L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Leaders glorified, martyrs neglected
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
Forget martyrs and please political bosses. This seems to be the mantra of the administration if one compares the condition of statues of national heroes and life-size hoardings of various political leaders installed at various places in the city.

While no stone is left unturned to spruce up posters of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and AICC chief Sonia Gandhi, the statues of the martyrs are left for defacers and vagaries of the nature.

Only a few days ago, the huge billboards installed near Bharat Nagar Chowk and Bhai Bala Chowk, carrying pictures of the CM and Ms Gandhi, were given a fresh look while no attention was paid to the statues of Gadar martyr Kartar Singh Sarabha.

Interestingly, while the administration glorifies the achievements of the Congress-led government in the state through these hoardings, money becomes a consideration when it comes to maintaining the statues.

One can read the achievements of the state government clearly on the billboards but one has to make an effort to read the contribution of martyrs through the plates as they have worn out. All four plates fixed at the podium of martyr Sarabha have corroded and one cannot read the inscriptions on it. What to talk of the replacement, these have not even cleaned for all these years.

"They can spend any amount when it comes to pleasing their bosses. I am very sorry to say that their sacrifices are not being valued," said an angry resident of the city

"It is fine that they want to glorify their leaders but that does not mean that they neglect the martyrs. After all, they are the ones who had laid their lives to provide us freedom. And the nation who forgets its martyrs is doomed," he added.

Residents feel that the state government is spending lakhs of rupees on highlighting the achievements of the government in newspapers to attract voters, it has failed to provide the martyrs their due by at least keeping their statues maintained.

"Even those who have weak eyesight can figure out the list of government's achievements at Bhai Bala Chowk. But I was shocked to see that the last message of martyr Kartar Singh Sarabha to his countrymen requires a lot of effort to read it. How will our children assimilate it? Why cannot they convey it through similar billboards?" asked another resident.

Unfortunately his message reads: "Desh wasiyo yaad rakhna sanu, kite dilan to na bhula jana, Khatir watan di lagge han charan phansi, sanu dekh ke nahin ghabra jana" (Countrymen, please do not forget us. We are kissing the gallows for the sake of our country).



ETT teachers hold protest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 20
The Unemployed ETT Teachers Union and the Navniyukat Teacher Union held a meeting in the local Chattar Singh Park today. They organised a rally against the alleged complicated ways adopted by the state government for employment of ETT teachers.

The district adviser of the ETT Union, Mr Balraj Gholati, the district president, Mr Paramjit Singh Mann, and the general secretary, Mr Inderjit Singh Sidhu, addressed the gathering.

They criticised the state government for not filling vacant posts of ETT teachers. They said there were indications that only 400 to 500 teachers would be employed, whereas the total number of unemployed ETT teachers in Punjab was 5,850. Those not getting employment would file a writ petition in the court, they said.

The teachers later submitted a memorandum to the Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar.



ESI hospital staff observe fast
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 20
Employees of local ESI Model Hospital started a chain fast here today in protest against the alleged indifferent attitude of the authorities towards their demands.

Functionaries of the Punjab State ESI Hospital Employees Union and the Coordination Committee of Paramedical and Health Employees, Punjab, addressed the agitating employees. They charged the Medical Superintendent of the hospital of turning a deaf ear to their demands.

Mr Balbir Singh Kalia, chairman of the coordination committee, said the employees had earlier resorted to demonstrations and fast on February 20, which was called off on an assurance that all pending issues would be settled in a meeting with the Director-General of ESI Corporation at Delhi on February 27. However, the demands were still hanging fire.

In a memorandum submitted to the Medical Superintendent of the hospital, the union demanded restoration of old working hours from 9 am to 3 pm for OPD staff and five-day week for the clerical staff, the administrative control of the hospital being handed over to the state government, restoration of OPD facility for the staff of ESI Hospital and dispensaries, implementation of the state government service rules for the employees and settlement of other demands through bilateral negotiation.

Among others, Mr Swarn Singh, president, INTUC, Mr Amarjit Singh Pandher, convener of the coordination committee, Ms Kaushalya Devi, Mr Kulwinder Singh, Ms Shanta Devi, Mr Buta Singh and Mr Surjit Singh also addressed the workers.



Minor girl attempts suicide in front of SSP’s office
Not allowed to meet police chief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
A 17-year-old girl tried to kill herself outside the office of Senior Superintendent of Police today when she was not allowed to meet the police chief to complain against her boyfriend.

The girl, Amandeep Kaur, a resident of Shimla Puri, consumed some poisonous substance in the Mini Secretariat. Before consuming poison she raised a protest that while the police was claiming that it was accessible to people she was not allowed to meet the officials.

She was heard saying that she had no hope of justice being meted out to her. Saying this she consumed poison. Soon she fell unconscious and police cops called for an ambulance. She was rushed to the Civil Hospital where she was being treated by the doctors.

Police sources said that the girl was complaining against her boyfriend, who had promised to marry her but had refused later to do so. The latest cause of provocation was an altercation with the boy’s father last evening.



Robbers pose as PSEB staff, loot Rs 8 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
Four armed robbers, masquerading as PSEB linemen, looted a family of valuables and cash worth Rs 8 lakh after striking at their residence in Harcharan Nagar near Shingar cinema in broad daylight here today.

The robbers struck at the house of Mr Subhash Chander, a Manager with Patiala Transport Company, at around 11.30 a.m. when he was away to his office. His wife Kiran Bala, 13-year-old son, Sahil and their maid Ameena were at home.

Two persons rang their door bell which was answered by Sahil. When he opened the door two men, posing as PSEB employees, asked him whether they could check their electric meter. He allowed them in. As the meter was installed at some height one of the robbers asked to get a chair. When he managed to enter inside the house to get the chair he told the family members that they would be fined as their load was much more than declared by them.

Both of them asked to check the load on first floor of the house also. Suddenly two more persons walked in and asked her to give away the keys at gunpoint. Both of them were carrying pistols.

Kiran Bala initially refused to hand over the keys. The robbers told her that they would shoot her son if she failed to do so. The woman then handed over the keys. They opened her almirah and took away Rs 4 lakh cash and around 50 tola in gold ornaments.



Fauji Beat
Set up separate pay panel for forces

The much-trumpeted announcement in the Budget that the government has fulfilled the longstanding need of the retired armed forces personnel below officer rank (PBOR) is a flash in the pan. Though the details of this raise of Rs 460 crore in the pension of over 12 lakh PBOR are yet to be announced, it has been understood that the "unreasonable restriction" of completing 33 years of service to earn full pension has not been waived in this Budget.

To expect the PBOR, who comprise over 90 per cent of the Army, to complete 33 years of service is unreasonable and shows the insensitiveness of politicians and bureaucrats towards soldiers. How can a jawan who is compulsorily retired in his 30s complete 33 years of service to earn 50 per cent of his pay as pension? The government should understand that while this condition is fair for civilians, who retire at 60 years, it is discriminatory for soldiers.

The partial compensation announced in the Budget for the PBOR should be given from January 1, 1996, the day the civilian employees of the Central Government were given 50 per cent of their pay as pension as a result of the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations. And the PBOR were debarred from it. No wonder, that a jawan gets less pension than that of a peon of the Central Government.

The only way to do justice to the armed forces is to constitute a separated pay commission for them as is done in most countries. The time for this is now when the Sixth Pay Commission is about to be convened.

Soldiers' village

Apshinge, a village in western Maharashtra, has created a history in soldiering by sending at least one member from each family to the armed forces. With a population of less than 5,000, it has over 500 serving soldiers in the Army. This tradition has travelled down from the time when the village joined the Chattrapati Shivaji's army.

During the World War 1, 46 men from this village made the supreme sacrifice. There are a number of World War II veterans in the village. One of them a Lance Naik who had served in Burma, Java and Sumatra. He is 87-year-old now. Many soldiers from this village had laid down their lives in the war that India has fought after the Independence. There are two war memorials in the village for those soldiers who had laid down their lives in the World War II and in the 1971 war.

No other village in the country can boast of being visited by VIPs as Apshinge. In 1945, Sir John Colville, the then Governor of Bombay, visited the village. In 1946, Lord Wavell visited Apshinge. Admiral Mountbatten visited the village before he was appointed Governor General of India. The late Field Marshal (then General) K.M. Cariappa also visited the village and gave funds for the construction of a primary school.

Queries about professional institutes

We had mentioned in our columns on January 24, that two new professional institutes, under the aegis of the Army Welfare Education Society (AWES), would be set up in 2006-07. One of these, the Army Institute of Nursing (AIN), would be located at Guwahati in Assam. The other institute, Army College of Medical Sciences (ACMS), would function from the Base Hospital, Delhi Cantonment, until its new building is completed by about September, 2007.

There have been several queries from ex-servicemen about the admission and the likely dates by which these institutes will start. The ex-servicemen should address all such queries to the Army Welfare Education Society, Adjutant General's Branch, Army Headquarters, New Delhi.

Pritam Bhullar



No statesmen around, says Acharya Mahapragya
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 20
Lack of vision has plagued the state which was lagging behind other states as far as industrial development and quality of life is concerned. These views were expressed by Acharya Mahapragya, chief of the Sri Jain Shwestamber Tera Panth Sabha, after addressing Jain devotees at M G M N Senior Secondary School here today.

Stressing that the gender inequality was a major reason for present situation, Acharya Mahapragya claimed that the state could have emerged as the best state in the nation, had the successive governments involved religious and social leaders in restructuring of social system.

In an interview with the Ludhiana Tribune about his five-year Ahimsa Yatra, the Acharya pointed out that the people of this state lacked the vision and introspection. "The Punjabis overexploited their resources for gaining momentary contentment and ignored psychological and emotional development of the younger generation," he said, adding that the tendency had resulted in social evils like female foeticide, dowry system and juvenile crime. Spurt in suicide cases was also due to lack of rational thinking among the masses, he claimed.

On political scenario, Acharya Mahapragya stated that a majority of leaders lacked statesmanship. "Though political environment has changed radically since the pre-independence period, none of the leaders emerged to the stature of Mahatama Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru," maintained the acharya.

He pointed out that the live telecast of the Parliament session had offered a lame excuse to the people for continuing hostility and disharmony among themselves.

Acharaya Mahapragya, along with his fellow saints, started his peace march on December 5, 2001, and had been visiting various towns of the state for the past few months. He has been accorded the status of the state guest.



Dharamsot opens dharamshala

Amloh, March 20
Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Parliamentary Secretary , Home, Justice and PWD, inaugurated a dharamshala, built at a cost of Rs 12 lakh by the Ram Nagar Trust on the Nabha Road, here today.

He also laid the foundation stones for dharamshalas in ward No 10 , Balmik Basti, Ramdasia Dharamshala and at Sainsi Vehra Basti.

Dr Swatantar Karkara state secretary of congress, Dr Harpreet Singh Vice-President Municipal Council, Mr Jiwan Puri President arhtia association, Mr Budh Raj Councilor, Mr Happy Setha. Mr Sohan Singh , Mr Ram Dass (both former councilors ) also addressed the gatherings today. OC



Programme for martyrdom day
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 20
The Youth Forum here will organise a special programme to commemorate the 75th death anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh that falls on March 23.

Mr Jandeep Kaushal, chairman of the forum, said that a mashaal march would be taken out in the town.

A natak mela would also be held under the direction of Prof Sompal Heera at Guru Nanak National college, here on March 26. A street play would be held near the statue of Bhagat Singh here.

This was decided at a meeting attended by Mr Joginder Kirti, vice-president, Mr Khushal Jaggi, Mr Anil Bhanot, Mr Gagan Bector, Prof Williamjit Singh, Mr Angrez Lal and Mr Bobby Anand.



Lok Suvidha camp on March 22

Amloh, March 20
A Lok Suvida camp for the Shamashpur Kanungo circle will be held on March 22 at Raja Marriage Palace of Malowal village, from 9 am to 5 pm , Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM ,Amloh, stated in a press note here today.

The benificiaries have been asked to bring original documents with them so that their cases may be decided at the spot, and desist from producing false affidavits .

Separate teams of each department will work under one roof and cases will be decided on the spot. OC



Body found hanging from a tree
Our Correspondent

Amloh, March 20
A body was found hanging from a poplar tree in between Lakha Singh Wala and Baini villages today. The body was noticed by a man who had gone to the field to bring grass He described the body of the man in the thirties.

He informed Sarpanch Daljit Singh of Lakha Singh Wala village. The sarpanch called for Lal Singh of Dharam Garh village who had taken this piece of land from the sarpanch on lease. His neck seemed to be broken and he bleeded from the mouth. He was wearing a saffrondress .

The police took the body to the Civil Hospital, Amloh. The postmortem examination will be conducted tomorrow.

Mr Sadhu Ram, SHO, said that the whereabouts of the deceased would be released on the local TV channels of Amloh, Bhadson, Mandi Gobindgarh, Nabha towns. If no information comes, the police will take action under Section 174 CrPC.



Poultry industry begins to look up
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
Poultry industry has started to look up as sales of chicken and eggs have seen a rise during the past week. Those in the industry say that the market, which had witnessed a decline of almost 60-70 per cent following bird flu cases in Maharashtra, has recorded an increase of almost 30 per cent.

And while wholesale rates are gradually rising in retail market, chicken prices are almost back to what they were prior to the outbreak.

“The situation has improved. Unlike before, when we had almost stopped getting customers, demand has picked up and though it is still lower than what it was before, we are relieved that consumers have started coming back and we expect it to normalise soon,” says Ramesh, a retailer.

In comparison to this time last year, the demand is still lower by around 25-30 per cent.

However, the situation to come back to normal will not take long now as customers are returning.

“The initial panic shook the industry and we reduced production by almost 50 per cent. We thought that the situation would take a long time to get back to normal. But it won’t take much longer now. The demand will remain on the lower side as Navratras are approaching and after that we think it should go up,” says Sanjiv Bassi of the National Egg Co-ordination Committee (NECC).

He says prior to Holi, as bird flu news was getting older, demand started picking up. But it received a jolt when fresh cases of bird flu were reported in Jalagaon, Maharashtra.

However, consumers did not react as strongly to the second phase as they did to the first.

Bird flu cases affected not only demand for chicken but also eggs and bakery products in which egg is used.

When demand remained low, farmers primarily supplied eggs to bakeries.

While the increase is there, in many cases people are still hesitant to serve chicken on social occasions like marriage parties.

The prevailing price in wholesale market for live broiler is Rs 16-17, whereas in retail market dressed chicken is available for around Rs 50.

What irked wholesalers was that retailers did not reduce prices in proportion to reduction in wholesale market.

“If retailers had reduced prices earlier, customers would not have taken even this much time to get back,” says Mr Bassi.


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