Monday, September 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Armed robbers strike at Kargil victim’s house, kill 2
From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

MULLANPUR DAKHA (Ludhiana), Sept 24 — Two persons were killed and six others, including a Kargil war victim, were injured during an armed robbery in the house of a farmer, situated on the periphery of this township under Jagraon police district, 17 km from here, last night.

The deceased had been identified as Gurdev Kaur and her 21-year-old daughter, Rupinder Kaur. The other six family members who were injured had been identified as Gyan Singh, his son, Jatinder Singh, daughter-in-law, Jasbir Kaur, another son, Jagdeep Singh, also a Kargil war victim, his wife, Balraj Kaur and a daughter, Simranjit Kaur. While Simranjit Kaur is undergoing treatment at a private hospital at Mullanpur Dakha, others had been admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital at Ludhiana.

It is learnt that all members of the family, except Davinder Singh, a son of Gyan Singh, had retired for the night at around 9:30 p.m. Davinder Singh has a marital dispute and had reportedly gone to Beas to pay obeisance there. He had not returned according to initial reports.

The house is situated on the outskirts of the town and there are open fields behind the house. It is suspected that the robbers could have entered the house through the fields. When The Tribune team visited the house, it found the entire place ransacked and blood splattered on the floors and beds. The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr. P.S. Sandhu, and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagraon, Mr Jaskaran Singh, were present at the spot.

Briefing mediapersons, the DIG said routine patrolling by the police was on and had in fact been upgraded over the past few days following an armed attack by robbers in Barnala. SSP Jaskaran Singh said: “A team of police had been on night patrol in the area as were two other policemen on bicycles. Even the owner of a shuttering shop located near the house, who was working till 4:00 am morning did not hear or see anyone.”

It is suspected that robbers thought the Kargil war victim, Jagdeep Singh, who was supposed to get a reward of Rs 50,000 from Gurmit Bhavan on September 21, had the money with the him. However, the function where the reward money was to be given to him was postponed and the family had not received the money.

SSP Jaskaran Singh said while the police did not ruled out the possibility of the attack being planned and executed by members of the Kaale Kachchewale gang, nothing could be said for certain. “Meanwhile, the police is also exploring another angle of attack by the relatives of the estranged wife of Davinder Singh. All rooms in the house had been broken open and ransacked, other than the room of Davinder Singh, that was locked.”

One of the victims, Simranjit Kaur, while narrating the sequence of events said she was sleeping in the courtyard with her father, Gyan Singh. “I don’t remember anything- not even being hit by the robbers. I think that they first made us unconscious and then hit all of us one by one,” she says.

She said that she only gained consciousness in the morning when she heard a neighbour, Channo Devi banging at the door. “With great difficulty, I managed to reach the door and opened it. After this, I again fell unconscious,” recalls Simranjit Kaur.

Channo Devi, said she had to perform shraddh and thus needed some utencils. “I reached their house at 6 am and after repeated knocking at the door, Simranjit Kaur opened the door, but fell unconscious. It was then that I saw two members were dead and others were injured. I raised the alarm and soon others gathered. The police was also informed and reached the scene instantly.”


BKU activists burn paddy
From Vimal Sumbly & Iqbal Singh

KHANNA, Sept 24 — About two lakh bags of paddy are pending disposal in the local grain market, supposed to be biggest in Asia. During the past few days the arrivals have been large, while the purchases have remained steady, particularly after the lacklustre attitude of various government agencies.

It is anger and resentment among the farmers who believe that they have been let down by the government. Most of the farmers the TNS talked to described the claims of paddy procurement by the government as a ‘‘harsh joke’’. A farmer, who has been camping here with about 200 quintals of paddy for the past several days pointed out that so far the government agencies had not even purchased 3000 quintals of paddy, against about two lakh quintals which have arrived in the market so far.

Hundreds of Bhartiya Kisan Union activists burnt paddy in the mandi to protest against the reluctance on part of various government agencies to purchase paddy from farmers. The slogan shouting activists were accompanied by the farmers also.

The BKU activists found willing supporters in the angry farmers who have been desperately awaiting for the disposal of their crop for several days. The activists were raising slogans against the government for its failure to purchase paddy from the farmers. They alleged that the farmers had been left at the mercy of the private commission agents and millers, who were exploiting their helplessness.

Even as the quantity of paddy arriving daily in the grain market is increasing day by day, the response of the government agencies has been quite dismal. So far the government agencies have purchased less than 3000 quintals of paddy only, while more than one lakh quintals of paddy had been procured by private millers alone between August and till September 21, when the government entered the mandis.

On the third day today, various government agencies purchased just 400 quintals against the arrival of 75,000 quintals. About 35,000 quintals were purchased by various private agencies today. The rate of paddy by various private agencies remained around Rs 500 per quintal as
against the minimum support price of Rs. 540 per quintal.

As the purchase remains far below the arrivals, the stocks are getting accumulated day by day, in Asia’s largest grain market here. About two lakh bags of paddy are lying in the market and most of it under the open sky.

The farmers are worried as most of their paddy is lying in the open. This makes paddy prone to getting dark and discoloured. Besides, the moisture content likely to increase. This gives the government agencies an excuse not to purchase paddy on the fixed minimum support price.

It may be noted that because of the stocks being in excess of the buffer stocks lying with the various government agencies, the government had strictly imposed the condition of procurement of paddy with only 16 per cent moisture content. It was later and at the intervention of the state government that the Union Government later relaxed the limit of moisture content to 18 per cent.

Sharing the concern of farmers, the chairman of the marketing committee here, Mr Sikander Singh appealed the government to ask the procurement agencies to purchase the paddy from farmers. He pointed out, the farmers were feeling desperate and angry as their hopes were being belied.

Meanwhile the Deputy Commissioner Mr S.K. Sandhu today visited the mandi and enquired about various measures taken by the government agencies. He also talked to the farmers. The farmers lodged strong protest with the DC and drew his attention towards the ‘‘negative attitude’’ of various government agencies. Back


Girl forced to marry rapist
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 24 — A case where rape has been used as a weapon of revenge has come to light.

A Gujjar girl was allegedly kidnapped, raped and forced to marry her rapist, a close relative of hers. The provocation for this crime was the victim’s and her brother’s refusal to marry her to the main accused as he had been married twice earlier.

According to information, Mohammad Farooq, also a Gujjar, had approached the 17-year-old victim’s brother, for her hand. However, he declined the offer on account of the fact that Farooq was twice married and had three children.

On the night of September 20, Mohammad Farooq, along with Mian Bashir, Khatim Hussain, Noor Mai, Alaam Hussain, Wasir and Sallo went to the house of the victim in Mundian Kalan. All the accused are allegedly to have attacked and injured the victim’s brother and kidnapped the victim.

The accused then allegedly took the victim to some lonely fields near Neelon, where she was repeatedly raped by Mohammad Farooq and Mian Bashir. In the morning, the victim was blindfolded and taken to a house at an unknown place. The accused then took her to a dera and she was forcibly married to Mohammad Farooq on September 21.

In the meantime, the victim’s brother had approached the police and the police was on the lookout for the victim and the culprits. The police received vital information about the whereabouts of the girl and the accused. ASI Balwinder Singh, incharge of the Vardhman police post, raided the dera near Khanna and rescued the victim. However, the accused managed to flee.

The police has registered a case under Sections 363 and 365 of the IPC. The medical examination of the victim had not been performed till the time this report was filed.


Railways suspends cutting of trees
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 24 — The Railways authorities have decided to temporarily stop the cutting down of nearly 290 trees on the premises of the railway station here. They have also ordered a survey of trees again to find out the actual number of old, sick or those trees that are threatening the building of the department.

According to sources, the decision was taken at a meeting of representatives of taxi, auto-rickshaw and rickshaw-pullers unions with senior officials of the Railways today.

An official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said keeping in mind the sentiments of the people they had decided to temporarily cancel the chopping off the trees. The official said a survey would be taken out and only those trees would be cut which are old or stand as a threat to the buildings or the tracks. Earlier, activists of a joint committee of the four unions staged a demonstration at the station.

Mr Madan Lal and Mr Gulzar Singh, president and vice-president, respectively, of the Taxi Drivers Union, Mr Krishan Lal, president, Rickshaw-Pullers Union, Mr Jagdish Chander, president, Coolie Operators Union, and Mr Subash Chander, president, Auto- Rickshaw Union, along with environmentalist Sham Singh Harika later said that it was a victory of the environment protectors in the city.

They said the railway officials had told them to prepare a list of trees which would not be cut. They said the officials had assured them that in no circumstances the shady trees would be axed.

While the issue has almost been resolved, the union leaders said they would wait for the next move of the authorities and plan their action accordingly.Back


Lathi charge on women flayed
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Sept 24 — Some municipal councillors, leaders of political parties and residents of the city have criticised the police lathi charge on women protesting against the diverting of sewerage water by municipal authorities on Friday near the cremation ground.

According to Mr Yash Raj Goyal, EO Municipal Council, about 8.5 bighas were taken on lease to dispose of the sewerage water from the disposal point near the cremation ground. When MC officials reached the spot with the police to divert the sewerage water to this land, residents of adjoining localities opposed the move and protested. The police resorted to a lathi charge on protesting women, resulting in injuries to eight of them. Three women — Manpreet, Rakesh Kaur and Usha — were taken into custody and were let off in the evening.

Five municipal councillors, Mr Vijay Diamond, Mr Vijay Sharma, Ms Santosh Bharti, Ms Kamlesh Rani and Ms Kartaro Devi, criticised the police action. Mr Gurcharan Singh Raikhy, president of the Khanna unit of SAD, and Mr Jaspal Singh, president of the BJP Khanna mandal, observed that the authorities should take people into confidence. Ms Paramjit Kaur of Anand Nagar alleged that her daughter Amandeep Kaur, a school student, was taken to the police station and beaten up by the lady police. 


2 car thieves nabbed
Tribune News Service 

LUDHIANA, Sept 24 — The CIA staff has succeeded in nabbing a group of car thieves, while they were travelling in a stolen car.

In an official press release, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, informed that the car thieves were arrested when a police party headed by Inspector Maninder Bedi, in charge CIA headquarters, laid a naka to check anti social elements.

He said that Mr Bedi had received a secret information that Charanjeet Singh Channi and Narinder Kumar, alias Happy, of Nawanshahr were travelling in a stolen Maruti car and were hatching a conspiracy to steal more cars in Ludhiana.

Working on this information, CIA staff stopped the duo near Aarti chowk while they were coming from Bharat Nagar Chowk side. On checking the two accused persons were unable to show the relevant documents of the car with registration number PB- 09 L-1835. It was later found that the number and the registration of the car was forged. The accused were caught after a hot chase. When arrested and interrogated the following recoveries were made from their possession — one white Maruti car with engine No. F8 B IN 151743 L and chassis No. SB 308 IN 2087848; another white Maruti car with engine No SB 308 IN 2284866 and chassis No. F B IN 3294293; and, another car with engine No. 459683 and chassis No. 664186.

These accused have been arrested under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC.


Mini-secretariat a bit tidier now
By Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Sept 24 — The authorities seem to have woken up to the conditions in the mini-secretariat and taken some steps to clean the corridors of power, following a report in Ludhiana Tribune about the filthy conditions in this building.

Mr Saudagar Singh, President, Lambardar Association, says: “There has been some improvement, say about 30 per cent, as far as cleanliness is concerned.” Mr Rakesh, who frequently visits the place, also found the premises cleaner than before.

But this correspondent did not find much change except that the floors looked a shade cleaner. The stench from the toilets was piercing. The staff as well as the officers do not wish to comment on this. Their standard answer all the queries was “No comments.”

This correspondent wanted to meet the Deputy Commissioner, but was taken to a senior assistant of the DC. She, too, was reluctant to say anything, but finally defended the officers and the staff. She said: “We have a sweeper all the time cleaning the toilets, but we cannot chase people who sometimes, do not know how to use these. Actually these toilets are meant for the office staff. There are a couple of toilets outside for the public, but the people do not use them.”

Two young boys were trying to find the place where they could get themselves photographed for their driving licences. Obviously, they were at the wrong place and did not know where to go in the huge building. A building, which has a labyrinth of corridors, where one could easily get lost, needs a proper enquiry office. In a corridor with a low roof, where no fan could be installed, people sat waiting outside the Assistant Deputy Commissioner’s Office, cooped up like chickens.

Ms Anita Darshi, Assistant Commissioner, Grievances, who happens to be the only woman PCS officer in the district, said, “I was posted here three months ago. I generally listen to grievances of the people and try to settle them.” Her office leads to an adjoining court where she presides over the proceedings. “Sometimes the National Council of Human Rights also sends us cases. After settling a case, we send the report to the NCHR,” she said.

There are about 60 lawyers who practice in the mini-secretariat. They were unanimous in their criticism of the district administration for not providing them with basic amenities. A solitary tap was installed after a lot of persuasion, and for that too they had to bear the cost of the pipes. There is no toilet. The toilets meant for visitors are generally locked.

The surroundings were filthy. The ground in front of the hall was muddy. Moss had grown on stagnant water and waste paper and plastic bags littered the place.

Mr Skati K. Sharma, Secretary, Bar Council, Mini Secretariat, said, “We have complained about the insanitary conditions to the District Administration, but no one has paid any heed to our complaints. At the beginning of a new year, we hold an ‘Akhand Path’. That is the time, when the administration swings into action.”

Why don’t you employ sweepers?”
“The sweepers employed to work in this office are working in the houses of officers. How can this place remain clean?” said Mr Ravinder Katyal, another lawyer. Mr Rajinder Gupta, another lawyer, said, “We have employed two sweepers and each one of us pays them Rs 10 to Rs 20 for cleaning the hall and our seats. During the rainy season, water stagnates here. In 1987, it rained heavily on a Saturday. When we came to work, we found all our books and furniture floating in the water. We had to wade through three feet deep water. Many important documents like sale deeds were lost.”

To the suggestion that they could employ two more sweepers to keep the place clean, Mr K.L. Sharma retorted: “O.K. we hire two more sweepers. But who will manage the blocked sewers that keep overflowing and emit an obnoxious smell. Whenever it rains, the sewer overflows and our life is made miserable. Representations to the district administration have not brought us any relief.”

“The Administration has installed a pumping set to remove rain water. Why cannot it be used to pump out the sewage?” asked Mr Katyal.Back


Arhtia’s protest against DFSC’s attitude
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Sept 24 — The District Arhtia Association yesterday held a demonstration against the dictatorial attitude and highhandedness of the DFSC towards the delegation of commission agents. They raised slogans against the DFSC, and presented a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner and surrendered their foodgrain licences to the department.

Earlier, more than 500 commission agents from all the seven mandis of the district held a meeting at Sirhind town and criticised the threatening attitude and rough language used by the DFSC. They passed three resolutions in the meeting, by which they demanded immediate transfer of the DFSC, not to give any bribe to any official of the Civil Supplies Department for the renewal of licences and suspension of purchase in all the mandis of the district if licence of any commission agent was suspended.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Subhash Banga, representative of the Punjab Arhtia Association, said the officers should behave properly with the traders. He said the commission agents had advanced more than Rs 30,000 crore to the farmers and their budget was equal to that of the state government. Payments of crores of rupees of wheat was pending with the government.

Mr Surjit Singh Sahi, district president of Arhtia Association and Mr Bahadur Singh, president of the Rice Miller Association, alleged that the officials of the Civil Supplies Department were charging Rs 5000 per licence for renewal of food grain licence and Rs 10,000 for the renewal of rice millers licence. Mr B.S. Sudan, Deputy Commissioner, said the matter would be sorted out amicably.Back


Badal govt a failure, says Dawar
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 24 — A special meeting of the DCC(I) Urban, Ludhiana, was held today at the party office here under the chairmanship of the district president, Mr Surinder Dawar, in connection with the Sunam byelection.

Explaining the instructions of the state party chief, Captain Amarinder Singh, to the participants, Mr Dawar announced that he would reach Sunam on September 29 along with his colleagues to canvass for the party candidate, Ms Parmeshwari Devi. Mr Dawar criticised the Badal government on several fronts. He said it was unfortunate that a number of farmers had committed suicide in the Badal regime. It had failed to live up to the promises made to the people of the state, he added.

Mr Dawar said a government which could not pay salaries to its staff, could do very little for the common man. The unwarranted increase in power tarrif was playing havoc with the industry and the lives of poor people. He also alleged misuse of official machinery in the Sunam byelection by the ruling combine.

Mr Ramesh Joshi and Ms Barjinder Kaur, organising secretaries of PPCC(I), were special invitees at the meeting.Back



Crowds throng rath yatra
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 24 —Traffic on the Jagraon bridge came to a halt for a while yesterday afternoon as Bhagwan Jagannath rath yatra reached it after starting from the Mata Rani temple at 3 p.m amid chanting of Hare Krishna mantras.

Apart from the people who lined the road on both sides to have a glimpse of the 35-foot high rath being pulled by men with the help of four big ropes, those travelling by car also parked their vehicles to join them.

The rath, fitted with an imposing dome, presented the view of a moving temple, as it was showered by floral petals and worshipped by devotees of Lord Jagannath at several halts on the way.

The rath yatra concluded its journey at the Gyan Sthal Temple near Subhani building at 10 p.m.

It was received by prominent industrialists and businessmen of the city. The rath was welcomed by people as it passed through various parts of the old city. An aarti was also performed.Back



Poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 24 — The anti-goonda staff today arrested a drug peddler, who had been operating in the city and peripheral villages for almost seven years.

The police party laid a naka near Domoria bridge last night, when they saw a man on a bicycle carrying two bags on his carrier. The police stopped the man, Sukhjit Singh alias Pappu, a resident of Daad village. The bags contained 51.5 kg of poppy husk.


Investors in Botswana can reap riches
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 24 — “Botswana is a small developing African country, having rich natural resources of minerals, copper and diamonds. The government policies for foreign investors are quite favourable. The low corporate tax of just 15 per cent, up to 80 per cent subsidy on labour engaged in manufacturing enterprises, pro-industry labour laws and cheap rates of land are some of the factors that make investment in Botswana highly profitable. Indian investors can reap big profits in this diamond rich country by investing in automobile, electronics, hosiery and other industries.” These observations were made by Dr J.S. Juneja of Global Projects and Services (P) representative of Botswana.

He was speaking at a symposium on Export Potential and Investment Opportunities in Botswana held here in collaboration with Small Industries Service Institute (SISI).

Presenting the country’s profile, Dr Juneja said Botswana is a prosperous and peaceful country with a per capita income of $ 3300. It boasts of the highest foreign exchange reserves among the developing countries of Africa. There is no foreign exchange restrictions on profits repatriation whatsoever. Investors from South Africa, France, China, the UK, India, Sweden and South Korea have made huge investments in electronics stones, textile, leather goods and other industries.

Replying to queries of industrialists regarding the market potential of the country, Dr Juneja said Botswana enjoyed preferential treatment in the EU market and in the Southern Africa Custom Union (SACU). The government was emphasising on the diversification of the industrial base, distinct from the mineral sector. Textile and garments, jewellery, engineering products like assembly of bicycles, motor cycles, dies, kitchen utensils, electronic goods and pharmaceutical were being presently promoted by the government. Informing about the available infrastructure he said Botswana had well developed banking system, five international airports, good telecommunications facility, educated labour force, and adequate electricity and water supply for industrial use.

There were about 40 industry representatives at the meeting who showed interest and asked questions regarding risk factors. They were also apprehensive about the political stability. Mr Juneja said a delegation from Botswana will be coming to Chandigarh on October 6 to create proper environment for investment. A delegation from India will visit Botswana in December to explore business opportunities. Mr Joginder Kumar, a member of the advisory committee of SIDBI announced that the tour could be subsidised by the Small Scale Industries Ministry if enough industrialists showed interest in the investment proposals.

However, industrialists like Kirpal Singh Sagar, general secretary of the Ludhiana Machine Tool Makers Association, were of the view that its a paradoxical situation that the Indian Government was not helping the recession-hit local industry, and foreign governments were attracting them with so many innovative policies.Back

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