L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Over 1,500 families of closed cycle units on brink
of starvation

Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
Almost 1,500 families, most of them migrants from UP and Bihar, are on the brink of starvation following the closure of cycle divisions of Highway Industries in Sahnewal and Rockman Cycles.

Unsure of their future, many workers, who have put in even more than a decade in these factories, are left without any hope of getting another job. With families settled in Punjab for several years, they find themselves confused and helpless.

“I had been working with this factory for the past more than 15 years after I shifted from my home in UP. My family depends on my income that came from this job. We are left helpless and don't know how to manage now that the factory has closed down permanently,” lamented Jagdish Chaudhry, who worked with Rockman Cycle Industries.

Most of these workers have large families solely dependent on their incomes. With children studying in schools, they are willing to do any job provided they get one.

Bihari Lal, who came from Bihar over 10 years ago, and is physically challenged said: “For me, working in the factory with one arm was in itself tough. But I have to do it otherwise my family would die of starvation. Now, who will give me a job?”

While the companies say the entire process of closure was in accordance with the law and also that they are willing to pay the workers their dues, workers feel that would be of little help as their source of income has ended. Though the companies informed them in advance about their decision to close down in future, most of the workers were not farsighted enough and took it lightly hoping that such an incident could never occur.

“We never thought it could happen, so we never searched for another job. Moreover when one works at one place for 10-15 years, it is like another home, which we never even imagined would go away like this,” another worker said.

Even going back to their home towns would not be easier as they dont have any source of income back home too." How can we go back. There is no way to earn. We came here to earn and got settled. God only knows how our families would survive now,” a Shambhu Gupta, who stays in Mahalaxmi Colony and worked for 13 years with Rockman.

The helplessness is visible from the al;ready weakened will. “We are willing to work under any terms and conditions, but they should not close down the factories.”

Though they continue their protest demanding that the factories be re-started, most of them fear whatever little money they are left with would be exhausted in a couple of days leaving them in the lurch.



Tremors in Cong over leaders’ boycott of Birmi
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
While the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, tried to put up a brave front on Wednesday after seeing the entire district Congress, including the Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, boycotting a function organised by Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, the incident has sent tremors within the party, particularly when it starts to prepare for the Assembly elections which are just over a year away.

The Chief Minister is learnt to have taken serious note of the “boycott” of Mr Birmi’s function by the entire Congress leadership of the city. It is learnt that initially Mr Dullo wanted to attend the function, not for Mr Birmi, but for the Chief Minister, but later he decided against it after he was “advised” by the ministers and legislators not to. They reportedly told him that they could always explain to the Chief Minister about the real problem.

The ministers who include Mr Harnam Dass Johar and Mr Rakesh Pandey and the legislators, Mr Tej Parkash and Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha, were opposed to attending the function, since Mr Birmi had not invited any of them.

However, sources close to Mr Birmi have been maintaining that it was a state function and everybody had been invited properly. In fact, they pointed out, that even the invitation cards had mentioned that while the Chief Minister would be the chief guest, Mr Dullo would preside over the function.

Mr Birmi cut a sorry figure at the function organised to commemorate Vishvakarma Jayanti here yesterday when the entire front row of the chairs was empty. Only the Chief Minister was sitting there. Subsequently, the people sitting in the back row were made to sit in the front to give company to the Chief Minister.

Opinion appears to be divided. While a number of Congress leaders blamed Mr Birmi for trying to project himself as “very close” to the Chief Minister, supporters of Mr Birmi alleged that it was just out of jealousy that some leaders boycotted the function. They said the Chief Minister had taken strong exception to the boycott of his function by the party leaders, including the legislators and the ministers, particularly when it was a state function. The supporters of Mr Birmi said even if these leaders had any grievances against him (Mr Birmi), they should not have made these public by boycotting the main function. Ultimately, they pointed out that, it was the Congress party that cut a sorry figure at the end of the day.

While most of the leaders who boycotted yesterday’s function were not available for comments today, one of them pointed out that they had attended the main function organised in Vishvakarma Temple at Miller Ganj. He said there was no logic in organising a function in memory of Lord Vishwakarma at Guru Nanak Bhavan, much against the tradition of organising it in the temple itself.

Meanwhile, the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, said he had not deliberately missed yesterday’s function as he was out of the town. He said, he had never resorted to any factional politics as he would always watch the party’s interest over personal preferences.



Bouquets, brickbats for councillor Bains
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
It was bouquets and brickbats for the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation councillor, Mr Simarjit Singh Bains, today as around 300 employees of the civic body staged a dharna against him alleging that he had made a casteist remark against an employee while another faction of employees honoured him claiming that he was a crusader against corruption.

Led by Mr Vijay Danav, Chairman, Municipal Employees Dal, the employees staged a rally and demanded action against Mr Bains under the SC/ST Atrocities Act for obstructing government work and also demanded that he should be disqualified from the MC House.

Later, in the day, some members of the MC Employees Union organised a function and honoured Mr Bains for his “honesty and selfless service towards the society”. Mr Naresh Singhan, an office-bearer of the union, said that Mr Bains had been speaking against corruption. He said that some persons were protesting against him as he had been exposing the corrupt.

The employees sat on a dharna outside the MC office in the morning and gave an ultimatum to the local authorities to initiate action against Mr Bains within 72 hours. Failing which they would be forced to intensify their agitation.

They said that Mr Bains had been misbehaving with employees for quite some time but the MC authorities had failed to take any action against him. “We would not allow any persons to misbehave with us like that and get away with it,“ said the employees.

The controversy had erupted a few days ago when Mr Karamjit Singh, an employee of the Zone-D office of the MC, had alleged that Mr Bains had abused him and passed casteist remarks against him when he had refused to oblige him for some work.

Mr Bains had denied allegations claiming that he had just asked the employee in question to give a house tax clearance certificate to a commoner. He said that he had even asked him to get the balance cleared from him if he owed something to the civic body. But he had failed to listen to him and was allegedly delaying the work.

Mr Bains said that his policy to expose corruption had ruffled the feathers of many senior officials, who were seeing him as a threat. “I will continue with my mission to raise a voice against corruption.

They can do anything against me but I will not lie silent,“ he said, adding that the employees were protesting at the behest of some officials who wanted him to be a mute spectator to their activities.

“I am a public representative and I will talk about people. They are suffering because of these employees who want money for doing any public work. Now when they stand exposed they are making a noise”, he added.



They long for sisters
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, November 3
With such an alarmingly declining sex ratio, Bhai Dooj may become a thing of past in Punjab. The festival that marks the love of sisters for their brothers is celebrated mostly in the north and more specially in Punjab. With the declining sex ratio, the number of girls has drastically come down in comparison to the boys, leaving hundreds of brothers without sisters. And for such brothers there is no Bhai Dooj.

Even in a city like Ludhiana that claims to be cosmopolitan and quite progressive, the number of girls in comparison to boys is far too less. There may be thousands of homes with more than one boy, but there are very few with more than one daughter. Even among the “elite, genteel and affluent”, the aversion for the girls remains as deep rooted as among the economically and socially lower classes.

The occasion of Bhai Dooj seems to bring a sense of deprivation to all of those who do not have female siblings. Such festivals are painful to men, who miss their sisters.

Dr T.S. Kler, a renowned cardiologist, Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, Delhi says, “I am having two grown-up sons. My wife still feels that it would be better if family had at least one daughter. My sons know the importance of these festivals but I feel that they could understand everything naturally if they had their own sister. Rakhi, Bhai Dooj lose their charm in absence of a daughter”, he said.

Ms Prabha, a homemaker having two sons, said it was not always possible for cousins to reach out to them on every occasion as one of them stays in Delhi. They send their teeka by courier. “Everyone is busy these days and the festivals are losing the sheen. But I think, things would have been quite different if they had a sister. Perhaps they would never miss to visit her on such occasions”, said Ms Prabha.

Manav, the only son in his family feels, “I would be more responsible if I had a sister. Though, my mother does all the formalities but I think, she can not take that position. A sister is a must in every home”.

Viren, a 7-year-old student of KVM said, “I had always demanded a sister from God. But he gave me this spoilt brat who always fights with me”.



Kin blame doctors for patient’s death
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 3
Family members and other relatives of a patient, Raj Kumar Aggarwal (50), created ruckus at SPS Apollo Hospitals here late last evening after the death of the patient, who had a massive heart attack. The attendants of the deceased charged doctors with negligence and causing undue delay in starting treatment of the patient, who was referred to the hospital from Raikot town in the district last morning.

The hospital management, has, however, refuted the allegations of negligence on the part of the attending doctors and maintained that despite their best efforts, they could not save the patient, who had several other complications, besides myocardial infarction.

According to family members of the patient, they had brought Raj Kumar to the hospital at around 11 am after he was diagnosed of having had a heart attack at a private clinic in Raikot. “The doctors carried out some tests and then kept waiting for the arrival of Dr R.P. Singh, Head of the Cardiology Department, saying the treatment will begin only after Dr R.P. Singh comes to the 

Dr Prabhjot Singh Bhatia, Medical Superintendent of the hospital, told Ludhiana Tribune that on his arrival, the patient was thoroughly investigated by senior consultants and all necessary diagnostic tests were conducted. The patient was shifted to the Cardiac Care Unit and was put on medication to dissolve the clots in his coronary arteries. Not only this, senior residents, all postgraduates in medicine and cardiology, were constantly monitoring the condition of the patient.

“During the course of treatment, the doctors were in constant touch with Dr R.P. Singh. It is unfortunate that the doctors could not save the patient but his position even on arrival to the hospital was critical.”

Dr Bhatia, while confirming that the family members of the patient had lodged a written complaint with the management alleging that Mr Aggarwal had died due to inadequate and negligent treatment, observed that on the face of it, the charges were frivolous and baseless.

He, however, added that the management would still conduct an inquiry and take necessary action if anybody was found guilty of neglect or 



Vishvakarma day celebrations end
Our Correspondent

Amloh, November 3
A two-day function organised at Baba Vishvakarma Mandir at Bhadson village by the Vishwakarma Mandir Committee ended here today. A shobah yatra was flagged off on Wednesday by Mr Amarjeet Singh of Kartar Combine Bhadson and president of the committee. Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Parliamentary Secretary (Home, Justice and PWD) was the chief guest and Mr Surjit Singh Dhiman, MLA, Dirbha, was the guest of honour of today’s function.

Mr Dharamsot announced Rs 31,000 for development works. He congratulated people on the birth anniversary of Vishvakarma. Mr Bhagwant Singh Mankoo conducted the stage. Mr Mohinder Singh Dhiman unfurled the flag. The chief guest gave away mementos to honourable guests.

Pandit Vishwa Mitter from Sangrur related an impressive religious tale and stressed the importance of female child. Ms Satya Devi from Sanaur, Patiala, recited bhajans. Mr Balwinder Singh, secretary of the committee, said that the members of 21 mandir committees from different districts of the state participated in the function. Mahant Harvinder Khanora, former chairman of the Block Samiti, Nabha, Mr Jaswinder Khanora, president of the Truck Union, Bhadson, and Mr Chuni Lal, member Zila Parishad, addressed the function.

Some speakers said they were not against the decision of the government to provide free power to the agriculture sector and the procurement of farm produce at a higher market rate to compensate farmers and free domestic power to the Scheduled Castes, but they felt stepmotherly treatment was meted out to the industry by the government. They demanded concessions to the industry on a par with other states and uninterrupted power supply at concessional rates to the industry. The Vishwakarma day was celebrated at Vishvakarma Mandir, Amloh, and on the Dashehra ground, Mandi Gobindgarh, yesterday. Ms Jaspreet Kaur Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, was the chief guest at Mandi Gobindgarh. Mr Ravinder Singh Khalsa, member SGPC, and Dr Sukhbir Singh, vice-president of the Municipal Council, Amloh, also addressed the function at Amloh.



Development authority sought
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, November 3
The Peoples Awareness Forum, an NGO, has sought the establishment of a Ludhiana Development Authority on the pattern of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to undertake regulated and planned development of the city. The present state of affairs of the financial and industrial capital of Punjab is in a mess and requires drastic remedial measures to cope with the situation.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the forum president, Prof Prithipal Singh Kapur, and the General Secretary, Prof Gurcharan Singh, have welcomed the statement of the Prime Minister to develop Ludhiana into a model city of the country.

The forum has, however, pointed out that Ludhiana has become a city of slums as a result of the haphazard and unplanned growth, thanks to the apathy of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.

Prof Kapur and Prof Gurcharan Singh have further highlighted that the city faces the worst type of population congestion due to high rate of urbanisation and influx of labour from UP, Bihar and Orissa. Consequently, hygienic services like water supply and waste-management have practically collapsed. The city usually remains in the grip of severe diseases like gastroenteritis, jaundice, heart problems dengue and malaria.

The forum has urged the Prime Minister to send his Principal Secretary to Ludhiana to assess the situation in this industrial capital of Punjab as he is aware of the plight of the town and guide the state government for setting up Ludhiana Development Authority.



Relief material for quake-hit

Ludhiana, November 3
The senior vice-president of the Punjab Youth Congress, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, flagged off relief material, comprising 600 blankets, for the earthquake victims in Jammu and Kashmir. The local Dhaba Association has also sent 500 blankets for the victims.

Disclosing this here today, Mr Tikka, Mr Ashok Kumar Sethi, Mr Sardari Lal and Mr Harsh Kumar of the Dhaba Association, said it was the first relief consignment which would be followed by more.

The Youth Congress leader said a party delegation would meet Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in Srinagar to discuss about the relief operations. — TNS



Gang of car thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
Undeterred by their few months of incarceration in Central Jail here for stealing cars and involvement in a fake currency racket, two youths went on to steal more cars after their release and are now again behind the bars.

The Haibowal police today claimed to have nabbed the two youths identified as Rajinder Singh, alias Raju, and Ranjit Singh, alias Raja, for stealing a number of cars and two-wheelers.

Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, DSP Simratpal Singh Dhindsa and SHO of Haibowal Gurpreet Singh said the police had recovered two Maruti cars, one Esteem car and an Accent car besides a Boxer motor cycle from their possession.

They said Raju, a resident of Moga, was earlier caught with other gang members for allegedly stealing 30 cars from various places in the state. Similarly, Raja was caught with a gang indulging in circulating fake currency notes.

The modus operandi of the accused was to spot cars parked on roads in residential areas. Raju was allegedly an expert in making keys for opening the locks of all cars.

The police said a district court had remanded the two accused in two-day police custody for recovering more vehicles from them. The police was also investigating how they prepared fake documents of the vehicles.

The police officials said ASI Satwinder Singh, in charge of police post, Jagatpuri, had played a crucial role along with SHO of Haibowal Gurpreet Singh in nabbing the accused. They had accurate information that the alleged gang was about to make a major deal about stolen cars.


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