L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


CITU demands withdrawal of cases against labourers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
Re-intensifying its movement against ‘‘industry guilty of violating labour laws’’, the CPM backed Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) today alleged that in the past two years more than 200 ‘‘false cases’’ had been registered against labourers.

CITU, which held a meeting of more than 20 unions associated with it here today, demanded withdrawal of cases against workers. The union is also planning to organise a massive rally next month in which its leaders from across the country are expected to participate.

‘‘From February 2004 till date, the Ludhiana police, in connivance with industrialists and under political pressure, have lodged more than 14 FIRs and registered false cases against at least 200 labourers.

The allegations levelled against labourers are baseless but of serious nature. To top it, the police has been resorting to physically torturing these workers,’’ alleged Mr Raghunath Singh, general secretary, CITU, Punjab.

He said the only fault of these workers had been that they had formed unions under the Trade Union Act 1926 to raise their voice. Alleging that industry is flouting labour laws with impunity, Mr Raghunath Singh said, ‘‘Leading industrial units have not been paying wages as per the law. They have been making workers work for much more than the specified eight hours and not paying them for the overtime done.’’

CITU leaders alleged that labourers who became members of unions were being harassed and had even been beaten up in certain cases. ‘‘Such incidents have been happening inside industrial units wherein workers are even beaten up,’’ alleged Mr Jagdish Chand, joint secretary, CITU, Punjab.

Leaders said while cases had been registered against 200 labourers, despite several complaints by unions, not even a single case had been registered against any industrialist so far. ‘‘This fact itself makes it clear enough that the government is biased and prefers listening to the capitalists and not to the poor labourers.’’

Demanding that the cases against labourers be withdrawn, CITU said if the government did not listen to them, they would intensify their stir against industry and government. Mr Raghunath Singh said CITU would also take up the matter with International Labour Organisation (ILO) and human rights commission against ‘‘excesses by industry’’.



Tribune Impact
Johar promises sheds for slum schools after vacations
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
With no immediate solution in sight to provide covered classrooms to the students of slum schools in the city, the Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, today ordered that the schools should be closed for summer vacation from today and assured that sheds would be provided there after the schools reopened.

Mr Johar passed the orders after the plight of the schoolchildren, who were forced to brave the sun in the absence of proper classrooms, was highlighted in these columns today.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune today, Mr Johar said he had asked the teachers to declare holidays in all the slum schools. ‘‘These would reopen alongwith the other government schools in the state’’, he added.

He said that he was touched by the condition of the children who were being made to sit under a tree to take their lessons in this hot weather. He said he was not aware that the children were without a shelter as he had got tarpaulin sheets put up for them some time ago. ‘‘We will get sheds constructed for the children and they will not suffer anymore. We will arrange for resources during the holidays and provide them with a building,’’ he said adding that he had ordered the closure of these schools earlier only but the teachers wanted the children to keep attending classes.

‘‘The teachers had told me that they had roped in children from slums after a lot of effort. I was told that children would be coming for an hour at 8 a.m. and after roll call would go back to their houses. The teachers liked to teach them so much that they left them only at the usual time, ’’ he said.

Students of eight schools opened near various slums in Ludhiana have been attending classes out in the open in the absence of covered classrooms for the past seven months. 



City resident wins ticket to FIFA World Cup
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, May 26
Sandeep Singh Grewal, a local football enthusiast, won the contest organised by an MNC manufacturing soft drinks. He pocketed a ticket to Germany to watch three matches live during the forthcoming FIFA World Cup to be held from June 9 to July 9.

Coca Cola, the sponsor, for Grewal's trip to watch three exciting matches featuring the biggest football playing nations- Brazil, Itlay and Argentina, organised a function here today where Sandeep Singh was handed over the ticket to Germany. Sandeep is among the eleven winners from across the country who have won the contest launched by Coca Cola in association with ESPN Star Sports channel.

Mr Ajmer Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner, and Ramandeep Singh, former captain of the Indian hockey national team, now working as Deputy Director, Sports, Punjab Agricultural University, formally gave away the ticket to the winner. Mr Kailash Goenka, managing director, Ludhiana Beverages, along with Mr Manish Chaturvedi, general manager, franchise operations, Coca Cola India, and Mr Rohit Sachdeva, general manager, sales and marketing, were present during the function.

After the function, ecstatic over his win, Sandeep Singh (27) said as an avid football follower he thought the best thing that could ever happen to him was to watch the FIFA World Cup-2006 live in Germany. "It would be a dream come true next month when he would watch the major football playing nations in action in Germany," he said.



Burglary in sweet shop owner’s house

Ludhiana, May 26
Burglars struck at the house of the owner of a popular sweet shop, Khushi Ram and Sons, in Block-K of Sarabha Nagar early this morning and decamped with around 5 tolas of gold jewellery and Rs 1.50 lakh cash apart from other valuables.

The owner, Rakesh Kumar, has in complaint lodged with the police claimed that some burglars had entered the house in Block-K of Sarabha Nagar from the backyard. They broke the glass of a windowpane and removed the grill to enter into the house.

DSP, Sarabha Nagar, R K Bakshi, said the police had registered a case as per the claims of the house owners. He said preliminary investigations suggest it was the work of some person well-known with the house and where the valuables were kept.

The police investigation was, however, shrouded in controversy as no mediaperson was allowed to see the spot. This was in sharp contrast with the role of the police in case of crime incidents concerning the middle-class or lower sections of the society.

The police officials themselves show all the house without any concern for the privacy of the house owners. But in case of rich and affluent, the police adopts a different posture. — TNS



Good comeback by Home Science courses
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
After facing lack of interest from students, various courses of Home Science seem to have made a phenomenal recovery.
It took a mild change in the curriculum and the course structure to attract students once again towards this stream. Within a span of two years, the demand for home sciences subjects has increased phenomenally and there is a great rush for applicants.

According to Dr (Ms) M.K.Dhillon, Dean, College of Home Science, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, the Home Science stream is no longer restricted to its literal definition but has turned out to be a very useful field of education for all round development of girl students. Contrary to the age old notion that Home Science education provides training in household activities only, it empowers girl students with self employment and entrepreneurial skills. Thereby, making them efficient home makers as well as financial contributors in the family.

Home Science graduates can become dieticians, diet therapists, interior decorators, dress designers and work as counselors for solving children's behavioural problems, both in India and aboard.

Dr Dhillon told The Tribune that the College of Home Science was offering courses in food and nutrition, clothing and textiles, family resource management, human development and sociology.

The department of Food and Nutrition provides expertise in planning of a balanced diet for different age groups, preparation of nutritious recipes, food preservation and baking. This enables students to become dieticians/diet counselors in hospitals and health clubs. They can also start their own bakery, food preservation and large scale catering enterprises.

In the Clothing and Textiles department, training regarding selection/care of family clothing and household textiles, stitching, embroidery, dyeing, printing, computer-aided designing and fashion designing is given. Apart from starting one's own enterprise, one can pick up a job as a textile designer or opt for fashion designing.

The department of Family Resource Management equips one in interior decoration, management of family resources, selection/care of household equipment/furniture and consumer education. The students opting for this field have opportunities as professional decorators for home, hotels, offices and for events like birthdays/marriages and as consumer consultants.

Human Development and Sociology department provides students thorough training in child care and they can have jobs that require expertise in child care. This stream also offers an option as counselors for solving children's behavioural problems, that are on the rise these days.

Dr Dhillon said that earlier only science students from the medical or non medical stream were eligible for B.Sc (Hons)Home Science. But for the last 2 years, students coming from the Arts stream with Home Science subject were also being admitted to this programme.

During the first three years of B.Sc. Home Science, students are taught all the courses discussed earlier alongwith allied sciences and social science courses.

Besides, there is a Farm Women Training Programme which is a one year certificate course in home science and selected agricultural practices. No fee is charged for this course. Infact, the first 25 meritorious students are given a stipend also. 



Smooth opening for ‘Fanaa’ in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
The controversial Aamir Khan starer ‘Fanaa’ which has been banned in Gujarat and is facing opposition by BJP activists in other parts of the state opened peacefully to packed halls in Aarti and Orient here today.

Though the police had taken adequate precautionary measures to avoid any untoward incident, the movie attracted no opposition from any person here.

The controversy may in fact prove to be a blessing in disguise for the film as there was huge rush for tickets in the city cinema halls today. Mr Kanwalpreet Singh, owner of Orient Cinema, said the hall has been booked in advance upto Sunday.

Mr Rakesh Mohan., who saw the movie with his family in Aaarti said the viewers had nothing to do with the controversy. ‘‘ The issue was between Aamir Khan and the BJP leaders. Why should the entire unit of the film suffer for it?’’



Roads cry for repair
Loveleen Bains

Doraha, May 26
The Rampur Road and the road adjoining Leela Resorts at Doraha are in a bad condition for some time.
Residents complain that Rampur Road of Doraha remains occupied with heavy vehicular traffic throughout the day but has been in a neglected state for the past many months due to the sewerage work initiated by the municipal committee.

There are big potholes and a small downpour leads to water accumulation for which there is negligible outlet. Also the road adjoining Leela Resorts has been dug for pelting of sewerage for the past one month but not restored to its original form. The big hole dug up for putting sewerage may prove to be a death knell for any passer by who happened to fall into it. The construction of road, the residents added, had begun but it was at a snails pace.

The Rampur road bears the traffic of all the adjoining villages, including Rampur, Katani Kalan, Neelon Rangalion, Chandran, Heeran, Bhaini Sahib, Kanech, Samrala etc. The villagers generally find it an easy short cut tothe main market of Doraha. Also, the buses plying on the Neelon-Samrala route, adopt this road for passage. Truck drivers, in order to escape the traffic police at the Doraha chowk, take this road.

The residents have demanded early completion of the road from the MC. 



16-year-old heart patient needs help
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 26
Harjinder Singh (16) of Umaidpur village, near Sahnewal, is suffering from serious cardiac problem and needs replacement of heart valves. The cardiac condition of the boy is not only affecting his day-to-day movement but is seriously retarding normal growth.

However, his parents — Bhinder Singh and Daljit Kaur — with meagre financial resources are not in a position to afford the surgery involving an expenditure of nearly Rs 2 lakh. His father says he even finds it difficult to manage two square meals for his family.

Harjinder is presently admitted to Ludhiana Mediciti Hospital here where cardiac surgeon Dr H.S. Bedi is providing medicinal support to the patient.

According to Dr Bedi, immediate surgery can save the life of the boy because as days go by Harjinder’s heart is getting weak and an irreparable damage to heart muscles is just a matter of time.

His parents now look towards the good Samaritans from the region who can save their child with their generous financial assistance.

Donations can be made by cash or cheque to Ludhiana Mediciti Hospital, Ferozepore Road, Ludhiana, with “donation for treatment of Harjinder” written on the back of the cheque or draft.



Welfare schemes for weaker sections
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
The Punjab Vidhan Sabha Committee on Welfare of Schedule Castes, Schedule Tribes and Backward Classes headed by Mr Joginder Singh Maan, MLA, today visited the city and reviewed the progress of the utilisation of the funds released by the union and state governments under different schemes for the welfare of these sections of society.

At a meeting at the circuit house, the members asked the concerned officers to ensure cent per cent utilisation of funds as the government was according top priority to improve the living standard of the weaker sections of society.

Other members of the committee, Ms Satwant Kaur Sandhu, Mr Nathu Ram and Mr Jora Singh Bhagipur (all MLAs), were also present in the meeting.

Mr Maan informed that the Punjab government during the budget for the year 2006-07 had allocated funds amounting to Rs 1154 crore, which are 28.85 percent of the state plan outlay of Rs 4000 crore to implement welfare schemes framed for these sections of society, where as funds amounting to Rs 934 crore (26.32 percent) were spent on these schemes during the year 2004-05. He said that the government had also decided not to allow the diversion of funds to other schemes at any cost.

Reviewing the progress under different schemes, Mr Maan informed that the Committee had decided to the review the progress by organising district level meetings and this is the second meeting after one held at Kapurthala a few days before.

Mr R.L. Kalsia, secretary, Social Security, directed all officers to implement these schemes earnestly and efficiently, as the government had chalked out the special component plan of Rs 1154 crore for the uplift of the weaker sections of society.

The Director, Special Component, Mr G.S. Bains has informed that under the Special Component Plan funds amounting to Rs 1394.19 lakh had been released to implement the various schemes in Ludhiana district during this year against Rs 496.83 lakh released during year 2004-05 and out of these funds of Rs 923.08 lakh had been utilised.

Mr Bains informed that during year 2005-06, funds of Rs 124.17 lakh were released to District Programme Officer to provide nutritious diet to the children and pregnant women through anganwad is, which had been fully utilised.

Funds of Rs 357 lakh were released to District Welfare Officer under various schemes including Rs 245.55 lakh to provide attendance scholarship to the SC/ST students.

He said that during year 2004-05 under ashiswad schemes funds amounting to Rs 138 lakh were spent to give shagun on the marriages of daughters of SC families.

Mr Khushi Ram, Director, Welfare, addressing the meeting asked DEOs to verify from the schools that all students belonging to these sections had received the books during this year, as the department had completed the distribution. Mr Pryank Bharti, ADC(D), assured that the intensive checking by the SDMs and other officers will be made to ensure the fast implementation of these schemes.

Mr Amardeep Singh Rai, SSP, informed that the boards had been installed in all the police stations regarding the rights of the Scheduled Castes.

Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, informed that the Corporation was spending 35 per cent of the total budget on the different schemes for the welfare of the SCs/STs and Backweard Classes against the fixed limit of 29 per cent by the state government.

Among others who were attended the meeting included Mr Karam Singh, Executive Director SC/ST Corporation, Mr S.R. Kaler, DDLG, SDMs of all sub divisions and district officers of the concerned departments.



Pensioners submit memo to DC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 26
Under the aegis of the Punjab Government Pensioners Joint Front, Punjab Government pensioners/family pensioners organised a zonal convention and rally in front of the Mini-Secretariat here today.

At the rally, leaders flayed the attitude of the state government towards their demands.

Pensioners of the Central Government Railways and the Ex-Servicemen League extended their support.

Mr B.R. Kaushal, a member of the nine-member high-powered committee of the Punjab Government Pensioners, said earlier protests had been organised in Chandigarh, Patiala, Ferozepore and Fathegarh Sahib. He said today’s convention was part of the action programme which would be further carried out in Amritsar on June 2 and Bathinda on June 9.

He said their demands included the enhancement of fixed medical monthly allowance to Rs 500, grant of another slab of 5 per cent as old-age allowance to those who have crossed the age of 80 and 5 per cent of basic pension as house maintenance allowance.

The meeting was attended by Sarvshri Ranbir Dhillon, Om Parkash Gaba, B.R. Kaushal, Hardev Singh, B.S. Dhalwal, Waryam Singh, Khushal Singh Naga, Prem Sagar Sharma, all members of the joint front.

The demonstrators took out a procession and submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner for forwarding it to the Chief Minister.



City to have cell to help rape victims
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
The city may soon have a rape crisis intervention cell to provide relief and counselling to the victims. Apart from the cell, the police has also started the process to open an all-women police station in the city.

The SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, announced this at the suggestion of Ms Gurpreet Deo, Deputy Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, during a meeting with NGOs here this afternoon.

Addressing representatives of the NGOs, Ms Deo exhorted them to work for women empowerment by educating them about their rights. She apprised the NGOs regarding different programmes, including Privarik Mahila Lok Adalats, legal awareness programme and Chalo Gaon Ki Ore, etc, launched by the commission. She stressed upon the need to involve the NGOs in a big way in setting the matrimonial disputes pending in different courts through counselling.

Ms Deo also informed that the commission had the provision to sanction a grant of Rs 30,000 to the NGO for settling the marital disputes out of court. She also suggested to the SSP, Ludhiana, for setting up a specific cell in his office, which should only handle the problems of the women.

The Deputy Secretary said in the year 2005-06 the commission had received around 11,000 complaints relating to domestic violence, harassment, dowry, torture, desertion, bigamy, rape, refusal to register FIR, cruelty by husband, gender discrimination and sexual harassment at workplaces.



Farmers honoured
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 26
Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, MLA, Kilaraipur, has felicitated farmers whose buffaloes won prizes at the state-level function organised by the Department of Animal Husbandry in Jalandhar recently.

Appreciating the role of farmers of Barundi village, Mr Garcha said the farmers had been nurturing cattle like their children. The MLA handed over a cash prize of Rs 5,000 to Mr Gurminder Singh, whose buffalo was adjudged sixth in the state and first in Ludhiana district.



Two booked for assault
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 26
The Latala police today registered a case under Sections 323, 324, 506 and 34 of the IPC against two persons of Rachhin village for allegedly assaulting their sister-in-law. No arrest has been made so far.

According to Mr Harjit Singh Brar, DSP, Dakha, Jagroop Singh and Hans Raj of Rachhin village had been booked for allegedly assaulting Ms Amarjit Kaur, wife of Paramjit Singh, on May 20.



Man’s body found in hotel room
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
Mystery shrouds the death of a man, whose body was found in Som Hotel near Clock Tower Chowk today morning.
The deceased, Varinder Singh, reportedly belonged to Hisar. He had stayed in the city on his way back after paying obeisance at Vaishno Devi temple.

His naked body was found lying in the bathroom. The hotel staff broke open the door of his room and the bathroom when he did not answer calls for a long time.



Man kills father

Ludhiana, May 26
A man was killed allegedly killed by his son in Doraha last night.
The suspect, Navjit Singh, was reportedly an NRI who had returned from Dubai a week ago. He had some dispute with his father, Rajinder Singh, over some domestic issue. In a fit of rage he hit his father with an iron rod killing the aged man on the spot. The accused is absconding. — TNS



Market fluctuations temporary: experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
The ongoing fluctuations in the capital market are temporary in nature, as market fundamentals are much superior now and the Indian economy very robust. This was stated by Mr Mihir Kothari, vice-president, Private Client Group, Motilal Oswal Securities Limited, at a seminar on “Wealth Creation”, organised by the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) here last evening.

Mr Kothari, who has over 15 years of experience with specialisation in IPOs, secondary markets and merchant banking, supporting his viewpoint, said: “Nearly 85 to 90 per cent foreign institutional investments are long-term and with companies that have strong fundamentals and sincere managements.”

Advising investors not to panic under the current circumstances, he said investors with long-term perspective need not worry at all, as the average return on equity is around 23 per cent, which is much higher than the return in any of the developing nation.

Mr M.C. Munjal, president of the LMA, said the market was governed by sentiments. “It’s the investors who gain or lose in market bulls or bears. Promoters work the same way, management works the same way, products and sales almost behave the same way, so nothing changes for real. It’s primarily sentimental and perceptual,” he said.


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