L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Dowry victim retracts statement
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
With an alleged dowry victim retracting the complaint, which she had submitted to the SSP, Jagraon, against her husband and in-laws, an ex-serviceman, who had taken up the case with the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, (PHRC), has been left in a lurch.

Col Rajinder Singh Sohi (retd), president of the Ex-servicemen Welfare Society, Ludhiana, had moved the PHRC to get justice for Aitiana village resident Jaswinder Kaur, a 25-year-old mother of three children, who in the complaint to the Jagraon police had alleged that her husband was torturing her for dowry and even made her drink kerosene and tried to set her ablaze. She claimed that she was rescued by her father.

Her plight was highlighted in a section of the press. The media had even carried her picture, along with her father, in which both were seen crying.

Colonel Sohi had gone to the PHRC after seeing her picture in newspapers. But when the PHRC directed the police to hold an inquiry into the case, the woman stated that she was never tortured for dowry by her husband. She claimed that she had a minor fight with her husband and sister-in-law on that day and said everything was out of momentary anger.

Interestingly, Inspector Gurmail Singh, SC/ST Cell, Crime, Punjab who was appointed by the DGP, to hold an inquiry into the case submitted that the news, was false and the part of a major conspiracy. He even went ahead and wrote Jaswinder Kaur had been married to Paramjit Singh for 10 years but he had never tortured her for dowry.

At the same time, he also mentioned in the report that Jaswinder Kaur had got a case registered against her husband and sister-in-law under section 498 A of the IPC, alleging that they had been demanding Rs 50,000 for buying a scooter. With this, he himself contradicted the claim that she was never tortured for dowry.

Exasperated at the report, Colonel Sohi, who was sent a copy of the report by the PHRC, said that he was disgusted with Jaswinder Kaur for whom he had wasted his time. He added it was unfortunate that the woman, after effecting a compromise with her husband, had made him and the media cut a sorry figure. “Now if she has backtracked, does that mean that she can take the media and the police for a ride? Should she be allowed to do this? She should not have made the statement that she was tortured for dowry though she had only a minor fight with him. This way she will close doors for many genuine dowry victims to get justice,”

Jaswinder Kaur had met a Tribune team at the SSP office, Jagroan, on November 11 , 2003, when the police registered a case of dowry harassment against her husband on her statement. She even had a medico-legal report in her possession which clearly mentioned that she was smelling of kerosene, had consumed around 15 ml of oil and had blows marks on her abdomen. She was admitted at a hospital for four days.

Narrating her tale of torture, Jaswinder Kaur, with tears rolling down her cheeks, had stated that when she got married to Paramjit Singh, a youth of Aitiana near Heran village, her father had given her every household item in the dowry. “My father had not given me a scooter and my in-laws had been demanding it for the past six years besides Rs 50,000 in cash.

We even got a house built in my husband’s name but it failed to make them happy.” Jaswinder Kaur had claimed. The Commission has directed Colonel Sohi to submit a report in this regard by July 16.



Bhuvnesh 9th in PMT
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
Bhuvnesh Aggarwal, a local boy has made the city proud by securing ninth rank in the All-India Central Board of Secondary Education- PMT entrance test held recently. He achieved this position out of 2.40 lakh aspirants. Bhuvnesh, got 128.5 out of the total 200 marks. Ten more local students have cleared this test but one who followed Bhuvnesh is at 260th spot. A student of Sacred Heart Convent School, Sarabha Nagar, he secured 92 per cent marks in the plus two examination early this month.

Bhuvnesh, son of a cardiologist, Dr Rakesh Aggarwal, wants to follow his father's footsteps. He has also cleared the entrance tests conducted for the Armed Forces Medical College, Kasturba Medical College (32nd rank) and JIPMER. Talking about his future plans, Bhuvnesh said he had applied for MBBS in Maulana Azad Medical College and All-India Institute of Medical Colleges, Delhi. Bhuvnesh attributes his success to the hard work and 10 to 12 hours of daily study. I intend to become a doctor and serve the humanity, adds Bhuvnesh.



Murder case closed, but mystery remains
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
The Khanna police has closed a year-old macabre murder case of a youth in Mandiala Kalan village near Doraha after the prime suspect died of cardiac arrest in a hospital in Uttaranchal. The suspect died when a police team went to arrest him.

He was traced after much difficulty last month. His sudden death and the subsequent closure of the case has left many questions about the mystery unanswered.

The chase of the police all these months ended in a naught as the man, Paramjit Singh of Uttaranchal, was the only key to the murder mystery which had left the area residents shocked and the police scratching its head all these months.

“We have closed the case as all clues found in our investigation pointed towards Paramjit. A police team had gone to catch him, but he suffered stroke and died late in a hospital,” said Mr Pramod Ban, SSP of Khanna.

SHO Sadar Balwinder Singh, who was investigating the case, said the man was probably shocked that the police had finally swooped on him.

On March 27 last year, the body of the youth was found hanging from a goal post in a football ground near Kot Mandiala Kalan village. He had multiple stab wounds on his body. His private parts were severed. He was hanged with a dupatta. The police later found some bridal suits abandoned in the nearby fields.

It was suspected that a love affair could be behind the murder. Adding to the mystery was the dupatta , which suggested a woman angle to the crime. A bridal suit was also found near the football ground. A similar piece of bridal wear was found the next day in an abandoned fort in Payal town, not very far from the murder site.

The youth was identified in February this year, some eight months after the crime took place. An unidentified informer had revealed to the police that the youth was an employee of Paramjit Singh of Uttaranchal and had come here to attend a wedding. It was believed that something must have happened at the wedding which led to the barbaric murder of the youth.

Before the identification of the body, the police was beating about the bush all these months. Several families, who were trying to trace some missing relative, similar to the one matching the description of the deceased youth had been visiting the Khanna Sadar police station but none could identify the body. The case hogged much limelight and was followed with interest by the media as one after another new claimants turned up. None could, however, own the body.

After the identification of the body, the police had a hard time searching Paramjit Singh. He had been shifting from Uttaranchal to Delhi to Noida and other places. When the police finally traced him and summoned him in the case, Paramjit again disappeared. Last month, a police party succeeded in nailing him, but then it was too late.

The police has closed the case even as the motive of the murder was not clear. It is not known what was the reason for the torture of the youth, why his private parts were severed, and to whom did the bridal wear belong?



SYL decision challenge for PM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
The Supreme Court’s decision has thrown a big challenge before Ms Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh which will have to be solved at the earliest. In case things are allowed to drift, the Centre will have to face a situation similar to pre - Bluestar era when a morcha was launched to stop the digging of the SYL Canal at Kapuri village in 1982.

International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) chairperson D.S.Gill, secretary-general Mohinder Singh Grewal and secretary Jatinder Singh Sandhu said: "Apart from the digging of the canal, the ground situation in Punjab worsened in wake of Operation Bluestar in 1984, even as certain top ranking Akalis clandestinely connived with the Union Government - through the then Governor - for eliminating Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and thereafter struck a deal with the Centre to gain power in the strife- torn state."

“Akali leaders Harchand Singh Longowal and Gurcharan Singh Tohra were rescued during the operation by the Army on the orders of the Punjab Governor as per an earlier understanding," he added.

"The passive plotter was Parkash Singh Badal who was destined not to join the duo inside the Darbar Sahib complex during those fateful days. Later the Centre found Mr Badal gutless and Mr Tohra too foxy to take a stand against militancy. Finally, they manoeuvred Surjit Singh Barnala and Balwant Singh who tricked Longowal into the of trap of signing the Rajiv-Longowal accord on the dotted lines just to attain political power in the state in lieu of the construction of the canal,” they added.

The Army invasion of the Darbar Sahib and the destruction of Sri Akal Takht, November 1984 Sikh carnage and the indiscriminate killings of Sikhs by the security forces, the IHRO activists said, totally alienated the Sikhs from the Centre and thus the then Congress government at the helm of affairs became the Sikhs enemy number one.

" How could the Congress, they asked, become a friend of the Sikhs just by nominating Dr Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister unless it undo the mistakes it had committed against the Sikhs, proceeds against the culprits responsible for the 1984 carnage in Delhi and elsewhere, give amnesty to the Sikh youth rotting in jails and removes distortions in the Punjabi-speaking state."

“All other efforts will go waste,” they said adding that not even the visit of Dr Manmohan Singh to Golden Temple with an apology for the Bluestar would soothe the Sikh psyche unless it is accompanied by the above mentioned measures. Such measures would create a congenial atmosphere for talks to be held between the government and representatives of the Sikhs on the pattern of Kashmir.

"Otherwise, they asserted, " leaders like Mr Badal would continue to exploit the situation by dubbing their political opponents as Congress agents and the Congress party as enemy number one of the Sikhs for their own political gains," they pointed out.



CMCH staff protest against privatisation
Seek removal of Director
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
Para-medical staff and employees of Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) today organised a two-hour long protest on the hospital premises against the privatisation of various departments and demanded removal of the CMCH Director, Dr Silas Charles, for hurting the sentiments of the Christian community.

While it could not be officially confirmed, sources in the CMCH said the management had called the employees on Monday evening for sorting out the matter.

In a memorandum submitted to the governing body of the CMCH through its chairman, the Indian Christian Welfare Society, claiming to represent the employees, alleged that Dr Charles, a visiting director, spends only a few days here and that too for attending the governing body meeting. In the absence of a full time director, who should be available round-the -clock, the governance of the institution had deteriorated.

The management under Dr Charles had introduced contract system in departments like security, dietary and maintenance with the result that outsiders were being hired by contractors and the doors of the hospital had been closed to members of the Christian community. The CMCH, the society rued, had no longer remained the domain of the Christians because members of this community had no access to the management and the contractors were at a will to hire or fire employees of their choice.

The memorandum charged Dr Charles with other acts of omission and commission which had deeply hurt the religious sentiments of the community. "For the first time in the history of the CMCH, a portion of the hospital building has been named as Tara Wati Private Out Patient Department. As if to add insult to injury, the portrait of Jesus Christ has been removed from the new reception desk of the hospital under the pretext that it created a wrong image of the institution." The society maintained that through such blasphemous acts, Dr Charles had attempted to change the very identity of the CMCH of being an institution of Christians. 



8 members of Kalandar gang nabbed
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
The Ludhiana police has nabbed eight members of the notorious Kalandar gang, who were allegedly involved in dozens of robberies and murders in various parts of the state, especially Patiala, Sunam, Mansa, Sirhind, Batala, Kapurthala and Amritsar.

Members of the gang are nomads and live in foothills of the Shivaliks and along river banks in Uttar Pradesh. Their hunting grounds are farmhouses in rural areas or houses on outskirts of small towns and big cities.

The police has also identified 18 other members of the gang who are involved in a number of incidents and are presently absconding.

Mr Narinderpal Singh, SSP, said acting on a tip-off, he deputed Inspector Jaswinder Singh, in charge, CIA staff, to look out for members of the gang, who had been camping in Model Town. They were nabbed from near the cremation grounds in the D block of the area.

The police also seized two country-made pistols, four live cartridges, a crowbar, sides of the frame of a cot and some iron rods from their possession. They were reportedly planning a strike in the area when they were arrested.

The SSP said the modus operandi was to keep a watch in small groups on the movements of the occupants of the houses which the gang had shortlisted and attack them on dark nights. The victims were clubbed and valuables taken away.



Councillors’ role in LS poll under scanner
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 5
The recent development in which a section of Congress councillors in the city adopted aggressive postures against the civic administration and the political leadership in the municipal corporation is being seen as a form of defence against the ongoing probe by the party leadership into their dubious role in the Lok Sabha elections in which the Congress nominee, Mr Manish Tiwari, was humbled by Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal).

If sources in the party are to be believed, the party high command has received definite information that some of the councillors, as well as senior political functionaries, owing allegiance either to Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, the member of outgoing Lok Sabha who was denied the ticket or to some of the local ministers, were in constant touch with the Mr Dhillon while some others were hobnobbing with the Lok Bhalai Party supremo, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, who was also in the fray. Printouts of the calls made from mobile phones of the councillors concerned have already been sent to the leadership while information about some more phone numbers is being collected, the sources claimed.

The party leadership is also said to be looking into the allegations of collecting election fund by some of the councillors and political functionaries in the MC, which never reached the party or the candidate. Mr Tiwari, who made no secret of the feeling of having been betrayed by the local Congress functionaries, had also submitted a detailed report to the high command in this connection.

On getting the wind of the inquiry against them, the councillors reportedly formed a strategy to launch a counter attack as a diversionary tactic and it did succeed to a limited extent. Sensing that open criticism by his own party councillors could pose a challenge to his leadership, the City Mayor Mr Nahar Singh Gill, immediately after his return from the UK, convened a meeting of the councillors and went allout to placate them. In the course of deliberations, rather than owning up the responsibility of the defeat of the party in their respective wards, the councillors reportedly made scathing attacks against leadership for its failure to provide direction and mobilise the electorate.



PUDA flats: A haven for anti-social elements
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
The case of high income group flats at Urban Estate, Phase I, is yet another example of wastage of resources of the government as well as of the hard earned money of a number of people as the colony wears a deserted look even after more than four years of construction.

The HIG flats were constructed by Punjab Urban Development Authority in 1998 and only a few houses out of the 64 have been occupied by residents so far. The rest lie abandoned and partially constructed. Due to the lack of facilities and proper civic amenities, filthy surroundings and frequenting of the place by anti-social elements, most of the residents occupying the flats are willing to sell these but due to lack of takers they are unable to sell them off.

The residents who had purchased houses for more than Rs 8 lakh each are feeling cheated as they say that they had bought the houses keeping in view that PUDA would be providing all facilities and perfect surroundings in urban estate area. But to their disgust the unoccupied houses are serving as perfect meeting grounds for anti-social elements, ignored parks are serving as jungle of wild vegetation where pigs from the nearby village have a field day and the children defecate in the open plots.

“I spent my hard earned money for buying this house. They had advertised that they would be giving possession of partially finished houses to the owners but when we got the possession the houses were not complete. There were no doors, no floors and no plastering of the walls. We felt cheated. Now we are trying to sell it off. But any one who comes to see the house looks at the ill maintained parks and abandoned houses and go-away. No- body is willing to pay the cost price of the house which we paid two years ago. We are losing interest a well as the capital also.” said a resident who did not want to be quoted.

The residents said even after four years of construction of the colony PUDA was not able to pay attention to the parks. It could not even stop the villagers from taking the piggeries away. They said that the nearby village has many junk dealers who set the old tyres on fire every night.

“This pollutes the environment every morning. Sometimes we fall breathless due to the dark smoke but cannot do anything about it. We cannot stop them as they will not listen to us. Moreover they send their children to defecate in the open spaces and unoccupied houses of the colony.” rued a resident.

One resident even said that the abandoned houses were being used as shelters by drug addicts and thieves. “We are not safe here. Every other day there are incidents of thefts in the area. Just the other day a man was climbing up the roof of my neighbours house. He was fortunately seen by him as he was still awake. The man had run away but my neighbour was saved.” 



Encroachments in Sahnewal a traffic hazard
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, June 5
The main market of Sahnewal remains congested due to encroachments, which are not only a headache for the pedestrians but also traffic hazard.
With the installation of traffic lights on the Grand Trunk road on one side and the frequently closed level crossing on the other side. Sahnewal town seems to be sandwiched between the two. The green signal paves the way for the traffic enter the town, but the level crossing acts as a hindrance, blocking the space ahead. It is at this moment that accidents, quarrels, severe congestion and utter confusion creep up. Rehriwallas, the real culprits, seem to be enjoying the patronage of shopkeepers and the administrations has not been successful in curbing the menace.

The footpath that was built in the front of the shops has almost disappeared. Roadsides businesses are flourishing with more rehriwalas coming everyday. The pedestrians are left with hardly any space for moving on the road. Minor quarrels have become a day-to-day affair. Some shopkeepers have also extended their shops to unauthorised limits. People continue to be caught up in traffic jams in the area.

Officials of the Nagar Panchayat of Sahnewal, “Once or twice a month, the rehris are removed from their places with the help of the police. Every time we take away two or three of them in our trolley. But the very next day, the same extensions and the same number of rehris don on the place.

The anti-encroachment drive of the Nagar panchayat has failed to bring any constructive change. 



‘Aghoris’ or impersonators?
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
We are living in the 21st century but it does not matter to most of the people. The world of science and information technology holds no significance for a large number of people in the city, including a pen seller. The worry on his face clearly reveals that he is in some trouble. That was enough for “aghoris” roaming in the city. These people roam alone or in groups and harass people on the pretext of reading their palms.

No one can really say whether such people are real “aghoris” or not. “Aghoris” practice occult science. They stay in graveyards to perfect their occult powers. But these impersonators in the garb of “aghoris” smear their faces with ashes and are on the look out of victims to make easy money.

Tribune photographer Syeed Ahmed took the photograph of an “aghori”,who was trying to intimidate a tired pen and computer covers’ seller. The salesman thought the “aghori” would forecast his future. Later he said the “aghori” asked for money before reading his palm. He said the baba demanded about 1kg pure ghee or else he would cure him.

Jaikishen, the salesman, said:”I became nervous as already I am not able to make my both ends meet. The profit margin is very low in my business. Moreover, the competition is tough and the baba wanted me to give him about 1kg of pure ghee. I was between deep sea and the devil. If I don’t fulfill his demand I would be cursed. But gradually I gained courage and told him that I was not in a position to buy pure ghee even if I sold all my pens. I persuaded him to leave and handed over two pens to him.”

The fear of unknown factors, superstitions and occult science makes poor people vulnerable to ‘aghoris. As soon as the “aghori” left the salesman asked in anguish why the administration does not take steps to stop such people from exploiting others?



Pensioners exchange blows 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
Exchange of angry words and scuffles were witnessed during a general body meeting of the Punjab State Pensioners’ Confederation at Pensioners Bhavan in Mini Secretariat here today. The meeting was convened under the presidentship of Mr B.R. Kaushal to elect office-bearers, including the president, for the next term.

In a free for all, which continued for quite some time despite pleas by the chairman to maintain order, some of the delegates and members came to blows. The turban of a retired municipal employee fell down while he was being saved by his colleagues when a member, who were upset at an objection being raised on the procedure to elect office-bearers, attacked him.

Asking not to be quoted, some functionaries told Ludhiana Tribune that a few members from Patiala had made a bid to grab the top slot in the confederation and in the process the group made attempts to intimidate other members, flouting rules and established norms for electing office-bearers.

At one stage, all members and delegates from Ludhiana, Sangrur, Mansa and Amritsar districts staged a walkout in protest against pressure tactics of the Patiala group but later better sense prevailed and the elections were conducted following which the president, Mr B.R. Kaushal, was asked to continue for another term of one year.

In a press note, it was stated that Mr Kaushal and Mr Mohinder Singh Parwana, general secretary, along with other office-bearers would continue for one more year. Mr Kaushal said the elections were conducted by a panel comprising Mr Avtar Singh Afat, Mr Inder Pal Sharma and Mr Mohinder Singh Dewana.



Steps to check menace of stray dogs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma on Thursday said that a comprehensive plan had been prepared to check the menace of stray dogs.
A meeting in this regard was held by him which was attended by Deputy Director, Local Government, Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, District Development and Panchayats Officer, officers of the Department of Animal Husbandry and representatives of People for Animals.

Representatives of PFA informed that it was illegal to kill stray dogs. But as per the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, if the Municipal Corporation or the local authorities consider it necessary to control street dog population, they could sterilise and immunise them with the help of animal welfare organisations.

In light of this, it was decided to sterilise 1,000 stray dogs per month. Out of this about 250 dogs would be sterilised in the Municipal Corporation and Municipal Committees area and 750 dogs would be sterilised in the rural areas.

Mr Anurag Verma further informed that during the discussion, it was found that the non-availability of funds with the Animal Husbandry Department was the major hurdle in the implementation of this programme. On an average each sterilisation operation would cost about Rs 500. It was decided that Municipal Corporation, Municipal Committees and Panchayats would bear the cost of sterilisation. The Animal Husbandry Department would be responsible for proper sterilisation, vaccination and post-operative care of the dogs to be sterilised.

He stated that District Development and Panchayats Officer had been directed to convene a special meeting of all the Block Development & Panchayats Officers and to direct them to accord top priority to this programme. BDPOs will be asked to take up on priority the areas near the “hadda roris” because it had been seen that there were a large number of stray dogs near the ‘hadda roris.’

Further wherever funds are available with the panchayats, boundary walls would be constructed around the ‘hadda roris’ on a priority basis. Mr Verma appealed to the panchayats to cooperate with the BDPOs’ and the Veterinary Department in this regard so that this menace could be checked.



Power cuts irk residents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
It is a sizzling summer for the local residents. While the mercury is going up consistently, the electricity supply is also erratic. In all areas of the city, people have been complaining of regular power cuts.

While they do not mind the scheduled cuts, the frequent and unscheduled cuts have led to resentment among them. The industry has also been suffering on this count.

During the past two days, electricity remained cut off in several parts of the city for several hours.

The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) officials did not cite any reasons for the power shut down. Mr Gurumukh Singh of Gurdev Nagar said he contacted the PSEB complaint office several times and each time he was told that the supply would be resumed soon. And it was resumed only after four hours.

Power cuts are more frequent in the suburbs and rural areas. “We do not know when the electricity will go off and when the supply will be resumed”, said Mr Gurmit Singh of Lalton village. He disclosed that power cuts had become a regular feature and even the residents had now got used to it.

The situation becomes worse when the power goes off during the night. “In the rural areas you can expect electricity to go off any time,” Mr Gurmit Singh, adding that in some areas, electricity remained off for as many as 12 hours.

Some PSEB officials not wanting to be quoted agreed that there were some problems in regular electricity supply.

They, however, attributed the increased load as one of the reasons for the frequent cuts.

They pointed out that the number of air-conditioners had increased significantly during the past two years. They said this had aggravated the problem.

However, Mr Sunil Sharma, a local businessman, asserted that even if additional ACs were installed, it was with prior permission and due charges were paid. He said the government should ensure the regular power supply, particularly when it charged extra money for additional load.



Pace of development to be stepped up
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
The councillor of ward No 56, Ms Malkiat Kaur has promised to accelerate the pace of development works in the ward. During an interaction in the office of Block Congress Committee, with residents of several colonies in the area represented by her, the councillor called in officials of O and M wing of the Municipal Corporation on the spot to attend to the problems of the residents regarding sewerage and water supply.

Responding to the demand for more street lights in many localities, she said the matter had already been taken up with the MC officials and a project for extending street light coverage was about to be finalised. All pending development works in the Mushtaq Ganj area, she assured would be completed by the end of August 2004 and the residents would be provided all amenities at par with residents in other localities.

The councillor further told the residents that she would take up the matter of increasing incidents of thefts and snatchings in the ward with senior police officers, who would be asked to intensify patrolling by the PCR in the entire area to check the activities of anti-social elements.



The meeting that never took place!
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
Contrary to the reports in a section of the press, the Principal Secretary, Local Government, Punjab Mr A.K. Dubey, who was in the city on Thursday did not hold any formal meeting with the officials of the Municipal Corporation, nor were any discussions held on encroachments or regularisation of undeclared colonies in the city.

Saying that the reports to this effect were mere speculations and without any basis, the MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, said certain issues were informally discussed by him and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma with the Principal Secretary during his brief stay in Circuit House but Mr Dubey did not convene any meeting in which officials of the building branch, including the Municipal Town Planner.

A section of the Press here had reported, quoting the City Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, that several issues like the removal of encroachments and regularisation of undeclared colonies were discussed in the meeting convened by Mr Dubey.



Uniforms distributed by Inner Wheel Club
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
Members of the Inner Wheel Club at a small function arranged at Arya Senior Secondary School, Sabzi Mandi, yesterday donated shoes and uniforms to the 42 students of school for the labourers’ children. The shoes and uniforms were specially stitched according to the size of the students. ADC Sumer Singh distributed these two articles among the students.

This labour school is run by the government in the evenings. These students earn in the morning and learn in the evening. Members of the club have also adopted the school in a way that one or the other member visits the school frequently to see how the studies are going on.



Lebanese food festival
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
After lip-smacking fare from the Wild West sometime back, Hotel Maharaja Regency has now brought the taste of Lebanon to the city.
The two-day food extravaganza which began today unfurls the grandeur and mystique of the dessert and reminds one of the sumptuous spread of a Sheikh from the Arabian Nights. 

The general manager, Mr Vikas Shrivastav, said the Arabian Nights promise to authentic Arabian food coupled with an ambience that is evocative of the splendour and elegance of Lebanon.



Readers Write
Bank ‘cheats’ schoolchildren

In December, 2002, representatives of ICICI Bank, Feroze Gandhi Market, Ludhiana, visited DAV Public School, BRS Nagar, and gave a lecture on opening a bank account and the need to save money.

The bank staff distributed forms and asked the students to deposit Rs 500, the minimum amount required for opening account in the bank.

My grandson Ishan Narang, a student of Class VII deposited Rs 500 on January 31, 2003. In April/May, his father was tranferred to Bhopal.

On May 5, I happened to visit the bank and inquired about his account. I was astonished to know that there was a balance of only Rs 62 in his account, although he had not withdrawn any amount from the account as he is in Bhopal.

The branch Manager informed that Ishan had not maintained the average balance in his account. Had he deposited Rs 4,500 to maintain the average balance, then nothing would have been charged. Hence, he was fined Rs 150 for each quarter.

I fail to understand how can a child deposit Rs 4500. I requested the Manager to waive this penalty considering the date of opening the account since kids do not know or have the means to maintain the minimum average balance. But my pleas went in vain.

If this is the state of affairs, how can the bank claim to have opened the accounts of the children for promoting money saving habits. In fact, the poor kids have been looted in a systematic manner.

I also request the Principal of the school to look into the matter and inform the parents how many students have been cheated in this way by the bank.

K.L. Khurana

Economic reforms

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, is the architect of the liberalised Indian economy. He belongs to the rare breed of honest politicians. A person of vision who boldly introduced economic reforms when he took over as Finance Minister in 1991.

As a student of economics, I can understand the positive impact of economic policies adopted by the Congress. Era of first general economic reforms has transformed the weak and colonial Indian economy into a strong and self -sufficient economy.

I am confident that the Congress, will introduce the second generation of reforms boldly. Only then the problems of poverty and unemployment, will be solved.

Dr S.M. Sharma

Be fair to fair sex

It is strange that in India, on the one hand women like Sushmita Sen, Kalpana Chawla, Karnam Malleshwari and Bachhendri Pal are presented to the new generation as shining examples that are worth emulating. However, on the other hand the female child is taken as a curse and not allowed to be born.

Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have a sex ratio of less than 800 females per 1000 males in the 0-6 years group as per the 2001 census.

Even the most prosperous state like Punjab has a sex ratio of 773 females per 1000 males below the age of six which is much lower than the national average of 927 females per 1000 males as per the 2001 Census. The rising female literacy rate has not changed the unfavourable female sex ratio.

A female child is treated as a burden to the family. Contrary to the male child, she is considered as a liability and not as an asset.

If this trend is not checked soon it will result in increase of sex-related crimes against women like eve-teasing, sexual harassment, rapes, prostitution and polyandry etc.

Educational institutions can play a major role in raising social consciousness about the acceptability of female child. School books and curricula should be designed in such a way that gender differences are not reinforced by the textbooks. Special lectures/classes can be designed to enhance legal literacy among school and college students.

The media can also play a very effective role in educating the younger generation to take a step forward to stop this evil, so that, once again, we can proudly call India the land of Durga, Mahalakshami and Saraswati where great pirs, fakirs, saints and gurus like Guru Nanak Dev Ji had preached ‘So ko manda akhiya, jin jame rajan’ (why do we belittle women who are the progenitors of kings?).

Jatinder Kaur

Paradise lost

Rakh Bagh, Ludhiana’s paradise is today a pale shadow of its glorious past. Heaps of garbage are lying at several places and sometimes carcasses of dogs and cats lie for days, polluting the atmosphere. It is said that the MC has deployed safai karamcharis and gardeners for maintenance of the garden, but one rarely sees them in action. The corporation must act in right earnest so that the greenery and fresh air being provided by this lung does not go to seed.

Though smoking has been prohibited in public places, the law is not being enforced. In the evening, hoardes of migrants are seen smoking and playing cards. This at a time when residents come for a well deserved walk.

Will the corporation and law enforcing agencies take care of the general public?

K.L. Chitkara



Poppy husk seized, 2 held

Ludhiana, June 5
ASI Jaswant Singh from the Dehlon police station has arrested Bhupinder Singh of Narangwal on the Gujjarwal-Dehlon road and seized 30 kg of poppy husk from his possession.

In another incident, ASI Jaspal Singh of the same police station arrested Saranjit Singh of Narangwal from the Ballowal area while carrying 10 kg of poppy husk on his scooter. The scooter has been impounded. Both have been booked under Sections 15, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act. — OC



Panic among industrialists after Vij arrest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
Panic has gripped local industrialists and exporters after the arrest of the Jalandhar- based blanket king Sheetal Vij by officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence. Mr Vij is currently in DRI's custody. His bail plea was rejected by the lower court yesterday.

Sources in the local industry revealed that Mr Vij was facing charges of getting exports subsidy without exporting any products. The sources disclosed that such practice was common among exporters and manufacturers of the city. One of the brokers, who belong to the city and is also in the custody of the DRI, is believed to be privy to the names of some top industrialists who also evade duties and get export incentives.

A number of industrialists are learnt to have gone underground as they fear the wrath of DRI officials. The release of the broker could spill beans about the city industrialists and exporters. And in case he decides to reveal the names of those involved they might be in serious trouble.

A number of city industrialists and exporters after getting export licences avail incentives and subsidies provided by the government. The subsidies are availed without any actual exports. The bills and other details are procured fraudulently without exporting anything. All the products are sold in the domestic market only. This is done in collusion with officials of various government departments without whose complicity it cannot be possible.

The DRI officials have also added to the suspense as they are not prepared to reveal anything. The industrialists fear that DRI officials might be keeping their cards closed as they would like to complete investigation in this case and subsequently start follow up action. The broker may have already revealed some names, which DRI officials might be holding back to ensure smooth and proper investigation.

But the officials during private conversations hinted that some more "disclosures" might be made soon, while not ruling out further arrests. This has obviously led to the panic among some top industrialists whose export turnover runs into crores of rupees. 



BSNL to install 9 lakh mobile lines in Punjab

Samrala, June 5
BSNL has decided to install nine lakh additional mobile lines in Punjab and give more improved services in its communications network. One lakh lines will be added in Ludhiana SSA. This was disclosed by Mr G S Julka, GMT, Ludhiana, in an Open House Session (OHS) held at Samrala yesterday.

He also said that 5 millions mobile lines will be added in northern India and ‘Tarang’ service with roaming facility will be started at Samrala, Machhiwara and Doraha. He also disclosed that BSNL has started international roaming facility on its mobile service.

In this session, the customers raised the demand of 60 second pulse instead of existing 30 second pulse from landline phone to mobile phone as offered at district HQs. Mr Julka replied that the matter had been sent to BSNL HQ. On this occasion the GMT, Ludhiana took immediate action to restore the phones of customers which were disconnected despite making payment. — OC


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 |