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Panel’s ultimatum to LIT head to furnish reply
Slum mushrooming case
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Taking a serious note of the failure of Ludhiana Improvement Trust Chairman to submit a reply in the SBS Nagar residents’ plea demanding the removal of slums, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC) has provided a last chance to the former failing which the commission would decided the case ex-parte.

Providing last opportunity to the Chairman of LIT, Wg Cdr Paramjit Singh Sibia (retd), the member PHRC, Mr B.C. Rajput, has asked him to furnish a reply on next date of hearing on April 13.

Pronouncing the order, Mr Rajput said, “The chairman, LIT, has failed to file the reply in terms of the provisions of Section 16 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. He is afforded another opportunity to do so, failing which the commission shall be constrained to decide the matter ex-parte.”

A copy of the order has also be forwarded to the Secretary, Department of Local Bodies, Government of Punjab. Residents of Block-E of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar had approached PHRC in October last year after the Improvement Trust had failed to redress their problem.

The residents had been claiming that slums in their area had made their lives miserable as the dwellers were using public parks as toilets, were littering garbage and drawing electricity through “kundi” connections. Despite repeated complaints to the Improvement Trust no action had been taken against them.

Upset over this some residents said everytime they went to the trust requesting the authorities take an action they were told that unavailability of police force was not allowing them to control the menace. Two years ago, the residents had even returned the keys of their houses to the Chairman of the Trust in protest. The then Chairman had promised to take prompt action against the “jhuggi” dwellers but nothing was done. Even after the new Chairman took over their grievance was not redressed despite repeated assurances.

They claimed that the slums had mushroomed on open spaces meant for parks in the area. The LIT had never developed the parks so “jhuggis” had cropped up on these pieces of land in this posh area.

The slums sprung up six to seven years ago and following protests by the residents the “jhuggis” were razed during the tenure of former Chairman, M.M. Vyas. But these came up again before the elections and some candidates got the names of jhuggi dwellers included in the voters’ list. Later, nobody was able to remove them.

The residents said more than 500 “jhuggis” had come up on an area of 475 acres belonging to the Improvement Trust. The “jhuggi” dwellers were creating problems for them by drawing electricity through “kundi” connections thereby increasing the load on the power supply in the area. They also reared pigs, which created nuisance by entering the green areas in the houses. Moreover, the dwellers used the parks as urinals and open toilets thereby creating a perfect breeding ground for disease-spreading germs.

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Beware of “fair” cheats
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Even as the city police is unable to nail a ‘motorcycle gang’ comprising two male youths, who have been snatching purses and gold chains almost at will in several parts of the city, a new gang of smartly-dressed girls is busy in its exploits and making a mark on the city’s crime scene. Women residents of the city are the prime targets of both these gangs.

Two girls, apparently from well-to-do families and speaking fluent English, have struck at a number of markets in the city off late. They use different techniques to rob the victims, mostly women. They either use a perfume that renders the victim unconscious or take away a purse or jewellery with a masterly sleight of hand.

The latest victim of this gang is Ms Vijaya Sharma, a resident of Punjab Mata Nagar here. Two young girls approached her in Kochar Market last evening. The girls spoke in a polite and well-mannered tone and told her that they wanted to buy a perfume but were not able to decide from the variety of brands available. Ms Vijaya Sharma said she agreed to help them select a perfume by sniffing a couple of perfume bottles that the girls were carrying outside a shop selling those. She immediately felt giddy and lost consciousness within few seconds. When she regained consciousness after a few seconds she found that her gold bangles were missing. She looked all around for the girls but they could not be traced. She has lodged a complaint in this regard with the Kochar Market police.

Just few days ago, two girls of similar description had stolen the purse of a journalist. In a complaint lodged at the Division No 5 police station, the journalist reported that two girls were following her in the market for some time and they stood very close to her and after sometime, she realised that her purse, containing Rs 8000 and important documents, including driving licence, was missing. 

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Pesticide residues in food worry scientists
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Pesticide residues in food and feed continue to worry environmentalists as these lead to serious health hazards, even cancer. The issue was debated during a two-day seminar on “Our Environment: status and challenges ahead” at the PAU recently. It was jointly hosted by the Institute of Engineers and Department of Entomology.

PAU entomologists Dr B.S. Joia and Dr R.S. Battu, in their paper on pesticides residue, mentioned that pesticides would remain an essential and integral part of modern science and their importance would not decrease in future. Though there was a need to decrease the role of plant protection chemicals in agriculture. The need was to introduce legal and administrative frame work for the use of insecticides, pesticides, fungicides and so on, while that ensuring reaping maximum benefited in terms of yield with minimum risks to human health and environment. This was a challenge of future that had to be faced collectively by scientists, farmers, policy-makers, industry and trade.

Both stated that agricultural chemicals would play a key role in impacting farm strategies to fulfil country’s needs because over a time period these agricultural chemicals and pesticides had played a major part in sustainable agricultural production.

Giving a wide spectrum of specimens analysed by the PAU to determine the level of pesticide residues in food and feed and to meet legally permitted maximum residue limits, the two entomologists had covered milk and milk products, vegetable oils, meat, human milk, animal feed and cereals before and after the restriction/ban on the use of DDT and HCS chemicals in 1996-97.

Dr Joia and Dr Battu revealed that all samples were found to be contaminated much above permitted threshold levels. In fact, there had been a decrease in pesticide residue in respect of organochlorine insecticides sprayed on vegetable, while organophosphate carbonates and synthetic pyrethroids had appeared because of changes in usage pattern of insecticides in agriculture.

Referring to the intensity of consumption of pesticides, it was pointed out that at present around 10,000 tonnes of chemicals were being used globally.

The two entomologists suggested that environment conscious and ones concerned with protecting ecology, agricultural scientists and policy-makers must work jointly to devise ways of increasing food production by methods other than chemical control.

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4 booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 29
The local police has booked four persons, including a former sarpanch of Dehliz Kalan village, under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC. The case has been registered on the directions of the SSP, Sangrur, who had been approached by the victim.

Ms Hasso, alias Rusman, a widow, of Dehliz Kalan village had alleged that Akram Khan, former sarpanch, Ramzan Khan, Suleman Khan, Faqiria and Sabri of the same village had attempted to dispose of a piece of land belonging to her and measuring above 10 bighas on the basis of some documents they had got signed from her on the pretext of getting her an electric motor connection.

“They prepared a fake agreement on the blank stamp papers signed by me for getting an electric connection and tried to sell a piece of land measuring above 10 bighas that I had already sold to Ajmer Singh,” told Rusman to the police.

When Rusman and the purchaser came to know about the fake agreement, they reported the matter to SSP Sangrur Harinder Chahal who, after getting the allegations verified, directed the police to register an FIR against the accused. Faqiria, one of the accused, has been arrested and sent in judicial remand. The police is hunting the other accused.

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Bank manager booked
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 29
The police has registered a case against Ravi Kiran, a former manager the Hedon branch of Punjab and Sindh Bank, on the complaint of the Branch Manager, Mr Manjit Singh. The Branch Manager alleged that Ravi Kiran had committed a fraud of more than Rs 19 lakh with the bank.

The Economic Offence Wing had conducted a probe in this regard. The police said the accused had withdrawn the cash from the bank by forging documents.

A case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC has been registered at the Samrala police station.

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Car driver suffers heart attack, dies

Ludhiana, January 29
A resident of Model Town, Iqbal Singh, died in a car accident this morning near a Gurdwara in the colony.
He was returning from the religious place when his Indica car hit an electric pole. Police sources said it seemed the man had suffered a heart attack and met with the accident. TNS

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Ludhiana Calling

The first month of this year is ending. Yet, several people are sending New Year greeting cards, especially to journalists. The cards have not arrived late because of any delay in the postal services. It is because of some “smart” senders who wanted to please journalists in order to get coverage of their function. Most of the senders are school principals or management members. They put invitation card of their functions in the same envelope of the greeting card only.

National spirit

Two politicians left everyone wondering during the Republic Day function here. When the Chief Minister unfurled the Tricolour and the national anthem began, the two politicians — the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (Urban) and another an owner of a five-star hotel — preferred continue walking towards the stage instead of standing and wait for the national anthem to be over. One wonders if the politicians have national spirit!

Unique SMS

Since the short message service (SMS) culture is thriving, people have started greeting each other on various occasions through the SMS only. On all important days, the network gets clogged. On Republic Day a unique SMS was received. It read: “Besharm Bharat ke bacho, friendship day ya Valentine’s Day hota to ab tak 100 SMS ho gaye hote. Come on, it is a great day for India. At least wish everybody a happy Republic Day”.

Traffic chaos

The Ferozepore road passing through the city is undoubtedly the widest road in the city. But of late, the mushrooming of multiplex, showrooms and marriage palaces has led to increased flow of traffic. Many of those visiting the shopping arcades park their four-wheelers on roads to save the parking fee. Though it is illegal to park the vehicles this way, the cops seem to turn a blind eye to the violation.

Who cares?

While residents leave no stone unturned to express their sentiments towards various gods, they seem to respect national heroes scantily. An apt example of this attitude is the bust of Mahatma Gandhi put up outside the Municipal Corporation office. The place is used as a shelter by beggars and other persons who not only dry clothes by spreading these over the statue but also use the place for storing their belongings. At times, the rags collected by pickers are piled up under the shelter. But who cares?

Dancing girls

Despite outcry by the media and the social workers in the past, a large number of politicians attended Republic Day functions where dancing girls staged shows in scanty clothes. The politicians miss no chance to claim they were working for social upliftment of the deprived classes. But they themselves sort of approve the exploitation of the dancing girls by attending such functions.

CM’s retort

The other day the Chief Minister was addressing mediapersons and making tall claims of development in the state. When he was claiming that the state would see a lot of development in the coming year, a journalist asked him with a question: Tell us how many projects would be completed during this year? The reply was:Can you construct your house in a year? What else the Chief Minister could say. 

Dirty entry

The local Municipal Corporation is believed to be one of the best in the country. However, if you happen to travel to the city in a train you can judge how hollow the claims are. Heaps of garbage greet the visitors. The corporation has no co-ordination with the Railways to stop use of land as dumping grounds.

— Sentinel

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Govt committed to uplift of weaker sections: Johar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 29
Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, Punjab, said the state government had launched many schemes for the benefit of the weaker sections and created a “Dedicated Social Security Fund” of Rs 450 crore to ensure regular and timely pension/financial assistance to 11 lakh beneficiaries, including the aged, widows, orphans and physically challenged persons.

Mr Johar was addressing a function organised by Kashyap, Rajput and Mehra communities to observe the death anniversary of Sant Baba Moti Lal Mehra here today.

He said the whole backlog of pensions had been cleared and in future all beneficiaries eligible under different categories would get their pensions regularly. He said the state government had also decided to implement the 85th Constitutional Amendment as fulfilment of its poll promise. He said the state government had decided to allow 200 units of electricity free of cost per month to the SC families having load of 300 watts or less. The state government was giving a subsidy of Rs 50 crore per year on this count to the electricity board, he added.

Mr Johar said the government had also earmarked Rs 886 crore for special component plan for the year 2005-06 for the welfare of the poor. He claimed that the state government was already implementing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to provide gainful employment to the unemployed in the rural areas.

Reiterating the resolve of the government for the recruitment of the teachers in government schools in the state, Mr Johar said the state government was all set for the recruitment of 12,000 teachers in the schools shortly and the recruitment procedure in this regard was likely to be approved in the next meeting of the Cabinet. He said the government was going to introduce computer education in government schools at all levels.

He informed that the government had employed 1300 teachers during the last year and 1700 during the current academic session to impart the computer education to the students of Class X and Plus II. He said from the next academic session computer education would be made compulsory at the middle and primary levels.

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Railway ex-employees submit memo
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 29
Serving as well as retired employees of the Railways have sought recognition of more private hospitals in the city so that a comprehensive medical cover is made available to the beneficiaries, particularly in cases of emergency and during odd hours.

In a memorandum submitted to the General Manager of Northern Railways, functionaries of the All-India Retired Railwaymen Federation have pointed out that presently only one private hospital, Christian Medical College and Hospital, is on the approved list of the Railways and both the serving and retired employees often find it difficult to reach the hospital from different localities of the city.

Mr L.D. Verma, divisional president of the federation, said Ludhiana is a major city in the Ferozepore division of Northern Railway with more than 26,000 beneficiaries. Making a case for the recognition of more private hospitals to provide better and easier access to the serving and retired railway employees, the federation suggested that in addition to the already recognised CMCH, the Railway authorities ought to bring at least three more private hospitals in the list of approved medical institutions for the employees and pensioners.

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From medicine to making palanquins for gods
Asha Ahuja

Gianeshwar Sood
Gianeshwar Sood

Ludhiana, January 29
He dared to dream and satisfy his heart’s desire and his aesthetic bent of mind. In doing so Mr Gianeshwar Sood quit his last year of medical studies and took to designing ornate furniture. While he was silently moving towards his pursuits, his father Dr K.K. Sood disapproved of him as he wanted his son to be a doctor at any cost and follow in his foot steps. But destiny stepped in.

Gianeshwar was not just satisfied with making exotic pieces of furniture, he also dreamt of making palanquins fit for gods and goddesses. Gianeshwar was fascinated by a palanquin of Lord Krishna he had seen in an ISCKON temple in Juhu, Mumbai, during a college trip. Its beauty haunted him and he wanted to make one such palanquin.

He got an opportunity to make a palanquin when ISCKON at Ludhiana wanted a palanquin to install the idol of Krishna on it. Gianeshwar took up the challenge and made a bigger one than what he had seen in Mumbai.

After that he gained confidence and started making bigger and more intricate palanquins. He recently made an exquisite palanquin in teak wood, which drew gasps of admiration from devotees when the idols in it were unveiled in Shri Radha Govind Temple, Hambaran Road, some times back. This palanquin designed by Gianeshwar and executed by Muslim craftsmen of Saharanpur is 18-feet high, 10-feet broad and 6-feet deep. It took 24 craftsmen 18 months to complete it but it was a beautiful sight to behold. This was the eighth palanquin made by him and his admirers said that this was by far his best one.

Before that he had made two for his home, one for a temple in ISKON Jagannath Temple, Ludhiana, one for a temple in Gaziabad, and another for a temple in Hardwar. Now he is getting a lot of inquiries from Indians settled abroad who want him to make palanquins for their temples.

He says, “Despite not being formally trained at all, I can visualise everything and carry out the most complicated designs with ease. I have decided that for doing god’s work I would work on ‘no profit, no loss basis’ and with utmost dedication and reverence.”

Probably that is what has helped Gianeshwar make such fantabulous palanquins that not only please the eyes but also the soul.

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MC demolishes portion of shop 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
A demolition squad of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation demolished part of a shop on the Chandigarh road here yesterday following a complaint by the shopkeeper association of the area that a shop-owner was violating building bylaws.

The demolition squad removed the shutter of the shop that was extended by around 6 feet on the road. When the team started the demolition, the owner of the shop offered to remove the shutter himself. By the evening the violation was corrected.

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Sidhu’s effigy burnt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
The SC/ST cell of the District Congress Committee today burnt an effigy of cricketer-turned-BJP-leader Mr Navjot Sidhu here today.

Led by Dr Ajit Singh, senior vice-president of the cell, the agitators said that Mr Sidhu had no issue to raise against the Congress-led government in the state and was resorting to poor tactics to gain publicity.

Mr Sidhu had burnt an effigy of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh at a rally in Amritsar yesterday.

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3 booked under Dowry Act
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 29
The Sudhar police, acting on the directions of DIG Ludhiana, has booked three persons of Mullanpur Dakha under the Dowry Act for allegedly harassing a woman of Badhel village to bring more dowry.

According to an FIR registered on the statement of Manjit Kaur of Badhel village in Ludhiana district, Jagjit Singh of Mullanpur Dakha, her husband, Pritam Singh, father-in -law and Amarjit Kaur, mother-in-law had been harassing her for not bringing more dowry.

Manjit and Jagjit were married in 2001 and the parents of the bride had reportedly given dowry, including luxury items and cash to the bridegroom. “Instead of accepting me as a member of their family, they started asking me to bring more dowry and cash immediately after our marriage. They threw me out of the house when my parents failed to meet their all demands,” reported Manjit to the police.

A number of meetings of people the area were held to resolve the matter. Ultimately an amicable settlement was arrived at in 2004, according to which the boy’s family was to pay Rs 2 lakh as subsistence and compensation to the victim. When the victim did not receive the full payment as settled earlier, she approached Mr Parag Jain, DIG Ludhiana, who deputed DSP (H) Ludhiana to investigate the matter.

During investigation, the complainant substantiated her allegations with witnesses and evidences and the DSP submitted his report to the DIG. On the basis of the said report, the authorities directed the Sudhar police to register a case. No arrest had been made in the case so far. 

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Industrial houses optimistic on Sensex
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
As the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) opens tomorrow for the trading amidst high expectations of the index touching the 10,000 mark, people here in the financial and industrial capital of Punjab are equally bullish.

And all big industrial houses here like Nahar Group, Hero Cycles, Vardhaman Group and others are watching the trend with great expectations. Most of them expressed optimism that the BSE may cross the 10,000 mark tomorrow only. Whether it will sustain there or not, however, remains to be seen.

Mr Kamal Oswal, Managing Director, Nahar Group of Industries, observed that there was every possibility of the Sensex crossing the 10,000 mark tomorrow.

“It may and it must”, he remarked, while adding, it would provide a definite boost to the industry. Besides, he pointed out, the mood at Dalal Street is always viewed as the reflection of the economic and financial stability in the country. He said he would be waiting to watch the historical moment with great expectations tomorrow.

The Managing Director of Hero Cycles, Mr S.K. Rai, is equally optimistic. He said: “Whether the BSE will cross the 10,000 mark tomorrow only or not may not be certain, but I am confident that in the coming days the benchmark would be crossed.” He said it would obviously have positive impact on the country’s economy as well as the industry.

“At least it will cheer up about 300 million big and small investors across the country,” Mr Rai pointed out.

However, the Chief Executive of Vardhaman Spinning and General Mills did not appear too bullish. He expressed “certain doubts” about the bullish trend.

“Although there is widespread optimism about the BSE crossing the 10,000 mark, I have doubts and I do not feel that much bullish and optimistic,” he said. He warned that the market might go for the mandatory “correction” and it could even come down.

The Executive Director of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE), Mr H.S. Sidhu, and the president of the Ludhiana Commodities, Mr Jaspal Singh, appeared to be more optimistic. They said there was abundant flow of funds.

Mr Jaspal Singh said: “As long as the fund flow continues smoothly, the index is certain to go higher than the 10,000 mark.”

However, Mr Sidhu sounded a note of caution as well, warning that the market could go for the correction anytime.

The mood among the brokers is equally bullish. Mr Ajit Singh Chawla, a leading broker in the LSE, said he was not just optimistic but confident that the index would cross the 10,000 mark tomorrow only.

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