go in the eyes and choke the persons shopping or passing through the area, and create a living hell in an alreday highly polluted city.

Would any members of MC go to Field Ganj 5 and 6 and do something about the minimal cleanliness of this area?

Dr B.S. Ahloowalia, Vienna, Austria through e mail

More words on memorial, no work

I was in an upbeat mood to see the photograph on the title page displaying a thick rush in Sarabha village on the occasion of the martyrdom of Kartar Singh Sarabha (Ludhiana Tribune, Monday Nov 17) and I was reminded the lines 'Shaheedon ki chitaon par lagtey har varsh meley, waten pe marne walon ki baqi yehi nishan hoga,' and soo I was sad that the government which makes claims that it is a popular government is meting out indifferent treatment to the memorial and monuments of the great martyrs. If ever they are built, they suffer total neglect. It only shows that we, including our government, have only cupboard love for the memories of these martyrs. The proposed memorial (of Kartar Singh Sarabha) which is the native house of the martyrs, has always been in the news due to the slow pace of work on it. A cousin of the martyr, Bibi Jagdish Kaur, had been agitating against the respective state governments' demanding the completion of the rock on the memorial. The 100-day-old woman had threatened to observe a fast in front of the house of the Chief Minister, if the work was not started on time and she would renounce the title 'Punjab Mata', she asserted.

Similar is the story with our soldiers who died guarding the borders of the country. The Central Government grants the money and other financial help. But the money does not reach the deserving. They wander from pillar to post and ruthlessly suffer red-tapism and the indifferent and the harsh treatment meted out to them by the officers concerned. These officers become totally blind to the sacrifice the family is making by suffering the loss of a member of the family. But the martyr's family only undergoes anguish.

Vijay Sheel Jain, Ludhiana



Youth crushed under truck
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 19
A youth, Kulwinder Singh, was crushed under a truck near village Rasulra Majri this morning.
According to eyewitnesses, the youth was going on his side on the kutcha road on his cycle. When he reached near Rasulara Majri village, a truck crushed him under its front tyre. The youth, identified as a resident of Ratan Palon village died on the spot. A case has been registered at the Sadar Police Station, Khanna. Body was handed over to his family members after conducting the post-mortem.



Fund crunch hits small-scale units
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, November 19
As many as 8.68 lakh small-scale units in the country have been closed down for want of capital and this is roughly 37.65 per cent of the total small-sale units in the country. This was stated by Mr P.D. Sharma, President, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, here.

According to Mr Sharma, after the 56th round of the national sample survey, it has been found that capital shortage has hit the unorganised manufacturing units. A little over 49 per cent of the units cited the shortage of capital as the biggest problem faced by them in day to day operations.

An all-India survey conducted by the All-India Management Association shows a 5.2 per cent fall in the growth of small-scale units in 1998-2002. This was mainly in North India where small-scale industry’s output has declined by 8.6 per cent. However, small-scale industry’s output in South India grew by 25.8 per cent.

The CII conducted a parallel survey of primary non-SSI units which shows a fairly dramatic decline in the economy of northern states in the past decade. While the average GDP growth for both southern and northern states was 6 per cent in the preliberalisation decade, post-reform growth in the North fell to 5 per cent while rose to 7.2 per cent in the South.

The All-India Managemet Association survey shows that 60 per cent of the small-scale firms in the North were not confident of surviving for more than five years. Shortage of capital, over-regulation by the government, labour laws and erratic taxation regime were main reasons for the same.

Earlier 30 or 40 per cent of the products of the multinational companies and large Indian business houses used to be sources from the SSI units. With the items put on the OGL, their sourcing has stopped almost completely. Companies find it cheaper to import them, Mr Sharma added.



Bank of India renovated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 19
The Bank of India (BOI) today converted its main branch in the city into fully air-conditioned branch with multi banking facilities to the clients at a function here.
Ms T. A. D’mellow, General Manager of the bank, performed the ceremony in the presence of the large number of customers. Addressing the gathering she said BOI had provided multi-banking facilities at its 600 branches in the country covering 200 centres. This facility would provide accelerated remittance of funds and save on cost and time. Various other facilities like tele-banking, SMS, multi-city cheque book and coral were also being made available at these branches. The bank, she added, had chalked out plans to renovate its existing branches.

Mr H.S. Bhatia, Zonal Manager, Mr M.K. Pareek, Assistant General Manager and Mr R.P. Dhall, Chief Manager of the branch, expressed gratitude to the customers for extending their trust and continued support to the bank.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |