Wednesday, February 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bank staff detects fraud in demand drafts
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
The alertness of employees of the State Bank of India, Civil Lines branch, has unearthed a scandal worth crores of rupees in demand drafts. The bank has warned the public to be cautious while accepting demand drafts from any person without proper verification, as about 7,000 demand drafts worth more than Rs 60 crore, stolen from different branches of the bank, are allegedly in circulation.

The branch has recently received four such stolen drafts from different parties, which have been reported to the SSP, Ludhiana. Mr N.L. Joshi, assistant general manager of the branch, said more than 200 firms in the city were running a business in demand drafts. They get drafts issued from different branches in the name of fictitious persons, and sell thee to industrialists and businessman, after charging a hefty premium, who do not want to show some transactions in tax books.’’

He added as these drafts could be used by anybody for six months, so these were used as an alternative of currency, payee drafts and cheques. Bank officials said, “These mischievous firms do not hesitate to use even stolen drafts. As we already have information about these drafts, so we stop the payment in those case. Consequently, the party has to bear the loss. But due to their own involvement in this practice, they never report such things to the police”.

Mr N.K. Singla, chief manager (accounts and admn) of the branch, said,‘‘ We have displayed a list of demand drafts missing from our branches on our computer network. This includes 2,300 drafts in TT series (0531 516 701-518000 and 0531 519001- 520000), 4,500 drafts in OL series (0571 365501-370000) and 150 drafts in TL series (4600851-461000). The manual drafts in the TT series can be of value up to Rs 10,000, OL series up to Rs 1 lakh and TL series drafts can be of up to Rs 10 lakh amount.’’

According to bank officials, sometimes due to a computer fault or mistake by employees, parties succeed in getting payment against these drafts. Even some employees have been suspended in such cases. The officials at the Punjab National Bank branches also admitted that there was a big nexus in the city, which dealt in this business. “But we have no power to check the use of these drafts, as these are perfectly legal under the present banking rules. The public should,however, be cautious about the fact that the cheques received by them can also be the stolen ones,” they said.

The officials at the SBI civil branch disclosed that on an average they received 4000 demand drafts, out of which 90 per cent were issued against fictitious names. The insiders disclosed that there were number of firms in Delhi and other cities, which purchased hosiery items and cycle parts from local firms and paid through these cheques. These transactions were never shown in account books. The bank unions and officials have urged the RBI that only accounts payee drafts be allowed in circulation. They said unless the RBI and the Central Government took legal measures, this business would continue to flourish.



When currency notes are sold at a premium
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
Small donations to political parties and candidates have never been so welcome as they are in the present elections. With most people shying away from parting with large sums of hard cash, local politicians are quite content with the small donations received in the form of currency-embedded garlands. So they do not mind putting forward their neck to be garlanded by fresh currency note-clad garlands. So far so good. A garland worth a couple of hundred rupees is enough to get the politicians off their back. But a direct outcome of this practice is the acute shortage of fresh currency notes in the district.

Despite being an off-season for marriages, currency notes are being sold at a premium. The five and 10 rupee notes command the highest premium. A wad of these notes commands a premium of Rs 200 each per packet. The cities garland manufacturers are not only catering for the needs of the city, but are sending garlands to other cities in the region.

Mr. N.L. Joshi, AGM, State Bank of India, whose bank handles the treasury chest of the Reserve Bank of India, here says the premium for Rs 5 and 10 notes has almost doubled due to the elections. The premium is also a direct outcome of the RBI stopping the printing these notes. “A hundred pieces wad of Rs five and 10 notes commanded a premium of Rs 100, but due to the elections the premium has doubled during the past few days”, he disclosed.

Mr Joshi says that the RBI supplies new notes only to smaller towns from where there is more outflow of money as compared to cities like Ludhiana, where the RBI acts more like a collecting agency. Therefore, the involvement of officials of smaller banks, especially in rural areas and smaller towns is not ruled out in supplying new notes to garland manufacturers, causing a further shortage.

Most garland manufacturers in Ludhiana are concentrated in the Sarafan market area. Mr Kundan Lal, an employee of one such garland manufacturer, disclosed that the garland manufacturers bring small currency notes from smaller towns like Jagraon, Khanna and Phagwara. Besides, they keep enough stocks at all times to cater to the needs of the wedding seasons. But since there is no wedding season at present, the supply is being used for garlands used to honour politicians.

The garland sells for anywhere between Rs 50 to Rs 500, depending upon the intricacies involved in its making plus the value of the currency on the garland. And the candidates do not mind putting forward their neck to a note clad garland, especially when there is shortage of funds on the one hand and huge expenses on the other.

While no candidate was prepared to admit how many garlands he used to receive in a day, people close to them maintained that it depended on the public following of the candidates. The more popular the candidate, the more is the number of garlands. Moreover, the candidates of the main political parties like the Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal or the Bharatiya Janata Party get relatively more garlands. Some candidates are believed to get at least about Rs 10 thousand during a single day.

This is apart from the common practice of weighing the candidates in coins also. However, there is a difference in being garlanded by currency notes and weighed in coins. While the coins are collected by a group of people, the currency note clad garlands are placed by the individuals only, thus making them more in number.



Pre-board exams introduced in govt schools
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 5
In view of the poor performance of students of government senior secondary schools here in the last annual examinations, the District Education Department has introduced pre-board examination scheme for students of Classes XI and XII.

While pre-board examinations are held every year in private schools, these will now be held in government schools for the first time. Authorities of all government senior secondary schools have been told to conduct examinations in science subjects and mathematics. The department will set question-papers on the pattern of the Punjab School Education Board and teachers will evaluate the performance of their students to submit detail-marks reports to the department.

While theory tests are being conducted from February 1 to 6, practical examinations will be held from February 7 to 11. Class XII students took physics examination on February 1 and chemistry test on February 4. Biology and mathematics tests will be held tomorrow. Class XI students took biology and mathematics tests on February 1, chemistry test on February 4. The physics test is to be held tomorrow.

Ms Pritpal Kaur, District Education Officer (secondary), and Ms Samishtha Bawa, District Science Supervisor, have been told to visit the schools in examination hours.

From September 2001 onwards, the department has been conducting monthly tests for students of Classes XI and XII. While it has been preparing schedules for science and mathematics examinations, school authorities are responsible for conducting examinations in rest of the subjects. School principals have been told to check that students attend practicals classes regularly and maintain records for each month. They have been told to note down the number of absentees in tests, marks and monthly progress of all students.

Ms Samishtha Bawa said the monthly and pre-board examinations were aimed at making students regular in studies. She said teachers would also get motivated to improve results. Since principals have been made accountable, they will check that classes are held regularly and there is a healthy attendance.

Principals and science teachers have appreciated the role of the department in conducting the tests. Mr C.H. Puri, Principal of Government Multipurpose Senior Secondary School on Cinema Road, said pre-board tests would prepare students for final examinations. He said all schools that ensured proper conduct and evaluation of tests would do well in board examinations.

Ms Gurdeep Kaur, Principal of the Government Senior Secondary School on the Punjab Agricultural University campus, said pre-board and monthly examinations had made students gain confidence for taking on final examinations.



MC revamps health, sanitation wings
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 5
The Municipal Corporation will henceforth lay more emphasis on social health and hygiene. To achieve the desired results, it has ordered the separation of health and sanitation wings, with the directions that the health officials would concentrate more on various aspects of social health.

Giving details, the MC Additional Commissioner Mr S.K. Sharma, said the Health Department would function under his direct supervision, with one Health Officer looking after two zones each in the city.

According to the brief given to health officers, who would have health inspectors working under them, they would be responsible for prevention of diseases like malaria and dengue, water-borne diseases like cholera, enteritis, jaundice and Hepatitis-B, supply of safe drinking water and distribution of chlorine tablets, preventive measures against breeding of flies and mosquitoes and check sales of over-ripe and rotten fruit, vegetables and other eatables.

The officials will further check ice factories, hotels and restaurants, bakeries and marriage palaces to maintain quality control of eatables, enforce strict supervision on cinema halls, educational institutions and industrial units. They will have the additional responsibility of bio-medical waste management and solid waste management, once the respective projects are commissioned.

The supervision of sanitation work in the city has been handed over to the respective zonal commissioners in a bid to completely decentralise the functions. Each of the four zones in the city will have one Chief Sanitary Inspector with around 24 sanitary inspectors under him.

According to Mr Sharma, who will continue to be in charge of the sanitary wing as well, there are around 2000 regular safai workers, with another 2500, functioning under the supervisory control of mohalla sanitation committees. The MC has provided 250 garbage containers in different city localities and another 175 will be added in near future. To handle more than 800 mt of garbage, generated in the city every day, the transport fleet of the sanitation wing has four JCBs, 10 loaders, 27 tippers, 25 dumper placers, 4 hold tuggers, one refuge collector and 10 tractor-trollies.

The sanitation staff, he added, has been directed to pay special attention to maintain the surroundings of the two garbage dumps in the city green and clean. Plantation of saplings around these places and dusting of insecticides has been stepped up to avoid breeding of mosquitoes and flies and to prevent the spread of diseases.



Complainants turn out to be ‘kidnappers’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
The Jagraon police has rescued a missing man from the clutches of persons who had reported that the man had been kidnapped by his in-laws.

Asrail Mohammad, a resident of Dhurkot near Dehlon, had reported that his son Mohammad Safi had been kidnapped by his in-laws in a marital dispute. The police interrogated the in-laws, but found no trace of the missing man.

On a tip-off, the police learnt that the kidnapping story had been cooked up to harass the man’s in-laws.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Balkar Singh Sidhu, said a police party had raided Kamam village near Nawanshahr and found Safi in the house of Ibrahim, complainant’s brother. The police brought back Safi after a scuffle with his relatives.

The SSP said the police had arrested a number of persons for lodging false complaints. Safi’s relatives have been charged with making a false complaint, kidnapping a man and obstructing the police from performing its duty.



Record number of candidates with criminal background
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
The criminalisation of politics is rampant not only in Uttar Pradesh but in parts of Punjab as well. In Ludhiana district only, about 20 candidates, accused of patronising anti-social elements or having a criminal background themselves, are in poll fray.

Political analysts say this was the first time that so many candidates with a criminal past are fighting elections. The result has been that even though the police has cracked down on registered notorious elements by arresting them on one pretext or another to have peaceful elections, a number of musclemen can still be seen campaigning for these candidates. A large number of other candidates have also began taking help of the respective area goons to arrange public support.

Putting a question mark on the kind of rule they would provide the candidates with criminal background include all kinds of the community. You will find murderers, riot-instigators, rapists, dadas, liquor smugglers and sand mafia men. There are others who have been accused of patronising anti-social elements causing crime in this city. The activities of such patronised criminals is being termed as the reason for the rise in crime in Ludhiana by police sources.

There is a candidate in fray, who is well-known in political circles, as a saudebaaj (middlemen) between needy persons and former ministers. A mere office-bearer in the recent past, the candidate effected the price of work done by a minister. Then there is an independent candidate infamous for taking commission from labour unions and other contractors. Termed as quite fond of woman's company, the candidate has been accused of molestation, exploitation as well as rape in the recent past.

Then there is a liquor baron in fray. About him the less said the better. He was into liquor smuggling and land grabbing in the last couple of years. His close relative was the one who called the shots in such crimes obviously on the support of the political leader. The two have always been close to the police and district administration. The leader's relatives do the work in the respective constituency and promise all kind of jobs. The relative is into sand mafia as well.

The issue of sand mafia brings us to another muscleman fighting elections after changing his party recently. He is close to the above said leader and despite being in opposite parties, the two made crores as sand mafia dons controlling illegal sand mining on and near the Sutlej river bed.

Yet another leader contesting from a seat in one part of the city is also a noted land grabber as well shelter-provider to a number of anti-social elements especially one of his close relatives who was wanted in at least 20 cases of intimidation, violence and attempt to murder. Thanks to police activism, the relative, whose name begins with letter ‘L’ was forced to go underground. He is not seen anywhere in the candidates campaigning but his close associates and musclemen are actively participating in the leader's canvassing.

A well-known anti-social element known to be one of the first ‘dadas’ of the town operating in the old city also campaigned strongly for getting a ticket. He even pushed around another aspirant for the ticket from the constituency he was seeking to contest elections from, in front of the party high-ups.

After losing the race, he stood as an Independent but sat in favour of the same rival candidate after being promised a reward. The man moves around with his musclemen, wields a gun and uses it at the slightest provocation. People in his area do not seem to have guts to vote for someone else.

Then there is another liquor baron facing charges in a urea scam as well as liquor smuggling in a town on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road. According to information, the man is so rich that he does not know how much money he has. He was accused of being responsible for a death due to spurious liquor as well. There are two former terrorists in the poll fray as well.

To cap it all, there is another candidate accused of having links with Dawood Ibrahim. He was also questioned by the CBI rigorously in this regard and was a close associate of a senior Congress leader accused of multiple murders.



Tough battle on cards in Ludhiana East, West
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
The continued estrangement of the dissident Akali leader and the vice-president of the SAD-B may prove costly for the alliance, particularly in the constituencies of Ludhiana (East) and Ludhiana (West).

Although he is mainly hostile to the alliance candidate from Ludhiana (West), Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, his disillusionment may extend up to Ludhiana (East) as well, where the BJP candidate and the sitting MLA, Mr Satpal Gosain is facing a tough contest against the Congress candidate, Mr Surinder Dawer.

Although the Congress candidate from Ludhiana (West), Mr Harnamdass Johar, a former Minister and Speaker was considered to be placed comfortably against Mr Makkar, the intensity of the feud between Mr Makkar and Mr Bhatia may strengthen his position further. Mr Bhatia has minced no words in declaring his opposition to Mr Makkar. The situation became worse after the alleged assault by Mr Bhatia nephew on Mr Makkar’s office and the subsequent registration of two cases against Mr Bhatia.

Mr Bhatia commands considerable clout as he remained vice-president of the SAD-B all these years. Although he is silent about the support to Mr Gosain in Ludhiana (East), his supporters are learnt to have received the subtle message not to support him at the hustings.

In fact, Mr Bhatia’s supporters are reportedly supporting Mr Jeet Singh of Panthic Morcha. Mr Bhatia and his supporters have some grievances against Mr Gosain on the dispute over some land adjoining a gurdwara. Mr Jeet Singh is mainly dependant on the support of Mr

Bhatia. Although, Mr Jeet Singh may not be able to reach the winning position, he can damage the prospects of Mr Gosain, who is already facing the heat from the Congress.

On the other hand, Mr Johar must be feeling quite comfortable in Ludhiana (West), as his job is being done by the supporters of Mr Bhatia by default. Mr Johar has represented the area on earlier occasions also that places him in an advantageous position. While on the other hand Mr Makkar has been contesting for the first time from here on the SAD-B ticket.

Mr Bhatia on his part has been keeping his cards close to his chest. He has not ruled out even quitting the SAD-B in case his supporters allow him to do so. They are reportedly angry over the treatment meted out to him and want him to call it a day with the party. His hostility has been a worrying factor for both Mr Gosain as well as Mr Makkar.



Three women, one mission
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 4
Ms Anjali Rai, a Congress legislator from Delhi and the chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, Dr Param Navdeep Singh and Mrs Nirmala Shaktawat, accompanied by another Delhi legislator, Mr Prahlad Singh Sahni, are on a single mission as party observers to monitor and boost the party campaigning in different assembly segments of the state. And they claim that the Congress was placed quite comfortably ahead of others as people were disillusioned with the Akali-BJP government.

Ms Anjali Rai, the bubbly and vivacious television announcer-turned news reader-turned politician, is the sister of Lalit Makhan, the son in law of former President, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma. She was in the Kila Raipur Assembly segment in support of the party candidate, Bibi Gurdial Kaur Khangura. She observed that the party was getting, a phenomenal response from the electorate as her party had taken up the issue of the menace of drugs and illicit liquor over there.

Expressing confidence over the winning prospects of Bibi Gurdial Kaur, she claimed that she had found the people of the area responsive as the Bibi had promised them to get rid of the menace of drugs and illicit liquor. Moreover, Ms Rai added, the Congress candidate in Kila Raipur had also promised to install computers in all the government schools in the area.

Dr Param Navdeep Singh and Mrs Shaktawat claimed that there was a wave in favour of the Congress. Incidentally, they claimed that the women were more inclined towards the Congress. Summing up their experiences in various constituencies, they said the problem of drugs and illicit liquor and unemployment was the urgent concern of everybody in the area. They said they felt quite confident after seeing the enthusiasm among the voters and supporters of the party.

Mr Prahlad Singh Sahni disclosed that there was resentment prevailing among the masses against the Akali-BJP government. Mr Sahni, who is the party observer for the Ludhiana rural Assembly segment, said, he had observed that the people were not only disillusioned but also alienated with the government due to corruption that had given rise to many other problems.



Morcha rally in Kila Raipur
Tribune News Service

Jodhan (Ludhiana), February 5
The Panthic Morcha candidate from here, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, held a two-wheeler campaign rally today. The rally covered most villages of the constituency.

Before the rally, Mr Grewal said he believed there was an anti-incumbency wave in the area as his rival had not visited the constituency all these years. He alleged that his rival was distributing liquor in the area.

He said there was a heavy drug-addiction among the youth here as they had no jobs. He said, Mr Garcha, after becoming a Cabinet minister, had ignored the masses.

The scooter rally ended at Chhapar village.



Shiv Sena flays BJP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
Senior Shiv Sena leader and the chief whip of the party in the Lok Sabha, Mr Anand Rao Adsul, today criticised the BJP for “giving up” the Hindutva agenda. Addressing a press conference here today, the Shiv Sena leader claimed that his party was monitoring the situation and will not allow the nationalistic interests to be ignored at any cost.

Mr Adsul was here to campaign for local party candidates. The state president of the party, Mr Pawan Gupta, said that the Shiv Sena had fielded 32 candidates in this election across the state.

Asked why the party did not support the BJP here, particularly when it was in alliance at the Centre and also in Maharashtra, Mr Adsul said sometimes local issues dominate over other issues.

The Sena leaders said they did not mind even if their presence harmed the BJP or the Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal. Because the Sena, they claimed, had its own policy and programme for a strong and prosperous India. They asserted that the party will not compromise on any issue of national importance.

The Shiv Sena leader while appreciating the stand of the NDA government in handling various issues, suggested that the country should launch a full-fledged war on Pakistan as it was not desisting from abetting terrorism in the country.

Mr Gupta announced that the union ministers and senior Sena leaders Mr Manohar Joshi and Mr Suresh Prabhu will address party rallies in support of the candidates. He said Mr Udhav Thakrey may also attend one of the rallies in Punjab. Local candidates Mr Pawan Sharma, Praveen Mital and Paramjit Singh were also present on the occasion.



Badal accused of violating panthic traditions
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 5
“The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had not only violated panthic traditions, but had also lowered the prestige of Akal Takht, the sanctum sanctorum of Sikh community and he will have to pay the price for this religious misconduct.”

These observations were made by former head priest of Akal Takht Bhai Ranjit Singh, while addressing an election meeting of the Panthic Morcha candidate from Ludhiana (rural), Mr Hira Singh Gabria, at Bhagwan Chowk here today. “For the people of Punjab, Mr Badal has proved another ‘Babur’. He is responsible for pushing the just demands of Punjab to back burner and giving away scarce river water to other states,” he said.

Things had come to such a pass that any person, even if having connections with blasphemous Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, could become the chief of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, he said. Launching an attack on Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, SAD nominee from Ludhiana (rural), Bhai Ranjit Singh pointed out his links with Baba Bhaniara.

He said the Panthic Morcha had come into being with the sole purpose of restoration of ‘panthic’ traditions and sanctity of institutions like Akal Takht and the SGPC and each vote cast in favour of the Panthic Morcha nominees would go towards ridding the state of the misrule by the SAD-BJP combine, he said.

Mr Gabria assured the electorate that in addition to implementation of ‘Panthic’ agenda, he would continue to strive for overall development of the constituency and would be available to the people as and when they needed him.

The panthic morcha candidate, during his tour of the constituency, covering Gujjar Colony, Chara Mandi, Tajpur Road area, Kakowal Road area, Kailash Nagar, Dhahror, Jagirpur, Gobindgarh, Bhola Colony, Muslim Colony, Harjap Nagar, Indira Nagar, Iqbal Nagar, Sarpanch Colony, Mundian Kalan, Ram Nagar, Jain Colony and Moti Nagar, was weighed against coins at several places.



‘Say no to shahtoosh’

Twenty-four-year old Preeti Kansal is a crusader for ban on shatoosh shawls. At this age, when her contemporaries vie with each other to don the latest fashions, Preeti is peeved at the killing of Tibetan antelope Chiru, an endangerd animal which is slaughtered for manufacturing the shawl.

‘‘At least five Chirus are killed for making one shawl,’’ she says, adding that thousands of the species are killed every year to cater to the demand of the shawl. ‘‘As a girl, it becomes my duty to educate women about the brutal killing of the animal to make them look good in the shawl’’.

An alumni of St Bedes School, Preeti belongs to a rich family in the city. She received a shot in the arm for her work in this regard recently as famous crusader for animal protection, the Wild Life Trust of India, made her the state volunteer for the country-wide project titled ‘Say no to shahtoosh’. The project is supported by the world famous animal protection organisation the International Fund For Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Preeti has organised several meetings and lectures in schools, colleges and ladies clubs to educate women to say no to shahtoosh. Going by her experiences in convincing the fashion-conscious Ludhiana ladies, Preeti said it requires a lot of convincing and that, too, on a regular basis.



Cop reports threat from seniors
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
A Punjab police constable posted at Jagraon has approached the Punjab Human Rights Commission, seeking that some senior police officials be stopped from “interfering” in his divorce case.

In letters to the commission and top state police officials, the constable, Tejinderpal Singh has alleged that some of his senior officials directed an SHO to intimidate him and force him to withdraw the case.

The constable said he had been kept in illegal police custody and some persons had barged into his house and attacked him.



WHILE dissensions and rebellion at the time of elections are not new in politics, but this time it seems to have be more widespread than ever. For the first time in almost each and every constituency in the city there are people who are working not for the victory of a particular candidate, but only for his defeat. And they are putting in more efforts. And interestingly, such people work only for the defeat of their own candidates only. There are a number of such candidates belonging to all political parties who have established cross connections for this purpose. Identifying these people will simply invite prompt denials from such people. But there are some hard facts which nobody can deny. The president of the youth wing of the SAD, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, was an aspirant of the party ticket from Ludhiana Rural. He had already established considerable clout in the area. In fact, he was acting as a de facto legislator from there, particularly after the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had made him party in charge of the constituency when the partly legislator from there, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, joined Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. After being denied the ticket, which was allotted to his arch rival, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, Mr Dhillon could not reconcile with the reality. Instead of directly opposing Mr Aliwal, he preferred to ‘campaign’ for Mr Avtar Singh Makkar in Ludhiana West. This is just an example.

Cart campaigning

Politicians can at times be best ‘artistes’. They can assume any role and perform it as accurately as to make the professional artistes look small. And they do it best at the times of elections, but not always with selfish motives. For they tend to identify themselves with the people whose role they seek to assume. The Congress candidate, Mr Milkait Singh Birmi, recently organised one of his campaign tours on a horse cart (tonga). Mr Birmi is one of the few influential candidates who owns considerable assets and can afford latest means of communication. But he said riding a horse driven cart gave him a real pleasure, besides a feeling of being ‘so near to the people’ he was going to represent.

Traffic blues

The Kochar market road leading from the ESI Hospital to Model Gram is not only in bad shape but also often encroached upon by some of the residents for marriage and other social functions leading to traffic jams and chaos. Shopkeepers of the area have also encroached upon the land, but the Municipal Corporation authorities seem to be oblivious of this fact reportedly due to lack of any complaints in this regard. The ‘educated and sophisticated’ residents of Model Gram and nearby colonies, who are often annoyed by this mess, have never complained as they fear the muscle power of youths of a particular community, predominantly residing in the area. One of the businessmen, who was recently caught in a traffic jam, complained that not only MC officials and residents but also politicians and mediapersons fear from them.

Harassed commuters

Commuters who have to take buses from the Dholewal chowk here feel helpless and irritating whenever they have to park their scooters and cycles at the parking stand near the Division No. 6 police station. According to them, the owner of the parking lot charges Rs 8 per day for parking a scooter without helmet and Rs 10 with helmet, including Rs 4 for night parking. The users have often complained that other parking stations charge just Rs 3 or Rs 4 for 24 hours parking service, but this ‘gentleman’ is charging exorbitant charges. Whenever anyone complains his reply is, “Do whatever you can, I will charge only that amount”. Interestingly, he has also encroached upon the public land for parking purposes though the police station is just a few yards away from his place.

Political or non-political?

Campaigning these days provides a chance for the residents to make demands from the candidates for the development and progress of their area. So far so good. But contrary to the claims made on their notepads, a number of residents welfare organisations have announced support in favour of one candidate or another. This has caused confusion on whether the organisation is political or non-political. While the bottomline on the press notes written or typed on the notepads announce the organisation is completely non-political, a number of such organisations or welfare societies have been announcing their support for one candidate or another, thus giving a political colour to their organisation, which goes against their registration qualifications.

Rumour mongers

As electioneering gains momentum any news related to the candidates and their campaigning spreads like wildfire. The public interest gives rise to a number of rumours. Three days ago the city was abuzz with the news that a senior Akali leader, who is unhappy with the party for allotment of ticket to another leader, was attacked by rivals. Mediapersons made enquiries from the leader. Whenever the leader recognised any mediaperson’s number he either switched it off or after taking the call promptly said it all was a rumour. The situation turned funny when another Akali leader was in fact attacked a couple of days later. Mediapersons simply dismissed it as a rumour and none bothered to check or report it. The reality came to light after a day, but by that time the politicking had ensured the news remained hidden.

Pressure horns

Despite the fact that the district traffic police is working day and night for implementing the traffic rules, public and private transport buses got a special exemption for using pressure horns and exceeding speed limit in the city. The moment the buses leave the bus stand the use of pressure horns becomes a compulsion as they have only this alternative to get out of this over-crowed city as soon as possible.

However, the police has made big claims of not sparing any offender. These bus drivers do not give a damn to the rule of not using pressure horns and exceeding speed limits. Whether peak or odd hours, one can witness the buses violating these rules on Dugri Road.

Getting louder

In view of the campaign against noise makers by the city police, various announcers who canvass for poll candidates with the help of public address system fitted on various vehicles were doing so on a low volume to begin with. But as the campaigning is picking up momentum, the volume of these systems is also going up with the passing of each day. As the final poll date is coming closer, campaigners as well as the candidates are getting more nervous and louder. It seems that these campaigners find a louder canvassing more effective. As a result they are adding to the din of the city in spite of the fact that their exercise might land them in trouble for violating the Noise Control Act. Sentinel



4 held in theft cases
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, February 5
The CIA staff has recovered cash and goods worth Rs 1.36 lakh from four persons arrested in connection with a dozen theft cases registered against them at police stations of Ahmedgarh, Amargarh, Dhuri and Malerkotla.

According to Mr Jatinder Singh Aulakh, SSP, Sangrur, Mr Kanikar Singh, in charge, CIA, interrogated Abdul Mazid, Mohammad Shamshad, Nassar and Mahmood Ali and recovered cash and goods worth Rs 1.36 lakh, including scooter, moped, cycles, jewellery and machine tools allegedly stolen from the areas of sub-division Malerkotla and Dhuri. About dozen theft cases were already registered at different police stations of Sangrur district against the culprits. Preliminary investigations revealed that the accused were active in the area for the past three years and may have links with inter-state gang of burglars.



Bus driver robbed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 5
Mr Amandeep, driver of mini local bus, was beaten by some youths near Dhandari yesterday who also allegedly took away the cash bag lying in the bus before fleeing the scene of the crime.

The injured driver was later admitted to the Civil Hospital.

According to the statement of the driver, who is a resident of Chet Singh Nagar, he was driving his bus through Dhandari when some youths intercepted the vehicle on the way and started beating him without telling him the reason for doing so. The youths also broke some of the windowpanes of the bus and snatched away the gold chain he was wearing and also the cash bag that was lying in the bus.

Son booked
The division number eight police has registered a case against Pardeep Kumar, a resident of New Kundan Puri, on the charge of quarrelling with his mother. Ms Kanta Rani had alleged that her son had beaten her after a dispute occurred between the two on Sunday.

Another similar case was registered at the same police station on the statement of Ms Nirmala, a resident of Shahi mohalla, against Amit, a resident of Chhawni mohalla. The complainant had alleged that the accused quarrelled with her without any reason.

Noise pollution
The Focal Point police on Sunday arrested Pawan Kumar from a hosiery unit located in Fauji Colony in the Sherpur area and booked him under the Noise Control Act. The accused was allegedly playing his stereo system on a high volume

‘Satta’ bookie held
The Model town police on Sunday arrested Mukesh Kumar, a resident of Dashmesh Nagar, and recovered Rs 2650 along with some ‘satta’ slips from his possession. The accused has been booked under the Gambling Act.

Poppy husk seized
The Sadar police on Sunday arrested Amarjit Singh, a resident of Barnhara village and recovered 4500 gms. of poppy husk from his possession. The accused has been booked under the NDPS Act.


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