Saturday, September 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


House collapses, roads inundated
Incessant showers disrupt normal life
Our Correspondent

A part of the house that collapsed due to incessant rain in Mohalla Bandia
A part of the house that collapsed due to incessant rain in Mohalla Bandia in Ludhiana on Friday. — Tribune photo Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, September 13
Continuous downpour in the city for the past more than 24 hours took its toll when part of a house in thickly-populated locality in Mohalla Bandian in the old city collapsed in the morning. There was no loss of life or property as the house was uninhabited. Residents, living in the vicinity also had a providential escape as the movement around that area was minimal due to the incessant rain.

According to residents of the locality, the house had been abandoned by the owners for quite some time and was in a state of total disrepair. The outer wall of the house gave way and the bricks and building material was scattered all around. It was only due to heavy rain at that time that no one was around otherwise normally quite a few residents, including women and children could be seen right under the house to draw water from a municipal stand post just adjacent to the outer wall, said one of the residents, who lives a few houses away.

The people have urged the civic administration to take immediate steps for the demolition of the remaining part of the collapsed wall which was precariously placed and could pose serious threat to human life as quite a few schools are also located in the neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, rains which eluded the mega city for almost the entire month of sawan, continued unabated for the past 36 hours, disrupting normal life in the city. While there was considerable fall in the temperature, most of the main roads and streets all over the city and even part of houses in the low lying areas were inundated. In many parts of the city, vehicles were stranded in knee deep water and the movement of trains and buses was also affected to some extent. The attendance in schools, colleges and offices, both in the government and private sector, was low as people coming in from adjoining towns and villages could not make to the city.

With traffic lights failing at many busy intersections during the day, including those on Bhai Bala Chowk on Ferozepur Road, there were extended traffic jams at many places with the vehicles getting stuck in the traffic jam for hours together.

According to experts of the PAU, the rainfall in the city so far will not have much adverse effect on the standing paddy crop until there were strong winds, which could cause damage. In any case, most of the paddy growers in this region had gone in for ‘satha’, which matured in 60 days and almost the entire crop had already been harvested.



Water level in feeder canal lowered
Irrigation Department rules out possibility of floods
Kanchan Vasdev

Tribune News Service

Fact File

  •   Irrigation department lowers the water level in the Abohar-Bathinda feeder canal.
  • Continuous rain has forced the department to take the step.
  • Two breaches have already occurred in this canal within the last three months.
  • Bank erosion continues.
  • Little water pressure can cause a breach.

Ludhiana, September 13
Taking precautionary measures in view of the continuous downpour for the last over 30 hours, the district Irrigation Department has lowered the water level in the Abohar -Bathinda feeder canal that had developed two breaches near Dehlon in the last two months.

Authoritative sources in the Irrigation Department told Ludhiana Tribune that the department had lowered the water level from 2700 cusecs to 1500 cusecs. The sources said that it was the need of the hour as the water level had risen due to the continuous rain.

They, however, ruled out any possibility of the floods stating that the canals, which have a controlled flow of water, can never cause floods except due to the breaches. They said that flood could be caused by the Sutlej river in the area where the water was untamed. The authorities of the department said that the situation was under control and there was no fear of floods.

It is worth mentioning here that the Abohar-Bathinda feeder canal has gained notoriety in the past few days as it had developed two breaches. While the first breach that had gone unreported, the second breach was filled by the department. The authorities had even got a case of sabotage registered against unidentified persons. They had claimed that the breach had occurred as some farmers were excavating land from the sides of the bank that had weakened the banks.

There were counter allegations that the canal authorities were trying to cover up their own lapses in maintaining the canal banks and passing the buck on to the farmers. The farmers had said that several village panchayats had been requesting the canal authorities from time to time that the banks needed urgent repairs but nothing was done. They said the banks had developed cracks at various places and no repair work was done.

Even as the rain was lashing continuously the villagers living near Dehlon were having sleepless nights as they said that the gushing water scared them as it could any time wash away the weak banks. Intriguingly there were many weak points in the banks of the canal which could be washed away any time by the strong and fast currents of the water flowing through the canal.

A survey of the entire canal passing through Dehlon by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that at many places both the banks were getting weakened due to various reasons but no repair work was being undertaken by the authorities. The villagers living along side the river said that anytime the pressure of water could get built in the canal and the weak banks could be washed. They said that the local administration also did not have adequate flood-fighting equipment.

A thorough survey by Ludhiana Tribune reveals that both the banks of the river were in bad shape and weak. Just a little pressure of water can wash them away and water would be gushing in the neighbouring villages.

While the southern bank of the canal is protected by a metalled road, bricks of almost all the wharfs near Khatra and Jandiali bridge have since been washed away with the water.

Major portion of metalled road between railway crossing and canal bank near Gurdwara Damdama Sahib is also in bad shape.

The northern bank of the canal is the worst state. The most sensitive point is near the microhydel project where water is ready to cross alarming point. Digging work that has been going on near Jandiali bridge can deteriorate the already poor state of the missing bank.

Water can start seeping in any moment and lead to an open breach. 



Improvement Trust ‘asks’ applicants to 
forfeit legal right
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
Apparently in a bid to deter applicants from going to the court in case of any dispute, Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) has been asking them to furnish an affidavit wherein they will have to affirm that they will not go to the court of law in case of any dispute.

The condition has evoked sharp reactions from the people more so from among the legal circles and the consumer rights activists. These conditions are being described as arbitrary as these force the applicant to surrender his right to seek legal course in case he feels aggrieved.

In a recent notification issued by the LIT, the applicants have been asked to file an affidavit along with their applications. There are four columns that the applicant has to sign and submit. However, questions are being raised on a particular point that will make them forfeit their right to legal recourse in case of any disagreement.

Column 4 of the affidavit says: “I have gone through all terms and conditions of the brochure for the allotment of MIG flats under the PSFS and shall abide by all rules and regulations mentioned therein. I will not challenge the same in any court of law against these terms and conditions or its interpretations”.

This has raised disapproval among the legal circles and consumer rights activists. According to Mr H.S. Walia, a former member of the Chandigarh Consumer Forum, this condition laid by the trust could leave the applicant in lurch. It amounts to handing over ones rights to the trust and accepting all their terms and conditions.

He pointed out: “You cannot force anyone to sign a declaration that he will not go to the court for getting his grievances redressed”. He suggested that the trust should clarify and amend their conditions to make litigation avoidable, but at no stage and at no cost can they forfeit anybody’s right to approach the court of law.

The trust has to face a number of litigations from the applicants and spend considerable amount on the legal matters. In order to avoid any such litigation, the trust has incorporated the condition, which, the legal experts say, will not stand the legal scrutiny and will ultimately have to be dropped.



2 arrested for woman’s murder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
The gruesome murder of Gurnam Kaur, 85, in Model Town on Wednesday was allegedly the handiwork of two persons, one of whom was a tenant of the victim and the second was his close friend.

Mr H.S. Sidhu, SSP, said in a press note here today that the accused — Tirath Singh and Bikramjit Singh — had been arrested. Their prime motive was robbery.

Tirath Singh, the main accused, lived along with his uncle just behind the victim’s house. His aunt worked as maid in the victim’s house. The police said so far there was no evidence of the involvement of the accused’s uncle and aunt in the murder, but it kept its options open.

The police has recovered stolen goods, including Rs 15,000 and gold jewellery, hockey sticks and a knife from their possession. The accused have admitted of using these weapons in the crime.

“We hit on her head with hockey sticks as she knew us”, the suspects told the police. Sources said the accused revealed that they were short of money because of no regular source of income. They were keeping an eye on the house for the past several weeks.

The confessional statement of the accused revealed that they knocked at the door of the victim’s house, who took them inside. The two immediately pounced on her and hit her on the head with the sticks. They ransacked the house when the woman fell unconscious.

However, the woman regained consciousness and the accused hit her again. They slit her wrist so that she bleeds to death.



8-year RI for two in dowry death case
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 13
Mr G.R. Banyal, Additional Sessions Judge, has sentenced Sanjay (34) and his mother Bimla (66) of Naulakha Garden, Ahata Sher Jang, to eight years rigorous imprisonment in a dowry death case. A fine of Rs 5,000 each has also been imposed on the accused.

Simmi alias Kannu, wife of Sanjay, had died on March 22,1999 due to intake of some poisonous substance, five years after the marriage. Her life was put to an end as she failed to fulfil the unending dowry demands of her in-laws, according to the prosecution.

A case was registered against both the accused on March 22,1999 at Division No. 3 police station under Section 306 of the IPC on the statement of Chamanlal, father of the deceased. However, the court found that the charges proved against them fell within the ambit of Section 304-B (dowry death) of the IPC.

The father of the deceased had alleged that he had spent sufficient money on the marriage of his daughter. But after two years of marriage, the accused started demanding more dowry. Due to the non-fulfilment of their demands, they used to beat up and harass his daughter.



‘New tourism policy on the anvil’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
The Punjab Government has chalked out a comprehensive plan to exploit the tourism potential of the state to the maximum and a new tourism policy is being announced shortly after the approval of the Cabinet.

This was announced by Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Minister of State for Tourism and Industry Punjab, while addressing a function at Government College for Women, here today. Earlier, he inaugurated the National Handicraft, Culture and Food festival organised by Northern Zone Cultural Centre.

The minister said the final draft of the new prestigious and attractive tourism policy had already been finalised after discussions with the agencies concerned and the Chief Minister would release the policy in the coming days. He said the state government had impressed upon the Union Government to declare Amritsar as one of the national tourism destinations, as countless tourists from all over the world visit the city every year to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple, Durgiana Mandir and also visit other places of tourist interest like Jalianwala bagh, Ram Tirth, Ram Bagh. He said the Union Tourism Minister, Mr Jagmohan, would shortly visit Amritsar and Patiala to discuss the plans for the development of these places of tourist inerest. He said the Union Minister during his recent visit to Anandpur Sahib, which was also being developed as a tourism, centre has appreciated the efforts of the state government for according top priority to tourism in the state.

The minister further said the Tourism Department had decided to lay stress on the development of three important tourism centres i.e. Patiala for Cultural and Heritage, Anandpur Sahib and Amritsar both as religious centers. He said at Amritsar a historical panorama costing Rs 5 crore was being set up with the financial assistance of Union Government and the Amritsar Airport was being developed as an International Airport from where 16 flights per month will be take off.

Giving more details about the new cultural policy, Mr Sekhri informed that with a view to tap the cultural talent among the students, the department would organise state-level competitions. For this purpose the state has been divided into five zones i.e. Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Bathinda and at initial stage the competitions will be organised at zonal level and then at state level . He announced that attractive cash prizes would be given to the winners of the competitions.

The Minister, while appreciating the efforts of North Zone Culture Centre for organising the National Level Art Craft and Cultural festival at Ludhiana in Punjab, said the people of the state will have a glance of the diverse cultural and heritage activities and enjoy the delicacies of the different states of the country.

He announced a grant of Rs 50,000 from his discretionary quota and Rs 50,000 on behalf of Mr Kushal Behal Education Minister, Punjab, for the completion of the auditorium in the college. He also assured help in raising more funds amounting to Rs 1.25 lakh from industry and business establishments for this purpose.

Later addressing media persons, Mr Sekhri revealed that the state government would finalise its new industrial policy positively by the end of November 2002, which would be most facilitative and industry friendly. He said the state government was in the process of discussing the draft of the policy submitted by Chatha Committee with the different industrial associations of the state to incorporate their suggestions in the policy to give a boost to the industrial sector. He asserted that the new industrial policy of the state would be a model policy for the other states also and would enable the industry to meet the new challenges of 21st century with the implementation of GATT agreement.

He said Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, had also submitted a resolution signed by 39 MLAs to the government demanding the implementation of the special package announced by the Centre for Jammu and Kashmir and other North-Eastern states to the border districts of the state, as the people of border areas in Punjab had also suffered huge losses during different wars at the international border. He informed that with the implementation of this special package, new industry amounting to more than Rs 15,000 crore would come up in three border districts of the state, which would accommodate a large number of unemployed youth of the area.

Mr R.T. Jindal, Director North Zone Culture Centre, while speaking on the occasion informed that it was the first national level festival  in Punjab where the handicraft culture and food items of all states would be available at one place for the people of the region.



Aged watchman beaten up by cop?
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, September 13
Local police personnel allegedly beat an aged chowkidar, Banarsidass, who had been deputed by the Nagar Panchayat at the Machhiwara bus stand .

Banarsidass was admitted in PHU, Machhiwara, yesterday with multiple injuries sustained after he was allegedly beaten with sticks by the police personnel.

Narrating his tale of woes in the presence of Mr Tajinder Singh, EO, Nagar Panchayat, and the Accountant, Mr Sukhsagar Singh, Banarsi Dass told this correspondent that he had been called outside by a homeguard jawan on the orders of a police official when he was on night duty in the verandah of the bus stand as usual. As soon as Banarsi Dass reached the above mentioned policeman he (Banarsi Dass ) was abused. Then the cop gave three four blows on the face of the aged watchman . Afterwards the cop started beating him mercilessly with sticks till Banarsi Dass became unconscious.

He was taken to PHU, Machhiwara, next morning when drivers and conductors found him lying there in a bad shape.

The medical officer on duty termed the injuries of the watchman as ‘‘blunt injuries’’ and have sent his medical report to the local police station.

The drivers and conductors of the Punjab Roadways and private transport companies have condemned the incident and demanded a probe into it.

Banarsi Dass, however, added that he doesn't recognise the policeman who had beaten him and added that the cops also took his thumb impressions on some blank papers.

Taking a very serious view of the incident the Nagar Panchayat Machhiwara has appealed to the SDM and DSP, Samrala, to take action against the erring police officials.

When contacted on the phone, Machhiwara SHO Prem Singh said the watchman had been sleeping when the police reached the bus stand. He further added that he had also reached the spot after some time. He agreed that the police had awakened the sleeping chowkidar but refuted all the allegations levelled by the chowkidar against the policemen.



Sehajdhari federation conference at Chhapar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 13
In the run up to the forthcoming elections to the SGPC, a newly registered party by the Election Commission, the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation (SSF), has decided to hold a political conference at Chhapar village on September 21 during the annual Chhapar Mela.

This information was given by the national president of the party, Dr P.S. Ranu.

Dr Ranu stated that his party would make use of choreography, plays and lectures to expose the misdeeds of the previous SAD-BJP government, headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He charged the erstwhile government with sullying the image of the religion for its vested interests.

Making his intentions clear to play a significant role in the SGPC poll, he said as per the Sikh Gurudwara Act, 1925, only “amritdhari” Sikhs could contest the election as member to SGPC in accordance with the amendment of 1959.

Dr Ranu further observed that almost 80 per cent of the total world Sikh population being non-baptised, the SSF was all set to play a vital role in deciding the balance of power in the SGPC — the highest temporal body of the community.

Samrala: To make the Chhapar Mela a success, a meeting of the local unit of the Lok Bhalai Party was held under the presidentship of Mr Malkiat Singh Ghuman, president, district unit. It was attended by a large number of activists, including Mr Jaswinder Singh, Mr Harwinder Singh, Mr Daljinder Singh and Mr Jagroop Singh Barwali.

It was decided that on September 21 a large number of party workers will leave for the mela. Mr Ghuman said Mr Kulwant Singh was declared president of the Sarwarpur village unit and he would set up the working committee of the unit.



Urs to be observed in city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 13
Among the greatest of the Sufi saints, Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s Urs has already commenced and the celebrations will continue till September 17 at Ajmer where the holy shrine of the saint is situated.

During the annual function, lakhs of devotees from all over the world visit Ajmer to pay their obeisance homage to the revered saint.

A group of devotees from the city have formed a society “Aashiq-e-Khwaja”, with the objective of providing shelter to the needy. For this purpose, the society has bought nearly in acre of land at Bool village in this district where an orphanage-cum-old-age-home is being constructed.

Like in the past, this year too, the “Ashiq-e-Khwaja” is organising the Urs on September 14 at Sartaj Marriage Palace here. Mr Mohit Sabharwal, president of the society, said the main objective of the function was to make it convenient for all those devotees, who were otherwise unable to visit Ajmer during this time, to pay homage to the great saint.

The function would commence with the traditional lightening of candles, also known as “Roshni” followed by “langar” (community feast) for every visitor. Thereafter, Sufi quwaals, who were being specially invited from Ajmer Sharif, will sing hymns in praise of the holy saint throughout the night.



‘Antakshri’ at Niharika
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 13
Niharika Ladies Club organised a music programme, “Antakshri”, for its members here today.

The first prize was given to Payal team (Ms Sushma Pahwa and Ms Amarjit Monga), the Nupur team won the second prize (Ms Sonu and Ms Twinkle Girdhar), the third prize was bagged by the Jhankar team (Ms Kuldip Sahni and Dr Amrit) and the Ghungroo team (Ms Rimmy Dang and Ms Anju Sudha) won the consolation prize.

The first round was a “word round”, the second was a “balloon round”, the third was the “situation round”, the fourth was the “random mixed songs round” and the final was the “dhun round”.

Ms Dolly Chabra, president of the club, presided over the function.

Tambola was also played and many other “surprise gifts” were given to the members.

A special talk by the National Federation of the Blind was also held.



Food joints becoming fruitful ventures
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
Perfectly in tune with the entrepreneurship of Ludhiana, food seems to be becoming one of the most profitable ventures here. During the past two years several food outlets have come up in the city and all of them admit to doing brisk business, notwithstanding the general slump prevailing in the industry.

Interestingly, most of the people running these units are first generation entrepreneurs without having any business or industrial background. Like Mr Gaggandeep Singh Pasricha of the Farm Fresh, who is basically an engineering graduate with outstanding academic record, and his partner Mr Sandeep Miglani, a management graduate, there are so many others who have opted this as their profession.

Mr Pasricha’s father is a scientist. In fact he has also been innovative in his approach. For the first time in the city he introduced the concept of selling frozen and processed meat. He pointed out: “Generally we have the tendency to ask for fresh meet but that is never hygienic as compared to the frozen meet”. During the past one year, his brand has become quite popular.

He offers fresh raw meat products like chicken broiler, mutton with specialised cuts and portions, besides a variety of processed products like chicken sausages, salamis, ham, Frankfurters and seekh kababs.

Similarly, Friends Regency has come up as one of the best hotels in the city. Not surprisingly they have taken their name from Friends Dhaba, one of the most favourite food joints in the city. From a small dhaba, it has come a long way to becoming a hotel with modern restaurant. According to Mr Rajesh Tiwari, the food and beverages manager, the hotel has been doing very well because people have already developed a liking for the Friends food. There are other favourite haunts for exclusive items like “chhole puri” of Dalipa in Mali Ganj in the walled city and Jandu’s in the Civil Lines area. At both the places, people always queue up for their turn and wait with their tokens. The turnover of both the joints runs into thousands of rupees.

The phenomenal success of these joints has only one common thing, that is the quality. Mr Gaggandeep Singh pointed out: “Once people are convinced about your quality, they will come to you crossing miles”. He said their USP is not only the fresh and quality meat products but also the most hygienic. Collaborating his observations, Mr Tiwari of the Friends Regency said: “People of Ludhiana may be fond of food but they are very selective and ensure that they are served the quality food irrespective of the fact where it is served”.



Rationalise PSEB working: industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has sought the rationalisation of the functioning of the PSEB vis-a-vis the industry to avoid harassment and inconvenience to industrialists.

A delegation of the chamber met the Chief Engineer, PSEB, Mr J.N. Sachdeva, here today and listed several demands besides seeking a solution of various problems.


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