Wednesday, June 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Crackdown on cable operators
Illegal beaming of Ten Sports Channel by SitiCable
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The controversial issue of illegal beaming of Ten Sports Channel signals by several cable operators in Ludhiana and other parts of the country took another turn when a high powered committee of the channel along with a commissioner appointed by the Delhi court raided the premises of four cable operators and allegedly found the Siti Cable Network showing the channel without paying the licence fee. The channel has the exclusive rights to telecast the ongoing Soccer World Cup.

The crackdown on cable operators was part of a country wide action by the Ten Sports Channel. The channel in armed with an order of the Delhi High Court. The Court had in a unique case appointed a retired Registrar of courts as Commissioner in the case. The Commissioner accompanies the team and gives his independent report to the Delhi court which would decide on the fines.

The raids were also conducted at three other places on specific information that the channel was being aired without paying the licence fee. However, by the time, they raided the premises, the cable network companies had stopped showing the channel.

According to Mr Manoj Kaushik, a representative of the Ten Sports Channel, Mr Rajan Mandal of the World Wide Cable that is Siti Cable was found showing the channel without paying the licence fee.

He said the stealing of the licence fee was major scandal as the fee was Rs 9 lakh. The cable operators were allegedly charging extra money from the subscribers without paying anything to the channel

Mr Kaushik said Mr Rajan Mandal had given an undertaking that he would pay the licence fee soon. However, the Commissioner would file his report to the Delhi court, which would decide on the damages to be paid by him. Mr Kaushik said they would demand Rs 20 lakh as fine for the damages.

Mr Mandal said he was out of the country and had returned only yesterday. He said he was not aware of the showing of the channel which had been decided by his subordinates. He said he had not given an undertaking that he was stealing the signal but had only admitted that he would pay the licence fee.

It may be mentioned here that the issue of showing Ten Sports Channel had become a very controversial issue in the city ever since the world cup had started. While Win Cable was telecasting the matches the Siti Cable was not. This was causing lot of heartburn among the subscribers.



Mayor’s election
Cong divided on Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The discontent in the local unit of the Congress became evident at a meeting of the District Congress Committee in Chandigarh late yesterday, where the party councillors showed reservations on the possible choice of Mr Nahar Singh Gill as the Ludhiana Mayor.

Mr Gill had been informally declared the party nominee for the post by certain local leaders without any clear direction from the party high command. Four party councillors had also filed nominations as candidates for the post that is to be decided on June 19.

According to sources, the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, who is also the party head in the city, convened a meeting in Punjab Bhavan yesterday that was attended by 37 party councillors. The agenda was to shortlist candidates for the posts of the Senior Deputy Mayor and the Deputy Mayor. Four of the five district MLAs — Mr M.S. Birmi, Mr M.S. Dakha, Mr H.D. Johar and Mr Surinder Dawar — were present there, with the sole exception of Mr Rakesh Pandey.

Before the discussion, certain councillors, reportedly, raised the issue of the “selection” of Mr Gill. They said, though they had authorised the party president and the Chief Minister to select a suitable candidate, they had not been taken into confidence for making the final choice.

It was, then, decided that the councillors who had filed nominations for the three top posts of the MC should withdraw and vote for the candidates chosen by the CM. A special emissary of the CM would announce the candidates on June 19.

In the 70-member House, the Congress has 37 councillors, but it considers its strength to be 42, since the five MLAs, too, enjoy voting rights. A lack of consensus may see the top post going to one of the six party rebels who have made it to the House and got reabsorbed in the party.

The Congress councillors who had filed their nominations for the post of the Mayor, besides Mr Gill, include Mr Prem Mittal, Mr S.S. Ahluwalia, Mr Balkar Singh and Mr B.B. Ashu. Mr K.L. Chhabra had filed his papers as an Independent, while Mr H.S. Dang was the candidate of the Shiromani Akali Dal.



Family drugged, goods worth 3.5 lakh looted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
A family in Lajpat Nagar was allegedly drugged and robbed of cash and valuables worth Rs 3.5 lakh on the intervening night of June 16 and 17. The four members of the family were admitted to Gur Tegh Bahadur Hospital in an unconscious state. They revealed the incident last late evening to the police after gaining consciousness.

The Police got a complaint from Mr Sham Lal, father of the victim Rakesh Kumar. According to the complaint his son, daughter-in-law and their two children were sleeping at their house when some unidentified persons allegedy either sprayed some intoxicant in the cooler or through some other method.

When the family members got up late next morning they were shocked to find about the burglary in the house, but they could not do much as they were still feeling drowsy and could just give a call to their parents. They were shifted to the hospital by Mr Sham Lal.

The police said the burglary could be the handiwork of an old servant or a gang of thieves that specialised in first drugging the victims and then looting them. The most common form is to put some intoxicant in the cooler due which the family members became unconscious. However, the family members while speaking to The Tribune said the cooler in their house was indoors thus the burglars must have used some other method.

The police said the family was yet to give the exact details of the financial loss. According to the rough estimate the loss was over Rs 3.5 lakh. It included Rs 6,000 as cash and remaining in the form of jewellery

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Rakesh Kumar, said he was not at all aware of what had happened exactly. But when he woke up late next morning he found that jewellery and some other items were missing from his house. The victim runs a spare-parts shop near bus stand. The shop is on the ground floor and the family lives on the first floor. He said I went upstairs after closing the shop in the evening. We had our dinner together and went to sleep at around 11 pm. What happened after that, no body knows”.

Rakesh Kumar said when they woke-up the next day, they felt drowsy and nausea. He said the family had not kept any domestic servant in the home and ruled out suspicion on anyone. “The back door of our house was broken and the robbers must have used that particular door”, he added.

Doctors attending on the patients said they were vomiting and feeling drowsy and had an increased heart rate. Since the effect of the poisonous substance was so strong that they themselves could not judge what had happened. The burglars must have used some poisonous spray to make them unconscious”, she said.

The doctors said that several such cases had been reported in the hospital in the recent past.



Rigmarole of revenue record
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Mr Bhajan Singh, a 66-year-old resident of Santokh Nagar in Ganesh Puri, has been moving from pillar to post to get a copy of land ‘farad’ of a piece of agricultural land belonging to him from the patwari concerned but even after two years of his struggle he has not been able to get it.

Many years ago, when Mr Bhajan Singh asked for a ‘farad’ for his agricultural land in Dhandra village, he was asked to grease the palm of a revenue officer by paying Rs 2,000 to get the same. He, however, could not pay the money due to financial constraints. Consequently, even after several years the man is without the document despite various orders from the officials to the employees concerned.

His plight has been highlighted in these columns many a times but with no response. Having heard of the sangat darshan programmes of the Deputy Commissioner, he had gone there in September last year and since then he has been attending the programmes of successive Deputy Commissioners. His application was marked to the officers concerned for action.

The former Deputy Commissioner had even order the patwari concerned to provide him the documents. But till date he is waiting for the same.

Talking to The Tribune today he alleged that his work was being delayed because he had complained to the higher officials against the lower officials who were seemingly annoyed with him for going to the sangat darshan programme.

Having failed to obtain the simple copy of ‘farad’ even after the orders of the district administration, he also visited the sangat darshan programme held by the former Chief Minister in the city on April 22. The Chief Minister had also directed the officials concerned to expedite the matter. But his tale of woes did not end with thatas the document remain elusive for him. Ironically, he is the person who is seen most frequently in the office of the district Administration.



NCP opposes appointments to PAU board
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has expressed concern over the appointment of Dr G.S. Kalkat and Dr D.S. Sidhu as members of the Board of Management of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). It has alleged that both Dr Kalkat and Dr Sidhu are close kin of the PAU Vice-Chancellor, K.S. Aulakh.

Dr Balwant Singh, Convener of the kisan cell of the NCP, said in a press note that Dr Kalkat had relinquished charge of the office of the Vice-Chancellor in March last year much before the completion of his four-year term reportedly on health grounds. He wondered what contribution Dr Kalkat would make to the PAU in his new capacity when he failed to manage its affairs as Vice-Chancellor. Besides, Dr Balwant Singh has added Dr Kalkat’s three-year stint as Vice-Chancellor was marked by unsavoury controversies for it was during his tenure that Dr Aulakh was appointed illegally as Pro Vice-Chancellor in gross violation of the provisions of the PAU Act. Apart from this, several junior teachers were appointed Heads of teaching departments in preference to senior and more meritorious counterparts in contravention of the varsity rules.

On the financial front, Dr Balwant Singh has alleged the PAU faced an unprecedented crisis during Dr Kalkat regime as the varsity used up the money lying in the employees provident fund (EPF) accounts to disburse salaries to the staff.



Now PAU ban on don’s entry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
After the forcible eviction of Dr Amarjit Singh Grewal, a PAU Professor whose services had been terminated, from his campus residence the university authorities have now banned his entry into the campus.

Dr Grewal was evicted from his campus residence on Saturday morning. He alleged that he was not allowed entry last night by PAU security guards at Gate No. 2 around 9:30 pm when he was going to drop his friend residing on the campus.

The authorities, however, denied this. While the Vice-Chancellor was not available for comments, Mr Satish Kumar Goswami Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor, said there were no such orders from the top.

Mr R.S. Grewal, Security Officer, said he had not yet got any orders to this effect. Meanwhile, the PAU authorities have justified the eviction of Dr Grewal, saying that the action was “strictly according to the rules and regulations”.

In a press note issued late last evening, Dr Sarjit Singh Gill, Additional Director, Communication Centre, claimed that this was not the first case of its kind. Earlier also, three university employees — Dr H.S. Saimbhi, Dr H.K. Varma and Mr H.B. Singh, were forcibly evicted under the same rules by the former Vice-Chancellors Khem Singh Gill and Dr Sukhdev Singh, who have surprisingly criticised the eviction of Dr Grewal.




The drizzle in the past few days had a different effect on teetotallers and Bacchus lovers. The sale of liquor may be down, but sugarcane juice vendors are doing brisk business. People are queuing up to gulp down a refreshing glass of juice. Interestingly, to buttress this observation Ludhiana Tribune lensman Pradeep Tewari clicked the above picture where the cane juice vendor is having a good day, while the ‘theka’ next door is waiting for customers. A fit case for fickle customers!

Cops & traffic rules

It is a common sight in the city to see zealous cops challaning motorists and two-wheeler drivers for not obeying traffic signals and other violations. But are they obeying the rules themselves ? No, not really. ASI and SI-level cops on motor cycles can be seen doing the rounds only wearing a peak cap and not the mandatory helmets. Similarly, commuters not wearing seats belts are challaned, but many officers, who sit along the driver, themselves do not ‘patronise’ wearing of the belts. Who then can blame the driver for ‘emulating’ his boss? Are open top Gypsies allowed in the district?

Absentees galore

Even as the Vigilance Bureau tightened its noose around the government employees for not being present on their duties during the office hours, officials of various government departments remain elusive most of the times. Although the public heaved a sigh of relief just after the raids, the things have started coming back to their usual style. It is becoming very difficult to find officials on their seats and the lunch hours are expanded to more than two hours as usual.

Magic drugs

The district administration and health officers here seem to be least aware about the ways the quacks are advertising their products. A group of quacks that has started operating near Focal Point, Khamanon and Kurali. They are prescribing some magic drugs which they say when consumed by expecting mothers ensure birth of a boy child. These quacks have opened their shops on the Chandigarh road where they have written specific messages outside their doors: “Ladki di bajaye ladka hon di shartiya dawai, tasalli na hon to sare paise wapis” (medicines that will guarantee birth of a baby boy instead of a girl, if not satisfied the entire amount of fee charged will be returned).

Relentless struggle

It has been over five years since teachers from aided colleges of Punjab are striving to get their demand for pension-cum-gratuity scheme fulfilled by the government. Several court cases have been fought and even won by the college teachers and principals and the governments have been directed to implement the scheme but nothing has been achieved till date. The government has been changed but promises made to them at the elections have been forgotten. Several teachers and union leaders have retired since then, however, the fight for rights continues by newly elected members of the unions relentlessly.

Polluting units

A couple of days ago top brass went to town on the measures being taken to curb pollution by three-wheelers. A laudatory measure indeed, but what the authorities probably overlooked was that a major part of the menace is due to hundreds of polluting industries. Since locking horns with the entrenched entrepreneur lobby was not a ‘wise’ step, the auto-rickshaw were a good option since they were not only highly visible, but also a soft target. Check ’em and book them and earn some brownie points with the people seemed to have been the motto behind the drive. But the question is: Will these well-meaning but cosmetic measures really make the city, one of the highly polluted cites, pollution free?

— Sentinel



Villagers plug breach in canal
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, June 18
Timely efforts made by residents of nearby Pohir village in plugging a breach in the canal near here averted a tragedy.

According to reports Mr Karnail Singh of Pohir noticed a hole in the bank of the canal midway Jagera Bridge and Jhammatt village at 9.30 last night. He immediately informed other villagers who made an announcement on the public announcement system of village gurdwara. Villagers rushed to the spot with tractors and spades and collectively worked for hours to plug the breach. As there was no proper approach to the spot, so people found it difficult to reach there. When this correspondent reached there in the morning villagers were busy in giving final touch to the plug. No official of the department concerned had reached the spot till evening whereas the employees are supposed to watch the banks constantly .

It is pertinent to mention that banks of the canal are prone to leakage at many places but authorities have not bothered to take appropriate measures despite media reports.



Plan to improve water supply
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 18
The entire city will soon have potable drinking water, Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, said while talking to mediapersons here today.

He said presently the city had about 1,350-km-long pipeline, which is providing water to about 80 per cent of the population. For cent per cent supply, the corporation would lay more than 600-km of additional pipeline, which required Rs 42 crore, he said.

He said besides this, the corporation would sink 20 tubewells in the next two weeks. Regarding the condition of sewerage system in the city, he said for extending this facility, the MC needed Rs 185 crore. In addition to this, a new multi-storyed parking complex would come up near the old Kotwali.

While commenting about desilting of the Budda Nullah, Mr Sharma said this year the corporation would engage five draglines to desilt it. Besides this, 12 other nullahs would be desilted.



Vets stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The veterinary officers of Ludhiana district staged a dharna in front of office of Deputy Director Animal Husbandry to protest against the state government’s decision to do away with the services of the veterinarians appointed during the tenure of PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu, here today.

The veterinary officers under the aegis of the Veterinary Officer Action Committee appealed to the Chief Minister not to sack these officers. Mr Harbans Singh Dhalla, president of the Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association, said the number of veterinarians applying for the posts was almost equal to the number of posts advertised, so the chances of foul play at any point were negligible.

Moreover, about 500 posts of veterinary officers are lying vacant. Hundreds of doctors are already going abroad for better future. In some cases a number of posts are lying vacant due to the non-availability of veterinary officers . If these 300 innocent competent Class 1 officers of the Animal Husbandry Department are sacked then the remaining vets (only 400) against 1200 posts can’t fill the gap and the veterinary health services will be paralysed, he said.



Telecom engineers’ stir today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 18
The Telecom Engineering Officers Association (TEOA) has decided to go on a tool-down strike from tomorrow in protest against the General Manager Telecom of Amritsar, Mr Rakesh Kapoor, and an SDO, who are alleged to have driven a Junior Telecom Officer, Ashok Kumar, to committing suicide.

In a press note issued here today, the district secretary of the TEOA, Mr Sanjeev Kumar, said the association would continue the strike till the GM and the SDO were not shifted out of the Punjab Circle of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited.



‘Clean nullahs’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 18
The District Youth Congress has demanded the Municipal Corporation to clean small nullahs so that the rain water could be drained easily. The DYC has given a memorandum to Commissioner, MC, to look into the matter. 



33.5 kg poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 18
The Dehlon police, on night patrol yesterday, arrested a man of Shankar village, Chamkaur Singh ‘Kaura’, when he was about to deliver a 33.5 kg consignment of poppy husk somewhere.

Chamkaur was arrested from Bhutta village. A case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against him.

Dowry seekers booked: The Salem Tabri police has registered a case under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC on the statement of a woman named Puja Rani, who lives in New Shiv Puri.

The complaint is against her in-laws — Bhagwan Dass, Lakshmi, Rani, Seema and Vijay, who live in Bharti Colony of Rajpura in Patiala district. Puja alleged that the accused had been torturing her mentally and physically to make her bring more dowry. No arrest has been made, so far, in this case.

Eve-teaser held: The Civil Lines police has arrested a man of Makkar Colony in Guru Ram Dass Nagar of Dhandari Kalan, Ganga Ram, and registered a case under Section 294 of the IPC against him.

Harpreet Kaur, a woman of Manjit Nagar, had accused him of eve-teasing.

Cases of theft: The Division Number 8 police has registered a case of theft under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC on the statement of Suraj Walia, a man of Rajinder Nagar. The case is against four men of Ram Nagar — V.K.Sharma, Kapil Sharma, Neeraj Sharma and Davinder Mall.

The four men, allegedly, broke open the lock of Suraj’s house and decamped with Rs 10,000, a mobile telephone and some gold ornaments. The loss was about Rs 17,000. No arrest has been made, so far, in the case.

The Sadar police has registered a case under Section 381 of the IPC on the statement of Prithipal Singh Grewal, a lawyer who lives in the Premji Road area in Gurdev Nagar. The complaint is against Shankar Mukhia, a man of Jeevatpur village in Bihar.

The lawyer alleged that Shankar had stolen a spray pump, two spades, three cutters and two small saws. No arrest has been made, so far, in the case.

Excise Act violations: The Division Number 2 police has arrested Bhanwar Lal, a man of Dhakka Colony and seized 12 bottles of illicit liquor from his possession.

The Division Number 3 police has arrested Sanjiv Kumar ‘Bablu’, a man who lives near the grain market under the jurisdiction of the Salem Tabri police station, and seized 24 bottles of an IMFL brand from his possession.

The Division Number 6 police has arrested Antar Pal Singh, a man of Chhawni Mohalla, and seized six bottles of illicit liquor from his possession.

The cases against the accused have been registered under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

Cyclist crushed:
A cyclist, Soma Singh, died on the spot on Monday when a loaded tractor-trailer crushed him at the Behlolpur bridge over the Sirhind canal. The victim belonged to Ramgarh village falling under the Amloh police station. The driver, Major Singh, a resident of Mushbabad, has been booked by the local police.

Cable operator held:
The Khanna police arrested the owner of New United City Cable here today, acting on a complaint lodged by his rival group a month ago.

The partners of the firm alleged that the owner, Naresh Garg, and his companion, Najar Singh, had cheated them. They said Naresh had been a manager of their cable TV network, who had, now, become its owner fraudulently. He is alleged to have transferred the rent deed in his name, this way, and stolen material from the office of the network. The complaint had been filed on May 3 by six persons — Jugraj Singh, Jassikalirao, Munish Kumar, Varinder, Rajinder Singh and Parmjit.

The Superintendent of Police (H) at Khanna, Mr Harinderjit Singh Sidhu, had been asked to investigate the case. 


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