Monday, January 29, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rs 10 lakh collected for Gujarat quake relief
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 28 — There has been a spontaneous and generous response from the people here, to the calamity which struck Gujarat and claimed at least 16,000 lives on the Republic Day. People have come forward with all sort of contributions for the quake-hit people. The donations range from small amount of cash to goods like blankets and medicines.

The tone was set by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K Sandhu, who announced that the staff members of his and other district administration offices will contribute their one day salary towards the relief fund for the Gujarat quake victims. The DC, the ADC, ADC (D) and the SDMs contributed two days’ salary taking the total amount to Rs 2.5 lakh.

Mr Sandhu disclosed that the administration had decided to create relief fund to facilitate the contributions from various social, religious and voluntary organisations for the quake victims. He revealed that the response of the public, including leading industrialists and traders, had been overwhelming. On the very first day the Subzi Mandi Arthiya Association donated Rs 1 lakh, while various trader associations of Mullanpur contributed Rs 1,13,400 also on the first day.

The Deputy Commissioner said, the response from people had been phenomenal. In the first two days, the contributions from a few organisations had already crossed Rs 10 lakh. The Satluj Club, one of the premier and elite clubs in the city, contributed Rs 2.5 lakh as an immediate and first installment. A cheque for the amount was handed over to the Deputy Commissioner by the club members. The club which has about 25,00 members has made it mandatory for each of its members to contribute a minimum amount of Rs 100 each. The club hopes to raise more contributions for quake relief.

Mr Sandhu has been personally monitoring and coordinating various activities related to the relief measures both in cash and kind. He said, although the district administration was yet to receive any instructions from the government, the authorities had already made arrangements for collecting the donations and contributions in a centralised manner. So far the district administration has already dispatched 20,000 blankets to Gujarat and more will follow soon.

The Deputy Commissioner disclosed that he had started with an initial target of Rs 25 lakh from Ludhiana district. Given the overwhelming response from individuals, institutions and various other organisations, the amount may far exceed the target. Ludhiana Petroleum Dealers Association, Ludhiana Jewellers' Association, Ludhiana Cinema Owners' Association, Ludhiana Arms Manufacturers' Association, Property Dealers' Association and different associations of Raikote and Mullapur and the Subzi Mandi Arthiya Association have donated a sum of Rs one lakh each. Knitwear Club and Ludhiana Hosiery Association have jointly contributed Rs 1.25 lakh. Besides the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital has contributed Rs 20,000, Lodhi Club Rs 50,000 and Mr M.S Bhogal a leading industrialist Rs 20,000.

The nature of aid to be dispatched will be determined by the requirements from the quake-hit areas. So far the demand was for the blankets only. Over a due course of time as the requirements come from Gujarat relief and other aid will be arranged accordingly, the Deputy Commissioner said. The administration is also arranging for medicines to be dispatched to Gujarat immediately.

MANDI GOBINDGARH (FOC): Mr Jagmeet Singh Sahota, president, All India Anti Terrorist Front, Punjab, chaired a meeting here on Sunday to condole the deaths caused by the earthquake in Gujarat. Representatives of various organisations and people participated in the meeting. It was decided to send two truckloads of relief goods to Gujarat on Tuesday.

The meeting appealed to the people to come forward with relief items to be collected at the front's office in Loha Bazar.


Action against senior police officials likely
 Dalit torture case
By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 28 — Certain senior police officer(s) in the district are likely to be in the dock in the near future in the Dalit torture case in which suspended Inspector Maninder Bedi is facing trial for attempt to murder.

Revealing this to Ludhiana Tribune in an exclusive interview here yesterday, Mr Harinder Singh Khalsa, a member of the National Commission for SC and STs, which was a Constitutional authority, stated that though the commission and the ongoing inquiry into the case by Mr Sumedh Saini had brought up several hidden or covered up facts in the case, the silence or denial of certain senior police officer or officers in the case was quite intriguing. He said the commission was awaiting the Action Taken Report in the inquiry and would then proceed against the senior police officer(s) who first tried to feign ignorance about the case, denied it or tried to hush up the case by making payment to the victim’s family.

Mr Khalsa said it did not matter to the commission that the victim Raju had died and his family had not withdrawn the statement. He said for the commission the case was committed against the state and in violation of Section 3 of the Atrocities Act. He said grievous injuries were caused to certain persons but a more heinous crime was to hush up the matter. He said any person found guilty of effecting a compromise between an alleged oppressor and the victim in the Atrocities Act was also liable to face action.

Mr Khalsa said, “The commission is awaiting the report and will then decide on further action to be taken against the senior officers. The commission will also investigate what has prompted the senior officers to show negligence of duty in the case.” He added that such an officer would be liable to be prosecuted under the Atrocities Act or under the charges of hatching a criminal conspiracy.

A delegation of the Vishwa Guru Ravi Dass Mission, led by its chairman, Mr Jaswant Kataria, and president, Mr Shiv Ram Saroy, met Mr Khalsa and handed him a memorandum demanding action against the senior officers involved in the case. Mr Kataria and Mr Saroy demanded that the police officials or other persons who allegedly paid money to the victim’s family should also be made a party in the case.

In case of action against a senior officer, the case would catapult into an embarrassment for the police. The DGP, Mr Sarbjit Singh, and the SSP, Mr Kuldip Singh, had appeared before the commission. Addressing a press conference, the SSP had denied the involvement of any senior police officer in the case. He said no one had hushed up the matter.

The alleged torture of the three Dailt youths took place in October last. A number of persons were picked by the city police on the charges of gambling during Divali and three youths were allegedly tortured. One of them, Raju, later died and another, Minto, suffered serious injuries. The condition of the third was not serious. The police registered a case against Inspector Maninder Bedi and SI Jaswinder Singh in November. The victim’s family later withdrew the case after they were allegedly paid compensation.

Minto and the Vishwa Guru Ravi Dass Mission continued to fight for justice. They approached the commission, which summoned the DGP and the SSP and entrusted the inquiry to Mr Sumedh Saini. Mr Saini recommended the arrest of Maninder Bedi, amended the FIR and charged him of attempt to murder. The involvement of some senior officers was still shrouded in mystery.


Telecom Dept fined for deficient service
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 28 — The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the Telecom Department to pay Rs 500 as compensation, along with Rs 200 as cost of petition, to Mr Om Parkash.

Mr Om Parkash, a partner in the Delhi Golden Transport Company, Transport Nagar, had stated before the forum that his telephone developed problems on April 26, 1999. The complainant had alleged that despite making a number of complaints on the telephone number 198, no action was taken. The complainant filed a written complaint on May 1, 2000.

The complainant had stated that as per rules, rent rebate had to be given when the telephone was not in working condition for more than six days. He had stated through his representative, Mr S.S. Sarna, that according to a judgement of the Punjab State Commission, the telephone should be rectified on the same day or the next day. The commission had allowed Rs 2,000 as compensation and Rs 1,500 as costs for the telephone remaining faulty for 21 days.

The department had denied that the complainant was using the telephone for business purpose. It had further stated that the complaint was made on April 26, 1999, and the fault was rectified on April 27, 1999.

The opposite party submitted that there were a number of complaints on account of the rains and on account of development work in Transport Nagar.

The forum observed that the telephone remained inoperative from April 26, 2000, to May 4, 2000. The forum further held that this was deficiency in service on the part of the Telephone Department.


Zila Parishad land auctioned
By Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, Jan 28 — The controversy surrounding about 3 acres of government land in New Deep Nagar locality, which the Zila Parishad claimed to own, deepened with a part of the land being auctioned on January 24 despite vociferous protests by residents of the area and the Municipal Corporation challenging the ownership of the Zila Parishad in writing.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, told Ludhiana Tribune on Tuesday evening that the auction was postponed and the matter would be examined and discussed with the state government before a final decision was taken. Another message was conveyed by the DC office the next morning, that the auction would take place as scheduled.

Mr Sandhu later told that the plea taken by the MC that the land belonged to it and was to be used for public utilities under the town planning scheme of the area was legally untenable. The stand taken by the MC on the basis of Section 431 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, did not apply to the Zila Parishad, which had an entity of its own. The DC admitted that some part of the said land was under encroachment, which would be got vacated soon.

A former president of the MC, Mr Prem Chand Gupta, in a representation to the MC, said the land in question was under the possession of the civic body for a long time and was being used as a dumping site. The area was a part of the town planning scheme, known as New Kundan Puri, and was shown as roads, while a part of the land lying vacant was reserved for a community hall, a library and public parking.

However, on the basis of certain documents from the Director, Rural Development and Panchayat Department, Punjab, the land was mutated in the name of Zila Parishad, the representation added. According to Mr Gupta, the Punjab Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad Act, 1961, stood repealed by virtue of Section 431 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976. Moreover, under the Punjab Panchayti Raj Act, 1995, the Zila Parishad could not hold or possess any property within the municipal limits, except for its own administrative complex.

A political activist and resident of the locality, Mr Sham Singh Harikay, alleged that the administration was going ahead to dispose of the land with undue haste at the instance of certain influential politicians. The part of land auctioned on January 24 had fetched just Rs 12,000 per square yard as against an earlier bid of more than Rs 20,000, he claimed.

The residents of the area maintained that the mutation of the land in the name of the Zila Parishad be set aside under the rules, auction of a part of land already held be cancelled and the land be handed over to the MC for construction of a community hall and a library, as was originally planned under the town planning scheme, approved by the state government. But with the administration and the MC embroiled in intricate legalities, the chances of the land being restored to the civic body and being used for community purposes seemed remote.


Probe sought into Dhand’s connections
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 28 — Senior Congress leaders have sought a thorough probe into the political connections of Nirdosh Dhand, who is facing charge of murder and is currently under police remand.

The senior Congress leader and former Speaker of the Punjab State Legislative Assembly, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, and the District Youth Congress president (Urban), Mr Parminder Mehta, today met the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, and demanded that all those people who were helping Dhand should be exposed.

While admitting that Dhand had earlier been associated with the Congress, they alleged that he was given patronage by people of all the political parties. This, they said, needed to be probed.

Nirdosh Dhand, who was recently arrested by the police, was earlier an office-bearer of the Punjab Youth Congress. He is allegedly involved in a case of murder of an industrialist besides an attempt to murder and several other criminal cases. It was after a prolonged chase that lasted for about 25 days that the police could get hold of him.

Mr Johar and Mr Mehta also brought to the notice of the SSP, the concern among people in the Islamganj area where some children were reported missing and some of whom were subsequently found dead.


More councillors oppose project
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 28 — Cutting across party lines several more councillors have come out against the construction of the elevated road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema.

The councillors are obviously succumbing to the demands of the trading community, which feels that the elevated road project may hit their business, although they are giving different reasons for the same.

The majority of councillors have been seeking a review of the project arguing that the government should weigh all plus and minus points before going ahead with the project.

According to Mr Mohinder Aggarwal, the convener of the sangharsh samiti, the samiti had reiterated its resolve to stress upon the government to take all aspects into consideration before starting work on the construction of Rs 43 crore- project.


Naini is Malika-e-Husn
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 28 — Naini won the title of Malika-e-Husn, Swati was declared first runner-up and Roopy was chosen second runner-up at a show organised here last evening. A one-minute silence was observed in memory of those who died in the Gujarat earthquake.

Thirteen participants took part in the contest. The models walked the ramp on a Hindi number, kabhi kabhi mere dil mein. They were attired in plain satin sarees, hand-embroided blouses and silver jewellery.

In the second round, the participants were accompanied by their costume designers. The outfits were appreciated by the audience. The contestants wore black suits in the next round. The choreographer and compere Sulakshana asked them various questions.

Five girls were shortlisted for the final round, the bridal round. Naini also got the title of Adaakara. The Jalwa-e-muskan title was given to Roopy. Swati walked away with the Gajagamini title.

The judges were Ms Richa Aggarwal, Mr Prem Sagar Jain, Ms Geetanjali Jalota, Mr Sanjiv Goel and Ms Geeta Chaddha. Mr Chander Shekhar, Inspector-General of Police, was the chief guest.


Two booked on fraud charge
From Our Correspondent

AMLOH, Jan 28 — The local police has registered a case against Raminder Kaur Brar, an employee of Punjab and Sind Bank’s branch here, and Sarinderpal Singh, a resident of Faridkot, under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, IPC. However, no arrest has been made so far.

According to Mr Bhula Singh, SHO, Mr Raj Kumar of Rajpura lodged a complaint that he had purchased a Santro car (PB 7809) from Raminder Kaur Brar for Rs 2.80 lakh which was registered in the name of Sarinderpal Singh, a relative of Mrs Brar. According to the report, the car was supposedly purchased from Godawari Motors, Ludhiana, vide bill no 1301 of October 2, 2000, and was registered at Faridkot.

The whole matter came to light when Mr Raj Kumar brought the car to a workshop in Chandigarh where the computer revealed that the car bearing the same engine/chassis numbers had been purchased by Mr Surinder Kumar of Panchkula. It was financed by the ICICI and registered at Chandigarh (HR-03C-8359) against the company bill dated November 2, 2000.

According to the police, when Mr Raj Kumar contacted Mrs Brar, who had sold the car on behalf of Sarinderpal Singh, she assured to clear the matter in a day or two. But she did not return to her duty resulting in the filing of the complaint.


Two proclaimed offenders held
From Our Correspondent

DORAHA, Jan 28 — Two proclaimed offenders wanted in the Dhakki Sahib arson case were arrested by the Payal police today.

According to Mr R.N. Dhoke, SSP Khanna, Balbir Singh, alias Beera, and Jaspal were nabbed from Maksoodra village. The two were allegedly involved in the incident in Dhakki Sahib on December 2, 1999, when the gurdwara of Sant Darshan Singh, Dhakki Wale, was set on fire, in which a large number of items were destroyed.

A case had been registered under Sections 427, 447, 436, 506, 295, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act. The duo had been declared proclaimed offenders in the case.


Bid to loot shop
From Our Correspondent

AMLOH, Jan 28 — Two scooter-borne robbers with muffled faces injured a farmer in a bid to loot a liquor shop at Faizullapur village, 10 km from here, on Saturday night.

When the robbers made an attempt to snatch the cash, shop employees raised the alarm. Mr Paramjit Singh, an ex-serviceman and a farmer, who was working in the nearby fields held one of them. At this, the other robber fired at the farmer from a revolver injuring him seriously. However, they managed to escape leaving behind the scooter (PB26-A 5746). The injured was admitted to the Rajindera Hospital, Patiala.

The Amloh police has registered a case. Mr Kawarjit Singh Sandhu, SP (D), Fatehgarh Sahib, said later one of the culprit was arrested near Rajewal village. He was handed over to the Khanna police.

The nabbed culprit has been identified as Sinder Singh of Barwali village and the other as Shinda of Roda Majra village in Garhshankar.

Mr Sanjeev Gupta, DIG, Patiala range, said shop employees, farmers and the police party would rewarded for bravery.

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