Tuesday, December 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Parcel mafia thrives at railway station
From Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 25 — Time 10 a.m. Date December 22. Mr Satyender Nath, a tailor working with a hosiery unit, comes to the railway station. He is looking quite happy as he recently purchased a second-hand Bajaj Chetak scooter. He is taking it to his far-flung village in Sitamarhi district of Bihar.

He reaches the railway parcel booking office to book his scooter from Ludhiana to Muzafarpur. But he is shocked the moment the booking clerk abuses him. The clerk says, “How have you dared to come here? Is it your work to book the parcel. Ask the agent, he will come here. Make a settlement with him.”

Satyender, who has study up to primary level, is helpless in such a situation. An agent, about 50 years old with grey hair, comes to him and says, ‘‘Do not worry. I will make all the arrangements but you will have to pay Rs 400 extra. Otherwise your scooter will not reach even in six months.”

Satyender has no alternative as he wants his scooter (PB-10-E 1293) to reach the next station soon. He has already booked his ticket for Muzafarpur for December 27. He gives Rs 950 to the agent and within minutes gets an official receipt of Rs 550 from the same booking clerk.

Investigations by a TNS team revealed that this is not a single case of exploitation of the public, especially the illiterate and poor migrant labour class. In fact, there is a widespread nexus between the railway parcel booking staff and about 100 agents that work openly in front of the parcel booking office.

There are four parcel booking employees working in the parcel booking office. The modus operandi is simple. They allegedly refuse to book the parcels of the labourers directly and ask them to come through an agent. If the customers insist to book parcels themselves, the material will keep lying for the next one month or so.

When asked about the widespread corruption, Mr Roshan Lal Sachdeva, in charge of the booking office, denied all these allegation as baseless. He said, “I agree the agents are illegally working here. But we cannot do anything to stop them. It is the lack of education and knowledge on part of public about the booking rules that they are being exploited by the agents.”

He admitted that the delivery of the parcels might be delayed for some time but it was due to the shortage of space in the compartments.

“Generally, 10-12 scooters and motor bikes are booked every day but the space is just for three to four vehicles. Obviously the others have to wait,” he said.

Mr Ratan Singh, an agent who has been operating for the past 10 years, said, “The money we get has to be shared with so many officials. We do not earn above the minimum wages in a month. A number of checking teams have come here. But their visits had resulted in only increasing the shares of the railway officials and nothing else.”

Mr Kishan Lal Yadav, who had booked a parcel of a cane crusher to Mau district in UP on December 22, alleged that he had to pay Rs 400 extra to an agent Mr Maddi, an old man, for getting the work done. He is not interested in reporting the matter to the authorities as he may be harassed. He says, “It is a common practice here. You can do nothing except publishing a report. But we have to pay hard-earned money to these butchers.”

Another agent, Mr Krishan Lal, while defending the prevalent practice, said, “What is wrong if we charge some money. We also provide service to these illiterate people who do not even know how to fill a form. We not only complete all the paper work but also pack the material properly.”

Mr Depinder Kaur, a social worker, said, “It is the open exploitation of the common public by the well-organised mafia functioning under the nose of the railway authorities. If the High Court can ask the CBI to inquire into the ‘nexus’ between the traders, railway staff and ST officials, it should also ask the CBI to investigate and expose the parcel mafia functioning openly at the railway station.”


CBI probe into police torture case
From Gurminder S. Grewal

KHAMANO, Dec 25 — The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered a CBI inquiry into the case of “illegal” detention of a youth, Harbhajan Singh of Gaggarwal village, by the police. During detention, he was handcuffed and his legs were tied. The inquiry is to be conducted against the then DSP of Khamano, Gurpreet Singh, an ASI, Malkit Singh, and a constable, Harbans Lal.

The inquiries conducted by the DIG of the Patiala range, Mr Sanjeev Gupta, and the SP (D) of Fatehgarh Sahib, generated contradictory reports. The High Court has directed the DGP of Punjab to take ensure the security of the petitioner, Harbhajan Singh, and witnesses till the trial was over. The petitioner has been advised to submit a separate application in the court to seek a compensation.

Harbhajan Singh said he had married Gurinder Kaur, daughter of Jawala Singh of Katlaur village near Chamkaur Sahib, without the consent of her parents. They moved an application in the court at Kharar as they feared that the girl’s parents would harm them. The Morinda police arrested him on September 8 and called Gurinder Kaur to the police station the next day. After Gurinder Kaur recorded her statement, they were let off. After this, they stayed at Kharar for about one month.

On October 10, Harbhajan visited his village to get some money from his parents. While returning, he stopped at a petrol pump at Sanghol, where the ASI, who was not in uniform, approached him to say that the DSP of Khamano wanted to see him. After they reached the DSP’s office, the number plates of his motor cycle were removed. The vehicle had a temporary number (CH-231-2122).

He was then asked about his wife. After this, the DSP “telephoned” someone, following which, some persons from Chamkaur Sahib, including Harpreet Singh, Bawa Panch, Bheema Sarpanch and Ashar Singh, a relative of girl, reached there.

The DSP asked him to write a note that he was committing suicide due to the bad behaviour of his wife, but he refused to obey him. The DSP “ordered” the ASI to take him to Kheri Naudh Singh police station, where he was tortured.

He was made to wear shackles on his left leg and the other end of the shackle was tied to a cot. He was forced to remain in this position for all night and the next day as well. He was also beaten up. A constable on duty, under the influence of liquor, told him that he might be killed. He, somehow, succeeded in escaping from there.



Ludhiana celebrates Xmas with Shweta
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 25 — It was a cold starlit night on the eve of Christmas in the sprawling lawns of the Lodhi Club. The dazzling and energetic performance by the glamour girl, Shweta Shetty, made the cold atmosphere gradually turn cosy. Shweta's glamour held the audience spellbound.

The club had organised the function to celebrate Christmas and 'Millennium eve 2K-1' here yesterday. The programme included performances by the Soorma fame Jazzy B and Deewane to deewane hain girl Shweta Shetty. The programme started with the lighting up of a lamp by the Deputy Commissioner and president of the club, Mr S. K. Sandhu.

Famous TV anchors Aanchal and Prakash introduced Jazzy B to the audience. He started with his famous number husna di sarkar dilan nu lutdi jaaye from his latest album Soorma, which was followed by yet another number tere mere akhiyan da mel ho gaya on which Punjabi boys clad in typical kurtas and chadras performed bhangra.

The club premises was decorated with colourful lights and balloons, Christmas trees, bells and 'snow'. Chacha-bhatija Jaswinder Bhalla and Bal Mukund Sharma entertained the audience with their witty comedy that sent the audience into long fits of laughter. The charm was such that the duo had to be called again and again for repeated performances on the demand of the audience.

Shweta Shetty in her beautifully modulated voice started her performance with her latest English number. She entertained the audience with her foot tapping numbers kaale kaale baal gaal gore gore, mera chail chabila dilbar and main teri good luck mundeya. Kids and small children joined chorus with her popular numbers.



Shweta all praise for Punjabis
From Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, Dec 25 — The famous dusky pop singer Shweta Shetty, during her short stay here last evening, was all praise for Punjabi culture, Punjabi cuisine and Punjabi people.

She hails from a conservative South Indian family of Mumbai. Her mother is a classical singer and an inspiration to her. She loves music since childhood and started participating in 'Malhar', a festival held annually at St Xavier's College, Mumbai, from where she did her graduation.

It was during this time that her talent was recognised. But her father was strictly against all this. She did not give it up so easily. With her will power and determination, she pacified her father and family members. She says, "I knew that I would do it".

Shweta, is religious and a god fearing young woman. She believes in destiny. "Nothing was planned in my life. It was about eight years ago that I opted for singing as my career", she added.

A down to earth person, she has been married to a German boy, Clemens, for the last four years. She has been happily settled in Germany. She said, "When Clemens visited Mumbai, I proposed him. He was surprised at first, but later agreed to my proposal. My in-laws were a bit sceptical about their would be daughter-in-law till they met me and my family."

Johny Joker and Main Teri Goodluck Mundeya are the albums which formed platform for her singing career. She has also sung for films like Rangeela, Aflatoon, Ziddi. Her albums Dil Tote Tote Ho Gaya and Diwane to Diwane hain have created waves among the youth in the northern region.

This has been her first visit to the city and she feels, "people are lively and warm hearted here". In future, she wants to concentrate more on Punjabi beats.

However, she owes her success to her husband because she thinks he has always been a source of encouragement for her. She says, "My career has certainly picked up after my marriage with Clemens."


Christmas celebrated with fervour
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 25 — The Christian community here celebrated Christmas in the Chapel Church of North India. The church and its compound were fully decorated. The place was jam-packed and the people were in a jubilant mood. Rev. B. Franklin Majboor, Priest, Church of North India, performed the prayers. Mr Franklin advised the gathering to follow the Bible. Members of other communities also participated in the celebrations. 


Police unearths case of contract killing
From Iqbal Singh

KHANNA, Dec 25 — The Khanna police claims to have unearthed a case, first of its kind in the area, in which a professional criminal was being hired to murder a local resident. The case was detected after the arrest of four persons recently.

According to DSP Mohinderpal Singh Shoke, Dilmohan, son of Kumar, a resident of Sarafa Bazar, filed a complaint with the police that his partners, Rajiv Kumar and Sanjiv Kumar, sons of Harcharan Dass of New Abadi, Khanna, were not repaying his money amounting to Rs 5.91 lakh. The firm, R.K. Trading Company, had already stopped business since April, 2000.

When he insisted for returning the money they allegedly conspired to kill him through Ranjodh Singh Jodhi, a known criminal as per police record.

According to the complaint, this was revealed to him by Ranjodh Singh Jodhi along with three others went to Machhiwara to kill him on June 25 for an amount of Rs 25,000. However, they did not succeed.

During interrogation they reportedly confessed to the contract for killing him.

A case under Sections 307/511 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered at city police station.


SBI staff strike from today
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Dec 25 — The banking business in the commercial capital of the state is expected to be disrupted for two days on December 26 and 27 in the wake of a State Bank of India Staff Association (SBISA) decision to observe strike in Ludhiana module which covered Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Moga, Faridkot, Bathinda, and Mansa districts also.

According to the Deputy General Secretary of the SBISA, Mr Landra, the two-day strike is part of the ongoing agitation to protest against the transfer of the Assistant General Secretary of the SBISA, Mr Updesh Passi, and the adamant attitude of the management towards the association demand.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, he said the employees were aware of the difficulties the customers would have to face due to the sudden strike, but the management of the bank had forced the employees to resort to the extreme measure.

As a result of the strike, work in almost 40 branches of the SBI in the city, in addition to more than 100 elsewhere, will come to a standstill. Besides, the working of the bankers' clearing house was also expected to be suspended for the period.

The SBI employees, Mr Landra added, would observe the strike in Haryana module on December 27 and 28, in Jammu and Kashmir module on December 29 and 30, in Himachal Pradesh module on January 1 and 2, 2001, and in Chandigarh module on January 3 and 4 to press their demand.


‘Chinese interested in Indian literature’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 25 — “My visit to China has given me a totally new perspective about China as a communist country. I think that there is a big shift in China’s policies today, especially on the economic front. Though it is still predominantly a communist country, the communism of the present-day China is a watered down version of the earlier days,” says Surjit Pattar, an eminent Punjabi poet and winner of Sahitya Akademi Award.

Pattar returned yesterday evening from a Sahitya Akademi-sponsored visit to China. He went there as a member of the Writers Delegation that included three other prominent Indian writers.

His visit to China was part of a cultural exchange programme. Last year, Chinese writers had visited India and this year it was the turn of the Indians. Apart from Beijing, the other places in the travel itinerary of the Indian writers included Xian, Chingchu and Kunming.

Pattar found the Chinese to be quite inquisitive about Indian poetry and literature. However, very few translations of the regional Indian languages were available in Chinese language. During his discussions with Chinese writers, it was agreed that the writers and poets from both countries would pool in their talent so that quality translations were made available to the readers.

“Translation is a tricky job. If a key word or phrase goes wrong, you may get a wrong version of the whole story. But at the same time, translation is of pivotal importance if your work has to find a wider audience,” explains Pattar.

Interestingly, Pattar discovered that the Chinese had a strong fascination for their ancient poetry. Their conversation was often interspersed with quotes from the poets of the yore. The Chinese’ knack of preserving their culture was another thing that impressed him. At Yunnan province, he visited a ‘live’ museum that showcased the culture of various ethnic communities of China.

Pattar found the Chinese to be fixed on four things about India — ancient civilisation, software expertise, Raj Kapoor’s Awara and Lord Buddha’s philosophy.

“I have come back with rich memories and pleasant experiences. And, yes, the aroma of Chinese tea still lingers in my taste buds,” remarks Pattar.


Lok Bhalai Party units dissolved
From Our Correspondent

KHAMANO, Dec 25 — All units and wings of the Lok Bhalai Party of Khamano, Machhiwara and Ropar have been dissolved and will be reorganised after the Fatehgarh Sahib Jor Mela.

This was stated by the party General Secretary, Mr Paramjit Singh Sidhwan, after a meeting of party workers here. He stated that the party President, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, MP, and other leaders of the party would address a conference.

The meeting was addressed, among others, by a working committee member, Mr Malkiat Singh Ghuman, and the district President, Mr Kewal Krishan, Mr Gurkjeet Singh Raian, Mr Balvir Singh Lakhanpur, Mr Rajinder Singh Manderan and Mr Kulwant Singh Heden.


Reinstatement hailed
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 25 — The scientific and teaching community has hailed the reinstatement of Dr R.S. Paroda as the Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Research & Education, Government of India.

Appreciating Dr Paroda’s pro-scientist and pro-farmers approach, Dr H.S. Brar, President of Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association (PAUTA), has thanked the government for such a decision.

He said reinstatement of Dr Paroda, will certainly be beneficial for the overall development of all the state agricultural universities.

PAUTA functionaries maintained that Paroda initiated the formulations of Vision-2020 for all state agricultural universities and ICAR institutes and their accreditations and self assessment as new paradigms of agricultural progress in the country.

Only scientists and technologists and not administrators can bring the country out of the present economic crises,” he added.


Cars stuck up at PAU gate
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 25 — Hundreds of cars were stuck up before gate number four of Punjab Agricultural University here yesterday after the gateman refused to open the gates.

As it was Sunday, the CII fair on the PAU grounds attracted many visitors.

When this correspondent visited the PAU in the morning, cars were not being allowed to enter the campus from gate number four. Visitors had to drive to gates one or two to reach the fair. Most of the cars were parked along the university roads. At gate number four, visitors were seen requesting the gateman to open the gate, who refused to budge.


Dowry cases registered
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 25 — Two cases of dowry were registered in the city here today. No arrests has been made so far.

In the first case registered at Division No. 2 police station here today, Sukhwinder Kaur, a city resident, has alleged that her in-laws were continuously harassing her for bringing more dowry ever since she got married in February last year. On her complaint, the police has registered a case against Gurdeep Singh and Jatinder Kaur.

In another case registered by the Model Town police, Indu, a resident of Shastri Nagar, has alleged harassment at the hands of her in-laws who were demanding more dowry. The police has booked her husband Sanjiv, mother-in-law Janak Bassi and her brother-in-law R.K. Bassi. 


Abducted girl returns home
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 25 — The Haibowal police today booked a man for allegedly kidnapping and raping a minor girl of Mohalla Kundan Puri. The case was registered after the medical examination of the girl at the local Civil Hospital here.

The 14-year-old girl was missing since December 22. Her father had lodged a complaint with the police that a boy Brij Mohan alias Billu resident of the same colony had forcibly taken away the girl. Sources said that as the girl returned home on her own, it seems she was lured.

Nevertheless as the case involves a minor girl, the man was booked under Sections 363, 364 and 376 of the IPC. The boy was, however, yet to be traced.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |