L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Dera head, family foil dacoity
Robbers fire over 40 shots
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
The family of a dera head in Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Colony, near Subash Nagar, repulsed a dacoity bid by six to seven unidentified persons. More than 40 shots were fired at the family members.

The family of Baba Sohan Dass, including his sons, daughters and daughters-in-law, fought courageously by throwing bricks and sticks at the intruders while hiding behind walls to protect themselves from the bullets. They claim to have hit two robbers on the legs.

The robbers struck at about 2.15 am but had to flee. The family also raised the alarm, waking up neighbours. This also contributed in scaring away the robbers.

Though there was no loss of life, the incident has caused panic among residents. Robbers wait for foggy nights as the fog provides them with cover.

The SHO, Basti Jodhewal, Mr G.S. Bains, also appreciated the daring act of the family. He said a PCR motor cycle squad and a police team had reached the site within minutes. The police has registered a case under Sections 336, 380 and 511, IPC.

The police said besides the robbery angle, it was also working on the theory that the attackers could have had some enmity with the family.

The walls of the house had scores of bullet marks. The police said the marks were being examined. There was a possibility that so many rounds were not fired and the marks were made by pellets only. The police said .12 bore guns were used by the robbers.

The walls were dotted with bullet marks. The marks were seen on doors, and windows, besides the door of a neighbouring house.

Baba Sohan Dass said they had woken up with a start after a loud noise. He tried to open the door but it was locked from outside. All doors except one was locked from outside, the robbers tried to enter from this door but the family members blocked it.

The robbers then started firing indiscriminately but could not hit any member of the family. Baba Sohan Dass said they all gathered in one room, which opened in a backyard where bricks and stones were kept.



Environment month ends, pollution, soot remain
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
Even as the state government tom-toms its achievements during the environment awareness month which finished today, the ground realities remain the same.
Other than spending lakhs on inserting huge advertisements in a section of the media about observing the awareness month, residents remained ignorant of any such activity being undertaken by the government and could not find any change in the environment conditions of the second-most polluted city in the North.

A survey by a Tribune team revealed that autorickshaws, a major source of pollution, were plying as usual; chimneys from various industrial units were releasing smoke and the Buddha nullah was as polluted as ever, and also polluting groundwater that is consumed by most of the population of the district.

A visit to the industrial area, Jamalpur, Jodhewal Basti, Tajpur road, Sherpur Chowk and other parts of the city revealed that thick smoke was coming out of the chimneys. In some areas of Jamalpur, a thick layer of smoke had engulfed the sky, making visibility poor. The air was so thick that it was hard to breathe. Soot was falling from the sky.

Similarly, vehicles were emitting poisonous gases right under the nose of the authorities. Recycled plastic bags and other goods were also being used with impunity.

Despite the alarming revelations about the pollution in the Buddha nullah by scientists, it continues to carry pollutants. Dr B.D. Kansal, of Punjab Agricultural University had conducted a survey on the pollution levels of the nullah and had confirmed traces of heavy metals, including lead, nickel, and chromium in alarming concentration. The residents, however, continue to consume vegetables grown along the nullah, besides drinking the groundwater.

The only bright spot was that the Punjab Pollution Control Board, had put up banners to sensitize the masses about clean environment and against the use of plastic.

According to pollution figures displayed by an ambient air monitoring unit installed near Vishkarma Chowk today, the suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the city was 289 microgram per metric cube while the permissible limit is only 200 microgram. These startling facts were revealed by the board.

The data of the presence of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen are also alarming. The oxides of nitrogen are 50 microgram per metric cube and that of sulphur are 29 microgram. Other cities in the state do not have more than 10 to 12 micrograms of these pollutants. These pollutants are considered borderline but the way the environment is deteriorating, things can only worsen.

“The amount of SPM is so high in the city that many people can fall prey to bronchial diseases, including cancer. There is a very high level of soot, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide in the city. You feel a burning sensation in the eyes the moment you venture out. Who says pollution is under control?” asked a city doctor.



Improvement Trust officials convicted
Injunction order disobeyed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 18
Nine Ludhiana Improvement Trust officials, including Executive Officer Avtar Singh Azad, have been convicted and ordered to be detained in “civil prison” for a week for disobeying the injuction orders passed by the court.

Ms Ravi Inder Kaur, Civil Judge, (Junior Division), also ordered to attach the properties of the convicts. The orders were pronounced in an application filed by the Model Town Extension Club which said the officials had disobeyed the injuction order passed by the court in 1991. The appication was filed in 1993.

Sources said two persons had died but this fact was not brought on record by either of the parties. Three of them had retired.

It was submitted by the Director of the club that the club had filed a civil suit for permanent injunction restraining the Improvement Trust, from dispossessing the club and from demolishing the construction raised by the club over a plot, subject matter of the suit. They claimed that along with the suit, an application under order 39 Rules 1 and 2 read with Section 151, CPC, was also filed by the applicant/plaintiff which was decided in their favour.

The defendants were restrained from dispossessing the club and from demolishing of the construction. However, respondents were aware of the injunction order but went to the property of the club along with some labourers and started demolishing the boundary wall and two rooms.



Bank staff defraud woman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
A city woman has been allegedly defrauded by some employees of the Bank of India, Miller Gunj branch, who diverted her Rs 5-lakh fixed deposit to some other person’s account and washed their hands of the matter.

The Division No 2 police has booked a number of employees of the bank. The name of the accused employees will be incorporated in the FIR after investigation. DSP Mohan Lal, on whose inquiry the case has been registered, said his investigation had revealed that the FD was diverted wrongly.

He, however, said only further investigation would fix responsibility of the lapse or intentional act of one or more employees in the case.

The complainant, Ms Rakesh Garg, wife of Mr Narsi Dass, a resident of Block-B in Agar Nagar, has stated in the FIR that she had opened a fixed deposit account but at the time of the maturity, the bank officials informed her that the amount had already been diverted to the account of an official of the Customs Department.

The bank officials claimed that the money had been diverted at the behest of the woman only. The harassed woman then complained to the city SSP, who ordered an investigation by DSP Mohan Lal.



Gurdas Mann draws crowds
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 18
All people seemed to be heading for Guru Nanak Stadium today as two exciting events took place. Today was the final day of kabbadi matches of the third International Kabbadi Cup organised by the Malwa Sports Association, Canada. Teams from Norway, San Francisco and Punjab took part in the kabbadi matches. The matches began yesterday .

Women’s kabbadi matches were also played. What made the event more thrilling and made the crowds flock the stadium was the presence of folk singer Gurdas Mann.

Although he was supposed to arrive at noon, he reached at about 2.45pm and entertained the crowds for two hours.

Since the stadium was jampacked, and the crowds had waited so patiently , Gurdas Mann sang a brand new song, which he would sing on New Year’s Eve on Doordarshan. The song was “Maneke, Maneke, chandi da roop tadke, naam sajna da le ke tadke.”



Shiv Sena to gherao PM’s house
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
The Shiv Sena (Hindustan) will gherao the Prime Minister’s residence on January 10, 2005, to protest against the Centre on the issue of the Shankaracharya’s arrest. The Sena has alleged that the Shankaracharya is implicated under an “international conspiracy”.

Addressing a press conference here today, president Pawan Gupta and general secretary Pawan Sharma alleged that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa was playing into the hands of some international forces which want the Hindu society to be fragmented.

The Sena leaders alleged that Ms Jayalalithaa had some “personal score” to settle with the Shankaracharya and she had misused her position.

Demanding the immediate release of the Shankaracharya, the Sena leaders said the Centre should act and ensure that the sentiments of millions of the Hindus were not hurt any more.

A meeting of the Sena has been scheduled to be held at Amritsar tomorrow to chalk out the programme for the gherao. Sena activists will come from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh to join the demonstration.



Protest against doc's 'negligence'
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 18
More than 200 workers of the Vigilance branch of the FCI, Ludhiana, staged a demonstration outside Sigma Newlife Heart Institute in protest against the alleged negligence on part of a doctor, which allegedly led to the death of a fellow employee last night.

The employees raised slogans against the doctor. According to Mr Girish Mali, an FCI employee, the agitation was held to ensure justice to the aggrieved family. He said Manmohan Kaur (48), working as Head Clerk with the Vigilance Department of the FCI, Ludhiana, was admitted to Sigma Hospital in the first week of December. On December 7, a bypass surgery was performed on her after which she could not gain consciousness. For more than 11 days, she was in a coma. Family members sought help from the union in order to procure CDs of the operation from the hospital authorities. The family had spent more than Rs 3.5 lakh on her treatment, said Mr Mali.

The agitating members alleged that the hospital authorities refused to hand over the CDs by saying that the hospital made CDs only of minor surgeries and not of major operations.

Meanwhile, Mr Manjit Singh, General Manager, Sigma, claimed that a multiple organ failure had occurred after the bypass surgery, which led to Manmohan's death . Otherwise, the patient was stable for a few days. Angioplasty could not be performed on her because of technical reasons. He also claimed that a compromise was made with the aggrieved family and everything had been sorted out.



At the Crossroads
Books as treasure troves

Ludhiana, December 18
A treasure trove is a place where valuables lie hidden. This is what has happened to books in the present times. The books are replete with gems of wisdom and information but the younger generation is unaware of these. The reason is not far to seek. Life is taking big strides and it is not easy for them to keep pace with it. They are running fast for fear of being left behind. As a result, they are feeling breathless and bewildered. They look around and find themselves in wilderness where ignorance and disinformation touch the horizon.

In such days of hectic activities, books are the only source of comfort. The books provide equipoise to the mind which is essential for viewing the panorama of life. Things fall into a line and doubts, fears and anxieties are dispelled. Like a lighthouse, the books guide the seekers of knowledge, understanding and wisdom to the real path of life. To people obsessed with material advancement, books may appear to be the refuge of escapists. In fact, books are the milestones that indicate the distance covered by the seekers of truth in life. These also point to the soaring heights of progress to be scaled by mankind in future.

In the age of electronic media, books appear to have taken a backseat. The prime hours of a person’s life are being taken away by the small screen. Television provides entertainment, latest information and knowledge. Once engrossed with the idiot box, the viewer becomes oblivious of the outside world. New vistas open up before his eyes and he is lost in the wilderness of images. The sense of wonder is provoked and he is in quest of discoveries. The curiosity of the mind leaves no time for him to ponder and reflect. In fact, imagination is lulled to sleep.

When television leaves one in the lurch, books come to one’s help. The glorious moments when one is engrossed in reading books have no parallel in any other activity. As John Keats says, “Much have I travelled in the realms of gold.” It is truly a wonderful experience to reap the harvest of golden thoughts. These sublime moments help a person transcend the mundane existence and soar high. These are the blessings that man is heir to. Reading books is no pastime but an attempt to be acquainted with all that is good, beautiful and true.

Books provide a link between generations and ages. The written words point to eternity. These can be preserved for any length of time and for any number of people. It is like a candle that illuminates other candles, banishing the darkness of ignorance. The process of reading books generally leads to the writing of books. Reading urges a person to take the pen in his hand and share his thoughts with others. Wisdom filters through the sieve of words and takes an attractive form. Thus the joy of reading books merges imperceptibly with the pleasure of losing oneself in the creative process. Life is multi-dimensional and it needs to be viewed not from a single perspective but from varied viewpoints.

N.S. Tasneem



LIC officers flay cut in bonus
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
Protesting against the withdrawal of functional expenses and reduction in the incentive bonus scheme by 60 per cent to 80 per cent, Development Officers of the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India today presented a memorandum to Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Member of Parliament and Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha and Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, Member, Legislative Assembly, Punjab.

Mr Ashwini Puri, president, National Federation of Insurance Field Workers of India, said benefits like conveyance allowance and additional conveyance allowance were a part of salary and had been paid for the past three decades. Instead of arming its marketing force with additional benefits and other marketing tools, the management decided to cut these benefits, he said. "By saving Rs 350 crore that is paid as functional expenses to Development Officers, the LIC is willing to lose Rs 25,000 crore as premium income," the federation said.



Kashmiri food festival at Sutlej Club
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 18
“Wazwan”, a Kashmiri treat, is being organised at the Sutlej Club for members and guests. It will continue for the next seven days.
With a view to providing a variety of food to food-lovers, the Kashmiri food festival has all prominent Kashmiri delicacies.

To conduct the festival in a traditional way, a Kashmiri ambience named “Wazwan” has been erected on the club lawns displaying hukka and kahwa.. Last evening, organisers showcased a shikara and waiters were dressed in traditional outfits. Ghazals were sung by artistes to entertain the guests.



Six hurt in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 17
Six persons were seriously injured in a collision between a Punjab Roadways bus and a Maruti car near Ladhran village, 3 km from here, yesterday.
According to a report, the Punjab Roadways bus of Chandigarh Depot was going from Chandigarh to Ludhiana when it hit the Maruti car while saving another vehicle.

The injured persons have been identified as Shahdeep Singh, Hardeep Kaur, Amrinder Singh, Yadavinder Singh, all travelling in the car, bus conductor Charan Singh and bus passenger Ram Avtar Singh. The injured were admitted to Civil Hospital. A case has been registered.



Punjab VAT disappoints industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
The Knitwear Club has expressed concern over the Punjab Value Added Tax (VAT) stating that the draft contains provisions that are quite opposite to what is being implemented in 125 countries across the globe.

In a letter to the Minister of Excise and Taxation, Mr Sardul Singh, Mr Vinod Thapar, president, Knitwear Club, said, “We were extremely happy to hear the news of VAT implementation, but were taken aback when we received a copy of the Punjab Value Added Tax.”

He said “If VAT was to be implemented, no other tax like excise, octroi and GST should have been included. But in PVAT all these are enforced which nullifies the very purpose of going in for VAT.”

“The law is so stringent that there are provisions for seizure and severe punishment, including jail,” the club president said.

Mr Thapar also said VAT was not suitable in a federal setup and likely to lead to further corruption as customers were not likely to accept it.

The club representative also pointed out the complicated nature of the Act and said it would be difficult for industrialists to understand it. 



Mild winter disappoints hosiery industry
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
Thanks to mild winter this time, the hosiery industry is yet to witness the season’s peak period. Despite a good beginning, stocks are lying piled up and sales have come to a sudden halt as temperatures did not fall much.

“The beginning this time was good due to the early onset of winter. However, much to the disappointment of those in this industry, it is mild this time and we are only hoping that it will be colder in a week’s time so that we can clear the stocks,” says Mr Vinod Thapar, president of Knitwear Club.

Initially, when the production was at peak, power cuts had led to panic among industrialists, not only due to increased costs, but also since they were not able to meet their orders. “This had led to a decline of around 15 per cent in the total production,” market experts say. However, much to the respite of manufacturers, an early onset of winter attracted a large number of customers.

“Not only was the weather favourable, the marriage season and Divali had led to a spurt in sales but after that the sales have almost come to a halt,” Mr Thapar adds.

Most of the hosiery markets in the city like Dal Bazaar, Chawal Bazaar and Hazori market, wear a deserted look these days.

Sales normally pick up in October and the boom continues till February. “We have started offering heavy discounts but customers are not interested,” Mr Ram Kumar, a wholesale dealer of woollen garments says.

While a section of the manufacturers is only hoping for a better season, there are many who have started organising sales. There is a plethora of sales here this time. Market leaders say that even if sales witness slight improvement after a week or so the net result will not be so good. 



‘Low costs attract MNCs to Punjab’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
High attrition rate, particularly in segments like retail and FMCG, is what is attracting multinationals to this region. “Not only is the cost of hiring low but also the availability of a large pool of talented manpower are key attractions for companies in this segment,” Mr E. Balaji, Executive Director, of Ma Foi Management Consultants, an HR services providing company, has said.

Ma Foi is part of UK-based Vedior Group that has more than 2,300 offices in 37 countries.Mr Balaji, who was here to inaugurate an office here, said they were looking forward to a major business from this region with Chandigarh emerging fast as a BPO hub. “The existing talent pool will not only help the growing local industry but will also cater to the BPO segment, especially in service sectors like banking and insurance, he said.”

Due to the rapid growth of small, medium and large-scale enterprises in Punjab more than 100 job opportunities were being created every day, he said, adding that while it is mostly MNCs that go in for specialised outsourcing services, Indian companies mostly went in for services like surveys, recruitment and training.



Tewari assures industry of cooperation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
The secretary, All-India Congress Committee (AICC), Mr Manish Tewari, today assured a group of Ludhiana industrialists on the cooperation of the state and Central governments to tackle the labour problem. He asserted that the government was committed to creating an industry friendly atmosphere in the state with minimum labour problems.

Mr Tewari, who was on a visit to the city, told The Tribune that the industry was concerned about the labour unrest in the city. He pointed out that almost all major industrial houses had faced the problem at one point of time or the other. He said although the government was committed to ensuring labour welfare, it would not be at the cost of industrial progress.

The senior Congress leader said he would take up the issue with the local administration and also the state government and seek immediate resolution of the issue. Referring to the protest by the labourers, he said while they were welcome to put forth their demands, this could always be done within legal procedures.

He pointed out that if the labourers resorted to undue strike, it would lead to closure of the industry and the loss would be theirs. He said the government was concerned about the labourers’ problems, but nobody would be allowed to hold anyone to ransom.

Earlier Mr Tewari met a number of delegations and listened to their problems. He assured them that he would take these up with officials concerned.



Biz Clips

: The Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) will organise a seminar on “Small and medium enterprises banking” and “Managing foreign exchange risk” on December 21 here. Mr V.K. Goyal, general secretary, said Mr Kumar Ashish, country head, business marketing group, ICICI Bank, and Mr Sanjeev Sherawat, country head, SME markets group, ICICI Bank, will be the keynote speakers. — TNS

CHIMNEY: Kaff has launched stark chimney. A company press note said the chimney was available for Rs 21,900. — TNS

JEWELLERY PAINTING: Jannat has introduced jewellery painting for its customers. Experts at the saloon use, apart from paints, stones, ghunghroos, studs, polkis and glitters for the purpose. — TNS

BIO-FERTILISER FIRM: International Panacea has entered into a tie up with UK-based Reliance Trading Corporation, a fertiliser trading company for supply of natural high CFU-count liquid bio-fertilisers in the UK and Europe, stated a press note issued here today. — TNS


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