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Sewerage cleaning machines lying unused 
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
As many as 35 sewerage cleaning machines, worth Rs 50 lakh, bought by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation some time ago are lying unused owing allegedly to the poor quality of material gone into manufacturing of these machines.

Bought at a price of Rs 1.35 lakh each, these machines are lying dumped in various wards for the past more than a year. Sources said infact the machines did not work properly even when these were new and several sewermen received injuries while operating these.

The opposition in the MC house alleged that this was a major scam as the machines were purchased without even finding out whether these would work or not. Mr Parvin Bansal, a councillor and leader of opposition, alleged that such purchases of functionally un-viable machines could take place only with the connivance of senior officials.

He further alleged that although tenders were invited before buying the machines there was definitely some hanky panky in the entire process. ‘‘Otherwise, how can anybody shell out Rs 50 lakh of public money for buying machines that did not work for a day?’’ He questioned. He demanded a high-level probe into the alleged scam.

Inquiries by The Tribune revealed that within days of the purchase of these machines sewermen had refused to work on these stating that their design was not useful for cleaning the blocked sewers.

It was further revealed that the machine was operated with an engine and a long rod supporting a revolving motor at its one edge was to be inserted into the manhole to be cleared.

‘‘But as the machine was put into the manhole, the iron rod was not able to take the pressure created by the rotating motor. In many cases the rod was broken and some part of the motor used to come out flying tangentially and hurt the operator. I know two operators who were hurt. Once had cut his finger and the other had hurt his lips,’’ said a sewer man on the condition of anonymity.

‘‘It was then that we refused to work with these machines. Afterall we did not want to suffer injuries. Since then we are working with the old machines only which are very sturdy and useful,’’ he added.

Mr Bansal said the old machines were much better than the new ones. He added that these were bought for Rs 1.7 lakh and they were very strong. ‘‘Imagine a machine bought for Rs 1.35 lakh is nothing but scrap now. Who is responsible for it?’’

The new machines are now dumped in a park in Kitchlu Nagar, in Kila Mohalla and many other parts. These were provided to sewermen of all wards who later dumped these in MC parks and other area and have only a scrap value. Some parts of the machines, including engines, have already been removed.



No gender-based discrimination in Pak, says writer
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Members of the Punjab Sahitya Akademi, Ludhiana, honour eminent Pakistani short story writer Afzal Tauseef, at a function organised at Punjabi Bhavan
Members of the Punjab Sahitya Akademi, Ludhiana, honour eminent Pakistani short story writer Afzal Tauseef, at a function organised at Punjabi Bhavan on Saturday.— Photo by Sayeed Ahmed

Ludhiana, March 12
Eminent Pakistani short story writer Afzal Tauseef today said that the Pakistani society was being grossly misrepresented in the western media. She said the plight of women in particular was not as bad as was being made out to be. Tauseef, a short story writer in Urdu and a leading columnist, maintained that it was the class discrimination which was more pronounced in the Pakistani society than the gender discrimination.

In an exclusive interview with Ludhiana Tribune at a function organised to honour her by the Punjabi Sahitya Akademi, Ludhiana, here today, Tauseef said that the Pakistani society was divided into various classes. These included the upper and the affluent class, the middle class, the lower middle class and lower classes. She said like anywhere else, women in the affluent classes were fully emancipated, while those among the middle classes were slightly less liberated. However, among the lower middle class and the lower classes the plight of women, she said, was not that good. She said the differentiation and the discrimination was class-based and not gender-based and it should be viewed in the class context only.

Acknowledging her gratitude towards the Punjabi Sahitya Akademi, Ludhiana, for honouring her, she pointed out, it was the litterateurs who could pave the way for improving and strengthening relationship between the two countries. “There is a hope and it is people like us who can realise this hope”, she observed, while looking forward for improved interaction and exchange of views between intellectuals, litterateurs and artists of the two countries. The warmth has already melted the ice that had almost frozen these relationships, she pointed out. She hoped that such interaction continues and its scope is broadened. 



Fresh cases lodged in foreign exchange racket
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
Claiming to have made fresh inroads in a fraud of foreign exchange, the Jagraon police has lodged two fresh cases against foreign exchange business tycoon, Rajesh Deol, his brother Devinder Singh Deol and father Pritam Singh Deol, who is the President of the Punjab NRI Sabha.

Besides owning huge property in India, the Deol family owns large property in Canada and is one of the most high-profile NRI families from Punjab. The family has a large business of foreign exchange in which they transfer money of the NRIs to their family members here. However, the family is having a brush with law for the past six months for allegedly not transferring the entire amount and complaints of illegal transaction as well.

The three accused are presently on bail in a similar fraud case lodged by the Mullanpur police in August last year. Police sources said the three accused were in Canada after they got permission from a court to leave the country.

Jagraon SSP Rajiv Ahir told Ludhiana Tribune that an FIR was lodged at Dakha police station on the statement of Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Koom Kalan in Ludhiana under Sections 406, 420 and 506 of the IPC.

The FIR has been registered on the directions of the Punjab DGP, S.S. Virk. The complainant has alleged the accused had cheated him of Rs 3 lakh. They had taken money from one of his NRI relative in Canada but did not pay the amount to him here.

In the second case registered at Sudhar police station under Sections 406, 420 and 506 of the IPC, Harnek Singh of Atiana village has charged that the accused duped him of Rs 2 lakh sent to him by his NRI relatives through the Deol foreign exchange company.

The SSP said they were investigating several other complaints in which the Deol family used to collect money from their targets by promising them that the sum shall be delivered abroad to their relatives or delivered in India if it was sent by the NRIs. But the collected amount used to be misappropriated and not delivered at desired destination.

The accused could not be contacted for their comments as they are in Canada. However, they have been denying the fraud allegations in previous statements to the Press. They have been counter-alleging that they were falsely implicated as the behest of certain persons who were their business rivals and had contacts with the Punjab police.

The Deol family has been running the NRI Sabha. The sabha was formed to sort out the problems of the NRIs in Punjab. The family owns a palatial house and Deol Motors near Mullanpur Dakha. It has organised many seminars for the welfare of the NRIs and their relatives. 



Indian couple gets bravery award
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
Dr Albel Kang, a former Associate Professor at the PAU, and his wife, who are settled in Australia, have been honoured with one of the prestigious bravery awards by the Australian Government for their act of disarming a robber during their evening walk. He is the elder brother of Dr K.N.S. Kang, Director, Punjab College of Technical Education here.

They have been conferred with the award “Commendation for brave conduct”. The award is titled “The Australian Bravery Decorations for 2005”. The other awards included in the title are: Star of Courage, the Bravery Medal and Group Bravery Citation. During the ceremony, held in late February in Australia, 38 brave people were awarded with this honour.

Dr Kang and his wife happen to be the first Indian couple to be honoured with such a grand award by the Australian Government. Dr A.S. Kang shifted to Australia in 1994.

The incident took place in October 2002. After a long process of three years, it was decided to award Dr Kang and his wife with this honour.

Dr Albel Kang and his wife Sarabjeet were on their evening walk in Rooty Hill on October 18, 2002, when a young man approached them, pointed a gun at them and demanded their wallets. After Dr Kang showed his empty pockets, the man pushed past them and said, “Do not tell anyone about this”. When the man had his back turned to-wards the couple, Dr Kang, without wasting time, jumped on him, pinned his arms to his body with a vice-like grip and seized the gun from his hands.

Dr Kang had served as an NSW police officer and now works in the Blacktown Sheriff’s Office.

The couple has made Indian feel proud, particularly Ludhianavis, by this act of bravery. Talking to media, Dr Kang said he was still unsure whether jumping on the offender was the best thing to do at the time. After he pushed past us, I looked back over my shoulder and he turned his back to the road and I jumped on him. I gave him a bear hug and struggled to disarm him and yelled for help.

“I was able to get the gun off him. My wife helped me and I gave the gun to her. She was a bit shaky so I took the gun back. I did not have time to think because it all happened so quickly”, Dr Kang further added.



Repair roads, MC urged
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 12
Various associations and groups have appealed to the Municipal Commissioner, Mr S. K. Sharma, and the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, to order the re-carpeting and repair of damaged roads in the Urban Estate, Dugri. Roads have not been repaired and no premix has been used on them during the past 10 to 15 years.

This was stated in a press note issued by the Urban Estates Welfare Association (Punjab), the Urban Estate Ram Lila and Dussehra Committee, Dugri, the National Consumers Awareness Group, Ludhiana, the Shopkeepers Association, the Lal Bahadur Shashtri Social Forum, and the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.

Dr Shiv Gupta, who is also the general secretary of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Punjab, has threatened that if their demand is not met they will stage a dharna before the residences of the Commissioner and the Mayor. 



Passing Thru

Ajit Pal Singh
Ajit Pal Singh, former captain of Indian hockey team, who led the country to victory in the 1975 World Cup

Do you agree with the Indian Hockey Federation’s (IHF) decision to change national coaches so frequently ?

No, I feel that coaches should be engaged for long terms. Frequent change of coaches dents the morale of players and they fail to come to terms easily with the new coach. This results in demoralising the players rather than serving any fruitful purpose.

What is your opinion of the National Premier League started by the federation from this year on the pattern of the National Football League?

The decision would definitely bear fruit as the best hockey players, would get an appropriate platform to perform. To bring back the golden days of this game, the IHF the should encourage hockey at school level itself. They should learn a lesson or two from the European countries like Germany and Holland, where a number of league tournaments, prior to selecting the national team, are held.

What measures should IHF take to improve the standard of hockey?

The IHF should restrain from changing players and coaches frequently and prepare programmes to involve former national and international players so that talented and upcoming players could be tapped to get the desired results. Moreover, the functionaries of the IHF should concentrate more on game rather individual fighting.

— Anil Datt



Rs 5,000 cr earmarked for development, says Birmi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, today said that the state would witness allround development. He said Rs 5000 crore had been earmarked for the infrastructure development in the rural areas. This included roads, school buildings, water channels, pavement of streets and other projects as promised by the Congress at the time of assuming power.

Mr Birmi was addressing a function organised to distribute grants for development projects in villages at Sahnewal near here. Grants amounting to Rs 75 lakh were distributed among panchayats of 52 villages in the Ludhiana rural constituency.

Giving details of the plan, he said Rs 950 crore were being spent on the repair of 17,000 km link road in the state and Rs 1200 crore on the widening and strengthening of 18 new roads and on the construction on 22 railway overbridges in the state.

He said that the World Bank had already sanctioned funds to the tune of Rs 1800 crore to provide water supply and sanitation in 6500 villages of the state, besides funds amounting to Rs 132 crore were being spent through NABARD on different rural water supply schemes in the villages. Mr Birmi said to completely overcome the prevailing power crisis in Punjab, the government had laid stress on the execution of big power project in the coming two years and funds totalling Rs 10000 crore were being spent to enhance power generation capacity by around 2000 MW.

The Congress leader informed that in his constituency grants more than Rs 3 crore had been released in the past two years. He said work on the widening and strengthening of the Sahnewal-Kohara road at a cost of Rs 1.35 crore had already started. The village which received cheques of grants at today’s function included Bulara Village (Rs 25 lakh for sewerage), Tibba village, Nat, Jasar, Mangli Nichi, Umedpur, Alamgir, Gobindgarh, Rania, Jakhar, Khakat, Duleh, Patti, Sari, Mangli Uchi, Sahnewal Khurd, Pawa, Khanpur, Ghabadi, Susrali Coloney, Sirha, Khawajke, Bhamia Khurd, Noorwal, Harkishan Bihar Meharban Colony. Jagirpur, Model Colony, Mangat, Kakowal, Jamalpur, Bhagat Charandass Nagar, Bhattian, and Sujatwal (Rs 1 lakh each) and Bhagwanpur, Kanganwal, Dagore, Gaddapur, Kaka, Kasabad, Dheri, Rawat and Jassian (Rs 50,000 each).



Crossword puzzles still find many takers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 12
“I wait for Sundays as I look forward to solving the crossword puzzle and checking the answers to the previous week’s puzzle” said Mr S. Budhiraja, an executive in an MNC. Every new crossword puzzle brings new challenges. Moreover, it helps to test one’s knowledge, practically in every field. ‘The clues can be related to literature, geography, history, films, current events and infact everything,” added Mr Budhiraja.

“I cannot unwind after a tense day in office till I come home and solve a crossword puzzle. I get engrossd in finding words “across” and “down”, by the time the puzzle is finished, I am totally relaxed and ready to face the complexities of life once again,” says Mr Rajesh Kulkarni, a bank manager. The crossword puzzle acts as a stress buster for me,” he added.

The fact that almost all national dailies and regional papers bring out new crosswords using valuable space in the newspapers daily or weekly, speaks highly of popularity of the puzzle.

Mr Bipin, an industrialist, says,” It takes me 45 minutes to reach my office everyday. I use this time by solving crossword puzzles. I do the crosswords with “cryptic clues” as simple clues are too easy for me. There are no prizes, yet the clues deliciously taunt your brain and one is not able to be in peace till the entire puzzle is solved.”

Arthur Wynne had the job of devising the weekly puzzle page for Fun, the eight-page comic section of the New York World. When he devised what he called a word-cross for the Christmas 1913 edition, published on December 21, he never thought that he would be starting a worldwide craze.

The puzzle page had previously featured plenty of word squares, hidden words, anagrams and connect-the-dots drawings. For this edition, Wynne decided he would have something new. He sketched out a diamond-shaped grid, wrote ‘FUN’, the name of the comic section, across the top squares, and started filling in the rest of the grid. He numbered the squares at the start and end of each word and wrote definition clues for the words he had filled in. The puzzle was printed with the instruction to the solver: “Fill in the small squares with words which agree with the following definitions.” Thus the crossword was born.

The new puzzle became popular immediately and continued to appear every week. One change was that after a few weeks the name was changed from word-cross to cross-word. After experimenting with different shapes, including a circular puzzle, Wynne eventually settled on a rectangular pattern. It was not until some time later that the hypen was dropped, and the cross-word became a crossword.

The crossword has remained the same till date. Certain people are involved in making new crossword puzzles. The people who are hooked to it will solve it on computer which has several websites devoted to it. The names given are interesting like ‘Black Friday’, the name given to a crossword quiz based on Abraham Lincoln.

Vibhuti, an IT professional, says,” We like making our own crossword puzzles. One has to have a wide knowledge of all subjects plus general knowledge to both devise a puzzle and solve one. The day you are able to solve the entire crossword, it gives you a high otherwise the unsolved clues keep gnawing at you till you have found the solutions. I think people must take to solving puzzles as it really improves your vocabulary and general knowledge.



At the crossroads
German poet of Punjabi origin


IN the mid-seventies Rajvinder emerged as a promising poet with his first collection of Punjabi poems, Raat Lammi Zindagi (life, a long night). Shortly afterwards he graduated from Randhir Government College, Kapurthala, and went to Jammu University for his M.A. and M.Phil. degrees. In January 1980, he decided to visit Paris and Holland before settling down in Berlin (Germany). Like a gypsy, he moved about in the lanes and bylanes of the city and met people from all walks of life. He learnt German language at Goethe Institute with the intensity of a philologist. Later, he took the job of teacher of Semiotics at Technical University, Berlin. That was the period when he started composing poems in German language and getting them published in journals. In 1991, he opted to be a freelance writer and journalist, besides giving lectures and holding creative writing workshops. Now he is the much sought after poet in Germany who recites his poems to select gatherings.

Rajvinder has made his native land Punjab proud of his achievements in a foreign country. He has published seven collections of his poems in German language, while the next collection is in the offing. In 1997 he was declared Poet Laureate of Rheinhberg (Prussian part of Germany) and stayed in the palace of King Frederich II during that year. He was elected a member of PEN (International) in 1995 and at present Chairman of Writers in Prison Committee of PEN (German chapter). In December last he was awarded President of Germany Scholarship for three years for writing poetry and other literary compositions in German. Now he is on a visit to Kapurthala (where he was born in 1956), Ludhiana (which is the cultural capital of Punjab) and Chandigarh (where he can interact with academicians, intellectuals, litterateurs, artists and journalists).

He is a loner by nature but lately he has been showing the signs of a wanderer seeking a cosy shelter. What has he to say about it?

“True, I married late, after the courtship of 10 years. My wife Jyotika Sehgal is a Lecturer in Art College, Delhi. I am not worldly wise but I have built a house in Mohali, as they say - ‘Lay by something for the rainy day.’ Still I have no plans of settling down anyhere. Germany is my second home now. Moreover, German is now my primary mode of expression.”

What about Punjabi in which he composed his poems during his college days. Later, another collection of his Punjabi poems, Ghar te Parwaz Sargam, appeared in 2003. What has to say about it?

“Punjabi is my mother tongue and I am an ardent reader of Punjabi literature. Not in waking hours but in my dreams I compose my Punjabi poems. In fact I plan to do research on parvasi Punjabi kavita.

What are his future plans of activity in the various fields of life, literature and learning?

“In October 2006, Frankfurst Book Fair will be held in Germany which is an annual feature. This time the main theme of the fair is ‘Postmodern India’. Incidentally I am a member of the advisory committee and my responsibility is twofold. I am to work for the success of the fair and also to ensure that the main concerns of India are projected in their true perspective. So literature and learning are the warp and weft of my life.”

— N.S. Tasneem



Property destroyed following fire in factory
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
Property worth lakhs was gutted in a massive fire that broke out in an incense sticks manufacturing factory in Kutcha No. 6, Field Gunj, this afternoon.
As many four fire tenders struggled for an hour to douse the flames.

Though the exact cause of the fire was not known, sources in the fire brigade said short circuit in electricity wires seem to have triggered off the fire. The fire tenders faced tremendous problem in their operations as streets leading to the factory were quite narrow. 



2 buffaloes die
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, March 12
Two buffaloes have reportedly died under mysterious circumstances in the nearby Burma village, 12 km from here. The buffaloes belonged to a farmer, Mohinder Singh. People feel that the animals might have died due to some undiagnosed disease. The third buffalo is moribund, according to a source.

According to information available, a buffalo had died 10 days ago. Mohinder Singh’s family considered it a natural death but the death of other buffalo after four days made it worry a lot. A veterinary doctor, who examined the remaining animals, said that the condition of animals had deteriorated after consuming some poisonous substance.

Mohinder Singh is undergoing treatment for a heart ailment in the DMC, Ludhiana. His son Jugraj Singh said that the family was in financial crisis due to his father’s ailment and now the death of buffaloes had compounded their problems.

Mohinder Singh’s family has urged the administration to send a team of senior veterinary doctors for examining other animals, which are also not taking fodder at all.



BSNL staff threaten strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
Some employees of the BSNL today demanded action against an SDO for allegedly threatening the duty staff at the Mata Rani Chowk exchange. The employees warned that in case no action was taken against the official, they would intensify their agitation.

They alleged that the SDO came to the Mata Rani exchange yesterday and inquired about a refund case of a private party and started abusing, misbehaving and insulting Mr Swaran Chand in the presence of staff.



Residents meet PUDA official

Ludhiana, March 12
A delegation of Sector 32-A Sudhar Sabha met the Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, here yesterday and apprised him of the conditions in their colony. Led by Mr Gurmeet Singh Brar, chairman of sabha, the residents complained about the lack of civic amenities in their area and demanded that they should be provided with good roads and parks should be maintained well.
They claimed that the ACA listened to their problems and assured that they would be provided with all amenities soon. — TNS



Rise in prices of cotton
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 12
With the rise in cotton prices in the international market, the prices of cotton have also started improving in the region comprising Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The cotton prices in the international markets have risen by 15 per cent during the past 15 days.

The prices of narma in Punjab mandi have risen by 5 per cent during the past one week. The prices were quoted between Rs 1750 to the 1820 per quintal. The cotton prices in the region had crashed to the lowest level of Rs 1625 to Rs 1750 per quintal in early January.

According to Mr D.L. Sharma, executive president of the Vardhman Group of Mills, the cotton prices have started firming up and the textile mills are making purchase of the same in the mandis. The Cotton Corporation of India is also making purchases of cotton. The mandis of the Punjab region are receiving about 15,000 bales of cotton daily. Punjab mandis alone are receiving 6,500 to 7000 bales of cotton these days daily. Abohar and Mansa mandis are getting 1000 bales of cotton daily.

The cotton arrivals are likely to be received by the end of April.

The Cotton Corporation of India was asked to enter the markets in the month of January, when the cotton prices crashed, to help in stabilising the prices. The CCI has purchased about five lakh bales of cotton from Rajasthan, 2.5 lakh bales and 1.25 lakh bales each from Punjab and Haryana mandis.

Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan are likely to record cotton production this year to the tune of 40 lakh bales against 27 lakh bales of last year. As many as 34 lakh bales of cotton have arrived in the mandis so far.

The cotton yield in 10 villages adopted by the textile mills also doubled this year.

The cotton production in the world is also going to be record this year and will touch 25.4 million tonnes against the demand of 23 million tonnes. China is the highest cotton producing country in the world with 6.3 million tonnes against the demand of 8.5 million tonnes. At the same time, China is the biggest buyer of cotton in the world. USA is the second largest producer of cotton in the world. India will also register record cotton production this year.

Sources close to the textile industry maintain that cotton prices in the world over were lower this year, as a result of which the cotton production would fall next year in the world. In view of the bumper cotton crop, there is a possibility of export of 10 lakh bales of cotton to various countries this year. At the same time, there will be import of five lakh bales of fine count of cotton.


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