Friday, May 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


661 file nominations on last day
Chaos and anarchy all around
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 9
On the last day of nominations for the municipal elections here today, 661 candidates filed their papers, raising the number of candidates to 764. Till yesterday, 103 candidates had filed their nomination papers.

The nomination papers were handed over to seven returning officers. While the offices of six ROs were in Mini Secretariat here, the seventh RO was in the Gill Road area.

Officials had a tough time today, with an average of 90 candidates filing their nomination papers at each office. It was not the candidates, but their supporters, who had come in large numbers, who made the situation chaotic. Things got out of control because candidates feared getting late for filing nominations.

Senior leaders of various parties were with their candidates when they filed the nomination papers. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Congress has changed some of its candidates today. Several candidates of the party were seen filing their papers in hurry as they feared getting replaced at last minute.

Meanwhile, it was chaos all around today. Hundreds of vehicles carried thousands of people and crammed into the small space inside the Mini Secretariat complex on the last day of the filing of nomination papers for the ensuing elections to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC). A multitude of people shouted slogans in support of the candidates as they were heading to submit their nomination papers.

The district administration was yet again caught napping with almost no arrangements to monitor and regulate the huge inflow of people who had come along with the candidates. This led to chaos and anarchy in the Mini Secretariat complex. It was almost impossible to get inside the Mini Secretariat. Once you were in, it was not possible to come out. In the absence of any proper arrangements it was free for all with vehicles coming in and going out at their own will in whichever way they liked.

Since today was the last date for filing of nomination papers, there was a huge rush of candidates belonging to all political parties for submitting their papers. Almost all the candidates belonging to the mainstream political parties were accompanied by at least half a dozen vehicles. This was the minimum number. Some candidates were followed by a long caravan of 20 to 30 vehicles. There were several independent candidates who were also accompanied by their supporters.

Interestingly, while there is a set code of conduct for the candidates contesting Assembly or parliament elections, there are no such guidelines for the candidates contesting corporation or other local bodies elections. The rush of people and vehicles was unprecedented. Such rush was not witnessed during the Assembly elections. The code of conduct is only for the officials conducting the elections.

If it was chaotic inside the secretariat complex, it was anarchy outside. Most of the city roads got choked and it took several hours for the traffic to normalise. People were held up in traffic jams for at least a couple of hours. The traffic jams started early in the morning on almost all the city roads. 



Differences may dump many
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 9
The euphoria seen here after the landslide victory of the Congress only two months ago seems to be fizzling out after the allotment of tickets for the coming municipal elections. The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), its alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) have been hit equally by dissensions.

For the Congress, the problems seem to be far from over. Two party legislators of Ludhiana — the Minister of State for Printing and Stationery, Mr Rakesh Pandey, and the MLA from Ludhiana Rural, Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi — have already expressed their reservations on the selections. Besides, there have been allegations that money changed hands in the allotment of tickets.

One of the Congress candidates for the post of the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, who is contesting from Ward 18, does not enjoy the support of Mr Birmi, who had opposed his nomination from that ward. Mr Birmi has not been able to get his supporters nominated, which is likely to affect campaigning and voting.

Mr Birmi and Mr Pandey had tried their best to see last-minute changes in the list of candidates, but the selection committee did not oblige. The two legislators even approached some senior party leaders and local ministers to influence selections, but to no avail.

The situation is no better for an already faction-ridden SAD (B). Indecisiveness of the party leadership in choosing a permanent district unit chief has created a continuous power struggle between the acting district chief, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, and another aspirant for the post, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia. The differences trickled down to the corporation elections, with the supporters of Mr Makkar opposing the nominations of Mr Bhatia’s supporters.

On May 5, the supporters of Mr Makkar held a massive rally in front of the party president and a former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, opposing the candidature of Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia, a Bhatia supporter. Though Mr Bhatia managed to get the party nomination for Mr Dukhia, but most of his supporters were ignored during the selections. This is bound to have its effect on polling, like it did at the time of the Assembly elections, when Bhatia supporters had either remained neutral or opposed Mr Makkar.

The BJP continues to be a divided house. Though differences had not surfaced at the time of the allotment of tickets, there were many heartburns when the list came from Chandigarh and not here. The party’s poor show in the Assembly elections seems to have affected the enthusiasm of its workers, as there were not many aspirants for the party tickets.

Even the SHSAD has differences between its leaders on the issue of ticket allotment. The party vice-president, Mr Surjan Singh Thekedar, and its district chief, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, head of selection panel, differed on the issue. A former legislator, Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, reportedly, abstained from all meetings of the selection committee.



Police stops verification
Kidney transplant case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 9
The district police has decided to stop forthwith any police verification of the donor or the recipient required for kidney transplantation purpose. The police is writing letters to hospitals and the Health Department informing them of the decision to stop the verification unless the state government directs the Police Department.

The decision was revealed to Ludhiana Tribune by Mr H.S. Sidhu, SSP, Ludhiana, when his comments on a clarification, issued by the DMC authorities yesterday regarding the hospital’s involvement in any illegal kidney transplantation, were sought for. The hospital authorities had put the onus on the police verification report in the infamous Pammian kidney removal case.

“There is no ruling or directive of the state government under which the police is liable to verify the antecedents, particulars or intentions of a kidney recipient or donor,” the SSP said while explaining the decision to discontinue the practice of conducting police verification. He said the decision had also been taken as every time some illegal kidney transplantation or kidney racket surfaces, health officials, be private or government, point a finger at the police verification.

The DMC authorities issued a clarification yesterday seeking to clear its name from the Pammian kidney removal case. The hospital name was mentioned in the investigation reports of the police and the media as the victim Jagsher Singh had said he was operated upon in the DMC.

“How can the police verify that the donor in this case had taken money or any other consideration? The verification is of the address, particulars or relationships claimed in the case”, the SSP said. He said earlier also the blame was shifted to the police by the hospital. 



Revised NCERT textbooks in short supply
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, May 9
Even though the NCERT has released revised textbooks of mathematics and science for Classes VI and IX, several school students have failed to get these due to a limited supply of these here.

Since school authorities are facing problems in getting these books, they are telling students to share textbooks for the time being. They say that they have been getting books in lots of 15 or 20 that they distribute equally in all sections of a class. Such provision has been made to let classes continue and make all students aware of the revised syllabus.

The principals said the NCERT had, earlier, taken a long time to prepare and publish the revised text; and, now, the inadequate supply had become a problem. Mr R.S. Gill, Principal of Guru Nanak Public School of Sarabha Nagar here, said he had placed orders with a bookshop owner here a few days ago, but he had received only a handful of books on each subject. He said he had been told that more books would be supplied within a week.

Ms Paramjit Kaur, Principal of BCM Arya Senior Secondary School of Shastri Nagar here, said that she, too, was facing much problem due to a dearth of textbooks (especially those for Class IX). Some school managements have taken the advantage of the delayed supply by, first, selling the old books and, then, the new books, without refunding students the money they had paid for old books.

Mr R.S. Grewal, Principal of Gujranwala Guru Nanak Public School of Civil Lines here, said he had told students to collect the books themselves, but only a few had got these. He said this was affecting teaching work. Regarding the social studies syllabus, Mr Grewal said, since the case was still in the court, the school authorities had decided to continue to follow the old syllabus.

Even bookshop owners here have been shuttling between New Delhi and the city for the past 15 days; because they, too, have been hit by the inadequate supply of books. Most of the time they return with only a dozen or so copies of textbooks on each subject — a lot that gets sold the same day.

When this correspondent visited Books Market here today, most booksellers said the revised textbooks of mathematics and science were out of stock. A few of them did not have books of Class VI, while the others said that they were not getting books for Class IX. 



PU colleges await holiday schedule
Our Correspondents

Ludhiana, May 9
The final examinations of colleges affiliated to Panjab University have concluded but there has been no intimation about the start, duration and opening of the colleges regarding summer vacations this time from the university side.

Meanwhile, unofficial sources say that the vacations are scheduled to commence from May 12, and May 11 is being considered as the last working day, with colleges supposed to reopen on July 1. However, this has not so far been officially communicated by the university.

With only two more working days left, the colleges are eagerly awaiting the holiday schedule from Panjab University. According to Mr Jaswant Singh Gill, Principal, Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, “We have no intimation for the vacations till date. Although a decision regarding this should have been communicated at the start of the session, this was not done. The result being that the colleges are yet in the dark and no future programme can be conveyed to the staff and the students.” When contacted, Arya College, acting principal, Mr Jeevan Ahuja, said they had not received any official information. However, rumours are rife that the vacations begin on May 12.



The Gills live with honour and prestige

NONE could visualise the speed or direction of expansion of Ludhiana. Scores of erstwhile villages stand dissolved with little trace. At the outskirts, on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, one finds an over-sized village, Gill, retaining its village-arch, its darwaza. Witness to part of history that forms a chapter of the glory of Ludhiana, besides that of Punjab. Gill carries rich legacy. Gill is to Punjab what Pilani is to Rajasthan — a complex of colleges/institutes of Engineering and Technology. Village Gill has no Birlas. Has eminent Gills. It still retains a graceful rural setting under the shadow of modernity with futuristic planning. It is a story of the wise. It is a true tale of common sense of the commoners of the village.

The SGPC (Amritsar) was advised to start an engineering college in some rural area not much away from a suitable city. Ludhiana had suitability, courtesy industrial potential. Hunt for land for vast campus narrowed down upon the community-land of village Gill. It is here that the common folks gave proof of robust common sense. Closing all ranks and bridging all gaps, the land was duly gifted for Guru Nanak Engineering College. No wonder, hundreds of villagers benefited by it. One finds rise in economy, further rise in status. You meet scores of well-placed engineers holding senior government jobs.

A few of the Gills stand head and shoulders above others. Nigahia Singh Gill earned name and won fame during the Raj as Executive Engineer. He built his palatial mansion Nigah Niwas which still retains its historical grandeur on the Ferozepure road close to Hotel Batra, opposite Grewalz. His son, R.S. Gill, headed as chairman, Punjab State Electricity Board, with distinction. Sheikh Mohd Abdullah requested Mr Gill to head such a board of J and K. Mr R.S. Gill obliged and made a mark. Super-cop K.P.S. Gill is son of R.S. Gill and grandson of Nigahia Singh Gill. A story in slightly different setting is repeated. To fight militancy, Mr K.P.S. Gill came to his home-state from eastern India. To eradicate communal riots and restore peace in Gujarat, he recently went as Security Advisor of Mr Narendra Modi, Chief Minister. Home Minister L.K. Advani knows and values Mr K.P.S. Gill.

Mr Mangal Singh Gill was a front-ranking intellectual, patriotic politician besides a forward looking wise man of V. Gill. He pioneered the national daily, the Hindustan Times and ably guided it. Son of a ploughman of this village, he wielded the pen successfully in English during the Raj. No wonder, he represented Ludhiana, besides Jalandhar and Ambala, forming his constituency.

Mann, Bhullar, Heyer and Gill are believed to be original Jats. Perhaps they took to agriculture earlier than others. Gills mostly settled near river banks with assured irrigation and easy transportation through country-boats. They are branched into Jhalli (Gills) settled in Punjab belas. Shergill are noteworthy. Remember, Amrita Shergill, the legendary painter-artist? The house of Majitha Sardars has Sir Sundar Singh, Surjit Singh Majithia and others. Some of the Gills carry Padma honours. Coming back to The Tribune, Mr Dayal Singh Majithia, its founder, was a Shergill. His father, Mr Lehna Singh Shergill, knew French.

M.S. Cheema



MC president bereaved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 9
Ms Hardev Kaur, mother of Mr Sukhminder Singh, president, Municipal Committee, Ludhiana, passed away yesterday at her residence. 



Cash, jewellery looted
Our Correspondent

Amloh, May 9
Robbers decamped with cash, jewellery and other valuables from Dera Bheron Nath, on the outskirts of Paheri village, on Wednesday. The dera chief was injured in the attack, who was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Khanna. The police has registered a case under Section 458 of the IPC and rounded up 12 persons.

Police custody: The local police arrested two persons on Tuesday for the murder of Jagir Singh of Konke village on May 4. The accused were produced in the court of Mr Ravinder Kumar, Judicial Magistrate, Samrala, on Wednesday, who sent the accused to police custody till May 10. This information was given by Mr Dilbag Singh, SHO, Machhiwara police station.

Three remanded: Maya Ram, his wife, Ram Dulari, and his son, Narinder Kumar, have been remanded in police custody till May 5 and his daughter, Reena, has been sent to judicial lock up in a case registered against them on the complaint of Savita, wife of Kuldip Chand, under Sections 306, 511 and 34 of the IPC. The complainant committed suicide by setting herself on fire. She was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, where she succumbed to her injuries.


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