Sunday, November 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


SAD gen secy Bhatia kidnapped, assaulted
Masked men leave him with shorn beard
Tribune News Service

A gathering outside the gurdwara of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar
A gathering outside the gurdwara of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Ludhiana, from where the general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal was kidnapped early on Saturday. Photo Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, November 16
Mr Gurbax Bhatia, general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal and a former secretary of the management committee of the Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar gurdwara, was, reportedly, kidnapped by four youths from outside the gurdwara early here today. The youths, who took him away in a car, also beat him up and trimmed his beard before throwing him out of the car at Thrike village, about 5 km away from here.

Mr Bhatia had visited the gurdwara for his early-morning prayers. At about 6 am, he had just reached the place when a car stopped near him. A youth came out of it and asked him the way to some place. He, then, threw Mr Bhatia in the car. From Thrike village, where he was left, he returned to his house in BRS Nagar at about 7.30 am. He could not tell who had kidnapped him, as they had their faces covered.

The motive of the attack is still unknown. Mr Bhatia said the kidnappers had been telling him all through his ordeal that they would teach him a lesson. They threatened to do the same to another former member of the gurdwara management committee.

In his statement to the police, Mr Bhatia said the kidnappers had been repeatedly mentioning the committee funds and asking him where and how these were spent.

The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case against the unidentified youths for kidnapping, assault and hurting the religious sentiments of Mr Bhatia.

The police suspects political rivalry to be the motive, as the elections of the gurdwara management committee are due in six months. The investigations are on.

Mr K.L. Chabra, municipal councillor of Sarabha Nagar, has demanded the arrest of the kidnappers and urged the police to provide Mr Bhatia and his family with security.

Meanwhile, the police has drawn flak for being slow to respond to the news of the kidnapping.

Mr Bhatia and Mr Chabra said the police had been informed at about 7.45 am, but no policeman had come to meet them till 10 am. The police said it had been informed only after 10 am.



100 structures demolished in Kuliewal
Property dealers booked
Tribune News Service

Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, Ludhiana, listen to grievances of persons whose plots were occupied by the administration after demolishing the outer walls of these plots
Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, Ludhiana, listen to grievances of persons whose plots were occupied by the administration after demolishing the outer walls of these plots in Ludhiana on Saturday. — Photos Pradeep Tewari

Ludhiana, November 16
The district administration today demolished at least 100 ‘illegal’ constructions in Kuliewal village, where around 80 acres of government land had allegedly been encroached upon and sold by certain private persons during the last one decade.

For the first time in this two-year-old controversy, the district administration decided to take head on the alleged land grabbers. Addressing a press conference earlier in the morning, The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, said he had directed the city police to book some property dealers who had allegedly duped the present inhabitants by selling them the government land.

He named those property dealers as Teja Singh and his family members, including Kamaljit Kaur, Parminder Singh and Makmanjit Kaur. Others were Jagjit Singh, Manjit Singh of Maharaja Property Dealers, Samrala Chowk, Gurnam Singh, property dealer, Surjit Singh alias Surjit Chand, Sarjit Lal, Jagir Singh, Pritam Singh, Karan Singh, Daleep Singh, Jaswant Singh , Jeet Singh, Prahlad Singh Chadha and Pal Singh. The DC directed the police to register cases against these persons.

The demolition squad, along with a heavy police force, officials of district administration and employees of the Municipal Corporation descended on Puneet Nagar in the morning. The demolition work started at around 12 p.m. The residents, who belong to the poor strata of society, did not pose any opposition and the work went on smoothly.

According to Mr Ajoy Sharma, SDM (West), at least 100 constructions, mostly the boundary walls of vacant plots would be demolished in the first phase of demolition exercise. He said that the houses having a single room were also not being demolished but the new structures that came up after the recent ban were being razed to the ground.

Mr Aggarwal said that Kuliewal village, which now falls within the limits of the Municipal Corporation Ludhiana is a residential and commercial area having a highly potential. In the revenue estate of Kuliewal village there exist abut 72 acres 4 kanals and 11 marlas of ‘gair mumkin’ land in the ownership of Provincial Government which now falls in Swatantra Nagar, Puneet Nagar, Baba Jeevan Singh Nagar and Savan Vihar.

Over the years many people have illegally encroached upon this land and have constructed houses. Many people have simply constructed a plinth or four walls to assert their possession and in some cases within the four walls they have constructed a small room with 4 inches thick walls and iron/cemented sheet to reinforce their possession.

He said that these encroachments were mainly because of the fraudulent sale agreements made by some of the land grabbers with poor people in consonance with some of the property dealers.

Explaining the modus operandi of these land grabbers, Mr Aggarwal elaborated that over a period of time the girdwari entries of the government land had been changed in the names as ‘nazaiz kaabja’ (illegal possession) and it continued to be the same even when they were not in actual cultivating possession. These land grabbers then made use of these entries in making fraudulent transactions with poor people. Over this government land for which they had shown a ‘nazaiz kaabja’, these land grabber/mafias then cut plots of various sizes i.e. 25yards, 50 yards, 100 yards, 200 yards and then over a period of time construct plinths, boundary walls around these plots. Then an agreement of sale was made with generally poor, uneducated daily wagers.

He said that since the uneducated and poor labourers had little or no revenue knowledge, and just saw the plinth or boundary or small room constructed in or around the plot, he felt that his investment was safe. The payments were made either at the time of agreements or in monthly installments. The henchmen of these land grabber came every month and if due to some reason the labourers were unable to pay their monthly installments, they were bashed up.

The Deputy Commissioner further informed that in the sale agreement, these land grabbers projected themselves as owner in possession ‘mein is jamin sda malak the kabaj haan’' and sometimes played the trick by projecting themselves as ‘mein is plot de malabe da malik ate jamin da kabaj haan’ or ‘mein is makan/kamare da malak are jamin da kabaj haan’. Mr Aggarwal claimed that the district administration had taken a strong note of it and on September 18, 2002, the SDM (East), Ms Bhawana Garg, visited all such sites along with the CRO, kanungo and halqua patwari and had in one assembly of people announced that no further encroachment should be carried out.

He said that a team of patwaris and kanungos had been constituted to survey the area and make site plans regarding (1) pucca houses illegally constructed on the government land 2) plinth, four walls, or small unoccupied rooms constructed with a view to assert possession on the land which was under the ownership of the government. This survey had already been completed the he himself had visited all such sites yesterday and ordered that copies of all such fraudulent sale agreements be collected and FIRs be lodged against the such land grabbers.

On the DC’s directions the copies of most of such fraudulent sale agreements had been taken in custody by the revenue officials and FIRs were being registered against the land grabbers. Notices under PP Act were going to be issued to the persons having pucca houses, illegally constructed over the government land and plinth, four walls, or small occupied rooms constructed with a view to assert possession and any fresh construction were going to be demolished. 



Demolition leaves residents shattered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Despair and anger were writ large on the faces of residents of Puneet Nagar and Baba Jiwan Singh Nagar here today following the demolition of their constructions in some colonies of Kuliewal village.

As the bulldozers moved ahead, razing the constructions to the ground, the owners of the plots watched the entire process helplessly.

Many affected residents were seen crying during the demolition process. The residents of the area— mainly rickshaw-pullers, labourers, small-time shopkeepers and domestic servants— rued the day when they had purchased the land on instalments. Showing the copies of agreements, they said the property dealers and the owners had claimed that they would get the legal documents after they made full payment.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Pappu, a resident of Puneet Nagar, a boundary wall of whose plot was demolished today, said he had paid Rs 39,000 to property dealers and other persons claiming to be the owners of the plot.

Mr Inderjit Singh, another affected resident, said he had bought a plot around five years ago. He demanded action against the dealers and revenue officials. A Home Guard, Ms Kashmir Kaur, had to face the ire of the people. Mr Rajinder Kumar, the owner of a 416-yard plot, was left with only 50 yards of land.

Mr Gurbachan Singh, a “Granthi” of a gurdwara, said he was also left with only one room as rest of the plot was taken over by the administration.

Whose houses were spared by the demolition squad asked the officials whether their houses would be demolished as well. 



BKU gives ultimatum to Punjab Government
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 16
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has threatened to launch a mass agitation in Punjab if the government failed to address the crucial issues concerning the farming community by November 27. A special meeting of the state executive would be convened here on November 28 to take stock of the situation and chalk out the modalities of the stir.

This was stated by BKU president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal here today after a meeting of the executive in which several pending demands were discussed. Giving details of the proceedings, he said the decision on the withdrawal of free power and water to farmers came under sharp criticism and the government was asked to restore the facility.

The BKU reiterated its demand for the announcement of minimum support price (MSP) for different crops before the sowing season so that the farmers could opt for economically viable crops.

The meeting reminded the government to implement its promise of clearing the arrears of sugarcane growers — amounting to over Rs 80 crore — at the earliest and pressed for fixing the MSP of sugarcane at Rs 143 per quintal on the basis of price index.

The BKU expressed concern over the mounting debt burden on the farmers and called for setting up a commission to devise ways and means to free the farming community from the debts trap.

The meeting condemned the imposition of 4.4 percent Sales Tax on fertilisers by the government.

It said the move had proved counter-productive as the farmers had turned towards Haryana to purchase fertilisers and the government was losing revenue.



WB team shown MC-online
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 16
The Municipal Corporation has become the first civic body in the state to have computerisation for calculating house tax, water tariff, cash collection, octroi, rents and lease and monitoring purchase, store counting, licensing and mail. The computerisation was introduced way back in 1994-95, when water-supply bills and payment records were fed in computers.

These achievements were mentioned in a presentation on e-governance in the civic body that the MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, gave to members of the Economic Mission of the World Bank, who were here on Friday. The WB team was headed by Mr Vikram K. Chand, senior pubic-sector management specialist. Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, Secretary Local Government of Punjab, and Mr R.C. Nayyar, Secretary Expenditure of Punjab, were accompanying the team.

An audio-visual demonstration of various software being used by the MC was given. The team was told that the manual system was failing under the increasing pressure of documentation, causing loss of records and an increase in the number of complaints due to faulty postings of taxes and charges. “Moreover, non-availability of old records and deliberate doctoring of records by employees are the other pitfalls of the manual system,” Mr Sharma said.

The MC prepared 2.96 lakh bills of water-supply and sewerage facility on computers every year, besides maintaining accounts on-line. The billing of house tax on about 80,000 properties here was also computerised. The MC had computerised cash-collection centers in its main office and its four zonal offices, which had reduced the collection time. Octroi collection and record maintenance were done on computers, which had improved the body’s efficiency and checked malpractices.

The MC was having trial runs of software for calculating rents and lease and monitoring purchase, store counting and licensing. To reduce complaints of delays in receiving certificates of birth and death, computerisation had been introduced for preparing these records. The MC had saved a huge amount of its funds by putting the salary accounts of its employees on-line. Steps were being taken to introduce the double-accounting system.

Mr R.C. Nayyar, Secretary Expenditure of Punjab, praised the MC for preparing the double-accounting-system module and developing geographical-information system. The GIS gives the physical detail of any pocket of the city on a digital map.

The visitors were told that the MC was the only local body in the state to have launched its own website. All public notices and tenders floated by the MC were available on the website. There were plans to introduce on-line payment of bills and on-line registration of complaints.



Sarabha’s village to be model village
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab, has announced that Sarabha village, the native village of great martyr of freedom movement Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha would be developed as a model village in the state and sufficient funds for the completion of the work on the museum in the memory of Shaheed Sarabha would be released shortly.

While addressing a function organised on the occasion of annual anniversary of Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha at Sarabha village, 25 km from here today, Mr Lal Singh said that the Congress government would give special attention for the development of the villages of the martyrs and the paucity of funds would not be allowed to hamper the process of development in these villages.

Paying tributes to Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha Mr Lal Singh said that Shaheed Sarabha was one of the main architects of the freedom movement of the country, who laid down his life during his prime youth and gave a new revolutionary philosophy to the people spearheading the freedom movement against the British rule. He said that a large number of martyrs and freedom fighters, including Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Udham Singh etc. had sought inspiration from ideology of Sarabha. Mr Lal Singh, expressing his gratitude towards the families of martyrs, said that these families were the honour of the society and announced that the government would accord all kind of financial assistance and respect for them.

Referring to the development of the state, the Finance Minister asserted that after executing strict financial reforms to put the shattered state economy back on the rails, now the state government was shortly going to implement a prestigious integrated development program, which would ushered in a new era of prosperity. Criticising former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for deliberately damaging the economy of the state by misusing the funds sanctioned by different financial institutions and the Reserve Bank for specific plan and purchase of wheat through sangat darshan programs, the Finance Minister said that during the last five years not even a single penny was released for any development project in Punjab by the World Bank and other financial institutions. He informed that now after the induction of proper and efficient financial management by Capt Amarinder Singh’s government, the World Bank had sent its team to explore the developmental and welfare projects for the release of grants and claimed that the response of the team was encouraging. He said that the main task before the government was to re-establish the completely lost credibility of the state before the international financial institutes, which were now opening their closed gates for the release of funds to Punjab. Lambasting the Akalis for exploiting the farmers with false propaganda, the Finance Minister accused them of looting farmers in connivance with the arhtiyas during their tenure in mandis and kept exhorting forceful bribes during wheat and paddy procurement.

He asserted that the Congress party was fully committed to safeguard the interests of the farmers and ensured the smooth and bribe free procurement of wheat and paddy in the state. He blamed Mr Badal for reinforcing the power bills through a deep-rooted conspiracy by constituting the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Authority headed by his most confident bureaucrat and former Chief Secretary, whom he promoted superceding many honest and efficient officers of state cadre. He reiterated that the state government would continue its tirade against the corruption and each and every corrupt leader or officer against whom the evidence was available for corruption, would be strongly punished. He appealed the people to extend their full cooperation to the government in making Punjab a number one prosperous state of the country.

Appreciating the contribution of NRIs of Sarabha village for making exemplary contributions for the development of the village and setting up of an ayurvedic college in the village costing more than Rs 1 crore, the Finance Minister said that more Punjabi NRIs were being persuaded to invest in the state. He announced grants of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 31,000 out of his discretionary quota for the village Gram Panchayat and Sports Club, respectively.

Paying tributes to Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha, Mr. H S Hanspal, President, PPCC, said that only because of the enormous sacrifices of the great martyrs, the country could become a formidable power at the international level and said that Congress government and party would ensure exemplary development of the native villages of the martyrs, so that these villages could become the source of inspiration for the coming generations. Mr Hanspal said that during the freedom movement Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Kuka martyrs and other freedom fighters from the Punjab had written a golden history of the country with their sacrifices and the whole country was proud of these great sons of motherland.

Giving special emphasis on the sports, Mr Hanspal said that young players of all games would be provided with excellent infrastructure and facilities for training by the Congress government, so that they could bring laurels to the state. He also exhorted the youth to give maximum attention on sports activities and refrain from the use of intoxicants which were causing a serious threat for the coming generations.

Among others who addressed the function included Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, President, District Congress (Rural), Mr Dharamjit Singh Khera and Mr Avtar Singh Canadian.

Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, President, District Congress Committee, Mr Isher Singh, former Minister, Mr Nirmal Singh Mahant, former MLA and Mrs Gurdian Kaur Khangura were also present on this occasion.

Later he also awarded a prize to the winner of football tournament organised by the Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha Memorial Sports Association.



Ahimsa yatra special train leaves for Ahmedabad
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 16
The ahimsa yatra special train was jointly flagged off by Lala Lajpat Rai, MP, and Dr Harbans Lal, Forest Minister, and Minister In-Charge of Food and Civil Supplies, Punjab, from the local railway station amid great fanfare here this evening.

Before the departure of the train, the Punjab Prantiya Nivedan Sabha organised a function at the platform which was attended by prominent personalities of the Jain community, Lala Lajpat Rai, Dr Harbans Lal, Mr P.C.Singla and Mr Bhupinder Singh Rimpy, president, Punjab Youth Congress. Mr Ram Kumar Jain, president, Bhagwan Mahavir 2600th Janam Kalyanak Mahotsav Committee, was also present.

The function was delayed with members of the Mahila Mandal of Terapanth Dharam Sangh singing “manglacharan” in chorus , calling upon Jain Acharya Mahapragyaji to visit Punjab in connection with his next Chaturmas.

Various speakers lauded the efforts of the organisers for making a dream of the Jain community come true as it was for the first time that more than 1,000 devotees were going by a special train to invite Acharya Mahapragyaji to the city. The speakers also thanked Jain Muni Vinay Kumar Alok for inspiring the organisers to undertake the task.

Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Muni Vinay Kumar said that his dream of seeing a special train chugging off for Ahmedabad had been realised today. He exhorted the special train passengers to sincerely pray to Acharya Mahapragya in order to obtain his consent for visiting Punjab to spend his next “Chaturmas” in the state.

Among those who spoke on the occasion included Mr Sikander Lal Jain from the S.S. Jain Biradari, Mr Suresh Jain Patni and Mr Rattan Lal Jain.

The special train, which would take four days to reach Ahmedabad, would also serve the purpose of promoting peace in the trouble-torn state of Gujarat, said the organisers.



No ban on carrying kirpan on flights
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 16
There is no ban on carrying of kirpan by Sikhs on planes on domestic flights. This has been stated by Mr R. K. Singh, Additional Commissioner of Security, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, Ministry of Civil Aviation, in a letter to Mr Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman, National Commission for Minorities.

Mr Tarlochan Singh had brought to the notice of the Ministry that Sikhs were being asked to remove kirpan on domestic flights following complaints received by him in this regard.

Mr R. K. Singh has written that it has been brought to the notice of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security that instructions pertaining to carrying of kirpan by Sikh passengers on domestic flights are not properly implemented, resulting in inconvenience to them.



Seminar on Ghadar movement
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 16
To celebrate the martyrdom day of Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha and Ganesh Pingle, a seminar on the legacy of Ghadar movement and its relevance today was organised by the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Vichar Manch at Punjabi Bhavan this afternoon. Three documentaries that had captured the communal riots in Gujarat by Gaurav Raza were also shown on the occasion. These documentaries highlighted the composite culture of the Indian society of present India. They documentated how the fascists forces had resorted to indiscriminate killings of the people, particularly women and children, in most barbaric way in recent times.

The different speakers highlighted the contribution of the Gadhar movement which gave fresh impetus to the freedom movement. The Ghadarites had consciously set out to create secular consciousness among the Indians. Inflammatory speeches by some leaders reflected the working of their mind.

The Gujarat experiment, they say, was an experiment and can be repeated in other parts of the country. The other marked feature of the ideology of Ghadarites was its democratic and egalitarian content. The Ghadarites wanted to create a truly international outlook, the need for which is as important today as it was at that time.

Prof Jagmohan, a nephew of Bhagat Singh, said that Bhagat Singh believed in equality, fraternity and liberty. Even a judge had made this observation. But now there is a reversal in the process and the values cherished by them are being frittered away.

The main speaker of day, Prof H.S. Mehta, highlighted the contribution of the Ghadar movement and called upon the people to follow the principles of Ghadarites.

An exhibition of the members of the Ghadar party was also put up. 



Talk on ‘making work as meditation’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana,, November 16
The Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) is organising a lecture on November 16 on “Making work as meditation”, Mr Rajinder Gupta, president, and Mr V K Goyal, general secretary, LMA, said in a joint statement here.

“Swami Anand Vairagya from Osho Commune International, Pune, shall be the keynote speaker on the occasion. Dr Krishna Anand, Professor and Head, Department of Clinical Psychology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, shall also present his views,” Mr Goyal Said.

“Swami Vairagya is a saint who has devoted his whole life to teach people meditation and how it can transform their lives. Swamiji, who has been conducting meditation camps all over the world since the age of 21 at the directions of Osho, shall be talking about the concept Zorba the Buddha and would enlighten the people as to how work can be made as meditation,” he said.

Explaining about the meaning of the term “Zorba the Buddha,” he said,” Zorba is a fictitious character in Greek mythology, a man whose whole philosophy revolves around pleasure of senses and luxuries of life but we normally see that people soon get tired of it and the merry-go-round turns into a sorry-go-round simply because it is repetitive in nature and only very mediocre minds can go on being happy with it. 



Diamonds dazzle Ludhianvis
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 16
The glitter, the sparkle, the brilliance, the splendour of hundreds of finely-crafted pieces of diamond jewellery — rings, earrings, pendants, collar set — under one roof really were awe inspiring in their sheer volume and huge variety. The four-day Sawarn Sambandh exhibition started at Park Plaza yesterday. The exhibition is organised by Sercon India Private Limited, India’s largest business event management. company. The endeavour of the company is to present before the clients international standard industry exhibition ‘makes’.

Ludhiana is witnessing the third Swaran Sambandh exhibition. The chief aim of the exhibition is to provide a common platform to the jewellers from all over India to develop their markets to wider number of buyers outside their cities. .NB Gupta CMD of Gees said that Swaran Sambandh is supported by the World Gold Council. Each of the jewellers has prepared extensively for the exhibition by fabricating gorgeous and astounding jewellery with new and un matched designs. Some of the gold and diamond jewellery has not even been displayed in showrooms as yet and has come straight in the exhibition

The jewellers had come primarily from Delhi and Mumbai. The pearl sellers from twin cities of Hyderabad and Secundrabad had brought with them an exotic range of pearl strings in grays, pinks, cream and rice pearls. The crafts man had the empty frames and within 5 minutes could put pearls of any kind and the earrings were ready.

Mr. N.B. Gupta said that there has been a definite shift in the attitude towards jewellery. The women are not lured by the yellow metal which for centuries had held a strong hold on women of India. He said: “The attire of the women has changed, options have become wider ,and moreover the attitude is that if you have it, flaunt it has made women choose lighter and wearable jewellery. Similar opinion was shared by Mr Anil Goyal . He said the globalisation and aggressive marketing by De Beers has made ladies switch on to diamonds.

Sandeep Narang ,too, felt from last seven years a noticeable shift from gold jewellery to Diamond jewellery is there After all diamonds are forever and a woman’s best friend.

The pearl dealers from Hyderabad, besides pearl strings and light sets, had strings of precious rubies, peridots, sapphires and emeralds.Mr. Asit said women like to wear the strings as they look elegant. The enticing jewellery tempted women to enhance their rock collection

Hyderabad traditional designs found favour with buyers. The patterns are more delicate with more filigree work. The quality of gold is guaranteed and that attracted customers. Then there were’ power zodiac rings made of different alloys using gold, silver and bronze. These rings are supposed to do wonders with health and wealth of a person. Padhika Jetwani amd Guddu, an NRI found the exhibition a blessing. They said: “Now no more trudging to different shops in different parts of the city. All the big jewellers are offering their best crafted pieces. And one can find things one has been always looking for”. 


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