Monday, July 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Farmers vent ire on power station
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Lalton Kalan, July 14
Suffering from irregular power supply and long power cuts for the past several days, at least 40 farmers of Dullon Khurd and adjoining villages vented their ire on a sub-station and an area load dispatch centre of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) here last night causing an estimated damage worth Rs 85,000 to the department.

No PSEB employee was hurt in the attack. This is the first violent incident in the region arising out of an acute shortage of power. The Sadar Police Station has registered a case against the unidentified attackers. The majority of attackers allegedly belonged to Dullon Khurd village. Unconfirmed reports said the police had rounded up some persons. But the police has not confirmed any official arrest so far.

The farmers went on rampage at about 10 p.m. at the 220 KV sub-station and the area load dispatch centre situated on Ludhiana-Pakhowal road at Lalton Kalan village. They smashed windowpanes, broke floodlights and a large number of flowerpots. The farmers also damaged some poles and allegedly stole at least nine expensive Aroceria plants.

Mr Baldev Singh, a sub-station operator and an eye-witness to an hour-long drama, said at least 40 farmers armed with sticks barged into the premises and started raising slogans. As no official was present, the angry farmers, who were demanding restoration of power supply to their village, started pelting the offices with stones.

Since both the stations were situated close to each other, the mob split into two and began damaging anything they could lay their hands on. After breaking down the windowpanes, they vented their anger on flowerpots and smashed them against the walls. The farmers also broke a number of floodlights on the premises amidst shouting.

A Ludhiana Tribune team that visited the power stations today early morning saw shattered glasses of windowpanes and broken flowerpots. Pieces of broken glasses were scattered all over.

According to PSEB officials, the area load dispatch centre suffered a loss of Rs 35,000, while the 220 KV sub-station suffered damage worth Rs 50,000 in the attack. The PSEB sources, while admitting the problem of erratic power supply, stated they were helpless as the dismal power scenario in the state owing to the delayed monsoon was a well-known fact.

They said the PSEB was trying to provide constant power but its shortage had affected fair distribution. According to the sources, Dullon Khurd village had no power supply since yesterday afternoon.

PSEB officials have taken the attack very seriously and have called it unwarranted. The department has lodged a complaint with the Sadar police station. It has also demanded imposition of a fine on the farmers.

At the same time, PSEB sources pointed out the lack of adequate security arrangements at the power stations. No security guard has been posted here and a proposal for the construction of an 8-foot- long wall around the premises has been hanging fire for a long time.



17 traders booked; bandh call by shopkeepers
Our Correspondent

Amloh, July 14
Shopkeepers, kiosk owners and traders of the town have decided to observe a bandh and hold a dharna in front of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate’s office here on Monday against the alleged high-handedness of the administration.

The decision was taken at a meeting in Aggarwal Dharmshala held here yesterday under the presidentship of Mr Nirbhai Singh, Sarpanch, Sounti village, and a commission agent.

It was alleged that officials involved in the drive against encroachments on Friday had brought down their kiosks resulting in the loss of goods and cash. They alleged that they had been paying “teh bazari” a tax to use the municipal land) to the municipal council and no advance notice was served on them. Their electricity connection wires were also removed during the drive.

Against the alleged brutality of the administration, the aggrieved persons had staged a dharna on the Mandi Gobindgarh-Nabha road, near grain market, which was later lifted after extra police force was requisitioned by the SDM. It was also alleged that the administration with a motive to justify its action had got registered cases against 17 shopkeepers. A decision to further intensify the stir in case they failed to get justice was also taken at the meeting. Among others Mr Nirbhai Singh, Sarpanch, Sounti village; Mr Hari Chand Mittal, president , Arhtia Association Amloh; Dr Ram Sarup, president Chemists Association; Mr Ram Sarup, president, Cloth Merchant Association; Mr Harchand Singh, president, Vishwakarma Mandir Committee; Mr Randhir Singh Gill, president, Shellers Association; Mr Parveen Kumar, secretary, Karyana Association, and Mr Satinder Kumar Bansal also addressed the meeting.

Mr Dalip Singh Pandhi, former Minister, flayed the “undemocratic” action of the administration and demanded suitable space to be allotted to kiosk owners to earn their livelihood.

Meanwhile, on the complaint of Mr Rajesh Khokar, Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Amloh, the local police has registered an FIR against Mr Nirbhai Singh, Sarpanch, Sounti village, Mr Balwant Singh, Mr Shiv Kumar, Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Jaspal Singh, Mr Jogga Singh, Mr Vinod Kumar, Mr Darshan Singh, Kalla, Karma, Jagga, Dr Ashoka Medical, Mr Joginder Lal, Mr Darshan Lal, Allu and Mr Kuldeep Singh under Sections 333, 186, 427, 148 and 149, IPC, but no arrest has been made so far. According to the FIR, the accused persons had pelted enforcement officers with stones and damaged a PWD truck.

When contacted, Mr Amarjit Singh Shahi, SDM, said announcement had been made several times in the town to remove the encroachments but the alleged encroachers did not take any step in this regard. He added that the campaign would continue in future.

Mr Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, MLA, while talking to the mediapersons here today, expressed unhappiness at the incidence.



DMCH panel secretary under pressure
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Pressure is mounting on the secretary of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital Managing Committee, Mr Prem Nath Gupta, following Saturday’s violent incidents in the hospital, which led to a number of employees getting injured in police action, besides scores landing in jail.

Meanwhile, in an interesting development some members of the faculty of the hospital have turned hostile towards Mr Gupta while his other colleagues have been strongly arguing in his favour, saying that it was Mr Gupta who single-handedly took the DMCH to such heights.

Most of the managing committee members, who include leading industrialists and businessmen of the city, are reportedly upset over the events of Saturday which shook this well-known institution. So much so that the president of the managing committee, Mr Brij Mohan Munjal, the Chairman and the Managing Director of Hero Cycles and Hero Honda Motors, had to rush in from Delhi to take stock of the situation. He is supposed to preside over the meeting of the managing committee later in the evening.

As the situation took a turn for the worse yesterday, the reaction of the district administration seemed to be exaggerated. While in the first place it had been struck by the usual inertia, yesterday it seemed to had acted over-enthusiastically and instead of solving the problem only contributed in complicating it. Along with the striking employees, several doctors, including the Principal Dr S. C. Ahuja, two Medical Superintendents, Dr Sandeep Puri and Dr Rajoo Chhina, the managing committee members, Mr Amrit Nagpal and Mr Satish Chandra Sanwalka, besides Mr Vikram Bhanot, chief security officer of the hospital, were also rounded up by the police.

While the two managing committee members, Mr Nagpal and Mr Sanwalka, besides Mr Bhanot were released after being questioned at the Sadar police station, the doctors were sent to the jail on the Tajpur road. The doctors are sore that the managing committee members did not bother to seek their release. They have come out in support of the striking employees and decided to strike work from tomorrow.

The managing committee had also to face a lot of humiliation and embarrassment at the hands of the district administration, which refused to entertain their pleas. It was learnt that a senior official even refused to talk to Mr Munjal who had tried to talk to him from Delhi. Mr Munjal reportedly tried to contact the Chief Minister, who was also not available in Chandigarh. Later, Mr Munjal reportedly contacted the Chief Minister at Delhi where the latter was supposed to meet the AICC President, Ms Sonia Gandhi.

It is learnt that a senior official of the Punjab Government directed the local authorities to release the doctors from the jail as considerable resentment was brewing among their families. They were shocked as to why they were implicated for none of their fault, more so at the indifference of the committee members towards them. Moreover, the detention of two committee members who are leading industrialists has also led to resentment among members.

Expressing resentment over the detention of two of his colleagues, a member of the managing committee, who is himself a leading industrialist, pointed out that all members of the committee have to pay Rs 5 lakh for their membership. Besides they contribute their precious time for the welfare of the hospital. “Do they deserve such treatment in return?” he asked, while expressing his disapproval over the way the district administration had handled the issue and treated members of the committee and doctors. Also they were sore over the “arrogant” and “dictatorial” attitude of a local official in the district administration who not only refused to entertain them but misbehaved with them.



‘42 unionists, 4 docs held’
Tribune News Service

Another case

The District Magistrate, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, said here today evening that the striking unionists of the DMC would be booked under Section 188 of the CrPC also for violating orders of the District Magistrate issued under Section 144 CrPC barring five or more persons to form an unlawful assembly. 

Ludhiana, July 14
The district police today released a list of 42 members of the DMC Employees Union, who were arrested in the yesterday's clash between the unionists and the police at the hospital along with four doctors belonging to the management of the hospital.

Yesterday the police was not disclosing the exact number of persons arrested in the incident. At least 70 persons were rounded up, many of whom were released late night. The police’s silence was causing anxious moments for the relatives of the rounded up persons as they were running from pillar to post to know about the whereabouts of these persons.

The police, however, maintained that no case was being registered against policemen for beating up the unionists or any innocent person in the lathi charge that led to the clash. The police explained that the situation was such that the police had to wield a stick on any person on the suspicion of his being a supporter of the unionists.

While the four doctors booked under Sections 107, 151 and 101, CrPc, were released on bail as per the norms, the 28 unionists, including 14 women were remanded to judicial custody till July 27. Fourteen other unionists were released on bail yesterday evening only. The unionists, all in shabby condition, were produced before the Duty Magistrate, Mr D.P. Singla, in the evening. The police did not seek a police remand for the unionists. Hence there was no problem in sending the accused to judicial custody.

The police said it was yet to arrest Chander Mohan Kalia, union leader. A senior police official told Ludhiana Tribune that no case was being made against the policemen as they had suffered the brunt of injuries.



Resentment against management
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 14
Following yesterday’s unprovoked lathi charge on the striking employees by the police reportedly at the behest of the management, there is widespread resentment among the faculty members over all that happened yesterday. Taking a strong stand in favour of the employees who were ruthlessly and mercilessly beaten up by the police, the faculty members are apprehending that the action had been taken at the behest of members of the management resulting in injuries to several employees. The faculty members have decided to observe indefinite strike from tomorrow to protest against the attitude of the management towards the employees and the faculty.

Faculty members are sore over the way the management has handled the situation right from day one of the strike. Quite surprisingly, the faculty members, including the two Medical Superintendents, were not even informed that the management had sought the help of the police against the striking employees. Some doctors who were dealing with the employees all through the strike have reportedly resigned in protest.

More than 150 faculty members of DMCH gathered at old DMC premises today to boycott the management. The doctors condemned the barbaric act by the police in dealing with the peaceful agitators yesterday. One Senior faculty member said they were with the union and they will not serve for the institute till the union leaders and employees were out of the police custody.

Another senior doctor, on condition of anonymity, disclosed that Gian Chand had died in the clash between the police and employees yesterday, but his post-mortem was not conducted and the police was trying to hush up the case.

Another senior woman doctor said the Medical Superintendents were made the scape-goats. “Our faculty has been misused by the management. The police did not spare even Dr Sandeep Puri, Dr Daljit Singh and Dr Rajoo Chinna, spokespersons of the management. They were taken to Tajpur Jail and no one from the management came forward to seek their release. It was with the intervention of faculty members late night that these detained doctors were set free by the police. I want to ask where was Mr Prem Nath Gupta, Secretary, Managing Society, at that time?” asked the doctor.

The doctors also demanded a Vigilance inquiry regarding the mismanagement of funds by the management in both DMCH and Hero DMC Heart Institute.

Mr Nau Nihal Singh, SP, when contacted said he had absolutely no idea about any death. He maintained that it might be a rumour.

The local unit of the Indian Medical Association strongly condemned the arrest of the doctors late last evening. Dr Gursharan Singh, president of the association, said it was very unfortunate that doctors were being treated in this manner. He said the management should be held responsible for this brutal episode.

Meanwhile, Dr Yashbir Dewan, the attending doctor of DSP Gurmel Singh, (who sustained a head injury yesterday) and is at Christian Medical College and Hospital said his condition was stable and he was able to speak to his family.

The gates of DMCH were sealed today by the police. Sources said the entire hospital was vacated today. The authorities asked the patients to move to other institutes. The premises wore a deserted look.

Several parties and employees’ unions have strongly condemned the “brutal” act by the police in connivance with the management.

The local unit of the All-India Trade Union Congress has condemned yesterday’s lathi charge by the police. Union leaders Mr Kartar Singh and Mr O.P. Mehta said in a joint statement that police firing and lathi charge on the peaceful agitators was a gruesome act.



Of innocents who came in the line of fire
Tribune News Service

Rajesh Sood

Ludhiana, July 14
Over-shadowing the tussle between the DMC Employees Union and the management, the issue of alleged police brutality in and after the yesterday's clash is threatening to snowball into a major issue now.

The shift in focus of attention was perceptible in the statements of the 14-member agitation committee of the unionists that decried the police crackdown on the union members. At the same time, a number of persons having no relation with the strike or the clash came out openly against the alleged police beating in the clash and later in the police station.

One such victim was Rajesh Sood, a journalist working in a vernacular daily. He had gone to cover the clash but got separated from his team. Suspecting him to be a unionist a number of policemen pounced on him and gave him a good thrashing.

The journalist lives close to the hospital. His relatives, friends and other residents of the area tried their best to convince the policemen that he was innocent. But their pleas fell on deaf ears.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Sood said he was beaten mercilessly with sticks and rods by the policemen. They threw away his identity card and kept on beating him. He was taken to the Sadar police station and was beaten up there also. It was only at the intervention of some other mediapersons that he was released late in the evening.

Rajesh Sood showed the injuries he suffered on legs, arms and especially the back. Corroborating the changes of alleged police cruelty, Ms Amarjit Kaur, spokesperson of the 14-member agitation committee formed by the union workers, said the women workers arrested by the police were also beaten up mercilessly last night and were in bad condition.

She claimed that the police was silent on the whereabouts of several persons. She said a number of unionists were still missing and their relatives were searching for them.

Mr Naunihal Singh, SP(city-II), when contacted said the police had released the list of persons who were under arrest. He denied charges of any police cruelty and said it was possible that during the lathi charge some innocent persons had to bear the brunt.



Commercial units told to clear space
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Main roads identified in city

  • Ferozepore road-Jagraon bridge to cantonment
  • Old G.T. Road Sherpur Chowk to Ambedkar Chowk
  • NH-1 from Octroi post Ambala side to Jalandhar side
  • State highway-Samrala Chowk to Chandigarh side
  • Gill Road-from Vishwakarma Chowk to Gill village
  • Southern bypass along Sidhwan branch canal

Ludhiana, July 14
Getting tough on the encroachers, the district administration has directed the marriage palaces, hotels and other establishments along the main city roads to remove the encroachments in the form of lawns and commercial areas which lead to traffic congestion.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, has directed the Municipal Corporation and the Public Works Department (PWD) to ensure the removal of these encroachments within and out of the city limits, respectively.

The administration has identified six major routes that are running from and within the city which according to the Deputy Commissioner are encroached upon by various establishments as there is no parking space in their buildings.

While speaking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Aggarwal said he had gone through the details of the architectural designs and maps of these buildings and found that at the time of getting an NOC from the MC, the owners had shown a parking space in the basement of the buildings but after obtaining the NOCs they had not bothered to follow the exact design and had exploited the area commercially.

He further said he had himself inspected certain buildings on the Mall Road and found out that there was a major problem of parking due to the same reason. “We have told them to explain the reason for not providing a parking space to the public and they will face action if found to be violating the bylaws. And if the entire procedure would prove laxity on the part of some MC officials then they would also face action,” said the DC.

Mr Aggarwal said he had written to the MC and PWD to ensure that all such public buildings should have adequate functional parking areas and all bylanes of the roads identified should be cleared of the encroachments. He said clearing of these encroachments would also help in running the local buses that under the newly proposed Public Transport System. 



India’s victory stuns bookies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
While the India-England final would be counted as one of the momentous events in the cricketing history, it was equally historic for thousands of punters and bookies who place bets on such matches. Sources among bookies and punters revealed that such matches are very rare as all through the game England remained the favourite, while at the end it was India which won the match.

England started as favourite at the beginning of the game with most of the bookies offering between 70 and 72 paise for each rupee, while for India it was Rs 1.30 for each rupee. As the game progressed and the England strengthened their position the price for England came down as low as 25 paise per Re 1 against Rs 4 for per rupee for India.

The rates again changed after Saurav Ganguly and Varinder Sehwag hit an unbeaten century for the opening wicket partnership. England rate went up to 72 paise for each rupee, while India’s came down again to Rs 1.30 for each rupee. For sometime the rates remained stagnant as the game moved on smoothly.

But after the fall of first wicket at the score of 106 England’s position got once again strengthened. With regular fall of wickets India’s rate continued to go up and up. So much so when the fifth Indian wicket fell at the score of 146 only and India’s chances of victory appeared almost nil, some bookies offered thirty times for an Indian victory. That means for every rupee they would pay Rs 30. And a number of punters place odd bets, as these are called in betting parlance, worth lakhs of rupees at these situations.

Despite Rahul Singh and Mohammed Kaif managing to stabilise the Indian innings with score moving to 250 for five wickets, England continued to remain the favourite. After Rahul Singh got out, England’s rate came down further and India’s went up. And when seventh Indian wicket fell, India’s rate trebled once again as England seemed to be in a better position.

Right till the end of the game England continued to be the favourite, except for the last seven balls when six runs had to be scored. Even then India was not the favourite and the game remained open. The sources revealed that most of the punters suffered heavy losses in yesterday’s match, while a few managed to take home huge money. However, those were the people who placed bets against odds when India was rated at 1:30, an almost impossible proposition. But after all betting is always a risky proposition.



26-yr-old killed by brother
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
A property dispute between two brothers today led to the murder of a 26-year-old youth who was done to death by his younger brother. Their father was also injured in the incident.

The incident took place in the wee hours today when Balwinder Singh, a resident of Satguru Nagar, Shimla Puri was killed by his 23-year-old brother, Mohan Singh, following an altercation over the occupation of a bigger room in the house.

The dispute that was going on for the past many days took an ugly turn when Mohan Singh picked up a sword and hit his elder brother in the head and neck. The victim died on the spot.

The father of the two youths, Nachchatar Singh, tried to intervene in the matter but he too was hit with the sword and received a fracture in his right leg. He has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

The mother of the two, Satnam Kaur, said they had recently got married and were always fighting over the issue. Unlike today the dispute used to end up with minor arguments only.

Mohan Singh is at large and the police has registered a case against him under Section 302, IPC.


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