L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Protest by knitwear unit workers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 2
Workers of Nagesh Knitwear suspended work for around five hours here today. The matter was settled between the management and the workers in the afternoon following which the work was resumed.

Nearly 500 workers of the unit, located near Jalandhar bypass, came out in protest against the demand to raise salary.

A spokesperson of the company said: “They are given an increment every year. They wanted to know some details about it due to which there was a minor altercation. The matter was sorted out after a dialogue between he management and workers.”

The workers’ protest set alarm bells ringing in the industry, which is wary of labour unrest. Industry representatives said chances of workers having been provoked by some outside parties could not be ruled out.

“The industry here is witnessing increased incidents of labour unrest. Backed by political parties, several labour unions are trying to spoil working environment. So far it was confined to the cycle industry, but it is quite likely that certain political parties are trying to create unrest in the hosiery industry too,” said Mr B.D. Arora, advocate, who is a legal adviser to several companies.



BJYM flogs state govt over private varsity
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 2
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), while castigating the Punjab Government for granting legislative approval to a private university in the state, has vowed to launch a decisive battle against the move. The youth wing of the BJP has not only decided to file a PIL in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the step which was bound to have far-reaching repercussions on the education system but would also start a mass agitation with the cooperation of students, teachers as well as other social and political bodies.

Addressing a news conference here yesterday, the district secretary of the BJYM, Mr Sandeep Kapoor, observed that the proposed Lovely Professional University would lead to commercialisation of professional education and exploitation of the student community in a big way.

“The Lovely International Trust which has been allowed to set up the university has neither the requisite experience nor any significant contribution in the field of education. It is with sheer money power that the said trust has set up a number of educational institutions and manipulated the government in seeking approval for a private university.”

According to Mr Kapoor, the Lovely Professional University Bill, adopted by the Punjab Assembly was also against the professed policies of the state government in bringing about excellence in technical and professional education. On the one hand, the Punjab Government had set up separate universities for technical education and health sciences while on the other, the said university had been permitted to impart education in all disciplines, including technical and health education.

He alleged that the permission granted to the private university for starting distant learning centres and according affiliation to already functional educational institutions anywhere in the country would result in mushrooming of unscrupulous institutions and indiscriminate award of degrees as had happened in the case of universities allowed to be opened by the Chhattisgarh Government. Mr Kapoor said in allowing the said university to decide the fee structure and admissions at its own level, the government had failed to safeguard the interests of the student community.

The BJYM functionary was also critical of the compromise on the post of the Chancellor of the proposed private university. “Unlike in other universities in the state, the Governor will not be the ex-officio Chancellor of Lovely Professional University and will be a mere visitor. Further, the 10-member governing committee will have just one nominee of the state government.”

In the total absence of regulatory controls and government intervention, those running the university were bound to exploit the students and make a mockery of education, Mr Kapoor apprehended.



Pensioners set up joint front
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 2
The Punjab State Pensioners Confederation, the Punjab State Pensioners Maha Sangh and the Punjab Govt Pensioners Association representatives met here today in Pensioners’ Bhavan and formed a joint front of pensioners for launching a struggle against the apathy of the Punjab Government for the settlement of their genuine demands based on promises made by the Congress.

A nine-member Joint Action Committee has been formed with B.R. Kaushal , Avtar Singh Afat, H S Sodhi from the Punjab State Pensioners Confederation, O P Gauba, Hardev Singh and Principal Waryam Singh from the Punjab Govt Pensioners Association and Prem Sagar, Ranbir Dhillon and Khushal Singh Naga from the Punjab State Pensioners Maha Sangh. The joint front will struggle for pensioners’ demands which include pension parity of pre- January, 1996, retirees with post-January, 1996, retirees, enhancement of fixed monthly medical allowance 15 per cent old-age allowance for those pensioners having attained the age of 80 years, house maintenance allowance at 5 per cent of the basic pension, revision of pensions from Jan 1, 06.

The Joint Action Committee will organise district-level meetings of pensioners bodies between January 16 and 21, 2006 to mobilise a massive agitation on the eve of the ensuing Budget session at Chandigarh. 



PPCC flays MC for inflated water bills
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 2
Taking a strong notice of inflated water and sewerage bills being sent by the civic authorities to city residents, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has asked the Municipal Corporation to take immediate steps to redress the problems of the people failing which they will take up the matter with senior officials of the Local Government department as well as the state government.

In a communication to the MC Commissioner, PPCC Secretary Parminder Mehta has pointed out that the bills received by a large number of people in the city showed arrears of water and sewerage charges which had already been paid by the residents.

He further said the MC staff was harassing those who wanted their bills corrected. “The residents have been asked to produce receipts of paid bills for the past several years which is practically impossible.” Mr Mehta maintained that the fault lay with the civic staff who were not posting the computerised or manual receipts and the city population was made to suffer.

The PPCC functionary wanted networking of computers at all zonal offices in the city so that relevant data of water and sewerage bills should be available not only at the MC headquarters but also at all zonal and sub-zonal offices and the work of billing and receipts could be streamlined.



Spiralling land prices worry forum
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 2
The People’s Awareness Forum (PAF), at its meeting held on December 31, expressed deep concern over the skyrocketing land prices in Ludhiana. It said owning a house was now beyond the reach of the common man.

The meeting was presided over by Prof Prithipal Singh Kapur, a former Pro-VC, Guru Nanak Dev University.

Holding the land mafia, money-minting property dealers and builders responsible for it, they felt that their mischievous machinations with the patronage of unscrupulous politicians were promoting unethical black money dealings, leading to the widening of the gulf between the rich and the poor. The district administration was urged to curb these economic offenses.

Briefing mediapersons about the proceedings of the meeting, Prof K.B.S. Sodhi, an executive member, disclosed that forum members unanimously demanded the setting up of a Ludhiana development authority to ensure a regulated development of the town.

A committee under the chairmanship of Mr A.R. Gupta was constituted with Mr S.S. Gill and Dr. P.S. Sohi as members in this regard.

The forum members hailed the government’s decision to expel tainted MPs involved in the cash for-question scam.

In a resolution moved by Mr K.S. Chawla, vice-president of the forum, they requested Dr D.R. Bhumble, former VC, Haryana Agricultural University, to be the patron of the forum.



Telecom staff protest against transfers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 2
Led by activists of the National Federation of Telecom Employees of the BSNL, employees staged a protest at the office of the General Manager, Ludhiana Telecom, and a representative of the NFTE started a fast against “selective and vindictive” transfers by the management.

In a press note issued here today, the district secretary of the NFTE, Mr Mohinder Parshad, alleged that the activists of the association were being victimised and transferred at the behest of rival union. He said during the past eight months, different criteria had been adopted to target the activists of the NFTE.

He charged the BSNL administration with backing out from settlement which was arrived at during several rounds of negotiations. He said the agitation would continue till justice was dispensed to the affected employees and a fair transfer policy was implemented by the BSNL. 



Passing Thru

Rajiv Asija
Rajiv Asija, Executive Vice-President, HCL Infosystems

How is your company contributing towards increasing IT penetration?

We are focusing on large-scale projects pertaining to information technology. For instance, we are implementing an IT project in over 2,000 schools in Punjab. There is another broadband project for BSNL that we have taken up. Through such projects, we aim to spread IT to even small towns and rural areas.

What is the IT project in schools about?

It is a five-year project involving an investment of more than Rs 70 crore to be implemented in 1,600 schools over a period of five years. We have also obtained a second order from the government for 1,500 more schools across the state. The company will supply, install and maintain IT infrastructure in government schools, both in rural and urban areas, as part of the project. There is massive employment generation, too, through such projects.

Your company has also launched a PC for Rs 10,000.

Yes, it is another effort to reach out to a large section of people by introducing low-cost IT products. Over 6,000 such personal computers have already been sold.

— Shveta Pathak



Girl child’s Lohri on Jan 10
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 2
A meeting of the executive committee of the Malwa Sabhyacharak Manch (Regd) Punjab was held with Prof. M.S. Cheema in the chair. Mr. K.K. Bawa, chairman of the Manch, Mr. Pawan Dewan, president, and Mr Ravinder Rangoowal, Convener were present. Dalip Singh Dhillon and Satnam Singh Sahota from Canada and UK also participated.

Some new features will be added to the Lohri Mela to be held on January 10, 2006 at Punjabi Bhavan. “Mutiar Punjab Di” and “Gabhroo Punjab Da” will be selected from the audience by a special committee.

Lohri of the girl child will also be celebrated with fervour and enthusiasm.



HUDA to develop industrial areas
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 2
Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) hopes to finally develop its industrial areas by introducing the new Estate Management Procedure. The procedure has been recently approved by HUDA in its meeting held on December 29.

Under the new procedure, no industrial plot allottee can transfer his plot before having completed 25 per cent construction, and initiating commercial production till a minimum of one year. Even the person, on whose name the plot is transferred, will have to start and continue production for a year, before he can re-sell the industrial plot.

Also, the allottee will have to undertake commercial production for a project that he got approved from HUDA. He cannot change the project without approval from the Industries Department. Officials in HUDA, however, inform that these conditions need not apply in case of transfer of the plot from a person to his legal heirs, after death.

This is the first time that HUDA has initiated its own industrial policy. Till date the industrial policy of the state was being implemented in HUDA Industrial Areas. Earlier, the industrial plots could be transferred after 25 per cent construction on the plot.

The new procedure adopted by HUDA will go a long way in developing the Industrial Area here. Though the Industrial Area — both Phase I and II — were developed by HUDA over two decades ago, it has failed to come up to expectations. Of the 900 industrial plots spread over two phases, only 300 are operational as of now. With rising real estate prices, most of the allotees are keeping the plots for speculation.

Most of the developed industrial plots are being misused and instead of manufacturing units, hardware and furniture shops, textile and garment retail outlets, schools, a career academy, computer training institutes and even gymnasium are operational here.

In several plots, where a manufacturing unit is operational the plot allotees have further rented out space in their plots for running more than one business venture. This inspite of the fact that HUDA norms for allotment clearly specify that only one unit can run in a plot.

Mr Satish Gupta, president, Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry: This is a good step to increase the industrial production and promote economic activity in the industrial area developed by HUDA .

Mr S.S. Goel, general secretary, Panchkula Industrial Association: There is not much change in the Estate Management Procedure, but it will definitely give a fillip to industry in Panchkula. Also, speculation on industrial plots will be curbed to a great extent. The government should also consider our demand for allowing tenants in the plots and allow us to change industrial projects on own.



Punjabi lekhak conference rescheduled
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 2
General Secretary of Kendriya Punjabi Lekhak Sabha said in a press note that the working committee of the lekhak sabha had held a meeting, under Mr Avtar Jaura, in Punjabi Bhavan here on Saturday.

They had extended the date of membership to the sabha till January 15 which would be the final date, the statement said. The committee member said the Vishav Punjabi Lekhak Conference, to be held in Jalandhar, had been postponed. In a unanimous decision taken by members, the conference now would be held on February 2 in Jalandhar only, in continuation with the golden jubilee meetings, in which Mr Hira Singh Dard Award would be awarded to writer, Mr Jagjit Singh Anand.

Dr Ravinder Ravi award would be given to Mr Surjit Gill.

Persons closely working with the Sabha would also be honoured, the note said.

Indian Kavita Utsav would be held on January 11 and 12 at Ludhiana at Punjabi Bhavan. In the utsav, 15 writers of different languages would also be taking part and their translations in Punjabi would be done simultaneously.

On January 15, 2006, in continuation of Golden Jubilee celebrations, a Punjabi Geet seminar and Geet Darbar would be held at public library, Sanipur village near Sirhind and it would be presided by Dr Surjit Patar.



10 vehicle owners challaned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 2
The District Transport Officer today challaned around 10 vehicle owners whose pollution emission level was more than the permissible limits.

The DTO, Mr Kuldeep Singh, was educating vehicle drivers during the road safety week being observed in the district. A team, checked the emission level by a number of vehicles on the roads. Only those, that were emitting poisonous gases much beyond the limits were challaned. The rest were given a warning and asked to comply with the rules.

He said the idea behind the awareness camp was not to challan the vehicles but to educate people about road safety.

He added that they would continue to educate people on the issue during the week.



Enthusiasm marks nagar kirtan
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 2
Hundreds of devotees from the town and villages participated in a nagar kirtan organised yesterday in various parts of the town.

The kirtan was organised before the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh. It started from the Nadda Sahib gurdwara and went across various parts of the town.

Almost 100 trucks and trolleys carrying devotees moved around the town. Panj Piyaras, gatka artistes and a band accompanied the devotees. A beautifully decorated palanquin, carrying the Guru Granth Sahib followed the Panj Piyaras. The devotees sang gurbani and performed kirtan. The gurdwaras in various sectors and several other social organisations organised tea and chhabeels for the devotees.

Members of the Social Seva Society led by Mr Tejinder Pal Singh showered flowers and sprinkled perfumed water all the way. The devotees also lighted crackers.

The police had made elaborate security arrangements and PCR vehicles accompanied the nagar kirtan. The nagar kirtan lasted for almost 10 hours.


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