Thursday, October 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Ultras’ kids shifted to Basti Jodhewal
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
It seems that there is no respite for these children who were orphaned during the days of militancy in Punjab. When things were looking up for them, internal bickerings between members of the Mata Gujri Trust and confrontation with the Patiala police forced 100 children of killed militants to leave their over three-year-old dwelling at Kalar Bhaini village near Dakala in Patiala district and move to a make-shift arrangement at Basti Jodhewal here.

After witnessing a bitter struggle for three months between trust members, which saw police intervention and ugly fights, the welfare of the children became the first casualty. They have now been shifted to Ludhiana after a majority of them openly sided with Bibi Sandeep Kaur, one of the members of the Trust, and left Kalar Bhaini.

The shifting has put a question mark on the future of about 100 children, who had left the orphanage to live with some distant relatives or seek some other place to live due to the ongoing controversy.

With a sad past, disturbed present and uncertain future, the fate of these children hangs in balance. For over three years, they helped the trust members in the construction of a large building in Kalar Bhaini village, thinking that would be their life-long place of dwelling.

But that dream lies shaterred due to the infighting. Hopes of a better future have been dashed and the feeling of hurt is evident in the children. Sociologists argue that these children should be brought up with other children in normal circumstances to take them away from their traumatic past. Several sympathisers settled abroad regularly supply funds to these children.

Tiffs with the police are a daily reminder of things which are only placid on the outside. While the police keeps an eye on the orphanage due to the bloody past and the flow of funds from abroad, the trust authorities have been maintaining that no militant or supporters of the Khalistan movement were funding them.

The trust was established in early 1999 by Bibi Sandeep Kaur and Bibi Sohanjit Kaur.

The two women had, in fact, taken the initiative of setting up an orphanage of about 200 children with equal number of girls and boys at Patiala. But soon they fell apart, and started fighting over the control of the orphanage. Things came to such a pass that cases of fraud and fighting were registered by the Patiala police.

Bibi Sohanjit Kaur was allegedly helped by a self-styled Dera chief, Dakala villagers and by some cops. On the other hand, Bibi Sandeep Kaur was helped by people settled abroad and by many radical Akali leaders.

Bibi Sandeep Kaur, it is alleged, swindled funds. She has been denying the charge and has accused Bibi Sohanjit Kaur and the Dera chief of working for their own narrow interests instead of the children. Bibi Sandeep Kaur was booked by the Patiala police under charges of fraud and criminal intent.

Her entry into the Trust building at the village was banned for few days by a court. Meanwhile, the condition of the orphanage deteriorated. Bibi Sandeep Kaur, who had been mainly managing the situation, accused the other party of not caring for the children.

Early this week, the Khalsa Panchayat organisation led by Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, who had been mediating in the issue to solve the controversy, visited the place. Things came to such a pass that the Khalsa Panchayat succeeded in convincing both parties that let the wish of the children prevail.

Mr Channi told TNS that he and other members present on the occasion were amazed to see that all children present there openly announced their wish to go with Sandeep Kaur.

The Trust has been set up temporarily in Basti Jodhewal. The building in which the children are kept now is proving too small for them. The Trust is scouting for a better place.


Tanker operators’ stir ends
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
After facing shortage of petrol and diesel for better part of the day, the city residents heaved a sigh of relief in the evening when the strike by oil tanker operators was called off.

District Food and Supplies Controller Simarjot Singh told TNS that the strike was called off and the supply of petrol and diesel had been regularised. Reports from different filling stations, however, revealed that the supply would be regulated properly by tomorrow morning only as the oil tankers would require some time to reach the petrol stations.

Almost all local filling stations remained dry for the second consecutive day today due to strike by Oil Tankers Association causing many vehicles to stay off the roads and giving tough time to the residents.

Residents complained that many filling stations in the city were selling petrol and diesel in the black. While many stations had gone dry yesterday only, the rest filled the last litres in vehicles today morning. Almost all stations barring a few were wearing a deserted look.

Business of many autorickshaws, came to a standstill today as diesel was not available anywhere. The petrol, at certain places was sold for Rs 45 per litre.

Mr Surinder Pahwa, a local resident said he had bought petrol from a petrol station on the Ferozepore road and paid Rs 50 to the attendant who only put one litre of petrol in his scooter. He demanded action against the station owner.

Mr Yuvraj Dada, president, Petrol Pump Owners Association however denied the allegations. He said this was not possible to sell petrol in the black these days. 


HUDCO-funded project stalled
Sewerage board presses panic buttons
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 23
Though the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) is duly committed to finance the Rs 150.61 crore sewerage project for the city for all practical purposes, yet the execution agency for the ambitious project — Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) has pressed panic buttons and the ongoing work on the project has been suspended for the time being.

A letter from Superintending Engineer of PWSSB addressed to Executive Engineers dated October 11, 2002, says that third installment of HUDCO loan has not been received and there were indications that the MC was negotiating to raise loans from alternative sources on softer terms. Apprehending that the MC might not avail the HUDCO loan any further and raising funds from alternative sources might be time consuming, the XENs of PWSSB were advised “not to incur any further expenditure” on this scheme.

However, the MC sources maintained that there was no intention on the part of the MC administration to seek funding for the project from alternative sources. The issue of raising finance from foreign and other commercial banks and financial institutions on softer terms and lower rates of interest was of course discussed at various levels as a part of money saving exercise but ultimately the civic body had decided in favour of HUDCO loan.

Under the project for “augmentation and extension of sewerage” in the city, it was proposed to lay 596 km of branch sewer lines, 65 km of inlet channels and main sewer lines and disposal plants in various city localities and its outskirts to extend the sewerage facility to more than 75 per cent of the city population.

“The HUDCO loan is very much on and the civic body has already received Rs 15 crore in two installments till now.” According to MC officials, the HUDCO had agreed to finance the project on 70:30 basis and the loan portion was Rs 105.37 crore while the MC was to raise nearly Rs 45 crore from its own resources for the project, scheduled for completion in March 2006. “This is a long term project and we shall seek next installment of loan as and when the MC can contribute 30 per cent funds of its own,” the civic officials maintained.

While the MC officials were reluctant to comment on the suspension of work by the PWSSB authorities, they did indicate that the action could be result of haphazard and faulty planning. “It is imperative on the part of the executing agency to take the actual and likely inflow of funds in account for planning purposes on such a massive project. The MC cannot give them a blanket go ahead as only a part of the available funds can be made available for the sewerage project, that too depending on priority of the other development works.”

Meanwhile, the residents of Chuharpura village on the outskirts of the city have lodged a complaint with the district and civic administration that suspension of the ongoing work on the sewerage project had created many problems for them. “The incomplete work on sewer lines and the dug up ‘phirni’ and main road in the village was posing a serious threat to life and property. Besides, heaps of sand and building material lying on both sides of the road and in the fields had made it difficult for the farmers to cultivate their land,” the representation by the village Sarpanch said.


Man murders wife, kills self
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
In a shocking incident, a man clubbed her wife to death suspecting her of infidelity, in New Ashok Nagar here early this morning. The man later committed suicide by jumping before a train.

The couple is survived by three children.

The Salem Tabri police is learnt to have rounded up some persons for questioning.

One of these persons is accused of having illicit relationship with the deceased woman.

According to neighbours and police sources, Baljit Singh, alias Babbu, a combine driver, suspected his wife of having illicit relationship with a man living near his house.

At about 4 a.m. today, the neighbours heard the couple quarrelling but did not intervene as it was a normal occurrence.

The woman had allegedly eloped with some person a few months ago. At about 6 a.m., a neighbour went to the house and was shocked to see the woman lying dead in a pool of blood.

Her head was burst open and she was not covered with any cloth.

The police said the woman was bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

The news of the ghastly incident spread like a wild fire and a large crowd gathered at the site. Seniors police officials led by SP (City-II) Naunihal Singh reached the site and conducted the necessary investigations.

The police was inquiring the whereabouts of the accused man when news came that his badly mutilated body was recovered from near a railway line.


Lord Narsimha to lead yatra
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 23
A huge replica of Lord Narsimha will lead the ISKCON-sponsored Bhagwan Jagannath Rath Yatra, which is being taken out on October 26 afternoon from the Durga Mata temple, near the Jagraon bridge.

According to Mr Satish Gupta, president, Bhagwan Jagannath Rath Yatra Mahotsav Committee, the second chariot would be carrying a specially-made idol of Shri Banke Bihariji and which has been contributed by the Banke Bihari Sewa Parivar.


Mehndi artists have their hands full
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 23
With Karva Chauth round the corner, the mehndi artists in the city are having a field day. These artists are booking hundreds of orders in the city. Be it is the roadside mehndi artists or the leading beauticians of the city, the women, the young as well as the small girls are approaching them to get best of mehndi designs on their hands on the eve of Karva Chauth.

The rates of the roadside artists normally vary between Rs 21 to 102 and some even charge up to Rs 250 per hand depending on the intricacy of design. For little hands (small girls), the artists demand Rs 10 and Rs 20, but as the festival approaches, the mehndiwalas have increased their rates because of great rush.

To cater to the huge demand, these artists have put up stalls with their teammates at places like Ghumar Mandi, Civil Lines, Dandi Swami, Model Town, Chaura Bazar, Field Ganj, Kailash Chowk, Model Town Extension and even on the busy Mall Road.

Rituraj, an artist from Rajasthan, has come all the way from Jaipur as these are the ‘good business days’ for him. “Every year I stay here for five-six days. I get Rajasthani mehndi from Jaipur. There is great demand for this particular mehndi. I make about Rs 15,000 during these three-four days”, said Rituraj.

Meghraj, another artist, said he had booked orders much in advance. “We go to women’s houses. Five-six women gather at one place and we apply mehndi on their hands. They give us good money”, he said.

Ms Natasha Ahluwalia of Grace Beauty Clinic said because of much advance bookings, they stop taking the orders near Karva Chauth days. “Our aim is to satisfy our clients. We believe in quality. The art is so time consuming that it needs a lot of hardwork and perfection. Women are demanding a variety of designs including tattooing, which is very common in western countries”, said Natasha.

“Along with the traditional mehndi there is shaded mehndi also with the blend of dark and light shades. Zardozi mehndi is of different colours and glitters, which is shiny. Rates differ from type to type,” said Natasha.

Ms Neelu Dammi of Dammi Beauty Parlour said women demanded zardozi, Arabic, normal, shaded, coloured mehndi. The rates start from Rs 500 to 1000. “Tattooing is for Rs 200 per hand whereas the bridal mehndi costs Rs 3,100. We have the advance bookings and there has been a great rush”, said Ms Dammi.

“Women ask to make flowers, peacocks and small “ambis” on their palms. In Rajasthan, there is a belief that the one whose mehndi comes out to be very dark and red, is always loved by her husband and in-laws,” said Ram Nijjar, another artist.


CM to inaugurate water project
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 23
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will inaugurate a water project and a leisure valley, developed by the municipal corporation at Focal Point here on November 1. He will later address a public rally in the city to commemorate “Punjab Day”.

This was announced by the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, while addressing a meeting of party activists, prominent citizens and heads of various social and commercial bodies at his residence here today. He said more than five lakh city residents would benefit from the new water scheme and the beautifully landscaped leisure valley would go a long way in combating environmental pollution in the predominantly industrial area.

Giving details of various projects undertaken by the civic body, Mr Gill said the corporation was committed to bringing about a qualitative improvement in civic amenities and other infrastructure. “The city will soon have a new and greener look and become a better place to live in.”

Prominent among others present at the meeting were Mr Pawan Sood, Mr Mohan Singh, Mr Pawan Garg, Mr S.S. Khera, Mr Jasbir Singh Gill, Mr Mehar Singh, Mr Mohammed Khalil, Baba Gurnam Das, Mr R.P. Mehta, Mr Kehar Singh Mann, Mr Jaswinder Singh Mann, Ms Amarjit Kaur Grewal, Mr Balwinder Singh, Mr Manjit Singh, Mr Sohan Lal, Mr Parma Nand and Mr Raj Kumar.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the District Congress Committee (rural), presided over by Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, duties were assigned to ward and block presidents to mobilise people for the proposed public rally of the Chief Minister here on November 1. The party ranks were told to propagate among the masses the achievements of the Congress government like smooth purchase of paddy and the comprehensive drive against corruption.

Among others the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA, Mr Ishar Singh Koom Kalan, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, Mr Gurkeerat Singh Kotli, Mr Tejinder Singh Kooner, Mr Parminder Singh Latala, Mr Raj Singh Jand, Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura and Mr Gurmeet Singh Mukandpur attended the meeting.


Centre’s policies anti-Punjab: Atwal
Our Correspondent

Amloh, October 23
The policies of the NDA government at the Centre are against the interests of the people of Punjab, said Mr Gurbinder Singh Atwal, Parliamentary Secretary, at a press conference here last night. He was here to inaugurate a cultural function organised by the Valmiki Sabha on Valmiki Jayanti.

Making a scathing attack on the Central Government, Mr Atwal alleged that with a motive to provoke farmers to agitate the Centre was not lifting sugarcane worth Rs 480 crore, which had delayed payments of farmers in lieu of sugarcane.

Mr Atwal said he, along with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies, Mr Lal Singh, had talked to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Sharad Yadav, and other leaders at the Centre, but they never made sincere efforts to solve the problem. Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister, was also silent over the matter.

Mr Atwal said the government had mooted a cooperative societies act to make farmers selfreliant. For the diversification of crops, the government would provide new seeds to the farmers and purchase their produce through Markfed. Mr Happy Duggal, Mr Malkeet Singh and other activists of the youth Congress of Amloh block presented a sword and a shawl to Mr Atwal. Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, MLA, Amloh was also present.

Earlier, Mr Baldev Singh Aulakh presented a cheque for Rs 15,000 to the Valmiki Sabha sanctioned by the council and announced a grant of Rs 25,000 on behalf of Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, Minister of State for Public Health and Rural Development.


Meet one-rank, one-pension demand

THE demand for one-rank, one-pension (OROP) of ex-servicemen dates back to 1982. Prime Ministers of India and all major political parties in their election manifestoes had over the years promised OROP to the ex-servicemen. Mr R. Venkataraman, former President of India, committed to the acceptance of OROP in his address to the joint session of Parliament in 1989. Defence Minister George Fernandes had made an announcement at Anandpur Sahib in April, 1999, that the long-pending demand of OROP of ex-servicemen had been accepted by the Central Government and its implementation was “now a matter of only a few days.”

Almost three years have passed since then but nothing has happened. Due to early forced retirement in order to keep the Army young, about 94 per cent of personnel up to the rank of Naik/Subedar retire with 17 to 20 years of service and they get 33 per cent of their emoluments as pension instead of 50 per cent of the maximum of rank because of the conditionality of 33 years of service to qualify for full pension.

Another serious anomaly in case of officers having running pay scales is that the pension is assessed on the minimum rank even though they had rendered full service to entitle them to the maximum pension of the rank. This is a raw deal for ex-servicemen and is totally unjust. It is ridiculous, irrelevant and illogical to compare the terms and conditions of defence services with those of civilian government employees.

It is strange that nothing has been done so far regarding one-rank-one-pension for Naiks/ Subedars. A large number of Naiks/JCOs have approached the DDPO that they had not received any order for its implementation so far.

Nothing has been decided by the government in this regard so far. This is totally unjust towards commissioned ex-servicemen.

Capt P.L. Malhotra

Samrala Road, Moh. Taj Ganj

DA freeze move unwarranted

More than two crore employees and pensioners of central and state governments across the country are up in arms against the Union government’s move either to freeze the DA at the existing level of 49 per cent of the basic pay/pension or adopt graded neutralisation of price-rise @ 75 per cent and 50 per cent in place of current 100 per cent which is in operation from 1.1.96 as recommended by the fifth Central Pay Commission. As a result, the instalment at the rate of 3 per cent due from July this year either will not be paid or slashed to 75 to 50 per cent. The move is highly harsh and unjust. It will adversely affect the monthly budget of the low-paid staff. They will oppose it tooth and nail.

The freezing of DA will be a blatant deviation from the pattern being followed by the Central government for the past 30 years in the matter of granting DA to neutralise the price rise. DA is not charity but a compensation for price rise. In the name of fairplay, the Central government is urged to scrap this proposal and release the DA instalment due from July this year before Divali.


General Secretary, Punjab Government Pensioners Association

Encroachments in Urban Estate

It is commendable that you have started highlighted the plight of people of certain localities due to the encroachment problem. The miseries of the inhabitants of Phase-I, Urban Estate, Dugri, Ludhiana, have however, not been highlighted. The roads supposed to be 30’ in width in the 100 sq yd buildings area have been encroached by property owners to the extent of more than 12’ on one side and 4-½’ on the other, leaving only about 13’ to 14’ for access. If one car is parked even close to a wall, it is not impossible to drive another car on the road parallel to the parked car.

Residents having encroached the public land have put hedges and concrete floors. They park their scooters and cars in the encroached land.

PUDA had put an insertion in newspapers a couple of years ago calling upon people to remove the encroachments within a stipulated period, failing which the authorities would remove the same at the cost of the encroachers. But nothing has done so far.

Recently, PUDA had taken up the courage to demolish encroachments in the HIG flats’ area. Residents of 100 sq yd area, who are silent sufferers, started having high hopes that the encroachments in their locality may also be demolished. But their hopes dashed to the ground. Was that one single act of courage just an eyewash to please some political boss or for some extraneous motive? Why does PUDA not treat every locality equally? A complaint was delivered to the Estate Officer on August 16 but to no effect.

Model Town


Bus stand in a shambles

A delegation of Rotarians, including its presidents and prominent citizens of Ludhiana, met Mr S.S. Sandhu, the then Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, in connection with the condition of the local bus stand two years ago.

He had ordered the repair of the bus stand at that time. It is disappointing that the job is incomplete even today. We hope that the new Commissioner, will get the bus stand road paved.

Harbans Singh

Sarabha Nagar


MC rhetoric

This has reference to the news-item ‘City roads to wear new look’ in Ludhiana Tribune dated October 10.

This is another rhetoric by the Municipal Commissioner amongst many others in the recent past and boldly published in your esteemed daily. The only difference this time is that the Commissioner has roped in the Mayor also.

Divali is not far away and hapless Ludhiana Citizens will come to know soon whether this time it is a solid commitment to give city roads a new look or another gimmick made on the suffering citizens to befool them, courtesy the Mayor and the Municipal Commissioner.

In the meantime, I will suggest the Municipal Commissioner to go personally and see the shabby patch work done by the contractors with the connivance of the engineering wing of the corporation on the roads of Dugri Urban Estate, Phase-I and II and the double road alongside the Sidhwan Canal, known as Leisure Valley. Where there were 10 ditches on a piece of road only four to five have been repaired and the remaining have been left gaping for the road users to negotiate and avoid

Whatever patches were put up were nearly washed away after the very first rain that followed the repairs.

It is not a wastage of public money and should not the Municipal Commissioner, who claims in many a press briefing that he is a no-nonsense officer, take some stringent measures against the erring contractors and their associates.

Major S.S. Khosla (retd.)

senior citizen

Paddy residue

Apropos news-item regarding smog. Thank you for your timely warning. A few days ago, our neighbour lighted up his paddy-vacated farm at night. Because I had open heart surgery, I felt uncomfortable. He is a powerful man, I had to keep quite.

As of now, you have taken up the cause earnestly. When farmers burn paddy-vacated farms, they also kill farm-friendly insects like earthworms. I have visited organic farms in the USA. They raise earthworms on their farms which helps them to keep the soil loose. These earthworms also convert farm residue to manure, hence no chemical fertiliser is needed. If you do not believe me, please contact the following: Be wise Ranch 619 -756-3088 , Little Creek Acres 760-749-9634, Organic Planet Farms-760-731-1238 all in San Diego Country-California. I request farmers not to burn paddy residue.

Sampuran Singh

Deo, VPO Payal


Telecom staff start chain fast
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
Telecom employees today started a three-day chain fast in support of their long-pending demands. A group of employees observed the fast in front of the BSNL General Manager’s office. They are demanding parity in scales with the MTNL staff. Employees are also organising regular demonstrations during the lunch hours.


ATM bereaved

Ludhiana, October 23
The Railway Employees Union has condoled the death of Bhupinder Singh, brother of Mr Kuldeep Singh, Area Traffic Manager, Indian Railways, Ludhiana. Bhupinder Singh died after he could not resist the shock of losing his nine-year-old daughter Anjana Kaur, who died of pneumonia. The employees while condoling the death Bhupinder Singh and his daughter, expressed sympathies with the bereaved family and prayed for the peace to the bereaved souls. The bhog would be performed at Gurdwara Guru Nanakpura (west), Jalandhar, in the afternoon on Sunday. TNS

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