L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


DMCH charged with violating human rights
Medical Ethics Society moves HC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 14
Dayanand Medical College and Hospital suffered a serious blow with the Society of Medical Ethics, BRS Nagar, moving the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the issue of alleged fake-degree racket and gross violation of human rights of patients at the premier medical institute.

Dr Hitesh Mahajan, an executive member of the society which represents allopathic, homoeopathic doctors, social activists, educationists, businessmen and lawyers, has asked the Health Secretary, Punjab, Secretary, Medical Council of India, DGP, Punjab, and Senior Superintendent of Police to take action against the management of the DMCH for the malpractices done by the institute and the registration of an FIR against the guilty officials.

The organisation has alleged that almost all thesis done at the institution were fake. The society has alleged that the postgraduate students of the DMCH had done 0-50 per cent research work for their thesis and rest of the thesis were prepared on fake records. In the master chart of the DMCH, fake and fictitious names were written, which could be proved by taking the record of the thesis and matching the same with the entries in the hospital daily chart, alleged the society.

As per the MCI guidelines, if thesis was written on fake work and fictitious names, then theory and practical examinations were null and void. In this situation, the post-graduate degrees, awarded by the management of DMCH for so many years were fake and they should be punished for the fake degree racket, alleged the society members.

The society has also alleged that a number of former students of the DMCH had admitted that the thesis at the institute were fake. They admitted that the required number of patients were not available at the DMCH. When this was brought to the notice of the DMCH management, the students were allegedly told to make fictitious entries of patients for completing the research work.

Dr Mahajan said some faculty members of the institute had urged the DMCH that patients should not be charged for the research investigations but the management refused to listen to them.

Dr Daljit Singh, Principal, DMCH when contacted, said the institute had not received any notice from the Punjab and Haryana High Court till date.

“As far as the degrees are concerned, they are awarded by the universities and not by the institute. We are here to impart education to the students and not the “fake degrees”. These allegations are absolutely baseless. I do not know the motive behind these. As far as the thesis is concerned, there has to be a thorough process with guide, a co-guide. Each performa is thoroughly scrutinised, how can the thesis or research work be fake?” asked Dr Daljit Singh.



Vigilance chief rules out re-arrest of Badal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Ruling out fresh arrest of former Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Additional Director General of Police (Vigilance), Mr Azhar Alam, said there was no plan to file fresh FIRs in the case. The ADGP who was here to preside over a meeting of the officers of the Vigilance Department in the Ludhiana range also revealed that the Bureau was not going to challenge the bail of Mr Badal in the High Court.

Reacting to a question that the Vigilance had started losing interest in the Badal case, Mr Alam told reporters that it (the case) was moving in right direction and at proper speed. "We do not want to rush for conclusions and everything is evidence based", he claimed, while asserting that proper legal procedures were being adhered to ensure fair play.

Giving details of the progress made into the case against Mr Badal, the Vigilance chief said there were six or seven allegations against Mr Badal. Challans had already been filed in four allegations. The remaining two related to his alleged assets in some foreign countries.

The ADGP maintained that since lot of information was needed from these countries the legal procedures of these countries were to be followed. He pointed out, the procedures there were quite complex. "But we are moving in proper direction and everything is being done in accordance with the evidence available", he said.

The Vigilance chief evaded all questions about the political intervention into the functioning of his department. He claimed that the department was functioning quite independently and professionally as well. There is no sort of interference of intervention and the department was absolutely apolitical, he claimed.

Mr Alam smiled away a question as whether the department would take suo motu action into the allegations levelled by the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal against the Chief Minister during her bid to seek the ouster of the latter.

Giving details of today's meeting, he said, he was very much satisfied with the pace of things in the department. He expressed full confidence in his officers and men and maintained that they were doing a fine job. He said, he was having a feedback from his officers and reviewing the progress of different cases.

The SSP, Vigilance, Ludhiana, Mr Naunihal Singh and other officers were among those who attended today's meeting. 



Waqf Board to offer property on lease
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Mr Azhar Alam, Additional Director General of Police (Vigilance), who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Punjab Waqf Board, today said that the board would offer the waqf property on lease to interested persons on less rent than the prevailing market rates. He said, the properties would be offered on lease after fulfilling the legal procedures.

After presiding over a meeting of the Waqf Board officials here today, Mr Alam disclosed that the waqf had property worth hundreds of crores of rupees spread all over the state. He warned that anyone who had grabbed the waqf property would have to vacate it at any cost. At the same time he said, the waqf was willing to provide property on lease on relatively lesser rates than those prevailing in the markets.

Spelling out the policy, he said, while the agriculture land would be granted on lease for a period of 11 months, the commercial properties would be provided (on lease) for a period of 36 months. The lease, he said, could be renewed from time to time depending from case to case. He disclosed that there were about 23,000 properties registered with the Punjab Waqf Board. Of these about 6000 were mosques and religious shrines, while remaining were either residential or commercial properties.

Quite a number of properties have been grabbed by people who are refusing to vacate them. Mr Alam disclosed that while earlier there was no cooperation from the district administration, now the people had started cooperating. He warned that the grabbers would have to leave the property wherever they were and the waqf was taking the issue seriously.



Baba Meehan Singh’s birth anniversary celebrated
Tribune Reporters

Siahar/ Dhapei, January 14
Demanding the control of Nanaksar Ashram Thath at Siahar village, followers of the late Baba Meehan Singh, founder of Sri Nanaksar Ashram Trust, led by Baba Mann Singh yesterday unanimously resolved to demand the withdrawal of the police force from Siahar thath on the occasion of the 98th birth anniversary of the founder.

The followers also demanded that the control of Siahar thath should be handed over to Baba Mann Singh, besides arresting the accused in the Ajit Singh’s murder after violence in Siahar. They also demanded that the violence cases registered against villagers should be withdrawn.

Mr Gurdev Singh Grewal, a spokesman for Baba Mann Singh, said they would send a copy of resolutions to the Punjab Government for further action. He said they would demand that the reins of the Nanaksar Ashram Thath should be handed over to Baba Mann Singh.

Celebrations were organised in a gurdwara of the village as heavy police force was deployed in the thath to implement the imposition of Section 144 of the CrPC. Baba Mann Singh’s group got a shot in the arm on the occasion with gram panchayats of 40 surrounding villages coming in favour of Baba Mann Singh for appointing him as next president of the trust.

Supporters of Baba Harnek Singh, president of the trust, organised a function to mark the celebrations at Nanaksar Ashram Thath, Dhapei village. Baba Harnek Singh was not present at the function due to ill health. He had sent a representative from Canada, who addressed the sangat.

Both the functions witnessed allegations and counter-allegations levelled by supporters. While supporters of Baba Mann Singh were levelling allegations of drug and liquor abuse against Baba Harnek Singh and his indulgence in immoral activities, supporters of Baba Harnek Singh levelled allegations of greed and desire to usurp the property of the trust against Baba Mann Singh.

Mr Jagdev Singh Aandloo, a spokesperson for Baba Harnek Singh, claimed that the followers of Baba Meehan Singh had recited Japji Sahib 50 lakh times in his memory, while the other group was busy in getting the pamphlets printed. He said this was against the tenets of Baba Meehan Singh.

Sant Balbir Singh Lamme Jattpura, a member of the Sant Samaj, while speaking on the occasion, criticised Baba Harnek Singh. He said it was ironical that he addressed himself a sant while at the same time he claimed that he was not a member of the Sant Samaj.



Punjab finalises policy on online lotteries
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
The Punjab Government has finalised the policy for introducing online lotteries in the state. The tenders are likely to be floated by the end of this month. At the same time the paper lotteries will continue. This was disclosed by the Director Punjab State Lotteries, Mr Sher Singh Sidhu, here today in connection with the lucky draw of the Lohri bumper lottery.

The lucky draw of the Lohri bumper was taken out at Nehru Sidhant Kendra. The winning ticket bearing the number B-279899 was sold in Ludhiana by the Gaggan Lotteries, Samrala Chowk. Rs 1.5 crore is the first prize

Mr Sidhu said that the modalities were being worked out cautiously for the online lotteries in the state. Mr Sidhu said that the government was taking all the aspects into notice. He pointed out since the experiment had failed in several other states, Punjab did not want to take any chance.

He said that the paper lotteries were still in vogue and these were running in good profits in the state. He revealed that this time the department had sold a record 9.50 lakh lottery tickets of the Lohri bumper. He said it was a record sale and such a target was achieved after 36 years.

The Director, lotteries, said that the state will continue with the four bumper draws a year as usual. These include the Baisakhi bumper, the Rakhi bumper, the Diwali bumper and the Lohri bumper. He said that 4.50 lakh tickets were sold for the Diwali bumper.

Mr Sidhu said that the department was making handsome profits. He revealed that against a target of Rs 100 crore for the current fiscal, the department had already made Rs 69 crore.

The lucky draw was publicly taken out by Mr SR Kaler, Deputy Director Local Bodies, Punjab, Ms Rakhi Gupta Bhandari, Administrator PUDA, Ludhiana, and Mr M.S. Jaggi, Assistant Commissioner, Ludhiana, in the presence of hundreds of ticket holders. However, the owner of the winning number was not present at the time of the draw. There was some excitement and lots of disappointments after the draw was taken out amidst shouts, cheer and laughter.



Father, son killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Lohri celebrations cost a local family dear when a father-son died after their car collided head-on with a truck on the Jagraon road late last night. Both Mr Ravinder Singh and his six-year-old son, Sherry, died on the spot while other occupants of the car comprising his wife, son, niece and a nephew were admitted to Dayanand Medical College in serious condition.

The family was returning after celebrating Lohri at the house of the deceased’s sister Baljit Kaur at Raikot. According to the investigating officer at the Dakha police station, the car and the Canter collided head-on killing the father and the son.

Belonging to the Ramgaria sect, Ravinder Singh was a local businessman involved in the manufacture of engine pipes. The accident took place about 4 km from Gohar village on the Jagraon-Ludhiana road.

The injured have been identified as Sarabjit Kaur, Harjot Singh (wife and son of the deceased) and his nephew and niece Jatinder Singh and Roopinder Kaur.

Meanwhile, the Jagraon police claimed a major success in its campaign against drugs. In a statement the Jagraon SSP, Mr. Mukhwinder Singh Chinna, said since the beginning of the year 2004 the police in its anti-drug campaign has seized about 10 kg of opium, besides over 14 quintals of poppy husk.

The police arrested Tarsem Singh of Malsian village and recovered 35 bags of poppy husk from him late last night.



Political parties in election mode
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, January 14
Every party is aiming at the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. At the national level, the BJP will call for early elections. Leaders of all political parties are in the election mode now. As far as Punjab is concerned, the situation is very difficult to assess because of the circumstances prevailing in the Congress and the Akali Dal.

The Congress has been caught up in a very serious factional fight. A group of dissidents led by Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Agriculture Minister and former Chief Minister, aimed at unnerving the Chief Minister. Having failed at that, the group is still spitting venom against the Chief Minister and his coterie. The dissidents wasted almost a month while sitting in Delhi for pressing the high command for a change in leadership of the Congress Legislature Party but they failed in their mission.

In the entire game of ups and downs, Mrs Bhattal managed to get the designation of the Deputy Chief Minister. Intriguingly, her powers have not yet been defined.

The dissidents have not relished the package formula given by the Congress high command to resolve the crisis in Punjab. There are different voices within the dissident group that they wanted the post of Chief Minister and not a Deputy Chief Minister.

The Congress high command kept pleading with the dissidents to close their ranks and get united in view of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

For the first time, the dissidents almost refused to listen to the high command and did not return to Chandigarh for almost a month.

This also exposed the weakness of the Congress high command in putting the house of the Punjab Pradesh Congress in order.

The gains for the dissidents are few as they have been able to get rid of the coterie of the Chief Minister, comprising media adviser B.I.S. Chahal and Principal Secretary S.K. Sinha. Their removal has given a setback to the Chief Minister.

However, at the same time, the Chief Minister should be thankful to the dissidents because the two were not giving him the right advice.

During her short stint as Chief Minister, Mrs Bhattal had ordered the registration of a case against Chahal under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Chief Minister had been totally cut off from the masses and even his close friends and political allies were finding it difficult to meet him without the consent of the two officials.

The anti-corruption drive of the Chief Minister has also received a setback thanks to the actions of his two advisers.

If the alleged fake complaint against Tej Parkash Singh had not been referred to the Chandigarh Administration by the Vigilance Bureau chief, Mr Pandey would have continued in his post.

The timing of the complaint was also wrong as the advisers were of the opinion that the dissidents would be demoralised.

But this had a strong reaction and the dissidents got united at the samadh of late Beant Singh and the Chief Minister had to bow to the dissidents, and Mr Pandey had to be shifted.

The Chief Minister has promised to change his style of functioning and tried to give the proof of the same by presenting himself in the office of the Punjab Pradesh Congress during the past week to listen to the problems of the people. He has yet to move out in rural areas to meet the people.

Although Mrs Bhattal has been designated as the Deputy Chief Minister but this has also brought division in the dissidents group. Senior ministers like Mr Harnam Das Johar have openly criticised her for accepting the post of Deputy Chief Minister.

But Mrs Bhattal seems to have accepted the post to keep the high command happy and also her eyes are on the anti-corruption case registered against her for allegedly embezzling Rs 20 lakh.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress President Mr H. S. Hanspal may also be shifted before the elections to the Lok Sabha and if he is replaced, it will be considered an victory for the dissidents who have been alleging that the PPCC chief was not “impartial and has been a party with the Chief Minister”.

There is no doubt that Mr Hanspal became the President with the help of the Chief Minister. He should have acted as an independent man and informed the high command about the resentment cropping up in the party. But he remained silent.

As elections to the Lok Sabha are now round the corner, the division in the Punjab Congress has given a setback to the same and it seems that the Congress will not be able to muster courage and strength to face the electorate with the same zeal with which it went to the polls in February 2002 for the Vidhan Sabha elections. The Congress has failed to keep the people happy as there has been no letup in the rising corruption although the government arrested the Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman, Mr Ravi Sidhu, and more than half a dozen ministers of the Akali government. But corruption at the lower level continues to prevail at the higher rates.

The Chief Minister himself has come under clouds over the alleged transactions in which his son has been named. The Chief Minister has announced judicial inquiry into the same.

However, on the agricultural front, the Punjab Government was able to manage the procurement of wheat and paddy without any protest from the farming community.

During the past two years, there have been no protest from the farmers over the alleged distress sale of both the major crops and fleecing by the officials of the procurement agencies. This was despite the fact that the Centre was indifferent to the state’s demand for higher procurement prices for wheat and paddy. The farmers got good price for their produce for the cotton crop this year too as a result of which the rural economy has seen a perceptible change.

The political observers feel that the Chief Minister should learn lessons from his past lapses and mend his ways as promised to the high command. He will also have to carry the party cadre and the legislators along for the Lok Sabha elections. If he does not make the desired changes, the Congress will face tough time. 



No Lohri celebrations for girls
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Nanakpur Jagera (Ludhiana), January 14
Struggling with a declining sex ratio, Punjab seems to have little hope as indicated by non-celebrations of the birth of a girl child on Lohri yesterday in this district.
Even as the social welfare department is trying to encourage parents of girls to celebrate Lohri, a survey by The Tribune yesterday revealed that celebrations are only on paper.

Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti had also issued an edict in favour of the girl child.

In most villages, the first Lohri of girls was not celebrated. On the contrary, gifts, sweets and liquor poured in the houses of new born boys. Even gypsies, who traditionally seek alms by praying for the long life of newborns, skipped the houses where girls were born.

About five functions were held in this small village to celebrate the lohri of newborns, all of them boys. Three girls were born to three couples in the village but it was not a happy day for them. ‘‘Had I tried to celebrate the Lohri of my granddaughter, villagers would have laughed at me. However, for me, my granddaughter is as dear to me as a grandson,’’ said Mr Tarlok Singh, a tailor.

In contrast, there were celebrations galore in the house of Mr Major Singh whose was ‘‘blessed’’ with a grandson. Gifts in the form of cash and kind were placed on cots in his house and lunch was served to friends, relatives and neighbours.

Kulbir Kaur, mother of akashdeep, was feeling on the top of the world with the womenfolk congratulating her for giving birth to a son. ‘‘I would have felt equally happy on the birth of a daughter but the celebrations would have depended on my in-laws,” she said, adding that she knew they would never have celebrated the function in such a manner.

‘‘We have been living with this feeling that sons are superior. We cannot change the world. Last year a couple had celebrated the lohri of a girl but the women did not dance and kept sitting,’’ said Ms Bhupinder Kaur to whom a grandson had been born some time ago.



Inmates of orphanage celebrate Lohri
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 14
It was an unusual day at SGB Children’s Home, Dham Talwandi, yesterday as inmates celebrated Lohri.
Scores of villagers from neighbouring areas, particularly women and girls, started assembling on the orphanage premises from early morning. Many of them brought sweets and toys for girls. The function started with the reciting of shabads, followed by a cultural programme.

Swami Shankranand Bhuriwale, founder of the orphanage, was also present. He blessed children and asked the gathering to take the lead in providing dignity and honour to women in society. A cake was cut and distributed along with traditional sweets.

Mr Jagdeep Singh, honorary director of the orphanage, urged the gathering to come forward to help the children. Many panches and sarpanches present on the occasion appreciated the initiative of the orphanage.

Lohri of four newly-born girls namely Rajvir, Muskandeep, Amanjot and Sapna was also celebrated jointly by the Nehru Yuva Kendra, Ludhiana, and the Social Security (women) at Bhaini Roda village. The chief guest was the zonal Director of the kendra, Mr Labh Singh. A cultural programme was presented by girl students of Government School.



Bar celebrates Lohri
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
A Lohri and New Year function was organised by the Bar Clerk Association in New Judicial Complex here today. Mr Balwinder Kumar Goyal, newly-elected President of the Bar Association and other office-bearers were the chief guests. Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, ex-President of the Bar and his old team was present as special guests. Mr Sher Singh Dhatt, president, Bar Clerk Association welcomed the guests.

Mr Najjar Singh, secretary of the association explained the problems faced by the lawyers and clerks in the New Judicial Complex. He said there was a need to open a new post office, bank, dispensary and to make the rules about the identity cards and uniform for the clerks.

Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, ex-president of Bar Association said the previous Bar Association had passed a resolution to allot a room for the Bar Clerk Association.



Makar Sankranti celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 14
Makar Sankranti, the festival heralding the new year, was celebrated with religious fervour all over the city and surrounding towns and villages today.
As the day began, people started thronging gurdwaras and temples of the city to pay obeisance and hear the auspicious name of the “Maag” month at religious places of their choice.

Religious congregations and langars were held at various places. Roadside langars were also organised by several shopkeepers’ associations in various parts of the city.

While Gurdwara Dukhnivaran, Gurdwara Kalgidhar and several other religious places here witnessed a huge rush of devotees, thousands of devotees thronged historical gurdwaras at Rara Sahib and Alamgir to have the auspicious “Maaghi” bath early in the morning and seek blessings for a happy and prosperous new year.



Readers Write
Forest Act provision violated

I draw the attention of the Punjab Government towards the condition of Model Town Extension , which has not been kept neat and clean. We have requested the local authorities and the Mayor to remove the truck-stand and brick, sand etc from the area. Inspite of the orders of Zone-D Commissioner to do so, no serious efforts have been made to take any action against these offenders. Moreover, heavy cutting of shady trees has been done by the municipal staff in the public park in connivance with some residents in violation of the Forest Act. Despite coverage in local newspapers, no action has been taken against the guilty persons.

Jagdev Singh, Ludhiana

Peace initiatives welcome

I refer to the column by H.K. Dua regarding peace initiatives with Pakistan. It is indeed a welcome step and exhibits statesmanship of both Vajpayee and Musharraf. The gainers in this will be people of Kashmir, who are suffering for no fault of theirs. Innocent men, women and children are being killed every day. Thousands have lost their lives and the death toll is mounting. According to an African proverb, it has been rightly said that when two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers. If Pakistan has agreed to discourage militancy from its soil and that word is kept, unarmed civilians of Kashmir will certainly heave a sigh of relief. In fact Pakistan was offensive in the past and we have only defended ourselves. On our part, we have agreed to talk on Kashmir. What we can offer in Kashmir is anybody’s guess. Kashmir is ours and we cannot give up even an inch of our soil. Plebicite is ruled out. Even then the silencing of guns is welcome and will certainly de-escalate tension between the two nations.

Anil Sharma, Ludhiana

Why burden the Exchequer?

As enshrined in the Constitution, the tenure of the Lok Sabha and the state Assemblies is for five years. It has been stated that the Houses are not to be dissolved before five years, except to promulgate Governor’s Rule in a state. For the past many decades, PMs and CMs are making it a convention to recommend elections, when they see the fall of their regimes, which is not in the true spirit.

Why should the Exchequer bear the expenses of an early poll? Now that the BJP has won in three states and has chalked up impressive achievements on the national and international level, it wants to advance the Lok Sabha poll from October 2004, to an earlier date. Similarly, Mr Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra CM, had the state Assembly dissolved so that early elections could be held to cash in on the sympathy wave after an assassination bid some months ago. This again is not in the true democratic spirit.

The Governor and President should be bold enough to reject the recommendations of the CMs and PMs. At this juncture even the BJP and its allies may not find the going easy to get majority in the Lok Sabha polls. The voters are mature enough and would weigh every development minutely before casting their ballot. Thus, the Lok Sabha and Assemblies should complete their full tenure. Unless there is a constitutional breakdown of the governance, financial crisis and security of the nation in danger, politicians, for their personal and party gains should refrain from making wrong conventions. This is why the CEC, Mr J.N. Lyngdoh, correctly remarked that politicians are a cancer eating the vitals of the nation.

Sher Singh, Ludhiana

A prayer from the hearts

The New Year comes out of the spotless hands of God. And, in my heart is a prayer. So bless me, Lord ! That each day, as I walk in the pilgrim way, I may, with wonder in my eyes, seek the beauty that is God! And each day, may I do my task, helping a brother here, a sister there, to lift the load on the rough road of life ! And, each day, may I pray in rain and run, thy will be done.

Rising above the narrow grooves, when we think of a scripture, the Bhagwad Gita has a universal appeal and be proclaimed as the lifeline of mankind.

On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, the Lord plays the role of Jagadguru and imparts true knowledge to a dejected Arjuna (human being). The gospel coming directly from the Lord has become a source of eternal wisdom for the entire mankind.

Through the Gita, the Lord is showering the ocean of his mercy on His devotees/seekers. May Lord bless you and your family.

Hari Krishan Jain, Ludhiana



Anokh Singh Pawar cremated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Anokh Singh Pawar, a former IAS officer and a social and literary personality of Ludhiana, was cremated at his native village Khadoor, near Jodhan, today.
A large number of people from all walks of life attended the funeral His son, Mr R.P.S. Pawar, Principal Secretary and Financial Commissioner (Appeals), Punjab, lit the pyre.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr Hakam Singh, Uttar Pradesh DGP, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chief Engineer, PUDA, Mr S. R. Kaler DDLG, Mr M. S. Brar, AETC-I, Mr Kuldeep Singh, SDM (West), and Mr Harinder Singh Khalsa , former MP, laid wreaths on the body.

Anokh Singh Pawar served the weaker sections with devotion after his superannuation as Additional Commissioner, Ferozepore, in 1984. 



Vivekananda's birthday celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 14
Birthday of Swami Vivekananda was jointly celebrated at Swami Vivekananda Hospital, Model Town, by the Akhil Bharatiya Grahak Panchayat, Swami Vivekananda Vridhashram Trust and the Swami Vivekananda Swaragashram Trust, here yesterday.

A havan was performed and glowing tributes were paid to the Swami who was born on January 12,1863, and passed away at a young age of 39 on July 4,1902. Mr. S.S.Chawla, Chairman, ABGP, Ludhiana, in his address dwelt at length on the life of Swami Vivekananda . A joint meeting of the organisers , which was held later, decided to celebrate the occasion every year .



Coffee house employee still missing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Mystery shrouds the disappearance of K. Babu, an assistant manager with a coffee house here, who went missing on January 5.
No clues about his whereabouts have been found so far. According to Kalam Singh, another assistant manager with the coffee house, K. Babu was transferred here from Chandigarh last month. He had left office at 2 pm on January 5.

His wife and other relatives who live in Chandigarh were here on Monday. Police sources said no clue had been found so far.



500 gm opium seized
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 14
The Khanna police has arrested one person and recovered 500 gm of opium from his possession.
According to the police, a special naka was laid down at Dehru village, near the GT road, on Tuesday following a tip-off.

The officials arrested a man who was trying to flee and recovered 500 gm of opium from his possession. The arrested person has been identified as Des Raj, a resident of Kapur Garh village. A case under Sections 18/61/85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against him.



ASI found dead
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
An Assistant Sub-Inspector of the police posted at Sirhind died under mysterious circumstances at Payal yesterday.
ASI Dharminder Singh had come to his in-laws’ house but was found dead in a car. His temple was found pierced with a bullet. Police sources said he was cleaning his revolver when the weapon went off accidentally. There were reports that the ASI had committed suicide, but the police denied it.



Industry hails CM's package
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January14
Various industrial associations and political parties have hailed the package announced by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for the industry in Punjab. In separate statements various industrial organisations observed that the package which was long awaited would go a long way in saving the industry and in turn the economy of the state.

In a joint statement, Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, president and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), hailed the "befitting sops" announced by the Chief Minister . Interestingly the CICU is considered to be close to former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and would seldom appreciate anything done by the Congress government.

Mr Pradhan and Mr Singh asserted that the long awaited protective measures now taken up as a "healing touch" for the trade and industry should remain consistent. They maintained it was necessary for revitalising the industry in the state.

Representatives of the industry observed that the raw material of steel on viable rates for the engineering industry of the state was the major and pressing need of the time for which the Chief Minister should hold negotiations with the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Steel Minister. This, they said, was necessary to save the "very existence" of the small scale industry in the state.

In a separate statement, the president Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr PD Sharma also hailed the measures and expressed satisfaction. He said, "the business community felt highly satisfied with the expectations that things may run smoothly in Punjab here after". He hoped that several more measures like the abolition of octroi might be announced very soon.

In another statement the senior vice president of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Pawan Dewan, and the district general secretary, Mr Jaswinder Sabi, also hailed the package announced by the Chief Minister.



PNB goes hi-tech
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Punjab National Bank (PNB) has taken steps to provide hi-tech banking facilities to its customers. Most of the transactions can now be carried out from homes and offices. This was stated by Mr U.S. Bhargava, General Manager of the bank(Punjab zone), in a press note here today.

He said the bank had already interconnected 400 of its branches at 75 centres all over India and the customer could operate the account in any one of the branches.

In the Punjab zone, the bank had interconnected 45 branches at Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Kapurthala, Patiala, Khanna, Mohali, Sangrur, Rajpura and Chandigarh.

The bank had also launched multi-city cheque books and the customers could issue cheques which would be payable through local clearing. There would be no need to get drafts issued from the branches.

He said the bank had already launched Internet banking at its branches and the customer could operate the account from home and could transfer funds between accounts online and get statements.

He said the PNB had also come out with debit cards which would provide easy access to the customers. These were not just ATM cards but shopping cards too. The bank had associated with Master Card International, a global leader in payment cards, to offer this initiative. 



AirTel outlet opened
Tribune News Service

A showroom of AirTel was inaugurated in Model Town, LudhianaLudhiana, January 14
Airtel today opened an Airtel full service outlet at Model Town here. A large number of services, including new connections, recharge coupons, payment of bills, and handsets, would be available.
Inaugurating the outlet, Mr Mandeep Bhatia, Vice-President (Sales and Marketing), Bharti Mobile Ltd, said: “Airtel is committed to providing the latest technology and the best service to its customers. Airtel focused on a customer-friendly approach.”

A showroom of AirTel was inaugurated in Model Town, Ludhiana, on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph



Team visits sugar mill
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 14
A team consisting of Mr Gyan Nega, of Asian Development Bank, Mr Kulwant Singh Biling, Joint Director Agriculture (cash crop) of the Bank, and Mr S.R.S. Gill, Additional Managing Director, Sugarfed, Punjab, visited Jagraon Cooperative Sugar Mills Limited today to see the field level performance of the mechanised ring-pit method of sugarcane planting.

The team met Mr Jasmail Singh at Sighawala village and enquired about the plantation method. Mr Jasmail Singh had achieved very good yield by adopting the method.

Mr Gill said there could be enormous increase in yield if the soil structure was improved by adding organic manure. While digging pits, underground insects like borers and white grubs were eaten by birds. Since all nutrients were placed in the pits, these were completely utilised without wastage. The system required minimum tillage and there was sufficient space between pits and hence light and air was available in plenty.

The detailed method of planting was explained to the team by Mr A.N. Singh Chauhan, Managing Director of the sugar mills.


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