Monday, April 30, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Robbers strike in village; kill one, injure 4
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 29
A gang of robbers last night struck at the residence of a farmer, Mr Sardul Singh (62), at Nabipur village, 5 km from here, and shot dead his younger son Varinder Singh (25) and seriously injured four members of his family. They took away cash and jewellery from the place.

The injured members of the family were taken to the Civil Hospital, Fatehgarh Sahib by villagers, who came to know about the incident in the morning. Those injured have been identified as Pritam Kaur (55), wife of Sardul Singh, Daljit Kaur (29) and Kanwaljit Kaur (22), daughters of Sardul Singh.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune at Civil Hospital, Mr Sardul Singh said he along with other members of his family was sleeping in the courtyard of his house, and at about 2 a.m. someone hit him in the head with some iron rod, making him writhe in pain. As he got up, he found that five to six persons with iron rods, swords and other items were roaming in the house, and started beating all his family members.

He prayed before the attackers not to attack the women present at home. He said his wife Pritam Kaur gave the keys of an almirah to them. He said the robbers demanded the money of the wheat, and jewellery. The family members said that they were petty farmers and were already under debt and leading only a hand-to-mouth existence. However, they started beating them and ordered the women to hand over the jewellery they were wearing. He said in the meantime my younger son Varinder Singh (25), who was sleeping in another room after hearing the cries of the other family members, came to the rescue and as soon as he came out with some weapon in hand they shot him with .12 bore rifle. He died on the spot.

Mr Sardul Singh said the clean-shaven robbers, who were five to six in number, were wearing patkas and talked in “mixed” Hindi and Punjabi. They conversed with each other in some different language. The robbers remained in the house for an hour. His daughter-in-law along with her two-year-old son hid themselves in the bathroom and bolted from inside. The robbers could not locate them.

Before leaving the house, the robbers gave them water to drink and dragged all of them in a room and locked it from outside.

He said it was his daughter-in-law, who after some time, raised an alarm and informed the neighbourer, who made the announcement on the village gurdwara speaker. Later the villagers brought them to the civil hospital. The robbers broke all almirahs and took away the cash and the jewellery. Sardul Singh said he had no enmity with any one and it was the handiwork of some gang of robbers.

Mr K.S. Sandhu, SP (D), said it was the handiwork of some criminal gang, which entered the house by jumping the boundary wall. He said these are seasonal gangs, which operate during these days as they expect that the farmers must have cash at their home as they have sold wheat.

Meanwhile, representatives of various social, religious and political organisations visited the site and the hospital and strongly condemned the incident. Mr Bir Devinder Singh, a senior Congress leader, and Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, demanded that “operation night dominance” should be re-started and the whereabouts of the unscheduled seasonal migrant labourers should be verified and their registration should be made compulsory.

Interestingly, there was no doctor present in the hospital for the post-mortem. Mr Bir Devinder Singh talked to the Deputy Commissioner in this regard and it was on the intervention of the Deputy Commissioner that doctors were arranged.

The police has registered a case under Section 460 IPC.


Cases against 6 for land scam
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 29
The city police registered cases against six persons, including four women, here today, for a land scam in Kuliawal village. Private colonisers have allegedly sold 10 acres belonging to a city resident several times over.

The case has been registered five months after the SP (Operations) had recommended the registration of an FIR. The file allegedly disappeared after it was handed over to senior officials. It has now reappeared.

The DSP (EO), Mr Satish Malhotra, said cases under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC had been registered against Dalip Singh, Karam Singh and sisters — Darshan Kaur, Surinder Kaur, Satinder Kaur and Amarjit Kaur. Dalip Singh and Darshan Kaur have been arrested by the police. The others have absconded.

The scam is apparently part of a larger scam involving 100 acres that was exposed by ‘Ludhiana Tribune’. The government owns 90 acres of this land that has been sold several times over. A 300-house colony has come up on this government land that is valued at about Rs 3 crore, but officials are not bothered.

More heads, especially of government employees, are likely to roll in this case. Revenue officials had allegedly shown that a “dead man” was tilling a land since 1990.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.S. Sandhu, had also conducted an inquiry in this case. The inquiry report did not mention who owned the land, but said it had been encroached upon. It also ordered the removal of all structures from the land, but the order was never carried out.

The police action has also given relief to complainants Rakesh Sharma and Mohinder Singh, who have been moving from pillar to post to get the case registered. They claim to be the rightful owners of these 10 acres and are fighting the case for the past more than two years. The original owner of the land, Mr Harbans Lal, had given the power of attorney to them two years ago, after he had fought in vain for 35 years to get back his land.

Mr Harbans Lal had received this land on August 9, 1965, from the then provincial government. The land was, however, tilled by several persons, including Banta Singh, Pal Singh, Dalip Singh and Karam Singh. Though Banta Singh died in 1990, the revenue records continue to show that he is tilling the land. A part of the land that he used to till passed on to his four daughters. The police has now registered the case against these women.


PAU to hold interviews under CAS
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 29
Finally ending the controversy surrounding the implementation of the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS), Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has decided to hold interviews of faculty members, who had applied for promotions under the CAS, in the second week May.

Disclosing this to Ludhiana Tribune here today, the Vice-Chancellor of the PAU, Dr K.S. Aualkh, said the interviews would be conducted on May 8, 10 and 12 and the faculty members would be informed about these dates very soon. He also said that the guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research were being followed by the university in toto. The scheme would be implemented from July 27, 1998, instead of January 1, 1996. However, the faculty members of the university were demanding the date of implementation of the scheme from 1996 only, he added.

The issue was hanging in fire between the faculty members and authorities of the PAU since July last when the ICAR had issued guidelines (vide letter dated July 19, 2000) to all the universities of the state to implement the CAS. The university authorities had taken up the matter at the two meetings of the Board of Management in June and July last year and it was notified that the scheme would be implemented from January 1, 1996 in PAU.

Later on August 11, 2000, the statutes of the university regarding the CAS were approved and it was notified by the Registrar. It was alleged that the scheme implemented by the university had deviation from the stipulated guidelines by the ICAR. The deviation was mainly said to be related to criterion concerning the eligibility of teachers for promotion to different cadres.

The varsity had invited applications from various faculty members seeking promotions by September 25 last. As many as 532 faculty members had applied for the promotions which included assistant professors for senior scale, assistant professors for selection grade, associate professors and professors and equivalent.


All-party panel to review elevated road project
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 29
As the controversy on the ambitious elevated road project of the Municipal Corporation refuses to die down, the city Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, has set up an all-party review committee for the project, which would discuss the pros and cons of the Rs 40-crore project in the light of the suggestions and objections received from the public and a large number of local trade and commercial organisations, before the proposal was brought before the general house as directed by the Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Das Tandon.

Disclosing this Mr Grewal told Ludhiana Tribune today that the committee, headed by him, would have Mr Jagdish Prasad Loomba, Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Pran Bhatia, group leader of the BJP, Mr Hakam Singh Giaspura, Mr Manjit Singh Mundi (both from the SAD), Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia, group leader of the Congress, Mr Jai Parkash, an Independent councillor and member of the Finance and Contracts Committee, Mr Lachman Das, Superintending Engineer, B&R, and Mr Prem Sharma, Executive Engineer (Projects), as its members. The technical consultants to the project would also be closely involved with the review of the project.

The proposed 2.5-km elevated road, to be constructed over the Old G.T. Road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema, purportedly to tide over the chaotic traffic conditions in the most congested commercial areas in the city and to effectively meet the needs of the ever increasing vehicular traffic, has been in the eye of storm for quite some time now, for reasons more political in nature than those for the genuine concern for the betterment of the city.

Scores of shopkeepers and traders, located along the Old G.T. Road are up in arms against the project, apprehending disruption in business activity, particularly during the period the construction work would in progress. The shopkeepers, likely to be affected, have set up an action committee, to spearhead the campaign against the project.

The shopkeepers, opposed to the construction of the elevated road, involving a huge expenditure, plead that the MC administration was just being extravagant and indulging in wasteful expenditure. The scarce financial resources could be better utilised on expansion of basic amenities like sewerage and water supply.


DMCH circular on inhouse tests
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, April 29
Some doctors of Dayananad Medical College and Hospital expressed their resentment over what they term as “commissions and kickbacks” received by doctors as their share from the revenue generated through diagnostic tests conducted at the hospital.

The management has issued a circular making it mandatory for all doctors to ensure that every diagnositic test is conducted inhouse, even when reports from outside clinics are available. This decision has benefitted many doctors, but some of them have objected to the practice. These doctors say that though this has ensured an income ranging from a few thousands to several lakhs each month for the doctors, but the move is unethical and anti-patient.

A management source on condition of anonymity, while confirming the circular, said “This has been done because we realise that lakhs of rupees were earned by these doctors as kickbacks from private labs. This way the management ensures that the tests were conducted at the hospital and revenue earned by private labs is diverted to the hospital resources”.

The circular clearly mentions that no person, whether in emergency or otherwise, shall ever be operated or treated by any consultant on the basis of investigations done from outside the hospital subject to such facilities being available in the DMCH.

The management, in the circular which clearly spells out the share for each consultant, says that for all investigations, private ward patients should be given preference. A share of 80 per cent of the fee will be allowed to the consultants from the general ward patients.

It has been mentioned in the circular that paying clinic consultation (on non-OPD days) fee will be allowed at the rate of 100 per cent of the charges. All investigations will have to be got done from the DMCH only and any failure to do so shall entail the consultant loosing the entire share as mentioned in this clause.

For all laboratories like pathology, microbiology and biochemistry, the share will be 3.5 per cent on the charges whereas for Radio Diagnosis Department, it will be 5.5 per cent on all charges pertaining to X-rays, CT, Ultra-sound etc.

The circular says that when income is pooled, the share will be divided in the ratio of 2.50 and 2:00 parts each for the professor and reader and 1:50, 1:00, .50 parts each for lecturer, Senior microbiologist/ senior biochemist and microbiologist/ biochemist respectively.

Transplant surgeons will get Rs 20,000, donor surgeons Rs 5000, nephrologist Rs 5000 and anaesthetist will get Rs 8,000 according to the circular.

In case the patients are attended, treated, operated or given anaesthesia on the day of admission in the Emergency Department between 8:30 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. next day, the additional share will be given to the doctors.

One of a senior doctor at the DMCH said majority of the faculty was unhappy with the management’s working. In August 2000, two doctors of the hospital were suspended for doing private practice, while the management itself was encouraging commercialisation within the institution. The doctors have alleged that management was victimising certain doctors who were against commercialisation of the institute.


12 licences suspended
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 29
Dr G. Vajralingam, Director of Food and Supplies Punjab, has suspended the licences of 12 traders for various reasons. He issued a strict warning to others: the norms of procurement should be observed and there should be no harassment to the farmers.

The Director was on a visit to Doraha, Sahnewal, Payal, Mullanpur and Jagraon mandis to see the procurement process of wheat. He was accompanied by Dr Bhupinder Pal Singh , Deputy Director Food and Supplies, Capt Parveen Vij, District Food and Supplies Controller, Ludhiana, and the District Managers of procurement agencies.

During the inspection, he laid special emphasis on the cleaning of foodgrains, proper measurement and stenciling of bags. He assured the farmers that each grain of wheat, which was free from moisture and met the specifications norms would be procured.


Union leaders call for self-analysis
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 29
Trade unions have failed to develop new strategies with the emergence of globalisation and information technology. Their leadership is still living under the influence of old ideologies, narrow provincialism and caste politics. They have failed to understand the implications of globalisation, resulting in failure of their struggle. There is a great need to analyse the causes of failure of trade unionism so that they could help workers in the organised and unorganised sector.

These views were expressed by leaders of different trade union leaders of Punjab who had gathered here at a seminar today. The seminar What should be the role of trade unions in the era of globalisation? was organised by the International Democratic Employees/Workers Front (IDEWF), Ludhiana.

Addressing the participants, Mr Shaminder Singh Sodhi of the IDEWF said, “Trade unions will have to mend their ways if they wanted to remain relevant in society. They cannot succeed without promoting the interests of common people. The division of unions on caste, political, religion and other basis was a big hurdle in strengthening the unions.” The monopoly of public sector units in the past had resulted in widespread corruption and indifferent attitude of workers and bureaucracy towards consumer rights. Privatisation has also led to unemployment and unequal distribution of income in society, he added.

Mr NarinderJit Singh Sodhi of the IDEWF emphasised that new developments in the market and technology demanded people and eco-friendly approaches. It required that the unions should concentrate on democratic leadership, social equity and environment-friendly methods. They should work for social justice and improvement in productivity to safeguard the interests of workers and public.

Speakers admitted that some union leaders have promoted corruption, idleness and self-interests of small groups of workers. It has badly affected the reputation of unionism itself. They have failed to protect the rights of workers in the unorganised sector. Such leaders were the hidden traitors of the working class.

Mr Baljinder Singh, general secretary, Employees Federation of Punjab State Electricity Board, pointed out that the state-led and market-directed development models have failed in different parts of the country and world. So there was a need for a new model to safeguard the interests of workers, consumers and environment.

Mr Parkash Singh Mann, general secretary, Karamchari Dal, said, “The unions should work for minimum wages, productivity in the industry and agriculture. They should also create awareness among the workers about social, political, economic and legal issues.”


No leniency to Zaffarwal: Rai
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 29
Obviously prompted by the resentment among the party workers on his reported soft stand about the dreaded militant, Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Lala Lajpat Rai today said that law should take its own course and nobody should be allowed to go scot free.

Earlier, the senior BJP leader had been quoted as having said that he would welcome people like Zaffarwal joining the national mainstream. He clarified that everyone was welcome to join the mainstream but anyone who was involved in crime could not be let off. Zaffarwal was accused of having ordered the killing of several innocent persons as a member of the Panthic Committee.

Mr Rai said that a terrorist was a terrorist and he should be strictly dealt according to the law. If such people were allowed to go free, it would set a wrong precedent and also hurt the families of the victims.


Protest against delayed pensions
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 29
Activists of the Akali Dal led by Mr Balwant Singh Shahpur, MLA, picketed the local branch of the State Bank of Patiala and raised slogans against the branch manager on Saturday to protest against a delay in the payment of old-age pensions. The activists did not let any customer enter the bank.

They ended their protest after one hour on the assurance of the Subdivisional Magistrate, Mr R.S. Jangoo, the police inspector of the area and the branch manager that the 800 pensioners would get their dues soon. The branch manager said the payments had got delayed due to the allotment of computerised code numbers to beneficiaries.

Mr Karamjit Singh Bhagrana, Vice-President of the Karamchari Dal of Punjab, Mr Baldev Sedha, President of the Amloh Municipal Council, Mr Harnek Singh Badali, State Vice-President of the Bharti Ghat Giniti Dalit Front, and Mr Joginder Singh Salana were among those who addressed the gathering there.

Earlier, at a meeting at the residence of Mr Baldev Sedha, village-level campaign committees were formed for the Amloh Assembly elections.

Mr Shahpur said development works in villages would be under-taken on the recommendations of these committees.

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