L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

To encash guarantees furnished by industries
Pollution board to get tough with non-complying units
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
The industrial units that fail to comply with the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) norms could land in trouble, as the board is getting firm on encashing bank guarantees furnished by business units.

The board, which normally seeks guarantee when a unit is not complying with a certain norm, has now decided to get firm and go ahead to encash the guarantee so as to ensure compliance.

“Earlier bank guarantees were not being used but now we have decided to be firm and not hesitate to encash the guarantees furnished by industries,” chairman of PPCB Yogesh Goel told Ludhiana Tribune.

The board, within the last month-and-a-half, has taken bank guarantees worth nearly Rs 50 lakhs.

Besides this, the board has also decided not to take a lenient view of units found adding to pollution by discharging untreated effluent or waste into any water body in the state.

The common facility for disposal of hazardous waste would commence by the end of July this year.

Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), named Nimbuan Greenfield, located in Nimbuan village of Dera Bassi, was promoted at the initiative of Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), with a view to create hazardous waste management facilities in the state.

PPCB has also decided to grant time bound clearances to industrial enterprises. “Within a month of submitting application, we would grant clearances,” added Goel.

To speed up functioning, PPCB would hold monthly meetings of site appraisal committees and CSA and also send information pertaining to clearances through courier.

“It is for the first time that we have decided to start sending communication via courier. The move would speed up functioning and those dealing with the board will not have to visit the head office to get their work done.”

The PPCB chairman also held an interaction with large and medium scale industry enterprises.

Industry, in its suggestions to the board, asserted on the need to improve functioning further. They urged the chairman to ensure that unnecessary delays are avoided.

He also sought co-operation from industry to streamline functioning of the board. He told industrialists that pollution control board would soon get a new look and re-shuffling was on cards, particularly in case of Ludhiana.



Autorickshaws add to city’s pollution problems
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
Fifty years after the autorickshaws were introduced on the Indian roads, the vehicles have more or less become a necessary evil in the absence of a mass public transport system in the second most polluted city of the North with a population of around 40 lakh.

Notwithstanding the environmental pollution and traffic congestion caused by them and scant regard shown for traffic rules, these are an economically viable and major mode of transport, particularly for the working lower and middle classes.

The need for autorickshaws arose years ago, as the city never had a comprehensive local mass transport system. A number of schemes were conceived to start the local bus service but none could see the light of the day.

Although these have become an integral part of life in Ludhiana, autorickshaws have also created a host of problems. Due to the thick black fumes emitted by these three-wheelers, the city has gained notoriety as the second most polluted city in the northern region after Delhi.

The alarming level of emission of poisonous gases is wreaking havoc on environment. Officials of the transport department admit that no amount of tuning in the engines of autos can help matters most of which run on improvised engines and use adulterated fuel to save money, caring little for the consequences.

Situation worsened after enforcement of the CNG-run public transport system in Delhi and dumping of the diesel-run autorickshaws. The Pollution Control Board officials had, on the condition of anonymity, said several times that around 25,000 condemned three-wheelers landed in Ludhiana from the national capital after the CNG’s introduction.

“The city became a dumping ground for those polluting machines,” said a Pollution Control Board Official, but district transport official Gurwaryam Singh, did not agree. “How many three-wheelers bearing registration number of Delhi are seen on the roads?” he questioned, stating that when everything went wrong, his office was held responsible. He added that there were 16,000 autos registered with his office.

Though he admitted that there were many unregistered ones also in the city, the department was soon going to crack down on the illegally plying ones.

Kuldeep Singh Katani, president of the Clock Tower Autorickshaws Union, also agreed with the DTO. He said there was dumping of condemned autos from Delhi initially, but the drivers shifted their areas of operation. “Now most of them have gone to Jalandhar, Bathinda and some even to Haryana,” he said.

The PCB officials, however, differ. They say there were around 20,000 three-wheelers that were plying illegally. The matter was taken up with the former DTO but to no avail.

“Those are not only plying illegally but run on kerosene and diesel, releasing toxic fumes in the environment. And their area of operation is the entire city and no place remains unaffected from their smoke,” the officials added.

The issue has been taken up at various platforms in the past. But then the administration cannot provide an alternative mode of transportation. Moreover, the bread and butter of thousands of families depends on these vehicles. So there seems to be no solution for the evergrowing menace.

“The only solution for the problem is introduction of CNG in the city. We have taken up the matter with the union government and are hoping decks would be cleared soon. We will ask the drivers to switch over to clean fuel autos, “ says city mayor, Nahar Singh Gill, offering the only solution available with the municipal corporation.

The DTO has a plan of initiating the local bus system for the city. “All modalities have been worked out. Within two months, the buses would start plying on the city roads,” he added.

Apart from causing massive pollution, thousands of autorickshaws have also added to traffic congestion on roads. With encroachments all around and traffic regulation being the last of the priorities of the authorities, autorickshaw drivers flout traffic laws with impunity.

Though autorickshaw operators are not solely at fault since there are hardly any designated stands for them, the parking of three-wheelers indiscriminately on roadsides, particularly in congested and thickly populated residential and commercial areas, also creates traffic chaos and adds to the woes of city residents.

The traffic department and the city police are accused off and on for not making a serious attempt to regulate the movement of autorickshaws and enforce the relevant laws.

“Whenever we crack a whip, we have to face a lot of opposition from political leaders. Finally we go silent,” said a traffic police officer.

“The amount of SPM is so high in the city that many people can fall prey to various bronchial diseases, including cancer. There is a very high level of soot, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide in the city. You feel a burning sensation in the eyes the moment you venture out,” said an environmentalist, Dr Arun Mitra, urging the administration to wake up to the emergency call.



Young boy, girl commit suicide
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur Dakha, May 12
A young boy and a girl of Chottu Ram Colony, Mandi Mullanpur, committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance here yesterday.

Sources say that Amandeep Kaur and Ravi Kumar lived next door to each other and were in love. However, their parents were against their marriage due to castes differences. Moreover, both families feared social infamy due to marriage between two neighbhours.

The couple took the extreme step following resistance from their families.

Sources say Amandeep Kaur’s father Paramjit Singh had died a few years back and she lived with her mother Sukhwinder Kaur in Mullanpur Mandi while Ravi Kumar lived with his married sister opposite Amandeep’s house.

Dakha police said Amandeep Kaur entered Ravi Kumar’s house in the wee hours of Friday and both consumed poison.

At around 4 am, Ravi’s sister heard some strange noises. When she went to Ravi’s room, she found both, Amandeep and Ravi, vomiting and crying.

She immediately called the neighbours and the couple was rushed to Pandori Hospital, Mullanpur in critical condition.

However, they were referred to DMC hospital where the girl was declared bought dead. Ravi died late Friday night.

Dakha Police have initiated proceedings.



Birth centenaries of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev to be celebrated jointly
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
The birth centenaries of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev would now be celebrated jointly by various organisations, who had earlier announced individual programmes.

Shaheed Sukhdev Yadgar Committee will celebrate the birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Shaheed Sukhdev in co-ordination with Naujawan Bharat Sabha all over Punjab.

These celebrations will start from Ludhiana, the birth city of Shaheed Sukhdev.

Rali Devi had given birth to this great son of India on May 15, 1907 at his ancestral house at Mohalla Naughara near Chaura Bazar here.

Naujawan Bharat Sabha has already declared a function to be held at Punjabi Bhawan on May 13, to mark the birth centenaries of the two martyrs. On the occasion, “Saheed Sukhdev Memorial Lecture” will be delivered by Dr Sewa Singh, renowned historian of Guru Nanak Dev University.

Shaheed Sukhdev Yadgar committee, Ludhiana, has fully endorsed the function and decided to participate with full zeal.

All members of the committee, along with Bharat Bhushan Thapar and Prof Jagmohan Singh, nephews of Shaheed Sukhdev and Bhagat Singh respectively, will attend the function. Renowned historian of the revolutionary freedom movement of India, prof Malvinderjeet Singh Wraich will also be present on the occasion.

Dr Hardeep Singh, convener, S S Yadgar Committee and Ajay Pal, state convener of Naujawan Bharat Sabha resent the apathy of various Punjab governments towards Mohalla Naughara, Ludhiana, the birth place of Shaheed Sukhdev.

In 60 years of independent India, every government has ignored the historical importance of this place, even though it should have been identified and preserved as an important historical archive.

It was for the first time in 2004 that Yadgar Committee, Ludhiana, converted the place as a historic monument.

Now, the committee will join hands with Naujawan Bharat Sabha to create awareness about the importance of this place as well as ideology of these revolutionaries among the Indian masses.

The Indian worker Association, London, already working as brethren organisation for this noble cause at international level, will also participate in the celebrations.



Father’s cruelty lands child in orphanage
Mahesh Sharma

Khanna, May 12
A Moga resident’s merciless act of leaving his infant daughter at an orphanage has led the women and child security cell of the local police to direct him to hand over the child to her mother, Ambika Sood.

Ambika, daughter of Ramesh Grover of the local Mata Rani area, has taken refuge at her relatives’ place here after being deserted by her in-laws.

A complaint filed by Ambika Sood, accusing her in-laws of allegedly harassing her to bring more dowry, forcing her to get sex determination test conducted and later, trying to force her to get the pregnancy terminated, is pending in the cell.

However, the deserted woman’s husband, R. Kumar, maintained that he left the child at Pushpa Gujral Nari Niketan, Jalandhar, as he could not look after her.

“My mother is a heart patient and I alone could not look after my daughter, who was deliberately left with us by my wife. However, she is free to take the child back from orphanage in case she wants to bring her up,” Kumar told Parveen Sharma, in-charge, women cell.

“Though it is premature to say whether the allegations levelled by the complainant are true or not, the respondent cannot be given a clean chit, as he, along with other members of his family, has shown irresponsible behaviour by leaving the girl at an orphanage even though both her parents are alive,” said Parveen Sharma while talking to Ludhiana Tribune.

According to a complaint lodged by Ambika Sood, she got married to R Kumar of Moga about two years ago. Her parents, besides spending a huge amount on the marriage ceremony, had also given handsome dowry. However, immediately after the marriage, her in-laws started harassing her for bringing more dowry.

“As my parents expressed their inability to meet my in-laws’ demands, I kept tolerating their atrocities till they forced me to get the sex of the foetus determined and tried to get it aborted as it was female,” Ambika told the staff at women cell during counselling. She also alleged that her in-laws had thrown her out of the house as she had refused to get an abortion done. Later, she gave birth to a female child at Khanna in June, 2006.

Though Ambika’s parents informed her in-laws about the birth of a girl child, later named Pankhuri, they refused to accept the mother and the child.

When all her efforts to reconcile with the in-laws failed, Ambika left her daughter at the shop of her father-in-law, about two months ago. But she was shocked to learn that her husband, instead of embracing his daughter, tried to get rid of her by leaving her at an orphanage.

While the women cell has directed R Kumar to bring the child along for next counselling session, Ambika Sood has urged the higher authorities, including Chief Minister, Punjab, Director General of Police and Chairman, Punjab Human Rights Commission, to impress upon the authorities at the orphanage to hand over the child to her.



Gauhar Ayub’s allegations rubbished
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
Kishori Lal Sharma, a former military intelligence operative, who spent quite some time in Pakistan, has questioned Gauhar Ayub Khan’s allegations against Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. He revealed that Gauhar was himself involved in the Agartala Conspiracy involving several Pakistani army officers in the aftermath of the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

Agartala conspiracy was reportedly planned by Indian intelligence agencies in the aftermath of the 1965 Indo-Pak war and probably in anticipation of the liberation of Bangladesh.

Sharma told Ludhiana Tribune here today that Gauhar, who was posted in East Pakistan (now Bangla- desh) as a captain in the Pakistan army, was very much involved in that conspiracy. He was saved just because his father Field Marshal Ayub Khan was ruling the country. He was immediately shifted to West Pakistan, while many other officers were made scapegoats to save him. He said if the interviewer to whom he made these charges during a television interview would have reminded him (Gauhar) of the Agartala conspiracy, he would have litearlly jumped off his seat then and there only.

Sharma, a trained engineer, worked for Indian Military Intelligence in Pakistan for about two years before he was nabbed by the Pakistani army in 1967. He was released in 1974 in the exchange of prisoners after the Simla Agreement.

The former spy said while there is no question about the integrity of Field Marshal Manekshaw, it was ironical that the person who betrayed his own country, even when his father was the ruler, could level such wide and baseless allegations.

Sharma disclosed that during long hours of interrogation he, along with other captured Indian spies, was frequently questioned about the Agartala conspiracy. There were murmurs about Gauhar’s involvement who was saved just because of his father. In fact Gauhar was retired from the army, which quite a number of people in Pakistan believe was because of his involvement in the Agartala conspiracy only.

He regretted that the name of the most respected and decorated soldier was being involved in such a baseless conspiracy. He said let Gauhar explain his involvement or innocence about the Agartala conspiracy.



Senior citizen struggling to get gratuity
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
Harchand Singh, former block primary education officer (Block Mangat II), has been unable to get 10 per cent of his gratuity even after five years of his retirement.

Sore over the dilly-dallying attitude of Education Department, Harchand Singh has finally knocked at the door of deputy commissioner for early release of his pensionary benefit.

Retired as primary education officer on August 31, 2002, Harchand Singh said he was continuously being harassed for the last five years by clerical staff of district education officer (DEO). He said despite his making several rounds at DEO (Elementary) office, his case was still pending.

“Every time they tell me that there is one formality or the other, which is still incomplete. I fail to understand how the system works here. No body is bothered. Higher officials call their clerks to get the details and clerks raise one objection or the other. Though my gratuity is a small amount of Rs 30,000 only but it is my hard earned money and I should get it in my life time. It is my right as I have served the department for more than three decades,” said a visibly disappointed Harchand Singh.

He further added that Deputy Commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar had assured him that withing three weeks, he will be able to get his dues cleared. “I hope to get my gratuity released in the near future. At the dusk of my life, I do not have the strength to make numerous visits to the government offices,” he said.

He further stressed that officials never harassed anyone and took no time in solving problems of the common man. “It is the clerical staff that lacks commitment and they constantly need to be pulled up by the seniors to ensure that work is done in time. It is very important to keep them under check if functioning has to be streamlined”, said Harchand Singh.



PSEB addresses public complaints
Tribune News Service

PSEB officials addressing public complaints at sangat darshan in the city
PSEB officials addressing public complaints at sangat darshan in the city on Saturday.

Ludhiana, May 12
Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) addressed public grievances
at Sangat Darshan held here today.

The sangat darshan was held at PSEB offices in Sunder Nagar, Aggar Nagar and Lalton Kalan village.




CII holds interactive session
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) held an interactive session with the SMEs, here, on Friday.

“Eighty per cent of the financial requirements of the existing clusters will be given by the government under the Micro Small Enterprises - Cluster Development Programme proposed under the 11 th Plan. This assistance will be provided towards aspects such as technology upgradation and meeting the financial gaps.” This was stated by Vishwa Bandhu, general manager, Department of Industries and Commerce of Punjab.

He urged the government to identify clusters that would be eligible for the proposed financial assistance as well as bring out schemes for skill development, where CII could play a critical role.

“The government departments can come up with schemes but it is CII who can play the role of a catalyst to build the skills.” he said.

Rajinder Gupta, chairman, CII Punjab State Council, said CII has launched a mission for SME development towards which it has been working in partnership with the government for a conducive environment for SME and covering issues of technology, quality, management, environment capability and capacity building for SME. Training, consultancy and advisory services are offered to small enterprises in the areas of finance, technology and competitiveness to build global champions, he added.

Viney Malhotra, additional director, SISI, said the cluster concept was India’s answer to global competition. While other countries have the resources to build mile long factories, we bring together our resources in the form of clusters to create large organisations to compete globally, he said.



Cool Expo inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
Cool Expo 2007, an exhibition of air-conditioners and refrigerators, was inaugurated, here, on Friday.

The exhibition showcased cooling products from various companies.

A company press note said today that different brands are promoting their products by offering special schemes, discounts and gifts on purchases.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |