L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Woman leaves 2 kids for paramour
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Sidhwan Bet (Jagraon), September 15
At the tender ages of 6 and 4, two sisters of Jalalabad have had one of the most heart-rending experience of life. They were abandoned by their mother near Sidhwan Canal late last night, not because of any discrimination for the girl child but because the woman allegedly viewed them as a hindrance in her life with her paramour.

The girls Handeep Kaur (6) and Mandeep Kaur (4) spent the night shivering with fear at an isolated place near the canal where their middle-aged mother Lakhbir Kaur and her alleged paramour Kashmira Singh had left them to die. Some passers-by rescued them in the wee hours and handed them over to the police.

After a day-long search, the police team led by SI Jaswinder Singh, SHO of Sidhwan Bet, finally found their residence and learnt about the reasons of their abandonment.

The police has booked the woman and her paramour under various Sections of the IPC in the evening. Both were untraced.

The girls have been kept at the police station since last night. They have been muted by the experience and only say that their mother has left them. They gave information about their father in bits and pieces that led the police to trace their father Sukhwinder Singh in Jalalabad.

SSP of Jagraon R K Jaiswal said he was getting in touch with some social organisations for the safe keeping of the girls or they could be handed over to their father.

Quoting the police investigations done so far, he said the woman had eloped with her neighbour-paramour on September 5. He is also married.

The woman had taken her two daughters with her also. Her husband had lodged a complaint at Jalalabad about the missing woman and daughters on that day.

Mr Jaiswal said it seems the woman and her alleged lover could not afford to keep the girls with them any longer or may be wanted to live without them. He said both seem to have preferred their illicit relationship over the life of the girls and thus abandoned them.

The police was conducting raids to trace the two. The Jalalabad police was also searching for them.

The police has also learnt that the woman’s husband Sukhwinder Singh had objected to their relationship. The matter was resolved by the village panchayat which had warned the two.

However, after that both eloped.



LIT — the slide from development to corruption
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, September 15
The Punjab Government has dissolved the Ludhiana Improvement Trust following the exposure of the city centre scam and Mr S R Kaler, Deputy Director, Local Bodies and Administrator, PUDA, has been appointed Administrator of the improvement trust.

The Ludhiana Improvement Trust was established in 1958 during the tenure of Mr Pratap Singh Kairon as Chief Minister. Mr Joginder Singh Grewal who was popularly known as Joginder Singh PP was the founder-chairman of the trust. Mr Joginder Singh Grewal was a big philanthropist and educationist. He was instrumental in the establishment of half a dozen educational institutions, particularly for women, including the Khalsa College for Women, Central Malwa College of Education for Women and Arts College at his native Narangwal village. He was also a founder-trustee of Guru Nanak Engineering College which was set up in 1956.

Mr Joginder Singh also set up the posh residential colony of Gurdev Nagar, here.

Mr Mubarak Singh, a litterateur of Amritsar who was a close friend of Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir the late Chief Minister, was appointed Chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust as a political nominee. During his tenure, he carved out two residential colonies — Shaheed Udham Singh Nagar and Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha Nagar.

Mr Shiv Singh was another political nominee of Giani Zail Singh and was appointed chairman of the trust in 1972 and continued on this post till 1978. It was during his tenure that the industrial town witnessed real development of residential colonies. Six residential colonies which are now the pride of this town were developing in the tenure of Mr Shiv Singh. These colonies are — Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Rajguru Nagar, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (where the controversial city centre is located), Kitchlu Nagar, Rishi Balmik Nagar and Model Town Extension. He also set up the truck stand, Feroze Gandhi Market and a dairy complex on Tajpur road. It is worth mentioning here that not an acre of land was acquired after the retirement of Mr Shiv Singh.

Mr Shiv Singh was succeeded by Mr Gurdip Singh in 1978 who was the nominee of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Mr Gurdip Singh’s tenure was also a clean period as he belonged to a good rich landlord family and no scam took place.

The first scam of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust was exposed during the tenure of Mr Prehlad Singh who was appointed Chairman by Mr Surjit Singh Barnala in 1985. Mr Prehlad Singh was elected MLA from Samrala in 1972 on the Akali ticket. Following a Vigilance enquiry, a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against him after his retirement. Some other officials of the improvement trust were also involved in this racket. Mr Prehlad had left for the USA before the registration of the case and he died there.

Another Chairman of the improvement trust who was appointed with political backing was Mr Surinder Aggarwal, son of a rich industrialist and former Congress MLA. He was the nominee of Namdhari Guru Baba Jagjit Singh and was appointed Chairman by the late Beant Singh on the recommendation of Baba Jagjit Singh. Mr Aggarwal also faced charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act and was arrested. He was the only Chairman who was arrested by the police and remained in jail for three months before being released on bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Cases were also registered against two executive officers of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust on corruption charges and one of them died in America.

Besides, a number of lower-rung employees of the trust, including some female employees, have faced charges of corruption and gone behind the bars. Some senior officers of the Punjab Government who worked as chairmen or administrators have also faced Vigilance or departmental enquiries for alleged irregularities during their postings.

After the installation of Capt Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister, Mr Ashok Singh Garcha was appointed Chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust. Mr Garcha has a strong political background being the son of late Devinder Singh Garcha who was four times Member of Parliament and one time legislator and grandson of Mr Shamsher Singh Dhandari who was also MLA. Being an honest man, he tried to cleanse the improvement trust of the corrupt elements, but he was not allowed to work first by the trustees appointed by the Amarinder Singh government and then the demand for a heavy sum of more than Rs 100 crore came from the hierarchy for the party funds. He was asked to collect party funds from the city centre and other sources. But he declined to oblige and resigned. He was also of the view that the city project could not be taken up because of the heavy amount involved in the same.

Mr Madanmohan Vyas, a nominee of the BJP as Chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, had a tough time in dealing with the employees of the trust as he was not ready to indulge in corrupt practices.

After the resignation of Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, Wing Commander Paramjit Singh Sibia was made Chairman under whose leadership the alleged scam has taken place. Wing Commander Sibia contested the 2002 Vidhan Sabha election from Jagraon and lost his surety on Congress ticket. He failed to curb corruption and bring any improvement in the functioning of the trust. He would allegedly not listen to the telephone calls of the people while sitting in his office.

The Ludhiana Improvement Trust has now become a den of corruption and needs to be disbanded.

Among the top bureaucrats, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal (now Chief Secretary), Mr Ravi Sahney, Mr S.S. Brar, Mr S.S. Channy and Dr Sukhbir Singh Sandhu have held charge of the improvement trust in the absence of a regular Chairman or Administrator.

At present, the improvement trust has not been doing any worthwhile work except allotting residential plots under the ‘LDP’ (local displaced persons) scheme. There is a lot of money under this scheme and there is allegedly a nexus among the employees, officials and property dealers.

Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, and Prof Gurcharan Singh, President and general secretary of the People Awareness Forum, have called upon the state government to disband the improvement trust and hold a CBI enquiry into the assets of all concerned.



Soft toys gain acceptance
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
Thanks to the retail boom, the market for soft toys in the country is witnessing a rapid growth. Estimated at over Rs 75 crore, while the unorganised segment holds a significant 70 per cent share in the market, players in the organised segment too are gearing up to tap the potential.

“There has been an annual growth of 20 per cent, which is quite significant,” said Mr A.K.Gupta, vice-president, sales and marketing, Hanung Toys and Textiles, here today.

The company announced the availability of Disney toys in the city today.

Besides recently launched characters like ‘Hanuman’, the company is offering over 7,000 designs. Apart from kids, people from other age groups too form a sizeable share of the consumers, with soft toys becoming lifestyle products. 



CPO caught stealing petrol

Ludhiana, September 15
The Community Police Officers (CPO) scheme which has been under fire owing to opposition by some residents’ associations, suffered a dent today when a CPO was booked on the charges of stealing petrol from a car last night while being supposedly on duty to guard the public property.

The unsavoury incident took place in Block-B of Sarabha Nagar late last night when some area residents allegedly spotted a CPO, Gurpreet Singh, stealing petrol. They saw him taking about two litres from a Maruti car. Later, the Sarabha Nagar police took him in custody. — TNS



75-year-old man killed

Doraha, September 15
A 75-year-old man of Rampur village was murdered with sharp-edged weapons by some unidentified miscreants yesterday. The deceased, Sham Singh, was a bachelor and staying alone in his house. Today, his nephew, Jagdev Singh, knocked at the door of the deceased’s house but he did not get reply.
Jagdev Singh entered the house and found that Sham Singh was lying dead on his bed and his body bore the marks of injury. — OC



MC chief faces no-trust move
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, September 15
Ten out of 13 councillors today moved a no-confidence motion against the president of the Nagar Panchayat, Sahnewal, Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu, and submitted an application in this regard to the executive office today.

A total of 10 councillors, including Mrs Swaranjit Kaur of Ward No 1, Kulwant Kanti of Ward No 2, Mr Kuldeep Singh of Ward No 3, Mrs Kusum Rani of Ward No 4, Mr Kishan Pal Sandhu of Ward No 5, Mr Randhir Singh of Ward No 6, Mrs Jaswinder Kaur of Ward No 7, Mr Jasminder Sandhu of Ward No 8, Mrs Saroopkaur of Ward No 12 and Mrs Pal Kaur of Ward No 13 today expressed resentment over negligible development in the town and the non-cooperative attitude of the chief.

The councillors also said no meeting had been called in the last two months and the work, if any, initiated in the town was of low quality. The councillors expressed no confidence in the Nagar Panchayat president and asked him to hold a meeting within 14 days and prove his majority; failing which he shall have to leave the post.

Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu, when contacted said it was a politically motivated move and may prove to be a set-back for the existing party. "I am ready to prove any allegation against me wrong," he added. 



Bonhomie marks Indo-Pak Punjab psychiatrists’ session
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 15
Cultural bonds, traditions, common heritage and growing people to people relations between the two countries marked the inaugural session of the three-day first annual conference of the Indo-Pak Punjab Psychiatric Society here today.

The delegates will deliberate on different topics of mental health in both countries for two days in the city and thereafter move to Chandigarh for the concluding session on September 17.

Inaugurating the conference, internationally acclaimed psychiatrist Dr J.S. Neki said such interaction between medical and other professionals of the two countries would not only help experts in exchange of knowledge but also strengthen emotional bonds. He described Punjab, on both sides of the border, as the most sacred earth in the world.

The conference, hosted by Roshni, a registered NGO, working in the field of mental health and related issues, was attended by 50 medical professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists and general practitioners from Pakistan besides more than 100 delegates from different parts of India.

In his keynote address, Dr N.N. Wig, Professor Emeritus at the PGI and a WHO expert, said mental health experts in India had been longing for this day. He discussed Punjabi sufi poetry and mental health in the course of an absorbing lecture.

Extending a welcome to the delegates, Dr D.J. Singh, president of the Roshni, said “Today is a special day in the history of Ludhiana where distinguished personalities from both Punjabs of India and Pakistan have assembled for this historic occasion. This conference is a part of the celebrations to mark the third anniversary of Roshni.”

Dr A.K. Kala, president, Indo-Pak Punjab Psychiatrist Society, dwelt upon the developments that led to the formation of the society during the sidelines of the SAARC conference in November 2005.

Dr Haroon Rashid Chaudhry, who led the Pakistani delegation , delivered a thought-provoking lecture on ‘traditions of religious healing in Punjab.’ He said the objective of achieving holistic healing of body and soul, the religious healers played a significant role.

Dr Afzal Javed, a Pakistani psychiatrist from the UK and vice-president of the society, focused on the scope of the society in dealing with different issues of mental health and rehabilitation programmes for the mentally ill people.

Prof V. K. Verma, an Indian psychiatrist based in USA, spoke on the ‘cultural psycho-dynamics and Punjabi personality.’

Speaking on ‘spirituality and mental health — special reference to Punjab,’ Dr Avdesh Sharma, a noted consultant psychiatrist from Delhi, gave an impressive guest lecture on spirituality and mental health.

In the afternoon session, devoted to rehabilitation, Dr Chaudhry, Dr Suresh Kumar, Dr A Saqib and Dr M. Saqib delivered lectures on the topic which covered community education programme, rehabilitation through micro finance and rehabilitation of female patients with schizophrenia.

A workshop on mass media and mental health coordinated by Dr A.K. Kala and Dr Avdesh Sharma evoked peek participation of the delegates and representatives of the media.

Ms Ravinder Kala, secretary general, and joint secretary of the host society, proposed a vote of thanks.



PSEB employees hold rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
Employees of Punjab State Electricity Board, under the banner of Workers Federation INTUC, held a rally in support of their demands at Model Town here today.

Mr Swaran Singh, president, said employees of the electricity board were facing many hurdles due to issues like a large number of vacancies. “While the number of electricity connections is increasing manifold, the PSEB is not recruiting fresh people to fill vacancies arising after retirement of its employees. The situation is causing a huge gap and even the board is suffering as a result,” he said.

The employees alleged they were not being given any overtime. Demanding that the government compensate the electricity board for free power supply, Mr Singh said if the same was not done, the day was not far when PSEB would not even be able to pay salaries to its employees.

Demands like stopping contractual system were also raised by the employees. “If the government does not resolve these issues, it would have to pay the price of it in the forthcoming elections,” the federation threatened.



At the Crossroads
Seven decades of progressive writing
N.S. Tasneem

Sajjad Zaheer
Sajjad Zaheer

Ludhiana, September 15
How progressive writing started in Indian literature reads like a fairy tale. In Urdu, it was called “Taraqqi Pasand Adab”, in Hindi it was known as ‘Pragtisheel Sahitya’ and in Punjabi it was termed ‘Aganh Wadhu Sahit’. In the evening of November 24, 1934 some Indian writers and thinkers held a meeting in London for launching the movement of progressive writing in India. They were Sajjad Zaheer, Mulk Raj Anand, M.D. Taseer, Promode Sengupta and Jyoti Ghosh. Later, on April 10, 1936 the All-India Progressive Writers Conference was held in Lucknow which was presided over by the prominent litterateur, Munshi Prem Chand.

In his presidential address, Munshi Prem Chand chalked out the aims and objectives of this movement. He highlighted the problems being faced by the Indians in the economic and social fields and said, “If you cannot see beauty in a poor woman whose perspiration flows as, laying down her sleeping child on a mound along the field, she works in the field, then, it is your vision that is to blame. For behind those wilted lips and withered cheeks reside sacrifice, devotion and endurance.”

The moving figures behind this conference were Sajjad Zaheer, Dr Mulk Raj Anand, Ahmed Ali, Dr Rashid Jahan and her husband Sahidzada Mahmuduzzafar. Before long leading writers and poets, such as Hiren Mukherjee, Josh Malihabadi, Maulvi Abdul Haq, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Ali Sardar Jafri, Majaz, Kaifi Azmi, Majruh Sultanpuri, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Ahmed Nadeen Qasmi joined the Progressive Writers Association and the movement gained momentum.

The role of Sahir Ludhianvi as “an exemplary Progressive” was appreciated all around.

In Punjab, Krishan Chander, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Saadat Hasan Manto, Upendra Nath Ashk, Sant Singh Sekhon, Devinder Satyarthi, Prof Mohan Singh, Amrita Pritam, Bawa Balwant, Sujan Singh, Ishwar Chitarkar and others held aloft the banner of progressive writing in Urdu as well as Punjabi.

It is interesting to note that the period of 10 years, from 1936 to 1947, was the golden period of this movement. In this period it created a great impact on the minds of the new generation. It reflected in creative and critical writings the frustrations and aspirations of the intellectuals.

Later, the movement was deprived of its high objectives. Ali Sardar Jafri, one of its ideologues, admitted that “by 1949 the movement was affected by extremism and narrow-mindedness”.

Sajjad Zaheer stuck to his guns till the end of his life in 1973. He had been at the helm of affairs since 1936. He was a committed member of the Communist Party of India but his place as a man of letters is also secure in the annals of Urdu literature. His novelette ‘London ki ek Raat’ has run into many editions since its publication in the 1940s. The characters belong to the prosperous middle class who had gone to the UK for higher studies. As Ali Jawad Zaidi puts it - “Their imagination is fired by the fast moving global events but they live mostly in a world of ideas and act as idealists. They think of the plight of their motherland and want to do something to better the lot of their compatriots. They are rudely shocked by the brutal policies of the British and that leads to a feeling of hatred against the rulers”.

Indeed, Sajjad Zaheer also belonged to this group, residing in the alien land at that time. His affinity to the Union of Soviet Writers ultimately led to the establishment of Progressive Writers Association (PWA). He was no doubt a great organiser but he could spare sometime for composing poems, besides writing short stories and articles. His earliest short story was published in 1932 in the collection ‘Angare’, which had been banned shortly after its publication.

In 1951 he was jailed in Pakistan where he had gone, after Partition, as the general secretary of the Communist Party. Both he and Faiz Ahmed Faiz had been charged with involvement in the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case. They spent some time together in the Central Jail at Hyderabad Sind. Later they were sentenced to undergo vigorous imprisonment for four years. Faiz was sent to Montgomery Jail while Sajjad Zaheer was sent to the Central Jail at Machh (Balochistan). There he told the story of the Progressive Writers Association in his memoirs entitled ‘Roshnai’.

His daughter Noor Zaheer has recently published a book, about Sajjad Zaheer, entitled ‘Mere Hisse ki Roshnai’

The birth centenary of Sajjad Zaheer fell in 2005 and the ensuing year has been earmarked for its celebration throughout India. Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, held a seminar in his memory from December 17-18, 2005 in which, among others, Inder Kumar Gujral, Dr Qamar Rais, Dr Gopichand Narang and Prof Musheer-ul-Hasan participated. The monograph ‘Sajjad Zaheer: Life and Achievements’, in the series of ‘Makers of Indian Literature’, was also released at that time.

Now, in Chandigarh Sajjad Zaheer is being remembered by the PWA on September 16 by holding a seminar and a mushaira.



Protest by labour bodies

Ludhiana, September 15
Various labour organisations today staged a protest demonstration against the policies of the state and Central government. The dharna was jointly organised by the Mazdoor Mukti Morcha, Punjab, Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha, Punjab State Dalit Action Committee and Kul Hind Khet Mazdoor Union. They also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner listing various demands.

They demanded that the minimum daily wages be fixed at Rs 150. They alleged that some labourers were not even given the minimum wages.

The memorandum demanded that the government should identify all the families living below the poverty line and prepare their ration cards. It said all the families living below poverty line be given five marla plots and Rs 1 lakh grant for constructing their own houses. TNS



Three booked for murder bid
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 15
The police has registered a case under Section 307, 34 of the IPC against Balbir Singh of Agwar Ladhai, Manjit Kaur of Lamme, and Sarabjit Kaur of Jatpura on the charge of attempt to murder. They tried to set her on fire by throwing kerosene.

Source disclosed that Balbir Singh had illicit relations with Paramjit Kaur. She tried to persuade him not to keep company with other women.

The injured has been admitted to DMCH hospital in Ludhiana. No arrest has been made so far.

Woman held with poppy husk: The Sidhwan Bet police has arrested Manjit Kaur of Kishanpura and allegedly seized 5.2 kg of poppy husk from her possession in the area of New Salempura. A case has been registered undert the NDPS Act.

Transformer stolen: Some miscreants have stolen one electric transformer worth Rs 5,000 during midnight from the area of Goindwal. A case has been registered.



Bank takes possession of property

Ludhiana, September 15
Indian Overseas bank, Brown Road branch, took physical possession of property in the name of Surinder Singh under Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002, here yesterday.

According to a press note, the property was mortgaged with the bank against a housing loan account and Rs 6.9 lakh were outstanding.

The borrower failed to repay the outstanding amount following which the bank took possession of the property. — TNS



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