Monday, October 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Good times again for encroachments
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, October 28
Traffic lights at the Division Number Three Chowk remain inoperative even after three years of installation, thanks to the area’s encroachment mafia that sees a threat to its existence if the lights are made operational. Lakhs of rupees that went into the laying of cables, lights and constructing footpaths near the chowk went down the drain.

In the absence of traffic lights for regulating the heavy flow of traffic, the footpaths were occupied by shopkeepers and ‘rehriwalas’. Roadside businesses flourished as the encroachment mafia won the war against development and modernisation.

People continue to get caught up in traffic jams in the area at peak hours and the encroachment mafia continues to mock municipal authorities for their inability to clear the roads.

Shopkeepers of Kamla Nehru Market on the GT Road outside the railway station extend their shops several feet beyond the corridor meant for pedestrians, cramping them for space. When newspapers highlighted the plight of pedestrians on this stretch between the Jagraon bridge and Chand Cinema, there were “symbolic” raids by ‘tehbazari’ officials and the situation became same as before soon after. Pedestrians continue to have a little space for moving in the heavy GT Road traffic.

Another story is published on the issue of congestion caused by encroachments on the stretch between Ghanta Ghar and Lakkar Bridge. Traffic policemen force shopkeepers to remove encroachments and ‘tehbazari’ men take away half-a-dozen ‘rehris’ in their trucks. A couple of days later, the Katchehri Road shopkeepers return to their old ways.

The newspaper again reports the increase in encroachments on the Focal Point area. Details regarding the illegal collection of “monthly cut” from rehriwalas are also given. How a leader of the illegal ‘rehri’ market collects money from all roadside vendors and passes it on to a tehbazari official is also mentioned in the report.

The role of the mafia, comprising ‘rehriwalas’, ‘tehbazari’ men and the area councillors, in turning the city into a congested hole, is highlighted time and again. Suggestions for establishing an anti-encroachment authority over the ‘tehbazari’ department are also put forward. However, there is no action to set things right, no reshuffle in departments and no setting up of any authority to deal with encroachments.

There may be a number of reasons restricting the authorities concerned from taking an action, but the encroachment economy seems to be the foremost.

The arrest of Inspector Faqir Chand of the Tehbazari Department on October 10 by the Vigilance Bureau for accepting Rs 900 as the “monthly cut” for allowing three ‘rehriwalas’ to operate in the area has exposed the encroachment racket of Rs 1 crore every month.

With more and more ‘rehris’ coming on the city roads every day, the income of the encroachment mafia is also increasing. The “monthly cut” depend on the location on ‘rehris’. Rehriwalas, who earn more than others, pay upto Rs 1,000 a month as the cut. The minimum cut for cigarette vendors in residential areas is Rs 150 a month.

When PUDA handed over the Focal Point area to the MC about a year or so ago, encroachments along the roads increased. It was obvious that men of the Tehbazari Department were “expanding their operations” for their personal gains.

Over to the new MC Commissioner, Mr R.L. Kalsia.



Roads are wide but minds are narrow
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, October 28
It is often said that roads are narrow in the old city, which is the main reason for traffic congestion. However, in some cases, the people themselves have made the road narrow by parking vehicles haphazardly. It seems that residents have lost their traffic sense.

One can witness vehicles parked haphazardly on both sides of the road in front of Calibure Plaza and many other roads in the old city. The road opposite Calibure Plaza is wide enough for heavy vehicles, but unauthorised parking of vehicles has made it so congested that, sometimes, even two-wheeler drivers find it difficult to cross it. At times, traffic jams on the road are 30-minute long.

Nobody cares to follow parking rules here. They just find a place convenient for them to park their vehicle and do it without fear of any law enforcement authority. Residents of the city consider it their right to park their vehicles anywhere. They do not think even once that parking of vehicles on the road can cause inconvenience to the other commuters.

However, Calibure Plaza has its own private parking lot at the rooftop and parking charges are nominal. The parking lot has the capacity to hold about 300 cars and more than 500 scooters at a time. Moreover, the nearby huge multi-storey Municipal Corporation Parking Complex facilitates visitors to park their vehicles there at nominal charges, but visitors do not avail themselves of this opportunity.

A large number of persons who come here to shop and park their vehicles on the road say that they have to spend only 10 minutes or so here. However, rarely do these visitors finish their shopping in less than half-an-hour. Sometimes these shopping expedition last for hours together. In this way, a large numbers of vehicles, especially two-wheelers, cover a major part of the road on both sides.

Apart from motor vehicles, ‘rehris’ and rickshaws are also parked on the road. Rickshawpullers, instead of parking their rickshaws at proper stands, wait outside the shopping complex for passengers, so as not to lose any of them.



A poetic tribute to Sahir
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
Bara hai dard ka rishta yeh dil garib sahi, tumhare nam pe aaenge ghamgusaar chale. This couplet of eminent Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz probably best sums up the presence of people and poets at a musharia organised in memory of Sahir Ludhianvi to mark his death anniversary. Although there were not many big names among the poets, the audience was attentive to wards each line that was said.

It was the eighth Sahir Memorial Mushaira organised by the Kala Samiriti here last night. And in a befitting tribute to the great poet of the 20th century, who was well known for his secular outlook, the mushaira started with tributes to Prophet Mohammad, Guru Nanak and Lord Krishna. While Ved Dewana recited a poem in honour of Prophet Mohammad, Sarda Panchhi presented a poem in honour of Lord Krishna and Nazar Idris presented a poem in honour of Guru Nanak.

As the mushaira picked up momentum, the audience enjoyed each and every couplet. Some new and upcoming faces like Mumtaz Naseem from Aligarh were remarkable. Supported by a melodious voice, Naseem set the tune for the evening with meri zindagi ki kitab ka hai wara waraq yoon saja hua, sare ibtida, sare intiha tera nam dil pe likha hua.

The mushaira was not devoid of the usual poetic wit and humour. Afzal Manglaori was more straight while noting not so good response he felt Naseem should have got. He said about Naseem, hum ko kya samajna tha aur kya samaj bethe, hai ik qatil ko di rubba samajh bethe. He did not stop there. His other couplets like hum is tarah tere gham ko chhupai phirte hain, ki jaise kuchh bhi hua hi nahin hai tere baad were highly appreciated by the audience.

Mohinder Arsh from Najibabad was more forceful with his perfect jugglery of words, which were so simple and yet impressive and easily comprehensible. Mein ne kanoon se mai kashi ki hai, zikr uska sharab jaisa hai...ek ahat se toot jata hai, neend ka jism khwab jaisa hai...unse koi rabta na ho, is qadar bi faasla na ho were highly appreciated.

Ved Dewana from Kharar was equally impressive with touching couplets like khuda se kuchh bi nahin mangta hoon mein, woh chehra ab mere daste dua mein rehta hai.

Another young poet who has already made his mark, Suahil Lucknavi, seems to have mastered the art of presentation. Although he repeated the same compositions which he had presented here last time, he was praised a lot. Sar ho sajde mein magar dil mein daga bazi ho, aise sajdoon se bhalla kaise khuda razi ho received a lot of cheer and applause. His message to the politicians was Achha nahin sholoon ko barhka kay hawa dena, is khel mein tum apna daman na jala dena, Allah ne baksha hai janat sa wattan tum ko, janat ko ai logo kahin dozakh na banna dena.

Surprisingly there was no mention of the contemporary political scene at the national or international level. Usually the great national and international events hardly escape the poets’ attention and yet they did last night. Dr Kewal Dheer, a great literary figure and novelist, also noticed the absence of any comment on the contemporary developments. Yet he was all praise for the young and upcoming poets.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Sport, Mr Nusrat Ali Khan, appreciated the efforts of Mr Satish Mahindroo, the organiser of the mushaira. 



Abhijit nite at Lodhi Club
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 28
City residents experienced a melodious night when Bollywood singer Abhijit held them spellbound for over three hours. The occasion was the annual day celebrations of the Lodhi Club.

Abhijit and his troupe from Mumbai enthralled the audience with latest Hindi numbers. The Bengali singer appreciated the hospitality given to him by Ludhianvis. He started singing his all-time favourites including “badi mushkil hai”, “ khoya mera dil hai”, tum dil ki dhadkan mein, “chand tare tor laaoon”.

Abhijit was accompanied by budding singers, including Mahesh, Khamosh and Upasana. The children started dancing on his various numbers.

Born and brought up at Kanpur, Abhijit said that he had respect and love for Punjab and Punjabis. He said that Kishore Kumar was his godfather. The singer was presented with a bouquet and a shawl by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K.Sandhu. 



DMCH denies hand in kidney racket
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 28
The management of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital here has denied the involvement of any doctor of the hospital in the kidney transplant racket.

In a press note issued here today, the management said hospital’s name was being unnecessarily dragged into this controversy. It said the authorisation committee of the hospital was strictly following the rules framed by the state government for kidney transplant. A spokesperson of the hospital said the committee had the courage to resist all kinds of pressure, even from high officials.

The management said it took between two to four weeks for conducting various tests and police verifications before a kidney transplant. The transplant could not be done in a single day and the donor and the recipient also needed to produce an affidavit of getting their bonafides verified from public servants like sarpanches, MLAs, MPs and ministers. The authorisation committee, that comprised a Civil Surgeon, a lawyer, the head or a representative of Christian Medical College and Hospital and the Principal of the DMCH, had every right to refuse to perform a kidney transplant.



Protest rally by mini bus operators
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana , October 28
Mini bus operators will hold a protest rally tomorrow in front of the State Transport Commissioner's office against the non-implementation of their pending demands.

Mr Charanjit Singh Gill, general secretary of the association, in a statement today said that this decision was taken at a meeting of the mini bus operators executive committee held here on October 26. He said that association members were informed by the president, Mr Jatinder Agra, that their two main demands were accepted by the Chief Minister and senior officials at a meeting which was held on May 7. He said that it was unfortunate that the demands were not implemented.

The general secretary said that due to an increase in the diesel prices, the mini bus operators were incurring a heavy loss.

Mr Gill said that in the protest rally which was held on August 25, the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, had assured that the demands of the bus operators were genuine and he would request the Chief Minister to implement these at the earliest. He said that a protest week from October 8 12 was held at Chandigarh by the bus operators.



Two booked for attack
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 28
The Jodhewal police has registered a case under Sections 324 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ram Lubhaya, son of Mr Chand Ram, a resident of Tilak Nagar, Rahon Road, Ludhiana, against Manjit Singh and Jagir Singh, residents of Palewal village in Hoshiarpur district, now residing in Indra Colony, Rahon Road. The complainant stated that on Friday he had gone to meet his sister in Indra Colony at about 9.15 pm when the accused beat him up with sticks and injured him. He had to be admitted to the CMC Hospital. Mr Gurmel Singh, ASI, is investigating but no arrest has been made so far.

Gambling: On a tip-off that certain persons were gambling on the Kara Bara road, Salem Tabri, yesterday, the Sadar police raided the place and arrested Keshdi, Kaku, Ganga Dhar, Lotu, Kalu, alias Kalia, and Hari Ram. all the accused have been booked under the Gambling Act.

Beaten up: The Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 149 of the IPC on an application submitted by Mr Jaswant Singh, son of Mr Jagir Singh, a resident of Dhandra village under the Sadar police station, against a son of Bahadur Singh and some other unidentified persons. Mr Jaswant Singh, who is serving as a JE in the PSEB, stated in his complaint that while he was going to his house in Dhandra village on Friday at about 7 pm, the accused, who were in an inebriated condition were blocking the road. When he asked them to get off the road, the accused beat him up. Mr Paramjit Singh, ASI, is investigating but no arrest has been made so far.

In another case of beating was registered yesterday at the Sadar police station under Sections 341, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sai Dass, son of Mr Phina Ram Sahsi, a resident of Talwandi Kalan village, against Nirmal, son of Mr Gokal Chand, Rajinder, Biru, son of Mr Mehar Chand, Gokal, son of Mr Ganga Ram, residents of Talwandi Kalan, and Mohinderjit Singh, a resident of Alowal village. According to the complainants, Mr Nichattar Singh, son of Mr Tarsem Singh, Balwinder Kaur, wife of Mr Baldev Singh, had purchased a field of mustard leaf. The accused were plucking mustard leaves forcibly.

When they were stopped from doing so, the accused beat Nachhattar Singh with lathis and injured him and he had to be admitted to Civil Hospital in an injured condition. However, no arrest has been made so far.


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