L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


PM, Laloo, Dharmendra coming to city today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
Ludhiana parliamentary constituency is witnessing hectic political activity with every contestant trying to rope in celebrities in a last bid effort to influence the voters. The concluding day of electioneering tomorrow will see Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Ludhiana’s own son and cine star Dharmendra addressing a public rally in support of SAD-BJP nominee, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, while Mr Laloo Parsad Yadav will address a rally of the Congress nominee, Mr Manish Tewari.

The Lok Bhalai Party chief, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, has had singer, Harbhajan Mann and actress Kim Verma canvassing for him for the past several days. All the three political parties held road shows in this parliamentary constituency throwing the model code of conduct to the winds, besides violating traffic rules. Youngsters on scooters and motorcycles with party flags, dozens of overloaded vehicle were seen at many places in the parliamentary constituencies where overzealous supporters accompanied their candidates in the form of ‘jaloos’.

The district administration has finally cleared the PUDA ground in Sector 32 A on the Ludhiana - Chandigarh road for the Prime Minister’s rally. The area has been sanitised by the security agencies as per instruction of the blue book that details requirements about the Prime Minister’s security. The time of the rally has been advanced from 3 p.m. to 2 p.m. Mr Vajpayee would be accompanied by cine star Dharmender. Efforts are being made to bring his actor sons Sunny and Bobby Deol but there is no confirmation on their programme yet.

Meanwhile, the Congress in a bid to counter the impact of the Prime Minister’s rally has invited Bihar’s veteran political leader, Laloo Parsad to address a rally in favour of Mr Manish Tewari. Senior Congress leaders from Delhi and Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, too, would be present at the rally that would be held in the Dasehra Ground in Jamalpur, barely a kilometre away from the Prime Minister’s rally. Both the rallies would be held at the same time. The Congress is hoping that they would receive a larger turnout at their rally to listen to Laloos uncanny sense of humour.

Barricades have been set up at various places and every vehicle entering the city is being thoroughly checked to prevent unscrupulous persons from entering the city.

Various antics are being used by different political parties to draw the attention of the voters. The Congress hit upon a novel method to put across its message of stability by enacting a skit in which a bullock cart is pulled by Mr Vajpayee and Haryana Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala, with former Punjab Chief Minister and SAD president, Parkash Singh Badal riding the cart. After a few steps both Mr Vajpayee and Mr Chautala go in different directions and Mr Badal falls down, implying that the NDA is not a stable alliance.



Bajrang Dal to oppose Laloo’s visit
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 7
Reacting to reports that the Rashtriya Lok Dal supremo and former Chief Minister of Bihar Laloo Prasad Yadav would be visiting the city tomorrow to canvass support for the Congress candidate, Mr Manish Tiwari, the Bajrang Dal activists have announced to show black flags to the leader for what they described as his being anti-Hindu.

In a press note here today, Mr Pawan Garg, former convener of the outfit, observed that the presence of the RJD leader in city would vitiate the peaceful atmosphere. In addition, the sentiments of the ‘Ram bhakts’ would be hurt, he said.



Poll Round-up
Candidates step up campaigning
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 7
As the D-Day draws near, the contenders for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat, Mr Manish Tiwari of Congress, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon of SAD-BJP and Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia of Lok Bhalai Party have stepped up the electioneering. While Mr Tiwari held an impressive road show, passing through thickly populated residential and commercial areas of the city today, the SAD-BJP and the LBP nominees continued hectic campaigning, addressing rallies and making direct contact with voters in many localities today.

All along the route of the road show, which commenced from Malhar cinema road and passed through Haibowal, Chander Nagar, Upkar Nagar, Kundanpuri, Chand Cinema, Gandhi Nagar, Shivpuri, Kila Mohalla, Ghati Mohalla, Kashmir Nagar, Baba Than Singh Chowk, Neemwala Chowk, Mochpura Bazar, Khud Mohalla, Islam Ganj, Jail Road and Amarpura, before concluding at Janakpuri, the Congress candidate was accorded a warm welcome by residents, shopkeepers and the trade and industrial bodies.

Besides the councillors and party functionaries of the areas through which the road show moved, Mr Tiwari was accompanied by Minister for Jails, Mr Malkiat Singh Beermi, Minister for Printing and Stationery, Mr Rakesh Pandey, party legislators, Mr Surinder Dawar, and Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, DCC (Urban) president, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, Mr Komal Khanna and mr Manjit Humbran, presidents of the urban and rural district units of Youth Congress.

Giving a boost to the prospects of Mr Tiwari, the municipal workers, all over the state, have pledged their support to the Congress candidates in the Lok Sabha election. In pursuance of a resolution adopted at the states executive meeting of Punjab Municipal Workers Federation (INTUC) held here today, all affiliated units have been directed to work for victory of the Congress nominees in their respective areas.

The resolution moved by president of the federation, Mr Tarsem Lal, was adopted unanimously. During deliberation on the prevailing political situation, he gave a call to all trade unions and secular forces in the state to defeat the communal and anti-employees SAD-BJP alliance candidates, contesting elections. “The BJP led NDA government at the centre has darkened the future of our children by drastic cut in the interest rate on provident fund, pension schemes for future employment have been scrapped, doors of state and central services have been closed to the unemployed youth and the working classes are facing a bleak future due to price rise of each and every commodities.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Mr Hans Raj Gaggat, president, Safai Karmchari Union, asked the trade union activists to fan out in their respective constituencies and go from door to door to mobilise the electorate in favour of the Congress candidates in the fray.

Among others present in the meeting were Mr Pritam Kumar, President, Punjab Municipal Street Light Employees Union, Mr Karam Chand Gaggat, general secretary, Punjab Municipal Workers Federation, Mr Baldev Raj Bhumbak, General Secretary, Safai Karmchari Union, Mr Manga Ram, president, Municipal Sewermen Union and Mr Sunder Lal Mehta, chairman, Punjab Fire Brigade Employees Union.

Speaking at a well attended meeting in Ward No 69, organised by area councillor Mr Jai Parkash, the Congress nominee made scathing attacks on the policies of NDA government in centre. He said the government had closed its eyes to the pathetic plight of the industry in the wake of skyrocketing prices of raw material while the industry was being pushed towards destruction. Member of the outgoing Lok Sabha Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, Minister of State Rakesh Pandey, city Mayor Nahar Singh Gill and Mr Surinder Dawar, MLA, were present at the occasion.

Mr Tiwari sought the support of the voters in another election rally held at Haibowal Main Market to throw out the BJP-led communal coalition. He vowed to make Ludhiana a model city if the voters posed their trust in him. Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA, Senior Deputy Mayor Mr Prem Mittal, Deputy Mayor Ms Sushil Gupta and Ms Asha Garg, councillor attended the rally which was organised by area councillors Mr Hem Raj Aggarwal and Ms Amarjit Kaur.

Meanwhile, SAD-BJP nominee Sharanjit Singh Dhillon was assured of massive support by a large number of ‘taksali’ Akali Dal leaders, BJP activists and functionaries of several social and religious organisations at a rally organised by former councillor and veteran Akali leader, Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia, at Khud Mohalla Chowk late last evening.

Prominent among the speakers at the rally were Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, senior vice president of SAD-B, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, both former MLA’s, Mr Sat pal Gosain, former Deputy Speaker and many councillors belonging to the SAD and BJP.

Addressing the rally, Mr Dhillon observed that the SAD-BJP combine was seeking votes in the name of overall development of the country under the NDA regime whereas other parties, including Congress, had no issue to put before the voters. Under the stewardship of mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, the nation had made its name all over the world, the economy had taken a turn for the better and interest of the common people had been safeguarded.

Claiming that the proposed visit of Mr Vajpayee to Ludhiana on May 8, would turn out to be a shot in the arm for the alliance candidates all over the state, he maintained that the SAD-BJP combine was all set to sweep the LS polls.

The BJP Kisan Morcha has described the acceptance of the Johl committee report on diversification of agriculture by the Union Government as a turning point for the agriculture in Punjab. In a statement here today, he said the deleting water table and compulsion of the farmers to cultivate paddy had spelled disaster for the farmers in the state but with the acceptance of the report, the farmers would shift from traditional crop rotation towards increasing area under pulses, oil seeds and other cash crops.

On the other hand, the Lok Bhalai Party chief, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, has charged both the Akali Dal and Congress with failure to fulfill poll promises during their respective tenures. Speaking at an election rally in Dhandra village, he said leaders of both the parties had filled up their coffers and now, on the eve of parliamentary elections, they were trying to divert the attention of the voters through slanderous ad campaign. He said rather than misusing the government and party funds on such dirty and meaningless advertisements, if the SAD and Congress leaders had kept the interests of the people at heart, the state and its people would have been in a much better state.

Mr Ramoowalia also campaigned in Mehdoodpura, Lalton Kalan, Lalton Khurd and Mullanpur villages, besides meeting the electorate in several urban localities.

The BSP candidate, Mr Ravinder Singh Sohil, and Dr Satnam Singh, Independent candidate in the electoral battle also carried on with electioneering at a feverish pitch.



Polling stations in city rural segment shifted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 7
The Assistant Returning Officer of Ludhiana rural assembly segment has shifted some of the polling stations in the area while some others have been bifurcated into two to facilitate polling for the Lok Sabha elections on May 10.

According to an official press release, polling station nos 83 and 84 earlier located at Bhaura Bharti Ganesh School have been shifted to Bhaura Guru Gobind Singh Senior Secondary School, polling station no 152 shifts from S.K. Naveen Model School, Guru Arjun Dev Nagar, Sherpur to SVM Public School Guru Arjun Dev Nagar, polling station no 12 to 14 have been shifted from B.T. Model High School, Basant Vihar Colony to the office of Superintending Engineer, PSEB, in Basant Vihar Colony, while polling station no 49 shifts from Government Elementary School in Subhash Nagar, Basti Jodhewal to Dayal Public High School in Indrapuri on Tajpur Road.

Other changes are: Polling station No. 27 at Government Elementary School in Gadapur would be bifurcated into two at the same place, polling station no 62 will shift from M.K. Model School, Baldev Nagar as 62 and 62-A to J. F. Kennedy Senior Secondary School, Street No 6, Naginder Nagar and polling station no 65 at Dharamshala in Tilak Nagar will split into 65 and 65-A to be located at Gauri Model School, opposite Tikona Park in Subhash Nagar.

Polling station No. 158 at Government Elementary School in Giaspura, polling station no 201 at Ludhiana Ramgarhia High School, Partap Nagar, polling station no 216 at Ludhiana Phambra Government Elementary School and polling station no 269 at Rashtriya Bal Vidya Mandir High School in Chander Nagar have been split into two each without any change in their location.



Focus on Kila Raipur
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 7
Considering that the Kila Raipur Assembly segment may play the decisive role in the Ludhiana parliamentary constituency, the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have focused attention on this Assembly segment. The political fight has virtually became a fight between the Khangura and Garcha families, with Ramoowalia supporters trying to erode votes from both parties.

Mr Manish Tiwari of the Congress is a new face here. Close relatives and contemporaries of his father Vishav Nath Tiwari have been campaigning for him. The late Tiwari was a familiar name among the masses.

The Khanguras have maintained their position in their strongholds at and around Latala, Mini Chhapar, Rangoowal, Pandher Kheri, Khera, Kila Hans, Jand, Khatra Choharan, Chhapar, Nanak Pur Jagera and Saholi. They have intruded into many strongholds of the Garchas.

The alliance between the LBP and the SAD (A) goes in favour of the Congress. Around 8,000 voters are likely to shift loyalty to the LBP.

Factionalism within the Congress is not visible this time. Sensing strong Congress presence here the SAD is making all-out efforts to improve its position. Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, MLA, and his brother, Mr Maan Singh Garcha, have toured the area. They have played a major role in organising rallies in the area.



Shahi Imam asks Muslims to vote for Congress
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
Mr Habib-ur-Rehman, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, today appealed to Muslims to vote for Congress candidate Manish Tiwari. He was addressing a congregation after ‘namaz’ in Field Ganj here.

The Shahi Imam said the Muslims should not stand by those communal forces, which had demolished the Babri Masjid and massacred Muslims in Gujarat.

He said all 1.5 lakh Muslim voters in Ludhiana should vote in favour of the Congress candidate. He said the BJP had never thought about the welfare of minority communities in the past. He claimed that during NDA rule, Muslims had been ignored and humiliated.

Mr Habib-ur-Rehman honoured the Congress candidate He said Tiwari’s father Dr Vishwanath Tiwari, a renowned scholar, had been raising his voice against sectarian powers and advocating just demands of Punjab.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Tiwari said interests of all communities would be protected after the installation of a Congress-led alliance at the Centre.

He claimed that the policies of the Congress had made the country a big power in the world, whereas the NDA government had brought shame to the country.

He said during the NDA tenure, prices of the essential commodities

and other items had increased manifold and the life of the common man had become miserable. He said the

feel-good factor being propagated by the NDA was limited to its leaders, who had looted the country during the past five years.

Congress leaders earlier organised a roadshow of Mr Tiwari in different areas.

Mr Tewari and other leaders exhorted the people to come out in large numbers to vote for the Congress. 



Inquilabi dal to support Preneet
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
The All-India Shiromani Inquilabi Dal has declared that their outfit would support Patiala Congress candidate Preneet Kaur.
Mr Jagir Singh Rattanpal and Dr Jaswant Singh Chamak, president and general secretary of the dal, said the reason for supporting the Congress was that Capt Amarinder Singh was the first Chief Minister in the country who was fighting corruption.

They added that the Chief Minister was striving for improving the economy of the state while his wife Preneet Kaur was endeavouring for the overall development of her constituency.

Others present on the occasion included Principal Hardyal Singh, Gajjan Singh, Balbir Singh Khinda, Balwant Singh Chatrath, Prof Gurdev Singh Momi, all senior vice-presidents of the dal, press secretary Gurdishpal Singh and vice-presidents Inder Singh Josan, Gulzar Singh Jammu and Kewal Singh.



Use of stadia for poll resented
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, May 6
There is resentment among the sports fraternity here against the decision of the local administration to stock election material in indoor stadia. It fears that this may damage the wooden floors in the Shastri badminton hall and the multi-purpose indoor stadium at the Guru Nanak Sports Complex. Hundreds of sportspersons, including shuttlers, judokas and spikers, visit these daily for practice. Their entry to these places has been banned now.

Last week, the administration occupied these centres, which would be used as counting centres. Officials of the municipal corporation said the teakwood floors at these indoor halls had been damaged by election staff and security personnel.



Eyeing Dalit vote bank
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 7
Supporters of various candidates from Ludhiana have focused their attention on Dalit-dominated villages falling under the Kila Raipur Assembly segment, with a total population of 1,54,465. Spread over 81 villages, the segment has an electorate of 1,29,857. The Dalit electorate, with 52,849 votes, has attracted supporters of Congress and BSP candidates.

Candidates focusing on the Dalit vote bank have intensified their campaign in Kila Raipur, Latala, Dhurkot, Sarabha, Gujjarwal, Mohi, Sayan Kalan, Saholi Pakhowal, Sihar, Nanak Pur Jagera, Jassowal and Dehlon, where there are at least 1,000 Dalit votes each. Kote Agah and Dhodey villages have the least number of Dalit voters.



Dhillon’s media adviser killed in accident

Ludhiana, May 7
Kulwant Singh Ranike, a Shiromani Akali Dal Badal (SAD) leader and media adviser of Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Akali candidate for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha constituency, died in a road accident here early this morning, the police said.

Ranike was returning home in his car after finalising the arrangements on the site where Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is scheduled to address an election rally tomorrow.

Ranike’s car hit the central verge on the road near Cheema Chowk and overturned. He was the only occupant in the car. According to the police, he died on the spot. — PTI



Despite accident, overloading continues
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, May 7
The train-school van collision on Wednesday, in which four children of Guru Harkrishan Public School lost their lives, does not seem to have taught any lesson to parents or school authorities here.

Parents still continue to send their children in school vans, autorickshaws and cycle-rickshaws, which are packed beyond their seating capacities, oblivious of the danger involved. Despite orders from the district administration of not filling vehicles beyond 1.5 times the seating capacity, overloaded school vehicles continue to be a common sight.

Though an autorickshaw has a seating capacity of seven or eight children, 18 children are often seen in them. In their effort to earn more profit, many drivers create extra seating space for children by adding a wooden slab in the portion behind the seats where luggage is supposed to be kept. Others make younger children sit in the laps of their seniors. There are others who make children sit on narrow sideboards. Such children face high risk due to heavy vehicular traffic on city roads.

Some closed-type rickshaws, called buggies, with a capacity of eight children, carry more than 12 children, with one or two children running along and pushing these from behind. Rash driving makes the transportation of schoolchildren more unsafe. Bumpy rides and sharp turns and twists taken by speeding autorickshaws make it impossible for many schoolchildren to balance themselves on the way.

The hot weather has added to their woes. It becomes suffocating for many tiny tots who go back home huddled in Maruti vans.

Overloaded vehicles were seen passing before the Ludhiana traffic police in front of the Mini-Secretariat, the Police Lines, Bharat Nagar Chowk, Fountain Chowk and Clock Tower today. All such vehicles were allowed to pass by without any check or interrogation. Many teachers are a daily witness to such unsafe situations as they travel along with the children in the autorickshaws.

High student strength of many schools is another cause of the problem. Overloading of vehicles being run on contract with Kundan Vidya Mandir, BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School and Greenland Public Senior Secondary School is quite common. Mr S.C. Saxena, Kundan Vidya Mandir, said he was planning to issue a circular to parents not to send their children in overloaded vehicles. Ms Paramjit Kaur, Principal of BCM school, said she had issued identity cards to all autorickshaw drivers so that parents could complain her about any driver trying to overload his vehicle. Economy is yet another factor. The director of Greenland Public Senior Secondary School, Mr Rajesh Rudhra, said the price of diesel was soaring high, road tax on school vehicles had been increased to Rs 20,000 per bus per year and maintenance costs were going up. Since parents were not ready to pay charges beyond Rs 500 per child per month, the only way out was to increase the load to make transportation economically viable, he said. 



Engg industry hit by rising steel prices
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 7
Manufacturing of engineering goods, both for domestic and global markets, has been hit as there has been a major production loss in the industry during the last, year thanks to the persistent hike in the prices of iron and steel during the period.

Portraying a dismal scenario for the industry, Mr Rajinder Jindal, president of the Engineering Exporters Association of India (EEAI), said that for more than a year now, the prices of steel were shooting up every month and the total increase during the period had been more than 60 per cent in comparison to the prices that prevailed last year.

He said the manufacturing and export of engineering goods, particularly bicycle and parts, whose basic raw material was iron and steel, were finding it very difficult to compete in the international market. The engineering units were not able to honour their export commitments, which they had already made due to the unabated price hike of steel. "The export of bicycle and bicycle parts from India, which stood at Rs 945 crore in 2001-2002 had come down to Rs 865 crore in the year 2002-2003 and the prevailing trends projected a further drop to the level of less than Rs 750 during 2003-2004."

Mr Jindal pointed out that in an effort to curb the continuous increase in the steel prices, the government did take steps like the withdrawal of the BIS specification requirements for the import of steel in India, reduction in customs duty on inputs required by steel plants, reduction in excise duty on steel and withdrawal of export incentives like DEPB and duty drawback on export of steel but these turned out to be rather ineffective with little or no impact on the prices of raw material.

Mr Chaman Lal Tangri, general secretary of the EEAI, was of the opinion that the remedial measures to curb the prices of steel had failed to have the desired effect for various reasons. Among the major factors affecting the prices of raw material were increase in steel prices in the international market, spurt in demand of steel in China, short supply of iron and steel in domestic market by the cartel of major steel producers in India and export of steel at the cost of domestic industry, coupled with defective pricing and sales mechanism of steel producers of India.

He suggested that a mechanism should be evolved in which steel producers should offer steel to manufacturers on a priority basis directly and the policy of sale through traders should be dispensed with immediately. The chances of artificially created shortage with hoarding of material could be eliminated this way. 



Rs 1.70 lakh snatched from hosiery unit employee
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
Two car-borne persons snatched a bag containing Rs 1.70 lakh from an employee of a hosiery factory near HDFC Bank, the Mall, today afternoon. They also stabbed the victim, in the arm before fleeing.

Sukhwinder Singh, an employee with the marketing unit of Lalton Kalan village-based hosiery, Preview Fashion, had withdrawn money from the company’s account for disbursement of salary. He was riding a scooter when the incident took place. Sukhwinder Singh tried to put up resistance but had to give in when the robbers threatened him with a pistol.

One of the robbers was clean shaven while the second was a turbaned youth.

The division No. 5 police has registered a case against the suspects.

The police was informed quite late about the incident. Sources said the victim first called up his employers at Lalton Kalan, who first reached the site of the crime, and then the police was informed, one-and-a-half hours after the incident.



Train-van mishap victims now stable
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 7
The two students of Guru Harkrishan Public School who had been in a critical condition following the train-school van collision on Wednesday were stable today.
Nisha Rani, a Class VI student, had gained consciousness and her breathing pipes had been removed. Dr Sandeep Puri, Medical Superintendent at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, said she was not talking, but had started following commands. He said the condition of the other four children admitted to the hospital had started improving steadily.

Baljit, a student of Class I, who suffered from fractures in her collarbone and backbone, was now stable. Dr R.S. Sodhi, officiating Medical Superintendent at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, said his condition was better today and he required hospitalisation for another five as seven days. Two children, Diljinder Kaur and Jitender Singh, were discharged today. Plaster was applied on limbs of children who had sustained fractures.



Mother’s Day
Mothers are next to God
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 7
My mother is a special gift,
A special gift that God gave to me.

I’d be lost and lonely without her, If God took her away you see.

I love her so very much, That I couldn’t bear to live without her healing touch.

Thank you God for giving me such a loving mother, For I wouldn’t want to be a part of no other.

These and similar kinds of words eulogising mothers have flooded the market as Mother’s Day falls on Sunday. “The commercialisation of Mother’s Day is complete. Card shops have different kinds of cards, in fan shapes, pullouts and gifts for gullible customers. “For me everyday is Mother’s Day as whatever I am today is due to the efforts of my mother as my father died when I was very small. I do not do anything special on Mother’s Day as I feel show of affection on only one day is all humbug,” says Amit Kumar.

Quite contrary to Amit , young lads and lasses are brimming with joy and excitement as they are reading the wordings of the cards and wondering which will appeal to their mothers. Ketan and sister Renu say,” We have arranged a surprise party for mom for she loves partying. We have invited her friends and ordered her favorite dishes from the family caterer. We are baking a cake at our friend’s house so that she does not know of her secret plan. The joy on her face at our efforts to make her happy will also thrill us. After all our mother helps us daily in our problems. We simply adore her.”

Chander, employed in a office, says, “I did not know May 9 was Mother’s Day. But now that I know of it, I will buy her a salwar suit which will give her happiness. But for me everyday is ‘Her Day’ as I cherish her. She remains quite unwell, so I give her medicines on time. My mother is often tempted to eat that kind of food forbidden to her, I gently tell her not to have it. How I love her and love to serve her.”

An NRI, Mr Sudhir says: “I have specially come to celebrate Mother’s Day. I am going to take her out to dinner and buy her a gorgeous diamond set. She will be overjoyed. I can never repay the debt as she helped me to go abroad by giving me all her savings. If I am well off, it is due to her efforts.

The mother’s love is the only love that is unconditional. Yet many heartless sons at the bidding of their wives turn their mother’s out. Mrs Ramwati, a 97-year-old woman, is living in a senior citizen’s home. She told Ludhiana Tribune that her six children turned her out saying, “Maa da acchar pana hai”.

Most of the persons would be unaware of the day specially dedicated to mothers. Similarly, lakhs of Indian mothers would be ignorant of the fact that children are supposed to pay them a tribute. It is their great maternal love that prompts them to make endless sacrifices for their children. The mothers on the roadside selling vegetables will not forget the job of feeding the hungry child oblivious of the passing traffic. (See picture). Mothers at construction sites would carry bricks, put their children in makeshift hammocks of old clothes and would fed their infants.



No end to plight of ragpickers 
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, May 7
The sight of small unkempt, malnourished children with matted hair, rickety legs, oversized clothes and a bag slung at the back, is very common. Their condition is heart rending , but sadly it fails to move any hearts or NGOs who could take them away from heaps of garbage from where they pick plastic bags to sell these to eke out a meagre living.

Sheer poverty and large families force people to push their children into picking up rags. Bhiku and his younger brother start their work early as there is a lot of competition in this work too. There are seven of them — five girls and two boys.

Bhiku says they wake up in the morning and after eating stale chappatis with a cup of tea set out with a bag made of rags only. Barefoot with cuts in their feet, they walk painfully to garbage dumps in different localities of the city. They have to put their bare hands in mounds of rubbish to extract bags which, at times, are full of stinking food. Hundreds of children are forced to live this life of ugliness with no pleasure of childhood.

All seasons are bad for them. The sunshine beats on them miscilessly dehydrating them. The rainy season and winters bring along their own hazards.

Child labour is prevalent despite the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC) directing the State Social Security and Child Welfare Department to file before the commission what steps it is taking for protecting the basic rights of these children.

The PHRC had issued this order in February, 2004 while acting on a news-report published last year in this newspaper. However, no concrete action has been taken in this regard.



DMCH union chief alleges exploitation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 7
Charging the management of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) here with exploitation and victimisation of employees, the hospital employees’ union today alleged that conspiracies were being hatched at the highest level to deny justice to the workers and create conditions under which the union could not exist.

DMCH Employees Union president Chander Mohan Kalia said in a press note yesterday that in a provocative step, the management had again made up its mind to shift the intensive care unit of the hospital to the Hero Heart Institute, which, the management had accepted after the employees’ strike in August 2002, as a separate entity. Recruitment of employees had been scrapped by the management and workers were being retained on contract. Cases of providing employment on compassionate grounds to kin of deceased employees was not being considered by the management.

The management had gone back on its commitment of settling all issues across the table and representatives of employees were not being given the opportunity of presenting their cases, he said.



Punjab to get 200 TARA kendras
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 7
Jonita, a physically challenged girl, is in charge of TARAhaat kendra in Rampura Phul run by TARAhaat Information and Marketing Services Ltd. It sounds different.
According to Major Amarjeet Singh, business head of TARAhaat, everybody gets an opportunity here. He adds that multiple services with assistance from the Development Alternatives Group, an NGO, are provided here.

Mr Vikas Chadda says that TARAhaat will set up over 200 cyber kiosks called TARA kendras in towns, focal points and villages of Punjab this year, offering a wide range of products and services.

TARAhaats’ services include e-mail service available in 11 Indian languages (apart from English). It also provides information in Punjabi, Hindi and English on www.tarahaat.com on a broad range of subjects like government schemes on health services, farming practices, etc.

TARAhaat’s education division, TARAgyan, has created many job openings for its students. Besides accessing classified listings for matrimonials and jobs, one can also get information on bus and train schedules, expert advice on farming, setting up of small-scale industries.



Readers Write
Aggrieved judiciary

I refer to ‘Appeal to the Supreme Court’ by Mr H.K. Dua in The Tribune, April 21, 2004, and fully endorse his views. The importance of judiciary in a democratic country cannot be overemphasised. It is one of the three parts of the government, the other two being executive and legislature. Judiciary keeps a check on excesses, if any, committed by the executive and legislature, in addition to being the last hope of citizens for redressal of grievances.

On April 19, 25 judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court went on mass causal leave. It left the common man stunned. The public is unable to know what has gone wrong. In the damage control exercise, the Judges resumed duty the next day following an appeal by incoming Chief Justice Rajendra Babu.

But it is only a symptomatic treatment and actual de-escalation of tension can be achieved by removing the grievances of the Judges. This can be done by the SC only and The Tribune has appealed to apex court to take notice of this unprecedented development and take remedial measures to prevent the situation from further worsening.

Anil Sharma

M.Sc papers tough

I, a former student of Panjab University, would like to bring to the notice of the university authorities that they are playing with the future of the students. While setting the question papers of M.Sc. (maths), the syllabus, the mental level and the ability of the students is not taken into consideration. Last year the paper of theory and complex analysis was retaken and this year, too, the papers of algebra (M.Sc-I) and differential geometry (M.Sc-II) were so difficult and unexpected that the students were forced to think whether they will be able to pass or not, what to say of scoring a good percentage!

Even the improvement candidates who had gone with so many hopes of improving their percentage came out of the hell with depressed faces after seeing the paper of algebra (M.Sc-I). The university must take a re-examination of these two papers otherwise the students doing M.Sc. (maths) from PU, will always regret their decision of doing M.Sc. from this university when an average student from other universities of Punjab is easily able to score more than 75 per cent marks, whereas an average student doing M.Sc (maths) from Panjab University yearns to get even first division (i.e. 60 per cent marks).

Pensioners’ lot

The Punjab Finance Department, through a notification, has enhanced the quantum of dearness relief of its pensioners/family pensioners from 59 per cent to 61 per cent with effect from January 1, 2004.

Meanwhile, employees and pensioners are upset with the Punjab Administration for its failure to issue the DA/DR merger notification as decided earlier by the Punjab Cabinet on February 4. Haryana Government has already sent the DA/DR merger proposal to the election commission for its approval. However, the Punjab Government is silent over this issue.

Yet another decision of the Punjab Cabinet to enhance the rates of reimbursement for spectacles, hearing aid, dentures and lens remains unimplemented. The undue delay in the implementation of the Cabinet decisions has irked them.

Yash Paul Ghai



Scooterist hurt in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 7
A young car driver, allegedly under the influence of drugs, knocked down a cyclist and a scooterist in Sarabha Nagar last night before the car came to a halt after hitting a couple of cars on the roadside.

The scooterist, Kamaljeet, 25, living in Rajguru Nagar and working as assistant at an electronics goods shop in Ghumar Mandi, was rushed to a private nursing home with serious head and foot injuries. The car driver, Harmit Singh, living in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, was allegedly driving the car under the influence of some intoxicating capsules. His car hit a cyclist and then a scooterist

In an attempt to control the car, he hit two more cars on the roadside, before halting the vehicle. Residents of the area gathered on the spot, overpowered the youth and handed him over to the police. Some intoxicating capsules were recovered from his possession and he was taken to the civil hospital for medical examination. The police registered a case.

Dowry case: On the statement of Ms Lakhwinder Kaur, resident of Islam Ganj, the police registered a case of demanding dowry and harassment against her husband Baljit Singh, father-in-law Sunder Singh, mother-in-law Guddi, and in-laws Pinky and Teji. The woman alleged that the accused had been harassing her and demanding more dowry.

Fraud alleged: On the statement of Mr Nirmal Kochhar, resident of Rishi Nagar, the police registered a case of fraud against Ram Dev and Yuvraj Dada of Dada Motors.

The complainant alleged that the accused had got a loan of Rs 20 lakh from him, but had neither paid interest on the amount, nor returned the amount. The case was being investigated by the economic offences wing.

53 held in 4 months: The proclaimed offenders wing of the city police had arrested 53 absconding criminals in the past four months. Of the arrested, one was wanted in a murder case, one in an attempt-to-murder case, seven in theft and dacoity cases, one in a kidnapping case, nine in opium smuggling cases, six in fraud and cheating cases, one in dowry case, 12 in cases under the Arms Act, 10 in excise cases and two in assault cases. Some of these were wanted in connection with more than one case.



Proposal to hit Sardar Sarover bonds holders
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, May 7
Sardar Sarover Narmada Nigam (SSNNL), undertaking of the Government of Gujarat, would be playing with investors money if it is allowed to have its way, alleges investors.

SSNNL issued to the public deep discount bonds (DDB). Each bond, having a face value of Rs 1,11,000, was issued at a discounted price of Rs 3,600. An investor who invested Rs 3,600 in one DDB, would get Rs 1,11,000 at the end of 20 years from the date of allotment (January 1, 1994). The DDB holders were also given an option to withdraw from the plan at the end of 7th, 11th and 15th year from the date of allotment with the face value of Rs 12,500, Rs 25,000 nd Rs 50,000. But there is no option under which SSNNL can repay the DDB earlier than the fixed date on Jan 11, 2014.

According to Mr R.C. Singal, former President, Ludhiana Stock Exchange, and bondholder has received a notice from SSNNL calling a meeting of bondholders wherein it wants to change the concept of issue of bonds against the precise terms contained in the prospectus.

According to the proposed changes, the company wants to have a right. Under the right it will be entitled to repay the bonds at the end of 11 years from the allotment and by giving two month notice.

Mr Singal has called upon ICICI Bank, which is acting as trustees for the DDB holders, to step in and prevent SSNNL to cancel the proposed meeting of bond holders. The investors also want SEBI to intervene and stop this move.



Iron and steel industry seeks relief
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, May 7
During the past one week the rates of melting scrap have risen by Rs 2,500 per tonne leading to an increase in the rates of ingots by Rs 3,000 per tonne. The rate of finished goods has also gone up, according to a letter addressed to Mr B.K. Tripathi, Minister for Steel, Government of India, New Delhi, by Mr J.P. Sharma, president and Mr Joy Kutti, general secretary of the Gobindgarh Steel Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Copies of the letter have been sent to the Chief Minister and the media here yesterday.

The letter says the industry cannot work to its full capacity because the cost of production has increased on account of increase in the prices of inputs, leading to a decline in the sale of its products. Fabricating units have put up their shutters as they could not face competition, it adds.

Labour has also been rendered idle due to the poor functioning of the industry. The letter seeks effective measures to be taken immediately for price stablisation.


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