L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Experts give clean chit to poultry products
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Dr Ajit Singh, Chief Executive, National Egg Coordination Committee, Dr S.P. Singh, DGM, Venkateshwara Hatcheries Limited, and Mr Baljinder Singh, a poulty breeder
Dr Ajit Singh, Chief Executive, National Egg Coordination Committee, Dr S.P. Singh, DGM, Venkateshwara Hatcheries Limited, and Mr Baljinder Singh, a poultry breeder, at a press conference in Ludhiana on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, February 1
People who enjoy chicken delicacies need not panic as officials of Poultry Disease Diagnostic Centre, (PDDC), Pune, and the National Egg Coordination Committee, (NECC) have given a clean chit to the poultry sector in the country.

Setting at rest all rumours in wake of newspapers reports of suspected avian influenza (AI) in this region, the experts said these were baseless and there not even a single case of bird flu had been reported in the country.

The experts were addressing a press conference organised by the Northern Poultry Breeders Association here today.

Stating that birds in the country were free from the virus, Dr M.M. Chawak, Deputy-General Manager of Pune-based PDDC said there should not be any panic in view of the disease and people should continue savouring their favourite dishes.

The Joint Director of Animal Husbandry, Punjab and head of Regional Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory, Jalandhar, Dr H.P.S. Randhawa, also said there was not even a single case of suspected avian influenza and the newspapers reports of suspected cases in Khalra village of Amritsar district were baseless.

Dr Randhawa was talking to the Tribune after a press conference. He said after the news reports, he had sent a team of officials to the village and they did not find a single dead or ailing bird. He said the hens had died due to extreme cold weather before Lohri. He said that there was not even a single case of any bird disease during the last 15 days.

Dr Randhawa was accompanied by Dr Simarjit Singh Rosha, Assistant Director, Poultry Development Department, Punjab. Dr Rosha said that he was in charge of four districts in the state and there was no case of flu. He said the state government had set up a control room at Jalandhar and a 24-hour helpline was available for poultry farmers at phone number-0181-2242335.

Mr Ajit Singh, Chief Executive of the NECC, said the poultry industry was aware of its responsibility and was taking all precautionary measures in this regard. Atleast 15,000 samples of birds, eggs, bird droppings of all migratory birds related to hens family were tested in Punjab and Haryana during the last 15 days and these were found to be free from bird flu.

‘‘We are decades ahead in the field of poultry industry as compared to other Asian countries and if there a disease strict it will be diagnosed immediately. We have a very strong network of five regional laboratories, 50 satellite laboratories and scores of other technical service centres to support the lab.” said Mr Ajit Singh.

The experts said while all countries had banned the poultry imports from Thailand, biggest exporter of the poultry products, this was an opportunity for the Indian farmers to exploit the market by exporting their produce to. Unfortunately, negative propaganda had caused irreparable loss to the poultry industry, the experts maintained.

They said the poultry farmers as well as breeders had suffered a setback during the past but with the right education this lass can be stopped.



Poultry farmers lose supply orders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Local residents are cancelling the huge orders placed for broilers and eggs in view of the reports of bird flu in some parts of the world. At the same time, farmers are reducing the price of poultry products and are indulging in panic-selling.

Though there has not been any reports of the avian influenza from any part of the country till date, the residents, who had ordered quintals of broilers for parties a fortnight ago, have cancelled these at the last minute. The poultry farmers are suffering losses worth thousands of rupees everyday.

Parties are not picking up the products although they had paid an advance to the poultry sellers for dressed chicken. A poultry owner in the Jawahar Nagar market area had to dispose of two quintals of dressed boilers here yesterday as the party, which had placed orders, did not turn up to collect the products.

Mr Sanjiv Bassi, a local poultry farmer, said they were suffering losses as the price of chicken and eggs had fallen to half of its original price. He added that a week ago undressed chicken was sold at Rs 37 a kg and yesterday it was sold for Rs 16 per kg. He said the eggs which were sold for Rs 160 to 165 per 100, were available for Rs 105 today.

Capt P.P.S. Gill, president of Poultry Farmers’ Association said the farmers were panic–stricken due to fall in the prices. He said a chick was bought for Rs 13 and a farmer spent Rs 22 to 24 on its feed. If it was sold for Rs 16, the farmers were bound to suffer huge losses. He said though not even a single case of bird influenza was reported in the country the demand had gone down drastically.

Mr Bassi said the poultry industry was on the brink of closure. He said there were 117 strains of bird flu virus and only two were known to infect humans. The strain found in Pakistan was species-specific and would not infect humans, he claimed.

‘‘With highly perishable products like broilers and eggs, we can’t stop the production like other units producing non-perishable commodities. We have to clear our stocks everyday. But in the absence of buyers we are going to be doomed.’’ added Mr Bassi. 



75-year-old hosiery owner found murdered
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Personnel of the CIA Staff and police examine the site of the murder of a businessman at Tilak Nagar in Ludhiana
Personnel of the CIA Staff and police examine the site of the murder of a businessman at Tilak Nagar in Ludhiana on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana February 1
A 75-year-old person was found murdered in his house in Tilak Nagar's Gandhi Chappri area this evening. The person, Sita Ram Saluja, was a hosiery owner who also ran a guest house near his house.

The police has recovered a knife and an iron rod along with a pair of shoes and chappals, one pant and one pyjama stained with blood. The murderers, apparently more than one, hid their stained clothes and the murder weapons inside a drain gutter in the back portion of the house before fleeing.

Though the motive of the murder was not immediately known, the police was working on various theories, including theft. Saluja was a widower and used to live alone in his house, while his two sons and three daughters lived in the vicinity.

According to eyewitnesses, Saluja's house was found locked from outside. When he failed to appear for two days with none of his relatives having any knowledge about his whereabouts, Saluja's brother, who lives in a house opposite to the site of the murder, sent someone to look for Sita Ram. Relatives scaled the roof of the house of the deceased and found his body in a pool of blood.

Saluja, according to relatives, was living alone for the past 10 to 12 years after his wife died. Virtually no one was able to point out the cause of the murder or the time it was committed.

The police has pressed a dog squad and finger print experts into service and was picking up leads to crack the case till the time of filing this report. According to police personnel on duty, the belongings of the deceased have been ransacked, but it was not immediately known if anything was missing.

It is being speculated that Saluja, who runs a guest house and hosiery, may have become the victim of some labourers who were aware that he kept cash at home.

Division No. 3 police station has registered a case and sounded an alert for the arrest of the murderers who, the police feels, may still be in the area. The shoes, chappal and clothes discarded by the criminals, the police says, have provided some clues that may help solve the murder.

Meanwhile, panic gripped the area with many people expressing their feelings of insecurity after the incident. The police is also working on the enmity and property angels to the murder.



LS poll: Bhatia foresees thumping 
victory for SAD-BJP combine
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party combine will give the ruling Congress a run for its money and will score a thumping victory on all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab in the coming General Election.

This was claimed by Adviser to the SAD and councillor of ward No 36 Rajinder Singh Bhatia while addressing a party workers’ meeting at Gurdwara Bhat Singh Sabha in Manjit Nagar locality here today. Jathedar Pritam Singh Dogra presided over the meeting.

Mr Bhatia said the Congress would have to pay a heavy price of its anti-people policies in the coming elections. Every section of the people, including traders, workers and employees was disgruntled over the failure of the government to deliver and provide an effective governance. The sharp division and fierce faction fighting, not only among the ranks of the ruling Congress, but right up to the top level, would cause the rout of the Congress and the electorate would once again give their mandate in favour of the SAD-BJP coalition, he added.

Other speakers, including Mr Pritam Singh Dogra and Mr Jatinder Singh Gilhotra, asked the people not to be misled by false claims of the Congress, which over the period, had proved to be anti-Punjab and anti-Punjabis. In the prevailing circumstances, every right thinking Punjabi ought to support the candidates of SAD-BJP combine and to strengthen the hands of Mr Parkash Singh Badal in Punjab and Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Centre.

Prominent among others present at the meeting were Mr Varinder Singh Dhaliwal, Mr Jasbir Singh Dogra, Ms Sarbjit Kaur Randhawa, Ms Rajinder Kaur Sahota, Mr Parveen Gagat, Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, Mr Rachpal Singh, Mr Kala Singh Dogra, Mr Mohan Singh, Mr Sewa Singh, Mr Raj Kumar Kaka, Mr Sikander Singh Sahota, Mr Joginder Singh Bhatti, Dr Balwinder Singh Batra, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Gurmeet Singh Billa, Mr Sawinder Singh Bedi, Mr Joginder Singh Gambheer, Mr Balwinder Singh Lovely, Mr Narinder Singh, Mr Surinder Singh Dang, Mr Chaman Singh, Mr Avtar Singh Arora and Mr Rakesh Bhandari.



Ludhiana ministers may face axe
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Some of the ministers from Ludhiana are likely to face the axe when the state government will prune its ministry to conform to the latest parliamentary legislation that restricts the number of ministers in a state to 15 per cent of the total strength of the House.

The Punjab Assembly has a strength of 117 members. This means that Punjab cannot have more than 18 ministers irrespective of their status (whether as Cabinet ministers or the ministers of state). While the Chief Minister is excluded from the ministerial strength, the Deputy Chief Minister is counted among the ministers only, as there is no such constitutional post.

It is learnt that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who was under considerable pressure to expand his Cabinet for accommodating certain dissidents, submitted this reasoning before the high command. The dissidents who were waiting to become the ministers were placated without any promotion.

While the dissident legislators had nothing to lose but everything to gain, it is the dissident ministers who may have to pay for their rebellion. Interestingly Ludhiana is said to be the prime target as the number of dissidents was maximum from here. All four ministers from Ludhiana — Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Mr Tej Parkash, Mr Rakesh Pandey and Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi — had sided with Ms Bhattal. However, Mr Birmi, had returned to the Chief Minister’s fold at a later stage.

Local party sources revealed that Mr Birmi made a volte face at the last moment, only after he was hinted by his mentors at the Centre that nothing was going to change and he should better side with the Chief Minister for long-term benefit. With Mr Johar having embarrassed the Chief Minister the most, by being at the forefront of the dissident campaign, he is likely to be one of the main targets of the pruning process. Mr Pandey is also a known Bhattal loyalist while Mr Tej Parkash’s role was also too obvious.

However, the sources pointed out that given the seniority of Mr Johar, it may not be easy for the Chief Minister to remove him. Mr Tej Parkash is most likely to continue in view of the contribution of his family to the party in the state.

With the Chief Minister reportedly having started targeting the dissidents, local ministers are quite uncertain about their future. “Instead of gaining anything from the rebellion they seem to be at a receiving end now”, remarked a local Congress leader.



Dharna successful, claims Ramoowalia
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Lok Bhalai Party president and former Union minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia said today that the dharna staged by hundreds of deserted married girls at Chandigarh yesterday against their fraudulent NRI or PIO husbands had sent a wave of ''lok jagriti'' throughout Punjab. He thanked all such NGOs, charitable institutions, eminent social personalities and girl students from various colleges who voluntarily attended the event.

Mr Ramoowalia said that the huge turnout, in which groups of victimised married girls from all corners of Punjab braved incessant rain and cold and described their individual pathetic tales of treachery by their runaway husbands, created a deep impact and mass awareness.

Scores of print and electronic media teams covering the event were also emotionally moved.

It was a moving experience to hear their heart-rending tales as how their conjugal life, future of their sons and daughters, their parents' self-respect had all been ruined.

They expressed anguish that neither the Chief Minister nor any established political party nor its leaders had done anything so far to help them.

They claimed that it was the Lok Bhalai Party which had volunteered help and vigorously taken up their cause even on alien shores.

Mr Ramoowalia further said that with just only 3 per cent accused NRIs or PIOs found involved in this "organised crime," the fair image of India had got sullied, forcing foreign missions in New Delhi to view even genuine marriage cases for visas with suspicion.

The protesters later presented a detailed representation addressed to the Chief Minister, urging him to take stringent lawful measures to provide them succour and relief.



Cong minority cell demands two seats
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 1
Mr Dilbar Mohammad Khan, Chairman, Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee Minority Cell, demanded the party ticket for two Muslims in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
Mr Khan was addressing a press conference organised at the local Golden Grain Club in view of the Chandigarh visit of Mr C.K. Jafar Sharif, Chairman, All-India Congress Committee Minority Wing.

Mr Khan said that the minority cell of the Punjab Congress wanted the ticket for the Ludhiana and Sangrur seats. He said the party had not given due representation to the Muslims of the state.

He flayed encroachments on graveyards in the state. He urged the police to take quick action on the complaints filed by residents against these encroachments.



Pensioners charge govt with betrayal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
The Government Pensioners Association (GPA) has criticised the Congress Government in Punjab for its failure to fulfil even a single promise made in the election manifesto at the time of assembly elections in February, 2003.

In a statement here today, the GPA additional general secretary, Mr Yash Pal Ghai, lamented that the promises of a hike in medical allowance and grant of house rent allowance to pensioners still remained elusive. While the government had allowed an increase in the old-age allowance in pension to former MLAs at the rate of 5,10 and 15 per cent of their basic pension on attaining the age of 65, 70 and 75 years, respectively, the government pensioners were given this benefit only at two stages of 65 and 75 years which was a clear case of discrimination. The benefit of another increase in pension at the age of 80 years was being denied to pensioners despite the recommendation of the Third Pay Commission.

Mr Ghai further observed that the income tax on the salaries drawn by ministers was being paid from the state exchequer and a similar facility was about to be extended to the legislators as well. However, the pensioners were being deprived of this facility even as the Fourth Pay Commission had recommended that the income tax paid by Punjab Government pensioners be refunded to them.

He said it was strange that the government had enough funds to extend financial benefits to ministers and MLAs, but in the case of pensioners, the coffers were said to be empty.



Improvement in Talwandi’s condition
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The condition of former SGPC chief and senior Akali leader Jagdev Singh Talwandi is stable and he is on the road to recovery. He was cheerful and listened to kirtan in the morning and also met a stream of visitors.

Those who called on him today included Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, former Union Minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, former ministers Prem Singh Chandumajra, Dr Upinderjit Kaur and Nusrat Ali Khan, MLAs Sucha Singh Chhotepur and Bhag Singh Malla, Mayor Nahar Singh Gill, former Mayor U.S. Grewal, former MP Rajinder Kaur Bulara, Major Mohan Singh and Gurdev Singh Lapran.



Engine breaks down, traffic blocked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Vehicular traffic was blocked on the Sidhwan canal road near Sarabha Nagar for about an hour after an engine of a goods train broke down right at the Sarabha Nagar level crossing.

The engine was towed away after an hour and the flow of traffic was restored. Serpentine queues of vehicles were seen on both sides of the crossing.

During the morning hours, an engine (WDJ-14809) of a Ferozepore-bound goods train developed a snag and halted at the Sarabha Nagar level crossing. Commuters were stranded on the road.

Another engine from Ludhiana railway station was sent to tow away the broken down engine and traffic flow was restored. 



Five gamblers in police net
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
The police arrested five persons under the Gambling Act from a vacant plot near Ayali Chowk on the outskirts of the city last evening. A pack of cards and Rs 12,200 were seized from the spot.

According to Mr Narinderpal Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police, a party of Sadar police station headed by ASI Hardev Singh had raided the place on the basis of a tip-off and the accused were caught red-handed. Those arrested were identified as Kuldip Singh, Ramesh Kapoor, Rajan Kalra, all residents of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Vikas Kumar, a resident of New Amar Nagar, and Om Parkash, a resident of Guru Amar Das Nagar.

The accused were booked under Sections 13/3/67 of the Gambling Act and further investigation was in progress.



INTUC demands social security for workers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
The Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) has urged the Punjab Government to ensure implementation of labour laws in the state and to take effective measures to provide social security and check exploitation of workers in private factories.

In a statement here today, the state president of INTUC, Mr Balwant Rai Kapoor, said in the private sector, the workers were being denied minimum wages in gross violation of the Minimum Wages Act, women workers were being discriminated against and even the basic right of bonus was also not being implemented. He said in a large number of units, employing 10 or more workers, whether on wages or on contract basis, provisions of the Employees State Insurance Scheme Act, Employee Provident Fund Act were being flouted in connivance with officials of the Labour Department.

While welcoming various concessions and relief granted to different sections of people as also withdrawal of exim forms, waiver of penalty on water and sewerage bills, enhancement of honorarium of chowkidars in villages from Rs 400 to 600 and extending of kanya jagriti jyoti scheme to all Scheduled Caste families with two females girls, Mr Kapoor called upon the government to waive penalty and interest on the enhancement in cost and penalty on non-construction, slapped on the residents by PUDA.

The INTUC chief pleaded that the policies of privatisation and disinvestment from government departments and public sector undertakings should be withdrawn, fresh recruitment should be opened in all government departments to check unemployment, recruitment on compassionate grounds should be reintroduced, contractual labour system should be scrapped, bonus should be paid in all government departments and municipal bodies, all adhoc and daily wage employees should be regularised on full pay scales to check exploitation and child labour should be stopped from the private sector. He also wanted benefit of pension for government and municipal employees, who had retired prior to 1990 to ensure social security to them.

Emphasising scrupulous implementation of all labour laws, he demanded that the Minimum Wages Act, Employees Provident Fund Act, ESI Act, Bonus Act, Payment of Wages Act, Factory Act, Gratuity Act, Weekly Holidays Act, Workmen Compensation Act and Maternity Benefits Act should be followed strictly in the private factories to ensure social security and social justice to the working class so as to mobilse them in favour of the ruling party in the wake of coming Lok Sabha poll.



Fly ash pollution great threat

Ludhiana, February 1
The United Cycle and Parts Manufactures Association has expressed serious concern over the problem of pollution. It said that the pollution was causing a lot of difficulties not only for the industries but also all the citizens.

In a statement issued here today, the general secretary of the association, Mr Varinder Kapoor, said anybody visiting Ludhiana for the first time was taken aback to see the situation. He said the fly ash, the residue of the husk burning in the industrial units, was dumped with impunity at public places, parks and green belts in large quantities.

He said during the rainy season the sewerage was adversely affected when the ash flowed with the water to the drains. On the windy days it flew in the air and became a cause for the eye diseases and accidents.

He said that the association demanded that the sources of this ash be identified and action initiated against them. He demanded that adequate arrangements should be made by the government for dumping of fly ash at open places away from the residential areas. TNS 


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