Friday, January 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Biggest ever haul of poppy husk
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
In the biggest ever haul of poppy husk, the CIA wing-11 of Local police has succeeded in busting a gang of drug smugglers headed by an international smuggler and confiscated 35 bags full of poppy husk having an estimated cost of about Rs 4 lakh. Each bag contained about 40 kg of the drug.

The police has arrested one person bringing the booty to the city in a truck no. PB-10-AN-9787 at a special checkpost erected on a specific information. Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, SSP, told Ludhiana Tribune that a police party led by Sub-Inspector Warryam Singh, in-charge CIA wing-11 nabbed the fleeing smugglers. Police parties have been dispatched in different directions to arrest two other key smugglers.

Police sources added that the poppy husk smuggling was stepped up in the region as it was expected there would be several buyers in the impending Assembly elections in the state.

No clue of any prospective buyer among political leaders have been found so far.

The arrest has exposed the level of poppy husk addiction and smuggling in the region.

A number of social organisations have already voiced concern over the increasing population of young drug addicts, especially students. The police said the gang was into organised drug-trafficking.

The gang was given a contract of Rs 35,000 to deliver 12 trucks containing several bags of poppy husk in Ludhiana, Jagraon, Moga and Jalandhar police districts. The gang had already smuggled 8 trucks.

It was on the 9th trip when the CIA police nabbed one of the trucks and arrested a gang member. He has been identified as Avtar Singh. Two other notorious smugglers Jaswant Singh and Sarbjit Singh are at large.

The arrested accused told Ludhiana Tribune that he and two other persons were employed by an unknown man for smuggling 12 trucks of poppy husk at different places. He confessed to completing the delivery at Jalalabad in Moga, Baghapurana and Jagraon.

The smugglers had improvised the design of the truck. A special cabin was made in the middle of the truck in which the poppy husk was kept.

Police sources added that the truck was loaded at Panipat after the poppy husk was brought there from some place near Calcutta and another from a place in Madhya Pradesh.



Row on move to shift ‘mazar’
D.B. Chopra

Chhanna (Ahmedgarh), January 24
A controversy has developed between residents of this village and the managing committee of Islamia Public School on the village periphery over the committee’s move to shift the ancient mazar of a ‘pir’ from the school.

Villagers said the ‘mazar’ of Lallanwala Pir had been there even before the village had come up. Every Thursday, devotees throng the place and every villager, regardless of his or her caste or religion, believes in the miraculous powers of the ‘pir’.

As one approaches the place from the village side, one can see a number of little, white-washed monuments built under a couple of trees along the road. A few yards further on the school premises, is the sanctum sanctorum or the ‘mazar’, with a number of green flags atop the bricked structure.

The controversy had flared up a number of times in the past, with both parties gathering at the police station on every occasion. The villagers say that they will not allow the school management to shift the ‘mazar’. The school management should have planned the school building keeping in mind the location of the ‘mazar’ and its importance for villagers.

A number of villagers also criticised the way the school was being run. They said the school charged an exorbitant fees from children of poor parents.

Haji Asghar Ali, president of the school’s managing committee and a ‘hakim’, when contacted at his ‘clinic’, said, once construction of the boundary wall of the school was over, the ‘mazar’ would be shifted out of the school. However, he did not specify where. “Perhaps somewhere along the boundary wall of the school, but definitely not on the school premises,” he said.

After tough stands by both parties, it appears that, sooner or later, the authorities concerned will have to step in to work out a solution.



Local Bodies Dept in dock over transfers
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 24
The Local Government Department of Punjab, which appeared to be scrupulously carrying out the directions of the model code of conduct, which provided for shifting of all officials with a stay of four years or more at the same place, has landed itself in the dock over mass transfers of officers in the four Municipal Corporations, ordered during last week.

Taking strong exception to the move, the Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, has called for a report from the Local Government Department before giving effect to the new posting orders. The Additional Chief Electoral Officer, Mrs Usha R. Sharma, told The Tribune that once the model code of conduct came into force, it became mandatory for all government departments to seek clearance for all postings and transfers, which was not done in the case of issuing new posting orders to MC officials.

Close on the heels of some 80-odd officials of all the four Municipal Corporation in the state, served with new posting orders on Jan 17, the Directorate of Local Government had transferred another two dozen officials with immediate effect. The officials, transferred on the basis of a stay of more than four years at the same place, included 7 Executive Engineers (Civil), 3 Assistant Engineers (Civil), 2 planning officers and as many as 12 assistant town planners.

While senior officers including Principal Secretary Local Government, Dr B.C. Gupta, and Director, Local Government, Mr J.B. Goyal, were not available for comments, one of the MC officers here, requesting anonymity, indicated the department was known to be reviewing the new posting orders. It was further learnt that the respective Commissioners of all the four Municipal Corporations had expressed their reservations against mass transfers in the mid-season and some of them had gone to the extent of being reluctant to relieve the officials, served with new posting orders.

The following were the new posting orders issued by the DLG:

Executive Engineers (Civil): Mr Kashmira Singh, Ludhiana to Patiala, Mr Kulwant Singh, Ludhiana to Jalandhar, Mr Kulwinder Singh, Jalandhar to Ludhiana, Mr Prem Lal Sharma, Ludhiana to Jalandhar, Mr Devinder S. Wadhwa, Jalandhar to Ludhiana, Mr Brij Pal Singh, Ludhiana to Jalandhar and Mr Arun Kumar Sharma, Jalandhar to Ludhiana.

Assistant Engineers (Civil): Mr Jagdish Singh, Ludhiana to Amritsar, Mr Jagdish Raj, Amritsar to Ludhiana, Mr Des Raj, Amritsar to Jalandhar.

Assistant Town Planners : Mr Krishna Murti, Ludhiana to Jalandhar, Mr Parampal Singh, Jalandhar to Ludhiana, Ms Kamaljit Kaur, Ludhiana to Jalandhar, Mr Bhagwant Singh, Jalandhar to Ludhiana, Mr Tarlok Singh, Amritsar to Ludhiana, Mr Gautam Kumar, Ludhiana to Amritsar, Mr Dharam Pal, Amritsar to Jalandhar, Mr Tej Preet Singh Wasu, Jalandhar to Amritsar, Mr Suresh Raj, Amritsar to Jalandhar, Mr K.S. Bhalla, Jalandhar to Amritsar, Mr Des Raj, Amritsar to Ludhiana, Mr Jaspal Singh, Ludhiana to Amritsar.

Planning Officers: Mr Phool Chand, Ludhiana to Jalandhar, Mr Gaganpal Singh, Jalandhar to Ludhiana.



It’s Registrar vs Vice-Chancellor
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
In a move being perceived as snatching powers of the Registrar, who happens to be a bureaucrat, Punjab Agricultural University has created a post of Controller of Examinations, who has been assigned powers of the Registrar as far as organising entrance examinations is concerned.

The university has appointed the Controller recently and assigned him the job of holding the tests and also act as observer for examinations, both internal and external evaluation of examination.

While the PAU authorities have created the new post on the plea that the university required the Controller as it had decided to hold various entrance examinations for admission to postgraduate courses offered by it, a faction of faculty is alleging that the move aimed at snatching the powers from the Registrar. As per the statutes of the university, the Registrar is responsible for ‘admission of students, including the supervision of the entrance exams’.

More allegations surrounding the creation of the new post surfacing on the campus are that as the Registrar is ‘responsible to make arrangements for conduct of such exams as may be prescribed and to be responsible for due execution of all processes connected therewith’ (Section 17 (e) of PAU statutes), the creation of the new post is against the rules as only Parliament has the authority to change the rules. The other allegation is that the appointment was done on January 1, 2002, violating the Model Code of Conduct issued by the Election Commission.

In fact, the cold war between the Registrar and the Vice-Chancellor is being seen as the major reason for the new development.

The difference of opinion between them was visible at the time when the former Comptroller, Mr S.K. Bhatia, was given extension for four months after his retirement. As per the documents, a copy of which is in possession of Ludhiana Tribune, the Registrar, Mr Alok Shekhar, had raised an objection to the extension of the Comptroller stating: “The matter (regarding the extension) cannot be considered to have been discussed in the meeting of the Board of Management of PAU and hence the decision of the board has not been followed. The orders cannot be issued, the same being illegal and arbitrary and against the set procedure”.

In reply to this letter the VC, Dr K.S. Aulakh, had written: “The undersigned (VC) has not relished the language used by the Registrar in his office note. The undersigned is fully aware of his duties and responsibilities and he will be the last person to resort to any arbitrary or illegal decisions”. 



Four ‘gangsters’ fall in police net 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
The Khanna police arrested four “gangsters” accused of kidnapping a doctor and extorting ransom, here today.

The arrested youths are Lakhwinder Singh Lakha of Gehlewal village under the Jodhewal police station, Bita Singh of Kanech village under the Sahnewal police station, Rajesh Kumar Kanu of Khagaria district in Bihar and Jagat Ram of Sultanpur district in Uttar Pradesh.

The arrested persons are rather young, but the police calls them hardcore criminals. They youths are poor, drug addicts and jailbirds. Out on a bail, “they had recently formed the gang”.

Mr Ishwar Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police at Khanna, in a press note issued here today, said, with the arrests, several cases of robbery, kidnapping and car thefts in Khanna and Ludhiana had been solved. He said the gang had been spreading panic in Khanna for the past two months due to their activities like the kidnapping of Dr Hardev Billing.

The gang had thrice extorted Rs 25,000 and, after the last extortion on January 20, had allegedly robbed a medical-store owner at Peer Khana Road. These youths had also allegedly robbed a general store of Doraha and taken away a scooter and Rs 800 from near Shamshpur village under the Samrala police station.

The police has also claimed to have seized two country-made pistols and two knives, besides four stolen cars, from them. The number of one of the cars is 10-W-6624.

The SSP said the police had received an information that “the gangsters” were in the region and would visit the town. A police party led by the DSP, Mr Sushil Kumar, arrested these youths at a check post near Khatra village. The SSP said two other members of the gang, Bahadar Singh and Jassi, were still at large. The police has registered a case under Sections 392 and 34 of the IPC against them.



Spurious liquor kills supporter
Tribune News Service

Brundi (Ludhiana), January 24
The model code of conduct notwithstanding, liquor to woo voters continues to be distributed unabated in this district under the nose of election observers. Yesterday, a supporter of a Qila Raipur candidate died after consuming liquor that was, later, found to be spurious.

Dari Singh of Qila Raipur was coaxed by two persons, Jagtar Singh and Bhag Singh, into accompanying them to the house of an agent of one of the candidates at this small place, about 45 km from Ludhiana. Villagers say that Dari fell sick soon after consuming the liquor and died soon afterwards before he could be moved to hospital.

Agitated villagers insisted on a postmortem, but the body was cremated in spite of the protest. The candidate is known for supplying liquor at election times and the postmortem would have affected his election campaign. He is also being accused of supplying the other intoxicants on a large scale.



Project for urban poor takes off
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 24
The preliminary work of identification, survey, mapping and creating data base for an Indo-USAID joint project to improve access of services to urban poor in the city has nearly been completed and an action plan would be in place by April, 2002, for execution in two years. This was stated by Mr Lee Baker, Team Leader, Indo-USAID Financial Institutions Reform and Expansion (FIRE) Project, during an informal chat with mediapersons at Circuit House, here today.

The visiting team of USAID officials and consultants made a detailed presentation of their findings during the survey of slum areas before senior MC officials, including the Commissioner, Mr R.L. Kalsia, and the Additional Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma. Among other members of the team were Mr Nabaroon Bhattacharjee, Programme Manager and Regional Training Advisor, Ms Renu Sehgal, Regional Urban Development Officer, USAID, Ms Reena Khosla of the National Institute of Urban Affairs, Mr Alok Shiromany, Mr Chetan Vaidya, Mr Vijay Padmanabhan, Mr Ashwajit Singh, Ms Gitanjali and Mr E.V. Kumar.

Outlining the basic objects of the project, Mr Baker said these were support implementation of new accrual accounting system, explore development of water and sewerage projects with private sector participation, develop and implement World Bank Cities Alliance Programme to ensure access by the urban poor to environmental infrastructure services and support International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) in the development of programme to improve environmental management.

According to Mr Baker, the project for bringing basic services within reach of the urban poor has been launched in about two dozen cities all over India and Ludhiana is the only city to be covered under the project from this region. While the USAID provided financial help to civic bodies for technical assistance and training resources, the actual funding for the sewerage and water supply projects came from agencies like World Bank, HUDCO and private financial institutions.

Mr Kalsia, who coordinated the discussion, pointed out that the city, like all other industrial urban area, had peculiar problems of infrastructure and environment. The fast rate of growth and corresponding demand for infrastructure had led to a serious shortfall in basic amenities. The influx of labour population, coupled with lack of proper and economical housing facilities had given rise to a situation in which slums were mushrooming. According to MC records, the city has 182 slums, covering a population of around three lakh.

Stressing that the expansion of basic amenities for the slum population should be need based, the MC Commissioner also wanted the agencies, involved in the project to address the peculiar problem of another four to five lakh population, located at the fringe of the city and further the tendency among slumdwellers to shift from one colony, after it was developed, to other vacant areas around the city.

With the first phase of the project almost over, in the second phase to begin in next couple of months, 20 settlements were expected to be taken up on the basis of demonstrated willingness of the communities to contribute resources, consent to participate and availability of infrastructure under existing or the new water, sewerage and sanitation projects.

The industrial hub of Punjab also features among 400 cities in the world which would have Cities for Climate Protection Programme (CCP), sponsored by the Regional Urban Development Office for South Asia of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and coordinated worldwide by the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI). The CCP, slated to commence simultaneously with the project for the urban poor, will aim for collaboration to explore and find innovative and cost-effective solutions to environmental and urban management problems that also mitigate the emission of green house gases (GHGs).

According to Mr Kalsia, the programme, except for providing part- time technical staff and logistic support at the local level, will not entail any financial burden on the civic body and the entire funding for the two-year programme will be made by the USAID and the ICLEI. Under the project, the participants will develop GHG emission survey report for the city in order to formulate an environment and GHG reduction action plan and to initiate implementation of necessary measures for its execution.

Activities to be undertaken under the CCP programme over a period of two years would include an energy and emission analysis and forecast, formulation of an action plan that would identify appropriate measures and steps to be taken for implementation. The underlying purpose of the programme would be to improve energy efficiency in municipal buildings, street lighting or water treatment and pumping plants that results in cost savings of the local government. It would also evolve measures to increase energy efficiency in buildings and residences and such steps that improve air quality, in addition to addressing transportation and traffic problems and improvement in waste management.



Gill, Tejparkash, Libra file papers from Payal
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 24
Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh Gill, SAD (B) - BJP candidate, Mr Tejparkash Singh, Congress candidate and Mr Kirpal Singh Libra, Panthic Morcha candidate, today filed their nomination papers at the SDM’s office, Payal.

Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh, the joint alliance candidate reached the office of the SDM with a big convoy of vehicles. After reaching Payal, Mr Gill first addressed a rally that was largely attended by the panches and sarpanches of the surrounding villages. He expressed confidence of his party coming to power once again. He said, “I have got a very positive response from the people of the area.” Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister, Punjab, was also present on the occasion. Later followed by a large crowd, Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh Gill filed his nomination papers. Mr Bharpur Singh Rauni, Mr Tarlok Singh Jaggi, Mr S.P. Verma, Mr Hardev Singh Matharoo, Mr Jarnail Singh Shahpur and Master Labh Singh Dhamot were among the prominent persons of the area in support of Mr Gill. Jathedar Sadhu Singh Ghudani, MLA, Payal, was conspicuous by his absence.

The Congress Party on the other hand, led by Mr Tejparkash Singh, was in no way less to make a show of its strength and power. The Congress, too, had organised a rally before the filing of nominations in which Mr Tej Parkash Singh, son of late Mr Beant Singh, addressed a large gathering and expressed full confidence in his victory.

He said that the people are fed up with the present government and needed a healthy change, and the change was needed for the better and the Congress was the only way out. “The political crisis, the social, economical and moral injustice through which the state is passing can be resolved through a thoughtful decision for the voters.” He assured that after coming to power he would solve the problems of the people of the area. Later, accompanied by his son, Mr Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Mr Malkit Singh Dakha, Comrade Kartat Singh Buani, Mr Amrik Singh Rauni, Mr Lakha Singh Rauni, Mr Gurdial Singh Jallah, Mr Sudarshan Kumar Sharma, Mr Bant Singh Daburjee, Mr Gurmit Singh and many others, Mr Tej Parkash Singh filed his nominations.

Mr Kirpal Singh Libra, the candidate from the Panthic Morcha, filed his nomination papers today. Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, too, paid a visit at Payal today in this context.

Meanwhile, all the parties have opened their offices at Doraha, Payal and Maloud. Dividing their areas into separate zones the candidates are busy campaigning at Doraha, Payal, Kaddon, Dhamot, Maloud, Jarg, Rara Sahib and Rauni Siora villages covered under the Payal constituency. 



Former cop frames tenants 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 24
Mr Prem Kumar Jain, a resident of Deep Nagar, Civil Lines, has approached the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and demanded a high-level inquiry into a false case registered against him by a former policeman.

In a letter to the CM, copies of which have also been sent to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Governor, Punjab, DGP, Human Rights Commission and various newspapers, Mr Jain has stated that he has been a tenant of Mr Jagjit Singh Bedi who was a retired police employee. And for some time, a litigation has been going on between them over the possession of the rented house. He had also got stay orders from a court.

But he and other members of the family were stunned when on January 19, the police arrived at their house in the afternoon and scared away his three daughters and wife from the house. Two policemen were stationed in the outer room of the house after that. He came to know later that a case had been registered against them on January 17 at the Kailash Cinema police station under sections 341,342,386,384,506,323,148 and 149 of the IPC and that his brother , Dharam Pal, who lives in the nearby Chander Nagar, had already been arrested in connection with the case.

Mr Jain has further stated in the letter that following police action, he and his family have been compelled to run hither and thither in search of a shelter and his brother was being tortured by the police on the pretext of the false case registered against them.

Mr Jain has pleaded for a fair and impartial inquiry into the whole case to decide whether he and his family fit in the case in any way as claimed by the police. He further demanded that his family should be provided adequate security in view of the threats the family is still receiving from the former policeman.

He also said that his right to live in the house must be restored immediately and the false case registered against them quashed. A copy of an application submitted by Mr Jain to the SSP, Ludhiana, in this connection on January 21, has also been attached with the letter to the CM.



Elephant falls in sewer pit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
In a freak incident, a young elephant fell in a large sewer pit near Swaran Cinema, today afternoon. He was pulled out of the six-feet deep pit by a crane requested by Sherpur police post officials. The crane was called after the elephant owners, police and other persons failed to pull him out.

The elephant was in deep pain for about two hours. He suffered injuries but his owners took him away to some unknown place. The incident attracted a large number of people towards the sight. Crowd, consisting mostly of children, gathered at the place thus making the rescue work difficult.

The elephant was walking on the road and his owners were collecting alms when one of his rear legs fell into the pit. The elephant lost balance and in order to recover got his second rear leg stuck in the pit as well. 



Tenants injure owner’s sons
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 24
Three shopkeepers of a market near Cheema chowk allegedly attacked sons of the market owner and injured them seriously here yesterday. According to the information, Manoj and Ashu Kumar were seriously injured in the attack. Mr Vinod Kumar, father of the injured boys, owns a market near Cheema chowk and some of his tenants wanted to sub-let the shops against his wishes. On Tuesday night, the accused shopkeepers, along with some unknown persons, arrived at their residence in Civil Lines in two cars and used sticks and axes in the attack. Manoj Kumar fell unconscious on the spot as a result of the injuries. The alleged attackers managed to escape. A case has been registered.

Two held: The Jodhewal police on Tuesday arrested Shiv Kumar, a resident of Meharban village, and Vishwa Nath Thakur, a resident of Krishan Vihar Colony, on the charge of playing stereos in their auto-rickshaws on high volume and booked them under Section 345 of the Noise Pollution Act.

Beaten: The Division No 8 police has registered a case under Sections 323, 506 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Jaspal Chopra, a resident of Kundan Puri, against Pawan Kumar, and about five others. The complainant had alleged that the accused forced their way into his house and beat him up. The accused also threatened him of dire consequences before running away.

Woman injured: The Haibowal police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sunil Kumar, a resident of Kundan Puri, against a car driver, Suraj Kapila, a resident of Chander Nagar. The complainant alleged that the accused hit her wife, Jyoti, while she was going on foot in the Kundan Puri area on Tuesday. She has been admitted to the Civil Hospital.



4 booked for forgery
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 24
Acting on a complaint lodged with the Senior Superintendent of Police here by Narinder Singh Sethi, owner of Sethi Steel Industry, the police has registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC for cheating and forgery against Ashish Kumar Aggarwal ‘Banti’, a resident of Nai Abadi at Khanna, Omparkash and Subash Kumar, residents of Mandi Gobindgarh, and Sheru, a resident of Sirhind.

The complainant said his factory had been closed on April 1, 1999, and he had informed the Sales Tax Department of Punjab about it. Some person had been using his sales tax number (46486110) on bill books to send trucks loaded with iron to the other states in his name. He had received an information that on January 21, 2001, such a truck had been held up at Zirakpur barrier, following which, he had informed the Sales Tax Commissioner of Patiala, the Sales Tax Director of Patiala and the Excise and Taxation Officer of Khanna that this was not his truck. He alleged that many such trucks were being sent in his name.

The SSP had asked the SP (Operation), Mr Ram Singh, to take up the inquiry, on the basis of which, the police was directed to register a case against the four accused. The truck that was held up at Zirakpur barrier (HR-37-A-8531) is still there. The driver had a bill, number 48, dated July 19, 2001, for Rs 2,73,546 in the name of Tyagi Steel Corporation of Gaziabad (UP). The complainant said he had never sent any such truck outside the state.

Mr Sethi said he had received a list from the assessing authority of Khanna that showed he had sent out 41 trucks carrying material worth Rs 88,32,954. He said he knew nothing about these trucks and another such list had also been pending with the authority.

The total material sent to the other states in his name by forging documents, signatures and bill books comes to about Rs 2 crore, according to Mr Sethi. 



1 held for forging vehicle documents
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 24
The police arrested Gurcharan Singh, alias Kishore, and recovered an Indica car from him. According to a press note issued here today by Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, DSP, a police party arrested Gurcharan Singh, alias Kishore, a resident of Mandi Gobindgarh, along with the Indica car (Pb-23B-9829) with fake documents. The police has registered a case against the accused under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B, IPC.

The police said that the accused had confessed that he had been preparing fake documents of vehicles, and on the basis of the fake documents the vehicle were got financed and disposed of to customers.

The police said that the accused doing this business along with his partner, Madan Lal, alias Jatinder, a resident of Delhi. 



DC office man held for  accepting bribe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
The local unit of the Vigilance Bureau has arrested a senior assistant in the office of the Deputy Commissioner on the charge of taking a bribe from a resident of Bhattian village.

According to SP (Vigilance) R.P.S. Bajwa, DSP Gurjeet Singh Romana nabbed Avtar Singh red-handed when he was accepting a bribe of Rs 600 from Charan Singh of Bhattian village for providing a copy of certain documents relating to revenue records.

The bribe money was recovered from the pocket of the accused.

A case has been registered against the accused.


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