Thursday, August 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Demolition drive turns bloody, JE shot
2 hurt as illegal occupant opens fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 14
A junior engineer, Nirmal Singh Bhullar, of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust was shot dead and two other persons were injured when the occupant of a building they had gone to demolish fired upon them from point blank range. While, Bhullar died on the spot, Executive Officer Mr K.P. Gossain and a retired Kanungo Avtar Singh Pannu sustained bullet injuries in the stomach and arm.

The incident took place around 2.30 p.m. in the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar in the presence of the Administrator, Ludhiana Improvement Trust, Mr Raminder Singh, who was there along with other Improvement Trust personnel and about 15 policemen to take possession of about five acre land in possession of Gajjan Singh. The land had been acquired by the Improvement Trust in 1984 under the 475-acre Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar development plan, but Gajjan Singh and his family had remained in occupation of the land ever since.

Today afternoon, when Mr Raminder Singh and other staff of the Improvement Trust went to take possession of the said land and demolish a building that the trust officials claimed was illegal. Anticipating trouble, Improvement Trust officials had sought police protection and about 15 policemen had been provided to the raiding party. After the Improvement Trust team ploughed the fields and started demolishing the alleged “illegal house”, Ranjit Singh, son of Gajjan Singh, fired upon them with a twelve bore licensed weapon from inside his house in order to prevent the action.

Bhullar who was in the forefront, according to Mr Raminder Singh was hit by the first fire from Ranjit Singh’s rifle. “We all ran for shelter in panic as we did not expect firing”, Mr Reminder Singh told Ludhiana Tribune. The second burst hit Mr Gossain and Mr Pannu in the stomach and the arm. Both have been admitted to Guru Tegh Bhadur Hospital and are reported to be out of danger.

According to Mr Raminder Singh, the Improvement Trust had acquired the land, but Gajjan Singh had remained in illegal possession. Gajjan Singh filed several court cases and had finally lost in the Supreme Court some months ago. Ranjit Singh, however, maintained that he was in possession of a stay order from the Supreme Court issued by Justice G.S. Sewak.

After the firing, Ranjit Singh along with some women and children remained inside the house from where he had fired shots, sending the police personnel present in a tizzy. It was nearly after two hours that a 13-member quick reaction team (QRT) led by ASI Surinder Singh converged on the house and nabbed Ranjit Singh.

Surprisingly, one licensed weapon was recovered from a cupboard by the police before the launch of the operation, but the police personnel did not take any special precaution to prevent any untoward incident. It took nearly two hours to flush out Ranjit Singh from the house where he was hiding. It was only after the arrival of SP City-I that an operation was launched. All this time the body of Bhullar lay in front of the house eliminating all possibilities of providing him any timely medical aid.
After Ranjit Singh was arrested, he told Ludhiana Tribune that he had fired in order to prevent the demolition of the house in which his wife and children were present. His father Gajjan Singh was away to the district courts in connection with some court case when the incident took place.

The body has been sent for post-mortem and would be taken to Bhullar’s native place Rayyia, near Amritsar tomorrow.



Major breach in Sirhind Canal
Timely action by volunteers saves the day
Mahesh Sharma &
D.B. Chopra

Ahmedgarh, August 14
A major breach in the Bathinda  branch of Sirhind Canal occurred near the Jagera bridge on the Ludhiana- Malerkotla road early this morning inundating several acres of farm land in the vicinity.

According to residents of nearby villages, who had assembled for plugging the breach since 7 am, some farmers noticed that the level of water in their paddy fields was rising and had gone to investigate. It was then that they found that there was a breach in the canal and alerted other villagers to rush for help with gunny sacks and other earth- filling equipment.

Villagers informed that the breach was first noticed by some devotees while they were on the opposite bank. They informed a dhaba owner near Jagera bridge, who further informed police station, Ahmedgarh.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Virk, SMO, Sadar and Mr Sukhram, SHO, City, approached the site of the breach along with policemen who guided the villagers to start plugging the breach which had by then widened to about 20- 25 feet. Villagers had a tough time coping with the gushing water because they were equipped with only traditional agricultural implements. A few employees of the canal department who were called by the police came to the site barefooted and empty handed.

What made their task all the more difficult was the uneven bank of the canal making it difficult to walk on it. It also ruled out the possibility of bringing mechanical equipment to plug the breach. Alarmed and panic-stricken residents of Pohir village, which faced the maximum threat from the gushing waters, rushed to the spot to plug the breach as also did the people from Jagera village.

Mates and beldars of the irrigation department also joined hands. Canal authorities were informed and the flow of water was reduced facilitating the plugging work.

Chaos reigned in the town when people learnt of breach in the morning. Parents started bringing their wards from the schools and the residents living across the railway line started taking ‘‘preventive measures’’ at their homes and business establishments. The telephone exchange, electricity board office, the power grid, two hospitals and godowns of food procurement agencies were the most flood prone since the water was fast approaching these after crossing the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road. Though the water did not reach Pohir village , the nearest village to the breach, but the people had started shifting their valuables to safe places.

It is estimated that agricultural fields in Pohir, Jagar, Jhamot, Jandali and Khera suffered huge losses. Traffic too had to be diverted via Karamsar. The insignificant arrangements from the canal department and the civil administration were a telling comment on the lack of any damage control measures to be resorted to in case of such emergencies. As usual, villagers of area along with students of local schools could be seen toiling to plug the breach.

But soon, after filling up the nearby paddy fields, the gushing water crossed the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road and surged towards the town. The low-lying stretch of the road between the Jagera bridge and Government School, Pohir, was submerged under a couple of feet of water.

Water entered a motor-room in a paddy field and a couple of factories on the outskirts of the town. Paddy fields all around the area were inundated. As rumours spread in the town that a nearby village had been submerged in water anxious residents made a bee-line for the breach-spot.

Mr K.S. Bhattal, SE, Canal, told that 2,600 cusecs of water was flowing at the time when the breach started. The gates at Gurthali were closed at around 9 am but the water level had reduced only by two feet till evening. No breach at the same point had been recorded by the department earlier.

Villagers said the flash-flood water would prove beneficial to the paddy crop. On the other hand, the villagers were critical of the SDM, Malerkotla, and the local tehsildar who reached the spot but did not bring relief equipment or additional manpower to help the plugging operations.

‘‘They acted more like bystanders and made no effort to even direct the work underway. It was totally a voluntary effort on our part. The Irrigation Department had not strengthened the northern bank which was breached earlier and had again been filled by us some months ago," the villagers alleged.

Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, MLA from the Kila Raipur constituency, who reached the site after hearing about the breach told these correspondents that a serious mishap had been averted because of the timely detection of the breach.

A breach had occurred at the same place about a month and a half ago, he informed, but also alleged that the plug was not adequately re-inforced by men of the Irrigation Department resulting in today's breach.

Though the police officials present at the site ruled out sabotage of any kind, some villagers did not rule out the possibility of someone having made an illegal irrigation channel by burying an iron pipe through the damaged bank of the canal which had been breached earlier. Though it has been raining sporadically all over the state during the past few days, the area had received only mild showers and there was no possibility of the kutcha bank having been swept away by the rain water, they pointed out.

At about 11 am, the SDM assured Ludhiana Tribune that the breach would be successfully plugged within the next hour or so.

Mr Anurag Aggarwal, DC, Ludhiana , Mr Sucha Singh Mast SDM, Payal, Mr Tarsem Lal, NT Maloudh, Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister, were among others who visited the spot.



Councillors vie for development works
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 14
In a virtual negation of the joint strategic move of the MC top brass to bring some semblance of order in city development which should have a firm foundation and based on actual availability of funds as well as genuine need of the people, there has been a virtual scramble among councillors to get estimates for all kinds of works prepared in a haste and get these approved by the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC).

Cutting across party lines, the new councillors have been mounting pressure on the civic body for the approval of all sorts of estimates for works relating to building of roads, pavement of streets as well as water supply and sewerage projects in their wards concerned.

The councillors, having been elected and installed for well over two months now, appear to be in a tearing haste for the commencement of development works and could be seen moving every conceivable channel for this purpose.

While MC officials were tight- lipped on the subject, sources disclosed that quite a few new councillors had pushed the cases of their trusted persons for enlistment as contractors in the civic body. Although no new contractors had been enlisted so far, a number of cases “strongly recommended by the councillors” were being processed for this purpose.

The sources further disclosed that a number of family members and dependants of the MC employees and officials had turned into contractors or suppliers of goods to the civic body and were operating in such an overt manner that complicity of senior officials in the Store Purchase Department and the engineering wing was almost a certainty.

Justifying the stand of the MC in the approval of new estimates, a senior official, requesting anonymity, told Ludhiana Tribune that development works and special projects worth around Rs 70 crore were already in progress in the city and most of them were likely to be completed by the end of this financial year, creating a massive financial liability.

Moreover, the MC had no choice but to go slow in taking up new projects in the light of the directions from the Local Government Department that approval of estimates and commencement of new development projects should be undertaken strictly on the basis of availability of funds.



Sanity during mad times
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ms Sudershana PrabhaLudhiana, August 14
While the country celebrates its 55th anniversary of Independence tomorrow, there are thousands of people who are still living with the memories of horror they were witness to. Yet some of them, like Ms Sudershana Prabha, who have some nice memories to cherish. “While it was madness all around at that time, there were still some saner elements who showed the light during that phase of darkness”, she recalls.

Ms Sudershana was about 20 at the time of Partition. She came of an affluent Lakhanpal family who were well established in business at Sialkote, now in Pakistan, exporting shuttle cocks to England. Although she has changed many addresses since she came to India, she still remembers with pride her first residential address: 1, Greenwood Street, Sialkot.

Unlike thousands like her, who had to migrate, she only narrates the best of things, although she remembers all horror. The long rows of bodies lying along the road as they were moving on foot towards Dera Baba Nanak still seem to be fresh in her memory. “It was most horrible and probably the display of the base instinct of men to kill their fellow men just for the reason that they subscribed to some other faith”, she shivers for a while.

Ms Sudershana was living in a joint family. However, at the time of Partition they got separated from each other. She along with her father and mother and a new born brother were in a village in Shakargarh tehsil. “There was no information available at that time as what was going to happen. There were no television sets, no newspapers or transistors. There used to be an odd radio in an entire village but the village we were stranded in did not have even that so we had to rely on rumours only”, she says, while pointing out how important it is to be properly informed at the time of crisis.

It was around August 20, 1947, that her father and mother decided to move out. Her grandfather, Pandit Karamchand Lakhanpal, was reluctant to migrate as he did not want to give up his affluence in Sialkote for an uncertain future in India. However, her father, Chuni Lal Lakhanpal, who was working with the Railways had already opted for India. But later on her grandfather also moved out and the family was reunited only in Amritsar. “For about a fortnight we had no knowledge about their welfare. While we were came to Dera Baba Nanak on foot, we later learnt that they had come in a train”, she reveals.

But their ordeal did not end even after four days of continuous walking. As they reached Gurdaspur, they were not sure whether Gurdaspur will remain with India or Pakistan. “But our strength had given up and we were not in a position to move. We decided to wait for some time and ultimately Gurdaspur was left with India, but by that time we had already moved to Amritsar”, she says.

The family started their life afresh in Amritsar with her father continuing with his job in the Railways. However, in the background of all this made fury she recalls Jamal-u-din, a local Muslim of Sialkote, whom her grandfather had handed over all his property. Jamal-u-din started sending Rs 500 every month to her grandfather till 1956. And when he died he told his children that the house they were living in and other property belonged to Pandit Karamchand and it should be returned to him or his descendants whenever they come back to Sialkot.



BJP protest rally on Aug 18
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 14
Hectic preparations are on here for the proposed protest rally by the BJP on August 18 against “anti-people policies” of the Congress government. District president Harbans Lal Sethi has set up various committees to make arrangements and mobilise support for the rally, which will be headed by district and state-level office-bearers.

Presiding over a party meeting here, Mr Sethi informed that several prominent party leaders from the Centre and state and Union Ministers, including Mr Vinod Khanna, Ms Sushma Swaraj, Mr Shahnawaz Hussain and Mr Satyanarain Jatia, are expected to take part in the rally.

The rally, Mr Sethi said, will focus on such policies of the government that were having detrimental effect on people. The Congress, which had gone back on its poll promises and had failed to tackle problems like drought, and severe power crisis, will be exposed in the proposed rally, he added.

The BJP district chief exhorted party rank to highlight the “selective” anti-corruption campaign of the government, “high-handedness” of bureaucracy and “repression” let loose by the police in the state.

Among others who addressed the meeting were Mr Rajinder Khatri, press secretary, Mr Kamal Chatley, President, Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Mr Balbir Chand Kapila, Mr Anil Sareen, Mr Suresh Verma, Mr Rajinder Bhandari, Mr Pran Bhatia, Mr Parveen Bansal and Mr Harish Tandon.



Triumph of human courage
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 14
Fighting odds against his physical handicap and poverty, the 21-year-old Surjit Singh, first year student of Government College for Boys, faces innumerable problems with the dawn of every new day. His legs were paralysed at the age of one-and-a-half-year when he fell prey to the dreaded polio disease.

Living near Samrala Chowk, every morning he goes in his tricycle to his college.

However, Surjit Singh finds it difficult to move around in the traffic chaos on the city roads on his tricycle, a gift from Red Cross. He says,‘‘It takes me 45 minutes to travel on the busy highway. If my legs do not work for me, atleast my arms enable me to reach my destination. But everyday, the speeding cars, and crazily driven trucks and buses fill my heart with terror. Three times I have been involved in an accident and my previous tricycle was crushed. I have passed out from Multi-Purpose School. So my ordeal of facing the heavy traffic has continued, yet I am determined to continue my education."

However, continuing education is in itself a very difficult task for this youngster as his parents are daily wagers. His father is a heart patient. Surjit's elder brother had to discontinue his studies due to the family’s financial problems. But he is determined that Surjit should continue his education. Surjit says,‘‘I managed to pay my fees with great difficulty. Now I have no money to buy text books. While submitting my application form, I had thought that I would get a scholarship due to my physical handicap, but I have not got any scholarship. I did not even get one in my school. But I have not applied for the scholarship.’’

Surjit said, ‘‘I reach home after three’O clock. I would like to learn computers in the evening but again financial constraints do not allow me to do so. I wish to become an IAS officer so that I can do something for persons in my state. The government hardly gives any amenities to physically and mentally challenged. When designing new shopping complexes or stadiums or parks or movie halls, no one thinks of the disabled. We are doomed to live in obscurity. First of all we suffer due to our handicaps, then the society adopts a very negligent attitude towards us. However, I find fellow students very sympathetic. I have to reach the class room 15 minutes earlier. When the classes are on the first floor. I climb the stairs with great difficulty. I do not want pity but to live my life with dignity.’’ 



The rod is an absolute must

Editor’s Note

We encourage readers to send us their feedback through the Letters to the Editor column, which will be published on a regular basis. All letters should be typed in double space and addressed to The Editor, Ludhiana Tribune, 1-2 Improvement Trust building, Bhadaur House, Ludhiana-141008 or by fax / e-mail at 707412 or 

Threats and beating by gurus, parents and teachers in a peculiar sense is an absolute part of human nature. Nobody comes out educated from mother’s womb. Children have to be taught and there are two ways — one by love and another by alarming fear and beating. In the morning if some students refuse to go to school, parents persuade, show love, sympathy, and if students do not agree to go to school, they are daunted, threatened and beaten. Is it not so?

There is no question of opinion of psychiatrists so far as education, students, parents and teachers relations are concerned. To teach and make obey intelligent boys is easy but to handle the mischievous not doing their hometask, always absenting from schools and spoiling other students is a difficult task for parents and teachers.

Recently APJ abdul Kalam on his elevation as head of state said that had he not been beaten by his teachers he would not have risen to the highest position of President. Jawahar Lal Nehru was slapped and beaten by his father for stealing the pen of Motilal Nehru. Mahatma Gandhi was jerked by his teachers for writing wrong spelling of ‘cattle’ in an examination hall. Some type of fear for the benefit of a student by his teachers is the response of the inner conscious. In Mahabharta, Aklavia had cut his right hand thumb and donated it to his Guru on demand.

Dr B.L. MALHOTRA, Ludhiana

Greatest discrimination

The greatest discrimination in our education system. Why are male lecturers are not appointed in girls’ colleges while female lecturers are given appointment in boys’ colleges?


Selected lecturers seek appointments

The Punjab Chief Minister’s statement, made at the end of July, not to scrap the whole batch if one or two selected candidates are found tainted, is most welcome. According to him , there are only 14 or 15 tainted batches out of 196, selected by the PPSC during Mr Ravi Sidhu’s tenure. It implies that the Chief Minister has given a clean-chit to the other batches. In all fairness, the selected persons in the said batches should be given appointments at the earliest.

Prof ANTAR JYOTI GHAI, D.D. Jain Memorial College for Women, Ludhiana

Reporting news

I may like to bring to your kind notice that the news item “ICAR award for PAU Scientists” in the Ludhiana Tribune on page 2 on August 9,2002, has not been correctly reported by your correspondent. The first Chaudhary Devi Lal outstanding All India Coordinated Research Project Award 2001 was given to the Project and the Ludhiana centre is one of the cooperating centres in which the undersigned and two other scientists are working. The award was received by Dr M V Singh, Project Coordinator, Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal and not the scientists of the Ludhiana centre as mentioned in the news paper. The name of the Project coordinator did not appear in the news which is a lapse on your part .

V.K. NAYYAR, PAU, Ludhiana

Strict ban on ACs’ use

Two years back the Government of India put a ban on the use of air conditioners in the country. Strict action was taken against whosoever did not follow this. But after a few months things went on the same old track. And now when the water level is going down in rivers and we are getting less electricity what is the government doing? Now it should ban the use of ACs but this time with much more strictness. This will definitely help in the proper supply of electricity.

People should move on to hi-tech coolers introduced by MNCs.

ANJALI LAROYA, Jalampur Colony, Ludhiana



Bankmen threaten to intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 14
In the second phase of the agitation, bank officials, led by activists of the All-India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) held a demonstration in front of the Zonal Office of Punjab National Bank here to protest against the vindictive and repressive policies of the bank managements. Threatening to further intensify the agitation, the protesting bank officials vowed to make the proposed strike on August 29 a success and to hold a demonstration on that day at the main branch of the State Bank of India.

Addressing the protesters, several speakers, including Mr Ashok Arora, state president, AIBOC, Mr Vijay Mohan, district secretary, AIBOC, Mr V.K. Kalia, deputy general secretary, SBI Officers Association and Mr Gurpiar Singh, assistant general secretary, All India PNB Officers Association, condemned the bank managements for organised attacks on trade unionism, failure to remove anomalies out of the last wage revision, stoppage of allowances, delay in recruitment and promotion to officers, issues related to vigilance and disciplinary proceedings and violation of principles of bilateralism with regard to promotion policy and other matters having direct bearing upon the bank officers.



Three die in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Doraha, August 14
Three persons were killed, two on the spot, and two others were injured in a road accident that took place, near Doraha, early this morning.

The deceased have been identified as P. Madhubabu of Ganjam in Orissa, De. Parabisham and Omesh Rana. The two injured were, however, not in a position to reveal their identity and had to be admitted to Sidhu Hospital, Doraha. The accident took place in the wee hours of the morning when a Maruti van (No. DL3CT-0932) rammed into a truck which was parked near Nimwala Dhaba at Doraha.



Poppy husk worth 1.2 lakh seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 14
The Sidhwan Bet police during a naka near embankment of the Sutlej in the area of Abbupura arrested Jamlor Singh, alias Jamla of Talwara, Preeto of Salempur, Mohinder Kaur of Kul Gehna and Sukhminder Singh, alias Bhinder of Talwara and seized from their possession 12 bags of poppy husk valuing about Rs 1,20,000 and also impounded a Tata Sumo (HR-23A 7832) which they were driving. A case was registered under Sections 15/61/85 of the NDPS Act.

According to a press release, the police had earlier seized 9 bags of poppy husk on August 9 and this consignment was also a part of the same. In another incident the Raikot police arrested Sukhdev Singh, alias Sukha of Burj Naqlian from Litter village and seized 32 kg of poppy husk from his scooter, whereas the second accomplice fled away from the place of incident. Both have been booked under the same offence.



Apparel park in city soon
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 14
An apparel park is being set up at Ludhiana to give boost to the export of readymade garments and hosiery goods. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of representatives of the Federation of Knitwear, Textile and Allied Industries Associations held with Mr P.S. Aujla, Managing Director, Punjab State Industries Export Corporation (PSIEC). The total cost of the park will be Rs 75 crore.

According to Mr Aujla, the Central Government will give grant of Rs 17 crore as subsidy for the development of the park.

For this 150 acres of land will be acquired behind the tiger safari on the Bahadurke road along the Sutlej bed. This area has been declared as industrial zone for the development of pollution-free industries. The park will initially have 500 export-oriented units.

Mr Prem Sagar Jain, a spokesman of the federation, said Rs 2 crore would be spent on building infrastructure and strengthening the Dhusi bundh on the Sutlej spread over a stretch of 12 km. Out of the remaining amount of Rs 15 crore, Rs 10 crore would be spent on the development of park and Rs 5 crore for the establishment of an effluent treatment plant. The industry will also have a human resource development cell in the park.


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