Wednesday, March 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Major overnight reshuffle of police officials
SSP preempts political influence, goes on a week’s leave
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 5
The Ludhiana Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, shifted 14 officials in a major reshuffle in the district police administration yesterday.

It is believed that he did this to minimise the possibility of any political interference in the postings after the new government took over. After the swearing-in ceremony today, the Congress leaders may begin exercising their influence.

Sources in the Police Department said the SSP had arrived here from Chandigarh late yesterday and called a meeting to decide the postings. After finalising the transfers, he has proceeded on a week’s leave of absence.

Sources in the police say that the sudden postings have taken them by surprise, as the crime in the district not out of control. They said the shifting might create some problems.

After the fresh transfers, Sub Inspector Mr Dharampal is now the SHO of the Division Number 4 police station, Mr Gurbaj Singh is now the SHO of the Division Number 6 police station, Inspector Mr Wazir Singh is the SHO of the Sahnewal police station, Inspector Mr Mukhwinder Singh is head of the CIA-I Wing, Inspector Mr Sandeep Kumar is the SHO of the Focal Point police station, Inspector Mr Paranjit Singh is the SHO of the Sarabha Nagar police station, Sub Inspector Mr Warryam Singh is the SHO of the Shimla Puri police station, Sub Inspector Mr Balwant Singh is the SHO of the Model Town police station and Sub Inspector Mr Harjinder Singh is, now, the head of the CIA-II Wing. Mr Harjinder Singh is an ORP officer and his posting has raised a lot of eyebrows.

Inspector Mr Nianjan Das has been made he head of the EO Wing. Sub Inspectors Mr Tehal Singh, Mr Dilpreet Singh and Mr Balraj Singh have been shifted to the police lines. Mr D.P. Singh, IPS (under training), is the SHO of the Division Number 3 police station.



Probe ordered into slaughterhouse construction
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 5
The Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, Mr R.L. Kalsia, has ordered an inquiry into poor workmanship in the construction and maintenance of the MC slaughterhouse in Haibowal. The slaughterhouse, which has been lying in disuse for quite some time now, was inspected by Mr Kalsia on Monday.

The MC Additional Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, who accompanied the MC Commissioner, along with other officials of the Health Wing of the civic body during the inspection, told Ludhiana Tribune that the Chief Engineer, Local Government, would conduct an inquiry into the sub-standard construction of the building. The MC officials had found that the walls of the building and the floor had developed cracks. Besides, electrical fittings and other fixtures were in bad shape and non-functional. The hygiene and general sanitation level also had further scope of improvement.

Although activists of the People for Animals (PFA) claimed the MC had put the slaughter house, with the appointment of a veterinary officer, only after the issue of slaughtering of animals at meat shops all over the city was taken up with the Punjab Human Rights Commission, which has now sought a report from the MC on this account, Mr Sharma claimed that the step was a part of the MC bid to strengthen the health wing after separating it from sanitation wing during last the month.

In a decision taken by Mr Kalsia in the middle of last month, the health and sanitation wings were separated with the health officers assigned specific jobs related to public health and hygiene like preventive steps against diseases like malaria and jaundice, supply of clean drinking water and drive to check sale of poor quality of sweets and bakery products.



Plagiarist’s guide ‘forced to resign’
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 5
The sudden resignation of a vegetable scientist after his student was found guilty of plagiarism has sparked off a controversy on the PAU campus. There have been allegations that the scientist was forced to resign and, if he had not done so, his services would have been terminated.

Dr M.S. Saimbhi, a senior scientist of the Department of Vegetables has sought a premature retirement. Recently, the PAU Academic Council had barred him from guiding any research or postgraduate student after Sandeep Kakkar, one of his former students, was found guilty of using an already published material in his thesis.

It is said that a senior official of the PAU had recently called Dr Saimbhi and told him to submit his resignation, failing which his services would be terminated and his retirement benefits withdrawn. The scientist, who has been ailing for the past many years, succumbed to the pressure and, now, he would retire on March 31.

While Dr Saimbhi is not willing give his side of the story, according to members of the PAU faculty close to him. The said the scientist had told them that he was being pressurised to take voluntary retirement. However, when contacted, he said he had resigned willingly in view of his ill health.

The Academic Council had held Dr Saimbhi responsible for recording a wrong certificate of the thesis and called for a disciplinary action against him.

The council had also accepted the recommendations of a committee that investigated the allegations of plagiarism that the degree of the student concerned should be cancelled and his thesis withdrawn.

Dr Saimbhi had, at that time, resented the decision and told reporters that his student’s act did not make him responsible for it.

Most members of the faulty say that it is unfortunate that a hard working and intelligent scientist like him is being shown the door like this. They say that some other faculty members and a former VC were also found guilty of plagiarism, but no action was taken against them.



Raids on diagnostic centres
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 5
Most of the diagnostic centres in the city have been found flouting the guidelines of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test (PNDT) Act. Raids conducted over the last week by officials of the Health Department on various diagnostic centres found that most of these had been violating the rules and not following any of the guidelines mandatory for such tests.

The Health Department sources have revealed that as part of its campaign to check the unauthorised and illegal pre-natal tests, the department raided several such centres in the walled city around the Christian Medical College and Hospital. Although no action has been taken against the erring centers, but they have been issued strict warning.

New performas have been distributed among the doctors running these centres. Instructions say that every diagnostic centre will display three main boards saying “Meri beti meri shaan- mere kul da nishan”, “Vikas da adhar, beti da satkar” and ‘Sex determination tests are not conducted here.

The doctors at the ultrasound clinics have also been directed to maintain the complete record of the female patients between 15 years and 44 years visiting these centres.

The experts feel that female foeticide had adversely affected the sex ratio in the state. As per the 2001 census, the sex ratio in Punjab was 874 females to 1,000 males. Dr Gursharan Singh, president of the district unit of the Indian Medical Association, said the sex ratio in Punjab indicated persistent unfavourable condition of women in the state. He said, "This is a reflection of the intense social pressures against the girl child which prevail in Punjab. The correct answer to female foeticide and female infanticide is not the tightening of laws around sex determination tests but a sustained effort at the social, economic and legal level to change the structure of society”.

Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary (Health), at one of the seminars conducted by the Health Department in the city recently had said that a number of districts of Punjab figured in the list of 11 districts throughout the country in which sex ration had been found to be alarming. Ms Radhika Jaitwani, Secretary Ek Prayaas (a school for mentally retarded children), however, feels, "There are a large number of unregistered clinics and laboratories that use ultrasound techniques to determine the sex of the foetus and little action has been taken against such clinics by the enforcement agencies”. 



‘Public meetings to be reintroduced
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 5
The residents of four police districts — Ludhiana, Ropar, Khanna and Jagraon — in Ludhiana police range will soon get a platform to voice their grievances relating to crime and the police working in their respective areas, as the police authorities have decided to restart the abandoned scheme of holding public meetings for interaction with the masses.

The police has also decided to introduce the popular job-card scheme in the range under which the beat constables will be given a card for regular checking of chronic problems occurring in their areas. The police also seems to have finally woken up to the need of cutting down on its expenses. For this purpose, the police has initiated the process of identifying areas where expenses can be reduced.

Disclosing these new schemes to mediapersons here today, the DIG, Ludhiana range, Mr Rohit Chowdhry, said the motive was to make the police working more people-oriented by taking feedback from the public and acting accordingly.

He assured that necessary action would be taken on complaints made by the public and efforts would be made to make the meeting a befitting platform for redressing grievances of the public and not just a stage for making speeches praising the local police officials.

Mr Chowdhry also assured mediapersons that he would take personal interest in the implementation of these schemes so that these continued for the benefit of the public.

He gave this assurance when mediapersons pointed out that in the past, the public meetings had become just a farce with the local police officials ensuring that no person having a complaint against the police came up at the meetings.

The DIG said the public meetings would be held at least once in two weeks.

He said these meetings should not be confused with the ‘Sangat Darshan’ programme as the meetings would be more of interactive nature, but complaints would also be welcome.

He added the police would inform public in advance about any such meeting through the media. Expressing his concern over the financial problems being faced by the police, the DIG said he had consulted the SSPs of various police districts in his range and they had started analysis of the present expenses and would suggest areas where expenses could be brought down.

The DIG assured mediapersons of sorting out their problem regarding non-supply of daily crime file and the blocking of information flow to the media. He said residents could benefit from better police-press relations.

Giving more details about the job-card scheme, the DIG said he had started the scheme in 1997 at Hoshiarpur and it had become very popular. He presented a paper on the scheme in the All-India Police Science Congress held at Lucknow in 1997. The scheme was praised and implemented in several parts of the country. He said he was hopeful that the scheme would prove beneficial to the public.



Land ‘owners’ allege harassment by MC
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, March 5
Those who live in the Dehliz Road area here have alleged that the local municipal officials have been harassing them for making additions to their houses on their own land, but the council authorities deny the charges.

The council said those who had applied for sanction had been allowed to construct.

Mr Yogesh Kumar who lives in the area said his harassment had begun when he had started building a small room on his own land. A junior municipal official told him that the land belonged to MC, but officials failed to show any record that proved it. After much struggle, he was allowed to carry on with the construction and told that it was a matter of the Town Planning Department that had since shifted to Bathinda.

Mr Baldev Singh, owner of a photo studio, said his father had been unable to get permission to cover the area, but the present municipal council had sanctioned his construction plan for shops in the area. He showed the registered land deed.

Ms Chitter Rekha, owner of a corner plot here, said it was the choice of legal owners of these plots to cover the area or leave it. She also had a registered deed of her land. Mr Bimal Sharma, a social worker, said the council’s property was demarcated by drains on both sides of the road.

Residents had urged the authorities concerned to settle the dispute on the “no man’s land’ forever. Mr Kishori Lal Badhan, head of the Nagar Council, and Mr R.K. Mittal, EO, have said that no one will be harassed and all construction plans submitted by legal owners of plots anywhere will be sanctioned as per norms.



Ludhiana Calling

The newly elected government took no time in effecting a major reshuffle in the administration, right from the top. Before the ministers were sworn in, most of the Deputy Commissioners and the Senior Superintendents of Police, were changed. While the administrative reshuffle goes according to the precedent, the haste committed was certainly unprecedented. Among those “evicted” included the Ludhiana DC S.K. Sandhu, who stayed here for about two years. Mr Sandhu would be missed here for several reasons. Besides staying away from controversies at a politically sensitive place like Ludhiana, he successfully organised two big events with great administrative acumen. First, the National Games November and then the elections. He did not invite any charge of partiality. It was for the first time that the access and entry to his office was open and nobody needed to send a chit in advance for meeting him. With new DC Anurag Aggarwal assuring that he would continue the healthy traditions of his predecessor, everyone hopes that things will continue to work as smoothly as they used to earlier.

Sports fever

After the election fever, it is the sports fever that seems to have gripped Ludhiana. First, it was the Kila Raipur Rural Sports meet, also described as the ‘Rural Olympics’, closely followed by Mohinder Pratap Singh Grewal Memorial Women’s Hockey Tournament in PAU and now the 52nd Senior National Basketball Championship being held at the Guru Nanak Stadium. This is not unprecedented. Because if anything comes next to business and politics in Ludhiana it is definitely sports. No wonder that Ludhiana has produced sports person of international repute, both men and women. Amidst the images of violence and horror from Gujarat, there seems to be some relief after seeing sportspersons performing sports feats here. And especially when they come with the traditional bhangra and gidha performed by young and handsome youth and exuberant and ravishing beauties of Punjab. (see picture)

Polluting rivers

Rivers and water bodies — be it canals , tanks, sarovars — hold great religious significance for Hindus. Taking bath in the rivers and sarovars on particular days is supposed to wash off one’s sins. People after doing pooja and havan collect the residue, flowers and left-overs of the pooja to be thrown into water bodies like rivers and canals. The other day Sentinel noticed a man stopping his car in the middle of a bridge over a canal, take out a blue plastic bag and flinging it into the canal. The residents can see for themselves that when canal water is stopped, the bed of the canal is littered with plastic bags. Plastic bags are non- biodegradable and can choke the canals and cause water pollution of serious nature. If we worship rivers, we ought to keep them clean.

Fax protest

Cycle and cycle parts’ manufacturers here have found a novel way to protest against the 4 per cent excise duty imposed on cycle and cycle parts. They have decided, in the first phase, to flood the office of Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha with protest fax messages. According to one industry leader,‘‘ Before meeting Finance Minister, and other secretaries, we want to bring it to their notice that industry has been hit hard by this decision. Since all associations, and their members cannot be a part of the delegation, so we have asked them to fax protest letters, which may help the delegation to convince the Ministry to take back decision.’’ Another industry leader said, ‘‘We are sending protest letters to every official and minister concerned through fax to create an opinion to save the cycle industry, which would not be able to face the ‘ honest ’ officials of the Central Excise Department.




Cops make a fast buck
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, March 5
Notwithstanding tall claims by Mr H.S. Sidhu, Senior Superindent of Police, about having curbed corruption among police personnel under his command, cops continue to make a fast buck on the sly.

The latest example in this regard was witnessed yesterday afternoon at Jamalpur on the Chandigarh road when cops from the division number 7 (Samrala Road) police station got hold of a young boy and a minor girl in a compromising position in a hardware shop and later allowed the accused to go scot-free in return for about Rs 25,000.

According to information gathered by this correspondent from the spot last evening, a hardware merchant near the liquor vend on the Chandigarh road, had allowed entry to a boy and his minor girlfriend to the rear portion of his shop. In the meantime, on an apparent tip-off, at around 2.30 p.m., a cop in plainclothes came to the shop and asked for a screw-driver.

The owner of the hardware shop gave him one, which was not to the liking of the cop. So on the pretext of finding one of his choice on his own, the cop entered the shop and started looking around. The boy and the girl, who were in a compromising position, in the rear portion of the shop, could not escape from the cop. Immediately, the boy, the girl and the shopkeeper were taken in an auto rickshaw to the division number 7 police station.

But a “settlement” was allegedly struck at the police station and the accused were allowed to go scot-free in return for about Rs 25,000. A couple of residents said that flesh trade had been going on in the area for a long time. They also alleged that the girl involved in yesterday’s incident was a minor. The cops were, in fact, encouraging flesh trade in the area rather than curbing it, they added. 



Decision hailed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 5
The Vishwa Guru Ravidass Mission Ludhiana has hailed the decision of the Punjab Government to restart ‘Ravidass Chair’ in Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

The chairman of the mission, Mr Jaswant Kataria said that the decision would be helpful in research work on Guru Ravidass. An emergency meeting was also held by the Vishwa Guru Ravidass Mission where grief was expressed on the untimely death of G.M.C. Balayogi.



2 held for assault
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 5
The police has arrested two persons — Inderpal Singh and Jagdev Singh ‘Jagga’ — both of Kamalpura village, for causing injuries to the uncle of a man called Avtar Singh of the same village. A case under Sections 452, 324, 506, 326 of the IPC has been registered on the statement of Avtar Singh. His uncle had appeared as a witness in a case against the father of the accused.

Liquor seized: The Humbran police has arrested a man called Sunder Singh “Sundri” of Aliwal village and seized 6.180 litre of illicit liquor from him. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered against him.

Spray kills man: Balwinder Singh (24) of Konkekalan village fell unconscious while spraying pesticides in the fields of Jagjit Singh of the same village and was taken to Civil Hospital here, where he died. He is survived by his wife and two kids aged 3 and 2.

Attacked: Harbhajan Singh of Tibba village has complained to the police that his brother, Manpreet Singh, attacked him with sharp-edged weapons and injured him. A case under sections 323, 506,325,148 and 149 of the IPC has been registered.

Car, scooter stolen: In the case registered at the Sahnewal police station under Section 279 of the IPC, Hans Raj of Shimlapuri Ludhiana, complained that he parked his Maruti car (DL-3C-0083) near Jifco Resorts on Monday at 8 pm but when he returned at 11 pm, he found it missing. On the same day, a Bajaj Chetak scooter (PB-AH-6271) was also stolen from that place.


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