Saturday, February 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cricket gambling returns in big way
5 bookies held; cash, diaries, tapes recovered
Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The arrest of five bookies from a house near the Subhani building by the CIA wing-II team of the local police is fast emerging as a tip of the iceberg of the widespread network of bookies and punters having their head office in Dubai, suspectedly managed by gang members of wanted criminal Dawood Ibrahim.

The arrests have also brought to limelight that cricket gambling , which was well spread three years ago in the city, has returned, and that, too, in a bigger form.

Five alleged bookies were caught red-handed while gambling on the India-England One-Day International in a house by the police. All the accused belonged to upper middle class section of society.

The police recovered Rs 1.20 lakh from their possession, besides three mobile sets through which the bookies used to operate, some diaries and tapes.

The raid was conducted on information received by a high level police officer of the district. Sub Inspector Rajesh Kumar carried out the raid and succeeded in arresting five persons. They have been identified as Devinder Kumar alias Kala, Ravinder Kumar, Jatinder Kumar, Pardeep Kumar and Jaswinder Singh.

The recovery of some diaries from the possession of the alleged bookies in which the names of hundreds of punters and bookies belonging to different parts of the state and several cities in the North India, including New Delhi, were written is a big achievement for the Ludhiana police. This could lead to the arrest of several other key players in the illegal business.

Highly-placed police sources revealed that the arrests were sensational and could lead to an organised gang of bookies having connections all over the country and abroad.

Sources disclosed that while the diaries were filled with numbers and alphabets recorded in coded language to avoid identification, the tapes containing the voice of the punters and the other bookies were the strongest evidence found by the police so far.

Police sources said that it was for the first time that the police has come across such tapes. The accused told the police that they had recently started tape-recording the bets as it gave them evidence of the deals so that no one could backtrack later on.

‘‘We have identified some of the key players,’’ disclosed a senior police official to the Ludhiana Tribune.

Giving details, he said some of the key players were rich industrialists of the city while others were doing some business for name only but their real business was cricket betting only.

He said the links estbalished so far said the main connections were in Jalandhar, Delhi and Dubai.

SSP Harpreet Singh Sidhu said the CIA wing police led by DSP Manjit Singh Dhesi was questioning the accused and the police hoped to expose the entire racket soon.

It may be recalled here that the bookies were made to leave the city or stop their activities after the name of a senior police official involved in betting had come up during police investigations in the wake of investigations related to the match-fixing scandal exposed by Delhi police a couple of years ago.

The involvement of some police officials was always stated as the reason for the flourishing of the illegal trade in the city.

Some bookies had, however, returned later on as a deal was allegedly struck between the bookies and some cops.

Since then not much was heard and it was generally claimed by the police that the betting was not organised in the city. The recent arrests contest the police claim.

According to reliable information, the police knows that an enterprising city resident hailing from Model Town and another from Tagore Nagar along with a famous woollen mill owner were the key players but they still escaped the police net. Sources said it remains to be seen whether the police will reach the key players now.



Raid that was for money alone
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, February 1
It was around 5 pm on Wednesday that about a dozen auto-drivers decided to have a ‘game’ of ‘mang patta’ or card-calling in one of the parks in the Urban Estate area on the Chandigarh road. The game got off to a brisk start and a couple of luckier guys started raking in the stakes.

But it was their sheer bad luck that they had a couple of ‘touts’ or informers among them who were obviously keen on making some money for themselves. So one of them left the ‘game’ for a while to inform a cop roaming in the area. As the cop was alone at that time and could not handle a dozen gamblers as such, he rushed to the Focal Point police station and came back with a bunch of his colleagues eager to make some fast buck.

Soon the police party swooped on the gambling party. While others were quickly nabbed, one of the gamblers took to his heels. Once on the road, he started pleading with a motorcyclist for a lift. But a cop chasing him on a scooter got hold of him and gave him a bit of beating and the man started emptying his pockets at once.

In the meanwhile, other gamblers were asked to part with the money on their persons which they readily did. About Rs 3,000 in all.

But in spite of the ‘jama talashi’ taken by the cops, a couple of gamblers managed to salvage some money which they had already ‘concealed’ in their clothings. But the cops were not satisfied with what they had got. So they ordered the gamblers to pay another Rs 250 per head the next day. All of them agreed to comply with the demand. And for the sake of convenience, the cops assigned the job of collecting the ‘fine’ to one of the gamblers who is reportedly close to the cops and is suspected to be police tout by other auto-drivers.

Apart from the money, one of the gamblers was also deprived of silver ornaments by one of the gambling party. At the sight of the cops, the panicked man had passed on the packet containing the ornaments to another gambler who he thought would be able to save it from falling in the hands of the cops. But the man later claimed that he had thrown the packet into a grassy patch in the park from where it could not be found later.

By last evening, the auto-driver assigned the task of collecting the ‘fine’ from the gamblers had collected the amount from all with the exception of one who claimed that he had made the payment directly to the cop concerned.



4 students hurt as roof caves in
Angry villagers blame school staff
Tribune News Service

Bhattian (Ludhiana), February 1
Four schoolchildren and three women of Bhattian village, near the war museum, were injured when the roof on which they were attending a class along with 22 students collapsed. The children were sitting on the roof of the house of a teacher, Ms Balbir Kaur, who escaped with minor injuries.

The teacher said the class was organised by the Seva Bharti Kendra in the evening for village children. On Wednesday at 6.15 pm, the roof first creaked and then collapsed. Twenty-two children and the teacher fell down on two women, who were working in a room on the ground floor.

The injured have been admitted to a nearby hospital. All of them received injuries on head and other parts of the body. Their condition is now reported to be stable.

The injured have been identified as Balbir Kaur, Raman, Raji Rani, Parneet Kaur and Sucha Singh.

Bhajan Singh, a student, who was also attending the class, said first there was some noise and then the roof suddenly collapsed.

When a Ludhiana Tribune team visited the village this morning, there was anger among villagers against the school staff.

Accusing them of being responsible for the incident, Mr Sarwan Kumar, a member of the panchayat, said villagers had tried to convince school staff to allow them to hold classes in the school but the Principal did not permit them. The panchayat has decided to approach the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, in this regard.

The Principal, Ms Kanta Devi, was not available for comments as she had proceeded on medical leave. Ms Usha Sidhu, District Education Officer, was also not available for comments.



Hyderabad unit gets waste disposal project
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 1
The Municipal Corporation has finally awarded the project for the bio-medical waste disposal facility to a Hyderabad firm. After appraisal of the technical and financial bids of more than half a dozen companies, the rates, offered by Medicare Incin Hyderabad, were found to be the lowest. With the finance and contracts committee of the MC having given its nod, a formal agreement would be signed for commencement of the work in the next couple of days.

Giving this information, the MC Commissioner Mr R.L. Kalsia, told the Ludhiana Tribune that the firm would set up a common facility for treatment and disposal of bio-medical waste, generated in the city hospitals and nursing homes, as well as neighbouring areas, strictly according to the provisions laid down in the Bio Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998.

The MC would allot an acre of land in Jamalpur area for the project on long lease against an annual lease money of Rs Two lakh and would also be entitled to collect service charge at the rate of 10 paise per bed per day for treatment and disposal of bio-medical waste.

According to Mr S.K. Sharma, Additional Commissioner, who has been handling the project since its inception, city hospitals and nursing homes had an estimated strength of 7000 indoor beds, which would be covered under the project. The hospitals and nursing homes would have to make a payment of Rs 2.70 per bed per day for safe disposal of waste.

In addition, the project would also deal with the bio-medical waste generated by other institutions like clinical laboratories, blood banks, veterinary hospitals, clinics and slaughter houses. For the purpose of calculation, 1 kg of waste would be taken as a unit equivalent to one bed.

While no transportation charges would be allowed to the firm for collection of bio-medical waste from hospitals and nursing homes within the municipal limits and within a radius of 25 km from the project site, transportation charges of 50 paise and Rs 1 per bed would be payable by the respective institutions for a distance of up to 100 km and beyond 100 km, respectively.

Mr Sharma said as per the technical bid submitted by the successful bidder, the Hyderabad-based company proposed to install an incinerator of 100 kg per hour capacity, an autoclave and a shredder.

Having sufficient experience in proper treatment and safe disposal of bio-medical waste, the company had a running facility for bio-medical waste disposal at Hyderabad, which was handling around 6000-bed capacity spread over 300 hospitals in the southern mega polis.



Akalis fight it out in streets, literally
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The ongoing war between two Akali factions led by party vice-president Amarjit Singh Bhatia and the acting district president, Avtar Singh Makkar, who is also the party candidate from Ludhiana west, took an ugly turn today when both of them fought on the streets, literally.

Yesterday the Model Town police registered a case against Mr Charanjit Singh Pannu, nephew of Mr Bhatia, on a compliant filed by Mr Makkar that he (Mr Pannu) had attacked his office with a motive to harm him in the Model Town area. The police reportedly went to the residence of Mr Pannu. However, he was not arrested.

Today in the morning, the police reportedly summoned Mr Pannu to the police station. Although he was not arrested, the security provided to him was withdrawn. Meanwhile, Mr Bhatia accompanied by hundreds of supporters rushed to the Model Town police station to court arrest to protest the registration of “false case” against his nephew. Other Akali leaders, including Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, who is contesting from Ludhiana rural and former minister, Mr Jagdev Singh Tajpuri, also went to the police to pacify Mr Bhatia for withdrawing the dharna.

Mr Bhatia broke down before newsmen alleging that Mr Makkar had hatched a conspiracy to defame him. He claimed for the last two days he had not entered the Ludhiana west constituency as he was busy campaigning for Mr Aliwal in Ludhiana rural assembly segment.

He was insisting upon the police officials to arrest him also as that only could gratify Mr Makkar. He disclosed that he had urged the Chief Minister and the party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to send him out of Ludhiana for campaigning to avoid such a situation.

Mr Aliwal and Mr Tajpuri, while urging Mr Bhatia to lift the dharna, told him that it was “the internal issue of the party and should be solved within the family”. Later, both of them went to Mr Makkar to convince him to withdraw the complaint so that the FIR is cancelled. However, it could not be known what transpired between them.

On the other hand Mr Makkar told reporters at a hurriedly convened press conference that Mr Bhatia was using his influence to threaten him. He claimed that yesterday at around 11 p.m Mr Pannu accompanied by two youths and three gunmen descended on his office in front of the Model Town gurdwara and started threatening his son, Mr Tejinderpal Singh, and other party workers.

Since the gunmen were carrying weapons, Mr Makkar claimed, his son and others fled for their life.

He said that his son had already identified one of the gunmen, who had come to their party office.

He alleged that Mr Pannu abused his son and threatened him that his office would soon be closed down. Mr Makkar said he tried to contact the Senior Superintendent of Police and the DIG, but none of them was available. The police registered an FIR only in the morning today. However, it did not arrest Mr Pannu.

Mr Makkar said that he had already informed Mr Badal about the developments. He stated that he was only waiting for Mr Badal’s directions.

He refuted the allegations that he was doing it deliberately for defaming Mr Bhatia. “Why should I?”, he asked, while adding,” I had no other way since they had threatened my son and other party workers”.

Mr Bhatia, who has distanced himself from the party campaign in Ludhiana west was persuaded by the Chief Minister recently.

However, instead of campaigning in Ludhiana west, he opted for Ludhiana rural. Today he said he regretted that his decision to stay back in Ludhiana, “when I had pleaded with Mr Badal to give me an assignment anywhere outside Ludhiana”.



Chances of violence increase as tempers run high
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The frustration level among candidates and supporters is rising fast, pointing towards heightened possibilities of poll violence in the district. Directives from the party high commands notwithstanding, internecine conflicts are on the rise if Friday’s incident involving two senior Akali leaders of the city is any indication.

Personnel attacks are on the rise. Friday’s incident involving alleged threats and intimidation by Mr Charanjit Singh Pannu, a nephew of Akali Dal (Badal) vice-president, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, to supporters and family members of Akali Dal’s Ludhiana west candidate, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, leading to registration of a case against the former group, is an indicator on things to come.

On earlier occasions, the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) and Congress workers have clashed on the issue of alleged corruption in Issa Nagar area. Armed with swords, rods and sticks the two sides preferred to fight it out on the streets rather than wait for the poll day. On the Republic Day the BJP and Congress workers again clashed in the Kidwai Nagar area when the Congress candidate from the area Mr Surinder Dawar alleged that sitting BJP MLA and Deputy Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha, Mr Satpal Gosain, was intervening to ensure that the Congress supporters were deprived of voting cards.

Tempers are not only running high among leaders and workers of different political parities, Ludhiana Rural candidate of the Akali Dal, Mr Amrik Singh Ahliwal, and another local leader Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, who was a prospective candidate from this constituency, have also had a duel forcing Mr Dhillon to abandon canvassing for Mr Ahliwal and helping out Mr Makkar instead.

Contrary to the belief that Ludhiana, comprises civilised and educated residents, being a successful industrial and educational hub, 43 per cent polling booths in this district have been classified as sensitive, according to district election office here. Out of a total of 2,140 polling booths, 905 polling booths are being dubbed as sensitive, out of which 254 are being closely watched after being put in the “very sensitive” category. For these special security and administrative measures have been proposed.

The District Election Officer and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, is personally keeping a close watch on the law and order situation and says “arrangements are being made to ensure that no illegality is committed during the polling process. He said any undesirable activity would be dealt with firmly”.

With the election scene virtually turning into a prolonged feast, possibilities among the inebriated supporters in constituencies like Qila Raipur have further increased. This constituency that elected Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal during the last state Assembly elections in 1997, surprisingly has the largest number of “very sensitive” polling booths, which is being put at 57, besides an additional 34 sensitive polling booths here.

Reasons for further concern in this constituency include the past reputation of the ruling party candidate, who along with close aids is making an all out bid to retain his seat. Qila Raipur is the most keenly watched seat in the district with the Akali, Congress and Panthic Morcha candidates locked in a stiff fight. There are allegation that a large number of people from neighbouring states have been requisitioned by some of the candidates to try ulterior methods in view of any perceptible wave going against them.

Similarly, the Ludhiana Rural segment, which has over three lakh voters and is the largest constituency in the district, has 114 sensitive and 30 very sensitive polling booths. The Ludhiana East constituency has 28 very sensitive and 65 sensitive polling booths, where as Ludhiana West that elected former minister, Maheshinder Singh Grewal in the last elections has only one very sensitive along with 98 other booths that have been classified as sensitive.

Dakha (reserve) constituency has 41 very sensitive and 48 sensitive, Raikot 38 very sensitive and 17 sensitive, while Payal assembly segment has 91 sensitive booths. According to Mr Sandhu, out of 19,24,994 voters in the district, over 12 lakh voters have been provided with photo identity cards, which according the district administration will go a long way in curbing bogus voting.



Tighter security for Amarinder
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, February 1
The Punjab Government has tightened the security cover of Capt Amarinder Singh, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, and is being termed as ‘Z’ security. A Superintendent of Police (SP) has been given the charge of security of the PPCC Chief. According to sources close to the Punjab Government, the security of Capt Amarinder Singh has been beefed up following directions from central intelligence agency.

The in charge of the security of Capt Amarinder Singh has been asked to coordinate with the district police headquarters during his election tour in Punjab.

During his visit to the districts, Capt Amarinder Singh is being provided with one pilot car and an escort car along with about a dozen police personnel. The district Health authorities have also been providing a medical team with an ambulance.

The security granted to Capt Amarinder Singh is the same as that of Mr Parkash Singh Badal before he became Chief Minister five years ago.

At present, Mr Badal has NSG commandos on his security, which are being provided to five to six political leaders of the country, including Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta.

Capt Amarinder Singh has been quite vocal against terrorism in the past and during his election rallies he has been pleading the cause of police officers who are facing trial for alleged violation of human rights in Punjab.



Farmers will suffer if Cong returns: CM
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 1
The farming Community will suffer if the Congress comes to power in next Assembly elections. They will face problems in selling their produce, said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, at a rally organised at Guru Amar Dass Market here in favour of the SAD candidate, Mrs Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, today.

He termed the Congress as a leaderless party without any programme. Criticising leaders of the Panthic Morcha, he said they were fighting for their own interests and not for the Panth. He criticised the role of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann during the period of terrorism.

At the end of his speech, he thanked sitting MLA Bachan Singh Cheema for showing solidarity with the party by withdrawing his nomination papers in favour of the official candidate.

The rally was also addressed by Mr Avtar Singh Hit, president, DGPC, Mrs Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, candidate for the Khanna Assembly constituency, Mr Bachan Singh Cheema, MLA, Khanna, Mr Daya Singh, president, Akali Dal Ludhiana district, Mr Major Singh Pallah, President SAD Khanna Rural, Gurcharan Singh Raikhy, President SAD Urban Khanna, Mr Vijay Diamond, Mr Vijay Sharma, Mr Mohinderpal Jassal and Mr Iqbal Singh, all councillors, and Mr Raghbir Singh Badla of the Bahujan Smaj Morcha.


Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, appealed to the voters to opt for the SAD-BJP-BSM candidate Mr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, for the Amloh (Reserve) Assembly seat at an election rally at Grain Market here on Friday.

Jathedar Swaran Singh Chinarthal, district president, SAD, appealed to the people to defeat the Congress in the forthcoming elections. Mr Avtar Singh Lataur, President, Bahujan Samaj Morcha, blamed the Congress for the condition of Dalits. Mr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, MLA, Shutrana, now contesting from Amloh, said he had been a disciplined soldier of the Akali Dal. He promised to reside here to redress the problems of the people of the constituency.

Among others who addressed the gathering were Mr Harinder Singh Sidhu, district president, BJP, Jathedar Amar Singh Nalini and Mr Karamjit Singh Paghrana, vice-president, Karamchari Dal.



SAD activist joins Congress
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
The Election campaign of Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Congress candidate for the Payal Assembly seat in this district, got a shot in the arm when a senior leader of the Panthic Morcha, Mr Pritpal Singh Bishanpura, former general secretary, Youth Akali Dal, and vice-president of the district unit of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, Khanna, along with hundreds of party functionaries and workers, joined the Congress and declared his support for Mr Tej Parkash Singh.

Welcoming the new entrants to the party, Mrs Parneet Kaur said during these elections a clear wave was visible in favour of the Congress in all parts of the state and the party would win with absolute majority. She blamed the SAD-BJP government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal for ruining the state economy and promoting corruption at all levels.

She pointed out that the weaker sections had been completely ignored during the SAD-BJP ‘misrule’. She appealed to the voters of the Payal constituency to vote for the late Beant Singh’s son as a tribute to his martyrdom.

Mr Tej Parkash Singh welcomed Mr Bishanpura into the party and said this party alone could provide peace and stability to the state. The Congress had always taken concrete steps for the upliftment of farmers and weaker sections.

He blamed the Akali government for ignoring development works in the Payal constituency during the past five years.



Tarksheel chief’s body given for research
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
Family members of Krishan Lal Bargari, president, Tarksheel Society, donated Krishan’s body to the Anatomy Department, Christian Medical College and Hospital, for scientific study, teaching and research.

On January 27 at Bargari village in Faridkot district a condolence meeting was held in the memory of Krishan Bargari. Among others who present on the occasion were the Associate Director of the CMC, Dr J. Jacob, Prof Tejinder Singh, Dean, Undergraduate Studies, Prof John Promod, Deputy Medical Superintendent and Registrar, Dr Jaideep J. Rayapudi of the Department of Physiology and Prof Molly Paul, Head, Department of Anatomy and Human Genetics.

Dr Jacob while addressing the gathering said the donation of his body for medical studies was greater than all deeds he had done in his life since thousands would benefit from the hundreds of medical graduates learning from the body. He praised the bravery, courage and good decision of the members of the society and the family.

He also received legal commitments from Mr Randhir Gillpatti and Mr Vijay Bhatt, both residents of Bhatinda, who pledged to donate their bodies for research.

Professor Paul asked the society to rise up against the various injustices towards women like female foeticide, bride burning or dowry death, illiteracy and discrimination at work.

A blood donation camp was also organised. The camp was inaugurated by Dr Jacob.



Civic staff vow to oppose ruling combine
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
In a significant move, all unions of the Punjab Municipal Workers Federation (INTUC) have decided to extend their whole-hearted support to the Congress candidates in the Assembly poll in view of the total failure of the SAD-BJP government to deliver the goods.

An emergency meeting of the executive committee of the federation held here under the chairmanship of Mr Tarsem Lal observed that government and civic employees had been given a raw deal, corruption had reached a new high with posts in Local Bodies being openly sold and new posts not being sanctioned. It further noted that the populist step of abolition of octroi had only pleased a small chunk of big industrial houses, while the financial position of civic bodies had gone topsy-turvy.

Speaking at an election rally of the Congress candidate from Ludhiana West, Mr Harnam Das Johar, a member of the PPCC Media Committee, Mr Manjit Singh Malerkotla, charged the ruling combine with pushing the state under a heavy debt burden during its tenure. The wrong and short sighted economic policies pursued by the government had led to severe recession among trade and industry and virtual ruination of the farming community. Mr K.K. Bawa, president, DCC (U), and the PPCC General Secretary, Mr Ashok Parashar, also addressed the meeting.

The SAD nominee from Ludhiana Rural, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, visited several villages, including Rania, Alamgir, Sarinh, Bulara, Jaspal Bangar, Harnampura, Dugri, Jawaddi and Punjab Mata Nagar, in his constituency to make contact with voters. Mr Aliwal claimed that besides his own party ranks, the BJP workers were also working to mobilise support for him.

Mr Hira Singh Gabria, Panthic Morcha candidate from Ludhiana Rural, opened a number of election offices throughout the segment and addressed a series of meetings at the Gurpal Nagar, Daba Road, Kot Mangal Singh, Simlapuri, Dhandari Kalan, Ram Nagar, Neelam Road, Shahid Karnail Singh Nagar and Vishwakarma Colony localities. He gave a call to the electorate to defeat the Congress and the SAD-BJP, both of which were enemies of Punjab.

The SAD candidate from the Dakha segment, Mr Darshan Singh Shivalik, has claimed of enthusiastic response from the electorate. He was weighed against coins at a function organised by the Bhai Daya Singh Nagar Welfare Society and against ‘laddoos’ at another function held at Humbran Bazaar. He asked for support of the electorate in the name of massive development activities undertaken by the SAD-BJP government.

The Congress Seva Dal would not only go door to door seeking support for the Congress candidates but also strive to mobilise old party workers or those who were, for various reasons, had not so far joined active campaigning. This was stated by the chief organiser of the dal, Mr Sushil Parashar, while addressing a meeting in the Ludhiana North segment at the residence of the district president, Mr Kuldip Singh Kukkoo. The volunteers carrying flags, banners and placards later marched through several localities in the area to campaign for Mr Rakesh Pandey, the party candidate.

The All-India Sikh Students Federation (Sandhu group) has termed the poll as a choice between the SAD-BJP combine, which had ushered the state in a new era of development and prosperity and the Congress, which pushed Punjab into a turmoil.

In a statement, the AISSF president, Mr Tejinder Singh Sandhu, observed that the ruling combine had achieved in less than five years which the successive Congress government failed to do in 45 years. “The electorate could never support the Congress, which was responsible for 1984 riots and Army action at the Golden Temple”. He also criticised the Panthic Morcha, saying the group of parties had no programme and policies of its own but the self-styled leaders, rejected by the masses, had got together in order to provide political benefit to the Congress.

Meanwhile, the Guru Gobind Singh Sewak Jatha has made an appeal to the voters to reject all such candidates, who either consumed intoxicants or made attempts to influence the electorate by distribution of liquor or other intoxicating substances during the elections. Its president, Mr Kartar Singh Garib, said use of tobacco, liquor and other narcotic substances was a big social evil and those making free distribution of these items for political benefits were enemies of the humanity in general and the Sikh community in particular.



Historic site in utter neglect
Mahesh Sharma

Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, February 1
At the historical site where 35,000 Sikhs were massacred by Ahmed Shah Abdali’s forces on February 5, 1762, stands a pennant erected on a mound formed amidst ruins.

“Bara ghallughara”, as is known in the local dialect, is situated at Rohira, 3 km from Ahmedgarh towards east. The natural monument stands concealed under a canopy of acalia trees. Even the SAD government did little towards according the place the status of national monument.

Giani Ram Singh Kartarpurwale (Damdami Taksal), when contacted, gave information based on the writings of historian Guru Partap Suraj and Rattan Singh Bhangu.

On February 4, Abdali directed the Nawab of Sirhind to attack the Sikhs at Kup Rohira from the east. Ammunition and ration of the Sikhs was stored at Guram village and they were surrounded from three sides. Eleven Sikh confederacies were compelled to face 22 Afghan armies constituting 2.5 lakh soldiers. Contrary to expectations of the Sikhs, Baba Alla Singh joined the Afghans. Sikhs were aware of the fact that their strength was too small to combat the Afghan army, yet they chose to face bullets.

Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Charat Singh and Shukracharya showed unmatched valour and patience. So skillful was Charat Singh in the art of shooting that he was assisted by five persons for loading guns.

Unfortunately, Abdali succeeded in attacking from the rear. A large number of Sikhs sacrificed their lives in the battlefield and a small portion reached Hathur by sunset. At least 10,000 children were burnt alive by the enemy when they were hiding in a desolate grassland near Mooma Gehlan.

Historian Noordeen Bilouch wrote that even Abdali was impressed by the valour of Sikhs. It is unfortunate that such an important historic place has become a pasture for cattle. Sant Fateh Singh erected the pennant there in 1962 with the efforts of Baba Kehar Singh Musafir.

In 1967, Mr Gurmukh Singh, a renowned industrialist of Ludhiana, took the initiative to renovate the place and Baba Santa Singh of the Budha Dal took charge in 1974, which was handed over to a committee formed by the ‘Sangat’ of the area. Though Jathedar Kirpal Singh Bhawanigarh has once again started Kar Seva under the guidance of Baba Sant Singh Tarantaran Wale, the ‘Sangat’ wants the state government to take up the matter with the Union Government.



Syal says he’ll return 980 crore to investors
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 1
The Chairman and Managing Director of Golden Forest, R.K. Syal, said his company owed Rs 980.14 crore to 24,65,231 investors, besides a Rs 22,500 lakh interest on this investment calculated at a rate of 8 per cent per annum. Mr Syal gave these details to a consumer court here today and said he had already given these detail to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

After his appearance in the consumer court, Mr Syal said he was to get Rs 360 crore from the Punjab Government for declaring his 3,000 acres as surplus under the Punjab Land Reform Act of 1972. He also said he would get Rs 75 crore compensation from the Uttaranchal Government for declaring 750 acres as surplus.

Syal has also agreed to pay the principal amount plus the 8 per cent interest to investors. He gave this statement to the President of the Consumer Forum-II here today. There are 279 cases against the company and the next hearing will be on April 2.

In spite of the statement of Syal, a number of investors of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chandigarh, said they had approached the court in the hope of a quick justice, but that seemed to be a distant dream now, with the increasing number of petitions against the company that were pending in the High Court. They will get their dues only after the decision of the High Court.

Salma, a 45-year-old city resident, said the company had failed to return Rs 31,250 deposited by her son, Mr Shekander Ali, which had made life even more difficult for her, as her husband had died in 1978.

Another investor, Mr Vinod Kumar, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, said, at every hearing, he had to spend more than Rs 1,000 on travelling and other expenses and there were about 40 more such investors from his place. The cheques issued by the company had been dishonoured



Printer’s devil spells misery for him
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, February 1
Imagine the plight of a person who has been receiving over 50 calls daily for the past six months, seeking enquiries from the railway reservation service. The fault of Subhash Chander is that his telephone number has been misprinted in the Tata Press Yellow Pages, Ludhiana, 2001-2002.

Subhash Chander has a karyana shop at Chowk Mali Ganj, Old Sabzi Mandi. His telephone number (740540) has been printed by mistake on page number 9 of Tata Yellow Pages for enquires on railway reservation.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, Subhash Chander said. “I am being punished for no fault of mine. For over five to six months, I have been getting phone calls from people enquiring about railway reservations. I keep telling them that this number belongs to me and it has been misprinted in the directory. But some refuse to listen and threaten me with dire consequences”.

Subhash Chander said earlier he took the calls lightly as they did not interfere with his work. “But now this nuisance is getting on my nerves. At times we feel very awkward arguing with the people on the telephone because they just refuse to believe us. At times, our customers are neglected because of these non-stop calls”, he laments.

One of the attendants at the shop said: “People call at our number and ask about the arrival and departure timings of different trains. Others seek information on railway reservation. We try to argue with them and tell them about the mistake, but they blame us for this mistake instead”.

Subhash Chander said he had lodged a complaint about the mistake with the Yellow Pages authorities about two months ago. “They merely said they were sorry for the inconvenience but could not do much about it as the directory had already been published and distributed in the city. They said the error would be rectified in the next issue, but that is not the solution to my problem. They have told me to get my number changed. That is not acceptable to me. First, the procedure will be too long and second I have foreign buyers and to contact all of them will not be possible”.

Several attempts were made to get the version of the Branch Manager, Tata Yellow Pages, but in vain.



Beauty contest today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
Herbal Glow, a Delhi-based company in skin, hair and bodycare products will organise a “Herbal Glow Beauty Queen Punjab” contest at Guru Nanak Bhavan on February 2.

Ms Malini Jain, marketing manager and beauty counsellor, addressing a press conference here today, said over 20 participants from the state would participate in the event. The winners will be crowned by former Ms India and Chandrakanta fame cinestar Shikha Swaroop. The contest will be held during an “advanced beauty workshop” for professional cosmetologist and beauticians. At the workshop, modern management and techniques in the beauty business will be discussed as well as new therapies for various beauty problems demonstrated.

Mr Kishor Thakkar, a make-up artist, will demonstrate. Over 1000 professional cosmetologists and beauticians will participate in the workshop.

Mr Prashant Kumar, CEO, news communications, said this contest was one of its kind and would help the youngsters who wish to opt for the show biz as their career. He said over 100 entries were received for the competition out of which 20 contestants had been shortlisted.



Eye donation getting popular among villagers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
After 10 years of hard work and motivation, villagers of the district have now started considering eye donation as a cause of selfless service towards humanity.

Recently, Eye Bank Mansuran received two eyes after the demise of Sudagar Singh, a resident of Kado village, Payal Tehsil.

Both the eyes of Sudagar Singh were donated due to motivation by his elder brother, Mr Nazar Singh, a social leader. Mr Nazar Singh has been working for the needy people.



I’m neutral, says Baba
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The International Shiromani Sant Khalsa Foundation, Dhaki Sahib, has clarified that it has not announced its support for any particular candidate or political party. Referring to reports that the foundation head, Baba Darshan Singh, had declared his support for the Panthic Morcha, a press note said that there was no such appeal.

It said a religious congregation was organised at Kila Raipur on January 30 at which leaders of different political parties participated. Baba Darshan Singh said it was a purely religious function at which people were told to follow the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib.

Baba Darshan Singh maintained that he was politically neutral. He said leaders of all political parties had been approaching him.



PCCTU plea to CEC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
Demanding allocation of election duties in commensurate with status and scales for the non-government college teachers, the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU) has written to Ms Usha Sharma, Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab. Prof K.B.S. Sodhi, President, PCCTU, said the teachers in the selection scale have been put on subordinate positions to bureaucrats of lower grades.



Fire in shop
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 1
A fire broke out in a shop, Tihare Walia Di Hatti, at Lajpat Rai Road, here last night.

The fire was noticed by passers-by, who informed neighbours. The cause of the fire is believed to be a short circuit.



Official held on graft charge
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
On the directions of Mr R.P.S.Bajwa, SP, Vigilance, Mr Gurjit Singh, DSP, arrested Avtar Singh, a senior assistant with the district administration, on charge of accepting Rs 600 as bribe for issuing a duplicate copy of a land mutation yesterday.

Mr Charan Singh, a resident of Bhattian village, had approached the Vigilance Bureau with the information that the officer was demanding a bribe. Mr Surinder Singh, SDO, Sidhwan Canal, Ludhiana, and Mr Rattan Lal, Superintendent, District Revenue Office, were the prosecution witnesses.

Six booked: The Model Town police has booked six persons on charge of taking possession of a plot by force on Wednesday.

On the complaint of Mr Jawahar Joshi, a resident of Dashmesh Nagar, that his plot on the Dhandra road had been occupied by certain persons who had also allegedly stolen some furniture and other household goods. The police registered a case against Gurvinder Singh, Surinder Kumar and four others.

Dowry case: The Civil Lines police station has registered a dowry harassment case on the statement of Ms Rachna Devi, a resident of Railway Colony No. 7, against her husband, Jagdish Kumar, mother-in-law, Preeti, and brother-in-law, Bhajan Kumar, all residents of Mohalla Nihang Kotla, Ropar.

The complainant had alleged that the accused frequently harassed her for bringing ‘insufficient’ dowry.

Fraud case: The Civil Lines police station has registered a case of fraud on the complaint of Ms Kanchan Goyal, a resident of Mall Road, against Sudarshan Arora, a resident of Durga Puri, Haibowal, under Section 420 of the IPC. The complainant had alleged that the accused had obtained a loan from Indian Overseas Bank’s branch at Civil Lines and issued some cheques in order to pay back the loan in instalments. But the cheques were dishonoured by the bank.

Beaten up: The Sarabha Nagar police station has registered a case of beating and intimidation on the statement of Mr Harinder Singh, a resident of Sarabha Nagar, against Jagdish Kaur, a resident of Aggar Nagar, Suresh Kumar, Naresh Kumar and Raj Kumar, all residents of Sarabha Nagar, Jaswinder Singh and others. The complainant had alleged that the accused forced their way into his house, indulged in damaging his household goods and injured him seriously in the attack.



Forest guard murdered
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 1
A forest guard, Lakhwinder Singh of Kalsian village, was found murdered under mysterious circumstances near Sidhwan Bet this morning.

The police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC. According to Mr Gonda Singh, the victim’s wife informed him that her husband had not returned from the duty. He along with others went to locate the guard and found the body bearing injury marks near the bridge. The police has started investigations.


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