Thursday, October 18, 2001, Chandigarh, India

 

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


 

Drug trade even better in jail
Here, cops are partners
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, October 17
A sachet of chewing tobacco (zarda) that costs Rs 2 in the market, sells at Rs 50 here.

A Parvon capsule, another favourite of drug addicts and sold at retail outlets at Rs. 1.25, is sold at Rs 5 here. A bottle of country liquor, that can be bought anywhere at Rs 100 or so cannot be bought at anything less than Rs 300 here. The place is the local Central Jail.

These are only a few of the items that the drug mafia comprising convicts and the jail staff offer to buyers. They also sell expensive items like charas, opium and poppy husk.

Why did a notorious drug peddler of the city, a wanted man, surrender to the police about a month ago? Before his surrender, he spread the word among all his regular customers that he would be back after a while. He was short of money and needed some cash to push his business, so, he thought it was time to make some quick money in jail. The dope that he normally sold at Rs 200 would fetch him a cool Rs 1,000 when sold in the jail. He would be out soon with enough money to invest in the business.

Besides the jail personnel that are supposed to check those who try to smuggle drugs inside the prison, a number of convicts are also in this business of dope selling. The story is straight from the mouths of jailbirds.

This is not an overnight turn of events. Rather, it has been going on for years now. Over the years, some of the convicts who are serving life sentences have established well-organised drug cartels in the jail by roping in the jail staff. While two brothers of a family have to depend on their relatives to meet their everyday expenses in the jail, things are different for the third brother, who is also serving a long sentence. Being a drug-lord of sorts, he keeps sending home a lot of money, earned from his dope business. Since one dope seller cannot meet the requirements of all inmates, there are different suppliers of different drugs. About 95 of the inmates are hooked to some or the other drug, so, with such a huge customer base, the jail is an ideal market for drug-lords. Here, they have no fear of getting exposed or caught; inventors of the jail system be blessed.

The jail staff discourages smuggling of drugs by relatives and friends of undertrials and convicts... “for the fear of losing their profits”. Smugglers, too, keep on devising new ways of succeeding like hiding the dope in shoe soles. Drug capsules are emptied and the powder is mixed with turmeric powder, which makes it easy to smuggle in the item. Every now and then, when even a slight trace of turmeric is found on any jail inmate, the jail personnel beat him to pulp.
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Badal announces development grants
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 17
In a bid to acquire a toehold in the Ludhiana North assembly constituency in the old city, a Congress bastion, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today spent the entire day interacting with people and doling out development grants in five different sessions of sangat darshan programme at Arya Senior Secondary School in Old Sabzi Mandi, Baba Gajja Jain Dharamshala in Sunder Nagar, Government High School Karabara, Tootian Wali Dharamshala in Shiv Puri and Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya in Haibowal locality.

The snap decision for a sangat darshan programme, second in the city after the one held earlier in Ludhiana East constituency, represented by Deputy Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha Mr Sat Pal Gosain of the BJP had taken the district and the MC officials by surprise, who spent the last two days making hectic preparations and doing the spade work.

In the absence of the Congress legislator, Mr Rakesh Pandey, who represents the constituency in Punjab assembly and local leaders of ruling SAD-B also choosing to stay away, the BJP functionaries, including senior party leaders and councillors, continued to dominate the proceedings all along. While veteran BJP leader and member of the Rajya Sabha Lala Lajpat Rai coordinated the programme, vice president of the state unit, Mr Balbir Chand Kapila, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Mr Sat pal Gosain, district president Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, group leader of BJP councillors Mr Pran Bhatia and many BJP councillors were present.

An otherwise smooth affair, the programme was marred with a group of riot victims, led by Mr Surjit Singh of Dugri, President of the Danga Peerit Welfare Society, creating a ruckus in Baba Gajja Jain Dharamshala over the delay caused in implementation of certain relief measures for the riot victims. Accompanied by more than a dozen riot victims, including some women, Mr Surjit Singh made his way to the dais and accused the Chief Minister of deliberate delay in the implementation of the decisions taken at a meeting held in August. During a heated exchange between Mr Badal and the leader of riot victims, a young woman took every one by surprise and threw her dupatta towards Mr Badal.

The security personnel surrounding Mr Badal immediately swung into action and SSP Harpreet Singh Sidhu was seen personally pushing the group of riot victims, out of the meeting hall. However, a little while later, the Deputy Commissioner Mr S.K. Sandhu, who was deputed by Mr Badal for this purpose, had a discussions with Mr Surjit Singh and other activists of riot victims body and sorted out the matter. The Chief Minister later the gathering assured that decisions taken for relief and rehabilitation of riot victims would be implemented within a fortnight.

Interestingly, activists of the District Youth Congress, led by Mr Parminder Mehta also met the Chief Minister and presented a memorandum, demanding effective steps against rampant corruption in government departments and local bodies. They also called for measures to bring about qualitative improvement in the civic amenities being provided in towns and cities.

In his brief introductory speeches before interacting with the people at different venues, Mr Badal observed that sangat darshan programmes had no political motive and were only for development purpose. Rural and urban development funds were specially raised for development works in each and every constituency. Asserting that the propaganda of opposition parties was politically motivated, he asked as to what was wrong when the grants were being distributed on the spot through cheques personally by him as an elected representative of the masses.

The Chief Minister further said that to bring in more transparency in utilisation of the development grants, distributed at sangat darshan, a board with the details of the project would be displayed in the area wherein the amount involved and time for the completion of project would also be mentioned. He said that each and every constituency would be covered under the sangat darshan schemes by November 15.

Mr Badal further said that his government had worked for the overall development of the state, which is there for every one to see. Special scheme to provide sewerage facility in towns and cities at a cost of Rs 400 crore had been launched, beautification of towns and cities and drive against pollution had been taken up on a war-footing and solid waste management projects, involving an expenditure of Rs 25 crore, were started in major cities.

Mr Badal announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the construction of a park at Old Kila in the city, which he said would be completed within three months. An amount of Rs 10 lakh was given for the construction of a bridge over Budha Nulla between Kirpal Nagar and Kashmir Nagar and grant of Rs 5 lakh each was provided to Government High School, Jodhewal and Arya Senior Secondary School, Old Sabzi Mandi. A cheque of Rs 2 lakh was given for New Madhopuri Dharamshala.
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Naseeruddin Shah and family captivate Ludhianvis
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, October 17
The theatre lovers of Ludhiana last night had a visual treat when they watched the art of story telling by three versatile members of Shah family at Guru Nanak Bhavan. All stories came under the title ‘Ismat Aap Ke Naam’. The three stories were written by Ismat Khanum Chugtai. She had created a provocative body of work which astounded and shocked her contemporaries. It was obvious why then Naseer had selected theses stories, which had contributed to a virtual Renaissance in the writing of Urdu language between the 1940s and 1950s .

‘Ismat Aap ke Naam’ was a captivating and scintillating performance by the three Shahs. If Ratna Shah was at her graceful best in her depiction of story ‘Mughal Bachcha’, while Naseeruddin Shah displayed all nuances of art of story telling which has been passed on to his daughter, Heeba Shah, narrator of ‘Chui Mui’, who had a great deal of intensity in telling her story.

Naseer said,‘the art of story telling is the purest and oldest form of drama’ and it was really true as the three narrators weaved magic by rendering three different stories.

Thanks to the Motley production of Naseer that the audience had a chance to be familiar with the works of one of the greatest Urdu writers of the last century. The narration of stories was of extraordinary nature and the three stories arrested the audience with their beautiful, visual and warm appeal.

Naseer thought that it would make a fantastic stage experience to just sit on the stage and tell the stories - not dramatise, not enact but just tell the stories to the audience and leave the rest to the imagination of the audience. He knew it was very challenging to be on the stage alone with no help from anybody not even from a set because the set was very basic. The power of the story must communicate to the audience. Last evening, all stories, told individually with very few props, gripped the audience and reached them very well and struck the right chord with the audience and left them spell bound.

Ratna Shah talked beautifully about the so called successors of the great Mughals, the landed gentry of Uttar Pradesh, in the time of British Raj, who were desperately clinging on to the tattered remnants of their ancestors’ past glory. Within this wry and perceptive social commentary was interwoven a love story of epic preportion; the story of Gori Bi and Kale Mian. The simile used to describe the fair colour of Gori Bi and the slur on the Kale Mian for his dark colour could probably only be found in Urdu language. Due to his obstinacy Kale Mian does not lift the veil of his bride throughout her life and this is the great tragedy of Gori Bi.

Ratna Shah was graceful and ran through a gamut of emotions to depict the tragedy of virgin Gori Bi,the main protagonist in a very natural and effective way.

Heeba Shah for whom it was her first theatre performance narrated the story with great mastery. ‘Chui Mui’ is a tribute to the power of the rural women expressed through an incident of child birth witnessed by the three fascinated and differently affected women in a train compartment. The way Heeba narrated the story of her sister-in-law wrapped up like a cocoon and living a life of idleness with the threat of divorce hanging over her head like a sword of Democles was highly effective. The entire scene could be visualised by the beautiful narration.

‘Gharwali’ told by Naseeruddin Shah was a healthy comment on the institution of marriage. Naseer effortlessly narrated the story and through it revealed that the nature of human relationships were as pungent and ring as true today as they did in the time of Ismat Chugtai.

Lajo, the central character of the story, comes out alive and one can fathom the nervousness of the Mian who wants her yet is diffident. His changing relationship with Lajo once she becomes his wife and after the divorce clearly brings our the hollowness of institution of marriage as perceived by Ismat.

Naseeruddin charmed the audience by slipping into different roles of the characters of the story. He was too good and had the audience enchanted by his performance.

The music was composed by Vishal Bhardwaj and was simple. It was indeed a mind-boggling performance by the members of Shah family — an evening one would not like to forget. The evening was thanks to the Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam which brought such a wonderful programme for Ludhianvis.
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Auto-rickshaw drivers enjoying ‘election immunity’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
The traffic police and the district transport officials have not taken any action against more than 5,000 auto-rickshaw drivers who are operating without permits and largely responsible for polluting the city air. Officials said, under political pressure in view of the coming Assembly elections in the state, the campaign of challaning defaulting drivers and vehicle owners had been suspended. However, mini-bus operators and residents of the city have welcomed the move of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to put a check on auto-rickshaw drivers.

Yesterday, the court had directed the Superintendent of Police (traffic), Mr Arun Pal Singh, and Mr Bhupinder Singh to be present in the court on October 29, in connection with a writ petition filed by the Local Mini-bus Operators Union. The union has asked the court to instruct the DTO and the SP (traffic) to disallow putting auto-rickshaws on their routes without valid permits.

Mr Harvinder Singh, President of the Local Mini-bus Operators Union, said, “Thousands of auto-rickshaw drivers are operating illegally in the city, though some of them have limited permits for carrying three passengers. However, they pick up passengers on the way, resulting in heavy losses to bus operators. We have presented a documentary evidence in the court in the form of videotapes.”

According to information gathered from a number of auto-rickshaw drivers and transport officials, there were 7,063 registered three-wheelers here by the end of July, 2001. About 100 new vehicles are registered every month. However, officials said the actual number of three-wheelers in the city could be anywhere between 15,000 and 20,000. Out of these, about 5,000 three-wheelers, bearing the PCL numbers of late 1980s petrol-driven vehicles, had local-made diesel engines. Owners of these vehicles operated without permits for providing transport service in the city and its neighbouring towns.

Most of these auto-rickshaws ply in the areas of Samrala Chowk, Haibowal, bus stand, Jalandhar by-pass, Dholewal Chowk, Kohara, Sahnewal, Phillaur and Alamgir. These are mostly owned by those who were affected by the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and authorities dread taking any action against them, due to “political pressure”. Mr Fateh Singh Libra, Managing Director of a local bus service, said, “Though owners of three-wheelers have been allowed to operate within the city, they take passengers even up to 20 kms outside the city and badly affect the business of mini-bus operators who pay a heavy passenger tax.”

Insiders said one of their union leaders was allegedly collecting Rs 10 per day and Rs 100 per month from thousands of auto-rickshaw drivers, “on behalf of the traffic police”, to ensure traffic policemen did not penalise them. A case in this regard was registered recently against the union leader after the publication of some news reports against him. However, he has resumed his operations.

Mr Lal Chand, President of the Three-wheeler Drivers Union of Bharat Nagar Chowk, said some of the drivers had purchased illegal “permit” cards. He said, “Some black sheep in our business are indulging in malpractices that should be checked by the government. Registration of new three-wheelers in the city should be banned to check air pollution.”
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One arrested in kidnapping case
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 17
The Raikot police arrested Nishan Singh of Jaspur Gelianwala in Moga district for kidnapping Raj Kumar of Khiroli in Balian district of Uttar Pradesh, and an attempt to murder. It has registered a case against him.

According to the complainant, Nishan Singh contacted Raj Kumar and hired his tractor-trailer on October 12, introducing himself to be a resident of Talwandi, for carrying paddy. But instead of taking the same to the destination, he took him towards Barnala Chowk where the accused threatened Raj Kumar with a dagger and later came to Dalla bridge and started drinking.

He also kept Raj Kumar in his captivity. The accused tried to give a hammer blow on his head but Raj Kumar managed to catch hold the same and threw it in the canal. But the accused caught hold of Raj Kumar from his hair and started drowning him in the canal. Later he took Rs 2,800 from Raj Kumar and tried to take away his tractor-trailer which did not start but Raj Kumar, meanwhile, drove away.

Today on the identification by the complainant, the Raikot police arrested the accused from Jhorran village.
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Kidney racket: verifications begin
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
The district police and DMC authorities have begun verification of the records of the donors in the infamous kidney racket. The police has also handed over the inquiry to SP (Traffic) Arunpal Singh who has recalled all the records of the case yesterday.

Source said a team of police visited the DMC hospital for the first time today in connection with the racket ever since it has come to notice. The police team is learnt to have demanded records about the donors by submitting an official request for it.

Meanwhile, Youth Congress leader Gopal Monga and the Ludhiana Samaj Sewak have demanded a CBI probe into the racket.
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Dasehra preparations in full swing
Correspondents

Ludhiana, October 17
The preparations for Dasehra festival in the mega city are picking up at different venues. These include Daresi Ground, Kichlu Nagar, Focal Point, Aggar Nagar, Sarabha Nagar and Moti Nagar. A large number of craftsmen, who have come from places like Saharanpur and Muzzaffarnagar in Uttar Pardesh, are working day and night to make effigies so that people could enjoy the real spirit of the festival.

Though many craftsmen are followers of Islam, their spirit for making good effigies never diminishes. These craftsmen term the work as “Mukdas Kaam” (holy work), which should be done with true spirit.

Craftsman Fiaz Ahmed who is from Muzzafarnagar says that his team of four people comes every year to make the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Megnada for Dasehra. Fiaz and his colleagues have to come about one month before the festival to make these effigies.

Fiaz says that it is very painful for them when these huge and beautiful effigies go up in flames. He says every craftsman keeps and preserves his or her art work, but they have to see it burning in front of them.

This is the irony of their profession. They have to produce a great work of art which is destroyed in minutes, for dissemination of message “good always wins over evil”.

As the festival season approaches, people in every nook and corner of the city start discussing the effigies. Every minute details about these effigies are noticed by viewers like size, colour and finishing. Even the type of crackers is also a matter to be taken seriously.
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Societies flout gratuity rules
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, October 17
Even though all trusts and societies employing 10 or more persons have been brought under the purview of the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, employees are not getting any gratuity at the time of resigning or retirement. According to the notification issued on August 20, 1997, by the Union Government, all such organisations are liable to pay gratuity to all those employees having a service of five years or more than that. The notification which is also published in the Gazetteer of India, is not properly implemented in the city.

The city has a large number of trusts and societies which come under the purview of the Payment of Gratuity Act 1972, but these organisations are not ready to discharge their legal obligation especially to low-paid employees. These organisations are running many hospitals, schools, colleges and vocational training centres which have employed more than 10 persons but they never talk of a word about gratuity to their employees. The modus operandi of such institutions especially those running hospitals, to deprive their employees of this lawful service benefit, is their “charitable label”, under which they resort to various illegal practices. They procure advance resignation letters at the time of recruitment and terminate the service of employee before completion of five successful years of service so that they could not ever claim for gratuity.

Despite having received the copy of the notification, the employees are never told about the service benefit. Moreover, many employees do not even know about the fact that they are entitled to get such benefit.

In one of the renowned hospital when an employee, Santosh Kumar (not real name), demanded gratuity from the employer, he was told that according to the Act, only the employees of the society running the hospital were entitled for this service benefit while he was the employee of hospital and not of the society.

The societies and trusts which avail all the benefits flowing from the government or public such as income tax exemption, assistance or grant from the Central or state governments and donations and subscription in the name of charitable societies for the Corpus Fund of Society, is used for running for hospitals and other units. But the persons working in these units are not considered as employees of the concerned societies, just for the purpose of denying the payment of gratuity to them at the time of retirement or resignation.
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No one can exploit you against your wish: Annie
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 17
Annie Thomas, runners up, Miss India 1998, feels that no profession is good or bad. It depends on you how you take it. ‘‘I am into modeling because I enjoy my work. If people have objections against the profession, its their problem not mine,’’ said Annie, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune. She was in the city recently to take part in a fashion show, organised by the International Trade and Exhibition Group.

A graduate in biology, Annie has been doing various designer shows in India and abroad for Poise, an event management company, which arranges prestigious assignments for budding models.

The dusky damsel from Agra believes in the philosophy that if you think you are right, you can achieve your aim and nobody can stop you. She said,‘‘My father has always been against me joining this profession. But I was adamant. I know my limitations and I will definitely not go beyond that. My mom has always been a source of inspiration. She is always stood by me whenever I needed her’’. She said that her dad wanted her to be a doctor or a qualified professional.

Annie is into the profession for over past six years. She said, ‘‘I like modeling. Six years ago, I got a chance to participate in the local Taj Queen Contest. At that time, I won a prize money of Rs 10,000. Since I actively took part in debates and I could answer questions on the stage confidently’’.

Though this was Annie’s first visit to the city, but she was all appreciation for Punjabi people. She said,‘‘I am not very familiar with Ludhiana people, but I have found them to be very kind hearted and loving in a short span of time. I have been to Chandigarh and Shimla but Punjab is new to me’’.

Annie said that she was offered for some very good South Indian films, which she refused because she was never interested in joining movies. Annie likes theatre. Her favorite model is Simar and Aamir Khan is her favorite star in Bollywood.

Annie considers herself lucky that she has no bad experience in this line. She said,‘‘Till date I have not received any bad or raw deal in this profession.No one can force you to expose your body. Something bad can happen anywhere, not just in modeling. Some women are even exploited by their seniors in government offices also’’.
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PAU given Nabha jail land
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Punjab Agricultural University has finally got the Nabha Jail land which was proposed to be transferred to the university for starting a seed farm.

According to sources in the PAU, the authorities have received a letter from the Principal Secretary (Home), Mr Bikramjit Singh, asking the university to start its project there. As per the communication, the university would be given 550 acres out of a total of 778 acres. Sources disclosed that the university would use the land to produce oilseeds for the farmers. The PAU has been thinking to set up a seed farm here and produce seeds shelping the farmers in diversification of agriculture.

The communication also said that the government had written to the Department of Jails to transfer the land to the PAU as soon as possible.
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3 cases of beating registered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 17
There was a spate of beating cases in the city yesterday.

The division No. one police registered a case under Sections 323, 325, 506 and 34, IPC, on the statement by Mr Tejinder Bedi, a resident of Anand Nagar, Haibowal, against Sandeep Kumar Bhandari, a resident of Chander Nagar, and another person. The complainant had alleged that the accused had beaten him up near Bhadaur House market.

In another case, the division No. two police registered two beating cases. In the first incident, a case under Sections 323, 341 and 506, IPC, on a complaint by Mrs Dalip Kaur, wife of Mr Gurnam Singh, residents of Nirankari Mohalla, against Janak Singh. The complainant had alleged that the accused, who is their neighbour, attacked and intimidated her husband.

The other case was registered vide FIR number 137 under Sections 323, 341, 506, 148 and 149, IPC, on a statement of Mr Arvinder Singh a resident of Deep Nagar against Dilawar Singh, Shokey, Sukha and two other persons. According to the complainant, the accused intimidated and beat him up and his son.

Liquor seized

Tarsem Lal, son of Mr Sham Lal, a resident of Lohar Majra near Railway crossing was yesterday arrested and 9 ltrs of country liquor was seized from him. The Model Town police has booked the accused under Sections 61, 1 and 14, Excise Act.

Knife recovered

A knife was recovered from Rajesh Kumar, son of Mr Ashwani Kumar, resident of Digra Mohalla, Hissar, near the Lodhi Club yesterday. The Sarbha Nagar police has booked the accused under Sections 25, 54 and 59, Arms Act.

Gamblers held

The Haibowal police, during special checking, arrested Vinod Paswan and Raghbir Yadav, both migrants from Bihar, while they were gambling near the overbridge on the Jassian Road yesterday. A sum of Rs 90 and a pack of playing cards were seized from them. A case under Sections 13, 3 and 67, Gambling Act, has been registered against them.
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Patwari arrested on graft charge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
The Vigilance Bureau has booked a patwari while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000 from a local resident for getting some papers from the revenue department. Baljeet Singh, the patwari, was caught redhanded by a team led by DSP Harmanbir Gill while he was accepting the bribe from Hargurpreet Singh, a resident of Good Friends Colony.

He was caught in front of the eyewitnesses, Mr Bishan Dass, JE, and Mr Shanti Prashad, senior assistant, Punjab Water Supply Board, and Rs 2,000 was recovered from him on the spot.

The patwari has been booked under the Corruption Act and a case registered against him.
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