L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Dy Mayor alleges discrepancies in tenders,
writes to minister
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
There seems to be no let-up in the confrontation between Deputy Mayor Sushil Gupta and Parliamentary Secretary Surinder Dawer. Ms Gupta today alleged that a work had been allotted in her ward 50 without due process of law to son of a Pradesh Congress Committee leader, who is close to Mr Dawer. She disclosed that she had approached the Local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, and had submitted her complaint to him in writing in this regard.

Denying the allegations that she was objecting to the developmental works being carried out by Mr Dawer in her ward, which falls in his assembly constituency Ludhiana East, Ms Gupta asked, “Why should I object to developmental works in my area...in fact nobody will. After all we are there for serving people”. But she regretted that the repair of Street Number 5 in her ward in the Khud Mohalla area had been allotted to the son of a PCC leader, close to Mr Dawer, without her knowledge and any legal process.

She wondered as to how she could be kept in dark despite being the local councillor, a Deputy Mayor and the member of the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. She said she had brought the matter to the notice of Mayor Nahar Singh Gill and Commissioner, S.K. Sharma also. She asked, “Does pointing out a wrong amount to objecting to developmental works?” She stated that as a member of the corporation and occupying the post of the Deputy Mayor, it was her responsibility to raise the issue.

Ms Gupta said she raised the same issue during the general house meeting of the corporation but regretted that the facts were being presented in a wrong way. She claimed that the said leader whose son had been awarded the contract (without any legal process) had himself admitted it. She regretted that the “law-makers were turning out to be the law-breakers”. But she did not directly blame Mr Dawer and only said the particular leader was very close to him (Mr Dawer).

She said she did not want to go public with her information since she belonged to the ruling party and did not want the opposition to take undue advantage of the situation. However, she maintained that she had provided all details to the minister, who was likely to intervene in the matter.

On the other hand, Mr Dawer denied these allegations. He pointed out that he had no role in getting any developmental work allotted to anyone. He said in case anybody does any wrong, he should be brought to book. But at the same time he added that he could not succumb to anybody’s criticism when it comes to launching developmental activities with his own funds. For this, he asserted, he did not need anybody’s consent or permission.

Mr Dawer claimed that he had always tried to involve all councillors of the area in all developmental activities and had never claimed credit for anything. “I am simply serving people out of my duty and responsibility towards them, why do I need to claim the credit?” adding, “your work speaks for you, whether you claim it or not”.



Officers told to monitor situation in rural areas
8-hour power supply to tubewells
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29 
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, has directed the district officers of the departments concerned to closely monitor the situation in rural areas in view of scanty rain and make sure that the regular 8-hour power supply to tubewells was maintained. The directions came at a meeting held here today under his chairmanship to review the situation arisen due to the prevailing power crisis and dry spell.

The Deputy Commissioner asked the Chief Agriculture Officer to submit a detailed report on the areas in the district, which had not received 8-hour power supply during the past 24 hours. He was also asked to file a report on the availability of canal water. A report on the areas in which sown crops had been ploughed was also sought.

Mr Verma said the state government had decided that flood control rooms set up earlier would now be functional as complaint centres. Farmers could lodge their complaints about frequent trippings and damage to transformers, and maintenance of canals. Phone numbers of the control rooms are: Samrala-(01628) 262354, Payal-(01628) 276892, Jagraon-(01624) 223256, Raikot-(01624) 266934 and joint control room Ludhiana (East) and (West)-(0161) 2401358.

A sub-divisional level committee comprising officers and representatives of the Department of Agriculture, Irrigation, Rural Development and Panchayat, Animal Husbandry and the PSEB would meet daily and review the action taken by the departments concerned on the complaints. It would be headed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.

Mr Rajinder Singh Pandher, Chief Agriculture Officer, said that all the departments in the district had been instructed to keep a vigil in the rural areas and maintain liaison with the officers of the PSEB in their areas so that the tubewells got eight-hour power supply .

Among others who attended the meeting were Mr Ajmer Singh, ADC, Mr Prem Chand, SDM East, Mr M. S. Jaggi SDM (West), Superintending Engineer, PSEB and the XEN, Irrigation. 



PSEB staff gherao Chief Engineer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 29
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) gheraoed the Chief Engineer here for several hours after a prolonged meeting on the issue of forced retirement of 96 employees on the basis of their service record failed to resolve the deadlock.

The employee unions were demanding revoking of the orders, terming these as discriminatory and anti-employee. Addressing the protesting employees, trade union functionaries Tejinder Singh Mohi, S.P. Singh, Darshan Singh Dhillon, Ramesh Kumar Sharma, Mewa Singh, Surjit Singh Goraya, Rajinder Singh Virk, Kaur Chand, Parkash Singh and Hardev Singh Grewal flayed the "dictatorial" behaviour of the PSEB Chief Engineer for refusal to discuss the matter with the joint forum of employees.

The gherao of the Chief Engineer's office continued throughout the day till 2 pm. activists of the joint forum, while maintaining that the protest would continue till justice was dispensed to the victimised employees, said that the employees would be forced to intensify the agitation if the PSEB management failed to see reason and review the decision of forced retirement of a large number of employees.



Admission row
Christian community threatens to intensify stir
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 29
As the stalemate between the management of Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) and the state government continues over the admission to MBBS and BDS courses, the Christian community here appears to be defiant and all set to adopt an aggressive stance if the government failed to take corrective steps towards safeguarding the interests of the minority community.

After staging an agitation and submission of memorandum to the CMCH management by the representatives of Churches of Northern India here on Tuesday, the church representatives, along with the nursing and para-medical staff of the institution held a demonstration here today also. The Christian Medical College, the Christian Dental College as well as a number of other Christian education institutions, including the Sacred Heart Convent Schools in Sarabha Nagar and Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, remained closed in protest against what was termed as infringement of the constitutional rights of the community.

The Joint Action Committee of the Christian community and the Local Churches Coordination Committee have gone on record to maintain that if the government failed to withdraw the report of Justice Majithia Committee and restore status quo in the matter of admissions to undergraduate medical and dental courses, the process of admission in the colleges would not be allowed to be completed. The community leaders have also threatened to resort to other modes of agitation, including dharna, demonstration and hunger strikes not only in the city but at other places in Punjab and in other parts of the country.

The convener of the Local Church Coordination Committee, Pastor Ram Lal, said the Christian community had sought direct intervention of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to undo the injustice inflicted by the Majithia committee on the rights of the minorities. He asked the state government to immediately withdraw the biased and arbitrary notification which tended to exceed its purview and suppressed the constitutional rights of the minority community. “In the true spirit of democracy, the rights of admission to CMCH, as had been enjoyed by it for the past 53 years, should be restored.

Representatives of the community had also taken up the matter with the newly appointed Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawar, seeking his help to defuse the situation which could become serious if steps were not taken in the right direction.



Train passengers drugged, robbed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 29
Two passengers were drugged and rendered unconscious while they were travelling by two trains from different destinations yesterday. They were robbed of cash and other valuables. When the trains halted at the city railway station today morning, the GRP took the unconscious passengers to the Civil Hospital here.

One of the passengers, Mohammad Yasin (45), who was travelling by the Kisan Mail from Bareilly to the city, said three youths got friendly with him on the way. They offered him tea and biscuits near Ambala, which he accepted. He fell unconscious. When he regained consciousness at the hospital, he found that he had been deprived of two demand drafts worth Rs 15,000 each and Rs 500 in cash on his person.

The other passenger has been identified as Mohammad Samir (26) on the basis of documents found on his person. He was travelling by the Janseva Express from Amritsar to Bihar. The GRP has registered a case.

Incidents of this kind have been taking place frequently. According to GRP sources, the culprits are not easy to catch as the offences are committed in a moving train. Migrants returning home with their savings are targeted by these gangs who rob them of their belongings and cash after giving them drug-laced tea and biscuits.



Punjab must demand more share
from Nathpa-Jhakri
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 28
The Punjab State Electricity Board Engineer's Association has expressed concern over the failure of monsoon in the region and consequential power cuts.
Mr M S Bajwa, president of the association, said here yesterday that as the growth in power demand was going up , the state government should take up the issue of increasing its share in the Nathpa- Jhakri Project with a capacity of 1500 MW to increase its share from 12 per cent 50 per cent as the project was situated on the Satluj.

The association appealed to the state and central government to undertake the execution of identified hydro projects in Himachal Pardesh, Uttaranchal and J and K to harness hydro resources in the joint venture.

Mr Bajwa said the power system could be operated at utmost efficiency only if the organisation handling generation, transmission and distribution remained integrated and in case the stage government chose to unbundle the integrated PSEB , it would lead to total mismanagement and collapse in the present circumstances.

The need of the hour was to add 2000 MW generation in the coming three years.

The situation required the state government and the authorities concerned to plan for future requirement. There was an immediate need to expedite the execution of stage-II of the Lehra Mohabbat project by creating the required hierarchy under the Chief Engineer in the PSEB to ensure timely completion and to exercise qualitative check.

Mr Bajwa said the PSEB should execute identified thermal projects of 50 MW at Goindwal on the banks of the Beas to ensure its completion in three years.

There was a demand for 5600 MW , whereas the PSEB could generate only 3280 MW . In addition the PSEB was entitled to draw 1130 MW from Bhakra, Dehar, Pong, Ganguwal and Kotla power houses under the management of the Bhakra-Beas Management Board (BBMB) .

The PSEB had its allocated share equivalent to 675 MW from central sector thermal stations, 692 MW from central sector hydro stations, 179 MW from the Naptha-Jhakri power stations and 85 MC from Nanrora Atomic Power Plant.

He said the PSEB had availability of power from thermal and gas plants to the tune of 45 per cent and from hydro power stations to the tune of 53 per cent. At present the PSEB was depending heavily on its two thermal plants-Ropar Thermal Plant with an installed capacity of 1260 MW and the second thermal plant at GHTP Lehra Mohabbat with an installed capacity of 420 MW. The Bathinda plant was set up in mid-70s yet three units were operating at efficiency/plant load factor of 90 per cent.

Due to failure of monsoon and negligible rain in catchment areas inflow had been considerably less than the last year figures. In Bhakra against 47,000 cusecs inflow , these days there was an inflow of 25,000 cusecs and in Ranjit Sagar Dam against , the average inflow was 4,600 cusecs per day. 



Panel for NGO projects
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 29
A meeting to form a committee for various NGO projects was held here under the patronage of Mr Rajiv Gandhi Ahir, SSP, police district Jagraon. It was attended by 21 representatives of various social welfare organisations. At the meeting, convened by Mr Jarnail Singh Dhaliwal, SP/hqr, police district, the Jagraon unit of the Punjab Police State Apex Committee for NGO projects was formed. The office-bearers elected were Mr Rajiv Ahir, Mr Jarnail Singh Dhaliwal, vice-chairman, Dr Ashok Sharma, district coordinator and Sarpanch Balwant Singh, Mr Jatinder Bansal, Dr Rajinder Garg and two more persons from Dakha and Raikot as members of the executive body.

Prof Baldev Singh, (DIET) Jagraon, a spokesman of the committee, informed that sub-committees were formed to take up important awareness programmes as drug de-addiction, female foeticide, NRI marriage disputes, AIDS, traffic rules, women rights and education. The first project on drug addiction awareness would be organised by the sub-committee headed by Mr Bhushan Singh Kanda, Dr Rajinder Garg and Mr Harinder Singh Sehgal in August. The members of the finance committee included Mr Dev Kumar Singla, Dr Dalip Singh and Mr Madan Mohan Bansal. Various members of the organisation contributed towards funding of the projects.

The chairman of the committee, Mr Rajiv Ahir, expressed satisfaction over the performance of committee members and said that all possible help for the success of this new social welfare project would be given.

Dr Ashok Sharma, district coordinator, thanked Mr Rajiv Ahir and Mr Jarnail Singh Dhaliwal for providing help to make the project successful.



Safai karamchari schemes reviewed

Ludhiana, July 29
Mr Ganga Ram Teja, member, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, Government of India , presided over a meeting of officers to review implementation of schemes of the government for the welfare of families of safai karamcharis and people engaged in unclean professions.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Prem Chand, SDM (East), Mr M S Jaggi SDM (West), Mr Harjinder Singh, Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, M B K Gupta, Assistant Commissioner , MC, Mr M S Grewa,l DDPO, Mr Abhinash Chander Sethi DEO(S), Harvinder Kaur ,DEO (P), and officers of the social security department attended the meeting.

At the meeting, the progress made on the decisions taken during the last meeting presided over by the members was also reviewed.

Mr Teja asked all officers to give top priority to implementing all schemes launched by the government for the welfare of the families of safai karamcharis.

On the safety kits for the sweepers working to clean the sewerage, Mr Teja directed the officers of the Municipal Corporation to provide safety kits for use by the safai karamchariesin all four zones. The commission member asked the corporation to ensure that no safai karamchari entered into the sewerage without wearing the safety kit.

The progress on the stipend being given to the students belonging to the families engaged in unclean professions upto middle classes was also reviewed.

Mr Teja expressed serious concern over less number of students being paid the stipend. He directed the DEOs to release stipend to each and every student belonging to this category by August 15,2004.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, assured that all decisions taken at the meeting would be implemented efficiently. TNS



Naina Devi Yatra on August 14
Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 29
The Naina Devi shobha yatra will be organised by Shri Durga Social Welfare Society and Shri Durga Sewa Dal from August 14.
Mr Rohit Gupta, press secretary of Shri Durga Social Welfare Society, said special arrangements had been made for the journey, which would be taken out on foot. Arrangements of food, medicines and lodging would be made available to the yatris on the way. This is the eighth shobha yatra to be taken out from Doraha. 



Udham Singh anniversary function

Ludhiana, July 29
The Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial Trust will organise a function to mark the 64th martyrdom anniversary of Shaheed-e-Azam Udham Singh at the Pensioners’ Bhavan, Mini Secretariat, Ludhiana on July 31. Renowned litterateurs and artistes will be present on the occasion. OC



Relatives booked for teenager’s kidnapping 

Ludhiana, July 29
An eleven-month-old case of mysterious disappearance of a city teenager took a new turn today when the police booked three of his relatives for allegedly kidnapping him. The boy is still untraceable. The boy, Zora Singh, son of Mr Deepak Singh, a resident of Jamalpur here, had gone missing in September last year. It was initially stated by his family members that he had gone to a religious place in South India with a relative, Raju, of his age.

However, Raju returned after a few days and claimed that he was unaware about the whereabouts of the missing boy. The missing boy's parents lodged a complaint with the police accusing the relatives of a criminal conspiracy. A case has been registered. TNS



Plywood industry for hike in sale price
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 29
The Northern India Plywood Manufacturers Association (NIPMA) has apprehended mass closure of around 250 plywood factories in the region if the sale prices of finished products were not increased in proportion to the hike in prices of raw material and other inputs like power.

Addressing a meeting of the association, NIPMA chief Naresh Duttu Tiwari lamented that as a result of the Budget proposals, the prices of raw materials like wood, chemicals and phenol, major components for manufacturing plywood, had gone up by almost 35 per cent. Besides, input costs such as electricity rates, salary, wages, transportation and other materials had also shown an upward trend. The unprecedented power crisis had further precipitated the situation and pushed the plywood industry in Punjab and Haryana towards annihilation, he regretted.

Giving details of the proceedings, Mr Ashok Juneja, secretary general, Punjab Plywood Manufacturers Association, informed that the general House had unanimously called for an immediate proportionate rise in the selling price of plywood and board by all manufacturers to ensure survival and profitability of the industry.

The association had pleaded for an increase of 5 per cent in the price of commercial plywood and 10 per cent on commercial and waterproof board and waterproof ply. The step, it added, was being taken under compelling circumstances to save the industry from imminent closure with immediate effect. The ply and board units also urged the government to look into the circumstances under which the prices of phenol and chemicals had arbitrarily been increased by the manufacturers. They further demanded that excise duty be fully exempted on plywood and ply board manufacturing since it was an agro-based industry

Mr Anil Jain, general secretary of NIPMA, and Mr Inderjit Singh, president of the state body, also addressed the meeting.


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