Tuesday, January 1,
2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



New Year spirit sweeps city off its feet
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 31
Going by Ludhianvis’ spirit of celebrating any worthy occasion, hotels, restaurants, clubs and eating joints were filled to the brim by the evening on the New Year’s eve.

Clubs, hotels and discotheques in the city were beautifully adorned and decked up like a bride to mark the occasion. Special entertainment programmes and dance parties were organised to attract maximum crowd.

The main attraction was the Sutlej Club, where playback singer Sonu Nigam, models-cum-actresses Deepti Bhatnagar and Riya Sen enthralled the club members and special invitees. The youngsters swayed to the tunes and used every possibly means to get an autograph, talk or get a handshake with Sonu, Deepti and Riya. A thrilling dance group from Mumbai acted as a befitting filler.

Performances by Rekha Raj of ‘Rangeelo maro dholna’ fame, Joshilay band and DJ Sanjeev were the main attractions of ‘Spacenight’, a new year bash at Hotel Park Plaza. A dance party with DJ Vivek was arranged at Magnet Resorts. DJ Harpee entertained the youngsters at a dance party organised from the afternoon to late in the night at discotheque Las Vegas-II. Hello 2002, a dance party, was also held at Hotel Taksonz.

At Lodhi Club, a party exclusively for its members was organised last evening. The popular comedian, Bhotu Shah, entertained the audience with his hilarious items. Members danced to the tunes of popular songs played by a DJ late in the night.

Contests were arranged in which Sangeeta and Prem were adjudged best dressed couple, Anju and Jeetinder were declared best dancing couple, Kanav Gupta won the best dressed male prize and Sonali was given best dressed female prize. Mr Kuldip Singh, SDM, and his wife were the chief guests.

The Rotary Club in association with the Inner Wheel Club organised a ‘Ladies’ Nite’. Songs, ghazals, couple dance, fashion show and ‘antakshari’ were some of the programmes arranged on the occasion. Mr Manjit Sood and his wife were adjudged best dressed couple, while Dr Parveen Narang and his wife were declared best dancing couple. Ms Veena Bhandari was adjudged best model. The show was organised by president Sanjiv Sethi and secretary K.K. Chadha. 



DC’s office to receive passport forms
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 31
As per the decision of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, to decentralise the system of issuing passports, applications for fresh passports will be received in the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner’s office from January 1. For this purpose a fully computerised district collection centre has been set up and the required training to the local staff already been imparted at the Regional Passport Office, Chandigarh.

Giving details, the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, said the Assistant Commissioner (General) would function as the nodal officer at the district level. At the district-level office, applications would be received for the fresh passports only. Application for renewal would be received at the Regional Passport Offices. Applicants would have to submit a draft of Rs 200 in favour of the Deputy Commissioner as service fee in addition to the passport fee in shape of a demand draft in favour of the regional passport officer concerned.

The applications collected here would be sent to the Regional Passport Office within a period of four weeks from submission of the application after the required police verification. After receiving the application, a copy with personal particulars would be sent to the police authorities for verification. The police verification report would be returned to the Deputy Commissioner’s office within two weeks.

He said the applications completed in all respects would be received at the counter on all working days from 10 am to 12.30 pm and Inquiries would be attended from 9 am to 5 pm daily.

The applicant would have to submit the application in person. The other documents required include front view passport-size photographs, proof of date of birth and proof of residence, including a copy of the ration-card, telephone bill, bank passbook and voter’s identity card. In addition, to fulfil the requirements of the Passport Act, 1967, the applicant would also be required to submit an affidavit in the prescribed proforma.

He said the service fee of Rs 200 each collected at the district level would be utilised for computerisation of record, printing of receipt books and giving honorarium to employees engaged for this work.

Applications under the Tatkal Scheme would not be accepted at the district level.



Wall of contention ‘refuses to budge’
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 31
Call it the indifference or apathy of the civic administration or brazen misuse of power and high-handedness of politicians, but an unauthorised boundary wall, raised between house Nos 451-B and 456-B in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar remains intact even after a harassed victim has moved every perceivable person in authority in the local administration and further higher ups, including the Director, Local Self Government, Principal Secretary, Local Self Government, the Chief Secretary, Punjab Government, and the Punjab Minister for Local Bodies, seeking justice in the matter.

The issue of unauthorised construction of boundary wall, in blatant violation of building by-laws and without due consideration to immediate neighbours, was raised in ‘sangat darshan’ programme, held here way back in July 2001, specifically for civic matters, without eliciting any worthwhile response from the MC administration, so far.

The owner of the house No. 456-B, Dr Gurkirpal Singh, rues that owner of the adjoining property had raised the height of the boundary wall, earlier up to the roof level of ground floor and subsequently 4 ft above the first floor level. As a result, there was great diminution of light and air to the house lying next, which was direct encroachment on the rights of the adjoining property owners. To make the matter worse, the owner of the house had recently made an opening of 7 feet by 4.6 feet on the first floor level of the wall, which was tantamount to direct trespass on the open yard of the adjoining house.

Ironically, almost every official concerned, was well aware of this particular case and conceded privately that the boundary wall was indeed a violation of the building by-laws and needed to be pulled down. However, as far as going on record was concerned, it was an entirely different thing. While trying to get the official version of the MC officials, Ludhiana Tribune learnt that the owner of the property concerned wielded quite a lot of political clout, to the extent that the Minister for Local Bodies had personally called for the file.

It was further disclosed that after construction of the boundary wall, the case was compounded, allegedly in connivance with certain lowrung employees of the building branch in the MC. However, after the matter was raised by the affected house owner, the decision was reversed and the compounding fee was refunded to the property owner for the simple reason that the violation was non-compoundable and called for demolition.

When asked as to why the MC administration had developed cold feet in this particular case, an MC official, requesting not to be quoted, commented: “This is one of the thousands of violations of the building by-laws. Will it not be rather unjust to single out one particular case and take the extreme action of demolition, particularly when the Minister concerned was taking personal interest in the matter.”

Unfazed by the evasive attitude of the MC top brass and other senior government officials, Dr Singh appears to be determined to take the matter to its logical conclusion. “The government and civic officials or even ministers, for that matter, can not just get away with anything and have to be responsive, responsible and accountable to members of public. I shall continue to fight for my rights and to ensure dispensation of justice,” was his resolve. 



60,000 snatched from trader
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 31
In yet another daylight crime incident in the city, some unidentified youths snatched a bag containing Rs 60,000 cash from a trader in Kesar Gunj Chowk market here this morning. Some unidentified youths tricked the man by telling him that some thing was stuck on his back. When the man turned his head to see it, the youths snatched his bag and ran away.

This is the fifth such crime incident in as many days in the city. Today’s incident took place at about 9 am, when the trader, Suresh Kumar, a resident of Chowni Mohallah, had gone to the market as usual for some business transaction when the youths snatched the bag. The trader and other shopkeepers tried to chase the youths but failed to catch them. The youths were lost in the crowd and in the confusing streets.

The Kotwali police was, however, reluctant to confirm the incident. Keeping in line with the police's latest policy of keeping away from the press, the police only confirmed that some such incident had taken place but refused to divulge the details. A senior police official even claimed that the lost amount was only Rs 30,000.

Meanwhile, the shopkeepers in the market said it was not a stray incident in the locality as several other such incidents had taken place earlier also. Not wishing to be quoted the shopkeepers accused the police of inaction as none of the persons responsible for the earlier snatching incidents had been apprehended.



Bid to abduct women,1 held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 31
Some unidentified youths tried to kidnap two women workers from a hotel in Block-D of the Dugri Colony here Saturday night causing scare and tension in the area. The abduction bid was foiled, with the help of some passers-by and the gunmen of an MLA who were present at a party near the crime site. One of the kidnappers, was arrested, while the others escaped. One of the victims also helped in foiling the attempt by grappling and injuring one of the abductors.

The incident took place at about 9 pm. Two women, working at Mariat Hotel in Dugri, were going home to Dugri Colony when some persons in an inebriated condition pounced on the girls and tried to take them away in a waiting car. The girls raised a cry at which a number of persons came to their rescue and nabbed one of the kidnappers.

Mr Sanjeev Verma, manager of the hotel, said the girls were safe. The Model Town police said the youths had no motive of asking for ransom and had other motives. The police said the kidnappers had come to the hotel earlier in the day and had kept an eye on the girls. 



BJP plays development card 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 31
On the second day of their “rath yatra” BJP leaders today harped on the theme of communal brotherhood and the all round development claiming that the alliance government had ushered in a new era of peace, prosperity and progress in the state.

The yatra started in the morning from Atam Nagar Park at a modest note as not many people had come due to the intense cold. However, as the day progressed and the “rath” moved to different places it more and more vehicles joined in the yatra. Later in the evening, it became a long convoy of vehicles, bearing mostly the BJP flags. The Akali flags could also be seen here and there.

The “rath” was lead by the state BJP president, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa. He was accompanied by Mr Avinash Jaiswal, Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, Mr Balbir Chand Kapila, Mr Vineet Joshi and others. The “rath” was accorded a warm reception at various places wherever it stopped.

Addressing these gatherings, Mr Rinwa and Mr Jaiswal claimed that the BJP-SAD alliance in the state had reinforced the generation old brotherhood between the Hindus and Sikhs. They alleged that the brotherhood had been damaged by the Congress which was responsible for the Operation Bluestar and the anti-Sikh riots in 1984.

They said, the BJP-SAD alliance symbolised the Hindu-Sikh unity in the state, which had led to peace in the state once again. They warned the people against the designs of the Congress, which they alleged, besides being corrupt was the enemy of interests of Punjab. They claimed that the Congress had no issue to fight the elections and it was a house divided against itself.

The BJP leaders claimed that the alliance government led by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had taken the state much ahead in development. They claimed that the cordial relationship between the Centre and the state had led to massive economic and industrial development as the Centre had been generous in granting funds for the developmental purposes.

Exhorting people to vote for the BJP and Akali Dal again to power, they said, only this government could provide stability. They observed that the Congress was facing a leadership crisis as there was no single leader, whom the party could project as its main leader.

The BJP leaders maintained that the relationship between the Akali Dal and the BJP was cordial and there was no disagreement on seat sharing. They said, sharing of seats was no issue at all as both the parties had full faith in each other and in the leadership of Mr Badal, who had guided the state from a situation of crisis to an era of progress and prosperity.

The Union Law Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, who was to address a rally here, could not come due to the bad weather. 



ABVP to hold campaign against ‘saffronisation’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 31
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has decided to launch a month-long campaign against the act of distorting the history of India in the name of ‘saffronisation’.

Stating this in a press note, Mr Sandeep Kapoor, president of the local unit, said symposia, debates, declamation contests and essay writing competitions would be held for schoolchildren to generate awareness among them. During the campaign, protest marches, strikes, rallies and other agitational activities would also be organised to demand strong action against some historians, he said.

The ABVP president also said it would put pressure on the Central Government to go ahead with the task of correcting distorted portions of history, promotion of Sanskrit and value-based education. He said several historians had presented a derogatory and offending description of Guru Teg Bahadur, Chhatrapati Shivaji and Lord Mahavir in the text books. Mr Kapoor said NCERT books described Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai and Aurobindo Ghosh as extremists.

He further said history of the nation had been presented in such a way that new generation would develop an inferiority feeling rather that being proud of their past. He said more stress could be laid on teaching philosophy, astrology and Ayurveda in schools and colleges.



Panchayat samiti’s stir enters fourth day
Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 31
On a call given by the Punjab Panchayat Secretaries and Panchayat Samiti Karamchari Union, all panchayat secretaries and officials of the Panchayat Samiti continued to observe strike in front of BDPO office.

The strike entered its fourth day here today. The demonstrators raised anti-government slogans and submitted a memorandum to the BDPO, Samrala.

The employees decided to hold a dharna for indefinite period till their salaries were paid.

The dharna was led by Mr Malkiat Singh, superintendent of the panchayat samiti office.

The salaries of the employees of panchayat samitis have not been paid for the past three months.

The employees also said that the payment to Income Tax Department had also not been sent so far due to non-release of their salaries and if any action was taken by the Income Tax Department, it would be responsibility of the panchayat department for its delay.



Autos stay off city roads
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 31
On the New Year eve, commuters in the city who depend on three-wheelers, were hard pressed as auto-rickshaw drivers observed a strike in protest against what they called discriminatory challaning of their vehicles.

As a result of the strike, the city roads presented a rather deserted look as did various auto stands in the city. The commuters had to wait for mini buses which indeed did a brisk business today. In the absence of properly marked stands for mini buses, clusters of people could be seen almost everywhere waiting for the buses. Apart from the mini bus operators, cycle-rickshaw pullers also did good business.

However, the strike by auto-drivers was not total as some of them could be seen moving about to earn whatever they could to meet the day’s expenses.

The striking auto-drivers also held a rally near the Gill chowk to express their resentment against the government for challaning their vehicles in the wake of High Court directive to check vehicles generating excessive noise and pollution in the city. The rally was addressed by a number of leaders, mostly belonging to the various Akali Dals, including the ruling one.



Martyr’s body cremated
Our Correspondent

Doraha, December 31
The body of Mandeep Singh, who sacrificed his life for the country, was consigned to flames with full military honours at Chapran village yesterday.

Among those who attended the funeral were Mr Jaskaran Singh, SDM Payal, Jathedar Sadhu Singh Ghudani, MLA, Payal, Col M S Randhawa, Mr R P Sharma, Lt Col Dall Singh , Mr Najar Singh Lapran, Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh Gill, Mr Harminder Singh Dhamot, Mr Tejinder Singh Madnipur, DSP Mr Balraj Singh Sidhu and Mr Harpal Singh Sarpanch, Lahil village. Mandeep Singh’s three-year-old son, Ravinder Singh, lit the pyre.

Mandeep Singh (30) died on December 27 while fighting with the enemy in Jammu and Kashmir. He is survived by his wife and two small children. 



One killed in tractor-truck collision
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, December 31
One person was reportedly killed in an accident that took place at Sahnewal Chowk last night. A sugarcane trolley attached to a tractor met with an accident as a truck (number HRO-A 7477) collided with it. A case has been registered.



Sunny weather brings cheer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 31
The city residents had a bit of relief from the current cold wave as the Sun shone after a gap of three days today.

To begin with, the residents seemed to be in for another cloudy day but as the Sun came up from behind the clouds a little after 11 am, it was welcomed with smiles all around. The sunny day came as a pleasant surprise to the residents after three days of foggy and cloudy weather though it might have dampened the spirits of hosiery traders to some extent.



Robberies, thefts rattle city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 31
Fear prevails among the public here following several robberies and snatching incidents. The police, instead of concentrating on crime control, has been indulging in censoring information to the press.

Either the victims of crime were being coaxed to hide the details or were being intimidated to stay away from the press if they wanted an immediate action on their complaint. An apt evidence of the police manoeuvres came in the case of a cloth merchant, Mr Gehla Ram Batra, who was robbed of Rs 1.6 lakhs in Ghumar Mandi area last night.

The police assured his family that they would get back the money if they state that only Rs 75,000 was robbed. They also told the family that they should not talk to the press. Resultantly, the family first denied the incident, but later confirmed that only Rs 75,000 were robbed.

It was learnt today that the family had hidden the facts on the directions of the police. The case was that of snatching as the youths had even thrown chilli powder in the eyes of the cloth merchant before running away with the amount.

The police has also begun tampering with the daily crime file released to the press in order to give a misleading impression to the public and possibly the state police authorities that every thing was fine in the city. This is evident from the fact that none of the major crime incidents taking place in the city were given in the crime file.

There is a widespread panic in the city in the wake of the recent incidents of theft and robbery. The financial institutions like the banks, insurance agencies and the petrol stations have started arranging their own security as people’s faith in the police is eroding.

The city witnessed a robbery of Rs 7 lakh from outside an LIC office in which an assistant manager suffered bullet injury. A petrol station on the outskirts of the city was looted of Rs 25,000. A bank was almost burgled in New Shivpuri colony recently. Two women were saved from being kidnapped by vigilant civilians and gunmen of a political leader. 



Two quintals of poppy husk seized
Tribune Reporters

Sahnewal, December 31
Two quintals of poppy husk and 500 bottles of illicit liquor have been seized by the police in three separate cases in the past 24 hours.

The Payal police recovered 2 quintals of poppy husk from the dhaba owned by Labh Singh of Bhadewal village. In another case Sahnewal police seized 25 bottles of illicit liquor from Mohammad Sharif of Palahi (Jammu and Kashmir) and 25 bottles of liquor from Mohammad Harif of Pathrara of Mehalpur (Hoshiarpur), both at Nichi Mangli by Head Constable Manjit Singh and Charanjit Singh.

Chain snatched: An unidentified woman snatched the gold chain of a woman devotee who was returning from a satsang yesterday afternoon and managed to flee the scene even as some women tried to catch hold of her. The incident occurred near the Arya College for Boys.

Poppy husk seized: The Jodhewal police has booked Isham Singh, a resident of Muzaffar Nagar, Jaspal Singh, alias Baba Mast Ram, a resident of Karnal district and Nasib Chand, a resident of Phillaur, under the NDPS Act after recovering 25 kg. of poppy husk from their possession.

Injured: The Focal point police has booked Dalbir Singh, a resident of Moti Nagar, under section 324 of the IPC, on the charge of beating and injuring one Mr Chaudhary of the same locality on Saturday.

Liquor seized: The Sadar police has arrested a Bihari migrant, Rajinder Kumar, an employee at a seed farm near Laddowal, and booked him under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act after recovering 9 bottles of liquor from him. The Sahnewal police has booked Mohammad Sharif under the same Act for possessing 25 bottles of liquor.

Gamblers held: The Division Number three police yesterday arrested Sudesh Kumar and Sunil Kumar , both residents of Khud Mohalla and Rajinder Kumar, a resident of Gulchaman Street, from near a school while they were gambling and booked them under the Gambling Act.

Case registered: The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case under sections 420, 341 and 506 of the IPC against Harjinder Singh ‘Billu’, a resident of Housing Board Colony on the Ferozepore road, on the complaint of Mr Gurdev Singh Dhillon, a resident of Agya Puri. The complainant had said that the accused had taken a Rs 1.5 lakh loan from him and refused to pay back. Allegely, he also started threatening the complainant.

Generator stolen: The Meharban police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC against some unidentified persons on the complaint of Ms Bhajan Kaur, a resident of Gujjar Colony on the Rahon road. The woman had said that she had constructed a house in the Jagirpur road area, where, in the absence of an electricity connection, she had put up a generator, which had been stolen on Wednesday night.

Theft charge: The Haibowal police has arrested a person called Surinder Pal ‘Monu’ and registered a case against him on the charge of attempting to steal. The complaint against him had been lodged by Mr Vijay Kumar, a resident of Pavittar Nagar. The complainant had said that the accused had tried to burgle his house at night, but had been caught in the act.

Chain snatched: An unidentified woman snatched a gold chain of Ms Kamini Kashyap, general secretary, District Congress Committee (urban) yesterday. The woman escaped on a two-wheeler.



Man shoots himself
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 31
A middle-aged man committed suicide allegedly due to domestic problems by shooting himself at his house near Chuharpur road in Haibowal Kalan yesterday. The incident came to light in the afternoon, when a neighbour went to the deceased’s house.

According to the Haibowal police, Jagtar Singh (35), was found lying dead in a pool of blood at his house by a neighbour. A .12 bore gun was lying near the body. The deceased was married but his family had gone to Malerkotla.

The police found a suicide note in which the deceased had written that he was committing suicide due to domestic problems and differences with a friend. On the basis of the suicide note, the police has booked the friend on the charge of abetment to suicide. The man had some financial differences with his friend, due to which he was disturbed for the past few days. 


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