Thursday, July 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Businessman seeks court help for registration of FIR
Notice to AG for Aug 3
From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 19 — A local businessman had to seek the intervention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in order to get an FIR registered against a car dealer, allegedly enjoying the patronage of certain higher-ups in the police. The car dealer reportedly duped the former by selling his car and not paying him the money even seven months after the car was given to him.

This car with registration number, KA-03P-5378, was last sold off to Anil Kumar, one of the main accused in the contract killing case of the Canadian woman, Jaswinder Kaur alias Jassi. Though Anil Kumar has since been arrested by the Sangrur police on charges of murder, the whereabouts of the car are still not known. This case has also highlighted the close relations between Anil Kumar and Sub Inspector Joginder Singh , who is alleged to have got the deal struck between Anil Kumar and the mother and maternal uncle of Jaswinder Kaur for her elimination.

In a writ petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, and the Station House Officer, Model Town, Mr Jaswinder Singh, the complainant has asked for directions of the High Court to the local police for filing a case of breach of trust and fraud against the car dealer, Vinod Sood. In this regard, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice to the Advocate General, Punjab, for August 3, 2000.

According to information available, Mr Inderpal Singh Ahuja had bought the car from Mr Kunnil Abbas, a resident of Mumbai, in September, 1999. However, a month after he bought this car, he decided to sell it and a deal for Rs. 5.25 lakh was struck with Mr Vinod Sood, proprietor of Gurdeep Autos in November. Mr Ahuja says that though he handed over the car to the dealer, he had not given him the documents. “However, he claimed that he could not find a suitable buyer for the car. Three months ago, I found that the said car had been sold off to a local coloniser and even though the advance had been paid to the dealer, he did not forward the same to me. I, then, approached the coloniser and told him that the car was mine and he immediately called off the deal,” he informs.

Things between the two sides worsened and Mr Ahuja approached the local police for getting a case of fraud registered against the accused Vinod Sood. “No action was taken against him because of his close contacts with the SHO of the concerned police station at Model Town. It was then that I learnt that Vinod Sood had sold the car to Anil Kumar at the rate of Rs 5.25 lakh and Rs 1.60 lakh had been paid as advance. I again approached the SHO, Model Town, and he assured that he would get me the payment from the dealer within twenty days on May 30. However, when we went there again on May 30, the police officer refused to intervene saying that Vinod Sood enjoyed the patronage of certain higher police officers,” he alleges.

Interestingly, Mr Vinod Sood, who had sold the car to accused Anil Kumar, was snubbed by the latter. He allegedly also got threatening calls from SI Joginder Singh, then the CIA in charge, Ludhiana, in support of Anil Kumar.


Old courts complex faces demolition
From D.B. Chopra

LUDHIANA, July 19 — The old district courts complex, probably the last building of the Raj days in the heart of the city, is going to be demolished in near future, it is reported.

Neglect of the complex set in way back in 1976 when it was decided to shift the courts to the new courts complex near Bharat Nagar chowk. However, courts of the five Additional Sessions Judges were shifted to the new building.

Advocate Mr. R.P. Kalia recalls that the courts have been in existence since 1914 when the Deputy Commissioner had his office in the complex and there used to be not more than 20 advocates. He gets nostalgic at the very mention of the ‘good old Raj days’ when things were remarkably different.

The old complex still houses a number of courts, but most of it has been abandoned because of the damage caused by neglect.

The roof has caved in at some places and a number of rooms have been locked. There is an abundance of wild growth virtually all over the building. Pre-1950 revenue records are gathering dust on the rusting iron racks. Windows of this record room are broken which makes it easily accessible to cats and pups looking for a nice cool dark place.

So what if the old complex is going to be razed to the ground? Nothing really. It does not matter at all, or does it? There is no point in preserving a useless old building. At least for PUDA which is going to make a lot of money by converting the place into a commercial complex.

A young advocate was full of scorn when he said that besides PUDA which was likely to earn nearly 200 to 300 crores of rupees, it would be the politicians who would not spare any effort to get prime sites in the proposed commercial complex.

Meanwhile, advocates have started depositing Rs 75,000 per chamber to be allotted to them, in the new judicial complex near the Deputy Commissioner’s office.


Flyover a boon for residents
From Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, July 19 — Work having commenced on the Dhuri line railway over-bridge (ROB) in the city, residents can look forward to a respite from the chaotic traffic movement, frequent jams and vehicular congestion caused by repeated closure of level crossing on the Ludhiana-Dhuri line on the busy link road in the near future. The flyover, coming close after the completion of a flyover on Ludhiana-Ferozepore line, near the general bus stand recently, would not only improve the movement of buses and other vehicles on this road but also prove a boon for residents of many posh localities, including Model Town, Model Gram, Atam Nagar and provide an easier outside link to vehicles coming from the Ferozepore side.

To facilitate digging for foundations and earthwork, builders have closed one side of the road from Dugri Chowk towards Campa Cola Chowk and the travelling public have been provided a diversion from behind Atam Park. However, the residents of the area feel that the road provided as a diversion is inadequate to cope with the volume of traffic, particularly during school timings and peak office hours Moreover, the road level being a little lower than adjoining areas and the storm water sewerage not up to the mark, it is flooded even after light showers and the rain water takes a long time to clear out.

The Superintending Engineer (B&R) of the Municipal Corporation, Mr M.N. Sharma, however, does not completely agree with the residents. He told Ludhiana Tribune that the road was wide enough to take the load of traffic even at peak hours and the traffic police have also been directed to ensure smooth flow of the vehicles.

Giving details of the flyover project, Mr Sharma informed that being constructed at a cost of Rs 9.51 crore against an earlier estimate of Rs11.00 crore, the bridge would be 653 metres in length and 16.50 metres in width and it would be extended to a length of 1000 feet on both sides of the railway line. The flyover will provide a carriage width of 7.5 metres on both the sides, with central verge and crash barriers of 0.5 metres each.

The projects has been entrusted to a Mumbai-based builder and the preliminary survey of the flyover was done by the Rail India Technical and Economic Services Limited (RITES), he added. While, the period of completion allowed to the builder is 18 months, it is estimated that the flyover would become operational in 15 months.


Six MC employees suspended
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 19 — The Commissioner of Municipal Corporation Dr S.S. Sandhu, has suspended six employees of the Octroi Department in the MC for dereliction of duty and negligence. The suspended employees - Mr Bhupinder Singh, Mr Jarnail Singh, Mr Mangat Ram, Mr Jarnail Singh, Mr Bhupinder Singh, all octroi clerks and Mr Som Nath, Sewadar, have been charged with showing carelessness in safekeeping of octroi records and other important documents.

The action was taken against erring employees on the recommendation of Mr Harjinder Singh, Joint Commissioner and In charge of the Octroi Department of the MC.


War museum a casualty of neglect
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 19 — When will the work on Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum, the only one of its kind conceived and owned by the State Government, be complete and the place ‘ officially ‘ opened to the general public?

This question stares the museum and the SAD-BJP government in the face, as almost 10 years have passed since the work on it had been started. Enquiries revealed that though the paucity of funds was the main villain in delaying completion of the project, the lack of concerted effort by the authorities concerned had also been a contributing factor.

The museum , according to its publicity leaflets, was planned to create general awareness about the defence services not only for its role in defending the country but also in strengthening the bonds of national integration and unity. Sadly, in spite of such big talks, the museum which has immense potential of giving a befitting tribute to the war heroes is still awaiting care and attention. Though tourists visit the place and see whatever exhibits have been put up the place is yet to be opened officially after the completion.

It was in early 1991 that the foundation stone of the museum was laid by Gen O.P. Malhotra, the then Governor of Punjab. At the ceremony it was announced that the museum , the first made by the state government, was planned to commemorate the sacrifices made by the people of Punjab in defending the country. Various defence battalions or regiments stationed in the state have a common practice of making such museums, but they tended to exhibit only their own achievements. The museum thus aimed to present at one place almost all the feats of the defence personnel of the state.

Though it was promised that the work on the museum would be completed on a war-footing, it has now been 10 years since the initiation of work. Only last year, a light and sound hall which shows a film about the brave feats of Punjabis in both pre and post independence India in defending the motherland, was completed and inaugurated. The completion of the work on this front had raised hopes that the remaining portions would also be completed at the earliest.

According to official sources, after the laying of the foundation stone the work went on at a rapid pace for two years and then the financial hiccups appeared. The work remained suspended for almost three or four years before the funds were released. The work continued in fits and starts and depended entirely on the allocation of funds. Last year its massive building was completed at a cost of Rs 2 crore and according to sources, another 80 lakh is required to finally open the museum.

A visit to the site revealed that the museum has been made at an excellent location on the outskirts of the city. The place already has immense tourism potential as a Tiger Safari is located next to the museum. A hotel of the Punjab Tourism Department along with some private restaurants are also located nearby.

The museum, however, presents a good picture only from the outside. The inner halls , except two or three, are empty and awaiting exhibits to be installed there. The hall where uniforms of different regiments from the British days are kept is also not in a good shape. A number of closets for exhibiting the uniforms are yet to be completed and those complete are awaiting uniforms.

Another significant but pending work is that of a sculpture depicting the scene at the end of the Indo-Pak war, 1971 when the Pakistani General was signing the documents of surrender.

The completed halls offer pictures of the war heroes, including the Paramvir Chakra winners of the state along with portraits of other highly decorated soldiers. On the lawns stand tanks and aircraft, both real and models, which are a delight to watch. However, a path needs to be constructed along the exhibits for easier movement of the visitors. A tractor parked along side the defence vehicles is an eyesore.

Deputy Commissioner S.S. Sandhu acknowledging the delay, said he was not in a position to comment on what happened in the past but assured that the work on the museum would be completed very soon.


Woman Power
A woman of substance

Gurpreet Mathur’s evolution from an ordinary housewife into a woman of substance has been a long and arduous journey, which she travelled with confidence. She has achieved top positions in various educational institutions. From being a mere graduate, she went on to do three post-graduations. Besides being a scholar, she is also a sharp shooter and an expert flier. This may well be a lesson for the women of Ludhiana, most of whom think that life after marriage is just a round of kitty parties, participation in various contests organised by clubs or attending social events.

Her very name suggests that she has had an inter-caste marriage. While she belongs to a Sikh family, her husband hails from UP. Mrs Gurpreet Mathur is among those who have had the courage to choose their life partners from a different community. Fortunately for her, both the families were supportive of their action.

As a student, she was a brilliant speaker. She learnt how to shoot and also took part in athletics at national level. She was an NCC cadet and was picked up by the government for training in flying. She logged 50 hours of solo flying. She laments that flying had not been of any use to her in her later life but it helped her to soar higher in life.

When she got married, she was just a graduate. But she was determined to improve her educational qualifications. She took up a teacher’s job first in Saint George School and later in Shivalik Public School, Chandigarh, but at the same time she continued studying for her Masters in English. Mr D.S. Bedi (Principal, Shivalik Public School) and his wife helped her to aim higher. They provided her the opportunities to attend in-service training programmes . Obviously her husband was very supportive and she says that he has been a very loving and caring husband.

To improve her qualifications further she did her Masters in Political Science. All this time she continued to be a devoted housewife and a mother. Her love for education led her to take a M.Ed. degree.

The degrees proved useful to her as she landed with the job of a Principal in institutions at Chandigarh, Abohar and Alwar. At Alwar she did a remarkably brave thing. Some goons (who wanted to dislodge her husband from his post) came trotting with their guns. She faced them bravely and drove them away. The goon pointed a gun at her temple but she did not lose her wits. She grappled with the intruder, meanwhile, her land-lady who was with her, when the goon entered, fainted. She kept on fighting with great courage and finally the fellow left his gun and ran away. The police identified the intruder and she was called to identify him at the identification parade. Everyone told her not to stick her neck out because they were dangerous people but she was determined to see them behind the bars. For this courageous act, she was given a State Award for Bravery.

Wherever she was appointed, she proved to be very popular and efficient. She says laughingly, “If I had stayed in Abohar for a longer period, I surely would have won a seat in the election”.

Besides being an educationist she has great cooking skills. Her culinary speciality is ‘Muglai Cooking’. In spite of her busy schedule, she finds time to conduct cooking classes during the holidays.

She is presently working in Ludhiana as the Principal of Sanatan Senior Secondary School. Gurpreet is a many faceted personality, who can cook, can organise events, fly a plane, and if need be she can also fight with the gundas. She has the capability of igniting the minds of youngsters with her innovative ideas. She has been a good mother and a housewife. Truly a woman of substance!

— Asha Ahuja


LPG distribution to be streamlined in city
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 19 — LPG distributors in the city have been asked to strengthen the home delivery and install answering machines in their respective show rooms to facilitate booking of gas for the consumers round-the-clock. These are some of the measures that administration intended to take in a bid to streamline LPG distribution in the city.

Presiding over a meeting of the LPG distributors, sales officers of the oil companies and officials of the Food and Supplies Department here today, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, asked the LPG distributors to ensure prompt delivery of gas and also make sure that the LPG cylinders carried correct weight of gas. The consumers should not be given underweight cylinders in any case, and it was the responsibility of the distributors to identify such cylinders and return them to oil companies.

Responding to a suggestion by the LPG distributors to check the unauthorised use of domestic cylinders for commercial purposes, the Deputy Commissioner directed the District Food and Supplies Controller (DFSC) to conduct regular checking and to take strict action against the offenders. The distributors were also asked to speedily respond to the complaints of the consumers regarding non-supply, overcharging or leakage of gas.

Mr Chander Shekhar Azad, president of the LPG Distributors Association apprised the Deputy Commissioner of various problems being faced by them. He urged that vehicles carrying LPG cylinders meant for distribution should be allowed to move unrestricted in the city and suitable sites be provided to the distributors to construct the LPG godowns away from the residential areas where requisite safety and security arrangements could be made.

The DSFC, Mr Parveen Vij, informed at the meeting that the LPG distributors had made arrangements to supply cooking gas cylinders to working couples in the evening and even on Sundays and other holidays. He further said that the entire waiting-list for LPG connections had been disposed of and now the people could get new connections on demand.

Later, Mr Sandhu presided over a meeting of the Ludhiana Consumers Protection Forum, in which, it was decided to launch a vigorous awareness campaign in the city to educate the consumers regarding their rights and the Consumer Protection Acts, currently in force, which provided for punitive action for deficiency in services.


New books on farming
From a Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 19 — In order to encourage diversification in farming, the Punjab Agricultural University has decided to bring out revised and updated versions of books on dairy farming, agro-forestry, horticulture, vegetable growing, flower production and mushroom growing. During the year 2000, special issues of monthly farm magazines ‘Progressive Farming’ and Changi Kheti have been planned on special themes like dairy farming, agro-processing, plant protection, fruit, vegetables and flower cultivation and home science etc. Some improvements will also be brought about in these magazines by including special sections on latest agricultural news, reader’s suggestions, and answers to their questions. These decisions were taken at the meeting of the University Publication Committee held under the chairmanship of Dr K.S. Aulakh, Pro vice-chancellor.

Apart from the Dean/Directors of the university and representatives of the Departments of Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry of the Government of Punjab, two progressive farmers Mr Amarjit Singh Sighu of village Sidhwa Khurd of Ludhiana district and Mr Mohinder Singh Dosanjh of village Jagatpura in Nawanshahr district are members of this committee. Mr Sidhu is president of Punjab Kisan Club and Mr Dosanjh is a recipient of an international prize for innovative farming.

The committee also decided to increase the prices of monthly magazines from Rs 4 to Rs 6 per copy and the annual subscription from Rs 45 to Rs 70. Life membership for these magazines has also been increased from Rs 600 to Rs 800. Similarly the price of the book ‘Package of Practices for Kharif and Rabi crops’ from Rs 20 to Rs 30 per copy.

Dr Sarjit Singh Gill, Addl Director Extension Education, Communication Centre, PAU said that the prices of the farm publications had to be increased due to the increase in the cost of paper, printing, and postage. He also said that the sale proceeds of the publications are deposited in a revolving fund and used only for printing of more farm literature. This fund is not used for any other purpose.


Payal: historical town in quandary

DURING my recent visit to Payal, a town falling in the Ludhiana district, an eminent Punjabi writer and prominent social worker Mr Subhash Bhaskar expressed his deep anxiety over the exodus of a large number of its residents who have settled down in either Ludhiana or Khanna mainly because the town has nothing to offer in terms of higher education. It was, however, quite interesting to note that the residents of Payal evince keen interest in educating their children for their illustrious future. A high school opened here in 1854 now stands upgraded to the higher secondary level. Nothing has been done by any government so far to promote education, culture and art in the Payal area although politically the town boasts of its two dynamic personalities — Sardar Gian Singh Rarewala and Sardar Beant Singh. As Chief Minister of the erstwhile PEPSU Mr Rarewals did not launch any literacy drive in this prestigious constituency. Mr Beant Singh had an ambitious plan to open institutes of higher learning in the town but for his untimely demise the plan couldn’t mature.

Situated on the Khanna-Ahmedgarh road, the town offers a lot of historical interest. Its original name was ‘Pail’, literally meaning Pazeb, an ornament fondly worn by the Muslim women. Chaudhary Arjan Soni, a grand old man, tells that his ancestors who belonged to the trading community of Chinaurgarh, migrated to this town in the 12th century and permanently settled here on the advise of a Muslim divine Shah Hassan. With the passage of time some other Khatri families-Markans, Talwars, Kapoors, Puris and Tandons came here from various parts of the region and settled down permanently as by then the town had become a prominent centre of trade and commerce. On the partition of the country in 1947, a large number of refugees from Sialkot, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Lahore preferred to settle here.

As to the status of the town, an interesting information recorded by the district gazetteers is that, prior to its inclusion in Ludhiana district in 1964, it was a part of the pargana of Sirhind during the reign of Akbar. Later, it came under the control of the Nazamat of Sunam, who included it in the territory of Dhuri. In the ‘Gurshabad Ratankar Mahan Kosh’ authored by Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha, Payal has been mentioned as ‘a town of tehsil Rajpura of the Patiala Riyasat’. It is said that Maharaja Amar Singh annexed it by defeating the pathans of Kotla. Thus, Payal enjoyed the status of a tehsil in the erstwhile PEPSU state. During the period of its status as tehsil of the erstwhile princely state of Patiala, the town enjoyed the privileges and patronage of the Maharajas of Patiala. It gained prominence, when on October 22, 1915, the birthday of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala was celebrated here with great enthusiasm and the occasion was marked by impressive lectures on Raj-Bhakti delivered by scholars of eminence. The historic birthday celebrations of the Maharaja were organised by the town’s famous Tehsildar Lala Madho Ram.

There is much more to this town than this event. Mr Subhash Bhaskar, who is Payalvi to the core, escorted me to some places which tell a lot about the socio-religious ethics of the town. For instance, a 19-ft high statue of the King Ravana is the first of its kind in the whole of north India, constructed by the Dubey clan about three centuries ago. It is held in high esteem by the residents of Payal and its adjoining areas. Every year the members of this clan perform Ram Lila in front of the statue. On the day of the Dasehra festival a fire is lit on the top of the statue, signifying the victory of good over evil. But in other places of the region, the effigy of Ravana is not consigned to flames.

Besides, there is a Pracheen Mahadev Mandir which is reported to have been attacked by a Muslim invader in the 17th century, damaging its sanctum sanctorum. Legend has it that after the attack on the mandir the invader suffered a mental shock whereafter he sought an apology from ‘Lord Mahadeva’ and constructed three magnificent temples to rectify his blunder. Another temple which stands here majestically reminds one of Lord Ramchandra. Built by Hakim Acchru Ram in samvat 1939, the temple awes visitors with its traditional architectural designs. Devotees assemble here in large numbers during the Ram Lila and Dasehra days to offer obeisance to the Lord. Green barely shoots are offered at the temple on the occasion. Even today the remnants of the exquisite murals on the walls of the temple are visible. History has it that the town of Payal was widely known for the skillfully engraved wood work on the doors and chugaths (wooden brackets) of the havelis. Traces of such masterly work can be seen today in the old havelis.

Mr Subhash Bhaskar, this year’s is state awardee for excellence in social welfare activities, as well as other prominent residents, express their resentment over the attitude of the district administration, defining it as ‘absolutely naught’ so far as the socio-economic and educational development of the town is concerned. “Whereas the nearby hamlets located quite near the GT Road and the main railway track have grown into prosperous towns, the town of Payal has been left behind — a vestige of the past”, they said.

— J.S. Bedi


Kin of martyrs await possession of land
Tribune News Service 

LUDHIANA, July 19 — Mr S.S. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, today directed the District Revenue Department to give the monthly progress report about providing possession of allotted plots or land to the kin of the defence personnel who sacrificed their lives for the nation.

He gave this direction while presiding over the quarterly meeting of the District Sainik Welfare Board held at the Mini-Secretariat here in the afternoon today. A number of cases of relatives of martyrs who had been allotted plots or pieces of land but are yet to get possession of the same were highlighted in the meeting. While most of the cases were recent a few were as old as the 1965 or 1971 wars.

In another significant decision, the board decided to take up the issue of reservation of ex-servicemen with the government. The ex-servicemen were demanding that for certain posts, there was a reservation of 7 per cent for SC/BC ex-servicemen. The posts go to general category candidates if no SC/BC ex-servicemen is qualified, whereas the quota should go back to general ex-servicemen.

The Deputy Commissioner also directed the Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare Board to expedite the cases to provide ex gratia grants and other benefits as per the policy of the government, to the families of Naik Bhagwant Singh of Bhaini Rora and Naik Kuldip Singh of Natthowal, who sacrificed their lives recently on J and K border. He also directed all district heads of different government departments to accord priority to the disposal of the problems of ex-servicemen whenever they came for any kind of work.

Cheques of financial assistance to one dozen ex-servicemen and widows were also presented in the meeting. Addressing the meeting Mr M.S. Randhawa, Deputy Director Sainik Welfare Board, informed that the government has exempted the amount of pension of PVS, MVC and VC award winners from income tax. He further informed that the fixed deposits up to Rs 10,000 of the widows of the martyrs have also been exempted from income tax.

A press note of the meeting added that under the different government schemes launched for the welfare and resettlement of the families of ex-servicemen, financial assistance amounting to Rs 25 lakh had been disbursed among 1832 beneficiaries during the last six months in this district.

Giving more details, the note said that out of this, the financial assistance of Rs 9.23 lakh had been distributed among 928 ex-servicemen beneficiaries under the scheme to provide financial assistance to the ex-servicemen above 65 years of age and cash awards amounting to Rs 6.27 lakh had been disbursed among 162 families of the gallantry award winners.

Referring to the scheme to provide employment to ex-servicemen against reserved vacancies, the note said 53 ex-servicemen had been given jobs during the last six months. The board was also arranging subsidised loans for the ex-servicemen to start their own ventures and under this scheme 98 loan cases amounting to Rs 73 lakh have been referred to the different financial institutions. On these loans the state government would give a subsidy of Rs 7.33 lakh.

The note said that the Sainik Welfare Board has also launched a programme to provide identity cards to the ex-servicemen in the district and so far 26230 identity cards had been prepared and 4648 identity cards to their widows.


Morning walker dies of cardiac arrest
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 19 — A middle-aged businessman, Romesh Jain, died of cardiac arrest, while he was on a morning walk in the Rose Garden during early morning hours, here today.

Mr Jain was on his routine walk at around 4 a.m. in the morning. He was walking along the channel specially designed for the morning walkers. He collapsed instantly after suffering a heart attack. This was reported by the second death in the Rose Garden within the last two weeks.

The eyewitnesses said, when Mr Gupta collapsed along the channel, no first-aid could be provided to him. The Rose Garden, most favourite haunt of the morning walkers surprisingly does not have any first-aid facility. Nor is there any arrangement for drinking water in the Rose Garden.

After collapsing, he reportedly demanded water, which could not be provided to him, since there is no provision for drinking water in the garden. Some of the morning walkers told TNS that about two weeks ago, a woman had also died in the Rose Garden. She, however, had committed suicide. The morning walkers had raised the demand for first-aid and drinking water arrangements at that time also. But, nobody seemed to care.

Hundreds of people throng Rose Garden every morning, which underlines the need for first-aid facilities in the garden. The municipal authorities, who are maintaining the garden, have been reportedly arguing against it, taking one plea that there was no such facility even in the Punjab Agricultural University which also was thronged by hundreds of morning walkers everyday.

This has once again brought into focus the poor maintenance of the Garden. While plenty of water flows in the channels, it is dirty as animals frequently take dip into it. Moreover, the round-abouts and the edges of the pathways are full of grass. Many a time snakes are seen in that grass. Despite being brought to the notice of the municipal authorities no action has been taken.


Lathi charge on yatris resented
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 19 — There is grave resentment among people over the reported lathi charge on Amarnath yatris outside the Tourist Reception Centre in Jammu. The yatris were reportedly lathicharged when there was heavy rush for registration at the reception centre.

The president of the Bhole Bhandari Charitable Trust here, Mr Gupta, criticised the attitude of the Jammu and Kashmir government for not arranging the proper registration of pilgrims for onward journey to the Amarnath cave in Kashmir. He regretted that the J&K government had resorted to use of force against the pilgrims.

Mr Gupta said it was surprising that the pilgrims had to wait for days together in long queues for getting themselves registered. He alleged, there were reports that some unscrupulous elements were charging money in collusion with the staff of the J&K Tourism Department for arranging registrations.

He sought simplification of the registration procedures which should be started at least two months in advance. Moreover, he demanded that the number of registration centres should be increased sufficiently keeping in view the number of pilgrims arriving annually.

The president, quoting figures provided by the J&K Tourism Department, said only 1,200 yatris were being registered daily. He said there should be no restriction on the number of application one person can submit for registration at a given time. Presently, one person can submit only six application forms for registration.

The Bhole Bhandhari Charitable Trust was providing free of cost service to the pilgrims by getting their registration done. The trust collects application forms and deposits it directly with the J&K government, which saves precious time for the pilgrims, he added.

Mr Gupta also demanded that the J&K government should take immediate remedial measures like increasing the registration counters and the staff there. The counters should remain open round the clock and the pilgrims should be able to get themselves registered within the minimum possible time period. He suggested setting up of separate registration counters for NGOs, who submit registration forms collectively.


CPI’s protest against economic policies
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 19 — A large number of Communist Party of India (CPI) cadres, including workers, farmers, peasants and professionals, today participated in a rally at the mini secretariat here to register their protest against the retrograde economic policies of the Central and state governments.

Speaking at this occasion, the state Secretary of the party, Mr Joginder Dayal, rued that the policies of globalisation and liberalisation, pursued by the government, could in the long run deprive millions of workers, farmers, artisans and self employed persons of their livelihood and minimum basic needs while the multinationals and local monopoly houses would thrive. With the dumping of foreign goods in the domestic market after removal of barriers by the NDA government, the small scale and cottage industry and the agro sector were at the brink of ruination.

Mr Dayal further pointed out that the MNCs had already taken over various sectors like consumer goods, soft drinks and electronics and were now entering the fields of dairy farming, poultry, bicycles and sewing machines, thereby spelling doom for the domestic sector of the industry.

District secretary of the CPI, Mr Kartar Singh Bowani, remarked that the NDA government led by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee had bowed down in a shameful manner to the dictates of the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF, and had given effect to an agreement which in fact was to come into force in 2004. The government had further removed 714 items, produced by the SSI sector from the reserved list and another 715 would be scratched by April next.

Mr Bharat Parkash, member, national council of the CPI, warned that in due course of time, the farmers would not be allowed to produce their own seed under the WTO provisions. He lambasted the government for cutting down subsidies on farm inputs and other essential items for the common people, while at the same time announcing liberal incentives for foreign investors in infotechnology and tax concessions for many other sectors.

Dr Arun Mitra, Assistant Secretary of the party, lamented that the government was going ahead with bringing about changes in the existing laws to protect the interests of foreign investors and to further defend the MNCs and other entrants, foreign lawyers were also being allowed to practice in India. With acute unemployment, price rise, child labour and child abuse already existing, social tensions of various kinds would further worsen due to deprivation and social exclusion of a vast majority of the poor.


Marital discord leads man to commit suicide
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 19 — Marital discord between a couple led the husband to commit suicide by hanging himself and the wife to subsequently attempt suicide by taking an over-dose of her epilepsy medicine.

Thirtyfive-year-old businessman and resident of Janakpuri, Mr Vijay Verma, committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling fan around 11 pm last night after a quarrel with his wife, Anita Rani.

It is learnt that the relations between the couple were strained ever since their marriage, 17 years ago. It is alleged that when the couple got married, the deceased was kept in the dark about his wife being an epilepsy patient.

The couple was reportedly also thinking of getting a divorce for the past couple of months.

Informs Ajay Verma, brother of the deceased; “The couple had a major showdown last night and after his wife and three children went off to sleep, he took this drastic step.”

It is learnt that only when the 15-year-old son of the deceased got up around 11 pm, he saw his father’s body hanging from the ceiling fan of another room. He then raised an alarm and his uncle, Ajay Verma, who resides nearby reached the scene.

After Vijay Verma ended his life, his wife, Anita Rani, reportedly took an over-dose of the pills meant for epilepsy. She is presently admitted to the CMC and is stated to be in a serious condition.


Bank employee accused of fraud
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 19 — A cashier in the Co-operative Bank (rural), Sahnewal, has been accused of embezzling a large sum of money given for depositing in the bank.

According to an FIR registered under Section 408 at Sahnewal police station, the Assistant Registrar Cooperative Services, has alleged that the bank cashier, Balwinder Singh, took the installment of loans from farmers but did not deposit these in the bank. It is also alleged that he issued fake bank receipts to farmers for having received the money.

Two girls kidnapped: Two teenaged sisters, Renu (16) and Seema (14), are alleged to have been kidnapped by two labourers in the Haibowal dairy complex. A case under Sections 363, 366 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against Deesha and Budha at the Haibowal police station.

Woman dead: A 45-year-old woman, Krishna Devi, is reported to have died after she accidentally fell off from the second floor of her house.

Two injured: Sukhjit Singh and Sukhwant Singh sustained injuries when their scooter was hit by a Rajasthan roadways bus bearing registration number RJ-14 IP-0101, near main chowk, Sahnewal. The police has booked the driver of the bus under Sections 279 and 338 of the IPC.

Illicit liquor seized: Eleven bottles of country-made Illicit liquor were seized from Raj Kumar Paswan. He has been booked under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

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