L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Murder behind Khud Mohalla fire
Man used chemical to set wife on fire
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
The devastating May 10 Khud Mohalla fire, which claimed 20 lives besides leaving around 100 injured, was not only a tragedy but also a heinous crime against a woman.

The revelation was made by an inquiry conducted by the city police, which established that the fire was caused in a hosiery factory when its owner threw a highly volatile chemical on his wife and set her on fire.

The man, Gurbachan Singh Gogi, was arrested by the Division Number III police here this evening. The inquiry report submitted by the DSP, Mr Harpreet Singh Mander, stated that the man allegedly murdered his wife as an outcome of marital dispute. His daughter had tried to save the woman and also perished in the fire.

The fire went out of control and became one of the major fire tragedies of the city. The woman, Sangeet, was charred to death in the fire while Gogi sustained burn injuries. He was admitted to a local hospital. The fire had also claimed the lives of many hosiery workers, while a few persons were killed trying to save others. One policeman was killed and another lost his arm in the tragedy.

A case was registered against Gogi by the city police in August after residents of the area demanded an inquiry by the SSP, Ludhiana, into the fire incident. The residents had demanded action against Gogi, who, they claimed, had stored inflammable material in violation of rules. They had also alleged that the couple used to fight constantly and before the fire they had heard them fighting.

Gogi was, however, not arrested in August. At the time a case was registered against him only for causing death to a large number of people by storing a chemical illegally. Today, a case under Section 302 of the IPC was registered against him.

The district police had marked an inquiry into the episode and it was assigned to DSP Sandeep Goel. SSP Narinderpal Singh had assured the residents that action would be taken against the accused if he was found guilty. Stating that Gurbachan Singh Gogi was responsible for causing death to so many people, the residents had claimed that he was inside the house when the fire broke out.

The residents, led by women who lost their husbands in the fire, had met the SSP and submitted a memorandum to him demanding the registration of a case against Gogi.



MC begins clearing encroachments
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 30
In the wake of the directions by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to clear encroachments on public land within two months, the local municipal corporation today launched an operation to implement the order, albeit at a small level.

Two teams cleared more than one dozen encroachments on municipal land in Dhandari Khurd and along the Chandigarh road were cleared.

One group, headed by Mr B.K. Gupta, Assistant Commissioner, and Mr P.K. Garg, Municipal Town Planner, with machines descended on Dhandari Khurd on the G.T. Road and demolished around one dozen houses partially. The structures were extending on to a part of the road berm.

The team did not face any resistance from the house owners, though a strong posse of the police was present.

A stay order granted to the encroachers by a local court had already been vacated following directions of the high court to the District and Sessions Judge.

Officials of the Building Branch of Zone B of the corporation, led by Assistant Town Planner Rakesh Kumar, razed a temporary structure, part of a cemented floor and a staircase of a commercial establishment near Jamalpur Chowk on the Chandigarh road. The demolished structures were part of a shop that was earlier bulldozed also for encroaching upon the road.



Rumblings in Cong delaying justice
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
The ongoing dissidence row in the Congress seems to have cast its shadow on a magisterial inquiry ordered into an unsavoury ‘VIP sons versus cops’ controversy involving Minister for Jail and Housing Development Malkiat Singh Birmi and former SHO Sarabha Nagar, Sandeep Singh Wadehra, in October this year.

While the inquiry proceeded at high speed in the first month after its initiation and as many as 25 witnesses had deposed before the inquiry officer, M S Jaggi, within no time, it is yet to be finalised. Sources said the inquiry could have been delayed because of the rumblings in the Congress. Mr Birmi is a prominent leader among the dissidents.

The magisterial inquiry was ordered to find out whether a son of the Congress Minister and another of a Congress Municipal Councillor had misbehaved with the SHO or the police official had done so in an alleged incident occurring at Sarabha Nagar main market in the first week of October.

The police official was suspended almost a week after the incident only when the Jail Minister threatened to resign if the Chief Minister did not take action against the cop. The local police had been maintaining that the two accused youths had misbehaved with the cop and he was only doing his duty.

Sources disclosed that because Mr Birmi was always in the Bhattal camp and any inquiry involving him would had some kind of reflection ,the inquiry was being delayed. Sources said the district administration was in a quandary over the outcome of the probe, especially when the dissidents raised their banner openly this month.

If this inquiry goes against Mr Birmi, it would obviously become a tool in the hands of the dissidents. And and if it goes in his favour, it would be interpreted as an appeasing move by the Chief Minister's camp.

Mr Malwinder Singh Jaggi, the inquiry officer in the case and GA to the DC here, vehemently denies any political pressure on him. He said he would report the facts as they were and was conducting a fair probe into the matter. When reminded that he had claimed to reporters in November only that the inquiry was ready and the report was being typed, Mr Jaggi said he found out some discrepancies and wanted to be doubly sure about the matter.

The report, sources said, is rather long and required more than 70 pages. Both the sides had presented witnesses to support their claims and Mr Jaggi had also personally recorded the statements of several neutral persons, including shopkeepers, at the posh market of the city.

Mr Jaggi enjoys a good reputation in the city and is highly regarded as an upright officer.

The incident is followed with much interest here. It had in fact triggered off a debate over the political interference in police working and the alleged harassment by VIP wards as well as the limits to which the cops should go in handling such situations.

The alleged incident took place in the Sarabha Nagar main market and then at the police station of the area. SHO Sandeep Singh Wadhera had a bitter argument with a son of Mr K S Chabra, Congress Municipal Councillor, over the issue of verifying the driving documents of the youth's friend. The councillor's son was allegedly slapped by the cop after the youth allegedly misbehaved with him calling him a ‘policia’.

When the SHO took them to the police station, a son of Mr Birmi, who was the accused youth's friend ,stormed in and allegedly told the SHO that he would be suspended. Later Mr Chabra and Mr Birmi also had an argument with the cops.

The matter snowballed next morning when Mr Birmi demanded action against the cop. He waited for few days and then took the matter with Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh. The CM ordered the cop's suspension.

Meanwhile, as per the police rules, the local SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, recommended a magisterial probe into the matter. Mr Anurag Verma deputed his GA, Mr Malvinder Singh Jaggi (PCS) ,to conduct the probe

The SHO continues to be under suspension because of the pending inquiry. Interestingly, the state government had reinstated several cops involved in controversies, pending an inquiry, on the plea that if they get two-thirds salary sitting home, they should be made to work. However, the SHO is still waiting for orders.

Mr Wadehra refused to comment on the controversy.



Administration to streamline admission process
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
Reacting to complaints regarding problems of admissions in schools, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, has decided to streamline the admission procedure in all public schools.

To discuss the admission problems being faced by the parents, a meeting of Principals and representatives of public schools was held here today under the chairmanship of Mr. Verma.

After the meeting, the Deputy Commissioner in an order, directed all schools to declare the final results of the interviews for admissions positively by February 5, 2004, so that the parents could decide about the school of their choice , in case, their ward is selected in more than one school. The Deputy Commissioner has also fixed February 12, 2004, as the last date for getting the refund of the fee and other charges, in case the parents want to change the school after depositing the fee in another school. He directed the managements of the pubic schools to refund the deposited amount after deducting 10per cent of the total with the ceiling of Rs 2000.

Mr Verma informed that he had been receiving a number of representations from people regarding the admission problems and they had informed him that some schools did not refund the deposited fee, in case they wanted to admit their ward in some other school after depositing fee and they had to face substantial financial loss for getting admission of their wards in the school of their choice. The Deputy Commissioner said all schools were working for a noble cause and it was their moral duty not to charge for the service which they were not providing.

The Principals/representative of prominent schools who participated in the meeting were from Sacred Heart Public School Sarabha Nagar, Kundan Vidya Mandir, Sacred Heart Public School BRS Nagar, DAV Public School, Delhi Public School, Ryan International School and Sat Pal Mittal Memorial Public School.



‘Which door to knock for justice?’
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, December 30
"I am a shattered man. The unfortunate accident took away everything from me — my left arm, my wife, mental peace and all my resources. Being the only bread winner in the family, I have to look after my two children, but being physically unfit, I have not been able to get any job. I can not see my children dying of hunger also. But I do not know what to do and where to go", said 39-year-old Ashwani Kumar, who lost his left arm after being injured in an accident while working in a factory here.

A resident of Tibba Road, Ashwani was working in a cycle company at Focal Point as 'purchase man'. He was getting Rs 3500 per month as salary and was a permanent employee there. On October 14, 2002 when he was supervising one of the sheds being repaired the roof of collapsed. "All of a sudden, the ceiling collapsed and fell on me. I fell unconscious and was taken to Sri Ram Charitable Hospital by the employers. There I came to know that my back bone had fractured and the left elbow was damaged. I was operated upon and rods were inserted into my elbow. I was discharged on October 21, 2002, from the hospital", said Ashwani Kumar.

After that, Ashwani started facing problems. He was not given salary by the employers because he could not join his duty. He had to look after the family, the children's school fee, his medication expenses etc. His wife, Babita went to the employers seeking financial help but to no avail. “The employers said they had done whatever they could. I asked for some loan and told them that they could deduct it from the salary but they refused. They sent me vouchers worth Rs 20,000 as advance but I refused to sign them. The vouchers are still lying with me”, he said.

He then approached the ESI Hospital authorities for claim. "But the bills were torn by one of the doctors saying that he had approached the hospital on his own and ESI had nothing to do with it. Then they referred me to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala. I was given Rs 470 per week by the ESI authorities. At Patiala, I was again operated upon and my plating was removed. Rs 5000 were spent on the operation. Though the ESI have cleared that bill but the payment is still due", said Mr Ashwani Kumar.

According to Ashwani, his wife had to borrow money from family members, friends and neighbours to clear the hospital bill of Rs 5000. "She was passing through a very bad phase. Both my children had to leave their studies. People, who had helped us, wanted their money back. My wife used to cry to see all this and she went in coma and was hospitalised for almost 15 days. I had to approach the Deputy Commissioner, who referred my case to Labour court. Because of their intervention, my employers gave me Rs 1900 which I spent on my wife's treatment. I had to stop my medicines. But on December 18, 2003, my wife died", said Ashwani Kumar in a helpless manner.

As if this all was not enough, the ESI authorities today issued him a "fitness certificate", which means he would stop getting Rs 470 per week. "Do you think I am fit? I still need thorough treatment because my left arm is paralysed. I can only move my first two fingers.

Mr Suresh Gupta, the employer, when contacted, said Aswani Kumar was given the best treatment. "I personally took interest in him on humanitarian grounds and provided him with the best treatment. He has already taken advance from us and we have receipts of all the advance but now he is refusing saying those are not his signatures. We could not pay him the salary because he was being given approximately Rs 2000 by the ESI authorities", said Mr Gupta.



Traffic congestion assumes alarming proportions
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 30
The lack of traffic management and slack enforcement of regulations in the congested areas of the city and particularly on the Old G.T. Road (NH 1), passing through the city from Jagraon Bridge to Jalandhar Bypass, have led to a chaotic situation to the extent that the stretch of road has become a nightmare for drivers.

With the ongoing construction work on elevated road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema, the section of road has become one of the most problematic spots for vehicles and other road users. To make the matters worse, poor maintenance on the part of civic authorities and proliferating encroachments, both permanent and temporary, by the shopkeepers, rehri and phariwalas, along with indiscriminate parking of three wheelers and mini buses on both sides of the road have further added to the misery of the people.

The highway is a transit route for Delhi and Jalandhar- bound vehicles from the city, and it also serves to connect the old city localities with new colonies, lying west of Ludhiana-Delhi railway line through Jagraon Bridge and Domoria Bridge. But both these routes have, off late, become major bottlenecks for traffic for different reasons.

After a slight improvement, which lasted only a couple of days, traffic on Domoria Bridge road, once again, remains disrupted for a couple of hours every day due to indifferent and clumsy regulation by traffic cops. Another major factor, which impedes the flow of traffic is that the incoming traffic from Chawni Mohalla side cuts across the flow of bumper- to- bumper traffic, right at the start of the bridge to take a U-turn towards Civil Lines. A little ahead as one approaches the T-junction of Deepak Cinema Road, the vehicles coming from opposite sides, again cut across each other. Repeated demand by the city residents to declare the roads leading to Old Sabzi Mandi and Deepak Cinema as one-way roads, has so far failed to evoke any response from the authorities.

The situation is worse on the Old G.T. Road at all major intersections at Mata Rani Chowk, Clock Tower and Lakshmi Cinema Chowk. This section of road provides access to more than one dozen major commercial centres and wholesale markets, with a heavy volume of slow moving traffic and light transport vehicles. The three wheelers and mini buses park themselves with impunity right in the middle of the road at Clock Tower Chowk and Lakshmi Cinema Chowk to take or disembark passengers, being absolutely oblivious to the inconvenience that they cause to the other motorists and road users.

The pathetic condition of the section of the road, particularly from Mata Rani Chowk to Jagraon Bridge, has to be seen to be believed. With no periodic maintenance and repairs worth the name, the top surface of the road has virtually disappeared and most of the NH 1 on this section is just a dusty strip, full of pot holes, depressions, loose stones and sand in the middle of the road.

With a sizeable portion of the road in the middle, having been cordoned off by the construction company, it is an experience in itself to drive through the stretch of road or even walk on foot. The encroachments, on both sides of the road, especially from Clock Tower Chowk to Lakshmi Cinema further make the movement on the road difficult, if not impossible.



Ludhiana Calling

In a welcome change, the district police has again allowed station house officers (SHOs) to brief mediapersons on day-to-day crime activity as well as success achieved by the police. The SHOs have been asked to do so after a gap of almost two years. This has resulted in heavy information flow. Even the news of cracking of minor gangs is provided in detail to the Press. This has also helped improve the image of the police. The previous police administration stayed away from sharing information despite requests by the mediapersons. The latest move will improve relations with the Press.

Maid’s Xmas gift

Most of the domestic servants in this industrial city are migrant labourers. Though illiterate, they do not miss out on any major festival of Punjab to demand special gifts in the form of clothes, cash or valuables from their employers. Well this is understandable as far as Punjabi festivals go. A colleague was surprised when his maid sought a gift from Santa on Christmas Eve. She barely knew what the festival was all about but had the knowledge that one Santa Claus distributes gifts. “You become a Santa and give me a gift,” she said, adding that she wanted a New Year’s gift too. The end of the year surely ended on an expensive note.

Raas Lila on New Year?

While the entire world is preparing to enter into the New Year with a bash, a local college has decided to celebrate it in a unique way. Kamla Lotia College is organising a “Raas Lila” by a famous group from Uttar Pradesh on the New Year’s Eve. The “Raas Lila” will start at 8 pm and continue well past midnight. “By remembering Lord Krishna, the revelers will pray for a happy and fruitful New Year. Can there be a better way to celebrate the New Year?” remarked a spokesperson for the college.

Smart greetings

A few years ago it were the e-cards that had revolutionised the way we greet others on festivals. In some cases they had replaced greeting cards altogether. While the greeting card industry was just recovering from the brunt, SMS services by cellular companies took the toll on rest of their sales. With the burgeoning popularity of mobile phones, more and more people have started sending greeting through the SMS. Be it Christmas, New Year or any other festival, sending a greeting just at the click of the button doesn’t seem to mind many people.

Santa’s bhangra

While the Christmas celebrations were on, almost all schools of the city had organised some function to celebrate the festival. Students were dressed as Santas and Christmas Trees were decorated. In one school, a function was organised to celebrate the festival and audience were waiting for the start. A group of boys took to the stage and started performing bhangra. And much to the surprise of many, some boys dressed as Santas joined them. This drew huge applause from the audience, which liked the amalgam of the West and the East.

Traffic (non)sense

Traffic chaos continues to be a bane for motorists even as the Traffic Police keeps on dealing with the violators strictly. With more than 100 vehicles added on to the city roads every day, traffic is becoming too much to handle for the police. While the police is blamed time and again for failing to control the chaos, public too does not lag far behind, as most motorists lack traffic sense. Jumping the red light during the morning as well as late hours, especially in the peripheral areas of the city, is a common occurrence. One can only wonder at the driving “skills” of city residents, who despite flouting traffic rules, manage to escape accidents, as not many of these are reported every day.

Holiday spate

As the year comes to a close, the work in government offices has come to a standstill. Thanks to the holiday season. With winter holidays and casual leave in hand, many employees and officials have proceeded on long leave. In many offices of the district administration, the attendance is thin. The employees that do show up, sit idle or tell visitors that they need to come the next year to get their work done.

Wake-up call

Ludhiana is the most polluted city in the state. But when will the pollution control authority go serious about checking the ever-increasing demon that has already started affecting the health of city residents. While it has issued hundreds of notices to polluters, it has failed to do a follow-up. Residents of many areas have got tired of protesting against the polluting units in their areas, as no action has been taken against the violators. Ironically, the ambient air pollution monitor, a digital machine, claimed to be the only one installed in the state, was inaugurated by the chairman of the board with much fanfare. Just a fortnight after the machine was installed, it went out of order. Anybody listening?

Netizens’ fad

Remember those picture-frame lockets attached to the gold chains! A rage in the jewellery fashion in the past, the usual lockets are slowly being replaced by unique lockets of Netizens. A youth was spotted wearing a gold chain displaying his e-mail ID. It read ravi@rediffmail.com. Seems to be the case of a man gone too far.

— Sentinel



Gurpurb celebrations from today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 30
Gurdwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha, Model Town Extension, will celebrate the 337th birthday of Guru Gobind Singh, from December 31 to January 5, according to a spokesman for the gurdwara management. The celebrations will get off to a start with the holding of a two-day kirtan darbar in which renowned 'raagi' groups from Darbar Sahib will participate. On the second day of the kirtan darbar, women hymn-singers from Jalandhar and Shahbad in Haryana will perform.

Giving further information, the spokesman said on January 2, a massive nagar kirtan will be held in the afternoon and on January 3, a number of 'akhand path' will be arranged and a 'dhadhi' darbar will also be held the same day. On the concluding day, bhog ceremonies of the 'akhand path' will be solemnised in the morning after which another kirtan darbar will be held till midnight along with the holding of a special 'divan'.

Meanwhile, an impressive nagar kirtan was held yesterday in connection with the birthday celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh by the management of Gurdwara Dashmesh Singh Sabha of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar. Led by the traditional 'panj piaras' , the religious procession, comprised hymn-singing parties, religious and social organisations, 'gatka' parties and school children. The procession, which passed through various localities, was greeted with showering of floral petals. At the end of the procession, the gurdwara management honoured several organisations for taking part in the nagar kirtan.



Govt employees stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
The Punjab Mulajam Sangharsh Committee staged a dharna outside the local Treasury today to press for their demands.

Led by Mr Harbhajan Singh, a local leader, employees raised slogans against the state government for being “unjust.”

He said benefits like pension, gratuity, commutation of pension and leave encashment were the right of the employees and the state government could not ban these, he added. The employees were angry with the government as these were their only assets and they depended on the post-retirement benefits in their old age, he added.

The state government’s decision to freeze the salary, ACP promotions, medical re-imbursement, TA and LTC was uncalled for and the employees would oppose it, he said, and called on all employees to extend their support to the agitators.



Partygoers bid adieu to 2003
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 30
To bid adieu to 2003, a cosmetics centre, VLCC, organised a New Year-cum-dance and dine party here last evening, in which women club members and famous personalities took part.

The party, organised at a local resort, was held in association with Bhagat Ford. To add flavour to the event, television personality Sukhminder Singh compered the programme and announced the gifts, which were given by Ms Vibha Sharma.

The crowds swayed to the tunes of latest dance numbers. This was followed by the announcement of prizes. The winners of various prizes: Oldest couple — Mr Naresh and Ms Neelam Dhawan; Made for each other — Mr Sham and Ms Neelam Chopra; Best dancing couple — Mr Sanjeev and Ms Shalini Dhanda; Best dancing baby — Aaktiti and Shubham; Youngest couple — Mr Sanjiv and Ms Shalini; Best-dressed lady — Radhika, Best-dressed gentleman — Dev, Best handmade bindi — Ms Sukhraj, First couple on the floor — Mr and Mrs Vinod Dhir; Best dancing male — Sunny; and Best dancing female — Heena.

The special attraction of the party was one-minute game shows held for couples.



Gurmat samagam from today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 30
The Bhai Daya Singh Ji Satsang Sabha will organise its annual “gurmat samagam” from December 31, 2003 to January 2, 2004 at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar on the Pakhowal road, according to Bhai Gursharan Singh.

The “samagam” would begin with the commencement of 13 Akhand Paaths at 9 am tomorrow, which would conclude in the afternoon on January 2, 2004. After which, a kirtan session would be held by Bhai Gursharan Singh.

On the same day, a “kirtan darbar” would be held from 5.30 pm to 10.30 pm in which prominent “raagis” would take part.

The “kirtan darbar” would begin with the recital of Shri Rehraas Sahib to be followed by “kirtan”. Those who are likely to chant hymns at the “kirtan darbar” are Bhai Gursharan Singh, Bhai Satinder Pal Singh of Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Bhai Jasbir Singh Khalsa from Khanna and Bhai Gurikbal Singh from Gurdwara Mata Kaulan, Amritsar.

After the conclusion of the “samagam”, the Bhai Daya Singh Ji Charitable Hospital would be thrown open on January 3, added Bhai Gursharan Singh.



Worst year so far, say engineering units
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
Good and bad times of the industry in Ludhiana are primarily determined by the bicycle, bicycle parts and auto parts industry. These three sectors are the mainstay of Ludhiana's industry, although hosiery also happens to be an important sector, yet it is the ups and downs in the engineering industry which reflect the industrial sentiment in the city. And for the engineering sector, year 2003 has proved to be the worst so far.

The industrialists concerned with the engineering sector have been attributing it to the continuously rising steel prices. Steel prices have risen by about 70 per cent during the last year. Other input costs like the prices of nickel and paint have also proved too dear for the engineering sector. According to Mr K.K. Seth, Managing Director of the Neelam Cycles after so many years the industrial production in the engineering sector has fallen and almost each units if producing far below its installed capacity.

Mr Seth maintained that the rising steel prices are the main reason for the sorry plight of the industry. He pointed out, the steel prices have risen by 70 per cent during the last one year, while the nickel prices have risen by 100 per cent and the prices of paints have risen by 15 percent. Against the rising input costs, there has been no rise in the prices of the finished products.

Another leading industrialist and the president of the Ludhiana Engineering Association, Mr M.S. Bhogal, the engineering units are producing far below their capacity. While earlier, particularly during the eighties and nineties production was far above the installed capacity, now it is much below. The production has no longer remained a profitable proposition for them.

Similarly Mr Ajit Singh Kullar, a leading bicycle manufacturer, observed that the prices of steel rose because of its shortage in India. The shortage was created artificially as the leading producers in the country instead of selling it in the domestic market started it exporting to China and at the same time kept on raising the prices in the domestic market. He revealed that 330 million tonnes of steel was exported to China while the prices kept on rising in the domestic market.

Hoping against hope the industrialists feel that in case the government intervened the situation might improve. If the situation continued like this, there may be several units which will have no option but to wind up. The industrialists have been hoping that the new year might bring some relief.



Steel industry seeks better deal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 30
The plight of small and medium-scale industry in the state is worsening by the day, allegedly owing to unfavourable policies of the state and the Centre.

According to Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), the situation would reach a point of no return in the absence of immediate remedial measures.

The major factor affecting the light-engineering industry, particularly the small units, was “arbitrary hike” in the prices of iron and steel by five major producers over the past year and a half, he said.

Unfavourable taxation policies of the government with the recent implementation of an exim form and the proposal to introduce VAT were adding to the misery of the industrial community, he complained.

Mr Pardhan was particularly upset over the failure of the Union Government to check the repeated increase in the prices of steel items like HR coils, CR coils, CR strips, steel ingots, steel plates and MS rounds, which were the raw material for engineering industries. As a result, more than 2.5 lakh tiny, small and medium-scale units, which contributed 40 per cent of the total industrial production, were on the verge of closure, he said, adding, it posed a threat of unemployment to over 20 lakh industrial workers.

The CICU chief lamented that the Punjab Government had no time to bother about the worsening condition of industrial units. “Once thrown out of gear, the industrial economy will have a grave negative impact on the entire economy of the state. It is high time the government acts in a responsive and effective manner to protect the light engineering industry,” Mr Pardhan added.



Online banking eases transactions
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
Only a couple of years ago it would take at least one week for Rajiv Kumar, a Pune-based student, to get the a demand draft from his father and later get it encashed. He would call his father here, who would take a day in getting a draft prepared and then dispatched. It would take another two days through courier to reach Pune. And another two days to get the draft cleared.

Thanks to online banking, now Rajiv can receive the cash instantly. Now his father deposits the cash here and within half- an- hour Rajiv withdraws it in Pune. While the online banking has made money transactions instant throughout the country, students have been benefited the most. Rajiv's father Roop Lal Sharma said that after some private banks started online transactions, he had no worries about his two children.

There are thousands of students who are studying at different places in the country and need regular money. Most of them have accounts with the private sector banks offering online services, which has made money transaction simple. And in case the account holder has the ATM card, he can withdraw the money any time he needs it. With these banks having branches in all major cities of the country, banking has become more simplified.

It is not only students, even businessmen have been benefited a lot with online banking. "Now you do not need to wait for the demand drafts and their subsequent clearing", disclosed Mr Sunil Dat. Now transactions are so simple. Mr Dat, who sells his products across the country, revealed that the buyers now deposit the money in his account and he gets the credit here. "Within half- an-hour I am able to withdraw the cash", he pointed out, while adding, "in business we need instant money and even a delay of a couple of days can make things difficult". Now there is no scope for such delays.

There are several banks, mostly from the private sector, which have launched the online banking. "We wanted to simplify the banking, particularly the money transactions, which form an important part of banking services", disclosed a senior official of a private sector bank.

Now even the public sector banks like State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank have also launched online banking. However, they have not been able to provide the facility at all centres so far.


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 |