Saturday, August 31, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Boy kidnapped, beaten up, thrown from train
Gang forced him to beg
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
The alleged sensational incident of throwing a 10-year-old boy from a running train by a member of a gang which kidnaps and forces children to beg, took a more heinous form today with the boy alleging that the accused person sodomised him also while keeping him in captivity for the last 8 days.

A foot of the victim, Aman, was amputated in the incident occurring yesterday at Chowki Mann railway station. He was admitted in serious condition at the Civil Hospital Jagraon last evening. In a semi-conscious state, he told media persons at Jagraon that the accused forcibly threw him on the railway track to teach him a lesson. The accused wanted him to beg for money.

Recuperating at the Jagraon Civil Hospital, the boy, Aman, who was fully conscious today told Ludhiana Tribune that the accused person, forced him into the unnatural act since August 22 when he was kidnapped from Ludhiana. He said though there were two other gang members, he was sodomised by Vasudeva only.

Even as 24 hours have passed since the child was admitted in the Civil Hospital by some persons present in the railway station at the time of the accident, neither his medical examination has been conducted nor any case registered so far.

While the railway police officials at Chowki Mann were unavailable for comments, the Jagraon police said the incident was not in their area. There was also no confirmation on whether the accused was caught or not. Some reports suggest that the accused was caught on the spot but police sources did not confirm it.

Nevertheless, taking suo motto action on the media reports in the vernacular press, Mr M.S. Chheena., SSP Jagraon, said he has sent SHO, Chowki Mann, to inquire into the matter. He said it was yet to be established officially what the actual incident was and where it happened. Further, he said no complaint has been lodged with the police by any relative of the victim.

The boy, Aman, belongs to Ludhiana only. He said his parents live in Kirpal Nagar. His father sells popcorns for livelihood. However, only a distant relative, who claimed to be his maternal uncle came to meet him at the civil hospital today. The relative, who did not want to be identified, said the boy was kicked out of the house by his father two months ago as he had started roaming around with street urchins.

Giving more details about the alleged incident that took place at the railway station yesterday and his life in captivity, Aman told Ludhiana Tribune that there were three members in the gang. They pick up children belonging to poor families and first treat them nicely. They take children to movies and give them sweats and ice creams.

However, after a couple of days the reality comes out. The gang members take the children away from the place from where they were picked up and forced them to beg. He said he resisted their orders and was subjected to harsh beating. One night, the accused Vasudeva, who drinks and consumes drugs also, sodomised him. He started doing this regularly warning him to start begging otherwise he will bring more men.

The boy was ultimately allegedly thrown from a running train by the accused.Back


Janmashtami celebrated with fervour
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 30
Many schools celebrated Janmashtami today. The primary and senior wing of DAV Public School organised a dance and music programme.

The main attractions of the programme were the various tableaux depicting birth of Lord Krishna, Vasudeva carrying Krishna on a stormy night through water and friendship of Krishna and Sudama.

The Principal, Mr R.S. Patial, addressed the parents and thanked them for coming and encouraging their children.

‘Makhan chor’ by students of Classes V to IX stole the show and cast a spell on the audience. The classical Manipuri dance ‘Meera’, ‘Shyam mane chakar rakho jee’ by students of Class VIII got great applause from one and all.

Students of Ek Prayas celebrated with great enthusiasm. The campus was beautifully decorated with balloons and ‘rangoli’. Children sang ‘Yashumati maiya ko bole Nandlala’. A dance was also presented ‘Madhuban mein Kanhaniya jo’.

Dr B.P. Mishra, Clinical Psychologist, DMCH, Ms Samira Bector, Ms Radhika Jaitwani and Ms Maninder appreciated the programme presented by the students.

Staff and students of Everest Play Way and Nursery School also celebrated the day. The songs and dances of the students were well appreciated.

Bhartiya Vidya Mandir, Shishu Vatika, organised a competition for KG and nursery students. Sixty-eight students dressed up as Krishna and Radha and presented a cultural programme. The judges declared Section A of nursery and Section D of KG the best.

Tiny tots of sub-junior wing of Child Heart Day Boarding School presented a song. Other students through a play depicted the life history of Lord Krishna. A competition on ‘Kabir ke dohas’ was arranged. A fancy dress competition was also organised. Little children dressed as Krishnas and Radhas could be seen all over the school.


Gastroenteritis claims child’s life
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 30
Panic has gripped residents of the Upkar Nagar area following the death of four-year-old Ram Narayan reportedly with the gastroenteritis-like symptoms here last evening.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr S.N. Tiwari, who along with senior officials of the Health Department visited the area today, said the situation was not so serious and requested the residents to maintain calm.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune he said: “I have sent six patients, who were vomiting, to the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital. There is a sewerage pipe leakage in the area, so the drinking water is getting mixed with the contaminated water. We have already taken the water samples and health workers have distributed chlorine tablets among residents”.

Meanwhile, Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, ruled out any possibility of the pipe leakage in the locality. He said: “The Zonal Commissioner has already checked the water samples and the reports are with me. There is absolutely no water contamination”.

Last night a large number of residents complained of symptoms of excessive dehydration and some of them were admitted to Lifeline Hospital.

Roshni, mother of Ram Narayan, said her other children were also complaining of similar symptoms. “We were hearing that some residents complained of vomiting and loose motions in the area in the last two to three days but I could never imagine that I will lose my child like this,” said Roshni.

It must be noted that low-lying areas or areas located on the banks of the Buddha Nullah are the worst hit. Every year these colonies witness gastroenteritis or cholera outbreak. Even one of the officials of the Health Department admitted that this time the lack of rains had prevented any major outbreak otherwise such cases would have been reported much earlier.

Chandu, a resident of street No. 1 in Upkar Nagar, said health officials visited the area only after the child’s death. “They all claim to have visited these low-lying areas but we have not been given any awareness literature or chlorine tablets by the officials. We are seeing them for the first time”, complained Chandu.

This season nearly 200 cases of gastroenteritis and 12 cases of cholera have been reported so far.


65 labourers sacked
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
Sixtyfive labourers working in a paper mill on the Humbran Road have alleged that they were turned out of their job without being given three months salary. Despite pleading their case with the management and the Labour Department, neither were the services of the labourers restored nor were they paid their salaries.

According to members of the Moulder and Steel Workers Union, the labourers are living in penury and do not have money to purchase their daily ration. Some of them approached the union, which took up their case first with the management of the mill and later with the Labour Department. However, nothing has come out so far.

The union maintained that the mill management owes about Rs 5 lakh to the workers. It alleged that the management was now trying to back out from the payment by giving one excuse or the other. The union members disclosed that while the labour inspector, to whose notice the matter was brought, tried to avoid any settlement, it was only after the intervention of the Assistant Labour Commissioner that the management agreed to settle the labourers’ dues by September 4.

The union members have threatened that in case the management did not make the payment to the labourers on the said date, it would be forced to resort to agitational path and might not even hesitate from locking out the mill.


Waiting for a good Samaritan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
An ex-serviceman, suffering from a serious heart ailment, has been knocking at the doors of the NGOs and the Sainik Welfare Officers for the past few weeks in order to arrange money for his operation.

But the efforts of the ex-serviceman have borne no fruit. The ex-servicemen welfare schemes do cover him but to avail the benefit, he has to foot the bill first. Wing Commander (retd) M.S. Randhawa, Dy Director, District Sainik Welfare Office, endorses his case.

He said the ex-serviceman had no money to pay for even the small expenses, as his fiscal condition was bad. He said his office has written letters to several non-governmental organisations and social workers requesting them to pay his expenses but there had been no encouraging response so far.

Baldev Singh and his wife Krishan Kaur live in street No. 5 Jujhar Nagar, Shimla Puri. Baldev Singh talks with difficulty. His wife, while struggling to control her tears, said they live alone and have no means of livelihood other than his pension.

Baldev Singh had retired from service in 1971. Some months ago, he experienced pain in the chest and doctors at Delhi recommended a pacemaker for his heart. Krishna Kaur said some expenses were being met with but they could not arrange Rs 60,000 required for the operation.

‘‘We have consulted the Sainik Welfare office and the former unit of my husband,’’ said Krishna Kaur ‘‘but all say that only the bills can be reimbursed. Our problem is that we don’t have money to pay the bill first and wait for the reimbursement.’’

The suffering couple met this correspondent at the District Sainik Welfare Office yesterday afternoon. This was the latest of their several visits to the office to get some money arranged. Mr Randhawa said his office was offering all kinds of cooperation to the couple.

‘‘The staff was trying at personal level also to arrange the money but unfortunately we have not met with success,’’ said Mr Randhawa, while dictating yet another letter to some NGOs and social clubs. ‘‘I hope someone will respond positively,’’ he said.

Mr Randhawa has also appealed to donors to help the couple in their hour of need. He said the defence personnel were always willing to sacrifice anything for the nation and the countrymen and look towards them in such crisis.


MC ‘lenient’ with contractual employee
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 30
It sounds stranger than fiction but it is true that Mr Harpal Singh, appointed as a traffic consultant in the Municipal Corporation on a contract basis in 1999, has been allowed to continue in his post for the past 18 months despite the fact that his period of contract expired on December 31, 2000, and subsequent extension of one-year term till the end of 2001, granted by the then Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) was disallowed by the Local Government Department.

The F&CC of the new MC house has now asked the civic administration to fix the responsibility as to how the person had continued to hold the position of traffic advisor without mandatory approval from the F&CC and the State Government.

Mr Harpal Singh was hired by the civic body on contract at a fixed monthly payment of Rs 5000 from January 1999 and the appointment was duly confirmed by the F&CC and later by the State Government for a period of one year only till December 1999.

On the expiry of the contract, the incumbent advisor was not relieved but allowed to continue with higher emolument at Rs 10,000 per month and the appointment was okayed by the F&CC in April 2000.

Since the extension of the period of contract was not approved by the Local Government Department, the Audit Department had objected to the payment, which was, however, released on the intervention of then MC Commissioner.

The traffic advisor was granted yet another extension at the end of his term in December 2001, with the F&CC endorsing the appointment on May 9, 2001, and thereafter approving an enhanced payment of Rs 11,000 per month on June 21, 2001.

But once again, the proposal sent for approval to the government on July 27, 2001, and followed by reminders in October 2001 and January 2002, failed to elicit a positive response with the result that the local Audit department refused to clear the salary payment to Mr Singh from February 2002 onwards.

According to sources in the MC, the legal advisor of the civic body had also opined against the continuation of the Traffic Advisor in the absence of mandatory approval from the F&CC and the state government. In legal opinion, submitted in this case, the MC Legal Advisor is said to have stated that his (Traffic Advisor’s) continuation could land the civic body in legal trouble.

The legal opinion, which has been subsequently vetted by the F&CC, recommended that the contractual employee should be immediately relieved and further necessary approval of the government and the F&CC should be obtained for the release of balance payment of Mr Harpal Singh.


Seminar on ‘solid waste management’
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 30
To provide clean environment in urban areas, solid waste management should be undertaken, which could also keep a tab on the spread of epidemic diseases. Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, stated this while presiding over a one-day seminar on “Solid Waste Management”, at the Indoor Stadium here organised by the local Municipal Committee.

He said it was the duty of the municipal committees to keep their towns clean but paucity of funds proved hindrance in the way. Mr Partap further pointed out that though industrial growth had strengthened the economic condition of the state and provided employment opportunities, it had become hazard to the environment, especially in the urban areas.

A regular clean-up of surroundings should be done and responsibility should be shared with the municipal committees. He exhorted people to shun the use of polythene bags, as these were non-biodegradable.

The Deputy Commissioner stressed that dairies should be set up outside the peripheral limits and garbage dumping sites should be at least 2 or 3 km outside urban areas.

He advocated the plantation of saplings at open spaces near residential areas.

Mr Vikas Partap appreciated the Municipal Committee for adopting measures to keep the town clean.

Mr Sukhwinder Singh, president, Municipal Committee, Mr A.K. Sikka, Deputy Director, Local Bodies Patiala, Mr H.B. Garg, EO Mandi Gobindgarh, Mr Ran Singh Kalsi, Dr Manmohan Kaushal, Mr Paramjit Singh Ghuman, EO Municipal Committee Patiala, also spoke on the occasion.


Reduce diesel price, demand farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
Activists of the Kirti Kisan Union today held a meeting to highlight the ‘anti-farmer’ policies being pursued by the government besides the decision of the Punjab Government to impose power surcharge on the farmers.

The meeting was attended by members of the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), the Kul Hind Kirti Kisan Sabha and the Kheti Bari Vikas Front.

Leaders said the government was bent on discrediting their efforts to forge a united front of like-minded parties and certain leaders were issuing statements to mislead the farmers. Those present said it was the need of the hour to come together and make the September 2 rally at the Chatar Singh park in Ludhiana a success to shake the state into action towards the plight of farmers and workers.

The compensation amount for the affected crop should be fixed at Rs 15,000 per acre while that of the unsown fields should be not less than Rs 12,000, on the pattern followed for land in the border areas. The farmers who have made all-out efforts to nurture the crop by sinking additional tubewells and installed submersible pumps should be given Rs 5,000 per acre.

The gathering also felt that the tax on goods used in the agricultural sector should be withdrawn forthwith besides reducing the price of diesel. The government should also make arrangements to ensure uninterrupted supply of canal water in this hour of need.

They also highlighted the plight of labourers in the agricultural sector who were debt ridden. They appealed to other like-minded outfits to come together to work in this context.


YC workers plant 100 saplings
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
The Pradesh Youth Congress has launched plantation drive in the city to make it green. The plantation drive started from the Government High School, Sarabha Nagar, where the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh, planted a sapling. This was followed by the planting of about 100 saplings in the school and in area around it by the leaders and workers of the Youth Congress. The programme was organised by the senior vice-president of the PYC, Mr Pawan Dewan.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Gill emphasised the importance of planting trees. He pointed out that in a city like Ludhiana, where the industrial, vehicular and other pollution was the maximum it was necessary to plant as many trees as possible. He stressed upon the students that each of them should ensure that they planted at least one tree each every year. Mr Gill called for a mass movement for planting trees in the city.

The Mayor assured on behalf of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation that the city would be given a facelift. “It will not only be made green, but clean as well”, he remarked. He also congratulated the Youth Congress and its leader Mr Pawan Dewan for organising such constructive programmes for the social and environmental good.

Mr Pawan Dewan said, there was an urgent need for planting trees. He warned against the environmental degradation and pointed out the continued dry spell in the absence of rains was the outcome of the environmental degradation only.

Prominent among those present on the occasion, included the District Congress Committee, Ludhiana (urban) president, Mr K.K. Bawa, chairman of the district Urban Development Cell, the Headmaster of the school, Mr Barjinder Singh, Mr Jarnail Singh Grewal, senior leader, Mr Ajit Singh Grewal, Mr Nimral Singh Kaura, Mr Akshay Bhanot, Mr Ravi Sehgal, Mr Munish Sharma, Mr Harbhajan Singh Grewal, Mr Jaspreet Singh, Ms Amrit Varsha Rampal, Mr B K Rampal, Mr Jaswinder Singh, Mr Ashok Kumar, Mr Deepak Verma, Mr Charanjit Sonu, Mr Naresh Bunty, Mr Karan Kalia and others. 


Cong function: vehicles impounded
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
Hundreds of private vehicles have been impounded by the district administration in Ludhiana to keep them at the disposal of the Congress leaders who will in turn use these vehicles for ferrying people to Payal for participating in the programme organised to make the death anniversary of former Chief Minister, Beant Singh to be held there tomorrow.

This is for the fifth time that the buses have been impounded by the administration here on behalf of the Congress party. While this has been happening in the past also, but this time the transporters are sore over not being paid even the fuel expenses.

Hundreds of vehicles were lined up outside the Mini Secretariat where persons were allotted duties by the Assistant District Transport officer. The transporters said they had little choice but to offer their vehicles free of cost and with their own fuel.

A number of transporters told Ludhiana Tribune here today that they had no objection in offering their vehicles for the government function. “In fact we provide our vehicles to almost all political parties. This is an accepted norm. But once it gets as frequent as five times in less than a month it becomes certainly intolerable”, a leading transporter, obviously not wanting to be quoted, said.

He counted that it was for the fifth time within a span of less than 30 days that they had been asked to supply their vehicles with fuel. First it was the function to felicitate Mr H.S. Hanspal in New Delhi, after being appointed the Pradesh Congress Committee president. This was followed by the Youth Congress rally at Delhi. Then came another rally in New Delhi which was addressed by the Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi. Later, the transporters were asked to supply their vehicles for the taking over ceremony of Mr Hanspal in Chandigarh. It was followed by the death anniversary function of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal at Longowal. And now they were asked to give their vehicles for the Payal programme being held tomorrow. It is not only from Ludhiana alone, but from all parts of the state that the transporters have to provide their vehicles for such rallies.

The transporters said, on an average they have to pay Rs 2000 for fuel for such programmes. The price of fuel may vary depending on the venue of the programme, and in case the vehicles are to go to Delhi, the cost of fuel is many times more. Besides, the losses suffered on account of non-plying of vehicles and the daily taxes to be paid has to be borne by the transporters only and the vehicles are impounded at least one day in advance causing further loss to the transporters.

Consistent efforts to contact the officials of the District Administration, including the DTO, proved futile as all of them were reportedly not present in the office.


Rival SAD youth factions merge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
The newly nominated office bearers of the All India Youth Shiromani Akali Dal (AIYSAD) today claimed that some of their former colleagues who had announced a parallel set up after the new unit was announced had decided to merge with the parent party.

A decision to this effect was announced by the party high command in Chandigarh today.

In the absence of state chief Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Dua, district president (Urban), presented the office bearers before mediapersons. He said the youth wing had now been fully revamped and was raring to deliver the goods as per the programme announced by SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal.

The office-bearers reiterated their resolve to work for the uplift of the poor, implement the party programmes and wean the youth of drugs. The workers would also counter the witch hunt launched against loyal party workers by the Congress regime, they added.

Present on the occasion were state vice president Sukhjinder Singh Jaura, state general secretaries Jatinder Pal Singh Saluja, Gurdeep Singh Mundian, Manpreet Singh Mani, district rural chief Inder Mohan Singh Qadian besides other office-bearers including Tarsem Singh Bhinder, Ram Singh Dhandari, Principal Iqbal Singh, Jatinder Singh Tinku, Manjit Singh Raja, Harjinder Singh Lati, Harpreet Dang, Tejinder Pal Singh Shunti, Inderjit Singh Makkar, Kulwant Singh Sahnewal, Iqbal Singh Gill, Iqbal Singh Mukhi, Sarbjit Singh Chappa, Navneet Bhandari, J B Singh, Inderpreet Singh Bhattal, Karnail Singh Jirakh, Harpeet Singh Plaha and press secretary Kulwant Singh Ranike.


Works managers hold meeting
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
A meeting of the general house of the Punjab Roadways Works Managers Association was held here today.

The managers demanded an increase in their promotion quota. They said several managers had been stagnating for the past more than 15 years despite the fact that they were highly qualified and having meritorious service records.

They demanded immediate promotion of the two senior most works managers as the post of General Manager as these posts belonged to their cadre as per the existing rules.

The managers sought the removal of officers who were holding high offices in the department against the rules. In addition to this they demanded immediate replacement of at least 500 condemned buses and adequate supply of spare parts to ensure safe journey of the passengers.


Citizens Club meeting
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, august 30
The Citizens Club here today held its annual general body meeting under the chairmanship of its president Mr N.S. Nanda. According to a press note the annual general elections to the club were also held. While Mr Nanda was re-elected president, Mr Vinod Thapar was unanimously elected general secretary of the club. Both officials had been authorised to nominate other office-bearers and the executive members of the club.

A resolution was also passed hailing the city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, and the commissioner, Mr S K Sharma, for their resolve to make the city clean and green. The club also decided to honour the mayor and the commissioner at the annual cultural meet “Awaz De Kahan Hai’” to be organised on September 9. It was also decided to plant 1,000 saplings in the city. 


Boparai’s appointment welcomed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
Senior leader of the Sarb Hind Akali Dal and former minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal has hailed the appointment of Mr S S Boparai as the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Grewal hoped his appointment would restore the credibility of the institution which had suffered during the past decade.

In a separate statement, another SHAD leader and former MLA, Mr Kirpal Singh also hailed the appointment of Mr Boparai.


Attack on Jindal decried
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
The state BJP has condemned the attack on Malerkotla acting Municipal Council chief Kewal Krishan Jindal and he said that it is a pointer to political opponents under Congress rule.

Mr Harminder Malik, co-convenor of the media cell of the party, in a statement said the Congress had failed to condemn the incident which allegedly had the blessings of the party in power. He wondered why had no action been initiated against the Malerkotla MLA and her police officer husband who were reportedly behind the assault.


PNB meet organised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
In order to get on the spot feedback from the customers, Punjab National Bank, Civil Lines, Ludhiana, organised a customer relation meet. Other branches of the bank, including those in Basti Jodhewal, Aggar Nagar, Bazar Kharadian, Chowk Saidan and Jawadi also participated in the programme.

According to a press note over 150 customers from different sections of the society participated in the programme.

On this occasion, under the retail lending scheme, loan amounting to Rs 2.27 crore was distributed among the different beneficiaries.




SBI ACCOUNT SCHEME: The State Bank of India, Railway Station branch, here, launched a new account-opening campaign by installing a stall under the leadership of branch manager Vipin Jangawal. Bank staff members highlighted various deposit schemes and advances schemes such as housing loans, personal loans, education loans, vehicle loans to the public. Those who opened new savings bank accounts were also offered ATM cards free of charge. TNS

TAX RELIEF HAILED: Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, respectively of the Chamber of Commercial and Industrial Undertakings (CICU) have hailed the tax relief offered to the small-scale industrial units by the Union Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh. Mr Pardhan said the zero excise duty rate should be made applicable with retrospect effect from March 2002. TNS

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