Tuesday, October 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Four-member panel set up to resolve temple issue
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 1
With the management of the Durga Mata Mandir Trust responding positively to the request by the district administration to stop construction work at the demolition site, a four-member committee, comprising two representatives of the Mandir Trust and two officials of the Municipal Corporation, has been set up to resolve the matter arising from the demolition of three partly built pillars and outer wall of the adjoining temple.

There were widespread protests from members of the public and political activists against the MC action and the government was made to give in by ordering transfers of Commissioner of the MC, Dr S.S. Sandhu, and the SHO of the police division Number 5.

At a meeting convened here today by Deputy Commissioner S.K. Sandhu, who has also been given the additional charge of the civic body, it was decided to form a committee to submit a detailed report on the construction, being undertaken by the temple managing committee in the context of alleged violations of building bylaws and further to resolve the persisting traffic problem on the main road outside the temple. Mr S.K. Sharma, Additional Commissioner, Mr B.K. Gupta, Assistant Commissioner of the MC and members of the temple managing committee Mr Krishan Gupta and Mr Sanjay Mahindroo would be the members of the committee, which has been asked to submit its report within 15 days.

The meeting was attended among others by Lala Lajpat Rai, Member of the Rajya Sabha, Mr S.R. Kler, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raminder Singh, Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation and Mr Kuldip Singh, SDM (East), further resolved that peace would be not be allowed to be disturbed in the city. Mr Sandhu sought the cooperation of members of the public and the political parties to maintain law and order and communal amity.

Meanwhile, the Welfare Association, Model Town Extension Block A and AX and several members of the District Bar Association have criticised the transferring of the MC Commissioner, Dr S.S. Sandhu, and the SHO of police division Number 5, who, they said were doing their duty in accordance with the law. In separate press statements, they described the government action against upright and committed officers as the one which would demoralise officers and stand in the way of their day-to-day working.

A local lawyer Harpreet Sandhu said the decision of the government had shocked residents of the city. “With the transfer of the MC Commissioner, a bright chapter of infrastructural and civic development had come to an end,” he observed in a press release. Social activist Pappo Abnash Singh has also condemned the government decision, which she said, would send wrong signals to honest and upright government officials.

However, the district unit of the BJP has hailed the action taken by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. In a statement, district president of the party Harbans Lal Sethi said the timely action of transferring the MC Commissioner and SHO, division Number 5, and holding an inquiry in the lathi charge had saved the city from communal riots. He further said that the game-plan of the Congress and the Tohra group, who wanted to create a wedge in the ruling alliance, had been foiled.



Home they brought their dead
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 1
Out of the nine persons who died when a Tata Sumo crashed into an oil-tanker near Rajpura yesterday, eight were of the family of Mr Sandip Mittal, district unit chief of Shiv Sena, who is in the PGI, Chandigarh, with multiple fractures. The bodies of the victims were consigned to the flames at the Jamalpur cremation ground here today, where thousands of persons gave a tearful farewell to the departed souls.

While five of the bodies had been brought to the Focal Point residence of the Mittals yesterday night, the remaining bodies were received today. The bodies were of Jai Parkash Mittal (68), his wife Lajwanti (64), Sanjay Mittal, Ashok Mittal, Anita Mittal, Suman Lata Mittal and the son of the Sena leader, Mohit. The owner and driver of the Tata Sumo, Charanjit ‘Happy’, was also killed in the accident.

The survivors of the crash are Neeshu, nine-year-old daughter of Ashok Mittal, and Pooja and Manu, children of Sanjay Mittal. When the children, who suffered minor injuries, were brought to the city today, there was a blank look in the eyes of Rekha and Sunita, sisters of Mr Sandip Mittal.

The body of Charanjit was also consigned to the flames in another corner of the cremation grounds at the same time. All markets in Jamalpur remained closed today in view of the tragedy.

Those present at the funeral included Mr Pawan Gupta, head of the Punjab unit of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray), the party General Secretary, Mr Ravinder Arora, Mr Pawan Sharma, state spokesman, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, Mr Harish Bedi and Mr Ram Rattan Chopra, besides a large number of municipal councillors and other political leaders.

Several political leaders, including Mr Sat Pal Gosain, Mr Pawan Dewan, Mr Parminder Mehta and Mr K.K. Bawa, expressed grief over the tragedy.

Mr Bal Thackeray has also sent a message of condolence to Mr Sandip Mittal and prayed for his early recovery. The condition of Mr Sandip Mittal is said to be critical in the PGI.


City gets first woman SHO
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
The Police Administration in Ludhiana can no longer claim to be a male bastion as a woman is all set to become the first SHO of a full-fledged police station.

Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, ASI, has been appointed in charge of the Kailash Police Post which would be ‘formally’ upgraded to the status of a police station within a few days as the state government has issued a notification in this regard. Her appointment orders read that she has been appointed in-charge of the police post and would automatically become the SHO , once the police post become a notified police station.

Ms Sukhwinder Kaur thus becomes not only the first woman SHO of the city but also the second in the state. Ms Bindu Bala was the first woman SHO in the state who was appointed SHO of Ghagga Police Station in Patiala.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur said she was elated but surprised at her postings. Recruited in 1993 as an ASI, Sukhwinder Kaur originally belongs to Shahpur village in Phillaur and was married to a progressive farmer in Mallipur village near Doraha. She has a one-year-old son.

‘‘My top priorities would be minmise the incidents of burglary and theft in this area. There have been several cases of abduction and kidnapping which would also require immediate attention ’’ said the enthusiastic cop. She would try to educate the criminals and also handle them politely, she added.



Protest against burning of ‘Birs’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
Hundreds of activists of the SAD (Panthic Morcha) today staged a dharna and blocked traffic at Clock Tower here for about two hours. They were protesting against the burning of ‘birs’ at Tarkhan Majra village, near Sirhind, yesterday.

Led by local legislators, including Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Mr Hira Singh Ghabria and Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, the morcha activists shouted slogans against the controversial sect leader, Baba Bhaniara, and the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, whom they accused of patronising the Baba.

Addressing the dharna, Mr Grewal pointed out while the government had acted instantly to transfer the Commissioner of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, Dr S.S. Sandhu, after holding him responsible for the demolition of a disputed structure outside a temple, it had not identified the culprits responsible for burning of the ‘birs’.

A senior leader said, “The Akali-BJP government has realised that the countdown has started for it and now it was trying to create a situation of unrest in the state just to create fear among people”.

Mr Grewal, Mr Ghabria, Mr Khalsa and Mr Jaswinder Singh Bhliawal, an SGPC member, also addressed the gathering. They also briefed the people about the situation arising after the burning of the ‘birs’.

The two-hour dharna once again brought most of the city to a halt as traffic remained blocked all through the dharna. People were taken aback as they did not know the reason for the blockade. Only two days ago, traffic remained blocked for most of the day after some persons blocked the Jagraon bridge following the demolition of a disputed structure outside the temple.


A protest march was organised during a complete bandh today at Bhadson village against yesterday’s burning of seven ‘Birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib at Tarkhan Majra village near Sirhind. An effigy of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniaranwale was also burnt in the local market. Students and women were also part of the march.

Earlier, a rally was organised on the main road of the village where several persons addressed the gathering. These persons included Mr Paramjit Singh Saholi, General Secretary of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Youth Akali Dal, Mr Rajinder Singh Tohra, district head of the SHSAD, Mr Gian Singh Moongo, Chairman of the Market Committee of Bhadson, besides others.

A bandh was also observed in Loha Bazar of Mandi Gobindgarh. The police picked up several men and women from the nearby Sounti and Anian villages on Sunday and Monday. These persons were suspected to be followers of Baba Piara Singh. However, the Amloh police has not disclosed their whereabouts or number.

When contacted, Mr Harnek Singh Saran, Senior Superintendent of Police at Fatehgarh Sahib, said some persons had indeed been detained for interrogation and the police hoped to find a clue soon.



Security tightened in Khanna,
Jagraon and Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
Following yesterday’s incident of burning of Birs in a village, near Fatehgarh Sahib, the administration of Khanna, Ludhiana and Jagraon police districts have stepped up security in their respective areas in order to prevent any untoward incident.

The action has been taken as tension escalated in the district in the wake of yesterday’s incident. While the known followers of the controversial Guru in different places of the district have demanded police security in their respective areas fearing backlash, their opponents have demanded police security around gurdwaras as similar incidents can take place in this region as well.

Tension engulfed the Dugri area of the city this morning when there were reports that some followers of the controversial Guru had tried to forcibly enter a gurdwara and cause damage, but due to the timely intervention of the management, the people ran away. The police has registered a case against unidentified persons, but there were reports that there was some rivalry between the two groups of the management and the attack of the Bhaniara Guru was a rumour. As the confusion remained, it was leading to all kind of rumours.

In a second related incident, some persons riding rickshaws announced that the city would observe a complete bandh tomorrow in protest against yesterday’s incident at Fatehgarh Sahib. However, the announcement was also leading to confusion as no political or religious group had made a bandh call for tomorrow.

Mr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, Khanna, told Ludhiana Tribune that though no untoward incident had taken place in the police district, as precautionary measure he had today ordered intensifying of patrolling around the sensitive areas and especially aroung religious places. He said the police was taking all kinds of preventive measures and was in touch with religious leaders to keep the situation under check. He said the religious leaders were also cooperating with the police in maintaining peace and harmony in the region.

Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, SSP, Ludhiana, said due to a shortage of police force it was not practically possible to provide security at every religious place but the police was keeping a strict vigil on the sensitive areas. He said the police had provided patrolling in some areas on the request of some followers of the controversial Guru who met him today. He requested the people to be careful against anti-social elements.

Mr Balkar Singh, SSP, Jagraon, said keeping in mind the recent incidents of violence in Jagraon and especially in the Raikot and Sudhar blocks, he has conveyed a message to all the village panchayats to help the police in providing security to the sensitive places. He said the village panchayats had assured the police of maintaining peace. Each village was being given police assistance by the patrolling police parties.



Theft in hosiery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
Goods worth thousands of rupees have been stolen from a hosiery at Ram Nagar, near the office of the DIG (Ludhiana range), here. The theft came to light this morning when owners of the hosiery, which has been closed since Friday evening, reached there.

According to the police, a case has been registered but the actual loss could not be ascertained as the owners were still estimating the damage. The police is suspecting the involvement of some factory labourers. However, a watchman of the colony has also been missing under mysterious circumstances since Saturday.

According to Mr Sunil Dhir, one of the partners in R. K. Dhir Hosiery Factory, they learnt about the theft this morning when they came to the factory. The police said no finger prints were found. It said some neighbours had noticed a few rickshaws full of hosiery goods coming out of the factory on Saturday.



Review BPL families, says federation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
“The Punjab Government has no interest in getting the subsidised foodgrain from the Centre. It has failed to conduct survey of the below poverty line (BPL) families despite repeated reminders of the Union Food Ministery in this regard. The survey of the BPL families had not been conducted during the past one decade resulting in heavy losses to the state,’’ according to the representatives of the Federation of Punjab Ration Depot Holders.

A delegation of the federation led by Mr Dharam Pal Verma had recently met the Union Food Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, to demand the release of additional food items under the Antyodaya Scheme. Mr Shanta Kumar reportedly told them that the Punjab Government was not showing any interest in the subsidised foodgrains.

The National Sample Survey has identified about 27 per cent of the state population below poverty line, but the total number of BPL families getting subsidised wheat is not even one lakh in the state. The Centre is providing 25 kg wheat at a price of Rs 2 per kg to the poorest of the poor families, and 21 kg wheat at a price of Rs 4.27 per kg and four kg rice at a price of Rs 5.78 per kg to the Scheduled Caste BPL families. The state government was not lifting subisidised rice from the Centre pool arguing that there were no rice eaters in the state despite a substantial population of migrants in the state.

The federation had met the Chief Minister in this regard but no progress has been made so far. The inquiries made with the Department of Food and Civil Supplies revealed that the Director, Food and Civil Supplies, had written to the district offices in June this year to prepare additional lists of the BPL families, which could be provided subsidised food. The department subsequently had written to the DDPOs, Deputy Directors of the local bodies and the Commissioners of the municipal corporations to identify the BPL families so that new cards may be issued to them. But nothing has happened so far.

The insiders say that the state government was busy in the purchase of paddy and no department has time or money to conduct the survey resulting in heavy losses to the BPL families. Mr Dharam Pal Verma, president of the federation, said,‘‘ Only 5,910 families are getting subsidised wheat in Ludhiana district under the Antyodaya Scheme though the actual number has crossed one lakh in the city alone.’’

He said the age-old cards have been mutilated and needed to be reviewed as number of BPL families have already crossed the poverty line. He further asked the state government to reduce the sales tax on kerosene from 22 per cent to 8 per cent as in the neighbouring states, to reduce the kerosene price, about Rs 20 to Rs 22 per litre prevailing in the open market.



Talwandi denies remarks about Gurdev Badal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
Refuting the remarks about Punjab Agriculture Minister, Gurdev Badal and others, attributed to him, the SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi today warned against attempts to sabotage the hard-earned peace in the state. He apprehended a pattern in the recent incidents in which several birs were burnt by miscreants at different places in the state during the past few weeks.

SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi at a press conference in Ludhiana on Monday. RB
SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi at a press conference in Ludhiana on Monday. RB

Addressing a press conference here today, the SGPC chief while referring to the incident of burning of birs in Tarkhan Majra village near Sirhind pointed out that, it had almost become routine to torch the holy birs to hurt the religious sentiments of Sikhs. He said certain political forces were involved in these acts, as according to him, no religious organisation would resort to such criminal and sacrilegious acts. Condemning the incident, he alleged that this was being deliberately done to disturb the communal harmony in the state for destabilising the government.

Referring to reports in a section of press attributing him certain remarks about the relationship of Mr Gurdev Badal, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Mr K S Badungar and Mr Kewal Singh Badal with Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, controversial sect leader and author of Niara Granth, which has since been banned, he claimed that, he had not named any persons in his conversation with reporters at Bhatha Sahib yesterday.

Mr Talwandi was, however, critical of the police role in delaying action against Baba Bhaniara. He alleged that certain officials were trying to shield him and warned that such officials were a threat to peace in the state. He demanded strict action against such officials. He urged the Chief Minister to remain vigilant and keep a watch on the activities of these officials lest they create some serious problem. However, he did not identify any particular officer.

The SGPC chief also did not approve of the government decision to remove the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Dr S S Sandhu. He regretted that the officer who had acted according to law was made a scapegoat under political pressure. He lauded Dr Sandhu’s efforts in launching many development projects in Ludhiana.

Trying to draw parallels, Mr Talwandi pointed out that in an almost similar case a gurdwara had been demolished in Chandigarh. But no action was taken against the officials responsible for the act. He said, there should be same yardstick for dealing with everyone and the government should not act under pressure or bias.



‘More than love, animals need money’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 1
Animal welfare work in India is hampered by a lack of funds, so there has to be a regular monetary donation process to ensure that animal welfare projects do not face closure.

In her message on the eve of the World Animals Day on October 2, Ms Maneka Gandhi has urged animal lovers to establish more charities for animals. More than dedication or love, money is required for taking up animal welfare work because, without it, it is impossible to have equipment, shelters and medicare for animals. Many youngsters establish animal care groups when they are still in schools or colleges. They help animals in existing shelters and vow to set up similar shelters after they have earned enough money. Only a handful of these dreams materialise.

Ms Maneka Gandhi has urged activists of the People For Animals nationwide to organise fund-raisers and charity premieres. She has said that these funds should be distributed among groups that are working in the field. At some places, the funds can help build new shelters and pay salaries of doctors and the other staff. At some other places, the money can be used to teach animal care to the staff. “No money should be donated for holding seminars,” she said.

Regarding ways by which people can organise their charities, she has said that, when you no longer need your money, it should be left for a cause dear to you. One may pledge a tenth part or so of one’s money to such charities in one’s will. She said she could make a hospital for animals in Raja Garden of New Delhi only because an anonymous Australian woman had left a huge money for the cause in her will.

She said individuals could fix donations not on the basis of what they earn, but on the basis of what they spend on luxuries like treats, movies, holidays, clothes, novels and parties. One tenth of the money saved could be given to a charity of one’s choice.

However, the donations have to be regular. This is the only way for animal welfare units to plan their expenditure as they get to know what amount they shall receive every month.

It is not governments, but people who set up and sustain institutions. Money has no meaning if a trust uses it only to promote itself and such an organisation should be closed down. However, any charity that helps any section of the myriad species that struggle for survival on this planet should be helped by those who have even a little to give. “One should do whatever one can for comforting a less fortunate creature,” she said.



Posh colony now a slum
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, October 1
The Model Town Extension (MTE) can no longer be called a posh locality as the only market in the area has become a market for bricks, sand and rubble, with a large number of pigs roaming around.

Piles of sand, bricks and subble can be seen in the market area. Some building material dealers have shops in the MTE market near Gurdwara Singh Sabha. They unload construction material at the place earmarked for parking and other purposes. The customers are supplied the material from here.

The residents are facing problems due to this. Whenever the breeze blows towards the residential area, a lot of sand accumulates everywhere. The roads are literally covered with sand. Whenever a vehicle passes by, a puff dust arises, due to which passersby and residents feel suffocated.

A senior citizen, Mr Jagdev Singh Grewal, says there is no greenery in the parks and the area adjacent to the market because of the sale of building material in the area. He discloses that the situation becomes more chaotic during the rains as the rain water fills the sewerage holes. The residents have to pay hefty amounts to sanitation workers to get the blockage cleared.

Many transport companies use the market as a parking place. A large number of heavy vehicle are parked here at night. These vehicles cause noise and air pollution.

The MTE area has also become a place for pigs, which can be seen in every street and avenue. The pigs eat the plants and grass, besides causing destruction. Many streetlight poles have been shaken by these pigs.

The residents have lodged many complaints with the Municipal Corporation, but no action has been taken so far. The colony, once a posh colony, has now become worse than a slum.



80 donate blood at camp
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 1
To celebrate Blood Donation Day, the Department of Blood Transfusion Medicine, Hero DMC Heart Institute, organised a blood donation camp in which over 80 volunteers donated blood.

Dr S.C. Ahuja, Principal, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, in a statement today said that these volunteers also included the medical and paramedical staff of DMCH and Heart Institute.

“The aim behind organising such events is to encourage people to come forward for the noble cause of donating blood and shedding away their false fears”, said Dr Amarjit Kaur, Head of the Department of Transfusion Medicine, on this occasion.

The camp was inaugurated by the Chief Cardiologist, Hero DMC Heart Institute, Dr G.S. Wander. He said: “Donating blood is the most pious of all the donations, and the donors beginning at such an age will be an asset as by inhibiting their apprehensions about donating and making it a habit, they shall be able to serve society in a big way”, said Dr Wander.

Dr Gursharan Singh, president, Indian Medical Association, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune said that it was unfortunate when various health organisations were celebrating Blood Donation Day in the world, “in our own country several people were dying due to shortage of blood or infections from blood during transfusion.” He said: “In India, there is a regular and high demand for blood and its components throughout the year.” He stressed that one could easily donate blood three-four times a year.



ICAR fellowship for scientist
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
In a rare honour for the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), a former scientist has been awarded Emeritus Scientist Fellowship by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in recognition of his work in the field of agricultural development.

Dr Ranjit Singh is the first professor from PAU to get this rare fellowship from the ICAR. He had retired as Dean, College of Agriculture, PAU, recently and had also headed the Communication Centre of the university for 14 years. He had played a significant role in developing an efficient technology transfer system at PAU.

During his fellowship tenure of two years he will work on future strategy of agricultural development in Punjab and the extension education system.

An internationally acclaimed scientist, Dr Ranjit Singh had been honoured with the Parman Patra by the Punjab Government and with the Shiromani Sahitkar award by the Indian Society of Extension Education with national fellowship and many other national and international awards.

An author of 20 books and large number of articles, he introduced training of farming families through distance education, audio cassettes, crop calendars, kisan melas, agricultural supplements in newspapers and many other innovations.



Jaspal group wins LSE poll
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
With the sweeping of elections of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE) by the Jaspal group on Saturday, the LSE has entered a new phase of management. The ban on ‘badla’ trading on July 2 and the failure of the exchange to start derivatives trading had badly affected brokers. Though under the SEBI guidelines, this would be the last term of the elected president as it plans to demutualise the regional stock exchanges in the coming days, changing them to as subsidiaries of the NSE and the BSE.

The elections were held for three posts of Directors. The brokers dissatisfied with the functioning of Mr R.C. Singhal, the outgoing president, defeated all his candidates.

Interestingly, out of the 301 members, 201 cast their votes. Mr Rajnish Garg, Mr D.P. Gandhi and Mr Harjeet Arora, all of the Jaspal group, were elected by getting 126, 122 and 116 votes, respectively. The defeated candidates namely Mr Manoj Sarna, Mr Dheraj Ghai and Mr Nitin Gupta got only 93, 71 and 51 votes, respectively.

With the elections of three candidates from his group, Mr Jaspal Singh, who is currently a director, is set to become the new president of the LSE. He has now the support of five directors, including Dr Rajiv Kalra, who has been declared as vice-president from his group.

He said the other priorities include registration of the offices of the members in their names, to get the pending registrations of some of the LSE members with the SEBI cleared and to provide an exit route to the members. He admitted that the regional stock exchanges were passing through difficult times and they would have to struggle hard to save it. The daily volume of the LSE has already fallen to only a few lakhs of rupees, it is only the LSE securities that has saved the LSE from the collapse so far.

Earlier, Mr Singhal while presiding over the 19th annual general meeting of the exchange said, “The exchange intends to introduce new products through the subsidiary route”. The members decided to divide the authorised share capital of the exchange, which is Rs 10 lakh, into 400 shares of Rs 2,000 each with the rights to vote and 100 shares of Rs 2,000 each without rights to vote.

The members also passed a resolution authorising the board of directors to issue equity shares without voting rights with a face value of Rs 2,000, aggregating to Rs 2 lakh and not exceeding 25 per cent of the total shares capital.



Two arrested with opium
Our correspondent

Jagraon, October 1
The police arrested Baldev Krishan of Kotha Hari Singh Nanaksar at a checkpost at Bhatta Dhua village, and seized 250 gm of opium from his possession. In another incident, the police arrested Jagan Nath Chaudhary of New Sutlej Transport, Samatganj, UP, at a checkpost at Aliwal village and seized 300 gm of opium from his possession. The police has registered two separate cases against them under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Poppy husk: The local police arrested Shinder Kaur, alias Shinda of Sidhwan Kalan at a checkpost at Gure village, and seized 5 kg of poppy husk from her possession. A case has been registered under NDPS Act.

Illicit liquor seize: The police arrested Jagjit Singh, alias Jagga, of Chaminda village in Sarabha, 30 km from here, and seized 7.32 litres of illicit liquor from his possession.

A case has been registered under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.


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