Wednesday, November 21, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Show-cause notices to 40 cops
Failure to submit details of assets
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
The district police authorities have served show-cause notices on at least 40 police personnel and officers up to the rank of Inspector for not abiding to the ‘controversial’ directive of the SSP, Mr H.S. Sidhu, of submitting details about their assets, including property and bank accounts. A large number of other police personnel are all set to receive similar show-cause notices as about half of the about 4000-strong police force has already submitted the details.

The move was controversial as it had happened for the first time that a district police chief had demanded such details from the cops. It had raised many an eyebrow as only non-gazetted officers were told to furnish details. Sources said the move was aimed to check corruption in the police as Ludhiana police was one of the most infamous in the state for amassing wealth disproportionate to known sources of income.

The fresh notices direct the ‘violators’ to show cause within a week of the receipt of the notice as why a departmental action should not be initiated against them for not abiding to the orders of senior officials. The SSP after assuming charge in late July had on August 14 issued an order to all the police personnel and police officers from the rank of constable to Inspector to declare their assets. One-month time was given to file the details but now three months have passed and only about 50 per cent of the force has responded.

Sources said a strict departmental action is in the offing against several of the violators. A scrutiny of the declaration submitted by the police personnel is also on and those found having furnished false details are in for big trouble. Sources said panic already prevailed among the personnel over the notices issued in August and the issuance of show-cause notices has increased the anxiety of the violators who had not furnished details. The violators are in the eye of suspicion more because it is being felt that they are shying away from declaring assets for obvious reasons. It was also being suspected that the cops were deliberately delaying the declaration in order to utilise the time for covering up.

According to police sources, the controversial move, said to the first one of its kind, comes in the wake of a number of cases of corruption levelled against police officials and personnel in the recent past. Already more than 15 policemen, all belonging to the non-gazetted ranks, have either been suspended or sent to the Police Lines on charges of corruption in the past two months only. The number included three SHOs.

Sources said that the orders perplexed the policemen as first they thought it to be normal matter related to the annual disclosure of property for the Income Tax Department. However, the policemen were surprised as these income tax requirement notices used to come in March or at most in April-May, but never had such notices come in the month of August.

A number of policemen quizzed in this regard had expressed mixed feelings about the orders. While some claiming to be clean welcomed it, saying that the alleged black sheep would be taught a lesson, several others condemned the directive to selective ranks only. The lower rank police personnel lamented that senior officials should also disclose their assets, and if some such drive is to be taken out it has to come from the top.

It may be mentioned here that after hogging headlines in January and April this year regarding a spate in crime incidents in the city, Ludhiana was in the news in the recent past because of alleged corruption among the police personnel. A number of cases of corruption by policemen had also been highlighted prominently in the media. The latest among these was the alleged involvement of police officials in the kidney racket. One incharge of a police post was sent to the Police Lines, pending inquiry, that he had allegedly taken Rs 90,000 from two agents in the kidney racket and let them off two months ago before they were caught by the police of some other police station. Some other cases worth mentioning included a case of extortion by a Head Constable, who first sold stolen cars to auto and scrap dealers and later through some middlmen used to blackmail the dealers to give him money lest he would register a case against them.

Two SHOs are facing inquiry for allegedly taking money from a gas agency owner for not taking action against him after the owner was found selling underweight LPG cylinders. At least five policemen, including an ASI, were suspended after they allegedly took money from a rich undertrial, admitted in a private hospital, for providing him several facilities. There were several other cases of alleged corruption also.

The Tribune had also highlighted another evidence of corruption in the state Police Department. Most of the police officials of the rank of ASI and above use mobile phones liberally whereas their salaries do not indicate they can afford such luxury. It had been reliably learnt that the mobiles ran on money funded by friends of the policemen or persons involved in cases.


Tardy cops punished at Games’ venue
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, November 20
Some of policemen who had come from others parts of the state and were on guard duty outside Guru Nanak Stadium, were reportedly “punished” by a senior district police official for the alleged negligence in duty and not reporting for duty at the right time. Even an IPS officer was not spared and was reprimanded for not doing his duty properly. He was on security duty outside the main venue of the opening ceremony of 31st National Games.

When a senior police official found out that some of the cops were not discharging their duty alertly, he became furious and ordered the cops to remain on all fours on the road for some time. The cops remained in the same position for a long period and finally collapsed on the ground before their colleague finally asked them to sit and relax but no senior official visited again to see them. Even an IPS officer from some other district had been manhandled on grounds that he was not doing his duty properly.

An outstation cop, who did not want to disclose his name, said the senior district police officials were not treating them properly and said despite doing our duty round the clock, we were punished for a minor mistake. He said he and his colleagues were waiting for the conclusion of the inaugural function of this mega event and it had become a problem for them. “While the others were enjoying the cultural function inside the Guru Nanak Stadium, we were punished by a senior district police official”, he added. He said the function would be a memorable one for them but for a different reason.

Over 10,000 cops had been deputed in the town for security reasons for opening ceremony of the 31st National Games as a large number of VIPs and VVIPs, including the Union Home Minister Mr. L.K. Advani, the Union Sports Minister, Ms Uma Bharti and the Union Chemical and Fertiliser Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa were to attend the function.


Demonstration outside police post
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
A number of drivers and conductors of the Punjab Roadways and other government transport companies today staged a demonstration in front of the bus stand police post in protest against the alleged police inaction against some persons belonging to a private transport company, who were allegedly involved in a brawl at the bus stand late last night.

The brawl took place over the issue of bus timings. A conductor of a government owned bus and a driver of a private bus entered into an argument over picking up of passengers at a given time. As a number of persons gathered in support of the each party, the altercation turned into a brawl, in which some persons were hurt. Roadways employees complained to the police, but, they alleged that police took no action. Later, they staged a demonstration in front of the bus stand police post. Police claimed that senior officials pacified the demonstrators and a compromise was effected.


PAU fails to deposit staff’s PF
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
The financially starved Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has yet to deposit crores in the Employees Provident Fund account as the same has not deposited for the for the past seven months.

More than 5,000 employees of PAU are having sleepless nights worrying that if the circumstances did not improve their hard-earned money would be unsafe.

The university is required to deposit an amount of Rs 2 crore under the Employees Provident Fund head every month. Although the university is deducting the amount from the employees salaries every month and is showing it in their accounts, it has not deposited the money in the respective account since April this year.

Hopes are now pinned on a meeting between officials of the Punjab Government and the university authorities, scheduled to be held on November 28. Sources said the university was about to ask for a financial help of Rs 17.50 crore.

There were speculations that the request would be answered positively as a new official had taken over.

It is learnt that the PAU was facing the deficit under the salary head as it was receiving an amount of Rs 6 crore every month while the requirement was of Rs 9 crore.

Sources told Ludhiana Tribune that the university was facing difficulty even in paying the carry home salary to the employees, sources said that the university had also not paid wages to daily wagers working in various departments for the past four months.

An official, however, said the matter was not brought to the notice of the authorities.

The disturbing fiscal scenario assumes significance as the university had faced a similar situation in 1999 also. The financial condition had generated lot of heat as the university was even willing to sell a piece of land to bale out.

Some of the employees, talking on the condition of anonymity, said the employees of teaching and non-teaching departments were contributing around 50 per cent of their salaries towards provident-fund thinking that it was safer if their money was with the university.

The Comptroller, PAU, Mr Gopal Dass, said there was no need to panic.

He said employees were worrying un-necessarily as it was the university’s duty to pay them the post-retirement benefits at any cost. About the daily wagers’ salaries he said the problem was not brought to his notice.

He said there should be no such problem as there were clear cut instructions that if a department was not in a position to bear the expenses of wages, it was not supposed to employ any daily wagers.


Quenching thirst or inviting ailments?
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
Anxiety prevails among sportspersons participating in the National Games over the quality of drinking water being provided to them by the organisers through the District Market Committee.

A number of sportspersons have alleged that they were apprehensive about the quality of drinking water being provided to them. The water did not seem to be pure, they said. It was being brought to the stadium in dirty-looking tankers and then supplied to them in buckets that were kept in the open.

A survey of the water arrangements revealed that the drinking water was being supplied in dirty tankers placed in different corners of the stadium. It was then supplied for drinking through a PVC pipe. There was no tap to check its flow.

An employee of the Mullanpur Dakha Market Committee, however, said that he was getting the tankers filled from the Bharat Nagar water tank from where water supply was being made to the residents of the area. He said there was no need to worry as the water was chlorinated.

Some of the athletes said when the government was spending crores on the National Games why the sportspersons were being not provided with mineral water at the venue. They said they were feeling so scared about the water-borne diseases that they preferred to buy mineral water from outside.

They said the water being supplied to them on the tracks was being kept in uncovered buckets. They alleged that by not providing them with clean drinking water, the organisers were playing with their health.

Mr Malwinder Singh Jaggi, SDM and chairman (catering and hospitality), when contacted said that he was looking after the supplies in the hostels only and it was the market committee that was looking after the water supply at the venue of the games. He, however, said that he would see to it that the participants were provided with clean and pure drinking water. He said he would talk to the officials concerned and the shortcomings, if any, would be plugged.


Who stopped anti-drug message during inaugural function
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, November 20
Aas Kiran, a prominent city-based NGO, actively involved in the de-addiction movement in the state, duly recognised and decorated with awards both at the state and national levels, is perturbed over the identification of officials, who stopped the spread of anti-drug message during the inaugural function of the National Games.

According to Dr Deepinder Singh, Medical Officer, Aas Kiran, despite the written approval of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Organising Chairman, and promises of Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, the institute was not allowed to display the slogan of ‘Sports Not Drugs’ given by the United National Drug Control Programme through exhibition of UN posters and banners.

So mush so that when the group of more than 50 volunteers both men and women, tried to waive the posters and banners ‘Sports Not Drugs’ sitting among spectators, they had to face the wrath of police persons, who took them for demonstrators with negative messages. It was only after heated exchange of words and the intervention of some senior officials that the volunteers were allowed to stay.

Police persons even objected to volunteers who wore ribbons on their turbans with the message ‘Sports not Drugs — Aas Kiran’ as if it were a security hazard. Arguing with Prof. Sarabjeet Singh, Director, Social and Health Services, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle one cop insisted on removing the ribbon from his turban. It was only after long argument and an offer by the Prof Sin that the cop should himself remove the badge and tear the poster, that the cop relented.

Prof Sarabjeet Singh said that by displacing the UN slogan they wished to convey two messages, one, that people should join sports and shun drugs: second, that sportspersons should go in for sports and not drugs. A beautiful blue-coloured handbill written by Dr Deepinder Singh is also being circulated among sportspersons with the message ‘My style, My taste, My choice, My decision - Sports Not Drugs’. It lists the ill effects of anabolic drugs and warns that a fish gets caught only when it opens its mouth. Do not open your mouth for drugs and get caught in the deadly web of drugs.

“We have been permitted only to put one banner which is not sufficient at the last minute, the local administration refused space to hold an exhibition to make people aware of drugs,” he lamented.

The Deputy Commissioner, when contacted about the maltreatment meted out to the volunteers of Aas Kiran, said that he was not aware of it. However, he assured that he would check-up with the officials concerned and get the banners displayed.


THE Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, disappointed scores of scribes with his brief remarks to declare the XXXI National Games open. In fact he was frank enough to declare that he was not there to make any long speech, but just to complete the formality of declaring the Games open. The scribes who were waiting for his speech cut a sorry figure since it did not make a spicy copy. In fact it made no copy at all. And some of them did try their best to make him speak a word through Union Ministers — Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Ms Uma Bharti. They were curtly told by Ms Bharti ‘just enjoy the Games’.

The scribes might have been disappointed for not being able to make a good copy, despite the fact that the Union Home Minister, who seldom comes here, was in the town. Yet Mr Advani seemed to have been delighted very much by the extraordinarily brilliant performance by artistes. In fact famous Punjabi singer Hans Raj Hans set the tone, which was brilliantly followed up by others. That was probably the reason that Mr Advani remained unmoved from disturbance around, devoting the entire 45 minutes to his entertainment.

It was the tightest ever possible security arrangements that had been made by the district administration. So far there used to be just routine security check-up. But this time it was multi-tier security check conducted at least five times on each visitor. They did not allow anything inside. Not even mobile phones or digital diaries. Even the movement was restricted. Once anyone was inside, he was there for the entire programme and nobody was allowed to move out till the VVIPs and the chief guest left.

Nostalgic memories

It was journey down memory lane when veteran stars of Indian sports like Bishan Singh Bedi, wrestler Leela Ram and others waived to the crowd with the torch in their hands. A 20,000-vibrant crowd gave them a standing ovation, setting the entire Guru Nanak Stadium into rapturous commotion. The main cynosure of all eyes were a number of sportsmen and women of yesteryear. Some of them included Olympians and gold medalists of Olympics who marched in tandem with athletes. Six others, all of them hockey stalwarts like Balkrishan, Haripal Kaushik, R.S. Bhola, Keshav Dutt, Tarlochan Bawa and Grehnandan Singh, brought in the Olympic flag which was hoisted by none other than wrestler Leela Ram and Sikh Regiment centre’s pride Hardial Singh, a great Indian forward of the ’50s and ’60s (see picture).

Badal’s video

Organisers of the Games tried to make up the absence of Mr Parkash Singh Badal by making hectic plans to erect a giant screen in the stadium on which a video-recorded speech of Mr Badal would be screened. The organisers had also arranged a local agency to do the job. The plan was almost finalised in the morning but later due to some technical snag, it failed to take off. Later, it was decided that a video-recorded message of Mr Badal would be relayed along with the video-footage on TV.

While the organisers seemed to have worked hard to ensure maximum number of people attending the inaugural function, it seemed to had succeeded in schools only. Almost the entire Guru Nanak Stadium, except for VVIP and VIP enclosures, were filled only with students. They were made to sit there for the full day and probably without any refreshments. On the other hand a number of people were turned back as the stadium had already been filled to the capacity by the organisers of the show.

Poor sound system

While the cultural extravaganza was remarkably brilliant, it was the poor sound system that made everything unintelligible. The entire stadium reverberated with the echo apparently due to the poor acoustic arrangements, which were reportedly resented by directors of the cultural programme.

Gloom amidst jubilations

Amidst the jubilant celebrations of the opening of the Games, there was gloom over the sudden death of Mr G. S. Virk, Chief Coach, JCT Phagwara, and Director, Football Competition, National Games. He suffered a massive heart attack early in the day and was rushed to the DMC where he died. A large number of sportspersons have expressed deep felt sympathies at the sudden demise of the great sportsperson.

Strange weather

The first winter of the millennium of the new century has eluded Ludhianivis. November is about to be over and yet the woollens need to be worn only in the morning, evening and late night when the weather turns nippy. In the afternoon the weather is warm and if one is doing a little strenuous work, one is likely to sweat profusely. This strange weather is bringing a host of diseases like cold, upper respiratory tract diseases and even jaundice. Sentinel


Morcha for collective decision on unity
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 20
Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, convener of the Panthic Morcha, said here today that no constituent of the morcha could decide to join the Akali Dal and the decision had to be taken by the entire leadership.

He said all constituents of the morcha would take a collective decision of writing with the Akali Dal led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Referring to the visit of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra to Mr Badal in a hospital in Delhi yesterday, he said Mr Badal had a leg fracture at Amritsar and Mr Tohra had just gone to see him, which did not mean that he had gone to negotiate for unity of Akali factions. Any leader and any individual could go to meet Mr Badal since he was ailing. Even Mr Simranjit Singh Mann had called on Mr Badal, he said. He said he would go to Delhi to call on Mr Badal in the next two days.

Referring to the prospects of the unity of the Panthic Morcha with the Akali Dal, Baba Bedi said Bhai Ranjit Singh must be reinstalled as Jathedar of the Akal Takht as this was the precondition for unity. The Sant Samaj was also committed and recognised Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar, he said.

The convener of the morcha said the All India Akali Conference, proposed to be organised by the Panthic Morcha at Ludhiana on December 2, had been postponed to December 9. The conference had to be postponed because of the National Games at Ludhiana and talks with the Bahujan Samaj Party chief, Kanshi Ram, for electoral adjustments, which were likely to be finalised before December 9, he said.


Roadways staff burn CM’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
Employees of Punjab Roadways today burnt an effigy of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in protest against the non-implementation of the agreement signed between the unions and the state government.

The protest was held on a call of the Punjab Roadways Joint Action Committee to hold district-level rallies. Mr Gurcharan Singh, district joint secretary, Punjab Roadways Employees Union, addressing the gathering said, “The government has promised to add 300 new buses in the fleet, but the decision has not been implemented so far. This has resulted in heavy losses to the roadways at the cost of private bus operators”.

Speakers said the state government was dilly-dallying the decision. They urged the state government to implement their demands, including time- bound promotions after service of eight, 16, 24 and 32 years, promotions of workshop staff, increase in uniform allowance, TA and over time allowance.

Among others Mr Avtar Singh of the Ministerial Staff Union, Mr Harnek Singh Mohi, Mr Khushi Mohamad of the CITU, Mr Manjit Singh of the AITUC, Mr Joginder Pal of the Scheduled Caste Employees Union and Mr Gurcharan Singh Dhuga addressed the meeting.


Jatha to offer prayers for CM
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 20
A jatha, comprising office-bearers and executive committee members of Ludhiana Dharamshala Committee, left for Chintpurni in the afternoon today to offer prayers to Mata Chintpurni for speedy recovery of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal, an advisor to Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and the president of Dharamshala Committee, who is heading the jatha expressed confidence that Mr Badal would recover soon to safeguard the interests of Punjab and strengthen the bonds of communal brotherhood.

Earlier, addressing an emergency meeting of the Committee, Mr Aggarwal lambasted certain Congress functionaries, who were rejoicing over the temporary disability of the Chief Minister.

Meanwhile, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Director, Markfed, has asked the people of Punjab to pray to Almighty for speedy recovery of Mr Badal. Speaking at a function in the city, he said that ‘bhog’ of ‘akhand path’ would be performed in Gurdwara Sri Katana Sahib and Gurdwara Sri Manji Sahib, Alamgir, by the electorate in Ludhiana rural assembly segment.

Mr Dhillon also observed that the historic function of coronation ceremony of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the result of untiring efforts put in by Mr Badal over the past several months and even though the Chief Minister could not attend the concluding function, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee had announced a comprehensive Rs 1,500 crore package for Punjab, which would go a long way towards infrastructure development in the state.


AISSF activists burn Vajpayee’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 20
Activists of the All India Sikh Students Federation (Boparai), owing allegiance to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today took out a chetna march in the city and burnt an effigy of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, at Vishvakarma Chowk here for what they termed as gross injustice to the Sikh community by the NDA government.

Addressing the protesters, Mr Navpreet Singh Jawaddi, a former general secretary of the AISSF and a member of high power presidium, lamented that the aspirations of the Sikh community from the coalition government, headed by Mr Vajpayee, had been dashed to the ground because the present government was also pursuing the anti-Sikh policy of its predecessor Congress government.

He charged that under a well thought out conspiracy, the census conducted during the year, had determined the Sikh population in the Capital at around 6 lakh, whereas the actual population was well over 12 lakh. The reason behind this gross injustice with the Sikh community was to deprive them of their due rights and representation on the basis of their population.

Mr Jawaddi recalled that the government had, in a way, tried to negate the significant contribution made by members of the Sikh community. In a note of warning, he further remarked that the AISSF would continue its relentless fight against repression of Sikh community, even if it meant taking a stand against the NDA government, which had the ruling SAD (B) as one of its coalition partners.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Mr Manmohan Singh Shunty, Mr Hardev Singh Chand, Mr Preet Mohinder Singh, Mr Charanpreet Singh, Mr Rajwinder Singh Neenu, Mr Subodh Kumar, Mr Amit Kumar, Mr Gurpreet Singh Nunnu, Ms Ram Dulari, Mr Sushil Kumar, Mr Ravi Kumar, Mr Bhola and Raja Mohinder Singh.


Remembering Sobha Singh
M.S. Cheema

Contemporary history records two persons bearing the name Sobha Singh.

One was a contractor who built several buildings in New Delhi, such as Secretariat building, Parliament house, India Gate, Scindia House, etc. The British Government bestowed Knighthood on him and he became Sir Sobha Singh.

The other was the legendary painter of Sohni Mahiwal. His paintings can be seen in most of the Punjabi houses around the world. He was born at Sri Hargobindpur in Gurdaspur district, on November 29, 1901, a hundred years ago. Next year we will be celebrating his 101st birth anniversary and the first birth-centenary year will follow. The Government of India has decided to issue a postal stamp in his memory. In 1987, GND University, Amritsar, published a book on the artist aptly titled, ‘Painter of the Divine: Sobha Singh.’ Much more is expected from the academic institution and art lovers.

A photo-artist, T.P.S. Sandhu, has done research on the life and time of the great artist. He planned to present the evolution of the artist as well as growth of the man. From several sources and with deep personal involvement, he did the twin jobs of reclamation and restoration. Thus, the camera fought against time in the service of posterity. He had a number of photographs depicting various phases of Sobha Singh's life, except the childhood and period of his early youth.

To pay a befitting tribute to the genius, Sandhu made a final selection of 100+1 images to celebrate his 101st birth anniversary. He consulted many experts, including K.L. Vaidya and Hirdaypal Singh of Himachal Pradesh. These historically rare, and technically perfect images were aptly titled ‘Glorious Glimpses’.

Selected exhibits were suitably and artistically mounted. These were carried to Andretta, near Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. At the residence-cum-art gallery of the artist. An exhibition was arranged as a tribute to the legend. The tribute gained deeper significance as the choice to inaugurate the exhibition narrowed down upon the Governor of Uttaranchal, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, himself a painter. He is a genuine admirer of Sobha Singh. ‘‘Sobha Singh was a rare man among men, an aesthete among elite and a saint among art-devotees,’’ said Mr Barnala.

The exhibition ‘‘Glorious Glimpses-Life and Time of Sobha Singh’’ remained open for the public during the first week of this month. It was a pilgrimage for art lovers. Noted disciples of the artist — Mehar Singh, President, Lalit Kala Akademi, Punjab, Chandigarh, and Sukh Lal, a famous painter of Lahaul-Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, were honoured by the chief guest. Both of them paid glowing tributes to their master. Many anecdotes were narrated. The common people recalled the man. Mr Barnala himself was lost in thoughts. Such is the magic of art and truth of life. Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, paid rich tributes to the artist. The Punjab Government will hold a the state-level function at Amritsar on November 29, 2001. These exhibits will be on display there. Sandhu plans to organise more such exhibitions at a number of places. These exhibits are fit to be preserved. These should form part of a permanent exhibition at some suitable place in the memory of the master-painter. 


Length of overbridge decreased
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 20
The length of the overbridge on the Railway Crossing, along the Khanna-Samrala Road, has been decreased by four to five meters from Model Town Road Crossing. It would not effect the people of Model Town, according to Executive Engineer PWD, B&R, Mr Haripal to the Ludhiana Tribune.

He added that the construction work of the overbridge had been continuing and soil samples were being taken. Sources said that necessary testing equipment had arrived from Dhandari Kalan. He said that the widening of Khanna Samrala Road was continuing on a war-footing and had reached close to Khanna town.


Divali gone, gambling on
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, November 20
Scene I

Place: The urban estate park on the Chandigarh Road.

It is evening time. While a couple of men are lazing around on the grassy lawns, as many as eight men are seated under a tree on the concrete pavement criss-crossing the park. Two of these men are engaged in a game of "sweep" while the others are just curious watchers and advisors.

Both the players, who are keen contestants of the game, are also being helped by their respective advisors sitting beside them. None of the players wants to throw a card which could lead to any kind of trouble. To a casual onlooker, the game may appear to be just one of those Sunday roadside games where idle shopkeepers while away time playing cards with nothing more than a cup of tea and snacks at stake. But here, the stakes are indeed high as is clear from the frowns on the faces of the players.

Suddenly, one of the advisors tenders some wrong advice to one of the players as a result of which he loses the game. He starts grunting and lamenting the loss of Rs 200 just because of a minor lapse. Nevertheless, there is always the next ‘baazi’. Meanwhile, a tipsy onlooker staggers towards the ‘theka’ on the other side of the road which is enough to send the players into a panic of sorts. Because some cops are standing near the ‘theka’. The tipsy man, who is also a tout, might give a tip off to the cops or so they fear and the game comes to a halt, briefly though.

Scene II

It is dusk. Some auto-rickshaws are parked at one of the auto-stands on the Metro Road. In one of these parked autos, gambling is in full swing with just four or five auto-drivers making up the scene. An auto-driver is shuffling the cards with the skill of an accomplished gambler, fast and clean. One of the drivers puts some currency notes in the fading light and calls for his favourite card. He wins. The bet money is counted and an equal amount is paid by the loser. The set of playing cards changes hands. This man is equally slick with the pack of cards. This goes on and on. The pack of cards goes on changing hands. Within a short span of say 15 minutes, one of the drivers loses as much as Rs 2600 and is out of the game. He tries to borrow some money from one of his friends but he is refused on the ground that he is already passing through a lean patch. The dejected driver lights up a borrowed ‘biri’ and leaves the scene.

Scene III

A busy upbeat market of the town. In a secluded corner, there are some rickshaw pullers and shoe-shiners who are trying their luck with their meagre earnings. The pack of cards being used is an old one , thus difficult to shuffle but they do not mind that as long as it serves their purpose. A hush falls on them while the cards are being opened. It is only after the called-for card turns up that one hears sighs of relief and disgust at the same time.

While all of them are awfully busy in the game, one of them sights a lonely cop sauntering near the shops . "Makhi", he whispers and the poor rickshaw-pullers "gather" the evidence before scattering and slipping away unnoticed by the law.

The gambling fever that gripped the city on the eve of Divali is still raging in all its fury even after the festival of lights is over. Go anywhere in the city and you find groups of people trying out their luck with dice, cards or other means.

A gambler, who had won Rs 30,000 at a game on Divali before losing it all and another couple of thousands from his pocket, said he was trying to make good his loss. In his opinion, it would take another fortnight or so before gambling fever in the city subsided.

The police is regularly apprehending small-time gamblers and booking them under the Gambling Act. A couple of cases are being registered every day. Invariably, these arrests are the results of tip-offs from disgruntled losers or vigilant neighbours.

Big-timers who play in posh clubs and hotels are seldom touched. Even if the cops get a definite tip-off about a game going on at one of these places, they are not sure whether they will find the required evidence when the place is actually raided.


I would like to give the following suggestion in your daily newspaper regarding frequent power cuts.

Power-cuts by Punjab State Electricity Board are quite frequent and take place many times in a day. The department does not bother whether the power-cut at a particular time puts people to inconvenience. They don’t bother whether it is time for children to get ready and go to school or at nights if children are preparing for examinations.

We do not mind the cuts, but they should be uniform, so that everyone could be prepared for them. If the Punjab State Electricity Board is not capable of providing power to the public round-the-clock, they should allow some multinational companies to take over so that the public receive uninterrupted power supply.

Akhil Kumar, Ludhiana


Through the columns of your esteemed newspaper I would like to draw the attention of the Ludhianvis towards the unscrupulous behaviour noticed at some of the petrol pumps in the city.

It seems to have become a habit for employee at some of the filling stations in the city to easily pull the wool over the eyes of the customers. The employees at these places do not fill the required amount of petrol in the vehicles against the payment made by the customers.

It is noticed that even at places where modern filling machines, fuel meters and amount sensitive meters were available, they manage to cheat customers by either not typing in the amount numbers properly or by carefully skipping the amount by a few rupees by giving breaks or ‘jhatkas’ during the filing process. Such ‘breaks’ generally go unnoticed by the customers and filling stations cheat customers. Most of the time it is also noticed that the employees at these stations tend to distract the customers or stand in front of the meter itself, thereby intruding the customers’ vision.

I urge people to be completely attentive when they go to the filling stations and be careful that the employees at the petrol pumps do not engage in the above mentioned practices

Kewal Krishan, Ludhiana


Nepali booked for murder
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 20
The division number four police has registered a case of murder against a Nepali migrant, Karan Bahadur, under section 302 of the IPC, on the statement of another Nepali, Mr Dhan Bahadur. The complainant stated to the police yesterday that he, along with the accused, and another Nepali. Man Bahadur were having drinks at Chhauni Mohalla.

A quarrel arose over the issue of paying the beer bar bill, following which the accused hit Man Bahadur with a heavy stone slab in the head. The victim was rushed to the Civil Hospital where he breathed his last.

Knife recovered
The division number five police has registered a case under sections 25,54 and 59 of the Arms Act against Santosh Kumar, son of Mr Ajit Yadav, resident of Rajdev Da Vehra, Samrala Road. He was arrested for the offence from near a girls college during a special checking drive.

Beaten UP
The division number five police has registered a case under sections 452, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Anish Thapar, son of Mr Jatinder Kumar, resident of Naughara mohalla against Sanjiv Kumar, son of Mr Prem Sagar, resident of Phagwara, Sushil Babbar, son of Mr Ramesh Babbar, resident of Fatehgarh village, Ludhiana. The complainant had alleged that the above-mentioned accused attacked him and beat him up while he was conducting his business at his Shetal market shop on Pakhowal Road.

The division number two police also registered a case of beating under sections 341 and 323 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Shafiq Mohammad, son of Mr Noor Mohammad , resident of Jamalpur, against Monga, Happy and some other unidentified persons. According to the FIR, the accused beat up the complainant without any provocation.

Gamblers held
An amount of Rs 5,100 was recovered from Jagan Nath, Surinder Kumar and Raj Kumar, after they had been arrested by the division number six police yesterday.

They have been booked under sections 13,3 and 67 of the Gambling Act. The accused were gambling near Partap chowk, when they were picked up by the police during special checking.

Hit-and-run case
The division number seven police has registered a case under sections 279 and 338 of the IPC against the driver of a Tata-407 vehicle (PB-23-3167) which hit and injured Kuldeep Singh, son of Mr Kishan Lal , resident of Gobind colony. The driver fled the scene of the accident. The injured was admitted to Civil Hospital.

Tempo hits tractor
The Focal Point police has registered a case under sections 279,337 and 426 of the IPC against Chander Mohan, driver of tempo (PB-08W-6368) for hitting a tractor trailer near Railway Crossing at Dhandari as a result of which Dharma Singh, son of Mr Ujjagar Singh , riding the trailer was injured .

The case has been registered on a complaint filed by Mr Gurdial Singh, son of Mr Sadhu Singh, a resident of Rabadda village falling under the Nabha police station.

Dowry case
The Salem Tabri police has registered a case under sections 498-A, 323 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Dolly alias Priya, daughter of Mr. Gian Chand , resident of Mumbai, against her husband, Deepak, mother-in-law Raj Rani, residents of New Anand Puri, Ludhiana. The complainant had alleged that the accused subjected her to mental and physical harassment for bringing ‘ insufficient’ dowry.


Man booked
The local police has registered a case under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC on instructions from the Additional Director-General (Intelligence) against Jaswinder Singh of Rangowal, police station Dehlon, who reportedly used to send young boys under the garb of Gurbani singer jatha to Hong Kong with a promise to take them to other countries and charge Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,50,000.

He had been accused of having charged Rs 85,000 from Arsh Deep Singh of Kalakh village and Rs 1,26,000 from Rajinder Singh of Jagraon, who had returned from Hong Kong to India, but had not been refunded.

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