Friday, September 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Truck union member shot in broad daylight
Old rivalry reason behind murder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
In a broad daylight murder, a middle-aged man was shot dead at close range near the FCI office at the Arti Cinema chowk this forenoon by at least 5 assailants. An old rivalry between two groups of Sahnewal-based transporters, who had gathered in large numbers outside the FCI office today to submit tenders for the ensuing paddy procurement exercise is suspected to be the reason behind the murder.

Jang Singh, a member of the ruling Truck Union, was standing with his brother Charanjit Singh and some other persons on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore road near the FCI office when three cars — a Maruti Alto, a Maruti car and a Gypsy — screeched to a halt near him. One or two of the persons sitting in the cars fired at least two shots at him from a .12-bore rifle. One bullet hit him on the chest while the second missed him. The cars sped away before anyone could understand what had happened.

Later in the evening, on the basis of the statement of some eye-witnesses, the Division No. 5 police booked 5 persons, including a former president of the Truck Union, Sahnewal for allegedly murdering the man. Those booked under Section 302 and others included Gurdeep Singh alias Bholla, former president of the truck union, Gurmail Singh, Ujaggar Singh, Jagdev Singh and Tittu.

The police said other persons in the different cars could not be identified. At least three .12-bore rifles were seen in the hands of the car passengers. After the shoot-out, confusion seems to have prevailed among the deceased’s group as he was rushed to the far-away CMC Hospital instead of some close ones. The deceased was said to be alive till he reached the hospital where he died.

According to Charanjit Singh, a brother of the deceased, and an eye-witness to the incident, they had come to the FCI office to submit tenders for the transportation of paddy as well as sewing of gunny bags in 7 grain markets for the ensuing paddy season. He said their group was opposed by a rival group led by Gurdeep Singh. The groups were always at loggerheads with each other and keenly tried their best to win tenders.

He, however, stressed that they had no inkling about the possibility of a clash with the rival group today and had thus come unarmed. He said he was standing with his brother on the Ferozepore road when his brother was shot.

Officials of the FCI office said they learnt about the shootout a little later as the spot was at some distance from the office. They said they were not anticipating any clash today as the tender-submitting process was going on smoothly for the last couple of days. The officials suggested that bitter business rivalry over the years instead of immediate confrontation over today’s tenders could be the reason behind the murder.

Supporting their argument, the FCI officials said the works to be allocated on today’s tenders were small ones and the capital involved was in thousands only. They said they called for police security only when heavy contracts were to be awarded.

Police sources said different raiding parties had been dispatched to different places to arrest the accused.


SI held on graft charge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau arrested a Sub-Inspector of the Punjab police from the new district courts behind the Mini Secretariat here this morning on a charge of accepting bribe from a person in return of a favour.

Sub-Inspector Kamal Dev, posted with the Economic Offences wing of the city police, was caught red-handed at about 9:30 a.m. with the bribe money of Rs 2,000 outside the courts by a team of the local Vigilance Bureau. He had allegedly just pocketed the bribe money from a complainant, Hari Singh, who was an accused in a case under investigation with the EO wing.

The arrest attracted quite a crowd outside the courts in the morning. Lawyers, policemen and litigants gathered at the site. Quite a commotion prevailed in the courts after the arrest.

According to Mr R P S Bajwa, SP (Vigilance), complainant Hari Singh was an accused in a fraud case whose arrest was stayed till today by a district court. The court had, in its orders issued last month,. also directed the accused to join investigation in the case by today.

However, the Sub-Inspector allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 3,000 from Hari Singh to give a statement in the court that he had joined the investigation. Mr Bajwa said Hari Singh complained today early morning to him about the Sub-Inspector saying that he had already joined the investigation but the Sub-Inspector said he would say so before the court only at some price.

The Vigilance team laid a trap for the Sub-Inspector outside the courts. The Sub-Inspector met the complainant near a car and had just pocketed the money when he was nabbed. The Sub-Inspector was nabbed in the presence of two witnesses, one of whom was ASP Shive Kumar Verma, in charge, EO wing.

Vigilance sources added that with today’s arrest, at least five cops had been nabbed on corruption charges in less than one year only. The disturbing trend was that of the five cops, three were Sub-Inspectors and the others were an ASI and a Head Constable. The case of the Head Constable had hogged limelight for long as his arrest had exposed a novel kind of corruption. 


Arya College students go on strike
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 6
Condemning the orders of suspension given to Mr V.K. Mehta, Principal, Arya College, students went on strike today, demanding his immediate restoration as Principal.

The students raised slogans in support of the Principal and demanded that orders passed by the working president of the Arya Pratinidhi Parishad be taken back. They said that their Principal was being wrongly charged for no fault of his. The students said that the tussle between the two groups of management was affecting the academic atmosphere and they demanded that they should solve their differences without interfering in college matters.

The teachers of the college unanimously decided not to interfere in the ongoing conflict within the management but through a memorandum to the president and working president of the Arya Pratinidhi Parishad, they warned them not to cause any harm to any member of the Arya College Teachers’ Unit. The members held a meeting in the college and resolved that in case any member of the management would cause any damage to them, the teachers would together fight for their rights.

It may be mentioned that Mr Mehta had been suspended yesterday by Dr K.K. Pasricha, working president of the parishad, for ‘‘entertaining unlawful orders of Mr Harbans Lal Sharma and disobeying lawful orders of the managing committee’’ and Mr S.S. Verma, head of the Physics Department, had been appointed as officiating Principal. He had also said that Mr Sharma had no powers vested in him and reaffirmed that the committee constituted by orders on September 21 last year in which Lala Lajpat Rai, MP, was appointed president and Mr Harbans Lal Sethi was appointed secretary was a valid and legal one.

Lala Lajpat Rai visited the college today and spoke in favour of the orders of suspension passed by Dr Pasricha. Meanwhile, members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) have also welcomed suspension orders passed against the Principal. Mr Sandeep Kapoor, President of the local unit of ABVP, blamed Mr Mehta for giving shelter to some anti-social elements in the campus.


She needs 47 lakh for bone marrow transplant
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, September 6
For the parents of Gagandeep Kaur life may not present a more harsh predicament than the one that makes them feel helpless over the suffering of their daughter. Twenty-year-old Gagandeep is suffering from blood cancer and requires a bone marrow transplant that will cost at least Rs 47 lakh. The family has rented out their sweetmeats shop, sold their car and jewellery and yet the total money they have been able to collect is only Rs 12 lakh, which they have already spent on the treatment.

Their only hope is that if some voluntary organisations and good samaritans come to their aid and help them to go ahead with the transplant, to save her life. Only a bone marrow transplant can save her life. The family is unable to bear the cost of the transplant. They have already spent over Rs 12 lakh so far.

On November 27, last year Gagandeep Kaur, who had been leading a normal life, complained of a high fever after returning from her college. She was on medication for three days but her condition started deteriorating. ‘‘She was looking pale and complained of body aches,’’ said her mother Sarabjit Kaur. Her X-rays and tests were conducted and she was found to be suffering from blood cancer. The family took her to Rajiv Gandhi Hospital in Delhi for treatment.

‘‘Her condition further deteriorated and we took her to Noida. Somebody suggested ayurveda medicines and we took her to Dehra Dun. She was kept on liquid diet. Whenever, she ate something, her gums started bleeding profusely. She was unable to speak or walk by that time. We even took her to McLeodganj for treatment with Tibetan medicine, but to no avail’’, said Sarabjit Kaur.

The situation became more complex when majority of doctors refused to provide her with treatment. She was also taken to Jammu, where the family was given assurance that she would be alright within three months time.

Gagandeep Kaur, a student of B.A I in Khalsa College For Women, had to give up studies last year. The family had already given their sweetmeat shop at BRS Nagar on lease. At present, they were not even able to pay the rent of their house. ‘‘She is getting regular treatment at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital. She is given white blood cells twice a week. An average person should have between 1.5 lakh to 4.5 lakh white blood cells whereas Gagandeep has only 12,000 white blood cells in her body. On an average the treatment of one week cost around Rs 20,000,’’ said her mother.

Bone marrow transplant is done in Mumbai and Delhi also but the family has been suggested by the doctors to go to the USA for better results. But keeping the financial state of the family in mind they cannot do much except express helplessness and hope that God shows them a way out through a miracle, financial or otherwise.


40 pc small-scale units closed’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
About 40 per cent of the small-scale units in the state have been closed down during the past few years, but the government is not ready to provide any package to these units despite the fact that they were contributing in a big way in the employment generation and production, Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Federation of Tiny and Small Industries, said while referring to the survey conducted by the Director of Industries in 2001.

He said the small-scale industries were paying more interest to the banks as compared to the large-scale units under the RBI instructions. The growth of the tiny and SSI sector, which was in double digit during 1991-1996, has come down to single digit, clearly indicating the adverse impact of globalisation, liberlisation, the WTO and recessionary trends. He challenged the government claims that 26 packages out of the 29 announced on August 30, 2000, at the national convention on the SSI, had been implemented.

Mr Joginder Kumar lamented that as per the figures provided by the Central Statistical Organisation, the growth of the manufacturing sector had come down to 2.7 per cent in April, 2001, compared to 6.7 per cent in April, 2000. The slowdown of economy had affected the very survival of the tiny and SSI sector and there was every likelihood that the unemployment problem may accentuate leading to adverse socio-economic problems.

He urged the Centre to conduct a survey along with the state Commissioners of Industries so that a clear picture may emerge about the impact of the WTO, globalisation and liberalisation policies and remedial measures may be taken accordingly.


Disposal of traffic challans: a cumbersome process
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, September 6
This is perhaps the deemed punishment for any traffic offender to wait for hours on the premises of the District Courts. In most cases, the challans are sent by the police to the court, other than the court mentioned on the challan, which causes harassment and job gets put off by another day.

The prevailing system of disposal of a traffic challan in the city is a time-consuming process. With a massive increase in the number of vehicles and the resultant increase of traffic offenders in the district, the present system does not seem viable enough.

As per the prevailing system, a traffic challan is to be disposed of in the court of the judge whose name has been mentioned by the police official in the challan. Despite the fact that the name of the judge is written on the challan, often it is sent to some other judge. When the traffic offender visits the particular court as mentioned in the challan, he is directed to the Superintendent of Police (Traffic) for an inquiry. Thus he is able to trace the challan after many efforts. Then he has to find an agent who gets his challan cleared from the court, otherwise he has to wait for at least four to five hours to get this job done.

The system needs an overhauling to save the people from this cumbersome process. The city has a population of over 30 lakh. But there is no effective system of speedy disposal of traffic challans here.

The District Attorney, Mr. A.A. Pathak, said, “Law officers have demanded many a times to appoint a ‘traffic magistrate’ for the district whose job should be to dispose off traffic challans only because the workload in the courts, is already very high. Moreover, the police can be vested with the power to dispose off challan on fixed rate of fine to reduce the workload on the district courts.

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