Monday, November 26, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Tension in villages following attack on SDM
Police shielding culprits, allege villagers
Tribune News Service

Kutbewal (Ludhiana), November 25
Tension gripped Kutbewal, Qadian and surrounding villages today following the late last night’s attack on the SDM(East), Mr Kuldip Singh, and a police party accompanying him to inspect the illegal sand mining going on there.

Police sources said today 70 persons had been booked under Sections 307, 353, 332, 186,148 and 149 of the IPC. The sources revealed that some of the alleged attackers were members of the land and sand mining mafia working with the support of an Akali leader.

Last night reports said nearly 10 persons were booked. Interestingly, the case has not been registered on the complaint of the SDM or his gunmen. The sources disclosed that the case had been registered on the complaint of Rajinder Kumar, a Home Guard jawan, and an injured villager, Amarjit Singh.

Though no complaint has been lodged directly by the SDM or his gunmen, the two FIRs mention the assault incident and the injuries suffered by them. The sources claimed all accused were booked by name as villagers opposing the mining had identified the accused.

Reports said that not only the officials were attacked but almost a riot-like situation prevailed in villages. A number of shots were fired in the air to disperse the mob.

While the police claimed that the situation was under control and police personnel were posted in villages, the sand mining opposing group alleged that the police was favouring the accused and none of them had been arrested. Surinder Singh of Kutbewal village and Inder Mohan Singh claimed that the accused were moving around openly and threatening them. The Salem Tabri police, however, claimed that it had raided a number of possible hideouts of the accused.

However, the ground situation of the posting of police personnel in the villages was little disturbing. When a Ludhiana Tribune team today visited Kutbewal village, it found that only five policemen were posted in the village. They, too, were seen relaxing, whereas villagers were divided into groups, one opposing the sand mining and the other supporting it.

Interestingly, ASI Tirath Singh, in charge of the security team, was seen sitting in a house far away from the houses that needed security. He and other policemen even tried to forcibly stop the lensman of Ludhiana Tribune to take photographs. The ASI and other policemen immediately left the house and went away on the scooter.



Who will stop illegal sand mining?
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
Village panchayats of about 15 villages here are moving from pillar to post to stop the illegal sand mining, which is being carried out on the Sutlej river bed for the past many years. Government officials are aware of it, and accept it officially, but are unable to stop it due to reasons best known to them.

After a prolonged protest by six village panchayats, including Quadian, Kasabad, Bhatian Bet, Bhaderke and Jamalpur Leli, and reports published in newspapers, Mr S.R. Kler, ADC ( Development ) had banned the sand mining here on November 1, and ordered an inquiry to take appropriate action against the culprits. The inquiry was supposed to be completed within a week. However, the village sarpanches were shocked when they met Mr Kler yesterday. They were reportedly told by him, “The administration has accepted the operation of illegal sand mining and would try to stop it.” However, he did not commit any action against the culprits for the alleged loss of Rs 10 crore to the state exchequer, they said.

Interestingly, the administration did not make the inquiry report public even today. However, insiders said that the administration was unable to take any action against the culprits due to political pressure as a close relative of a local cabinet minister is running the operations. They said a woman of Phillaur had taken land from the government in the river bed on lease at a rate of just few hundred rupees per acre. Though no cultivation is made in most of this land, her competitors are ready to pay up to Rs 25,000 per acre per annum due to sand business.

It is learnt that a mafia of contractors, politicians and some police officials is illegally digging sand from the adjacent government land spread over thousands of acres from Jagraon to Chuharwal village in Ludhiana district. The villagers have submitted a memorandum to the administration and Salem Tabri police station a number of times demanding action against the contractors involved in illegal sand mining. However, nothing has been done so far.

Mr Inder Mohan Singh, Lumbardar, Quadian village, alleged that the ADC instead of taking action against the culprits, had asked them to meet Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner. They would meet him on Monday. If some solution is not found, they would be forced to take the issue with the Chief Minister.

The villagers alleged that officials of the PWD Department had issued letters to the village panchayats that the village link roads were meant for only small vehicles and not for heavy loaded trucks. If the administration could check heavy traffic from the city, it should either stop the trucks and trollies carrying sand or should build wide roads. In addition, the trollies transporting sand, had no permit from the transport department. But no action was taken by anyone. Some of the villagers also alleged that the district administration had not the courage to check the nexus which was backed by politicians as well.



Tarri’s terror stops with his arrest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
After the recent arrest of Avtar Singh ‘Tarri’ of Khude village of Patiala, the district police claimed here today that it had arrested another criminal named Avtar Singh ‘Tarri’ who allegedly had links with terrorist outfits of Jammu and Kashmir. According to the police, he used to sell weapons bought from these terrorists to criminals in Punjab.

He has about 25 cases of various offences against him in various states. He was arrested after a shoot-out at a police barricade set up by the Salem Tabri police. According to a press note issued by police here today, the barricade was erected on an information of Sub Inspector Gurpreet Bains. Inspector Wazir Singh and he arrested the accused in the operation.

The police says that his arrest has exposed links between Punjab criminals and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. The police said, with his arrest, a number of cases of robbery have been solved. Though his involvement in any crime here has not been proved, so far, but the Ludhiana police suspects his involvement in several cases.

The police said one .30 bore China-made pistol and 1 kg opium had been seized from the accused. Cases under Sections 307 and 186 of the IPC and the NDPS Act have been registered against him.

His interrogation showed the accused had procured the pistol from a Srinagar-based terrorist. The accused confessed to committing a Rs 1 lakh robbery near a bank on the Pahawal Road in Kurukshetra, where Ranjit Singh and Banmit Singh, residents of Rupe Majra near Ambala, had been his accomplices.

A few days ago, a petrol-station owner had been looted allegedly by Tarri and Baljit Singh at Khanna. Allegedly, they had robbed another petrol pump at Sirhind. Avtar said he and his accomplices had stolen 11 Maruti cars from various marriage palaces at Ludhiana and the other towns. Cases in this regard have already been registered.

Avtar Singh Tarri has been facing charges in 23 cases of dacoity, robbery, kidnapping and murder. The charges include the kidnapping of Kashish Arora for a Rs 5 lakh ransom, looting of petrol pump followed by firing, several robberies at Phillaur, a Rs 4 lakh robbery in Kitchlu Nagar, looting a petrol pump at Mundian Kalan, killing a man and robbing a person of Rs 60,000. He had been arrested earlier as well, but released on bail that he jumped to commit more crimes.

He is said to be involved in many cases of murder and robbery in Ludhiana. More recoveries are expected.

The operation was conducted under the supervision of Mr Gurdial Singh, Superintendent of Police, and Mr Manjit Singh, DSP. A reward has been announced for the police party that caught the accused.



Electrification work back on track
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
The Union Ministry of Railways has cleared the way for a quick electrification of the Ludhiana-Amritsar railway line by giving Rs 100 crore for the project.

“With this grant, the shortage of funds for the project has been removed,” said Mr Ashok K. Chopra, General Manager of the Central Organisation for Railway Electrification, on a visit to the city here today. He was here to inspect the railway station and check the project progress.

Mr Chopra said the Centre had released a Rs 214 crore grant for the project earlier against an earmarked Rs 300 crore. With the release of another Rs 100 crore, all electrification projects in the country would be completed.

He said the electrification of the 135 km Ludhiana-Amritsar track was a Rs 99 crore project that would be completed by March 2003. He said the electrification of the Ludhiana-Jalandhar railway line would be completed by March 2002 against the target of completion by September 2002.

Mr Chopra said the Railways had begun work on another project for the laying of optical fibres under busy and important tracks of India. He said 3,000 km had already been covered under the project and the target was to cover 10,000 km by June 2002.

The laying of OFCs would ensure prevention of railway accidents, besides a better communication.

Mr Chopra said there were no hurdles now in the electrification of the Amritsar-Ludhiana line as the modification and raising of the Sutlej overbridge was over and the work on two more bridges at Amritsar and Jalandhar was to begin soon. He said, in Amritsar, an overbridge named Bhandari Bridge was being planned as part of the project.

The Ludhiana-Amritsar electrification was important as the section was one of the major trunk routes of the Northern Railways for the movement of a good number of passengers, troops and defence equipment. Besides, this part of the country supplies food grains to various parts of the country through this route.

Mr Chopra said the electrification of track would also facilitate the running of direct electric trains from Amritsar to the Metros without the change of engines.



Demolition drive angers shopkeepers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
The demolition drive by the Municipal Corporation for removing some shops outside the Gurdwara Dukhniwaran in the Field Ganj area led to tension last night, with people staging dharnas.

The issue was, however, settled late in the night after a compromise was reached between the affected shopkeepers and the management of the gurdwara.

It was around 8 p.m when a demolition squad of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation went for razing the shops. The shops have been proving a bottleneck on the approach road to the gurdwara. The gurdwara management in coordination with the corporation had arranged for alternative shops in the vicinity. While the arrangement was accepted by the shopkeepers in the first instance, later some of them backed off, saying they might not be able to do sufficient business at the new place.

In the meantime, the gurdwara management reportedly approached the corporation for getting the shops demolished. The shopkeepers, who were provided new shops, apprehended that at a later stage they might be evicted since they were not being given the property rights. However, they were convinced later and assured that nothing of that sort will happen.

The gurdwara management came up with another alternative offering price to the shopkeepers if they declined to move to the alternative shops. The agreement worked and the dharna was lifted. The new shops allotted to them have been constructed by the gurdwara management at the space provided by the corporation. The price for shops was also paid by the gurdwara management.



National Games
Minor health problems trouble athletes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 25
A number of athletes participating in the National Games here are suffering from various ailments, including sprain, muscle pull, gastroenteritis and other infections. However, by and large most of the athletes, drawn from different corners of the country with different climate, seem to have adjusted themselves with the climatic conditions prevailing here.

According to the Ludhiana Civil Surgeon who is supervising all medical facilities being provided to the players in the Games, there has not been any major case reported so far except for the death due to cardiac arrest of Mr G.S. Virk, football coach of JCT Phagwara team and the Director Football competitions for the National Games on the whole it has been a smooth affair.

Dr Rajinder Kaur, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, maintained that 30 teams of doctors were on duty round the clock. Each team was provided with a group of doctors. She said, “Players suffering from sprain and muscle pull are given first-aid by our doctors. Due to climatic change, players from Karnataka and Kerala are suffering from minor cold and cough also. One of the basket ball players collapsed recently and was taken to Civil Hospital. Reports showed that she was suffering from chest infection but now she has been discharged and is normal”.

Dr Harvinder Singh, Senior Medical Officer at the Civil Hospital, said that they received one or the other player suffering from sprain, shoulder dislocation and fever every day. He said, “Players get minor injuries while practising or performing but no serious case has been reported so far”.

Mr Sunny Joshua, in charge of the Delhi Athletic Team who is residing at Boys Hostel of Punjab Agricultural University, said on the whole health facilities provided for these sportspersons were good. Teams of doctors have been deputed at various hostels where the players are putting up. He said,”The food was good, still some of the players complained of minor throat infections that can be due to variation in taste, spice or oil content. Doctors are very helpful at the venue. Though we are given mineral water by the authorities, at times there is shortage of water”.

Mr V.P.S. Tomar, technical delegate for athletes, appreciated the food served to the players. He said,”The food is the best and it should be so as Punjabis are famous for their delicious cuisine. The doctors are helpful. One of the players had a muscle injury while playing in the stadium. Doctors ran to pick him up and immediate treatment was provided to the player”.

Tayabun Nissa, an international athlete and technical officer from Assam, who has been residing at the Khalsa College for Women with her team, appreciated the overall arrangements and said,”Our team is not facing any kind of problem”.

One of the doctors on duty at the Guru Nanak stadium said that one doctor, one pharmacist, staff nurse and one Class IV employee was on duty round the clock. “We have been provided with a proper first-aid kit, anti-inflammatory medicines, crepe bandages and ice- packs”, he said. 



They give awards and deserve the same
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
Organising National Games is a gigantic task with a lot of persons involved in it. There are about 10,000 athletes, besides 3,000 officials who are here for the games and almost an equal number of persons are involved in various associated activities.

Neha (not her real name) is a fina- year student of the Government College for Women who, along with many other girls, has been chosen specially for the awards presentation ceremonies. There are hundreds of events, meaning an equal number of awards presentation ceremonies.

This task is not as simple as it seems. “It does not mean just getting dressed up with full make-up. It requires guts and presence of mind as thousands of persons are watching you in the stadium and on television,” says Neha, who aspired to be an athlete but could not make it to the national tournament. However, she has remained a brilliant student.

Sharanjit (not her real name) is a first-year student of computer applications. Though it was difficult for her to find time for the event, she volunteered for the job. These girls were selected after thorough screening and weightage to their extra-curricular activities and overall personality.

Neha and Sharanjit are present at  least five awards ceremonies everyday. “It gets hectic when we have to get prepared within a limited time and keep our cool in front of so many persons and television cameras that are as much on you as on winners,” they say. However, they are happy because this is their best possible chance to see achievers from up close. “It is an achievement in itself,” says Sharanjit.

Sharanjit, Neha and the others received a thorough orientation for a few days before the mega event. They have been doing their job with great confidence and enthusiasm. “It inspires us to be achievers, if not in sport, then in a different field,” says Neha.



Health employees’ agitation continues
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 25
The Punjab Health Department Subordinate Offices Clerical Association will continue with their pen down strike and burn the effigies of Health Department officials as a protest against the “wrong” recruitment of the two senior assistants on November 27.

Mr Sukhwinder Singh, district president of the association, in a press statement today said that Mr Sanjiv Kumar and Mr Sukhjinder Singh were appointed out of turn as senior assistant. He said that the memoranda on this issue would be given to the Deputy Commissioners of various districts.

Mr Sukhwinder Singh said that the Services Selection Board had not invited any applications for the posts of Senior Assistants. “They directly recruited these persons for the posts of Senior Assistant which is absolutely wrong”, he said. The persons with over 20 to 30 years of experience were neglected.

The protest rally was attended by Mr Charan Singh from Amritsar, Mr Harnek Singh from Bathinda, Mr Baldev Singh and Mr Valaiti Ram from Faridkot, Mr P.S.Nagra and Mr Mahima Singh from Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Dev Kumar and Mr Kuldeep Singh from Ferozepore, Mr Ajit Singh from Hoshiarpur, Mr Yudhishthir Batra and Mr Mangat Ram from Jalandhar, Mr Joginder Pal and Mr Ram Avtar from Kapurthala, Mr Mukesh Kumar and Mr Tejinder Singh from Patiala, Mr Amarjit Singh from Ropar and Mr Surinder Sharma from Sangrur.



Together to protect children
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, November 25
Five organisations respected worldwide have come together to promote partnership policing here for child protection by establishing youth clubs in 12 districts of Punjab. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK, the South Yorkshire Police of the UK, the British Council India and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission will work on the project with the Police Academy at Phillaur.

The initial preparations for the project launch here have been made by the SHO (city), Mr Purshotam Lal Sharma, under the guidance of the SPD Sangrur.

Dr D.J. Singh, Deputy Director PPA Phillaur, who is head of the youth and police project in Sangrur, Ludhiana, Patiala and Bahtinda district, said the youth of the state ought to be aware of the services for children at risk like street children, school dropouts, child labourers, victims of child abuse and girl children. Launched in September 2001, the project has been widely appreciated and, till now, more than 10,000 children and adults have attended a number of public education programmes on child rights and protection.

It has been felt that the police should increase interaction with the community by setting up youth clubs and run series of joint activities. According to the Deputy Director Juvenile Justice and Child Rights, such awareness will be raised among police communities, law enforcement agencies and employment agencies.

Amritsar, Faridkot, Ferozepore, Jalandhar, Mansa, Muktsar, Phagwara and Roop Nagar are the other districts where the project has been launched. Keeping in mind the gender balance, 20 member clubs of officers will manage the project.

Mr Purshotam Lal Sharma, SHO (city), apprised students of Janta College of Women of the objectives of the project. Mr Gurpreet Singh, Superintendent of Police (D) and the Project Manger here, will address the youth of the town on November 27 in the local Sacred Soul Public School.



KBC video games sell like hot cakes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 25
Are you disappointed for not being one of the contestants at the popular show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’? Well, there is no need to lose heart. Thanks to a video game, KBC will enter your drawing rooms through computers.

The format used is exactly the same as in the show. The music also undeniably the same, and Amitabh Bachchan ‘ baritone voice has the same magic too. The questions have been picked from the shows telecast and randomly mixed. The same choices of a) audience poll b) phone a friend c) fifty-fifty are given. In fact the music, and the smaller details have been copied. Every game has different questions, is what one feels in the beginning, but after playing some games one realises that often the same questions are repeated. The game can provide the prospective entrants general information. Armed with knowledge and good luck ( if they gain entry into the game show) they can be the lucky winners.

The game lacks two things. Spellings of the words given in the choices are atrocious. Also questions are often repeated and rather easy. The difficulty level that should be for the question which are asked after the first couple of questions relatively difficult, but in the game, the questions are very easy.

One can play ‘n’ number of games on one’s computer screen. By a click of the mouse, one can know the right answer from the wrong. Just like in the live show, one can use lifelines, and if the answer is wrong, money is duly deducted. When you lose a game you can play another one. What one misses are the intense looks of Amitabh.



MC’s attitude draws flak
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 25
Members of industry and a section of city residents have lamented the ‘indifferent and apathetic’ attitude of the civic administration towards providing them with basic amenities and infrastructure.

Mr Mohinder Pal Jain, chairman, Fasteners Manufacturers Association of India, said the Bhagwan Mahavir Industrial Complex near Focal Point was in a state of neglect and poor maintenance. The main road, passing through the complex, had deep ditches and potholes. Most of the manholes were without covers, posing a serious threat. The level of the road was slanted towards the end side, which led to accumulation of water during the rains and making the area inaccessible.

He said repeated pleas to MC officials had failed to evoke any positive response so far. The road had remained as it was. The level of sanitation in the locality also left much to be desired.

The Environmental and Welfare Association of New Janta Nagar and Simlapuri on Gill Road in the city have lamented that street no 7 in New Janta Nagar was dug out 6 to 7 feet deep on Saturday last for laying new sewer lines. Due to carelessness of the contractor, all sewer connections in the street were broken and the deep trench was filled with stinking sewage water. Heaps of earth on both sides of the street had brought movement to a grinding halt.

Mr Sher Singh, president of the society, complained that officials of Zone C of the MC had failed to respond to the demand of the residents for speedy completion of the work, which had been suspended. He further pointed out that other streets in the area were also poorly developed. The residents were denied basic civic amenities like water supply and proper sewerage system.



VHP not against any community’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
Firebrand Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader and founder president of the Bajrang Dal (BD), Mr Vinay Katiyar today asserted that the Ram temple would be constructed at Ayodhaya at all costs after March 12.

He claimed that the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had said that some settlement would be reached before that date.

However, Even if no agreement is reached, we will go ahead with the temple construction.

Talking to reporters before addressing a rally organised by migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Mr Katiyar criticised the attempts to “politicise the Ramjanambhumi movement”.

He claimed that it was a social and cultural issue. “Ram is a great symbol of Indian culture and nationalism and he belongs to each one of us”, he said, while alleging that some people were trying to present the wrong picture of the movement.

He explained that the VHP or the BD were not against any community, not least the Islam. “We are only against the Babri mindset, which negates the symbols of Indian nationalism and glorifies all those who are against it”.

He criticised the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid “for trying push Indian Muslims-back to middle-ages”.

The BD leader criticised the attempts of equating the Bajrang Dal with SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India). He alleged that SIMI was an anti-national terrorist organisation which was involved in several anti national activities. “We are nationalistic people who will die for the nation”, he claimed.



Sood Samaj mela
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 25
First annual function of Sood Samaj was organised at Deaf and Dumb School, this morning . Mr Pikshan Sood, president of the samaj, said that from now the mela would be made an annual feature.

They had organised a large number of competitions like healthy baby show, poetry competition singing and dance competitions. Fancy dress competitions had children dressed up as doctors, priests, nurses and politicians.

In the fancy dress competition, Neeraj Sood stood first, Sagar Sood second and Harsh Sood third. In the dance competition, Anisha Sood stood first, Ayush second and Seerat third. In the on-the-spot painting competition, Divya Sood was declared first, whereas Isha and Sahil Sood were placed at second and third position, respectively.



Timber gutted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
Timber worth lakhs of rupees was gutted in a major fire near Bharat Nagar Chowk last night. However, the timely arrival of the fire engines it was controlled and major damage was averted.

The fire reportedly broke out at midnight on the AK Timber Traders premises apparently due to the short circuit. 


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |