Friday, August 30, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Agitating mob lathi-charged
Chaos over property documents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
The district police today used a mild lathi charge on hundreds of protesting men and women in the Sub-Registrar’s office, mini secretariat, when the agitated persons raised slogans against the alleged non-co-operative attitude of the officials for completing the documents of registration of property.

There was a heavy rush of people, especially property dealers, at the office as today was the last date of the old rates. The revised charges of registration of property documents will come in force from tomorrow. The new charges are quite high than the old ones. Several organisations of city residents and property dealers were already protesting against the hike in charges through press statements.

People had queued up at the office this morning from 7 a.m. onwards as the registration officials do not process more than 100 documents each day. The officials came at 10 a.m. today and gave tokens to 75 persons only. Due to this, about 200 persons left out protested. They, then went to the office of Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr A K Sinha, who said officials will go by the rules.

At about 11:15 a.m. the officials of the Sub-Registrar Department closed the windows saying they had taken 75 applications, which was the limit for the day. This infuriated the assembled persons, who started raising slogans and forcibly entered the office of a tehsildar and other officers. The officers were almost trapped inside. The protesters said they will not allow anyone to work if their documents are taken up.

The police came to their rescue and resorted to a mild lathicharge on the angry mob. They also used force to push out the protesting mob. The protesters included women also. The women later alleged that the cops misbehaved with them. They objected to the police action, saying there were no women cops.

After flushing out the people, the police towed away several vehicles parked outside the office taking the plea that they were blocking the traffic flow. The police also locked all doors leading to the Sub-Registrar’s office situated in the basement of the Mini Secretariat building. Later, they relented a little by erecting barricades with small passage for people to ass through.

The protesting people then went to Deputy Commissioner Anurag Aggarwal, who directed the Sub-Registrar Department officials to take 150 documents. This cooled the tempers of the agitating persons. There were still several swollen faces, as about a 100 more persons were left out. These persons would have to get their registries made according to the new rates.

The Punjab Colonisers and Property Dealers Association was spearheading the agitation against the increased rates for the last several days. Earlier, the rates of registries were 6 per cent of the cost of land, but after the implementation of the new decision, the rates of the registries had gone up to 24 per cent of the land price.

The Association had staged demonstrations outside the Sub-Registrar’s office last week as well as early this week. Accepting their demand, the district administration allowed them to get registries done on old rates till.



Defacing property with impunity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
After taking a stern action against violators of the Defacement of Property Act during the Assembly and Zila Parishad elections, the district police seems to have turned a blind eye towards the gross violation of the Act by organisers of the function at Payal tomorrow for the death anniversary of former Chief Minister Beant Singh.

Several government and private buildings, walls, boards, telephone poles and exchange boxes in the city have been defaced with posters of the state-level function at Payal. The extent of violation can be gauged from the fact that the boundary wall of the office of the Ludhiana Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) besides the boundary wall of the residence of several police officials on the mall road have also been defaced.

Not only this but a board outside the old district courts complex, which gives information to the general public about free legal aid provisions, has also been defaced. A telephone jumper box near Fountain Chowk has been completely pasted with the posters. Similarly, posters have been pasted at the building and boundary wall of the Punjab State Electricity Board.

The situation is in contrast to the action taken by the Ludhiana Police against such violators in the Assembly and Zila Parishad elections early this year. More than 100 persons, including several political leaders and candidates of different parties were booked under the Act.

However, till date, no case has been registered against anyone. The Municipal Corporation had also recently claimed of initiating a cleanliness drive in the city. It had removed banners and posters on public property and fined some persons. However, it is also silent on the issue.

An official of a government department said they do not dare to remove the posters due to fear backlash from supporters of some Congress leaders, who can make quite an issue of it.

A Station House Officer said there were no orders from seniors to remove the posters. He said no government official wants to take up the issue on his own and awaits orders of seniors.



30 MC properties fetch 2.5 crore
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
The Municipal Corporation finances received a shot in the arm when in an open auction, as many as 30 properties in different parts of the city under Zone D were sold for a whopping sum of Rs 2,50,85,000 on Thursday.

According to MC Joint Commissioner and in charge of Zone D Prem Chand, a petrol pump site in Barewal Awana alone went for Rs 1.11 crore. Six shop-cum-offices in the same locality were sold for Rs 60 lakh, another 13 residential plots in Fatehpur Awana fetched Rs 48 lakh while four residential plots and 10 shops in Jawaddi raked in Rs 31.85 lakh.

The civic body had, in fact, put in all 72 properties, under the hammer but some of these found no takers at the minimum reserve price fixed by the MC. The properties, which were taken off the list included booths in Model Town Market, SCOs and residential plots in Sukhdev Market, booths and residential plots in Haibowal Dairy Complex and residential plots in Barewal Awana.

That the MC open auction for property evoked such a response in the slump-ridden real estate market appeared to be a turning point if the earlier record in this regard was any indication. MC sources revealed that as against an ambitious target to raise Rs 10 crore from the sale of property during the year 2001-2002, the actual receipts were Rs 2.65 crore, which crumbled to Rs 1.48 crore in 2001-2002 as against a budget estimate of Rs 2 crore. The civic body had fixed a target of earning Rs 10 crore from sale of its properties during the current financial year, which did not appear to be out of reach if the trends at yesterday’s auction were to continue for the rest of the year.

The day turned out to be equally rewarding for the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) which became richer by Rs 2.38 crore through the sale of 17 commercial and residential properties in an open auction.

Mr Raminder Singh, Administrator, LIT, said some of the properties were sold at 20 to 25 per cent higher rates than the reserve price while those at Pakhowal Road fetched twice as much than the minimum reserve price. The response to built up offices in Bhadaur House and some properties on Ferozepur Road was, however, lukewarm and there were no bidders at the floor price.



Panel against bank defaulters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
Close on the heels of the campaign launched by the All-India Bank Employees Association against chronic bank defaulters, some concerned people of the city have come together and formed Citizens Action Front to press banks to ensure action against such defaulters.

The front is jointly headed by Dr Arun Mitra and Dr Rajinder Pal Singh, Dr Balwant Singh, Mr O.P. Mehta, Major Sher Singh Aulakh, Dr Daler Singh, Mrs Avtar Kaur, Mrs Barjinder Kaur and Mrs Veena Sachdeva.

A front delegation also met the Zonal Manager and other administrative authorities of the Punjab National Bank, Punjab and Sind Bank and Central Bank of India and presented a memorandum demanding prompt action against the defaulters from the corporate sector who have not returned huge amount of loans taken from various banks.

They pointed out that the lists of these defaulters was recently made public by the All-India Bank Employees Association. The memorandum pointed out that it was public money and should not be allowed to be amassed by a few. It was a matter of serious concern for the whole society. It observed, “Our country is already passing through a serious fiscal crisis and such defaults further complicate the problem”.

The memorandum impressed upon the bank administration that the Scrutinisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Ordinance 2002 empowers the banks to attach the assets of the borrowers without going through procedures of courts. It is high time the banks make use of these powers against the defaulters.

The Citizens Action Front has decided to hold a people's assembly to mobilise public opinion in this regard on September 5. The Assembly would be open to general public to create opinion against the bank defaulters and measures for the recovery of public money.



Migrant labourers compound TB threat
Shivani Bhakoo


  • Majority of migrant labourers in the city suffer from tuberculosis.
  • The poor health of these people directly reflects on the city's economic and social growth
  • They are becoming source of shedding mycobacterium tuberculosis bacillus in the already polluted atmosphere
  • Without knowing about their health conditions, people are hiring their services.

Ludhiana, August 29
The city being the hub of the industry and having the largest concentration of labour and workforce always attract a large number of migrant labourers. Unfortunately, majority of these people are affected by the deadly disease tuberculosis. The labourers being poor are compelled to live in unhygienic and unventilated rented houses, mostly in groups. And the poor health of these workers directly reflect on the economic and social growth of the city.

Dr B.L.Malhotra, president, General Doctors' Association, said a large number of migrant workers come from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and even from Nepal. These patients either have a history of TB or are under treatment or are dormant carriers of TB bacteria and get no follow up advice. "Such patients with a very poor economic condition are always eager to earn more and more, and continue working in factories for upto 16 hours or more a day at the cost of their health. They cannot afford proper treatment and a good nutritious diet. They are becoming a big source of spreading the bacteria in the already polluted atmosphere, which is a real threat to the city residents", said Dr Malhotra.

A number of doctors suggested that the matter needed to be given a proper thought. One of the doctors said industrialists, farmers, dyeing factory owners, powerloom factories, shopkeepers, the hotel owners and even the housewives have been engaging these people without knowing about their health conditions. "The affected aayas and domestic servants spread the disease to our small children", said the doctor.

Though the Ludhiana TB Eradication Society and several other NGOs have taken up the challenge to eradicate TB from the city and many needy get themselves registered with these organisations, reports suggest that there are hundreds of people who are not even aware of the presence of such voluntary organisations.

According to the World Health Report, the burden of TB in India was 36 times higher than leprosy, 12 times more than malaria and 35 per cent more than HIV/AIDS.

While showing his concern for the city residents, Dr Malhotra said if TB patients in the city were not treated promptly and effectively, the future generations will be infected and the cycle of infection, disease and death will continue.

On behalf of the General Doctors Association, Dr Malhotra has asked the local unit of Indian Medical Association (IMA) and other doctors' associations for their cooperation. "We should ask our counterparts in other states to prevent their TB patients from going to Punjab, especially Ludhiana, until and unless they are fully cured and they (the migrant labour) should be instructed to carry with them their investigative and treatment record, if they seek good fortune from the city, otherwise the day is not far when the city will become a TB epidemic", warned Dr Malhotra.



Tipsy’ cops barge into house, harass inmates
D.B. Chopra

Ahmedgarh, August 29
A police patrol party led by ASI Surjan Singh allegedly barged into a house near Vishwakarma Temple after midnight today under the influence of liquor and indulged in unnecessary harassment to occupants.

According to information, some residents living near the Old Dehleej octroi post and Vishwakarma Temple were sitting outside their houses after the power cut came into force at midnight last night and gossiping to while away the time. The police party, comprising three havaldars and two home guards besides the in charge, which arrived at the scene in a blue Allwyn Nissan from the direction of Chhanna village at around 1.30 am and started questioning a couple of occupants sitting on steps of their house. Interestingly, this is a routine scene in the area due to power cuts and even the cops are quite familiar.

According to Mohammed Tufail, owner of the house, when he told the cops that he was sitting outside his home, the police party barged into the house and started asking unnecessary and awkward questions. He told them that he was waiting for the supply to resume. While one of his sons was sleeping in the room, other members of his family, including his wife and two young daughters, were sleeping on the roof. In spite of his protests, two of the havaldars even went up to the roof and started asking awkward questions about the sleeping members of his family. The two-hour cut ended at 2 am, about 20 minutes after the cops left.

When contacted this morning, an official manning the telephone at the police station said that he had no idea about the incident but the matter would be looked into.



S. Court order cheers petrol pump owners
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
The Supreme Court’s order staying the decision of the Centre to cancel all allotments of petrol stations, gas agencies and LPG agencies has cheered several local petrol station owners who had been running from pillar to post for the past several days for the redress of their grievances.

At least 12 petrol stations were taken over by various oil companies on August 16 in the city.

Mr Jeet Singh, an ex-serviceman whose petrol station was taken over by a company was happy with the development. He was the only ex-serviceman in the city whose station was sealed. His case was highlighted by the Tribune in these columns.

The victim, a 1971 war hero was particularly happy with the development as he said the Supreme Court had done justice. He said he would be given the charge of his petrol station tomorrow. He said he had come back from Delhi yesterday.

He said he had incurred a loss of around Rs 1 lakh in the past 15 days when the petrol station was sealed. “The company men were using my phone and electricity and I would be paying for everything now besides incurring a loss. Then I was paying the fees of the lawyer of the Supreme Court and had to go to Delhi every other day. I hope the things will better now.”

He was allotted the station after 30 years of struggle, got it functioning almost an year ago and suffered two major robberies, none of which had been solved by the Ludhiana police. His station in Khanpur village was one of the 12 stations that were sealed despite the fact that he had all documents, vindicating his stand that he was genuinely allotted the station and had not used any influence for getting it.

Mr Jeet Singh worked as a sepoy in the Indian Army and almost lost his left arm in the 1971 Indo-Pak war in Bangladesh. He was allotted a petrol station in Khanpur village near here in 2000, much after he was promised many incentives like a piece of land and employment for his wards by the Ministry of Defence. But he was not given anything all these years and only last year he was allotted a petrol station that too after a great difficulty.

He said the Union Petroleum Minister personally called him and went through all the papers. “Now it gives me some satisfaction that the war-heroes are atleast given some importance in this country.”

He further said that whatever might be the decision the case of war heroes and war widows should be considered sympathetically and they should be allowed to run their stations.

Mr Manjit Singh of Oorza Petrol station also welcomed the decision. He said the Supreme Court had taken care of the problems of people who were depending on the petrol stations for their livelihood.

Mr Gurcharan Singh, an oil dealer who was given the charge of one of the sealed petrol stations in Jamalpur also expressed his happiness. He said he would be handing over the charge to the original owner within a week.



Badal flays attack on Jindal
SAD-BJP rally on Sept 1 at Malerkotla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today condemned the “murderous assault” on Malerkotla Municipal Council’s acting President Kewal Krishan Jindal and stressed that he would take up the issue with the government and demand the transfer of Ludhiana range DIG Mohammad Mustafa, who is allegedly behind the incident.

He along with several party leaders called on Mr Jindal at the CMC this morning and spent some time with him and his family members. He enquired about the sequence of events and offered all possible help in getting the accused arrested and their benefactors punished.

Mr Jindal was assaulted in broad daylight on Monday in front of the Malerkotla Municipal Hall and was” left for dead” by some armed assailants, while a heavy contingent of police present there remained a mere spectator.

Talking to TNS, Mr Badal said the police had become a handmaiden of the Congress and was being used to settle political scores. The state is being run as a personal fiefdom of certain politicians where certain bureaucrats rule the roost and no interference is brooked. Opponents are being targetted and attacked openly and all democratic norms have been given the go by,” he stressed.

Mr Badal said the fear psychosis in the state can be gauged from the fact that the family of Mr Jindal had told him that they were still receiving threats. They have not been provided with the medical reports and apprehend that they will be tampered with to downplay the injuries,” he added.

The SAD president said they would not take the assault lying down and would hold a joint meeting of the BJP and his party at Malerkotla on September 1.

He said the much hyped anti- corruption drive was biased and was nothing but a witchhunt of political rivals. Old cases were being dug up or revived to prove the efficiency of the government but nothing was being done to initiate action against those Cabinet ministers who had been indicted by the Lok Pal. Ironically, the government is also quiet on the issue of the Principal Secretary to the CM who has been found guilty by an official committee, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Mr Jindal has been discharged from the CMC and reached Malerkotla in the evening. He has been admitted to the Civil Hospital there. In a telephonic conversation, he said parleys were underway to solicit the support of the parties that opposed attacks on democracy and freedom of political thought.

Reacting to the allegations about his being a notorious character who owed people lakhs of money, he said “if there was even an iota of truth in the allegations, why was the police not arresting him. Moreover, how can a government servant comment on the matter which should have ideally come from his wife, MLA Razia Sultan. The officer has conveniently forgotten that his wife is a public figure and not him,” he pointed out.

Initially reluctant to talk to a Ludhiana Tribune team since he was “rattled by the blatant attempt to cow him down by force”, Mr Jindal alleged from his hospital bed that “the orders to silence him were given by Congress MLA Razia Sultan and her husband, Ludhiana Range DIG, Ludhiana Mohammad Mustafa.”

Interestingly, the pitch for the Congress in this area has been queered with a section of partymen deciding to participate in the public meeting to condemn the assault.



Badal consoles bereaved family
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, August 29
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), today expressed his heart-felt sympathies with the bereaved members of the family of Labh Singh who lost their dear ones at Powat, near Samrala, on Sunday.

Expressing grief over the incident that claimed 10 lives of a single family, he appealed the government to accord financial support to the family and ensure free education to their children.

Family members blamed it on the absence of safety grills along the bridge. Mr Badal assured immediate steps to ensure safety grils along the bridge. Speaking separately at a press conference, Mr Parkash Singh Badal said people had lost faith in the Congress government and that its days were numbered.

Those present on the occasion included Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, former Member Parliament, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, former Deputy Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, President, Youth Wing Akali Dal (Badal), Mr Sanata Singh Umaidpuri, Chairman, Market Committee Sahnewal, Mr Gurmail Singh Sangowal, Member SGPC, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, MLA, Mr Tejinder Singh Sandhu, circle President, Youth Wing Akali Dal, Mr Kulwant Singh Kanti, Mr Harminder Singh, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, Mr Pawan Kumar Tinku, mandal president, BJP, and Mr Hari Krishan Sharma, general secretary, BJP Ludhiana (Rural).



Set up Beant Singh memorials: Cong
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
Several Congress leaders today demanded the Congress government in the state to fulfil its promises made regarding the setting up of various memorials in the honour of Mr Beant Singh, former Chief Minister Punjab.

The senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, Mr Pawan Dewan and Mr Gurkirat Singh, the grandson of Mr Beant Singh, however expressed hope that Capt Amarinder Singh would fulfil the promises made by the then Chief Minister, Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, in this regard. Capt Amarinder Singh has already released Rs 2 crore for a memorial here. On the bhog ceremony of Mr Beant Singh held on September 9, Mr Brar had made several promises, including renaming his ancestral village as Beant Singh Nagar, naming the Doraha-Payal road after him and installing his statue in Ludhiana. Surprisingly, the Congress party, which remained in power for about two years after his death, failed to set up even a single memorial.

Mr Gurkirat Singh expressed his gratitude to Capt Amarinder Singh for remembering Mr Beant Singh and sanctioning Rs 2 crore for his memorial. He criticised the Akali-BJP government for remaining hostile towards Mr Beant Singh’s memorial during all these years.

Mr Pawan Dewan was critical of the BJP for ignoring the sacrifice of Mr Beant Singh, whom he called a great nationalist. He expressed relief that the Congress government had taken the issue of setting up the memorial on priority basis.

The state government is organising an official function at Payal on August 31. The function will be attended among others by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Pradesh Congress Committee President, Mr H.S. Hanspal, and other ministers. Besides, the All India Congress Committee general secretaries, Ms Ambika Soni, and Ms Mohsina Kidwai, also the in charge of the party affairs for Punjab, are also expected to attend the function.



Weed out criminals from politics: BJP
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
The BJP has expressed concern over criminalisation of politics and called upon the political parties to initiate effective measures and evolve such strategy that could weed out criminal elements from politics. “By making sure that only clean politicians represent the masses, the political parties will not only be serving their respective parties but also the nation as well”.

Its district general secretary, Mr Rajinder Bhandari, while commenting on the planned murder of a Congress councillor in New Delhi by a fellow party councillor, observed that the incident had exposed that more and more criminals and evil persons had not only entered into politics but were also occupying important public offices.

According to him, it appeared all more unfortunate that the lewd relationship, which subsequently led to murder, was in the full knowledge of senior functionaries of the Congress, but no remedial action was taken to curb these undesirable activities.



Little ‘Krishnas’ celebrate Janmashtami
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, August 29
Little ‘Bal Gopals’, numbering 40 to 50, dressed up in ‘pitambar coloured dhoti’ and sporting peacocks celebrated Janmashtami today.

In Holly Hock Nursery School, kids dressed as Krishnas and some as ‘gopis’ and Radha performed ‘Raslila’, the famous dance Krishna danced with ‘gopis’ on the banks of the Yamuna.

Ms Amrit Grewal explained the importance of the festival to the tiny tots. A swing decked up with flowers was put up for Krishna.

In Roots Nursery School, nearly 100 children participated. Children were dressed up as Sudama, Radha, Krishna, Devki, Vasudev and Meera Bai. Ranbir Singh, Pavan Sethi, Akash Arora, Damneet, Simran Ribhav, Parth, Madhav and Sejal were among the best dressed Krishnas.

Students dressed up as Krishna and others depicted scenes from the life of Krishna at Love Dale School.

There was an aura of excitement as different children had to take part in different scenes.

Students of Kiddies Paradise, too, celebrated Janmashtami. The little kids dressed up as Krishnas seemed to convey a message to make this place a better one by following the teachings of the Bhagavadgita.

Students of Small Wonders Nursery School danced on the tunes of ‘Radha kyon gori, mein kyon kala’ and ‘Madhuban mein jo’.



JE ‘harassing’ farmers
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, August 29
Farmers of Jogimajra village have accused a JE of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) of harassing them by not replacing a damaged power transformer supplying electricity to the motors in their fields.

As many as 17 farmers allege that the JE responsible for the maintenance of the 100 KV transformer on the fields of Sarpanch Jaswant Singh had demanded Rs 8,000 for replacing the damaged transformer. Amolak Singh, a farmer, alleged that they gave the sum to the JE in the presence of Charanjit, Sarabjit and Kulwant Singh but he refused to budge. Despite repeated reminders, the official failed to replace the transformer. Consequently, their crops had started to wilt for the want of water. In a written communication, the farmers have requested Mr Adesh Partap Singh, Transport Minister and MLA, to intervene in the matter.

In another case, Mr Paramjit Walia has alleged harassment at the hands of a local JE who has refused to remove a faulty transformer at the entrance to his house until he managed labour and transportation for its removal.



Girl killed
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 29
Sonu (11) of Talwandi Sabo was killed in an accident. The police, on the statement of Ms Sohan Devi, mother of the victim, has registered a case. The bus driver fled from the spot.



Cordless computer equipment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
Get ready for cordless keyboards and mouse for your computers. The hassles of the wires getting stuck here and there may soon be a thing of past. While the cordless mouse and the keyboard have already arrived, soon it would be the cordless monitors and computers.

Recently, Logitech, one of the main players in the computer interface devices show cased its latest range of products here.

It included the keyboards, optical mouse, trackballs, web cameras, interactive gaming controllers, PC audio and telephone products all aimed to help the consumers to work, play, learn and communicate more effectively.


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