L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Unfazed by SC order, medicos continue stir
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 31
Medicos of Dayanand Medical College, Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College and Lord Mahavira Homeopathic Medical College took out a protest march today in the course of their ongoing protest against the reservation policy of the government.

The agitating students were joined by activists of the Aggarwal Samaj and representatives of several other like-minded organisations.

Unfazed by the directions of the Supreme Court of India to call off the protest, more than 200 medical students, carrying a banner signed with their own blood, held a protest march from Bharat Nagar Chowk to Bhai Bala Chowk in the city.

They were carrying black and white coloured balloons which had anti-reservation slogans written on them. On reaching Bhai Bala Chowk, the students released the balloons.

The protesters called upon the masses to join the movement and force the government to reverse the quota decision.

They also asked the public to save their future generations from the clutches of caste war, being sparked off by the politicians.

Activists of the Youth for Equality disclosed that the purpose of releasing the balloons was to convey the rightful demands of the medicos to the Almighty after their repeated pleas and prolonged agitation had failed to elicit a positive response from the political masters of the country.

“Through the gesture of releasing of balloons in the sky, we have prayed to God to make the politicians see reason so that they adopt an honest, unbiased and positive attitude in governance which has no place for politics of vote bank,” a student leader said.



Barnala may return to lead splinter Panthic groups
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
Governor of Tamil Nadu and former Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, is learnt to be planning to return to state politics with a big role. If some leaders of splinter Akali groups are to be believed, he has agreed in principle to lead these groups for creating a Panthic alternative to the Shiromani Akali Dal led by Parkash Singh Badal.

Speculations gained ground after Mr Barnala had a break fast meeting with Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, president of the All India Shiromani Akali Dal, at Chandigarh yesterday. Mr Barnala later flew to Delhi for his onward journey to Chennai. Mr Mann, who is very close to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, has been trying hard to mobilise anti-Badal forces among the Akalis.

Mr Barnala reportedly met some other senior leaders of splinter Akali groups also. He is believed to have been convinced that he had an important role to play in Akali politics to counterweight Mr Badal. He has been assured of all support and cooperation form various splinter groups as also the dissidents within the SAD-B.

Mr Barnala, who was appointed the Governor of Tamil Nadu for the five year term, had reportedly initially declined the offer to return to state politics.

He was believed to have been assured of another gubernatorial assignment in case he did not cut ice with the state politics.

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder has been strongly trying to create an alternative leadership to Mr Badal through various splinter panthic groups. However, so far these splinter non Akali groups have not been able to show any cohesion.

Although there had been broad a consensus over the leadership of the Shiormani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann to lead the Panthic Front, but the proposal had not materialised as some leaders among the splinter groups were not prepared to accept his leadership. Even some of his colleagues in SAD(A) were not prepared for it.

Moreover, Capt Amarinder Singh himself preferred Mr Barnala to Mr Mann. Mr Barnala and Capt Amarinder also happen to be good friends. It is believed that Mr Barnala was being convinced to put in his papers as Tamil Nadu Governor at the earliest, so that he was able to reorganise the splinter groups.

Prior to his gubernatorial assignment, Mr Barnala remained with the Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal. In fact, he continues to be identified with the SAD-B. But for some time he has not been keeping cordial relations with the party leadership. His rivalry with party secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa is an open secret. Under these circumstances, he finds his role too limited within the SAD-B. And seems to be fitting best into the scheme of things of Capt Amarinder Singh.



Polluting units fail to relocate for want of land
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
Failing to get land for relocation, over 250 polluting units in the eastern belt of the Dhuri line, which have been asked to move out of residential areas, have demanded allotment.

The Ludhiana Electroplaters Association plans to file a public interest litigation (PIL) to seek land for these units, which come under its banner.

“Owners of these 250 units are willing to move out, but the government has not provided land for relocation”, said Mr Joginder Kumar, president of the association.

He said the government acquired some agricultural land in 1993, of which it allotted 349 acres to the PSIEC.

The corporation had identified pockets for polluting units on 110 acres, but this land was either encroached upon or was under litigation, due to which the polluting units were not allotted any land.

“The government had allotted hundreds of acres to big industrial units at a throwaway price of Rs 6.3 lakh per acre.

“One of the allottees had begun carving out smaller plots and earning profit, which was against rules.

“The government should hand over this land to polluting units so that these can shift”, he said.

He said the association would file a PIL in this connection and demanded that the 10 acres lying vacant between Phases 7 and 8 be used for relocating polluting units.

“The government has been directed by the Supreme Court to allot industrial plots to polluting units on a priority basis and it should make arrangements so that these units can shift”, he said.



Police registers case after body taken to SSP’s office
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
The case of a lottery trader of Khud Mohalla, who had allegedly suffered burn injuries in front of his in-laws house last week and died last night, took a complete turn when the police registered a case of murder against his wife, brother in law and parents-in-law.

The police action came on the orders of SSP A.S. Rai after angry relatives of the trader took his body to the SSP office in Mini Secretariat, after marching through the city protesting against non-registration of the case on the basis of the dying declaration of the man.

The deceased, Pawan Kumar, who had oscillated between life and death for more than a week at CMC Hospital, had turned the tables against his wife and her parents claiming they had set him on fire.

Earlier, the police had claimed that the man had immolated himself in front of the house of his in-laws in Subash Nagar late in the night on May 23.

Though the man made his statement hours before his death, the Basti Jodhewal police did not register a case.

SP City-II Kuldip Singh said those booked under Section 302 of the IPC included the deceased's wife Sonia, her brother Sonu and her parents, Sita Rani and Kishan Lal.

Police sources said senior officials were angry at the fact the relatives had to take the deceased's body to the SSP's office. They were upset at Basti Jodhewal police officials for not avoiding such an unsavory incident and informing the seniors about the rally.



2 electrocuted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
A woman and a plumber were electrocuted and four labourers suffered a shock when a sanitary pipe touched a high-tension wire near a house under construction in Bhammian Khurd village here today.

Those electrocuted were identified as Narinder Kaur, owner of the house, and Hira Lal, a labourer.

Hira Lal was trying to fit a sanitary pipe, which touched 11,000-kv high-tension wires installed just four feet away from the house.

Narinder Kaur was working in the kitchen at that time and got electrocuted.

The bodies of the deceased were sent for autopsy to the local Civil Hospital.

Four labourers working in the house received a shock and were shifted to a hospital.

Narinder Kaur’s nephew, Rajinder Singh, who was visiting them from Ambala to supervise the construction of the house, was also injured.

He was in a state of shock and did not speak. He suffered burn injuries on his thighs.

Labourers said the impact of the electric current was so much that a blast-like noise was heard when the pipe touched the wires.

The police registered a case against the owner of the house, Joga Singh, under Section 304 of the IPC.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Joga Singh was careless in getting the house constructed despite knowing well that his house was close to high-tension wires.

The case was registered against him for causing death due to negligence.



At the Crossroads
Mediocrity at times scores over brilliance

Ludhiana, May 31
The persons with links know the craft of carving out a place for them which they least deserve. Their glee on doing so is unmatched with the gloom on the faces of the deserving ones. This leads to shattering of dreams and losing of faith in the rightness of things. It is such a wrong as it can do incalculable harm to the social texture and moral fabric.

I recall on episode, the impression of which is still etched out on my mind. The education department appointed me as an expert for the selection of a lecturer in English in a private college for girls. At the same time, the Principal of our college was designated as a representative of the DPI (Punjab) for this interview.

On the appointed day, both of us travelled in a taxi to our destination, hardly 20 km away from our place. Nearing the destination, the well-meaning Principal broke the silence, after clearing his throat: “We shall do what is right. Still we shall be a little sympathetic to the candidate who has passed her MA from our college.”

“Did someone approach you for this candidate, sir?”

“Not only someone but some persons on different dates. They must have approached you also?”

“Of course, they did. First, her father who is an influential person, then an MLA who is known to the family for the wrong reasons and last of all, the girl herself.”

“How do you assess her capabilities for this post?”

“It depends, sir, how she fares in the interview. She had been an average student but was successful in securing second division in her postgraduation.”

“Well then, good luck to her if the other candidates are no better.”

The other candidates were, indeed, not much better except the one who had done M.Phil. The Principal and the president of the governing council were present at the time of interview as observers only. The third person that was a part of the interviewing board was an expert from the university. The three of us mattered in this selection but the two of us could tilt the scales in favour of the candidate of our choice. Still we maintained the decorum of making selection on the basis of merit.

That girl, who had done M.Phil, outshone others in her brilliant responses to our pointed questions. When the interview was over, our Principal, sitting by my side, leaned against my shoulder and whispered: “We cannot do injustice to a deserving candidate.” I nodded my head in affirmation. The expert from the university had already rated her above the rest of the candidates. Our unanimous decision was conveyed to others after we compiled the merit list. The president blinked his eyes and blurted out: “How can you ignore our candidate?”

“What do you mean?” I said.

“In fact, sir,” the Principal tried to save the situation from taking an ugly turn, “the candidate he is referring to is already on the staff of this college as an ad hoc lecturer.”

“That makes no difference, we have selected the candidate on the basis of merit,” our Principal asserted.

“In that case, sir,” the Principal made the next move, “You may place this candidate second in the merit list.” “Even that’s not possible, she is some steps lower,” the university expert rejected the proposal.

At this juncture our Principal, in an expansive mood, remarks: “Okay, we place her first on the waiting list. At this the university expert murmured his protest. In my innocence, I convinced him that there is only one vacancy and our selected candidate will positively join the vacant post. So the waiting list will have to wait for ever. In the heart of our hearts, however, we knew that the proper procedure had not been adopted. Still we had the satisfaction of having done justice to the deserving candidate.

Some weeks passed and I had forgotten about this interview. What was right had been done as such there was nothing to ponder over. One evening, someone knocked at our door and my wife opened it. Our old student gushed in with a box of sweets in her hand. I looked at her quizzically but she broadened her smile: “Sir, I have joined that post.”

“But how?” I exclaimed.

“That lecturer was no good. The students created hue and cry in her period during the first week. In the second week, they started writing applications to the Principal for her replacement. In the third week, she resigned in disgust.”

“So the waiting list was valid for the stipulated period of time.”

“Yes sir.” She presented me a piece of milk cake which I found hard to swallow.

— N.S. Tasneem



Wireless security system for banks
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
Micro Technologies (I) Limited, an IT product development and services company, has launched Micro SBB (secure-bank black box), the first ever wireless product for the Indian banking security system.

The company said it envisaged a huge opportunity for the product not only in terms of installations inside bank premises but also at standalone ATM sites, with retail banking being the next big thrust area for the Indian banking industry and ATM penetration on the verge of explosion.

Regarding the product, it said Micro SBB was a complete technology solution for an intelligent security for the banks, its customers and general public at large.

Dr P Sekhar, CMD, said, “We have developed this unique product specific to the banking industry as our feedback suggested that physical security, which banks currently use, could be enhanced from its present level. Micro SBB uses high end wireless technology to create an intelligent and interactive security and safety solution at the bank premises. The product can be custom made to individual needs of the banks and we hope that it becomes a life support system for the bank management”.

He said security was a major concern for banking industry globally and worldwide engineers and safety specialists were striving to bring improvements in safety.

“The key advantages of the product are that it gives restricted access to the premises, lowers downtime and speeds up response time. Also, with the use of wireless technology, the product operates in simple as well as cryptic modes of operation. Besides it allows data accessed to be viewed both on the client side application as well as web-based interactions.”


Ferozepore road getting facelift for CM’s visit
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 31
The municipal corporation has been making efforts to give a facelift to the Ferozepore road from the canal bridge to the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University as Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will inaugurate the university on June 2.

Garbage dumps have been cleared and roads and central verges have been cleaned.

The central verge opposite the university has been broken to enable the motorcade of the Chief Minister to take a turn for the venue of the function.

The huge garbage dump on the main highway near the university has been cleared.

Residents are feeling relieved that some cleaning operations have been undertaken.

The People’s Awareness Forum has criticised the corporation for its failure to keep the city clean and its claim of providing adequate drinking water supply.



Mayor’s effigy burnt over lack of civic amenities
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
Residents of Vijay Nagar, Indira Colony and Industrial Area burnt an effigy of Mayor Nahar Singh Gill to protest against the lack of civic amenities in their areas here today. They gave an ultimatum of one week to the Mayor and threatened to go on a protest fast in front of the office of Zone B of the municipal corporation.

They complained that sewers were always choked, garbage was never lifted and dirty water was being supplied in their colonies.

They said they had made several representations to area councillor Malkiat Kaur, but she had never bothered about their problems.



Rs 50 lakh for roads

Ludhiana, May 31
Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, today said stormy water chambers had been constructed and roads costing Rs 50 lakh would be constructed soon without any discrimination.

Mr Johar also announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for maintenance of each park in Shastri Nagar and also sanctioned Rs 50,000 for developmental works in Shastri Nagar and Mahavir Colony. OC



Case registered against magazine editor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
The Samrala police has registered an FIR against the editor of a school magazine for allegedly publishing a sacrilegious joke about Lord Rama and Sita. The case was registered after protests by local residents.

According to Mr Ramman Kaushal, a senior advocate, the case was registered against the school magazine hope an in house publication of Guru Nanak Public School, Samrala. The school is being run by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).

Mr Kaushal disclosed that although the magazine was being circulated in a limited circle, it had hurt the sentiments of thousands of people who hold Lord Rama and Sita in high esteem. He said there was considerable resentment among the people for the irresponsible manner in which the sacrilegious joke was published in the magazine.



Nursing student commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
A first year student of a local nursing institute and hospital allegedly committed suicide by jumping from the third floor of the girls’ hostel early this morning.

She was reportedly suffering from depression after the death of her father in November last year. She was not attending classes regularly since then and was under treatment from a local psychiatrist.



Industry flays petrol price hike decision
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry today said the proposed hike in the prices of petroleum products would hurt the state’s industry.

“World-known experts have opined that India in economic terms needs to compete with China else it would suffer. In case of China, which is heavily investing in Asian markets and recording an export growth that is higher than India’s total export, matters that affect industry are given a serious consideration. However, In India, the government never debates on economic matters and the issue assumes political and social significance,” said Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber.

Condemning the proposed price hike, he said a break-up of taxes would show the quantum of adverse effect this decision would have. “For instance central taxes are 38 per cent; state taxes are 17 per cent, which means that the total tax burden on petrol alone is 55 per cent. Further, customs duty of 5 per cent for crude, 10 per cent for petroleum products, an excise duty on petrol of 8 per cent and specific tax of Rs 13 per litre are also imposed. Adding to it are taxes like sales tax, the total resulting in a heavy burden on the consumers”.

Besides, petrol price is fixed on import parity basis, which means that price of imported petrol plus cost of freight, insurance, bank charges, return on working capitals, various duties, taxes and retail margins are also included. Under earlier system of administrated price mechanism, the price was fixed on the basis of actual price plus margins. It is noteworthy that petrol and diesel are not imported. We import only crude oil as we have sufficient refining capacity in the country. So price of petrol is being charged on the basis as mentioned above which do not exists,” the chamber said.

Mr Sharma said furnace oil and naphtha that are widely used for industrial production had recorded a significant price rise but the same had never been talked out by the government.

Due to all these additional burdens, a lot of industrial units were even thinking of shifting to places near ports and source of raw material, he said.


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