Sunday, March 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



War against female foeticide begins with 
two arrests
First case registered in Punjab; foetus dug out
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 9
For the first time in the state since the implementation of the Pre-Natal Diagnostics Act, a case has been registered against someone for female foeticide.

On a tip-off, a team comprising police, health and civic officials raided the house of a woman, Surinder Kaur of Kale Majra village, and found a dead female foetus buried under a cattle yard.

The Khamano police has also registered a case under various sections of the IPC and the PND Act against four persons, including the owner and a staff nurse of an ultrasound centre. Two of them have been arrested and two have absconded.

At a press conference here today, Mr Vikas Paratap, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr B. Chandera Sekhar, Senior Superintendent of Police, said such a case had been registered for the first time in Punjab, though the state had one of the lowest sex ratios in the country. Fatehgarh Sahib has the lowest sex ratio in the juvenile age group in India. The apex court had directed 11 states, including Punjab, to take action under this Act.

The officials said a drive had been launched in the district to control female foeticide.

The DC said the Health Department had planned the raid on a tip-off and the foetus had been sent for postmortem. He also said the woman who had gone for the abortion and her sister-in-law had been arrested. Harbans Kaur, a nurse at Chamkaur Sahib, who had conducted the abortion, is still at large.

The DC said a woman had confessed to having undergone a sex-determination test in a Ropar ultrasound centre. A police party has been sent to arrest the owner of the ultrasound centre.

He said, to control female foeticide, a two-pronged strategy was being adopted in the district, which included the education of masses and punitive action against offenders. He urged all the social, religious and political organisations to help the administration in this effort. He said the district administration was keeping a close watch on the activities in ultrasound centres.

When contacted in civil hospital where they were undergoing medical examinations, the arrested women were weeping. One of them, Ms Devinder Kaur, sister-in-law of Surinder Kaur, said they were three sisters-in-law, two of whom had three daughters each. Surinder Kaur, 25, prime accused, has a two-year-old daughter. She decided to go for pre-natal sex-determination with the consent of her parents and paid Rs 1,200 for the test. She said, being the eldest in the family, her sister-in-law had accompanied her to the clinic.



Stadium is game for privatisation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
The Municipal Corporation is preparing to set up a sports club and privatise Guru Nanak Sports Complex that includes Guru Nanak Stadium, Shastri Badminton Hall, Basketball Stadium and Multipurpose Hall.

At a joint meeting of the MC officials, office-bearers of district sports associations and officials of the Sports Department convened by the MC Commissioner, Mr R.L. Kalsia, in Guru Nanak Stadium here today, several issues were discussed. These included the proposal to form a club and an executive committee.

Mr Kalsia said sports activities would not suffer after the club was formed and the complex privatised. He said, rather, the club would get more funds and be known for good infrastructure.

Those who attended the meeting included office-bearers of district associations for football, swimming, badminton, table tennis, judo, volleyball, basketball, athletics and handball. Mr Raminder Singh, Additional Commissioner, Mr Prem Chand, Joint Commissioner, Mr Ashok Kumar, Superintending Engineer, and Mr J.S. Bilga, Executive Engineer (Horticulture), were also present at the meeting.

Mr Kalsia said the first meeting of the executive committee of the club would be held here on March 14. However, it was decided, in principle, to enroll the president, general secretary and treasurer of each recognised district sports body as members of the club like civic and district officials.

Office-bearers of the state and national sports associations and outstanding state-level and national-level sportspersons based here will also be eligible for the membership of the club.

The project was approved by the F and CC on February 20. The report gave detailed projections of estimated income and expenditure of the club and termed it a self-sustainable project.

Mr Kalsia said non-regular members and trainees of the club would pay nominal monthly fee for coaching in various disciplines. Trainees would also receive the services of qualified coaches. The private company in the deal will be allowed to use a certain portion of the complex for holding cultural, educational, sports and entertainment events, besides trade fairs, exhibitions, fashion shows and private gatherings.

The club would also have a restaurant, canteen, snacks counters, health club and the other facilities for visitors. The main ground and various other infrastructure would, however, be used only for sports activities.

Mr Kalsia said MC had spent about Rs 15 crore on infrastructure development in Guru Nanak Stadium, including Rs 6 crore for the organisation of the National Games 2001.



Police plans to settle election disputes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
In view of a large number of election-related disputes between supporters of different parties, the Jagraon police has decided call special village meetings to urge these persons to forget the enmity.

A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the district police officials convened by the Jagraon Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Balkar Singh Sandhu, here today. There are a number of cases of post-election disputes and clashes over alleged irregularities. The police had to register a case against the son of a Kila Raipur political leader after one such incident.

The SSP said the village-level meetings would begin from Monday and these were part of the people-oriented policing scheme of the DIG of Ludhiana Range, Mr Rohit Chowdhry.

He said each gazetted officer would look after villages under a police station. The villagers would also be educated on drug de-addiction and crime control. He said the police also had plans to involve village youths in the project.



10 injured in group clash
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 9
More than 10 persons were injured in a clash of two groups near the local meat market here yesterday. One group later blocked traffic in front of the Civil Hospital alleging inaction of police against the culprits. The injured admitted to the hospital are Saroop Singh, Baldev Singh, Gurdev Singh, Balbir Singh.

According to information, after a minor car accident, an altercation began among some persons near the market. Residents of the nearby Dhaha Colony started pelting stones on them and caused injuries to some persons.

Surjan Singh, father of an injured youth, alleged that a Congress leader instigated the residents of the Dhaha colony who attacked them and injured his son and others. Alleging inaction of police, they staged a dharna in front of Civil Hospital at G.T. Road. After the assurance of DSP Amarjit Singh to register a case against the residents of Dhaha Colony involved in the incident, they left G.T. Road.



Another dowry death
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 9
A married woman was allegedly burnt to death by her in-laws at Doraha. According to the mother of the deceased, Poonam, her 19-year-old daughter had been married to Vikas Kumar of Doraha, five months ago. The mother, Asha Rani of Bachittar Nagar, Ludhiana alleged that since the time of marriage her daughter had been subjected to constant physical and mental torture as her in-laws demanded more dowry.

On the fateful day of March 8, her husband, Vikas Kumar, mother-in-law, Krishan Devi, husband’s uncle, Kewal Krishan and husband’s grandmother Shakuntala Devi, poured kerosene oil on her at 7 p.m. The girl believed to have died on the spot.



Housing society in the thick of controversy
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
The Zenith Cooperative Housing Society, having hundreds of members living in the colony by the same name in the city, is once again in the thick of a controversy with some members alleging arbitrary change in the layout plan amounting to the victimisation of some members while giving direct benefit to the office-bearers of the society or their relatives.

The controversy had raised its head some years ago also but, according to the claims of the victim members, they could not get justice from the previous government despite airing the allegations at the sangat darshan programme. Interestingly, some members even claim to have got orders from the state Cooperative Department in their favour but due to certain pressures, the orders have not been implemented. The office-bearers of the society, however, claim that they had won all cases put up before the state department.

Mr Shivdev Singh, representing the alleged victims, has in a signed affidavit and representation to the Chief Minister, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, and the Cooperative Department demanded immediate action against the management of the Zenith Cooperative Housing Society alleging that he and some other members were victimised by the arbitrary decision of changing the layout plan of the society without the approval or direction of any competent authority and also allegedly not executing sale deeds in favour of some “desirous” members of the society.

Mr H.L. Sharma, president of the society, reacting to the allegations, about 10 to 15 complaints were made at different times but none of them was upheld. He said the complaints were mere allegations and aimed at only harassing him for some vested interests. Responding to allegations that he took the arbitrary decisions of changing the layout plan, he said this was baseless as he had not formed the society. The society came into being in 1982 and he became a member in 1989 only and thus no motive could be attributed to him.

Unfazed by the response of the president of the society, Mr Shivdev Singh stressed that he and other members look towards the new government and the district administration to solve their problems. Giving further details about their alleged victimisation he said that he was allotted plot no. 130/1 in 1989 but after some years, his plot was arbitrarily changed to 141-A by changing the layout plan in order to benefit a relative of a society functionary.

Not only this but the space earmarked for a park and another for a cinema hall or developing some place of entertainment was also changed and the space was cut into several plots. The society office-bearers also violated the norms in the changed layout by neither informing nor taking the approval of the Municipal Corporation, Cooperative Society Department or of any other government department, including the Town Planning department.

He also claimed that he took up the matter with the Assistant Registrar Cooperative Societies, Ludhiana, who vide orders dated March 3, 1997, upheld his stand. The Assistant Registrar also ordered that the a 24-foot wide road touching the plot of the applicant should be kept. The alleged layout change had erased the road from the map, thus directly affecting the value as well as location benefit of the plot of the applicant.

Interestingly, the matter was also taken up in the weekly sangat darshan programme of the district administration but nothing came out of it.



City roads to be widened; offenders warned
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, March 9
Yesterday morning, at about 9.15 am, two cops astride a white PCR motor cycle, duly fitted with a PA system, stopped their vehicle at a crossing on Metro Road in the Focal Point area. The uniformed cops got down their bike and one of them took out the microphone and started speaking into it. Both passersby and the area residents were a bit surprised as they listened attentively to what the cop was saying. He was telling all rickshaw-pullers, auto-drivers and rehriwallahs that their vehicles must not be found parked anywhere on the road. He was polite in his address as he warned of strict action by the police against such offenders. The cop with the microphone also warned the listeners against raising the volume of their music players.

After the cops left the scene, a grocery shop owner, who has an ice-cream vend running on the encroached portion of the Metro Road boulevard for a long time , immediately pulled back the vend that was occupying a part of the road. The autos parked at the unauthorised auto-stand on the Metro Road were driven away by their respective owners and parked else where. Rickshaw-pullers also followed suit. And so did a couple of roadside fast-food rehriwallahs.

Around the same time, other PCR motor cycle teams were doing more or less the same chore all over the city. The message was loud and clear. The SSP wants all city roads widened. The citizens were being informed in that connection.

It was not the beginning of the campaign to widen city roads. In fact, it had been practically launched a couple of days ago, with instructions to all thanedars, to ensure smooth traffic in their respective areas. According to sources, after the recent reshuffle of various city thanedars, they were told by the SSP, among other things, to ensure smooth flow of traffic in their areas. The 40-odd PCR teams were also instructed to make use of the PA system fitted on mobikes and make the public aware about the various campaigns launched by the police recently, including the one against noise makers.

On March 6, the in-charge of the Dharampura (Shingar cinema) police post had hauled up ten rickshaw-pullers for parking their vehicles on the road and obstructing traffic and booked them under section 283 of the IPC. Sporadic cases of this nature were also registered at other police stations.

Already, the road scene in the city is beginning to look different as a result of the campaign and one can hope for things to improve further. Mr R.L. Kalsia, soon after taking over as Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, had promised the residents of this industrial city that he would 'widen' the city roads on a priority basis. He failed to deliver the goods because instead of creating a new anti-encroachment authority, he entrusted the task to the same Tehbazari Department which is basically responsible for the mess of illegal, stationary rehris all over the city. Possibly, the Police Department can help realise Mr Kalsia's promise. For that end, the cops must keep up the pressure for a long time to come.



Phone dealers allege harassment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
Several Connect dealers in the city are up in arms over what they term as witch hunt by the Punjab Police and sheer indifference by the company. The Jalandhar Police is allegedly harassing local Connect dealers following the registration of a case against an employee of a Jalandhar-based distributor for Connect telephones on the complaint of the distributor.

As per information available in the city, an employee of Lovely Autos, the Connect’s limited mobility set distributor, allegedly misappropriated a huge sum, leading to a complaint by Lovely Autos suggesting that the handsets sold by the employee were actually stolen. An FIR was registered at the behest of Lovely Autos at the Police Station, Division Number 4, Jalandhar in this connection.

The Jalandhar Police is now conducting raids in the city, forcing local Connect dealers to join their investigations at Jalandhar and also give names of customers to whom these sets were sold by the employee in an apparent bid to recover these, even though the subscribers have paid for these.

Five out of total eight Connect dealers in the city — Sethi, Shivam, Netphone, IDM and Star — are affected due to raids by the Jalandhar Police at Ludhiana. Sources disclosed that the accused, one Mr Sabbarwal, was an employee of Lovely Autos who sat in the connect office one at Ludhiana and all transactions by Mr Sabbarwal were conducted from there on behalf of Lovely Autos. He reportedly distributed the sets to the retailers from the company’s office. The dealers as well as the subscribers made due payments in cash or through drafts. The amount collected after the transaction was over was not allegedly deposited to Lovely Autos, thereby making it a case of fraud rather than that of theft.

A dealer of the company, when contacted, said that this was a clear case of embezzlement and not of theft and the dealers were unnecessarily being harassed by the police.

Though, the resentment among the dealers is directed both against the company and the police yet the senior vice-president of Connect at Chandigarh, Mr Vijay Kaul, when contacted, said that it was an internal matter of the Lovely Autos and his employee and Connect had nothing to do with it. He said that he was unable to understand why the retailers were being harassed by the police.

“The case has nothing to do with our dealers and the subscribers”, said Mr Kaul. The dealers, on the other hand, say that the company on whose directions they dealt with Mr Sabbarwal cannot absolve itself of responsibility.

If the dealers give names of the subscribers to the police, several of them may lose their phones.



Freedom fighters condemn communal violence
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
A well-attended meeting of the freedom fighters and their successors from all over the state held here last evening under the chairmanship of Dewan Jagdish Chander, general secretary, All-India Freedom Fighters Organisation, condemned the Godhra train attack and burning down innocent passengers.

In a resolution adopted unanimously, the worst type of inhuman communal carnage in Gujarat and elsewhere, which was the result of provocation by the communal incitement and provocative propaganda of the Sangh Parivar, including the VHP and the Bajrang Dal, came under severe criticism. It further observed that the NDA government at the Centre was also guilty of directly or indirectly conniving with the Sangh Parivar in its nefarious activities.

The meeting remarked that the BJP government in Gujarat had miserably failed to give protection to the person and property of the citizens of the state and had lost the moral right to remain in power. “It should resign on its own or should be dismissed to give way to the President’s rule in the state.”

According to Mr Jagdish Chander, the speakers expressed their gratitude and congratulated the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for saving Punjab from the spread of communal violence. Deft handling of the situation in the city as at other places by the administration had foiled the evil designs of communal and fundamental forces to foment communal tension in the state.

He added that the freedom fighters and their successors from all over Punjab would get together at Amritsar on April 13 and take out a march to Jallianwala Bagh to pay homage to the martyrs who had laid down their lives.



Graduation clause for poll unresolved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
With the transfer of the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr S.K. Sandhu, also president of the Satluj Club here, the issue of the abrogation of the graduation clause for contesting elections for various posts in the club has been delayed further. And with elections scheduled to be held later this month, some of the senior members who are keen to contest elections but are not graduates, are feeling concerned over the delay which could lead to denial of yet another chance for contesting the elections.

The new president of the club Mr Anurag Aggarwal, DC, Ludhiana, is reported to have held some meetings on the issue with the incumbent secretary, Mr A.S. Chawla, and other office-bearers.



Bank men resent cut in holidays
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
The Indian National Bank Employees Congress (INBEC) and the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (labour cell) have condemned the previous Akali-BJP government for curtailment of holidays for the employees of commercial banks, LIC and other financial institutions under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

In a joint statement here today, the functionaries of these bodies stated that a memorandum had been submitted to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Punjab Labour Minister Jagjit Singh and Finance Minister Lal Singh to restore the holidays, which the former government had “unjustly denied” to the employees.

The holidays, which no longer would be bank holidays under the Negotiable Instruments Act during the current year, included International Women’s Days (March 8), Martyrdom Day of Bhagat Singh (March 23), Holi (March 28), Baisakhi and Dr Ambedkar’s Birth anniversary (both on April 13), Mahavir Jayanti (April 25), International Labour Day (May 1), Id-Ul-Milad (May 25), Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev (June 14), Guru Hargobind Singh’s Birthday (June 25), Martyrdom Day of Shaheed Udham Singh (July 31) and New Punjab Day (November 1).



Kirtan darbar on March 17
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
Shri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Sewa Society would hold a kirtan darbar on March 17 in connection with the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Angad Dev.

Mr Gurcharan Singh, president, managing committee, Gurdwara Kalgidhar in Field Ganj, the venue of the kirtan darbar, said the darbar would commence at 2.30 pm and conclude after midnight.



Burn victim dies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
Ms Geeta (32), a resident of Manjit Nagar, who had been admitted to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, with serious burn injuries on March 2, succumbed to her injuries at the hospital yesterday.

According to the information, she had received burns after she caught fire from the flames of a kerosene stove while cooking.

Fraud alleged: The Basti Jodhewal police has registered a case of alleged fraud on the statement of Mr Lehmbar Singh, a resident of Arjun Colony, Jagirpur, against Surjit Singh, a resident of Model Town Extension, Tarsem Singh Bagga, a property dealer of Model Colony, Rahon road, and Jaspal Singh. The complainant had alleged that he had bought a plot from the accused but they refused to get a sale deed executed even after getting the payment from him. No arrest has been made so far.

Cop injured: Mr Jaswant Singh, a PCR motor cycle cop, was seriously injured last evening when the motor cycle he was riding met with an accident while he was chasing two motorcycle-borne youths who ignored the police signal to stop and tried to escape. He has been admitted to the Civil Hospital with a broken ankle and injuries on other body parts.

According to the information, constables Mr Jaswant Singh and Mr Baldev Singh, were patrolling the area falling under Division No. 3 police station on their PCR motorcycle ( PB 10 AB 0031). When they spotted two motor cycle-borne youths moving about in suspicious circumstances at Baba Thaan Singh Chowk , they signalled them to stop. But as the youths ignored their signal and accelerated their vehicle, they decided to chase them. But when they overtook a three-wheeler near the Arora Nursing Home, their bike hit a white Maruti parked along the road.

However, according to sources other than the police, the policemen might have concocted the chase story to conceal their own carelessness while driving.

Woman booked: The Division No. 8 (Kailash Cinema) police has registered a case against Krishna rani, Sunny, Sohan Singh and Sandip Kumar, all residents of Durga Puri. According to the information, the Haibowal police had arrested the accused on the charge of allegedly entering a house, beating and threatening its occupants. According to the police, one of the accused Krishna Rani, grappled with a policeman on duty, abused him and hindered him from performing his duty.

Shop burgled: The Model Town police has registered a case of theft on the statement of a shopkeeper, Mr Mohan Singh, a resident of Model Town extension, against Gurvinder, Vicky and eight others. The complainant had alleged on Thursday that the accused broke open the lock of his shop on the Dugri road and entered it with the intention of stealing. When he reached the shop after getting an anonymous phone call and challenged the accused, the accused threatened him before leaving the scene. No arrest has been made so far.

Satta operator held: The Division No. 4 police has arrested Sunil Kumar, a resident of Tibba road, and booked him under the Gambling Act. A sum of Rs. 985 and some satta slips have been recovered from his possession.

Liquor seized: The Division No. 1 police arrested Jasbir Singh, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, on Thursday and recovered 11 bottles of illicit liquor from his possession. The Model Town police arrested Manjit Singh, a resident of Pavittar Nagar in Haibowal, and recovered 12 bottles of illicit liquor from his possession. Both have been booked under the Excise Act.

Absconder held:
The Dehlon police has arrested Balwant Singh, driver of a truck, who fled from the scene after hitting a scooterist near Puheer in which Gurcharan Singh of Jadtoli was killed. A case under Section 279, 427 and 304, IPC was registered against him.



Dowry death on Women’s Day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
International Women's Day did not bring good luck for a 19-year-old married woman who was allegedly murdered by her in-laws and then burnt to show the death as an accident in Doraha late last evening.

Not willing to accept the in-laws theory, the Sahnewal police has on the complaint of the girl's mother, registered a case of dowry killing against the in-laws.

According to the police, Asha Rani, a resident of Bachittar Nagar and mother of Poonam, the girl was killed by the in-laws yesterday.

She said her daughter was married to Vikas Kumar of Doraha five months ago. The FIR states that the victim was allegedly tortured physically and mentally by her in-laws to force her to bring more dowry.

It further states that yesterday Vikas Kumar, mother-in-law Krishna Devi, husband's uncle Kewal Krishan and Husband's grandmother Shakuntala Devi allegedly killed her and then put kerosene on her at 7 pm.

The post-mortem examination was conducted at the local Civil Hospital and a case under Section-304-B of the IPC has been registered against the accused.



Cycle manufacturers withdraw strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
The Cycle and Cycle Parts Manufacturers’ Association has decided to postpone its proposed strike scheduled to begin today to protest against the hike of 4 per cent excise duty on their products. The decision follows the notification issued by the Central Government giving time till end of May to the industry to file their returns.

However, seeking a clarification on the notification issued by the Ministry of Finance on the issue of excise duty, Mr K.K. Seth of the Neelam Cycles and the chairman of the eight-member ‘sangarsh samiti’ said there was ambiguity on the issue and it was still unclear whether they were supposed to pay or refrain from paying the 4 per cent excise duty levied on their products. “The notification seems to be a temporary relief till June only from the inspector raj, while we want the issue settled and clarified”, Mr Seth said.

The Ludhiana cycle industry had earlier decided to resort to an agitation but the decision was changed after a deputation met the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, and the Union Minister of State for Industry, Ms Vasundra Raje Scindia. Mr. Seth disclosed that the committee had arranged yet another meeting with Ms Scindia on March 13 or 14 through Rajya Sabhba member Lala Lajpat Rai.

Representatives from cycle industry here feel that the decision of the Union Government would affect the Rs 3,000 crore cycle industry in the city and even the slightest variation in the tax structure could plummet output by up to 30 per cent.

As per the letter dated March 7, 2002, written by the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance, to all Commissioners of the Central Excise, the SSI and non-SSI have been exempted from making excise duty payments on fortnightly basis. Besides they have also been allowed special facility to file a single RT-12 return for the months of March, April and May 2002.


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