L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC clears agenda amid furore
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Amidst shouting of slogans and pandemonium, all issues on agenda were passed during the General House meeting of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC), which lasted less than an hour, here today.

While Mayor Nahar Singh Gill claimed that the meeting was successful as the agenda was unanimously passed, opposition councillors said they would write to the Local Bodies Department for tabling the agenda once again at the next meeting on the plea that they had not discussed it.

As soon as the meeting started, opposition councillors, led by Parvin Bansal, wearing black badges, sat on a dharna in the House. Chairing the meeting, the Mayor asked LMC secretary Vinod Sharda to read out the items on the agenda.

The opposition councillors raised objection and all councillors started raising slogans.

Amidst the confusion, the Mayor declared the agenda as passed and both he and the Commissioner left the meeting hall within less than half hour of the start of the meeting.

Mr Bansal raised the issue of slow development of the city and alleged that even the proceedings of the General House were not recorded properly.

He alleged that the Mayor and the Commissioner were getting only those issues recorded in the minutes of meeting that suited them.

The issues of condemnation of attack on Ram Temple in Ayodhya, no action taken on Nanavati report and condemnation of Gujarat riots also figured at the meeting.

Mr Bansal said during the last meeting, they had condemned the attacks on Ram Mandir in Ayodhya but this was not included in the proceedings of the meeting.

Another councillor, Simarjit Singh Bains, joined him stating that he had unearthed a scam worth Rs 50 crore in the city but it was also not recorded.

The Mayor said there was no need for them to raise religious issues in the MC House as it was a platform to discuss the problems of the city residents and Parliament was the right forum to discuss party issues.

After the Mayor and Commissioner left, the opposition councillors kept raising slogans for some time. Later, they staged a dharna outside the office of the MC.

Congress councillors also raised slogans against the BJP to counter them. It was only after a heavy rain that the councillors dispersed.

Harbhajan Singh Dang, while addressing the protesters, said attention was not being paid to the development of the city as officials were resorting to “pick and choose” policy as far as allotment of tenders and work orders were concerned.

He further said the MC had paid Rs 1.5 lakh from its kitty to bear the travel expenses of city MLA Surinder Dawer, who had gone abroad some time ago.

He said the Mayor had honoured Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Shamsher Singh Dullo, which he was not supposed to do as the MC was not anybody’s party office.

Mr Bansal said the Mayor had promised to switch over to CNG for public transport, set up of a mini rose garden, cricket stadium and many other schemes but none had seen the light of the day.

He said the walking out of the Mayor and the Commissioner was “unlawful”.

The Mayor said he was saddened at the way meeting took place. “For the last three years I have never allowed the House to behave like this. Opposition councillors’ behaviour was most unparliamentary. They used foul language in their slogans also. Moreover, the meeting, which is aimed at solving the problems of public, proved out to be a waste of time.”



Another probe into jail inmate’s death ordered
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Taking a serious view of the death of an inmate in a clash between two groups at Central Jail on Friday last, the Chief Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Services Welfare and Jails, Punjab, Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, has ordered a high-level probe into the incident.

Addressing a press conference at the war museum here today, Mr Birmi said a deputy superintendent of the Jail Department would conduct the probe. He would inquire into the causes of the clash , the negligence, if any, of the jail officials and accessibility to tools like screw drivers to the inmates.

“Stringent action would be taken against any official found guilty of negligence,” Mr Birmi announced.

The probe, interestingly, would be the third one into the incident. The police has already conducted its investigation after registering an FIR while District Magistrate Anurag Verma had also ordered a magisterial probe yesterday.

Mr Birmi was here to address a seminar on “Employment of Retired Defence Officers as Human Resource Developers for Service Industry.” The Department of Defence Services Welfare Punjab and Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends (ITFT) organised the seminar at Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum.

Mr Birmi announced that the Department of Defence Services Welfare, Punjab had chalked out a special comprehensive programme to train the unemployed youth for the service industry keeping in view the large-scale job opportunities available in this sector.

Under this programme, a special one-week training and subsequently a one-month training would be given to the retired defence officers interested in becoming human resource developers for the service industry and given certificates as “ Certified Trainer for Service Industry”.

He said after training the retired defence officers could set up training centres for the students. It would bridge the gap between the requirements of the service industry and the talent available in the state.

The centres would impart training to the students for the service industry, namely travel and tourism, hospitality, airlines, management of retail outlet, event management services, BPO, call centres, health administration, education consultancy, real estate, banking, insurance etc. which require a large numbers of trainees.

He informed that the Department of Defence Services Welfare would lend infrastructure and provide back-up support to the selected officers at each of SRH complexes. The fee will be shared between the trainer and the department and the ITFT will help trainees for placement in the service industry by organising placement camps at the centres.

Lauding the services of retired defence officers for guarding the frontiers of the country, he appealed them to adopt the new ventures as service to the coming generations.

He also announced that in his new private flying academy, which was being started in two months, five seats in each course would be reserved for wards ex-servicemen and they would be provided free training, which would cost the other students around Rs 20 lakh.

Training would be imparted to the retired defence officers at centres in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jalandhar. He said the government had planned to develop Maharaja Ranjit Singh War museum as one of the best museums of the world and had signed an agreement with the Management of Flender’s Field Museum in Belgium for exchange of war articles and related information.

The Belgium Museum had agreed to provide rare articles relating to World War I, in which, 54,000 Sikh soldiers participated. He said the government had sanctioned Rs 2 crore for setting up a modern Library in Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum, where latest gadgets would be fitted and reels and films regarding different wars made available.

Mrs Geetika Kalha, Principal Secretary, Defence Services, Punjab, said this programme would prove to most beneficial for the rehabilitation of former defence officers for producing a trained work force for service industry and unemployed youth from the state would benefit in large numbers.

Among others present on this occasion were Brg J.S. Jaswal, Director, Sainik Welfare Board, Punjab, Maj Gen. Ranjit Singh Dayal, Maj-Gen B.S. Randhawa, Major Gulshan Sharma, Cdre Makhan Singh, Cdre Satish Makkar, and Mr Tarlochan Singh Deputy Director Sainik Welfare.



Pay relief, forum tells Dept of Posts 
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, August 22
The failure of certain officials of Mandi Mullanpur, Sub Post Office to encash the Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) in time has cost the Department of Posts and Telegraph dearly as the consumer forum has directed the department to pay Rs 5,000 to the aggrieved consumer as compensation for causing undue harassment.

The president of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Mr A. S. Narula, passed this order while deciding the complaint filed by Mr Pawan Kumar of Harnek Nagar, Mandi Mullanpur.

The complainant had submitted that he had purchased a KVP of Rs 10,000 from the post office in 1997 and it matured on February 26, 2003. Its maturity value was Rs 20,000. He went to the post office, Mandi Mullanpur, on February 27, 2003, and requested the officials concerned to encash the KVP.

He was directed to come after an hour and he again went there. But he was told to come the next day. When he contacted Mr Prem Kumar Khullar, Post Master, on the next day, he was told that there were no funds with the Post Office and he should collect the cheque the next day, added the complainant.

It was alleged by the complainant that he contacted the officials again and again but the KVP was not encashed. However, the same officials made payment to certain other persons. Aggrieved with this, he made a written complaint to the Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Ludhiana, apart from sending a telegram. But no action was taken against the guilty officials, claimed the consumer.

On the other hand, it was claimed by the department that the consumer had concocted the story of harassment and they never refused to make the payment. However, it was admitted that the consumer had approached them for encashment of the KVP on March 21 and 22, 2003. The department took plea that the consumer was advised to collect the payment through cheque for want of sufficient cash. But the consumer refused to receive the payment through cheque and used unparliamentary language with the officials.

However, after appreciating the evidence on record, the forum observed that the SSP, Post Offices, Ludhiana, had held the staff concerned guilty for harassing the consumer. As per the enquiry report, the payments were made to certain other persons by the said post office. Hence the staff was responsible for the situation causing discontentment to the consumer.



No end to traffic chaos on city roads
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 22
With every passing day, the increase in number of vehicles, coupled with total lack of planning and enforcement of rules, is leading to traffic chaos on almost all major roads in the city.

Frequent traffic jams, not only in congested localities of old city and commercial centres, but in relatively new residential and business areas have become a routine and all sections of road users — motorists, two-wheeler drivers, cyclists and even pedestrians — are finding it increasingly difficult to move from one place to another within the city.

Even as several areas like Old G.T. Road, Mata Rani Chowk, Clock Tower Chowk, Chaura Bazar, Old Sabzi Mandi Chowk, Domoria Bridge Road, Fountain Chowk, Mall Road, Ghumar Mandi, Feroze Gandhi Market and Bhadaur House continue to remain a nightmare for the road users, the authorities remain indifferent to the problem of the city residents.

For the past couple of days, the traffic movement on Domoria Bridge Road, which connects old city with Civil Lines and other new localities, has become a permanent traffic bottleneck with serpentine queues of vehicles stuck for hours together and the traffic policemen, deployed at T-junction of Deepak Cinema Road and Old Sabzi Mandi Road seeming clueless to the situation. To add to the woes of road users, the Mata Rani road crossing on Old G.T. Road has been dug up for realignment of sewerage lines for the ongoing project of elevated road and remains close to traffic.

The situation of vehicular traffic on this section worsens at peak hours in the morning and evening, as well as at the times of closing of schools when a large number of school buses, vans and auto-rickshaws ferry students back to homes from their respective schools.

A housewife, Ms Seema Jain, who lives on Daresi Road here, complained that it took her son more than one and a half hour to reach back home from his school in Civil Lines, whereas earlier he used to reach home in half an hour.

Due to frequent traffic jams on this section, a large number of people find it difficult to reach the railway station in time as they get stuck in the traffic melee on Domoria Bridge. Several of the daily commuters are sore at the total apathy and insensitivity on the part of the enforcement authorities — the civic body and traffic police, which appeared to be totally oblivious to the poor plight of the people.

While the people attribute the traffic chaos in the industrial hub of the state to poor traffic planning, little or no enforcement of rules, inadequate infrastructure like parking spaces and general lack of road sense among the road users, it is also a harsh reality that the crucial matter is not being given due attention by the authorities concerned.

A cross-section of city residents whom Ludhiana Tribune spoke to are of the view that action is required on several levels to restore some semblance of order on the city roads. “First and foremost, the vehicle drivers ought to show some consideration towards other road users while moving on the roads and parking their vehicles. The administration should provide ample parking spaces, remove encroachments on roadsides and sternly deal with cases of misuse of parking space for any other purpose.”

They feel that the traffic police should not be a mere tool of slapping challans upon the defaulters but they should be equipped and trained to enforce rules so that the city roads become a little more safer and flow of traffic improves to some extent.



Passing Thru

Mr G. Krishna Murthy
Mr G. Krishna Murthy, Chairman and CEO, Bharat Overseas Bank Ltd

Where do you find your bank which has very small number of branches across the country?

Despite the fact that we have a few branches, the bank’s performance has been reassuring. The net-owned funds of the bank have increased to Rs 189.54 crore by this fiscal, a jump of Rs 17 crore than last year. The bank could now comfortably maintain the capital adequacy ratio well above the norm of 9 per cent stipulated by the Reserve Bank of India at 14.95 per cent.

What is the business strategy to meet challenges in the present scenario?

With significant technology initiatives at an advanced stage of implementation, we are quite confident that we must implement creative business strategies to improve our market share and business volumes consistently throughout the year.

What is the plan for branch expansion, particularly in north India?

The bank has major expansion plans and would be opening 20 more branches across the country including Punjab and Haryana during this fiscal. It is our desire to reach a mark of 150 branches by March, 2006.

— Anil Datt



MC officials inspect fire-fighting measures
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Following the blast incidents in two factories within three days in the city, the Municipal Corporation today inspected the fire fighting measures at the controversial Mukesh Steels and another factory.

Joint Commissioner Jaswant Singh led a team of the Fire Brigade staff in inspecting the factory where eight labourers were injured in a mysterious blast yesterday. Three blasts had earlier occurred in the same factory.

Mr Jaswant Singh said he would prepare a report about the inspection soon. He also visited another factory, R K Machine Tools Ltd.



Demand to fill posts of Lambardar

Samrala, August 22
At a meeting of the Punjab Lambardara Union held here today at the local Civil Rest House, the president, Mr Amarjeet Singh, appealed to the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr Anurag Verma, to fill posts of Lambardar lying vacant in Ludhiana district for the past more than a year.

Mr Amarjeet Singh said villagers of the district had to face hardship when they went to the tehsils for registration of deeds, attestation of affidavits or to obtain casts certificates.

They were compelled to bring the Lambardar of a nearby village.

The Punjab Lambardara Union also appealed to the Chief Minister, Mr Amarinder Singh, to release the orders of honorarium amounting to Rs 1,000 per month as already announced in the election manifesto.

It is worth mentioning here that the chowkidars of villages in Punjab get Rs 600 per month, but the Lambardars in Punjab were not being paid a single penny.



BJP on verge of disintegration, says Bawa
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 22
The prominent Congress leader and Chairman, Punjab Housefed, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, yesterday said with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) showing its true colours of communalism and fundamentalism, the process of disintegration of the party had been set in motion.

In a statement here today, Mr Bawa said none else than a senior BJP leader, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, former Chief Minister of Delhi and later Governor of Rajasthan, had charged his party colleague and Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi with inciting communal riots in the state, while the BJP chief, Mr Lal Krishan Advani, still maintained that Mr Modi was innocent.

Mr Bawa remarked that whereas Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken a bold and sincere step by apologising to the nation on the floor of Parliament for the 1984 riots in Delhi and elsewhere, the BJP leadership was promoting communalism with its persistent support to Gujarat Chief Minister Modi. “If communal riots in Delhi are unfortunate, then so are similar acts elsewhere, including Gujarat.”

The Housefed Chairman further hailed the announcement made by the Punjab Chief Minister granting bonus to small farmers and free supply of 100 units of power to members of the Dalit community.



DIG seeks help of community leaders
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 22
State police chief has directed functionaries of the force to strengthen coordination among themselves to help minimise crime.

Launching a crusade against social evils, Mr V.K. Bhawra, DIG Patiala called upon social workers and political leaders of the Malerkotla constituency to help the police in achieving this.

Addressing a gathering at Malerkotla, he said the police could not fight social evils without the help of community leaders. “As the police was bound to act within the framework of law, it was not possible to achieve the goal without the help of the public. Social and political leaders can help in creating awareness about the consequences of these evils among the masses,” elaborated Mr Bhawra.

Admitting that the efficacy of the cops was affected adversely by false complaints, Mr Bhawra said the police station was the fundamental unit of the police organisation and each application should be moved from this unit.

Showing concern at the increasing trend of drug addiction in this part of Malwa, the DIG said. “Unfortunately we are not in a position to act independently against medical stores selling banned products as the presence of a drug inspector is mandatory.” He expressed helplessness to act against drug peddlers. Similarly travel agents, gamblers and other criminals took advantage of the legal technicalities.

Councillors, sarpanches and office-bearers of various organisations of Malerkotla, Amargarh, Sandaur, Kangawal and the local town appraised the DIG of the problems of their respective areas.

Mr Dharam Singh, SP (H), Mr Rachhpal Singh DSP Malerkotla, Mr Harjinder Singh and Mr Harinder Singh spoke on the occasion. 



Janamashtami to be celebrated on Aug 26
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 22
Despite efforts by representatives of various religious organisations confusion prevails regarding the celebration of the Janamashtami in the town and surrounding areas.

Sources revealed that the management committees of various temples were divided over the issue of the celebration of the festival.

Even after a series of meetings, the preachers and the office-bearers of various temples could not arrive at a consensus on the date of celebration.

According to Mr Bimal Sharma, manager of Ram Mandir, a majority of the temple managements would be celebrating the festival on August 26.

Besides the management committee of Ram Temple, the committees of Hanuman Mandir, Shiv Mandir, Luxminarayan Mandir and Vishawkarma Mandir have consented to celebrate the Janam Ashtami on Friday.



Parishad to help discard poly bags
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 22
It has been published in newspapers that polythene bags will be banned in Punjab after three months.

The Bharat Vikas Parishad that runs the Viklang Sahayata, Svarozgar and Punarvas Kendra in Ludhiana, has already started working in this direction.

The city people, who are keen to preserve environment as the polythene bags are non-biodegradable and cause environmental pollution, can help the parishad by giving them old newspapers and magazines.

It will give the “raddi” to paper mills. In lieu of that they will get brown paper. Some of the 47 physically challenged employed at the kendra will make bags from brown papers. These brown paper bags will replace polythene.



MC staff razes shanties
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
A squad of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC) today demolished some shanties in Industrial Area-A and warned others to remove these.

A team of the MC along with the police descended on the spot and razed these structures.

The goods kept in these jhuggies were confiscated and taken away in trucks.



Husband, kids dead, fears Dalit woman
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 22
The Sudhar police registered a complaint on the statement of a Dalit woman against her husband who was suspected had committed suicide along with two minor children.

Shinder Pal Kaur, a resident of Halwara, told the police that her husband Jagdev Singh, with children Amandeep Kaur (4) and Bablu (3) had disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

“My husband, who is a drunkard, is suspected to have committed suicide along with both children as their clothes have been recovered from near the canal bridge,” she told the police.

Jagdev Singh, a labourer, left his house on a bicycle yesterday. He took the children with him on the pretext of shopping.

He was apparently upset as he had been facing financial constraints for a long period.

The police has recovered the badly decomposed body of an unidentified person aged around 40 years. The body was cremated after formalities under Section 174 of Cr P C.



2 brothers run over by train
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
A minor dispute over financial management led to the tragic death of two brothers near Jagraon bridge last night, when a speedy train hit them.

The elder brother, Chintu (24) ran towards the train and his younger brother, Sonu (22), ran after him to save him. However, the train hit both. While Chintu died on the spot, Sonu succumbed to injuries this morning at CMC Hospital here.



Lahan seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 22
Following a tip-off the police raided the house of Jarnail Singh, Jolly, at Bhammipur and seized 40 kg of Lahan. However, the accused allegedly fled. A case under Sections 61-I-14 of the Excise Act has been registered.



Bank employees’ strike on September 29
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
In protest against mergers and hike in foreign equity, bank employees will observe a nationwide strike on September 29. The call for strike has been given by the general council of the All-India Bank Employees Association.

At a regional convention of the State Bank of Patiala Employees Union held here, Mr Naresh gaur, secretary, All-India Bank Employees Association, said despite several protests by employees, the government was moving ahead with its agenda of privatisation , dilution of capital up to 51 per cent and affecting mergers.

He said Indian public-sector banks had primary social responsibility to contribute towards rural development, employment generation, poverty alleviation, medium and small industries growth and infrastructure development.

“While significant strides have been made by the banks in the last 35 years of nationalisation any attempt to reverse their role will be retrograde,” Mr Gaur said. The banking industry today has deposits of over Rs 18 lakh crore. The government must ensure safety of public money and such policies are going against the interest of common man, the association said.

The association said broader unified approach on the expansion of public sector banks by opening more branches in rural areas, adequate credit at cheaper rate for agricultural sector and no further dilution of government capital in public sector banks was required.

The association also threatened to observe strike in mid-March if the government did not accept its demands.



Seminar on quality improvement
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Pegasus Sewing Machine Manufacturing Co Ltd, Japan, in association with the Association of Overseas Technical Scholarship, Japan, Pegasus Singapore and Pegasus India, inaugurated a five-day Seminar on “Production and Quality “ here today.

The seminar is the first of its kinds where participants would be trained on apparel manufacturing concepts, with emphasis on quality factor in production process.

Participants from the apparel industry here would get to learn industrial and plant engineering fundamentals to help build a foundation for successful apparel manufacturing, improve their understanding of integral components of knit apparel manufacturing and its support systems , receive an overview of various technologies utilised in the knit apparel industry and understand knit apparel manufacturing systems, said Mr Manjit Singh Bakshi, General Manager, Pegasus Sewing Machine.

Mr R.K. Singh, director, Apparel Export Promotion Council, was also present on the occasion.


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