Monday, July 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Police station illegally occupying corpn land
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
While the Child and Welfare Department was lucky to get its building back from the ‘illegal’ possession of the Shimla Puri police station recently, the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation is waiting for such good luck for the past about two decades. The district police is in ‘illegal’ possession of a couple of acres of the corporation land on which the Salem Tabri police station exists near the Jalandhar bypass main chowk.

Ironically, the police department admits that the land does not belong to it but asserts that it would vacate it only when it gets a suitable alternative site. The Police Department has failed to find any such piece of land all these years.

As the police station continues to function from the site, the corporation is suffering a lot. Its local office is the manufacturer and supplier of the highest number of crates for storage of wheat and paddy gunny bags. For the manufacturing and storage of the crates, a vast stretch of vacant land has been given to the corporation. But a major part of the land is in the possession of the police station causing shortage of space to the corporation

The police station is housed in a building consisting of four rooms besides some resting place under sheds. Then a large number of case property vehicles, including buses, trucks, cars, three and two wheelers are parked on the land.

Sources in the agro corporation told Ludhiana Tribune that the office was set up here in 1969. Some time in the early 1980’s the Punjab Police set up a police chowki on the southern end of the corporation’s land. The setting of a chowki was allowed as terrorism was on its peak in those days. The area was also sensitive as it was not thickly inhabited as it is now.

There was an understanding between the two departments that the police chowki was temporary and would be sifted soon. But this never happened. Interestingly, the police upgraded the chowki into a full-fledged police station some years ago and remained on the same piece of land.

Sources said the agro corporation was now tired of sending reminders to the police department both at the local and the state level. According to the file of the case, a former SSP of Ludhiana had given in writing that they would shift soon. This assurance was given about four years ago but nothing has changed so far.

Mr Sukhjit Singh, General Manager, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, Chandigarh said the department had taken up the matter at the highest level and directions had been issued to the police department by former governments but the police department had not complied with these.

Mr H. S. Sidhu, SSP, was not available for comments despite repeated attempts. A police officer speaking on the condition of anonymity again admitted that the land was possessed “illegally” but added that there was nothing wrong in it. He claimed that both the departments were government departments and had an understanding between themselves. He added that the government had released some funds for constructing a new police station but due to the non-availability of a suitable piece of land, the police station was still functioning from the corporation land.



Breach in nullah has residents fuming
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
A large number of residents of several colonies on the banks of the Budda Nullah are sore with the District Administration and the Municipal Corporation for not filling a breach in the nullah, due to which they face flood-like situation during monsoons every year.

Due to the breach, the rain water overflows and gets collected in their houses. Despite their repeated requests to the authorities concerned, the work of filling of the breach has never been taken up. The residents of these colonies, including Swatantra Nagar, Prem Vihar, Banda Bahadur Colony, M.S. Colony, Guru Nanak Colony and adjoining areas, are planning an agitation to wake up the authorities in view of the ensuing monsoons.

A survey of the area by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the bundh alongside the nullah had developed many breaches and the condition was worsened due to some cattle that destroyed the already weakened bandh. Moreover, in some places the authorities had thrown garbage which had not settled down alongside the nullah.

The president of M.S. Colony, Mr Varinder Verma, said last year also the colonies were inundated with water, prompting the residents to remove their belongings to the safe areas. Then residents had blocked traffic on the Tajpur road. The residents led by a number of political leaders had agreed to remove the dharna only after officials of the police and the district Administration succeeded in persuading them. The SDM, Mr Kuldip Singh, had assured the residents of speedy clearance of water from the colonies, filling the breach in the nullah and taking effective flood-control measures to avoid any such incident in the future.

The residents said the basic problem was that the area was a low lying and new colonies mushrooming near the bandh had raised the plinth level of their houses. So there left no effective drainage system. As a result the water got collected in the colonies. They said last year also the sewer remained choked due to which rain water accumulated. The residents said despite their repeated requests, the corporation had not provided proper drainage facilities to their colonies.



Fraud-accused detained at Delhi airport
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
The Delhi airport is learnt to have detained an accused in a land fraud and cheating case of Bhumal and Sidhwan village falling under the Jagraon subdivision. The accused was trying to flee the country.

Hari Singh was detained on Friday night at the Delhi airport after the complainant in the case, Mr Mohinder Singh, who is also an advocate, got information about the attempt of the accused and faxed a letter to the airport authorities alerting them. The airport officials acted on the letter and detained the accused.

The airport authorities also got in touch with the Jagraon police authorities and confirmed the status of the accused. Police sources said a team of Sadar police station would leave for Delhi tomorrow to bring Hari Singh here.

The accused along with 10 other persons is wanted in a land fraud and cheating case. The case was registered on the complaint of advocate Mohinder Singh. However, the Jagraon police did neither arrest the accused nor put up challans in a court of law.

The Ludhiana Tribune had in April exposed the role played by the police and some politicians in the case. On June 25, the Jagraon police finally acted in the case and arrested the two other accused. They were Arjun Singh and Lachman Singh.

The case file states that one Chandi Ram Arora owned about 8 acres of agricultural land besides 600 yards of commercial property in Bhumal and Sidhwan bet villages. The estimated value of property was over Rs 50 lakh in 1994. The owner had willed the entire property in the name of his two daughters and three sons. The family had migrated to Mumbai about three decades ago and the property was lying unattended.

On October 12, one Kapoor Singh of Gorsian village, along with 13 other persons allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy hatched by a Congress leader to prepare a false power of attorney.

The power of attorney made in the name of the owners, including two women Shakuntla Rani and Bhagwati Devi and carrying their signatures, made Kapoor Singh the sole owner of the property. The two women had died in 1978 and 1985 respectively . It was impossible for them to give power of attorney several years after their death. The legal process and mutation was done in Ludhiana and not in Jagraon to escape the leaking of the act. The new owner of the property then sold it off to three persons identified as Satish Kumar, Ishar Singh and Hari Singh within few weeks of the power of attorney. Arjun Singh Nambardar and Raj Kumar Patwari allegedly helped them.

Other persons acting as deed writers, witnesses or co-conspirators were identified later as Ajay Kumar, Raman Kumar, Bara Singh, Lachman Singh, Ram Singh, Gurcharan Singh and Harbans Singh. All these persons were blood relations or business partners.

The actual owners, that is the surviving sons, somehow got wind of the conspiracy and approached the police in 1994 but no case was registered against them. Meanwhile, advocate Mohinder Singh also learnt about the scandal and exposed it. It was only after the change in government that the police registered a case. However, political pressure again interfered and the police reported to the court that the complainant, that is the advocate, was not co-operating and the case should be closed. The advocate fought the police contention for five years and finally got an order in his favour.

The case took an interesting twist in between. Facing prosecution, the accused entered into a compromise with the actual owners and withdrew their claim. The owners cleverly used the opportunity and sold off the land. However, they still are supporting the advocate in pursuing the case to its logical conclusion of punishing the alleged guilty.



3 labourers robbed in broad daylight
Tribune News Service

The three labourers who were robbed in broad daylight in Ludhiana
The three labourers who were robbed in broad daylight in Ludhiana on Sunday. — Photo Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, June 30
Three robbed three migrant labourers of about Rs 6000 in broad daylight near the engine shed unit of the local railway station here today.

The robbers fled from the sight on seeing an approaching car, thinking they would be caught. Mr Bhim Sen Kashyap, district president of the Samajwadi Party, who was travelling in the car, was a witness to the incident.

Mr Kashyap said that he was passing by the shed and saw the three labourers and the robbers standing in a suspicious manner. He turned the car back to know what was happening. When he approached the place, the youths fled. Later, he took the labourers to Division Number 5 police station to lodge a complaint.

The three labourers — Nageshwar, Maheshwar and Prasad Kumar — told Ludhiana Tribune that they had come from Bhoggiwala village near Malerkotla and were going to Industrial Area here to visit a relative. The money was part of their earnings from working in the paddy fields.

They said the robbers stopped them and directed them to show their bags. They searched our pockets and took away all the money.

Meanwhile, Mr Kashyap has demanded immediate arrest of the accused.



DMCH standoff: govt help sought
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
The Punjab Citizens' Health Council has expressed concern over the standoff between the management and the employees of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) and sought government intervention in resolving the crisis. It said the standoff had caused great harassment to the general public and had threatened the life of many serious patients in the hospital.

A meeting of the council was held here yesterday under the chairmanship of its president, Mr Surjit Singh. The meeting, while expressing concern, took strong exception to the attitude of the employees' union of the hospital thus threatening the life of so many seriously sick patients.

The council pointed out that despite the prohibitory orders by the court against holding any demonstration within 100 metres of the hospital, the union was holding illegal dharnas inside the hospital complex and violating the court orders.

The council has appealed to various social organisations, leaders and people to come forward to resolve the problem between the DMC management and the employees to avoid further harassment to the people in general and patients in particular.

Mr Surjit Singh stated that the Punjab Citizens’ Health Council would file a public interest litigation in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against such strikes. Meanwhile, the faculty members of the DMC have condemned the “illegal strike” of the employees. A meeting of the staff was held here last night which discussed the situation arising due to the strike. 



Deserving to get pension: minister
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
The state will continue to provide economic help and pension to deserving old persons, widows and dependent children, but the help to undeserving persons would be stopped, said Amarjit Singh Samra, Minister for Revenue, Resettlement and Agriculture.

He was in the city today to preside over the 17 th annual Pension and Ration Distribution Samaroh held at Rajinder Senior Secondary School organised by Bharti Kalyan Jyoti Sanstha. He disbursed pension and ration to 51 widows on the occasion.

On the anti-corruption drive and its effect on the Revenue Department, he said orders had been issued to officers to prominently display the revenue rates in all departmental offices. Besides this, greater transparency had been brought in the posting and transfer of officers and staff.

Elaborating on the policy, he said kanungo and patwaris would henceforth not serve for a period exceeding five years in the areas falling in municipal limits of any town in the state.

In future, officers would not be changed on the basis of complaints but the charges against them would be probed and exemplary punishment would be given, he added.

He also honoured newly elected councillors Mr S.S. Grewal, Mr Raju Thaper, Ms Amrit Varsha and Ms Amarjit Kaur, on the occasion.

Mr Nandan Sharma, president of the sanstha, also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the activities of the organisation.



Ludhianvis retreat to cool environs
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
With schools closed for summer vacation and the mercury soaring high, thousands of Ludhianvis have retreated to the cool environs of Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal. Some have even ventured into the strife-ridden Kashmir. There has been a mad rush of people going from Ludhiana to various places like Mussourie, Dehra Dun, Nainital, Kullu, Manali, Kufri, Kasauli, Shimla and Kashmir.

This has also led to massive demand for taxis in the city. Most of the taxi operators in Ludhiana are making advance bookings and people are being asked to book taxis at least 10 to 14 days in advance. Even the people having their own cars usually prefer to go by taxis as the driving to these areas demands much labour and skill.

It is not only the hill stations, people are also showing interest in going to various religious places and shrines across the country. While pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi in Jammu is a routine affair, organised tours are being conducted to Hardwar, Badri Nath and Kedar Nath. A number of people are also going to Balaji Tirupati in the south.

Probably for the first time in all these years people have started going to Kashmir also. However, the number of such people is far less. Mr Avinash Kumar, who has recently returned from Kashmir, said, “People remain apprehensive about going to Kashmir, but once you reach there all tensions are relieved.” He said situation there, more so in Srinagar, was not that bad. He said he had seen a number of non-Kashmiri and non-Muslim families going there. These people, he said, could be seen in the Mughal gardens. Moreover, a number of people are waiting for the Amarnath yatra to start so that they could also visit Kashmir, he said.

In Ludhiana, various travel agents are conducting organised tours to different places in Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh. Given the massive number of people from Ludhiana, who visit these places, almost all leading hotels there have appointed agents in the city. These agent are making bookings from here. This agent are getting good response as people prefer to ensure bookings from here, otherwise they have to face inconvenience after reaching the tourist spots.



Endless wait for missing son
Mahesh Sharma

A hapless Gulzar Singh waits for his son (inset) Babu Singh
A hapless Gulzar Singh waits for his son (inset) Babu Singh. —A Tribune photograph

Ahmedgarh, June 30
The hopes of an aggrieved Dalit family to find clues about their son Babu Singh, who had disappeared mysteriously in March 1991, have dimmed to a large extent as the family has received no response from any government officer, political leader or human rights activist, even after 11 years of disappearance of Babu Singh.

Mr Gulzar Singh, father of the youth, said, “The police has killed my innocent son just to protect an activist of an extremist group. That person is now enjoying the status of a political leader. He was picked up by policemen who came in a canter on March 5, 1991. When we approached the police station, we were told that some extremist group might have ‘kidnapped’ him”. Since then the family has been making unsuccessful rounds of the police, civil administration, politicians and human rights activists to seek their help to get some inquiry marked into the mysterious disappearance of Babu Singh.

The family had seen a ray of hope when leaders, including an SGPC member, assured them help and arranged meeting with some police officials, but instead of telling whereabouts of their son, they tried to pressurise them for a compromise and to accept compensation money of Rs 2.5 lakh. “How could I encash flesh and bones of my son and spare the suspected killers in uniform,” says his father.

Recalling the past Gulzar Singh said his son was a patriotic soul who wished to join the Army.

With this aim in mind he had joined NCC at Khalsa High School. But before he could join the Army, he started working in a local paper mill from where he was lured by a registered medical practitioner to work with him at his clinic at Jandali Road.

After about four months Babu Singh told his father that some youths of doubtful integrity used to come to the clinic. Family decided that he should start his own practice after learning more about medicine from some other doctor.

But the doctor, threatened him and asked him to join him again as he allegedly feared that the boy would disclose his secrets to others.

In the meantime, district police arrested four persons at Kup Kalan who were involved in a robbery and had revealed during investigation that they were working for the doctor practicing at Jandali Road. Gulzar Singh alleged that in order to protect himself, the doctor, who was already having ‘friendly’ links with the police, managed to involve Babu Singh in the case.

The police picked him up from his house on March 5, 1991, the day the family saw him for the last time.



Autorickshaw union alleges harassment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 30
A delegation of the Ludhiana Autorickshaw Union (LAU) met the Transport Minister, Punjab, Mr Tejparkash Singh, to express their resentment against the alleged unfair attitude of the local transport authorities. The memorandum urged the minister to take action against these officials for harassing the autorickshaw drivers.

The chairman of the union, Mr Madan Lal, alleged that the officials were harassing them on frivolous grounds for vested interests. He claimed that when the autorickshaw drivers refused to give into their demands they started challaning the poor autorickshaw drivers.

Despite having all the necessary documents like driving licence, registration card, pollution certificate and insurance of the vehicle, drivers were being challaned, he claimed.

Mr Madan Lal said, “The traffic officials have found the easy way of challaning the autorickshaw drivers for not complying with smoke emission standards as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Despite having pollution certificate, they challaned some autorickshaw drivers for the said violation.” The union leader alleged, “to crush the LAU, a case has been registered against as many as 40 union members.” 



Road widening project for Sarabha Nagar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 30
A road-widening project for the block A, B and D of Sarabha Nagar was given green signal here today by the councillor of the area, Ms Amritvarsha Rampal (ward no. 41).

Talking to The Tribune, Ms Amritvarsha Rampal said, “Despite the fact that Sarabha Nagar is a posh area, the roads are not wide enough.” She said the project would improve the flow of traffic as well as the look of the area. She disclosed that the estimated cost of the project would be more than Rs 50 lakh.


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