Sunday, December 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Revenue records show dead man tilling land
By Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 9 — Can a dead man till a piece of land? Yes, if the revenue records of the Kulliwal area in the city is to be believed. A piece of 10 acres of land is shown in the name of Banta Singh, who incidentally died way back in October, 1990.

Besides this irregularity it has also come to light that the land originally belongs to the government but a number of farmers and property dealers have sold the land time and again to different parties. So much so that more than 300 houses have come up at the disputed land.

These two irregularities are some of the interesting aspects of an inquiry being conducted by the district administration to identify the persons responsible for selling the land or whether the land belongs to certain persons claiming it to be their private property.

Mr Rakesh Sharma and Mr Mohinder Lal have even alleged that a long delay in deciding the real owners of the land was being made. They allege that even the police was not taking any action against a tehsildar and kanungo involved in the illegal transaction of the land.

They further alleged that a police official of the rank of a Superintendent of Police had even completed the probe but no action was taken on it. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune the two claimants said that a number of persons had made crores of rupees by this illegal transaction of land which originally belongs to them.

Showing documentary proof Mr Rakesh Sharma said that the provincial Punjab government had allotted the land to Mr Harbans Lal in 1965 under the slip no. 12 and hadbandi 178 of Kulliwal village. The land was then mutated in the name of Pal Singh, who tilled the land till 1971 when three more persons were added to the revenue records of the village. These were Dalip Singh, Karam Singh and Banta Singh. However, in the record of 1976 only Pal Singh and Banta Singh were shown as the ones tilling the land.

In the next record of 1982 the land is shown in the name of Banta Singh only. The name continues in the records till date although the man had died way back in 1990.

The claimants said that the family of the original owner Harbans Lal was not in a position to fight the case and had thus given a power of attorney to them. They said even though they had exposed the illegal dealings, the district administration or the police has not taken any action against any revenue official or registered a case against anyone.

A revenue officer in the district , wishing not to be quoted, said that SDM Kuldip Singh was inquiring the curious case. He refuted the claims of the two claimants but admitted that the land records did show the name of a dead man as the one tilling it. He said that this possibly occurred because no one would have informed the revenue officials of the death of the man. The official, however, claimed that the land actually belonged to the government.

SDM Kuldip Singh declined that any undue delay was caused in the completion of the inquiry. Refusing to divulge more details he said that the inquiry was bringing out interesting facts of shoddy deals.


Court restrains Improvement Trust
By Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, Dec 9 — The Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) has landed itself in a piquant situation over the 1.4 acre site in the Model Town Extension area, earlier earmarked for a community centre, which was now being converted in to a commercial-cum-residential complex. The court of Mr. A.K.Mehta, Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), has restrained the LIT from changing the land use of the site in question till final disposal of a suit filed by Mr Jaspal Singh Chugh, an advocate, on behalf of the residents of the area.

The court orders have created an awkward situation for the LIT, which had proceeded with auction of the site, fixed for Nov 3, despite a 'status quo' orders passed by the court before the date of auction.

The plaintiff had pleaded that once a scheme was prepared, sanctioned and executed, then neither the Improvement Trust, nor the state government had any right to change the land use for sites reserved for community purposes in the original plan. Moreover, the open and common use land, left in any development scheme, in a way belonged to the residents of the colony in view of the fact that the total cost of the land acquired and developed in a particular colony, was passed on to plot holders.

The court disagreed with the contention of the LIT that provisions have been made in section 43 of Punjab Town Improvement Act, 1922 for alteration of scheme, for which prior approval of the state government was needed. The trust maintained that it had obtained sanction from the state government vide letter dated 14th July 1997 for conversion of the site in to a commercial-cum-residential project.

The court, however, ruled that under section 43, the trust was empowered to alter any scheme, with the prior permission of the state government ‘between its sanction and execution’. This in other words means that once a scheme was finally executed, then even the state government could not sanction the change of user. Since the Model Town Extension (Part II) scheme already stood transferred to Municipal Corporation for maintenance since 1994, it was clear that the scheme had been finally executed and any alteration thereto, even with the approval of the state government, was against the provisions of the Punjab Town Improvement Act,1922. Thus the conversion of the land meant for community centre to commercial and residential complex was beyond the competence of the state government.

"Otherwise also," the court further observed, "the stated purpose of change of land use, cited by the LIT in its resolution passed in 1997 that a commercial-cum-residential complex would increase the income of the trust, showed that the LIT was acting like a business house, rather than a welfare body, entrusted with the responsibility of development of residential schemes and providing amenities to the residents of respective colonies."

The court agreed with the plea of the plaintiff that the cost of the land earmarked for common use in a particular colony was eventually shared by the plot holders and further that prospective buyers of plots in a particular colony made their decision on the basis of civic amenities, open spaces and common use facilities. "The promoters cannot be allowed to turn back from promised facilities," the court ruled while modifying its status quo order dated October 25 and restraining the defendant (LIT) from changing the user of the land, reserved for community centre in the scheme, till the disposal of the suit.


A thalassemic mother fights it with courage
By Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Dec 9 — Mrs Usha Malhotra, proud mother of a son may be one of the very few thalassemic women in the country to have borne a child. She is suffering from thalassemia since the tender age of ten. Usha has been leading a normal life and is the mother of a thirteen-year-old boy, Rohit. Usha had conceived thrice but was advised abortion due to a number of other complications.

According to Mr Kewal Malhotra, Usha’s husband, “Throughout her pregnancy she required blood transfusion at an interval of 3 to 4 weeks. The blood was cross matched and properly screened. Usha had a normal delivery and by the grace of God Rohit is not affected with thallassemia”.

Motherhood did not come to her early. She was not normal like other mothers. She had to depend on frequent blood transfusions. “But I did not give up courage and God listened to my prayers”, she says with a great sense of achievement.

Usha acknowledges the role of her husband and her parents in fighting the disease which makes a person dependent and desperate. “My parents helped me a lot. They would get all my tests done. They did not take any chances with the treatment,” she recalls.

Thalassemia has become one of the common inherited disorders in the world. Among the Indian population, the carrier rate ranges between 3 to 15 per cent. Its management is tedious, life long, expensive and traumatic.

According to Usha’s doctor (Mrs) Parveen Sobti, who has been a source of inspiration and encouragement, “Usha is unable to maintain a normal haemoglobin level. She is suffering from thalassemia minor in which a person carries the gene of thalassemia and can pass it to the next generation”.

Usha starts feeling lethargic and sleepy and then requires blood transfusion. The last time she was given treatment was in October. She normally requires two units of A+ blood at a time. She has been advised by the doctor to take one tablet of folic acid daily.

Dr Parveen Sobti, said for the transfusion, blood is adequately screened for blood-borne diseases like malaria, syphilis, hepatitis-B, hepatitis-C and HIV. She pointed out that thalassemic patients need to be given absolutely safe blood which is regularly screened, lest it may lead to some serious problem.

All married women are generally screened before pregnancy or during early pregnancy for thalassemia status. If she is found to be thalassemic minor, the husband should also be screened. If both are minor, ante-natal diagnosis is advised. In case the foetus is found to be thalassemic major, medical termination of pregnancy is advised. If foetus is thalassemia minor or normal, pregnancy is allowed to continue in that case. 


Another Dalit family moves minority panel
By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 9 — Close on the heels of the suspension of a police officer in an alleged torture case of a local Dalit youth, another writ petition of harassment of a minority caste family at the hands of the city police has been admitted by the National Minority Commission of India.

Acting on the complaint of Krishna Rani, a resident of Haibowal in the city that the police was threatening to liquidate the woman and her sons, the commission has issued summons to Inspector Rajeshwar Singh, Maninder Bedi ex-SHO, CIA Staff, Jaswinder Singh, ASI and Mr Nirdosh Kumar Dhand, an influential personality of the city.

The woman is incidentally a crusader for justice. She had earlier been in the news for facing the ire of the city police due to her bold act of openly fighting the case of Gurdeep Singh, her neighbour, who along with his two sons was also tortured by the police.

Now the woman in the writ petition no. 2988 submitted to the Minority Commission has alleged that the police was advancing threats to get her and her family members physically harmed from ‘goondas’ so that the woman may not knock the doors of the law.

Besides demanding protection from the alleged police officers in the writ, the woman has also demanded registration of a criminal case against the police officers. Incidentally, this is not the first such complaint by the woman against the police officers. Earlier she had made similar complaints to the higher police authorities in the district as well as in the state and even to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission but no action has been taken against any police officer so far.

The woman, Krishna Rani, in her writ petition alleges that the police was inimical towards her due to her act of supporting the cause of an aggrieved family. She said that on her complaint a case was registered against Mr Nirdosh Dhand and others but no action has been taken so far. She alleged that before this she was whisked by SHO Maninder Bedi and ASI Jaswinder Singh along with other police officials . Later the police also allegedly implicated her sons Sandip Kumar and Surinder Kumar under sections 307, IPC.

She further alleged that SHO Rajeshwar Singh tried to pick her up from the chamber of a lawyer in the old courts premises and was saved by the timely intervention of the other lawyers.

However, continuing with their threats the police officers picked up Surinder Kumar and allegedly implicated him in a false criminal case. Her son was badly tortured and iron rod was rolled all over his legs. She said the police kept telling her son that this is the punishment for filing a writ petition against them.

The woman said despite such harassment she continued in her zeal to get the guilty punished but now the alleged four persons had issued fresh threats to her family that they will liquidate the family if she kept fighting against them.

Rajeshwar Singh, SHO, when contacted said all the charges against the four persons were baseless. He said he was not the investigating officer.


Probe ordered into torture case, SHO suspended
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 9 — On the recommendation of the National Minority Commission, the Director-General of Police, Punjab, has ordered an inquiry by a senior police officer into the sensational custodial death case of a Dalit youth allegedly at the hands of the city’s CIA police in October this year.

The police has also placed under suspension Mr Maninder Bedi, the then SHO of the CIA wing of the police. Though the Vishwa Guru Ravi Dass Mission, a non-government organisation fighting the case, claimed here today that Mr Sumedh Saini , DIG Punjab Police, has been made the inquiry officer to probe into the alleged barbaric torture of the three Dalit youths, one of whom later died, SSP Kuldip Singh said though an inquiry will be conducted, an officer is yet to be officially deputed for the purpose.

The inquiry orders were made after the commission summoned the DGP, Punjab, Mr Sarbjit Singh, and SSP, Ludhiana, Mr Kuldip Singh, to its New Delhi head office on December 7 to file a reply to the allegations levelled by the organisation.

The order incidentally is the latest twist to the case that had hogged headlines for a couple of weeks in October. Besides dharnas and rallies staged by Dalits in the city in demand of immediate action against the alleged accused police officers, the case was much highlighted in the media as allegations of hushing up the case through payment of money or providing other benefits to the families of the tortured youths and some leaders fighting the case had also surfaced.

While the organisation claimed in a release here today that it had achieved a major success by the action of the Minority Commission, police sources revealed that the inquiry orders had been mutually decided by the DGP and the commission in order to verify the allegations properly .

Sources revealed that the police officials were confident about facing the inquiry as the complainants had given in writing that the charges were false. Their affidavits say that fearing some trouble they had made such allegations against the police officials.

The SSP, confirming the suspension of the former SHO, said there was not much substance in the complaint of the organisation. He said the case was already over as the actual complainants had already withdrew their allegations.

Mr Jaswant Kataria, Mr Shiv Ram Saroya and Dr Amarjit Kataria, Chairman, President and General Secretary, respectively, of the organisation said that the Division No 4 police in the city had on October 11 this year arrested 17 persons on the charges of gambling. They alleged that the police then mercilessly beat up three of the arrested youths. One of the tortured youth Raju later succumbed to the injuries while the other two had to spent quite a time in one of the city’s hospital.

They alleged that the local police authorities did not take any action against the accused police officers . They then approached the commission which has recommended a thorough probe into the matter.


Replace defective set, TV dealer told
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 9 — The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum here has directed a local television dealer to replace a defective colour Television set sold by it to a complainant. The dealer has also been directed to pay Rs 1,000 as costs to the complainant.

In his complaint to the forum, Mr Surinder Sood, the complainant had said the TV set was bought by his minor son Vipan Sood, from M/s Navrang Electrovision, Pakhowal road in April 1999. The set, however, had manufacturing defects and never worked smoothly.

Mr Sood had further written in his complaint that despite repeated complaints the set was not repaired by the respondents. He had approached the dealers the very next day of purchasing the set who had assured that a mechanic would be sent to remove the defects immediately but to no avail. The mechanic did not turn up for two days.

The mechanic turned up after two days but he failed to rectify the snag. The complainant kept contacting the dealer for a week but the opposite party neither replaced the TV set nor removed the defects. The complainant had accused the opposite party of failing to provide adequate services and of indulging in unfair trade practices.

He further requested the forum to direct the dealer to refund the cost price of Rs 10,500 of the television set along with an interest at the rate of 24 per cent per annum, Rs 20,000 as compensation and Rs 3,000 as costs.

Interestingly, the dealer offered to replace the set on the very day the complaint was fixed for arguments on November 7, 1999, and the complaint was adjourned to November 17, 1999. The TV set was, however, not replaced as the respondents said a written order was required for being forwarded to the manufacturer.

After hearing the two parties, the forum upheld the complaint and said the opposite party should replace the set with a new one of the same make and the warranty of the new set should start afresh. The compliance should be done within a month of the receipt of the order.


MC contractor debarred from tendering
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 9 — The Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, Dr S.S. Sandhu has debarred MC contractor, Mr S. S. Singla from further tendering for MC works till further orders.

According to Dr Sandhu, the contractor was doing sub standard work, which was not acceptable. Despite repeated directions and verbal instructions by the officials concerned, the contractor failed to take remedial measures.

The Commissioner has impressed upon the engineers of the MC to be careful about the quality, workmanship and speed of work being undertaken in the city and to accordingly instruct the contractors.

He has further warned all contractors and officers to ensure the quality of work and completion within stipulated period, otherwise strict action would be taken against the defaulters.



THE mid-week was a sad reminder of the fragility of human life. Innocent lives were lost in the train accident near Rajpura. For some Ludhianvis, it was a close call and the memory of the horrifying incident would remain etched in their memory.

The week was marked with protests from different quarters. The postal strike threw life of the Ludhianvis out of gear. Close on the heels, the blockade of the railway traffic by hosiery owners followed. But all this did offer us ample time to contemplate the importance of the things that we usually take for granted.

Last week was the week of ‘days’. Flag Day, World Disability Day and Armed Forces Flag Day were celebrated with the traditional fervour. The death anniversary of Dr Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution, was also observed.

For the dog lovers, the week offered an interesting show. Dogs of all sizes and shapes — from puny poodles to burly bull dogs — all vied with each other to ‘stand first’ in the dog show.

Meanwhile, the marriage season was in full swing. As usual, the marriages were opulent displays of extravaganza. Ludhianvis like to do everything with panache and style! Incidentally, the recent ban on the loudspeakers is yet to make its impact on the ear splitting music churned out at the marriage palaces.

Compared to beauty contests, a body-building contest might be a tame affair, but body-building contests are fast catching up with the public imagination.

Last week, many Ludhianvis watched more than a dozen brawny men with glistening muscles strut across the stage — they were competing for ‘Mr Ludhiana 2000’.

The winter is finally upon us. Piercingly cold winds blow in the morning and at night but they are not strong enough to ruffle the fashion-smitten Ludhianvi women who prefer to attend parties sans woollen ensembles!

To end on a positive note — Ludhianvis may no longer be hassled by the water problem as the Municipal Corporation has restored the water supply.

— Minna Zutshi


A city groaning under its own weight

LUDHIANA is going the Delhi way in expansion, population and pollution. All this can be attributed to bad planning. From industrial planning to family planning, everything is in chaos. A demon is staring us in the face. Do we, also see him? He shouts and pierces our ears. Do we listen to his message? He breathes poisonous gases and we inhale them. He is multiplying in the form of population and mushrooming as pollution. We are the willing victims.

The economic growth-rate is falling or fluctuating. The waste-rate is rising. The population is going up fast. The demon of population is the source of all these ills.

The sages taught us the value of human life. We confused life with disease-ridden existence. The wise men taught us to respect life in its totality. We have burnt trees, eaten up birds and killed animals. This kind of civilisation is destroying our real culture.

The wise men of the olden days devised means to instruct, educate or enlighten the common people. Through intelligence, they discovered facts concerning life. Through compassion they taught the importance of living. A great tradition of folk-lore, folk-tales and proverbs flowered into fruits of wisdom. Significant as well as poetic symbols were created. Some of these are still in circulation. One such symbol is acquiring a new significance. It is no more poetic, it spells disaster. Population is a must, over-population is a collective human malady, a real demon, destroying its own creation!

The density of population in Asia is causing universal concern, that of South-East Asia is alarming. India has already crossed the 1,00,00,00,000 mark. Punjab is over-burdened. Ludhiana district attracts migrant labour, a large part of which stays on. It is the situation of Ludhiana city that alarms us most.

In 1868, the population of Ludhiana was 39,983, it rose to 40,385 in 1875. In about seven years, this town had an addition of 402 souls.

The first, near scientific, head-count was done in 1881. The round figure is 44,000. It was 46,000 in 1891, an increase of 2,000 in 10 years.

The first census of the 20th century took place in 1901. The decade-wise figures are: 1901 (48,649), 1911 (49,000), 1921 (51,880), 1931 (68,000). In 1941 it rose to 1,11,639.

In 1951 the city grew to hold 1,53,795 persons. In the next decade, in 1961, it rise to 2,44,072. The subsequent population-entries indicate a new trend: 1971 (4,01,176); 1981 (6,07,052) and 1991 (10,42,740).

The Statistics Department conducts a survey. On October 1, every year it forecasts the ‘projected’ population. The projected population figures of Ludhiana (city) as given by this department are: 1997 (29,20,339); 1998 (30,11,689), 1999 (31,05,832), 2000 (32,02,693). Currently, the statistics warn that the population in 2001 is expected to reach 33,02,621, an increase rate of 36.44 per cent.

The city roads are choked. The houses contain poisonous gases. The sub-soil water is contaminated and unfit for drinking. The Sidhwan Canal should have shown the harmony of nature, but it stinks with filth and garbage.

A population of over three million is in grave danger. We collectively make noise. We collectively deafen one another. We produce smoke and share it. The hospitals and nursing homes are pointers to the state of the health of the city. One does not have to be an astrologer to forecast collective doom of this metropolitan city.

It pains every thinking person. One asks: “What man has made of man”? Population is a demon which contributes to pollution. The planners and politicians, bureaucrats and bigwigs, go on study tours. What do they bring back? Ludhianvis await! Space-scientists tell us what causes a black hole in space. One does not require a special talent to foresee the fate of Ludhiana collapsing under its own weight. Population is the tip of the iceberg.


Govt ‘indifferent’ to human rights
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 9 — As the world celebrates Human Rights Day tomorrow, there is a common feeling among the masses that the issue need a proper interpretation. At the same time most people feel that government is not doing much in this regard, and it is mainly the non-governmental organisations which have taken a lead on the issue.

Gagan Vatika, a DMC employee says human rights stay in the Constitution only and the government is not ready to implement them effectively. Bureaucracy, the main centre of power, is in a bad shape and this is ironical that people are not ready to go to the police and the courts but bear the agony. In comparison the NGOs play a much better role in making people aware of the rights. Education is the only way to spread awareness about the rights in different fields.

Mewa Singh Gill, says most of the people are ignorant of their rights and government organisations suppress them. No effort has been put in by the government or social organisations to make the people aware of their rights. The board for implementing the rights should be independent and not under the influence of the government. The existing human rights boards are subservient to the interests of the government.

Dr Praveen Sobti, paediatrician believes that children should be given their rights like right to education, right to health, right to good nutrition and the right to live in clean environment. It is mandatory for all to spread the message of human rights. The disabled remain neglected for they don’t even get the basic rights they deserve. Some steps should be taken by the government to provide the disabled with the basic necessities and to ensure their rights. The rights of children should be given proper importance and they should be made aware about them from the very beginning.

R.K. Dhamija, a bank employee, opines that rights concerning the labour should be propagated and the workers should be made aware. Protective legislations on job security, social security and literacy are an important part of the rights. For the working people safety at work and elimination of discrimination is a must.

Kirandeep Kaur, a commerce lecturer believes that for a layman term human rights means nothing. Most of the people are unaware about their rights. To implement the rights a proper authority should be set up. The rights are not available but have to be enforced through a proper channel. Students should be made aware of their rights through seminars, and proper guidance. Teachers should spare some time and make the students aware of their legal and social rights. Women should also not lag behind and should come forward to claim their rights. Though slowly and gradually people especially women are getting aware of their rights. They have come forward and fight for their rights in the male dominated society.

Sukhdev Singh Kahlon, DSP, Intelligence, says common man should be aware of his rights. As per the Constitution the police and courts have been set up for people to fight for their rights. People can be made aware regarding their rights through media and by organising seminars. Public should be made aware of the legal, social and political rights. Practical problems should be solved by people themselves. 


Verka dominates flower show
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 9 — Verka Milk Plant, today, dominated the annual flower show organised by the Municipal Corporation at the Rose Garden.

According to Dr Jaswinder Singh Bilga, executive, landscaping floriculture, the milk plant, bagged the King of the Show award. Besides, the milk plant also bagged the first and second prize in the small pots category, indoor cacti and cut flower chrysanthemum.

The Sainik Welfare Board bagged two and the Sainik Rest House got one prize.

In the amateurs category, Prince of the show was awarded to Aruna Devi's flower, while the princess of the show was bagged by Saurav Garg's flower.

Other winners include Mrs Randhawa, Mr Rajmit Singh, Mr Sukhmandau. Dr P.S. Hans, Ramesh Kumar, Mrs Asha Mital, Mr Baljit Singh, Yadhvinder Singh, Surbhi Garg, Kuldip and Ram Sahnker.

Christmas fever catching up
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 9 — Though Christmas is a fortnight away, Christmas trees have come up for sale in selected stores of the city, especially in the CMC hospital area, which has the largest concentration of Christians in the town.

The festival fever will catch up in full earnest with the members of the Christian community and others in the next couple of days, says a shop owner near the hospital. Locally-made Christmas trees have been decorated with jingle bells and colourful beads.

Christmas trees cost between Rs 25 and Rs 200. Expensive foreign-made Christmas trees and other festival-related items such as Santa Claus caps and beards will arrive by Monday, he said. These can also be had from select stores in Ghumar Mandi and Chaura Bazar.

Pictures and posters depicting various stages of Christ’s life are in great demand. A woman selling Christ posters and cards says she is doing good business which is likely to get a boost in the next couple of days.


MC clerk booked for cheating
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 9 — The city police, today, booked a clerk of the Municipal Corporation here on charges of cheating which caused a loss of as much as Rs 64640 to the corporation.

According to a case registered under Sections 464, 468, 471, 120B, 511 IPC, the clerk, Attar Singh, working with the agenda branch of the corporation had allegedly added two lines on his own in an agenda of the corporation, dated August 28, 2000.

A case has been registered on the complaint of Ashok Bajaj, legal advisor, of the Municipal Corporation. The complaint stated that the clerk did so in order to benefit a contractor. He was charged of causing a huge financial loss to the MC.

However, no arrest has been made so far.


Convict booked for escape attempt
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 9 — The police, yesterday, registered a case against a convict, Sachin Kumar, who tried to run away last evening from the court of Mr B.S. Mehndiratta after he was sentenced to 10 years of rigoruous imprisonment in a poppy husk smuggling case.

The police said the convict tried to run away when he was being taken to the room of the Ahalmad for giving his thumb impression. He was later over powered by the police.

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