Thursday, November 8, 2001,  Chandigarh, India

 

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

 

 

Admn gets cracking
Sparks fly after blaze

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The district administration today ordered an inquiry into yesterday’s fire incident which led to the death of four persons, besides gutting of about 12 shops, but separate versions were being given by local residents, causing altercation among shopkeepers as some of them blamed on the illegal crackers shop.

The death toll in yesterday’s fire went up to four, with one person succumbing to his injuries at Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital early this morning. He was identified as 22-year-old Kamal, a resident of the same locality.

Some persons claimed that the fire spread in the market after a cylinder blast in front of a fast-food rehri. The sparks reportedly reached the crackers shop and soon the entire market was up in flames. Others said the fire began in the crackers shop and not from elsewhere. They said after the crackers caught fire, it spread fast.

Residents of the area were sore with the police over inaction. They pointed out the crackers were being sold openly though the area had not been specified for the sale of crackers. A resident disclosed that some houses close by were storing huge stocks of crackers. Some persons who had huge stocks lying in their houses and godowns in the vicinity sent the stocks to undisclosed places. Some of the stocks were reportedly shifted to some dairy farms in Haibowal.

On the other hand, the district administration today launched a combing operation in the city to find out if there were any illegal crackers outlets. The Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr S. R. Kaler, who presided over a meeting of senior officials, including those of the police, issued a stern warning against illegal sale of crackers in the city.

Mr Kaler said an inquiry had been ordered and the SDM (East), Mr Kuldeep Singh, would submit his report within a week. The city had been divided into 13 zones, which would be regularly supervised by senior officials of the administration to ensure that there was no illegal sale of crackers. He said specific instructions had been issued that crackers would be sold only at the 13 listed spots in the city. The district administration had earlier permitted sale in markets with roads having a width of more than 40 feet. Now this permission was withdrawn.

The ADC, who visited the area along with other officials, announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 50,000 to the kin of the deceased and Rs 5,000 for those injured. A committee consisting of the local Tehsildar, ETO and the SDO (B and R) would assess the losses in the fire. He said people had been urged to cooperate with the decisions.

Leaders of different political parties also visited the area and expressed their condolences to the bereaved families. They included the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, local legislators, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal and Mr Satpal Gosain, the local MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, Mr Pawan Dewan, Mr K. K. Bawa, Mr Jarnail Singh Grewal, Mr Akshay Bhanot and Mr Avtar Singh Makkar.

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Compensation for fire victims

Ludhiana, November 7
The Punjab Government today announced a compensation of Rs 50,000 to next of kin of those killed in a fire in Jawahar Market here yesterday.

The government had also announced Rs 5,000 for each injured in the devastating fire which broke out in a cracker shop, official sources said here.

The government had also ordered a magisterial probe into the incident. PTI

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Murdered man’ behind bars
 Bid to implicate wife, in-laws
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The plan of Birbal Singh, a 29-year-old resident of Kotala village, near Samrala, to implicate his wife and in-laws in his murder was exposed yesterday when he was spotted by the police.

He had staged his kidnapping and murder in September 2000 and had since gone into hiding. Chicken blood had been splattered in a room to trick everybody into believing that a murder had taken place.

The man wanted to teach his wife and in-laws a lesson by getting them behind bars for his murder as they had allegedly been harassing him since his marriage. The man’s divorce case was also pending in a civil court.

The police had been on the trail of the accused since his alleged murder took place. Sources said the murder was one of the most puzzling mysteries for the police all these months. While the police had been unable to trace Birbal’s body or his murderers, foul play had been sensed about a month after the incident.

According to police sources, DSP Sushil Kumar received information that the police had been on a wild goose chase since September as the man had been seen by a number of villagers. With the help of informers, the police laid a trap and caught him. He was booked for cheating the police.

According to sources, the couple got married in 1996, but they did not go along well. Birbal’s wife left him in 1998. In his divorce application and his statement to the police, he had alleged that his wife had eloped with a migrant labourer. His wife had denied this and had accused him of harassing her.

With the help of some of his friends and relatives, Birbal had hatched the conspiracy of his murder. They had created the scene of a murder at his house. They had splattered the blood of a chicken on the bed, doors and walls. In a statement to the police, a close relative had stated that Birbal had been attacked by some persons, armed with sharp-edged weapons especially gandasas. The relative had said they suspected the in-laws to be behind the murder as Birbal had been facing threats from them.

The Samrala police had arrested Birbal’s wife and in-laws, but had released them after a few days when they had convinced the police of their innocence. The mystery had deepened when the forensic report had shown the blood not to be of a human being.

“I kept in hiding and frequently changed places” said Birbal, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune after his arrest. He said he had spent some time in Kashmir also, but had remained largely in Ropar district.

A repenting Birbal confessed that he had plotted his murder to settle scores with his in-laws. He said he had thought his relatives would be arrested and then he would pressurise them to toe his line. Police sources said co-conspirators in the case were likely to be arrested soon.

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MC-contractor row ends
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 7
Decks have been cleared for resolving the more than two-month-old row between the Municipal Corporation and the contractors, with the F&CC panel of the MC informally waving good bye to the quality control agency, M/s SGS India, engaged by the civic body to ensure strict quality control on the development works, executed by the engineering wing.

According to reliable sources, all the major political parties, including SAD-B, BJP and Congress have also extended their support for the move, in writing and the proposal being adopted at the MC General House meeting, scheduled to be held on November 9 was a foregone conclusion now. There was a general feeling among almost all councillors, cutting across party lines, that the job entrusted to the agency, at a hefty consultation fee, could very well be done by the technical staff, maintained by the MC and retaining an outside agency for this purpose was wasteful expenditure.

Demanding removal of the ‘outside agency’, more than 200 contractors, enlisted with the MC, had been staying away from the tendering process for more than two months now, as a result of which development works were seriously hampered. The contractors were also demanding that a fixed time-frame be evolved for their payments.

During a meeting with senior MC officials here late last evening, the contractors were said to have relented their earlier stand for cancellation of some of the contracts, awarded during the intervening period when the civic officials took the plea that there were legal and administrative hassles in accepting the demand.

In another significant but unrelated move, the F&CC put its foot down to block the move for purchase of two new Ambassador cars by the MC for use by senior officials. Sources revealed that the panel took a strong exception to deployment of a large number of bureaucrats in the civic body and creating a heavy financial burden. As a result of the MC setup being ‘top heavy’, scarce financial resources were being diverted from development works to meet mounting establishment expenses.

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MC clears projects over Rs 4 cr 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
The Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) of the Municipal Corporation cleared development projects over Rs 4 crore for the city at its meeting held at the residence of the Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, last evening. This was the first meeting of the committee after Mr R.L. Kalsia assumed the office of the MC Commissioner here.

Mr Grewal presided over the meeting, which was attended by the Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Jagdish Prasad Loomba, the Deputy Mayor, Ms Santosh Aneja, Mr Jai Parkash, Mr Hakam Singh Giaspura, both members of the F&CC, the MC Commissioner and other senior MC officials.

In all, the committee deliberated upon 49 items, including 10 items placed through a supplementary agenda, out of which one item was rejected, eight were put on the hold and two partially approved. Out of a total financial approval of Rs 4.23 crore, an amount of Rs 3.35 crore was provided for different development projects, work orders for tenders worth Rs 53.34 lakh were okayed and another Rs 34.69 lakh was released for general works, which included Rs 29.85 lakh to be disbursed among MC employees as housing, two-wheeler and computer loans.

The committee also put its stamp of concurrence on new estimates for building of roads, paving of streets and drains worth Rs 96.85 lakh, works relating to sewerage and water supply worth Rs 27.08 lakh and streetlight projects worth Rs 58.52 lakh. Tenders received for sewerage and water supply projects for Rs 8.04 lakh, streetlight projects for Rs 3.17 lakh and development of parks for Rs 4.19 lakh were also cleared for issuance of work orders.

In view of the emergent nature of work, the committee sanctioned the proposal for extension of the contracts for chlorination of drinking water for a period of two months at an additional cost of Rs 8.04 lakh. The employment of eight data entry operators on contract basis for the computerised operations of the civic body was also extended for a period of three months.

Other major development projects approved at the meeting were providing perforated tiles in two parks in Kitchlu Nagar at a cost of Rs 3.83 lakh, road marking with thermoplastic paint on roads around the Club road and the Fountain chowk at a cost of Rs 2.08 lakh, providing high intensity grade retro-reflective boards at a cost of Rs 96 lakh, pavement of streets in Punjabi Bagh at a cost of Rs 4.37 lakh and providing streetlights in Shere Punjab Colony at a cost of Rs 3.17 lakh.

The meeting further gave its nod to a revised estimate of Rs 86.89 lakh for expansion of seating capacity in Guru Nanak Stadium, a revised estimate of Rs 33.21 lakh for the construction of a road along the drain from the Tajpur road to the Bhamian road and another revised estimate of Rs 16.46 lakh for development of island at the Samrala chowk.

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Mystery shrouds death of undertrial
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
Mystery shrouds the death of a 60-year-old undertrial, Joginder Singh, in the Civil Hospital here early today. While the authorities concerned claimed he died due to illness, his close relatives alleged he died due to negligence of the jail staff and doctors.

The undertrial was brought to the jail on September 22. He was facing charges in a case of forgery and cheating. A case under Section 461, 468, 467 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code was pending against him in court.

Mr Manmeet Singh, a close relative of the deceased, said had Joginder Singh been given proper treatment in the jail hospital and the Civil Hospital, he could have been saved. He alleged that despite the fact that the condition of the undertrial was serious and there was no improvement in his condition, he was kept in jail and not referred to the Civil Hospital. Moreover, the staff of the civil hospital allegedly did not take care of him despite the fact that his condition was serious.

However, the Jail Superintendent, Mr G.S. Sidhu, said old age and acute diabetes were the main causes for the death of the undertrial. But the exact reason of his death would be learnt only after the postmortem report, he added. He further said the undertrial who was a diabetic was admitted in the jail hospital a few days ago and when there was no improvement in his condition he was referred to the Civil Hospital.

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Stop killing women in womb, appeals IDPD
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, November 7
The state of Punjab is one of the worst-affected in regard to decline in the number of females as compared to males. It has 793 females compared to 1,000 male counterparts, between the age group of 0-6 years. It had been found that 99 per cent of the foetuses that were being aborted, except those for medical reasons, were females. These facts were disclosed at a meeting of Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD), which was organised to educate and create awareness among masses against female foeticide here today.

Doctors said that female foeticide, accompanied by apathy towards postnatal care for the girl child, was a reflection of the worsening status of women in India. They said worse than this was the technique of sperm processing in the laboratories, so that XX and XY chromosomes could be separated ensuring the birth of a boy.

Dr Arun Mitra, General Secretary IDPD, said that in a society where male children were preferred to females to the extent of conducting female foeticide, worshipping goddesses was a hypocrisy. He said thorough introspection into various myths and beliefs was needed. There should be thorough involvement of medical professionals, social activists, women activists, religious groups, student and youth organisations to eradicate the evil of female foeticide from the society.

Members of IDPD said that the PNDT Act should be effectively implemented. The medical professionals, who were custodians of health, should come forward against the practice of female foeticide. They also said that the Medical Council of India (MCI) should take strict action against defaulters.

Dr L.S.Chawla, president IDPD, said population stabilisation should be attained without disturbing the sex ratio. It must be seen that termination of pregnancy does not become the main method of family planning. Status of girl child should be uplifted. Her education should be made compulsory and free of cost for the economically weaker sections. He said, “The belief that family heritage was the prerogative of males only and that lighting of pyre by the son was essential to achieve moksha should be broken. Confidence building among females should be taken up. Old age economic security should be provided to women by the state government”.

Dr Mitra said that any sex determination test to be carried out for medical reasons too, should be limited to authorised centres and any decision to be taken to abort the child thereafter, should rest on a team of doctors.

On this occasion, the IDPD doctors released a card which depicted a painting by Ms Chand Bhatia. The card mocked the fact that women in India were worshipped on one hand and on the other hand a female child was aborted following sex determination tests what any qualms. In a symbolic way, the artist had represented that even before a female child entered the world, a grave was waiting for her. The angel shown in the air had come to pay homage to this divine creation, which was silenced before itself. “Quest for a lullaby”, a song highlighting the irony by Professor Gurbhajan Gill had also been printed on this card.

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Festive spirit brings joy for mentally-challenged kids
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
The mentally challenged students of Nirdosh school had a time of their life today as they enjoyed at the celebrations of the festivals of Divali and Gurpurb organised at their school.

Members of the Inner Wheel Club who run this school combined Divali and Gurpurb celebrations much to the joy of the students.

Mr Mahesh Inder was the chief guest. He went around the school and showed keen interest in the methods of teaching at the school. He saw the physiotherapy room and the machines. Earlier, the students had to go to Dayanand Medical College for exercise sessions and that involved a lot of physical effort and money. Now due to this facility within the school premises the students can use the pulleys and other machines to develop their motor co-ordination during free time.

The chief guest appreciated the colourful flower arrangements, shagun envelopes, birthday cards, clay diyas, floating wax diyas, different kinds of candles and various other things that had been made by the students. These craft items have also been displayed at various clubs and have generated a good response.

These have been made beautifully and the object of the school to make these children financially independent has met with success. The money thus earned is ploughed back to buy more material. In fact, one student was made responsible for one stall and he was allowed to take some percentage of the sale proceeds.

The president of the Inner Wheel Club, Ms Manjula Jain, said since both the festivals were in November the members had decided to celebrate these together. For Divali the members distributed sweets and crackers to the children and the teachers were also given gifts.

A fancy dress competition was also held on the occasion for the children. The students presented a unique modelling show. as the models.

To celebrate Guru Nanak Dev ji's birthday, many students sang shabads and later every one had community lunch.

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Tune in your mobile to  the latest music
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, November 7
Do you want your cell phone to beep with the latest music numbers every time you receive a call? You can download tone compositions from various websites and apply them on the tone composing menu of your phone set.

You can even select from a variety of old and new collections of Hindi, English and Punjabi numbers available on the Internet. With some phone sets giving an option to compose and store as many as seven songs at any given point of time, you may keep changing them according to your mood and environment.

Visit Absolute-ringtones.co.uk and click on ‘‘free tones’’ menu, you will get top 10 tone compositions of English songs from Backstreet Boys, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and many more. Just note down the keynotes and press them on the tone composition menu of the mobile phone.

But if you want to go in for some Hindi music, go to Geocites.com/faisal5745/ and select for a variety of Hindi songs. Click on the ‘‘ring tones’’ menu and select from a range of ‘‘latest Hindi’’, ‘‘Hindi pop’’ and ‘‘Hindi oldies’’. Besides, there is a long list of collections of Hindi pop singers including the Stereonation group, Sonu Nigam, Shaan and Bombay Vikings.

The site also gives the option to learn ring tone composition. Once you learn composing tones, you will not have to search for it anymore. The site has ‘‘submit ringtone’’ menu into which one can send the ringtones after composing them for a song. Besides, there are other sites like Whatsupringtones.com and Northernbase.com that offer free ringtones for your cell phones.

Talking about the utility of the ringtone composers, Anubhav, a collegiate, said that he has stored a variety of ringtones in his mobile phone and plays them according to his mood. Mr Khushdeep Singh, a business man, said he had learnt ringtone composing and used it for devising the tone of aarti as it was auspicious to listen to it before signing any new business contract. 

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Riot-affected women ask  for relief measures
Our Corresondent

Ludhiana, November 7
A large number of riot-affected government employees, having retired from service, today held a demonstration at the Mini Secretariat under the aegis of ‘Attwad Peerit Parwar Bhalai Sanstha’, seeking financial assistance and other relief measures, at par with other categories of widows and destitute women.

In a memorandum, submitted to the district administration, Ms Mohinder Kaur, president of the association, urged the government to enhance the monthly subsistence allowance from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000, provide ex-gratia grant equal to that given to riot victims, provide free technical and professional education to their wards and allot free houses and booths to them.

The protesters further asked the government to effect suitable enhancement in monthly allowance of Rs 300 and Rs 500 for education of children at school and college levels respectively.

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YC raps SAD-BJP government
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
The District Youth Congress has lambasted the SAD-BJP government for rampant corruption in all departments and discrimination against the urban population by way of enhancement in civic and other local taxes.

Addressing a party meeting in Hargobind Nagar, the DYC (Urban) president, Mr Parminder Mehta, made scathing attacks against senior BJP leader, including the Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, charging him with amassing wealth through new appointments, transfers and promotions. “Following their leader many of the BJP councillors in the city have become ‘benami’ contractors in the Municipal Corporation and are taking advantage of their political posts”.

At the meeting, organised by a YC activist, Mr Sanjay Bansal, prominent among those present were Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, Mr Om Parkash Angrish, councillor, Mr Joginder Singh Sarhali, Mr Rajinder Batra, Mr Jasbir Singh Chadha, Mr Rajinder Singh Kala, Mr Mohinder Singh Makkar, Mr Sarbjit Singh Bunty, Mr G.S. Arora and Mr Ashok Arora.

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Remains of the day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
It was a gloomy morning for shopkeepers and residents of Jawahar Nagar Grain Market whose property worth several crores was gutted in a huge fire last evening.

The market is one of the important business place. But this morning, there was no rush of customers. The shopkeepers and the residents were consoling themselves. A thick layer of the ash and waste mixture covered the road on which traffic remained dead slow even during the lean hours.

This tragedy could have been averted had some of the shopkeepers not stored fireworks in huge quantities. The greed of some of the shopkeepers of the area took four lives.

After the tragic incident of Gur Mandi in 1991 in which a large number of people were burnt to death, neither the administration nor the residents learnt a lesson.

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Employees’ dharna today
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, November 7
Employees of various departments of Amloh tehsil will join the dharna to be organised by the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation (Vigyanak Kendra) in Chandigarh on November 8. This was stated by Mr Nazar Singh, general secretary of the federation, here yesterday.

He said the main demands of the employees included award of promotion scale after 4, 9 and 14 years of service on the pattern of officers, bonus in cash for the period between 1997 and 2000 on the pattern of Central employees, reinstatement of 12 per cent interest rate on the general provident fund, computation of income tax on the basic pay as recommended by Central and state pay commissions, doing away with the policy of bringing 28 departments under panchayats or local bodies, and putting an end to the appointment of teachers on contract basis.


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MC House meeting demanded
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 7
Eleven of the local municipal councillors today demanded that a meeting of the house be called so that they could move a no-confidence motion against Mr Onkar Rai Mehta, President, MC, Khanna.

In a letter written to him, they claimed that he had lost the confidence of the majority in the House. The copies of the letter were sent to the Director, Local Bodies, Punjab, and the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana.

It may be mentioned here that Mr Mehta had been dismissed by the Secretary, Local Government Department, on the charge of misuse of power, but he managed to get stay orders from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

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Hotels raided in Bhadaur house
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The police today raided a number of hotels in Bhadaur House today to check gambling in various hotels of the city.

However, none was arrested, police sources said.

The raid was conducted simultaneously in all hotels in Bhadaur House.

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Legal Services Day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
Legal Services Authority will observe November 9 as Legal Services Day and hold a seminar in the sessions courts from 2 pm to 4 pm to give impetus to the legal services movement. The seminar will be presided over by the officiating District and Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, Mr A.K. Sharma.

Disclosing this the member secretary, District Legal Services Authority Mr J.S. Chouhan (Civil Judge, Senior Division) said that the seminar would be organised to create awareness about various legal services schemes and to educate the masses about their rights and duties and a few selected subjects of common legal interest. The Legal Services Authority Act, came into force on November 9, 1995. 

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