L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Avon leaves 306 families on the road
2 units closed down; workers take to the streets
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
The closure of two units of Avon Bicycle Components Private Limited today was marked by protests from workers here who demanded withdrawal of the closure orders. The management, however, remained firm and asked workers, rendered jobless, to accept compensation.

The names of the workers retrenched following the closure of the handle and pedal units of the company on Gill Road here were pasted outside the factory this morning. Amid heavy police deployment, workers, who came for work to the factory, refused to accept the closure and raised slogans against the management.

“By closing down these units, they have brought our families out on the streets. We have been working for so many years with them and want them to retain us. We have no other means of livelihood,” a protesting worker said.

After protesting for around an hour, the workers went to the labour office where they held a protest rally and marched to the Deputy Commissioner’s office. They submitted a memorandum to the administration demanding intervention by the Deputy Commissioner into the matter. “With this action, 306 families have been rendered without food, clothing and shelter. The management has taken this decision which is not only illegal but also an unfair labour practice,” they said.

The workers condemned the deployment of a police force outside the factory. “Workers never resort to violence. The police deployment is uncalled for,” said Mr Jatinder Pal, general secretary, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).

“Our key concern is loss of employment of hundreds of workers. We want the closure orders to be withdrawn and in case this is not done, the management should at least adjust these workers in their remaining units which are functioning,” demanded Mr Jagdish Chand, joint secretary, CITU.

The union alleged that the management had resorted to closure only because it was against workers forming of unions. “Managements do not like if workers refuse to be exploited, which is why they are against forming of unions. Earlier, it was Rockman and Highway where soon after the union was formed, the units were closed down and this time, it is Avon Components where the union got registered a couple of months ago only,” alleged Mr Jagdish Chand.

The company said the workers could take their compensation any time. “Some workers have already taken compensation and we are willing to give it to them,” said Mr B.D. Arora, legal adviser for the company. He said the company had no problems if workers joined unions.

Meanwhile, due to the protest by the workers, production at the company suffered heavily. “As most workers did not work today, less than 10 per cent of the total production work took place. We expect the situation to normalise within two-three days,” a company spokesperson said.

After the closure of two of the total six units at the factory, around 700 workers would continue working in the remaining units.



IT Dept conducts surveys on 7 firms
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 8
Income tax surveys were initiated on at least 12 business premises of seven firms in different parts of the city, Malerkotla, Dhuri, Sangrur and Khanna yesterday.

Several teams of the income tax officials, under the supervision of Mr Sandeep Dahiya, Joint Commissioner (Range VI), and Mr Kanwaljit Singh, Joint Commissioner (Range IV), launched simultaneous surveys on the factory and two business premises of PJ Apparels at Doraha, Kanganwal and the Ghumar Mandi, factory of Appu Cycles, three firms in Malerkotla carrying on business of property, marriage palace and steel casting and two business premises of real estate developers in Dhuri and Sangrur.

The surveys began around 11 am. Detailed inspection of books of accounts, income tax returns, documents relating to sale and purchase of raw material and finished goods, physical verification of stocks and other high-value transactions in property and stock market were checked.

The survey teams reportedly questioned partners and directors of the firms under the scanner as well as their key staff members. Entry and exit from the premises where surveys were conducted remained restricted for the duration of the operation. Telephone calls were also barred. The sleuths went through bank accounts of these firms and some bank lockers were also reportedly sealed.

While the officials refused to say anything about the extent of concealed income and taxes evaded thereupon, sources in the department said the surveys were initiated on the basis of specific information that these business groups were concealing income and evading taxes thereon.

Meanwhile, the income tax surveys conducted last week on the premises of a hosiery manufacturer in the city and a food unit in Khanna, reportedly revealed a concealed income of Rs 2.5 crore. Both firms had undertaken to meet the additional tax liability as rules.

The hosiery unit authorities had agreed to add Rs 1.5 cr in the income showed for the last financial year while the food factory at Khanna had surrendered Rs 1 crore.



Machines sold as scrap: MC orders inquiry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
The Municipal Corporation has ordered a departmental inquiry into the alleged scam in which 35 sewerage cleaning machines, worth Rs 50 lakh, lying unused due to a manufacturing fault had gone missing.

An MC spokesperson said the Commissioner, Mr Vikas Partap, had ordered an inquiry to be completed at the earliest and strict action taken against the indicted employees, if found guilty in the inquiry.

The inquiry has been ordered after a news report in the Ludhiana Tribune dated September 6 exposing the scam. The machines were bought at a price of Rs 1.35 lakh each and had been lying dumped in various wards during the last year. There were allegations that the machine parts had found their way into scrapyard over the months.

The machines had not worked properly, even when these were new. A number of employees operating these were injured. These were finally discarded without holding any inquiry.

Mr Parvin Bansal, leader of the Opposition in the MC House, was the first to raise the matter on the floor of the MC General House. He claimed the out-of-use machines were dumped in various parks of the city. Later, parts of the machines started going missing.

‘‘Some persons removed the engines, then the wires and somebody sold these as scrap. But nobody cared. Public money has gone down the drain. ’’, rued Mr Bansal.



Student killed
Our Correspondent

Doraha, September 8
Gurmandeep Singh, a BA I student of Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, has been killed in a road accident at Bilaspur village in Payal.

He died on the spot when his motor cycle collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction. He was going to visit a village fair at that time.

Mr Jaswant Singh Gill, director of the college, and Dr Narinder Singh Sidhu, Principal, and the staff of the college have expressed grief over the sudden death of Gurmandeep Singh.



Who is exploiting beggars?
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 8
Begging is suspected to be an organised profession at Chhapar Mela, near here, where hundreds of drifters come to seek alms from the devotees in the name of God.

The manner in which some handicapped beggars are shifted from one corner of the fair to the other suggest a gang exploiting the pitiable condition of these beggars.

Suspecting pick pocketing by a section of beggars, the police has urged the devotees not to entertain them. However, it hesitates to deal them with a stern hand, obviously fearing action by human rights organisations.

A large number of beggars, majority of them migrants, converged at the mela site two days ago.

Women and children, outnumbering men, cause more nuisance as people find it difficult to get rid of them. Those who beg for alms and parsad, sitting in rows, do not cause any inconvenience to the devotees.

The authorities concerned have failed to understand that who bring those beggars who are not able to sit and walk. Their pitiable condition make people donate generously. How could they collect and preserve offerings in cash and kind is beyond the comprehension of the common man.

“Obviously some gang must be working to exploit their pitiable condition”, remarked Mr Tarsem Garg, president of the CB Welfare Association. He had seen a person collecting money from the bowl of a beggar, whose both legs were amputated. The beggar was lying prostrate and devotees were putting money and wheat in his bowl and a gunny bag placed near him, he added.

Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SSP, Jagraon, and mela in charge, said the police, instead of being strict with the beggars, had deputed extra force at sensitive points at the mela site. “At the same time we have appealed the devotees to beware of swindlers and pickpockets in guise of beggars," said Mr Jaiswal, adding that no incident of pick pocketing has been reported at the mela.



Unhealthy practices go unchecked at Chhapar Mela
Mahesh Sharma

A view of Chhapar Mela on Friday.
A view of Chhapar Mela on Friday. — Tribune photo by Sayeed Ahmed

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 8
Contrary to the claims made by the civil administration at the Chhapar Mela, the health authorities were unable to check unhealthy practices at the mela. Recirculation of ‘prasad’, mishandling of eatables, unhygienic conditions of preparation and presentation of eatables and tattooing and dental care by unauthorised practitioners continued unabated at the biggest rural fair of the state.

Observation by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that sweets and ‘patasas’, were recirculated in a manner that was posing threat to human life. Even the ‘prasad’, which had been thrown on floor after being offered by the devotees, was also recovered by beggars and later sold at shops, obviously to be re-sold after being mixed with fresh ‘prasad’.

“This practice exposes thousands of devotees to infectious deceases caused by microbes present in the soil, it transmits pathogens from beggars suffering from chronic disorders,” apprehended Dr Manoj demanding that the practice should be stopped immediately.

The health authorities also failed to check self-styled dental surgeons practicing their ‘skills’ at the mela site. What to talk of sterilisation of the equipment they did not even washed their hands while extracting teeth of the rural folks.

A number of tattoo artists were seen inscribing various figures on body parts of various persons. “We do not force any one to get tattooed. I have only one machine with me and till today no official objected to the practice,” said a tattoo maker when asked about chances of spreading diseases like AIDS.



Make-up is woman’s weapon: expert
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, September 8
Women should wear make-up daily. It doesn’t only look good, but enhances your personality. Those who feel that make-up spoils the skin are absolutely wrong, provided they use the good quality products. Vidya Tikari, an internationally renowned make-up artist who has worked on beauties like Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Madhuri Dixit, Priyanka Chopra, and Lara Dutta, expressed these views here today.

Vidya is in the city. She felt that fashion-savvy women in the city wanted her to open a branch in the city to educate them on the basics in make-up.

Though it was her first visit to the city, she said she had a lot many clients in Ludhiana and Chandigarh. “I plan to start classes on make-up to educate every segment,” she added.

Vidya said make-up was a woman’s weapon. She said a beauty-conscious woman must keep five things in her bag — an under-eye coverup, a kajal pencil, mascara, cheek colour and a lipstick. Giving details about the latest trends, she said white, silver and frost shades for daily wear and for brides — red, pink, maroon and gold colours were fast catching. “Glitters on the eyes are most preferred by women and young girls as it gives them a glamorous look,” she said.

Asked whose skin was the best amongst actors and models, Vidya replied that almost 80 per cent of these celebrities had good texture. The only problem was dark circles but good make-up could easily conceal the problem.

Talking about her achievements, Vidya said she had done fashion shoots for Elle, Cosmopolitan, Femina, Fashion Bloom, Bride and Home. Since 1994, she has worked with Ritu Kumar and Miss India, Miss Universe and Miss World contestants.

Vidya believes there is a lot of importance on facials, spa and hair-styling, but make-up needs training as it can optimise skin health, appearance and vitality. “For proper grooming of women in this part of the region, I intend to start classes here. I am already grooming the girls in Delhi by imparting education on make-up techniques,” she said.



Pass-holders wait in agony as buses pass by
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, September 8
College students, holding bus passes, have complained of severe physical and mental torture at the hands of drivers and conductors, who not only ignore them but treat them in an indecent manner.

Not a single day passes when students of various colleges and technical institutions are not caught up in a brush with drivers or conductors for the simple reason that the latter are seldom willing to let the student pass-holders board buses.

Navneet Chauhan, a pass-holder and final-year BCom student of a local college, contends, “The same endless wait, the same agony, the same clashes, and the same old story every day. My classmates and I have to board a bus from Giaspura, but Punjab Roadways and PRTC bus drivers, it seems, regard us as untouchables and run away from the very sight of the students. If at all they are forced to halt to board passengers, we remain their most unwelcome guests.”

Narrating his tale of woe, Sanjay Kumar, a first-year BCom student, says, “On September 4, I was standing with other boys to board a bus from Doraha in the afternoon. A PRTC bus halted, that too half a kilometer from the main stop. Hardly had I stepped in, when the conductor blew the whistle as a result of which I fell and sustained injuries.”

The problem of girl pass-holders in even worse. Meenakshi (name changed) complains, “Boys somehow still manage by running and boarding buses, but it is difficult for us. Moreover, conductors try to take undue advantage of our pleas and behave indecently.” The students have warned that if nothing was done to improve the situation, they would resort to violence.

Mr Harbax Singh Dhillon, General Manager, PRTC, Ludhiana, said, “If we receive any specific complaint, we will take action. For the time being, I will instruct drivers and conductors, and depute inspectors at particular stations so that students do not suffer.”



Residents block traffic over garbage dumping
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
A large number of residents of colonies, like New Shakti Nagar, Kirpal Nagar, Daulat Colony and Manjit Nagar and adjoining localities today staged a dharna on the Jalandhar byepass and blocked traffic in protest against the dumping of garbage near Tajpur Chowk.

The Municipal Corporation has been dumping garbage at the chowk for the past few months after a treatment plant was set up at the old dumping site opposite Central Jail here.

The dharna was lifted after some officials of the corporation assured them that they would take some corrective measures.

Mr Surinder Singh Grewal, a leader of the youth Akali Dal, who led the dharna, said the pungent smell of the garbage and the threat of diseases had made living in the colonies difficult.

He threatened to launch a major agitation if the corporation did not live up to the assurances made to the residents today.



Financial help for World War-II veterans
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
World War-II veterans will be provided financial help, received from Royal British Commonwealth League, at Pension Bhavan on September 13.

Lt-Commander (retd) Tarlochan Singh, YSM, District Sainik Welfare Office, said in a press note issued here that the Deputy Commissioner-cum-president of the district Sainik Board, Mr Ashok Gupta, would distribute the benefits.



Three booked for murder
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 8
The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC against Reena Devi, Vijay Kumar Mehta of Lakhimpur and Shambu Kumar of Bihar on the charge of murdering Surinder Lal Paswan.

Reena Devi, wife of Surinder Lal Paswan, allegedly had illicit relations with one of the accused. With a view to getting rid of Surinder Lal Paswan, Reena Devi and her paramour allegedly strangulated him on August 31.

A case has been registered.

Booked for trespass

The Raikot police has booked Harbhajan Singh, Amrit Singh, alias Ambi, Jinder Singh and Jaskaran Singh of Tunga Harhi for allegedly trespassing on to the land of Hakam Singh of their village and damaging his crop.

A case has been registered under Section 447, 427 and 34 of the IPC. No arrest has been made so far.

Drug peddler held

The Sidhwan Bet police arrested Bhawan Singh of Baghele Da Chhanna (Jalandar district) and seized 20 kg poppy husk from his possession at Bhundri village. A case has been registered under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Cash, jewellery stolen

Some unidentified miscreants stole 165 gm gold by breaking open the lock of the house of Jarnail Singh of Rurka. The Dakha police has registered a case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC. No arrest has been made so far.

In another incident, the Jagraon police has registered a case of theft against Beant Singh, alias Soni, Harnek Singh, alias Happy, and Baljit Singh, alias Pheena, of Rani Wala Khuh, Jagraon, for allegedly stealing gold ornaments, a watch and Rs 15,000 from the house of Kamaljit Kaur of Rani Wala Khuh, Jagraon.

A case has been registered under Sections 454, 380 and 34 of the IPC. No arrest has been made so far.



Booked for assault

Jagraon, September 8
The police has booked Gurbax Singh, Jassi, Jasvir Kaur and Boota Singh of Patti Boorha village, Dakha, when they allegedly assaulted Bhajan Kaur and Ranjit Singh of their village with sharp-edged weapons and bricks. The police has registered a case under Sections 325, 34 IPC on the complaint of Ravi Kumar who is a relative of the injured. Some street dispute is said to be reason behind the assault. — OC



Mitsubishi Montero launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Hindustan Motors and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation today announced the launch of their premium sports utility vehicle, Mitsubishi Montero, here.

Chief General Manager of Hindustan Motors, Mr Ashok Anant Raman, who unveiled the Montero, said the Mitsubishi Montero being introduced in India by Hindustan Motors was contemporary and fully featured version of the international model Mitsubishi Montero.

Powered by a 3.2 litre turbocharged inter-cooled direct-injection diesel engine, Montero comes as a CBU (completely built unit) from MMC (Mitsubishi Motors Corporation), Japan.

It is equipped with an M-ASTC (Mitsubishi Active Stability Traction Control) which uses a comprehensive network of intelligent sensors that monitors various vehicle parameters and manages engine output, power distribution and braking force to deliver improved vehicle control, traction and tracing on any surface, has a monocoque body, is designed to stay rigid in the most testing conditions and has a hydraulic brake booster, dual front SRS airbags and front side airbags for safety. The ex-showroom (Ludhiana) price of the new vehicle is Rs 29.7 lakh.



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