L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



SAD exploiting Punjabis: Dullo
‘Amarinder got four-fold grant for state’
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 7
Accusing SAD of exploiting innocence of Punjabis in general and farmers in particular, Mr Samsher Singh Dullo, president PPCC, claimed that the Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh had fetched fourfold grant for development of various sectors, including agriculture in the state.

Mr Dullo was talking to the Ludhiana Tribune after addressing a rally organised in favour of Ms Razia Sultana, party candidate from Malerkotla constituency at local grain market last night.

"While Mr Parkash Singh Badal, during his tenure as Chief Minister, could barely fetch Rs 460 crore, Captain Amrinder succeeded in impressing upon the Union Government to send grant worth Rs 1750 crore that facilitated undertake massive development in all sectors including agriculture," said Mr Dullo adding that Rs 100 crore was provided to PAU for promoting agriculture. He sought support of various organisations for Ms Sultana.

Acknowledging the role played by her in getting the long-pending demands for a spacious grain market and a supplemented drainage system accepted, the office-bearers of various social and commercial organisations announced to support Ms Razia Sultana in the election.

The speakers recollected that the SAD candidate Mr Abdul Gaffar, during his tenure as minister in Beant Singh government, had opposed administration's move to upgrade the town as subdivision.

Expressing gratitude to the residents of the area for the love and affection they had showered on her, Mr Razia Sultana held that she had tried her best to come up to their expectations.

"By bringing grants for the development of the area I have performed my constitutional and moral duty, and have not done any favour to anyone. It is all due to your blessings that the almighty enabled me succeed in fulfilling long pending demands, including of the grain market and the drainage system supplementation," said Ms Razia while addressing the rally.

Mr Jasbir Singh, former minister, Mr Sinder Singh, chairman, Market Committee, and Mr Jatinder Bhola, president, Municipal Council, spoke on the occasion.

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Khangura, Garcha penalised for violating Code
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
A penalty of Rs 500 each has been imposed on Mr Jasbir Singh Khangura, Congress candidate and Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, SAD (B) candidate from the Kila Raipur constituency for violating the code of conduct.

The Returning Officer for Kila Raipur, Ms Amrit Gill, imposed the penalty on the two candidates for violating the code of conduct by pasting their posters, flags and banners on government buildings in villages falling under this segment.

The Returning Officer also warned the erring candidates of strict disciplinary action in case of any such violation in future. She said all candidates in the Kila Raipur constituency had been asked to strictly adhere to the model code of conduct.

Incidents of candidates pasting their posters, banners on government buildings have been frequent. As per the code of conduct, pasting of posters and other such election material on public properties and places is not permitted. However, in case of private property, it is permitted subject to the prior permission of the owner of the property concerned.

Several private parties, too, had complained of political candidates pasting their posters and pictures without prior permission.

"Several such incidents have come to light. But candidates almost deny that they or their workers did the same. To put a check on this practice, such owners or candidates would be required to furnish a copy of the written consent given by the owner of private property where they have pasted such material to the Returning Officer concerned. If they fail to produce any documentary evidence of their consent, the material pasted on such properties would be removed," said the District Election Officer, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta.

The Election Officer has directed Returning Officers and flying squads to remove all posters and pictures of political personalities pasted on private properties without the written consent of owners. The cost of removing such material would be regarded as election expenditure towards the political party or the candidate concerned.

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Stopping development work not fair, say residents
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
Ever since the Election Commission of India became strict about the code of conduct, all development works come to a halt at the time of elections. In fact most of the development works are stopped to avoid any violation of the code. However, everyone does not approve of this practice as several people believe that this goes against the public interest. Earlier, the development works used to get intensified around the election time. But as this is considered to be an unethical practice aimed at influencing the voters, the EC deals strictly with those violating it. However, Mr Hitesh Gambhir, a hosiery manufacturer, maintains that the EC must have a relook at this practice. He observed, it was usual for leaders to forget about public interest after coming to power and they got active around the election time only.

"At least they (the people in power) would try to carry out development works around election time in the hope of getting votes", he said, adding, “whether this would fetch them any votes or not was not certain, but what was certain was that the general public would get benefited”.

At present the public utility services are the first causalities during election time. "If a road is damaged, the officials would use the 'code of conduct' excuse to delay the repair work", remarked, Mr Jaswinder Singh a local shopkeeper near Sufi Wala Chowk. He said, even if a road has to be repaired even then we have to wait for the elections to be over. He said, the EC must identify as what amounts to corrupt or unethical practice. "At least where general public is benefited or its interest is served without any discrimination against anyone, there the Election Commission must take a lenient view", he said.

In a city like Ludhiana, with an estimated population of about 30 lakh, stopping development works for about three months, (from the day code of conduct comes into force till the formation of the new government) makes everything go haywire. Even small patchwork on roads is not taken up.

However, a senior official sought to clarify that no ongoing development projects are stopped due to coming into force of the code of conduct. “Only new projects cannot be started during the election process and wherever there is an immediate need for some work, it is carried out", he said, while arguing that public convenience was never overlooked. 

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Traders burn sales tax officials’ effigy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
Traders in Chaura Bazaar burnt an effigy of "corrupt" Sales Tax Department officials, alleging that officials had seized their goods from the local railway station with a view to harass them.

"They randomly picked up more than 100 boxes of goods belonging to traders yesterday. They are citing vague reasons like under-valuation of goods being sent or received, incomplete papers etc. All this amount to sheer harassment of the business community as officials are only interested in bribe," alleged Mr Vinod Jain, president, Ludhiana Beopar Mandal.

Traders and manufacturers from various segments like hosiery, general stores etc said the department officials took boxes of the goods that had arrived on the station and also of the goods that were meant to be sent.

Threatening to intensify their agitation, the members of the Ludhiana Beopar Mandal said if their grievances were not addressed, they would give a call for a statewide bandh soon Mr Jatinder Gilhotra, member of the beopar mandal, was also present.

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Punjab VOTES ’07

Bedi Vs Pandey in Ludhiana East
Rivals move from door to door to garner votes

 

Bedi promises ‘heaven’
Ludhiana, February 7
It was a day out amidst beating of drums, meeting people and lunching on samosas for Mr Harish Bedi, BJP candidate from Ludhiana East, who was out in the old city for his contact programme today.

PANDEY Confident of BIG win
Ludhiana, February 7
At 6.30 a.m in the morning, Congress candidate and sitting MLA (North), Mr Rakesh Pandey's house in Udham Singh Nagar near Rose Garden is abuzz with activity.





Bedi promises ‘heaven’
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
It was a day out amidst beating of drums, meeting people and lunching on samosas for Mr Harish Bedi, BJP candidate from Ludhiana East, who was out in the old city for his contact programme today.

Having woken up at 5 in the morning, Mr Bedi took little more time saying his prayers today as he had to meet people of areas known to be pocket boroughs of his Congress rival Mr Rakesh Pandey.

After having a small breakfast comprising a slice of bread and a glass of milk, Mr Bedi left his street number 6 house in Janakpuri for Sanglan Wala Shivalaya temple at 7 a.m. After paying obeisance, he was ready to take on his rival.

At 7:30 a.m., Mr Bedi started his door-to-door campaign from the Shivalaya Road. Amidst beating of drums and flanked by around 100 supporters, Mr Bedi went from door to door, garlanding elderly by removing garlands from around his neck. There were pats and kisses for the children too.

‘‘All I need is your love and affection. It does not matter whether you vote for me or not. But If elected I would make a heaven out of your neglected area, ’’ he told a woman with folded hands.

After spending an hour he reached Gurchaman Gali where he was welcomed by the area residents, who offered him lassi, cold drink, dry fruits and what not. ‘‘These eatables along with their love keep me going, ’’ said a satisfied Bedi, known for his pleasing demeanour.

Later, he went from door to door at Rupa Mistri Gali and all streets of New Madhopuri and covered these areas by afternoon. There was no break for lunch, which was waiting for him at Jodhewal Basti.‘‘Till I cover all areas that I had to before afternoon, I cannot stop by for lunch,’’ he said.

A kiosk selling samosas at Fatehgarh Mohalla was a welcome stopover for a few seconds, when Mr Bedi bought samosas for all the workers . ‘‘Fatehgarh Mohalla is my rival's vote bank. But Mr Pandey has not done anything for these people. They have not seen him for months. I will show them how development takes place, ’’ he adds after spending two hours in the area and leaving for Deepak Cinema Road, Nali Mohalla and Shiv Puri.

Before addressing a nukkad meetings in Jodhewal Basti at 9 p.m., Mr Bedi popped a multivitamin pill to keep going. It was well past midninght that the work seemed to have come to a halt. At least for the next few hours.


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PANDEY Confident of BIG win
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
At 6.30 a.m in the morning, Congress candidate and sitting MLA (North), Mr Rakesh Pandey's house in Udham Singh Nagar near Rose Garden is abuzz with activity. Supporters are waiting for him to join them for the day.

At 7 a.m, an enthusiastic, Mr Pandey dressed in crisp white kurta pyjamas and sports shoes comes out and greets them. It is time to pay obeisance at nearby temple.

Then it is time to hit the road. Mr Pandey takes control of the wheel of his car and leaves for his ‘‘battlefield.’’ Today is the time to meet people in Purana Bazar and other city areas.

At 7.30 a.m he is in Harcharan Nagar addressing nukkad meetings, where he stays for two hours. The audience listens to him attentively as he lists promises and thanks them for his past victories.

After nukkad meetings it is time for door-to-door campaign in Maliganj where he can be seen mingling with people, hugging elderly and shaking hands with children ready for school. He needs no introduction in the area as people of his area love him. They have returned him to power in three Assembly elections and a byelection.

‘‘Pandey Sahib aye han’’ cheered a man in his 40s while announcing the MLAs visit to the house. He went inside with children and the lady of the house lining up to greet him. A box of sweets is offered to him and his supporters. After this welcome note he goes to other houses where he is welcomed and invited for a cup of tea. Politely refusing the offer, Mr Pandey cites the shortage of time as the reason for his refusal but ‘‘some other time, ’’ he promises and his supporters knock at the next door.

Later, it is time to meet his supporters in Old Bazar. People offer him cold drinks, tea and milk but most of the time he refuses. ‘‘I cannot have everything. Otherwise I will put on weight, ’’ says one of the fittest among candidates in Ludhiana.

Walking tirelessly through the streets, Mr Pandey does not want to leave any household in the Purani Sabzi Mandi area untouched. Then it is time for a party meeting at his main office near Chand Cinema.

Lunch is ready and Mr Pandey and his supporters feast on chapatis and dal while they discuss the outcome of the day. ‘‘I am going to win this time also. My people will repose faith in me once again. And I will be an MLA for the fifth time in a row. That's would be a record in the city, ’’ said a confident, Mr Pandey. In the afternoon he again meets people in Dal Mandi, Peru Banda Mohalla and Basti Jodhewal areas. His day ends at 12 midnight when he rushes to sleep at his house to wake up all charged up the next day.

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Lawyers divided over support to Dhanda, Johar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 7
Lawyers are divided in lending support to two former chiefs of the District Bar Association (DBA) and Income Tax Bar Association, who are contesting elections from Ludhiana West Assembly against each other.

Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, who had served as president of the District Bar Association seven times and has also been former chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana is contesting as SAD-BJP candidate. Whereas his opponent Mr Harnam Dass Johar (a Cabinet Minister), who had remained president of the Income Tax Bar Association is contesting as Congress candidate.

The local Bar association is the largest body of lawyers in northern India and its support is being viewed as a major factor in victory of a particular candidate. The contesting candidates too are aware of the strength and influence of the community and thus they are leaving no stone unturned to woo them.

The office-bearers of DBA are, however, virtually divided over the issue of support. The sitting Bar President, Mr Hemant Kalia, is supporting Mr Johar. But a number of office-bearers of the District Bar Association, Sales Tax Bar Association, lawyers organisations today declared at a press conference that they would support Mr Dhanda.

The vice-president of DBA, Mr Shingara Singh Mangat, the joint secretary, Mr Rajan Chand, finance secretary Karan Singh, executive members Aru Sharma and Yogita Mohil declared open support to Mr Dhanda. Mr Mangat claimed that 80 per cent of the lawyers were with Mr Dhanda as he had done a lot for the welfare of the legal fraternity. They would ensure the victory of Mr Dhanda for the betterment of legal fraternity, he added. Though the son of Mr Johar is president of the Sales Tax Bar Association, yet there was division in the sales tax Bar as far as extending support to him was concerned. Mr Ashwani Kochhar, vice-president of the Sales Tax Bar Association, secretary Varinder Sharma, joint secretary Saket Garg also announced support to Mr Dhanda, in this press conference.

Apart from them, the chairman of Organisation of Young Lawyers, Mr Sandeep Kapoor, Mr Pardeep Sharma, president of Young Lawyers Welfare Forum, Punjab, Organisation of Group of Friends Advocates chairman Parminder Singh Pari, Mr Naginder Singh Rana, president, Young Lawyers Welfare Association, president, Mr Gurkirpal Singh Gill also extended support to Mr Dhanda.

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‘Shelter for slum dwellers, respect for women...’
Promises’ galore by Dhanda
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
Targeting the slums, the pocket borough of 
sitting MLA in Ludhiana West, the SAD candidate, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, today announced 
that if returned to power he would provide shelter to the slum dwellers.

While releasing his agenda specifically planned to please all sections comprising his electorate, Mr Dhanda said that there were around 10,000 
voters in all the slums falling in his assembly segment.

‘‘I would provide 2500 tenements to the slum dwellers. This is all they need, ’’ said Mr Dhanda stating that even if his party did not form government, he would press upon the government to do something for the slum dwellers.

Asked whether he had a piece of land in mind where he could provide the tenements, Mr Dhanda said that if there was a will there was a way. Taking a dig at his political rival, Mr Dhanda said that he had not done any thing for the slums who had always voted for him. ‘‘But this time they are all for me. If I do not get their votes, I will not go to them again, ’’ he said.

In his agenda, he touched upon all the issues relating to citizens as a whole, including basic amenities, traffic congestion, interrupted power, clean drinking water, local mass transport, regularisation of unauthorised colonies, garbage dumps, health care facilities, education and job avenues for the disable and keeping the youth away from drugs and intoxicants.

For women also, he said he would ensure respect for them in the corridors of administration, open crisis centres, day care centres, study and discussion groups, stop sexual harassment at workplace and impress upon the government to open an all women police station.

For students, teachers and lectures, he said, he would ensure Education Regulatory Authority, streamlining the admission process in schools, cheaper text books, low cost coaching to poor students, strengthen deficit in grant aid scheme and make more number of seats available in colleges.

Similarly for the trade and industry he said he would ensure abolition of requirement of maintenance of VAT register, minimum paper work regarding VAT, to provide special incentives to the export/import oriented trade, solid waste management, better roads, better industry-labour relations and rejuvenation of famous Ludhiana industry, including cycle parts, sewing machine parts, hosiery, nut bolts and small tools.

Promises are galore for lawyers as well as employees to solve their long pending problems.

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Friends society backs Gaffar
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 7
SAD nominee Abdul Gaffar received a shot in arm when activists of the Young Friends Welfare Society announced to support him in ensuing Assembly elections.

The announcement was made by Mr Ajit Malhotra, chairman of the society, at a function organised at local ward number 8 last night.

The activists brought problems, being faced by residents to the notice of the candidate.Opening of a women college and improvement of bus service were some of the demands made by the society members. Mr Gaffar assured to get these implemented in case he was voted to power. 

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Ex-servicemen to support SAD-BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
Retired senior defence officers today pledged their support to the SAD-BJP alliance candidates from Banur, Kharar and Morinda constituencies.

Among the defence officers who have supported the alliance candidates are Air Marshal PK Jain, Lieut-Gen BS Randhawa, Maj-Gen CS Panag and Maj-Gen Jagtar Singh Kang, the president of the Ex-Servicemen’s Wing of SAD, Brig Kuldip Singh Kahlon (Retd), claimed here yesterday.

Coming down heavily on the Congress regime for its failure on all fronts, Brigadier Kahlon alleged that the Congress government had not fulfilled its promise of "one rank one pension".

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BSP banking on voters’ disillusionment
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Mahilpur, February 7
Eroding support base due to factionalism and the death of senior leader Kanshi Ram may have made people think that the BSP has been written off, but its state president Avtar Singh Karimpuri asserts that his party can still swing the balance in several Assembly segments.

Mr Karimpuri is himself locked in a tough contest against sitting SAD MLA Sohan Singh Thandal and Congress nominee Dr Dilbag Rai from Mahilpur constituency. He has represented the segment in 1992 and lost to Mr Thandal in 1997 and 2002.

However, the BSP leader asserts that this time he is going to win as people are disillusioned with both the Congress and Akalis. “They have seen the two governments and tolerated Mr Thandal for 10 years, now they want a change,” he says.

About the plight of his party in Punjab, he says, ups and downs are in each party. “That does not mean you write us off,” he argues. He says the BSP has not restricted itself to political role only. “While politics is quite important as we are focusing on social transformation,” he says.

Mr Karimpuri maintains that the BSP is not like other parties. “We are, as defined and dedicated cadres of workers, are not moved or swayed by momentary developments,” he claims, while elaborating, “We have always tried to retain a certain percentage of votes throughout the state,” he says.

Optimism notwithstanding, Mr Karimpuri has to reconcile with the ground realities. The “dedicated BSP” cadre is fragmented and that too in this belt, while at one time the party was a force to reckon with.

Local residents recall that about a decade ago it would be blue and elephant posters that would outnumber those of Akalis and the Congress even when Mr Karimpuri lost from here. But now even the posters are hardly visible indicating the mood of the people.

Political observers believe that the BSP has never been able to make a difference. The BSP had won nine seats in 1992 when Akalis had boycotted the elections. In 1997, the party could win only one seat and in 2002, it drew a blank.

It won three Lok Sabha seats in alliance with the SAD in 1996. However, that was the golden era of the party, which now seems to be history only. It may be too difficult for the party to near that success once again, not at least, for the time being.

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Save Punjabi culture, say experts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 7
"Almost six decades ago, noted poetess Amrita Pritam invoked Waris Shah to give expression to the plight of countless girls that fell prey to atrocities at the time of partition of India. Now again it is time to invoke Amrita Pritam for giving vent, in her inimitable poetic style, to the feelings of common people regarding the pathetic state of Punjabi language, literature and culture."

These views were expressed by Prof Niranjan Tasneem, Dr Jagtar Dhiman and Dr (Mrs) Manu Sharma Sohal at a meeting of the literary body,'Punjabi Culture Study Circle International (PCSCI)’ held yesterday at the local Punjabi Bhawan.

Earlier, enthusiastic attempts had not been made for the promotion of the mother tongue of the Punjabis. Now, at this juncture of history, genuine efforts need to be made without playing to the gallery, for upholding the status of Punjabi in all spheres of human activity in this part of the land.

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CRIME

8 booked for trespass and assault
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 7
Karnail Kaur, Arjun Singh, Kale, alias Kali, Kali, Nimmo, Nano, Rajni and Jasvir Singh all of Agwar Lopon village allegedly entered the house of Sarbjit kaur of Agwar Khawaja Baju Jagraon and assaulted her with iron rod, lathies, sticks and bricks.They even damaged the house articles of Sarbjit Kaur. The police here has registered a case under Sections 452, 323, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC. Some old enmity is said to be the reason behind the incident. No arrest has been made so far.

Electric motor, cellphone stolen

Some unidentified person has allegedly stolen one electric motor 5 HP valuing Rs 6,000 belonging to Parminder Singh, former sarpanch, of Rurka village. The Dehlon police has registered a case under Section 380 of the IPC.

In another incident, Harpreet Singh of Lakha had stolen one cellphone of Mandeep Singh of Jagraon in the Tehsil Road area.The local police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC. Later the police arrested the accused and recovered the same.

One arrested with pistol

Darshan Singh, alias Rafool of Galib Kalan, was arrested during nakabandi by the Dehlon police from Chananpur Kaind. The police recovered .315 bore pistol with 4 cartridges. Case under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act has been registered. 

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BUSINESS

ICICI Prudential to open more branches
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
The ICICI Prudential Life Insurance is planning to increase the number of its branches from the existing 39 to around 70 by the end of this calender year. The company is also actively working towards tapping the potential of widening health cover in rural India.

Punjab, which contributes 7 per cent to 8 per cent towards the total premium, will remain a key focus area, said Mr Pranav Mishra, vice-president, ICICI Prudential. "People in this state have been quite receptive to the entry of private players. The state is one of the highest premium generating states and we are focussing on tapping the potential in rural markets and health segments."

While the company is offering specific plans for economically weaker, it is conducting a survey with a view to gauge the requirements for health insurance.

Mr Mishra said the company had generated new premium to the tune of over Rs 2,700 crore and expected it to rise to Rs 4,500 crore by the end of this financial year. ICICI Prudential will further add over 300 branches to its network across the country.

"We currently hold a retail market share of 9 per cent in the total market and 29 per cent among private players. The last nine months have witnessed significant expansion in terms of addition of 300 branches."

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Experts advise use of natural colours
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
Experts of PAU's Clothing and Textiles Department have said colours prepared from synthetic chemicals not only caused pollution but were also harmful for humans. These colours polluted the water resources which ultimately affected plants in the fields. Experts warned that some of these colours could even cause diseases like cancer and skin ailments. "That is why the use of these colours is prohibited in India as well as in some other developed countries", said Clothing and Textiles Department Head, Dr (Ms) Neelam Grewal.

Dr Grewal suggested that natural colours available from different plants like rubiaceous (majeeth), turmeric (haldi), basil (tulsi) etc were safe for dying clothes. Some of these even had curative value.

She further added that natural colours were safe for environment too. She informed that during the Kisan Mela to be held on March 17-18, farm women would be taught about use of natural colours and their preparation.

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