Tuesday, June 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Plan to rein in land mafia in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
The district administration has decided to take head on various perennial issues confronting the city for the past several years.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, said that he had chalked out a multi-faceted action plan for the city to eradicate the vast network of the land mafia, minimise air and noise pollution, remove illegal encroachments along the main roads to solve the complex traffic problem and to stop the exploitation of students by substandard technical institutions within six months.

The administration has for the first time officially accepted the existence of a land mafia in the city, besides the involvement of officials of the revenue department in shady land deals.

Elaborating the new action plan, Mr Anurag Aggarwal disclosed during the past few months the administration had got evidence about the activities of a strong land mafia in the city. The administration had got cases registered against two land sharks and departmental action against three officials of the Revenue Department involved in the case had also been initiated. The three revenue officials, including a Naib Tehsildar, kanugo and patwari, had been issued show-cause notices.

The Deputy Commissioner said the modus operandi of the mafia was to fraudulently grab costly government land in connivance with officials of the departments concerned. The land mafia had not only been cheating innocent people but also usurped prime government land. He asserted that the administration would take on this land mafia head-on root out its network.

Mr Aggarwal claimed that so far, the administration had detected two cases of grabbing of government land worth Rs 30 crore and these cases had been referred to the Vigilance Department. Unfolding the very common modus operandi adopted by the mafia, he said that first government land was notified as waqf land and then its control was taken over by the land mafia by various means. In some other cases, a large chunk of land was purchased and then excess land was sold by carving out smaller plots.

The Deputy Commissioner said traffic congestion was a major problem of the city and the administration was going to launch an effective campaign to remove the unauthorised encroachments from both sides of all main roads passing through the city. He said the main culprits were marriage palaces and restaurants/hotels that did not have the sufficient parking space or had converted it into lawns or raised construction over it. He said the departments concerned such as the PWD (B&R), Forests, Municipal Corporation, which was the owner of the land would be asked to remove encroachments in a time-bound manner. Vacating these encroachments would ease traffic congestion.

The Deputy Commissioner said that minimising air and noise pollution was also on priority agenda of the administration as vehicular pollution was the major cause of air pollution.

A special drive was being launched with the involvement of the District Transport Office and the Police Department and special attention would be on three wheelers, buses, trucks and other commercial vehicles run on diesel. Mobile equipment would be used to check vehicular emission.

About the illegal selling of video and audio cassettes in the city on a large scale, Mr Aggarwal said there was currently no regulation of shops selling cassettes, VCD, CD etc. or giving them on rent. Now all such shops would be required to register themselves with the district administration.

This would effectively check the supply of pornography and other vulgar material and strict action would be taken against the owners of shops running without the required registration and involved in the sale of pornographic material. Taking a serious note of the running of a large number of substandard technical institutes which have come up in the recent years, without the basic teaching facilities and the faculty.

Innocent students are allured by aggressive advertisements by these institutes. Punjab Technical University and the Technical Department had been asked to supply a list of all technical institutes in the district. The administration would allow the functioning of only such institutions as would have the requisite qualified staff and basic teaching facilities.



Canal water theft on the rise
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
A strange scene can be witnessed in villages situated near the Sidhwan canal or Rajasthan feeder in this district at night these days. Groups of youths armed with guns, lathis and even swords can be seen undertaking patrolling of the canal or drains originating from the canal. The first impression one gathers is that the villagers are staging “thikri pehras” to prevent robbery incidents but night patrolling is actually against fellow farmers who indulge in theft of water from the canal.

Ever since the Irrigation Department released water in the Sidhwan canal some 10 days ago to provide water for paddy transplantation, as many as 50 complaints of theft of water from the canal have been received by the department. Five complaints have been registered as a case. Five persons, including the Sarpanch of a village, have been booked by name in these cases.

The farmers against whom Irrigation Department officials have proceeded against belong to Mallah, Akhara, Issewal and Hambran villages. Sources said the manner in which the number of complaints was rising indicates that this year the complaints are going to register a record. In the past one year, about 250 complaints were registered with the department.

Irrigation Department sources said the theft of water from the canal was not only a headache for the department but also a source of tension in the villages. With power supply remaining erratic or inadequate and due to the decreasing underground water level, farmers relied on canal water to irrigate their fields. The need increases during the paddy season, when crops require more water than the wheat season.

Under these circumstances, every farmer requires water. The Irrigation Department then fixes time to open the gates of the drains and sub-drains. However, a number of farmers who feel their fields require more water and they could not wait for their turn indulge in theft of water. These farmers either put up pipes in the canal or drains and pull water through motors or breach the banks of the drains and the sub-drains. This lowers the pressure of water flow in the next village due to which the water does not reaches several fields.

The farmers who suffer because of this then check the pilferage or complain to the Irrigation Department. If farmers go on their own it causes fights and even violence. Irrigation officials said when they receive the complaints, they take the help of the police to arrest the accused and remove the pipes and motors or proceed on their own and impose heavy penalties on the farmers.

‘‘We are receiving at least 10 complaints daily,’’ revealed an irrigation official. Explaining the seriousness of the issue, sources said the illegal activity, besides threatening law and order situation also weakened the banks of the canal and the drains. There was always the danger of a major breach from small openings made by farmers. The department also had to suffer a financial burden for repairing the damage.

Commenting on the problem, Mr M. S. Cheena, SSP, Jagraon, said the role of the police was limited in the case. The police, however, provided all assistance to Irrigation officials.



Bar on entry to club pool
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
Allaying the fears of members of the Satluj Club that taking a dip in its swimming pool meant catching various infections, the Deputy Commissioner and the president of the club, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, today said he had banned the entry of the non-members to the swimming pool of the club and ordered the replacement of the water of the pool everyday in wake of the complaints received by him from the people who had developed various infections after swimming in the pool.

Answering to a query about the issue at the Press conference here today, he said he was taking the step as a precautionary measure even though he had not received any official complaint from any person in this regard. Mr Aggarwal said he had even ordered that only those members would be allowed entry to the pool who produced “no disease” certificate from a dermatologist of repute. He said the infection might be due to the fact that some members were bringing non-members to the swimming pool who were known to them. And this was the reason of the various infections, including that of eyes, throat and skin.

Though the infections from the pool had become a talk of the town during the past many days, the Deputy Commissioner denied the reports and said although there was no proof of spreading of infection, he had taken the measures after receiving queries from certain mediapersons during the past few days. He said he himself was going to the pool everyday but had not developed any such infection.

He clarified that the non-members were allowed entry because the staff members assigned the duty of checking the entry had gone on leave.

He further said while the water was being replaced on every alternate day earlier, as a precautionary measure he had ordered the replacement everyday. "Moreover we are ensuring that the water is being treated very carefully and there is no need for the members to panic."

It is worth mentioning here that during the past week many residents had reportedly fallen sick after swimming in the club pool. Many of them had contracted throat infections as well as eye infections.



Two oil mill employees die of burns
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, June 17
Two persons died due to burns while working in an oil mill near here.

According to information, Pritam Singh of Dhada Heri village and Darshan Singh of Akbarpur Chhanna village succumbed to their injuries early this morning. A boiler of Ritesh International burst around 4 a.m. Pritam Singh, who was reportedly operating the furnace, died on the spot, whereas Darshan Singh died on way to hospital.

The police handed over the bodies to family members after completing formalities. Mr Rajbachan Singh, DSP, Malerkotla, visited the spot in the afternoon but declined to comment on the cause of the accident.



One trapped as well  caves in
Our Correspondent

Doraha, June 17
Two persons of Sekhan village, near Maloud under Payal police station, were trapped when a well caved in on Saturday evening. One person is still unaccounted for even after 48 hours of struggle by the authorities concerned and the administration.

According to sources, Bant Singh (60) and Pargat Singh (20) were cementing a muddy wall of a well when it caved in. Bant Singh who was at the bottom of the well could not be rescued, while Pargat Singh was rescued by some people.

According to Mr Rachhpal Singh, SHO, Payal police station, “We have been engaged in bringing the man out. A tractor and cranes have been arranged but no breakthrough has been achieved.”



Boy falls into well, dies
Our Correspondent

Khanna, June 17
A twenty-year-old boy was killed following an accidental fall into a well on Sunday. The victim has been identified as Jatinder of Sultan Pur village. According to information, the victim was working in the fields of Mr Sadhu Singh. The civil and police officials, including SDM Gurlovleen Singh, Tehsildar Parmjit Singh, SHO sadar police station Satnam Singh, reached on the spot. 



Two killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 17
Two scooterists were killed on the by-pass road, Amloh, here today when the scooter on which they were travelling was hit by a truck.

While Pritam Dass (60), a resident of Manngarh village, died on the spot Ashok Kumar (40), a resident of Amloh, breathed his last on the way to the Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana.



BSNL employees to strike work
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 17
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited Employees Union, Punjab circle, will observe ‘protest day’ on June 21 against non-implementation of wage agreement between the joint committee of nine employees’ unions and the BSNL.

According to a press note issued here today by Mr Balbir Singh, circle secretary of the union, as per the agreement the arrears were to be paid in June. 



Plea to upgrade Ahmedgarh
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, June 17
Workers and local leaders of the Congress have urged the Punjab Government to improve basic amenities after upgrading the town to a subdivision as promised during the election campaign.

In a communication sent to Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, by a section of party leaders led by Mr Abhay Jain, general secretary, Block Congress, the state government has been informed that the town lacks amenities even after 150 years of its establishment. The town has no government school for education even up to the matric standard. The BDO office has been shifted to Malerkotla.



PAU don dead
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
A Professor of Punjab Agricultural University died in the morning today. Ms Satwant Bhangu, a Professor of Department of Extension Education, died of a heart attack. She was cremated in the afternoon. She was 52. 



Scooterist killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 17
Jagdip Singh alias Deepa (19), a resident of Malak village, was killed when the scooter (PB 28 1802) on which he was going was hit by a vehicle near Dholan Gate. The local police has registered a case under Sections 304A, 427 and 279, IPC.

Sources stated that the scooter was hit by a Tata Sumo (HR 01 5514) driven by Ravinder Kumar alias Kala of Committee Gate Raikot, as immediately after the accident the vehicle was taken to a mechanic for repairs but on refusal the accused fled with the vehicle.

Opium Seized: The police, while on patrol on Nathowal-Jhordan Road, arrested Karnail Singh of Shahjapur village and seized 1 kg of opium from his possession. He has been booked under Sections 18,6 and 85 of NDPS Act.

In another incident, the Sudhar police arrested Swaran Singh alias Kaka of Rattowal village and seized 35.5 kg of poppy husk from him on Rattowal-Sarabha Road. A case has been registered under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Woman assaulted: The Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case under Sections 316 and 452, IPC, on the complaint of Bholi, a resident of Malsihan Bhai Ke village. According to the complainant, Parminder Singh of the same village forcibly entered her house when she was alone and assaulted her. He pushed her on the floor which resulted in the birth of a stillborn male child. The victim was eight months pregnant at the time of incidence. The accused is absconding.

Liquor seized: The police arrested Dalip Singh of Kulgehna on the embankment of the Sutlej with 20 litres of illicit liquor and registered a case under Sections 15/1/61 of the Excise Act.

Cyclist succumbs to injuries:
The cyclist who was hit by a Tata 407 truck (PB 10 AU 6925) succumbed to his injuries on eighth day after he was hospitalised at the CMC Hospital, here.

A case under Sections 279 and 304 of the IPC had been registered on Sunday on the complaint by Mukhtiar Singh of Chankoian Khurd village. He had stated that his brother Meet Singh was seriously injured in the accident on June 8 and had to be hospitalised.

The driver of the truck, Sewa Singh, son of Balbir Singh, of Sahibana village in Sahnewal, is still at large.

Minor girl kidnapped:
The Model Town police yesterday registered a case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl from Jawaddi Kalan village on June8.

Mr Madan Pal, a resident of Balmiki Colony of the village, had complained to the police that Bajinder, son of Mr Raghuvir Singh, who was employed as a helper in Sigma Hospital, had kidnapped his daughter Sivlesh alias Puppy and taken her to an undisclosed place.

Dowry case: On the statement of Ms Dimple Gupta, a resident of Haibowal Kalan, the police yesterday registered a case under Section 406 of the IPC, against Asha Rani and her sons Sanjiv Kumar, Pankaj Kumar and Harsh Kumar, residents of Shakti Nagar, Amritsar. The complainant had alleged that even after the separation from her husband the accused were not returning items belonging to her.

Cases of theft: Five case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC were registered yesterday at various police stations of the city.

The division number one police registered a case on the statement of Mr Mohinder Singh, a resident of Tagore Nagar, Haibowal Kalan, against unknown person(s). The complainant had stated that 10 boxes containing new shirts had been stolen from his shop on Sunday.

The division number two police registered a case of theft on the statement of Mr Gurmit Singh, a resident of Rishi Nagar, Haibowal Khurd, according to which his car (PB 10 AC 6903) was stolen from the Vishwakarma chowk on Jail Road.

The Model Town police yesterday registered a case of theft on the statement of Mr Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Gidri village, against an unknown person who stole his motor cycle (PB 43 3531) from the canal bridge, near Dugri village, on June 15.

The Haibowal police registered a case of theft on the statement of Dr Rakesh Kumar Aggarwal, a resident of Rishi Nagar, against an unknown person who stole his car (PB-10-G-5561) parked in front of his house on the intervening night of June 15 and 16.

The Sarabha Nagar police registered a case of theft on the statement by Mr Ranjit Singh, a resident of Lal Kalan village, against an unknown person who took away 40 kg of iron lying in front of his plot on Barewal Road on the intervening night of June 15 and 16.

Eve-teasers held: The division number two police yesterday arrested Vishal Gupta, son of Mr Lalit Kumar, a resident of Urban Estate Phase II, Dugri, and a migrant from UP, Bhola, now residing in Azad Nagar, and booked them under Section 294 of the IPC. The two were caught teasing girls on the road in the area, according to the police.

Excise Act cases: The Civil Lines police yesterday arrested Chaudhery Ram who lives near the Sohi Motor Workshop in Jawahar Nagar and seized 36 bottles of illicit liquor from his possession. The accused has been booked under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

The Model Town police yesterday arrested Raghuvir Singh alias Rana, a resident of LIG Colony, Dugri, and Charanjit Singh, a resident of the same colony, and seized from their possession 60 bottles of illicit liquor and booked them under the Excise Act.

The division number six police yesterday nabbed Ravinder Singh, a resident of Industrial Area-A, and seized eight bottles of illicit liquor from him. He has been booked under the Excise Act.

The Shimla Puri police yesterday raided a liquor den and arrested Ravi, a resident of Preet Nagar. A case has been registered under the Excise Act after the seizure of 18 crates of illicit liquor from him. Two others, Avtar Singh and Jagdish Singh, residents of the same locality, managed to give a slip to the police.

Poppy husk seized: The Jodhewal police yesterday arrested Mohinder Singh and Sakar Singh, residents of Khasi Khurd village, while they were transporting poppy husk on a scooter (PB-10 AR 3878) and seized 13 kg of the contraband from them. The accused have been booked under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Fraud: The Focal Point police yesterday registered a case under Section 419 of the IPC on the statement of Mr S.P. Nijamal of Oswal Woollen Mill Limited, GT Road, Sherpur, against Sukhi, a resident of Makkar Colony, Dhandari Kalan. The complainant had alleged that on June 15, the accused had threatened him on the telephone by saying that he had connections with police officials.

Farmers dies:
A farmer, Balkar Singh (50), of Ramgarh Bet village died on Saturday when he inhaled the pesticides he was spraying in his fields. The local police handed over the body to the relatives of the deceased after a postmortem examination and is investigating the case under Section 174 of the CrPC.



Police inaction alleged
Our Correspondent

Khanna, June 17
The relatives of Mr Harnacinder Singh Minhas, who was murdered on May 3 near Chhota Khanna, has alleged that the police is trying to hush up the case.

Mr Kirpal Singh , brother-in-law of the deceased, who has come to India from Canada to pursue the case of Mr Minhas said that even after one and a half months of the incident, the police is clueless. Even though the names of some suspects were given to the police, no action had been taken against them. He had met the DGP, Punjab, and other senior officials but to no avail.

However, Mr Devinder Singh Garcha, SSP, Khanna, denied the charges claiming that the persons whose names were given by kin of the deceased had already been interrogated. 


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