Monday, July 9, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Four of family killed in bus-jeep collision
Tribune News Service

Jaharmali (Ludhiana), July 8
Seven persons, including four of a family, belonging to Anoopgarh village in Ganganagar district, were killed and eight injured in a head-on collision between a Punjab Roadways Transport Corporation (PRTC) bus and an overloaded Mahindra Jeep near here, 18 km from Ludhiana, on the barrier of the Jagraon-Ludhiana police district in the early morning today.

The deceased included four children, all aged between 10-15, while the injured included two women. All victims of the accident were travelling by the jeep while the bus passengers escaped unhurt though the front wheels of the bus got detached due to the massive impact of the collision. The victims belonged to the families of two brothers Mohinder Kumar and Chuhar Mal. They were going to the Vaishno Devi shrine and had planned to stay for a while at the house of their relatives in Islam Gunj, Ludhiana.

The mishap has wiped out the family of 35-year-old-Rani who, unaware of the loss, was recovering from minor injuries at Dayanand Medical College hospital. She lost her husband and three children, which included two sons and a daughter.

The incident took place at about 6.30 a.m. The Bathinda-bound PRTC bus (PB-11-9837) and the jeep (RJ-13-C-6392) going at high speeds collided with such impact that four persons fell out of the jeep and were killed. The limbs of some of the deceased were severed, which made identification of the bodies difficult for the police.

It is suspected that the drivers of the two vehicles could not see each other due to rain and poor visibility. The narrow road on which the police barrier has been erected is also said to have caused the collision. The bus driver had reportedly escaped from the scene of the accident as rescue workers were busy extricating the dead and the injured from the mangled jeep. Sub-Inspector Ramandeep Singh, SHO, Sadar police station, Ludhiana, who was one of the first to reach the site, said he had not seen such a ghastly sight of mutilated bodies in his life.

Mr Ramandeep Singh said the SP (Headquarters), Mr Naunihal Singh, had announced a cash reward for an SPO, Mr Rajpal Singh, and a Home Guard, Mr Jaswant Singh, who had donated blood to the injured.

The dead included Mohinder Kumar, his three children Puneet (15), Rahul (11) and Preeti (10). Lal Chand (18), son of Chuhar Mal, Jeep driver Jagdish and Kalu Dalia, one of their employees also died in the accident.

The injured were Chuhar Mal, Sunil Kumar, Rajesh Kumar, Hem Raj, Prem Kumar, Rani, Kamla (Chuhar Mal’s wife) and an unidentified person.

The police said a message had been flashed to the relatives of the victims at Anoopgarh village in Rajasthan. They were expected to reach here by evening.


Prem Nagar engulfed in sorrow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
A pall of gloom descended here today on a large number of houses of the Rajasthani community in Prem Nagar Colony of the Islam Gunj area in the city after the tragic news of death of seven persons in a bus-jeep collision near Jaharmali village reached here.

The dead which included three children besides the eight injured, were relatives of a number of families living in the colony. Immediately after receiving the news, a large number of anxious members of the community reached the DMC hospital to inquire about the victims. The scene at the hospital was heart-rending to say the least. Wailing men and women, who were directly related to the dead, were being consoled by others at the site.

The scene at the colony was equally disturbing. Mr Subash Rajasthani, a Congress leader, who lost his three nephews and a brother-in-law in the accident, was finding it hard to come to terms with the situation. He said they were waiting to receive the persons travelling in the ill-fated Mahindra jeep but instead received the sad news. The accident wiped out the entire family of his sister Rani , who miraculously escaped with minor injuries.

The victims were on their way to Vaishno Devi. They belonged to Anoopgarh village in Ganganagar district of Rajasthan. They were scheduled to stop for some time at their relatives’ house in Ludhiana.

The scenes at the hospital and the colony became unbearable when the relatives of the victims reached the city in the evening. Heart-rending scenes were also witnessed at the cremation ground.


Residents tense over evacuation threat
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
A sword of Damocles hangs over 60 families of Passey Nagar and Moti Bagh on the Pakhowal road here who face evacuation orders from the colony as the area comes in the way of a proposed Ring road, connecting Pakhowal Road to Doraha Canal Road which has been planned to relieve pressure of traffic coming from the Pakhowal side.

Meanwhile, the residents whose houses will have to face the axe in the process of laying of the road are all set to fight the battle. They have written a letter to the Chief Minister, appealing him to consider their interests before their houses are razed to give way to the road.

The approval for the construction of the road came last year by the Chief Administrator of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) rattling the life of residents of 60 houses that will have to bear the brunt.

In a representation to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, they have said that the area was inhabited by poor strata of society who had constructed their houses by spending their lifetime earnings. They also said that 90 per cent of the population in the area was of SCs and BCs. Riot-affected people of 1984 had also constructed their houses in that area.

They have also written that the Town Planning Department had prepared a new plan of the Ring Road in 2000. The sketch of the new plan was lying with the office of the Town Planner and they have demanded that the new plan should be implemented rather than the 30-year-old one.

The approval came as a rude shock to the residents who had been approaching the local PUDA authorities, District Administration, Municipal Corporation and the state government for cancellation of the project but the fear is mounting on them that they will have to loose their houses, which they built with the hard-earned money.

Although no notices have been issued to the residents, they feel that their fate hangs in balance because they are not clear about the exact picture. The residents have been fighting against the project, claiming that they built their houses on the land, got their registries and got their housing plans approved from the corporation. They ask why did not PUDA demarcate the land earmarked for the ring road.

They say that two years ago officials of the PUDA, armed with measurement devices, suddenly descended on the Passey Nagar colony and Moti Bagh colony. They began taking measurements for an over 200-foot-wide road, sending alarm bells ringing among the residents, as nearly 60 houses fell in the earmarked area of the ring road.

The residents oppose the ring road plan on the plea that PUDA can’t suddenly decide on the construction of such a wide road through a densely constructed colony of the city.

One of the residents, Mr B.K. Sharma, a retired principal of a school, also running a school in the colony, said that he had bought a plot in the colony in 1993 and he got all legal formalities done required while purchasing a piece of land. He said that he had not imagined that this would be the fate of the house built with his hard-earned money.

“Why had they approved our housing plan when they knew that this land was earmarked for a ring road? Moreover, there was no board saying that this was PUDA land. Otherwise why would have I purchased this land? I had purchased it with my hard-earned money”, said Mr B.K. Sharma.

The residents said that this was a 30-year-old plan when there was no habitation in this area. With development in the area, people started constructing houses here and nobody knew that this was PUDA land. Suddenly the authorities arrived here one morning, saying this was a land earmarked for the ring road.


Model Town road caves in
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
Traffic was disrupted in the Model Town area here today as a part of the busy main road caved in. According to local residents, the road caved in at around 7 a.m. when it was raining. Several scooterists fell off their vehicles as the broken road could not be noticed from a distance. However, no official of the Municipal Corporation visited the site, much to the disappointment of the public.

A passerby, Mr Bhupesh Kumar, said the moment he noticed that the road had caved in, he telephoned the police control room, which told him to call the MC. However, no phone in the corporation office responded. As several vehicles slipped into the pit, residents themselves put up a barricade several metres ahead of the road. The residents demanded that during the monsoon months, the MC, Ludhiana, should set up a control room which should work round the clock.


Marriage palaces case hearing today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
The case regarding the demolition of marriage palaces and other unauthorised structures within 1000 yards of the Field Ammunition Depot, Badhowal, near here, comes up for hearing tomorrow in the Supreme Court. After the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered the demolition of all the structures in its March 19 judgement, the aggrieved owners had moved the apex court.

Although the marriage palace owners had sought a stay, the court had fixed July 9 as the date of hearing after issuing the notice of motion. However, on June 4 three marriage palaces were demolished by the district administration. And notices were issued to five others.

The owners of these marriage palaces again went to the Supreme Court, which granted them time till July 19. However, all the cases have now been reportedly clubbed together and will come up for hearing tomorrow.

The issue assumes significance as there are about 4,000 structures within the stipulated periphery of the ammunition depot. The state Chief Secretary has recently completed an inquiry into the allegations made by the owner of a marriage palace of being asked to pay Rs 20 lakh to avoid demolition. The Chief Secretary has reportedly exonerated all the officers who were alleged to be involved.

The Chief Secretary is also conducting another inquiry, on the directions of the high court, into the alleged connivance of officials of the district administration in construction of these marriage palaces. He is scheduled to submit the inquiry report to the court by October 10. 


Criminals vanish from station
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 8
Criminals who used to openly operate from the local railway station have virtually vanished after the police has stepped up its vigil.

‘Ludhiana Tribune’ had carried a report on these criminals who were part of organised crime here. Insiders say that the TTEs know these men well and can spot criminals instantly on board a train. Allegedly, criminals share the booty with some of them.

Due to this nexus between criminals and railway officials, crime on board trains has increased. Mention the name of a tea vendor to certain TTEs that travel on any train from Jalandhar to Ludhiana and they will find you a seat everytime. The vendor is known by the name of a bird.

Policemen have now been deployed on the new overbridge between various platforms, following which, the idlers and beggars, who used to infest the place till a couple of days ago, have vanished from there. 


With tied hands, cops watch flesh trade thrive
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
Several gangs that are involved in immoral trafficking in Chandigarh and New Delhi are now eyeing Ludhiana because they expect to find rich customers here.

There are also gangs who send prostitutes from here to the other places everyday. The girls return before the day is over. There are gangs that operate from colonies outside the city and lure students based in Chandigarh, New Delhi and various other places to join the flesh trade. These criminals also force poor women like migrant labourers to join this profession.

The police is finding it hard to curb this menace here because the gangs keep on changing their hideouts. Secondly, most of those who are arrested under the Immoral Trafficking Act escape conviction due to the legal loopholes. The police is also too short-staffed to carry out operations against all these gangs.

Focal Point, Shimla Puri, Haibowal, Salem Tabri, Basti Jodhewal, Subash Nagar, Jawahar Colony, Rajguru Nagar and all slum areas here are notorious for this kind of activity.

According to insiders, organised gangs brings girls from the other cities to entertain local customers. Pimps strike deals on mobile telephones, after which, they book rooms for customers in big hotel here. The more expensive and reputed a hotel, the less are the chances of a police raid there. The gangs also send girls to the residences of industrialists.

The police sources said girls are also brought in a car to places outside the city, from where customer pick them up in their own cars. The more influential a customer, the less are the chances that the police will arrest or expose him.

A pimp of Shimla Puri, who has been caught several times, but has never been convicted, said, if pimps had one place of activity, they could be arrested easily. To avoid getting caught, they keep on renting out houses and move out when neighbours grow suspicious.

The pimp said drivers of taxis and auto-rickshaws in the city were also their agents who picked up prospective customers from the railway station and the bus stand.

Some gangs are active in the slums inhabited by migrant labourers and prostitutes belong to the labourer community only. The trade flourishes in slums because there are many men there who live away from their families. It is members of these gangs that often fall into traps laid by the police.

According to the local Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr Gurjit Singh, the police had arrested 43 men and women for immoral trafficking in the first half of this year. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldip Singh, said this trade was flourishing here because of rich men and a number of destitute and needy women. He said the gangs often trapped innocent girls and forced them to join the profession. The girls were lured with offers of jobs, roles in movies and foreign tours.

He said the problem of non-notification of a DSP had almost been solved as all arrests under the Act had to be made by an officer of this rank. He said the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had assured the police that this task would be done as soon as possible, after which, those who would get caught, would find it hard to beat the law.


Amarnath Yatra: govt’s attitude flayed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 8
The Bhole Bhandari Charitable Trust has criticised the negative, discouraging and adamant attitude of the Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Department and the state government towards pilgrims, langar organisations and the Amarnath yatra.

The members at an emergency meeting here expressed strong resentment over the decision of the J&K Government to close registration on June 6 even though it was earlier decided to keep the registration open for 25 days. Moreover, the members were astonished to note that the registration of pilgrims performed the yatra last year. It was clearly evident from these facts that the state government was discouraging yatris. The trust president, Mr Rajan Gupta demanded that on-the-spot registration of pilgrims should be started immediately so as to enable the devotees to visit the holy cave.

Mr Rajan Gupta decried the decision of the state government to allow local people to set up shops and tents at Panchtarni at those locations where “free bhandaras” used to be organised by various langar organisation (NGOs). The bhandara organisations had now been forced to set up “langars” behind private tents and shops. “It appeared that this has been done in a pre-planned way to discourage the yatris and also to loot the yatris as happened in 1996,” Mr Gupta said.


What astrologer thinks of summit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
Mr Vinod Kumar Gupta, a local astrologer, has predicted that the summit-level talks between Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pervez Musharraf may not yield the desired results.

Mr Gupta, who is an executive engineer in the Bhakra Beas Management Board, had earlier made successful predictions regarding the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, fall of the Vajpayee government in April 1999 and the victory of Gerogre W. Bush.

According to him, in the annual horoscope of the Indian Independence up to August 15, 2001, Mercury in the third house aspects Mars in the 11th house. Mercury stands for summit and Mars stands for unhappiness and bloodshed. So, the summit may not lead to any permanent peace in the region. Rather, Mr Gupta cautions, it may lead to rise in tension along the border. Similarly, in the annual horoscope of the Republic of India, up to January 26, 2002, Mercury in the eighth house aspects Mars in the second house, is indicative of tension and unrest.

In the Pakistan independence annual horoscope, Mars in the third house aspects Mercury in the ninth house upto August 15, 2001 and in the annual horoscope from August 15, 2001 to August 15, 2002, Mercury in the eighth house aspects Mars in the 11th house. All this indicates that summit may be followed up by another phase of violence, unrest and bloodshed.

In the annual horoscope of Mr Vajpayee, up to December 25, 2001, Mercury in the third house and Ketu in the ninth house do not lead to friendly relations but Jupiter in the third house indicates Durga ki Sher Pur Swari that means Mr Vajpayee will be able to suppress all his enemies and opponents. 


Appeasing the majestic snake
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 8
Many of the Indians are steeped in tradition and superstition. In spite of the modern outlook, the compulsion to give money to the ‘Dakaunts’ (the ones who ask for money on Saturdays carrying mustard oil in a vessel) is so strong that people drop a coin in the oil and see their reflection in the oil to protect themselves from the wrath of ‘Shani devta’.

Similarly people have great fear of ‘Nag devtas’. Snakes are considered ‘kings’ of the underworld. As soon as they see a snake being carried in a basket, they give him due regards as most of the people have fear of serpents. Many persons with snakes in their baskets roam in the streets collecting money by showing the people hissing snakes.

Those individuals inclined towards traditional beliefs cannot but resist giving alms to the man with the snake as they want to appease these ‘majestic’ creatures who always hold a strange kind of fear mingled with awe. It is so believed that if snakes are kept happy by feeding them, they will not attack a person. But according to Dr Sandeep Jain, President of the People for Animal Society, “By law no one can keep the reptiles or for that matter any animal or bird for making a living under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (amended 1991).”

So Amar Singh should not be earning his livelihood by capturing snakes and touching the religious sentiments of the people. If the volunteers of PFA or any person of the Wildlife Department find him using a captive snake to make his living, he will be in trouble. He will be asked to release the snake near rivers or in jungles which is its natural habitat. Human beings have no right to curb or to captivate the wildlife for their own good. Even the Supreme Court has passed a ruling safeguarding the rights of animals.


YC workers burn ‘terrorism sack’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 8
Activists of the Ludhiana Youth Congress, led by district unit president Parminder Mehta, held a protest march in Basti Jodhewal against the return of pro-Khalistan and terrorist elements to the state as the result of a conspiracy by the Akali-BJP government here today.

Addressing the marchers, Mr Parminder Mehta said that the BJP's silence on the return of Wassan Singh Zaffarwal and Jagjit Singh Chohan was indicative of the party's tacit support to the Akali's sympathetic attitude towards terrorists. The return of Zaffarwal and Chohan had exposed the Akali Dal's support to terrorism.

Lashing out against the BJP in particular, the Youth Congress leader said that the BJP, in its lust for power, had nullified the sacrifices of its own leaders who had been gunned down during the militancy days.

He said that the BJP's silence on the issue would be responsible for any possible return of militancy for which the people of Punjab would never forgive it. While demanding registration of cases both against Zaffarwal and Chohan under various provisions of the National Security Act and subsequent investigations by the CBI, he said that the current Punjab Government, finding itself in a precarious position, was trying to use the handle of terrorism to get votes in the coming assembly poll. He said it was clear that the government wanted to create a fear psychosis in order to win the elections. he also alleged that these terrorists with plenty of foreign money would be inducted into the elections by the ruling combine.

Mr Mehta warned that the Congress would not allow peace in the state to be disturbed at any cost. The party could also resort to a morcha against the government in this regard, he added.

Later, a sackful of rubbish, symbolic of the terrorism supporting Akali-BJP combine, was put to the flames by the protest marchers.


Awareness rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
The Indian Youth Congress (Urban Development Cell) today organised a public awareness rally at Jawahar Nagar in connection with the forthcoming assembly elections in the state. The rally was, among others, addressed by the chairman, Mr Pawan Dewan, the chairman of the Labour and Employment Cell of the PPPC, Mr K.K. Bawa, Mr Akshay Bhanot, Mr Jarnail Singh Gewal and Mr Harpreet Mangat.

Mr Bawa said the days of the Badal government were numbered and people in the state wanted change. Mr Bawa condemned the statements of Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan in which he had justified the assassination of Indira Gandhi and supported the ideology of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. He warned that such statements may vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the state.

Mr Dewan lamented that the Badal government had failed in all its promises. He said not only had the developmental process been derailed due to rampant corruption but also the law and order had been at its worst.

The Congress leader pointed out that while the crime rate during Congress rule was just 9 cent, it had touched 43 per cent during the Badal government.


Memo to DIG
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 8
The Lal Bahadur Shastri Forum and the Indian Crime Prevention Society have demanded that all the SHOs and DSPs in the district be made accountable for their acts of omission and commission. In a joint memorandum submitted to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr Suresh Arora, here today the two organisation sought that the police should be made more responsible and accountable.

The memorandum suggested that senior police officers should conduct surprise checks at night on police stations to monitor their functioning. It alleged that illegal detentions were made without registering any FIR. It further alleged that during night hours, police officials misbehaved with citizens in a drunken state at the police stations.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |