Sunday, January 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India 


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Cops’ leave, weekly off cancelled
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Under pressure to control the soaring crime rate in the city as well as to solve the piles of pending cases of robbery, snatching and murder, the local police authorities have cancelled the weekly off of all police officers and personnel and have issued directions to permit leave from duty only in extremely emergent situation.

Official sources have confirmed that the orders have nothing to do with the tension on the Indo-Pak border or with the impending Assembly elections in the state. The local police is also the only one in the district to issue such directions. No other police district has passed such orders, which means spurt in the local crime rate was the only reason for the moves, sources confirmed.

They added that such a directive is given in emergent circumstances only. While usually the circumstances can be some external or internal threat like war and terrorism or some significant development like elections or visits of several VVIPs, it has been done rarely in the past that the leaves and weekly-offs of the cops are cancelled because of the crime rate. The decision speaks for itself about the condition of law and order and the risk to life and property in the local police district.

Sources said the orders became necessary as the local police was already reeling under acute shortage of staff due to which the manning of the city and the increasing population had become difficult. The burden on the police force had increased due to the coming up of new police stations. Under such circumstances, the going on leave of an officer would have directly affected the police vigilance in an area.

Some reports said recently several new officers had been transferred to the city but some of them were on leave for getting settled down. The orders have also been issued keeping in mind this fact.

This is the latest step of the district police authorities to control crime in the city even as the earlier steps have not yielded any positive results.

However, this has so far resulted only in harassment to the public as common man has to undergo strenuous checking at different places or special nakas put up by the police. The night patrolling has also been on. Still, there has been no let up in crime.

There was resentment among certain employees because of the orders. Some cops, sharing their plight with the Ludhiana Tribune, said some of them urgently required rest as they have been on red alert and night patrolling round the clock. Some had urgent work at home but could not get leave.



Telephone tower coming up on ‘encroached’ land
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 5
Thanks to the lax attitude of officials of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust as well as the building branch of the municipal corporation, a telephone tower for proposed mobile phone services by Reliance Group is coming up not only without any permission from the authorities but on ‘encroached’ land, which is shown as a park and part of the road in posh Kitchlu Nagar locality in the city.

The residents of the locality have said in a signed representation that on the instructions of LIT officials, the construction work was suspended for some time but it has again resumed in full swing to complete the 110-foot high tower. They genuinely apprehend that construction of the tower on the present site would obstruct the flow of traffic towards the main entrance to Block B of the colony and compound the menace of parking in the lanes and in front of the houses.

While the officials of the MC building branch were not available for comments, the LIT Chairman, Mr M.M. Vyas, emphatically told Ludhiana Tribune that the trust had not given any permission to the company for the construction of the tower and the chances of such a permission having been given by the MC were also remote because even after the colony, developed by the Trust, had been transferred to the MC for maintenance, the building control was retained by the LIT.

“Moreover”, Mr Vyas observed, “at the moment, the ownership of the land, where the tower is coming up is disputed. The land was under litigation and the matter is still under appeal, therefore sub judice.” He said the LIT had made the position clear to the company and directed them to stop the construction, which was also violative of the building bylaws. If the company persisted with the construction work, the LIT would initiate necessary steps under the relevant rules, he added.



Bank of Punjab's ‘heartless’ treatment
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 5
The tall claims of high-tech computerised banking and efficient customer service were fully exposed when the Miller Ganj branch of Bank of Punjab, a private sector bank here, took almost 10 hours to deliver a bank draft of Rs 1,00,000 to one of its customers, who had to make a payment to a local hospital against the purchase of a ‘pacer’ for his grandfather, admitted in the ICU for a serious cardiac ailment.

According to Mr Harneet Pal Singh, his grandfather, Mr Kirpal Singh was under treatment in a local hospital and the doctors had advised a pacer to be fitted to the patient for rectification of erratic heart beat. The equipment could be had against a payment of Rs 1.35 lakh, which had to be paid in advance through a bank draft.

On January 2 Mr Singh got one bank draft for Rs 35,000 prepared from Punjab and Sind Bank and approached the BOP for another draft of Rs 1,00,000 against cash deposited at around 11 am. An exasperated customer was made to wait till 5 pm on various pretexts and ultimately was told by the bank staff that since the computer system was down, they were helpless and the draft could only be made the next day. The plea for urgency in view of the medical emergency failed to make the bank staff budge and their only helping gesture was that a member of the staff could go to the hospital and assure them that the draft will be delivered the next day. However, the hospital cashier declined the proposal and demanded the bank draft for the full amount before the equipment could be provided to the patient.

Since the cash against the bank draft already stood deposited with the bank, the customer got in touch with the branch manager, Mr Nirmal Singh, in the evening, who reluctantly agreed that the draft would be prepared manually by 7 pm. In the meantime, Mr Singh approached the Regional Manager, Mr Amarjit Singh, who also refused to be of any assistance. Ultimately, a lot of pressure was brought upon the bank staff by many other customers and the draft was delivered at 9 pm.

Mr Singh, who had to undergo tremendous mental torture and harassment throughout the day, charged the bank staff with a callous and inhuman attitude. “The concerned employees and officials were least bothered with the medical emergency and extreme danger to the life of the patient, that the delay in delivery of draft had caused.” In representations, submitted to the Reserve Bank of India and the Union Ministry of Finance, Department of Banking, the customer has called for high-level inquiry into the affairs of the bank and stern action against irresponsible staff members and senior officials of the bank. 



Ramoowalia announces Sidhwan’s candidature
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, January 5
Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, President of the Lok Bhalai Party, declared Mr Paramjit Singh Sidhwan party candidate from the Ludhiana (Rural) Assembly seat here yesterday.

Addressing resident of Jugiana, Nandpur, Pawa, Khagat, Dhandhari Kalan and Giaspur villages, he lambasted the present SAD-BJP government and previous Congress governments and promised to provide a clean administration to the people of Punjab if given a chance. He claimed that the people had started showing inclination towards his party during the past 15 days, and more people from other parties would join the Lok Bhalai Party in the next 10 days.

Calling the present state government ‘extortionist’ and ‘plunderer’, Mr Ramoowalia said there was widespread contempt and hatred for it. “After testing the ‘established’ parties for long, the people now have only scorn for them in their hearts. They will certainly take these parties to task in the coming elections as we have successfully managed to mould public opinion against them in the past two years,” he said.

Commenting on the ‘sorry state of affairs’ in Punjab, Mr Ramoowalia said though unemployment had increased manifold in the state, no labour-oriented courses had been introduced and no guidance had been provided to farmers. He appealed to the people to teach a lesson to those responsible for the situation.

Mr Ramoowalia alleged that 900 youths of the country had been leading a miserable life in Dubai for the past 5 months and their documents, including passports, had been snatched. They had sent a written complaint to him and he had worked for their release.



Is MC drive a boon for politicians?
D. B. Chopra

Ludhiana, January 5
Though the current anti-encroachment drive launched by Mr Kalsia after taking over as MC Commissioner has failed to achieve the desired results so far, it has warmed the cockles of many a politician.

About a month ago, when the anti-encroachment drive was launched with demolition operations along the rail track in the Focal Point area, a number of small-time politicians belonging to the Shiv Sena, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the BJP came to the rescue of the migrants whose unauthorised houses and shanties were to be demolished. The leaders even threatened to stage a dharna outside the office of the Area Manager, Northern Railways, besides approaching other authorities. The demolition squad had to return without completing the job with a warning that it would be back after 10 days . Time was given to the encroachers after these leaders pleaded for the same. But the demolition squad seems to have forgotten its warning as the area continues to be full of houses and shanties built on government land without any authorisation.

Another such example of political interference was witnessed on Thursday when the demolition squad accompanied by the police met with stiff resistance outside the Shingar Cinema. Mr Sat Pal Gosian, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, arrived on the scene and dared the demolition staff to go ahead with the operation. However, it remains a mystery whether Mr Gosian had prior knowledge about the demolition process in that area or he just happened to be in the city at a time when most of the city’s politicians are either camping at Chandigarh or are in Delhi in view of the forthcoming elections.

Yesterday, the demolition squad of the Municipal Corporation, razed some hutments erected at Dhandari by migrants and other poor people though according to the original schedule it was to begin its operations somewhere else in the city. Probably in view of the Shingar Cinema incident on Thursday, the staff of the demolition squad did not want to invite another intervention by some other politician.

However, viewing the current drive from an entirely different angle, some observers of the scene say that the whole exercise is merely a drama which is being enacted to consolidate the respective vote bank of the city’s politicians. They cite the earlier case of Focal Point when the operation was stopped mid-way due to the intervention of the so-called leaders. They say that if the demolition squad did not visit again to carry out the remaining job, the uprooted people would again build their shanties. This would only give a boost to the leaders who stood to gain all the advantage they need in the election season. Their respective vote banks have been strengthened by the drive. In such a situation, one cannot help wondering if the corporation, by its drive, is trying to help the citizens or the politicians?

If Ghanta Ghar Chowk can be taken as an index of the encroachments on city roads and public land, then one can surely say that encroachments are on the rise rather than being otherwise. It was after the launch of the drive that more roadside sellers have come up around Ghanta Ghar. In addition to the rehris selling eatables, now there are roadside businessmen dealing in watches, hosiery goods and so on as a result of which the place has become all the more congested.

The rehris , which were removed for a couple of days, are back in business. As a result of the drive, officials of the Tehbazari Department, who had been collecting money from these roadside sellers, have only increased their income. One of these rehriwallahs confided that the money paid by them every month has been doubled. Now they are paying Rs 300 per rehri , he disclosed. “Nawan afsar aya hai. Ohnu vee taan hissa chahida hai” ( A new officer has come. He also wants his share), the tehbazari men told them before hiking their unofficial ‘monthly’ fee, added the man.



SBI auctions property to recover loan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
The Debt Recovery Tribunal, Chandigarh’s decision to auction the properties of Darshan Group of Industries, near Dhandari Kalan here today has sent shock waves among the bank defaulters. It has announced the auction of the industrial sheds of a leading industrialist. According to the officials of the State Bank of India here, the Darshan Group had to repay loans worth more than Rs 5 crore to them. However, the loans had not been repaid despite repeated reminders by the bank management. Subsequently, the case was referred to the Debt Recovery Tribunal, Chandigarh.

Mr Yogesh Jain, receiver of the Tribunal, announced the successful bidding of a property at Rs 23.21 lakh today. The other properties, according to bank sources, would be also auctioned tomorrow or may be attached if the auction price was lower than the market price of the property. The tribunal has fixed market price as the minimum price for the auction. However, there were not adequate bidders to quote such a high price for the controversial properties. The sources said there were hundreds of wilful defaulters, who were not ready to repay the loans, but the SBI had decided to teach them a lesson by auctioning their property .



Govinda look-alike waits for Lady Luck
Tribune News Service


Ludhiana, January 5
It is quite common for fans of film stars to worship their heroes or heroines. But sometimes, when a fan learns he has some resemblance to the star, the worship can attain such a feverish pitch that the fan only lives the star’s image. This is the condition of a local resident Tittu Mahajan, who has some resemblance to Govinda.

Tittu hopes his resemblance to Govinda will one day catapult him to stardom. He has based his hopes on the success achieved by Sachin, another city resident. Sachin became rich overnight a couple of years back owing to his similarity to Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

Tittu has made rounds of newspaper offices here, in Chandigarh and in Delhi. He even remembers the names of journalists as well as other authorities. He met his dream hero Govinda, whom he calls ‘Raja Babu’, two years back in Mumbai. The meeting was brief, but he could not get through to any director or producer to give him some kind of role as Govinda’s duplicate.



Major power cut today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
The central office of the Punjab State Electricity Board has stated in a press note that power supply will remain suspended tomorrow according to the following schedule due to specific maintenance work. The 66 KV substation will also remain closed for the repair work.

Under the 11 KV Central Feeder, which includes Brown Road, Lakkar Bazar, New Mohalla, Serpur Bazar, Nim Chowk, Rehri Mohalla, Division No 2 and Kalgidhar Road area; under the 11 KV Jail Road Feeder, which includes GT Road, Mata Rani Road, Niggar Mandi, Court Road, Mall Godam, Railway Station, Jagraon Bridge, Dukh Niwaran Road and Field Ganj Area; and under the 11 KV Bhadaur House Feeder, which includes Arya Mohalla, Deepak Cinema, Nali Mohalla, Bhadaur House and Rekhi Cinema Road, power will remain suspended between 10 am and 4 pm.



Young Voice
‘Sports groom body, mind’

Bhavna Maheshwari
Bhavna Maheshwari

A few people have fascination for both sports and studies. But here is an eve whose idea to stretch the body in swimming pool is to keep herself fresh to perform efficiently and effectively. Bhavna Maheshwari thinks that freshness and liveliness is very important in life, else life would be dull and boring.

Swimming is not Bhavna’s pass time as she has earned herself a place in the sport. She had been adjudged ‘Best Swimmer’ in girls section in the Punjab Agricultural University Inter-College Swimming Championship held last year. She clinched nine gold and two silver medals to grab the title. Interestingly, in that championship the College of Basic Sciences won the champions trophy by scoring 60 points, out of which 57 points were scored by her alone.

Bhavna believes that every student must play at least one game for proper mind and body coordination, which is very necessary to achieve one’s goals in life. She feels that one should be physically active to be a step ahead from others. OC



Senior MCPI leader dead
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 5
A prominent leader of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) and a well-known leader for trade union movement, Bhajan Singh expired last night after prolonged illness due to kidney failure in Dayanand Medical College at Ludhiana. He was life-long associate of Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri in the Communist as well as trade union movements in Ludhiana.

He was an important political figure of the city and acted as Ludhiana Municipal Commissioner for about seven years.

He was cremated here today. A large numbers of MCPI activists and leaders of all other trade unions of the city were present at the time of last rites of the leader. 



Two die of cold
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
The cold wave prevailing in the region for the past several days claimed two lives last night when a poor mason was found dead in a park in the Kesargunj area, while an unidentified migrant labourer was found in open fields near Chotti Ghutani village today early morning.

The post-mortem examination also concluded that the two men had died due to cold weather. The mason, Mohinder Singh (55), a resident of Bhanaut village near Mullanpur Dakha, had slept in a city park last night where he was found dead.

The second person aged around 25 years was found dead in an open field near Chotti Ghutani village.



1 killed, 2 hurt in vehicle collision
Tribune Reporters

Jagraon, January 5
A bus and tempo collided near Sherpura Chowk in the early hours today, resulting in the death of the driver of the tempo.

Mr Surinder Kumar said he, along with driver Swarjit Singh and conductor Pardeep Singh, was going to Amritsar in a tempo to deliver pulses when a bus (PB-29-C-9144) of Sewak Bus Transport hit their vehicle near the PSEB office. They were injured and taken to the local Civil Hospital. The driver, who was referred to a hospital in Ludhiana, later succumbed to his injuries. The police registered a case under Sections 308, 323 and 427 of the IPC.

Liquor seized: The local police conducted raids and arrested Mohinder Singh and Harish Chander Joshi, residents of Barde village, while they were selling country-made liquor. The police seized 124.56 litres of illicit liqour and registered a case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

One booked: The police registered a case under the Gambling Act against Bagria Ram of Dhamot village. It also seized Rs 725 from his possession.

Shop burgled: A case of theft was registered on the complaint of Gurinder Singh of Daheru. He reported that the shutter of his shop had been broken and 10 tyres had been stolen.

Poppy husk seized: The division No. 6 police arrested Jagga Ram Sansi, a resident of Deep Nagar falling under the jurisdiction of division No. 8, near Sangeet Cinema, last evening while carrying 6.5 kg of poppy husk. Mr Satnam Singh, ASI, is investigating. The accused has been retailing the contraband for a long time in the area. He has been booked under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Black marketeer held: On a tip-off, the Sahnewal police nabbed a black marketeer for selling blue-coloured PDS kerosene at Rs 15 per litre and seized 1,170 litres of the commodity from his possession yesterday. The accused, Naginder Pal, a resident of grain market, has been booked under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act. The arrest and recovery was made by the staff of the newly-opened CIA wing at Dhandari Kalan.

Liquor seized: The Sadar Police yesterday arrested Rohit Kumar, son of Mr Kamal Kishore Arora, a resident of Haibowal, and seized 12 bottles of country-made liquor from his possession. The recovery was made near Thakarwal village last night by ASI Dalbir Singh.

Cases of fraud: The division No. 5 police has registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 120-B of the IPC on a complaint by Mr Kabul Singh, a resident of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, against Avtar Singh Dhaliwal son of Mr Kesar Singh, Vipan, son of Sat Pal, both residents of Doraha, Sant Kumar Nambardar,a resident of Peru Banda village, and Davinder Singh, son of Mr Malkiat Singh, a resident of Sahnewal. The complainant had alleged that the accused prepared a forged power of attorney on the basis of which they transferred a plot measuring 80 sq yds belonging to the complainant in their names. No arrest has been made so far.

Another case of fraud was registered yesterday at the same police station under Sections 406, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC on a complaint by Mr Subhash Kumar, a resident of Bora village, against Ramesh Chander, son of Mr Darbari Lal, Ajit Singh, son of Mr. Kartar Singh, a resident of Varinder Nagar. The complainant had alleged that the accused prepared a forged power of attorney of a piece of land belonging to the complainant, which they got transferred in their names and sold it for Rs 3,70,000.

The Model Town police also registered a case of alleged fraud under Sections 420, 468 and 471 of the IPC on a complaint by Mr Kailash Singh, a resident of Punjab Mata Nagar, Pakhowal road, against Gurmit Singh, son of Mr Khushi Ram. According to the complainant, the accused gave him a cheque in lieu of a plot. But the cheque was dishonoured by the bank concerned. He further stated that the accused had also prepared a forged sales deed for the plot.

Copyright case: The division No. 8 police has registered a case under Sections 51, 52, and 52-A of the Copyright Act, on the statement by Mr Sudesh Kumar, Field Officer, T Series, against Parwinder Sharma, son of Mr Sudesh Lal Sharma, a resident of Prem Nagar mohalla. The complainant had stated yesterday that the accused was indulging in the sale of duplicate tapes of a newly-released film ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham.’



Cable theft: BSNL seeks police help
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 5
More than 13 cases of telephone cable theft have been reported from various parts of the city and the DIG has been approached for police assistance. This was stated by Mr S.R. Srivastava, General Manager, Telecom, at a press conference here today.

Mr Srivastava said the testing of WLL with 1000 lines at Mata Rani was in progress and it would be commissioned this month. The WLL with 2000 lines, Internet connection and fax facility had been started in Focal Point, he added. He stated that though the BSNL mobile service had not been started on time due to some restrictions, subscribers would be able to avail themselves of it by March.

Mr Srivastava said the Focal Point exchange was expanded by 600 lines in December last and with this, ISDN connections could be provided in Focal Point.

The microwave exchange had been expanded from 16,000 to 17,000 lines, the capacity of the trunk automatic exchange had been increased and the Khanpur exchange had been expanded from 1000 lines to 1500 lines, he further said.

Mr Srivastava said the waiting list of new connections and telephone on demand would be over by February. He made it clear that there would be no revenue loss due to slashing of rates of long distance calls as people would now not hesitate to avail themselves of STD facility during peak hours. More channels were being installed in the city, he said.

The General Manager added that earlier subscribers could deposit their telephone bills at 42 branches of the Bank of India. Two more bank branches at Bharat Nagar and Model Town had been approached for the same, he stated. He said parts of New Shivpuri, Master Colony, Santokh Nagar, Basti Jodhewal Chowk and Basti Mani Singh were made feasible during December last.



Two women held on theft charge
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 5
Next time you visit a hospital, make sure that you are not followed by pickpockets. Some of them are so well trained that they claim to arrange blood for patients and smartly dupe them.

Kalpana and Sunita, two sisters from Bhopal, were caught red-handed while stealing money from the purse of a patient’s attendant at Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital today. In her early twenties, Kalpana said they were not the culprits. “I had come to the hospital to get medicine for my son, who was suffering from fever and diarrhoea. I was standing in queue and was waiting for my turn. My sister found the money lying on the floor and these people thought that we were pickpockets,” she said.

Her younger sister Sunita said they had come to the city for the first time last evening. “We have no house and are putting up at the railway station at present. We sell old clothes and earn our bread,” she said.

The hospital authorities maintained that both sisters were lying as they did not get the hospital OPD slip from the counter. The Medical Superintendent said such incidents were common in the hospital.


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