Wednesday, February 14, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Illegal construction goes on
By Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 13 — Contrary to the claims of the district administration, the construction work in illegal colonies in Kulliawal village on the Tajpur road here is going on unabated. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, few days ago had issued orders that no construction would be allowed in the area and no cash in the form of instalments should be given to the “owners” who sold the government land illegally.

The officials of the administration have been claiming time and again that the construction has been stalled here, but a visit by Ludhiana Tribune team to Baba Jiwan Singh Nagar, one of the four illegal colonies on Tajpur road, here today revealed that new houses were being constructed despite the orders. While a lensman of Ludhiana Tribune tried to click pictures, the persons present there tried to stop him. A senior official of the administration had even called up the Tribune office here when Ludhiana Tribune carried a story on illegal constructions on February 5, just to say that he was present on the spot and had stopped all the construction work.

The residents are quite aware of the fact that something is wrong with the land on which they are constructing houses. But they don’t know that this was agricultural land belonging to provincial government, which was allegedly sold to innocent people by land grabbers in connivance with some officials of the Revenue Department.

Despite the fact that the administration and the Police Department were made aware about the grabbing of the land by the complainants and the media, nothing substantial had been done by the officials to bring the guilty to the book. The Police Department and the administration had even conducted inquiries into the case, but no action was taken against anybody. Eyebrows are being raised as to why no FIR has been lodged till date.

The role of officials of the Revenue Department was questioned as a dead man was shown as tilling the land in revenue records. The question why the officials did not come to know that the agricultural land belonging to the government was being sold in the form of residential plots and why no action was taken against them, still remains unanswered.

Ironically the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had issued verbal orders when he came to attend a function at Punjab Agricultural University on December 22, the orders had not been complied with even though two months have already passed. The Deputy Commissioner, just to show that something was being done, issued orders, a copy of which was sent to the press, that no construction would be allowed on the spot, but the same was going on unabated.


BKU threatens agitation
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Feb 13 — The Bhartiya Kisan Union today threatened to start an agitation if the state government does not stop harassing farmers by issuing warrants against them under Section 67-A to recover loans.

The union passed this resolution at a conference held here today. The union said the main reason for the farmer’s indebtness was the anti-farmer policies of the government. The 72 per cent land holding in the state had come down to less than 4 acres per person, which was not viable. If the government could waive loans to the industry to the tune of 1.18 crore by treating the industry as sick, why could the farmers’ loan be not written off as the occupation was as sick as the industry, it asked.

The union passed seven resolutions in all. It demanded that the prices of wheat and sugarcane be fixed immediately by linking it with the price index with 1967 as the base year. It also demanded immediate payment of compensation for the loss of distress sale of paddy of the last season. It advocated the cause of export of potato from Punjab and compensation for the loss of vegetable crops in the recent past for severe cold and lack of marketing facilities. The union also demanded a CBI inquiry into the import of wheat, rice, sugar and edible oils ordered by Mr Surjit Singh Barnala during his tenure as Union Minister. To remove unemployment, the union demanded 90 per cent employment for Punjabi population reserved in the industry of Punjab.

Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, general secretary of the union, said the farmers were facing bad days as their economy had been shattered. They could not fulfil their social responsibilities. Their children had taken to drug addiction out of frustration. If the government failed to forsee their problem, the country would face an utter chaos.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann, a former MP and president of BKU, said Mr Badal was not worried about Punjab. He declared that a national rally of farmers would be held at Delhi in April.


Octroi evasion detected
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 13 — In the course of ongoing campaign against octroi evasion, enforcement staff of the Octroi Department of the Municipal Corporation intercepted three public transport vehicles during the past 24 hours and a large quantity of electronic goods, motor parts and items of general use, brought into the city without payment of octroi, were seized.

According to the Octroi Superintendent, Mr Tarlok Singh, one of the vehicles, impounded on the charge of octroi evasion, had the words ‘PRESS’ written boldly on the wind screen and the rear part of the body.

The seized goods, he added, were valued at about Rs 1 lakh and the amount of due octroi and penalty would be decided only after the owners produced relevant documents before the department.

Meanwhile, Mr Harjinder Singh, Joint Commissioner of the MC, has urged the members of trade and industry to bring goods to the city only after paying octroi. “The MC was determined to check octroi evasion and defaulters would be sternly dealt with,” he said.


Accountant accused of embezzlement
From Our Correspondent

SAHNEWAL, Feb 13 — An accountant working in the shop of a local arhtiya has been accused of embezzling Rs 1.50 lakh by the latter.

According to the sources, Mr Ranjit Singh and Mr Gurdip Singh, both brothers working as Arhtiyas and having a shop in the local grain market, employed an accountant named Bhupinder Singh of Rajgarh village last year.

Mr Gurdip Singh said that their account was with the State Bank of Patiala and Mr Ranjit Singh used to sign cheques in Urdu. The accountant kept note of it and took out a cheque along with the counter-foil from the cheque book. He then allegedly forged the signatures of Mr Ranjit Singh and went to the bank from where a withdrew Rs 1.50 lakh and absconded.

Mr Gurdip Singh further said, “Before going, Bhupinder Singh collected his entire pay from me”. By the time they came to know of his misdeed, it was too late. They hace complained to the police. “But the facts are to be scrutinised before a case is registered,” said Mr Raj Barinder Singh, SHO, Sahnewal police station.


Prof manhandled at PAU
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 13 — A professor from Horticultural University, Solan, was manhandled at Punjab Agricultural University here yesterday. Dr S.P. Dhall was on a visit to the PAU to take the viva of a local Ph.D student and was staying at the Parker House.

In his complaint to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr G.S. Kalkat, he alleged that he was resting in his room when Joga Singh, an employee of the Estate Office, who was drunk broke into his room and manhandled him. He even broke windowpanes of the Parker House. Dr K.S. Aulakh, Pro-VC has been deputed by the VC to look into the matter. 


Teacher’s crusade against tobacco
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 13 — In a novel method to join the crusade against the use of tobacco, a local teacher has come out with a book Tobacco and Print Media. Mr Sarabjeet Singh, an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism, Punjab Agricultural University, has done a documentation and analysis of coverage of “World No Tobacco Day” in 39 newspapers of the country.

Besides documentation and coverage, Mr Sarabjeet Singh has also suggested ways to increase this coverage in the ensuing years in order to use the vast power of media to influence and mobilise the public opinions as well as the massive out- reach to convey the message effectively for banning the use of tobacco.

According to him, media help is required for this noble cause not only for the wellbeing of smokers but also for non-smokers, who despite no fault of theirs, were exposed to more harm than the smokers themselves.

He opines that the fight if not carried out effectively will lead to ‘’tobacco epidemic’’, which would ruin the future of the country. He said this called for awareness among the masses to protect themselves from the deadly epidemic.

The 60-page book published by the Directorate of Social and Health Services, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, carries clippings from newspapers published in Hindi, English and Punjabi. His inferences are that a leading national newspaper carried maximum number of write-ups on May 30, 2000, “World No Tobacco Day”.

He has included an advertisement of a cigarette brand carried on the sports page of a national newspaper and has termed it “shame” on the newspaper community. The book also contains quotes from well known personalities of the world, which are displayed prominently and convey the message very strongly.

As per Mr Sarabjeet Singh’s observations, the local supplements of many newspapers here gave a vast coverage of the “World No Tobacco Day”. Calling it a very encouraging and responsible trend, he says that if the media ganged up against the use of tobacco, the day was not far when there would be no use of tobacco in the country.

The book carries posters condemning the use of tobacco and pictures of patients suffering from oral cancer due to tobacco chewing. The book has been documented in a strong message as it conveys the message to stop the use of tobacco and at the same time with the help of strong pictures scare the user.



Tohra for security zones in Srinagar
From Our Correspondent

AMLOH, Feb 13 — For the security of the minorities particularly in Jammu and Kashmir the government should form security zones in Srinagar and Jammu where Sikhs and Kashmiri Brahmins would be able to keep their families secure and can do their business, were the views expressed by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the Sarb Hind Akali Dal, and member Rajya Sabha, after his return from the bhog ceremonies of six Sikhs killed in Srinagar, at Tarkheri village 8 Km from here today while addressing a gathering at the bhog ceremony of an Akali leader, Modan Singh.

He questioned the promises of the government regarding safety of the minorities and said that these were baseless in the light of the actual conditions prevailing there. The security forces, which have been deployed for the security of the people enter their barracks at 6 pm, unmindful of the fate of the people living in villages. He strongly criticised the task-force entrusted with the security of the area which according to him is involved in fake encounters just like in Punjab in the days of militancy. 


Sukhbir denies interference in police functioning
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 13 — The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) general secretary and the Chief Minister’s son, Mr Sukhbir Badal, has denied interference in the police functioning, claiming that this was a canard spread by his rivals to defame him. At the same time, he justified his nomination to the Rajya Sabha, claiming he had over one-and-a-half decade of political career and had worked for the party.

Mr Badal, who was here to attend a marriage function, in an interview with The Tribune, dared those who were accusing him of interference to prove their charge.



Literary associations’ plea to Punjabis
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 13 — Mr Amrik Singh Pooni, a former Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal, ex-MLA, Mr Harjit Singh Bedi, and Prof Gurbhajan Singh Gill, who are heading the Punjabi Sahit Academy, Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation, Mr Sobha Singh Memorial Foundation and Baba Farid Foundation International, respectively, have appealed to all Punjabis that in the census they should be careful about showing their mother tongue as Punjabi. This will help in the promotion and development of their language, literature and culture, they added.


8 held under gambling Act
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 13 — A case was registered under the Gambling Act against Parveen Kumar, Surinder Kumar, Rajiv Kumar, Deepak Kumar, Anoop Kumar, Dalip Kumar, Raj Kumar and Prem Kumar, all local residents, here today. They were arrested and a set of cards recovered from their possession along with cash of Rs 35,100. All accused have been released on bail.

In another incident, a case was registered under Sections 452, 427, 506 and 148 of the IPC on Tuesday on the statement of Mr Mohan Bir Singh, owner of the Mohan Veer Poultry Farm, Lalto Kalan, against Harbans Singh, Kamal Jit Singh, Darsham Singh, Karnail Singh and Kuldeep Singh, all residents of Ghumar Mandi and Lalto Kalan. 


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