Friday, January 12, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Land scam worth crores detected, 2 suspended
By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 11 — After the Tajpur Road land scam in the city, another such scam involving crores of rupees has come to light here. There have been irregularities in the allotment of plots of the Adarash Colony Cooperative Society Ltd. An inspector of the Cooperative Societies Department has been placed under suspension for his alleged involvement in the scam.

The decision to suspend him was made past week and it brought cheers to several allottees of plots in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar and Rajguru Nagar here. The allottees had been running from pillar to post for the past more than one year, seeking action against employees responsible for the scam.

After several meetings with the district and state officials failed, the allottees sent several letters to higher officials to get heard. They even approached the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Chief Minister of Punjab.

Mr C.L. Jindal, a spokesperson of the allottees, had also been called to get his statement recorded in this case in October past year. After investigation, inspector Sardari Lal was suspended for allegedly committing irregularities in using funds of the Housing Board Cooperative Societies Ltd.

According to documents of the case, the Adarsh Colony Cooperative Society had bought land in Thrike and Sunet villages that are now called Rajguru Nagar and Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, respectively.

The Improvement Trust of Ludhiana, later, acquired the land and allotted 281 plots to the society. The local displaced persons and the rest were to be adjusted in Rajguru Nagar.

Chaman Lal Azad, an inspector of the Cooperative Societies Department was made an administrator of the body and given three months to hold the elections of the society. However, he allegedly enrolled 17 new members in the society, in violation of the orders. These members were allotted plots, also in violation of the rules.

On the complaint of the other members of the society, the Deputy Registrar of the Cooperative Societies cancelled all these allotments. His orders were confirmed by the Commissioner Appeals of Chandigarh in 1984.

Later, fresh allotments of plots were made to all the members, except the 17 illegal ones. However, in 1995, inspector Sardari Lal was made the administrator of the society and he allegedly gave away these plots of illegal allottees to 18 persons.

Mr Jindal said after his guilt was proved, he, too, was suspended. Officials of the department concerned could not be contacted. Sardari Lal has been posted out, so, he could not be contacted as well.


School kids worst hit due to cold
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 11 — Life was disrupted in Ludhiana and its adjoining areas with the mercury hovering around 3°C and fog enveloping the region. It was dark till even noon today, as the overnight fog had not disappeared.

It is not only the fog, but also the low temperature that has hit the city residents, especially school children. Though the administration has changed the school timing in view of the fog and the cold, it has not made much difference. The timing have been changed to 9.15 am, but it is still cold and foggy outside at this time here. The attendance in schools is falling.

The traffic on roads and railway tracks also remained disrupted due to the dense fog. Most of the night services have been suspended because the visibility at night is near zero. A driver who operates buses daily between Ludhiana and Delhi said the six-hour journey had now become ten-hour long due to the fog. Ram Kumar, a taxi operator said, these days, it took him ten hours to reach Ludhiana from Hisar, thought it was a 230 km journey only.

As trains were also delayed due to the fog, the passengers had to spend long hours in severe cold at the railway station.

The cold wave has forced people to stay indoors. The markets and the other public places here are not full of activity as usual. Even the restaurants that usually witness a rush of customers in the evening, look deserted. The manager of a leading restaurant of the city said the cold had reduced his business by half in the past week. Yesterday was an unusually lean day at the restaurant when only a quarter of the usual number of customers visited.

With the sun still playing hide and seek, the weather forecast says that the cold wave will prevail in the region for a few days more.


Pinki’s gunman surrenders, gets police remand
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 11 — Bittu Gill, one of the four accused persons in the Sunday night shootout incident in Maya Nagar, was remanded in police custody till January 17 by Mr B.K. Mehta, Senior Sub-Judge, here today.

Bittu Gill had surrendered before the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldip Singh, at his residence late last night.

In a related development in the Avtar Singh murder case, the police has also registered a case against unknown persons for damaging the house of the prime accused, Pinki. According to an FIR registered by the police, between 200 and 250 people attacked the house of Pinki on January 7 evening. The attackers also set on fire some furniture of the house. The case has been registered on the complaint of Mr Pawan Kumar, a neighbour of the accused cop in Maya Nagar.

Significantly, the accused while talking to mediapersons said that the boy died by the fire shot by Pinki.

He said he chose to surrender as there were reports that he had fired the shot that caused the death of Avtar Singh. He declined to comment on reports that he deserted the absconding group as he was being pressurised to take the murder charge on himself.

According to police sources, he revealed that on that night eight persons, including Pinki, were standing in the street when an argument began with some boys.

He said later about 15 persons came on the scene. The matter flared up and they fired gunshots. Later they fled the scene and headed towards Delhi where they stayed in Surya hotel. However, as the pressure of the police increased, Bittu Gill separated from the other persons and surrendered to the police.


Railways and ST Department lock horns on checkpost issue
By Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 11 — The local Sales Tax Department and Railways have one again locked horns, with the Railways writing to the ST Department asking it not to set up a check post inside the precincts of the railway station. The development comes in the wake of losses suffered by the Railways due to the raids conducted by the ST Department to check tax evasion by hosiery traders some time ago.

The Senior Divisional Commercial Manager of Ferozepur Division, Mr Harbhajan Lal, in his letter to the Additional Commissioner of Excise and Taxation, has asked the latter to set up a check post outside the premises of the railway station, if it wanted to check the evasion.

The letter says the Railways had to suffer loss of lakhs of rupees due to the raids conducted by the ST department on the railway station causing inconvenience to traders and also to the Railways, as its work was delayed.

It has been mentioned clearly in the letter that the ST Department had no right to conduct raids on the premises of Railways, but would cooperate with the former, if need be. According to Railways, the goods were seized once again illegally on the night of January 7 by the ST department and the former had also given the ultimatum to the latter for release of the seized goods within four hours of the receipt of letter.

The ST Department had raided the premises of the railway station on December 5 last. The opposition the railways had been so vehement, that had the tax officials not been equipped with a CBI and High Court order, they would not have been allowed to enter the station. Under the present rules, Sales Tax officials have to take permission from the Ministry of Railways in this regard.

In fact, during the past year, in July the two departments had been involved in a bitter row, when the railway officials uprooted a makeshift check post set up by the ST department in the city. The latter had then shot off protest letters to the Ministry of Railways through the Punjab Government, condemning the move and demanded permission for setting up such check posts at all railway stations of the state. The issue had been hanging fire since.

The ST officials were of the opinion that the need to set up such posts was felt after the setting up of computerised information collection centres at various road entrance points of the state. The traders, who allegedly indulged in tax evasion, then started sending more products through the railways, where not much vigil by the ST Department was possible.


88 mechanical handling units lie unutilised
By Gurminder Singh Grewal

KHAMANO, Jan 11— Although the Punjab Government claims to work for the development of the agricultural sector and for the welfare of the farmers in the state, some of its earlier schemes were breathing their last in the midway. One such scheme was the mechanical handling unit scheme introduced in 1980. The scheme was introduced earlier by the Punjab Agricultural University but later, on January 1,1981, its charge was given to Punjab Mandikaran Board. At that time these machines were brought from Pune.

In the beginning, mechanical handling units were introduced in some grain markets but later, between 1990 and 1992, these were put up in a large number of grain markets. A total of 88 units were set up in Kharar, Morinda, Khamano, Khanna, Ludhiana, Sahnewal, Jagraon, Patiala, Rajpura, Nabha, Ghanaur, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr, Kapurthala, Rayyia, Tarn Taran, Patti, Batala, Dhariwal, Malerkotla, Dhanaula, Amargarh , Dhuri, Sunam, Bhawanigarh, Barnala , Faridkot, Kotkapura, Moga, Badhni Kalan, Ferozepur, Fazilka and in Zira grain markets.

In 1980, six small units at the cost of Rs. 2 lakh per unit were set up. Later, 16 more units were set up at the cost of Rs 5 lakh per unit and after this 66 units were set up at the cost of Rs10 lakh per unit. The capacity of small units was 100 bags of wheat, 50 bags of paddy and that of big units was 200 bags of wheat and 100 bags of paddy per hour. These machines were capable of automatic weighing, filling and stitching of bags.

Most of these machines were lying under an open sky and were being damaged by rains but the officers of the Mandi Board are not bothered. Only some machines were under proper sheds. Most of the machines have been lying idle for the past many years. These have not been repaired for a long time. There are only a score of mechanics to look after these machines but at most of the places only chowkidars were looking after these machines.

The officers concerned with this scheme revealed that these machines were not out of order . These were lying idle because of willful neglect. It was also revealed that when Mr Ramesh Inder Singh was the secretary of the Mandi Board in 1987-88, these machines were operated to their full capacity and the results were up to the expectations. But later, no one gave any attention towards these because these machines could not give commission to anyone. It was also revealed that when these machines were introduced, rumours were spread out by some quarters that with the coming of these machines, commission agents will become idle and they will be thrown out of business, with the result that most of the commission agents started opposing this scheme. The officers of procurement agencies were also not interested in the scheme because they were also hand in glove with the commission agents.

The operation of these machines was beneficial to farmers because they got Rs 4 more than the fixed price and the payments were made on the spot. These machines were fitted with power cleaners that cleaned wheat and paddy better. These machines also saved a lot of time. But later, power cleaners were made compulsory for the commission agents after which these machines became almost idle.

The commercial electricity connections of these units are still going on and the payment of these bills is being made by the market committees. The electricity connections of these units should be terminated if these units are not to be made operational, the sources said. It is learnt that the government is planning to sell some of these units which have completed 20 years at throw away prices. The sale of the unit at Sahnewal may take place any time in the near future as all arrangements have been made in this connection, claimed the sources.


Traffic police short of personnel 
By Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Jan 11 — Acute shortage of staff is hitting the functioning of the traffic police in Ludhiana. The problem is getting complicated with the ever-increasing traffic on roads. On an average, there are six traffic policemen in the city for 10,000 vehicles that ply every day here, making the job difficult for them.

Ludhiana has the poor distinction of topping the list of cities with disproportionate ratio of the number of personnel to that of vehicles. While in Ludhiana the ratio is 6:10,000, in metros, like Kolkata it is 45:10,000. In Mumbai it is 37:10,000 and in Chennai it is 35:10,000. Besides, all these cities have better traffic management systems equipped with latest technology.

It is not just the shortage of traffic personnel, but limited roads also add to traffic problems. The road length has not been increased in Ludhiana in proportion to the rise in population and the consequent increase in the number of vehicles. In developed countries, 40 per cent of the area developed for habitation is marked for the construction of roads. If there is a settlement of 100 sq km, 40 sq km would be earmarked for the roads only. However, in Ludhiana not more than 10 per cent area is marked for the construction of roads.

A senior traffic police official told this correspondent that the management of traffic was related to several factors like regulating the development and expansion of city. It has to be a coordinated effort from different quarters and departments for the traffic to get streamlined, the official said. He said the population of the city was increasing unchecked, which was reflected in the chaos on roads, leading to accidents, traffic jams and the other traffic hazards here.

The official said, despite heavy traffic on city roads and limited traffic staff, the number of traffic accidents in the city had reduced considerably in the past few years. The number of deaths in accidents here has decreased compared to previous years. In 2000, about 145 persons died in road accidents in the city, whereas, in 1998, 226 persons had died in road accidents.


Octroi post cash looted
From Our Correspondent

KHAMANO, Jan 11 — A sun of Rs 600 was looted from an octroi post here yesterday by two unidentified persons travelling in a Tata Sumo.

According to the police, an employee of the Nagar Panchayat, Mr Bhupinder Kumar, was on his way from the octroi post No 2 to the main octroi post to deposit the cash when two youths with pistols in their hands took away the cash bag, threatening him of dire consequences if he made any noise.

A case under Sections 392 and 341, IPC, and 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act has been registered in this connection.

Raids were being conducted on some suspected hideouts, according to Inspector Shamsher Singh Guddu.


Woman sarpanch, kin beaten up
From Our Correspondent

Khanna, Jan 11 — An incident of firing at the house and beating up of a woman sarpanch and her kin over selection of a teacher by the village panchayat was reported here yesterday. A case has been registered by the Khanna police against three persons.

According to the police the panchayat of Bhaurla village, about 14 km from here, had selected Baljinder Kaur of the same village as a teacher under the Shiksha Karmi Scheme at the Government Primary School.

But another resident of the village, Prof Kulbir Singh, opposed the selection as he wanted another resident of the village, Kiranjit Kaur, to be selected for the same post.

According to the complaint lodged by the sarpanch, Ms Hardev Kaur, Prof Kulbir Singh and his associates, Baldev Singh and Ranbir Singh, came to her residence in the evening on Tuesday and fired shots in the air. Ms Hardev Kaur further alleged that they beaten her, her daughter in-law Charanjit Kaur and her mother-in-law, Pritam Kaur.

SHO Sadar Ram Singh said that a case has been registered under Sections 323,452,336 and 34 of the IPC.


Relevance of irrelevance
by N. S. Tasneem

Someone remarked jokingly the other day that poets became irrelevant just after a kavi darbar. They also need liquor, sumptuous dinner and a comfortable night’s stay. This casual remark in good humour set me thinking about when does a person become irrelevant in life.

Teachers become irrelevant after examinations are over. He expects reverence from pupils ever after examinations, but youngsters show it only as an obligation. Every teacher claims the credit for the success of his or her students, but no teachers owns the responsibility for the waywardness of the others who attended his or her classes.

Sometimes, a damsel in distress seeks the help of a passerby to get rid of the hooligans who harass her. The fellow, keeping up the tradition of chivalry, chases them away at the risks of his life and limbs. As soon as the rowdy elements are out of sight, the chivalrous person becomes irrelevant, but he tries to pamper the damsel. For the sake of courtesy, she may, for some time, tolerate his advances, but in her heart, she curses the moment when she sought his help.

If we overstretch our imagination, we can say that a husband becomes irrelevant as soon as his wife becomes expectant. Rudyard Kipling says that, in the animal world, father is seldom admitted into the inner circle of the family. He seeks new pastures to regain his relevance.

If friendship, a friend who is indebted to the other begins to pity himself. This distances himself from his friend and the relationship becomes irrelevant. When one of the friends gets married, there is nothing left in the relationship except recalling anecdotes of bachelorhood.

The heads of large families sink into half-forgetfulness without being aware of it. They are relevant as long as their grandchildren are growing up. Thereafter, the grandfather becomes just a decoration piece in the house. He leans the art of nodding when he agrees with the other members of the family and keeping mum when he wants to say no.

However, the grandmother is always relevant as she an asset to the family and seldom a liability.


Experts discuss farming problems
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 11 — Scientists of Punjab Agricultural University, namely Dr M.S. Bajwa, Director, Research and Dr G.S. Dhaliwal, Professor of Ecology, have cautioned farmers and agricultural scientists against the dangers which agriculture in Punjab is facing today.

The two scientists expressed their views at a seminar-cum-workshop on “Future problems and prospects of Punjab agriculture,” organised by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development at Chandigarh recently.

According to Dr Bajwa, who spoke on the future strategies for research and development of Punjab agriculture, the biggest landmark during the past about four decades was the attainment of self sufficiency in the production of foodgrains. Dr Bajwa attributed Punjab’s dominant contribution to national food security reserve largely to the generation and adoption of user-oriented agriculture technology. He emphasised that time was now opportune to pause and reflect on the past achievements vis-a-vis the challenges that lay ahead.

The future, according to Dr Bajwa, belonged to small farming systems in the state besides, time was ripe for taking to precision farming, using right inputs at the right time and in the right way in addition to efficient conservation of natural resources. He suggested that strategic research efforts should be directed at interrogated gene management, integrated soil health care and nutrient supply, integrated water management, integrated pest management, post-harvest management, site-specific technology marketing and marketing intelligence and policy issue.

Dr G.S. Dhaliwal, who spoke on the issue of pests, pesticides and environment, highlighted the adverse consequences of excessive reliance on pesticides for solving the problem created by pests. He said that American boll-worm and white-fly were two prominent pest of cotton, a crop which consumed more than half of the pesticides used by the farmers in Punjab.

Indiscriminate use of pesticides, Dr Dhaliwal revealed had nearly eliminated natural control in crop, such as cotton which had become vulnerable to slight disturbances in abiotic factors, leading to their failure. Likewise, the rice crop, which was relatively free from the menace of insect pests only two decades ago, was now suffering from attack of plant-hopes and leaf-folders .

A number of grassy weeds, especially canary grass and wild oats, had also become serious threats to wheat cultivation with the passage of time. Apart from polyphagous pests, such as fruit borers, cut-worms and defoliating caterpillars had become a menace to a wide range of crops. Dr Dhaliwal said pesticide residues above the tolerance level had been recorded on milk /milk products as well as cereals, pulses, oil-seeds, vegetables, animal feed and even mother’s milk .

To tackle these problems effectively he strongly advocated the use of integrated pest management, botanical pesticides and cultural control practices. Chemical practices, he suggested, should be the last line of defense and their use must be made most judiciously.


‘People fed up with govt policies’
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Jan 11 — “People of Punjab are fed up with the wrong and anti-people policies of the SAD-BJP government and are looking towards Congress for providing a better government. But to stage a come back, Congress will have to work hard and mobilise the masses on the basis of their programmes and policies.,” said Mr Sushil Parashar, chief organiser of Punjab Pradesh Congress Sewa Dal, while addressing a meeting in Shimla Puri locality here last evening. He said in order to regain power, the party rank and file will have to work unitedly and in a dedicated manner.

Though it was true that all sections of the people in Punjab were feeling frustrated and wanted a change of government, yet it would not be wise for the Congress to take things for granted. “We shall have to reach the masses and assure them that the party will provide a clean, effective and people-friendly government,” Mr Parashar added.

He informed that in keeping with a decision taken by top leadership of the Sewa Dal, during next two months birthdays and martyrdom days of those great sons of the motherland, who had laid down their lives for the country, would be observed as Ekta Diwas throughout the country. The underlying purpose of the programme was to strengthen the organisational base of the Sewa Dal, which would subsequently benefit the mainstream party (Congress) as well.

Prominent among others present in the meeting were Mr Kuldip Kukku, Mr Ravinder Batra, Mr Khushwant Rai, Mr Maninder Singh Gilotra, Ms Inderjit Kaur, Mr Charanjit Bansal, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Ramesh Sharma, Mr Raman Sharma, Mr Vikas Sharma, Ms Gurpreet Kaur, Mr Lakshman Singh, Mr Kulwant Swami and Mr Surjit Singh.


Controversy dogs government school
By Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, Jan 11 — A personal grudge has triggered a controversy between the principal and teachers of the Government Senior Secondary School at Lalton Kalan village. Not only the staff, but also the panchayat, politicians of the area, residents and the officers in the District Education Department find themselves embroiled in the episode.

The controversy reportedly began when relatives of a lady teacher visited the school and were not attended to properly by the principal. The next day, she is said to have been admonished by the principal for missing a class. The teacher felt rebuked and told about the incident to her colleague, who is a physical training teacher in the school. The PT teacher, who was not on speaking terms with the principal, allegedly argued with the principal. He is said to have accused the principal publically, for being irregular in school and misappropriating school fee and other funds.

The principal then sent a legal notice to the PT teacher in which she mentioned that she was being defamed by him. She also mentioned that she was being abused and disobeyed in school in front of the staff. The principal also mentioned that the teacher was spoiling the atmosphere at school.

Following this, the PT teacher complained to the District Education Officer that the principal was not able to administer the school properly and that she be shifted elsewhere. He also complained that the school gates were being locked by the principal, thus, curbing their liberty. He reportedly also wrote that the principal was seeking donations from school students.

When a reply was sought from the principal, she wrote back that all allegations were baseless. Not only the principal, but also the panchayat, villagers, a majority of the teaching staff and some Akali politicians are said to have written to the DEO (Secondary) pleading that the principal was being falsely accused and it was revenge owing to a personal grudge.

The Deputy DEO, Mr Bachitar Singh, is currently making inquiries into the incident and personally visited the school last Saturday. When contacted, he said that he was still going through the case and would present his report before the DEO within a week. He said that all efforts to diffuse the episode amicably proved futile and the matter was hotting up each day, affecting the functioning of the school.


Neem-coated urea soon
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 11 — The Shriram Fertilisers group is going to launch neem-coated urea in the near future for the benefits of the farmers. This was disclosed by Mr D.B. Mehta, group manager.

He was speaking at a dealer-trader meet organised by the group. Dr Kumar Santosh said, “Free farm advice and lab-to-land technologies are provided by the centres, besides other regular rural development programmes and some of its centres were already equipped with Internet facilities and the company plans to connect all centres with Internet.”

Prizes were distributed in lieu of the Shriram Jayanti celebrations. The first prize was awarded to Shiboomal Radha Mal of Malerkotla, whereas the second and third prizes were given to L. Indrajmal Mai Dhan of Sonipat and Kanihya Lala Jagdish Prasad of Ferozepore.

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