Monday, July 16, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Tohra asks CM to clarify stand on detainees
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) leader Gurcharan Singh Tohra today asked Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to clarify his stand on the detained youths who have been languishing in various jails across the country for the past many year. On the other hand, the SHSAD youth wing of the party today declared that in case these youths were not released before Independence Day, it will stage a demonstration at the venue where Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will hoist the National Flag.

Addressing a well-attended convention organised by the youth wing of the party here today, Mr Tohra pointed out the Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Badal had promised in its election manifesto to bring all these youths in the national mainstream. “I fail to understand what has happened to those promises”, Mr Tohra said. He criticised Mr Badal for failing the Panthic expectations.

The Akali veteran expressed grave concern over the plight of youths languishing in jail. He said while on the one hand people were being brought in from abroad, on the other those languishing in jails at home were not being released. all those who had completed their sentences or were being detained without trial should be released immediately.

Painting a grim picture of the employment scene in the state, he regretted that Mr Badal had failed in his promise to provide jobs to the youth. He pointed out that unemployment created other problems. He apprehended that a number of youths were being hooked to drugs as they were feeling alienated on account of various problems.

Speaking on the occasion senior Akali leader and former minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal lauded the efforts of the youth in setting up the panthic agenda. Lashing out at the state government for its failure to come up to the expectations of the youth, Mr Grewal said, it is now their own responsibility to set the course of action according to their aspirations.

The former minister expressed satisfaction over the concern and seriousness among youth workers of the party in raising vital issues like unemployment and drug-addiction. He promised that the SHSAD leadership would provide all support to the youth in their endeavour to improve the lot of society.

The leader of the youth wing of the party, Mr Karnail Singh Pinjoli, assured Mr Tohra and Mr Grewal full support and cooperation in their fight against corruption and getting due rights for the state. He also raised other issues concerning the youth like illegal detentions, unemployment and drug-addiction.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Thekedar Surjant Singh and Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa.


SHO in soup over fund collection
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Close on the heels of a controversy surrounding forcible collection of funds by Jagraon police for the organisation of a Punjabi singer’s nite, an SHO of the Khanna police is also in the eye of a similar controversy. He is facing an inquiry by DSP Samrala on allegations levelled against him of forcible collection of funds supposedly for at football tournament which does not seems to be organised anywhere.

The inquiry against the SHO is on at the orders of SSP, Khanna R. N. Dhoke. An employee with an octroi contractor of Samrala had complained to the police earlier this week that SHO Arwind Puri had allegedly forced him to pay Rs 10,000 as funds for a football tournament — Fourth Ludhiana Cup Football Tournament, organised every year in the memory of late S. Nachhattar Singh Gill.

While the SHO could not be contacted, the SSP Mr Dhoke said the inquiry started last evening. Mr Sushil Kumar DSP Samrala recorded the statements of a number of persons concerned with the case. The SSP however added that preliminary reports reaching him about the cases hint that the complaint was motivated due to some personal rivalry between the police officer and the complainant. He said, however, as the complainant has furnished sworn affidavits along with a copy of a receipt of the tournament allegedly issued by the SHO, the inquiry has been started.

According to the complainant Rinku Sharma, a driver with Shri Ram and Company Octroi contractor Samrala, the SHO concerned was harassing him at one pretext or the other ever since he joined duty at the Samrala police station. He alleged that the police official was always threatening to implicate him in criminal case if he did not give him money.

Producing a copy of the affidavit and a receipt of the claimed football tournament, the complainant alleged that on July 11, the SHO and five other persons, picked him up along with three other persons from an octroi check post. They took all of them to a police station, impounded his vehicle and challaned him even though he had complete documents of the vehicle. He claimed that he was released only in the afternoon next day at the intervention of his employers.

However, the SHO allegedly made him pay Rs 10,000 claiming that it was for the purpose of organising a football tournament at the Police Lines, Ludhiana. Interestingly, the receipt produced by the complainant does not mention any dates of the tournament.


PAU closes ‘gate’ on residents
Angry Kitchlu Nagar protesters hoodwinked
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
The move of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to close the Gate number 6 has sparked off protests among the residents of Kitchlu Nagar. Some of the residents even tried to stop the construction work last night.

The construction of a wall to disrupt the passage through this gate started at around 10:30 p.m. yesterday when a team of masons and labourers suddenly appeared there, removed the gates and started the construction work. Residents of Kitchlu Nagar though surprised at the development gathered immediately started protesting against it.

The police reached the spot when the construction work was stopped amid protests. After talking to the residents, Assistant Sub Inspector Surinderpal Singh of PAU police post pacified them and assured that the construction would be restarted only tomorrow. Residents told the police that they would meet the Vice-Chancellor of the university and try to convince him about the need to keep the gate open.

The police as well as the labourers went back at that time. But again at 1:30 a.m. the team arrived and restarted the construction. The construction of the wall was completed by the morning. A delegation of residents which included the two former Vice-Chancellors of the PAU, Dr Sukhdev Singh, Dr Khem Singh Gill and former scientists of PAU went to meet the Vice-Chancellor in the morning today. But they had to come back as the VC was out of station.

The closure of the gate which served as an approach road to the PAU for the residents was all set to cause a lot of inconvenience to as many as 200 PAU employees, hundreds of schoolchildren and at least 50 former scientists of PAU. Incidentally two former VCs and 10 to 12 former Deans and Directors of PAU happen to live in the colony. The closure of the gate means that they will have to travel at least four kilometres extra to reach their offices.

Protesting against the closure of the gate, a former Vice-Chancellor of PAU, Dr Sukhdev Singh, a resident of Kitchlu Nagar said many of the former dignatories of PAU had constructed their house in this area as they wanted to be close to the university. The gate was of special significance for morning walkers who chose the clean environs of the university for their morning exercise.

He said for the past several years they had been staying in this colony and this gate was never closed. He said even when terrorism was at its peak in 1981 to 1990, the gate was not closed.

A former scientist of the university who also lives in the colony said on the condition of anonymity that they had constructed their houses in the colony after retirement as they wanted to live in the vicinity of the university. He said the then Vice-Chancellor of the university, Dr M.S. Randhawa had written to the Improvement Trust at that time to plan a colony here as PAU was unable to accommodate all the employees.

Another former PAU employee said they had to go to the university daily to meet the scientists and read in the library. He said most of the retired persons were old and this gate made it easier for them to walk down to the university.

Moreover, many children of the colony were studying at PAU campus school and it was easier and safer for them to go to the school as the other gates of the university were located on the busy roads and were far away.


Satta operator goes bankrupt
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 15
A satta operator in Focal Point area of the city has gone bankrupt, leaving a number of winners in the lurch.

According to information gathered by Ludhiana Tribune, this particular bookie or khywaal had been operating in the Focal Point area for a number of years now.

He had a network of agents who collected business for him. He used to send collections along with the parcha to a satta don near Samrala Chowk. Of late, he had started working as a khywaal himself and had severed his links with the satta dons of the city as far as forwarding of parcha was concerned.

One after the other, he had to cope with payments for those satta players who had hit bull’s eye during the past fortnight or so. He managed to pay some of the winners from the daily collections. More and more persons started winning, with the result that he decided to call it a day.

Those customers who were left in the lurch due to non-payment were an anxious and worried lot. Among these anxious men was a police havildar. The bankrupt khywaal asked for a week’s time, during which he hoped to pay the havildar and others.

According to information, a khywaal in Shahi Mohalla refused to pay fully one of his booking agents when the latter hit bull’s eye a couple of days ago. He had put Rs 10 on number 82, but he was paid only Rs 300 instead of Rs 700.

Most of the city’s khywaals are taking undue advantage of the illegality of the satta business. They refuse to pay the winners as the latter are not in a position to go to the police. On the other hand, the khywaals pay protection money in their respective areas. Even if one complains to the police in this regard, no harm is caused to the khywaal concerned. 


Low rates raise questions on lab-doc nexus
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, July 15
An advertisement by a diagnostic centre in Ludhiana, slashing the rates for various medical investigations like MRI, CT scan and ultrasound between 45 and 80 per cent, has once again raised the question as how the prices can be brought down to such a level. The issue assumes significance in view of the charges that the diagnostic centres are paying massive commission to the doctors referring cases to them.

A number of doctors have been accused of referring the patients to particular diagnostic centres as they are being paid commission by them.

The commission is also being charged from the patients. That is why these tests are being made out to be so expensive. It has also been alleged that the patients are being referred for tests without there being a real need for the same. Most of these tests are found to be negative.

The advertisement by a neurocentre published in an English daily about massive reduction in charges, ranging from 45 per cent to 80 per cent, for providing better health facilities to patients has surprised everybody, both in the medical community as well as among the common people. The rates quoted in the advertisements are extremely low, which have raised a question mark on the credibility of the medical profession.

The MRI superconducting will be done at Rs 2750 against the existing rate of Rs 5000. For CT scan of head, patients charged Rs 2000 earlier will be charged Rs 799.

The inaugural offer, as it is claimed to be, further reduces its rate to Rs 555 (till July 31). The ultrasound of whole abdomen, done for Rs 650, will now be conducted for just Rs 250. The advertisement has also mentioned reduction in the charges of various tests like MRI-2D, X-ray, ECG computerised, EEG computerised, NCV, Doppler and Echo.

Today’s advertisement has caught other diagnostic centres unawares, whose rates remain the same.

A number of doctors, while refusing to speak on record, have admitted that the commission business is not a recent phenomenon and it has started from Delhi. A leading physician, who claims to have referred not more than 10 expensive tests during his entire career, says what the advertisement conveys is for anybody to guess.

He adds that there will be one positive impact that patients will no longer be prepared to pay hefty charges for these tests.

The issue of commission has always been debated within and outside the medical community, with most of the doctors claiming it to be a baseless charge. During the income tax raids on various diagnostic centres in the city last year, the taxation department had sealed the details relating to the commission paid by those centres to various doctors.


Leopard untraced, ‘thikri pehras’ on
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Even as the team of wildlife officials did not reach Baddowal village despite having been contacted by the Deputy Commissioner, villagers of the area started putting up thikri pehras.

Though the police continued its search operation throughout last night, the leopard could not be traced. The villagers also continued their vigil in all the areas, carrying their licensed guns, sticks and drums. The villagers of Chotti Lalton, Lalton, Pamal, Baddowal and surrounding villages were alerted by the police.

The supervisor of the search operation, SHO Ramandeep Singh, said the leopard could not be located despite their best efforts. He said various teams were visiting the villages beating drums and carrying arms so as to scare the leopard away from habitation.

Sources in the police said the police was unable to launch combing operations as they did not have a tranquilising apparatus with them. Sources further said it could only be launched when the wildlife experts arrived. The experts had not arrived till the reports were filed.

Panic continued to grip the villagers who kept all their lights switched on last night and camp- fires were lit by them.


City police clueless in major crime cases
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
While the city police has been boasting about its achievement in controlling crime by busting a number of gangs of opium and poppy husk smugglers or vehicle thieves, it continues to be at its wit’s end in solving a number of major cases.

The efficiency of the police seems to have been restricted only to solving petty crimes, arresting alleged narcotics smugglers or nabbing a few persons who may have stolen a number of bank drafts. Apart from these, the police continues to cut a sorry figure as major cases of crime that have embarrassed the police in the past few months remain unsolved.

Though more than two months have passed since two armed robbers snatched Rs 7.10 lakh from two bank employees, including a security guard, near the Punjab and Sind Bank in broad daylight, the police has not been able to trace the robbers.

Initially the police claimed to have found clinching evidence against some persons, including few bank employees, but later nothing come out of it. The police also let off the senior members of the bank staff who had, for inexplicable reasons, misinformed the police that the robbery took place in front of the bank, while later they claimed it had taken place on Hambran road.

The attempted robbery in front of State Bank of India branch on the Punjab Agricultural University premises on May 31, in which a PAU employee braved a gunshot injury to thwart the attempt, continues to stare in the face of the police. The police finally succeeded in drawing a sketch of two persons suspected to be behind the robbery, but only after they struck again in front of a city bank on July 2.

A city youth was shot dead by two robbers, who in a hurry decamped with his bag containing medicines, thinking it to be full of currency notes. Apart from the lead of managing to draw a sketch of the accused, they could not do much. The police investigation in the case remains at the initial stage.

All these robbery cases seem to be the handiwork of one gang. The fact that the robbers had targeted their victims well points out that they had exact information about them. The information does not seem to have been taken without the help of some persons having inside knowledge about the victims or the banks, yet the police has so far not been able to establish any lead.

The police has also not been able to trace the whereabouts of three undertrials, who fled from police custody in separate cases. While Vijay Sehgal, an undertrial under the NDPS Act, had managed to befool the Division 2 police by running away from the civil hospital, two accused of smuggling opium fled from the custody of the Dugri police post last morning. The police remains clue-less about their whereabouts, though it has suspended eight cops, including an ASI, for negligence in duty.

While these cases stare in the face of the city police, its officials, especially the SHOs, have been going ga-ga over their success in catching an opium smuggler, car thieves, bank draft thieves and persons indulging in trade of fake driving licences or registration copies.

Main unsolved cases

1. April 23 — Two armed robbers snatch Rs 7.10 lakh at gunpoint from employees of Punjab and Sind Bank in front of the bank in Kitchlu Nagar. No clue about the robbers.

2. May 30 — Robbers strike in Bharti Colony and leave three injured. Case unsolved.

3. May 31 — An attempted robbery in front of the State Bank of India building on the PAU campus. Two scooter-borne robbers injure a PAU employee. Police has no clue about the robbers.

4. June 28 — An undertrial escapes from Civil Hospital. Five cops suspended, but the fugitive remains untraced.

5. July 2 — A robbery attempt in front of the Bank of Baroda building near Dholewal Chowk by two scooter-borne persons. They shot dead a youth. Success eludes the police.

6. July 15 — Two opium smugglers unscrew a prisoner cell in Dugri police post. Police clueless about their whereabouts.



Samaj for mass movement against female foeticide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Swami Satyapatiji of Darshan Yog Mahavidyalaya, Gujarat, today called for a mass movement against female foeticide in the country. He said it was the worst ever thing that could happen to society as the female child was killed before its entry into this world.

Swami Satyapati, who was here on a week-long programme, delivering lectures at BCM School, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune regretted that the moral values had fallen to such a low level when people did not hesitate to kill their own daughters. “While in olden days we had heard of girl child being killed after the birth, now it has been before birth” he remarked.

The Swami said the social and religious organisations and leaders had a responsibility in creating awareness among the people so that the catastrophe is averted. “We are heading for a catastrophe when there would be no girls or very few of them”, he warned, while adding, “how many of us want girls in our homes”. He said the Arya Samaj had on earlier occasions also launched campaigns for women emancipation and now there was a need for a more serious effort.

Earlier addressing the devotees, the Swami emphasised the need for sincerity and honesty in commitments and relationships. He pointed out the material things may be important but they are not all important to ignore the spiritual development of human beings.

He stressed the need for simultaneous material and spiritual progress as that only can help society to get rid of tensions. He quoted several examples of great men, who had maintained a balance between the spiritual and material development.

Presenting a vote of thanks, the president of the Arya Samaj Model Town, Mr Satyanand Munjal, assured that the samaj would continue to work for the uplift of society. He disclosed that the schools managed by the samaj were imparting the traditional and modern education to their students simultaneously.


Youth Cong flays sale of properties
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
The Youth Congress today criticised the Punjab Government for selling prime properties in the state at throwaway prices and handing them over to its favourites. Addressing a press conference, the district president of the Youth Congress (Urban), Mr Parminder Mehta, alleged that the state government under a proper plan was handing over these properties to its own people on nominal price.

Mr Mehta pointed out that in this blind pursuit it had even forgotten to identify its own properties and those belonging to other states. He cited the example of the Rajasthan Government, which had raised the issue of two buildings which the Punjab Government had sold on its own. The Rajasthan government has already raised the issue with the Punjab Government.

The leader also raised the issue of civic amenities in the city. He alleged that the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation had failed in its responsibilities of providing cleanliness in the city. He apprehended outbreak of epidemics like cholera, gastroenteritis and malaria due to the negligence of the Health Department and the Municipal Corporation. Mr Mehta said the Youth Congress activists would gherao the Commissioner, Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, on July 18 in protest against the poor civic amenities.

Earlier, while addressing a meeting of party workers he lashed out at the state government for failing to provide basic amenities to the common man. 


Senior citizens’ bhavan opened
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 15
The dedication ceremony of Senior Citizen Bhavan, Lodhi Club Road, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, was performed by Mr Randhir Singh, Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, here this morning. 


Furnace unit found stealing power
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
The Enforcement Wing of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has succeeded in nabbing an alleged power thief near Alamgir gurdwara. According to board officials, a team of the Enforcement Wing had raided the premises of a furnace unit on July 13.

The officials found that the furnace owner had put on fake seals on the meter and was drawing direct supply from the power lines. The enforcement team imposed a fine of Rs 8 lakh on the spot. One third of the amount was deposited by the owner and has filed a case against the board’s decision in the Dispute Settlement Authority.

The owners of the unit had allegedly tried to stop the officials from checking the meter resulting in a scuffle among the workers of the unit and the board officials. Later, board employees staged a protest against the unit for having misbehaved with the board staff. 


Knitwear Club signs MoU with Pinnacle
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
The Knitwear Club, a body of knitwear manufacturers and allied industries has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Pinnacle Institute of Design and Technology that was inaugurated by Mr Masahiro Oba, GM, Juki Singapore Ltd, a world renowned stitching machine manufacturer. The MoU was signed by Mr Vinod Kumar Thapar, president, Knitwear Club and Mr Sameer Aggarwal, Director of the institute.

According to the MoU, the Knitwear Club would ensure industrial training, project work and ultimately, the placement of the students after the competition of the Knitwear Design Technology (KDT), Fashion Design Domestic Retail and Garment Manufacturing Technology course.

The institute has launched full time courses in Knitwear Design Technology, Fashion Designing, Garment Manufacturing Technology and Interior Exterior Design Technology. Mr Sameer Aggarwal informed that the institute will have well-qualified staff from NIFT Delhi, and Mohali.

Mr Masahiro, while presiding over the function, said,‘‘ There is a great scope in this field as the country’s exports are growing. After, the implementation of non-quota regime in 2005 the demand for trained manpower will increase manifold.’’

He disclosed that the Juki has entered the Indian market in a big way by establishing another company, Juki Machines India Limited. The annual demand for stitching machines in Ludhiana is about 5,000-7,000, showing the potential of employment opportunities in this area. Number of units have already entered in the exports business thus creating a demand for fashion designers.

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