Wednesday, March 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


24 hurt in bus mishap
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 26
Over 24 persons were injured, two of them seriously, when a private mini bus turned turtle outside the SSP’s residence on the old DMC road in Civil Lines this evening. About 25 persons, mostly students were travelling, in the bus.

According to the police, the driver said that the steering of the bus got locked and he could not control the bus. The bus first hit a central divider on the road and then turned upside down. Policemen on duty at the SSP’s residence and some employees of the local Municipal Corporation who were following the bus rescued the trapped passengers.

Two persons were admitted to the DMC hospital while the remaining were discharged after some treatment. The persons admitted to the hospital have been identified as Suman Arora and Vijay Gupta. They suffered fractures in the accident. Suman Arora, one of the injured, said she did not know what happened but the bus suddenly over turned and her head hit the left side of the bus. Some other passengers fell on her and it was quite after sometime that she was taken out.

According to another passenger, Vineet, a student of Government Institute of Textile Chemistry and Knitting Technology, the bus started from Haibowal and was headed towards the Bus Stand. He said the passengers suddenly heard a noise as the bus hit the central divider on the road and it overturned.

He said most of the injuries were caused when the passengers sitting towards the driver side of the bus fell on the passengers sitting on the opposite side. Timely rescue work by policemen and other persons saved them all as there was fear of an explosion in the bus.

Mr Jaipal, a foremen with the local MC, told Ludhiana Tribune that he was coming behind the bus in a truck and immediately applied brakes to prevent hitting the bus. He said the bus was moving at an average speed. ‘‘We broke window panes of the bus and helped the passengers in coming out ’’ he said.

Traffic at one side of the four-lane road remained affected for about an hour due to the accident. The bus was finally towed away by a crane of the police department.

There was quite a rush of people at the DMC hospital as anxious parents of some students rushed to the hospital to inquire about the safety of their children.



40 Health Dept employees found absent
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service.

Ludhiana, March 26
Forty employees of the Health Department, including doctors, pharmacists and para-medical staff, of primary health centres and dispensaries in two rural blocks of the district were found absent by Vigilance Bureau officials today.

The Vigilance Bureau officers prepared the list of the ‘offenders’ late evening and sent it to the DGP, Vigilance, and the state government. The raid was conducted on the orders of DGP (Vigilance), Mr S.P. Singh.

As many as 15 vehicles, including Gypsies and cars, were used in the simultaneous raids conducted on 32 primary health centres and dispensaries located in Hathoor and Sidhwan blocks of Jagraon sub-division.

Confirming the raids, the SP (Vigilance), Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, said the government had received complaints is that doctors and para-medical staff in the rural areas were not reporting for duty.

Mr Bajwa said about 50 per cent of the staff was found absent. As per the statement of some employees present in the health centres and dispensaries as well as the villagers, the doctors showed up in certain areas only for collecting their salaries. A number of employees run private business or clinics in the cities, they added.

At Jandi veterinary centre a member of the para-medical staff was found drunk and claimed himself as the medical officer of the centre. At the civil dispensary in the same village, a doctor came running after learning about the raids. His late arrival has, however, been recorded.

At the Hathoor Primary Health centre three of the four doctors and six members of the para-medical staff were found absent. At Chakkar village the only doctor was found absent. Out of six para-medical staff members three were found absent. The doctors at Sidhwan Kalan, Sidhwan Khurd, Kaunke-kalan, Sidhwan Bet, Sawadi Kalan, Talwandi Kalan and Virk villages were also found absent from duty.



Chandraswamy hospitalised, discharged
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 26
Controversial godman Chandraswamy was today admitted to a local private heart centre after complaining of breathlessness and uneasiness in the morning. The godman had arrived here yesterday on his way to Chintpurni and Jawala Ji. He stayed here for the night and met hundreds of his followers, including some top politicians and industrialists. He was later discharged from the hospital in the afternoon.

Chandraswamy told some reporters at Sigma Heart Centre that he had felt breathlessness and dizziness in the morning. He was scheduled to leave for Chintpurni in the morning itself. Some of his followers had also arranged a press conference, which was cancelled following his admission to the centre.

Initially, the doctors attending upon him at the heart centre felt that he had some gastric problem due to excess and unscheduled eating. However, the detailed medical investigations, according to Dr Amardeep of the Sigma Heart Centre, revealed that he had “some mild problem in his heart”, which was noticed in the ECG. Although the godman insisted that he be discharged immediately, the doctors advised against it and he was relieved from the hospital only in the afternoon, when the doctors were satisfied that his condition was stable and he was in a position to move out.

Chandraswamy was accompanied by his controversial assistant and one of the main accused in the Lakhubhai cheating case, Kailash Nath Aggarwal, alias Mama ji, nephew Sunil Kumar and some followers, who did not allow any media person to enter the intensive care unit. The doctors also did not allow the godman any exertion.

The godman has a number of followers in Ludhiana, who include leading politicians and industrialists. Most of them, after learning about his admission to the centre rushed there. A close kin of a senior Akali leader and former minister and a former president of the SGPC also met him.

One of his followers disclosed that the godman was exhausted last night as his followers did not let him to sleep during the night. In fact his exhaustion started the moment he got down from the Shatabadi at Ludhiana railway station. He was thronged by hundreds of people, some of them followers and others. In fact, he had to walk a considerable distance on the platform itself as the executive class bogeys of the Shatabadi stopped “far behind” the exit gate of the railway station.

As the rush of followers grew, he could not take his food in time. Nor could he sleep properly. “That might be one of the reasons for his feeling uncomfortable and dizzy”, he pointed out.

Notwithstanding his controversial image among the public and the registration of several cases against him in various courts, Chandraswamy commands considerable respect in the Jain community in Ludhiana. He is credited with having arranged a large area of land for the construction of a Jain temple near Ambala on the GT Road, which he reportedly managed through his personal contacts with the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala.

Interestingly Swamy, who once used to exercise lot of influence over the then Prime Minister, Mr P V Narsimha Rao, was accorded a VVIP treatment here. He was escorted by a large number of security personnel. A pilot vehicle of the Punjab police was ahead of the convoy he was travelling in, while there was one tempo loaded with policemen, which followed the convoy.



Pay salaries, demand govt employees
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 26
Government employees belonging to different departments organised a protest rally in front of the district treasury office, here today.

The rally was held on the call given by the Democratic Employees Front, Punjab, to hold district-level rallies in protest against the non-payment of salaries and allowances.

Addressing the employees, Mr Jasdev Singh Lalton, state vice-president, said: “The government has stopped the payment of salaries and pensions of government, semi-government and retired employees in the name of financial crisis. Employees’ bills worth crores of rupees against medical allowance, TA/ DA and other allowances were pending for the past many years. It is the constitutional duty of the government to pay salaries and clear allowances on time.”

Speakers pointed out that the Centre should increase the limit of income tax to Rs 1 lakh and take back 5 per cent surcharge. NPAs worth Rs 60,000 crore pending towards banks should be taken back by punishing industrialists and politicians, who had wasted the national wealth. They said the state government should pursue to auction the properties of corrupt officials and politicians to solve the fiscal crisis.

Among others, employees of Roadways, PSEB, Food and Supplies, Health and Education Departments participated.



Bank fraud
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 26
A local resident, Swinder Singh, has alleged that an amount of Rs 20,000 has been withdrawn from his ATM account at Bank of Punjab fraudulently.

The fraud came to light today, when Swinder Singh’s wife went to the bank for withdrawing some money. She found Rs 20,000 less in her account. When Swinder Singh contacted the bank in this regard, the bank checked and found a withdrawal made fraudulently through the ATM card from the ATM Machine. Swinder said he was told by the bank authorities that he had withdrawn the said amount through an ATM card issued to him.



Students honoured
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 26
The NCC Air Wing and Cultural Society of Arya College organised its annual prize distribution function here today.

On the occasion, roll of honour were presented to 12 NCC students, including Mandeep Singh, Satnam Singh, Mukhtiar Mohammad, Sandeep Kumar, Sanjeev Sharma, Ravinder Kumar, Amzad Ali, Narinder Pal, Manish Kumar and Sukhwinder. Eric Y. Daniel received the roll of honour for music, while Pardeep Joshi, Anil Sharma and Rohit Kumar got the roll for achievements in drama.

Om Pradeep, Manjinder Singh and 12 other students from NCC Air Wing received merit certificates for their performance in NCC, while Prabhjot, Poonam Jain, Rohit Chopra and Ashwini Sharma got the honour for winning in quiz.

Cultural items were also performed by students.




The police-public meet at the Kotwali police station on Sunday last did not generate anything worthwhile except an assurance by Mr Rohit Chaudhary, DIG, Ludhiana Range, that such meetings would be made a monthly feature. The much-wanted police-public interaction for which the meeting was mooted could not take place for the simple reason that the function was literally hijacked by politicians who spared no words in praise of senior police officers who were present on the occasion. Instead of putting forward any concrete proposals to curb crime in the city, both petty and otherwise, the speakers indulged in showering accolades on the police top brass.

Apart from expressing disdain for politicians and blaming them for turning a meaningful occasion into a show of sycophancy, one could not help wondering whether the police top brass was also trying to get a certificate for their ‘good’ work from the politicians of the day, particularly when the SSP has directed all ‘thanedars’ not to entertain politicians and go strictly by the law, irrespective of the nature of any case.

Crawling when merely asked to bend

Once Mr L.K. Advani remarked about some pro-establishment journalists that during the Emergency, imposed by Mrs Indira Gandhi in 1975, they crawled when they were merely asked to bend. And if a similar comment is made about most of the modern-day bureaucrats and police officers, it would not be wrong. Only after a few days of the change of guard in Chandigarh the police officers and bureaucrats changed their loyalties instantly. A senior police officer, who would pose himself as a no nonsense officer and would hardly entertain any lower rung politicians, much less belonging to the Congress, which was in opposition before the elections, started calling up the smalltime politicians of the same party asking them about their security requirements. Interestingly, two of them received the telephone calls on the mobile phones, while Capt Amarinder was being sworn in as the Chief Minister. The two leaders disclosed that while the said police officer would never entertain them before and keep them waiting outside his office for hours, had started calling them himself. And probably the officer has already been compensated for his extra loyalty as he has survived the massive reshuffle and transfers after the new regime took over.

Where will they go?

Development often brings with itself misery for several people. This is the case of scores of homeless men and women who are putting up on Lakkar Bridge, which is likely to be dismantled soon to be replaced by a flyover. While traffic problems would certainly be overcome to some extent, it has certainly raised problems for the poor folk who spend 24 hours on the bridge, selling small items, begging from passersby, eating whatever given out to them and sleeping off during the night. Will they search for a new shelter now? Where will they go?

Informer turned criminal

A police official with the local police found himself in an embarrassing position recently, when an informer woman, who had promised to tip him off about a smuggling gang, was instead caught by the police on the charges of robbing and killing a number of people. Media persons attending the police conference where the police official’s embarrassment was shared in a light moment had a hearty laugh. The cop was embarrassed before his seniors when they learnt he had promised busting a gang while relying faith on a criminal woman. The cop also put up a brave face and joined the laughter. He said he would get the information, nevertheless.

Public memory is too short

More than a fortnight has already passed since the taking over of the new government led by Capt Amarinder Singh. However, the spree of receptions hosted “in honour” of the new ministers continues unabated. And given the sycophant political culture coupled with businessmen’s interests, nobody would like to forego a chance “to honour” a minister. And in Ludhiana, where there is no dearth of politicians and businessmen, the receptions have become too frequent to be ignored. Quite on expected lines the people (hosting the reception) go on lavishing unbound praise on the new government led by Capt Amarinder Singh and comprising so many dedicated ministers. They do not stop without criticising the previous government led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal alleging that his government was corrupt. And interestingly, barring a handful of exceptions, the people who host the receptions are the same who had hosted similar receptions for Mr Badal and his team of ministers only five years ago. Probably that is why they say that public memory is too short.

Yorkshire police

Recently a police team from Yorkshire in England was on a visit to the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, near here. The team was led by a Chief Constable in the Yorkshire Police. The team members evinced as much interest in the local police as the local police cops were attracted towards them. The constables of the local police started looking at the Chief Constable with awe as they could not believe that a constable, who does not hold much senior post in Britain, was looking so big to them. And in return the Yorkshire team was equally impressed by the local soldiers, more so by their gallantry and other skills like horse riding. Some of the British cops took many photographs of the soldiers mounted on the horses with full discipline. (see accompanying picture). The visit was really inspiring for all the local police cops as it added to their confidence. Sentinel



PBEF holds sympathy rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 26
The Punjab Bank Employees Federation (PBEF) held a massive rally here today in front of Andhra Bank, in support of a one day nationwide strike called by Andhra Bank Employees’ Union on March 27. The Andhra Bank Employees Union is demanding recruitment of staff against large scale promotion of clerical staff to officer’s cadre.

Addressing the rally, Mr Naresh Gaur, Secretary, PBEF said, “More than 3,000 clerks of the Andhra Bank have been promoted to the officer’s cadre over the past two years. However, no recruitment of clerical staff has been made during that period, resulting in unbearable work load on the remaining clerks.” He said that the Andhra Bank Employees Union has also demanded appointments on compassionate ground, filling of all special pay carrying vacancies, promotion to sub-staff and sweepers and stopping outsourcing.

The speakers pointed out that there had been no meeting in the bank for more than a year at any level between the management and union. Condemning the management of Andhra Bank, Mr Ashok Awasthy, President, PBEF said, “The process of deunionisation has been put into action. The employees had no option save to act in self-defence, when all attempts failed for negotiation and resolution of the legitimate grievances of the employees.” He warned the management of Andhra Bank to desist from adopting tactics to demotivate workers.



Robbers decamp with cash, gold 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 26
In a daylight robbery in Sant Isher Singh Nagar on the Pakhowal Road burglars decamped with Rs 45,000 and gold ornaments worth about Rs 30,000 after sneaking into a locked house in the locality yesterday afternoon.

According to information, Mr Satnam Singh, a transporter, left the house at around 11 am along with his wife after locking the house. On way to his office, he dropped his wife at a club. The burglary was detected only when his wife returned from the club at about 2.30 pm. She found the lock broken and the almirah-safe open and its contents missing. The division number five police has registered a case of theft against unknown person(s).

Four shops burgled: Shutters of four shops in New Janta Nagar, falling under the Shimla Puri police station, were broken open on the intervening night of Sunday and Monday by a gang of burglars who carried out a similar operation in Haibowal about a month ago.

The burglars decamped with Rs 7,000 and some medicines from Sharma Medical Hall on the Daba Road and later struck at a kiryana and stationery shop near the Gill market. The burglars pulled up the shutter and decamped with Rs 800 and a TV remote control. The shop owner, Mr Des Raj, stated that at about 3 am, the market chowkidar saw three persons with cycles outside the shop but they fled when he challenged them. The burglars had packed a TV in the shop for taking it along but they could not do so because of the alarm raised by the watchman.

The third target of the burglars was a sweets shop in the Gill Market where they enjoyed the sweets as there was nothing else to steal. The burglars again pulled open the shutter of a medical store, Indian Medical Hall, and took away Rs 2500.

These burglaries have surely put a question mark on the efficience of the PCR motorcycle scheme recently launched by the city police.

Scrap thieves held: The Dhandari police yesterday nabbed two thieves while they were stealing scrap from a truck that was on its way from the Dhandari dry port yesterday. The accused used to board trucks loaded with scrap and throw bits of the load along the road which they collected later on and sold to some scrap dealers. The accused, Phool Chand and Vinod Kumar, have been booked under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC.

Restaurant burgled: Burglars entered a fast-food joint-cum-restaurant on the Humbran Road falling under the Haibowal police station, and decamped with four LPG cylinders and expensive hotel cutlery on Sunday night. The police has registered a case.

One held with opium: The Jodhewal police, during a naka, allegedly seized 170 gm of opium from Jitender Singh, a resident of New Model Gram on Sunday. The police has registered a case under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act and also taken custody of the car in which the accused was travelling at the time of his arrest.

Fraud alleged: The Division Number eight police has registered a case of alleged fraud under Section 406 of the IPC on the statement of Mr M.K. Sobti, a resident of Tagore nagar, against Anoop Sharma. The complainant had alleged that the accused had misappropriated an amount of Rs 35,000 by making a fictitious entry in the hospital register.

Assault: The Model Town police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506, 447, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Manjit Singh, a resident of Kartar Nagar, Dhuri Lines, against Sayeenji, his father and mother and two other unknown persons. Mr Singh had alleged that the accused intercepted him on Saturday and beat him up. No arrest has been made so far.

Liquor seized: The Model Town police arrested Mohinder Kaur on Sunday and recovered some bottles of illicit liquor from her possession and the Jodhewal police arrested Satish Kumar, alias Rinku, a resident of Maya Puri and recovered 12,00 litres of illicit liquor from his possession. Both the accused have been booked under the Excise Act.

Dowry Case: One person has been booked for demanding dowry from the parents of his wife and consequent physical and mental torture.

Jasvir Singh of Lato Dana village has complained that his sister Kulwant Kaur, who was married to Kulwinder Singh of Bassi Pathana seven years ago and has two children, was being harassed for bringing insufficient dowry. A case has been registered by Sahnewal police under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC against her husband. 


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 |