Sunday, October 14, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



HC stays policy on encroachments
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 13
In yet another blow to the populist measures of the SAD-BJP government, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the government policy on regularisation of encroachments, which was notified on May 8, 2001. Under the policy, the unlawful occupants of government land and property for the past more than five years could get the encroachment regularised on payment ranging between 20 and 50 per cent of the market price depending on the area of the land under occupation.

Earlier, the Punjab Government had suffered a setback when another populist decision of abolition of octroi had to be put off following intervention by the high court.

A two-judge Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh, while admitting a civil writ petition of Mr Balwinder Singh directed that till the disposal of the writ petition the state government and all local bodies in the state of Punjab were restrained from acting upon the policy circulated vide memo dated May 8, 2001. Further, the Director, Local Government, Punjab, was asked to circulate copy of the order to all Municipal Corporations, Municipal Councils, Municipal Committees and Deputy Commissioners so that no action was taken in accordance with the said policy.

In a three-page order, the Bench observed that the Senior Deputy Advocate-General, appearing for the state government, as well as the counsels, who represented the respondent, Municipal Corporation, were unable to assist the court on the issue whether the state government was empowered under the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911, or the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, to legalise the illegal occupants of public lands by charging price far less than the market price.

The Bench further noted that the counsel for the respondents and the petitioners also expressed their inability to cite any provisions of law under which such a policy could be framed. The case will come up for hearing on November 21.

It was pleaded that while the unlawful occupants were being offered land at 20 per cent of the market price, the tenants on government land and property were given the option to become owners on payment of 40 to 50 per cent of market price. The government decision was ridiculous and tantamount to encouraging encroachments.



Kidney racket is well spread
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
Many heads, including private and government doctors, paramedical staff and even police officials in the city as well as in some other parts of the state, are likely to roll in the infamous kidney racket exposed yesterday by three migrant labourers, if the statement of one of the nabbed accused to the police is to be believed.

While the police was yet to arrest Amritpal Singh, an alleged kingpin of the racket, another alleged agent, Rajesh Kumar, was arrested by the city police last night. He has been remanded in 24-hour police custody today by a district court.

He has made startling disclosures. The role of the police has come under cloud as under the norms of kidney transplantation, the police submits a verification report of the antecedents of the donor, who is presented as a relative or a servant having immense love and affection for the recipient. Sources in some key hospitals say the police declares the man is really considerate about the patient and thus should be allowed to donate the kidney and only then the hospital goes ahead.

Interestingly, definite information available with Ludhiana Tribune and confirmed by police sources revealed that the two accused were caught by an SHO of an important police station two months ago on the same charges, but were surprisingly let off after some alleged gratification.

Talking exclusively to Ludhiana Tribune, the accused Rajesh Kumar claimed he was just one of the several agents connected to senior agents who were in turn connected to doctors in different hospitals. He revealed that he knew only Amritpal Singh who operated through a mobile phone. Subsequent disclosure to the police has exposed that the racket was widely spread with members operating actively in hospitals in Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar, besides places in Haryana and New Delhi. The agents had kept sub-agents and operated through connections in private and government hospitals.

He alleged that Amritpal was the one who told him about the requirement. In fact informed sources revealed that Amritpal was a well-known name in the DMCH and two other private hospitals in Sarabha Nagar and Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar areas of the city. The accused further said Amritpal used to be told by the doctors about the requirement and he would then call up his agents.

In order to complete the legal formalities, the agents then arranged a meeting with the family of the recipients and the donors were even treated like kings in their houses. They were tutored properly to clear the interview of a committe set up in DMCH and CMCH for approving the donation.

Interestingly, what is baffling is that how come the committee, comprising legal experts, government health department employees, authorities of the hospital cleared the case without getting any information that the donor was illegal.



Have we lost respect for martyrs?
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, October 13
Statues of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev are being used to display banners of various political parties. One such banner to welcome the Chief Minister, who is the chief guest at a function to be held here tomorrow, has been put on the pedestal of the statue, which contains all information regarding the function.

Just to highlight the message, a hoarding has been put on one of the statues. Moreover, red flags have been put in the hands of the statues.

This is not the first time that someone has misused the statues. One can witness many posters, including advertising posters, pasted on the pedestal of the statues.

It appears that after 54 years of Independence, we have lost respect for the great freedom fighters.

A senior citizen, Mr Jasbeer Singh, criticised the organisers for insulting those for whom one should bow one’s head in respect. He says it is a shameful act by those who have forgotten everything in quest of name and fame. He opines that society that loses the sense of respect and gratitude for the martyrs cannot survive for a long period.



Dream designs for the D-day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
The spirit of celebration was in the air last evening as leading models of the country set the ramp on fire for over two hours, displaying the innovative collections of designers of the region at the ‘Bride and Groom-2001’— a fashion show organised by the International Trade and Industry Group at the Lakshmi Ladies Club.

Although the show started almost an hour late, people enjoyed every moment once the show started.

In the ‘‘Uppercrust’’ round, which was the first round, the models displayed Pradeep Aggarwal’s collection.

The models walked on the ramp in shimmery outfits in blue, yellow, orange and black. Decked up as brides, female models were accompanied by male models in traditional ceremonial attires.

In the second round, the latest collection of Dewan Saheb was displayed. Models from Delhi wore achkans, kurta-pyjamas with intricate handwork. The bandhni odhnis added colour and style to their dresses.

The spectacular and stylish collection of Sonia Kumar was appreciated by the audience when the models dressed in red-coloured sarees in the ‘‘Silver Tulip’’ round came on the ramp. Ludhiana-based designer Sonu Gandhi’s collection was simple and sophisticated.

In the 'Flattery' round, the models displayed the latest designer collection for grooms. The models wore satin shirts and neck ties, with suede suits.

Designer Sukarma's collection was a perfect blend of Indian and Western outfits with bead work on naturally flower flowing fabric. Shalini Arora presented her latest scintillating collection of suits and sarees. There was a feeling of freshness in this round.

The latest collections of Harpreet Narula, Frontier Bazaar and Kala Mandir created magic for all the moods. The designers had displayed the best of traditional and modern.



Inter-college contests
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
The Asian Club organised inter-college essay writing, poetry recitation, story writing and giddha competitions at the Government College for Women here today.

Students from over 16 colleges of the district participated in the contests. Nearly 25 students participated in the essay-writing competition. They had to choose from four topics, ‘Stop killing innocent people’, ‘Shed terrorism’ and ‘War brings destruction’.

Thirty-two students participated in the poetry-recitation contest. Pukhraj of the College of Agriculture, Punjab Agricultural University, recited the poem, ‘Ishq nu aadat na pao baddua di’, Gureet Pal Singh of the same college recited his poem, ‘Kavita nu jeon wale’, and Poonam of the Malwa Central College of Education for Women recited the poem ‘Dhi da tarla’.

In the story-writing contest, students were allowed to write on the topic of their choice. In giddha competition, teams from only three colleges, including the host college, SDP College for Women and Christian Medical College, participated.

In the essay-writing contest, Kirandeep Kaur Brar of the College of Basic Sciences, PAU, stood first, followed by Amandeep Kaur of the Khalsa College for Women and Indu of the host college.

In the story-writing contest, Rupinder Cheema of Christian Medical College clinched the first prize, Amandeep Kaur of the same college stood second and Gagandeep Sohal of the College of Basic Sciences, PAU, was declared third.

Students from Ganga Ram Government College, Karamsar, were declared overall winners in the poetry-recitation contest. The first individual prize went to Jaskamal Kaur Sohi of the Khalsa College for Women. Shivani Kohli of the Malwa Central College for Women was declared second and Kirampreet of the College of Basic Sciences, PAU, stood third.

Earlier, Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, inaugurated the function and Mr Chander Shekhar, Inspector-General of Police, gave away the prizes to students.

Mr Nirmal Jaura from PAU, Ms N.K. Bal, former head of the Department of Punjabi, Government College for Women, were the judges. Ms Inderjeet Gill Vashisht, Principal of the host college, was also present on the occasion.



Gurdev Badal’s dismissal sought
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
While describing the grant of punishment to three Akali Dal leaders by the Sikh high priests as an ‘eye wash and a drama’, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, convener of the Panthic Morcha, today sought the dismissal of Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Agriculture Minister from the Punjab Cabinet and the removal of his son Mr Kewal Singh Badal from the membership of the SGPC and the post of vice-president of the same.

Baba Bedi alleged that the Akal Takht Jathedar had shown haste in pronouncing the judgement and had acted upon the directions of his political bosses.

He said the Takht Jathedar had received the directions from Chandigarh before the three leaders appeared at Akal Takht. He further said the Akali leaders had been directed by the Political Affairs Committee of the Akali Dal to appear before Akal Takht.

Baba Bedi maintained that Mr Gurdev Singh Badal and his son Kewal Singh Badal had been violating the “hukamnama” of Akal Takht and had been meeting Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala knowing full well that the Baba had been excommunicated.

These Akali leaders had bowed before a “nakli baba” and had betrayed Guru Granth Sahib.

He further charged that leaders like Mr Gurdev Singh Badal were instrumental in the recognition of Baba Piara Singh and they had been offering him of government patronage.

Baba Bedi rejected the judicial probe ordered by the Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and said it was not acceptable to the Panthic Morcha.

The morcha had sough inquiry by a commission of retired three Sikh judges of the High Court and not a sitting judge of the High Court. Regarding the formation of a three-member commission by the SGPC chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Baba Bedi said they could think of supporting and accepting it provided Mr Talwandi assured that the commission would not be wound up under the Chief Minister’s instructions.

Baba Bedi assailed the Chief Minister and said he had failed to protect the interests of Sikhs as a Chief Minister.

Baba Bedi appealed to the people to participate in the protest march on October 17.

The march will start from Fatehgarh Sahib for Chandigarh where they would submit a memorandum to the Governor, Punjab, seeking the dismissal of the Badal government, he said.

Baba Chamkaur Singh, General Secretary, Gurmit Sidhant Prackarak Sant Samaj, in a separate statement also assailed Akal Takht for giving minor punishment to Gurdev Singh Badal.

His son Kewal Singh and Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal. He also sought their dismissal from their respective offices.



Ludhiana and Kabul
M.S. Cheema

Ludhiana, October 13
Ludhiana and Kabul provide a study in contrast and also afford some elements of comparison. They have historical links, both sweet and sour. Kabul stands as a symbol of Afghanistan. Ludhiana largely represents the Malwa region.

Historically, the Thapars of Ludhiana, hail from Afghanistan. They are known as Kabuli Thapars. Legend has it that the ancestors of the Thapars left Kabul and carried with them some bricks besides some soil as relics and kept them at Ludhiana. Baba Gujju Thapar was the revered mystic of Kabuli Thapars who raised a memorial to him at Gurdev Nagar.

Sher Shah Suri, an Afghan, modernised India by giving it the Jarnaili Sarak, the present day Grand Trunk Road. It had a number of sarais by its ride to encourage trade and provide state protection. Ludhiana, gained commercial recognition on account of this road.

Ahmed Shah Abdali authored the massacre of Sikhs (Wadda Ghallu-Ghara) at Kup-Rohira. Abdali recognised Ala Singh as a rising star. He founded the Patiala state. Abdali’s grand son, Shah Zaman, was blinded by his wazir and dethroned at Kabul. Later, his brother, Shuja-ul-Mulk was also removed from the Kabul throne. This fugitive royal family took refuge in Ludhiana. King Dost Mohamad of Kabul, when deposed, was arrested and kept here before his journey to Calcutta (now Kolkata).

These days envoys of powerful countries are visiting King Zahir Shah at Rome. It may be relevant to recall that a revolutionary of Ludhiana, Baba Gurmukh Singh (Lalton-Khurd), met the king at Kabul. He even went to Rome to exchange ideas with the deposed king, Amanullah. He earned the wrath of King Nadirshah and was deported to Russia. If Geography creates distances, history binds the two cities of Ludhiana and Kabul.

I conclude with a true story of love of man for mankind. Guru Gobind Singh was all alone in the jungles of Machhiwara. He was spotted by Ghani Khan -Nabi Khan, Rohilla Pathan brothers. They carried him in a Palki as Uchch-da-Pir through the countryside of Ludhiana to a place of safety. If wars separate, love unites.



Students have interaction with police
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
“Before coming here I was always scared to talk to the police. But now I can even go to police station alone”. These were the comments of Priyanka, a member of the Synergy Club, after spending a few hours in the Sadar police station.

About 12 members of the Synergy Club formed out of students of different schools of the city went to the Sadar police station to made themselves familiar with the working of the police. The students had interaction with the SP, traffic, Mr Arun Pal Singh, DSP, Sadar, SHO Ramandeep Singh and other police officers present in the police station.

Students were made familiar with the whole working of the police station, starting from how an FIR is registered and how the various proceedings are done. The children learnt about ranks and the hierarchy of the police. Sumit Gupta, one of the members, said: “When we came here, we were knowing the police only through films. But now we have realised that whatever is shown in Hindi pictures is not always true.”

When the police officials gave the children an assumed situation to solve a burglary case, the students actually realised the various problems faced by the policemen.

During interaction the students tried to clear all their doubts. They asked about the action taken against those who employ child labour, about the action taken against corruption. Children were curious to know if the police officials also feel some changes must be done in the law. The SP explained to them every aspect of the law and satisfied them.

The enthusiastic members of the club grilled the officers with their questions for three to four hours. They had written their views about the police before coming there and now they will right their views again and submit the feedback to the police. According to the police, this exercise will make the police public friendly.

Most of them were clear in their thinking and they told the press that after knowing the reality they think that its only the general public which can help the police to be more efficient. But the curiosity of the students does not end here. They wanted to go and see the working of the traffic police and some other police stations without telling the police officials about it.



Villages to get better amenities
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
“The SAD-BJP government is committed to provide better civic amenities, including water supply, drainage, and liberal grants are being made available for this purpose.” This was stated by Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Director, Markfed, and in charge of Ludhiana Rural Assembly segment, while presenting a cheque for Rs 74,000 to the village panchayat at Phullanwal for the improvement of drainage.

Mr Dhillon claimed that the government had initiated various measures to provide all amenities and other facilities to the rural population like their urban counterparts. He assured the village panchayat that their demand of the villagers for disposal of sewage in the main sewer of Urban Estate, Dugri, will be taken up with the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, at the forthcoming ‘sangat darshan’ programme for Ludhiana Rural constituency.

In the function, jointly organised by the village panchayat and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh Sports Club, Mrs Darshan Kaur, a school teacher, was presented with a ‘shawl’ and mementoes for her significant contribution to the development of the village primary school and the standard of education.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Nirmal Singh Sekhon, Sarpanch and Mr Tejinder Singh, Nambardar, expressed their gratitude to Mr Dhillon for seeing several development works of the village through.



DGP flags off 27 ambulances
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, October 13
The three new projects, undertaken by the Punjab Police in collaboration with NGOs, were inaugurated by Mr Sarbjit Singh, DGP, here today.

The projects are traffic awareness, drug de-addiction and slum area development. The function was organised by the Punjab Police State Apex Committee for NGOs Projects. Various camps, including blood donation, dental check-up, eye check-up, were organised by the HelpAge India, the Woman and Child Helpline and UNICEF.

The DGP, who was the first to register himself as an eye donor, said “I shall feel blessed, if my eyes can bring light in the life of a blind”.

Mr D.R. Bhatti, Additional DGP and Chairman of the Punjab Police State Apex Committee for NGOs Projects, said the committee was organising eye donation camps, blood donation camps and awareness campaigns against female foeticide. He said the new projects would help in removing social evils from society.

Mr Gursharanjit Singh, Secretary of the committee, said, “It is the first time that the police and the NGOs have joined hands for a noble cause”.

Among others who spoke on the occasion were Mr Pooran Singh Jassi, consultant, UNICEF, Mr J.P. Birdi, IG, Jalandhar Range, Mr Sadhu Singh Ghudani, MLA, Payal, Mr Suresh Arora, DIG, Ludhiana, Mr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, Khanna, Mr R.C. Prasad, IG, Traffic, Mr Udai Partap Singh, Chairman, Population Control Committee, and Dr Naresh Pruthi, State Coordinator, NGOs.

Among those who were honoured were ASI Harbans Singh, Head Constable Manjit Singh, Dr Ramesh Chander, Dr P.S. Jassi, Mr Gursharanjit Singh, Mr Harbans Singh and a number of state coordinators, zonal coordinators and district coordinators of NGOs.

Earlier, 27 ambulances were flagged off at the police first aid post, Doraha, by the DGP. In the blood donation camp, 69 units of blood were collected. In the eye camp, 473 patients were examined by Dr Romesh and his team from Jodan Mansuran and 12 patients were identified for operations. Nearly 120 volunteers were given medicine kits by the UNICEF, 50 persons were provided ration and Rs 150 each by the HelpAge India, eight sewing machines were given to girls, 10 blankets to widows and copies to children by the Woman and Child Helpline in collaboration with the BSB Welfare Society. Also a dental camp was organised by Dr Nalini Dutta.



Melas on despite ban
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
Melas in Focal Point continue to be operative, the ban imposed by the district administration notwithstanding.

Though the proceedings were halted at the mela near the HIG/MIG Colony by baton-wielding cops at 9.30 pm. on Thursday, two days after the imposition of the ban, the paraphernalia, including swings and the big tent put up by a magician, had not been removed from the site.

The mela at Sukhdev Nagar, which had also been at the same time and for the same reason, of not having obtained permission, was not disrupted by the cops for reasons best known to them.

A delegation of the Sikh Sangharsh Committee, led by Mr Hira Singh Gabria, MLA, and Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia today called upon the Deputy Commissioner, the Additional Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police in this connection.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Mander, member of the committee and president of the All India Sikh Students Federation, Ludhiana Urban, said in a press note here today that if the district administration failed to get the melas closed and get the PUDA land vacated at the earliest, the committee would chalk out its next programme of action at a meeting at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, HL Colony, next morning.



Hit lashes out at Panthic Morcha
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
The Delhi Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (DGPC) chief and the president of the Delhi unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Mr Avtar Singh Hit, today lashed out at the leaders of the Panthic Morcha, accusing them of having a single-point agenda to defame the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Hit pointed out that the leaders, for their “petty partisan interests” were harming the greater Panthic interests and the interests of the state. He observed, instead of performing a constructive role for the development of the state they were doing all type of harm to the extent of sabotaging peace in the state.

Mr Hit also criticised the disturbances and ruckus created at the Golden Temple, during the pronouncement of hukumnama against the Agriculture Minister, Mr Gurdev Badal, and others. He said, all these people should be identified and summoned to the Takht, since they had also flouted the Akal Takht maryada.


Support for proposed march
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 13
The Gurmit Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj today extended support to Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, its president, and the Panthic Morcha’s decision of holding a protest march on October 17 from Fatehgarh Sahib to Chandigarh.

The Sant Samaj expressed satisfaction over the organisation of the protest march having been entrusted to Bhai Ranjit Singh and the Sant Samaj leadership. Condemning the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib, it appealed to the people to participate in the march.

The meeting took strong note of the fact that incidents of sacrilege had taken place while there was a SAD led government in Punjab. The meeting lamented that the government had failed to check the incidents of sacrilege.

The Sant Samaj assailed the Punjab Cabinet for its comments that peace in Punjab was being disturbed and pressed upon the government to ensure that no sacrilege was done in the future. The state government was asked to amend laws by an ordinance so that those guilty of sacrilege could get life imprisonment.



‘No action against cops clicked with Bhaniarawala’
Our Correspondent

Khamano, October 13
The Punjab Director-General of Police, Mr Sarabjeet Singh, told mediapersons here today that if anybody talked with Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala or got himself photographed with the baba, there was nothing wrong in it. The police was not contemplating action against such police officials. The DGP had come to Doraha to launch a campaign for people welfare programmes by coordinating the activities of police and NGOs.

He said such a project would be started in every district to implement traffic rules and to control the use of narcotics. He added that opium and heroin had badly effected the youth of Punjab. He said Punjab police was taking effective steps to tackle this menace.



Badal flayed for transferring Sandhu
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
The Panthic Morcha convener, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, today criticised the Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, for humiliating Dr S.S. Sandhu, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation by transferring him under pressure from the RSS.

Baba Bedi said Dr Sandhu was doing a commendable job and had changed the face of dirty Ludhiana. It was more regrettable that Dr Sandhu was transferred when he had taken action against erring mandir management which had encroached upon municipal land. Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Akali Dal (Amritsar), said the unceremonious exit of Dr Sandhu had brought demoralisation in the state bureaucracy.



One dies in road accident
Our Correspondent

Khanna, October 13
The driver of a Sumo, Kamlesh Kumar, a resident of Hisarpuri, Kurukshetra district, was crushed by a speedy truck at Libra village on the G.T. Road near a dhaba, 4 km from here, when he was alighting from the vehicle. He died on the spot. The truck driver fled from the scene.

The police has registered a case and the body was handed over to his relative after postmortem.


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