L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Gastroenteritis threat: water samples fail test
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
While many deaths have taken place in the state due to gastroenteritis, drinking water samples from Giaspura village and Tajpur Road, collected by the local Health Department, have failed the test.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, has asked the authorities concerned to take corrective measures and provide clean drinking water in the area. In the Giaspura area, the residents have been complaining of contaminated water. During the previous year also, some deaths had taken place due to gastroenteritis in the Giaspura area.

Mr Verma today warned that any laxity on the part of any officer in implementing the preventive measures against water-borne diseases would be viewed seriously and strict action would be taken against the erring officers in case any epidemic broke out due to their negligence.

He was addressing a special meeting of officers of the municipal corporation, municipal councils, Departments of Health, Public Health and Rural Development held under his chairmanship to review the progress of the programme in the committee room last evening.

He asked the officers concerned to gear up the machinery working under them and accord top priority to ensure the supply of clean drinking water, cleanliness and stop the sale of unhygienic food products and overripe and cut fruits in the cities.

The Deputy Commissioner asked the Executive Officers of the MCs and officers of the Public Health Department to ensure the mixing of chlorine at all sources of water supply and get the samples of water tested repeatedly from the PAU laboratory till the danger of the spread of such diseases persisted .

He also asked them to clear garbage from all places in the cities on a daily basis and shift it, covered properly. Mr Verma directed the officers of the municipal corporation, municipal councils and the Public Health Department to check that there was no contamination from any source of the drinking water being supplied by them and submit the certificate to him after completing the checking at the earliest.

He also asked the MCs to supply potable water through tankers where a regular drinking water supply by the MCs was not available. He told them to acquire a sufficient quantity of chlorine tablets for free distribution among the people who were using drinking water from their own sources.

The Deputy Commissioner asked the Civil Surgeon to depute a sufficient number of teams of the health staff to take samples of water on a large scale from all parts of the district and to destroy overripe fruits and other food items being sold by the roadsides. He said a daily report on the action taken should be submitted to him. He asked all the SDMs and the DDLG to monitor and coordinate this programme in their subdivisions and also to organise effective awareness campaigns by involving the NGOs to educate the public about taking preventive measures.

Mr Verma, taking a serious note of the reports about the leakage of water pipes at some places, directed the officers of the Public Health Department and the MCs to immediately check the leakage, which could create a problem if left unattended. He also asked the Civil Surgeon to inspect ice factories and immediately seal the premises of a unit which was found using contaminated water.

Dr S.N. Tiwari, Civil Surgeon, said 143 samples of water from different parts of the city had been tested. He said two samples of water taken from Giaspura village and Tajpur Road were found contaminated. On this, the DC asked the authorities concerned to take immediate remedial measures in these areas.

Mr Jaspal Mittal, SDM, Khanna, said at the meeting that in Khanna chlorine was being mixed at the source of the drinking water and a cleanliness drive had already started. The Deputy Commissioner told the DDPO to persuade all the panchayats in the rural areas to take preventive steps and to educate the people accordingly. 



Atwal to be first LS Dy Speaker from city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, sitting MP from Phillaur, will become the first Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha from the city after he is declared unanimously elected on Wednesday. A former Speaker of the Punjab legislative Assembly, Mr Atwal is the nominee of the NDA. The ruling alliance has announced that it will leave the post of the Deputy Speaker to the Opposition, making the election of Mr Atwal a certainty.

The Shiromni Akali Dal (SAD) persuaded former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to nominate Mr Atwal, after he was authorised to take a decision on the NDA nominee for the post. Mr Atwal filed his nomination papers for the post this afternoon accompanied by NDA leaders.

As the news of Mr Atwal’s near-certain election spread in the city, several organisation and individuals performed bhangra and distributed ladoos in the city. Family and friends started converging on the Model Town Extension home of Mr Atwal, where his wife Mrs Inderjit Kaur, daughter Mrs Parminder Kaur and younger son, Mr Jasjit Singh, were distributing sweets and receiving congratulations from near and dear ones throughout the day. The family left for Delhi later in the evening.

A joyous family told Ludhiana Tribune that they prayed to God for Mr Atwal’s success. They now planned to go on a pilgrimage as part of the thanksgiving after Mr Atwal returned here after the end of the current Parliament session.

Mr Atwal has had an illustrious political career as he had been the Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, a former Vice-Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Party, Member of Parliament and a member of the Dr Ambedkar Foundation of India.


Residents watch transit of Venus
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Residents of the city today viewed the rare celestial event, the transit of Venus across the Sun, by preparing their own telescopes and through X-ray films and dark glasses.

Despite the warning by the scientists, the residents were seen watching the rare planetary alignment, with the help of photo negatives and dark glasses. Many residents were seen viewing the Sun from their rooftops and some were heading towards open grounds to have a look.

An excited Kunika, who saw the transit with the help of the dark X-ray film, said that she had seen it at the time of ingress. “A complete black spot had appeared on the sun. I could see it and even made my parents to see it.”

Students of Government Senior Secondary Model School, PAU, had prepared their own telescopes with the help of lenses and cardboards. They were enjoying the event in their school.



Hosiery units cry for relief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 8
Multiple taxation, cumbersome procedures and overall recessionary trends along with short-sighted policies of successive governments have pushed the hosiery and knitwear industry in the region towards disaster and in the absence of timely corrective measures and a comprehensive package of relief, the industry would reach the point of no return.

The Ludhiana Hosiery Association has made a fervent plea to the Congress- led UPA government at the Centre to abolish Central Sales Tax Form C and excise duty from the hosiery goods as also to provide incentives and facilities on a par with those available to industrial units in the adjoining states of Himachal Pardesh, Jammu and Kashmir so that the predominantly export-oriented industry could flourish and continue to make its sizeable contribution to the economy of the state and the nation.

In a memorandum submitted by the association to the Union Government, its president, Mr Navin Sood, recalled that in the year 1991, the Congress Government headed by Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao had done away with Form C and immediately thereafter the then Beant Singh Government in Punjab had slashed the sales tax from 4 per cent to 2 per cent. As a result, the sales tax collection in the year 1993 had shot up to Rs 1250 crore as compared to Rs 750 crore in the previous year.

Citing examples of multiple taxation on hosiery goods, Mr Sood said the basic raw material for hosiery industry was fibre which attracted 16 per cent excise duty and 15 per cent surcharge. In the next stage when fibre was spun into yarn and dyed, it was liable for 12 per cent excise duty and 15 per cent surcharge. The finished products were again charged 4 per cent sales tax and Form C or another 6 per cent tax in lieu thereof. In addition, excise duty at the rate of 10 per cent was charged on finished goods and in case of export to other states, sales tax of that particular state was also payable at the prevalent rate.

The association rued that the hosiery manufacturers had also to bear the burden of packing and forwarding charges and score of other taxes and levies like octroi, license fee, house tax on commercial and industrial buildings, ESI and provident fund. On an average, the total government taxes and duties on hosiery products were in the range of 40 per cent to 50 per cent while the manufacturers hardly earned a profit of 5 to 10 per cent.

The memorandum maintained that the reintroduction of Form C on hosiery goods by the then NDA government in May, 2002, came as a blow and imposition of 10 per cent excise duty in April, 2003 turned out to be the death-knell for the industry, which was predominantly in the small-scale and tiny sector. Mr Sood urged the government to take the initiative without any loss of time to save the industry which was providing employment to lakhs of people, not only from the home state of Punjab but migrant workers from U.P., Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal has served an ultimatum on the government to scrap excise duty from the hosiery industry within next two weeks failing which a state level agitation would be launched, which would include dharnas, demonstrations and hunger strikes. In a meeting of a large number of industry and trade associations, convened by the mandal here today, it was further resolved that if the government failed to respond to the plight of the hosiery manufacturers, they would be left with no other choices but to send the keys of their manufacturing and trading units to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.



Members of PF, allied schemes to have NSSN
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Every benefactor of provident fund and allied schemes will have an individual national social security number, says Mr K.L. Goyal, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Ludhiana,
Mr Goyal was speaking after inaugurating a camp at Rishab Spinning Mills, Jodhan. He said their SRO, Ludhiana, was having a target of approximately 2,50,000 subscribers, who were regularly contributing towards the PF. All these members would be issued the NSSN sooner or later. He said around 60,000 forms had been distributed among 40 establishments to fill various details of the employees to be maintained on the NSSN cards in future.

So far, around 12,000 members’ data involving eight establishments had been received for further processing, including Rishab Spinning Mills, Verka Milk Plant, Majestic Auto Ltd, Ralson India Ltd, the DMCH, etc.

He further informed that out of a total of 60,000 forms distributed for collection of data, 1,000-1,500 completed forms were being received from various establishments during the ongoing first phase of the campaign. In the second phase, the establishments to be covered include MD Oswal Cancer Hospital, Munjal Castings, Anshupati Textile, Eveline International, Jindal Fine Industries, Sambhav Spinning Mills, Group 4 Securities, Hindustan Tyres Ltd, etc. The target date for the second phase had been fixed as June 25, 2004. All enforcement officers were deployed exclusively for this purpose.

The programme had been entrusted to an outsourcing agency, CS Software Ltd, Hyderabad. The tabulation of the information regarding members would be done in the first stage. Thereafter, with the help of CDs/floppies, printed forms would be supplied by the software company following which camps would be held on the premises of the establishments to take photographs of the members during the second stage.

Following this, the complete form along with data and a photograph would be sent to New Delhi and Hyderabad for production of the NSSN cards during the third and the final stage. At present, one camp had been started at Rishab Spinning Mills where 500 photographs were taken in a day.

On receipt of the cards, these would be distributed to members concerned through their employers, he added.

The NSSN card has a 14-digit code, which will remain unchanged for members throughout their lives, irrespective of the company he may be working for. The member will not require his accumulation to be transferred in case of change of the employer or change of place throughout the country.

In future, there is a plan to integrate all the EPF offices through a National Computer Centre so that any information by any member can be accessed anywhere and anytime.

For this specially, a computer named KIOSK will be installed at various places throughout the country, where the members can use the cards to access the information on screen and take out a printout of the statement.

Those present at the camp were Nodal Officer, Dr Shiv Kumar, Assistant PF Commissioner and staff general secretary, Mr K.J. Singh.

Mr S.L. Sehgal, Executive Director of Rishab Spinning Mills, said the EPF office was revamping its business process by a modern technique.



Postal staff to protest against water scarcity today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 8
Upset over poor and erratic water supply in the P&T Colony in Tagore Nagar locality, the postal and telecom employees have decided to stage a dharna outside the office of Senior Superintendent of Post Offices (SSPO) here on June 9.

In an ultimatum served to the authorities, Mr Megh Nath Sharma, president, and Mr Jaswant Singh, general secretary of the P&T Welfare Association, said the water scarcity had hit the residents of the colony for quite some time now. The matter was raised by the residents at a meeting convened by the SSPO on May 25, which was also attended by the General Manager (Telecom).

They said despite assurance given by senior officials, no worthwhile action had been taken till date to solve the problems. The availability of water to the residents having further decreased, they were finding it difficult to fulfill their daily needs in the sweltering hot weather conditions.

The association further stated that the protest would continue till their demand for better water supply was conceded and steps taken to augment the water supply in the area.



Ludhiana Calling

Photo by Pradeep TewariSUMMER camps are being organised in every nook and corner of the city. So much so that the parents are confused because they do not know which place is better. Some of the organisers of such camps are charging exorbitant fees. Children are kept busy during vacations and hardly get time to relax. Listen stories from their grandparents. Spare the children.

Club muddle

The elite Sutlej Club remains to be in the news but for all the wrong reasons. Even though the membership of the club is still considered a status symbol by the Ludhianvis, it is also an established fact that over the period, the overall standards, both of the institution and those at the helm of affairs, have gone down drastically. The present team of the office-bearers, however, appears to have beaten all the previous records. Within a few days of taking over, the general secretary and bar secretary of the club were suspended on charges of ‘misappropriation’ of stocks which followed suspension of two other members for being involved in a brawl. After the general secretary and bar secretary were reinstated by the Deputy Commissioner, who is the ex-officio president, the bar secretary was arrested by Jalandhar police for alleged involvement in a financial scam. God alone or may be the office-bearers can only tell what next is in store for the club!

Business and holidays

The shops in Ludhiana are not only closed after a bandh call but the shopkeepers here down their shutters during the hot summers. There are many markets in the city where shopkeepers decide together and close their shops to go for a holiday. They do not even forget to send a press release to newspaper offices declaring the holidays for the convenience of shoppers. The shopkeepers of Calibre Plaza market have decide to keep the shops closed for 3-4 days. They are yet to decide about the dates but they have sent the notes to keep the people informed. Why not their families too need to go for a holiday at some hill station.

Obscene movies

Tall claims by the district authorities and periodic drives against indecent and obscene posters in the city, notwithstanding, some of the cinema houses continue to exhibit such dubbed or regional movies which are nothing less than soft porn or in some cases even hard pornography. Then such movies have ridiculous names, which, at times, have absolutely no relationship with the contents. It is common knowledge that certain cinema owners are maintaining full fledged labs which are used for cut-pasting jobs from pornographic movies. One would not advocate moral policing or a situation in which the authorities decide what the people should see or not but at the same time those behind the sinister move to dish out indecent and obscene movies and polluting young minds, should not be allowed to have their way.

Community ‘chabeels’

A thirsty driver or passersby would definitely welcome, cold sweetened water served by some people on special functions like Nirjala Ekadashi. All that is fine , but what about the traffic jam it causes. The thirsty travellers park their vehicles haphazardly on the road and almost block the traffic. Then the glasses or the containers are just littered on the road. Since the paper glasses are thin , they can be blown by the wind. They , too, hinder the traffic. Similarly, the langar served causes a lot of litter. Why can’t these organisations make arrangements to provide big dustbins and post some volunteers to see that they throw the empty glasses and plates in the bins.

Dal badloo

The erstwhile Janata Party which formed the first non-Congress government in the country way back in late 1970s has broken up, divided and sub-divided into so many Janata Dals, Samajwadi Parties, Samata Parties and other splinter groups that the people have lost the count. Even the Janata Dal has further split into many parties with different prefixes. When one party functionaries says good bye to a particular party and joins the other is also difficult to tell. The typical ‘dal badloo’ phenomenon was amply displayed recently when a local politician was nominated office-bearer of industrial trade cell of the Janata Dal (United). The general secretary of the state unit issued the nomination letter and perhapse inadvertently used the rubber stamp of Punjab Pradesh Samata Party. Then he realised the mistake, put a cross of the Samata Party stamp and affixed the Janata Dal stamp along side. Political jugglery surely has travelled a long way in Gandhi’s country.

No clean air

Ludhiana may boast of being the cash rich city in the state. It may boast of an agricultural university and maximum number of industries. But when it comes to providing clean air to its residents it fails miserably. There are not many parks and green belts especially for the residents of old city, who are at the receiving end. There is not even a single park developed for them. There is a great rush of children and morning and evening walkers in Rakh Bagh, Rose Garden and PAU campus who come in for a gasp of fresh air. While residents of colonies on the outer city are happy with the development of leisure valley, their poor cousins in the old city have nowhere to go. One wonders why the Municipal Corporation and PUDA, which collect a large amount of money as taxes cannot develop some parks for these people. A think tank in the city had a great idea-why not use the old courts complex for setting up a park for the residents of old city? Is there anybody listening?


Seen written behind a truck, “Roti kum khao, neend nahin ayegi, Chamchon ki sewa karo, naukri nahin jayegi” ( Eat less and you will not feel sleepy, serve the sycophants and ensure that you do not lose your job).

— Sentinel



MCPI flays verdict on SYL
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
The Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) has termed the decision of the Supreme Court on the construction of the SYL canal as unfortunate and said that such matters could not be solved by courts.

Mr Kuldip Singh, state secretary, of the party said a meeting in this context was held wherein those present were of the view that prior to construction and completion of the canal, the ratio of surplus water must be determined. Without pre-determining the ratio of surplus water, the construction of the SYL was meaningless. Moreover, the ground realities have changed over the years and giving water to Haryana now would be robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Intriguingly, the Eradi Tribunal has intentionally played foul with the interests of Punjab by not determining the ratio of surplus water. An expert opinion was required for determining the same, which had not been done. Moreover, such sensitive matters could not be solved by the Supreme Court. This was purely a political problem and demanded a political solution, he added.

He said we had appealed to the Centre to intervene to find an amicable solution, so that political and economic interests of the people were not harmed.

Earlier, Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, national general secretary of the party, reviewed the results of 14 Lok Sabha elections. He said both national parties had lost their national character and were dependent on regional outfits and Left parties.

Second, it was a verdict against World Bank and IMF sponsored policies of imperialist globalisation. Unfortunately, Dr Manmohan Singh’s government was also committed to continue these very policies, he said. The common minimum programme (CMP) falls short of fulfilling the aspirations of people, especially working and middle class, he added.

The MCPI also expressed its concern over the poor power supply in the state. Long power cuts and load shedding problems were highlighting. Only three hours power supply was given to farmers, whereas there should be a minimum 12 hours regular supply, the leaders said.

Others present on the occasion included Mr Kirpal Singh Hans, Mr Prem Singh Bhangu, Mr Malkiat Singh, Mr Zora Singh, Mr Kamaljit Singh from Ropar-Chandigarh, Mr Mangat Ram from Sangrur, Mr Pawan Kumar Doraha, Mr Lakhwinder Singh Boani, Mr Bal Krishan, Mr Sukhdev Singh and Mr Nirmal Singh.



Rickshaw ambulance for animals
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
The Ludhiana chapter of the People for Animals (PFA) has stated a new ambulance service for ailing animals in the city.
Developed as a rickshaw ambulance, the service has been started rescuing diseased, wounded, small stray animals and birds from various parts of the city.

According to Dr Sandeep Jain, the ambulance will transfer ailing animals to the ‘Jeev Kalayan Kendra’, a PFA Hospital, on the Rahon road, Khwajke. The rickshaw ambulance is the first such endeavour in the state.

Dr Jain said they could start the project with the help of donations by the members of the Shri Kalyan Pashnath Jain Mandir, Kitchlu Nagar. The ambulance service was inaugurated by Mrs Kailash Wanti at Kitchlu Nagar today in the presence of the other members of the Jain Mandir Society.

Dr Rajiv Bhandari, honorary veterinary doctor of the PFA, said the organisation already had a Tata 407 ambulance providing service.

He added that the ‘rickshaw ambulance’ would also be used to transport dogs for the ‘animal birth control programme’ being run in the city. 



Lebanese food festival a hit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
A two-day Lebanese food extravaganza, “Arabian Nights”, afforded an opportunity to Ludhianvis to tickle their taste buds by savouring into Lebanese food.
Gourmets descended on Hotel Maharaja Regency to sample lavishly spread vegetarian and non-vegetarian food stations in an ambience that was evocative of Lebanon.

The unique festival was replete with special attractions like a live band and traditional gypsy tunes. The Arabian ambience with exotic tents and special discounts for Ladies Club members, was a huge hit. 



Curb steel prices to save light engineering industry, says association
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 8
The Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association (LMPMA) has called for effective steps to curb the rising prices of steel, among several other measures, to pull out the light engineering industry and the auto-part units, in particular, from a crisis.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Kahlon, president, and Mr Charan Singh Kohli, general secretary of the association, said in a joint statement here today that the engineering industry in Punjab as a whole, including the auto-part manufacturers, was in a pathetic condition. For the past more than two years, the industry was facing a tough time to the extent that its survival was threatened. “A large number of auto-part units have become sick or closed down and many others are about to follow suit. The industry has become uncompetitive and unviable, both in the domestic and international markets due to a variety of reasons.”

They said the new Congress-led UPA government at the Centre should evolve a special package for the industry in Punjab to bring the industrial economy back on the rails. First of all, the constantly rising prices of iron and steel ought to be curbed and maintained at a reasonable level. The government should not go ahead hastily for the value-added tax (VAT) which needed to be implemented throughout the country simultaneously and uniformly.

The LMPMA functionaries further asked the government to restart the Freight Equalisation Scheme in the larger interests of the industry to neutralise the locational disadvantage. Apprehending the adverse impact of the WTO on the SSI sector, they demanded a permanent reservation policy for the small-scale sector and to create a strong SSI desk on the WTO, which should have legal back-up. “The SSI sector should be defined once and for all and to boost the exports and upgradation, the lending rate should be reduced. The central excise exemption limit should be increased from Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.5 crore and, similarly, the eligibility limit for the SSI should be raised from Rs 3 crore to Rs 6 crore.”

Pointing out the need to revise and update the obsolete labour laws, Mr Kahlon and Mr Kohli stressed the need for a thorough review of the prevalent labour laws and further wanted that the SSI sector should be exempted from their purview. Over 16 labour laws were at present applicable to the SSI units for which they were expected to maintain 165 forms and registers. In all fairness, units having a work force below 50 should be freed from the clutches of the labour laws.


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