L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Lockout in Nova Cycles
Tribune News Service

Industry workers hold a protest rally in Ludhiana
Industry workers hold a protest rally in Ludhiana on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, January 17
Nova Cycles, a major bicycle manufacturing unit, was locked out by the management following the yesterday’s clash.
The decision to lock out the unit was taken here last night and the management said it would be opened after peace was restored in the unit. With the lockout, the fate of at least 1,000 workers of the unit hangs in balance.

Meanwhile, the SDM has recommended the imposition of Section 144 of the CrPC in this regard. Many persons were injured in a clash between workers and a muscleman yesterday and the workers had gone on strike.

Today, thousands of workers of Nova Cycles and Avon Cycles staged a protest at Cheema Chowk. They were supported by some workers of Kangaroo, Bhogal Sons and Hero Cycles.

The workers staged a dharna and raised slogans against the management till 4 pm. Later, they were called for a meeting by the officials of the district Labour Department. Some representatives of industrial units were also present at the meeting.

A heavy posse of police was deployed at Avon Cycles and Nova Cycles today. Mr Surinder Singh Basra of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, (INTUC), while talking to mediapersons on the spot, said the workers were demanding the reinstatement of three workers of Avon Cycles, seven workers of Nova Cycles, besides a 50 per cent raise in wages and 35 per cent House Rent Allowance.

Mr Sarabjit Singh Sarhali, the president of the youth wing of INTUC, said the trouble was brewing for the past many months but the managements of the units did not take it seriously. He added that a strike was observed around three to four months ago and after a meeting, the management had promised the workers that their demands would be met. But it was not done.

Sources said Mr M.S. Bhogal of Bhogal sons, Mr K.K. Seth of Seth Industrial Corporation and Mr A.S. Kular went to meet the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh at Malerkotla today to urge him to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Avon Cycles said Mr Onkar Singh Pahwa was the Executive Director of Avon Cycles and he was not on the factory premises at the time of the clash. He added that the persons had received injuries on the premises of Nova Cycles only.



Mild showers in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 17
Strong wind during the day followed by mild showers in the evening plunged the temperature after a pleasant week-long spell of sunny weather here.
City residents woke up to a foggy and windy morning today. The worst-affected were students who had been going late to schools after the administration extended the school hours by an hour in view of the weather a week ago.

After a sunny Lohri, hopes of enjoying a pleasant weather ahead were dashed this morning as icy wind swept across the city causing a sharp decline in temperature.

It was for the first time this winter that icy wind blew so hard that woollens and roadside bonfires that had disappeared in the previous day, back again.



Govt to restore 95 pc grant-in-aid to colleges
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Bondli (Samrala), January 17
Punjab Higher Education Minister Harnam Dass Johar today announced that the state government would restore 95 grant-in-aid to colleges, besides providing better facilities for the promotion of higher education in over 200 colleges in Punjab. To improve the standard of education in colleges, more vocational subjects are being introduced and vacant posts of college lecturers will be filled shortly, he said.

The minister was addressing a function organised by students, teachers and the Alumni Association of Malwa College, Bondli, here today. Mr Kamaljit Rattan, an alumnus and the Political Adviser to the British High Commission, New Delhi, was the guest of honour. He was also handed over two files, containing his handwritten notes from the 1980s when he was the student activities coordinator, by his the then teacher in charge.

Referring to the contribution of privately managed colleges towards providing quality education in the state, Mr Johar said the government was fully aware of their problems and he had taken up their cause by getting the Cabinet to endorse restoring the 95 per cent grant-in-aid.

The minister asserted that the presence of teachers during duty hours in the colleges should be strictly ensured, for which he was making frequent visits to colleges in all parts of the state.

He said at least 12 colleges had been inspected by him. He said proper maintenance and utilisation of laboratories, playgrounds and other infrastructure available in colleges would also be ensured.

The Higher Education Minister said to provide information to students regarding facilities for higher education in universities of different countries, the Secretary, Higher Education, had been asked to get relevant data compiled.

Mr Johar said with the induction of information technology on a large scale at all levels, the world had shrunken to a small village and enormous opportunities for education and employment had become available for students.

He said to avail of these opportunities, the standard of education had to be raised to international standards, so that Indian students could compete with those from other countries.

He stated that the Department of Higher Education would also organise seminars featuring representatives of foreign universities at Chandigarh and Ludhiana.

Mr Johar urged students to lay more stress on sports and other co-curricular activities to improve their all-round personality.

He also appealed to them to be wary of disruptive elements who were out to mislead them for political reasons and trying to spoil the education environment in colleges. Mr Johar announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the college building and Rs 50,000 for the promotion of sports in the college.

Mr Amrik Singh, MLA, Samrala, demanded the release of more funds for the development of the area.

Welcoming the chief guest, Mr Parminder Singh Benipal, Principal of the college, highlighted various achievements of the institution in different fields.

Others present on the occasion included Mrs Johar, Mr Ishar Singh Meharban, a former minister, and Mr Shivdev Singh, president, managing committee of the college.



SI gets 2-year jail for illegal confinement
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 17
Sub-Inspector Karnail Singh, a former in charge of the CIA staff at Lohat Baddi, has been sentenced to two years’ rigorous imprisonment on the charge of illegally detaining a person and accepting Rs 2,000 as bribe to release him. A fine of Rs 1,500 was also imposed upon the accused.

Delivering the verdict, Mr Inderjit Kaushik, Additional Sessions Judge, said: “There is no ground to take a lenient view as the convict, a public servant, had demanded and accepted illegal gratification and confined Kulwant Singh illegally and wrongfully.”

The accused was booked under Section 7, 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 342 of the IPC at Raikot police station on May 9, 1997. This was done after an inquiry conducted on the complaint of a local lawyer, Mr Surinder Singh. The complainant had alleged that the accused illegally detained his brother at the instance of his rivals and was later let off after taking bribe.

Narrating the sequence of events, the complainant had submitted that the accused, who was posted as the CIA in charge of Lohat Baddi falling under the Jagraon police district, came to their house on December 25, 1995 and took his brother Kulwant Singh into custody. He told the family members that Kulwant was needed for interrogation for possessing arms and ammunition illegally.

Thereafter, they requested the accused to release Kulwant Singh, but he did not agree. On the next day, the complainant, along with three other persons, again went to the accused and requested to release his brother as no case had been registered against him. But the accused allegedly demanded Rs 4,000 as bribe to release him. Later, he released Kulwant after taking Rs 2,050, the complainant added.

Mr Kulwant Singh, who had been illegally detained, deposed in the witness box that he was beaten up at the instance of his rivals, Master Harnek Singh and Manjit Singh. He said he was beaten up in the presence of the said persons to humiliate him.

However, the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed false implication. He said he never took Kulwant Singh to the police station, nor detained him. The accused specifically submitted that DSP Paramjit Singh was inimical towards him and on many occasions he held inquiries against him. 



Contract killers were hired to murder boy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January17
The district police today claimed to have solved the murder of a 13-year-old boy, Hardeep Singh of Chaunta village in Kum Kalan following the arrest of two suspects.
The police claimed that it was a case of contract killing and the first cousin of the deceased had hired the contractors for eliminating Hardeep who used to demand the rent of his agricultural land that had been leased to his cousin.

The police has arrested Bhajan Singh, alias Bhajji, and Harvinder Singh, alias Soni, both residents of Chaunta village, who had allegedly done the boy to death. The police claimed that the boy was allegedly killed at the instance of Ranjit Singh, alias Dimple, his first cousin.

Hardeep Singh, son of the late Buta Singh, a farmer, was allegedly abducted from his house on December 18, 2003. His family had received a call for ransom the next morning and an amount of Rs 4 lakh was demanded by the abductors. When his family members visited the place to give the money, nobody turned up. Later no call came and the police was informed about the incident.

On December 10, the body of the boy was found in the fields of the village. After the incident, the suspects reportedly absconded from the village but were eventually arrested and confessed to the crime. They alleged that Ranjit Singh had hired two youths belonging to the Baazigar tribe and had promised to pay them Rs 4 lakh for the job.

Police sources said Ranjit Singh was on the run. They said there were frequent confrontations regarding the money in connection with the land belonging to Hardeep Singh.



Security beefed up for Advani's visit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 17
Security has been beefed up in the city on account of the visit of Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani for the launch of the Ludhiana edition of Dainik Jagran. Punjab Agricultural University, where the function will be held, has been sanitised, besides other parts of the city.

The mela ground of the university has been isolated with heavy police deployment. The university has been declared out of bounds for most people without valid identification and the university library and playgrounds have been shut down for two days.

According to senior police officials, the PAU has been selected from the security point of view.

All PAU staff were screened, while the movement of students has been restricted to the hostel areas.

The students and the employees' union, however, have condemned the use of the university for purpose other than education. Dr A.S Joshi, president of the PAU Teachers Association, said the government should not allow VIPs to disturb the peace of the educational institution.

Traffic on the Ferozepore road is likely to be diverted.

Mr Advani will share the stage with Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, S. S. Dhindsa, Raj Nath Singh and R.P. Rudy. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh is also expected to be present.



Restraint in search & survey operations a must: expert
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 17
“Search and survey are the vital tools of the Revenue Department to detect black money, but the citizen also has the right to privacy. Hence, there should be some checks and balances”. These observations were made by Mr Ved Jain, a taxation expert and member of the Central Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, while addressing a seminar on “Search, seizure and survey”, organised by the District Taxation Bar Association (Direct Taxes) here today.

Calling for utmost restraint in using these methods, he said since search was a severe encroachment on the privacy of citizens, it should only be the last recourse. He said in numerous cases neither scrutiny nor survey operations were conducted for long periods even though the persons concerned were regular assessees. It was also noted that no efforts had been made to use various alternative remedies. “Section 132 (1) envisages that the person authorising the search must have reasons to believe that there is undisclosed income,” he added.

“In the garb of raising revenue and to meet budget targets, surveys are being carried out indiscriminately towards the year-end. The normal practice to select survey cases is to target a person having a higher income without any systematic study and without recording any reason. At the time of the survey, pressure is put on the assessee to surrender additional income. The material found during the search, instead of being used for reopening of assessment cases and checking of evasion, is used to build up pressure to extract money,” Mr Jain observed.

He said realising this problem, the Union Finance Minister had made an announcement while presenting the Budget for 2003 that no such statement shall be obtained by assessment officers and any officer obtaining such a statement would be subjected to a vigilance inquiry. Despite the announcement, forcible surrender of income had taken place in many search and survey operations by revenue officers, he said.

Mr Jain also launched the website of the association, dtbaludhiana.com. This website will help the association members to interact and update their knowledge. Prominent among those present were Mr Anup Jain, president of the association, Mr Jatinder Khurana and Mr Sushil Bhakoo. More than 150 delegates attended the seminar and later interacted with the guest speaker.



Ward No. 36 to get 50 lakh for development 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 17
The Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, yesterday announced that Rs 50 lakh would be allocated for various development works in Ward No. 36. Participating in a sangat darshan programme in the ward, Mr Gill issued instructions to civic officials for the repair of streetlights, providing new light points wherever required and the paving of streets.

He said three more tubewells would be sunk in the area and estimates for the purpose would be prepared within a few days.

The area councillor, Mr Rajinder Singh Bhatia, and residents from Manjit Nagar, Basti Abdullapur, Lal Quarter, Fauji Mohalla and Azad Nagar were also present on the occasion.

The residents, during an interaction with the Mayor, raised issues like the fulfilment of poll promises of providing free water supply and sewerage, speedy repair of road adjoining the Dhuri railway line along the flyover, covering of storm water sewerage in Fauji Mohalla and the augmentation of water supply in several localities.

Prominent among those present were Mr Jatinder Singh Gilotra, Mr Jasbir Singh Dogra, Mr Balbir Singh Billu, Mr Harwinder Pal Singh, Mr Rakesh Bhandari, Mr Inderjit Chopra, Mr Harjit Singh Gaba, Mr Vishwa Mitter and Mr Surinder Singh Dang.



Knitting contest for jawans’ wives
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 17
Vardhman Spinning & General Mills Limited in collaboration with the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) organised a knitting contest for the wives of Army jawans at Dholewal Army complex today. Over 250 women participated in the contest.

During the contest, the participants knitted beautiful patterns, caps, booties and miniatures of purses and bags with the colourful yarn provided by the company. A panel of judges awarded three best patterns.

Ms Rita Dhawan, President, AWWA, while expressing her views on organising such competitions said that the association’s constant endeavour was to improve the lives of the Army fraternity by providing them with opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge.

Mr V.K. Goyal, Chief Executive, Vardhman Spinning and General Mills Limited, said that knitting was a wonderful craft that not only enhanced creativity but also developed our personality. He said that the contest was been organised with the objective to spread awareness about the benefits of knitting and to revive this skill among women. He added that according to a publication in the US, almost 4 million new knitters below the age group of 35 had joined the knitting revolution in the past two years. He added that one woman out of four knew knitting. He expressed his gratitude to AWWA officials for their cooperation and motivating the women for participating in the contest.

Mr Goyal said that knitting had been held up as the ultimate stress-buster, a therapeutic mediative art with a creative underlay. Internationally, people refer to knitting as the yoga of the hobby industry. And it has been medically proved to be the prefect way to relax and avoid the stress in day to day living.



Talk on ‘Sarbat da bhala’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 17
Dr Sarup Singh Alag, a prominent Sikh historian and writer gave a useful and informative talk on welfare unto all (Sarbat da Bhala ) in the weekly meeting of Rotary Club of Ludhiana north here on Thursday. He highlighted the teachings of the 10 Gurus and their message about ‘ Sarbat-da-Bhala.’ He also highlighted the incorporation of Bani (hymns ) of 30 holy men in addition to Bani of six Gurus in Guru Granth Sahib. These 30 holymen hailed from different parts of India and belonged to different religions and some of them belonged to the low castes.

He appreciated the role of Rotary which was also serving the society and mankind throughout the world with moto-service above self. He also distributed about 150 books to the participants. More than 50 Rotarians and guests attended the meeting. Dr S.S. Johl, proposed vote of thanks and Rotarian H.S. Sachdeva introduced Dr Alag.

Prominent among those who attended the meeting included Mr T.D. Jaitwani, Mr Charanjit Singh, Mr N.S. Chehal from CMC, Mr Harbhajan Singh Manchanda, Mr Sohan Singh, Mr Gurjit Singh, Mr M.S. Kochar, Mr R.N. Sehgal besides president Mr S.P. Singh Dua and Secretary Mr R.S. Behal.



Help us to help needy, foundation urges media
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 17
The Swami Ganganand Bhuriwale International Foundation, Dham Talwandi Khurd, has urged the media to help it in providing assistance to the needy.
Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Jagdeep Singh, executive director of the foundation, said the media could play a vital role by referring any child to the foundation who was in need of permanent care and protection. “Any child up to six years, who has lost its parents or has no guardian, can be referred,” Mr Jagdeep Singh said.

“Women who want to devote their life to the cause of needy children and provide motherly love by living with them can also contact the foundation. We will meet all their personal expenses and also pay a honorarium. Any woman who is at least a matriculate, has no domestic responsibilities and is aged between 26 to 40 years is ideal for the purpose,” he said.



Readers Write
Pensioners at the receiving end

An important Fundamental Right (Right to Life) is being denied to a sizeable number of Central Government pensioners in 16 privileged cities of India where the Central Government health scheme is not operating.

Successive Central Pay Commissions have been recommending that pensioners residing in non-CGHS general areas should be allowed to obtain free medical treatment through district headquarters hospitals.

CGHS was introduced by the government in the 50s. No previous government, including the present NDA, has paid any attention to solve this acute medical problem of pensioners who have no access to CGHS. On the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission, the government authorised the payment of a medical allowance @ Rs 100 pm to Central Government pensioners who reside in areas which are not covered under CGHS.

The quantum of this allowance is too meagre and inadequate to meet even the day-to-day medical requirments of pensioners in their advanced age. The said allowance is also discriminatory when compared with the allowance which is being paid @ Rs 250 per month by Punjab and Haryana to their pensioners. As price of medicines have skyrocketed in the past 5 years, the quantum of medical allowance from day to day requirements needs to be raised to at least Rs 500 pm of all pensioners.

The setting up of Sixth Pay Commission is long overdue. After it is appointed, its recommendations will be received by the government and approved for implementation, a process which will take a minimum time of 3 years. Meanwhile, it is desirable that deserving recommendations made by the Fifth Pay Commission and not implemented by the then government of Mr I.K. Gujral, like merging of 50 per cent of the DA/DR in the basic pay/pension, increase in the basic pension for rendering service beyond 33 years, allowing leave encashment for 300 days (EL+ML) to those pensioners who retired prior to 1-1-1996 may be considered by the present authorities.

Natha Singh, Ludhiana

The Captain should be in command

Now that the clouds of uncertainty of Capt Amarinder’s Chief Ministership have cleared, courtesy Congress High Command and other Central leaders who matter and who have faith in the honest intentions of the Chief Minister, he should come to grips with the ground realities which are not very conducive for his continuation as the leader of the legislative party in the state.

One thing which comes out clear in the allegations levelled by the dissidents is the functioning, or say, non-functioning of his trusted bureaucrats who have let him down. Posing blind faith in them was wrong on his part. Unless he learns to select the right officers for the right job, he will never get out of trouble. It is well known by the public that the dissidents themselves have no clean image and people have no faith in them but then the Captain should learn to take the public and masses with him which is not the case.

Somebody has very rightly commented that the recent Assembly elections were fought and won on three basic and main issues — roads, electricity and water — the three elementary and essential requirements for good civic life. All these three have been amply ignored in Punjab during the Captain’s rule in the state. To prove my point Ludhiana is an example of extreme neglect of all these three essential civic amenities. These have been by and large denied to the people. This is despite the claims to the contrary by the civic authorities. If slogans and hollow/exaggerated claims in the media are all that is required for achieving results, then Ludhiana is the best administrated city in the country, whereas the fact of the matter is that it is the worst administered town.

The honourable Chief Minister can go through the press reports for the last 2/3 months and get to know the reality of the situation. I am sure his PRO is not doing his job, otherwise the Chief Minister would have taken some cognizance of hundreds of adverse reports that keep appearing in the Press with the regularity of the weather report.

If the Captain does not learn to interact with the people and keeps on believing in false and exaggerated claims by bureaucrats, his downfall as a politician is assured sooner or later.

Major S.S. Khosla, Ludhiana



Club donates shawls

Ludhiana, January 17
Members of the Inner Wheel Club of Ludhiana visited Mother Teresa’s Home recently and donated 90 shawls, ration, fruits and other utility items for inmates.

They also visited Vridh Ashram, Model Town Extension, and donated 44 shawls. Shawls were also given to inmates of the VRTC, Haibowal, and staff of Bal Bhawan. The project was undertaken in coordination with Shingora Shawls. — OC



Crisis-ridden spinning industry seeks relief
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 17
The anti-dumping duty on the import of acrylic fibre, high custom duty and an erratic price structure have created a crisis for the local spinning industry, with the result that a large number of units in the small scale and medium sectors are facing closure.

The industry is of the view that in the absence of immediate remedial measures, spinning units will collapse, having an adverse effect on thousands of hosiery, knitting and textile units and leading to mass unemployment among industrial workers.

According to Mr M.M. Vyas, president, Ludhiana Spinners Association, owners of spinning units have been crying foul over the imposition of anti-dumping duty on the import of acrylic fibre and free access to acrylic yarn in India through Nepal under the Indo-Nepal trade treaty. He lamented that the spinners had not received a positive response from the government.

The spinning industry, which converts acrylic fibre into a variety of yarns for use in different kinds of end products like hosiery garments, textile, shawls, blankets and carpets, is being held to ransom by the cartel of five domestic manufacturers.

After the latter created an artificial scarcity of fibre and jacked up the prices, the actual users resorted to imports to meet their requirements at competitive prices.

However, the powerful lobby of fibre manufacturers prevailed upon the government to slap anti-dumping duty in 1998 on the import of acrylic fibre originating from Japan, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

By 2002, the scope of the anti-dumping duty was widened to cover 14 countries.

Mr Vyas maintained that the motive of the cartel of domestic manufacturers of fibre was to enjoy trade monopoly.

He said the artificially created shortage of acrylic fibre had been made the basis for further price rise in an attempt to throttle the spinning units.

Demanding a level playing field for the spinning units, Mr Vyas urged the government to abolish the anti-dumping duty on the import of acrylic fibre, slash custom duty on fibre to enable the spinners to compete with the import of yarn from Nepal, ensure an equal level for domestic and export prices of acrylic fibre and restrict the sale of acrylic yarn by export-oriented units.



Cycle assn team to visit Pak
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 17
The Indian Bicycle Manufacturers Association(IBMA) has chalked out several measures to enable the industry to face global challenges and make the Indian bicycle industry a frontline player in the international market.

Unfolding its agenda at a news conference here last evening, Mr Satish Dhanda, president, and Mr Kewal Krishan Seth, vice-president, of the association said a delegation would be visiting Pakistan to promote the export of bicycles in the changed political environment. The association would soon sign MoUs with the Tianjin Bicycle Manufacturers Association, China, and the Brazil Bicycle Manufacturers Association.

Mr Dhanda said the association would take up the matter with the Union Ministry of Commerce for declaring Ludhiana as a city of excellence under the cluster scheme so that adequate infrastructure and technical support could be made available to the local units for upgradation.

Giving a background regarding the formation of the association, they said there was need for a cohesive body that could coordinate between the industry and the government in the wake of the emerging challenges under the WTO regime, globalisation and IT boom.



Steel chamber for delegation to Pak

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 17
The Gobindgarh Steel Chamber of Commerce and Industry has made representations to the Centre, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Pakistan High Commissioner, the Embassy of Pakistan and the Secretary to Government of Punjab, Industry Department, for arranging a visit of a delegation of Trade and Industry to Pakistan , said Mr J.P. Sharma, president of the chamber in a press note yesterday.

It was stated in the representation that the town was the largest re-rolling centre in northern India with concentration of re-rolling and furnace industries worth billions of rupees. The normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan would promote trade and industry between the two countries. Pakistan was a good market for iron and steel products with adequate demand, which was an indication of bright chances of export to that country. The delegation from our country would discuss with the members of Pakistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other connected establishments for promoting export avenues. — OC



New Indica V2 launched
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 17
The new avatar of Indica V2, with several new features to both exteriors and interiors, was launched in the city today.
With a new-look hatchback along with Indigo Marina, the Tata Motors claimed to have substantially broadened the appeal of its product range to meet the needs of customers and their lifestyle by offering a world-class experience in comfort, style and drive.

Addressing a news conference, Mr Mani Raman, General Manager (Customer Support Services), said the exteriors wore a sporty look while the interiors had been refurbished to make the car spacious and give it a contemporary look.

A techometer would be a standard feature for all models and indication lights for lower fuel levels, high engine temperature and open doors. The car would be available in several new colours, all of which had been designed to give it a fresh appeal.

Mr Raman claimed that Indica V2 had proved to be one of the biggest success stories of the past decade with more than 2.5 lakh customers. It was popular in many countries of Europe too, he said.

The new Indica conformed to Bharat stage II norms and would carry an 18 months unlimited kilometres warranty.


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