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Sunet villager pulls out gun against demolition squad
MC staff refuse to carry out drive
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
A resident yesterday reportedly pulled out a revolver and threatened a demolition squad of the Municipal Corporation in Sunet village last evening during a drive against encroachments.

This act has had an adverse impact on the MC’s demolition operations as officials of the building branch, including the Municipal Town Planner, Assistant Towns Planners of all zones, building inspectors and other employees today refused to carry out the demolition in any city locality till a criminal case was registered against the accused person.

While the Assistant Town Planner of Zone D, Mr Manjit Singh, said a written complaint was lodged with the Sarabha Nagar police and the weapon, which was seized by the police personnel, accompanying the MC team, was also deposited at the police station. The police officials at Sarabha Nagar police station claimed that late in the evening, a compromise had been arrived at between the parties concerned and thereafter, no further action was called for.

However, the complainant and other MC officials maintained that there was no question of having a compromise with the accused person, who had posed a threat to the lives of the MC staff. They attributed the police inaction to political interference since the accused, Mr H.S. Bedi, was claiming proximity to a former Akali Dal legislator.

According to Mr Harjinder Singh, Joint Commissioner, who was overall in charge of the ongoing drive against encroachments, initiated at the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the incident had created fear and a sense of insecurity among the MC staff.

A meeting of MC officials was in progress to identify areas where encroachments were to be cleared today, but the employees comprising the demolition staff submitted a written representation at the meeting that they would not carry out the drive without adequate security cover. They also wanted accused H.S. Bedi to be booked on criminal charges.

Inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that due to the security threat to its staff members and officials during the massive anti-encroachment drive, the MC administration had taken up the issue of seeking additional police force with the Deputy Commissioner.

The DC had asked the district police chief to provide 25 police personnel to the civic body from January 1 till the period the campaign was to continue. However, the MC, till date, had not received any additional police force. The security cover was being provided by the MC’s own police force which was inadequate.

Some of the building branch employees of the MC told Ludhiana Tribune that the incident at Sunet had refreshed the memory of a similar mishap in which a Junior Engineer of Ludhiana Improvement Trust was shot dead and another official injured by an unlawful occupant in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar on Pakhowal Road in August 2002.

The general feeling of insecurity and threat perception among the employees was so overpowering that they had refused to continue with the demolitions unless foolproof security cover was provided to them.

A middle-level official of the building branch observed, “We very well know that the encroachments are being removed on the directions of the High Court. But at the same time, why should we put our lives in danger for nothing and earn the wrath of the city residents if the administration can not guarantee our safety and security.”



Four booked, 1 held for copyright violation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The city police today arrested a manufacturer for allegedly violating the Copyright Act. It has also registered an FIR against four persons. They have been identified as Tara Singh, his two sons Kulwinder Singh, Rajinder Singh and grandson (of Tara Singh) Rajbir Singh. Rajbir Singh has been arrested while others are absconding.

According to Mr Anil Mittal of Bombay Metal Work Pvt Ltd, they had filed a case against the RS Industries in the Delhi High Court for copying the packaging pattern and colour scheme of their product. Mr Mittal disclosed that the High Court had restrained them from using the same colour scheme, features and packaging pattern.

Mr Mittal said they had been manufacturing ball head racers and screw racers since 1948. These products are used in the bicycle industry under the trade mark BM Ltd. While the trademark is registered with them, they have also been using a particular colour scheme and pattern for packaging.

Since the BM Ltd has a registered office in Delhi and has been supplying the spare parts in Delhi, the RS Industries also started supplying their products there. With the result the BM Ltd filed a case in the Delhi High Court which pronounced its judgement on February 12, 2002, asking the RS Industries not to use the colour scheme, the packaging pattern and other features similar to the BM Ltd.

However, Mr Mittal alleged that the RS Industries continued to violate the High Court's order. With the result they filed a contempt case against the RS Industries. It was only today that taking cognisance of the High Court's order the Ludhiana police raided the manufacturing unit of the RS Industries situated at the Gill Road and seized huge stocks, including the packaging boxes, which were allegedly manufactured in violation of the High Court's order.

Mr Mittal pointed out, it was a unique case of the Copyright violation. He said, since the violators were not violating the trade mark, as they were using their own trade mark, they found it difficult to convince the court. Since the product is identified by the way it is packaged, the court accepted their argument and restrained the violators. He said their product was recognised through out the country primarily because of its packaging. The consumers of their product happen to be the rickshaw pullers and the cycle owners they could easily fall prey to the deluge.

He disclosed that RS Industries had priced their product 25 per cent less than the BM Ltd. As the customers were unable to note the difference they would buy it presuming it to be the BM Ltd's brand. He said even the distributors of the spare parts at the Gill Road and other markets had been warned not to sell the "duplicate" products as they could also come under the purview of the Copyright Act.



Nanaksar Ashram function held at Dhepai village
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
With the administration imposing Section 144 CrPC in Nanaksar Ashram Thath at Siahar following the violence over the headship of the trust, the monthly function routinely organised on the full moon day every month was organised at Nanaksar Ashram in Dhepai village near here today.

An organising committee member said that the annual day of the trust would also be organised in this village on January 13 as the administration had banned the congregation of five or more than five persons at the Siahar dera.

Representatives of Baba Harnek Singh, president of Nanaksar Ashram Trust, had specially reached the village to attend the function. Expulsion of Baba Harnek Singh from Sant Samaj remained the main issue of the day where various speakers criticised the latest development.

Stating that Baba Harnek Singh was not a member of the Sant Samaj, nor was the founder father of the trust, the speakers said that the Sant Samaj had no locus standi to expel the head of the trust.

Jathedar Balwinder Singh Bains, president of youth wing of Akali Dal (A), said that the confrontation going on at Siahar was a consequence of the vested interests of certain persons.

He said that on the antim ardas of Baba Meehan Singh on September 8, 1994, it was unanimously decided to appoint Baba Harnek Singh as the head of the trust.

Mr Jagdev Singh Aandloo, spokesperson of Baba Harnek Singh camp, rejected the decision of the Sant Samaj headed by Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi. He said that Baba Harnek Singh did not require a certificate from anybody to be addressed as a sant. He added that the Sant Samaj had no right to interfere in the matters of the Nanaksar trust as it was an independent international body.

Mr Gyan Singh Garcha, a representative of Baba Harnek Singh, who had come from Canada to attend the function, said that Canadian disciples of Baba Meehan Singh had also rejected the decision of the Sant Samaj. He added that the Canadian disciples were standing by the baba in this hour of crisis.

Bhai Darshan Singh Jodhan, another spokesperson, said that the birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Meehan Singh would be organised with pomp and show at Dhepai village on January 13. He also said that the next full moon function would be organised at Johlan village in Raikot.

Meanwhile, the spokespersons of Baba Mann Singh said that they would organise the annual function at Nanaksar only but it would be ceremonial only. They said that the police and the administration had not stopped them from organising any religious function.


DC conducts surprise checks in 5 schools
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
In order to check the proper utilisation of funds released under the Sarb Sikhya Abhiyan programme and to improve the working of primary schools, a surprise checking was conducted in five Government Elementary Schools by Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Prem Chand, SDM(E), and Ms Harvinder Kaur, DEO (Primary), accompanied him.

The checking began from Government Primary School, Mundian Kalan, where 24 students were found absent, whereas they had been marked present in the attendance register by the teachers. Mr. Verma pulled up the in charge teachers for this. He went to classrooms and checked the education level of students by asking questions from their own notebooks, which a few of the students were able to answer.

He tested the general knowledge of students by asking questions, but the general knowledge was found to be very poor and the DC told the teachers to improve their working and teaching aids and teach the students properly in future.

On checking the teaching aids purchased through the grants released at the rate of Rs 500 per teacher in schools, the globe, maps and other teaching material purchased through this grant was found unused, wrapped in the original covers and students informed that they were not being taught through teaching aids. The DC directed the DEO (P) to ensure the proper utilisation of teaching aids provided to teachers in all schools in the district.

After this, Mr Verma checked Government Elementary School, Budhewal, where he was astonished to find that no student from Class 6th could solve a question of simple division and teachers both from the elementary and primary sides were not working in unison to improve the education standards and blamed each others for the poor performance of students.

Mr Verma observed that the proper guidelines for the purchase of specific teaching aids and to use them in the classrooms were not given to teachers so far by the district education office . He directed the DEO(P) to discuss with DEO(S) to sort out the tussle between elementary and primary teachers in the schools, wherever it prevailed, at the earliest.

He found that a grant of Rs 1.18 lakh released for the construction of an additional room in the school was lying unutilised. For this lapse, the head of the school put forward some lame excuses. The DC took a serious note of this lapse and directed the Head Teacher to positively utilise the grant at the earliest, or face strict action.

The next school visited by the Deputy Commissioner was Government Primary School Kohara, where the presence of teachers and students was complete. Mr Verma was impressed by the selection of teaching aids purchased by teachers and proper utilisation of these aids in classrooms. Mr Verma appreciated the permanent maps and other teaching matters painted on the walls of classrooms to educate students. In Government Primary School, Kohara, all grants released under the Sarb Sikhya Abhiyan were judiciously utilised and the Deputy Commissioner asked the DEO(P) to direct all other schools to follow this pattern of quality education using good teaching aids.

Later, the DC visited Government Primary School, Bhairomuna, and Sahnewal, and gave directions to teachers to improve the quality of education and asked the teachers to allow students to use toilets constructed by the grants released. He informed that he would make surprise checking a permanent feature , so that the funds released to enhance the quality of education could be properly utilised.

Giving details of the grants released under the Sarb Sikhya Abhiyan program , the Deputy Commissioner informed that during this year, 7,800 teachers in primary schools were given grants of Rs 500 each for the purchase of teaching material and 350 government primary schools were given grants of Rs 35,000 each for the construction of toilets to be used both by teachers and students.

He disclosed that grants of Rs 5000 each for the repair and maintenance and of Rs 2,000 each had been released to all 1,531 government primary schools for the replacement and repair of furniture of the schools. He directed the DEO(P) to ensure that all lapses found during the surprise checking should be corrected within a month and he would again visit these schools in February to review the improvement.


Lobbying on for Lok Sabha seat
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, January 8
With the increasing possibility of early Lok Sabha elections, the aspirants for the ticket of the SAD and the Congress for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat have become active.

The Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat consists of nine Vidhan Sabha segments — Ludhiana East, Ludhiana West, Ludhiana North and Ludhiana Rural, Payal, Jagraon, Dakha (reserve), Kumkalan (reserve ) and Kilaraipur. Out of these nine seats, the Congress at present has six seats while the remaining three are with the SAD led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

This seat at present is represented by Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib of the Congress, who is having his second term. Mr Galib was first elected to the Lok Sabha seat in 1992 on Congress ticket when the SAD had boycotted Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections.

Mr Galib is again a serious contender for the Congress ticket. But his performance as a Lok Sabha MP for two terms has not been marked with any significant development. He has been rarely seen raising any issue pertaining to Punjab or the local industries in the Lok Sabha.

The other contenders for the Congress ticket for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat are Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, Mr H.S. Hanspal, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), and Mr Darshan Singh Brar, a former MLA and general secretary of the PPCC. Mr Gill is close to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and is the Mayor of the local Municipal Corporation, courtesy the Chief Minister.

Mr Hanspal is also keen on getting the Congress ticket and he belongs to the Namdhari sect. Mr Hanspal being a Ramgarhia Sikh also enjoys support among the local Ramgarhia Sikhs. But he does not have much following in the rural areas.

Mr Brar, who is now settled at Jagraon, is a Jat and a good fighter. He was denied the Congress ticket for the Vidhan Sabha from Jagraon following opposition by Mr Galib. This time he is determined to oppose Mr Galib. He has also served as state minister in the Cabinet of late Chief Minister Beant Singh.

There are about six contenders for the SAD ticket. The front runners are Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, a former minister and general secretary, SAD, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, president, youth wing of the SAD, Mr Mann Singh Garcha, younger brother of Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha and a confidant of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, a former MLA, and Mr Harish Dhanda, a former president of the District Bar Association. People even mention the name of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal for this seat. But he is likely to stick to the Faridkot Lok Sabha Seat.

Mr Grewal was elected to the Vidhan Sabha from the Ludhiana West segment in 1997 and was also inducted as a full Cabinet minister in the SAD-BJP government. He had to resign following differences between Mr Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and their subsequent separation. Although Mr Grewal is a confidant of Mr Tohra, he is also close to Mr Badal. He had played the major role in bringing about the unity between the two Akali stalwarts. After the unity of the two leaders, Mr Grewal was appointed general secretary of the SAD and also member of the Political Affairs Committee of the party.

Mr Grewal will prefer to contest from the Ludhiana West Vidhan Sabha seat as and when the elections to the Vidhan Sabha are held. The second serious contender for the SAD ticket is Mr Dhillon. He is close to Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal. Mr Dhillon is busy mobilising the Sikh youth for the youth rally to be held in Ludhiana on February 16, which is to be addressed by Mr Sukhbir Badal and other senior leaders. This rally is primarily meant to project Mr Sukhbir Badal as the leader of the youth.

Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha is also organising a rally at Dehlon on January 1 where Mr Sukhbir Badal will be honoured. Some Akali leaders say that this rally is meant to initiate the election campaign of Mr Sukhbir Badal. However, Mr Garcha strongly denies this propaganda and says that the rally is being organised to honour Mr Sukhbir Badal. He says that Mr Sukhbir Badal will contest only from the Faridkot Lok Sabha seat. Mr Garcha also confirmed that his younger brother, Mr Mann Singh Garcha, is an aspirant for the SAD ticket.

Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, who was returned to the Lok Sabha twice, is also a candidate for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat. People match his terms with that of Mr Galib of the Congress.

Mr Hira Singh Gabria, who is a grassroots SAD leader, also belongs to the Tohra faction. He was elected to the Vidhan Sabha in 1997. He stood by Mr Tohra through thick and thin and was now an important member of the SAD. He also comes from Ramgarhia community and command respect in the same.

Mr Harish Dhanda is a leading advocate and has been the president of the District Bar Association thrice. He contested the Vidhan Sabha election in 2002 as an Independent candidate as he could not get the SAD ticket.

The BJP has also staked its claim for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat. But the BJP has never won this seat since Independence. The main fight has always been between the Congress and the SAD.

The BJP sources say that film star Dharmendra may be put up as its candidate if this seat is given to the BJP. Dharmendra belongs to Sahnewal and his wife Hema Malini is now a BJP Rajya Sabha member.


Mandira Bedi to be in city tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Noted television personality Mandira Bedi will visit three homes in the city on January 10 as a part of the 'Mandira Aapke Ghar' programme being organised by the Set Max channel. Ludhiana happens to be the first city in the country to welcome Mandira Bedi.

'Mandira Apke Ghar' has been conceptualized with the idea of giving the viewers a chance to interact with Set Max and all that it represents. Beginning January 10, the channel will take Mandir Bedi to home of its viewers across the country.

In the city Mandira will spend time with people. Mandira may also conduct a film - based trivia quiz in the winners' colony. However, it will only depend the availability of time.

The quiz will be on the lines of Extra Shots, Mandira's popular film information in more segment which is aired before, during and after the 9 pm super hit films on Set Max.



Just one FIR in 24 hours
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
In a rare occurrence, only one FIR has been registered in the last 24 hours in 17 police stations of the city, which has over 30 lakh residents. On an average, more than 10 cases of different nature are normally registered here as disclosed through the daily crime bulletins available to the media.

With no fog since last couple of days, not a single accident took place, quite opposite to the normal routine for the last one month when at least three accident-based FIRs were lodged in a day in some parts of the city.

The only case registered was at Division Number 2 police station where one person was arrested on a charge of liquor smuggling. Balwinder Singh, a resident of Assam, now living near the Jagraon bridge, was booked under the Excise Act and 13 bottles of illicit liquor were seized from his possession.


Khalsa Panchayat flays Badal’s pro-BJP stand
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
Khalsa Panchayat has hailed the statement of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, SGPC President, that if the SAD agreed to leave five Lok Sabha seats for its ally, the BJP, it would lay claim on 45 seats in the next Assembly elections.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Nimana, panch of Khalsa Panchayat, in a statement issued here today made a scathing attack on the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for terming Mr Tohra’s remarks as his personal opinion. In a word of caution to the Sikh Sangat, he recalled that Mr Badal, who along with his close associates and family members, was facing serious charges of corruption, was trying to mortgage the interests of the Sikh community with the BJP and its mouthpiece, the RSS, in order to save his own skin.

Mr Nimana further observed that the Sikhs should not forget that the BJP leadership had completely ignored them in the recently held Assembly elections in Delhi and Rajasthan.

“Each and every member of the Sikh sangat should remain cautious from the manipulative policies of the Badal camp, which is out to betray the community at the instance of the BJP and the RSS.” He said the panchayat was keeping watch on the activities of ‘traitors’ and was waiting for an opportunity to punish these anti-Panthic elements.


Awareness drive to highlight women’s plight
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
A five-day awareness generation programme to highlight the plight and atrocities committed on women was organised by the Jagraon Citizens’ Welfare Council at Ramgarh Bhullar, 7 km from Jagraon. It was inaugurated by Mr Parshottam Lal Khalifa, Director, Village and Khadi Industries, Government of Punjab, Mr B K Bansal, Employment Officer (retd), Government of Punjab, Mr Harnek Singh, Sarpanch, Gram Panchayat, Dr Ashok Sharma, CWC Chairman, Dr Munish Jain and Dr Dilbagh Singh and attended by about 100 women and girls.

Mr B. K. Bansal spoke on training and employment opportunities, for matriculate and graduate girls and women, provided by the Department of Employment, Government of Punjab. Prof Baldev Singh, Lecturer in English, District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), Jagraon, conducted the workshop. He expressed concern over the declining sex ratio, atrocities and crimes against women, female foeticide. He stressed on the need of education, vocational training and skill-based education for women’s economic freedom, women’s rights and the social development of women. On this occasion Prof Baldev Singh presented first copy of his book ‘ The Teaching of English as a Foreign Language’ for ETT and B.Ed. classes to Mr B.K. Bansal, Employment Officer (retd), Government of Punjab, Department of Employment.

At the end, Dr Ashok Sharma and Mr Harnek Singh thanked the audience, participants and speakers for the successful completion of the programme.


IDPD welcomes Indo-Pak talks
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
Dr I.S. Chawla, national president, Dr Arun Mitra, national general secretary, Dr Bharti Uppal national secretary, and Dr M.K. Mahajan, president, Punjab unit of the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD), in a press statement released here today welcomed the outcome of the SAARC summit held at Islamabad recently.



Two booked for kidnapping minor
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 363, 365 and 386, IPC, for kidnapping a child after a period of four months on the instructions of Mr M.S. Cheema SSP, Jagraon, as in spite of filing of the complaint to Raikot police station, the police did not initiate action though the accused were named.

According to the complaint lodged by Darshan Singh of Bassian, his son, Mammu (11) was allured and kidnapped by Nirbhai Singh of Acharwal and Gurdev Singh of Talwandi Rai.


Sify makes international calls cheaper

Ludhiana, January 8
Sify Limited has launched an all-new special offer for international calls using its way2talk facility in Punjab. The way2talk facility, according to a company press note here today, will be available at the Sify i-ways, the country’s largest chain of cyber cafes. Under this special scheme, all international calls, made to land lines in the USA, UK and Canada will cost just Rs 3.99 per minute. This will be 40 to 60 per cent cheaper than what the customers are currently paying.

The company claimed that only Sify’s way2talk had the MPS technology by which excellent voice clarity was ensured. Apart from these three countries, calls could also be made to close to 150 more countries at rates, which would be almost one-third of the prevailing market rates. The new rates would be devoid of service tax in the Sify i-ways, located in the Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar. — OC

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