L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Suspected dengue claims 3 more lives
Toll goes up to six
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 27
The claims of the health authorities notwithstanding, dengue, the disease caused by mosquitoes, was fast spreading its tentacles. Three more suspected patients of dengue had succumbed to it during the last two days, taking the death toll to six.

Information gathered by Ludhiana Tribune indicated that nearly 150 suspected and confirmed cases of dengue had been reported from different city hospitals while the officials of the Health Department put the figure at above 60 with two deaths so far.

It was officially stated by the authorities of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) here today that the first casualty caused by dengue was Vineeta (Jalandhar) who died on October 11. Thereafter, dengue claimed lives of Rajdeep Singh (Ludhiana) on October 22, Baldeep Singh (Jalandhar), Ram Dev Gupta (Ludhiana), both on October 24, Amandeep (Ludhiana) on October 25 and Rita Dogra (Kangra in Himachal Pradesh) on October 26.

In DMCH alone, 109 patients, suffering from high fever and other dengue-like symptoms, had been admitted till date, out of which 49 had been discharged after treatment and six had passed away. Some 40 odd patients were admitted to other local hospitals, including Christian Medical College and Hospital and Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital where deaths had been reported.

While senior officials of the Health Department maintained that necessary preventive measures and awareness drive were being carried out in sensitive areas of the city, residents of several localities negated the claims stating that heaps of garbage, poor sanitation and slack anti-mosquito measures were posing a grave health hazard to the them. The outbreak of diseases like dengue or malaria in an epidemic form was just a matter of time, they fear

Mr Kapil Kumar, a resident of Upkar Nagar and a functionary of the Resident Welfare Association of Dugri Urban Estate claimed that they had not seen the anti-malaria spray or fumigation team of the municipal corporation for months together. “May be these measures are being taken in posh localities or in the VIP areas but the localities where residents are facing real threat of the disease remain neglected.”

Meanwhile, the Bharat Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha has called upon the city residents to follow the preventive steps for checking the breeding of mosquito in their vicinity, wear full sleeved shirts and full length trousers, as also to use mosquito nets or repellents to guard against dengue fever.



Admin curbs on fire crackers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 27
City residents will have a lot to cheer about following the decision of the administration to ban the bursting of high decibel fire crackers on Divali eve, especially between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

In view of the intense pollution and incidents of fire during the festive season on account of fire crackers, Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma has issued an order under Section 144 of the Cr. PC imposing a ban on bursting of fire crackers between after 10 P.M. in the district. The orders shall remain in force till December 20.

Mr Verma has written to all Senior Superintendents of Police and Sub Divisional Magistrates of the district to ensure the compliance of these orders in their respective jurisdiction.

The DC informed that as per the orders, the noise level at the boundary of the public place, where loud-speaker or public address system or any other noise sources is being used, shall not exceed 10 db (A) above the ambient noise standards for the area of 75db (A), whichever is lower, and no one shall beat a drum or tom - tom or blow or beat or sound any instrument or use any sound amplifier at night (between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) except in public emergencies.

The peripheral noise level of privately owned sound system shall not exceed by more than 5db (A) than the ambient air quality standard specified for the area in which it is used, at the boundary of the private place. The order states that no horn should be allowed to be used at night during the stipulated time in residential areas.

Mr Verma has authorised SDMs and DSPs of the district as “authority” for maintenance of ambient air quality standards in respect of noise under any law for the time being in force and to exercise and to perform all or any of the powers and function of “authority” under the rules, within their respective jurisdiction.

Elaborating their powers, Mr. Verma said that if the authority is satisfied from the report of an officer incharge of a police station or other information received by him that “ it is necessary to do so in order to prevent annoyance, disturbance, discomfort or injury or risk of annoyance, disturbance, discomfort or injury to the public or to any person, he may, by a written order issue such directions as he may consider necessary preventing , prohibiting, controlling or regulating the incidence or continuance in or upon any premises of any vocal or instrumental music.



Site for cracker shops poses hazard
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 27
Posing a major fire hazard, the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, (LIT), has rented out a site for fire cracker selling shops in BRS Nagar, where quintals of garbage is dumped everyday.

The shopkeepers, who are paying Rs 6,000 for every stall in the area, are having a tough time as the garbage littered around poses a fire hazard and drives away the customers as there is a foul smell.

The shopkeepers have been complaining to the authorities of the LIT for getting the garbage cleaned but to no avail. Everyday, the officials promise them that it would be done but two days have passed and nobody has as yet come to clean area.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Dhillon, a resident, who has also taken two stalls on rent said that a small splinter could cause a major fire.

He said he was contacting the Superintending Engineer of the MC here to get the garbage cleared but nobody from the LIT came to clean it.

“It is stinking so badly that nobody can stand in the area. I wonder how the customers will visit us to buy the crackers,” said Mr Dhillon. 



Restrain cracker manufacturers, say environmentalists

Ludhiana, October 27
Environmentalists in the city feel that awareness campaigns for a pollution-free Divali will not serve much purpose until certain guidelines for cracker-manufacturers are set by the government. They believe that the level of noise and air pollution could be reduced to an extent if crackers with less toxic fumes and gases were manufactured.

Traditionally, Divali, the festival of lights, was celebrated by decorating the houses with diyas and candles to propitiate Goddess Lakshmi and for the attainment of wealth, health, peace and wisdom. Over the years, the festival has lost its sanctity and has rather turned into the festival of pollution, crackers, noise and artificially coloured sweets, feel the environ protectionists.

Dr Arun Mitra, General Secretary of the Bharat Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha, talking to Ludhiana Tribune said during these days, the industrial city turned into a chamber of gases and toxic fumes like carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide as well as suspended particulate matter (SPM). “The awareness campaigns like ‘Say no to crackers’ have reduced the sales of heavy crackers to an extent but still a lot has to be done to bring back the festival to its originality. We can just organise the awareness drives for children but the responsibility lies on parents. Not only human beings, but the trees are also not spared by the air pollution caused by crackers. The crackers that go up in air burden the trees with sulphur and other suspended particles. The green leaves and fruit-bearing trees get blackened due to damage”, said Dr Mitra.

Government and non government organisations should start awareness drives much in advance to educate children about various health-hazards caused by fire-works. “Posters should be pasted, students should be educated in schools through slides and film shows for awareness”, said Dr Mitra.

One of the official with the Pollution Control Board here said a ban should be imposed on high noise crackers to limit air and noise pollution. The firecracker industry should be asked to strictly adhere to the prescribed norms. “The rockets and atom bombs should particularly be banned because of their adverse affect on health. The noise created by such bombs can lead to permanent deafness. Before manufacturing crackers, suggestions could be taken from environment and forest officials. Apart from pollution, the firecrackers are a potential fire hazard and the risk is increased manifold during Divali time”, he said. The environmentalists also said that extensive fire-works caused a rise in temperature, too. OC



Specifications for paddy procurement tough, say farmers
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 27
For the first time in the past three years farmers have found strict specifications for the paddy procurement very tough. Much against their expectations when they hoped that the procurement agencies would be farmer-friendly. For the past three years, they are being subjected to tough quality checks. Although the government has relaxed the colour specifications of the paddy from three to eight per cent, the farmers allege that the officials are still not cooperating with them.

Various farmer agencies have already staged demonstrations against the “harassment”. The procurement agencies are maintaining that objections are raised only for the paddy which does not fulfill the specification marks. A senior officials said the colour norms have been relaxed up to eight per cent till November 15. There should not be any problem now.

The farmers pointed out, since there are no standard methods to check the colour specifications, the procurement officials try to exploit the farmers. The farmers said, it was for the first time in three years that the procurement officials were trying to be strict to the extent of even refusing to pick up the paddy.

The farmers admitted that the paddy had been discoloured to a limited extent only. This was because of the unseasonal rains that lashed the region. The farmers said, the government should have relaxed the colour norms right from the start of the procurement process. Because quite a number of farmers were forced to sell their paddy at a much lower prices than the minimum support price.

The farmers regretted that much against their expectations this year the procurement officials were not cooperative as they used to be earlier. They said, repeated protests to the higher officials did not yield any positive results. The farmers have been arguing that the change in the colour does not make any impact on the quality of the paddy. It remains the same inside. But the procurement officials were trying to exploit the farmers on this frivolous ground.

Various farmers’ organisations have appealed to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to intervene into the matter and ensure that no farmer is subjected to any further harassment.

They expressed surprise that when the Chief Minister had assured them that there would not be any hassles in the procurement and the norms would be relaxed, as to why the officials were still harassing them.



CBI probe into ’84 riots eyewash, say victims
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 27
Despair and anger is writ large on the faces of survivors of the 1984 riots in Delhi and elsewhere and even the orders of a CBI inquiry against the prime accused of the riots, issued by the Union Government today, have failed to enthuse them.

Their predominant feeling still remains the same-that nothing will come out of the probe unless the government really intends to dispense justice, even if belated, to the victims.

Reacting rather contemptuously to the decision of a CBI inquiry against those guilty of inciting mob violence against the Sikh families in Delhi, Mr Surjit Singh, President of the Dangapeerit Welfare Society, Punjab told this correspondent here that the government move, which had been initiated in the wake of recommendations of the Nanavati Commission is yet another delaying and stalling tactic on the part of the government. "The apparent intention of the government seems to gain more time and once again put the entire matter on the back- burner."

He said several Congress leaders like Mr Jagdish Tytler, Mr Sajjan Kumar and Mr Dharam Das Shastri were the prime culprits of massacre of Sikhs and they were still roaming free as the families of the victims continued to suffer at the hands of successive governments, including those of the Congress, both at the Centre and in Punjab. "It will be expecting too much from another Congress government at the Centre to really want to punish their own partymen."

That the riot-victims did not hold much hope of the law catching up with the guilty even after over two decades of inhuman crimes against the entire Sikh community, became evident when Mr Surjit Singh summed up the sentiments of the sufferers.

"During the intervening period, more than 10 inquiry commissions have been appointed by the then governments at different periods of time. But not a single of their recommendations has been given effect, nor has any of the accused been brought to book."

He dejectedly pointed out that the CBI probe would also, in all probability, meet the same fate as those of the earlier commissions of inquiry.

The Dangapeerit body chief maintained that nearly 25,000 families of riot victims were settled in Punjab, most of them in the mega city. All of them were issued 'red cards', but the affected families were still to receive the promised compensation, as well as derive any benefit from other relief and rehabilitation measures.

"If the government is really honest enough and wants to apply a healing touch to the wounds of the affected families, let it come forward for immediate payment of compensation on the basis of red cards and make allotment of promised residential flats, booths and commercial sites," he remarked.

Mr Surjit Singh was accompanied by Mr Amarjit Singh Rajpal, senior vice-president, Mr Manmohan Singh, general secretary, Mr Amarjit Singh Bindra, vice-president and Ms Gurdeep Kaur, president of women 's wing of the society on the occasion.



Fire breaks out in hosiery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 27
Hosiery material worth lakhs was gutted when a massive fire broke out in a godown of a hosiery in Mayapuri this afternoon.
Nobody was injured in the incident. Sources in the Fire Department said the owner of the factory had gone out for some work leaving the workers inside when the fire broke out.

It spread in no time as highly combustible materials were stored in the godown. It took eight fire engines to douse the fire. The firemen struggled for two hours to control it. Fire workers said the cause of fire was yet to be ascertained.



Road recarpeting needless: residents
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 27
Residents of Kitchlu Nagar, Block-C, here today protested against the recarpeting of roads which were already in good condition and accused the area councillor of pleasing certain influential people by doing so.

Alleging that the councillor was not recarpeting the roads that required repairs, they said he was ‘‘wasting’’ the public money to relay the good roads.

Mr Sandeep Kapoor, Chairman of Civil Lines Young Society, in a written statement said that the roads in Block-E of Kitchlu Nagar demanded immediate attention but nobody had paid any heed to their repeated requests.

The residents threatened that if their problems were not solved, they would be forced to launch an agitation and come out on the streets. At a meeting of the residents held today, it was pointed out that the parks of Kitchlu Nagar were in a bad shape, drainage of water was improper, and the fountain was non-functional.

The residents said stray dogs had made their lives miserable. These had already bitten two children who had to be given treatment.

Meanwhile, residents of Tagore Nagar are also up in arms against the local civic body for not supplying them potable water since Friday last.

The residents said that the tubewell supplying water to the area had developed a snag some days ago and it was not being rectified. They added that they were getting water from the Rose Garden tubewell and the pressure was very low.

Mr Pawan Sood, an area resident, said that they were suffering from water scarcity in this season and were using bottled water. He added that the pressure in the morning was very low and it could not fulfil their daily needs. Certain people were drawing water with illegal means and rest of them were suffering. 



Doraha MC sans President

Doraha, October 27
The local municipal council is without a chief for the past one and-a-half year, thanks to the indifferent attitude of some of the councillors in this regard.
The post of the President of the council is a reserved seat for woman. As many as four meetings have been organised especially for the election of the President but everytime they had to be either cancelled or postponed on one pretext or the other. Mr Tejinder Singh Dhaliwal, SDM, Payal, appointed observer for the same, said that the next date for the conduct of election, was yet to be decided.

“The report regarding the non- holding of the meeting is sent everytime to the Deputy Commissioner, who has to intimate us regarding the fresh date of fixing the next meeting,” he added.

The first meeting for the election of the municipal council chief was called on April 5 this year which was not conducted for want of quorum. Again on June, a meeting was postponed due to similar reason. On July 14, the absence of the observer became the reason for not holding election. Last week due to the absence of members, the meeting was cancelled again. — OC



55 bidders turn up for PSIEC’s site auction
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 27
The auction of commercial site at Partap Chowk by the Punjab State Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) got an encouraging response as 55 aspirants turned up for bidding.

The seven sites that were auctioned will fetch a revenue of Rs 4 crore to the corporation, around three per cent of which was received as the initial payment and remaining amount will be deposited by buyers in installments.

The PSIEC yesterday auctioned seven sites, three plots measuring 121 square yards and four plots measuring 151 square yards, located at Partap Chowk here.

According to officials, the reserve price fixed for 121 square yard plots was Rs 24.20 lakh and for 151 square yard plots was Rs 30.25 lakh. While the 121 square yard plots were sold off at an average of Rs 43 lakh each, each of the plots measuring 151 square yards received a price between Rs 61 and Rs 70 lakh.

The commercial site has a total of 32 plots, and the remaining 25 plots too would be auctioned soon.

Mr Dharam Dutt Prench, Assistant Managing Director, PSIEC, Mr Sanjiv Bawa, senior DGM raw material, Mr S.C. Garg, Chief General Manager, Finance and members of the PSIEC’s board of directors were also present on the occasion.



MC employees hold protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 27
Employees of Zone-D of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC) today staged a protest outside the office claiming that a councillor had threatened a house tax inspector after he had refused to oblige him for certain work.

The employees later staged a dharna and demanded action against the councillor. The councillor, Mr Simarjit Singh Bains, however, denied the allegations. He said that he had not gone to the Zone D office today and had spoken to the house tax inspector over the phone only.

He added that he had spoken to the inspector about a resident of the area, who had gone there to get a report on his house tax clearance but the inspector had refused to give it.

Mr Bains also said that he had gone there yesterday but the inspector was not in the office. There was no point in manhandling him then, he added.



Relief for quake victims to be flagged off
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 27
Baba Daljit Singh, chief of International Human Welfare Organisation (IHWO) said trucks of relief material for Jammu and Kashmir earthquake victims would be flagged off on October 29 from Fatehgarh Sahib.

He said Giani Gurbachan Singh, Head Granthi of Shri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, would perform ardas before flagging off relief material.

He said on reaching Jammu and Kashmir, Union Minister Gulam Nabi Ajad would receive the relief material. He said efforts were on to pursue the Chief Minister to provide government job to the victims.

He said that efforts were being made for the renovation of four gurdwaras, which were damaged in the recent earth quake. 



Pensioners contribute for quake victims
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 27
The Government Pensioners Association has sent a draft for Rs 2,100 to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the earthquake victims.
The association has called upon all sections of society to donate generously.



At the Crossroads
Death of a modernist storyteller

The last time I met Nirmal Verma was in February 1999 when I went to receive my Sahitya Akademi Award at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi. He was there with his long- time companion, Ms Gagan Gill. Earlier, we were together at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, where he had come with Gagan on a study tour from September 16 1998, to October 15, 1998.

We met quite often in the seminar room as well as at the mess. Generally, he was reticent to talk about himself but he gave a scintillating talk, one evening, on his literary career in the “Meet the Author” programme at the institute. Afterwards there was a lively discussion and he was quite at ease in elaborating certain points in regard to his attitude to life and literature.

Nirmal Verma remembered my first meeting with him at Amrita Pritam's residence in Hauz Khas, New Delhi, way back in 1967. At that time he was at the pinnacle of his literary achievements. As a modernist, he was the pioneer of “nai kahani” and in his novels he delved deep into the psyche of his characters. His philosophical views kept him apart from the run-of-the-mill men of letters.

He was a writer with strong conviction and determination. His aesthetic approach to literature was sometimes misconstrued as post-modernistic ambivalence. In reality, his concerns were of ethical nature as he was the seeker of not merely the reality but also of the truth .With the passage of time, he travelled into the realm of spiritual awareness and metaphysical speculations.

During my stay in Shimla in 1998-1999 as Fellow at IIAS for my research project, “Narrative Modes in Punjabi Novel”, I had the good fortune of meeting four Hindi writers who were Punjabis by birth. Bhisham Sahni, Krishna Sobti and Rajee Seth were there as Fellows and Nirmal Verma paid a flying visit, so to say, as an Associate Fellow.

He was born and brought up in Shimla and had the special liking for the ambience of this hill station. Some of his novels and novellas are reminiscent of his long association with the place of his birth. He was nostalgic about the good old days that went into interweaving the texture of his psyche.

Mrinal Pande has observed that there was irony in his soul. Indeed, Nirmal Verma had an ironic view of certain situations but he did not let iron enter into his soul. His death, the day before, at the age of 76 has been deeply mourned by the litterateurs in India and abroad.

— N.S. Tasneem



Liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 27
The Dehlon police allegedly arrested Gurdev Singh Hora of Brahampur from his village and recovered 5328.0 mls of illicit liquor from his possession. Gurdev Singh has been booked under Section 61,1,14 of the Excise Act.

Orders defied: Farmers after harvesting paddy are setting ablaze paddy stubble in spite of the orders of the District Magistrate who has imposed a ban on burning the same. The people of this town are sour over the indifferent attitude of the police in not initiating action against the erring farmers.

Poppy husk seized, 2 held: Inspector Amarjit Singh of Dehlon along with his party intercepted a Qalis in the Jartoli village area and seized 105 kg of poppy husk from it. The police arrested Gurbhej Singh Mannu of street no seven near Jhar Sahib gurdwara, Shimla Puri, Ludhiana and Pramjit Singh Kala of Mohalla Jhujjar Nagar Ludhiana. The police has registered a case under Sections 15, 25, 61and 85 of the NDPS Act.The vehicle was impounded.



Singer company defaulting on payment, allege entrepreneurs
Ex-MD says it is sick unit
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 27
Small manufacturers of sewing machine and its parts have alleged default in payment to the tune of Rs 11 crore by a leading sewing machines manufacturing multinational company. Nearly 50 small scale industrialists from the city, who supplied sewing machine parts to the company, alleged that Singer India Ltd had failed to make their payment that was due on March 31, 2005.

Singer India’s former MD, K.K. Gupta, however, when contacted on telephone, denied that such a large amount was due. He said owing to financial problems the company was a sick unit now and its case had been already referred to the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR). Mr Gupta said only Rs 75 lakh was due towards suppliers.

The manufacturers have now decided not to supply components to the company. “For the last over 30 years, this company was procuring assembling parts from us for the production of its sewing machines. However, they are not clearing their outstanding payments which are more than Rs 11 crore,” alleged Mr D.S.Dhiman, chairman, Ludhiana Sewing Machine Industries Association.

The industrialists also alleged that Singer India had now floated a new company named Brand Trading India Private Ltd at New Delhi, “with the intention to dupe small manufacturers who had supplied it sewing machine and component parts”. They claimed that the owner of the company in India and that of the new company remained the same Bangkok-based main company.

Mr Gupta, who confirmed that the parent company in Bangkok has floated a new company, said: “The new company is not engaged in manufacturing business. It is engaged in trading business.”

Industrialists alleged that the company was financially sound but was not making their payments to cheat small entrepreneurs. However, Mr Gupta, who is now the MD of Brand Trading, said it was a sick unit.

“We have learnt that they made payments to big industrialists and also cleared ‘hundis’ to the tune of Rs 28 crore,” said Mr Gurdev Singh, general secretary.

Small entrepreneurs alleged that the company owned each one of them lakhs of rupees as a result of which their business was suffering. “For small entrepreneurs, payment extending to lakhs of rupees means a large amount. We cannot afford it to remain blocked. But for the last almost seven months, the company has been dilly-dallying with it,” they alleged.

On the amount due towards its suppliers, Mr Gupta said since the case was with BIFR, the board would decide how the company discharged its liabilities.


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