Monday, May 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Terrorist-turned-contract killer arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 6
While ideologues like Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, one of the former key members of the group spearheading terrorism in the state, are coming back to the main stream, small-time terrorists have started indulging in contract killing, besides their main expertise of robbery and snatching.

This has become evident from the crucial arrest of Balwant Singh Sodhi, alias Checker, a former terrorist, by the Ludhiana police here last night in a raid at some abandoned houses near the cremation ground on Rahon road.

According to police records, he was declared a proclaimed offender two years ago by the Jalandhar police, but was ‘dead’ long ago, according to his family members.

He was involved in a large number of murders, robberies and snatching incidents in several districts of the state.

According to the records, the gang, in a case of contract killing, murdered an old woman in Noor Mahal village against a payment of Rs 80,000 about three years ago. The main accused, the son-in-law of the deceased, was arrested by the Jalandhar police. He had confessed of having hired contract killers.

The list also mentioned 46 cases of robbery in Phagwara and Phillaur parts of Jalandhar district. Most of the time, the gang targeted liquor vends, which were robbed of cash at night.

The list also included a daylight robbery, in which the gang members hijacked a truck carrying utensils and robbed the owner of about Rs 2 lakh. The gang was also wanted by the Ludhiana police in connection with two robberies in area falling under the Sadar police station.

In a midnight swoop, the police arrested five members of a gang of robbers and contract killers led by the former terrorist, who was also wanted in several incidents of violence in Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar districts during the days of terrorism. The SHO told Ludhiana Tribune that the police seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition from them.

The other members were Satish Kumar, alias Ballu, Gurjit Singh, Prem Kumar and Prem Singh, A key member Vikramjit Singh, alias Billa, alias Mohan Lal, who had several other assumed names, managed to escape the police raid.

According to police sources, the arrest of a former terrorist in cases of contract killing and robberies was not an isolated case. Last year, the Basti Jodhewal police had arrested Bajinder Singh, another former terrorist, wanted in cases of contract killing and robberies. The Jassi murder case had also been mentioned in this context.

Another former terrorist Bhatt also indulged in such activities after the end of terrorism. The case study of several police cats, including Gurmeet Singh Pinki, deserved mention. The CIA police had also arrested three former terrorists last year.



11 arhtiyas’ licences cancelled
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 6
The licences of 11 arhtiyas have been cancelled in the district while 38 other arhtiyas have been issued show-cause notices following a special checking by the district administration officials. In spite of a glut of wheat arrivals in the mandis of the district for the past 12 days, procurement agencies have purchased 6.04 lakh metric tonnes and the procurement process has been going on efficiently. This was stated by the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner here today.

Giving details of the wheat purchased by each agency, the District Food and Supply Controller informed that out of total purchase of 6.98 lakh metric tonnes of wheat, the FCI had purchased the maximum of 2.04 lakh metric tonnes, followed by PUNSUP with 1.5 lakh metric tonnes, Markfed 1.24 lakh metric tonnes, the Punjab Agro Industry Corporation 82,935 metric tonnes, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation 73,947 metric tonnes and Food and Supply 61222 metric tonnes, while private traders had purchased 740 metric tonnes of wheat.

Referring to the lifting of wheat from mandis, the DC disclosed that out of the total purchased wheat, only 22 per cent (1.54 lakh metric tonnes) was lying in the mandis of the district, which would also be cleared within two or three days, and added that the arrival of wheat had substantially declined in mandis as only 30,000 metric tonnes of wheat arrival was recorded in the district yesterday.

The District Administration had directed all the agencies to further expedite the lifting of wheat and make the payments to the farmers. The DC added that all agencies had maintained the speed of lifting the procured wheat and making the payments to the farmers. He disclosed that that there was delay in lifting of wheat in mandis due to shortage of migrant labourers due to panchayat elections in Bihar and many labourers being engaged in loading foodgrains in trains at Mullanpur railway station.

Reacting to the progress of payment to the farmers for the procured wheat, the Deputy Commissioner claimed that there was no shortage of funds at during the whole season and out of the total of Rs 458 crore, the cost of the wheat procured, payments amounting to Rs 320 crore had been made and all agencies had cleared the payment of wheat purchased up to April 30. He claimed that the delay in paying the remaining amount was due to delay in submission of bills by the arhtiyas, adding that the pending payments were being cleared speedily.


Tussle on in Kulwant case
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 6
There is more to it than meets the eye in the infamous abduction case of Kulwant Kaur of Bhutta village. Not only politicians, but the police also seems interested in the case.

A minor discord between Kulwant Kaur and her husband Darshan Singh has snowballed into a controversy, with allegations having been levelled against police officials and politicians, including Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Techinical Education Minister, and a former MLA, Mr Tarsem Jodhan. ASI Sukhdev Singh has been sent to the police lines. Mr Garcha and Mr Jodhan had key interest in the village. It is the home place of Mr Garcha and falls in Kila Raipur, the constituency of Mr Jodhan.

According to the sequence of events, Kulwant Kaur and her husband Darshan Singh were living happily in Bhuta village. They were cultivating about 6 acres owned by her. She had two sisters who had given up their right over the land as Kulwant Kaur was looking after the parents.

Things started changing when one of her sisters and her husband started living with Kulwant Kaur. Her husband objected to it and the couple started drifting away. The villagers close to Mr Garcha objected to the frequent visitors at Kulwant Kaur’s place when her husband was away.

The group close to Mr Jodhan supported her and soon the village was divided into groups. The woman’s husband started living separately in Bondli village near Samrala. He returned when he was informed that the sisters of the his wife were trying to grab the land. The man, along with a group opposed to Mr Jodhan, sought the help of Mr Garcha, who allegedly wielded his influence over the police to sort out the matter in favour of Mr Darshan Singh.

The women went missing on April 24. According to the police, she appeared two days back in Dehlon police station and said she was not kidnapped but had gone to her husband’s house on her own. She had also signed a compromise in the presence of the village panchayat.

She appeared before mediapersons here yesterday along with Mr Jodhan, claiming that she was abducted by her husband and Mr Garcha was supporting her in-laws’ family. Mr Jodhan said a number of villagers who were supporting Mr Garcha attacked him yesterday night in the village.

Mr Garcha denied having influenced the police. He said he only wanted to bring peace, but a police official took money from the woman and along with Mr Jodhan, cooked up the abduction story. Mr Jodhan also accused the same police official of having taken money from the village group close to Mr Garcha.



No action against indicted cop 
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 6
The alleged illegal activities of the SHO of Amloh has become a cause of concern for the public as well as for the district police officials. The office of the SSP and offices of police officials in Chandigarh are flooded with complaints of various sections of society against the alleged highhandedness of the SHO. Several inquiries have been conducted and action has also been recommended against the SHO, but due to alleged political connections, no action has been taken against him.

In a recent inquiry about the role of the SHO in a land dispute in Kanjhari village, the inquiry officer had indicted him. Another inquiry was ordered by the Additional Director-General of Police, internal vigilance cell, against the highhandedness of SHO on the complaint of the panchayat of Ghutind village in Amloh tehsil.

The panchayat, in a letter to the Government of Punjab, had highlighted the illegal activities of the SHO. It alleged that the SHO had picked up two youths, Ram Singh and Avtar Singh, of the village without assigning any reason. They said when the village panchayat members went to the police station to know the cause of the illegal detention and to seek the release of the youths, the SHO demanded Rs 20,000 per youth. They mentioned that when the panchayat members expressed helplessness to pay such a huge amount, he threatened that four more youths of the village, Gurmeet Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Ranjit Singh and Sarabjit Singh, were yet to be picked up. When the panchayat insisted on the reason, he said all these were involved in the case of rape of a girl of the village, whose family had lodged a complaint.

The panchayat had alleged that the SHO demanded Rs 50,000 for sparing the other four youths. When the panchayat refused to oblige, its members were insulted and forced to leave the police station. They said when the panchayat contacted the Dalit girl and her parents, they expressed ignorance about any such incident. They gave an affidavit to the inquiry officer in this regard. The parents of the girl had alleged that the SHO had brought a bad name to their family and was harassing them.

Ms Harbans Kaur, sarpanch of the village, and other members of the panchayat, who gave their statements to the police and presented affidavits in this regard, told Ludhiana Tribune today that the SHO, who was known for his political connections, was habitually committing atrocities. They added that they had mentioned in the affidavits that a case under Section 307 of the IPC was registered against those who were advocating the case of the village youths and the police started raids to arrest them. They said they made a representation in this regard to the higher authorities, alleging that a false case had been registered against them. The inquiry had been marked to the DSP of Amloh, who after conducting the inquiry, cancelled the case. The panchayat members alleged that they apprehended that the SHO might implicate or eliminate them. They demanded protection from and action against the SHO.

Sources revealed that after recording the statements of the affected parties, the inquiry officer had mentioned that the SHO had picked up the youths of the village with mala fide intention, as no formal complaint of rape had been lodged with the police. He had also mentioned that the girl, in her statement, had denied that she had relations with anyone or that she had been raped.


No shortage of funds for development: Lakhanpal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 6
Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, Principal Secretary, Finance, Punjab stated that the state was all set to provide best infrastructural facilities to boost the developmental and industrialisation process of the state, for which funds worth Rs 2,235 crore were being spent on the execution of prestigious developmental projects, including strengthening and widening of most of the main roads, construction of eight new big bridges, railway crossings and buildings of hospitals and schools.

This was stated by Mr Lakhanpal, while addressing a function in Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital here yesterday. Mr Lakhanpal was in the city to inaugurate a new reception constructed at a cost of Rs 40 lakh in GTB Hospital. He claimed that with the efficient financial management and strict austerity measures, the badly shattered financial condition of the state had been substantially improved and there was no shortage of funds for the developmental projects and welfare programmes of the government.

Mr Lakhanpal added that the state government had also overhauled its revenue collecting system and there was a record increase in the revenue earnings of the state. Referring to the efforts of the state government to provide better health and educational facilities in the state, Mr Lakhanpal said that the association of private voluntary organisations was necessary to provide excellent facilities as the private bodies were providing much better facilities with lesser amount of funds as compared to the government-run institutions. He called upon voluntary organisations already engaged in health and education services to extend their area services to the rural and remote population, so that the poor people of state could also be covered.

Appreciating the excellent medical services at affordable rates at the hospital, Mr Lakhanpal said that management had strived hard to develop a fully equipped 300-bed hospital with all the latest medical facilities from just a small dispensary during a period of two-and-a half decades. He also appreciated the achievements of the Nursing Training Institute of the hospital.

Mr Lakhanpal announced a grant of Rs 6 lakh for purchasing the latest machinery for an orthopaedic wing of the hospital.

Dr Harkanwal Sidhu, Head of the Medicine Department of the hospital, highlighting the achievements of the hospital in the service to suffering humanity and poor patients during the last 25 years said that hospital was having super specialties and all the latest diagnostic facilities, besides, fully equipped units of dental, physiotherapy, surgery and medicine.

Dr Waheguru Pal Singh, Medical Superintendent, presented a vote of thanks and assured on the behalf of management and staff to provide latest medical services with dedication and commitment to the poor people at cheaper rates.

Amongst present on the occasion included Bakhshi Mohinder Singh, Mr G.K. Walia, Mr Hari Dutt Dumra and Mr Bharatbir Singh Sobti.


Karl Marx remembered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 6
Karl Marx, the father of Communism, was remembered on the occasion of his birth anniversary by a number of eminent comrades at a function held here yesterday.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bharat Parkash, a veteran Communist leader, said changes in the human society had occurred due to the hard labour of the mankind and not due to any divine force. The discovery of the development of human society was the greatest work by Karl Marx. Many saints had talked about the betterment of humanity before Marx but for this they either expected help from some divine body or stressed upon a change of heart. But Marx and his friend Frederic Engels made a scientific analysis of the human society and found that the ancient man due to his ignorance about the causes of natural events attributed the same to heavenly bodies.

“The history of mankind is the history of struggle between have nots and the haves i.e.. the exploited and the exploiters. Various problems of the society have been due to this glaring class difference”, he added.

Prof R. S. Bakshi, in his address, said the workers had always been waging struggles. It was as result of these struggles that the society had witnessed changes from the age of slavery to Feudalism and thence to Capitalism. Whereas technology has contributed in a big way to the society, it has added to the exploitation of the working people by the capitalists by adding to the surplus labour. Socialism is the next phase of human history which means that means of production will be under the control of the society instead of a few, he concluded.

Principal F. C. Chopra said the process of globalisation and privatisation had benefited the multi national corporations and the few rich in the country. The benefits of the economic development can never reach the down trodden section under capitalism.

Principal Sardul Singh said Socialism was humanism in true sense since exploitation of man by man ends in this system.

In his address, Kartar Singh Bowani, said imperialism was the last stage of Capitalism. “The capitalists of the world were out to exploit the developing countries like ours through their agencies like the WTO, IMF and the World bank. There was a need to wage struggle against all this after gaining scientific knowledge,” he said.

Dr Arun Mitra O. P. Mehta and Gulzar Singh Gorea also spoke on the occasion.



Dyeing units pollute with impunity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 6
The dyeing units, which are the backbone of Ludhiana’s knitwear, woolen and cotton garment industry, have failed to change with time. The dyeing industry in the city is leading to water and air pollution and has failed to upgrade its plants despite pressure from public and administration. The Pollution Control Board has failed miserably to fulfil its duty in this regard.

The shortage of staff in the local Pollution Control Board’s office and the cumbersome legal procedure to prosecute the culprits are the main hurdles to check the violation of pollution laws, says Mr Nazar Singh, Xen, Pollution Control Board, while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune.

He disclosed that there were only three officials to check thousands of industries working in the residential and industrial area. Further the samples had to be sent to Patiala for examination resulting in unnecessary delay. “We have written to the government a number of times to increase the staff strength but without any result” he said and added that “most of our time is wasted in attending to frivolous complaints of the residents”.

Relating his experiences of prosecution of violators of pollution laws in the courts, he said, “We have to attend the courts as if we are criminals. In case some official is transferred to other district, he has to come again and again for the cases that linger on for years. In most of the cases the violators are left scot-free due to lack of proper evidence. Now we try to convince the industrialists to adopt suitable measures that would help them cut their costs and pollution as well”.

According to claims there are more than 1,000 dyeing units functioning in the city and a number of units have improved their way of working and have installed modern plants, and are using bricketts made of rice husk and follow fuel-bed methods to check the pollution. Closed chambers have been installed instead of open dyeing systems as these are less dangerous for the workers. However, most of these units were still burning rice husk and cow dung openly resulting in high level of pollution in the city.

Mr Nazar Singh revealed that the open burning of rice husk or rubber were strictly banned under the Pollution Act. But the dyeing units, especially those in the narrow lanes, were flouting the restrictions. Interestingly, more than half of the units, which have installed fuel-bed system, were not using these because of energy costs or break down of electric motors. “Whenever, we raid the units, the owners claim that the motor had burnt that day only. Now we are asking them to keep separate electric meter and use bricketts that would save energy up to 40 per cent and cause less pollution,” he added.

The official agrees that the ideal solution to the problem is shifting the industry out of city. The government is developing Lodowal Industrial Complex especially for the dyeing industry where modern effluent treatment plant would be set up. He felt, “The strict implementation of building bylaws by the Municipal Corporation and checking of power pilferage by the PSEB can also help us in checking the pollution. We are just regulating the industry and do not have the capacity to suggest alternatives to the industry.” 


Residents seek bus stand
Our Correspondent

Khamano, May 6
Nearly 50,000 villagers of this town and nearby villages are eagerly awaiting for Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s sangat darshan to be held on May 8 here. Among other things, the villagers expect the Chief Minister to announce the construction of new bus stand for this historical town.

Hundreds of buses pass through the town daily. A large number of workers daily go to Ludhiana and Mohali for jobs.

Due to lack of parking mini-buses and tempos stand in front of shops and cause nuisance. The drivers often quarrel with each other for their turn and harass passengers. Mr Amrik Singh, a former sarpanch of Dhanaula village, said, “There should be a proper bus stand on the road”.


1,150 attend mass yoga camp
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 6
As many as 1,150 yoga enthusiasts participated in a mass yoga camp organised by the Bhartiya Yog Sansthan at Rose Garden this morning. The camp started at 5.15 a.m. and lasted for about three hours. Mr Tulsi Dass Jaitwani, the pioneer of yoga movement in Ludhiana said, “The sapling that we planted 27 years ago has blossomed into a big tree. Bhartiya Yog Sansthan is probably the only body that has made its mission to impart free training of yoga to people not only in Punjab but also all over the country. The sansthan has 750 centres all over India. Of 200 sansthaas working actively in Punjab, 67 are based in Ludhiana and its periphery. Daily 3,500 persons attend these yoga classes.”

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