Tuesday, November 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cheated villagers lose houses
Demolitions in illegal colonies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
A team of administration officials demolished some constructions and closed down a tubewell of Baba Jiwan Singh Nagar in Kulliewal village here today, following the recent orders to raze illegal structures in the area.

The orders had come after a ban on such construction imposed by the administration a month ago.

A team of Patwaris and Kanungos visited Kulliewal village today, where illegal colonies have mushroomed over the past several years. The team demolished a newly constructed private tubewell and stopped the construction of a house as well.

Yesterday, the SDM and some other officials had visited the site and stopped the construction of a house and got a boundary wall razed. The demolitions were scheduled for November 9, but, as the Ludhiana police was preoccupied due to ensuing SGPC elections, officials had to postpone the action.

Meanwhile, tension prevails in all illegal colonies of Kulliewal village, that have come up on land belonging to the provincial government. The villagers don’t know whether all houses there will be razed or only the recent constructions will be demolished.

Womenfolk gathered around news reporter, to know about the future of their house. Most houses owners did not know whether the land they had bought had been sold illegally or not. As the colonies are of the poor, most persons living there have spent their lifetime earnings on buying plots and constructing houses in the area. They named certain property dealers who had sold the land to them.

The villagers said the property dealers had told them that, if they wanted land at throwaway prices, they would have to make do with unstamped registrations. The temptation of owning cheap plots urged them into the trap. They said they had learnt the truth from newspapers.

Some women said their husbands had gone to consult lawyers, and, in all possibility would move court against the orders of the district administration.

Some of them were confident that the demolitions would stop, as the houses in the area belonged to supporters of some prominent politicians. They said the delay in demolitions would help them achieve success.

The issue had been hanging fire in the city for the past two years. It had come to light when a claimant of a land in Kulliewal village had said about 100 acres of government land had been sold off by some private persons, in connivance with some revenue officials.

Revenue records show, the area as an agricultural land and mentions even names of the tillers, though thousands of houses have come up in the village. Even a former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had directed the administration to conduct an inquiry into the case.

A former Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, had ordered the demolitions, but no steps had been taken by anybody to remove the encroachments, so far.



Kidnapped child’s kin picket police station
Police suspects kidnapping theory
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Agitated parents and relatives of a nine-year-old boy, kidnapped for ransom by an alleged gang of migrant labourers on October 29, marched up to the Focal Point police station today afternoon and held a dharna for over an hour to protest against the non-recovery of the child by the police.

The latest police investigations, meanwhile, state that the child may have been taken out of the state and was either in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar. The district police was in a fix on how to trace the whereabouts of the child and to get him released.

One line of investigation was if the child was ever kidnapped. Police sources said there seemed to be lot more than what met the eye in the case.

The protesters were led by some local politicians. They lifted the dharna only after the Focal Point police staff assured them of speedy action in the case as well as after convincing the parents that the police had done whatever was possible to recover the child.

The police has also warned the protesters that such actions would only worsen the situation. Police sources said in kidnapping cases, the police normally acted quietly and if the progress of the case was leaked by family members or other sources or the police had to explain its progress at such dharnas than the safety of the child could be affected.

Police sources disclosed that the child was out of the state and negotiations were on with the alleged kidnappers.

The child, Honey, son of Mr Umesh Kumar, owner of a sanitary and karyana shop, in Fauji Colony had gone missing on October 29 late evening near his house. The family suspected the involvement of a former tenant, Manarakh Choudhry, who had a fight over some issue with the family few days before the alleged kidnapping incident. A case was registered against the suspect. A ransom amount of Rs 25 lakh and later of Rs 10 lakh was demanded by the alleged kidnappers.

Today afternoon, family members, along with concerned citizens, went to the Focal Point Police station. Carrying durries they squatted outside the police station demanding immediate police action against the kidnappers and recovery of the child. They laid a seize at the entry gate of the Focal Point police station. Senior police officials, busy with the security arrangements regarding the SGPC elections, rushed to the site to talk with the protesters.

The Focal Point police was carrying out investigations in the case on a war-footing. Family sources said the case was kept under wraps all these days considering the sensitivity of the situation as there was a threat to the life of the child. However, the family, after waiting for police success for long, flashed the pictures of the child on the local cable TV network. The case gained momentum two days ago when the police picked up a youth, Vicky, from Kalyan Nagar yesterday in connection with the case.

The police hopes of success in the case, however, dashed to the ground after the youth’s interrogation. The youth admitted that he had made a call to the victim’s family demanding ransom amount. However, the youth despite stringent questioning, maintained that he had seen the child’s missing advertisement on the cable network and just played a prank on the family. The police said though the youth had already paid dearly for the prank, they were detaining the youth for further questioning.

Mr Ramdhan, a relative of the victim’s family said on that fateful evening, the kidnapped child, Honey, had gone to his house from the shop but never reached his house. The family searched for him at several places but his whereabouts remained unknown. Two days later, the family received the first ransom call.

Police sources said there was no laxity in investigation but the progress has been hampered due to the leaking of the news. The police claimed that its investigation did not suggest involvement of the tenant but nothing conclusive could be said at this juncture.



Ranjit Singh Talwandi, 203 SAD 
supporters arrested
Tribune News Service

Raikot/Ludhiana, November 11
MLA Ranjit Singh Talwandi, along with 168 supporters, was among those arrested today as the crackdown on SAD leaders and activists continued on the eve of the SGPC elections today. As many as 35 workers were arrested from Ludhiana this noon.

The MLA, with a large number of supporters, had assembled at Gurdwara Tahli Sahib and was planning to move to Amritsar when they were surrounded by the police, who informed them that they were under arrest for the breach of prohibitory orders.

Mr Talwandi alleged that the state was muzzling the will of the people who wanted to vote freely. The committee members were being coerced to toe the government line or face the consequences and results were for everyone to see. The Congress had forgotten that these elections were not political but pertained to the religious matters of the Sikhs, he asserted.

The protesters were later taken to the police station and booked and were shifted to the Ludhiana Central Jail in the evening in three buses.

One councillor R S Bhatia was among 35 Akali activists arrested by the police today.

Senior leader Darshan Singh Shivalik was presiding over a meeting of activists at the Barrewal Gurdwara which was surrounded by the police. Those present were taken to a police station and booked for apprehension of breach of peace. They include district SAD Youth unit chief Kanwaljit Singh Dua.

The latter were produced before a court which remanded them to judicial custody till November 13.

Ahmedgarh: Even as the crackdown on Akali leaders continued today, almost all office-bearers of SAD managed to dodge the police. In all 30 activists of the party were arrested at Ahmedgarh, Dehlon and Payal. They were later produced before the respective SDMs who remanded them in judicial custody.

Those arrested included Mr Amrik Singh, Sarpanch, Jandali, Palwinder Singh, panch, Nahar Singh, panch, Khalil Mohammad, Gurbachan Singh, former sarpanch, Rajinder Singh Nangal Sarpanch, Kamikar Singh Sarpanch, Major Singh, Lehra, Nahar Singh, Lehra, Rajinder Singh Dehlon, Kewal Singh Butaheri, Paramjit Sayan and Balraj Gaba. Mr Happy Verma, National Organising Secretary of the Sikh Students Federation, said Mr Nirmal Singh, former chairman of the market committee, Jagdish Singh Gasha and many other office-bearer and activists would court arrestin Amritsar tomorrow.



SGPC member still missing
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, November 11
Mr Joginder Singh Bhatiani, an SGPC member, went missing on Saturday and the police is still clueless about his whereabouts. Sources said Mr Bhatiani had sneaked out of his house after dodging policemen.

Security around Mr Bhatiani had reportedly been enhanced after Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar met him twice recently. Though he is said to be a confidant of a former Chief Minister, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, he is also close to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

The sources said because of bad health due to a kidney transplant, the police had kept a distance from him. Family sources disclosed that Mr Bhatiani had planned to go to Patiala to meet Mr Baldev Singh Mann, general secretary of the SAD, but the local police reportedly insisted on accompanying him and he dropped the idea.

When contacted his wife said,“ We have no information about his whereabouts. Rather we are worried about his health because he had been put on intensive medication by doctors after the transplant ”. She held the Punjab police responsible for his disappearance .

Mr A. S. Rai , Senior Superintendent of Police, Sangrur and Mr Rajbachan Singh Sandhu, however, denied the charges of harassment and maintained that Mr Bhatiani has “gone underground ” to safeguard his own interests. He refused to take the security, they added. Unconfirmed sources revealed that Mr Bhatiani was at Mr Surjit Singh Barnala's residence in Barnala till 9 pm yesterday. 



MCPI flays police entry in Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 11
The Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) has condemned the police entry in Golden Temple complex in Amritsar saying it was not only reminiscent of “Operation Bluestar” but had also surpassed all past misdeeds and gross interference in the elections of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to be held tomorrow.

The MCPI general secretary, Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, and the state secretary of the party Mr Kuldip Singh, in a joint statement here today, also criticised imposition of Section 144 CrPC in the entire state which had adversely affected the movement of the common people and had curtailed their civil rights. “Whole of the state has been converted into a police cantonment on the eve of the SGPC polls with mass arrests of Akali Dal activists and their implication in false criminal cases.”

They said the repressive action was a bad reflection on the functioning of the Congress government in Punjab which had the constitutional duty to ensure free and fair elections to the executive of the SGPC.

Meanwhile, the Sarb Hind Shiromani Youth Akali Dal (SHSYAD), has charged the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, with hatching a conspiracy in collusion with the Centre and the Haryana Government to regain control of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) by hook or by crook.

In a statement here, the party secretary general, Mr Sukhwinderpal Singh Garcha, chided Mr Badal for raising the bogey of ‘government interference’ in the SGPC elections to be held at Amritsar tomorrow. “Mr Badal has no moral right to talk of government interference in the face of what he himself has been doing during his tenure as Chief Minister. It was Mr Badal who had come out with the ignominious idea of electing the SGPC chief by a ‘parchi’,” he remarked.

Moreover, the same Mr Badal, who was raising hue and cry over the alleged interference by Punjab Government in the SGPC elections, was taking assistance of the Haryana Government to keep the members of the supreme temporal body of the Sikh community in illegal detention, in several cases against the wishes of the members. Besides, senior Akali leader and the Union Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, had been openly calling that Union Government should observers for a free and fair election to the SGPC. “On one hand Mr Badal is decrying government interference and on the other he is asking the government to intervene,” wondered Mr Garcha.

The SHSYAD leader, while extending support to the seven-member committee, set up by Mr Mal Singh Ghuman in a bid to rid the SGPC of political interference, observed that flagrant interference by the SAD government in religious affairs during the last five years had damaged the sanctity of the Sikh religious institutions and eroded the image of the community as a whole. He said expulsion of Mr Ghuman and his associate Mr Partap Singh from the party by Mr Badal had not come as a surprise.



Cong men rally behind Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Several local Congress leaders today came out in support of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and observed that he was handling the situation, arising out of the confrontation over the SGPC elections, in the best possible manner. The leaders claimed that the Chief Minister by his bold and decisive actions had prevented imminent violence in the state.

Taking the lead, senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Pawan Dewan, said, “The Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal was desperate in diverting the public attention from the issue of corruption, which had exposed the party and its leaders. Now they are trying to create law and order problem in the state.”

Mr Dewan claimed that the government had no role except to ensure peace in the state. He pointed out that the situation was assuming alarming proportions since the rival Akalis led by Mr Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra were threatening each other with collecting massive crowds in Amritsar.



Pension through post-office, banks
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
The Employees Provident Fund Organisation, Ministry of Labour, Government of India, has made arrangements for the disbursement of pension under the Employees Pension Scheme 1995 through post-office as well as branches of the State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank.

In order to facilitate and liberalise the disbursement of pension, the organisation has also signed an agreement with HDFC Bank Limited. According to Mr S.K. Aggarwal, Regional PF Commissioner, the agreement would be effective from November 16 and branches of HDFC Bank Limited would facilitate quicker disbursement, even after a pensioner shifted from one area to the another. As the organisation was going to be fully networked, transaction with HDFC bank would give an added advantage of a networked environment. Moreover, the EPF pensioners accounts would be opened on a zero-balance basis and the minimum balance condition would also not be applicable in the case of these saving accounts, said Mr Aggarwal.

He said as many as 5567 pensioners were getting monthly pension from the sub-regional office of the organisation in Ludhiana and a monthly payment of around Rs 125 lakh was being made by way of pension and other withdrawal benefits. Stating that it was a big step towards making the disbursement of pension to EPF members, Mr Aggarwal said this was a quicker and trouble-free method, besides being more convenient.



INTUC takes up workers’ cause
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 11
The Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) has taken up the issue of pending demands of the employees with the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr Harwinder Singh Hanspal, urging him to intervene and ask the Punjab Government to accept the long-pending demands of the workers.

A delegation of INTUC, led by its state president, Mr Balwant Rai Kapoor, submitted a memorandum to Mr Hanspal here. Other members of the delegation were Mr K.R.Tripathi, president, Indian National Bank Employees Congress, Mr J.P. Singh of the MES Employees Union, Mr Hans Raj Gagat, president, Municipal Corporation Employees Union, Mr Sunder Lal Mehta, vice-president, INTUC, Mr Shiv Kumar Gupta, general secretary, INTUC, Mr Wassan Singh Goraya and Mr Madan Lal.

The union has demanded the release of dearness allowance (DA), restoration of LTC facility, grant of time-scale of 4-9-14 years, withdrawal of ban on new recruitment, 15 per cent house rent for all employees, revocation of the policy of privatisation in government and semi-government departments, boards and corporation, payment of bonus and regularising all work charge and ad hoc employees.

It has further demanded that rates of uniforms and shoes for class IV employees should be revised, sweepers appointed on contractual basis by local bodies be paid as per the Minimum Wages Act, all part-time and ad hoc employees be duly promoted, pension facility be provided to all employees of local bodies who retired prior to 1990, contract system be abolished and all facilities like ESI, provident fund and social security be granted to employees in private sector, including small-scale units.



Kennel club holds dog show
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister of Punjab, said here today that the state government would take steps to fully implement animal-protection rules and encourage dog shows.

He said this at a gathering of dog breeders and owners at the All Breeds Open Dog Show organised by the North Star Kennel Club.

He said animals were an essential engine driving the economy of the state. He praised dog breeders and the kennel club for organising dog shows. Mr M.S. Jaggi, Assistant Commissioner (General), presided over the function.

Mr Ritinder Singh Bhinder, president of the club; Mr G.S. Bahia, its chairman; and Dr Pawittar Singh Haans, secretary general of the club; talked about efforts of the club in promoting rare breeds of dogs.

In the show, 31 breeds of dogs participated. A German Shepherd of Noori Abdullah was adjudged the best in the seventh dog show and a Rottweiler of Mr Chhibber was declared the best in the eighth show. In the puppy category, Tibetan Martiff of Himt Singh Sekhon was declared first and German Shepherd of Vijay Singh was runner-up. In the best-child-handler category, the entry of Sanjeev Kumar won the first place and the entry of Ankit Chhibber was second. The results of the seventh show: German Shepherd category — Dog of Noori Abdullah first. Ms Tuteja’s dog was first in the Pomeranian category. The dog of Gulab Singh topped the Boswe category. The dog of Mr Chhibber was first in the Rottweiler category. The dog of Mr Ajmer Singh topped the German Shepherd category. The dog of Mr Mangat won in the Labrador category. The dog of Mr Vijay Singh won in the Fox Terrior category. The dog of Mr Yuvraj Singh won in the St. Bernard category.

The results of the 8th show: The dogs of Mr Chhibber and Mr Narinder won in the Rottweiler category, the dog of Mr Ajay Pal Singh won in the Labrador category, the dog of Mr Tuteja won in the Pomeranian category, the dog of Mr Tuteja won in the Tibetan Mastiff category, the dog of Mr Vijay Singh won in the German Shepherd category, the dog of Mr Mangat won in the Boxer category, the dog of Mr S. J. Singh won in the Cocker Spaniel category and the dog of Mr Vijay Singh won in the Fox Terrior category.


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