Wednesday, July 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Donation withdrawn, courtesy rivalry
Tribune News Service

Libra (Khanna), July 3
In an interesting case of political rivalry between a Rajya Sabha MP and the village panchayat, the construction of a peripheral road in this village has been stopped. The MP reportedly withdrew the cheque he had given to the local panchayat as it was supporting of a rival political party. The panchayat members approached the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who laid down the foundation of the road here yesterday evening and also announced several grants for various development projects.

According to Mr Jeevan Singh Libra, the acting sarpanch of Libra, a prosperous village of about 500 households, Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, Rajya Sabha MP, handed over a cheque for over Rs 9 lakh to the panchayat on December 4 for laying of the peripheral road around the village. The next month he reportedly took back the cheque from the executive engineer, who was to execute the work.

Mr Libra denied any political motives behind his move. He claimed that he had given the first cheque after he was given an estimate worth Rs 9 lakh. He said, the revised estimate put the expenditure at Rs 3.5 lakh only, which he gave to the panchayat. He alleged that it was a false and biased propaganda to which the village panchayat had resorted to against him.

The MP belongs to the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. While earlier the road was to be inaugurated by Mr Tohra, but later the village panchayat decided to invite Capt Kanwaljit as Mr Libra had taken back his contribution. Capt Kanwaljit laid the foundation stone yesterday and also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh.

The acting sarpanch alleged that the MP had spent the money for the construction of the road around his house only. The MP denied the charges, claiming that it was for everybody to see as the road had been laid around the entire village.

Libra is one of the few prosperous and affluent villages of Punjab situated on the GT Road, about five kilometres from Khanna. It is famous for its transport companies mostly owned by the local Libra family. There are other small transport companies also in the village.

The village panchayat organised a big function in the school complex. The Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, was the chief guest. He also inaugurated the road, much to the chagrin of Mr S.S. Libra. The village sarpanch presided over the function. Mr Kripal Singh Libra, who had also been invited to the function, preferred to stay away. Besides the road, the minister also announced grants worth over Rs 10 lakh for the drainage and the village crematorium.

Mr Fateh Singh Libra, presented the votes of thanks. The minister also distributed 30 sewing machines among the needy women of the village. Later the sarpanch, Mr Amarjit Singh Libra, presented a memento to the minister on behalf of the village panchayat. 


Discrimination in fund allocation alleged
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
The Municipal Corporation administration came under fire from the area councillor, Mr Sat Pal Puri, and several other speakers at a function organised by residents of localities under Ward No 66 and Ward No 67 on New Shiv Puri Road here last evening. Mr Puri alleged that the MC was not only discriminating against him in allocation of funds for development projects, but the attitude of senior officers was almost inimical towards him.

He said his ward, being under-developed, ought to be treated at par with outer wards and funds allocated accordingly, but the MC was treating the area as a city ward and the funds provided were inadequate for the much-needed development projects. Mr Puri further criticised the civic body working and termed the officers as unresponsive and indifferent. “Inflated and wrong house tax, water rate and sewerage bills are being sent to the people. The sewerage system has collapsed. Water supply is erratic and people are denied other basic amenities in the city.”

Several other speakers, while appreciating the functioning of the councillor for the development of the area, rued that the MC administration was indifferent towards genuine problems of the residents. Mr Balraj Bhalla, Mr Gurdial Singh Dhadi, Mr Dimple Rana, Mr Surinder Khosla, Mr Devinder Garcha, Mr Devinder Bittu, Mr Anil Syal and Ms Kiran Bala, president, Mahila Mandal, called for allocation of more funds for building of roads, maintenance of parks and extension of water supply and sewerage system to various colonies in the area.

Mr Puri listened to civic and other problems of the residents and assured the people that he would continue to struggle for allocation of adequate funds for development works in the area and to ensure that there was no discriminatory treatment and the ward was treated at par with other under-developed wards in the city.


Round-the-clock vigil planned
Robberies outside banks in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
Stung by the continuous strike of a suspected two-member gang of robbers at “planned” targets outside a number of city banks in the past couple of months, the city police today decided to start round-the-clock surveillance of 500-odd banks. Such surveillance was a regular feature during the days of terrorism.

While panic prevails among officials of numerous city banks in the wake of daring daylight robberies outside their banks, the police has assured them of an early breakthrough in the cases as it is suspecting the hand of only one gang. The Division No. 6 police has rounded up at least 20 persons with criminal record on suspicion of being involved in yesterday’s killing of a youth outside Bank of Baroda.

According to the police, the manner of targeting customers outside the bank was similar in all three incidents. The description of the youths was also the same. The weapon used in two incidents, one at the PAU and another at Bank of Baroda, was also the same .32-bore revolver.

Panic-stricken officials of various banks have meanwhile also stepped their personal security system and expressed anguish at the ‘failure’ of the police to solve any of the three robberies outside different city banks in which one person lost his life and another was seriously injured.

The first incident took place on April 23 when two armed robbers snatched away at gunpoint a bag containing Rs 7.10 lakh from two employees of Punjab and Sind Bank, Kitchlu Nagar. The second incident took place on May 31 outside the State Bank of India building on the PAU campus when two scooter-borne youths tried in vain to snatch a bag containing over Rs 5 lakh from a university employee. The PAU employee Amarnath was shot at but he succeeded in saving the money. He was later rewarded by the PAU.

Interestingly, while the banks have there own private security guards they had demanded police security also. The police has, however, expressed inability to provide a security cover to all banks in the city as it was facing a shortage of almost 800 personnel.

“We cannot provide security to all banks,” said Mr Kuldip Singh , SSP, Ludhiana. He said with over 500 banks in the city the police needs at least 1,000 personnel for the job while they were already facing a shortage of 800.

The SSP came down heavily on the security guards of the banks targeted recently. He said not even in one case, the security guard had tried to confront the robbers. In Kitchlu Nagar, the security guard did not even fire at the fleeing robbers.


Admn yet to okay ‘Jassi Nite’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
The Jasbir Jassi Nite to be organised at Jagraon on July 14, which had become controversial due to the alleged forcible collection of funds has run into another controversy as the District Administration today said it had not granted any permission for organising any such show.

In a press note issued today the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, said he had not given permission for the organisation of any such show. Elaborating to the Ludhiana Tribune, he said he was surprised to read the news report about the alleged forcible collection of funds for such a show as the administration was yet to give permission for it.

He added that the organiser, Surjit Sports and Cultural Club, which was organising the show, had applied for the permission but the administration was yet to grant it. The permission was necessary under the rules.

Sources said unless permission was given, any organising club could not collect funds for the purpose. The organisers were also liable to pay an entertainment tax. The permission was also necessary for the security problem as well as for installing loud speakers.

Meanwhile, Bhupinder Singh, president of the cultural club, said they were organising the show for entertainment of the residents of the Jagraon town and the entry was free. He said for the purpose of collecting funds they had given receipt books to various people who were collecting money on behalf of the club. He denied that they were using police for collection of the funds.

Cop’s action invites public fury
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
Traffic on the main Tajpur road came to a standstill for about half an hour last evening after a traffic cop was challenged by a passerby about his right to beat him up with an iron pipe.

According to an eye witness, the cop was hitting virtually every passerby with a piece of iron pipe. He had already hit a number of migrants, but when he tried to hand out the same kind of drubbing to a local resident he found himself in deep trouble. The local snatched the pipe from the cop and wanted to know under which law or for which fault he had beaten him.

A crowd of nearly 500 people, including shopkeepers of the area, gathered there. Traffic on the road remained disrupted for about 30 minutes. It was only after the intervention of some senior police officials and an unconditional apology by the erring cop that traffic was restored.Back


Speaking Out
SEBI, RBI blamed for US-64 collapse
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
The Unit Trust of India’s decision to suspend the sale and repurchase of the units for the next six months under the US-64 scheme, has sent shock waves among the investors. Mr P.S. Subramanyam, Chairman of the UTI may be making announcements today that the decision can be revoked in case of improvement in market condition, but the experts in the stock market field feel that it is unlikely to happen, as the market is already facing bad times. And affect the decision of the UTI to suspend sale and purchase, the value of US-64 shares will be further eroded.

Most of the investors held government, SEBI and RBI responsible for the collapse of the scheme. While criticising the UTI’s decision, Mr Hardesh Goel, a leading lawyer of the city, said, “The public had invested heavily in the scheme for the simple reason of reasonable returns and the backing of the central government. In 1999-2000 the UTI had declared just 13.75 per cent dividend, equal to the minimum value of the units. But now, the UTI has decided to suspend the redeeming its units, putting a pressure on the investors to accept any price for the redundant units.” The price of the US-64 unit has already come down to Rs 7-8 and it may sink further, even lower than Rs one in the next few days, he adds.

Mr Mahinder Aggarwal, General Secretary, Punjab Pardesh Vyapar Mandal, admits that he had invested a good amount in this scheme, but had withdrawn the amount at a right time. He said, “The SEBI and RBI should be given more powers to control such schemes through the enactment of appropriate law by the Parliament.”

Ms Sapna Nihar, a housemaker, said, “We had invested our hard-earned money in the scheme, but the dividend this year, 7.4 per cent, is even less than the bank interest rate. Earlier the banks used to provide loans on the shares of the scheme, that they will not accept.”

Ms Kokal Gill, another housemaker, said, “The government had already cut down the interest rates, and now by suspending the scheme, it has badly hit the salaried and retired class who had invested in this 37 year old scheme as it was considered a risk-less scheme.”

Mr Tarvinder Dhingra, Vice President, Ludhiana Stock Exchange, however, said, “The investors should not be worried too much as the scheme is backed by the Central Government that had saved the UTI about three years ago by providing a financial package of Rs 4000 crore. No doubt the crisis has been caused by the mismanagement and inefficient handling. The sensex has been affected due to the suspension of the scheme, from 3426 point to 3332 point in a single day, but the investors’s interests are expected to be safeguarded by the management.”

However, other finance experts feel that it is the small investors, numbering in lakhs, who have burnt their fingures due to this decision. The corporates had already withdrawan their amount in advance expecting the collapse of the scheme.

Mr Amrit Aggarwal, a leading businessman asked,‘‘ The government would have taken quick action in case some private company or bank had violated the terms and conditions of the saving scheme in that manner. The decision is bound to result in litigation and unnecessary harassment of the investor.’’ If the public money is not safe with the government, share market or the private banks, should they invest in foreign markets, asked a retired professor who has invested Rs 2 lakh in the scheme.


No trace of missing PAU student
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
Nine days after a student of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) went missing, neither the police nor his relatives have found any clue about him.

Gurvinder Singh, an M.Tech student disappeared mysteriously on June 23 from hostel number 4 in the early hours of the morning. Police investigations have, however, almost concluded that the reason behind his disappearance is his poor performance in the examination. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, his friends in the hostel revealed that Gurvinder was feeling upset for the past many days as he was yet to clear a paper of the second semester and had also failed in two more papers of the last semester. He was married and his wife is settled in the USA. He was set to leave for the USA within next two months and was awaiting his results. His friends said that on the night before his disappearance he was very upset and depressed. Some of the hostellers even had a talk with him and had tried to pacify him. They said that they kept talking to him till 1o’ clock in the night.

Later, they all went to sleep and one of them stayed in Gurvinder’s room. Suddenly power went off and they had to sleep outside on the terrace of the hostel. However, in the morning he was found missing.

They thought that he might have gone for a walk and did not try to locate him. At 7 a.m. his wife called from the USA and they looked for him in the hostel, but could not find him. Later, they called up his parents in Faridkot who arrived at Ludhiana and lodged an FIR with the police.


Sangat darshan’ promises remain elusive
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 3
“Promises are made to be broken” - is said to be the guiding principle of politicians, which has come true of the ‘sangat darshan’ programme held by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in Ludhiana East assembly constituency, represented by Mr Sat Pal Gosain, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, in May 2001.

Mr Badal had sanctioned a grant of Rs 65 lakh for various development projects for several localities in Ward No 57 in the area, out of which a sum of Rs 15 lakh was earmarked for the Improvement Trust Flats Colony in Kidwai Nagar.

The amount was to be spent on the construction of roads and streets, expansion of sewerage and maintenance of parks adjacent to samadhi of Baba Rassianwala in the area. The work on these projects was to commence within one month as per the announcement made during the sangat darshan programme.

Residents of the area, however, lamented that there were no indications of any of these projects taking off, at least for the time being. Once the hullabaloo of the Chief Minister’s visit to the area was over, the politicians, including the Deputy Speaker and the area Councillor, Mr Parveen Bansal (BJP), had also apparently washed their hands off the plight of residents of the area.

According to Mr R.R. Katyal, general secretary of the Kidwai Nagar Welfare Society (Trust Flats), the indifference of the area Councillor and the Municipal Corporation officials had disposed what Mr Badal had proposed. During the “sangat darshan” programme, the Chief Minister had issued directions that to maintain complete transparency in the execution of development projects, the civic body would put up sign boards for each of the project, providing detailed information on scope and cost of the work, time frame for completion, name of the contractor and that of the supervising MC official. However, these signboards are nowhere to be seen till date, nor has the process for commencement of works been initiated so far.

The residents of IT Flats Colony, added Mr Katyal, were confident that with the required funds being provided by Mr Badal on the spot, the area would get a facelift and work would start on much needed extension of sewerage, which at present was in a pathetic condition. “Clogged sewer lines and back flow of sewage in the houses is a regular feature. The roads and streets are in a state of total disrepair, with bumpy surface and pot holes. The condition of the parks in the locality is no better.”

Several residents of the area pointed out that the underlying purpose of the “sangat darshan” drawing political mileage and winning back the support of the electorate, was not served if the development projects, promised by the Chief Minister, meet such fate.

The whole exercise would rather prove counter productive, unless some regulatory system was put in place to ensure that the promises made at these programmes were translated into reality.



“Yeh daulat bhi le lo, yeh shauhrat bi le lo, bhale chheen lo mujh se meri jawani, maggar mujh ko lota do bachpan ka sawan, woh kagaz ki kashti, woh barish ka pani ”. This nostalgic couplet haunts the mind the moment you see children playing with paper boats over the rain water. With the arrival of the monsoon, massive downpour and an indifferent Municipal Corporation, it does not take much time for the water to accumulate. While everyone welcomes rain as it provides relief from the sizzling heat, the children enjoy it most. Although these days children are seldom seen playing with paper boats and the rain water as usually they remain glued to the television and computers, but whenever they do, it gives a nostalgic feeling. While everyone raps the Municipal Corporation for failing to develop a good drainage system, at least it is a good consolation that whenever water accumulates children play in it.


Shops in Ludhiana are not only closed after a bandh call but the shopkeepers here down their shutters during the hot summers also. There are many markets in the city where these shopkeepers decide together and close their shops to go for a holiday. Chemist shops in Sarabha Nagar were closed for three four days last week and when a colleague inquired from the other shopkeepers he was amused to find that the shopkeepers had closed shops to go on a holiday to some hill station with their families.

Vying for publicity

The district police is usually drawing flak every other day for the occurrence of crime incidents in the city. In this backdrop, when a police officer achieves some success whether major or minor, he first rushes to the Press for detailed coverage. One such officer, driven by his zeal for publicity, probabaly took it too far recently. The city police in a joint operation recently arrested an alleged kidnapper who was demanding extortion money from a businessman. However, instead of a senior official briefing the Press or the organisation of a joint press conference, one of the police officers involved in the operation rushed to the Press Information Bureau and claimed that he had led the operation and did not mention the ‘active’ role played by the team of a special police wing. Next morning, a senior official demanded explanation from the special police wing as why they did not participate in the operation. It was then that the ‘smart’ game played by the official came to light. However, the official was let off with a warning as the matter could not be undone and it would also have hurt the image of the Police Department.

‘Cool’ token system

Certain innovative shopkeepers in the city have hit upon a novel idea to counter the problem of non-availability of currency notes of lower denomination or ‘change’. The shopkeepers have begun issuing tokens with value of Rs 1 to 5 to customers. This practice has two benefits. First the problem of shortage of currency notes is solved. Secondly, the customer who possesses a token or two will always return to the same shop for further shopping as he also has to encash the tokens. A shopkeeper in Sarabha Nagar small market said the system had been evolved as several customers used to oppose the earlier system of giving sweets in lieu of ‘change’ . He said ever since the token system has been started , the dealing has been ‘cool’.

Man with a mission

In a unique way of spreading a message among the masses, Vijay Shankar Mishra (24) is visiting various places all over the country walking on foot to educate people about conservation of environment. Hailing from Rishikesh this youngman was in the city as a part of his mission to visit all schools, colleges and other institutions to educate people about the conservation of environment. He had started his journey from Siliguri in May 1997 and will finish his campaign in 2006. He has a target of covering 70,000 km on foot and has already covered 240 districts and 19 states. He has got his name included in the Limca Book of World Records and hopes that it would be included in Guinness Book also at the end of his journey.

DTO’s scare

On Monday, most of the mini buses plying early morning between Focal Point and Ghanta Ghar cut short their cityward trips, dropping the commuters a little before Laxmi Cinema. When the surprised commuters asked bus staff for an explanation, they were told, “Local adde DTO khada hai”, meaning, the District Transport Officer is standing at the local bus stand. So what? wanted to know one of the more irritated travellers. The staff said they did not want their bus to be taken for Badal’s rally at Alamgir. Sentinel saw a huge posse of traffic cops at the local bus stand where all scooterists and motorists were being stopped and checked.

Obsessed with pop

During the summer vacation, summer schools teaching Hindi, Punjabi and Western dances did a roaring business. Girls and boys are obsessed with Punjabi pop music. Then all schools, at the end of the session, held dance competitions to award the winners. The very purpose of learning dance was defeated when it turned into a competition. Moreover, even for small competitions, the parents bought expensive dresses and replicas of the outfits worn by the dancer in the video. The girls went to the parlours to get their hair and make up done.The rat race has become so intense that even at the very small-scale level competitions, the parents as well as the children become fiercely competitive. Moreover, the lyrics on which the children dance are not understood by them. Why don’t the parents let the children learn classical dances too and promote the cultural heritage given us in ‘virasat’.

Punjabi ‘hospitality’

Punjabi ‘hospitality’ was at its best during the gathering of Speakers of all state legislative assemblies at Hardy’s World here. They were scheduled to have their breakfast here, on their way to Amritsar from Chandigarh. Though elaborate arrangements were made for the breakfast, what was found wanting was a dignified and graceful behaviour from the host state. Not only did the SAD-BJP workers (with their family members in tow) outnumbered the guests, forcing a few foreign dignitaries to sit on the chairs reserved for the ‘press’, they exhibited little patience when it came to food matters. Even while Mr Charanjit Singh Attwal, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, was delivering welcome address, people started savouring the delicacies. They did not pay any heed to Mr Attwal’s repeated requests to let the guests have the breakfast first. Soon after, the hall was a scene of utter chaos. One of the guests was heard asking, “Yeh itne log kahan se aa gaye? Punjab se hi?” Finding it hard to jostle for his favourite dish, he chose to settle for whatever he could easily lay his hands on.

‘Gadar’ over “Gadar”

Some of the Muslim and Sikh organisations may be busy these days protesting against the super hit movie ‘Gadar - Ek Prem Kahani’, but the magic of the movie seems to have virtually taken over cine-goers, especially the Punjabis. Everyone, wants to see the story of Partition, love and hatred. People don’t mind to stand in queues for hours to get tickets. Migrant labourers are giving a tough competition to the rich local residents in this regard. A young couple, who could not get tickets, was surprised to know from a young boy, working at a bakery shop, that he had spent Rs 150 to purchase ticket. He said, “People in our village, which falls in Bihar, cannot even think of marrying outside their caste. And in Gadar, a Sikh is shown to be ready to die for a Muslim girl. It can happen only in Punjab.” 


Dogs bite children, create panic
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
Ludhiana residents have been terrorised following numerous cases of dogbite since last evening. At least 15 children have been bitten by over 24 stray dogs in Model Town Extension. The incidents have created such a panic in the locality that most of the people prefer to stay indoors.

Periodic dogbites in the area are frequent, but yesterday a pack of dogs attacked some children when they tried to prevent some dogs from chasing small pigs being reared there. The dogs suddenly attacked the children and started biting them. During a couple of hours, about 15 children were bitten.

The local residents alleged that they had repeatedly told the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation officials about the menace of stray dogs, but the corporation had a callous attitude towards the people.

Mr Madan Lal, a shopkeeper in Model Town Extension, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, said the dogs had become a permanent menace. “There is construction going on in the area. These stray dogs lie on the sand to keep cool, but whenever someone passes on the road, the pack of dogs attack the person”, he added.

Eight-year-old Seema was bitten on the right cheek by one of these stray dogs here last evening while she was going home.

Aanchal, a three-and-a-half-year-old girl was severely bitten when she was watching a dog carrying a piglet in its mouth. Ms Rajni, Aanchal’s mother, while talking to this correspondent, said the latter was standing at the main gate of the house. She said,” we heard the screams and rushed towards her. She was bleeding and the dog had left the place after attacking her at the back”.

“The stary dogs attacked my five-year-old son Dharminder while he was playing with his friends in the locality. The dogs had bitten him on hands, back and shoulder. He is getting the treatment, which is quite expensive. The cost of one injection is Rs 250,” said Dharminder’s father Budhram, a washerman.

Mr G.S. Middha said the stray dogs had also attacked Mamta and Neelam, the daughters of two daily-wagers. “The dogs had bitten five-years-old Mamta in the stomach and eight-year-old Neelam in the leg. They are getting treatment”, said Mr Middha.

Mr Joginder Vig, another resident of the area, said his son Raghav was bitten by two dogs last evening when he was going to the market. “He was bitten in his leg. He is getting the treatment at a charitable hospital”, Mr Vig said.


Tributes paid to freedom fighter
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
Glowing tributes were paid to Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman Ludhianvi, a freedom fighter and close associate of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, on his 109th birth anniversary here today. A seminar was organised by the Punjab unit of the Indian Muslim Council to mark the occasion.

Addressing the seminar, the president of the council, Maulana Atiq-ur-Rehman, highlighted the contribution of the late Maulana to the freedom struggle. He pointed out when certain communal and fundamentalist forces were raising their head and trying to divide the freedom movement on communal lines, the Maulana stood firmly with the Congress as he was committed to the secular ideals.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Harbhajan Singh Sohal, a freedom fighter and former district president of the Congress, said the Maulana was a brave soldier who made so many sacrifices for the freedom of the country. He disclosed that the Maulana was harassed and imprisoned for years by the British for his nationalism.

A senior Akali leader, Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia, said the life of the Maulana should serve as a source of inspiration for the new generation. He pointed out that Maulana’s commitment to secularism and nationalism was such that he resisted all temptations. He was a great symbol of secularism and brotherhood.

The speakers also lauded the great vision of the Maulana who rejected the two nation theory and refused to migrate to Pakistan. They pointed out, ultimately the Maulana was proved right after the creation of Bangladesh. 


Kanwaljit Singh assures ex-servicemen
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
The Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, has assured the ex-servicemen that the state government is responsive to their problems and their pending demands, both at the state and central level, would be considered sympathetically and speedily. He said the government had already disbursed the ex-gratia grants and other benefits to the families of Kargil martyrs under a time-bound programme.

Addressing a rally of the Indian Ex-services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, at Punjabi Bhavan here last evening, he further claimed that the soldiers, who had left barracks after ‘Operation Bluestar’ had either been reinstated or provided alternative jobs and their families were also eligible for pension under the prevalent rules. The pension of veterans of World War II, he added, had also been enhanced from Rs 300 to Rs 800.

More than 500 ex-servicemen from several districts, including Jalandhar, Patiala, Hoshiarpur, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar, Gurdaspur and Sangrur, attended the rally.

Speaking on the occasion, the league president, Lieut-Col Chanan Singh Dhillon, announced that the body had decided to extend support to the SAD in the coming Assembly elections, keeping in view the positive attitude of the government towards the problems of the ex-servicemen.

Focussing on the pending demands, he urged the state government to take up with the Union Government at appropriate level for early acceptance of the principle of ‘one rank one pay’, entry in the army on merit and not on the basis of population, double pension for widows, medical allowance to ex-servicemen on a par with the state government pensioners and rehabilitation of ex-servicemen in central security services without delay.

The league general secretary also called for a hike in ‘war jagirs’, marriage grants and expeditious release of grants to war widows of Kargil martyrs. He also asked the Finance Minister to initiate necessary steps for treating war widows and injured soldiers on a par with freedom fighters. The minister announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the league.


No conflict in Akali Dal: Bhunder
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Rajya Sabha member and general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, said here yesterday that there was no conflict between the jats and non-jats in the Akali Dal and all were equal in this organisation.

Mr Bhunder who was asked about the controversy over the lack of representation of urban Sikhs in the ruling Akali Dal told Ludhiana Tribune that the Shiromani Akali Dal had never made any such distinctions and had believed in the philosophy of Gurus that all were equal.

He has been asked by the party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to sort out the differences among the rank and file of the Akali Jatha (urban) Ludhiana and to ease out the appointment of the president of the same.

He said that he would be meeting the workers and the leaders of the Akali Jatha, Ludhiana (urban), soon to sort out the issues. There are differences among the leaders of the Akali Jatha, Ludhiana (urban). There are two groups, one of these is led by Mr Amarjit Singh Makkar, senior vice-president of the jatha. Mr Makkar has been claiming to be the acting president of the jatha after Mr Hira Singh Gabria, MLA who was the president, had moved over to the Sarv Hind Shiromani Akali Dal led by Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra two years ago. These two leaders have quarrelled even in the presence of Mr Badal on several occasions. Mr Bhatia is strongly opposing the appointment of Mr Makkar as president of the jatha. The controversy over the issue of jat and non-jat representation in the ruling Akali Dal was also raised by Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia a few days ago when he convened a meeting of prominent urban sikhs at Ludhiana and raised voice against non-recognition of contribution of urban Sikhs in the ruling Akali Dal for the Punjabi suba and other struggles.

Replying to a question Mr Bhunder said that the ruling Akali Dal was not facing any major problem so far as the organisation of the dal was concerned. “We are in a very good position and have strong base in the state among the masses”, he said.

There was complete inner democracy in the party, he claimed. Mr Bhunder said that the SAD-BJP government had strengthened peace and communal harmony in the state and had been able to ensure huge investment by the Centre in the state. These industrial units when commissioned would generate lot of employment in the state, he said. Asked about the election plans, Mr Bhunder said that Punjab had witnessed two major developments — first there was complete peace and communal harmony among the people and secondly a number of big industrial projects had been set up in the state during the past more than four years.

Mr Bhunder criticised the Congress for adopting anti-Punjab stance and creating disturbances.

He also charged the Congress leadership with corrupt practices as a result of which the country had to face financial crises.


Scam alleged in welfare schemes
Our Correspondent

Khanna, July 3
Mr Darshan Kumar, councillor of Ward No. 6, Payal Municipal Council, has submitted a complaint to the state government that for all the development works related to drains, buildings, streets, more payments were made to the contractors than the actual worth of the projects.

He alleged that the material used was of inferior quality and added that old and rejected bricks were used, and the cement and concrete used were less than the specifications laid down in the work manuals. He alleged that some of the drains, shown to be constructed on emergency basis, already existed and were just repaired a bit to give them a new look.

The contractors, who were paid according to the cost of building new drains had infact embezzled the money. The Councillor added that though a water drain was already in existence in his ward, a payment of Rs 1.6 lakh was made for this work. He claimed that he had written to the Municipal Council not to make any payment in this regard, but his advice was not followed.

He further alleged that the Municipal Council had purchased a generator for the continuous supply of water for its water works but it was never used. He sought an inquiry into the implementation of social welfare schemes for the people of Payal.

Shatrajeet Sharma, executive officer of Municipal Council, Payal, has refuted the allegation and said these were politically motivated. He further added that the work has been carried out as per specifications laid down by the government. However, president of the Municipal Council was not available for comments.


Police lifts body after 10 hours
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
In a shocking incident, the Focal Point police did not lift an accident victim’s body for well over 12 hours despite being informed by several passersby and residents.

According to information available, a labourer Mukesh Kumar (20), was crushed by an unknown vehicle last night, but his body remained at the site till about 4 p.m. this evening. Mukesh worked in a factory near the site and his shift had ended at about 1 a.m. last night.

Workers of the factory alleged that the police did not come despite repeated requests and they could not lift it as it was an accident case. The body had been mutilated considerably due to the rain throughout the day.

Man dies of asphyxia
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
A 30-year-old resident of Kakkowal village died of asphyxia caused by some poisonous gas in an underground motor pump room last night. His brother who fell unconscious in the room, was admitted to the CMC in serious condition.

According to the police, the incident took place at about 10 p.m. last night when certain villagers were watering the fields. A youth Golu went in an underground room where the motor pump had been installed to bring water from a tap connected to the motor. He fainted in the room suspected to be full of some poisonous gas.

His elder brother Kulwant rushed in to save him, but fell unconscious. By the time the other villagers managed to take them out, Kulwant was dead. The post-mortem examination of the body confirmed death due to asphyxia caused by some poisonous gas.Back


Badal accused of corruption
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
The national chairman of the Indian Youth Congress (Urban Development Cell), Mr Pawan Dewan, has alleged that the Badal government had crossed all the limits of corruption. He also alleged that the government was shielding the anti-national elements like Wasan Singh Zaffarwal and Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, who had created terror in Punjab.

Addressing a public meeting at Janta Nagar, Mr Dewan alleged, that there was a secret understanding between Mr Badal and Khalistan activists. He claimed, that they were being brought into the country under a perfect plan so that these people may help the Chief Minister in the forthcoming elections.

The leader also criticised the intriguing silence of the BJP on the issue. He questioned the claims of nationalism by the BJP as it had failed to oppose the entry of such terrorists into the country.


12 injured in accidents
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, July 3
A car, reportedly, turned turtle after a tyre burst on the GT Road, near Doraha, on Monday. Those travelling by the car (PIL-9648) were badly injured, and were admitted to the local hospital. They have been identified as Jeet Ram (40), Vimla Devi (35) and Anju Bala (12) of Nihalkhera in Ferozepur.

In another incident, a truck (PB-05-2139) met with an accident when a stray cow appeared in front of it all of a sudden. The truck driver, Jagdish Singh of Bahaid village in Saharanpur district, was admitted to the hospital.

A tempo (PB-11G-6701) also turned turtle near Kotli village on Payal-Doraha road, when a stray cow came in its way. Driver Kali Charan and five labourers, who were travelling by it, received injuries and were admitted to a hospital by a first aid team. The accident took place on Monday evening.

In a similar incident, a car (PB-09C-8937) collided with a another car (DL-4CA-5211). Drivers of both the cars, Kulwinder Singh of Guru Nanak Pura, Kapurthala, and Ikam Ram of Balinga village in UP, were injured and admitted to a nearby hospital by a police party. No loss of life has been reported.


Youth electrocuted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
A youth died of electrocution in street 9 this afternoon when he was wading through a pool of water in which a broken live electricity wire was lying.

Angry residents of the area later marched to the police post and raised slogans against the police and the Punjab State Electricity Board for allegedly not repairing the broken wire or taking remedial action. The residents had been complaining to them in this regard since last evening.

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