L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Labour Dept panel to probe factory blast
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The Labour Department has decided to form an investigation committee to probe into the blast that occurred at the factory of Mukesh Steels in Giaspura here yesterday. The committee would include two officers from Ludhiana and one from the department’s office in Chandigarh.

Mr Som Parkash, Labour Commissioner, who was here to take stock of the situation today, said the department would ensure that due action is taken against the guilty.

He also revealed that the preliminary report pertaining to the previous blast in this factory that took place in August this year, had found negligence on part of the company itself for which the Labour Department has filed challans in the court.

In the yesterday’s incident at Mukesh Steels, one person was killed whereas eight others were reportedly, injured. This was not the sole blast incident in the factory as four blasts had occurred earlier too in the furnace unit of the factory.

The last blast, in which nine workers were reportedly injured, took place in August this year only.

Regarding the closure of cycle divisions of Highway Industries and Rockman Cycle Industries, the Labour Commissioner, while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, said labour unrest was just one of the problems being faced by the company. “There were several problems including losses. Labour was just one of the issues,” he asserted.

On the claims made by the companies that labour unrest was the sole issue Mr Som Parkash declined to comment saying since the inquiry was conducted by the Financial Commissioner he was not the right person to comment on the issue.

He also ruled out the possibility of any of the closed companies re-starting their operations.

He also said that industry in Ludhiana should stop panicking as there was no serious labour problem here. “Minor incidents continue occurring and every industry has to face these.”

He stressed that labour reforms were the need of the hour but any decision that is taken “should ensure that interest of labourers and also of the industry are not ignored.”



MC caters to VIP needs while common man suffers
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The common man in the city is crying for civic amenities but the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation seems to be catering to the needs of VIPs alone. In the light of a controversy surrounding the clearing of garbage dump in Jainpur village allegedly to benefit some politicians, residents of many areas of city are crying hoarse for the bad condition of roads, incomplete fogging operations and non-lifting of garbage from residential areas.

The worst affected are the residents of many areas in BRS Nagar and Sarabha Nagar, where the roads, which were dug up more than a year ago are yet to be recarpeted. Despite repeated requests by residents to recarpet the roads, the work seems to be at a standstill.

In Sarabha Nagar the roads were dug up during the monsoon season last year for laying sewer line and these are yet to be repaired. The recarpeting work started more than a month ago and the project was inaugurated by the city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill. But till date the work is moving at a snail’s pace and the residents are suffering.

During the day a few workers are seen working on the roads and by the evening nothing substantial is done to improve the condition. ‘‘First of all there was a problem in allotting the tenders for the work. Later on the workers came and dug the entire road. After some days, crushed stones were thrown on it and now the workers are seen digging one patch or the other. It seems it would take another year for the work to be completed, ’’ said Mr S.S. Chana, an angry resident of Sarabha Nagar.

‘‘With winter having already set in, it would be difficult for them to put a layer of bitumen. It is surprising that they recarpet the roads overnight when it comes to a VIP but nobody cares when public is inconvenienced.’’ he said.

He added that the workers had broken the meshwork of storm water drains during digging and nobody was repairing that now. He added that around Rs 20 lakh were spent on the storm water sewerage project in the area but it would go waste if the gullies were not repaired.

The dust, carried by air due to broken road, was also making the life of residents hell.

Residents of B-Block of BRS Nagar also aired the similar problem. They said that their road was recarpeted sometime ago but a telecommunication company dug it again for laying cables. Then it was not repaired and people are having a difficult time.

The residents also said that the trolleys carrying construction material from the city centre passed through this road and the top layer of the road was going missing. If repairs were not undertaken fast, the MC would have to relay the entire stretch.

In Urban Estate and Dugri also, the roads are in bad shape. Residents said that they were having a difficult time due to the same but nobody was listening.

Many residents complained of incomplete fogging operations in various parts of the city. Some complained that the garbage was not lifted for many days.

With around 100 cases of dengue reported in different city hospitals, residents said that if the fogging was not taken seriously, they would have to suffer.



Sikhs resent govt decision on marriage registration
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The decision of the government to make the registration of all marriages in the country mandatory has set alarm bells ringing among the Sikhs as the community will have to register marriages as per the Hindu Marriage Act.

This has been prompted by a ruling of the Supreme Court wherein the court held that the Sikh and the Jain communities were a part of Hindu community.

Mr Charanjit Singh Khalsa, national panch of the Khalsa Panchayat, said the decision was contrary to historical facts and against minorities in the country. He said the practice of marrying in the community was stated by Guru Amardas in 1552 and is called “Anand Karaj”. The four shabds read out on the occasion were penned by the Guru Ram Dass and are recited till today.

Pointing out historical facts in the case, he said Tikka Ripudaman Singh of the erstwhile Nabha State had presented the Anand Karaj Bill before the Imperial Council in 1908 which was prepared by a committee of the Chief Khalsa Diwan. The step was hailed by all Sikh institutions in the country. Meanwhile, Sardar Sunder Singh Majithia had become a member of the Imperial Council in place of Tikka and the Bill was passed in October, 1909.

Mr Charanjit Singh said the only lacunae in the Bill was that there was no provision of registration of marriage and this shortcoming has been exploited by the powers that be till today. The Bill contains just four to five provisions which were aimed at getting recognition to the Sikh marriage. This can be rectified even today by inserting the requisite provision, he added.

Ironically, the case is different for other minority communities, he added, while pointing out that the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1873 and Indian Divorce Act deal with the marriage and divorces of the community. Similarly, the Muslim Personal Law Application Act, 1937 and the Devolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, deal with that community. But when it comes to the Sikhs and other minorities, the government and even the courts feel that they should not be given their due, he added.

Citing another instance, he said there were even separate marriage and divorce laws for the Parsis, even though there were less than one lakh Parsis in the country at present.

The need of the hour is to take steps to rectify this mistake so that Sikhs too could be brought on equal footing with other minority communities in the country.



Possessor of rare coin
Mahesh Sharma

A file photo of a Sikh coin at the British Museum, London
A file photo of a Sikh coin at the British Museum, London.

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 7
Satyam Nagar, proud bearer of a rare pictorial Sikh coin bearing pictures of the first and the tenth Gurus, has contradicted the claims made by numismatists regarding similar coins said to be exhibited only at the British Museum, London.

A law student of Ludhiana Regional Centre of Panjab University, Chandigarh, Mr Nagar supports his claim with a rare coin purportedly minted 258 years ago ( Vikrmi 1804 ) by one of the Sikh missals.

The coin made of an alloy resembling bronze, bears picture of the first Guru on one side and the tenth Guru on the other. While Guru Nanak Dev is flanked by Bhai Mardana and Bhai Bala, holding “rabab” and “chaur” in their hands, a “bai” is seen sitting near Guru Gobind Singh. Also shown in the picture are the “khrawan” and a “lota”.

Two sides of the rare pictorial Sikh coin
Two sides of the rare pictorial Sikh coin.

“Though some numismatics have claimed that only two coins of this types were reported at the British Museum, it is my firm opinion that the coin in my possession is different from those,” claimed Mr Nagar.

Supporting his claim with pictures of the coins he said the coin exhibited at the said museum carried picture of Guru Nanak Dev only with one person while the one with him bears pictures of Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana. “Even the historians are not sure about the identity of person sitting in front of Guru. Some view him as Bhai Mardana while others see him as Bhai Bala,” he argued.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, a Sikh historian, agreed to the claim and maintained that the ambiguity about the pictorial and “mohar” coins was due to lack of concern shown by successive governments about the Sikh history. “It was certainly after October 14, 1745, that the chief of missals started minting coins in the names of the ten Gurus. The very fact the coin bears pictures of the first and the tenth Guru shows that it was not minted during the regime of any sovereign ruler,” pointed Mr Sidhu.

Referring to the pages of history, Mr Sidhu said each chief tried to strengthen his hold over the areas under his control and even started minting coins. A number of mints in Amritsar and one at Anandgarh came into existence. But a special feature of these mints was that coins were minted by all in the name of the Sikh Gurus as had been the traditional practice and no chief put his name on these coins or even changed the legend.



MC staff strike work
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
Public dealing in main and all zonal offices of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC) were affected for three hours in the morning due to a pen-down strike by its employees demanding action against Akali councillor Simarjit Singh Bains, who had allegedly misbehaved with an employee some days ago.

The employees held a dharna outside the office of the civic body at 9 am and raise slogans against Mr Bains for three hours. They gave an ultimatum to the Commissioner of the corporation seeking action against the councillor or they would intensify their agitation.

The employees got a shot in the arm with class-IV employees joining their agitation.

Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, senior vice-president, Shiromani Akali Dal, also joined the agitating employees. He assured the employees of his support and said it was for the first time that somebody had dared to raise a voice against the “highhandedness of a councillor.”

Mr Bhatia, while addressing the employees, said they should take their fight to a logical conclusion and get the guilty punished.

The employees alleged that Mr Bains had been misbehaving with them for quite some time and the MC authorities had not taken any action against him. “We would not allow any person to misbehave with us and get away with it,” said the employees.

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

Mr Bains had denied the allegation claiming that he had just asked Karamjit to give a house tax clearance certificate to a commoner. He said he had even asked him to get the balance cleared from him if he owed something to the civic body. But Karamjit didn’t oblige, he alleged.

Mr Bhatia had joined the employees as he wanted to settle a personal score with him and was trying to play into the hands of senior officials without caring for his party’s respect, Mr Bains added.

He alleged that his brother, Mr Balwinder Singh Bains, had defeated Mr Bhatia during the SGPC elections.

Mr Bains also alleged that the employees were agitating at the behest of senior MC officials, who had even allowed them to use the MC’s committee room for holding the meetings, flouting the norms.

Even the employees were staging dharna outside the office where staging demonstrations was banned by the Commissioner, he added.



Dengue scare persists
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 7
The significant fall in mercury in the region notwithstanding, city hospitals are still receiving dengue cases despite the fact that the intensity of the mosquito-caused diseases has declined during last couple of days.

Fourteen new patients of suspected dengue were admitted to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital during the past two days, taking the total number of cases to 272.

The hospital authorities informed that out of these, 115 patients had tested positive for dengue while others were suffering from dengue-like symptoms without serological confirmation.

As many as 96 patients were still in the hospital for treatment.

During the past two days, four dengue cases were reported in the Christian Medical College and Hospital, one each in the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital and Dr B.L. Kapur Memorial Hospital and two in the Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital in the city.

Around six suspected dengue patients were under treatment in various nursing homes and private clinics.

Meanwhile, residents of some of the city localities have complained that staff of the Municipal Corporation was not adhering to the plan for fogging. The plan was drawn up by officials in a meeting convened by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, here on October 31 to combat by dengue.

However, the civic officials claimed that fumigation against mosquito was being carried out in different wards strictly as per the programme and senior officials were keeping a watch on the operations.



IHRO to continue campaign for Bhullar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO), while strongly condemning the bomb blasts in Delhi resolved to continue its campaign to seek clemency for Prof Devinderpal Singh Bhullar who is facing death penalty.

The IHRO Core Group meeting held here yesterday, presided over by its chairperson D.S. Gill, also appreciated the stand taken by the President and the Chief Justice of India against death penalty. The core group also decided to participate in a seminar being organised by the Punjab Rights Forum in Amritsar on November 24 against death penalty, with special reference to Prof Bhullar’s case.

IHRO secretary-general Mohinder Singh Grewal, secretary administration, Avtar Singh Gill and secretary public relations, Inderjit Kaur, stated in a press note, “We have also decided that the IHRO will put forth its case in any independent debate or discussion on terrorism in Punjab, as we are of the view that the debate in the state Assembly on the subject was far from the truth.”

“Both sides played politics. The ruling party was offensive despite being guilty, while the Opposition, represented by the SAD president Parkash Singh Badal, remained defensive because of its weaknesses and political compulsions,” the IHRO added.

Regarding the Delhi bomb blasts, the IHRO meeting resolved, “It is an act of terrorism. They only targeted innocent people and their property. This mindless violence will lead them nowhere. This act of innocent killings is most condemnable.”

The IHRO has also urged the Centre and the states to denounce the bullet for bullet policy and the practice of death penalty for punishing insurgents.

“Rather,” they said, “the state should find out peaceful and amicable solutions to these political conflicts than military ones and stop state repression there”.

To further its arguments, the IHRO quoted the Preamble to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, “Whereas it is essential, if a man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by rule of law.”



DYC to propagate party policies 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
The cadres of the District Youth Congress (DYC) will be mobilised to propagate the policies and programmes of the ruling Congress party and give a befitting reply to the campaign launched by Opposition parties.

This was stated by Mr Dimple Rana, president of the DYC, while addressing a meeting at Chandni Chowk in Netaji Nagar here today. He said efforts were being made to revamp the organisation at all levels and make it a cohesive unit to prepare for the next Assembly elections in Punjab.

Mr Rana announced that Mr Rohit Mehta had been nominated as vice-president of the DYC with the approval of state party president Raminder Amla.

Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, Punjab, Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, Power, Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, and Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, Chairman, Punjab Housefed, attended the meeting and not the new office-bearers of the party.

Prominent among others present on the occasion were Mr Madan Lal Bagga, councillor, Mr Ashok Parashar Pappi, Mr Harwinder Happy, Mr Ashwani Sharma, Mr Sita Ram Shankar, Mr Yash Pal Mehta and Mr Sushil Sood.

Meanwhile, tributes were paid to veteran freedom fighter Kali Charan Sharma on his 19th martyrdom day at a prayer meeting organised at Congress Bhavan here today.

Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Diwan Jagdish Chander, President, All- India Freedom Fighters Association, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, president, District Congress Committee, Mr Parminder Mehta, secretary, PPCC, Ms Usha Malhotra, president, District Mahila Congress, also paid tributes.



Mangal Dhillon for curbing female foeticide
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
Shaheed Memorial Sewa Society, along with Dr Sadhu Singh Hamdard Memorial Education Service and Service Society, yesterday celebrated the 39th ‘Desh Sewa Diwas’.

On this occasion 42 eminent personalities from various walks of life were honoured.

Addressing the gathering, Mangal Dhillon, film actor and producer, said if female foeticide continued unabated it would lead to a serious crisis.

The organisation felicitated producer Mangal Dhillon, Thakur Sooraj Chand, Pandit Anand Ram, Nirmal Sidhu, Sudesh Lehri and Darshan Darvesh among others.

Brilliant students of about 35 colleges and schools were also rewarded.



Opium seized, 1 held

Jagraon, November 7
Sub-inspector Gurbachan Singh, CIA staff, Jagraon arrested Dalbar Singh of Jatpura, Bassuwal area and seized from him 1 kg of opium. A case under Section 18.61 85 of NDPS Act has been registered.

Meanwhile, in another incident Surjit Singh of Raniwala Khuh, Jagraon, was arrested near the octroi post No. 5 for alluring people into investing in a number game to multiply the money. The police seized from him Rs 450 and booked him under Section 13.3. 67 of the Gambling Act. — OC



SBI opens Internet browsing centre
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
Mr R Karthikeyan, Deputy General Manager, State Bank of India (SBI) today inaugurated an Internet browsing centre at the bank’s zonal office here. The new facility would enable the bank’s customers to access the Internet free of cost during the working hours of the branch.

The Internet browsing centre has been set up with the aim to inculcate habit of using internet and also avail the facility of online banking, the bank said.

Mr S.K. Jain, Assistant General Manger of the Civil Lines branch, said the branch was giving loans to different segments of customers as per their needs.

Mr D.K. Sood and Mr T.R. Gupta, Chief Managers, Mr S.K. Pahuja, relationship manager, Mr G.B.S. Bakhshi, president, State Bank of India Officers Association and Mr K.L. Sethi were among others present on the occasion.



PNB celebrates vigilance week
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
Punjab National Bank (PNB) today organised vigilance awareness week celebrations, which would continue till November 11 at all its offices in the Punjab zone. Mr I.D. Singh, general manager, Punjab Zone, administered pledge to all employees of the integrated zonal office here to provide quick and better services to customers and ensure effective, transparent and customer friendly functioning at various levels.

Addressing the employees, he said the vigilance awareness week was celebrated in the memory of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel. The purpose behind it is to have a successful, systematic and focused campaign against corruption, he added.

He emphasised that all employees of PNB had moral duty and responsibility to provide transparent services to the customers and should act with determined efforts towards achievement of ultimate goal of corporate excellence.

Mr K.C. Salota, Deputy General Manager, Punjab Zone, and other senior officers of the bank were also present.


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