L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Amarinder throws open challenge to SAD (B)
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Samrala/Payal, February 1
Throwing an open challenge to the Shiromani Akali Dal (B) in the forthcoming Assembly polls, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today claimed that the Congress would make history by forming a government for another term.

Addressing election rallies at Samrala, Payal and Amloh in favour of its candidates, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, Mr Tej Paraksh Singh and Mr Sadhu Singh Dharmshot, he claimed that the party stood on a strong footing on account of its "people-friendly and pro-development policies".

Stating that the SAD-BJP alliance was bereft of any political agenda, he blamed the Akalis for "derailing the economy" and causing a debt of Rs 54,000 crore to the state. When the Congress wrested power from the SAD-BJP alliance in 2002, it inherited empty coffers and had to make a lot of efforts to put back the derailed economy through tough fiscal measures.

Doling out promises to people, he said if his government came to power, it would increase old-age pension from Rs 250 a month to Rs 500. While he condemned SAD for making "false" promises of providing atta for Rs 4 per kg, he said his party would provide 35 kg of wheat flour and 10 kg of rice at the rate of Rs 2 per kg and pulses at Rs 20 per kg to families living below the poverty line.

Stating that his party fulfilled all the 66 poll promises made in the last election manifesto, he said if it came to power, it would work towards welfare of Dalits, farmers, traders, entrepreneurs and employees.

He also promised to provide 24-hour of continuous power supply to domestic consumers, farmers and industrialists.

Urging people to vote for his party, he said the era of development would continue and Punjab would be on the path of progress.

Alleging that the SAD was only interested in exploitation of masses by its corrupt means, he said Mr Parkash Singh Badal was in the habit of misleading people. 

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I am still with Cong: Rehman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Setting at rest all rumours, a prominent Muslim leader of the city, Mr Atiq-Ur-Rehman, today said he had not left the Congress and was a loyal soldier of the party.

He stated that he was with a secular party and would not join either the BJP or SAD who were playing with the religious sentiments of particular communities for their vested political interests.

Before he gave this statement, there were rumours that Mr Rehman, Chairman of the Minority Department of the Congress, was all set to join the SAD like his brother, Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid of the city, Maulana Habib Ur Rehman Sani, who had announced his support to the party two days ago.

The announcement had shaken the Congress circles as the Shahi Imam was the real brother of Atiq Ur Rehman and the latter was a strong contender of the Congress ticket from Ludhiana East but was denied the same.

Announcing the Muslim support to Badal's party, the Shahi Imam had said, "We will support only Badal's party. Muslims have 22 lakh votes all over the state and all would vote in favour of the SAD. But we will not support the BJP due to its communal approach."

Categorically denying that the decision had anything to do with the denial of ticket to Atiq, Maulana Habib Ur Rehman said, "We are brothers but we have different ideologies. Mr Rehman is still in the Congress. Our decision is going to be a setback for the party as an order of the Shahi Imam is supreme for the Muslims and our masjid is the headquarter of all Muslims of the state."

The Shahi Imam said they had decided to support Badal as the Congress had not done anything for the minority community neither had it made any promises for the community in its election manifesto announced yesterday.

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Manmohan to visit city on February 6
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, will visit the city on February 6 to address rallies in favour of the Congress candidates. He will address a rally at 11 am in the city.

Later he will go to Patiala to address another rally. He will be in the state for two days visit. He will visit Amritsar and Jalandhar on February 5, according to Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president, Punjab Congress Committee.

All India Congress Committee chief Sonia Gandhi will be visiting the state on February 8 and 10.

She will address rallies at Jandiala Guru, Phagwara, Gidderbaha and Sirhind. 

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Candidates directed to stick to code of conduct
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, District Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, has asked the contesting candidates to strictly abide by the directions of the Election Commission of India given in the model code of conduct, while carrying out their election campaigning so that the free fair and peaceful elections could be conducted in the district.

The DC told Returning Officers (ROs) and flying squads to further accelerate checking in their constituencies and ensure that no violation of the code of conduct was carried out. He said in case any election material was found pasted on public properties/buildings, across the roads or on the electricity poles then it should be removed without any delay and the expenditure incurred on this may be debited to the account of the candidate concerned.

He asked candidates to give prior information to RO/ police about the venue and time of the election meetings, so that necessary security/traffic arrangements could be made. He said no candidate would be allowed to use loudspeaker at any place or on a vehicle without the prior permission of the SDM concerned.

Regarding processions, Mr Gupta informed that any party or candidate organising a procession would be required to inform the RO/police beforehand about the time, place and route to be followed in order to enable the latter to make necessary arrangements. He said traffic regulations or restrictions should also be carefully adhered to and the organisers should take steps in advance to arrange for smooth passage of the procession so that traffic jams could be avoided.

In connection with restrictions imposed under the model code of conduct on the polling day, the District Election Officer said authorised workers of the candidates, wearing badges and proof of identity, would be allowed to issue slips to voters only on plain (white) paper and these slips should not contain any symbol, name of the candidate or the name of the party. He informed and added that these workers should refrain from serving or distributing liquor on the polling day and 24 hours before it.

He said candidates should ensure that camps are simple and posters, flags, symbols or any other propaganda material was not displayed. No eatables will be allowed to be served to the crowd at the camps. Candidates will have to comply with the rules regarding the plying of vehicles on the polling day and obtain the required permits for vehicles, which have to be displayed prominently on the vehicles. He cleared that except for voters, no one without a valid pass from the Election Commission would be allowed to enter the polling booths. He said if the candidates or their agents have any specific complaint or problem regarding the conduct of elections, then they may bring the same to the notice of the Observers concerned. 

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Enticing voters by drugs won’t pay, says study
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, February 1
Many political parties are wooing voters by offering them drugs. But do not think these voters will faithfully vote for such parties. Only 29 per cent of them will be sincere while 36 per cent will vote for candidates of their liking, says a study conducted by Prof Balwinder Pal Singh and Dr Deepinder Singh, Professor and head, Department of Economics, GHG College, Gurusar Sudhar and Associate Professor, Department of Materia Medica, LMH Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, respectively.

The study revealed that many kinds of drugs are being distributed. It was also found that police knew about it but remained a mute spectator.

A questionnaire for this purpose was prepared in Punjabi. The age group of respondents extended from 18 to 60 years. At least 46 per cent of respondents were women.

The observation was that 95 per cent respondents acknowledged that drugs were being offered. Only 2 per cent were unaware of it. Majority of respondents (89 per cent) said that all political parties were involved in distribution of intoxicants. Alcohol appeared to be the most popular drug distributed during elections. Only 2 per cent said that poppy husk was a favoured drug in their area.

Money came out to be the second most popular tool to lure voters. Nearly 74 per cent of them opined that this was also common method adopted by politicians to gain votes.

A bad news for politicians is that the practise of drug distribution may have negative impact too, especially on female voters. As many as 51 per cent respondents opined that women do not take directions from male members, who have taken drugs from political parties. 

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Poll officers draw flak from PGCTA 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The Punjab Government College Teachers Association (PGCTA) has condemned district election officers for violating the spirit of Election Commission of India while assigning election duties to Punjab education service (Class-I) cadre.

The teachers said the Election Commission of India and the Punjab Government had directed all district electoral officers to assign duties to government college teachers on the basis of their status, seniority and pay scales and not force them to perform any election duty which does not commensurate with their pay and status.

The Governor of Punjab as per a letter of the Government of Punjab has declared the college cadre teaching staff as Class I with nomenclature of PES-I. A delegation of the PGCTA had met the deputy chief elector officer in Chandigarh to implement the spirit of the above letter and he had given an assurance in this regard. “Government College teachers were being forced to work as presiding officers, whereas SDOs of various departments drawing much less pay were deputed as supervisors, said Prof Jaipal Singh,” president, PGDCA.

He further added that all PES-I cadre teachers who were given election duty were appointed as presiding officers with Class II and Class III cadre employees of the other departments, which was against the protocol.

In a joint press statement issued today Prof Jaipal Singh, Mr Kuldip Singh (president, GCW unit of the PGCTA), Prof Harbans Singh (member, executive committee of the PGCTA), Prof Ashwani Bhalla (member, state executive committee of the PGCTA) and Prof Hardeep Singh (general secretary of the PGCTA) have urged the district authorities to respect the status of Government College (PES-I) cadre and ensure that they should be given duties as per protocol and their seniority. 

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Cong bashing rules Grewal's campaigning
Our Correspondent

Doraha, February 1
Mr Mahesh Inder Grewal, SAD candidate from Payal, completed his first round of election campaign today as he covered 99 villages of Payal constituency, including Doraha and Maloud. Mr Grewal asked the people to analyse for themselves the progress made before the Congress' coming to power and the regression that followed thereafter.

Campaigning at Lasara village today, the SAD candidate said the Congress would pay heavily due to its “shrewd policies” adopted for achieving personal ends. He added that the Congress had been a failure on all fronts.

He assured that if voted to power, the SAD would restore all schemes that the present government had withdrawn during its dictatorial regime.

“Our focus shall be to check inflation. Also the problem of unemployment shall be checked. Special focus shall be on the growth of economy,” he asserted.

Mr Mahesh Inder Grewal was accompanied by party leaders like Mr Bharpoor Singh Rauni, Mr Hardev Singh Matharoo, Mr Gurnam Singh Araichan, Mr Tejinder Singh Rampur, Mr Sanjeev Puri, Mr Raghbir Singh Saharan Majra, Mr Harpal Singh Jallah, Mr Sukhwant Singh, Mr Kulwant Singh and Mr Amardeep Phoolka.

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Election activity gains momentum
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, February 1
With the withdrawl of nomination papers on January 29, election activity in this district has picked up. The candidates are now busy organising their election offices and the polling offices in their respective constituencies.

Twelve Vidhan Sabha constituencies of this district are set to witness three-cornered contests notwithstanding the fact that the number of the contesting candidates in each segment is quite high. Besides, the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal, the other political parties like the CPI , BJP, Bahujan Samaj Party and the newly formed Taksali Akali Dal have also put up their candidates. There are about half a dozen rebels of the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal in the fray.

The rural constituencies of the district are witnessing interesting and fierce contests. Payal constituency which has returned two Chief Ministers, namely Mr Gian Singh Rarewala and the late Beant Singh, has historical importance as it became part of Ludhiana district after the merger of Pepsu in Punjab.

This constituency has Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, advocate, as the SAD candidate while Mr Tej Parkash Singh, son of late Beant Singh, is the Congress nominee. It has Jagjeewanpal Singh as rebel Akali candidate. Besides, Mr Kartar Singh Bowani is the CPI nominee and Mr Gurchet Singh represents the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Payal is an Akali dominated constituency and Mr Beant Singh had been winning this seat with the policy of divide and rule. He won four times by adopting such tactics and lost in 1985. In 1992 he moved to Jalandhar Cantonment when there was no Akali candidate.

Mr Tej Parkash Singh is the sitting Congress legislator of this constituency and he is facing for the first time a rebel in Amrik Singh Rauni who was once loyal to Mr Beant Singh. Mr Amrik Singh has refused to withdraw his nomination papers.

Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal is giving a tough time to Mr Tej Parkash Singh despite opposition from rebel Jagjeewanpal Singh. Mr Grewal will have the advantage of the CPI, BSP and the rebel Congress nominee being in the fray. Mr Grewal has mobilised the Akali workers of the area and Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Sukhbir Singh have instructed the rank and file to extend support to Mr Grewal and he wants to see Mr Grewal victorious. Kila Raipur is another rural constituency which is witnessing a keen contest between the Akali Dal nominee, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, sitting MLA, and Mr Jasbir Singh Khangoora, son of Mr Jagpal Singh Khangoora.

Mr Jasbir Singh Khangoora has surrendered his British citizenship to seek election from this constituency. Kila Raipur has never returned a Congress candidate from this seat since 1967 when this constituency was carved out. Justice Gurnam Singh, first Chief Minister of the first non-Congress government in Punjab, was elected from this seat twice in 1967 and 1969. Giani Arjan Singh had won this seat till 1985 after Justice Gurnam Singh.

It will be history if the Congress nominee wins this time. The Khangooras have nursed this constituency during the past five years with money and started new projects. Mr Jasbir Singh Khangoora’s mother had contested unsuccessfully in 2002 on the Congress ticket.

Raikot constituency is also another Akali dominated seat where Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi, son of Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, is facing strong opposition from the Congress nominee, Mr Harmohinder Singh Pradhan, who is also the vice-president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Both are strong contenders for the seat.

Jagraon constituency has Mr Gurdip Singh Bhaini, a former Akali MLA as the Congress nominee, and he is facing strong opposition from Congress men who wanted Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib to seek election on the Congress ticket. The Akali Dal has Mr Bhag Singh Malla, a sitting MLA. Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal was interested in seeking nomination from Jagraon but was denied the ticket. He has since left the Akali Dal and joined the newly formed Taksali Akali Dal. He will campaign for the candidates of the Taksali Akali Dal in Jagraon and Dakha constituencies and he has sizeable support base in these two segments.

Khanna (Reserve ) is witnessing a very keen contest as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, is pitted again Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa of the Akali Dal. Mr Khalsa is seeking election from Khanna for the first time while Mr Dullo was elected in 1992 and became Excise and Taxation Minister in the Beant Singh Government. Mr Khalsa is getting good response from the voters of this constituency.

Khanna is a very prosperous town and has the biggest grain market of Asia and the residents of this town have strong likes and dislikes for Mr Dullo. His rude behaviour has annoyed a large section of the population. His wife, Mrs Harbans Kaur, was elected in 2002 from this seat and was again keen on seeking renomination but could not stand against her husband's strong position in the Congress organisation. The BSP has put up Mr Swaran Singh from this seat.

Residents of Nasrali village in Khanna constituency had to fight against the wrath of Mr Dullo and they had to knock at the doors of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to protect their land rights.

Samrala constituency has Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon as the Congress nominee and he is seeking election for the third time. He is facing Mr Jagjeewan Singh of the Akali Dal and Mr Himmat Singh of the Akali Dal (Amritsar). Mr Dhillon is not likely to face much opposition and he has served his constituency well.

In Dakha (Reserve) Mr Darshan Singh Shivalik is giving a tough time to Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha of the Congress. Mr Darshan Singh has been nurturing his constituency during the past five years.

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Poll fever grips student leaders, too 
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
While politicians strive to harness power of the youth in elections, student strength in colleges has significantly declined with a lot of students getting busy in campaign-related activities."We are quite busy these days in rallies and other campaign-related work. Arranging things is relatively simpler for us as youngsters do not mind working for long hours. Elections are a time we consider an opportunity to know those in power as it would ultimately help us only later," said Amarinder Singh, president, Ludhiana Students Union.

With leading political parties having their wings in various city colleges, college students carrying flags of political parties they are supporting is a common sight in the city these days. Not only do they contribute to strengthening the campaign by roping in more students, awareness generated by leaders could bear a long-term impact, feel political candidates.

Ranging from organising rallies and other publicity-related work, students not only facilitate changing mindset of their counterparts, working extra hours comes easy to them.

And while it is boys who constitute the majority of those directly involved, participation from girls, too, is sought in conducting meetings at smaller levels. "When girl students face problems, they contact leaders and during elections even if they are not coming out in large numbers, they do extend their support in many ways, including organising campaigns, said Singh.

National Students Union of India (NSUI) has decided to bring its leaders from Delhi as well to contribute in strengthening campaigns. "At local level, it is mostly leaders who participate in election work. It is only during rallies of our candidates when we go in large numbers," said Jaspreet Singh, district incharge, NSUI.

Come to distribution of work and student leaders have divided their respective areas for streamlining things. They also arrange for transportation at their own levels while taking other students for campaigning.

Political leaders say roping in youth is critical for them."Youth form a major percentage in total voters. Even awareness generated in them helps a lot and their support will have a long-term impact for any party," said a spokesperson for a Ludhiana-based candidate.

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‘Selective’ seizure of arms: Akalis threaten stir
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The police move to confiscate weapons to check poll-related violence has backfired with a number of Akali leaders accusing the former of playing a partisan role by seizing Akalis’ arms and sparing the Congress leaders.

The leaders claim that under the garb of containing violence, the administration was provoking them to raise their voice against the ‘‘dictatorial’’ attitude of the district officials.

Having shot off letters to the Election Commission, the disgruntled leaders state that if no action was taken they would take a collision course to get themselves heard.

Stating that a step-motherly treatment was being meted out to them, Mr Simarjit Singh Bains,a Youth Akali leader, said that they were being treated as criminals only because they belonged to Mr Parkash Singh Badal's party.

‘‘We know this is a routine exercise during every elections. But the police is supposed to confiscate weapons in sensitive constituencies and that too of persons who have some bad record. Do they think I am a criminal? Is there any case registered against me? Then why are they troubling me? ’’ he asked.

He went on to say that he was not minding that his weapon was seized but what hurt him was that he had seen many Congress men roaming around carrying weapons. ‘‘I can show many of them carrying weapons. Why this partisan attitude? ’’

Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, an Akali legislator from the Qila Raipur constituency, said that the attitude of the police was really provocative. He accused the police of irresponsible behaviour.

He added that he had seen many Congress workers carrying their weapons openly. But the administration was turning a blind eye to them, he said. ‘‘In their eyes, all Akalis have a bad past record. May be that is why they are convinced that we would create problem and our weapons should be confiscated and not that of the Congress workers.’’

Mr A.S. Rai, Senior Superintendent of Police, rubbished all these allegations. He said that they were not playing any partisan role. ‘‘We are not going by the person's affiliation to any party. The rules are alike for everybody, ’’ he said.

He stated that the precautions were being taken after the Beas imbroglio and they were seizing arms of all persons who could pose a threat to the law and order situation. He added that they had seized 300 weapons till date. ‘‘We will not allow anybody to break the law , ’’ he asserted. 

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Building bylaw violators have a field day
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
As the entire government machinery is busy during the election season, violators of building bylaws are having a field day.
A number of buildings in violation of bylaws are coming up in different parts of the city. The constructions have been going on unabated as the authorities do not want to take action against the violators as it would annoy voters and their political bosses would not like any protest at this point of time.

‘‘The authorities are being told to look the other way while the violations take place. This is the time when even a corner plot, that is not considered in zoning in routine, is being constructed, though no construction plan has been sanctioned by the authorities concerned,’’ said a senior official, preferring anonymity.

He added that though the issue would be taken up after the elections, a violation would not be corrected as it becomes difficult to take stringent action once a building had been constructed.

‘‘A number of political leaders are shielding violators. The officials are turning a blind eye towards them. When the elections will be over a number of new violations will be included in the already long list,’’ said a resident.

In some areas, the violations are so blatant that even the house-line rule is not being considered. A similar building is coming up in J-Block of Sarabha Nagar in the neighbourhood of an area councillor. But the violation continues unabashedly.

‘‘There are already a number of buildings which violate the house-line rule. We have spent so much money on buying a house in Sarabha Nagar as we wanted to live in good environment. But with these buildings coming up, the sun has been blocked and we are feeling suffocated. No body is paying heed to it,” said Mr S.S. Chana, a resident. 

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Reema Jain murder: 1 witness examined
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
Mr H.P.S. Mahal, Additional Sessions Judge, today recorded the evidence of a prosecution witness in the Reema Jain murder trial.
Surinder Kumar Jain was examined as witness by the prosecution to prove the alleged recoveries made in his presence by the police on February 22, 2006. The recording of statement had started at the last hearing, when the first witness was examined.

Those facing the trial include Anil Jain (elder brother-in-law of Reema), Jasvir Singh of Narangwal, Kuldip Singh of Mandiani and Tarsem Singh of Kotmana, Jagraon.

The case will come up for recording the evidence of the remaining prosecution witnesses on February 28.

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Timely surgery restores vision of child
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 1
An innovative and timely surgery performed in the Department of Eye and Vitreoretina at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) here has restored the vision of a four-year-old child.

According to Dr Sumeet Chopra, Assistant Professor in the Department of Eye at the DMCH, who performed the surgery, a child was brought to the hospital by the parents. Examination showed bleeding in the jelly of the left eye, called vitreous haemorrhage in medical terminology. The condition was caused as a result of a rare condition known as 'juvenile X-linked retinoschisis' which affected the retina in young boys.

"The retina is like the film of camera and it is the inner most layer of the eye ball. It receives the rays of light which enter the eye and transmits them to the brain via the optic nerve. In this condition, the retina gets split into two layers, as a consequence of which, a large holes is formed and in rare cases, it can lead to bleeding inside the eye."

Dr Chopra said after the diagnosis, the patient underwent parsplana vitrectomy with inner layer retinectomy and silicon oil injection in the affected eye. The child was now doing well and his vision was normal after the surgery.

Stressing the need for proper care of the eyes, Dr Chopra advised a regular retina check-up in children whose vision was felt to be poor by the parents. Besides this, all diabetic patients with hypertension and high myopia, needed to have a regular checkup by a retina specialist.

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Order on arms: Farmers feel vulnerable
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana February 1
With political violence already claiming one life in Beas, the administration in Ludhiana, like in other parts of the state, seems over-cautious. In Jagraon police district, the police administration has gone a step ahead by asking people to deposit their weapons. But this is not being accepted by the people having licensed weapons, particularly the farming community as they perceive threat to their lives.

“Once our weapons are deposited, we would be rendered defenceless and vulnerable to attack from criminals,” said Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president, Bharatiya Kisan Union, Punjab.

The SSP, Jagraon, Mr Shiv Kumar Verma, who had issued the order to deposit weapons, said due to apprehensions of violence, such orders had been issued. “We want to prevent violence. We have asked only those people to deposit their weapons who either have political rivalry or some criminal background,” he said.

There are some who feel that licensed weapons were least used for crimes. Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, president, Kul Hind Mazdoor Sabha said, “If we misuse our weapons, not only we will lose our weapons but will also go to jail,” he said.

Another farmer said, “I feel threat to my life from my first cousins settled in Bihar over a land dispute and if they come to know that I am not carrying any weapon, I can easily be targeted .”

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SAD (A) for scrapping Land Acquisition Act
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today demanded scrapping of the Land Acquisition Act as it was being misused by various governments.
The demand came at a press conference addressed by SAD(A) general secretaries Prof Jagmohan Singh and Mr Daljit Singh Bittu, who said that various governments had been misusing the Land Acquisition Act and were forcibly acquiring land at throwaway prices.

They said that the Act was implemented in 1894 and had become obsolete. Both the leaders called upon the people of Dhanaula and Sangrur to vote for the SAD(A) president, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, so that "the excesses of the state government and the Trident group could be given a befitting reply.

Prof Jagmohan Singh said that they had warned the Election Commission 15 days ago about the apprehensions of violence in the campaign for the Punjab elections. "Our apprehensions have come true in the form of violence at Beas. We hold the Congress, Badal's party and the Election Commission responsible for this violence, he added.

They said their party had cautioned the Election Commission against the smuggling of liquor and other intoxicants into Punjab from neighbouring states during the elections. "We demand that the border of the state should be sealed to stop this smuggling besides appointment of excise officials to check the vehicles coming from other states to ensure a check on smuggling of liquor," they said. 

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Youngsters turning to religion: Swami
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
"Young people are turning to religion and spiritualism to find solace"said Swami Nityanand. He is in the city to celebrate the first birth centenary of Baba Muktanand.

He said:"Baba Muktanand spent most of his life seeking the divine, the goal of human life.After attaining the experience , he worked constantly to share it. His life was dedicated to spreading the truth. I joined his ashram when I was 15 years old. Our Shanti Mandir spread the teachings of Baba Muktanand. The main ashram is in Gujarat, the other two are in Hardwar and New York."

He said our main message was that everybody should remain happy. At our ashrams , we try to remove the differences in cast, creed and work for the good of the humanity." We want to work for universal peace. We want the people to rise above the material life so that the aim of life is realised."

The ashram in Gujarat takes care of the students studying in nearby municipal school. It teaches them personal hygiene and develop their hobbies.It runs mobile hospitals in 12 villages. To wean away woman from distilling illicit liquor at homes, they are being taught some crafts. They are provided the material and they are paid per piece for the work done by them.

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17 attend workshop on quality improvement 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The Automotive Component Manufacturers’ Association of India conducted a workshop on quality circles here
yesterday. Addressing the participants, Mr U.S. Ahuja, group Managing Director, New Swan Enterprises, emphasised on training for improving quality.

A quality circle is a group of employees from the same work area who voluntarily meet at regular intervals to identify, analyse and resolve work related problems. The process helps not only to improve performance of an organisation but also acts as a powerful tool to launch other improvement initiatives like 6Sigma, TPM, TQM and lean manufacturing, he said.

Mr Surinder Mahendru, regional council member of the association, urged the local industry to gear up for global competition.

He said:"Man, machine, material and methods are critical for overall improvement of accompany". The workshop was attended by 40 participants from 17 companies.

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Two mobile phone thieves arrested
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
The Ludhiana police has arrested Aman of Chhawani Mohalla and Jaswinder for stealing mobile phones.
Addressing a press conference, Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, SP, City(I), said six mobile phones were recovered from them.

He stated that Aman’s modus operandi was that he would ask for the phone on the plea that a relative of his was sick and he wanted to make a call. After taking the cellphone, he used to run away.

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