Thursday, January 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Government land grabbed?
From Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 3 — A stretch of 100 acres on the Tajpur road here which belonged to the government has now slipped into private hands. While the revenue records clearly state that it is agriculture land but more than 2000 houses have come up on the site.

Not only this but a claimant of about 10 acres is running from pillar to post for the past three years to get possession of the land. But no FIR has been registered till date. The owners of the land kept on changing as it was allegedly sold several times. Once it was even shown as PUDA property. However, the authority later declared that it was not its property.

The two claimants of 10 acres, Rakesh Sharma and Mohinder Pal, who were given power of attorney by Harbans Lal had filed their complaints to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, at the “sangat darshan” at Koom Kalan village yesterday. The land was allotted to Mr Harbans Lal in lieu of his kin’s contribution in the freedom struggle. The owner, however, was not able to look after the land due to health problems and he gave the power of attorney to Rakesh Sharma and Mohinder Pal.

Ironically, along with the government land, Mr Harbans Lal’s land was also sold on agreement by many tillers of the land whose names were included in the revenue records. Although the records show that the land is being used by the residents for agricultural purposes as it was given originally by the government to these people on ‘lagaan’ system, it has been sold time and again by the tillers and four colonies including Bhola Colony, Sutantar Nagar, Baba Jivan Singh Nagar and Preet Nagar, have cropped up at the disputed site.

When this correspondent visited these colonies various persons who had bought this land from the “so called owners” said they had no registries as the owners had sold them the land on cheaper rates. They had bought the land only on the agreement which stated that the land belonged to the tillers.

One such self-styled owner Jagir Singh who has sold 8 acres said he wanted to pay the money to the government but no one had come to ask for it. He, however, had no answer when asked as to why he had sold government land? There are many more such sellers and more than 100 acres have been sold till date. Many new houses are also coming up on the land. The development works are also in progress in the colonies.

According to sources the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Mr Kuldip Singh, has already submitted the interim report of the inquiry with the Deputy Commissioner. It is further learnt that the SDM has maintained in the inquiry report that the Revenue Department has also been at fault in the whole scandal which has led to these discrepancies.

He has further suggested that cases should be registered against all those found guilty and justice be given to the genuine owners. He has also directed the Municipal Corporation to stop all development works in the area immediately. He has maintained that the land will be recorded again in the name of Punjab Government.


Trader alleges bullying by octroi contractors’ staff
From Iqbal Singh

LUDHIANA, Jan 3 — In yet another case of bullying and high-handedness by private octroi contractors, Mr Rajinder Kumar Puri, a local oil trader has alleged that octroi contractors of Municipal Council, Khanna, had detained his driver and tanker illegally for several hours, despite the fact that he had paid the requisite amount of octroi.

Mr Puri said here today that when his oil tanker, No. HR-56-0836, reached Khanna octroi post, he paid proper octroi, i.e. Rs. 2,000, against receipt No. 68 of book no. 2207 and the tanker was sent to Jagdamba Weigh Bridge for weighing. When the tanker was returning for unloading at Sona Enterprises, a team of employees of octroi contractors stopped the tanker. They asked the driver to show the octroi receipt, which he promptly did.

They asked the driver to park the tanker at the office of the contractor, because the bill was under value. The driver tried to justify his position by saying that the company had reduced the price and the bill was of genuine value. He also requested them to deposit his driving license and registration book of the tanker with them as guarantee. But they refused to do so and demanded Rs 12,000 as penalty for under billing of Rs 30,000 at a rate pf Rs 3 per litre. The driver flatly refused to pay any penalty because his bill was genuine.

Mr Rajinder Kumar alleged that all documents were snatched by them and were returned only after the intervention of a local municipal councillor, Mr Vijay Sharma, who protested to the executive officer of the Municipal Council, Khanna, against the high-handedness of contractors, after 17 hours of detention, following the order to release the tanker after getting an undertaking to pay octroi.

Mr Sharma, when contacted, said that contractors had been harrasing traders and general public unnecessarily. He also pointed out that when the driver had requested to deposit his driving license and registration book of tanker as guarantee/undertaking to pay octroi, what was the reason for detaining the tanker and harassing traders. He warned the administration to take action against this high-handedness of contractors otherwise it would create problems for traders as the directions given by the SP (H), in a joint meeting of traders, officials and octroi contractors were being flouted openly.

When this correspondent tried to contact the contractors' office no one was available for comment.


Census rehearsals: teachers resent duty
From Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, Jan 3 — The second rehearsal for census operation began after a delayed start amidst opposition from teaching staff put on duty at Shri Atma Nand Jain Senior Secondary School, here today.

For the first two-and-a-half hours, the census officers could only mark the attendance of the nearly 220 enumerators, which included teachers, employees of Punjab Roadways, Punjab State Electricity Board, Animal Husbandry and Irrigation department.

Later, there was an electricity cut which lasted for more than an hour and the rehearsals finally began at around 1 p.m. In the meantime, nearly 40 enumerators had left the rehearsals and the census rehearsal in charge had to order for second attendance.

Teachers from Government Middle School, Khud Mohalla, expressed resentment as they said that the school had to be closed as the entire teaching staff had been drawn for census rehearsals. They feared that this year the students of the school may not be able to do well in the examination as the school will again have to be closed next month due to census operation.

Even teachers of Chanan Devi High School, Jalandhar By-pass, seemed much annoyed, as they said that 35, out of the total 44 teachers, were put on duty. They said that if the students of the school did not get good results this time, they should not be held responsible.

Nearly 50, out of the total 70 teachers, from the Government Multipurpose Senior Secondary School were drawn for census rehearsal. Teachers of the school suggested that the census officers should have taken the list of unemployed teachers from the employment exchange and taken them for duty.

Of the total 20 teachers from the Government Senior Secondary School, Kamaran Road, 17 teachers who were on duty said that in May this year, when they were assigned census duty for house listings, they had to face several hardships as most of the residents were uncooperative. They said that work would be more hectic and comprehensive this time as 23 questions, put into 39 columns, had to be filled for each member of the 150 to 200 families alloted to them.

Teachers from other government and aided schools who had to attend census rehearsals at Bachat Bhawan of Mini Secretariat and Zonal Muncipal Corporation Office at Gill Road also expressed resentment.

Mr Piara Singh Dhillon, president of the Government Primary Tecahers Association, said that he had pleaded with the Education Minister to relieve teachers from census duty at the earliest, however, no action had been taken. He said that the teachers would stage a dharna from January 18 outside the office of Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, if the minister does not take any action within a week’s time.

Two polio-afflicted teachers who were on duty said that it was difficult for them to accomplish their duty as it involved much movement. They said that even though they had pleaded to the census in charge, they have not been relieved of their duty.

Mr D.K. Sharma, XEN, Municipal Corporation, and charge officer for census, when contacted, said that the rehearsal was delayed as the enumerators did not arrive on time. He said that the enumerators were to be divided into two groups of 100 each, but due to space problem, rehearsals for all of them had to be conducted collectively.

Regarding the resentment among teachers, he said that it was impossible for them to produce sufficient governments deputed man power without involving teachers from schools. He said that work load was not much for them as not more than 200 families had been assigned to a particular enumerator and they might even able be to accomplish their duty before the stipulated time. 


Primary teachers threaten stir
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 3 — Demanding an early relief from census duty, the Government Primary Teachers Association has sent a memorandum to the Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, threatening to stage a dharna in case their demand is not accepted within a week.

Stating this in a press note, Mr Piara Singh Dhillon, president of the association, said if the teachers were not relieved of the census duty, some of the schools may have to be closed in February, resulting in loss to students who have to appear for examinations scheduled in the first week of March.

Mr Dhillon further said the association had met the minister on December 19 and they were assured that the teachers would soon be relieved. He said now if the minister did not take any action within a week, teachers of the city along with representatives from other districts would stage the dharna from January 18 in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office, here.


To school through slush
From Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, Jan 3 — Students and teachers of Shri Atma Nand Jain Senior Secondary School, Daresi Road, have to daily pass through slush, heaps of cow dung and garbage dumps lying outside the main gate of the school building.

Rainfall on Sunday and Monday further added to their woes and entry from the kucha passage in front of the gate was almost impossible even today. The students, thus, had no choice but to enter the school building through the tiny gate of the cycle stand which was somewhat dry today.

To further add to the problem, heaps of cow dung get accumulated near the gate of the cycle stand also as residents of the house adjacent to the school building rope their cows near that place. Foul smell is emanating from the heaps of cow dung make matter worse for students and teachers.

Other residents of the area also seem unmindful of the situation as some of them were seen dumping domestic waste exactly opposite the gate of the school. Pigs feed on the dump which has been swamped by the rains. The unhygienic conditions have endangered the health of the students of the school.

Mr Y.P. Jain, principal of the school, said he had written to Municipal Corporation last week and had been assured that the area would be cleared of all garbage soon. He said he had met the corporation authorities even today who gave him the same assurance again.

He further said a Rs 8,20,000 project had been planned by the Councillor, Mr Sunil Mehra, who had promised a 20-feet road and a pavement on either side of the road. 


From clerk to crorepati
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 3 — From a clerk and a private school teacher, earning less than Rs 2,000 per month in 1988, to crorepatis 12 years thereafter. Such was the meteoric rise of the brother-sister duo of R.K. Syal and Pomila Syal, Chief Managing Director and the ‘acting’ MD of Golden Forests Ltd, who have been arrested by the police along with six others for cheating nearly 25 lakh investors in the country.

This interesting fact has come to light during the interrogation of Pomila Syal by vigilance officials and the police. Sources said she revealed that his brother used to work as a clerk in a department in Chandigarh and she used to work as a lowly paid teacher in a private school and even had to give tuitions in order to make both ends meet.

This was in sharp contrast with their life just a few days ago before their arrest. Owning palatial bungalows in Panchkula and at other places, they also owned huge property, including land, cash and jewellery, as found out by the investigating officers.

Sources revealed that Pomila had admitted of buying huge property in the name of her only daughter Madhulika, presently studying in the USA. She also admitted that she had bought a flat worth more than Rs 20 lakh in Bangalore, three plots in Pinjore along with a big farm house. Besides this, she also bought a farm house on the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway No. 22.

Sources said in a short period the duo amassed wealth worth crores of rupees. Their entire property, including lockers, have been seized. The investigating officers found about 2 kg gold along with cash from a locker. They also found FDRs in the name of Pomila’s daughter for Rs 10 lakh.

Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, SP (Vigilance), added that the police and the vigilance officials were surprised at the amount of money spent on the construction and decoration of the MD’s bungalow in Panchkula. He said costly wood had been used even for the boundary wall.

Mr Bajwa revealed that the interrogation had also brought forth other irregularities. He claimed that the company had not only cheated the investors by claiming that it was developing land in their names which it had never purchased, but also showed heavy expenditure being made on developing the land.

Meanwhile, the Vigilance Department is trying to get accounts of all investors. The problem being faced by it was that since many employees of the company had already left their jobs computers could not be opened without a password. Sources said the police was looking for cooperation from the investors, who could give details about their investments.


Sambhar strays into Haibowal
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 3 — A badly injured sambhar that had accidentally strayed into the Haibowal area today afternoon was rescued by generous residents and a team of the activists of local chapter of the PFA. The sambhar, who was profusely bleeding from the mouth and other parts of the body, was chased into this colony by stray dogs who had spotted it in Kitchlu Nagar.

The animal was injured as it brushed against bushes and walls while trying to save itself from the dogs. The panic-stricken animal was caught after hours of struggle and was taken by the local chapter of the PFA for Animals in the evening to its hospital — Jeev Daya Sadan — for treatment. The animal was also taken to the PAU veterinary hospital for initial treatment.

The colony witnessed intense activity as people flocked to see the wild animal. The rush, however, only increased the nervousness of the animal making the task of PFA activists more difficult.

According to eye-witnesses, the animal was running around in the Kitchlu Nagar area and later in Haibowal. On being chased by stray dogs, it rushed inside the premises of a dairy where the owner Mr Pritam Singh provided it shelter.

According to Mr Pritam Singh, the animal was shivering with fear even after getting shelter. It was offered grass by the owner of the dairy which it refused to eat. “It was very difficult to control it as it is a very fast animal”.

The animal had injured its horns, legs, mouth and other parts of the body.

The president of local chapter of the PFA, Dr S.K. Jain, and the vice-president, Ms Anuradha Jain, who had visited the spot said the sambhar must have strayed into the city from Laddewal and Mattewal forests. Dr Jain said as the sambhar is a very sensitive animal it required to be treated with care. He said the animal would be sent to the tiger safari after it recuperated.

Dr Jain said as the PFA was active in the city and had come forward to the rescue of animals, even the police was helping the association in its mission after the start of the animal helpline. He, however, complained that after getting the news about the sambhar he had contacted the local Wildlife Department but no Wildlife Inspector or DFO was available. 


Gurmat samagam on Jan 6
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 3 — Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Giani Kewal Singh of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib and Giani Sant Singh Maskeen, a famous scholar, among other religious dignitaries, will attend the gurmat samagam at Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, on January 6, according to a press note issued here today.

Sikhs will be baptised from 6 am to 10 am, while amrit sanchar will be held in the afternoon.


Telecom company’s work washed away
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 3 — The continuous rain during the past two days has further deteriorated the condition of roads in Ludhiana. The earth on the sides of trenches made by a private telecom company has turned into mud at the Pakhowal road, Sham Singh road, Ghumar Mandi, Sarabha Nagar and Gurdev Nagar. The local Municipal Corporation had taken a bank guarantee from the company and if the company, for any reason is unable to complete the work within prescribed time, the bank guarantee would be released and the corporation would start the relaying work and filling up of trenches.

However, when Ludhiana Tribune talked to some residents, they expressed their anger and resentment over the attitude of the authorities. Mr Gagandeep Singh, a resident of Sarabha Nagar, said “It is even difficult to get into the car. Sometimes the car gets stuck and you need the help in the mud.” Dimple, a resident of Gurdev Nagar, said “It was risky during nights. Sometimes the streetlights do not work and the vehicles get stuck in the trenches”.

The open trenches are filled with sand, crushed stones mixed with bitumen. The process is called compacting and it followed by carpeting. An official of the HFCL said due to temporary compacting the restoration work would be done shortly. The official also confirmed that the company had received directions from the corporation recently in this regard. The company had given an assurance to complete the work within the prescribed time.


Bullock cart racers threaten stir
From Our Correspondent

MACHHIWARA, Jan 3 — On the directions of the Union Minister, Ms Maneka Gandhi, the ban imposed on bullock cart races in village tournaments has disappointed admirers. Though they had met Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, at Koomkalan village under the leadership of Mr Harchand Singh Dhandari and Mr Darshan Singh Manaki, president and secretary of the Punjab Bullock Cart Racers Committee, respectively, but in vain.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, they said how they risk Rs 2.5 lakh (spent on a bullock) by being cruel to it. They challenged the government to prove the allegation of cruelty to animals.

They questioned the minister’s attitude on the use of pigeons as messengers in Orissa, horses in the Army, dogs by the police, parade of elephants and other animals on Republic Day.

Depressed bullock cart racers threatened to launch an agitation if the ban imposed on them continued. 


A nice woman to know
By Asha Ahuja

Jan 3 — Sukh Varsha Vohra has lived up to her name, showering cheer on her family, colleagues, friends and workers. Ms. Vohra, after 35 years of service at a lecturer in Hindi in the local Government College for Women, retired two years ago. During her career, she has been the Principal of Government College, Bholath, a member of the Senate and the Syndicate of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. 

She says: “When I look back at my teaching career, it gives me immense satisfaction that I was instrumental in sharing my knowledge with young people. I enjoyed every day of my life. My main aim was to impart knowledge and money was never the consideration for me. Being interested in music and culture, I encouraged girls to take part in plays and other cultural programmes. 

My husband is an active Rotarian, and I used to help him prepare the cultural activities of the Rotary Club ”.Soft spoken, well read and astute, she was a great favourite of her students for she made her lessons interesting. She said: “I always advised my students to make the best use of their talents in any field, be it cooking, stitching, singing etc. I advised them to become self-sufficient and choose a career, but I am of the view that career should not overtake the principal duties of a woman i.e. to look after her house, her children and her husband. 

Career should not be of prime importance for a woman. She should be able to balance career and household duties, Incidentally, the comments of her friend of three decades, Mrs Dhillon, Principal Government College, Sidhsar, throw considerable light on her character. Mrs Dhillon said: “She has been an excellent friend, extremely helpful. In her personal life, she has had quite a lot of problems but she has faced them with great fortitude. She has a spirit of endurance. She does not disclose her personal sorrows and has not let it affect her work in the college. As her colleague in Government College I found that she had always masked her sufferings and appeared cheerful. 

She was always in the forefront of college activities. She is a good wife, a good mother, a good teacher and a very good friend." Mrs. Sukh Varsha has been sponsoring the education of poor, destitute students of her college. Once she met a girl who wanted to pursue her B.Ed. studies but her parents could not afford to pay the fees. She immediately paid the entire year’s fees which enabled the girl to complete her B.Ed. Now she is in service in Shimla and always remains in touch with her benefactor. The happiest day in her life was when her son got married. 

She says: “My son went to the USA to learn the latest techniques of tooth implant and dentistry. I am glad that he has come back to serve his people. My view is that after gaining knowledge from foreign countries, Indian boys and girls should give their services to their own country.” For the past two years, she has not been keeping good health. Still, she wants to work for Nirdosh, a school for mentally challenged children. She is a member of Innerwheel Club and the cause of handicapped children is dear to her as her own daughter is spastic. 

Her husband and her children dote on her and so do her friends, students, and all who come in contact with her. All would say, “Yes, she is a special person, a wonderful, generous woman and we thank God for the gift of her person.”Back


Woman commits suicide
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 3 — A married woman committed suicide and a case has been registered against her mother-in-law. According to an FIR registered at the Sadar police station here today, the complainant, Mr Bhajan Singh, a resident of Balewal village in Sangrur district, alleged that his daughter, Karamjit Kaur, ended her life by consuming poison on January 1 after being harassed by her mother-in-law, Surinder Kaur.

According to the FIR, the mother-in-law harassed her on several counts. The daughter informed her parents about it.

The father alleged that unable to tolerate it any longer she ended her life. No arrest has been made so far.Back

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