L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


No privatisation of govt schools, says Johar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
Setting at rest the controversy over the proposed privatisation of government schools in Punjab, the Punjab Education Minister, Mr Harnam Das Johar, stated that there was no such proposal and on the contrary, the government was making plans to improve the standard of education by bringing substantial changes in the system.

He said not a single teacher had been retrenched. He said the state government had decided to provide better infrastructural facilities in government schools and Rs 4 crore would be spent on these during the year.

Addressing a talent search programme organised by Sity Cable at Guru Nanak Bhavan here last night, he stressed upon the need to organise more such competitions.

The minister wanted the NGOs working in the field of education and culture to identify students with outstanding talent in different fields from such competitions.

Mr Johar said the government had conducted a survey to identify schools without facilities of drinking water and toilets so that these facilities could be provided to students. Grants amounting to Rs 50,000 each were being released to schools for sports equipment.

He said with a view to providing computer-based education, computer education had been started in 1,300 government schools in the state.

He presented the award of “City Gaurav” to Anjali Puri, who topped in the state in the plus two (arts) examination.



Students with low marks being discharged
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
Apparently with a motive to join the mad race of flaunting the high-percentage results, some of the ‘reputed’ schools with endangered reputation have started discharging students for the reason that they have got lesser percentage in the Class X examinations.

A number of parents are moving from pillar to post pleading with the school authorities not to discharge their wards just for the reason that they could not manage the percentage which the school desires to be reasonable.

Several parents today told The Tribune that some school managements had unilaterally decided not to give admission to their own students in higher classes as they thought the students had not done well in the exams.

Although the students have passed the examination conducted by the Central Board of School Education (CBSE), they are being asked to make alternative arrangements. There are a few hundred such students who face an uncertain future on this pretext.

Some members of the management of a few schools agreed that they were not admitting the students with lesser percentage. Although the CBSE prescribes only 40 per cent for the students to get through, some schools have quite in an arbitrary manner decided not to admit the students with less than 50 per cent marks.

The member said even if the school had the vacancies of the students it would not allow the students with less than 50 per cent marks to continue to study there. Even if the students had been studying in the school for past 10 to 12 years they could be asked to leave.

The school managements have been holding that the right of admission is reserved with them only. They claimed that when a student moved from class X to XI it was a new admission, even if the student belonged to the same school.

“The management is within its right to refuse admission to anyone, particularly those who do not meet the cut off percentage,” the member said.

One of the aggrieved parents observed, “the schools probably want to show the good results by ousting their own students who the school management thinks are not capable enough to score higher percentage of marks.”

He said, instead of leaving students high and dry at the crucial stage of their career, the school managements should focus on improving the education. “They are trying to vent their anger on students for none of their faults,” he said.

Another parent said he had decided to approach the district administration to ensure that his son got justice.

The parents said the schools cannot take the plea that it was a fresh admission.



Shuttling for 16 hours for treatment
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 29
A migrant labourer who was attacked by a friend at Boparai village in Ludhiana district last night received medical assistance 16 hours after the incident as the staff at various civil and private hospitals here and in Ludhiana kept on referring him to other hospitals.

While those at the civil hospitals showed their inability to handle the case for want of adequate facilities, the staff at private multi-speciality hospitals insisted on a huge amount before starting the treatment. Many of these hospitals claim to be charitable institutions.

The Sudhar police has registered an attempt to murder case against the victim’s friend, Sanoj of Kanjri village in Bihar.

Parkash and Sanoj, both migrant labourers, had been staying at the fields of Sudarshan Singh Deol of Boparai village to keep a watch at the tubewell boring machine. At around 11 pm, Sanoj went to a marriage palace near Hissowal village and told the peon there that some unidentified persons had attacked them with crude weapons. In the morning, the peon informed Jagseer Singh, a farmer of Boparai, who had taken the land for cultivation on rent from Sudarshan Deol.

Preliminary investigations by the police revealed that Sanoj and Parkash had a tiff in the evening. To take revenge, the former hit the later with a log while he was asleep in the night. Presuming Parkash to be dead, Sanoj ran from the spot and concocted a story that some unidentified persons had attacked them.

Mr Shawinder Singh Dhillon, SHO, said he had deputed a police team to accompany the owner of the boring machine, who had to shuttle between various hospitals for getting Parkash admitted for treatment.

Kuldip Singh, owner of the machine, said he could get injured admitted to a hospital in Ludhiana only in the afternoon.

“While the staff at the Civil Hospital, Sudhar, and the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, showed their inability to start treatment for want of facilities, those at the multi-speciality hospital, CMC, insisted on the deposition of Rs 20,000 before admission,” he said.

Dr Manjit Kaur, SMO, Civil Hospital, said the patient had been referred to some other hospital equipped with ultramodern life-saving machines as he had bled profusely and might have needed cerebral surgery.

Dr I.S. Bagga, SMO, Sudhar, on the other hand maintained that the facilities of the level of a primary health centre were available there and it was not advisable to keep serious patients there. 



Kitchlu Nagar residents irked over gate’s closure
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
Residents of the Kitchlu Nagar area here are irked over the closure of the Gate Number 6 of the Punjab Agricultural University Campus that opens towards the locality. While the authorities had stopped the entry of vehicles through this gate, but there was still a narrow entrance from where people could move in or out. But now the PAU authorities have closed even this entrance as well.

According to Mr HS Sandhu, a retired Chief Engineer from the Punjab State Electricity Board, Gate Number 6 had been there right from the setting up of the university. But over the years the authorities had started closing it slowly. Apparently there was not much movement towards this side which had led the authorities to close it down.

But the residents argued that there were about 500 morning walkers from this area who had deposited an yearly fee of Rs 120 each. Besides there were a number of students from Kitchlu Nagar who are studying in the campus school. Even the people who were living inside the campus used this gate for coming out and going to a gurdwara in the locality.

Mr Sandhu and other residents said that they had urged the university authorities to reconsider the decision of closing the gate which had led to many problems for the residents. In fact it was towards the Gate No: 6 now that that the locality had glown and was densely populated. Most of the other gates opened up along the main roads.

An official of the university maintained that the Gate No: 6 was the most unutilised gate for the university. To maintain a gate it required a few employees round the clock. Since there was not much movement from the university towards this gate, it was decided to close the gate. The official pointed out, the university would have to watch its own interest rather than that of the public. He said none of the officials working or residing within the campus had ever complained against the closure of the gate.

However, Mr Sandhu observed it was difficult for the employees to raise their voice against the authorities lest it led to their victimisation. The residents have appealed to the Vice-Chancellor to reconsider the decision (of closing the gate), so that they were not made to suffer.



4 held with contraband
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 29
The Dehlon police has nabbed four persons involved in smuggling of drugs and narcotics and seized substantial quantity of contraband from them.
According to Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, Jagraon, the arrests were made after Mr Harjit Singh Brar, DSP, Mullanpur received secret information about the gangsters involved in distribution of contraband among addicts in villages.

Sarabjit Singh of Narangwal Kalan was nabbed by Mr Charanjit Singh at a naka near Gopalpur village. He was carrying 15 kg of poppy husk in a bag. Mr Amar Singh arrested Gurmukh Singh of Narangwal Kalan while he was going to distribute 25 kg of contraband at Latala village. 



Ludhiana Calling

The police is always complaining about shortage of funds. It welcomes good Samaritans who donate things to a police station. Recently, one person donated a water cooler to the Kotwali police station but the police decided to make the contribution a big show. They invited over 100 persons for the inauguration ceremony. Senior officers, including an SP and a DSP, were the chief guest. They also arranged high tea and snacks for guests. It was strange that on one side cops get such donations and on the other they spend money for such ceremonies.

Ministers’ claims

The Congress ministers in the state seem to have run out of claims of development. All ministers are harping on the promised scheme of the relaying of roads in the state. Each of them, irrespective of the ministry, keep boasting about the scheme. Be it the Jails Minister, Stationery Minister, Animal Husbandry Minister, or the Health Minister, every one is giving statements about roads or development works about other departments.

Selling sun

A model of the sun made in clay or plaster of Paris is being sold at traffic lights by a community indulged in making these items for generations. They make the “surya chakras” and sell them during the day. At times they can be seen using them as sunshade to protect themselves from the heat. (see photo)

CMC guards

The CMC hospital authorities do not change. Security guards or attendants and even doctors often fight with press photographers who go there to click photos of patients admitted there regarding some crime or accident news story. Though the photographers take care not to harass patients, the security team of the CMC uses force and abusive language to prevent mediapersons from doing their duty.

Nature’s bounty

Lovely bunches of yellow Amaltas flowers can be seen blossoming in the city. These bright-coloured flowers, shaped like a mini chandelier, lend colour to the dry summer. Nature is so generous that the trees bring forth their blossoms in great abundance. The fiery red flowers of Gulmohar also bring joy to nature lovers. The pity is that people are so busy that they have no time to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Atrocious English

Ludhiana Tribune gets a lot of press notes. It is surprising that the ones received from schools have errors. Capital letters are used in the middle of sentences and adverbs are wrongly used. The language is flowery and hyperbole. One feels for students who study in such schools.


Seen written behind a truck, “No girlfriend, no tension”.

— Sentinel



Shiv Sena holds protest against govt policies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
Activists of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) today organised a protest at the Clock Tower chowk here against the anti-trade policies of the Congress government in Punjab. Later, they hanged his effigy from a pole.

Addressing party workers, state unit vice-president Neeraj Verma and district unit chief Amar Takkar charged the government with strangulating trade and industry in the state. They said the traders were badly hit due to the introduction of value-added tax (VAT) and drastic power cuts on all categories of consumers had further precipitated the situation.

The Shiv Sena leaders chided the Chief Minister for his false claims on availability of power in the state. While the state was reeling under a sever power crisis, the Chief Minister was making an unrealistic offer to supply power to other deficit states. “As the people in Punjab are dealing with acute scarcity of water and power, Capt Amarinder Singh along with several of his Cabinet colleagues has gone on a foreign tour and getting himself honoured with awards.”

Prominent among others present on the occasion were Mr Jatin Chawla, Mr Ashok Samra, Mr Balwinder Singh, Mr Ankit Jain, Mr Raj Kumar Bittu, Mr Suresh Mutneja, Mr Dharmendra Sharma, Mr Harish Dhingra, Mr Ashwani Mahajan, Mr Ajay Kumar Verma, Dr Sanjay Sharma, Mr Maninder Singh, Mr Rajinder Kaka and Mr Balbir Singh.

Meanwhile, workers of the women wing of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) took out a march against the state-sponsored computer lottery and increasing drug addiction in the state. Addressing the protesters, Ms Sita Devi, president of state unit, expressed concern over the social evils of lottery and drug addiction, which she remarked were having an adverse impact on the poor in the state while the government was neglecting its social and constitutional responsibility.

Other party functionaries called for stern measures to ban the computerised lottery and sale of intoxicating substances at medical stores.



Badal facing tough challenge
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, May 29
All news emanating from the SGPC headquarters indicate that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, is facing a tough time. This time not on account of heat generated by Captain Amarinder Singh but because of problems in the SGPC administration and also the Sikh issues in various parts of the world.

The SGPC seems to be in a state of disarray. Every day one finds one issue or the other making headlines in the newspapers. The controversy over the film ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’ and the dossier prepared to seek world heritage status for Harmandar Sahib had not died down when the issue of creation of a separate gurdwara prabandhak committee for Haryana is set to give a jolt to the Shiromani Akali Dal. There is no doubt that Mr Parkash Singh Badal has used the SGPC as a power of patronage after the death of Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra. But now it is fast becoming a liability for him, at least politically. The grant given to Anandpur Sahib Academy was stoutly opposed by Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, a member of the SGPC, in the general house of the SGPC and President Bibi Jagir Kaur that this was done at the instance of Mr Badal. The SGPC and the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission are at loggerheads and there are cases which are proving to be a source of embarassment for the Shiromani Akali Dal.

The institutions administered by the SGPC also remain under the shadow of directionless administration. The medical and dental colleges run by the SGPC have to fight out with the state government or the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences on the issue of minority status. Perhaps the SGPC is ignorant of the new Act passed by Parliament entitled, ‘Minority Educational Institutions Act-2004’ which provides sufficient guarantee to the Sikh institutions as well. It is learnt that in the last meeting of the political affairs committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Badal had to face a volley of questions from senior members and Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar complained of having been let down on the issue of dossier for Harmandar Sahib. The Delhi Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee headed by Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna is aggressively getting involved in all Sikh affairs confronting the community. The DSGMC organised a meeting of Sikh intellectuals and discussed the issues threadbare. The SGPC, no doubt, had to follow the line recommended by the DSGMC.

The role of Jathedar of the Akal Takht, his PA and the committee appointed by the Jathedar to review the film ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’ has come under severe criticism and the SGPC authorities, including Mr Badal, have not been able to clear the smoke around the Akal Takht Jathedar. The Jathedar of the Akal Takht is already on extension after having achieved the age of superannuation. Some of the Sikh organisations have been demanding his removal from the post of the jathedar.

The last meeting of the political affairs committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal was found engaged in discussing the SGPC affairs and the main anxiety was the formation of the Haryana gurdwara prabandhak committee. The PAC decided to oppose the decision of the Hooda government. But there was no talk of introspection of finding out why the Haryana sikhs got disenchanted with the authorities of the SGPC. Haryana Sikhs have been feeling left out and the only concern expressed by the SGPC was to retain control over the historic sikh shrines in Haryana and collect the offerings.



Sex determination goes on unabated
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 29
Measures being taken by the state government to curb the practice of female foeticide in the wake of decline in female population in the region appear to have come to a naught with the Pre-natal Sex Determination Test (PNDT) Act in the city and elsewhere in the district being blatantly violated.

Information gathered by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that a large number of around 200 ultrasound scan centres in the district were not only carrying out the test but some of them were also clandestinely engaged in termination of pregnancy in case of female foetus.

Unmindful of the fact that Punjab was the lowest among other states in male-female sex ratio and the district was 10th lowest in this regard as compared to other districts in the state, scan centres were flouting the Act in connivance with the enforcement authorities.

Sources told Ludhiana Tribune that an ultrasound centre located on the Chandigarh road here was offering a package for sex determination test and medical termination of pregnancy.

Since the activity had to be done in a secretive manner, the fact was known only to a handful of persons, which included the sonologist and the gynecologist concerned. A package for the job was said to be around Rs 15,000, the sources maintained.

The Health authorities, who enforce the PNDT Act, could not simply wash their hands off the practice since some of them were also reported to be indulging in it.

If at all the Health administration took action against defaulting scan centres, sonologists concerned allegedly used clout to put pressure and evade penal action, asserted the sources.

It was learnt that a racket was being run by some scan centres in connivance with a number of quacks practising on the periphery of the city.

The centres charged a hefty fee for sex determination test and sonologists did not mind parting with a significant amount of the collection and keep both the quacks and the health officials in good humour.

That the PNDT Act was being flouted by ultrasound centres with impunity and an accusing finger could be pointed towards some of the enforcement officials was evident from the fact that whenever scan centres were sealed and scan machines seized in the city and other towns in the district things came back to normal soon after.

When contacted, Civil Surgeon Dr Rajinder Kaur said whenever a complaint was received against any scan centre, action was taken by the department. The fact that the department had sealed at least three scan centres in the city, Sahnewal and Jagraon during the past few days was enough proof that the department meant business and it was determined to enforce the PNDT Act.



‘Debar Advani from visiting Pakistan’
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, May 29
The US State Department has put the Bajrang Dal, a Hindu outfit on the terrorist list. This was stated here today by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, Akali Dal (Amritsar).

Mr Mann has also appealed to the Pakistan Government through its High Commissioner in India to declare Mr L.K. Advani, president of the BJP as persona non grata and debar him from visiting Pakistan for his role in Babri Masjid’s demolition and defending Mr Narendra Modi.

In a letter to the Pakistan High Commissioner in India, Mr Mann has stated: “The anti-minority, monolithic jingoism of Mr Advani is a study in itself. Mr L.K. Advani led the Babri demolition from the driver’s seat literally. He headed the ‘rath yatra’ in 1990 that led to the death of thousands of Muslims.



Ram Lila panel charged with misappropriation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
The local Shri Ram Lila Committee, which organises the annual Dasehra Mela at Daresi Grounds, is under fire from several residents’ committees for its various acts of omission and commission.

The committee has been charged with gross mismanagement of huge funds collected every year from contracts awarded during the mela and other institutions, including a charitable hospital being run by the same management.

Although the move is being seen by a large number of city residents as yet another attempt to grab control of the committee and its assets, a body set up under the name of Shri Ram Lila Sangharsh Committee has vowed to re-establish the sanctity of Dasehra festival, which it alleged, had been ‘commercialised’ by the ruling group and bring transparency into the financial and other affairs of the religious body.

In a representation made to the district administration, the functionaries of the sangharsh committee have sought the permission to hold Ram Lila and Dashera at Daresi Grounds this year. The committee has further decided to expose the misdeeds of the Ram Lila Committee.

The activists of sangharsh committee said an elaborate programme had been chalked out for development, cleaning and landscaping of Daresi Grounds. A “mahajagran” was proposed to be organised at this place in June, in this connection. 



Bikes’ collision leads to attack on man
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 29
A tiff over collision between two bikes led to a clash in which five persons, including a woman attacked a farmer with crude weapons and threatened him of dire consequences.

The Dehlon police has registered a case against them under Sections 452, 323, 506, 341, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

According a complaint lodged at the Dehlon police station, Ranjit Singh and Jaspreet Singh, both residents of Bool village, had a tiff after their motorcycles had a collision.

Ranjit Singh has alleged that Jaspreet Singh along with his father, Gurdeep Singh, mother, Ms Gurmit Kaur, close relatives, Paramjit Singh and Pargat Singh of Kaind village, attacked him with crude weapons, including rods, axes and wooden logs.

“Though I wanted to avoid the clash, they followed me up to my brother’s house where I had taken shelter and thrashed me,” told Ranjit Singh to Mr Amarjit Singh Khaira, SHO of the Dehlon police station.

The accused threatened the victim of dire consequences before leaving the house of Tarsem Singh, brother of the complainant.

Mr Amarjit Singh Khaira said the police parties had been raiding the hide outs of the suspects, but no arrest had been made so far.



Plea to exempt handmade shoes from VAT
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
Nearly five lakh workers and self-employed persons engaged in the manufacture and trading of cheap handmade shoes in the state are at the brink of becoming unemployed due to the imposition of 12.5 per cent VAT on the shoes.

Calling for steps to exempt handmade shoes priced below Rs 100 from VAT, Shri Guru Ravi Das Hand Shoe Manufacturers Society has claimed that lakhs of cobblers in Punjab were carrying on the trade of making cheap shoes for the past several decades. The society maintained that the raw material purchased by them for making shoes also attracted sales tax at the rate of 12.5 per cent while the finished product was also placed in the same bracket of tax.

In a memorandum to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the general secretary of the society, Mr Nagar Mal, said in most cases, entire families were involved in the process of shoe-making with an average daily income between Rs 100 and Rs 150. Moreover, the shoes were sold between Rs 35 and Rs 100 and a majority of the buyers were the poor.

He pointed out that most of them were illiterate and unable to understand the intricacies of VAT or claiming input tax credit.



Industry irked by Taxation Laws Bill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
The industry appears to be upset over the frequent tax burden and regulatory mechanism imposed by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. The industry, which was already irked over the taxes like fringe benefit tax and cash withdrawal tax, has criticised the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, 2005.

The president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr P.D. Sharma, said the new Bill allowed customs officials to attach provisionally any property belonging to a person or whom notice was served. This provision was harsh under the prevailing circumstances. The Customs officials had been given the power to arrest persons under Section 132. 


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