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Cong leader’s daughter murdered; 2 stepsons booked
Police pursuing various theories
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, August 1
The local police today booked two persons in connection with the murder of their stepsister, born of their father’s second marriage with a Congress leader, in her house on the Tehsil road last night. A property dispute is alleged to be the reason behind the murder.

The suspects are Satwinder Singh and Kulwinder Singh, two of the three sons of Mr Darshan Singh, SDO, BSNL, Ludhiana, from his first marriage. The third son is in Dubai.

The victim is 19-year-old Gurwinder Kaur, from the SDO’s marriage with Ms Manpreet Kaur Dhaliwal, president of the District Congress Committee (Rural). There are two sons from this marriage also.

The police, however, is sceptical of the allegation and says the FIR has been registered only on the complaint of the Congress leader and not on any prima facie evidence.

The girl was found dead under mysterious circumstances in her house last night. Initially, it was thought that the girl had committed suicide, but the post-mortem examination conducted at Jagraon Civil Hospital established that she had been strangled. No sign of sexual abuse was found.

Her real brothers, Sunny and Honey, were the first to see the body. The Congress leader and her husband were away to Malerkotla on a social visit. The two youths had come home late and found their sister lying dead on the bed.

While the motive for the crime perplexed everybody, the Congress leader stunned all by accusing her two stepsons. The police was hesitant in registering a case, as the property-dispute motive did not seem strong.

Police sources say that if there was a property dispute, the sons of the Congress leader would have been targeted and not her daughter. The family also does not have much property. They are said to have only one house.

The police is pursuing other theories also and is not following just the allegations made in the FIR. According to the sources, the three sons from the first marriage of the SDO were not on good terms with their stepmother. However, police inquiries from area residents have revealed that they were well behaved. Residents, in fact, are finding it hard to believe that they could have committed the murder. 

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Is Capt Amarinder Singh on way out?
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 1
Is Capt Amarinder Singh on way out? People of Punjab have been hearing about the possible replacement of Mr Amarinder Singh for the last one year. Dissidence in the party took the toll in the form of defeat of the congress in the Lok Sabha elections. Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and other dissidents in the Punjab Congress joined hands to push out Capt Amarinder Singh. But none of them had the stature or capacity to fight to the end. Mrs Bhattal seems to have exhausted. She will have to work hard to maintain her position in the Congress as well as government. But after the reconstitution of the Punjab Cabinet, Capt Amarinder Singh consolidated his position. But he had to face a very big crisis when the supreme court gave the verdict against the Punjab state in the SYL canal.

In Punjab, the people question the track record of the past events and seem to have no faith in the central government whether congress or non-congress. Capt Amarinder Singh was also at the receiving end when he was hard put to find out the options that he had before him on the vital issue of water sharing with the neighbouring states. A strong and dogged pursuance of the case and passage of the Punjab Termination Act, 2004 annulling all previous agreements on river water sharing since 1981 earned him great appreciation of the people of Punjab. People of the state maintain that there has been no Chief Minister in Punjab, including all the powerful Pratap Singh Kairon who could stand against the might of the Centre as also defying the party. Mr Darbara Singh put up resistance on signing the 1981 agreement of sharing of waters of rivers Sutlej and Beas with Haryana and Rajasthan and was threatened by then Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, that he would be sacked. Rather Mrs Gandhi had observed, “You (Darbara Singh) are not fit to be Chief Minister.” He succumbed to the pressure and signed the agreement.

On the other hand Capt Amarinder Singh has earned the gratitude of the peasants as well. Water has become a very precious commodity in Punjab in the wake of failure of the monsoon and the depletion of the underground water has further added to the woes of the Punjab farmers.

According to a study of the Punjab Agricultural University, at present 80 per cent area of the state is experiencing a fall in water table. The central part is the most affected. In the central part of Punjab, the area having a watertable depth below 10 metres has increased from 3 per cent in 1973 to 76 per cent in 2002.

Punjab faces a deficit of 10 MAF water and this deficit is being met through over-exploitation of ground water, the experts say.

By passing the act, Capt Amarinder Singh has marginalised both Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the Akali Dal. The akalis had only this water stick to beat the Congress repeatedly. In fact this has exploded the bogey of Mr Badal that the Congress was against Punjab. The akalis cannot be absolved of the past lapses. It was Mr Badal who deposited money with Mr Devi Lal for the construction of the canal. Then it was Mr Surjeet Singh Barnala who started the construction of the SYL canal even before the settlement of the water sharing and the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab under the Rajiv-Longowal Accord.

The political situation in Punjab does not favour destabilisation of Capt Amarinder Singh. If the Congress has to remain relevant in this border state, the Congress high command will do well to weigh the options clearly before it can think of some strategy for the Haryana Vidhan Sabha elections viz-a-viz the Sutlej-Beas waters.

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Chairman-trustees row: Garcha to take 
up issue with CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
Taking a strong stand on his confrontation with the trustees, the Chairman of Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, today said he would take up the matter with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and request him to either dismiss him or the trustees.

Replying to the allegations levelled by the trustees regarding the allotment of plots, sale of a piece of land belonging to trust and widening of a road in a colony, Mr Garcha, in a two-page letter to trustees, refuted all allegations terming these as ‘‘devoid of facts’’.

While giving answers to the allegations one by one, Mr Garcha said he expected the trustees to go through the official documents and withdraw the allegations otherwise he would be forced to bring the issue to the notice of the CM.

Countering the allegation that the Chairman had conducted a draw of lots of residential flats in Model Town extension without even possessing the land earmarked for the flats, Mr Garcha said the draw was conducted in 2002 while he had joined in June, 2003. He clarified that the trust was in the possession of the land and a previous owner obstructed the trust staff when they tried to begin construction at the site. He said the construction will begin soon as soon as police force becomes available to them.

About the allegation that the Chairman was not taking action to reduce the width of 300-feet wide road in SBS Nagar to 200 feet as he was bribed for not doing so, Mr Garcha said he had signed the affidavit supporting the reduction of width and had sent it to the lawyer for filing in the high court.

However, the lawyer did not file the same because he was later approached by some trust officials and was asked not to do so despite the Chairman’s directions. ‘‘This means that if somebody has taken a bribe it is the person who is more powerful that the Chairman in the fact that he is able to compel trust officials to act in violation of his written official documents, ’’ claimed Mr Garcha.

Explaining the allegation of selling of four acres of trust land, Mr Garcha said the land in question was actually seven acres and it was disputed and a court had stayed its possession. He added that it was in the name of farmers. He added that the farmers had violated the status quo of the court and sold the land. He also said that it was the revenue officials who should be questioned for preparing a sale deed as they did not ask for a no objection certificate from the LIT.

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After submersible pumps, farmers now 
buying generators
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 1
Installed to tackle the falling water table problem, submersible pumps have proven to be a curse this season as these have been rendered useless due to the power crisis. These pumps, unlike the earlier conventional tubewells, cannot be run mechanically on diesel engines. They need electric generators if there is no power supply.

Farmers who have installed submersible pumps now have to supplement their power supply by installing electric generators to save the paddy crop. Already burdened by debt, these farmers have to borrow money at exorbitant rates and are also required to seek permission from the PSEB for installing generator sets above 10 KW power.

Most of the farmers who installed submersible pumps with the intention of increasing the paddy yield are disappointed over the power situation. The pumps remain idle for long hours in the absence of adequate power supply.

Sajjan Singh, a marginal farmer of Chhapar village, had installed a submersible pump to ensure the irrigation for his two acres of land at a cost of more than Rs 50,000. “But the pump has become idle this year for want of power supply. We had to spend the same amount on installing an electric generator as that was the only alternative to keep it running.” He had to borrow money at a high rate of interest.

Darshan Singh of Jandali village has to hire a generator frequently to run his submersible pump as he is not in a position to buy one of his own. He sys a number of shops and tent houses are exploiting farmers by charging exorbitant rents for generators. “Even after paying high rents we feel obliged to them if they send the sets on demand,” he says.

Darshan Singh Lotey, a generator manufacturer, says the sales of generator sets are more this year in the agricultural sector. “Most of the farmers are going for generators below 10KW power as no sanction is required for these. One has to get permission from the PSEB for installing sets above this capacity,” he says.

Two types of generators were available for agricultural purposes, one with an in-built engine and the other without it. Farmers who have a tractor to spare or an engine prefer to go for the latter. There are also those who have got a generator attached with the tractor so that the same equipment can run pumps at different farms.

While some farmers have installed submersible pumps by removing the conventional tubewell motors, others have installed these while retaining their old pump sets and use them simultaneously. One such case is in Rachhin village, where a submersible pump and a traditional tubewell are installed side by side, but both are dry as the farmer has exhausted his diesel stock due to long power cuts.

Sources in the PSEB confirm the trend of generator use, but maintained that this is not economical. In the absence of quality check, small-time motor and generator manufacturers have been supplying low-standard equipment that leads to increased losses of power. Moreover, the loads of these motors are not standard, which can cause overloading. The sources suggest that farmers should go for quality products instead of stop-gap arrangements.

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Kargil martyr’s memorial inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
Rich tributes were paid to martyr Major Singh, who laid down his life while safeguarding the frontiers on July 28 four years ago in Kargil sector in Jammu and Kashmir. A function was organised to observe his fourth martyrdom day at his native Lapran village, around 25 km from here today.

Mr Tej Parkash Singh, former Transport Minister, Punjab, inaugurated the newly constructed Shaheed Major Singh Memorial Stadium in the memory of the martyr which has been completed at a cost of Rs 3 lakh in the village.

While addressing a largely attended conference, Mr Tej Parkash Singh said martyrs who laid down their lives to safeguard the freedom and integrity of the country were assets of the society.

He said it was only due to the sacrifices of these brave sons of the soil, that the country was making achievements in all fields. He also reminded the people that during terrorism, a large number of innocent people had to sacrifice their lives for the unity and integrity of the country in Punjab. He claimed that the Congress party under the leadership of the Late Beant Singh, former Chief Minister, Punjab, had fought a relentless battle against terrorists and had restored the peace. He assured that Congress party would always stand by the families of the martyrs.

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Weatherman predicts some cheer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 1
According to the latest update provided by the medium-range weather forecasting centre, rainfall activity is expected during the next few days, during which isolated thundershowers can be expected in some parts of Punjab, according to a release of the Department of Agronomy and Agrometeorology, Punjab Agricultural University.

According to Dr S.S. Hundal, Professor in the department, a western disturbance is likely to approach north-west India on August 2. Under its influence, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttranchal are likely to receive good rainfall while Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh may receive scattered rainfall.

The deficit rainfall in Punjab so far has increased the economic burden of farmers due to their efforts to arrange extra inputs to provide irrigation to the crops of rice, maize, cotton and sugarcane. Ludhiana received a heavy shower today after a long dry spell.

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Jassowal hails abrogation of waters accords
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
Former Punjab legislator Jagdev Singh Jassowal, who was the lone dissenter at a meeting called by the then PM, Mrs Indira Gandhi, to seek the opinion of Congress MLAs in wake of Operation Bluestar, has said that his stand on the waters issues over two decades ago has been vindicated by the abrogation of water accords by Punjab.

Talking to TNS here today after recuperating from a long illness, the chairman of the Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation, recalled that Mrs Gandhi had been taken aback when he said that storming of the Golden Temple by the army would have grave consequences. Similarly, he had objected when she reportedly pressurised the then CM Darbara Singh into signing the 1981 accord on sharing of Ravi -Beas waters. He said the late PM had reportedly ordered Darbara Singh to “either sign on the dotted line or resign.”

The former MLA from Raikot said he had written to Mrs Gandhi on March 3, 1983 pleading Punjab’s case. “I wrote that she had erred in announcing the award since Punjab being the riparian state of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, had full and exclusive rights over the waters of these rivers and no non-riparian state can claim sharing of the waters a matter of right.”

The riparian principle is the fundamental principle in international law governing the rights of states over international waters and is enshrined in our constitution, he pointed out

He said he drew the attention of Mrs Gandhi to the fact that Punjab had been asserting its riparian rights for the past 120 years. This right was asserted in 1869 at the time of construction of Sirhind Canal whereby waters were given to the erstwhile Patiala, Nabha and other states.

The right was again asserted in 1918 at the time of construction of Bikaner (Gang) Canal when Bikaner agreed to pay seigniorage to Punjab in lieu of water. In 1948, Punjab again asserted its proprietary rights over Beas, Ravi and Sutlej at the time of signing the agreement with Pakistan for supplying waters to Pakistani canals.

He said Punjab’s dispute with Rajasthan was that the latter, being a non-riparian state, could not have any claim over the waters of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. Rajasthan’s claim is based on the decision of the meeting held on January 29, 1955, under the Chairmanship of Mr Gulzari Lal Nanda, central Irrigation Minister, under which 15,185 MAF of the Ravi - Beas waters, based on mean supplies in the two rivers available over and above the actual pre-Partition use in India, were allocated (in parenthesis) between the states concerned - J&K (0.65 MAF), PEPSU (1.30 MAF), Punjab (5.90 MAF) and Rajasthan (8 MAF).

Punjab’s plea then was the decision was taken in undue haste keeping in mind the fact that a team from the World Bank and Pakistan team was coming to India, he added.

Mr Jassowal said the contention of Punjab at that time - and today - was that the 1955 decision with Rajasthan was no agreement in the eyes of law as an agreement, to be valid, had to be drafted in the manner prescribed under Article 299 of the Constitution in the name of the Governor.

The unsigned proceedings of a meeting held on January 29, 1955, could not be termed as an agreement between the states concerned. A similar question arose before the Krishna waters Disputes Tribunal and Godavari Waters Disputes Tribunal where Mysore State questioned the legality of a 1951 agreement between certain southern states on the ground that proceedings of a meeting have no validity and cannot be termed as an agreement.

Both the tribunals framed issues on this point : whether the agreement should have been as per Article 299 of the Constitution. In Punjab’s case, out of a total 33.8 MAF of Ravi , Beas and Sutlej waters, Rajasthan had been given the lion’s share of 11.1 MAF for the Rajasthan canal, Gang canal and the Bhakra canal.

In the context of Haryana, he had written that our neighbour, again being a non - riparian state, cannot claim a share in the Ravi - Beas waters and that the central government had no power to distribute the fixed assets of a state.

Mr Jassowal said he had underlined that the centre had no power to decide on the surplus waters of the state. Inspite of clear cut provisions, the centre distributed 7. 5 MAF of water, which was Punjab’s share, as per the 1955 decision.

He said he had written that this surplus did not exist even at that time. Most of this water had actually been used in the Sirhind feeder and the Upper Bari Doab Canal. At the time of compiling Punjab’s requirements in 1955, no portion of the present day Haryana was included.

While preparing the requirements, Punjab government envisaged the following allocations of 7. 5 MAF : UBDC (1.6 MAF), Chak Andher Tract (9.4 MAF), Bet areas of Ravi and Beas (0.23 MAF), Shah Nehar (0.79 MAF), Eastern Canal (0.21 MAF), Sirhind Feeder ( 2.78 MAF) and PEPSU areas (1.33 MAF), he revealed.

As per purposes of the Beas Project, Haryana is entitled to 0. 9 MAF of water and not 3.5 MAF as was being erroneously claimed by the state.

If 3. 5 MAF of water is given to Haryana, it would be at cost of reducing water in the canals of Punjab.

He said in view of the above, he had appealed to Mrs Gandhi that in the overall interest of the country, her personal intervention was needed.

Mr Jassowal said he had been proved right and had Mrs Indira Gandhi acted then, the waters would not have been on fire today. 

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Power situation to improve soon: Dawar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 1
The Parliamentary Secretary for Power and Housing, Mr Surinder Dawar, today claimed that the power situation in the state would improve soon as due to rainfall at several places in Punjab, the demand of the agricultural sector had decreased. He said after the demand for irrigation of paddy crop was met in the next couple of days, normal power supply to urban feeders would be restored.

Addressing a meeting of traders and shopkeepers organised by the Mochpura Supreme Shawl and Hosiery Association here today, he sought the cooperation of the people, particularly the members of business community in the hour of crisis created by the acute shortage of power. The government was fully aware of their difficulty but at the 
same time every body 
was expected to lend a helping hand when the going was tough, he remarked.

Mr Dawar said the Congress governments, both in Punjab and at the Centre, were in the process of chalking out various plans to provide comprehensive relief to business community and the industry. All pending issues related to different government departments would be amicably settled with the interaction between trade and industry associations and senior officers of the concerned departments soon. The recent decision of the Union Government to waive off excise duty from hosiery goods was ample proof of the concern of the government for the welfare of small industry in Punjab, added

Responding to the complaint traders and shopkeepers about poor maintenance of electric cables in the area, which led to frequent break downs, Mr Dawar issued instructions to the PSEB to carry out a survey of the area and undertake improvement of the transmission system. He assured that the PSEB would immediately take necessary steps to provide uninterrupted power supply to the commercial hub.

Mr Vinod Bharti, Secretary, PPCC, Mr Jagdish Chander Bajaj, Mr Ram Ratan Garg, Mr Rejesh Gupta, Mr Santokh Singh Khurana, Mr Ram Parkash Thakkar and Mr Suresh Soni also addressed the meeting.

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Traders to observe ‘black day’ on August 3
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 1
Shopkeepers and traders in the city would observe “black day” on August 3 to register their protest against the failure of the government to deal with the power crisis and the decision of the closure of shops in the evening. All shops and commercial establishments would display black flags and the traders would hold rallies and demonstrations against the highhandedness of the government.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal held at Aggarwal Dharamshala here today under the presidentship of Mr Kasturi Lal Mittal. Representatives of more than 100 trade and industrial organisations attended the meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, a former Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Mr Sat Pal Gosain, who also heads the trade wing of the BJP, exhorted the shopkeepers and traders to stand united against the dictatorial decisions of the government. He asked the traders to be prepared for a prolonged struggle if the government failed to relent.

Other speakers alleged that the bureaucracy was out to destroy the trade and commercial activity in the state. “The trade associations, however, will effectively meet the threat posed by the government and such nefarious designed will be foiled through total unity among the trading community,” they maintained.

Representatives of hosiery trade and industry, power loom sector and wholesale markets in the city asserted that the decision on closure timing of shops had led to massive corruption and misuse of powers by the already unbridled government officials. The decision had not only hit the trade and industry hard and created problems for the general public, but would also result in heavy loss of revenue to the government exchequer, the traders observed.

Other functionaries of the beopar mandal, including Mr Mohinder Aggarwal and Mr Sunil Mehra, issued an ultimatum to the government to restore the closure time of shops to 8 pm failing which the mandal would give a call for statewide agitation.

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Engineers oppose new power policy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
All-India Power Engineers Federation has criticised the statement of Union Power Minister P.M. Syed and Power Secretary R.V. Shahi that with the new electricity policy, the country would get cheap power.

Terming the statement as ‘‘misleading’’, the federation yesterday said that this policy had proved a failure in several states. The new power policy aimed at handing over public sector assets of distribution network at zero cost to strong private companies, despite the fact that the net worth of these assets was several lakh crores.

Mr M.S. Bajwa, Senior Vice-Chairman of the federation, said the government was deliberately covering up the failure of power sector reforms in Orissa and Delhi, where the state governments had to bear the burden of several thousands crores with private companies making huge profits at the cost of the public exchequer.

“The Government of India is not coming out with a White Paper on power sector reforms in Delhi and Orissa where commercial losses are about three times the losses in Punjab. A delegation of the All-India Power Engineers’ Federation had met the Prime Minister and Union Minister last week and apprised them of the failure of the new power policy being pursued in the past 10 years. It is totally misleading that there will be healthy competition between the public and private sectors as the Government of India is bent upon wiping out the public sector and installing private sector firmly, as is evident from the disintegration of the Delhi Vidyut Board, ’’ said Mr Bajwa.

The total assets of the Delhi Vidyut Board had been transferred to the BSES (Reliance Group) and Tata’s without recovery of costs. So much so, no evaluation had been done.

The new policy ignored rural totally. In Orissa, the share of consumption in the rural sector in past several years had come down from 6 per cent to 3 per cent. The Kanugo committee set up by the government had also confirmed the failure of these reforms. No village electrification had been initiated. At the same time tariff in Orissa and Delhi had been substantially increased, contrary to claims of cheaper power.

He said there was a need to review power sector reforms in the states of Orissa, Andhra Pardesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pardesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pardesh, Haryana and Delhi to analyse what kind of role had been played by World Bank consultants and the private sector.

The federation, also cautioned the Union Government against the implementation of the Electricity Act, 2003.

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BJP seeks relief package for farmers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 1
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has asked the Punjab Government to immediately announce a relief package for drought-hit farmers in the state.
The party has also stressed the need for preparing a strong case for the remission of interest on agricultural loans.

In a statement here yesterday, a former state unit president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Mr Sukhminder Pal Singh Grewal, said that as a first step towards the assessment of crop losses, the government should order special girdawaris.

He charged the Congress government in Punjab with being indifferent to the situation created by the delayed monsoon. It was unfortunate that the government had not initiated worthwhile remedial measures to tackle the situation.

Mr Grewal was also critical of the steps taken by the government to restrict the working hours of government offices, educational institutions and commercial establishments in a bid to save power.

In the wake of gross misuse of electricity at various levels, the measures taken by the government would only inflict a blow on trade and industry.

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Tiwari distributes cheques among sarpanches
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
Cheques worth Rs 60 lakh were distributed among panchayats of 36 villages falling in the Ludhiana (rural) Vidhan Sabha constituency for various development projects at a function here today.

Mr Manish Tiwari, General Secretary, All-India Congress Committee, and Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, gave the cheques to the sarpanches and panches.

Addressing the function, Mr Tiwari said the Union Government in its first Budget had accorded a top priority to the rural and agricultural sectors. He said the government had targeted all its policies for the uplift of the weaker sections and poor farmers and was taking concrete steps to generate employment opportunities.

Mr Tiwari, while appreciating the steps taken by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, said he had created history in protecting the interests of the state. He said the Centre would sanction more development projects for Punjab. The Civil Aviation Ministry had already sanctioned an airport of international standards in Ludhiana, which would come up within two years. He said to tackle the power shortage in the state, discussions had been started with private companies for setting up a gas-based project.

Appreciating the efforts of Mr Birmi for releasing the grants, the AICC General Secretary said he would also arrange special grants for the development of the constituency.

Mr Birmi said the government was committed to give maximum powers to the panchyats. He said all jhuggi dwellers would be provided with an alternative space for accommodation before removing the encroachments.

Among others who addressed the gathering included Mr Pawan Diwan, Mr Darshan Singh Birmi, Mr Ashwani Kumar, Joint Secretary, PPCC, Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu, president, Municipal Council, Sahnewal, and Mr Sat Pal Beri and Mr Sat Paul Puri, both councillors.

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Doraha residents complain of poor civic amenities
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, August 1
Doraha and Sahnewal towns are reeling under the constant threat of an epidemic outbreak. At Doraha, the situation can assume serious proportions if not checked in time. A little downpour adds to the woes of the residents. The water has entered their houses and shops. Some streets of the town seem to be entirely neglected.

The residents of a number of wards have complained of broken roads, accumulation of water and garbage at various places during the monsoon. They say even after a fortnight no body bothers to pump out the water or clear the garbage spread all around. Some wards have narrow roads and a nala at the end of the road is no permanent solution. The residents have complained of sewer leakage at times. The streets at the back of a local hospital remain overflooded with foul smell coming out of it. The water gets accumulated on the main road of Doraha even if there is a mild down pour and remains blocked for hours together thus making the passage for pedestrians and two-wheeler drivers difficult.

“Doraha town has suffered a severe onslaught of jaundice last year and it seems to be waiting for another tragedy to happen,” says Mr Jandeep Kaushal, vice-president, All-India Federation of democratic youth. “Residents are living under constant threat of an epidemic out break in the absence of pure hygienic water and clean surroundings .” No flogging machines have ever reached the streets and hence malaria is common among the dwellers.” Along with this cases of typhoid, gastroenteritis, diahrroea, dehydration, jaundice are also on the rise,” tells Dr Gurnam Kaur, surgeon of Sidhu Hospital.

Mr Ranjit Singh Grewal, EO, Municipal Council Doraha when contacted said, “we are taking special care to clean the pipes. High capacity machines are used to clean pipes from time to time. Garbage is removed regularly and house to house survey conducted. The places where rain water accumulates are being closely examined. If needed the rain water is also pumped out.”

When asked about the preventive measures taken by the municipal council Mr Grewal said “chlorine tablets have been distributed. Water samples have been tested by PAU experts and the health department is camping in the area.”

Steps must be initiated for cleaning open drains and sewer units. Lifting of garbage should become a matter of daily routine. Also encroachments on covered drains and sewer units which hindered the task of periodic cleaning must be removed,” said Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh Gill, a local resident.

The condition is no better at Sahnewal town. The residents here too are facing a tough time. With resentment writ large on their faces they angrily spoke out their heart,” the accumulation of garbage and water in our streets has worsened the situation. The drainage system is very poor. The smell emitted out of the stagnant water makes us sick. If at all a sweeper from the Nagar Panchayat clears the water within no time it recollects. A little rain and the town seems flooded with water. As the size of water outlet is narrow, it accumulates in still narrower streets thus exposing us to deadly diseases, says Mr Santa Singh Umaidpurim, former chairman, Market Committee, Sahnewal.

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Novel way to discourage parking
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, August 1
It was an ordeal of a different kind for Mr R.S. Mann, who runs a resort at Haibowal, when he visited the Bhadaur House market on Friday morning. At around 11 am, he parked his car in the last block of the market facing the Deepak Cinema Road and went to the LIC office located on the adjoining Post Office Road. When he came out of the LIC office, he found that someone had placed four big nails beneath the tyres of his vehicle. Had he not noticed these nails on time, all tyres would have been flattened. Just as he was looking around to find the culprit, someone told him that the owner of the adjoining showroom had done this to discourage parking at the site.

At first, the showroom owner tried to pass the buck on residents of Nalli mohalla but later confessed to having placed the nails. An altercation took place. The Kotwali police was called by Mr Mann, which took the showroom owner to the police station. The owner of the showroom was taken to the police station where a compromise was reached later in the evening following an apology by the accused and of course doling out of some ‘lassi-pani’ for the trouble taken by the cops.

In view of the grave parking problem at Bhadaur House, shopkeepers have been putting no-parking signboard outside their shops and even posting guards to ensure it. The idea of putting nails under the tyres is surely a novel way to discourage parking, though a trip to the police station was avoidable.

The market, in fact, built in the early seventies, was inaugurated by Giani Zail Singh. As the Post Office Road, which connected the Deepak Cinema Road with the Mata Rani Chowk, wore a deserted look those days, the market failed to attract customers. Only a handful of customers from the Civil Lines area preferred shopping here. With the result that a number of showrooms of leading textile mills such as Gwalior Suitings , which were among the very few shops which were opened initially in the market, had to pack up and go elsewhere. Parking those days was not a problem at all.

But the fast pace of development in this city has drastically changed the face of the market and that of the parking space. Two big hotels, City Heart and Nanda, have been opened. The market has also become the hub of the CD and cassette trade in Punjab. Particularly after the construction of the multi-floored, air-conditioned Calibre Plaza, generally known as the AC market, on the other side of the Post Office Road, opposite the last block of the market housing the Tribune office, the market is literally bursting at the seams as far as availability of the parking space in the market is concerned.

The spacious car park in front of the Indian Coffee House and in the adjoining block are enough to cater to the need of the market. The problem is created by outsiders who either visit the AC market or the adjoining offices of the LIC and the branch of Bharat Overseas Bank. The ‘outsiders’ prefer to park their vehicles at any nook or corner available to them along the road to parking their vehicles at the top floor of the AC market where a spacious parking lot exists. The exercise of hauling the vehicle up and down the elevator is time consuming for a businessman, who is always in a hurry. Because parking in the two blocks are being supervised by parking attendants, the vacant space behind the last block, facing the Deepak Cinema Road, is being used as a free-for-all parking region.

Even the verandahs are being used to park cars and scooters. Mr M.S. Nanda, president, Bhadaur House Shopkeepers’ Association, has raised this issue with the Municipal Corporation a number of times. According to him the best way to tackle the parking problem in this area is to create a multi-floor parking lot in the Chaura Bazar area.

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Fire safety programme organised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 1
In connection with the cultural week, the Bharat Vikas Parishad, Shivaji branch, organised a fire safety programme and a declamation contest at Shanti Niketan Adarsh Vidyalaya. The fire safety show was conducted by Dharm Singh of Jupinter Fire Safety Company. He delivered a lecture to take measures during fire incidents.

In declamation contest 11 students — Shveta, Sarabjit, Saubsh, Ruhi, Priya, Shiana, Malkeet Kaur, Komal, Priya Kashyap, Jeenat and Priya Nigha participated. According to the judges Rajesh Nauhria and Kewal Bansal Saubsh, Shaveta and Sarabjit, respectively, were given first, second and third prizes. Randhir Sharma, director of the school, welcomed and thanked the guests.

SEMINAR: The Gujranwala Guru Nanak Institute of Vocational Studies on Sunday organised a seminar on preparing budding professionals for interviews. Ms Aditi Satija from Panjab University, Chandigarh, was invited to train students. She emphasised on the basic skills required for success in an interview. She covered points right from the preparation of interview to the body language required to ensure the realisation of the dreams. She also highlighted the importance of having enough knowledge abut the company. She instructed students to be precise and truthful in their answers. She discussed some of the commonly asked questions in the interview room. 

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Need for regulatory panel on steel prices stressed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 1
The newly nominated secretary of the All-India Congress Committee, Mr Manish Tiwari, has echoed the long-standing demand of the steel-consuming industry here for setting up a steel regulatory commission to stabilise the prices of the essential raw material.

Addressing a meeting of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association (UCPMA) here last evening, he said reduction in excise duty and other small concessions would not have the desired effect on the uncertainty prevailing in the steel prices. Only an effective regulatory body could restrain the prices.

Mr Tiwari, who unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha elections from the city, assured members of the industry that he would soon meet the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, and the Union Steel Minister in this regard. He said he would also take steps to arrange a meeting of the representatives of the industry with ministers at the centre.

Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary with the charge of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, addressing the function, said he would take up the problems of the industry with the Chief Minister for appropriately taking them up with the Union Government. He was also positive to giving representation to the industry in the dispute settlement committees of the Punjab State Electricity Board.

Focusing on the plight of the small and tiny sector of the light-engineering industry, Mr G.L. Pahwa, president of the association, remarked that the industry was in the grip of an unprecedented crisis due to the rising steel prices and the restrictions imposed on power supply. A large number of the units were not even in a position to stay afloat. He said a cartel of major steel producers was holding the entire industry to ransom.

Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary of the UCPMA, alleged that the acute power shortage was a result of lack of foresight on the part of the government which had neglected the crucial sector of power generation. The governments of the day had been pursuing ad hoc policies to meet the day-to-day power requirements.

Among other speakers were Mr K.K. Seth, Mr Ajit Singh Kular, Mr M.S. Bhogal, Mr Harminder Singh Pahwa, Mr Vijay Munjal, Mr Avtar Singh, Mr P.D. Sharma, Mr Joginder Kumar, Mr Ajit Kumar, Mr S.C. Ralhan, Mr Vinod Thapar and Mr Manmohan Singh Martin.

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