Thursday, July 19,  2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Unauthorised colonies mushroom near city
PUDA to probe coloniser-official nexus
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
A number of small unauthorised colonies are coming up on the outskirts of the city, thanks to the indifference of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA), and the alleged connivance of the property dealers, village sarpanches and some officials of PUDA itself. A glaring example of flouting of PUDA rules can be seen in the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, on Dhandra Road near Dugri.

A visit to the area shows that hundreds of plots have been sold by the property dealers and unapproved colonisers to the middle class people. Number of offices of property dealers can be seen on the road and in the midst of agriculture fields. The constructions have come up over the past five to seven years.

In a signed affidavit and a complaint submitted to the administrator of PUDA, and Estate Officer, Mr S.S. Ghuman, Mr Kuldeep Singh Bhola and number of residents of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony have alleged that Mr Lakhwinder Singh and Mr Tehal Singh, two unauthorised colonisers were developing small colonies by purchasing land from the nearby villagers. He alleged, ‘‘Mr Lakhwinder Singh and Mr Tehal Singh, two property dealers are selling plots in connivance with Mr Malkeet Singh husband of Ms Amarjit Kaur, sarpanch of Gill village and some PUDA officials. They have not developed any roads, sewerage, parks or other basic facilities that are mandatory under the PUDA Colonies Act.’’

The investigations made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that their modus operandi is simple. They take power of attorney from the land owners, promising that the amount at the rate of Rs 300-350 per square yard would be paid after the sale of plots within a year or so. Then the land is cut into plots by keeping lanes of 16-18 feet and the plots are sold to customers to at the rate of Rs 500-1500 per square yard depending upon the location of the plots. An employee of Mr Malkeet Singh disclosed that the plots were available without any problem as his Sardar would make all arrangements for the genuine registry.

It is learnt that the some members of the panchayat of Gill village had tried to pass a resolution to expose the nexus between colonisers and their own men. However, due to minority, they failed in their move.

The residents alleged that the PUDA had lost more than Rs 50 lakh as fees from the colonisers. The colonisers have sold hundreds of plots in the past few months. Further, the colonies were just coming up as slums and were a blot on the face of the city. In fact, the Panchayat of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar would have to beg from the ministers to build roads in this area.

Mr Lakhwinder Singh, when contacted, denied that he was directly selling any plots. He said, ‘‘I do not have any licence to build colony, neither have I bought land from anybody. I am working as a commission agent.’’ When probed further about the availability of property dealer licence and the number of plots sold by him, he said he had none.

Mr S.S. Ghuman, Estate Officer, PUDA, said, ‘‘We are ordering an enquiry into the nexus of colonisers, Panchayat members and any officials. An FIR would be registered against them if allegations were found true after the inquiry’’. 


Walkout by BJP, SAD councillors
Resignation of Mayor demanded
Kuldeep Bhatia

Shopkeepers obstruct traffic at Mata Rani Chowk to protest against the MC approval of the elevated road project in Ludhiana on Wednesday.
Shopkeepers obstruct traffic at Mata Rani Chowk to protest against the MC approval of the elevated road project in Ludhiana on Wednesday.

Ludhiana, July 18
As the elevated road project, which has been mired in controversy from the beginning, was approved by a majority vote at the general House meeting of the Municipal Corporation here today, the BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) councillors staged a walk-out and held a dharna outside the meeting hall. Councillors belonging to the Congress, BSP, a group of Shiromani Akali Dal and Independents, voted in favour of the project.

Later, addressing a news conference in the councillors’ room, the Deputy Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Sat Pal Gosain and the SAD(B) vice- president, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, announced that the two parties had withdrawn support to the City Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal and asked him to quit on moral grounds. They also demanded a CBI inquiry into the whole process of tendering and issuance of work order on the same day (May 18) when the project was hurriedly got approved in the last general House meeting. Mr Gosain was accompanied by Mr Pran Bhatia and Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia, group leaders of the two parties in the MC and Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, district president of BJP.

In fact, parting of ways between the Mayor and BJP group was a foregone conclusion over the divergent views held by the them over the elevated road project. In the process, the SAD councillors were also divided, with the SAD(B) group, led by Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia, siding with the BJP and the Akali Dal councillors, owing allegiance to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, throwing their lot with Mr Grewal.

Earlier, expressing his party’s opposition to the manner in which the elevated road project was sought to be pushed through hastily by the Mayor, the BJP group leader of councillors, Mr Pran Bhatia, said it was unfortunate that that MC administration had adopted a stiff attitude and the shopkeepers in the affected areas, where the elevated road project was to be constructed, were denied the right to be air their grievances.

There was a pandemonium in the House for quite some time when the agenda item on elevated road project was put before the House. At one time Mr Bhatia, Mr Sunil Mehra and Mr Parveen Bansal (all BJP) were speaking together against the project and they were surrounded by Mr Hira Singh Gabria, MLA, Giani Baldev Singh, Mr Manjit Singh Mundi, Mr Dharam Singh Kaka, Mr Sat Pal Puri and Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia, who spoke in favour of the project.

Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia also pleaded that the discussion on the project be deferred for some time till the issue was discussed with the representatives of the shopkeepers and the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who had gone abroad, returned back. However, once it dawned upon the SAD(B) and the BJP group that they were outnumbered in the House, Mr Gosain, Mr Bhatia and Mr Dukhia, led the councillors of the two parties, outside, where they held a dharna till the meeting was adjourned after adopting all remaining items on the agenda.

Even though there was a little confusion over the exact votes in favour and against the elevated road project, the Mayor claimed that out of 67 members present in the House, including two legislators, 41 had voted in favour of the elevated road.

In the begin, the House observed two minutes’ silence as a mark of respect to Mr Mangal Das, a former councillor and Mr Sukhwinder Sukhi, an international wrestler, who had passed away recently. The meeting lasted for nearly three hours and those who took part in the deliberations included Ms Asha Garg, Mrs Baljinder Kaur, Mr Sham Sunder Malhotra, Mr Kuldip Janda, Mr Parveen Bansal, Mr Sunil Mehra, Mr Balwinder Singh Sandhu and Mr Sat Pal Puri.

Supporters of the SAD(B) and the BJP on one side and the City Mayor, Mr Grewal, on the other, raised slogans and counter-slogans in the corridors of the MC headquarters, against each other after the meeting was over. Groups of shopkeepers also raised slogans against the Mayor and Congress councillors after the meeting.

As the news of approval of the elevated road project spread in the commercial area around the MC office, groups of shopkeepers and activists of a sangharsh samiti also descended on the Mata Rani Chowk, where they obstructed traffic for some time. Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, the sangharsh samiti president, Mr Som Nath Grover said, ‘‘The project has only been approved on paper. We shall see what to do when the construction work is taken up.’’

The sangharsh samiti of shopkeepers is scheduled to meet later when it would chalk out further course of action, it was learnt.


No patch-up with Badal: Tohra
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The former SGPC chief and the leader of the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD), Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, has ruled out any patch up with his erstwhile colleague and the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He told Ludhiana Tribune here, “the issue (of rapprochement) had already been closed for good”.

Mr Tohra, who seemed in an upbeat mood after massive presence in a few public rallies, said, there was no purpose in rapprochement since the government had failed the expectations of people. “Mr Badal will be a liability and not an asset”, he remarked while alleging that this government had crossed all the limits of corruption. He claimed, he had parted ways with Mr Badal for several reasons and corruption was one of them. He said, there was no relief in sight, hence there was no scope for patch up.

Asked whether this may not harm the interests of both the parties, he claimed, the AISAD was on a firm footing and it had already forged a grand Panthic alliance with other Akali groups. He said, the Panthic alliance had already been finalised and it would be formalised within one week’s time. He observed that after the Panthic alliance was formalised, it would pave the way for smooth formation of the third front in the state.

The former SGPC president disclosed that negotiations were already going on, on two fronts. While on the one hand it was the Panthic alliance among various Akali groups, on the other he was in constant touch with the leaders of the People’s Front like Mr Jyoti Basu, Mr Harkishsen Singh Surjit and Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav in Delhi. He disclosed that he had been assured that once the Panthic groups came together they would join them and form a grand alliance. According to Mr Tohra, the BSP supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, was also not averse to the formation of third front in the state and had expressed his willingness to become part of it, provided the Akali factions came together.

Lashing out at Mr Badal for failing to put forth the Sikh point of view during the Indo-Pak summit, he said, the Sikh interests were not represented during the talks. “Mr Badal failed to put it forward to the Prime Minister, so that he could raise it with the Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf”, he observed, while adding that the issue of Sikhs was as important as any other issue.

Mr Tohra said, he had tried to meet the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee before the summit. Although he had been granted time, Mr Vajpayee could not meet him due to some other engagements. He disclosed that he had also asked for an appointment with Gen Musharraf which was also not granted. He pointed out, the issue of Sikh shrines, which were lying in a dilapidated condition there needed to be discussed with Pakistan and it was the best opportunity to settle it. “However, we have already lost that chance”, he observed.

The senior Akali leader criticised the Pakistani President for trying to make Kashmir an Islamic issue.


IMA for strict action against Sofats
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The Indian Medical Association has recommended strict action against the Sofat Infertility and Women Care Centre, Ludhiana, for allegedly violating the medical ethics by issuing various advertisements in newspapers.

Dr O.P.S. Kande, president of the Punjab unit of the IMA, while replying to a memo of the Punjab Medical Council regarding a complaint against the Sofats, said “they are still giving advertisements in an unethical manner”. The letter, a copy of which is with The Tribune, said the advertisements issued by the Sofats were against medical ethics.

Contesting the claims of the Sofats that they were issuing the advertisements only for information purpose, Dr Kande said: “In the opinion of the Indian Medical Association, such advertisements are just to misguide the innocent patients and form a part of unethical practices and tentamounts to professional misconduct”. It clarified that the code of medical ethics lays down certain instances when a physician can issue an advertisement, “but in this case the council may appoint a committee to find out as how many advertisements of this type have come in the press since December 16, 2000, the date of the written submission.

Referring to the Sofats’ claim that other medical institutions were also doing the same, it asked them (the Sofats) to give specific complaints to the IMA or the PMC. Dr Kande said: “We will not hesitate to give similar treatment to anybody indulging in unethical practices as there is need to restoring ethical practices to save the medical profession from disrepute and unhealthy commercialisation at the cost of poor patients”.

The Registrar, Punjab Medical Council, had referred back the case regarding the complaint against the Sofats to the IMA on July 16. 


64 fresh cases of gastroenteritis
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 18
Cases of gastroenteritis continue to rise in the city. Reports of 64 fresh cases received from various city hospitals today. According to health officials, 45 cases have been reported from Dr B.L. Kapoor Memorial Hospital, four from the Civil Hospital, two from Pahwa Hospital, eight from Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, one from Oswal and four from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital.

The Health Department also confirmed four new cases of cholera at Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital today. The total number of gastroenteritis patients has risen to 777 while the number of cholera cases has increased to 112.

According to various reports, gastroenteritis has claimed over eight lives in the district during the monsoon. The authorities concerned are organising awareness rallies in different localities of the city, trying to control the disease.


Opinion divided over Vajpayee-Musharraf summit outcome
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Ludhianavis seem to be divided over the outcome of the Indo-Pak summit which failed to reach any consensus. However, most of them said they had not expected any miraculous outcome from these talks as the two countries had gone too far in trumpeting their position on the vexed Kashmir issue.

People like Dr Gursharan Singh, president of the Ludhiana chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), feel the summit has been a good beginning which collapsed under the massive weight of expectations. He remarked: “We should not have expected too much from the summit, which was first in many years”. He observed that the very fact that the two senior leaders of the two countries sat together should be deemed as a beginning in the right direction. However, it would have been much better had the two leaders agreed on some common minimum declaration.

Mr Gaggan Khanna, a leading industrialist of Ludhiana, observed that both India and Pakistan seemed to have created such a hype on the issue that people had been made to think in emotional rather than rational terms. He suggested that there should be a referendum in the country as what course of action the nation should take in solving the Kashmir problem, which is eating into the vitals of the economy. He pointed out huge money was being spent there at the cost of development. “We need to find out a viable remedy to the problem”, he felt.

Some people have been feeling that vested interests among leaders, bureaucrats and military officers of the two countries have not been allowing peaceful co-existence between the two countries. Mr Sheela Jain, another industrialist, observed that over the years so many factors had crept into the Indo-Pak relations. “There are certain vested interests who will always benefit from the confrontation and they will not allow peace to flourish”, he said, adding that even profits in the arms industry were so huge that nobody would like peace to return.

Payal, a counsellor in a local fashion institute, felt that there was dire urge among the people of the two countries to live in peace. She pointed out that reports in different media from across the border revealed that people over there (in Pakistan) also wanted peace. “But our leaders have again failed us”, she regretted while asking “how long shall we continue with getting our people killed in Kashmir?”

Mr V K Mehta, Principal, Arya College for Boys blamed Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf for the failure of the summit. He regretted had it not been his stubborn obsession with Kashmir, the summit would not have failed. He questioned the argument of the Pakistani ruler that Kashmir was the core issue. Mr Mehta said if General Musharraf was confident of his case, he should have readily discussed other issues, including Kashmir.

Anshul, a young fashion designer, hoped although the two countries did not succeed in arriving at some consensus on the differences persisting between them for so long, there is a hope that the leaders may meet again. “At least they have been able to start a process that may lead to some positive conclusion”, she hoped.

Dr D.L. Jain, president of the Machhiwara Welfare Association, blamed General Musharraf for the failure of the summit while Mr Shammi Pahalwan, a former councillor of the town, criticised the government for inviting the Pakistan leader for talks.

Meanwhile, the labour and employment cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has charged the ruling NDA Government and the BJP with pursuing a political agenda, which led to the failure of the talks.

In a statement Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, president of the cell, said failure of the Agra talks, which followed the Kargil war and weak-kneed policy against Bangladesh, had amply proved the incompetence of the BJP leadership and its allies in the Centre. He alleged that the real motive of the BJP behind initiating talks with the Pakistan Government was to win the sympathy of the Muslim community for the forthcoming Assembly elections in UP.


Flying club staff sans salary for 2 yrs
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal (Ludhiana), July 18
The staff of the Ludhiana Flying Club has been virtually grounded due to the ‘indifferent attitude’ of the state government. About 25 employee of the club have not been paid salaries for the past 26 months.

According to officials of the club, several reminders to the authorities concerned for the grant of their salaries have yielded no results. A meeting with the Chief Minister recently, too has not resulted in the state government taking any substantial step.

An employee of the club, who did not want to disclose his identity, said ‘‘despite the fact the state government is holding our salaries, the staff of the club has not ignored its duty and work regularly with a hope that one day, it will get its dues. The state government has been unfair to us by not giving our salaries for the last two year. Some of us are in our fifties. They cannot find a job or opt for any other employment at this stage.’’

Besides, the club is facing acute financial crises. An official disclosed, ‘‘The club has been getting an annual grant of Rs 1,75,000 since 1967 when the fuel’s cost was Rs 2 per litre while now it costs Rs 60 per litre. On the other hand the Haryana Government gives a grant of Rs 10 lakh annually to every flying club.’’

Very few students enroll themselves with the club as it is costlier and lacks facilities. The club has only two aircraft in the working condition while other craft are awaiting grants from the state government so that the spare parts and other material could be purchased to make them work.

The officials in the Engineering Section said that some of the aircraft could not be maintained because of lack of funds and resources. The club could not generate much resources itself and needed regular and sufficient financial grants from the state government.

An official said,‘‘The per hour flying charges in the state are Rs 2,000 for general public and for students, the charges are Rs 1,750 while in Haryana, the charges are Rs 1,000 for the students as the state gives 50 per cent subsidy to the students to promote flying as one of the career option,’’ . For a youngster who wants to opt for the career in civil aviation, the Ludhiana Flying Club is an expensive and ill-equipped option, he added.


BSNL employees stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 18
All-India Telecom Employees Union (Class III) observed anti-privatisation day and staged a dharna outside Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) office at Bharat Nagar Chowk today.

Mr Balbir Singh, circle secretary, Punjab, in a press release said the proposed disinvestment policy of the government was against the interests of telecom employees.

The call for dharna was given by Confederation of Central Government Employees and All-India State Government Federation.


Concern over rise in crime against women
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, July 18
All those present at the police sangat darshan, held at the local community centre on Monday evening, appreciated the police officials, instead of making any complaint against them. The police-public meet was headed by the SSP of Khanna, Mr R.N. Dhoke. He was accompanied by DSP, Samrala, Mr Sushil Kumar. The Speaker of Punjab Legislative Assembly, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, who is also the local MLA, was the chief guest.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Jagroop Singh, circle jathedar, Sahnewal, suggested that the police and public should solve their problems mutually in order to avoid court cases. Mr Jagmohan Singh Takkar, a member of the Tehsil Grievances Committee, Samrala, laid stress on boosting the police-public relations. Mr Anil Sood, president of Nagar Panchayat, Machchiwara, sought deployment of traffic police in the town. Councillor Ujagar Singh demanded a first-aid post and a mobile van for helping the accidental cases in the area. Mr Gurcharan Singh Mithewal, Chairman, Market Committee, Machhiwara, sought strict enforcement of ban on prohibited drugs.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Atwal said the politicians should co-operate with the bureaucrats for maintaining law and order. He expressed concern over the increase in crime rate against women. Mr Dhoke said the Child and Women Cell, Khanna, had disposed off 200 cases in the last month. He said the four police first-aid posts in the area had saved the lives of 300 accident-victims and added that a new post would be set up at Jarg.


Committed to enlightening masses
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, July 18
In the world of myths and superstitions that have gripped the masses in our country, the Taraksheel Society, an NGO, has chosen to tread the thorny path to enlighten the masses by exploding the myths and expose the people who dupe the public by playing on their religious and emotional sentiments. The society is active all over the state and is showing the right path based on logic and reason and not superstitions.

The society came into existence in the year 1983 and the society is doing yeoman’s service in bursting the false beliefs that have made inroads in the psyche of a majority of Indians. The troubled people turn towards the so called holy men hoping to get relief but get cheated in the bargain.

Some enlightened people who believed in reasoning and logical thinking were greatly inspired by the writings of Dr Kaboor from Sri Lanka. Dr Kaboor defied the beliefs of “tantriks” who sat in the cremation grounds and stole the bones. After performing some magic they befooled the people by telling them that they had captured the spirit of the deceased and since they were in their power they could make them do impossible tasks.

Dr Kaboor sat in the cremation ground for 10 years to find out the reality of the myths spread by the “tantriks.” Afterwards he wrote a of books like “Jyotish Jhoot Bolta Hai,” “Tarak ki Chotti Par,” “Tarak Shaeed Bhagat Singh,” “Devpurash Haar Gaya” and “Dev, Daint teh Roohan” and many other such books which proved to be eye openers. Inspired by his logic and clear thinking Mr Rajinder Bhadur and Mr Krishan Bagari were motivated enough to form the Taraksheel Society having reason and logic as its basis.

Mr Harbhajan Singh, the president of the society said there were as many as 30 active members in Ludhiana and there were over 1,500 members in Punjab. But there were many volunteers who brought to their notice the functioning of fake ‘babas’, their establishments, and the way they were robbing people of their hard earned money by fooling them by their talk of mythical powers.

Their ex-president Mr Jaswant Zirakh said the people give them in writing about the nefarious activities of phony faith healers and the society challenges them to prove their tall claims. Almost all the times the so called miracle healers prove to be bogus and they apologise before the public and leave their’’deras’. Citing some examples he said that a sorceress by the name of ‘looni wali mata’ who had her dera in Shimla Puri and Barjinder Kaur’s tall claims to be healers were proved to be a sham and they were driven away. But he alleged that “Changira Mata” in spite of being exposed was still flourishing in Bhaiani Ashram at Dhandari Kalan because of the police protection it is receiving.

Mr Harbans Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that the society stages plays, magic shows to make the people aware of the so called “babas.” It serves the dual purpose of educating the masses and helps them collect funds. The society publishes a bi-monthly magazine “Taraksheel” to enlighten the masses. In their editorial, they have criticised the University Grants Commission’s plans to offer courses in Astrology.

Highlighting a recent case, in which a “tantrik” woman promised a resident of Deep Nagar that she would deliver a male child after her blessings on her. The blessings of the “tantrik” cost the woman Rs 10,000 but she gave birth to a girl child. When the annoyed woman went to the ‘dera’ of the “tantrik” she told her that she should have killed the girl child. The society has decided to challenge that woman to display her extraordinary powers in Buani village. The society motivates the victims of these shammers to file cases against them and expose them.

Every Saturday the society tackles the mentally disturbed people. Through guidance and counselling, it tries to find out the underlying cause of their malady, and tries to nip the disease in the bud. The members are also trying their best to educate the people not to take the mentally disturbed people to’babas’, “tantriks” and ‘self styled healers’ as they are all psuedos out to make money by offering them magical solutions where none exists.


PSEB pensioners threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 18
The Joint Actions Committee (JAC) of all PSEB Pensioners Associations would adopt a path of agitation by showing black flags to the PSEB Chairman at Patiala and elsewhere and wearing black badges against what they described as total neglect of the pensioners by the PSEB management and non-acceptance of their pending demands.

The JAC Secretary, Mr S.K. Kapoor, had said in a statement that there was widespread resentment among pensioners over the indifferent attitude of the PSEB and failure of the management to accept the demand for free power to pensioners. There were various other irritants which were threatening the existence of pensioners of the PSEB and state government. Even promised concessions, recommended by the Pay Commission and accepted in principle were denied to the pensioners.

Inspite of the JAC’s best efforts and prolonged correspondence for convening a promised meeting with the representatives of pensioners, nothing had so far materialised, rued Mr Kapoor. ‘‘The PSEB Chairman is perhaps throwing our letters in a waste paper basket. It seems that malaise of non-allowing of meeting to pensioners, in particular, is growing into a colossal bungling when it is obligatory on the part of the PSEB.’’ He said it was an irrational step which was not only hurting the sentiments of the pensioners but was unjustified also. He said the Punjab Roadways, the Railways, the Telecommunication and other state and Central Governments were allowing several concessions to their pensioners which were not available to PSEB pensioners.

The PSEB, Mr Kapoor further observed, had been neglecting the pensioners in all respects and had done precious little for their welfare. In denying the facility of free power to them, the PSEB had proved that it was unfair towards pensioners.


Plight of women cobblers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 18
The 40 odd women cobblers from Rajasthan, who picked up the trade from their fathers in their childhood, sit in a row with polishing brushes and polishing shoes and mending shoes of passersby. They have invaded the male bastion only to survive and feed armies of children they have produced due to lack of education. One generally associates the cobblers to be men. But these 40 competent women cobblers are doing the job well and yet are at the receiving end as their husbands, habitually drunkards, beat them after consuming liquor. Domestic violence is their staple diet. They suckle their kids as they polish. Some are busy taking out lice from their children’s hair . Some children are eating dry chappaties as there is no money to buy even tea.

The ladies in their twenties and thirties, seated with their backs to the wall literary and figuratively, are living nightmarish lives. All of them have the same tragic story to relate whether it is Sunita, Seema, Kamla or Shanno. All got married soon after puberty. Since they are illiterate and no NGO or the government body has given them any knowledge of family planning, Kamla has 13 children. She says, “I did not know anything about family planning. and so I kept on delivering children. Four of my children died at childbirth. We don’t even have beds and since we don’t have money to go to hospitals, we deliver children in our soggy huts. With the result the newly-born children die. What else can we do but shed tears at the infants’ death for days on end? Each family has lost atleast a child at birth.

“Due to the rains our huts near the bus-stops are filled till waist-deep water. Our beddings are rolled up and kept in some market. Our children roam improperly clad and are diseased. I hardly earn Rs. 50 to 60 a day, sometimes not even that. We all go empty stomach to bed as I earn only Rs 20 or Rs 30 a day.”

What about the husbands? “They also go round mending and polishing shoes.” said a group of women who had converged to the place where the correspondent was talking to them.

“With the money they earn, they burn liquor every evening. After that hell breaks loose for all of us. After drinking they turn violent and kick us, beat us. If we resist, we get kicked more,” some women cobblers say.

Munni said: “I lost my husband four years ago. He went bathing in the canal and never returned. I am saddled with four kids. Three of them roam here and there trying to collect driftwood. Whatever I earn is hardly enough for the whole family. No one cares for us. I went to the government office to ask for pension but they ask for papers — ration card and vote — but we have nothing. Are we destined to live lives of doom? None of our children go to school. Where is the money?”

Seema said: “My husband left me four years ago but with three children. I also find it hard to make two ends meet. Our job is back-breaking. Life is meaningless for us. My kids have lice in the hair. I do not have money to give them haircut.”

The husbands of these women are drunkards. They also spend money buying lottery tickets. One ticket costs Rs 11. If they win they make Rs 100. Hardly will they bring any money home. Either they will buy more lottery tickets or drink more. The day they do not win they get frustrated and drink more and beat the wives more. “Our lives are worse than stray animals. Our children roam like stray puppies and all the time we are worried about their safety. We hear about the kidnapping and are mentally harassed about our kids being kidnapped, but we cannot bring them with us to work.”


7 booked in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Khanna, July 18
Anju Bala, wife of Bhusan Lal of Nai Abadi, has submitted a complaint to the SSP, Dr R.N. Dhoke, regarding her wrongful confinement for the purpose of extortion and criminal conspiracy. On the orders of the SSP, the police has registered a case under Section 347/406/498-A/506/120-B of the IPC.

The SSP entrusted the investigation of this case to ASI Balvir Singh. The complainant has alleged in her complaint that her marriage was solemnised with the accused Bhusan Lal on November 12, 2000, according to Hindu rites at a short notice. Bhusan Lal used to reside in Lebanon and he had come from there for marriage. She alleged that her parents had spent about Rs 3 lakh on her marriage and gave other gifts to the groom and his family.

She alleged in her complaint that after the marriage the behaviour of Bhusan Lal changed towards her. His parents started taunting her for not bringing sufficient dowry. She brought this fact to her parents’ notice and they gave more articles and money to them. But they kept on harassing her.

She further stated in her complaint that for the past one month Bhusan Lal had started troubling her and was demanding Rs 3 lakh to start some business in India. She alleged that he wanted her parents to pay the money and had confined her alongwith other members of the family — Krishan Lal, Raj Rani, Satinder Kumar, Moti, Mukesh Lal, Golu, Geeta Rani and Swarni at Amloh. She was locked in room on May 20 and was not allowed to talk her parents. However, she succeeded in posting a letter to her parents.

She alleged that Bhushan Lal moved a false application to the police. But she was rescued by the Amloh police. But the police had not taken any action against them. She said Bhushan was threatening to fly back to Lebanon and leaving her in India.


One booked
The Jodhewal police has registered a case under Section 354 of the IPC against Pawan Kumar, a general merchant of Kirpal Nagar, on the statement of Kirpa Rani, wife of Raghu Nandan Gupta, resident of the same locality. The complainant alleged that the accused had teased her seven-year-old daughter.

Driven to suicide
The Haibowal police has registered a case under Section 306 of the IPC against Kulwinder Singh, resident of Rishi Nagar, Haibowal on the statement of Ms Reema Rani, daughter of Mr Ram Lubhaya who alleged in her statement that on July 14 at about 2 p.m. the accused had beaten up her sister Neeru Bala as a result of which she later committed suicide. Mr Shankar Dass, SHO, Haibowal police station, is investigating the case.

Pistol seized
During special nakabandi at Chuharpur near here, Mr Sarabjit Singh, in charge, Jagatpuri police post, arrested Balraj Singh, a resident of Lalton Kalan and seized a country made pistol and two cartridges. A case under Sections 25,54 and 59 of the Arms Act has been registered at the Haibowal police station.

Liquor seized
The Model Town police arrested Romesh Lal alias Meshi, resident of Manohar Nagar, Model Town, and recovered 11 bottles of country liquor during a special checking yesterday. A case under Sections 61/1/14 of the Excise Act has been registered.


Union demands allotment of shops
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, July 18
Mr Ajit Singh Verma, president, Kirayedar Union, Punjab, has demanded implementation of the decision taken by the Chief Secretary on March 2.

In the letters written to the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary, Mr Verma has demanded that shops of municipal council be allotted to their present occupants at 20 per cent of their market value in case the plot of land does not exceed five marlas.

The shops built on bigger plots could be allotted at a higher rate, he said, adding, that after fixation of rates of the properties, proprietory rights should be vested with the tenants.

Along with the letter, he has attached a list of 18 influential persons, who have been illegally holding more than 51 bighas, of government land in urban areas costing more than Rs 200 crore. A copy of the list has also been sent to the local Municipal Council so that it could recover the land and allot it to poor persons, he said.

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