L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Political parties wary of militant trade unionism
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
At a time when the elections are less than a year away, political parties in Ludhiana are placed in a dilemma over the rising militant trade unionism that has been threatening the industrial growth of the city. The aggressive trade unionists seem to have adopted a pattern to organise protests in one or the other industrial units at one point of time or the other. And the frequency remains regular, apparently subscribing to a particular pattern.

While the industrial houses remain worried as their existence remains at stake, the politicians have also started feeling concerned. On the one hand, they have the commitment towards the industrial growth and progress, while on the other hand they cannot overlook the aspirations of the workers and more so cannot antagonise the vote banks.

However, in recent cases it appears to be the personal interest of the trade union leaders more than that of the workers with some of them (the trade union leaders) having nourished the ambitions of contesting Assembly elections on the Left ticket. Interestingly, it is the left-affiliated CITU which mainly organises and orchestrates the protests against the industrial houses.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Member of Parliament Lala Lajpat Rai said while nobody can question the workers' right for decent and reasonable wages, nobody can tolerate indiscipline and bullying. He observed what has been happening in Ludhiana for the last couple of years appears to have been carried out according to a perfect plan aimed at destablising the city's economy. He warned this could have dangerous repercussions for the state economy as well.

Shiromani Akali Dal general secretary Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal said that the issue needed to be handled with caution and care. He appreciated the role of the administration in ensuring peace and law and order. He said the real reasons of the "aggressive and militant trade unionism" need to be looked into. Otherwise, he cautioned, "we are going to be big losers".

Mr Grewal pointed out that while on the one hand the state is trying to provide red carpet welcome to the investors, on the other hand there are frequent and regular labour strikes. He said while the labour interests remain paramount, at the same time the industrial growth must not be held hostage.

Even the members of the ruling Congress, including some of the legislators and parliamentary secretaries, have been critical of the aggressive attitude of the trade unions. While they did not want to go on record for the obvious reasons of not antagonising the unions, they regretted that some people in the name of workers' interests were holding the entire system to ransom. Several of these leaders have expressed their solidarity with the industry and assured them that the government will not let anybody to disturb peace and harm industrial growth.



After husband & son, woman loses property
Accuses nephew of duping her
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
The Economic Offences wing of the police will inquire into a land fraud case in which a physically challenged widow, Anu Jethi, of Ayali Khurd was allegedly duped of the rights to her property in the village by her nephew. The woman and her 16-year-old daughter are living in fear of the accused.

SP (Detective) Gurpreet Singh has directed the Economic Offences wing to inquire into the complaint after panchayat members took up her case today. Interestingly, the anti-fraud staff of the police is already holding an inquiry on a complaint filed by the nephew, Karan Sood, against the woman. He had alleged that the woman had cheated him.

According to the woman’s complaint, her nephew had also allegedly cheated her of over Rs 16 lakh that she had saved in a post office. The most controversial part in the complaint was a list of expenditure of Rs 13 lakh which Karan Sood, alias Bobby, had given to the woman explaining how he had spent her money.

The list includes Rs 5 lakh that was given as bribe to police officials. The list also mentions bribe given to Revenue Department officials.

However, neither the Economic Offences wing nor the anti-fraud staff is probing the veracity of the expenditure list in which the claims of bribing officials were made. The officials were bribed for settling some disputes with neighbours.

While an official of the anti-fraud staff took the statement of the woman at her residence today claiming he was investigating the right of ownership, SP (Detective) Gurpreet Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that the EO wing would only probe if the woman was cheated or not.

“We have not received the expenditure list in which the claims of bribery have been made,” he said, declining to comment on the allegations.

Anu Jethi claimed that her faith in God was first shattered when she lost her husband and son in different incidents and also got physically challenged after her legs got paralysed. She said her faith in humanity took a beating when her nephew cheated her and got the entire property in his name by deceit.

She said her son had died in a mysterious accident a year ago after which she and her daughter were left alone. “My nephew volunteered to help us. He came to live with us and used to run errands.”

However, after a few days he allegedly started creating misunderstandings between me and my daughter-in-law, who lives separately. “Bobby took my signatures on a piece of paper. He claimed he would make my daughter the owner of the property. However, he transferred all property in his name.”

The property in question is two plots in Ayali Khurd. The total worth of both plots is over Rs 25 lakh.

Anu Jethi said she had already given another plot and gold jewellery to her daughter-in-law as her share in the property.

Haibowal SHO Gurpreet Singh, however, said there was a lot more in the case than the complaint of the woman, “The woman earlier had a long property dispute with her daughter-in-law and a compromise was reached only with the counselling of the police.”



Slums mushroom along Sidhwan canal
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Even as the municipal corporation grapples with the problem of slums, more and more such colonies are mushrooming in the city. A number of slums have come up along the Sidhwan canal over the past few months. Those below the poverty line have put up shelters along the banks of the canal, consequently, the canal is being reduced to a polluted water body with garbage all around.

The canal authorities and the civic body, however, seem to be in slumber.

Not only migrants, but also some scrap dealers have started collecting scrap and dumping it near the canal. Polythene bags and other scrap materials are carried by the wind and deposited in the canal.

Owing to the "callous attitude" of the canal division department in keeping the canal and its banks clean and the failure of the police in preventing people from littering the canal, things have come to such a pass.

The amount of garbage is so high that it is contributing in raising the level of the canal bed. While officials concerned deny it, sources revealed that the water carrying capacity of the canal had suffered because of the garbage. Wide cracks had developed at several places.

When a Tribune team visited the canal today, a number of migrants were washing cement sacks and plastic bags soiled with a coloured substance. The water in that area had turned black. A little distance away, women were washing clothes and utensils.

An official of the canal division said they had written several complaints to the police but nothing had been done so far. While environmentalists maintain that the canal was getting increasingly polluted and the aquatic life in was under threat, the official termed the level of pollution as not worrisome.

Department sources said a number of persons were throwing pollutants in the canal, especially near the Malerkotla road. They had paid no heed to the requests of the department not to do so.



SAD rally tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Khamano, March 18
“The rally on March 20, being organised by the SAD at Samrala against ‘state repression’, will be historic,” said Jathedar Kirpal Singh Khirnia while addressing Akali workers at Gurdwara Sahib, Khamano.

He said people, particularly farmers, employees and labourers, were fed up with the present Congress government. He said the government had failed to fulfil the promises of the election manifesto.

He said SAD President Parkash Singh Badal, BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu and other Akali leaders would address the rally.

Today’s meeting was also addressed among others by BJP district general secretary Kuldeep Madaan, youth wing leader Gurdeep Ghumaan, Gurmit Singh and Gurnam Singh Kang.

Later, Jathedar Khirnia visited Khamano Melewali and Rahon village and urged the people to reach in large numbers for the rally.



PFA takes blue bull issue to Kalam
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Peeved at the recent notification of the Punjab Government ordering the shooting of blue bulls to help the peasantry, the People for Animals (PFA) has taken up the matter with the President of India stating that the shooting would render the shy animals extinct.

Stating that blue bulls had started straying into human inhabitation only due to the unavailability of food and water, the PFA said humans were responsible for the same as they were destroying the niche of wild animals by encroaching on their natural habitats.

Terming the decision as unfortunate and shocking, Dr Sandeep K. Jain of the PFA, in his letter to Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, said there were only 3,000 to 4,000 blue bulls in the state. These were protected under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act — 1972.

Dr Jain said this population could not be termed as high and one spotted these creatures in remote forests only, that too rarely. These were shy creatures and came out of forests only due to deforestation. Due to massive encroachments on forest land and extensive cultivation, their habitat had dwindled.

The blue bull had vanished from southern India due to bad management of forests and wildlife. In Nepal, the blue bull had been included in Red Data Book in that country.

“By allowing the shooting of blue bulls, the government will only encourage the poaching of “neel gai”. To help matters, the government should start and subsidise crop insurance policies for farmers. They should be encouraged to put up fences around their fields or start community guarding of crops. Millet and grass should be sown and plenty of water should be provided inside the forests so that these creatures are not forced to come out of their natural habitat,” said Dr Jain. Better forest and wildlife management should be ensured so that wild animals remain in their niche. Punjab has the lowest forest cover as well as the number of wild animals.

Animals could be declared vermin and shooting orders could be given in the rarest of rare situation, if all efforts to catch them or rehabilitate them failed. Before issuing orders, the government should have removed the encroached territory of forests which was the home of these voiceless creatures, said Dr Jain. 



Divers await promised jobs
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Divers Mrityunjay Saini and Satyen Sahani in Ludhiana on Saturday
Divers Mrityunjay Saini and Satyen Sahani in Ludhiana on Saturday. — Photo by I.V.

Ludhiana, March 18
Their dreams to get a job in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC), as promised by the authorities some years ago, were shattered once again when they received a letter from the civic body authorities expressing their helplessness to help them in the matter.

Disappointment was in store for divers Satyen Sahani, alias Veeru, Mrityunjay Saini and Rutal Mahato when they received the letter that their case was already in the court and they could not be accommodated in the civic body.

Satyen, Rutal and Mrityunjay, migrants from Bihar, were among the four divers belonging to the Gotakhor-Mallah community, whose heroic act to recover bodies had won accolades from the administration around eight years ago. They were promised a job and cash award of Rs 50,000 by the corporation, but both promises still elude them after eight years.

Rutal claimed that he had even worked as an employee with the tubewell division of the corporation for some years. He had also signed in the daily log book which showed his attendance during service in the corporation. He claimed that he was assured that he would be made a permanent employee later.

He claimed that the Deputy Commissioner had also blatantly refused to accept his request in this regard. Every time he went to the Deputy Commissioner, he was directed to the municipal Commissioner, who wrote on his application that there was no vacancy in the corporation.

Recalling the time of the announcement of the promise along with producing supporting documents, Sahani and Mahato said in May 1996 three well diggers had died after a well which they were digging caved in at Mohalla Ganesh Nagar.

Though all government machinery was assigned to retrieve the bodies, these could not be recovered. Then divers were called for help.

According to them, municipal officials led by an XEN, who is now a Superintendent Engineer, promised a cash prize and a government job to all if the three bodies were retrieved. The divers embarked on the work despite the fact that the walls of the well were caving in constantly.

They had to stop the work midway when they were not provided with the required equipment. Even then the administration could not retrieve the bodies after seven days of the incident. Angered at the delay, residents of the city staged two massive demonstrations against the administration. After one such demonstration, the services of the divers were again sought. This time, according to the labourers, the administration did as demanded and soon all bodies were retrieved.

However, the labourers were not given the promised job and since then they have been knocking at the doors of MC officials, the administration and political leaders for their award. Later, they had helped the police in fishing out mutilated bodies dumped in various water bodies in the city.



Maneka’s plea to F1 driver
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
On behalf of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), MP Maneka Gandhi has written to formula one driver, Fernando Alonso of Spain, urging him to stop mimicking the movements of a matador while standing on his car or at the podium. This was stated in a press note here today.

Pointing out that bullfighting was a "crude, cruel and cowardly’’ spectacle, she said attempting to glorify it offended millions of animal supporters.

In her letter to Alonso, Ms Gandhi said: ‘‘The torment of a living being and his subsequent repeated stabbing and often slow death, as well as the removal of his ears, is barbaric and no longer acceptable by any humane standards. Even in Spain, awareness is growing fast and some towns have already banned this cruel spectacle.’’

Bullfights involved deliberate torture and a bloody, painful death for bulls, who were often intentionally physically debilitated prior to the fight. According to a study 20 per cent of the bulls were drugged before they stepped into the ring. Former bullfighters admit that the bulls were fed laxatives to debilitate them days before the fight. Their neck muscles were cut to prevent them from lifting their heads and petroleum jelly was smeared into their eyes to blur their vision, she added. 



SAD wing promises help to victim’s kin
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 18
The ex-service wing of the SAD has extended financial and moral support to the family of Harban Singh, an ex-serviceman of Rangoowal village who had died after suffering from infection that was caused after he was reportedly sexually assaulted by three persons.

Col P.I.S. Phulka, secretary-general of the wing, said: "We have already taken up the matter with Mr Parkash Singh Badal and he has assured a compensation for the family on the pattern of riot victims.” Meanwhile, the Dehlon police is clueless about case. Though some suspects have been questioned, no definite clue has been found. 



Capt has kept poll promises, says MLA
Our Correspondent

Khamano, March 18
“The Capt Amarinder Singh government has fulfilled 95 per cent poll promises while the remaining will be fulfilled soon,” said Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, MLA, Samrala, while distributing cheques to sarpanches of the area.

He said the Punjab Government had announced Rs 5 crore to each MLA for development works under the Punjab Nirman Scheme and Rs 1 crore had already been released. He distributed cheques for Rs 34 lakh to 36 villages, besides a grant of Rs 5,000 to mahila mandals. He said government had decided to give compensation to farmers whose potato crop was affected due to bad weather.

Khamano Block Samiti chairman Harbans Singh Pandher said all villages had been provided grants irrespective of their political affiliation.



Foundation stone of senior citizens bhavan laid
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
The Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawar, laid the foundation stone of a senior citizens bhavan at Kidwai Nagar here today. The city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, and the Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, were present on the occasion. Mr Roop Lal, president of the Senior Citizens Forum, welcomed the dignatories and guests.

After laying the stone, Mr Dawar congratulated the forum for floating the project. He also listed other developments being carried out in his Assembly constituency. The Mayor and the Commissioner assured the forum that the bhavan would be completed at the earliest. 



1 held for usurping property
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 18
Hardial Singh of Hanskalan, who had allegedly usurped the property of her daughter-in-law, has been arrested under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC and 12 of the Passport Act 1967.

According to the information, Gurmel Singh, son of Hardial Singh, was married to Surinder Kaur, daughter of Sher Singh of Talwandi Rai village. Her husband had owned landed property. But, after his death his father usurped it by making a false will and applied for its mutation in his own name.

But, the will was declared a forged one and the property was transferred in the name of Surinder Kaur, who was living in Canada. Later, to show that Surinder Kaur had married with one Amar Singh after his had son died, Hardial Singh forged a passport showing Surinder Kaur as wife of Amar Singh and resident of Adampur.

Thus he deprived Surinder Kaur of her property. The police has recovered the forged passport.

Man booked for forging passport

Paramjit Singh, Lamberdar of Bangsi Pura that falls under the Sidhwan Bet police station, has been booked for concealing the facts of two passports.

He has been booked under Section 12 of the Passport Act of 1967.



Youth intoxicated, robbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Two unidentified men allegedly robbed a costly mobile phone instrument from a Class XI student of Sargodha Public School near Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib here today morning under mysterious circumstances.

The youth, Harmandeep Singh, alias Rimpy, son of a trader in Khud Mohalla, has claimed that he had gone to pay obeisance at the religious place, where two men gave him some intoxicating substance and he gained consiousness hours later near Alamgir village.

Rimpy called his parents from a PCO near Alamgir village and was later admitted to CMC Hospital. He said the two men had asked him about his mobile phone. The phone was worth Rs 20,000 and it was missing when he woke up.

The Division No. 2 police is investigating into the matter.



Man killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 18
An accident on the Ghudani Kalan-Rara Sahib road resulted in the death of the motorcyclist and left his wife injured. According to information, deceased Sohan Singh was driving his motor cycle (No. PB-BN-6439), with his wife Gurmeet Kaur on the pillion.

The trucck driver applied brakes to his vehicle ( PB 10H 9700) in front of them all of a sudden.As a result the motor bike dashed into it.

The Payal police has registered a case against the driver Jaggi under Sections 279,427,338 and 304-A on the complaint of Ranjodh Singh, brother of the deceased.



Bank sets up trust for farmers
Our Correspondent

Amloh, March 18
Punjab National Bank (PNB), which has over 400 branches across the country, has formed a Kisan Bhalai Trust to uplift farmers through farm-related business. This was stated by Mr Rattan Singh, Director, Farm Training Centre, Shamsher Nagar (Sirhind), here today.

Mr Rattan Singh was addressing farmers of Amloh tehsil at Ghulumajra village to create awareness among them about the policies of the bank. These policies provided for training to the youth in dairy farming, poultry farming etc, at the centre at Sirhind, which was one of the six colleges in the country and the only institute in the state, he added. He said another such centre would soon be functional at Mehraj village in Bathinda district.

Mr Suresh Gupta, Zonal Manager of the bank in Ludhiana, highlighted the various loan schemes, which were given at low interest rates to the unemployed rural youth passing out of the centre.

Dr Ranbir Sharma, Senior Veterinary Officer, Amloh tehsil, suggested precautions to the farmers in view of the spread of haemorrhagic septicemia among cattle in the neighbouring districts and Amloh tehsil. Vaccination in all border villages of the tehsil was on to prevent the spread of infection in the tehsil.

Mr Rachhpal Singh, Green Fodder Development Officer, suggested various methods to improve its yield and use the land after harvesting of wheat and paddy crops for green fodder. Mr Balbir Singh Jaria, a farmer, shared his successful experiments to obtain higher yield from healthy crops with low inputs.

Village Sarpanch Amarjeet Singh, Mr Karan Kapoor and Amrik Singh also spoke.



Fashion park signs MoUs with textile units
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
With a view to contributing towards the development of textile industry, the upcoming Fashion Technology Park, Mohali, signed agreements with the Knitwear Club, Shawl Club and Ludhiana Integrated Textile Park Ltd here late last evening.

Mr Jagjit Singh Kochar, CEO, Fashion Technology Park, said the MoUs would provide designing facility to Ludhiana's industry and also get manufacturing done. "It would facilitate the fashion industry with physical infrastructure and expertise of human resources, helping it enter the mainstream fashion," he said.

The industry, he pointed out, would perform better if innovative designing and correct use of techniques, besides better colour combinations etc were used. "The agreement would provide a significant value addition to the local industry," he said.

Mr Arvind Merchant, president of the Business School of Fashion which is also a part of the park, said the school would reach out to professionals, specialists, artisans and industry to collaborate and develop a value chain, motivate partners to invest time and resources and emerge as a leader in fashion activism.

He said three vital nodes of value chain of fashion—design, production and marketing—needed a significant focus. It was important to provide market access and business for producer groups involved in the initiative, building production based dedicated supplier, enhancing skills of artisans to match international standards, research and knowledge conversion and dissemination, he added.



Biz Clip
Fire extinguishing ball 

Ludhiana: Pacific Safety Products have launched a “self-activating fire extinguishing ball”. Mr Surinder Mahendru, CEO, Nicks Group, said the ball worked on all types of fires and was easy to use. “The product requires no practical training and is different from other fire fighting equipment as it automatically operates and extinguishes fire.” TNS


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