L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Workers protest against violation of labour laws
Contractual employment, denial of basic rights
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 8
Alleging “undue harassment and violation of labour laws” by owners of industrial units, hundreds of industrial workers today held a protest rally at the Mini Secretariat here today.

Led by activists of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Punjab, the protesters marched from the Giaspura area to the Mini Secretariat through the main G.T. Road.

“It was in February this year that workers of four industrial units applied for registration of trade unions under the Trade Union Act, 1926. While it should not have taken more than a month for the Labour Department to give them a go ahead, even till date nothing has been done,” said Mr Raghunath Singh, all-India vice-president, CITU, adding, “department officials have made it clear to us that the government does not want to trouble industrialists.” They also alleged that those workers who applied for registration of unions were turned out by the management.

They also alleged that they were being forced to work on piece-wage system. “It means contractual employment. Even the government has not given a go ahead to contractual labour so far and they are openly flouting norms,” Mr Raghunath Singh said.

He said besides not even giving them minimum wages, the managements of leading industrial units wanted to deprive workers of even basic rights like overtime, when they worked for more than eight hours, and provident fund, etc.

Workers of Eveline International, who have not been taken in by the management after the unrest in the unit, alleged that the management was forcing labourers to work on piece-wage system.

“Workers do not belong to the rich class, so they are not in a position to dictate their terms. Still, we have told them that we are willing to work as per their terms and conditions, provided they make everything clear to us. But they are not willing to take us back,” a worker alleged.

Blaming the government for not taking action against industrial units violating labour laws, the agitating workers alleged that the government did not want to displease industrialists.

They threatened to intensify their agitation if no action was taken.

Speakers at the rally asserted that labour laws were being flouted with impunity and in yet another high-handed action, a local bicycle unit had sacked over 350 workers without following the due process. He maintained that the owners of industrial units in the city were being patronised by the state government.

Workers of Hero Cycles, Hero Cycle Mangli division, Rockman Cycle and Highway Cycle are among those who are protesting, said Mr Raghunath Singh.

While a protest rally will be conducted on November 13, from November 23 to 26, the workers will stage a dharna in front of the Civil Secretariat at Chandigarh. They also said that they would not celebrate Divali this time due to harassment by industrialists.



Complaint redress programme launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 8
The district administration has launched a programme to redress problems of people at the subdivisional level to provide them efficient and responsive governance on the spot.

At the first such meeting organised at Samrala today, Mr Anurag Verma the Deputy Commissioner, listened to the grievances of the people and later visited rural areas.

In all, more than 36 complaints related to sewerage, drinking water, roads, village ponds and drainage system etc. were presented before the DC, out of these 25 were redressed on the spot and others were marked to the concerned officers for required action.

Mr Verma said the programme had been initiated to bring the government machinery closer and responsive to public needs.

The complainants at Samrala raised the problem of dug-up roads for which the DC pulled up the Executive Engineer, national highway, for reportedly misleading the District Planning and Development Board and representatives of the people and warned that in case the work was not carried out on-war-footing, action against the Executive Engineer would be taken.

Mr Jasbir Singh Dhillon, president, Municipal Council, apprised the DC of general problems of the town, including the slow speed of sewerage project, disposal of sewerage water, non — availability of fire brigade, poor condition of the local rest house and need of a meeting hall in the town.

Mr Verma said all problems concerned with the district administration would be sorted out at the earliest and those concerning the state government would be referred to the higher authorities for early action. He announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the improvement of the tehsil office. He also granted Rs 50,000 for the purchase of books for the library.

In the second meeting, the DC listened to the complaints of panchayats and people from nearby villages. Around 20 panchayats came forward and apprised him of problems being faced in their villages, including pollution from village ponds, drains and streets, encroachment of panchayat land, shortage of teachers in government schools and poor health services etc.

The DDPO informed that JCB machines were available with the BDPOs and the panchayats could get their village ponds desilted by paying fixed charges of Rs 300 per hour plus diesel and in case the private JCB owner charges less, then the panchayats were free to hire the private JCB for this purpose.

Some sarpanches complained to the DC about the problem in sanctioning and distribution of old-age pensions due to the non-cooperation of ex-sarpanches, who were the members of the committee due to political reasons. The Deputy Commissioner asked the SDM to get the list of such villages prepared, where the pensions were not disbursed and assured that he would make arrangements to disburse the same at the earliest. 



Divers move court to get promised jobs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 8
Sick of knocking at various doors to get the promised job and award money, two local divers, who had risked their lives to retrieve three bodies of well-diggers, buried alive following a cave-in, have finally moved the court to get justice.

The heroic act of Satyen Sahani and Rudal Mahato, two migrants from Bihar were two of the four divers belonging to the Gotakhor-Mallah community, in recovering the bodies had brought accolades from the administration at that time. They were promised jobs and a cash award of Rs 50,000 from the municipal corporation but both the promises are yet to be fulfilled after eight years.

In a writ petition for mandatory injunction, both migrants have stated that they should be given jobs as promised to them as various pleas to officials by them had fallen on deaf ears. They claimed that they got no hearing at all.

Rudal Mahato, claimed in his petition that he had even worked as an employee with the tubewell division of the municipal corporation for some years. He had also signed in the daily log book which showed his attendance during his service in the MC. He claimed that he was assured that he would be made a permanent employee later on and he approached the authorities time and again with request to enroll him as a permanent employee.

He further claimed that the Deputy Commissioner had also refused to accept his request. Everytime he went to the DC, he was directed to the Commissioner, municipal corporation, who remarked on his application that there was no vacancy in the corporation.

Recalling the time of the announcement of the promise along with producing supporting documents, Sahani and Mahato said that in May 1996 three well diggers had died after a well, which they were digging, had caved in in Mohalla Ganesh Nagar.

Though all government machinery was assigned to retrieve the bodies, these could not be recovered. Then the divers were called for help.

According to them, municipal officials led by an Executive Engineer, who has now been promoted as a Superintending Engineer, promised a cash prize and a government job to all if the three bodies were retrieved. The divers embarked on the work despite the fact that the walls of the well were caving in constantly.

They had to stop the work midway when they were not provided with required equipment. Even then, the district administration could not retrieve the bodies after seven days of the incident.

Angered at the delay, the residents of the city staged two massive demonstrations against the administration. After one such demonstration, the services of the divers were again sought.

This time, according to the labourers, the administration did as demanded and soon all the bodies were retrieved.

However, the labourers were not given the promised jobs and since then they have been knocking at the doors of the MC officials, the district administration and even political leaders for their award.



‘Poisoned’ boy dies at DMCH
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 8
A five-year-old boy based at Pakhowal village, who was allegedly given poison by his neighbour, died at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital here today. Doctors said the poison had reached his vital organs, leading to his death.

Amandeep, son of a Dalit leader of Pakhowal village, was brought to the DMCH here yesterday after doctors at Hind Hospital, Mandi Ahmedgarh, referred him to a multi-specialty hospital.

He was on life-support system and was unconscious since Friday, the day he was allegedly made to drink poison-laced tea.

Meanwhile, a pall of gloom descended on the members of his family. The boy’s father, Mr Suresh Kumar, had, in his complaint to the police, alleged that Amandeep was given poison by their neighbour, Usha Devi, as she had a score to settle with their family.

The police had registered a case under Section 307 of the IPC against Usha Devi yesterday and she was arrested also. The police has sent vomit swabs of the boy to Forensic Laboratory at Patiala.

An uneasy calm prevailed at Pakhowal village today after the death of the boy.

Villagers refused to comment on the issue, stating that the enmity between the two families would affect the otherwise peaceful environment in the village.

Amandeep was the youngest of four children of Sunita Devi and Suresh Kumar. Villagers said that though they were neighbours, Amandeep never visited Usha Devi’s house.



BJP Mahila Morcha flays hike in LPG price
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 8
The Mahila Morcha of the BJP today organised a demonstration at the Clock Tower Chowk here against the hike in prices of petroleum products, especially cooking gas (LPG). Women carried coal fired ‘angeethis’ to register their protest.

Speaking at the occasion, Ms Prem Bhatia, the district president of the BJP Mahila Morcha said that after the Congress government had taken over reins, the prices of petroleum products had increased three times. She said, the oil companies and the gas distributors were exploiting the situation, and were indulging in hoarding and profiteering.

Ms Bhatia called upon the government to roll back the increase in prices of cooking gas. She also urged them to take effective measures against its black marketing.

Meanwhile, different organisations like the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, the Dehati Mazdoor Sabha, the CTU Punjab, the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Naujawan Sabha, the Punjab Students Federation and the unions of railway and telecom workers organised a joint demonstration at Chattar Singh Park in Model Town here in a series of protests against hike in prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas by the UPA government at the Centre.

Attacking the Congress-led UPA government, Mr Tarsem Jodhan, vice president of the CTU remarked that the hike in prices was not the first and the government appeared to be determined to end the subsidy regime, which would spell doom for industry, agriculture and the public sector in the country.



BJP policies condemned
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, November 8
Some members of the Bharatiya Janata Party unit of this town have indulged in mud-slinging against the Municipal Council on minor pretexts as they have not found any solid ground pertaining to the pace of development and problems of the town stated council chief Joginder Pal Singla, in a press note here today. He was criticising the issue taken by BJP in the media of inauguration of “Ladies Park” by his wife Ms Shashi Singla which cannot be called as illegal action.

Attacking the policies of the BJP, Mr Singla pointed out that it was the result of its wrong policies that not even a singla councillor was returned from any ward in the present council, which had been a ruling party in the past. For the development of the town, irrespective of party affiliations of councillors, the decisions are taken unanimously which has become a heart burning for the BJP unit of this town. 



CM's office diverts funds to urban areas: Kadiyan
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 8
It is a classic case of the diversion of funds meant for rural development to urban areas. And the orders were passed by the Chief Minister's office. Courtesy the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawer, who managed to get Rs 10 lakh sanctioned for the Research and Development Centre of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, Gill Road, Ludhiana. The association has already "congratulated Mr Dawer for getting the grant sanctioned".

According to an order issued by the Chief Minister's office, the association has been sanctioned Rs 10 lakh out of Rs 25 lakh committed by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, during the Vishwakarma Day celebrations organised here on October 26, 2003. The association lobbied with Mr Dawer to get the amount released.

The order clearly mentions that the amount has been sanctioned out of the funds placed at the discretion of the Chief Minister (under Head 4515-capital outlay on other rural development programmes-101-Panchayati Raj-08-C.D2.32-grant) for strengthening the infrastructure and institutional works for the year 2004-05".

The name of the village and the address has to be mentioned in the prescribed proforma of the infrastructure fund.But, against the name of the village only "near Campa Cola Chowk,Gill Road, Ludhiana, the heart of the city and an industrial hub, was mentioned.

The working president of the Punjab unit of the BKU, Prof Manjit Singh Kadiyan, criticised the order and added that it was a clear denial of the rights of rural people. He pointed out that funds specially meant for the infrastructure development in the rural areas had been diverted for the research and development of the cycle institute. Moreover, he added, nobody could claim that Campa Cola Chowk, Gill Road, the industrial hub of the city was a rural area.

Professor Kadiyan regretted that instead of providing the money for rural development the state government allocated it to an organisation which could generate the money out of its own resources. The United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers' Association is the largest industrial units in Asia and has a huge resource at its disposal with members like Hero Cycles, Avon Cycles, Bhogal Sons and many others. He urged the Chief Minister to revoke the decision and instead allocate these funds to the rural sector. He observed, rural sector needs more attention from the government. 



Power cuts 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 8
Power supply to major parts of the town and surrounding villages will remain suspended on Tuesday, said Mr Saudagar Singh Gill, Assistant Superintendent Engineer, PSEB, at the local town. Mr Gill said the Executive Engineer (Grid) would supervise the maintenance work. The power supply to feeder No. City-II, City-III, industrial feeder, dehliz feeder, Ghungrana feeder, Dehlon feeder, Jhamat feeder, Bourhai feeder and Chhanna feeder will remain suspended from 9 am to 5 pm.



Employee booked on charge of fraud
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 8
The Civil Lines police yesterday registered a case of alleged fraud under sections 408,420,467,468 and 470 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Harparam Singh of Ashoka Leyland Finance Limited, located in Surya Complex on the Mall Road, against one of its employees, Raj Kumar Kaushal, who lives in Ashok Puri mohalla at Ahmedgarh in Sangrur district.

The complainant had alleged that the accused had withdrawn Rs 5,25,000 from the company’s account in the OBC Bank branch on the Ferozepur road with the help of forged documents and thus committed a fraud on the company. No arrest has been made so far.

Another case of alleged fraud was registered at the same police station under Sections 420,467,468,471 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ajit Singh, who lives in Baddowal village, against Gurdev Singh, Satwant Singh, Charanjit Singh and Ujagar Singh, who live in Krishna Nagar.

The complainant had stated that his father had died in May 1992 leaving behind, among other things, a 10-marla plot in Krishna Nagar. Gurdev Singh got the same plot transferred in the name of his son Satwant Singh on the basis of forged documents in November 1993. The accused thus committed a fraud on him, added the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.

Man beaten up: On the statement of Mr. Manjinder Singh, who lives in Jassian village, the Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 341, 341, 323 and 506 of the IPC against Balraj Singh, Ramanjit Singh, Manpreet Singh, Bhupinder Singh and Gopi, who live in the same village.

The complainant had stated that the accused beat him up on the evening of November 3 in Jassian village, threatened him and also locked him up in a room. No arrest has been made so far.

Gamblers held: The Jodhewal police, following a tip-off, raided a place in New Lajpat Nagar yesterday and arrested Lal Chand, Ved Parkash, Ramesh Kumar, Gurdev Singh, Kamal Sharma, Sanjiv Kumar, Anil Kumar, Narinder Kumar, Rajkesh Kumar, Rajinder Kumar, Rakesh, Pawan Kumar, Neeraj Kumar, Sudarshan Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Pardeep Kumar, Rakesh Kumar, Pawan Kumar and Avinash, residents of different city localities, and booked them under the Gambling Act.

The police said this morning that Rs 40,000 and a deck of playing cards were seized from their possession. All the accused were later released on bail, added the police.

Two injured: The division number 2 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279, 337 and 338 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Suridner Kumar Tandon, who lives in street number 8 of New Shivaji Nagar, against Surjit Kumar, who lives in New Janta Colony at Gill village.

The complainant had stated that while he was crossing the road on foot near the Overlock chowk on the Gill road, the accused rammed his scooter into him, as a result of which his right leg was broken and he was admitted to the CMC Hospital. The mishap took pace on October 28, added the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.

On the statement of Mr Paramjit Singh, who lives in Raman market falling under the jurisdiction of Kotwali police station, the Salem Tabri police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 338 and 427 of the IPC against Sumit Madan, who lives in Durga Puri in Haibowal Kalan. The complainant had stated that the accused, who was riding a motorcycle, had hit a cyclist, Raj Kumar, near Green Land School on the GT Road and injured him on the morning of November 5 as a result of which Raj Kumar was hospitalised. His cycle was also damaged, added the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.


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