Tuesday, September 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Pammian kidney case: all accused absolved
Jupinder Jit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana , September 16
A high-level inquiry by Crime Branch of the state police, in the Pammian kidney transplant case, has absolved the three persons accused of tricking a resident of Pammian village into giving his kidney in return for sending abroad his family members.

While absolving the accused, Navtej Singh, Ajmer Singh and Sukhdev Singh belonging to Samrala, of all charges levelled by the alleged victim, Jagsher Singh of Pammian village, the inquiry report said that the kidney transplantation operation conducted at DMC Hospital was done with complete knowledge and approval of the alleged victim.

The report had, thus, turned the tables on the complainant in the case. It observed that the motive of the complainant was questionable as he had filed the complaint more than two years after the ‘he donated the kidney willingly’. It may eventually prove to be a saviour for one of the accused Ajmer Singh, father of Sukhdev Singh-the kidney recipient — who was the only one to be arrested in the case. His name was incorporated in the FIR later on.

The report prepared by SP (Crime) Ranjit Singh Dhillon on behalf of ADGP (Crime) was submitted to the Punjab Human Rights Commission on September 2. A copy was sent to the state police department and subsequently received here in the first week of this month.

A copy of the inquiry report with The Tribune said that the PHRC had taken suo motu notice of news reports published in The Tribune, which gave details of the allegations levelled by the alleged victim and his family in an FIR registered at Sahnewal police station. The PHRC had now posted the case for next hearing on December 19.

The case was registered on May 5, 2002 at Sahnewal police station on the complaint of Baljinder Kaur, wife of the alleged victim Jagsher Singh. According to the FIR, Jagsher Singh was an auto-rickshaw driver. The accused Sukhdev Singh and Navtej Singh were his friends. The two were financially better than him. Navtej Singh dealt in export import of goods from Hong Kong to China and India. He lived mostly in Hong Kong.

Sukhdev Singh’s kidneys failed about two-and a half year ago and doctors recommended a transplantation. The two shared their problem with Jagsher Singh, who agreed to donate his kidney as he wanted to help his friends. The two accused promised him that his wife would be given a lucrative job worth hundreds of dollars per month in Hong Kong and he, along with his children, would also be settled there.

In order to conceal the operation, the accused, who regularly frequented the house of the victim, told his wife that they had employed Jagsher Singh as a car driver and he would be visiting other states. Taking benefit of this they conducted the tests of the victim in the DMCH.

Eventually in the last week of January, 2000, the kidney transplant operation was done at the DMCH. Both the donor and the recipient were discharged from the hospital on February 10. When they reached home, the woman Baljinder Kaur was told that some robbers had attacked them in Uttar Pradesh and Jagsher was stabbed in the stomach. The woman said she believed everything as she trusted the two accused. Her husband later told her the two have got job for her in Hong Kong and as her husband was not able to do much labour work, she should go ahead.

However, it was only in March this year that she was sent abroad. When she reached there, the accused Navtej Singh started treating her badly. She was given a small job in some business house at a meagre salary of few dollars which were not more than Rs 500 per month. She returned dejected on April 10. When her husband learnt he was cheated, he contacted the accused over the phone but was rebutted. Navtej Singh allegedly told him he should be happy with whatever was being offered to his ‘illiterate wife’.

The wife, a middle-aged woman, said the education of her 14-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son, was stopped because of the trick played with them. They had to give most of the rooms on rent to make both the ends meet. The family is living a life in penury in one room only at Pammian village these days.

The inquiry report no. 2935/SS-4 dated September 2, 2002. by the Crime Branch dismisses most of the charges. It questioned why the victim was silent for two years if he was cheated. It said the alleged victim had donated his kidney willingly. It was only out of sheer sympathy that the accused offered his wife a job in Hong Kong. However, as she could not adjust in the foreign country without her children and husband, she opted to return and got a case registered against the accused under Sections 420, 326 and 34 IPC besides Sec-18 of the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994.



Admn issues notices to 230 persons
Employees’ failure to attend poll rehearsal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 16
The district administration today issued notices to 230 employees for failing to attend the rehearsal, which was scheduled on September 13, for the poll duties for Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections. It has, however, given them a last chance to appear for the next rehearsal or face stringent action.

Sources in the administration told the Tribune that all employees, including teachers, who had failed to attend the rehearsal on Saturday, were told in writing to be present on the next rehearsal on September 19.

Sources further said that if they remain absent on that day also then proceedings for a legal action would be started against them. Senior officials of the administration said that employees from other states and districts had gone to the Valley for the first phase of polls today and the local employees were also being treated like them. So there was no reason to raise a hue and cry for the same.

Meanwhile, representatives of Government Primary Teachers Union today left for Chandigarh to file a writ petition in the High Court on the plea that they were being discriminated upon. The teachers had not returned till the filing of this report.

Earlier, before leaving for Chandigarh they said that they condemned the action of the administration and said that it was uncalled for and the state government had given them a choice to volunteer themselves and that they should not be forced to do the duty.

The state government had asked its employees to volunteer for poll duty in J&K. The government had offered them Rs 5000 for the duty besides each of the employee opting for such duty would be covered through insurance of Rs 25,000 for injury and Rs 5 lakh in case of death.

Interestingly none of the local employees volunteered for the job on the plea that it was risky to go to Valley during the prevalent circumstances. Moreover, they had argued that during the difficult times in Punjab its own employees were performing such duties.

While no employee had volunteered for the job, the Deputy Commissioner, taking stock of the situation, had written to all government offices to send the list of employees on their own.

Then the officials had decided the names of the employees to be sent to J&K.

They had only shortlisted male employees and had not assigned any women employee on the duty.

After the entire procedure the employees started arguing that why should they be made scapegoats and claimed that Rs 5,000 remuneration for the polling duty for a single day was not a very lucrative offer for them to put their lives at stake.



BSNL mobiles unlikely by Oct 2
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 16
The BSNL mobile telephone services are unlikely to start in Ludhiana from October 2 as the infrastructural arrangements for the same are yet to be completed. However, the services may be launched by the end of October or in the beginning of November.

The General Manager, BSNL (Ludhiana), Mr J.S. Julka, said here today that the services were still in the testing stage. He was presiding over the first meeting of the newly constituted Telephone Advisory Committee here.

He said the rent, security and other things were yet to be finalised, but the BSNL rates would be ‘very competitive’. The services would probably be the best in the industry, he said. He said the infrastructural arrangements would be completed very soon.

He said the BSNL was also likely to provide about 10,000 wireless local loop (WLL) telephones in Ludhiana in the coming time. The nigam had already provided these sets to officials and their efficiency was believed to be the best so far.

He said the telephones were now available on demand in Ludhiana. However, there were some non-feasible areas which were being made feasible. Since April last, 70 areas out of 100 non-feasible areas had been made feasible and the remaining 30 were likely to be made feasible within a month, he said.

About serving of old bills to subscribers and stopping services in case of non-payment, the GM clarified that no telephones had been disconnected for non-payment of old bills. He said during reconciliation of accounts pending dues came to notice and these had to realised. While admitting the fault on part of the BSNL, he said, it is for this reason that the services were not stopped and the subscribers were requested to pay the arrears.

He said there were over three lakh telephone connections in Ludhiana. Of these, over two lakh were in the urban areas, while about 80,000 were in rural areas. One of the members, Mr Jaswinder Singh Bhaliawal, raised the issue of poor telephone services in rural areas and demanded that these needed to be taken care of on priority basis.

Prominent among those present at the meeting were the district BJP president, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, the District Congress Committee president, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, councillors, Mr Balkar Singh and Mr Bharat Bhushan Ashoo, BJP leaders, Prof Rajinder Bhandhari, Mr Rajinder Khatri and others.



PAU Kisan Mela from September 19
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 16
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will inaugurate the state-level Kisan Mela on September 19 at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, said the theme of the mela would be “Rational use of natural resources.”

Dr Jaspinder Singh Kolar, Director of Extension Education, PAU, said after the inauguration, the Chief Minister would visit the agro industrial exhibition and field demonstrations arranged by the university to educate farmers in the use of scientific agricultural technology.

He would also address a gathering of farmers on this occasion. Dr Kolar said apart from the sale of improved seeds and farm literature on-the-spot diagnostic services for plant disorders like pest attacks, disease infestation and nutritional deficiencies would also be provided to the visiting farmers.

He said arrangements for testing water and soil samples brought by farmers had also been made. Farm produce contests and competitions in home science activities would also be held. In the question-answer session to be held in the afternoon on September 19, experts would provide answers to technical questions of the farmers.



Record haul of narcotics by Jagraon police
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 16
The Jagraon police has confiscated narcotics worth over Rs 25 lakh in less than two months. The seized drugs included 61.96 quintal of poppy husk, about 9 kg of opium and 800 gram of charas. A special drive was launched by the Jagraon police to check the burgeoning trade of narcotic smuggling in the area.

Mr Mukhwinder Singh Cheena, SSP, Jagraon said in a press release that the drive against the drug smuggling was being intensified in the region. He said the seized quantity was the highest in the state in the last two months.

Reports suggest that the new drive has dealt an effective blow on the smuggling racket. This area had become quite notorious in the last few years for smuggling of drugs. A particular community is said to be involved in the illegal activity, he added.

The latest seizure was made yesterday when a police party cornered a truck (RJ-14-G-3871) and arrested Bahadur Singh of Chhajjawal village and Boota Singh of Hans Kalan village and seized 350 kg of poppy husk from the truck which they have brought from Pilani (Rajasthan).

The booty was concealed in bags of china clay powder. The police has registered a case under sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act against both the accused and have impounded the truck also. Both the accused have been remanded in police custody.



MC income soars
Accumulates cash surplus of 5 crore 
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 16
The Municipal Corporation seems to be in good financial condition. According to official information, almost all pending bills of contractors and other liabilities worth about Rs 17 crore have been cleared during the past four months and for the first time in the recent years, the civic body, known as the richest among all local bodies in state, had a cash surplus of over Rs 5 crore.

Due to an optimum use of resources, curtailing wasteful expenditure and effective steps to mop up income from all major heads by the civic administration, headed by the MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, the total income, till middle of this month, was Rs 81.96 crore, Rs 5.29 crore higher than the corresponding figure, last year.

Barring water supply, building application fee and rent from property, which did not yield the expected revenue, all major heads had shown improvement.

According to the MC Commissioner, the octroi income was Rs 30 lakh per day, with the total receipt so far being Rs 49.42 crore, higher by Rs 1.33 crore as compared to last year.

Similarly, total income from house tax till September 13 was Rs 15.36 crore ,higher by Rs 1.64 crore, from octroi on electricity Rs 3.54 crore, up by Rs 7.19 lakh, from sale of property Rs 1.81 crore higher by Rs. 1.10 crore and from composition fee Rs 3.63 crore up by Rs 2.20 crore.

Receipts from other heads like tehbazari fee was up by Rs 36.09 lakh and advertisement tax was higher by Rs 5.46 lakh . Police challans were up by Rs 7.61 lakh.

Mr Sharma attributed the transformation of financial condition to strict financial discipline coupled with proper utilisation and management of funds. Decisions which must probably have evoked resentment and hard feelings among subordinate officers and civic employees.

Mincing no words on the issue he said, "When I took over as the MC Commissioner, finances were in a pitiable state. Most of the development works were held up for want of adequate funds. Contractors were not bidding for works because their outstanding bills had not been cleared for a long time.”

The situation had now completely reversed. All liabilities, including the pending bills of the contractors, had been cleared.

Payments were being made regularly to executing agencies of special projects and pace had been set up for other development works like building of roads, paving of streets, installation of streetlights. Water-supply and sewerage projects were in various stages of execution.

“We have made adequate provisions for all our present financial commitments, as well as those expected to arise by the end of this financial year, despite the state government not having paid a penny so far against our arrears of additional excise duty of around Rs 15 crore accrued during past seven months,” claimed Mr Sharma.



Similarities between the two Gujarats

Gujarat birth state of Gandhiji and Sardar Patel, had a bloodbath, courtesy Godhra blind act, accompanied by communal flare-ups in death and fire. It is in daily news, mostly sad and tragic. There is another Gujarat, nearer than Ahmedabad from Ludhiana, in distance. It is part of memory, despite tragedy of a higher order, 55 years ago. Is time a healer? Theory of nomenclature of villages and towns, cities or metros, is a crying need. It is a sociological imperative.

Ludhiana is supposed to derive its name from the Lodhis. A serious Indologist, Dr O.P. Bhardwaj, identified it with Aldhana of the epic era. Gujarat, now in Pakistan Punjab, evidently was an early settlement of Gujjars. This nomadic tribe was spread out widely in northern India. The Gujjars are taken to be Yadavas in UP and Bihar. They claim direct association with Lord Krishna. They love their cattle. Have fondness for milk and milk products. They are spread out in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. In the first millennium a big linguistic fermentation took place in northern India. In the second millennium modern Indian languages made appearance to grow, producing literature. Nomadic tribes moved with cattle and families in groups. The Gurjars became Gujjars in the north-west subcontinent. Here in Ludhiana, what does village Gujjarwal signify? It was also accepted as personal name. Need proof? You have Dr Gujjarmal Road in the heart of the city! There is a locality known as Kila Gujjar Singh in the metropolitan Lahore, close to the Assembly hall and Government House. We find a chain of towns : Gujranwala, Gojra, (many villages by this name) Gujarat, Gujjarkhan, etc. North of Gurdaspur up to Dalhousie and Chamba in Himachal, there are many Gujjar settlements. Doda (Jammu) has big population of Gujjars, Hindus and Muslims. They have common customs and rituals Ethnicity unites, politics divides. Racial-cum-cultural unity continues.

Dewan Mohkam Chand of Gujarat raised Phillaur Fort on Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s orders. Near home, Ludhiana and Gujarat were never afar. Incidentally, the first Anglo-Sikh war (1845-46) was fought in Malwa, Aliwal-Baddowal near city’s present outskirts. The second war (1849) was fought at Chellianwala, Gujarat, in 1849. The Punjabi blood was same.

Gujarat area speaks dialect more akin to Majha than Lehnda. It is rich in folklore, literature and folk wisdom. See the saying : Rann Kunjah di, datun Phallah di (Beautiful ladies from Kunjah, best (tooth) twig of Phallah tree). Fazal Shah wrote ballad Sohni-Mahiwal. Sobha Singh recaptured the epitome of romantic tragedy on canvas. Amrita Pritam’s mother belonged to a village close to Kunjah. She anchored the turbulent youth, Kartar Singh Hitkari. He was long lost on high seas. Sohni of Gujarat symbolises beauty and romance.

Film-legend Gulzar, Maheep Singh, Sharif Kunjahi, Fakhar Zaman and others have glorified it. Alam Lohar and Munawar Sultana keep music alive. Bhag Singh served through theatre the spirit of Chenab.

M.S. Cheema 



Rain affects visitors to NZCC cultural mela 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 16
The national food, handicraft and cultural mela, organised by the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) here is in full swing in the grounds of Government College for Women.

Although it was washed out by incessant rains for the last three days, it started picking up at a slow pace from today.

As the temperature has again started rising during the day, the visitors prefer to visit the mela during the evenings. Evenings also offer various cultural dances along with other attractions of the mela.

Stall owners from all parts of the country have put up their stalls. There are stalls of hand-embroidered goods. The mirror-work ‘ghagra cholis’ from Gujarat and Rajasthan inevitably draw the attention of the visitors. Khurja pottery from UP has a mind boggling variety in cups, vases and figurines and hundred other artifacts in rainbow colours and hues. Sofas, rocking chair, swings in bamboo works, traditional Indian dresses, jewellery and carpets in rich shades were spread out invitingly.

Although Ludhiana is a city where residents are known for their artistic choices, but the mela has not able to attract many due to inclement weather.

The stall owners who have come from all over the country are feeling disillusioned. ‘‘There is no good sale of the goods. We are waiting for the customers for the past many days but to no avail. Earlier we were thinking that people will start pouring in after the rains but nothing much has changed. But yesterday being Sunday was a good day for us. Many people had come and there was no space left for the parking,’’ said a stall owner from Andhra Pradesh.



Fire breaks out in Civil Hospital
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 16
A fire broke out in the Civil Hospital here late last evening, following a short circuit in the switchboard of the blood bank.

Though no casualty was reported, yet panic gripped the indoor patients for several hours and they ran out of their wards.

Dr S.N.Tiwari, Civil Surgeon, who took a round of the hospital, said, “We believe that it was a short circuit. Since the trauma ward is opposite the blood bank, the patients panicked and ran outside. Smoke engulfed the entire area for sometime”.

Dr Tiwari further maintained that there was no major loss. “We are getting the switchboard removed from that area and installing it at some safer place”, he said.

Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Civil Hospital, Dr Y. K. Marakan, called an emergency meeting of junior and senior doctors following the incident. 



Jagraon police to visit Kot Umra
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 16
A team of the Jagraon police would visit Kot Umra village tomorrow to inquire into all aspects of rampant liquor brewing and smuggling in the area which allegedly forced the village panchayat to pass a resolution demanding immediate attention of the state government.

Kot Umra village has become the first village in the region to pass such a resolution. Police sources said they would also inquire why the village panchayat passed the resolution now and not some months or years ago.

Mr Amarjit Singh, SP, told Ludhiana Tribune that he had called the village panchayat, headed by sarpanch Balraj Singh, to ask why it did not bring the matter to the notice of the senior police officials first. He said he would go to the village tomorrow to take stock of the ground situation.

The inquiry would be completed in a few days. When asked if he would inquire into the alleged police-smuggler nexus, Mr Amarjit Singh said he would inquire into all aspects, but as per his information there was no such nexus.



Labourer kidnapped
Our Correspondent

Khanna, September 16
Some car-borne armed persons kidnapped a migrant labourer, working as a rickshaw-puller, from the Samadhi road on Sunday evening. The victim is identified as Bikhari Paswan, a resident of Maharani village in Bihar, and now residing in Narotam Nagar.

The brother of the victim, Shiv Pujan Paswan had lodged a complaint at the city police station. He alleged in the complaint that on Sunday at about at 6 p.m., when his brother Bikhari Paswan was standing at the Samadhi road, some car-borne armed persons came and kidnapped him at the gunpoint.

He alleged that the kidnappers belong to Slapur Sidh Adda village in Ropar district.



Two booked for eve-teasing
Tribune News Service

Sahnewal, September 16
Two persons were booked by the police on Sunday for teasing a girl and allegedly giving her objectionable letters. Mr Resham Singh of the Railway road, Sahnewal, alleged that Baljinder Singh ‘Soni’ and a PCO owner, Kesar Singh, had given letters to his daughter, Gurmit Kaur ‘Jot’. A case under Sections 294 and 506 of IPC has been registered.

One booked for obstructing traffic: Gurpreet Singh of Mehndipur was booked for obstructing traffic while parking a tractor-trolley at a wrong place on Sunday. The driver has been booked under Section 283 of the IPC.

Dowry seekers booked: Gurpreet Singh, Nirmal Singh, Bhupinder Kaur and Baljinder Kaur have been booked under Sections 406, 498-A, 420 and 506 of the IPC for allegedly demanding dowry from family of Harsimran Kaur, daughter of Late Kirpal Singh of Bilga village.

Harsimran Kaur said she was married to Gurpreet Singh four years back and was taken to a foreign country where she was illtreated and asked to get dowry by her husband and in-laws. She ultimately came back to India and got a case registered in this regard.



PSB distributes new currency notes

Ludhiana, September 16
The Punjab and Sind Bank organised a special one-day camp at its Salem Tabri branch in the city on Sunday for distribution of new currency notes and coins against mutilated and old ones.

Addressing an impressive function to mark the occasion, Mr Rajinder Singh Chatwal, Deputy General Manager, said the bank had launched a number of innovative schemes for better customer service and the facility of exchange of mutilated currency notes and distribution of coins on Sunday was a part of the bank’s endeavour in this direction. Through the scheme of exchange of mutilated currency, the members of public would also be saved from the exploitation of money changers.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Gurmit Singh, branch manager, promised the customers and the general public that the distribution of coins and notes will be a continuous scheme in the branch. He said the response of the customers to the scheme was encouraging and in a single working day new coins worth Rs 2.50 lakh were distributed and currency notes worth Rs 7.50 lakh were exchanged. He also clarified that the facility of currency exchange would be extended only to general public and not to the money changers.

The other officials who participated and spoke on the occasion were Mr S.S. Sethi, Mr Amrik Singh and Mr G.S. Walia.



Clarification questioned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 16
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has questioned the clarification issued by the Taxation Department after bringing certain items under the first-stage levy of sales tax. These items include B.P. sheets, pipes and pipe fittings. Later, the department also included hot-rolled coils and cold-rolled sheets as well. The chamber observed, “this clarification is wrong for technical and commercial reasons”.

A chamber spokesman said hot-rolled coils and C.R. sheets were widely used in the industry in huge quantities. Due to the wrong clarification given by the department, the entire industry using these materials was facing a severe financial crisis, the spokesman pointed out. He said on the purchase of these materials, 4 per cent sales tax at the first stage was being charged by suppliers. This has caused resentment in the industry, the chamber claimed.


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