L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Dharna against shortage of potable water
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
In an interesting turn of events, a local councillor today joined the agitators in Basti Abdullapur himself, who had gathered outside his house to gherao him for non-availability of potable water in the area for the last 15 days.

Mr R.S. Bhatia, councillor of ward number 36, started raising slogans against the Municipal Corporation stating that he had asked the authorities a number of times to provide civic amenities but they were allegedly meting out a ‘‘step-motherly’’ treatment to his area with him being an Akali councillor.

Sick of knocking at the doors of various officials, hundreds of residents, including women of Basti Abdullapur falling in his ward, were staging a dharna against shortage of water supply. After the councillor joined them, the residents gave a 24-hours ultimatum to civic body and threatened that if the water supply was not restored, garbage not lifted and choked sewerage not cleared, they would pile garbage and overflowing discharge of sewer outside the office of Zone-D of Municipal Corporation.

Mr Bhatia said that they would collect the garbage themselves and throw it in the office only to make the authorities realise how residents were living amidst filthy conditions in Basti Abdullapur.

Agitating women said that the taps had gone dry a fortnight ago and they had complained to the authorities a number of times but nobody came to their help.

They said that their children had to cross railway track to reach Manjit Nagar to fetch water everyday. "It is not a question of a bucket or two. Every house requires a lot of water everyday. Each member of our family has to make rounds to being water," said Ms Surinder Kaur Bholi, a resident.

Mr Gurdeep Singh, another agitating resident, said that they had tried to meet the city Mayor and Commissioner of the civic body but they were always eluding them. "Everytime we visited their office to meet them, they were said to be out of station. We had no option but to stage a dharna today."

He added that two days ago, some employees had visited the tubewell and told them that it had developed a snag which would be rectified 15 days later only. The employees cited shortage of time as the reason for the delay in repairs.

Mr Bhatia said that supply of potable water was a recurrent problem in his ward. If there was any supply, the water was dirty as it was mixing with sand. He added that he had highlighted his area's problem in General House of MC a number of times but nobody listened to him.



Bansal defends privatisation of Delhi, Mumbai airports
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
Defending the privatisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports, the Union Minister of State for Finance, Mr Pawan Bansal, allayed fears that there could be any adverse impact of the move on the UPA government at the centre. He said even the Indian stand of voting against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would not have any effect on the functioning of the government. The government was certain to last its full term as the coalition partners were moving together.

In an informal conversation with reporters at the residence of the Punjab Housefed Chairman, Mr K.K. Bawa, here last night, Mr Bansal observed that there was no reason for the Left to withdraw support or feel betrayed. He claimed that the UPA government was strictly adhering to the Common Minimum Programme adopted at the time of the formation of the government.

He pointed out that difference of opinion on certain issues was likely to occur and there was always a solution to all problems.

Mr Bansal said after initial resistance the Left supported trade unions had already seen the reason behind the government’s move. He said if the government had spent money on the modernisation of the airports in Mumbai and Delhi, some people would have cried hoarse saying the government was spending lavishly on such projects while ignoring the common man’s interest. He said the government had adopted the best course available.

On the issue of India voting against Iran at IAEA, Mr Bansal said, “We have taken this stand while keeping in view our national interest and commitment towards nuclear disarmament”. He said people must not oppose the move just for the sake of opposition. “They must try to understand the logic and reason behind all such moves,” he suggested.

Asked to make any comment about the nature of the next Budget, the minister said it was still being prepared. He assured that the Budget proposals would be made strictly keeping in view the economic needs of the country while taking into consideration the expectation of the common masses.



Allegations by Bitta motivated: Khalsa Dal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 5
The allegations levelled against Harnek Singh Bhap and Daljit Singh Bittu by All India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) chief Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta have been termed as malicious and motivated by the Shiromani Khalsa Dal (SKD).

Retaliating to the charges that certain hardcore terrorists, including Bhap and Bittu, the latter now freed after acquittal by the Supreme Court, were planning to eliminate Mr Bitta and his entire family members, functionaries of the SKD observed that the outburst by Mr Bitta was aimed at maligning the sikh leadership and confusing the judiciary and executive.

They said the whole exercise (by Mr Bitta) was meant to stall the release of Sikh youth from jails and pave the way for mass arrests of Sikhs on fabricated charges. “This is a part of the conspiracy hatched by those responsible for mass killing of thousands of Sikh youth in fake encounters since Mr Bitta has all along been associated with such efforts for the last two-and-a-half decades.”

The SKD activists, including Mr Swarn Singh Khalsa, Mr Surinderpal Singh Tharua, Mr Jagdish Singh Malli, Mr Surinder Singh Kishanpura, Mr Gurvir Singh and Mr Darshan Singh, maintained that their party was a purely political organisation, carrying out its policies and programmes in a democratic manner.

“While we welcome any probe into allegations levelled by Mr Bitta, it will be in fairness to conduct a thorough inquiry in the activities and financial status of the AIATF chief during last two decades.”

Earlier, in a letter to the Union Home Minister Mr Shivraj Patil, the AIATF president had claimed that while in jail, the duo of Bhap and Bittu had chalked out plans to eliminate him, along with other members of his family. Mr Bitta had alleged that the said terrorists were not only devising plans to target him, but were also toying with the idea of revival of terrorism in Punjab.

In the two-page letter, he apprehended that now when Bittu was a free person, he could be actively involved to give shape to his sinister plans with the assistance of ISI agents and other terrorist like Wadhawa Singh Babbar and Paramjit Singh Panjwar. Mr Bitta made a fervent plea to the Union Home Minister to initiate immediate measures for interrogation of Bhap and Bittu to bring the real truth before the public.



Police, panchayat prevent caste conflict
Broker peace between warring Jat and Dalit families
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Bains (Ludhiana), February 5
The city police and the panchayat of Bains village have succeeded in brokering peace between a Jat family and a Dalit family, whose confrontation threatened to snowball into a major caste conflict in the region.

Keeping politicians with vested interests at bay, the panchayat and the city police supervised the reconstruction work of the house of a Dalit family that was allegedly demolished by a Jat family yesterday.

DSP Manjit Singh Dhesi and sarpanch Kuldip Singh said the Dalit family had been given due security and assurance. The district administration had already announced a grant of Rs 20,000 for the family. The grant would be paid tomorrow.

The police and the panchayat arranged resources and started the re-construction work in the late afternoon as a sign of peace between the warring parties. The police would, however, remain deployed in the village for a few days as a precautionary measure.

Mr Kuldip Singh said the panchayat did not approve the attitude of both parties. He said the Jat family of Harbans Singh should not have taken law in its hands by razing the house of Jeet Singh.

He said similarly the Dalit family should have realised they were living on the land of Mr Harbans Singh. He said the panchayat was already discussing the matter but yesterday’s violent incident spoiled the efforts.

The Dalit family was settled on the land of Mr Harbans Singh for the past over 15 years. The families, however, fell out with each other over some issue. The Jats wanted their piece of land back but the Dalits resisted reasoning they had no other place to go.

The village sarpanch also claimed that under the compromise deal the case registered against Mr Harbans Singh and others would be withdrawn later on. He said the compromise meant that the Dalit family would live here till the panchayat solved the issue.

The undercurrent of tension between the two communities was quite palpable in the village. A number of members of the Jat community were unhappy that the grant and reconstruction work could put the family of Mr Jeet Singh as permanent settlers on Mr Harbans Singh’s land.

They were also unhappy that the administration had put some sections of the Atrocities Act against the SC/STs against the Jat family members. They said there was no caste divide issue in the matter.

However, a section of Dalits said the forcible eviction of the Dalit family of Mr Jeet Singh would have paved the way for similar action against other Dalits in the village.



Third Front on the cards: Chandumajra
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) leader, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, today said that the formation of the Third Front in Punjab was imminent. He claimed that people of the state were fed up with both the Congress as well as the Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal and they wanted alternate leadership to grow.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Chandumajra said that he was working with the like-minded people and parties to forge a workable alliance which would provide a good and credible alternative to the people of the state from the corrupt Congress and the SAD-B.

Mr Chandumajra announced that his party would organise a rally at Patiala on February 21 in memory of the martyrs of the Nankana Sahib, who laid down their lives for the liberation of the gurdwaras.



Ludhiana Calling

Lesson in punctuality

IT is quite common for companies to start press conferences much beyond their usual time and keep journalists waiting. Recently, however, one such organiser had a taste of its own medicine. This company organised a press conference to present some prize to lucky winner of a certain promotional scheme. Company officials arrived half-an-hour late. What embarrassed them the most was that the winner too got late and they had to conduct the conference without him. The conference too ended in around 15 minutes and the winner arrived after the press conference was over.

Knowledge on display

That Ludhianavis are flamboyant is not an information any more. But the ostentatiousness has not restricted itself to parties, clothes and luxuries. Rather, it has spread to even areas like books. A manager of a book store in the city told Sentinel that their sales were quite high thanks to the showy city residents. Most of the customers who visit the book shop, ask for best sellers and buy in bulk so that they can flaunt those books!


One usually sights religious, philosophical or motivating quotes and slogans painted inside the hospitals. But several medical care institutions in the city have to give preference to a completely different slogan, "jebkatron se sawdhan" (beware of pickpockets). The slogan is found more near the OPD rooms or wherever a queue has to be formed for some paper work. Despite all possible preventive measures, the pickpockets strike in these places. The belief that even criminals had some principles falls flat in this context. They thrive on the preoccupation of the victim person whose all focus is on his relative admitted in the hospital.

Parking woes

Parking woes continue unabated in the city. The worse scenario is at the mini secretariat and the places near the upcoming shopping malls besides the congested ghumar mandi market. What is bothering the residents more is the attitude of the parking stand employees. The moment a vehicle enters the mini secretariat, employees of different parking contractors surround the vehicle. They want the person to park in their stand and whistle loudly. They do not even bother that the person might be just going back after dropping some person. The administration has failed to prevent the harassment.

Catching them young

Childhood is the best time of a persons’ life and there is no pressures of earning to make a living. But children of poor sections of the society learn early in life. They have to work in order to have a day's meal. It is a pitiful sight that on the one hand rich parents are seen imploring their child to eat something whereas on the other poor children have to make do with whatever they get. More often than not the poor children are seen cooking for themselves or for the entire family. (see Pic)

"Aeroplane" crash

It was an aeroplane crash, crime reporters of the city would not forget for long. One late evening, when journalists thought they had finished a hectic day's work, came the news that an MIG plane had crashed near Sahnewal. Reporters especially those from the electronic media rushed with their bags and baggage to the reported site. Some in enthusiasm to beat others wired the news. Others alerted the newsdesk. But when the first group reached there, it was left pulling its hair. Only a miniature plane used for aero-modeling, run by a remote had fallen in fields. This group of journalists played a trick on others saying they were close to the site and have spotted smote bellowing out at a distance. They waited for others to follow only to burst into laughter at others' expense.

NGO's zeal

A local NGO went little overboard recently in the city by claiming that an outsider had attended a drug de-addiction camp in the central jail here. The NGO wanted to express how perfect their camps were. However, the claim sent the central jail authorities in a tizzy. It was just not possible for someone to live in the jail for 15 days to just attend a camp. He can always undergo drug de-addiction treatment anytime in the hospital run by the NGO or at some another place. When a journalist pointed out the error to the NGO, the embarrassed activists had to call up all newspaper offices at the ninth hour to withdraw the press note.

Power crisis

Till some years ago power cuts during winters were something unheard of. Of late, the cuts have become a reality and residents keep suffering in the absence of power supply. Though the reasons are shortage of power, farmers fail to understand what they should do to irrigate their crops. Already facing a lot of pressure in the recent times, the farmers say that the free sop by the state government has failed to cheer them up. "It is better to have some hours of paid electricity instead of free power which is elusive." said a farmer.

Different litter

Sweepers of Punjabi Bhawan had a different reason to be disappointed some days ago. Although they clear the litter from the lawns of the bhawan everyday, the recent organisation of a conference in Guru Nanak Bhavan left a bad taste in their mouth. The educated people, who exchanged ideas in the conference, did not think twice to throw disposable plates and even utensils in the lawns after enjoying their food. "Though we pick the garbage everyday, but it hurt us the most when we came to know that it was littered by educated people," said a sweeper while talking to another.

Happiness shortlived

When the city centre project had just taken off, the residents of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar here were on cloud nine. And why not, their land prices had skyrocketed overnight. But their joy turned into despair soon when this also brought its own problems in the area. Deep digging for construction of basement made the area residents live under thick clouds of dust for some time. There were problems of the traffic due to transportation of goods to the site. Now the contractor has started dumping the waste sand in vacant plot and the residents are disgusted. They are waiting for the project to get completed soon.

— Sentinel



400 selected as community police officers
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 5
The district police recruited 400 community police officers at a recruitment rally organised at Ghaloti village here today. More than 1,000 candidates from 122 villages of Payal subdivision appeared for the rally.

Speaking on the occasion, SSP Khanna Naunihal Singh said it was the duty of the police to provide security to the people, but the problem of short staffing hindered the services. The police department had started to recruit the CPOs to overcome this hurdle, he said, adding that one CPO would be deployed for every 100 houses or shops.

The SSP said with the recruitment better security arrangement could be made and villagers would be relieved of thikri pehras. The recruitment would also provide employment for the youths of the area, he added.

He said out of 1,000 candidates, we had recruited 300 CPOs on regular basis and 100 as reserve. He said the department would give technical training to these persons.

The Khanna police had 270 computers and 15 laptop computers and all offices were being connected with 300 Internet connections, he said.

Mr Tej Parkash Singh Kotli, MLA, Mr Man Singh Garcha, SP, and Mr D.S. Maan were among others present on the occasion.



Banda Bahadur Bhavan to be built in city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 5
The city will soon have a bhavan dedicated to martyr Banda Singh Bahadur. The preliminary work to raise the building has been completed by the Bairagi Mahan Mandal (BMM), Punjab. The Punjab and Haryana units of the body would also construct a “Bairagi Dharamshala” at holy city of Hardwar.

This was announced by Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, president, All India Bairagi Vaishnav Mahan Mandal and Chairman of the Punjab Housefed, while presiding over a meeting of the mandal at Rajguru Nagar here today.

He said preparations were on to observe the martyrdom day of Banda Bahadur on June 9 at global level. Functions would be organised separately in England, Canada and the USA where members of the Bairagi community, will pay homage to the great martyr, who waged a relentless battle against the tyrannical Mogul rulers.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ravinder Nandi, secretary-general, said the process had been set in motion to launch a website of the body which would have all relevant information about the community. In addition, appropriate steps were being taken for compilation of a book about the community with special focus on Banda Bahadur.

Mr Gurdeep Singh Pandher, who had written a biography of Kalpana Chawla and also prepared a website of Guru Granth Sahib, was felicitated on the occasion.

Dr Rajinder Pal Singh Bairagi, senior vice-president, Mr Hari Das Bawa, Mr Jiwan Das Bawa, Mr Baldev Bawa, Vaid Swarn Das Bawa, Mr Surjit Singh Bawa and Mr Mohan Das Bawa were among others who attended the meeting.



Differences among Ayyappa followers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
Differences have started cropping up among the followers of the Shree Ayyappa Swami, most of whom belong to Kerala. Today a group of the community members led by Thulaseedharan Pillai alleged that two of his sons were turned out from the Ayyappa temple at Jamalpur allegedly at the behest of tow officer bearers, Mr PN Ramanan and Mr Muralidharan.

At a press conference here today, Mr Pillai and his supporters alleged that on December 11 his two sons aged nine and three went to pay obeisance at the temple along with one Harish Kumar who is also a member of the committee. He alleged that his two sons were not allowed entry into the temple by Mr Ramanan and Mr Muralidharan.

The two groups have filed complaints against each other and an inquiry is already pending with the police. Mr Pillai demanded that “the present committee of the temple should be dissolved and new committee should be formed with the community”. He pointed out that nobody had the right to prevent anyone performing puja in the temple as it was against both “the Hindu dharma and the constitution”.

Mr Ramanan and Mr Muralidharan could not be contacted for their comments.



Make b’day bash unforgettable with Nick TV
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 5
All you need to do is watch Nick TV to have your birthday celebrated in pomp and style. Nick, a TV channel for children, promises to make your birthday special. Every month throughout the year, the channel will host a birthday bash for one grand prize winner at a surprise venue.

Celebrating a birthday with Nick ensures plum goodies that include a special birthday cake, sumptuous grub, exclusive birthday gifts for the birthday boy/girl and party gifts for all attendees. And to top it all, Spongebob Square-pants, Nick’s very own brand ambassador, will surface from his home.

And it’s not just one child who gets a special birthday, all those who write in to Nick with their names, birth date and residential address and telephone number to birthday@nick-asia.com or to Nick India, PO Box 6017, Parel (East), Mumbai 400012, can be assured of their names appearing on the Nick birthday scroll and a Nick birthday card. One grand prize winner will be picked among these.



Poor given ration
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 5
The Punjabi Nishkam Sewa Dal organised its 28th ration distribution function at Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, Shahpur Road, here, today. Mr Sushil Prashar, president of the sewa dal, supervised the function.

As many as 57 needy women and widows were given ration. Mr Parshottam Khalifa, Director, Khadi Board, Ms Sheela Masiah, member All India Congress Committee, addressed the audience and praised the work done by the organisation.



Woman crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 5
A 45-year-old woman was allegedly crushed to death by some unknown vehicle on the Jagraon-Ludhiana, G T Road, 5 km from here. Sidhwanbet police has registered a case under section 304-A IPC.

According to the information, Davinder Kaur, a resident of Jagraon, left her house to bring his son (8), from school where was studying but did not return though her son reached home at his own. It perturbed the family searched for her but could not find.

The police called them to identify the body of a woman who was crushed by some unknown vehicle . Kuljinder Singh, her husband, found the body beyond recognition as it was so badly crushed which made it difficult to identify. From her clothes, however Kuljinder Singh confirmed it to be the body of his wife Devinder Kaur. The body, after post-mortem examination in civil hospital, has been handed over to her relations, and the police has started investigation.



Body found
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 5
A burnt body of a person was found near the Doburji—Cielon road near canal bridge here on Friday.

Payal SHO Paramjit Singh said a cap and a cloth bag was found near the body.

He said no other injury mark was found on the body except burn injuries. A case has been registered under Section 174 of the CrPc. Further investigations are on.


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