L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Free gurdwaras from ‘grip of corrupt junta’: AISAD
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
The All-India Shiromani Akali Dal has called for a second movement on the pattern of the earlier movement launched in twenties to liberate the gurdwaras from the "grip of the corrupt junta".

Addressing a press conference here today, the AISAD president, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, and other leaders said, "the SGPC, having come into being by Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925, has lately been in the grip of corrupt junta, headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his hand picked henchmen, who have totally destroyed the spiritual and divine status of sanctum sanctorum, have besieged the Darbar Sahib, Akal Takht and other Sikh Gurdwaras".

He said second gurdwara reform movement in the footsteps of the earlier launched in 1920 can alone liberate the Sikh gurdwaras form their "unholy clutches".

He alleged that they have lowered the status of Akal Takht and other Takhts, made Jathedars mere opportunists of the SGPC shorn of any effective and functional authority.

The gurdwara reform movement would be launched after forming Panthic coordination committee in the coming days. It will seek revision and amendment of Sikh Gurdwara Act to remove these gaps.

The AISAD leaders said the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Badal has ceased to represent Sikhs as a political organization. It has already become a "Punjabi Party" echoing Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiat.

It has drastically changed and subverted its constitution, brought amendments to completely change into an atheist secular outfit, with no policy, programme to protect rights of the Sikh people and have become a "band of corrupt, land mafia, liquor barons, rapists and social bandits", they said pointing out that the SAD has been registered under this changed constitution.

The AISAD leaders said the Sikh youth, the downtrodden sections of the Dalits, deprived women would find top priority in the political schemata of the Shiromani Akali Dal, wedded to bring "Halemi Raj" covering all sections of society as ordained by Sikh Gurus, preached and practiced by the Sikh Gurus, sanctified by the sacrifice and Martyrdom in the Sikh History, preserved and protected by their heroic deeds and accomplishments. They alleged the present political stance of Mr Badal and his coterie was totally against the basic principles and postulates of Sikh religion and therefore must be rejected.

They said the Sikh diaspora all over the world has earned Sikhs their world wide international entity and need to be organized under one banner as enunciated by the Sikh Gurus. In presence of their progress and excellence in various fields, their achievements have to be acclaimed back home, as well as and to brace it into a well-knit entity

They said the Sikhs are inheritors of India's Independence in 1947 and their high mark in defending and feeding India. The Sikhs issues are still unresolved. Discrimination, public policies and Government Laws are against the Sikhs and they are denied the earmarked entry into armed forces and Para military forces.



DM’s order on verification of tenants, labourers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
The District Magistrate today directed landlords and factory owners in the city to get their tenants, workers and labourers registered with the respective area police station immediately or face action.

This is a fresh effort by the administration to contain crime even as previous such orders have failed to elicit good response from residents for the registration drive.

The administration has been forced to withdraw the orders or stick to the deadline on previous occasions at the behest of influential residents, industrialists and politicians. Now, the orders have been issued after a gap of four years.

The directive comes in the wake of recent involvement of tenants and migrant labourers in various crimes.

Besides, a number of criminals have been using rented accommodation for hiding and even carrying out murders.

The police has been finding it hard to trace the accused or even ascertain the identity of the victim.

District Magistrate Ashok Kumar Gupta’s orders, which were issued here today, state that the police has brought to his notice that a number of criminals live in the garb of labourers, domestic servants and tenants. The police has been facing difficulty in tracking them down once they vanish after committing a crime.

The District Magistrate has made it mandatory for landlords and factory owners to submit photographs of tenants and labourers in the police station.

This has been done to ensure that in case of false information on the antecedents, the perpetrators can be traced from their pictures.

In 2001, the police even went ahead with registering cases against some landlords and factory owners for not furnishing information.

But the administration did not take any action against the influential residents, industrialists and government officers who did not comply with the orders. The drive eventually came a cropper.

Moreover, the police has also been facing problems with implementing orders due to increased work load and staff shortage.

The residents have also alleged that they have been facing undue harassment, as they have to visit police stations to submit the forms. They also complain of facing problems with verifications.

The police had started sending policemen to houses but had to discontinue with it due to work load and complaints of corruption.



Villagers protest against acquisition of land
Kanchan Vasdev

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
Protesting against the acquisition of land for laying a four lane Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, the gram panchayat of Gill village has alleged that instead of widening the existing road, the Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board (PRBDB) was acquiring a fresh piece of land for completing the work.

Alleging that the move was aimed at protecting some well connected people, who had grabbed the shamlaat of village, the villagers said the board would acquire 27 acres of agricultural land for the project.

The villagers claimed that if the board acquired 27 acres of land then they would lose ponds which were an important part of the village. It would also affect the disposal of waste water as the pond which was on the land to be acquired was catering to the needs of the entire population of the village.

In a resolution passed by the Gill panchayat, which was signed by most of the members, including the Sarpanch, Ms Balwinder Kaur, the villagers demanded that the already existing road should be widened for the four-laning project.

‘‘If the government considers widening of the existing carriageway then it would have to spend much less amount on the project in comparison to laying a fresh road on the western side of the village. This would spare it from compensating the villagers also’’ said Mr Dharampal, member of Panchayat of the village.

They said many governments had come and gone and had chalked out different plans for widening the road but this time they were selecting the least feasible proposal.

They stated that if the government went ahead with widening of the existing road then it would have to get the shamlat land evacuated from some influential people only. The villagers would also not suffer.

‘‘It is very strange that the board is not considering widening the existing road but instead was bent on laying the entire stretch fresh. This clearly indicates that there is some hanky-panky involved. They are really trying to help some people, ’’ alleged the villagers.

Some days ago, similar protests were organised by residents of Pohir village near Dehlon, who had demanded widening of already existing road only. They were also faced with a similar problem when land was being acquired on the eastern side of the village.

A delegation had met the officials of PWD also in support of their demands. They claimed that a road on the right side of the existing carriage way would prove more useful for all, including residents of Pohir village, Mandi Ahmedgarh and at least 30 villages situated on the south-western side of the township.

Besides a large number of establishments, including business, religious and educational, are situated along the 40-km road between Ludhiana and Malerkotla. These include police stations, banks, gurdwaras, petrol stations, hospitals and schools which would be acquired in the process.

The proposed new road at Pohir and Gill villages will also affect owners of agricultural land as their land will be acquired for the purpose. About 50 acres of agricultural land will be acquired for these bypasses and realignment at Dehlon village.

Residents of Sarinh, Kaind, Gopalpur, Lehra, Phalewal, Kup Kalan and Bhogiwal villages will also be affected by the project.



Ban on sale deeds lifted
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
Providing the much-needed relief to the residents of city, who were finding it difficult to sell their properties, the district administration has lifted the ban on sale deeds, which was imposed some time ago.

With the lifting of the ban, the residents will be able to re-sell their properties without any hitch. However, the property dealers, who buy land in bulk to pass it on to earn profit, would not be able to resell their land in the form of a colony.

The execution of sale deeds was stopped soon after the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, joined office. The reason was to check the mushrooming of illegal colonies, which were coming up in the periphery of the city. To check the violation of the PUDA Act, the administration had inadvertently made the common man suffer, who was not able to sell the houses and plots.

Sources in the district administration said the previous orders on banning the execution of General Power of Attorney (GPA) have also been revoked. These orders were passed by the former Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma. He had claimed that due to GPAs, the state exchequer was losing money as people were saving registry fee by executing GPAs and passing on the property to another person.

As per the new policy of the district administration, only the residents having old registries would be able to sell their properties. The colonisers would suffer as they would either be required to pay development fee as per the PUDA Act or their colony would be regarded as a private colony alone. This would help check cropping up of illegal colonies, which affect the proper town planning adversely.

The move has, however, not gone well with some revenue officials who claim that they were not able to know whether a person was selling plots in the form of a colony or not. They added that once illegal colonies came up, they were the ones who were under fire from all quarters.

The residents of the city have welcomed the step. They claim that they were actually suffering as they were not able to sell their houses, plots and commercial sites. Mr D.P. Grover, an office-bearer of the People for People said he too had suffered on account of this policy. He said that his old house was in old city but his sale deed was not being executed as the officials concerned were citing a ban on it.



Cong men razed our stage: Akali-BJP
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
Leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party today alleged that supporters of the District Congress Committee, Ludhiana (Urban), Mr Jagmohan Sharma, and the local MLA and Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawer, demolished the stage they had prepared for a demonstration against the government. Both Mr Sharma and Mr Dawer, however, have denied the allegation.

The former Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Mr Satpal Gosain, and the district president of the SAD, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, said they had planned a protest demonstration at Cheema Chowk against the alleged inflated electricity bills served to the people by the Punjab State Electricity Board.

Mr Gosain and Mr Gabria alleged that since the demonstration was being organised in the constituency represented by Mr Dawer, he along with Mr Sharma, got unnerved. They claimed that Mr Dawer and Mr Sharma feared a massive turnout and they wanted to sabotage the programme. So they demolished the stage at night.

The Akali-BJP leaders alleged that some of their workers had a narrow escape as the goons hired by the two leaders had tried to run a truck over them while they were guarding the stage and the tent. They said the alliance had taken a serious note of it and would not allow this to happen again.

They said everybody had a right to protest and demonstrate. But the Congress leaders, with the support of the government, were trying to bully the workers of the Opposition parties. They said the coordination committee of the Akali Dal and BJP today met to take stock of the situation.

However, Mr Dawer denied his role in the incident. He claimed that the Akali-BJP leaders were feeling frustrated as he was “quite popular” among the people in the area. He said he was living among the people and getting their problems solved while the Akali-BJP leaders were only shouting slogans. He challenged the Akali-BJP leaders to prove the allegation and he would be prepared for any consequences.

Commenting on the incident, Mr Sharma admitted that his nephew had objected to the setting up of the Akali-BJP stage in his private property. He said while he was himself away to Chintpurni, he learnt that the Akali-BJP leaders had tried to set up the stage in the parking lot of his shopping complex.

He pointed out that nobody had any right to use other’s private property. Moreover, he added, “I am the district president of the Congress, how can I allow the Opposition to set up a stage on my premises?” He said he would demand the registration of a case of trespassing against the Akali-BJP leaders as they had caused a lot of damage to the parking area of his shopping complex.



Murder case: kin of accused alleges land grab
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
The family of Micky Jain, prime accused in the Reema Jain murder case, today claimed they were victims of a major land grab move with some persons inimical to the family trying to grab their prime property.

Ms Sangeeta Jain, wife of Anil, alias Micky Jain, today alleged that some people were trying to grab the joint property of the family. She said the walls were being erected around the property at the Ferozepore Road, adjacent to Ansal Plaza.

She alleged that one of her relatives was trying to grab it as she had been told by the labourers working there, that they had been hired by him.

She disclosed that the property belonged to her husband, Anil Jain, her mother-in-law Sudarshana Jain and her deceased sister in law Reema Jain. She was holding 73 per cent share in the property. The property was lying vacant for some time.

Ms Jain has sent telegrams to the Senior Superintendent of Police with a copy each to the President of India, the Prime Minister of India, the Chief Minister and the Director General of police.

She said since her husband was in jail, his (her husband's) uncle, the relatives were trying to grab the property.

Ms Jain alleged that another plot measuring 1000 square yards situated at Mall Road was also under illegal occupation. Her family along with her husband was being victimized and there was a deep conspiracy to grab all their property. 



Councillors protest

Ludhiana, August 1
The councillors and a husband of a councillor owing allegiance with Shiromani Akali Dal today staged a dharna outside the Tender Inviting Cell of Municipal Corporation alleging discrimination with their wards.

The agitators included Mr Jaswinder Singh Bhola, Mr Bhairaj Singh, Mr Devinder Singh Bittu and Mr Gobind Singh, husband of councillor of ward number 44, Ms Rajinder Kaur Grewal, alleged that tenders involving development works of their wards were not invited. — TNS



Brawl outside MC office

Ludhiana, August 1
Supporters of a complainant and accused in an alleged encroachment case in Sherpur today literally came to blows outside the office of the MC Joint Commissioner (K), Ms K.P. Kaur Brar, when she had summoned both parties to look into the matter.

Situation turned ugly and the police had to intervene. A case was registered against both parties. — TNS



Murder accused held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
Close on the heels of the murder of a Nepalese youth for resisting demands of unnatural sex, the police today claimed that another labourer was murdered on July 14, 2005, for not complying with similar demands made by another labourer.

Addressing mediapersons here this afternoon, the SP City-II, Mr D.P. Singh, said the victim was Kuldip Singh of Himachal Pradesh, while the accused was Ramesh of Assam. The body was found in Transport Nagar.

The SP said the SHO, Mr Gursewak Singh, during investigation had found that the victim could have been sexually abused. Ramesh was the last person seen with him.

The SP said the body bore injury marks on private parts after which the victim’s throat was slit, causing his death.

The accused returned to the city recently and was arrested last night.



Central Bank hikes interest of NRE deposits
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
The Central Bank of India has increased interest rates on NRE and Foreign Currency Non-Resident (B) Deposits across all maturities with effect from today.

According to a press note issued by the bank, interest rates on FCNR-B deposit in USD for one year to less than two years would be 5.54 per cent, for two years to less than three years would be 5.44 per cent, for three years to less than four years would be 5.42 per cent, for four years to less than five years would be 5.43 per cent and for five years and above 5.46 per cent. Interest rates on NRE time deposits for a term of one year to less than two years has been increased to 6.5 per cent and for two years to less than three years and for three years are 6.40 per cent now.



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