Wednesday, August 9, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Forced selling of cops' books kicks up row
From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 8 — The alleged forcible selling of two books — one written by a serving Deputy Inspector General of Police and the other by a retired Inspector General of Police — to all police officers in the district has become a major issue here.

According to the information available, police officers in the district above the rank of Assistant Sub-Inspector were forced to buy Storms and Sunsets in the Himalayas by DIG (PAP Administration) P.M. Das and Viwin Sadi da Punjab by former IG Bhagwan Singh Danewalia. After the books were sent to Ludhiana by the publishing houses concerned, verbal instructions were issued to all Superintendents of Police, Deputy Superintendents, Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors (more than 80 police personnel) to make cash payments and buy the books. All incharges of different wings in the police as well as incharges of various police posts were also asked to purchase these.

While Storms and Sunsets in the Himalayas is priced at Rs 250, Viwin Sadi da Punjab has a shelf price of Rs 425. A few police officers were also allegedly asked to buy more than one set of the books. The local police, in its efforts to further promote the two books written by their seniors, went a step further by allegedly cajoling school and college libraries to buy these books.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police, denied that there was any forcible selling of these books. "Most police officers have bought these books as a sign of fraternity for a senior police officer. Others, too, bought these books by seeing their colleagues buying these."

Police sources confirmed the forcible selling of books and informed that Rs 7500 had been given as advance to the publishers of Storms and Sunsets in the Himalayas from the common fund of the police.

The book is a compilation of the notes and articles published over 25 years on the DIG's experiences in the Himalayas as a mountaineer. It is a book of explorations, mountaineering accounts and botanical and scientific observations, illustrated with sketch maps, and a selection of the writer's photographs and colour transparencies. The synopsis of the book mentions that the book is of relevance to explorers, mountaineers and scientists and has literary content.

The other book Viwin Sadi da Punjab is basically a personal account and research done by the author on the events of historical importance in 20th century Punjab.



Britannia biscuits told to pay compensation
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 8 — In a landmark judgement, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has asked the biscuit giant, Britannia Industries Limited, to pay Rs 60,000 compensation to Rashpal Singh for its failure to sponsor him to Britain for watching a cricket World Cup match as promised under a scheme.

Britannia Industries Limited, Calcutta, the manufacturers of a wide range of biscuits, had before the commencement of Cricket World Cup, 1999, announced a scheme “Britannia Khao, World Cup Jao”. Under the scheme, the company had marked the wrappers of various biscuits with various numbers.

The scheme stipulated that any person whose number would add up to 100 will get a booklet from the Britannia dealer. The booklet was subsequently to be scratched at a particular place. In case the scratch bore the required mark the winner would be sponsored to England for three days, including the travelling and boarding expenses.

Rashpal Singh got confirmation from the company that he had won a tour to England for watching the World Cup match. He also received congratulatory letters from the company.

The company wanted him to produce his passport and visa. While he provided the passport, he could not procure the visa. He was refused visa by the British High Commission on the pretext that the company had not furnished any relevant details.

The company’s counsel while admitting that it had promised to bear all the expenses argued that the company should not be held guilty for the non-availability of the visa. It strongly argued against any damages to be paid to Rashpal Singh.

However, the President of the forum, while rejecting all the arguments, said the company had not laid out any terms and conditions in the booklet which promised to sponsor the tour to England.

The order specified that the company should pay Rs 60,000 to Rashpal Singh within a period of one month, failing which it will have to pay an additional interest of 12 per cent.


SI booked in murder demoted
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 8 — The sub-Inspector of police involved in a contract killing of a Canadian woman, Jaswinder Kaur, alias Jassi, has been reverted to the rank of a head constable.

According to information available from police sources, SI Joginder Singh has been reverted to the post of a head constable by the DIG, Ludhiana range, Mr Paramjit Singh Sandhu, because of his alleged involvement in the sensational contract killing of Jassi and an attempt on the life of her husband, Sukhwinder Singh. The accused, Joginder Singh, has now also been sent to the Punjab Armed Police, Jalandhar. He had been earlier promoted as a sub-Inspector of police in his own rank and pay.

Sources also inform that following the revelations about the SI's involvement in the murder and charges being framed against him in Sangrur (the investigation in this case is being made in Sangrur), the senior superintendent of police, Sangrur, Mr Jatinder Pal Singh Aulakh, has also moved the DGP, Punjab's office for his dismissal.

It may be recalled that the police officer was alleged to have arranged a deal for Rs 5 lakh between the family of the deceased and the contract killers led by Anil Kumar. While the police has already arrested most of the accused, the accused SI Joginder Singh is still on the run. The police has also moved papers for the extradition of the mother of the deceased and the maternal uncle from Canada who had paid up for the killing of their daughter.


Good Samaritans help mishap victims
From Surbhi Bhalla

LUDHIANA, Aug 8 — It is a tale of apathy and kindness. While a group of people unconcerned watched two accident victims struggling for help, two other youngmen rushed out of their vehicles to pick up the injured and take them to the nearest hospital.

It was a providential escape for Anshu and Deepak, students of Punjab Agricultural University, who survived a terrible accident when their scooter was hit by a military truck.

Luckily, both of them survived, but not without suffering multiple fractures in their legs. There were a number of passersby who witnessed them being hit by the truck. Surprisingly nobody came to their help, while they lay in a pool of blood and screamed in pain for about 10 minutes.

However, as luck would have it, a good Samaritan passed by in his car and picked up Deepak. Even then none of the persons who had gathered near the site came forward to lend a hand.

By that time another man arrived in his car and helped Anshu to the car and took him to a nearby hospital.

PAU officials and their friends were informed who collected Rs 5,000 on the spur of the moment while Dr Bajwa, Director, Research PAU, also lent Rs 5,000.

Anshu hails from Pantnagar. His parents reached Ludhiana after travelling for 13 hours, while Deepak belongs to Hardwar. Deepak is suffering from fever and surgery has been postponed. He has a fracture in the right femur.

Anshu got a fracture in the left femur and multiple pelvic fractures with sphenic contusion. About four bottles of blood were given to him for stabilising his condition. Presently, traction has been applied to the injured limb.


Traders on fast against power tariff hike
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 8 — The President of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association, Mr V.P. Chopra, and several other representatives of the industry today began a fast against the hike in power tariff. The federation has said that the hike will prove disastrous for small-scale industries.

At Vishwa-karma Chowk here where the fast began today, Mr Chopra said the government had been repeatedly told that the hike would kill the local industries, particularly the small-scale ones. He said the industry was already going through a recession and the hike in the power-supply tariff will be too much for it to bear.

He said the industry had no option but to launch a protest to express its resentment because the government had not responded positively to its demands.

Mr Chopra said every section of the society had opposed the hike and hoped that the government would withdraw it. “If the government cannot provide any incentives to the industry, it should not provide disincentives as well. Either the government should convince us that it is right or listen to us,” he said. He also said the agitation would be intensified if the government did not withdraw the hike.

Traders and industrialists of Jalandhar and Phagwara also joined the federation leaders in the fast. Mr Gursharan Singh and Mr S.P. Kohli represented traders of Jalandhar and Mr A.K. Kohli represented the Phagwara industrialists.

The others who observed a fast today included Mr Mahinderpal Jain, Mr Roop Lal Narang, Mr S.C. Rehlan, Mr Tulsi Dass Jaitwani, Mr Barinder Bhamrah, Mr Bhushan Abhey, Mr Virnder Pahwa, Mr Virnder Kapoor, Baba Jit Singh and Ashwani Mehra.


Not just another newspaper hawker

I first saw Deepak Kumar, a boy of 15, along with his mother selling newspapers outside the cycle stand of DMCH here. He is the son of Surinder Kumar, a newspaper hawker.

Surinder met with an accident five years ago and was partially paralysed in his legs. His hectic cycle rounds were over. He set up a small table by the side of main gate of Dayanand Hospital and started selling newspapers. A year back, he was completely bed-ridden and his place was taken over by his wife and Deepak Kumar.

Deepak's dream is to provide his parents and grandmother with some succour and meals. Carrying a bag full of newspapers, he is often found distributing newspapers in the private rooms of the hospital or near the gate.

He has no complaint against life or anyone. But there is a longing in him for a chance to prove his mettle. He looks and talks too wisely for his age.

Deepak continued his schooling along with his job. As a student of Sawan Public School, Noorwala, he secured 75 per cent marks in Class X and stood first in his school. He has taken admission in Class XI commerce at Arya College. He has been granted exemption from tuition fee and other charges.

Deepak's desire was to go in for a non-medical course. But he knows that he does not have the time and money to pay for tuitions of various subjects and to compete for expensive engineering courses.

— V.D. Chandwani


CWA submits memorandum
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 8— Mr Yunish Masih Hans, Chairman, Christian Welfare Association, Punjab, met the Governor of Punjab,Lieut-Gen J.F. R. Jacob (retd) along with Brother Iraq Gopal Singh, in charge, Church, Ludhiana and Dr Jarnail Singh, Legal Adviser of the association at Chandigarh yesterday and submitted a memorandum apprising them of the difficulties being faced by Christians and other minorities.

The Governor heard them sympathetically and said he would ensure that excesses were not committed on Christians or any other minority community.


Scrap NOC for load extension’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 8 — Mr Parminder Mehta, a member of the Panjab Pradesh Congress Committee, has written a letter to the Chief Engineer, Panjab State Electricity Board, Ludhiana, urging him to do away with the practice of insisting on a No-Objection Certificate from the Municipal Corporation for extension-of-load applicants.

He said it was not only giving rise to corruption, but was causing monetary losses. He said the board should give new connections after the depositing of a reasonable fee without any delay. Referring to low-voltage and prolonged power cuts in parts of the city, Mr Mehta said necessary materials should be provided at substations to meet the requirements of the people.

Regarding bill depositing problems, Mr Mehta said the number of windows at substations for depositing of power bills be increased and proper sheds built for consumers, where adequate arrangements for drinking water should also be made. He said in most parts of the city, electric wires had not been changed for many years.

Mr Mehta regretted that in spite of reminders for giving power connection to drinking water tubewells installed at Sathank Vishvkarma Mandir near Neem Wala Chowk and Ganesh Nagar Jassal House had not been given, causing resentment among residents against shortage of drinking water. He drew the Chief Engineer's attention to the rampant corruption in his office. Mr Mehta said one had to grease the palm even to get a wrong bill rectified.


Katani Kalan the ideal village

OF the countless villages in Punjab, Katani Kalan, can be counted as an exception. Possessing almost every basic requirement, it is an ideal village to live in.

The village is 500 years old and situated at a distance of 8 km from Doraha Mandi. Covering an area of 600 bighas and having a population of approximately 10,000 Katani Kalan is famous among the nearby villages for its touches of modernity. The oldest temple of the village is the Shiv Mandir which is 350 years old and where festivals like Shivratri, Janmashtami, etc are celebrated with great enthusiasm by the whole village, leaving aside all caste and religious barriers. The famous Gurdwara Degsar Sahib is also in this village.

Of the total population, 90 per cent are literate. Of these, 40 per cent are graduates. There is no dearth of schools in the village. There is a higher secondary school for girls, a high school for boys, a primary school and two model schools. Nearly 1500 children are on the rolls of these schools and with the construction of the able staff, these educational institutions are ideal centres of study. The village also has a civil hospital of 25 beds where facilities like X-ray and ECG are available. Although occasionally the availability of medicines is erratic the staff is regular while on duty and diligent at work. A veterinary hospital is also run here.

Katani Kalan also has a kalyan centre meant for giving free coaching in stitching, knitting, embroidery, cooking, etc to scheduled caste girls. Every thing required for the purpose is supplied by the centre. Not only this, every student is provided with a free sewing, machine after the completion of the course. Apart from all this there is a bus stand, an electricity board, a filling station, two banks and four dharamshalas in the village. Regular cleaning of the village is undertaken by a six-worker force provided by the government and assisted by two members of the panchayat.

Among the prominent personalities of the village, the name of the late Sardar Bahadur Kartar Singh comes to mind. A forest officer during British rule, he donated property worth crores of rupees and established three trusts for the cause of rural uplift. The contribution of this great man for the progress of this village cannot be overlooked. He turned this small village into a model gram. Wg Cdr Harcharan Singh Mangat, recipient of the Param Vir Chakra and Wg Cdr Dilbesh Rai, also hail from this place. Others include the late Mr Gurdial Singh Katani, President, Ludhiana Congress (Rural), Prof Gurnam Singh Mangat (retd.), and DIG Mr Karkirat Singh (retd.)

To sum up, the village has tried to fulfil every demand of its residents. The sarpanch, Mr Manjit Singh Mangat, with the assistance of nine other panchayat members, is actively involved in further improvements. Lala Lajpat Rai, member, Rajya Sabha, is a resident of this village, and in the words of the sarpanch, “Lala ji has left no stone unturned for the development of the village. His efforts have borne fruit and the solid financial support extended by him has made this village a heaven on earth.”

Still problems like broken roads and drainage of surplus water remain unattended. But they too should be solved soon, says the sarpanch. Katani Kalan is today self-sufficient with the looks of a small town.

— Lovleen Bains


Ludhiana's culture — agriculture

Ludhiana has seen tremendous growth in the past few decades, but the only culture which seems to have flourished here so far is agriculture. Although Ludhiana is the biggest and central town of Punjab, cultural activities here are not many.

Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, a leading industrialist of the town, said, “We have been successful in generating wealth and expanding our business activities. However, we have not been able to create a society that is appreciative of our rich cultural heritage. Hence, there is a need to create a platform where like-minded persons can come together to interact and exchange ideas on art and culture.”

He said “If we are to prevent our society from turning sterile, we need to contribute to the cultural life of our community and awaken the craving for cultural satisfaction. In today's world, it is creativity which provides the cutting edge and it does not come through hard work and labour. It comes through interaction with like-minded persons and exposure to the rich heritage of art and culture.”

This is what led to the birth of the Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam (LSS), a voluntary body floated in January, 1999, to promote art and culture. Within a short time, it has been able to establish itself as a dedicated organisation.

Some of the objectives of the body include the promotion of artistic expressions through dance, drama, music (classical and folk), conferences, mushairas, puppet shows, contemporary music, art shows and film-appreciation sessions. It holds exhibitions, conferences and lecture-demonstrations on art, culture, history and science, besides publishing periodicals, leaflets and brochures to create awareness about our art and culture.

Eminent artistes like santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, his son Rahul Sharma, vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, percussionists Taufiq Qureshi and Shivamani, sarod maestro Ustad Biswajeet Roy Chowdhury, dance troupe of late Ananda Shankar and his wife Tanusree Shankar, Shubha Mudgal, Altaf Raja, bharatnatyam dancer Navtej Johar, vocalist Rekha Surya have performed here. The play Khamosh! Adalat Jari Hai by Barry John of the Theatre Action Group has also been staged here.

The LSS wants to hold one programme every month. However, Mr S.K. Rai, Vice-President of the body, says that the public response has been less than satisfactory. The body now depends on the media to spread awareness among Ludhianvis about cultural shows organised by it. The collage highlights some of the shows organised by the LSS in Ludhiana.

The latest programme to be organised by the LSS is Vijay Tendulkar's play Ghasiram Kotwal in Guru Nanak Dev Bhavan Auditorium on August 12.

Unending row

The controversy kicked up by the AISSF (Badal) over certain scenes in the video of Daler Mehndi's latest album Ek Dana, shows no sign of ending even though the pop star has apologised to the Sikh community.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, Manager (Operations) of Daler Mehndi Entertainment Private Limited, was in town yesterday to meet the AISSF (B) chief, Mr Tejinder Singh Sandhu, to convey Daler's apologies. He also gave him a signed statement issued by Daler Mehndi in Canada. Daler said the purpose of his album was to popularise Sikh culture. He said he was sorry that the video clips had hurt the feelings of the community. These clips have since been deleted from the video. However, Mr Sandhu and his counsel, Mr Harinder Singh Narang, said this was not enough. They said the matter could be resolved only if Daler himself visited Ludhiana to apologise.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, however, accepted that Daler Mehndi had no intention of insulting any community, least of all his own. Daler's role in popularising Punjabi music over the past few years is unparalleled. Recording companies say that Daler's songs sell equally well in south India, despite that Hindi and Punjabi are not understood there. “It is the beat and music that matters,” says Daler's manager.

Besides music, Daler's contribution in making Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular acceptable throughout the country after a decade-long militancy in Punjab, is enormous. “Persons who used to be afraid of Sikhs are now dancing to beats of one. Is it a small contribution?” he says.

In Canada, Daler has a Pakistani fan who likes to copy the pop star. “He even wears a turban before performing on stage. While Daler is crossing new milestones of popularity, look what some persons are doing to him,” says Mr Gurmeet Singh.

He narrated a humorous anecdote about three jars containing crabs from Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. “While jars from Tamil Nadu and UP were tightly shut with a lid, the jar containing crabs from Punjab was open. When a curious onlooker asked the reason for this, he was told that the lid was not needed because the crabs will never be able to climb out of the jar due to the well-known Punjabi trait of pulling each other down,” he said.

SPIC MACAY chapter

The Ludhiana chapter of SPIC MACAY (Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Among Youth) is perhaps the oldest in the state. It was established in 1980. It has been striving ever since to make students aware of the rich cultural heritage of India. Over the years, SPIC MACAY has been instrumental in promoting Indian classical music, dance, folk music, crafts, films, talk shows and yoga. The body has chapters in 150 Indian and 30 foreign cities.

Next month, SPIC MACAY will organise Virasat 2000 — a month-long festival of classical music, dance, art, literature, crafts, theatre, cinema and yoga in over 14 cities of Punjab. “The Ludhiana chapter of the body has successfully organised shows by eminent artistes like Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pt Jasraj, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Sonal Man Singh, Radha and Raja Reddy, Gangubai Hangal, Dr L. Subramaniam and Pt Debu Chauduri in schools, colleges and the university here,” says Dr Ishitta Arora, a coordinator of the chapter.

Virasat Punjab will be dedicated to Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Bhai Vir Singh, father of modern Punjabi literature. For details or volunteer participation in the movement, readers can contact Dr Parveen Sikka (telephone 0161-427048) and Prof Rajiv Sehgal (Government College for Women, Ludhiana).

Tequila shots

Earlier, people used to dance to the lively tunes of tequila at parties, birthdays or some other event. Three decades later, the concept of tequila has changed. No one dances to the tunes of tequila anymore. These days, tequila shots are hot favourite among the rich and the famous.

After any celebration is over and guests have left, family members and some close friends surround the bartender for tequila. Tequila is a kind of liquor that is gulped down the throat in one go, but in a particular way. First, the bartender puts some salt on the back of your hand. Then, in a very small glass, he pours tequila and one has to drink it in one go. It is a hot fiery liquid that burns one's inside. Bartender, then, squeezes a lemon into the mouth of the person to counter its effect. One round of tequila shots is followed by another and more till everyone is on a high. Some persons are already drunk before taking the shots, but after a round of it, they fly higher than a kite and wake up the next morning with a massive hangover.

Generatorwalla's power

Life without a generator set here is like being in a desert without water. Due to the presence of large number of industries and almost 30 lakh persons, there are frequent power cuts in the town, making it necessary for all to keep generator sets.

To cash on this need, a number of generatorwallahs have emerged in the city. They just invest in a generator set and supply power to shopkeepers of a market when the PSEB supply system fails.

These generatorwallahs charge a monthly fee of Rs 300 or more from shopkeepers. The more the load requirement, the higher the price. Some shopkeepers also give the monthly fee whether the generator is used or not. Generatorwallahs pray hard for profits, but also wish that the PSEB power supply does not become so normal that they lose their business.

— Sentinel


Woman alleges police inaction
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 8 — A 90-year-old widow has alleged inaction on the part of the police to trace down her jewellery and cash stolen by her own son from a joint locker being operated by them.

Mrs Hittowanti Goel has alleged that in spite of the fact that an FIR under Sections 406, 465,466,467 and 120-B of the IPC was registered by the police against her son, H.L. Goyal,more than a month ago, the police has neither arrested him nor have the cash and jewellery missing from the bank locker been recovered.

She has alleged that she does not remember the number of her locker nor the date when the locker was last operated. She says that though earlier her son would always take her along while operating the locker, she was later told by the staff of the Civil Lines branch of the Indian Overseas Bank that she did not have a locker in the bank.

She has also alleged that her son has taken away the valuables in the locker with the connivance of certain bank employees.



46 liquor bottles seized
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 8 — A total of 46 bottles of illicit liquor have been seized by the police in four separate incidents during the past 24 hours.

While 12 bottles of illicit liquor were seized from Satpal Singh of Sant Ram Sethi Chowk, 15 bottles of illicit liquor were recovered from Kuljit Singh of Koom Kalan village, 10 bottles were seized from Gopal Krishan of Mangat village and 9 bottles were recovered from Paramjit Singh of Model Town. The police has booked the accused under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

Businessmen booked

The police has booked two local businessmen, Chander Kumar Bhatia and Iqbal, under Sections 387, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the complaint of their former employee, Mr Shyam Sunder Bhatia.

It had been alleged that Mr Shyam Sunder Bhatia, a manager in the firm of the accused for the past 30 years, was dismissed from service last month. He had not been paid any provident fund and arrears. When he demanded the same, the accused had threatened him.

Three injured

Three women — Jaspal Kaur, Manju and Sita — were injured when the car in which they were travelling had a head-on collision with another Maruti car (PB-10-AF-0764) on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road.

Opium seized

One kg of opium was seized from Raj Kumar of Mazara village during a special check. A case under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered.


Body found

An unidentified body was found on GT Road on Saturday night. The Doraha Police has registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC. The deceased was apparently crushed to death by a fast-moving vehicle.

Scooterist injured

A man was seriously injured in a road accident at Chawa, nearly 13 km from here, yesterday afternoon. The victim, Balbir Singh, along with his two sons, was coming on his scooter from Ludhiana to his native village when a stray animal hit his vehicle. He lost control and the scooter fell. Employees of first-aid post, Doraha, reached the spot and carried Balbir Singh to hospital. He is in ICU.


Man killed

An 80-year-old man was killed by a hit-and-run vehicle near Mauderan village in Fatehgarh Sahib district yesterday. The police has registered a case and started an inquiry into the matter. The deceased, who belonged to Harbanspura village in Ludhiana district, was stated to be mentally unsound.


Liquor seized

Sixteen bottles of liquor were seized by the Sahnewal Police in two incidents. Nine bottles of liquor were seized from Sadhu Singh of Kot Gangu Rai at Bhairo Munna, while seven bottles were seized from Avtar Singh, also of Kot Gangu Rai, at Bhaini Sahib. The two have been booked under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.



Exporters-importers meet organised
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 8 — An exporters-importers meet was organised by the State Bank of Patiala here today with the objective of familiarising them with new products available in the international trade, particularly derivatives which have recently been introduced in Indian markets. The meet was presided over by Mr M. Sitarama Murty, Chief General Manager of the bank.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Murty familiarised the participants with the various facilities being provided by the bank in international trade and assured them of meeting all their demands in a minimum timeframe. He also exhorted them to take advantage of the vast opportunities available in the international markets by improving the quality of goods by reducing the cost through adoption of latest techniques.

Mr B.M. Jain, General Manager, Mr I.C. Gulati, Mr R.P. Sinha and Mr S.p. Mittal, DGMs, also spoke on the occasion.

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