Wednesday, July 18, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Now Ludhiana police to probe murder case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
Following the intervention of the Ministry of Defence, the DIG, Ludhiana, has transferred the investigation into a nine-month-old case of brutal murder of two relatives of Kargil victim, besides a robbery in his house in Mullanpur Dakha village from the Jagraon police to the Ludhiana police.

As the Jagraon police was unable to solve the case, the DIG, Mr Suresh Arora, has directed SP(D), Ludhiana, Mr Gurkirpal Singh, to investigate into it and report at the earliest. The orders came after a meeting between the DIG and senior Army officials was held at the Dholewal army complex here early this week. The meeting was organised at the instance of the Army officials after the Defence Ministry expressed concern over the case that it had remained unsolved all these months causing depression and other problems for the Kargil war victim, Jatinder Singh, who had lost his two legs.

Mr Arora said the transfer of the case had been ordered to satisfy the complainant who was not happy with the investigation.

The incident took place on the intervening night of September 23 and 24. A number of armed robbers entered the house of Jatinder Singh and killed his mother and sister besides injuring six persons, including the Kargil victim. The robbers decamped with valuables and cash. Ever since then the Defence Ministry has been maintaining a close watch on the progress of the police investigation as the incident and the police failure to catch the accused had come up during question hour session in the Lok Sabha this year.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune at a local hospital where he had come up for health check-up, Jatinder Singh said he had been demanding the transfer of the case for the past several months. He alleged that the Jagraon police was not properly interrogating certain suspects in the case even though he had identified them. He said some politicians owing allegiance to the ruling Akali Dal were protecting the suspects.

According to him, he was confident that in-laws of one of his brothers were allegedly behind the incident. He said his brother had a marital dispute with his wife and her parents. 


Bonded labourers, families freed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
The people’s vigilance committee, phillaur, today claimed to have freed three bonded labourers and their 8 family members from the captivity of the owners of two farmhouses in Ferozepore district, where the labourers and their families were allegedly working in bondage for the last several years.

Narrating their tale of woe, Sarwan Singh, a labourer, said he was working on the farms of a landlord at Rukkan Shah village since 1996. He said he had taken Rs 40,000 loan from the landlord and was giving monthly interest for the same.He claimed to have returned the money also but the lender was still demanding it. He said he was not allowed to go on leave and could not work because of ill-health. He was also fined Rs. 100 if he was unable to work.

He said even his wife and children were subjected to all kinds of harassment and were made to work in the fields. He said ultimately the vigilance committee came to their rescue and freed them.

Sukhdev Singh, another labourer, has also been freed from a similar bondage of another landlord in the same village. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune he claimed to have been in bondage since1996 when he was employed to repay the debt from the landlord by his father. He said his father had taken a loan of Rs. 27,000 from the landlord. But could not pay it. Hence he was employed at the farms till the debt was over. However, even though he worked all these years at the farm the debt was far from being over. Later, the landlord forced his family members — that included his parents, wife, brother and children — to work at the fields to repay the debt. They were not paid any wages all these years.

The third case pertained to an old labourer, Sadiq Ram, who was working under a similar bondage with another landlord of Changali village in Ferozepore district. Surinder Singh, an activist of the committee, informed that the freed labourers would be rehabilitated by the committee elsewhere. Their children would also be taken due care of.


2 indicted for speaking to Press
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has served show cause notices to its two employees asking them to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against them for speaking to the press.

The notices have come in the wake of an inquiry conducted by the university against the two which had indicted them for the “leakage” of confidential information of the university to the press.

The employees, Mr R.S. Arora, Superintendent, Department of Plant Pathology, and Mr S.C. Goyal, Superintendent, Department of Farm Power and Machinery, were served the notices today in which the authorities had proposed to cancel their increments.

The inquiry conducted by the Comptroller of PAU, Mr S.K. Bhatia, had maintained that the two employees “had spoken to the press” about the news item carried in a daily.

Mr Bhatia had submitted his report of the inquiry last week and it was sent to the Vice-Chancellor for further action. The report further stated that as the information was published in quotes that meant the employees had spoken to the press and passed the information.

The notice was served to Mr Arora for speaking against the appointment of a senior official of the university and Mr Goyal was served the same for passing information regarding the legal cell of PAU. Mr Goyal who was previously a Superintendent with the legal cell of PAU had been transferred to Department of Farm Power and Machinery.

In their reply, both of them had denied speaking to the press about any matter. Mr Arora said he had not passed on any confidential information except in his capacity as an office-bearer of an association.


VC orders reopening of gate
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
The controversy over the PAU gate took a new turn today with the Vice-Chancellor ordering the opening of Gate 6 of PAU amidst protests by the residents of Kitchlu Nagar and intervention by the president of PAU Teachers Association (PAUTA).

The gate, opening to Kitchlu Nagar, was permanently closed by constructing a wall overnight to disrupt the passage. The Vice-Chancellor today ordered opening of an S-type gate through the newly-constructed wall.

The gate was closed on Saturday night amidst protests by the residents of Kitchlu Nagar. The Vice-Chancellor had ordered the closure of gates 1 and 5 also some days back but after protests by some farmers gate 1 was opened the next day.

The closing of gate 6 was causing inconvenience to a number of faculty members who were residing in Kitchlu Nagar and children studying in the campus school. The two former VCs of PAU had gone to meet the VC, appealing to him to consider their demand of reopening the gate.

The parents of the children studying in the campus school had given a representation to the Principal for pressing upon the VC to reopen the gate as it was causing inconvenience to their children. They had said around 250 students were going to the school from this area and with the closure of the gate they would have to follow the route through the gate near Udham Singh Nagar, which was on a road which had heavy traffic.


Gastroenteritis spreads in Sirhind, Fatehgarh Sahib, five kids die
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 17
Gastroenteritis has broken out in Sirhind, Fatehgarh Sahib and the surrounding areas and five children have lost their lives to this disease. But the local health authorities are unaware of the situation prevailing in the district and have no knowledge about the deaths. More than 100 school-going children between the age group of three and 15 have been admitted to various private and civil hospitals within three days and more and more cases are coming to the hospitals. It is just a tip of the iceberg, as there may be more cases in the district, which are still unreported as the health authorities do not have any information regarding spreading of the disease in the district. Today within hours 10 cases were admitted in emergency ward of the local civil hospital.

When contacted Dr K.P. Sandhu, child specialist at Civil Hospital here said that within three days more than 60 children between the age group of three to 13 had been admitted to the Civil Hospital and five children in a critical stage, had been referred to Rajindra Hospital. Patiala, as they had come at a very late stage. He said the exact cause of the disease had not yet been identified but it may be waterborne disease like cholera. He said more and more cases were coming to the hospital.

A large number of residents of Bhagat Colony of Brahman Majra in Sirhind town, who were bringing their children to the emergency ward of the civil hospital, told The Tribune that almost all children of their locality numbering more than 50 were lying in Civil and private hospitals. They said two of the children had died on the way to hospital. They said they had been repeatedly urging the Municipal Council authorities to sanitise the area and asking for chlorination of the drinking water, but nobody bothered which resulted in this tragedy. They demanded strict action against the civic officials concerned for the negligence and to ensure the immediate remedial measures, so that lives could be saved.

As the Civil Surgeon was not available for comments, the District Health Officer said that all precautions were being taken. All Municipal Councils have been asked for the proper chlorination of the drinking water and to launch a cleanliness drive. He said two medical teams had been constituted to educate the public about the disease. He said chlorine tablets and ORS packets were being distributed. He said only 30 cases had been reported and most of them had been discharged. There was only one patient in the hospital now, he added.

Mr R.N. Sharma, president Citizens Welfare Council, Sirhind alleged that despite strict orders by the Deputy Commissioner, the health authorities had failed to take any food samples and to check the selling of exposed food by the vendors. The drinking water, being provided by the Sirhind Municipal Council, was not fit for human consumption and its samples had failed many times. The water tank at Sirhind had never been cleaned or the water chlorinated. The condition of the sanitation was bad in the town and the faulty sewerage system added to the miseries. The Executive Officer and the AME daily commuted to this area but were not aware of the problems of the town. In certain cases the directions of the Deputy Commissioner were not implemented.


117 more gastro cases reported
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
Keeping in view the increase in number of gastroenteritis and cholera cases in city, the officials of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation conducted a survey in various localities of the city in which various shortcomings were found in some of the “susceptible areas”, which could be the reason for these diseases. The officials of the team said, though the authorities concerned had opted for various precautionary measures yet there were certain shortcomings which needed to be taken care of.

The survey team found that the people residing near Budda Nullah, consumed water from handpumps. The water from these pumps was found to be contaminated and could be one of the reasons for the gastroenteritis and cholera. They suggested that the residents of these areas, who were unable to get water from corporation, should consume boiled or chlorinated water.

The team observed that the storage tanks in these areas had not been cleaned up by the residents for over past many years. The open tanks should be regularly cleaned and duly covered to avoid any infections. It was found that some of the residents consumed water from their own sources and the water pipes had cracks, which were the main cause for the spread of these diseases.

The officials said that the department had already distributed 45 lakh tablets of chlorine and 30,000 packets of ORS to the residents in these areas.

Meanwhile 17 more cases of gastroenteritis were reported from various city hospitals today. Ten cases were reported from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, five cases from Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, two from Pahwa Hospital and one case of cholera was reported from Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital. The total number of cholera patients has risen to 713. So far 108 cases of cholera have been reported in the district.

The Health Department had also organised an awareness rally in which over 5,000 chlorine tablets and 100 packets of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) were distributed to residents of Haibowal Kalan, area near Budda Nullah and Salem Tabri.

Members of the Ludhiana Welfare Society held an emergency meeting at the Civil Lines office today to express concern over the increase in number of gastroenteritis and cholera patients in the district.

Mr Manjit Singh Matharu, president of the society, while expressing concern, pointed out more and more cases were being reported daily from the city hospitals. He urged Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, Mayor, Municipal Corporation to take necessary steps for its control.



CYNICS have always been proved right when it comes to any negotiation between India and Pakistan. Notwithstanding the media hype created on the eve and during the visit of the Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf to India, most people were not so sure about the positive outcome. People remained glued to their television sets surfing channels and listening to various debates and analysis by leading opinion makers from across the subcontinent. As the summit began the euphoria reached its crescendo. It was literally a willing suspension of disbelief for the people across the country, nay the entire subcontinent. Most people seemed to be convinced that “something was in the offing”. And what came out was now before anybody and everybody to see. Ludhiana had a special interest. Given the industrial and commercial character of the city, people were hopeful that the improved relationships if the summit had succeeded, might lead to improved business relations and good exports to Pakistan, next door to Punjab. As the euphoria turned into disappointment to the extent that General Musharraf even cancelled the trip to holy city of Ajmer, people here started saying ,”it was quite expected”. An overnight turnaround indeed.

‘Sher aaya’

Most of us have grown up listening to a moral tale describing the false hue and cry raised by a boy about a lion. And when the lion actually comes, nobody goes to his help and he is ultimately devoured by the beast. For the last few days, a similar story has been dominating the newspapers about a leopard having been spotted in the neighbouring Baddowal village. The leopard reportedly killed a calf while almost killing a lady. Since then, people in Baddowal and the neighbouring villages have been maintaining a round-the-clock vigil with guns and other weapons desparately wanting to find the beast. The terror-stricken villagers are wary of going into their fields alone and without arms. Forest and Wildlife Department officials have also been pressed into service to trace the leopard. But the search so far has all been in vain. The Wildlife officials have set up a trap with a cock tied onto the trap to attract the leopard. Besides there is a man watching from a distance who will pull the rope to shut the door of the trap in case the leopard steps in. It has been a long wait since then both for the cock and for the man, as the leopard remains ‘fugitive’.

Boom time

The mineral water sellers in Ludhiana are doing a brisk business. Courtesy, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. Not that any particular official of the corporation is promoting the sales of the mineral water in the city. But the declining faith in the corporation has sure boosted the sales. As people are not sure whether the water coming through the taps, which is supplied by the corporation is worth drinking even after sterilisation, people are opting for mineral water. Given the extra need for water during these days, some people have been consuming water only for as much as Rs 50 per day.

Changing hues

Though the romantic month of saawan began on a wet note with brisk showers lashing the city on Tuesday morning, it remains to be seen whether the month lives up to its reputation or just fizzles out like any other month of the year as it did last year. Because of early monsoons last year, the city hardly witnessed five rainy days in the month of saawan which has so far been known for week-long-rains. Will it be a repeat of last year? Could be, could be not. Depends upon the intensity of monsoons in the days to come. But by and large, people are apprehensive about a dry saawan as the gone-by month of ashadh this time witnessed more rains than what saawan had to offer last year.

Without utility

Ludhiana can boast of a number of most modern bus stops. They are used for advertising different products in a most aesthetic manner. At night the neon signs increase their enhance. The seats provided are brand new and a security guard is posted round the clock lest some people sit on the seats. What is ironical that some passengers sit and wait for the buses in the old bus shelters on Ferozepur Road. A few feet away from this bus stop is the new bus stop which has a solitary guard looking after it .Probably Ludhiana is the only city that has the distinction of bus stops with marble floors, beautiful wrought iron railing attractively painted in black and gold, and lovely green potted plants. Sadly the only thing missing are the passengers and the buses!

Taking time

A meeting was held here on Monday at the District Industry Centre to create awareness among the bankers and industry about the Government of India’s scheme of Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Small Industries (CGTSI). The officials told the gathering that the scheme was launched on August 30, 2000, to help the young and new entrepreneurs to get loans from the banks without any collateral security, but only 86 applicants had been sanctioned loans worth Rs 33.88 lakh in Punjab so far. When asked about the purpose of awareness meetings at this stage and reason of so poor performance, one of the officials said,‘‘ After all, it is another government scheme, and you know, the government takes time to wake up. So do not bother if almost a year has passed to start the scheme.’’

Beware of road

During the past one month there have been several instances of the long patches of roads caving in at various places. Several motorists, mostly the two-wheeler drivers have been caught unawares and have fallen into the pits caused on these roads. At one place near Rajguru Nagar, a road caved in for the third time in less than a month. In Model Town area a road caved in at a few places. This has become a routine now. Whenever there are mild showers there are reports of roads caving in here or there. People have become so apprehensive that they try to avoid a journey during the rains, lest they fall into a caved road.

Funny names

Police stations or chowkies rarely evoke amusing feelings but funny names of a few chowkies in the city definitely bring a smile on one’s face. While the names of the police stations have been carefully selected according to the area in which they fall, a number of chowkies (police posts) have been given amusing names. These are sawa-chhe (quarter past six) chowki, sadhe-chhe (six and a half) chowki and paune-sat (quarter to Seven) chowki. All these police posts fall in the area of the Division No. 6 police station hence the name has been derived after the number 6. One other police post falling in the area of Division No. 2 police has been named dhai no. chowki (two and a half ). Interestingly, the police has not coined these names. The residents of the area concerned have coined the names on their own. The police posts had come up during the terrorism days. The police used to name them according to the area in which they fell but the ingenuity of the public coined such names.

Poor boys!

City guys are having a tough time in getting admission to undergraduate courses. The three boys’ colleges have become co-educational for various courses from this year, leaving very less chance for them to get admission. The number of boys and girls seeking admission to the BBA and the BCA courses during centralised admissions to Panjab University colleges was almost equal but the number of seats for boys was less than 20 per cent. Same was the situation during centralised admission to Punjab Technical University colleges held last Sunday. ‘‘Ki kariye? Aj kal kudian da zamana hai (What to do? This is the age of girls),’’ said the disheartened boys standing in long queue, waiting for their turn.

Apologies galore

In a rare public display of remorse, senior officials of Punjab Agricultural University were seen “apologising” with folded hands to the parents who were accompanying their children for the CET re-examination. The reason which had called for the apology was the cancellation of the exam which was conducted earlier by the university. The officials were said to be regretting the inconvenience caused to them due to the cancellation. Hopefully they realise that the fair re-conduct of the CET this time would wash all the wrong doings.

— Sentinel


Shopkeepers refuse to meet Mayor
Kuldip Bhatia
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
The stand-off between the Municipal Corporation and the ‘sangharsh samiti’ of traders and shopkeepers over the controversial elevated-road project continued as the office-bearers of the samiti refused to meet the City Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, and members of the core committee, comprising leaders of all political parties and councillors.

The elevated road, proposed to be constructed over the Old GT Road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema in the city at a cost of around Rs 32 crore is slated for discussion in the MC general house meeting to be held tomorrow.

The sangharsh samiti of the shopkeepers from various commercial centres along the Old GT Road has been opposing the project with the plea that it would serve no useful purpose and the scarce resources available might well be utilised for providing civic amenities to the city population. The shopkeepers also apprehend disruption of business activity in the area during the construction period and even thereafter.

The representatives of the samiti have had a meeting with the Mayor and some members of the core committee on Monday, without arriving at any decision. Later, the Mayor had said that another five-member delegation of the samiti would present its views before the core committee the next morning, for which a letter had been sent to the samiti.

However, Mr Mohinder Aggarwal, convener of the samiti, informed Ludhiana Tribune that no such intimation was received by them till this morning. The samiti activists were of the view that since the item of the elevated-road project was already on the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting.

Meanwhile, the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has opposed the proposed elevated-road project, saying there were many other alternatives available to achieve decongestion of traffic on the Old GT Road.


Rainwater enters houses
Our Correspondent

Khanna, July 17
Many houses in Ratanheri village, near here, got flooded on Monday evening following heavy rains. Later Nandi Colony and Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar areas were also flooded. This created a fear among the people that it might turn out to be a repeat of 1993 situation.

Mr Surinder Khanna, president, of the Khanna Vikas Club, told Ludhiana Tribune that none of the high officials like the SDM, the tehsildar or the SHO Sadar was available at that time. Later, the SHO Sadar clarified that there was no breach in the distributary and it was only the rainwater coming from Mahon village, which had created a flood-like situation. However, the residents have demanded that necessary arrangements should be made to protect them against the danger of floods.


Best Mayor’ award presented
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
The City Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, reiterated the commitment of the civic body towards providing basic amenities to the city population and taking up development works in outer wards (undeveloped and under-developed areas) on a priority basis.

Addressing a function, organised by the Youth Welfare Club in New Shiv Puri locality here last evening, Mr Grewal disclosed that the Municipal Corporation, in a significant decision, had recently effected an upward revision in the development grants of outer wards so that the residents could be provided all facilities at par with other city colonies.

He also focussed on various measures, to be undertaken by the MC, for bringing about qualitative improvement in traffic, particularly in congested residential and commercial areas in the old city. Work was in progress at the Dhuri Line Flyover and Dhandari Kalan Flyover and many more projects were in the pipeline, Mr Grewal added.

The Mayor was presented with the ‘Best Mayor in Punjab’ award by the club and the area councillor (Ward No. 66), Mr Sat Pal Puri was also felicitated.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Puri spoke about the development work, already completed or being undertaken, in the locality.


Markfed staff plan protest
Our Correspondent

Samrala, July 17
The joint action committee of the Markfed Employees Union has decided to launch an agitation from August 1 in protest against the decision of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, to take back the arrears already disbursed among employees. The committee would continue the agitation till this ‘arbitrary’ decision was taken back.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the committee held at the Markfed complex here recently under the presidentship of Mr Bhupinder Singh. It was attended among others by Mr Ashwani Kumar, general secretary, Markfed Field Employees Union, Mr Harbhajan Dass, secretary, Markfed Employees Union, Mr Ram Kumar Tewari, president, Markfed Workers Union, and Mr Hawa Singh from the plant federation.

Mr Bhupinder Singh said a resolution had been passed by the Administrator of Markfed, Mr K. S. Janjua, after discussing it with the committee regarding stagnation in the employees’ service.

He disclosed that the Markfed management had appointed eight new management trainees without the approval of the Registrar.


DIG demotes Sub-Inspector
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr Suresh Arora, has ordered the demotion of Surjit Chand from the rank of Sub-Inspector to Assistant sub-Inspector. While more details about the reasons behind the demotion were not available, police sources said the cop had been demoted due to unsatisfactory conduct and performance.

The police official, earlier posted at the Jagraon city police station, was suspended last week following a complaint against him.

He was suspended last year also after he allegedly picked up a city resident. Earlier, he was booked in several cases of custodial deaths, extortion, violence and illegal detention.

The DIG, Mr Suresh Arora, when contacted said the cop had been demoted due to his misconduct and bad record.


16 injured
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 17
Nearly 16 persons were injured when a mini-bus lost control and rammed into a house in Mullah village on the Jagraon-Raikot road this morning.

The bus (PB-10Z-4929) of Mehdian Bus Service was on its way from Bassian to Badhni. The driver lost control over the bus and barged into the house of Mr Dayal Singh on the outskirts of the village. 


Scooterist dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
A case has been registered against Harpal Singh, the driver of a PRTC bus (PB-11A-4246) for allegedly causing death of a scooterist and injury to the pillion-rider in an accident near Partap Chowk last evening. According to the complainant, Gurbax Singh, a resident of Model Colony, said he and his brother were going on a scooter when they met with the accident.

5 booked

The police booked five persons on the charges of causing death of a newly-married woman. Ajaib Singh, a resident of Gali 7, Hargobind Nagar, PS division 6, Ludhiana, alleged that his daughter was married to Surinder Kumar of Narinder Nagar, but was continuously being harassed by her in-laws.

He alleged the accused beat up her daughter recently and set on her fire after pouring kerosene on her. She died in the Civil Hospital. The police booked Surinder Kumar, alias Kala, Saroj, Shanti, Manohar Lal Bhatia and Manoj Kumar. No arrest has been made so far.


Three booked

Three persons, Surjit Singh, alias Golu, Gurpreet Singh, both of Kothey Pona, and Harpreet Singh, alias Peeta, resident of Gagra, were booked for damaging a Ceilo car (UP-114E-1070) and office furniture at a cold store, besides stealing Rs 40,000, along with three or four others. The police registered a case on the basis of the statement of Umesh Kumar, foreman of the cold store.


Gang busted, 4 arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
The city police today busted a gang allegedly involved in issuing fake degrees and diploma certificates of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College here. Four members of the gang have been arrested and the police is investigating into the possibility of involvement of more persons, including some staff members of the college, in the racket.

According to the Inspector, Mr Paramjit Singh, SHO, Division No 6 police station, the police on a tip-off raided the house of Gurbachan Singh in Shimlapuri. The police succeeded in nabbing Gurbachan Singh, Balraj Kapoor, Sushil Kumar and Ram Bahadur. A number of blank degrees and certificates have been recovered from the house.

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