L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


VC concerned at falling standard
of medical education

Gold medals given to 41 students
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
The Vice-Chancellor of the Baba Farid University of Health Services, Dr J.S. Gujral, while delivering the convocation address at Christian Dental College here today said, "the education is becoming a saleable commodity." He regretted the falling standards of Health Education in the country.

Dr Gujral said the medical profession was one of the noblest professions. But, he warned against the mushrooming growth of the medical and dental institutions in the country. He said these institutions were not maintaining the requisite standards.

However, the Vice-Chancellor lauded the role of Christian Medical College and Christian Dental College for providing quality medical education and imbibing a sense of mission among the students. He particularly mentioned the mandatory service by students in the rural and remote areas.

He asked the graduates to provide oral healthcare to the people living in the remote areas and urban slums. He stressed on the need for creating the dental awareness among the people as an essential component of clinical practice by young dentists. He also emphasised on the need for upgrading their professional knowledge regularly. He lauded the services provided by Christian Dental College with its outstanding infrastructure and experienced faculty.

Speaking on the occasion, the Principal of the college, Dr J.L. Joshi, traced the history of the college which, he said, had come up as a centre of excellence in the field of dental education and was the first private dental college in Punjab to start the postgraduate and para-dental courses affiliated to the Dental Council of India.

Dr Joshi said the graduates of this college were serving in areas like the Lahaul and Spiti, Kaza, Manali, Raxaul, Nowrangpur, Khairar and also in the armed forces. He assured that the standards would be maintained at all costs and improved further.

Earlier, Dr Gujral presented gold medals to 41 students. He also awarded 42 trophies to students for excelling in the academic field. He conferred the Degree of Dental Surgery of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences on 60 graduates of the college.

Dr David Troughton of New Zealand was the chief guest.



Factionalism in Cong mars ministers’ visit
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 17
Factionalism among Congress men marred the ministers visit when the city units of the party and Youth Congress remained away from a public function that was chaired by two ministers and the local MLA. The situation arose as a consequence of dissidence of 10 councillors who had earlier voted in favour of a no confidence motion which was later rejected by the authorities on technical grounds. Mr Jagjit Chaudhary, Minister for Local Bodies, Ms Gurkamal Kaur, State Minister, and Ms Razia Sultan, MLA, chaired a function organised at local MGM Senior Secondary School to celebrate birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar.

While addressing the students and staff of the school, Mr Coauthor claimed that the state government had been working hard for the uplift of the lower strata of society. He said the Indians should never forget Dr Ambedkar Who had cared for all sections of society while drafting the Constitution of India.

Mr Ravinder, president of the city Congress, Mr Jatinder Bhola and Mr Sham Sunder (both councillors) said only three out of 15 councillors attended the function, besides Mr Rajnish Sharma Gudoo, president of the council. The dissident leaders alleged that the organisers had tried to allure the residents from weaker section on the pretext of grant of pensions but there were no arrangements for the same. Moreover, the authorities did not inform at least 11 councillors about any such programme which might have benefited the weaker sections of society.

These leaders claimed that most of the local social and trade associations also abstained from the function showing solidarity with the dissident group.

Meanwhile, Ms Razia Sultan held a separate meeting with the dissident councillors and assured them that she would look into the sequence of events that happened during her tour abroad. 



Steel prices have hit other sectors,
says chamber head

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
The industry has been attributing the rising inflation in the country to the continuously rising prices of steel. It has been maintaining that the abnormal rise in the prices of steel has severely affected all sectors, which has led to the rise in the prices of the essential commodities which is the main cause of inflation.

The president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr P.D. Sharma, observed that the government was targeting other commodities like polymer, sugar, edible oil and furnace oil, while the basic reason for the rising inflation was the continuous hike in steel prices. He asserted that even the Reserve Bank of India had recognised steel to be the main mover of inflation.

Mr Sharma attributed several reasons for the continuously rising prices of steel. He said the government took just a token step to reduce customs duty on non-alloy steel from 10 to 5 per cent, abrogating the custom duty on melting scrap and bringing down the customs duty on ships for breaking from 15 to 5 per cent.

However, he regretted that the government left the main item for reduction in customs duty, the secondary and the defective steel as it is at the 40 per cent custom duty. He said the steel-consuming industry finds this type of steel much better than the average quality of steel produced in the country.

He said the secondary steel was defective in terms of dimensions only and the government should reduce duty on it to 3 per cent. Only then the steel prices can come down and the inflation can be brought down.

The chamber president added that steel manufacturers had also made mockery of the Prime Minister's appeal to keep prices in check. He said the steel-manufacturing units have made a "very bizarre unprecedented pricing system". He disclosed that they sell hot rolled coils on the condition that 70 per cent is meant for export and 30 per cent for use in the domestic market. He said the 70 per cent production reserved for export by the buyers shall cost Rs 1000 more per metric tonne. This means that the reduction of Rs 500 has been converted into a hike of Rs 1,000, which means that instead of reducing the prices, the steel producers have increased the price by Rs 500 per metric tonne.

Mr Sharma also sought to clarify the "wrong impression" being created that the steel prices had increased globally. He disclosed that the average price of hot rolled coils in Japan was only $ 510 per metric tonne, $468 in South Korea and other South Asian countries for September, while the steel producers in the country are selling the same for $590 per metric tonne. 



Industry decries unscheduled power cuts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
A joint meeting of the Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India and its affiliated associations was held here today under the chairmanship of its president Joginder Kumar.

The federation decried that despite the notified two-day weekly off, unscheduled power cuts had crippled the industry which was already reeling under heavy losses. Mr Joginder Kumar said, “We apprehend that the situation would worsen further as the PSEB had failed to get approval for atomic power and gas leased plants”. He demanded that the load of various connections should be revised.

Mr Joginder Kumar has urged Capt Amarinder Singh to impress upon the UPA government to sanction atomic power plants and gas-based plants keeping in view the urgent needs of the state.



Traders seek consensus on VAT
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
The Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association has sought rationalisation of the Value Added Tax (VAT) system. The association has observed that the present tax structure in the state is extremely complex and lacked transparency.

Mr Gurpargat Singh Kahlon and Mr Jagtar Singh Bhambra, president and finance secretary of the association, respectively, said VAT which was being implemented from April 1, 2005, throughout the country, needed to be made business-friendly. They observed that it had created much resentment among traders and industrialists. “No doubt, the system is good and may be beneficial for all but before its implementation most of the provisions in its draft rules prepared by the state previously were very harsh, complex and uncleared. Penalty and punishment clauses in the draft were too harsh and unjustified and due to heavy protests from the traders and business community, the government failed to implement it”, they observed.

They said the new draft being prepared by the state government was understood to have accommodated the viewpoint of all the concerned, including traders and the business community. They said the state must restructure taxes on commodities and services in such a way that not only sales tax is converted into a state VAT but all other taxes operating in any form in the state like excise duty, goods tax, service tax, toll tax, octroi duty, education tax, surcharge and entertainment tax should be abolished or integrated with the state VAT.

They suggested that extensive discussions should be held on the subject as it was a very vital issue on which the future of the state economy and business community depended.

They said a copy of the revised draft rules on VAT by the Punjab Government should be sent to all trade and industrial organisations for comments and consensus should be evolved on it. Workshops should arrange to train the entrepreneurs and officials of the department concerned for its proper implementation. It must be as much as simplified so that all could follow it at their own level and without any hesitation and fear. All loopholes which may easily develop corrupt practices later on, on both sides, be plugged strictly, they added.



BKU demands payment of dues
to sugarcane farmers

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has urged the Punjab Government to ensure the payment of the pending dues of Rs 100 crore to sugarcane farmers if it was serious about promoting the crop diversification programme.

Prof Manjit Singh Kadian, acting president of the union, said state and private sugar mills had not paid farmers their dues from the previous season, causing a lot hardship. The matter had been taken up with the government many times but to no avail.

The seriousness of the government on diversification could be gauged from the fact that so far it had not announced the procurement price of sugarcane even though the crop was ready to be harvested.

The harvesting was being delayed since farmers were awaiting announcements relating to the support price and the fate of their previous dues, he pointed out.

Farmers had taken note of the need for diversification and had once again started cultivating sugarcane in the state. “If the state does not give them any incentive by way of remunerative prices and quick disbursement of dues, why will they give up the wheat-paddy cycle?” he asked.

He also questioned the validity of imposing a condition on farmers to supply 85 per cent of their crop to specified mills, failing which they were required to pay a penalty.

This was discriminatory. To be fair, the government must ensure that the mills, too, paid a penalty in case the dues of farmers were not cleared within 15 days, he added.

He said if the farmers failed to get their dues, the area under sugarcane would further shrink, putting a question mark on the future of crushing units in the state.

Already the mills were finding it hard to operate for more than two months during the peak season. This period would decrease to just a month if the government failed to solve the problems of farmers.

On the issue of bonus on paddy, he said the government was silent on paying the remaining Rs 20 per quintal due from the previous season. The issue would be discussed at the delegates’ convention to be held at Kisan Bhavan in Chandigarh on September 20.



Trust to reserve flats for Kashmiri Pandits
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
The Ludhiana Improvement Trust has decided to reserve 2 per cent of the forthcoming allotment of residential flats for Kashmiri Pandits. The formal approval to this decision would shortly be sought from the Department of Local Government.

The Chairman of the trust, Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, said the trust took this decision after a delegation of Kashmiri Pandits urged the Jathedar of Akal Takht to rehabilitate them. A delegation of trustees would also meet the Jathedar of Akal Takht and representatives of Kashmiri Pandit in this regard.

Mr Garcha said he was confident that the government would approve the proposal mooted by him. He said displaced kashmiri pandits would be eligible for buying high, middle and low income group categories at substantially lesser rate than the market price.

He added that the trust was already having reservation for physically challenged, ex-servicemen and some other stratas of society. The chairman added that the next draw of lots of residential plots would be organised within two months.



Conductors for more avenues of promotion
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
The Punjab Roadways Conductors Union has urged the department to stop the victimisation of their members, besides opening more avenues for their promotion.
Mr Rajinder Singh Lalton, a spokesperson of the union, said the department had lately resorted to terminating their services on flimsy grounds. This has affected their morale besides putting a question mark on their security of service.

He said the provision of imposing 10 times the fine on ticketless travellers was often misused by the checking staff. To stop its misuse, the checking staff should be issued receipt books so that they were not blamed for the passengers’ fault. In most cases, the conductors are blamed for allowing ticketless travel by pocketing the money, he alleged.

Others demands of the union include completing the fleet of 2,407 buses, treating the post of sub-inspector as a promotion post, stopping special private operations on various routes across the state, allowing more holidays on the pattern of other state employees.



Parks’ maintenance: MC fails to act on PSHRC order
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 17
The federation of park management committees has alleged that the Ludhiana Corporation has failed to implement an order of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission and no payment has been made to it.

In a complaint to the secretary local Bodies, Punjab Government Mr B.R. Bajaj, Mr S.S. Chana, President of the Federation has state that neither the parks and green belts are being maintained as per directions of the commission nor the grants due to the PMCs (Park Management Committees) have been released.

The Municipal Corporation has also not supplied the requisite information to the Deputy Commissioner Ludhiana who has been asked to look into the complaint of the federation of park management committees as directed by the Punjab state human rights commission.

The Punjab State Human Rights Commission had indicted the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation had observed,’the commission is not satisfied regarding the state of maintenance of public parks in Ludhiana.

The commissioner Municipal Corporation was not available for his comments on the subject and was away to Chandigarh according to his camp office.

The maintenance of the municipal parks in Ludhiana is becoming worse day by day in the absence of proper arrangements. The municipal corporation owes Rs 25 lakh to the park management committees.



DMC employees’ union takes away 4 AC units for office
Vimal Sumbly and Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
It is the writ of the DMC Employees’ Union that runs in the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital and the Hero DMC Heart Institute. Taking issues too casually by the management, has only encouraged the union to do whatever it likes and wants. Only a few months ago the union members led by its president Mr Chander Mohan Kalia went to the maintenance section and took away four Air Conditioner units from there and installed these in their office.

This is just an example as how the employees’ union has been making its writ run in the hospital. A senior faculty member disclosed that the union leaders also took hold of a hospital vehicle and have been using it for the union activities. He said that nobody dared to question the union leaders about it lest he invites trouble for himself. The union leaders are known for intimidating the faculty members and the senior officers of the hospital. Once they even manhandled the secretary of the Managing Committee of the DMC Hospital also.

The union president, Mr Chander Mohan Kalia had no qualms in admitting that they had taken away the AC units from the maintenance section of the hospital. he justified the action claiming that the managing committee had promised them that they would be provided with the ACs for their office. However, he denied that the union was misusing any of the vehicles of the hospital for its activities.

Dr Rajiv Gupta, a leading physician of the city, a former faculty member of the DMC maintained that the management should not succumb to the blackmail of the union particularly on contract system. He pointed out, the contract system was the norm of the day at national and international level. He said, in a medical institution it was more important as such institutions can hardly afford casual and incompetent people. He warned that in case the contract system was not introduced in the DMC and the union activities are not curbed, it will not take long for the DMC to close down.

Meanwhile the Managing Committee of the DMC submitted its proposals in response to the demands of the union to the Assistant Labour Commissioner. Mr MS Jaggi who is conducting the negotiations on behalf of the district administration disclosed that the proposals will take sometime to be studied. He said the discussions will be held tomorrow morning where every party will be made to sit together and sort out the issue.

A hospital spokesperson today said that the DMC Hospital functioned normally although there was no work in the Hero DMC Heart Institute. 



Rs 1200-cr project to improve highways
Tribune News Service

Sahnewal, September 17
Mr Partap Singh Minister for PWD(B&R), Cultural Affairs , Archives and Museums Punjab today announced that the state government was going to launch a prestigious plan to strengthen and widening of 5500 Kms long 18 State Highways at a cost of Rs 1200 crores on Built Operate and Transfer Basis and the toll tax on all these roads would be charged at the nominal rates.

The PWD Minister elaborated that these State Highways would be made of international level and said that 40 new Railway overbridges were also being built on different railway crossings to permanently solve the traffic problem on these bottle necks. Mr Bajwa said that during the past 15 years no attention was given to strengthen state highways by the previous governments.

He said, the Congress government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh had decided to accord top priority to strengthen the infrastructure facilities. Referring to the repair of link roads, he said that all the 14000 km link roads due for repair in the year 1998 would be laid with the premix and the government had tied up with Punjab National Bank to sanction the loan of Rs 450 crore required for this purpose.

Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Jails Punjab while addressing the function asserted that the state government was committed to give maximum powers to the Panchayats for the development of the villages and the functioning of seven departments had already been handed over to the Panchayats. Expressing his thanks the PWD Minister for according priority for the widening and strengthening this main road, Mr Birmi informed that the funds for the repair of all other roads in Ludhiana rural constituency.

Among others who addressed the function included Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu President MC Sahnewal and Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, Mr Darshan Singh Birmi, and Mr Ravinder S. Syan Managing Director Inder Hospital Shanewal.



Apology sought from Tehelka
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 17
Prof Pirthipal Singh Kapoor, President, Master Tara Singh Institute of studies in contemporary Sikh politics today reacted to the denigrating of five symbols of the sikhs by Tehelka weekly.

Professor Kapoor said here that it was unfortunate that the weekly had chosen to equate the symbols with traits to hifi Punjabis and Sikhs. Such people did not represent the best of religious community. He said that for example equating kirpan with karobar, kara with kukkar (chicken) andkesh (hair) withkudi (girl) had run down the symbols initiated by Guru Gobind Singh. It was hightime that the SGPC and the Sikh bodies demanded an apology from the editor-publisher of Tehelka. The magazine had hurt sentiments of the community, he added.

Prof. Jagmohan Singh, General Secretary, Akali Dal (Amritsar) also took an exception to the publication of such an item in the Tehelka and sought and public apology from the management of the magazine.



1 booked for inciting man to file false affidavit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
The police today booked a man for inciting another to present a false affidavit before the media.
A 12-year-old girl, Preeti, had been adopted by Mangat Ram several years ago. Preeti’s real father, Suresh Mishra, took her back with the consent of Mangat Ram who had fallen on bad days.

However, after a few days he claimed that Suresh had forcibly taken the girl away. He claimed to have filed a complaint with the city police in this regard. A copy of the complaint, along with the affidavit, was handed over to mediapersons.

SP(D) Gurpreet Singh today claimed that Mangat Ram had never complained to the police but Ravinder Gosain of Kailash Nagar incited him to sign on some blank papers and assured him that if he did so he would get a claim of thousands of rupees from the girl’s real father.

Interestingly, no action has been taken against Mangat Ram for filing the false affidavit.



Man beaten to death
Our Correspondent

Doraha, September 17
A man was beaten to death allegedly by a farmer of Daumajra village against whom a case was registered under Section 302, IPC, yesterday.
The victim was identified as Sawaran Singh, alias Kala, son of Pritam Singh of Raul village. His body was recovered from near the field of Narinderpal Singh, alias Soni, son of Jagtar Singh of Daumajra village on the Payal Gobindpura road.

Mr Paramjit Singh, SHO, Payal, said it was suspected that Narinderpal Singh had grown corn in his fields which the deceased used to steal at night. When Swaran Singh came to steal corn from his fields he attacked him with sticks and beat him to death.

The body of the deceased was sent to the Civil Hospital for post mortem.

Crushed under train: An unidentified migrant labourer’s body was found near the railway track here on Thursday. He was suspected to have been crushed under the train.



Man murdered

Khanna, September 17
Swarn Singh, a mason, was murdered by an unidentified person while he was on his way to home on Wednesday night.

Swarn Singh of Rano village, under the Payal police station, was returning home after finishing his duty. When he reached near Gobindpur village, he was attacked by the person with a wooden stick. His body was spotted by some passers-by. A case under Section 302 has been registered. OC



Traditional handicrafts a big draw
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 17
Madhubani paintings, the traditional paintings of Bihar, done on Khadi paper by the self-styled artists of the region, bring forth the very old traditional paintings in its myriad colours done as cottage industry in plenty in Karigari Craft Bazar, Nehru Sidhant Kender. Here artist Mahadev Singh says that earlier everyone used to paint their walls with freehand designs made colourful by using vegetable dyes. It took a foriegner to tell them to transfer the designs to paper and then grew the popularity of Madubani paintings.

He said that now due to the initiative of the government, the artists get some incentive and the Madubani designs are getting onto clothes. Designers are transferring the designs on to fabrics like sarees, shirts, household linen etc.But still the artists are struggling as they do not have capital to make things in bulk and find buyers. The NGOs like the Bhartiya Dastkar Samiti under whose aegis the Crafts Bazar is going on helps them to come on a platform where the artisans meet the customers directly. This is definitely a right step but unfortunately the Indian buyers do not understand the value and continue to haggle over the prizes. Similar were the complaints from the artists from Rajasthan who had brought amazing paintings made out of semi-precious stones and framed in wooden frames shaped like Jharokas.

Pretty Mangaldeep cotton suits, bedcovers handwoven from Andhra Pradesh, brocade bedcovers, runners, cushion covers, silk stoles, silk sarees from Benaras makes one feel proud of being Indian and possessing such fantastic handicrafts. The potter from Delhi had bought urns, pots, and different original shaped objects. They looked delightful.

The silver jewellery with its intricate designs, exotic stone pendants were an attraction. Sarees woven by artisans of Maharashtra, embroidered by embroiders of Gujarat are fetching and so is a variety of readymade curtains in handloom and tissue. It is a treasure house of Indian crafts.


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