Wednesday, March 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Where elderly fear to tread after dark
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

South City of Ludhiana, easy target for criminals; and (right) Mr Sanjay Arora and Mr G.R. Chopra.
South City of Ludhiana, easy target for criminals; and (right) Mr Sanjay Arora and Mr G.R. Chopra.— Photos Rajesh Bhambi

Ludhiana, March 19
The murder of an old woman and the robbery at her house in South City here yesterday has spread panic among those who live here. Most of them are elderly and live alone.

Though the city police has decided to organise public meetings in the area to reassure them, most of them are still concerned about their safety in the absence of any security cover.

After the news of the murder spread yesterday, several of them who were away, rushed to their houses. Many of them said they could no longer afford to stay out after dark.

The police launched a special drive here yesterday to register all domestic servants and labourers living in the colony. All those who live here blame the police and the colonisers for not providing them with security.

Such incidents had taken place earlier also and minor thefts were common. However, the colonisers said it was impossible for them to have private guards for the colony because it involved a huge expenditure which the occupants were not willing to share.

Mr Sanjay Arora, who lives in the area, said there was a panic in the colony after the murder, though South City was supposed to be free of crime. “Earlier, security guards of the coloniser, Vikas House Building Company, used to patrol the area, but that activity was stopped long ago. Most of the elderly here live alone because their children are settled abroad,” he said.

Another man of the colony, Mr G.R. Chopra, said he lived alone and visited a friend every evening for dinner, but now, he was scared to continue his routine after yesterday’s incident. He said the advantage of the colony being away from the city had turned into a big disadvantage because the cut-off colony was an easy target for criminals.

Mr Yashpal Singh Bhalla, Managing Director of Vikas House Building Company, said he, too, was concerned about the security of the area. He said he had security guards for his own office and not for the occupants of the colony. He also said he had approached the occupants several times with proposals in this regard, but no one was willing to share the expenditure on security.



Change in weather brings diseases
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, March 19
The change in weather has led to a spurt in cases of viral diarrhoea, viral bronchitis, gastroenteritis and viral enanthem in the city. Doctors say that viral infections have increased because of the rise in temperature, pollution and the presence of allergy-causing agents and suspended particles in air. The past 10 days have been particularly bad.

Dr Ritu Gupta, Medical Superintendent and Head of the Paediatrics Department of Shri Raghunath Charitable Hospital, said children below the age of five were particularly vulnerable at this time. “The number of persons visiting paediatrics OPDs has increased in this period and the hospital receives about 30 children every day,” said Dr Gupta.

She said children with viral diarrhoea complained of vomiting and loose motions. Contaminated water and food caused such ailments. “Mothers should give their children small but frequent feed, besides boiled water, whey-water and oral rehydration solution (ORS),” said Dr Gupta.

The other problem that the changing weather has made common is of viral bronchitis that begins with a mild cold and cough. The symptoms include increased rate of respiration, fever, hard breathing, nasal blockage and restlessness.

“Viral bronchitis affects adults as well as children. The mild cold at the beginning, if not treated properly, causes an acute inflammation of lungs. One should not have self-medication or exposure to heat and cold. Woollens should not go off suddenly,” said Dr Harvinder Singh, Senior Medical Officer (SMO) in Civil Hospital.

Dr Harkanwal Kaur, a physician in the Department of Medicine of Guru Tegh Bahadar Hospital, said that rising temperature brought flies and mosquitoes with it. “The cases of gastroenteritis and jaundice are also common in such weather, so, everyone should avoid contaminated water and food,” she said.

Dr Ritu Gupta said, besides the changing weather, many other factors were also responsible for viral infections. In this weather, the temperature falls suddenly in a day and exposure to cold is early. “The incidence of skin ailments like viral enanthem also increases among children and they complain of rashes and itching. These infections are only till the beginning of the harvest season,” said Dr Gupta. She said children often caught infection from domestic servants who did not maintain hygiene.

The president of the local unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Dr Gursharan Singh, said the foodstuff became easily contaminated in this weather. 



Peak season for coaching centres
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, March 19
With only two days left for Class XII examinations to be over, scores of entrance-tests-coaching centres in the city seem to be gearing up for having fresh batches.

Owners of these centres lure students with promises of guaranteed success, five to six hours of coaching for seven days a week, limited batches, computerised study material, daily tests, discussions, qualified and experienced faculty, air-conditioned classrooms and hostel facility. They are busy registering students for batches commencing from March 22, the last day of examinations.

They are likely to earn lakhs of rupees in this period by conducting four to five batches a day, charging each student Rs 5,000 to Rs 12,000 per month, with more than 25 students per batch. Such batches continue for three months or so.

There are need-based packages for students. Class XII students have the option of joining crash courses of 10, 40, 50 or 60 days. Those joining a 10-day course are given a syllabus and 10 mock tests of 100 multiple-choice questions each. Such students are told that there would be no discussion on the problems in these 10 days. Those joining 40-day or 60-day courses are given computerised notes, two to three hours of all-subject coaching each day, followed by two hours of testing and discussion.

Several students who have just taken examinations of Class X and XI have also started registering themselves for courses of three to eight months. The package for three to six months at most centres includes extensive coaching and packages of longer duration include a series of mock tests at the end.

Ms Usha Tyagi, director of a coaching centre near Bhai Bala Chowk, said a number of students had already got themselves registered for various packages. She said most of these students were of Class XII, though a few Class X students had also joined these courses. In view of the increasing competition, students did not want to waste even a single day after their examinations were over. Each students who joined such a course soon after matriculation was assured that he or she would definitely get a rank in the entrance test.

Ms Rohini of a coaching centre on Pakhowal Road said the upper limit for the number of students in a batch was 25, so that, each student could be given a proper attention. She said these students received books prepared by the head office of the centre in Chandigarh and a three-hour coaching everyday, along with two hours of testing. Coaching classes for the IIT aspirants would also begin after two weeks.



Ousted teachers create scene
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The two terminated teachers of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today embarrassed the authorities by protesting and airing their grievances in front of the guests at the Regional Workshop on Media and Human Development organised at the university, when they entered the venue shouting slogans against the Vice-Chancellor.

Dr Amarjit Singh Grewal, a former senior Immunologist and Ms Sarbjit Dhaliwal former Assistant Economist, sat outside the Wheat Auditorium, the venue of the workshop organised by the Department of Journalism and Press Institute of India jointly. Both of them also went to Parker House where the guests, delegates and organisers were being served lunch.

The two were demanding that a senior official of the Punjab Government of the level of a Chief Secretary be asked to inquire into their cases. They alleged that the two had been terminated allegedly by the VC because he had personal grudges against them and wanted to settle scores with them.

Dr Grewal was shouting slogans on the top of his voice, to the effect that Mahatma Gandhi had brought freedom to the country when he was an NRI and Dr Grewal, being an NRI should help the PAU get rid of authorities with a dictatorial attitude. He also invited the VC for an open debate on the matter and said that he could prove that his services were terminated because he was a co-petitioner to file a writ against the then VC who had been appointed as the Pro-VC then, giving all rules a go bye. The two teachers were given the marching orders by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh last year. The VC has been denying all allegations .



NHAI fails to justify toll tax 
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 19
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in the Ministry of Surface Transport, which receives about Rs 1 lakh per day in the form of toll tax from barriers on the Sutlej on the outskirts of the city, has so far failed to provide any infrastructure or beautification in the area despite collecting a handsome amount daily. This has led to a lot of resentment among the people who feel that the government should intervene to stop toll tax till the Ministry of Transport can justify its collection of huge funds, supposedly for better maintenance of the highway..

Contrary to common belief, the toll tax being collected at the rate of Rs 5 per vehicle at the new Sutlej bridge on the G.T. Road (National Highway No 1) is duly authorised by the NHAI, set up by the Ministry of Surface Transport. In the absence of any maintenance or beautification work being done on Jalandhar side of the NH-1, there were widespread speculations that the term of the contractor, entrusted with the job of collection of toll tax, had ended, but he was still continuing with the task and issuing official receipts.

Enquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune with the National Highway Division of the Public Works Department, Punjab, here, which was earlier responsible for the maintenance of the highways, revealed that the term of the present contractor, deployed for the collection of toll tax was till March 31, 2001 and in the wake of impending transfer of the NH to the NHAI, set up by the Government of India, no exercise was initiated by state PWD to engage a new contractor or to revise the terms.

However, as a result of delay in effecting the transfer due to certain administrative reasons, the department had no choice but to extend the term of the existing contractor at the same terms and conditions for the simple reason that any delay would have led to massive financial loss to the government. According to a senior official in the National Highway Division, the term of the existing contractor was to end at midnight on March 31.

While no official of the NHAI was available for comments, officials of National Highway Division of the Punjab PWD told that the NHAI had drawn up elaborate plans for strengthening and maintenance of the NH 1 and beautification of the entire stretch between Ludhiana and Jalandhar. “Going by the comprehensive plan formulated by the NHAI, which is to be put into shape very shortly, the NH-1 will become one of the finest roads in the region,” claimed a senior officer of the National Highway Division.



Gate on civic land removed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
Responding swiftly to a complaint lodged by shopkeepers around the Old Tonga Stand near Lakshmi cinema here, staff of the municipal corporation removed a gate, which had been put up after demolition of a toilet block on civic body land, adjoining a piece of PUDA land which had been sold in auction about two years back.

The MC Additional Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, who had supervised the late night operation for removal of the gate, said the MC had now got a wall constructed at the site where the owner of the PUDA land had installed a gate. The MC has also lodged a complaint with the police for registration of a criminal case against the culprits allegedly responsible for demolition of the toilet block and unlawfully occupying the municipal land.

Meanwhile, the Lakshmi Shopkeepers Union president, Mr Bal Krishan Sharma, has alleged that the owner of the PUDA land and his manager were threatening the shopkeepers to get the shops vacated which were rented out to them by the MC almost four decades back.

In a written complaint submitted to the MC Commissioner, the shopkeepers further charged the owner of an industrial house, which had purchased the said land from PUDA, with flooding the vacant land behind the shops with water to cause damage to the foundations, pulling down the toilet block and unlawfully occupying the site of tonga stand. The shopkeepers association has also urged the police to provide them adequate security to save their life and property from the muscle men of the industrialist.




THE judiciary is generally believed to be very media shy, but sometimes judicial officers feel that the media can facilitate their role in acting as watchdogs of society by working in tandem with them. One such appeal was made by none other than one of the most honest and upright Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice R.L. Anand, during his visit to the city recently. Mr Justice Anand in a very candid manner discussed the limitations being faced by the judicial officers and came up with the idea that if the media persons, who moved around in society, were to bring the ills in society and cases of corruption and high-handedness to the notice of the judicial officer, it would become easier for the judiciary to dispense justice at the grassroots level. Ludhiana District and Sessions Judge V.B. Handa, too, supports Mr Justice Anand’s viewpoint (see picture). Though the idea of scribes providing eyes to the judicial officers may not be very appealing to the corrupt and unscrupulous elements in society, it surely can go a long way in ameliorating the sufferings of the oppressed. After all both the judiciary and media play a complementary role. The media acts as a mirror of society while the judiciary takes care of the aberrations.

Fallen heroes

Immediately after Capt Amarinder Singh took over as Chief Minister, he ordered an instant reshuffle of senior officers right from the Chief Secretary up to the rank of the Deputy Commissioner. Probably it was unprecedented that transfers were affected so instantly on such a massive scale. Now almost a month has passed since these officers, who mostly belong to the middle level of the bureaucracy, were transferred. And surprisingly most of them have not be awarded new postings as yet. They are being made to visit Chandigarh daily, without being sure of anything. It has been really very trying for these officers, who have been shown the exit just for the reason that they were posted during the regime of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. These bureaucrats are just “whiling away and killing” their time. They do not even have the visitors or the telephone calls they were used to for keeping themselves busy. Some of them have even been refused the telephone facility after they were relieved and have been told that they will get official telephone only after a new posting. Although unfortunate, the bureaucrats seem to have reconciled with the reality of being used as pawns in the game of chess. And the tragic part of it is that none of them can or dare to protest, lest he falls into the bad books of the government. One really pities them. Once mighty and powerful, they are now fallen heroes.

Insensitive behaviour

The other day a private bus coming from Patiala to Ludhiana hit a Tata Qualis from the rear at the traffic lights near Sirhind, where the car had stopped. The bus driver and conductor, instead of apologising to the car driver, started abusing him, and asked: “Why have you stopped in front of us?’’ without realising that both of them were supposed to stop at the red light. The car driver asked for compensation for the damage to his vehicle, and the argument continued for some time. Some of the passengers, who were feeling impatient because of delay in their journey, tried to thrash the car driver, for delay without any concern about the damage and fault of their own bus driver. The car driver, a young boy, requested for some compensation but in vain. In the meantime, the bus driver tried to flee from the scene, but was caught by the car driver near Mandi Gobindgarh taxi stand. The agreement was reached at with the intervention of other taxi drivers, and the bus driver paid Rs 400 for his fault.

Labour cause!

It seems that the Leftist parties and their trade unions have failed to learn any lesson from the recent drubbing in the state elections. Though they still claim to champion the cause of downtrodden and labour classes, the behaviour of their local leaders is just contradictory. Condemning the memorandum submitted by the local unit of the CPI (M) recently, one of the factory workers, who lost his job for participating in a strike, said: “Instead of demanding any relief for the millions of unemployed, illiterate factory workers, these labour leaders are asking for the restoration of tax exemptions to the income tax assessees with income up to Rs 5 lakh. Can they still claim that they are supporters of workers’ rights?” He lamented that he had to pay Rs 100 to a party leader for presenting his case in the labour court. “I feel disgusted with the party and trade union, for which I have lost half of my life,” he added.

Taken for a ride

It rarely happens when the media is taken for a ride. And that too by the media gurus. The local journalists today felt completely in the woods when the timings of the inauguration of the Regional Workshop on Media and Human Development organised by the Department of Journalism, PAU, was changed from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and they were not informed. The representatives from all newspapers reached the venue at 9:30 and it wore the deserted look. Then started the practice of ringing up communication centre but surpringingly they were also not aware of the programme. So the cats who taught the tigers the tricks of the trade today gave another lesson that the gurus can always take the disciples for a ride either willingly or unwillingly.

No beautification of DIG office

While the offices of the Ludhiana SSP, SP and of other officials in the district police headquarters at the mini secretariat have got a new look gradually in the past few years, the premises of the DIG (Ludhiana Range) unfortunately continues to present a weary look. The path leading to the main office is still ‘kutcha’ and dusty. It is in sharp contrast to the beautiful entrance of the district police headquarters which was beautified last year. With the police now stressing on the need to beautify the police stations to give a friendly look to the public, the beginning can be made from the highest police office in the range. Sentinel



Cash prizes for firemen
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
Mr Harjinder Singh, Joint Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, and Mr Kartar Singh, Assistant Divisional Fire Officer, were among the 37 civic body officials who were given cash awards for their work during a massive cracker fire in Jawahar Nagar here in November 2001.

The Punjab Minister for Local Bodies, Choudhry Jagjit Singh, gave away a cheque for Rs 10,000 to Mr Harjinder Singh and a cheque for Rs 8,000 to Mr Kartar Singh at a function here, after he had laid the foundation stone of a flyover that would come up in place of Lakkar Pul. Cash awards worth Rs 56,500 were distributed among 35 other employees of the Municipal Fire Services.

The MC Joint Commissioner, Mr Harjinder Singh, who is also the head of the Fire Services, was among the first ones to arrive at the place of fire to supervise the rescue and relief operations. The General House of the MC had acknowledged the timely action by officials and firemen that had saved precious lives and property.

The MC Commissioner, Mr R.L. Kalsia, said the MC would continue to follow the reward and punishment policy.



Major, family bid adieu
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, March 19
The five persons of a family who were killed in Monday’s accident at Kaind bridge were cremated today. While Baljit Kaur and her granddaughter Isha were cremated at the local cremation ground, Major Arvinder Singh his wife Rupinder Kaur were cremated at Baho Majra near Khanna, ancestral village of the Major. Isha’s body was fished out from the canal near Jassowal today.

The Army gave Major Arvinder full military honours at his funeral. The infant was also buried at the same place as the Major.



Cable operators’ predicament
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Much confusion prevails in this city and its suburbs because of the mutually antagonistic attitude of two major TV channels showing popular serials, among other programmes. One of the channels is being excluded from the transmission schedule. The victims of the feud are cable operators who are accountable to their subscribers. The operators have decided to start an ‘‘educative campaign’’ to make their ‘‘handicap’’ understood.



Poppy husk seized, three held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
The Ghumar Mandi police, of the Division No 5 police station, yesterday nabbed three of the four poppy husk smugglers at a naka near the Rose Garden and seized 64.5 kg of contraband from their possession. While the arrested persons have been identified as Rakesh Kumar alias Kesha and Mohinder Singh, both residents of Kakowal village, and Raju, a resident of Bahadurke village, the man who managed to escape has been identified as Karnail Singh, a havaldar with the Punjab Police posted at the local Police Lines.

According to information, when the accused , who were riding a scooter and a motor cycle and carrying two bags full of poppy husk , were signalled to stop by the naka party, tried to speed past the naka, but were nabbed after a brief chase.

Man commits suicide: Thirty five-year-old Jai Nath, son of Prabhu Nath, a resident of Sherpur, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself due to some domestic tension on Sunday. The Focal Point police has registered a case under Section 174 of the Cr PC and handed over the body to the kin of the deceased after a postmortem.

Woman succumbs to burns: Sunita, 19, wife of Dalip, a resident of Dhandari Kalan, who had received third degree burns while cooking on March 14 and had been admitted to the Civil Hospital, succumbed to her burns yesterday. The police has handed over the body to the father of the deceased after an autopsy. On the basis of her statement, the police has registered a case under Section 174 of the Cr. P.C.

Husband pours acid on wife: A woman with acid burns on her face and an arm was admitted to the local Civil Hospital yesterday by her father. According to the victim, Jyoti, daughter of Surinder Kumar, a resident of Vishwakarma Colony, she was married to Gulshan Kumar, a resident of Moga, on January 15,2000.

But her husband started beating her after the marriage and started demanding money for a motorcycle. Unable to bear his excesses, she lodged a report with the police on August 10 last year but a compromise was effected following intervention by a panchayat, following which she again started living with her husband, who then resorted to his old ways.

On Friday last, her husband came home in an inebriated condition and poured acid on her as a result of which she received burns on her face and an arm, she added. Some neighbours informed her father on telephone, who got her admitted to the hospital.

Patwari held, tehsildar absconds: Harbans Singh, a patwari posted at Ghudani village in Ludhiana district, was caught red-handed while accepting graft by a team of Vigilance Bureau yesterday , while a tehsildar Gian Chand, posted at Payal, managed to escape the dragnet and is reported to be absconding. A sum of Rs 1,000, the notes of which had been tainted by the Vigilance team, was recovered from the pocket of the patwari. The accused had accepted the money from a farmer Jagdip Singh Chauhan for entering a land mutation. The accused had demanded Rs 2,500 for the purpose of which Rs 1,000 were paid yesterday.

Beaten, cash snatched: The Civil Lines police has registered a case under sections 397, 342, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Balbir Singh, a resident of Gurdev Nagar near Aarti Cinema, against Kuldip Singh, a resident of Bharat Nagar, Happy and Seji, both residents of Jawahar Nagar camp and five other unknown persons. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him near Middha chowk on Sunday night, took him in a Gypsy to a room near the Preet Palace cinema and beat him up. Later, the accused fled after snatching the Rs 2,100 that were on his person at that time.

Woman beaten up: The Civil Lines police has registered a case under sections 354 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Rajni Bala, a resident of Manjit Nagar, against Sahib Singh of the same locality. Ms Bala had alleged that the accused beat her outside her house on Sunday and forcibly tried to take her along. When she raised an alarm, the accused ran away while threatening her. The accused has not been arrested so far.

Theft in gurdwara: The Salem Tabri police has registered a case of alleged theft under section 379 of the IPC on the statement of Mangal Singh, the granthi of Gurdwara Gursagar, against unknown person(s), who allegedly broke open the lock of the gurdwara’s donation box and decamped with Rs 2,500.

Assaulted by in-laws: Sukhchain Singh, 22, a resident of Bahadurke village, was allegedly attacked with lathis and swords by his in-laws when he went to their house to fetch his pregnant wife on Saturday night. An injured Sukhchain who is an auto-rickshaw driver, told newspersons from his bed in the Civil Hospital that on March 16, he went to the house of his in-laws in Hazoori Bagh Colony at Bhattian to fetch his wife Kashmir Kaur . But his in-laws instead of sending her with him, attacked him as a result of which he sustained injuries in the head and other body parts.

Injured: Atma Singh, 50, a resident of Mundian Khurd village, was knocked down by a speeding Punjab Roadways bus while he was going on a cycle near Mundian Kalan on Sunday. He has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital in a critical condition.

Tipsy men threaten driver:
A bus driver was reportedly threatened by occupants of a Maruti car on GT Road between Khanna and Doraha. According to driver Kehar Singh, he was carrying pilgrims to Gurdwara Tahli Sahib, Kartarpur, on his Tata 709 No. PB08-20-0943 when they were attacked by 4-5 occupants of a Maruti car (PB 10Z-0680). The three of them were Surinderjit Singh, Balwinder Singh and Satnam Singh of Jamalpur.

They along with others reportedly attacked me as they were all drunk, the driver alleged. They stopped him, spoke ill and threatened him. A case has been registered under Sections 341, 506, 348 and 149 of the IPC at Sahnewal police station.

Liquor seized: The Sahnewal police claims to have seized 16 bottles of illicit liquor from Harjit Singh of Dehlon by Hawaldar Mohinder Singh. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |