Monday, February 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Mayor ‘breaking’ rules for own convenience
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
In a typical case of circumventing rules for suiting own convenience, city Mayor Apinder Singh Grewal is learnt to have recommended changes in the land-use policy along the Malhar road, dividing Sarabha Nagar and Gurdev Nagar. The plea taken is that the “change” will lead to an additional income worth crores of rupees to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. However, there is much more to it than meets the eye.

With the MC reportedly having forwarded the recommendations to the government for the approval, the matter will raise several questions. It is not the first time that the MC has recommended changes in the land use. It has done earlier also. While there are only handful of people who are interested in changing the land use rules, obviously for huge financial interests, thousands of others are opposed to the idea since it will change a peaceful residential area, considered to be one of the posh localities in the city into a commercial hub.

People have been raising questions as to what is the need to change the land-use laws at this stage when the MC could not provide other necessities required for change in land-use rules. “This is obviously being done with the purpose to suit a particular person who occupies a position of influence”, a resident whose house is situated in the area said.

Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal is understood be strongly in favour of amending the land-use rules in the area. He is believed to have said on record that the land-use rules needed to be changed as this would fetch the MC additional revenue worth several crores. The Mayor owns two properties, one leased to a food and restaurant chain and the other is used as sale-cum-exhibition showroom on various occasions.

Interestingly, the Mayor is the head of the MC Land Use Committee. The committee has reportedly discussed the issue on several occasions and reportedly recommended the change in the land-use laws. The committee has already recommended changes in the land-use laws so that the residential area could be declared a commercial area. The recommendations have been submitted to Municipal Commissioner, R.L. Kalsia, who is said to have forwarded it to the government for approval.

In all probability, the government is likely to approve the recommendations since the committee has argued that this will generate additional revenue worth crores of rupees to the corporation. On the other hand, people of the area have been saying that this might change the “peaceful, posh residential area into a commercial hub without other facilities”. There is no parking facility along the Malhar road and it maybe difficult to move along the road during the day time.

An angry resident alleged that this was being done to favour the Mayor, who has his own interests. He pointed out that in the absence of parking facilities, the road already gets choked during the evenings when there is heavy rush at the restaurant leased by the Mayor to a food chain. Scores of vehicles are parked outside the restaurant and it almost blocks the entire road near the red light on the adjacent Ferozepore Road. “This is despite the fact that it is all unauthorised. Once it is legalised, the entire stretch will get blocked”, he pointed out, adding that it may be as worse as Pindi Street in Chaura Bazar, where you cannot even walk during the day.


Come Basant and kite flying fever is on
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, February 17
Man has been flying kites all over the world for many centuries but gradually with modernisation, this simple pleasure of letting the kites sore in the sky on Basant day is decreasing by the day. People like Tinku who live in the suburbs, come to the walled city to buy 5 kinds of dor, which has numbers like 30 and 8. These dors are razor sharp. Powdered glass is put on them. Tinku has also purchased 20 kinds of kites like chajj, tukkals, gudda, guddi, pari, para, trikon, chamkili pari etc. Dog comes specially from Bareilly and Amritsar.

Though most of the kids are busy in video games, or celebrating Valentine’s Day, or chatting, e-mailing etc, some are still interested in kite-flying. Karan Prashar, a six-year-old boy, has a passion for kites. He has dozens and decorated his room with kites. Akshay says? “The excitement kite-flying offers is unparalleled. When your kite flies free in the sky, you are looking for other kites to come near yours so that you can have a pecha. The skill lies in pulling the string at the right time and cutting other person’s kite.”

The real kite lovers come to Daresi Ground, Field Ganj, Purana Bazar and Islamganj from the Civil Lines, Sarabha Nagar and other places. Fierce kite-flying competitions take place. The planning of teams has been done in advance. The money to be spent on buying the best kind of kites and dor has been collected. Basant sees the culmination of fierce competition between different parties. Many are in pain as they cut their index finger because of the sharp dor. There are people with kanastar who beat it loudly when some kite is cut. The atmosphere is tense. The whole sky is coloured with different kinds of kites. The winners offer treats to their team mates when they cut more kites than their rivals. Till the evening the kite-flying fever is on.


People wish sea change, but expect little
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
With the fate of various candidates belonging to different political parties sealed in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and most pre and post-poll surveys predicting a Congress victory, people do not expect much from the new government. However, there is hope that the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president, Capt Amarinder Singh may prove to be a "different politician", given his upbringing, education and exposure.

Mr Sunil Dat, a leading hosiery manufacturer, hopes that the new government will introduce sweeping changes in the system. But he is not too optimistic. "The system is the same. Babus and advisers will remain the same. Even if we have a change in the political regime, the bureaucracy remains the same", he points out.

Mr Dat says: "I hope the enthusiasm with which the PCC president carried out his campaign against corruption does not end with the elections", while pointing at the corruption during the Beant Singh government.

On the other hand Dr Gursharan Singh, president of the Indian Medical Association, feels that there say, be some change in the new regime. "Let us hope that a single family will not dominate.

But he is cautious: "We should not expect overnight miracles from the new government. We should not forget that there are many people likely to be key players in the new regime who do not enjoy a better image than those currently in power".

There are those like Mr Amit Talwar who feel the new government may have something better to offer. He is quite optimistically. "It is not that the incumbent government did not do anything or was mired in corruption alone", he observes.


‘51,000 foeticide cases reported in Punjab every year’
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 17
A function to make the public aware of female foeticide was organised by the British Council in association with Ek Nai Asha at A S Modern Senior Secondary School here.

The chief guest, Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, Khanna, said it was the duty of every responsible person of society to fight against this evil.

Dr N.S. Bara of the Indian Medical Association disclosed that more than two crore female foetuses were being terminated every year, with the figure in Punjab alone being 51,000.

The director of North Zone Federation of NGOs, Ms Anuj Lamba, said increasing trend of female foeticide was a matter of grief and it would lead to crimes against women.

The S P Operation, Mr Ram Singh the Principal of the school, Mr G. S. Bajwa, and club members were also present at the function.


Police Control Room to become hi-tech
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
The Police Control Room (PCR) in the city is all set to go hi-tech. On the lines of metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi, the local PCR is being modernised in such a way that it will no longer remain a mere information receiving and disseminating office. The police has finalised a plan to upgrade it to the status of an immediate reaction staff of the police.

With over 100 police personnel posted in the control room as part of the scheme and armed with walkie-talkie sets, state-of-the-art motor cycles and Gypsies, the control room has been upgraded in such a manner that at least two of its personnel standing at one or the other crossroads of the city, will reach the crime site within minutes.

This will reduce relevant time lost in reacting to a distress call made to the control room. At present, the control room informs the staff at the police station concerned who reach the crime site. This way relevant time is lost, which helps in escape of the criminal or the vital loss of some clues or evidence.

Giving these details Mr H.S. Sidhu, SSP, Ludhiana, said the modernised control room would be inaugurated by Mr Sarbjit Singh, DGP, Punjab, on February 21 and all arrangements had been finalised. He said Ludhiana would become the only city in the state to boast of such a control room matching that of the metropolitan cities.

Mr Sidhu said that the control room would have 40 motor cycles and some Gypsies and about 100 police personnel, These would be posted at different places in the city and would be linked with the control room through modern walkie-talkie sets supplied to the local police specially for this purpose by the state government. Mr Sidhu informed that the motor cycles had also been custom-made in such a manner that they would not appear Indian. Some of these were old models while some other were new. Similarly Gypsies had also been given a new look.

The SSP said the point was that the control room was only serving as an agency receiving information and providing it further to various police teams or stations. However, as crime incidents need immediate police help, vital time was lost. Now, the control room would immediately inform its men nearest to the crime site and would also inform the police station concerned. The job of the control room personnel rushed to the crime site, would be to handle the situation by the time more force join them. For this, they had been suitably armed and powered, he added.

He also said that the police was also in the process of modernising the control room further by installing some special gadgets with which the caller’s address would be traced and some cops would reach the site within three minutes. This would be done with the help of the satellite.


Joy turns into grief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 17
The winning celebration of the sarpanch, Mr Surjit Singh, turned into grief when his young son died due to excessive drinking on Thursday at Barwali village 10 km from here.

According to information available, Mr Surjit Singh had been declared elected, but the rival candidate, Mr Parmjit Singh, had filed a petition against Mr Surjit Singh.

On Thursday, the Election Tribunal announced the decision in favour of Mr Surjit Singh and dismissed the petition filed by Mr Parmjit Singh.

A party to celebrate this was organised in the village, where liquor was served. After drinking, Gurmeet Singh, son of the sarpanch, went to sleep. When family members tried to talk to him at night, he was found dead. It was expected that Gurmeet Singh had died of excessive drinking.


Poverty forces woman to commit suicide
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 17
Ms Nafisa Begum, the 22-year-old wife of Mr Javed Ali, a resident of Amarpura mohalla falling under division number two police station, allegedly to have committed suicide yesterday by hanging herself “as she did not want to go to Mumbai”.

According to information, Mr Javed Ali, who has been working in a hosiery manufacturing unit in the city, was jobless for sometime as a result of which the couple was facing financial hardships and having frequent quarrels. While the husband suggested that they should leave the city for Mumbai where he hoped to make a decent living, the wife opposed the idea. Only a day before Nafisa took the extreme step, there had been a quarrel between the two. The body was handed over to the relatives by the police after a post-mortem.

Burglars held
The Salem Tabri police has arrested Lakshman Singh, alias Lachhu, a resident of Mundian Khurd village, Baldev Singh, a resident of Dut village, and Gurmel Singh, alias Geja, and Satnam Singh, alias Sonu, both residents of Suranassi near Jalandhar

On a tip-off, the police conducted a raid on Friday and nabbed two of the accused from the city and after their interrogation, two more members of the gang were nabbed from Jalandhar. Further interrogation of the accused led to the recovery of some household goods which had allegedly been stolen by the gang members from different places. The accused allegedly stole expensive household goods and sold the same at throw-away prices. The police has recovered a fridge, a colour TV among other items from their possession and registered a case against them.

Boy rapes ‘sister’
The Sadar police has booked Kala, a young boy of Saheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, for allegedly raping a 17-year-old girl living in his neighbourhood on February 4. The case was registered on the instructions of the SSP after the complainant failed to get a report lodged at the police station earlier.

According to information, the father of the girl has been out of business on account of prolonged illness and her mother had been running a tea vend near the Gill chowk. The girl had also been assisting her mother. The rape-accused, who lives in their neighbourhood, has been known to the family for a number of years and used to a get a rakhi tied by the girl every year on “raksha-bandhan”.

On February 4, Kala sent his younger sister to call the victim to his house. While other members of his family were also present in the house, the victim was allegedly locked in a room by the accused and raped and threatened. The terror-stricken girl, however, after a couple of days, revealed the incident to her mother, who was anxious to know the reason for a sudden change in her daughter’s behaviour.

A medical examination of the victim has confirmed rape and the police is on the look-out for the accused.

Gold chain snatched
The wife of Mr Vinay Khurana, press secretary, District Congress Committee, was robbed of her gold chain by two men when she was about to board a car with her husband outside their residence in New Shivaji Nagar on Friday night. The chain-snatchers, who were riding a scooter, managed to make good their escape. A report has been lodged by Mr Khurana at Dharampura (Shingaar cinema) police station.

The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Kehar Singh, a resident of the Ghanta Ghar area, against Avtar Singh and Jinder. The complainant had alleged in his statement that the accused intercepted him on the way and beat him up before fleeing from the scene.

Power theft
The Haibowal police has registered a case under Sections 379 and 506 of the IPC and Section 39 of the Electricity Act against Jang Bahadur, a resident of Bihari Colony, for allegedly pilfering power with the help of a kundi connection. The police has booked the accused on the complaint of Mr Ashok Kumar, XEN, PSEB, unit number two, who stated that when the kundi connection of the accused was detected by a team led by him, the accused resorted to threatening the raiding party.

Thefts alleged
The Sahnewal police has registered a case of theft under Section 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Jandiali village, against Gurmukh Singh, his servant. The complainant had alleged that the accused, who had been employed as domestic help for cleaning and other chores, had stolen some gold ornaments from one of the almirahs.

The Jodhewal police has registered a case under Sections 380 and 411 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Hardyal Singh, a resident of Bal Singh Nagar, against Vasudev Singh and Paramjit Singh, both residents of Taj Ganj, and Sunny and Bishamber Lal, both residents of Shingar cinema area. The complainant had alleged that the accused had given him a cheque for Rs 1.20 lakh which was dishonoured by bank. The complainant further stated that later he came to know that the accused had stolen the cheque from somewhere.

Mr Bant Singh (53) was hit by a three-wheeler on Saturday while he was going on his scooter near Mundian village. He has been admitted to the Civil hospital. A case has been registered at the Koom Kalan police station under which the area falls and the three-wheeler has been impounded. However, the driver of the vehicle managed to flee.

Knives seized
The division number two police on Friday arrested Harvinder Singh, a resident of Morewali village, at a naka and recovered a kamanidar knife from him. The Sarabha Nagar police also arrested a migrant, Lal Babu, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, on Friday and recovered a similar weapon from him. Both accused have been booked under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act. 

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