Monday, November 5, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Cops didn’t ‘miss’ missing weapons for 15 yrs
Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
In a serious security lapse, a number of weapons have mysteriously gone missing from a “malkhana” in the Sarabha Nagar police station. The police is in a fix over tracing the culprits as the weapons can be missing for the past more than a decade during which a large number of police personnel and officials were posted at different times in the police station. What is more intriguing is that the weapons are reported to be missing for the past 15 years but no one had come to know about it.

Sources disclosed to the Ludhiana Tribune that even though an internal inquiry into the weapons’ disappearance was on for the past one month or so, neither the whereabouts of the weapons had been established nor had the responsibility been fixed on any policemen so far.

Sources informed that with not much headway made in the internal inquiry, the police was likely to lodge a formal FIR into the incident. Besides this a departmental inquiry was also likely to be initiated to look into the weapons’ disappearance. The police authorities had first decided to register an FIR against all “Munshis” who worked in the police station during the past 15 years but the idea was dropped as no concrete proof about the actual ‘defaulter’ was found.

The missing weapons mainly include about 10 .303 rifles. Unconfirmed reports say one SLR and two Carbines were also missing. The missing of weapons had come to light about a month ago when the SSP, Mr H.S. Sidhu, was inspecting the police station as a routine matter. He had ordered an immediate inquiry by an official of the DSP level.

The incident was, however, kept strictly under wraps. When the Ludhiana Tribune inquired about the incident the lower level police personnel and the police officials concerned were tight-lipped about the whole thing. Some of them directly concerned with the upkeep of weapons even denied that any such weapon was missing.

The SSP, Mr H.S. Sidhu, however, confirmed the disappearance but dismissed it as a minor issue. He said the weapons had been missing for the past 15 years and he had ordered an inquiry. He said a department inquiry and registration of a formal case into the incident may follow.

According to inquiries, the missing of weapons from the police malkhana is a serious matter in itself and if the weapons were used in some crime then the matter becomes all the more serious.

Sources revealed that four police personnel, now posted at some other police station were under suspicion in the case. Sources added that only a proper verification of records can ascertain how the weapons went missing. One theory was that the weapons were issued to police personnel on duty who had not returned them. The second theory was that the weapons might have been issued to civilians, who were members of the Village Defence Committees formed during the terrorism era about 15 years ago. According to a third theory the weapons had been stolen from the police station.

Interestingly, it has taken 15 years for the police to find out that some weapons were missing. The police is learnt to have checked up from other police stations if any weapons were missing from there also but none of the police stations had reported a similar incident.

Reliable sources revealed that after the discovery of weapons missing from the Sarabha Nagar police station, a number of SHOs of several police station had ordered the retrieval of a large number of weapons issued from the police station over the past more than a decade. Most of the police stations have completed the stocks while some were in the process.



Museum awaits inauguration
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
While the state government is busy celebrating the bicentenary year of the coronation of Sher-e-Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum situated on Jalandhar by-pass, 8 km from here, the only one of its kind conceived and owned by the State Government, awaits inauguration.

The question when it would be ‘officially’ opened for the general public stares the museum as well as the SAD-BJP government in the state in the face as almost 10 years had passed since work on it started. Enquiries revealed that though paucity of funds was the main reason behind the delaying of the project, lack of concerted effort by the authorities concerned had also been a contributing factor.

The latter seems to be a strong reason, particularly in the post-Kargil phase, especially where the state government had for umpteen times announced policies to commemorate sacrifices made by the defence personnel hailing from the state.

The museum, according to its publicity leaflets, was planned to create general awareness about the Defence Services not only for its role in defending the country, but also in strengthening national integrity. Sadly, the museum which has immense potential of giving a befitting tribute to war heroes, is facing neglect.

Though tourists visit the place and see whatever exhibits have been offered, the place can be opened officially only after completion. An entry fee to see the museum could also give a return on some of the investment.

It was in early 1991 that the foundation stone of the museum was laid by Gen. O.P. Malhotra, the then Governor of Punjab. At the ceremony, it was announced that the museum , the first of its kind by the state government, had been planned to commemorate the sacrifices made by people from Punjab in defending the country. Various defence battalions or regiments stationed in the state had such museums but these exhibited their own feats mostly .This museum aimed to present almost all feats of the defence personnel of the state at one place.

Though it was promised that work on the museum would be completed on a war-footing, yet for 10 years it lies neglected and incomplete. Only two years ago a hall with light-and-sound effects screened a film based on the feats of Punjabis in both the pre-and post-independence India in defending their motherland, was completed and inaugurated, raising hopes that the remaining portion would also be completed at the earliest, but in vain.

According to official sources after the laying of the foundation stone, work went on at a rapid pace for two years and then remained suspended for almost three or four years till funds were released. It later continued in fits-and-starts and depended entirely on the allocation of funds. Last year, its massive building was completed at a cost of Rs 2 crore.

A visit to the site revealed that the museum had been made at an excellent location on the outskirts of the city. The place has immense tourism potential as the Tiger Safari is located next to the museum. A hotel of the Punjab Tourism Department, along with some private restaurants, was also located nearby.

Though in an excellent location the museum presents a rosy picture only from outside. The inner halls, except for two or three, are empty and await exhibits to be installed there. An interesting hall where uniforms of different regiments from the British days are kept is also not in a good shape. A number of closets for exhibiting uniforms are yet to be completed while those which have been done are awaiting the uniforms.

Another significant pending work is of a sculpture depicting the scene of the end of Indo-Pak war Bangladesh war in 1971 when the Pakistan general was signing the documents of surrender.

The completed halls offer pictures of the war heroes including the Paramvir Chakra winners of the state, along with portraits of other highly decorated soldiers. The lawns offer tanks and aircraft, both real and models, which are a delight to watch. However if a path could be constructed along the exhibits for proper movement of the visitors, then the place would be better visited. A tractor parked along the defence vehicles is an irritating eyesore. It appears too odd in the illustrated company of INS-Vikrant model and real SU-7 fighter aircraft along with several models of the tanks.


Admn ignores own order on noise pollution
Kamal Kishore Shankar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 4
Residents of the Rani Jhansi road area have appealed to the district administration for implementing the order passed by Subdivisional Magistrate on July 17, 2001, to stop the functioning of “Saggar House”, a marriage hall for making noise above permissible limits. The residents of the area have decided to meet the Senior Superintendent of Police for implementation of the said order. This was decided at a meeting held here today.

A resident of the area Subhash Aggarwal said despite the order of the SDM (East), Mr Kuldeep Singh, to stop the functioning of the marriage palace, it has not been implemented. Mr Aggarwal said, "in violation of the order, the marriage palace continues to play music on very high pitch for its clients.”

He said, “after waiting for a long time, hoping for the implementation of said order, I complained many times to the police (telephone no: 100) that the noise pollution rules were being violated. But no action was taken.” After that he wrote a complaint to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr Suresh Arora, for quick action against the matter but nothing substantial has been done so far, he added.

Another resident and former Mayor, Mr Sat Parkash Choudhary, has also appealed to the administration for the implementation of the order and asked it to be vigilant against noise pollution in the city. He said, “marriage palace owners in order to make big money often ignore noise pollution rules and play music on high pitch which has made it difficult for the residents living near such palaces.

Other residents of the area have also appealed to the administration for strict action against the marriage palace. Former Excise Commissioner, Mr Dharam Pal Gupta, Col O.P. Kapoor (retd) and Secretary of the District Taxation Bar Association, Mr Ashish Aggarwal have also asked for quick action in this regard.



Movies get most of TV time: study
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
On an average, Ludhianavis’ watch three movies on foreign satellite movie channels per week and Star Movies is their most favourite channel, closely followed by HBO. These are the findings of a research study titled “Attitude of viewers towards different foreign satellite movie channels” conducted by Tarun Sabhlok, a student of Punjab College of Technical Education . Dr K.N.S. Kang, Director of the college, said the survey included 100 respondents from city and was conducted under the guidance of Mr Khushdeep Dharni, faculty member, PCTE. In all six foreign movie channels were selected for the survey, namely, Star Movies, HBO, TNT, AXN, TCM and Zee MGM.

Results of the study revealed that on an average 2.5 hours were spent on watching TV daily. TV addiction seemed to be increasing, as around 30 per cent of the respondents claimed to spend on an average 4.5 hours on TV daily. On preference list, movies came first followed by serials, sports programmes and game shows, while talk shows finished last. Around 60 per cent of the respondents admitted watching 3 or more English movies per week.

On basis of the viewership, Star Movies is at the top position, followed closely by HBO and AXN, while Zee MGM, TCM and TNT finished at fourth, fifth and sixth positions, respectively.

Respondents were also asked to rank different foreign movie channels according to different categories. Star Movies came out to be number one when it came to family drama, comedy and romantic movies, followed by TNT and HBO. In action films category, AXN channel won, followed by HBO and Star Movies. In horror and suspense movies’ category HBO was placed at the top, followed by Star Movies and Zee MGM. When it came to classics, TNT was placed at No. 1 followed by Zee MGM and HBO.

When asked to compare Indian and foreign channels, responses suggested that foreign channels were far superior on the basis of quality of transmission, entertainment and education. Regarding music, the score was almost equal but respondents said foreign TV channels showed programmes that were closer to reality.

Dr Kang said despite negative impact foreign channels were needed to make Indians aware about global events in the wake of liberalisation and globalisation.



Kidney racket: ASI sent to Police Lines
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
ASI Jagdeep Singh, former in charge of Moti Nagar police post, has been sent to Police Lines pending an inquiry into allegations that he has taken Rs 90,000 from an accused in the kidney racket to let them off.

The allegations against the ASI were part of the infamous kidney racket. Rajesh Kumar, the only accused arrested so far, had in a statement to the police, revealed that he was caught some two months back by the ASI. He had alleged that he was let off after paying Rs 90,000 to the police official. The ASI had denied the allegations. DSP Gurjit Singh, who was entrusted with the preliminary inquiry, had said in the report that a thorough inquiry should be conducted into the allegations. SSP H.S. Sidhu told that the official had been sent to Police Lines and the SP (Traffic) had been told to inquire into the case. The accused, Rajesh Kumar, who worked as an agent of Amritpal Singh, the main accused, had startled the district police by his disclosure during interrogation. The police had not initiated any inquiry into the disclosure by the accused that Amritpal Singh was giving a monthly payment to some police officials for allowing him to function smoothly.



You are selected, but can’t join!
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, November 4
Candidates selected for the posts of clerks in the Social Security, Women and Child Development Department are running from pillar to post to seek joining. Mr Daljit and other candidates selected as clerks, said 1,100 candidates had been selected by the Subordinate Service Selection Board on May 26 as clerks. The Social Security Department was allotted to 106 clerks. Whereas all other departments had absorbed their appointees, this department was not allowing its prospective employees to join.

The employees said that even the minister, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, did not listen to them. The Director of the Department told them that approval from the Chief Minister was awaited whereas the Punjab Government’s letter showed that no such approval was required.


Uncommon wit of common man

Duels of words between famous personalities become part of records. The exchanges between Disraeli and Gladstone in the British Parliament have become literary history. When giants like G.K. Chesterton and G.B. Shaw locked horns, it became a treasure of wit and repartee. Thousands of their sentences have become quotable quotes.

Life is too rich in wisdom to be fully probed. Life is painful and provides occasions for humour. People have preserved the instinct for fun and humour due to and in spite of adversity. Some persons can even laugh at their own expense. Commoners, too, provide everyone with a feast of fun. Spoken sparkles relieve one of tension, soothe nerves and improve health.

City market on a hot summer afternoon: Bored by mechanics of routine, a few friendly shopkeepers, workers, vendors and fun-seekers assemble. A game of cards is on and the players are engrossed in it. Some of the men watch in excitement, while the others gossip. An ice vendor is holding cards when his wife appears suddenly at the assembly. She asks her husband to bring more ice slabs from the factory for sale. The vendor’s intimate friend, Comrade, tells her, “Keep him tied, he roams about everywhere!” She returns the volley of words, “I have willingly let him loose, if you cherish suspicion, better stay at your home and remain on guard.” It is an excellent repartee by any standard by an uneducated lady.

In winter, a sunny spot in the open: Card players and advisers are intensely involved in the game and the exchange of information as usual. A tailor throws the card. Now, it is the turn of Comrade, who is trying to recollect what all cards have been thrown, so far. He is rudely reminded that he has to throw his card. Comrade says, “Who threw the card last?” Bhatia bursts out abruptly, “Your father.” Comrade, unwittingly: “Which father?” There is a roar of laughter, relished by gardeners to mechanics. Bhatia retorts, politely: “Being a victim of Delhi riots, I am not familiar with the parentage of the man.”

A spring evening at tailor’s shop: Half-a-dozen workers are busy, while some sit outside on the bench. An educated middle-aged woman comes to the shop and says angrily: “Masterji, I gave you a cloth a year ago. Tell me, finally, when shall I expect the suit to be ready for wearing?” An elderly person known to both of them says, “A forgetful tailor-master is good. Imagine, had the suit been stitched, it would have been out of fashion. Have patience. The man is lazy, but an expert. You pay him at the old rate.” The woman leaves. Meanwhile, Lala Halwai has a dig at the tailor, “You eat cloth, make wrong cuts and put mismatched buttons wherever you like on clothes.” Bunty says, “He is, therefore, a fashion designer.”

At a sweetshop: A friendly rickshawpuller, Raj, arrives at the shop and enquires about Lalaji Halwai, who is coughing and running a fever. Raj asks him, “What have you eaten recently.” Lalaji says, “Simple dal roti.” Raj says like an expert: “So, you have finally eaten sweets prepared by you.” Raj is joined by Pandit, who says, “Whenever he is ill, he receives a free treatment from the doctor.” Kuldip says, “Doctors never favour anyone like this; they charge high consultation fees.” Bhatia says, “There is nothing unusual about it; simple business terms: He sends him patients and he reciprocates by giving him free treatment.”

The morning rush hour at a bus stand: Students, teachers and workers etc. are in an overloaded bus. A teacher spots the conductor and asks him to find him a seat, reminding him that he has been his pupil at school. “That is why he is doing a hard job for a small pay,” a colleague takes dig at him. “My students did well. One is a major in the Army and many more are in banks... no one ever failed,” says the teacher who needs a seat.

“He made him stand on the bench, so, now, he is making him stand in the bus.” says Havaldar Harnam Singh. “Teachers, like doctors, count only the pass percentage; which doctor ever counted the number of persons who died under his treatment?” says an elderely lady, which sets everyone thinking.

M.S. Cheema



Legal status sought for town planning
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
“The department of town planning has prepared master plans for the sustainable development of towns of the state. However, its recommendations have not been accepted by the Municipal Corporations, PUDA or the other departments concerned as these plans lack legal sanctity. This has resulted in haphazard development of residential colonies and unplanned industrialisation. The state government must provide legal status to these plans to ensure their implementation by the departments and agencies concerned for urban planning,’’ said Prof H.S. Mangat, president, Association of Punjab Geographers, here today.

He was speaking on the concluding day of the second two-day conference on ‘Sustainable Urban Development.’ The conference was organised by the Association of Punjab Geographers (APG) and Chandigarh Regional Chapter of the Institute of Town Planners (India) at SCD Government College.

Prof Sarup Singh, School of Planning at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, in his paper “Urban Scenario of Punjab” pointed out that according to the 2000-01 census, 33.95 per cent of the population in the state was residing in urban area as compared to 27.78 per cent national average.

Ms Daljit Kaur and Mr Saminderjit Singh in their paper “Environmental problems of Ludhiana City” claimed that number of hosiery, electroplating, dyeing and other industries were disposing their toxic and poisonous wastes at improper places without any concern for the environment.

The participants reached at a consensus that state lacked political will to deal with the problems of urban areas. The cities in state would become unlivable unless adequate steps were taken to deal with the emerging problems. Prof H.S. Mangat, in his concluding address, stressed the need for the implementation of the recommendations of the town planners, especially to improve the quality of state human resources.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, local MP, assured the association to support their objectives. Nearly 90 geographers from New Delhi, Kolkata, Chandigarh and various parts of Punjab participated in the conference.

The association honoured 11 eminent geographers including late Dr O.P. Bhardwaj, Dr A.B. Mukherji, Dr Jasbir Singh, Dr Majid Hussain, Dr G.B. Singh, Mr Manjit Singh and Mr Iqbal Singh Sandhu. Six toppers from the various universities of Punjab in post graduate and undergraduate courses in geography were also honoured.



Rebels’ challenge to Surjeet
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
In an open challenge to the senior Left leader and general secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet, the rebel leaders asked him to prove his popularity by organising a left rally. The rebels claimed that they would simultaneously organise a district-level rally where the presence of participants would outnumber those organised by Mr Surjit.

The rebels, led by former MLA Mr Tarsem Jodhan, who was expelled about 3 years ago and Mr Chandershkhar the state general secretary of the CITU, who was expelled by the party recently organised a conference to prove their strength here today. The audience at the conference was good.

The conference took up the issues of neo-colonialism represented by the United States, the deteriorating economic situation in Punjab and the rise in unemployment. It was chaired by a seven-member presidium, consisting of Mr Mohinder Singh Mansuran, Mr Vijay Dogra, Mr Chaman Lal, Mr Joginder Ram, Mr Gyan Chand, Mr Kameshwar and Mrs Gurmeet Kaur. The conference was inaugurated by Mr Chandershekhar.

Addressing the rally, Mr Jodhan directed his ire against Mr Surjeet, blaming him for the erosion of the left support base in the state.

He said, “If Mr Surjeet wants to prove his leadership and popularity, let him organise a state-level rally and I will organise a district level rally and the presence at my rally will be much more than at his”.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Chandershekhar painted a grim picture of the economic situation in the state. He pointed out that the state had fallen to sixth place from number one in terms of the per capita income, while in terms of wages to the labour it had slipped down to the seventh place in the country.

The speakers also condemned the campaign against the migrant labourers by some influential people in the government. They said, the attitude of the police towards these labourers was also discrimnatory and they were treated as second class citizens. The speakers pointed out that their (the migrant labourers’) contribution to the state economy was no less.

Three resolutions were passed at today’s conference. The first resolution decided to organise a protest rally against the WTO regime on November 9.

This will coincide with the ministerial conference being organised on WTO at Doha in Qatar which begins the same day. Besides the martyrdom of Kartar Singh Sarabha will be observed as anti-neocolonialism day on November 15. The third resolution announced the constitution of a 19-member committee for Ludhiana city.

Besides Mr Jodhan, the conference was also addressed by Mr Amarnath Koomkallan and Mr Raghubir Singh Benipal.



Rumours, festivity mark Karva Chauth
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 4
The festival of Karva Chauth, which is celebrated by Hindu women by fasting and praying for long life of their husbands, was rather a hectic affair this time, mainly because it fell on Sunday.

People were woken up on a lazy Sunday morning by hawkers selling ‘karvas’ , little earthen pots which are a must for the ceremony. However, on account of rumours that Karva Chauth this time would be ‘adversely inclined’ (bhari), there was a big rush of women at various temples until last evening. While many women donated various items, including sindoor, bangles, bindis, henna etc., in all religious faith, there were others who ridiculed the paranoia created by rumours. Anyway, the rumours proved beneficial for shopkeepers who did brisk business in these items.

Cinema halls of the city also did good business today. According to information, tickets were sold at a premium at Sangeet, where Sunny Deol's ‘Indian’ is being screened.

In the evening, ‘kathas’ were organised by women in their respective neighbourhoods before they could break their fasts.



Transfer inquiry cases’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
The Punjab Revenue Officers Association, at a state-level meeting held here today asked the state government to transfer inquiry cases against officers from Chandigarh to various field offices to save time.

The association urged the Minister of Revenue and Rehabilitation, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, to get their demands implemented which were accepted by him at the time of Majitha byelection about eight months ago.

The association also decided to give an ultimatum to the government that they would go on one-day mass leave on November 8 if their demands were not accepted by November 7. The future course of agitation would be finalised in the meeting to be held here on November 8.



Two booked on rape charge
Tribune Reporters

Jagraon, November 4
The Sudhar police has registered a case against Sarbjot Singh and Sukhwinder Singh of Chamindo village on rape charge.

The 30-year-old woman, who belonged to Ludhiana, had left her children at her in-laws’ house and had left her parents’ house about three months back. She came to the village yesterday to see her children, but finding her in-laws’ house locked, she went to the house of the brother of her father-in-law. After sometime, the two accused came there and raped her. The accused, still at large, were booked under Sections 376, 342 and 34 of the IPC.

Liquor vend looted: Four car-borne persons looted cash and whisky from a liquor vend at Galib Kalan village, near here, last night. According to Sonu, an employee of the liquor vend, he and Pawan, another employee, were present when a white Maruti car was parked near the vend. Two of its occupants came out and demanded a bottle of whisky. They took out sharp-edged weapons and took away Rs 700 and five bottles of whisky. They whisked away in the car. According to Sonu, they had sent the earnings for the day half an hour before the incident occurred.

One killed: Kamaljit Singh (25), a resident of Barwali village in Khamano tehsil, was injured when a truck (WL-01-2782) hit the scooter on the bypass road, here on Saturday night. Later, he succumbed to his injuries on the way to the DMC, Ludhiana. The local police has impounded the truck, but the driver of the truck is missing.

Mandi Gobindgarh
Case registered: On the statement of Mr Parveen Kumar, alias Kaka, of Adarsh Nagar, Gali Number 4, here, the police has registered an FIR against Vipan Jain, Naresh Jain, both sons of Roop Lal, and others under Sections 452, 324, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC. However, no arrest has been made so far.

According to the complaint, three persons allegedly entered the house of Mr Parveen Kumar after scaling the boundary wall of the house and opened the gate. Nearly 15 persons entered the house and beat family members.


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