Thursday, June 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


SDE booked on graft charge
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has registered a case against Parminder Singh Tiwana, an SDE, and Jaswinder Kaur under Sections 13 (1) (d) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

Parminder Singh Tiwana had allegedly helped Jaswinder Kaur to take possession of Patiala Vakil Khana Chowk Saidan, a government property.

He had allegedly shifted the government property and machinery to some other place so that local commission could state that the government did not have the s possession of the property. Jaswinder Kaur allegedly tried to take possession of the government land. Moreover, both the accused allegedly relieved the watchmen appointed by the government to look after the property. This led the local commission to report that the government did not have possession of the land.

According to a press note issued here today by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, Patiala Vakil Khana Chowk Saidan, Ludhiana, was the property of PEPSU government. In 1953, the property was given on lease to Babu Ram. But in 1964, the lease deed was quashed by the Punjab Government. On October 14, 1980 the government got the property vacated from Babu Ram. Ever since the possession of the property has been with the Government of Punjab.

But the Punjab Vakf Board claimed the ownership of the property and gave it on lease to Joginder Lal Vangra on March 7, 1992. Joginder Lal filed a writ in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to take possession of the property. But the state government also filed a writ in the High Court, which was admitted on October 4, 2001 and a status quo possession was granted.

Interestingly, the property was allotted to Jaswinder Kaur in 1998 by the Punjab Vakf Board who had sought an ex parte stay, which was later quashed by the district attorney.

The matter is still sub judice. Advocate Jagdeep Singh was appointed as local commissioner in the case who inspected the site on December 4, 2001 and submitted his report on December 5, 2001. 


Sitting on a virtual volcano
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, June 5
About 750 shopkeepers in the Akalgarh market near the Chaura Bazar area, are virtually sitting on a tinder box. If a fire were to break out in this four-storey building in the congested old city area, property worth lakhs of rupees would be reduced to ashes in just a few minutes. Besides this, about 1,500 persons present in the building at any time, including customers, shopkeepers and labourers would also be in grave danger.

In this building, no fire-safety measures have been taken as it was constructed about 18 years before, when installation of fire-safety measures was not mandatory as per the building byelaws. Moreover, neither the trust which is running the market cares to provide fire safety measures nor do the shopkeepers think for the safety of their lives and property.

This shopping complex is full of inflammable material like readymade clothes and plastic articles. There are about 300 readymade clothes shops in the market, which are also overstocked as the shopkeepers are wholesalers also. Shopkeepers, have to put big bundles and boxes in front of their shops, often blocking the common passage, to accomodate the stock.

According to the National Building Code of India (NBCI), commercial buildings, should have fire-fighting devices installed like house reel, wet riser, down corner, yard hydrant, automatic sprinkler system, manually-operated electric fire alarm systems and automatic detection and alarm system. It has been further mentioned in the NBCI that high-rise buildings should have adequate water supply in case of fire and for ensuring proper water supply, underground static water storage tanks and terrace tanks should be constructed with specific water pumping capacity.

But since the NBCI was implemented much later, their directions were not applicable to these old high rise buildings. Moreover, the owners of such buildings, especially in the old city area, do not want to spend any more for safety’s sake.

When this correspondent contacted fire officials, they disclosed, “The Fire Act is not implemented in Punjab which is the main reason that we can not take action on our own.”

However, fire officials said that they often advise and guide the owners of old high-rise buildings to take necessary fire safety measures. But they could not really do much as far as enforcement is concerned.

However, the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation has powers under Section 273 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1976 to restrict the use of such buildings. The Commissioner, under Section 273, can also incur expenses on such buildings and the expenditure could be claimed from occupants or owners of such buildings. But till now, no such repair work has been carried out by any of the Commissioners.

While talking to this correspondent, one of the officials of the trust which manages the building, on condition of anonymity, disclosed, “Those who manage this trust, know that there is no rule to penalise them and that is why, they carry on. But now, on the insistence of some shopkeepers, they are planning to do something about it.”

The Akalgarh market was constructed to give shelter and employment to the 1984 riot victims. But the work done for a noble cause has become big fire hazard in Chaura Bazar Area.


Congress councillors clamour for civic posts
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 5
With the election of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee General Secretary, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, as the new City Mayor almost a certainty now, there is a virtual clamour among Congress councillors for other posts in the civic body, including those of Senior Deputy Mayor, Deputy Mayor and membership of Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) and other committees of the House on house tax, buildings and roads, and water and sewerage.

Although the local Congress leaders, barring Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, were not expected to have much say in the choice and the party high command would finalise the names, several senior party councillors like Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia, Mr Prem Mittal, Mr Balkar Singh Sandhu, who were the front runners in the race for the mayoral post, had not yet given up and were known to be making frantic efforts to strengthen their candidature. One of these three is likely to make it to the office of the Senior Deputy Mayor in case the party leadership ruled in favour of Mr Gill as the next Mayor. Similarly, women councillors, more than ten in number in the Congress camp, were eyeing the post of Deputy Mayor.

Highly placed sources in the party, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, observed that even though the Congress enjoyed a comfortable majority in the House, with the five legislators, having voting rights, providing further strength in the house, it would be a mistake to take things for granted. The reports to the effect that some Congress councillors might join hands with SAD-BJP combine and other groups like the BSP, Independents and the Ludhiana Development Alliance, headed by former Akali Dal legislator Hira Singh Gabria, to spring a surprise could not be just brushed aside. A group of Congress councillors was reportedly not averse to the idea, albeit with the condition that they were suitably rewarded.

In this context, a statement by the district president Mr Harbans Lal Sethi has assumed significance in which he said the Congress would not be able to get its candidate elected as the new Mayor. Some independent councillors and Mr Gabria have also been carrying on hectic parleys during past couple of days, which were bound to have a direct bearing on the election of City Mayor that was only a couple of days away.

Enquires about the possible date for administration of oath to newly elected councillors and the election of Mayor revealed that the copy of the notification, issued by the government on civic elections, was yet to be received here and the exact date would be finalised only after its receipt, in consultation with the Divisional Commissioner, Patiala Division. However it was learnt that the government might go ahead with election of new Mayors in all the four major towns immediately after the Panchayat Samiti elections were over and the first meeting of the all the four newly elected MCs would, in all probability, be convened sometime during the next week.


MPs briefed on problems
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
Representatives of Ludhiana industry have sought measures to arrest the decline in the exports. In a memorandum submitted to members of the parliamentary sub-committee on textile industry here yesterday, members of the Federation of Knitwear, Textile and Allied Industries Associations (FEKTAA) said there was stagnation in the exports for quite some time and urgent remedial measures were needed to be taken.

The subcommittee delegation was led by Mr C.P. Radhakrishnan and included Mr Sayed Khan, Mr Girdhari Lal Bhargava and Mr Pushp Jain. They held a meeting with the FEKTAA representatives, who included Mr Vinod Thapar, Mr Rajinder Bhushan Mainia, Mr Prem Sagar Jain, Mr Darshan Dabur, Mr Lalit Jain, Mr Rajat Sood, Mr Surjaj Bhan and others.

According to Mr Thapar, they stressed upon the subcommittee members that Apparel Intergerated Park and critical infrastructure development for knitwear industry of Ludhiana was very essential. The subcommittee members were urged that the project may be taken up on priority. They said the park envisaged overall research and development and setting up of textile university so that trained and skilled people and middle-level managers were easily available to the industry here.

The industrialists also emphasised on rationalisation of the taxation on wool. Mr Thapar pointed out that the total value added tax on wool was about 52 per cent. He said while there was 22 per cent custom duty, there is 16.5 per cent excise duty and 4 per cent sales tax on the wool and woollen products. This the industrialists explained was far above when compared with the international market. They said in China the main competitor of woollen products was an overall tax of 5 per cent, which made Chinese woollen products price wise more competitive than the Indian products.

The subcommittee members assured the industrialists that the issue would be taken up at the highest level and pursued seriously.


Employees decry proposal to wind up PSIEC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
Employees of Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) were up in arms against the proposal of the Disinvestment Commission to wind up the corporation and protest rallies were held at various PSIEC offices situated here and Mandi Gobindgarh.

The rallies were addressed, among others, by Mr Gurdip Singh, chairman, PSIEC Employees Union, Mr Mansa Ram, senior vice-president (HO), Mr Gurmail Singh, senior vice-president (Field), Mr Jatinder Kaushal, press secretary, and Mr Gurbachan Singh, joint secretary. The speakers criticised the recommendations for winding up the PSIEC as it would displace 1,500 employees without no benefit to the government. “The PSIEC is a self-sustained organisation and is earning profit since its inception in 1962. Its financial position is quite satisfactory and it was further managing all its affairs from its own resources.”

The union activists observed that at present the PSIEC had assets worth over Rs 100 crore situated all over Punjab, New Delhi and Kolkata. The government ought to strengthen the corporation rather than winding up its activities.


DAV students shine in CBSE PMT results
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
Seven of the 11 city students, who have qualified in the PMT conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education this year, are from DAV school here.

On the top is Robin Girdhar (DAV Public School) who has secured the 17th rank. Supriya Gupta (Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School) has achieved the 76th position. Jasmeet S. Dhingra and Richa Singla, (both from DAV Public School), have secured the 208th and 273rd ranks, respectively.

Ish Garg (BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School) has achieved the 395th rank. Ankita Garg, Aastha Saggar and Sanchit Budhiraja, (all students from DAV Public School), have second the 512th, 1010th and 1140th ranks, respectively. Supreet Khurana (Kundan Vidya Mandir) who had topped among medical students from the city in the CBSE Plus Two examinations, has got the 1320th rank. Gajinder Pal Singh Kler (DAV Public School) has got the 1422nd rank and Sameer Soni (BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School) the 1928th rank.

Supriya Gupta has also qualified for the AFMC for which an interview would be held on June 17.

Jasmeet S. Dhingra said he would try to get admission to Maulana Azad College when he appears for interview in New Delhi. He said he had achieved the 76th rank in Manipal PMT and 32nd in Karnataka entrance test. His father is a renowned pediatrician and mother is working as a PCMS doctor even though Jasmeet aims to later specialise in cardiology or neurology.

Son of a businessman, Ish Garg wants to become a cardiac surgeon. He has also cleared the written test for the AFMC.


Spurt in cases of death due to poisoning
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, June 5
A sharp increase in the number of poisoning cases has been reported in the district during the last year according to data collected from various city hospitals. Most hospital authorities, however, maintain that due to legal implications, a majority of the suicidal attempts are projected as accidental cases by families of the victims. The poisoning is attributed to various factors like consumption of hooch, pesticides or insecticides, snake bites, food poisoning or overdose of drugs.

Seerat Nanda (not her real name), a B.Com III student was recently admitted to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital as she had consumed some poisonous substance because she had failed in her exams. According to the doctors she was saved and discharged from the hospital the next day because she had not taken a ‘strong dose’. “These kind of cases are normal in the hospital. A majority of these people are below the age of 30”, said the doctor.

Dr Sandeep Puri, Medical Superintendent, DMCH, said that the hospital emergency received 3 to 4 cases of poisoning every week. These included both accidental intake of poison as well as attempted suicides. He said,”The teenagers, as well as middle-aged people also consume poisonous substances. Both men and women patients are admitted in equal ratio”.

Ms Reeta Mahajan (name changed) was admitted to Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital recently after she consumed Organo Phosphorus. Dr Harkanwal Kaur, the attending doctor, said though she has been saved yet she does not want to live. “If you go to her, she always says that she wants to die. She is in severe depression because of some family problem, but now she is out of danger. We have referred her to the hospital psychiatrist”, said Dr Harkanwal.

She added that only 25 to 30 per cent were accidental cases, but a majority of the cases were of attempted suicide.

Dr Wahegurupal Singh, Medical Superintendent, GTB Hospital, while giving details on the issue, said that as per the data collected in the year 2001, 68 such cases were admitted to the hospital out of which four had died. He said that a majority of the cases were suicidal in nature. “They are either young people (up to the age of 30) or housewives. They take such a step in severe depression due to many reasons. Housewives take tablets of Calmpose, Diazepam and Celphos. They even consume phenol tablets or liquid. We try to save them and advise the family members to go in for proper counselling of the victim, once he or she is discharged so that they do not indulge in the act again”, said the MS.

Dr Wahegurupal said that during the announcement of results, such cases witness a rise. He maintained that some people even consumed acids to end their life. “They are saved after intensive efforts but then there are many side effects. Their vocal chords are destroyed sometimes. Some of them lose their vision also. The family should try to know the reasons for these suicide attempts”, said Dr Wahegurupal.

According to the figures collected from Christian Medical College and Hospital, more than 35 persons died in the hospital in the year 2001 due to poisoning (accidental and suicidal).Two persons died after consuming illicit liquor, whereas the total admissions because of consumption of illicit liquor were 25.More than 200 patients suffered from pesticide poisoning of which 13 patients expired. 30 snake-bite cases were reported last year out of which two had died. Over 225 cases of poisoning due to drugs were reported in the hospital of which 20 such persons could not survive.

Dr Col P.K. Dandona from the Medicine Department of CMCH admitted that there was definitely a spurt in the number of patients registering with poisoning. He said that a majority of the cases were of attempted suicide. “But due to the legal implications and police interference, parents try to prove such cases as accidents. The depressed persons take such a step to end their life (under depression) or to win sympathy of the parents or concerned”, said Col. Dandona.

He suggested that these insecticides and pesticides should be kept out of reach of children. These should be used cautiously. He said,” Most of the life-threatening drugs like Calmpose, Diazepam are easily available from the chemists.” 


City gets its ‘Ek Din ka Raja’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
Out of the blue, a family in the city has got a chance to shop for Rs 10 lakh in a day in Mumbai. Mr Arminder Singh became the first ‘Ek Din Ka Raja’ to be crowned by Kwality Wall’s in Punjab.

Arminder Singh becomes one of the lucky 10 first prize-winners of the on-going contest by Kwality Wall’s.

He has recently returned from New York after spending 10 years there. He hit the jackpot when after scratching the card he read that he had became, ‘Ek Din ka Raja’, Obviously, his joy knew no bounds. His brother, father and elder son, aged 6 will accompany him to the forthcoming shopping bonanza at Mumbai.

“I had never dreamt I could become ‘Ek Din Ka Raja’. When I scratched the card and saw those words, I could hardly believe my eyes” said Arminder. “My entire family is thrilled and as excited as I am and looking forward to the shopping spree in Mumbai,” he added.

His excitement was echoed by his wife, as well as his children and family whose reactions varied from being dumb-founded to pure exultation. “After the prize was confirmed, we stayed up all night discussing how we would spend such a large amount in just one day,” said Arminder.

There are over one million assured prizes for all who get a scratch card let’s see who goes the Arminder way next !


Support for anganwadi workers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
The district unit of the BJP has supported the demands of agitating anganwadi workers and has demanded that the Punjab Police should immediately vacate the premises of the Women and Child Development Department in Simla Puri, which had been forcibly occupied and converted into a police post.

In a statement here yesterday, the district chief of the party, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, said the first floor of the building was being used by the police as interrogation centre and the third degree methods used against the criminal elements were affecting the innocent minds of the children. He also criticised the district administration for its adamant attitude.

Rather than listening to the agitating women workers and accepting their memorandum, the police was asked to use force against peaceful agitators, which was condemnable.

Mr Sethi urged the district authorities to see reason and withdraw criminal cases registered against the protesters so that the matter was sorted out through negotiations.

The United Council of Trade Unions has also echoed similar sentiments at a meeting held under the presidentship of Mr Darshan Singh of the Government Teachers Union. According to Mr Paramjit Singh, convener of the council, lathi-charge on peaceful agitators was condemned and the administration was asked to accept the demand of the anganwadi workers.

The meeting further warned the authorities that if the demands of agitating workers were not conceded by June 6, the representatives of trade unions would join hands and take a decision to intensify the stir from June 7.


Shopkeeper injured in attack
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
Mr Deepak Sharma, a shopkeeper running a hardware business in the main market of Basti Jodhewal, was allegedly injured by a group of seven attackers wielding sharp-edged weapons here last evening.

According to the shopkeeper, who has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, three youths started fighting outside his shop in the evening as a result of which some shop goods were damaged. When he protested against their act, two of the fighting parties, namely Happy and his brother, Hardial, went away only to come back with about five of their cronies wielding sharp-edged weapons who allegedly attacked him and also indulged in damaging his shop goods. However, he somehow managed to escape and inform the police. The police has registered a case.


Illicit liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Doraha, June 5
Twenty-one bottles of illicit liquor were seized by the Payal police in two separate cases on Tuesday.

Mr Sukhjit Singh of the Maloud police chowki seized 12 bottles of illicit liquor from the custody of Surjit Singh Seeta of Ghaloti village.

In another case, Jaswinder Singh, ASI, Doraha police chowki, seized nine bottles of liquor from Rajja Singh of Deep Nagar, Doraha.

On Monday, Mr Jai Singh, ASI, Maloud police chowki, arrested Machinder Singh and Balwinder Singh of Ghudani village and seized 20 bottles of illicit liquor from their possession.

Cases under the Excise Act have been registered.


Bid to rape woman, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
The Division No. 4 police station has registered a case of an attempt to rape under Section 354 of the IPC against Deen Bandhu, a resident of Chandigarh, and currently putting up at New Shimla Colony. The woman alleged that the accused tried to rape her. The accused has been arrested.

Case registered
The Model Town police station has registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Rajiv Goyal, a resident of Jammu Colony, against Buri, a resident of Abdullapur Basti, and two others. The complainant alleged that the accused beat him up on Monday and fled after issuing threats to him.

Theft cases
The Division No. 2 police station has registered a case of theft on the statement of Mr Amarjit Singh, a resident of Mohalla Mohar Singh Nagar, against Babar Alam, a Bihari domestic servant employed by the complainant.

The complainant alleged that the servant took away cash from his house on Monday.

The Model Town police station, on the statement of Ms Gurwinder Kaur, a resident of Urban Estate, Dugri, has registered a case of theft under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC against unknown person(s). She alleged that the burglar(s) stolen gold ornaments from her residence on Monday.

Balwinder Kumar, a resident of Industrial Area ‘A’, who allegedly nicked a watch from a stall in Chaura Bazaar on Monday, was nabbed by the stall-owner after a brief chase and handed over to the police, which recovered the stolen watch from his possession.

The Salem Tabri police has registered a case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sumit Goyal, a resident of Tagore Nagar, who complained that his car was stolen from outside Amaltas Hotel on the Jalandhar road on Monday.

The Civil Lines police station has registered a case under Sections 380 and 411 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sanjiv Lal, a resident of Lajpat Nagar, against Pawan Sharma, a resident of Leel village in Ludhiana district. The accused has been arrested and a computer hard disk, which he had allegedly stolen from the house of the complainant, has been recovered from him.

And on the statement of Mr Dilbagh Singh, a resident of Nanak Nagar, the Salem Tabri police station has registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 379, 506 and 34 of the IPC against Kishan Dass, Munish Kumar, Shiv Kumar and Romi, all residents of the same locality. The complainant alleged that the accused beat him up on Monday and cut his cable wire.

Dowry case
On the statement of Ms Kavita, a resident of Fatehgarh Mohalla, the Division No. 4 police station has registered a case against her husband, Jagdish Kumar, her mother-in-law, Krishnavati, Darshan Kumar and Harish. The complainant alleged that since she could not meet the dowry demands of the accused, they administered her some poison as a result of which she had to be admitted to the Civil Hospital in an unconscious state.


Fraud case
A fraud case under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468 and 120-B of the IPC was registered at the local police station on Monday.

The complainant, Gurdev Singh of Pawa Khakat village, has alleged that Gurbachan Singh, Hardev Singh and Chote of the same village sold his plot without his permission.

Case registered
A property dispute case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC was registered against Inderjit Singh, Ujagar Singh and others here on Monday.

Surjit Singh of Bhairomunna village alleged that the accused were engaged in the dispute with him and his father.


Man beaten up
Balbir Singh of Ramgarh Sardaran village was beaten up and hospitalised at Maloud on Monday. He was allegedly attacked by Darbara Singh, Najar Singh, Kuldip Singh and Lakh Singh. A case under Sections 324, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC has been registered.


Woman dies
Anju (22), a housewife, died of burn injuries at the local Civil Hospital on Tuesday night. According to Mr Suresh Kumar, father of the victim, she had received the injuries while working on a stove. She was taken to the hospital in the evening, but expired around midnight. The deceased had come to her parent’s house.

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