Friday, May 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Barricades against fire hazard go
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, May 16
Resentment prevails among persons who live in Guru Arjan Dev Nagar near Tajpur Road because the Municipal Corporation has removed some iron barricades that prevented the entry of heavy transport vehicles into the area.

These vehicles carry polyester yarn in bulk to some godowns in the area. A complaint by persons who live here had resulted in the barricades being erected at the entrance of six streets. This was done to restrict the storage of petroleum products in the godowns.

The polyester-yarn godowns in the area pose a big fire hazard because polyester is a petroleum product that should not be stored in any residential area. In case the fire breaks out in the area, everything will be reduced to ashes in no time.

The Additional Commissioner of the MC, Mr Raminder Singh, said: “Earlier, keeping in view the storage of polyester yarn in the area, we had installed the iron barricades, but now, some of these are being removed to avoid traffic problems.”

However, those who live here oppose the MC’s action and demand the reerecting of barricades. Some of them say: “Even when there were barricades at the entrance of streets 1 to 7 of the area, godown owners managed to bring in a huge quantity of polyester yarn. The removal of three such barricades will encourage them further. These godowns are a threat to our lives.”

One of the persons of the area said, “All persons who live here had approached the Assistant Divisional Fire Officer, urging him to prohibit the storage of petroleum products in the area. However, since the Fire Act is not applicable in the state, the Fire Department has no power to do so. Still, according to the department, petroleum-product stores in the residential area pose a fire hazard.

Persons of the area had also lodged a complaint with the Municipal Commissioner in this regard, after which, the MC Commissioner had sought legal advice on the issue. Legally, the Commissioner can prohibit heavy vehicles and horse-carts from entering the area. He can also put a stop to the storage of petroleum products here. The MC has inspected the site, but final orders in this regard are yet to be issued.



Woman’s fight for husband’s right
Tribune News Service

Raj Kumar with his wife Sheela
Raj Kumar with his wife Sheela.— IV

Ludhiana, May 16
Sheela, a 26-year-old woman, is moving from pillar to post to get justice for her husband, Raj Kumar, 30, who was a temporary worker in a factory where he met with an accident last year and received serious injuries.

The accident rendered Raj Kumar incapacitated. He is unable to move his right wrist and the ankles. His legs have become too week to take his weight. The constant struggle with life has made Sheela look much older than her age.

The owner of the factory where Raj Kumar worked admitted him to Christian Medical College and Hospital here and left him for good. Sheela approached various officials to get some compensation, but her requests were turned down because her husband was not on the rolls of the factory.

This is only one such case, while there are many poverty-stricken workers like Raj who take up dangerous assignments in factories. Factory owners do not deposit the ESI instalments and such labourers do not get compensation when something goes wrong.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, at the fortnightly District Complaints Redressal Forum here today, directed officials of the Labour Court to look into the case of Raj and get him a compensation. The DC reprimanded the officials, saying that it was not difficult to ascertain whether a person had worked in a factory or not. He said many such cases had come to his notice.

Sheela said Raj and one of his helpers had been working on a ceiling of Safari Wax factory in the Focal Point area on May 19, 2001, when they had lost balance and fallen 23 feet. Both were admitted to the CMCH, where Raj’s helper succumbed to his injuries.

Sheela said the owner of the factory had promised her that he would bear all expenses on Raj’s treatment, but he had not turned up after that. When she went to him, he gave her Rs 1,500 and told her to leave. She said she had already spent Rs 45,000 on Raj’s treatment, which had left her with no money.

Raj Kumar, who was bedridden for three months after the accident, has not worked for a year; and it is Sheela who is feeding the family that includes, besides the couple, their 5-year-old daughter and Raj’s mother. She said she wanted to send her daughter to school, but had no money for it. She wants compensation for her husband and the salary for the period he had worked in the factory.



Yet another twist to elopement case
Boy’s father produces marriage photos
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

A one-year-old photograph of the couple at a gurdwara in Chandigarh.

Nangal Khurd (Ludhiana), May 16
The controversy over an elopement case of a young couple of this village, in which the Sudhar police is facing criticism for favouring the girl’s family, has taken yet another turn today with the unearthing of an about year-old photographs of the couple, showing their marriage at a gurdwara in Chandigarh.

With yet another twist to this case, claims of the Jagraon police that the (adult) girl was kidnapped and raped by the accused Dharam Singh in Mumbai, and had not gone willingly with him have been proved untrue.

The couple, Dharam Singh and Gurpreet Kaur, belonging to Ramdasia clan, had disappeared under mysterious circumstances last month. The incident had created quite a furore in the village as age-old traditions prohibited marriage among villagers.

The police had picked up Piara Singh, a friend of the accused, and kept him in illegal confinement. When Ludhiana Tribune published a report in this regard, Piara Singh was booked under Section 420, IPC, for conspiring with his friend Dharam Singh. The police had then ‘conceded’ unofficially that the case was being registered since the media had exposed the episode.

Later, the couple was found from Mumbai. The case had taken a turn when the girl gave a statement that she was kidnapped. The police then booked the man under Sections 366 and 376 for kidnapping and raping the girl. The pleas of the accused man’s family that they had eloped and both were adults were ignored.

However, today, the accused’s father Darshan Singh produced pictures of the marriage of the couple, which was performed about an year ago in a gurdwara in Chandigarh. He said they did not trust the Jagraon police and would now knock at the doors of the Punjab Human Rights Commission or the High Court.

Questioning the role of the police, Darshan Singh said his son Dharam Singh and his friend Piara Singh were subjected to harassment, illegal confinement, torture and were falsely implicated without any investigation. He said not only the pictures, the educational certificates of the girl and other documents were recovered from the boy but the police had not taken any notice of it.

Mr Balkar Singh, SSP, Jagraon or police officials at the Sudhar police station could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.



Two days before their hands unfold
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
With only two more days left for the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation elections, most of the candidates in the fray have intensified their campaigning efforts, the intense heat wave in the region for the past one week notwithstanding.

The Congress, after an initial phase of dissidence and rebellion of its workers, seems to have motivated most of them to join the campaign. It has also managed convince the rebels to either withdraw from the contest or sit in favour of the official candidates. According to Mr Pawan Dewan, one of the main campaign managers of the party, most of the dissident leaders have appreciated the party's position and have now actively joined the campaign.

The Bharatiya Janta Party and its alliance partner, Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal are also not leaving anything to chance. Stung by the humiliating defeat during the assembly elections from all five assembly segments in which the 70 wards of the Municipal Corporation fall, the alliance's main hope is the dissidence and resentment prevailing among Congress workers.

However, senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Lala Lajpat Rai is of the firm opinion that the alliance would perform much better than it did during the assembly elections. He expressed confidence that there are 'major surprises' in store as far as the results are concerned. He claimed that the alliance government had done a lot of developmental works in the city and residents appreciated that. Besides, he pointed out, the ambiguous stand taken by the Congress government on the octroi issue, which led to its reimposition finally, would cost the Congress dearly during these elections.

While the campaigning is intense at the party-worker level, individual candidates themselves start their day early doing door-to- door canvassing. Most localities of the city are abuzz with election activity, with a number of vehicles carrying the flags, banners and election symbol of the party candidates doing the rounds of their respective areas.

The issues being taken up however, differ. While the independent candidates are focussing mainly on the development of their particular wards, those belonging to different political parties mostly focus on levelling charges and allegations against their rivals without ever touching upon development issues. 



Gang busted, 25 cars recovered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
Claiming a major success, the district police today announced busting of an inter-state gang of car-lifters. They stole cars from Ludhiana and sold it in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh on fake documents. The police has recovered 25 cars from their possession. The gang had stolen at least 40 cars from the city in the recent past.

A police press release issued here today said a team of the Division No. 5 police station has arrested four persons from Ludhiana and Solan. Four persons nabbed have been identified as Balraj Gupta, Rajinder Singh, Naresh alias Bobby and Ganesh Dutt Sharma. The first three are from the city and the last one is from Solan. Explaining the modus operandi, the release said the gang members used to work with the help of mobile phones. One member stole car from this city and informed the other gang members in Solan. These gang members allegedly in connivance with some employees of the Transport Office in Solan prepared fake documents by the time the car reached Solan.



Plastic buntings environment hazard
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 16
Despite knowing the fact that plastic is non-biodegradable, the political parties in this mega city have not spared any place that does not have plastic buntings. The probable representatives of the people who are busy in convincing their candidature for the forthcoming Municipal Corporation (MC) elections, are using the plastics buntings openly as there are no specific rules and regulations to prohibit them. Interestingly, recycled plastic bags are banned in the city.

During the recently held state assembly elections, the use of plastic buntings could be spotted on roads and some streets only. But since 499 candidates contesting for 70 wards in the city, it is their deemed right to ruin the life of residents of the city by using this deadly substance.

Whatever the political parties may achieve by using these plastic buntings, one thing is sure that the environment has to suffer a lot. The plastic is non-biodegradable. Ultimately the residents would become the victim of political expeditions of our so-called representatives and leaders.

After elections no political party would take pains to remove these as with the end of this democratic process, their duty would finish. The winners would remain busy enforcing their rights while the losers would fight for their rights, on behalf of common man. But at last only the commoners have to bear this environment friendly behaviour of various political parties.

Earlier, this material was made of papers while some political parties use cloth for making it. But now because of expenditure limits set by the Election commission, the political parties have started using this plastic material for making the election campaign more fruitful.

After fixing the expenditure limits set by the Election Commission, the various political parties have found an economical method to make their election campaign more effective. Now the buntings, flags and banners which are made of plastic are selling like hot cakes as the plastic material is cheap and durable also.

An election material wholeseller, Mr Sudhir Khanna, disclosed while talking to this correspondent said: “There is a hell of difference between the price of the plastic and paper canvassing material.” A plastic bunting of 100 flags costs around Rs 10 while one made of paper costs around Rs 25. These are very short-term use items and nobody wants to spend a lot of money on these.”

Mr Khanna disclosed: “Till now I have sold only plastic buntings as it is sheer foolishness to use expensive ones made of paper or cloth. “These buntings are made of recycled plastic which is not environment friendly.



Rally against MC officials
Our Correspondent

Amloh, May 16
The joint action committee of the Anti-Corruption Federation of India, members of the BJP, Hindu Shiv Sena (Bal Thackrey) and rehriwalas organised a protest march yesterday in the main bazar against the alleged misbehaviour of an executive officer (EO), an inspector and an accountant. Later they also held a rally in the tehsil complex.

The speakers alleged that Mr S.J. Sharma, EO, had manhandled a number of businessmen. Posing as a Sales Tax/Income Tax official he had asked them to show their bills, which, he was not empowered to do as per the Punjab Municipal Act.

In the meanwhile, the Forest, Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Dr Harbans Lal, asked the police to enquire into the matter within two hours and register a case against the alleged culprits. Thereafter, a deputation of the protest march organisers, along with Mr Om Parkash, president, Beopar Mandal, Mandi Gobindgarh submitted a memorandum to Mr Amarjit Singh Shahi, SDM.

The Executive Officer concerned was not available in the office. However Octroi Inspector Parmod Kumar alleged that the protest had been engineered by those persons who had to pay penalties in violation of octroi rules. The inspector added that the Municipal Act empowers the EO to check bills u/s 73 of the Municipal Act.



Cong sure to win MC poll: minister
Our Correspondent

Doraha, May 16
Mr Tejparkash Singh, Transport Minister, Punjab, inaugurated a fertilizer and pesticide shop at Payal.

The owner of the shop, Mr Mohan Lal Tandon, Advocate and Congress leader, welcomed the chief guest on the occasion along with other prominent personalities, including Mr Najar Singh, block president of the Congress; Mr Amrik Singh Rauni, Mr Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Mr Ravneet Singh, president, truck union; Mr Adarsh Pal Bector, former president, Municipal council; Mr Munish Tandon and Mr Jatinder Puri, president, Lions Club; Mr Amarjit Singh, DSP, Payal and Mr Jaswinder Singh SHO, Payal.

Mr Tejparkash Singh, in a press conference expressed confidence that the Congress was sure to win in the forthcoming elections of the Municipal Corporation.



Fresh proposal to lease out Lodhi Fort
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
With a change of guard in the state government and the possibility of no more interference by an Akali minister, a couple of organisations have once again launched a fresh move to take the dilapidated building and vacant land of the historical Lodhi Fort, situated on prime location, on lease.

The organisations have sent the controversial proposal to the government and will be discussing the pros and cons of the same with Union and State-level ministers in a business conference scheduled to be held in the city tomorrow.

The move may kick off a fresh row on the 'utilisation' of the historical building. The Lodhi Fort, as the name suggests, was built by the Lodhi rulers, who founded the city and gave the fort its name.

The proposal was discussed two years ago during the tenure of the Badal government but was rejected due to two reasons. While the official reason was that the place was of historical interest and should not be leased out to private organisations. The second and unofficial one was that an Akali minister, well-known for his interest in land deals, was eyeing the prime property.

The proposal was mooted last year also, when the Government Institute of Textile and Dyeing Technology moved out of the fort. The fort, located in the heart of the old city, attracted the Knitwear Club. The club, in association with the National Institute of Fashion Designing, had demanded land for an industrial training and research institute. The district administration recommended their proposal for opening the institute on the fort premises, but the same was turned down by the Punjab Government.

At the time, a number of meetings between the parties concerned and the state government officials took place and it was observed that such an institute would serve the needs of the clients in a better manner if opened in an easily accessible area like the highway. The matter was taken up many times with the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Vinod K. Thapar, President of the Knitwear Club, however, said efforts were on again to make the present Chief Minister agree to their proposal. The sources said though the district administration had also recommended the proposal, the government seemed to have got wind of the criticism made by residents here.

A number of residents had opposed the proposal on the grounds of historic importance of the fort, constructed by scions of the Lodhi dynasty in the 16th century. The city was named after the dynasty.

The Knitwear Club had however, taken the plea that the fort had not been declared a protected monument. The club also argued that the fort was already in ruins and was of little architectural importance.



Where beggars are choosers
Armed with ‘licences’ to beg
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 16
Instead of providing vocational training to physically challenged people, some institutions seem to be encouraging them towards begging by issuing certificates and recommendation letters requesting people to “help” them. These days a large number such beggars have flooded the mega city armed with such documents.

The beggars not only blackmail people emotionally but they do not take even a single rupee less than their set limit of charity to be accepted. Interestingly, one such beggar who was carrying such document issued by the Principal, Deaf and Dumb School, Allahabad, demanded Rs 11 when he was given Rs 5. He immediately pointed out in the certificate in which the denomination of money to be given was mentioned as Rs 11, 21 and 51.

The beggar simply refused to accept Rs 5 and gave an agitated look to the commoner when he refused to give him Rs 11. Whenever someone tries to give money below the set limit in the documents to these beggars, they protest and demand for minimum money as mentioned in the certificates. These beggar demand pre-determined alms from the society.

These beggars sometimes assure their target audience that once they would settle down, they would never beg again. But one can spot these beggars even after six months or an year. Every time they find new gimmicks to keep on running their business successfully. They do not even mind changing their names, addresses and institutions from which they take certificates to make people donate money.

Surprisingly, the institutions which issue such certificates and letters are in either Uttar Pardesh or Uttaranchal. Some beggars have got such documents from some ashram situated in Hardwar and Rishikesh, while some have got recommendation letters issued from institutions for physically challenged people in Allahabad, Varanasi and Kanpur.

The interesting part of the story is that these beggars choose the target area other than the city they belong. The four major cities of Punjab 



Talk on child abuse
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 16
The Ludhiana wing of the International Human Rights Organisation organised a talk on child abuse at the College of Home Science yesterday.

Dr Neelam Kapoor, a volunteer, said cases of child abuse in the hands of servants and family members were on the rise in the city. She said parents and teachers need to make the children more conscious of the facts so that they do not fall in wrong hands.

Dr D.S. Gill, president of the wing, said even the working women need to be more aware as cases of sexual harassment were also on the increase. He said they should be alert and avoid going alone to odd places. The women also need to be conscious of direct or indirect gestures made by their colleagues and employers.



Sukhdev’s birth anniversary
Our Correspondent

Members of the Punjab Inqualabi Kender
Members of the Punjab Inqualabi Kender take out a rally on the birth anniversary of martyr Sukhdev Thapar in Ludhiana on Thursday. — IV

Ludhiana, May 16
Members of the Punjab Inqualabi Kender (PIK) took out a rally from the Clock Tower to Nau Ghara (birth place of martyr Sukhdev) yesterday on the occasion of the birth anniversary of martyr Sukhdev Thapar to pay homage to him who, along with Rajguru and Bhagat Singh, had laid down his life for the freedom of the country.

The PIK activists have demanded from the government that it should make a memorial at the birth place of the martyr, where literature about the freedom struggle and belongings of the martyr could be kept. The activists also organised a cultural programme at Nau Ghara where many youngsters sang patriotic songs.



Player commits suicide
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, May 16
Jasjit Singh (20), a state-level basketball player, allegedly committed suicide at his native village, Partap Singh Wala near Ludhiana this morning.

According to Mr Balwinder Singh, SHO, Haibowal Kalan, the deceased was serving as a Sub Inspector with the Border Security Force(BSF) and was posted at Jalandhar. Jasjit had come to his native place, where he reportedly consumed some poisonous substance.

He was brought to the Dayanand Medical Hospital where he died. 



Migrant given drug-laced tea, robbed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 16
Joginder, a migrant from Bihar, who had come to the local railway station on Tuesday night from Fazilka to board the Bihar-bound Jansewa Express, was allegedly given drug-laced tea and robbed of his belongings by an unknown person, also suspected to be a Bihari.

According to the information, two friends of Joginder, Mithilesh and Rakesh, who reached the railway station a bit later, found him in an unconscious state on the platform. They rushed him to the Civil Hospital. Later he told that his bag containing Rs 1,700 and new clothes worth Rs 800, had been nicked by the stranger who gave him the drug-laced tea.

Bus conductor booked: The Salem Tabri police has registered a case of murder against the conductor of a tourist bus who is alleged to have caused the death of another conductor employed by a rival company by throwing him from the top of a stationery bus near the Jalandhar bypass a couple of days ago. Mr Harjinder Singh, a bus driver employed by the National Travels and a resident of Rauni Kalan village near Khanna, told the police that two buses were parked side by side on the Bahadurke road near the Grain Market at night and they were sleeping on the roofs of the buses. Suddenly an altercation ensued between Sandeep and Rajesh in which the latter was thrown down by the accused. Rajesh was rushed to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday.

Beaten up: The Division No 2 police has registered a case of beating on the statement of Mr Shakti Kumar, a resident of Islam Ganj, against Bajrang and his son Bittu, residents of Prem Nagar. The complainant had alleged that the accused owed him money. When he went to their house on Tuesday to demand the same, the accused beat him up.

Husband held: Sunil Kumar, a resident of Dhandari Kalan, who had fled after pouring acid on his sleeping wife on Monday night, has been arrested by the Focal Point police and charged with an attempt to murder. Meanwhile, she has been shifted to the CMC Hospital.

Injured: The Focal Point police has registered a case of hit and run against an unknown driver of a Tata Sumo on the complaint of Mr Misri Lal, a migrant labourer. The complainant had stated that while he was standing on the road on Tuesday, the vehicle ran over him as a result of which both of his legs were fractured.

Rehriwallahs booked: The Division No 4 police on Tuesday arrested two rehriwallahs, Roshan Lal, a resident of Kabir Nagar, and Baldev Raj, a resident of Chhawni Mohalla, and booked them under Section 283 of the IPC for obstructing traffic.



Flesh trade racket busted

Ludhiana: The district police has busted a gang indulging in flesh trade. According to a press note issued here on Thursday, the gang was conducting its business from a house in Haibowal. Three men and three women have been arrested in this connection. TNS



Ravi Sharma wins Street Smart Challenge
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 16
Mr Ravi Sharma, Mr Kirpal Singh and Mr Narinder Pal Singh got the first three positions, respectively, in the Street Smart Challenge organised by Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL). In the women section, Dr Poonam and Ms Vivian got the first two positions in the contest.

The competition was organised here on Sunday. It was open only to Maruti car owners. The participants were given clues about 10 different points located in and around the city. They were first supposed to crack the clues and then chalk out the shortest possible route to cover these points. They were supposed to finish at the point from where they had started. However, the participants had the freedom to choose any of the clue points as the starting point.

The challenge had nothing to do with speed. About 654 participants got registered for the event and 451 actually participated in the contest.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Vikram Mehtani, regional manager of the company, said, “Maruti Street Smart Challenge was a family event, away from serious racing. The objective of the event was to reinforce our bond with our customers and make them enjoy the ownership of their Maruti vehicle in an ambience where they could also involve their families.”

The first prize winner of the contest got air tickets for two to Bangkok. The second prize was MGA worth Rs 10,000 while the third prize was a Kenwood stereo system. Ten Nippon car alarm systems were also given to the first 10 position holders in the women section.



Govt decision on subsidy flayed

Mandi Gobindgarh: The decision to withdraw capital subsidy and incentives granted by the Punjab Government under industrial policy 1996 has inflicted a great setback to the industry, said Mr Anil Suraj, General Secretary of the Merchant Chamber, Mandi Gobindgarh. He said the existing and new industrial undertakings were installed by the entrepreneurs. but now the decision of ban disbursement of subsidies and incentives would be fatal for these industrialists. OC


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