Thursday, December 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Great train robbery: culprits TTEs
Pay them for general class; travel sleeper
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 25
If you are travelling by train from Jammu to Ludhiana, you need not buy the ticket. Instead, pay general-class fare to the travelling ticket examiner (TTE) and reach your destination comfortably, sitting in the sleeper class, without ever bothering about the ticket. Exiting the railway station is even easier — the TTE himself will escort you out.

This reporter saw this while travelling from Jammu to Ludhiana in Malwa Express. A number of passengers were travelling without ticket. The Railways may be suffering huge losses, but the TTEs always make good money. Malwa Express runs every day between Jammu and Indore. Sources in the Railways said most of the TTEs would do anything for a chance to be deployed on this train, especially in coaches S8, S9 and S10, said to be most “lucrative” for them.

These coaches are usually reserved for passengers boarding the train from stations other than Jammu, but, most berths in these coaches remain vacant — a situation that the TTEs never fail to exploit. Most of them shift ticketless passengers and travellers without sleeper-class tickets or reservation to these coaches, where they charge their own fares for journey to various stations.

Most frequent travellers on this train between Jammu and Ludhiana do not buy tickets, but offer money to the TTEs, who “help them out”. The sources said the practice had been going on for several years now and senior officials were aware of it.

Most of the TTEs, now, encourage passengers to travel without tickets and don’t even tell ticketless travellers to buy current tickets. They charge the fares without ever issuing a ticket to anyone. While this may be causing an enormous loss to the Railways, the arrangement is “mutually beneficial” for passengers and the TTEs. If a passenger wants to travel in the sleeper class from Jammu to Ludhiana, he or she will have to pay Rs 126 for single fare. Even if he or she buys a ticket for the general coach, the fare is Rs 75. Instead, passengers prefer to pay Rs 75 to the TTE and travel in the sleeper class, saving themselves also the trouble of standing in the queue for buying tickets.

The TTEs, too, feel no shame in doing this. A TTE on duty in the S9 coach on the Ludhiana-bound Malwa Express on December 24 said this was an accepted practice and everyone knew about it. He was not wearing the mandatory nameplate on the uniform and he also refused to reveal his name. He said the nameplate hardly mattered as long as he was in the uniform and everyone knew that he was the TTE. Frequent travellers recognise him anyway, as he has been examining tickets on this train for the past 10 years.


No New Year joy for abandoned parents
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, December 25
The New Year is always keenly awaited, but, it no longer brings joy to senior citizens abandoned by their children. Though these abandoned parents feel the pain of having been “kicked out” by their children, they harbour no ill will towards them.

Mr S.K. Bali (name changed on request) took shelter in a local senior citizen’s home, as no one at home looked after him. “I have a son, but his wife is working, so, they do not have time for me; but it’s fine with me as long as they are happy. I have now adjusted myself in this environment. We used to have grand celebrations when we were together in America. I have been to Europe also, but I never thought I’d be so miserable. I wish that this be the last year of my life, as I am no longer useful to anyone.”

Ms Jagatjit Kaur (name changed), another senior citizen in this home, has two daughters, who are happily married. “Though my sons-in-law are nice persons, I cannot stay with them for long. When my husband was alive, we used to go to the hills to celebrate the New Year; I have some sweet memories of it, but now, it’s just another day. I wish the New Year brings happiness and prosperity to my daughters and their families,” she said.

Mr R. Kumar, who also lives in this home, says: “I wish that a war breaks out on the New Year and everyone dies it The entire system is bad; kids do not care for parents and the government does not provide senior citizens with any facility. I do not expect any miracle to happen in the new year. My children, who have left me, have never turned up here even once to see whether I am alive or not. The New Year celebrations are for them, their wives and their independence.”

The fortunate ones, however, have already started making plans for the New Year. The occasion is celebrated in style in this city, as its inhabitants show no hesitation in spending lavishly on such occasions.

Mr Gursewak Singh of Holiday Club Tours and Travels at Dugri said tourists were choosing from a range of New Year packages. “Most of our bookings are for Shimla and Chail. The response is good this year, as revelers are confident that it’ll snow this time around New Year,” said Mr Gursewak. Many other travel agencies are offering New Year packages for hotels in New Delhi, Chandigarh, Manali, Jaipur, Kasauli and Shimla.


Widows of ’84 riots angry at acquittals
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 25
Hundreds of widows of the 1984 riots have now pinned hopes on Akal Takht for getting them justice, following the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar, a former Congress MP and one of the main accused of the Delhi riots. The Danga Peerit Welfare Society said here today that the court decision had shocked and outraged the riots widows and others who had lost their loved ones 18 years ago in the riots.

The widows have, now, decided to press the Prime Minister for ordering a CBI inquiry into the case and urge Akal Takht to intervene and get them justice. There are more than 12,000 red-card members of the organisation, who have mostly come here from New Delhi and other parts of the country.

Mr Surjit Singh, a member of the organisation, said the decision had come as a bolt from the blue to the riot-affected, as they had been confident that the case against the accused was strong. He said the decision had shocked the Sikh community worldwide. “The government did not plead the case properly, which resulted in the acquittals on technical grounds,” he said.

“The government should try the accused under POTA, now, and ensure that the verdict is delivered soon, like it has been done in the case regarding the attack on Parliament,” he said. Mr Surjit Singh said about 200 riot widows had been fearing all through that the accused would be acquitted, which had made them approach Akal Takht a few days before the decision. They, now, said it was sad that the persons clearly responsible for the pogrom had been acquitted. First, it was H.K.L. Bhagat, then, Jagdish Tytler and, now, Sajjan Kumar.

“We urge the Punjab Government to accept the demands of the affected families living in the state. The demands include construction of 327 booths in Ludhiana, 1,000 houses in Patiala and 200 houses in New Delhi. Sikh bodies should take the matter seriously,” he said.


Breakthrough in treatment of TB
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
The industrial city has become a heaven for the migrant population in this part of the region, but surveys reveal that a majority of these migrant labourers are suffering from tuberculosis.

To curb the menace, the district health administration is organising a Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), a Central Government scheme, which will provide free treatment to the TB patients in the district from December 27.

Giving details of the programme, Dr S.N.Tiwari, Civil Surgeon said that investigation of sputum will be the top priority in the programme, which, otherwise, was not stressed in previous programmes. “The patients suffering from tuberculosis will be given free treatment. The treatment includes total free investigations also,” claimed Dr Tiwari.

The treatment will be provided by directly observed treatment (DOT) providers. The district will be having 1128 DOT provides, who will be spread in the district to provide services to TB patients.

“This programme assumes special importance due to a large number of migrant population in the city. The district is having more than 4900 registered TB patients. All the patients, who have been recently diagnosed (with effect from December 4,2002), have been recruited under the programme. The programme workers will be there on all the days (except for government holidays) Initially, the patients will be given medicines on alternate days for two months. They will then be given the treatment once a week for six to eight months”, maintained Dr Tiwari.

Apart from Ludhiana, seven other districts in the state have been chosen by the Central Government. These are Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar, Sangrur, Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar and Nawanshahr.


Drought relief disbursement from Jan 1
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, December 25
The Punjab government has decided to start disbursement of drought relief for paddy at the rate of Rs 20 per quintal from January 1. The farmers will also be paid first instalment of promised bonus of Rs 10 per quintal to the farmers. The Punjab Pradesh Congress had promised in its election manifesto to give a bonus at the rate of Rs 30 per quintal for the paddy procured during 2001 if returned to power in the February elections.

According to official information available here today, the Deputy Commissioners would supervise the disbursement of drought relief and first instalment of bonus to the paddy growers. Committees at the district and subdivisional levels would be constituted to ensure proper disbursement of the relief. The subdivisional-level committee will be headed by the SDM of the subdivision and would include the BDPO, the AFSO, representatives of the market committee, commission agents and the farmers.

Dr Vajralingam, Director, Food and Supplies, Punjab, when contacted, confirmed that the drought relief disbursement would start on January 1 and the state government agencies would make the payment to the farmers who sold their produce to them. The rice millers would also make the payment to the farmers through the Punjab Government, but they would supply the list of the farmers from whom the millers had purchased paddy.

According to Dr Vajralingam, the state official agencies — the Food and Supplies Department, Punsup, Markfed, the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation and the Punjab Agro-industries Corporation purchased about 80 lakh tonnes of paddy this year from the markets and the millers purchased between 13 to 14 lakh tonnes of paddy from the farmers directly.

The Food Corporation of India has already made the payment of Rs 20 per quintal to the farmers for the paddy purchased by it.

When asked how much money the state government had received from the centre for drought relief disbursement, Dr Vajralingam said that they would receive the money when the levy rice was delivered to the FCI for the central pool. The total amount would come to Rs 160 crore as drought relief. while Rs 10 as first instalment of promised bonus of Rs 30 per quintal is also being made by the state government from its own sources.

The central government while announcing the price of levy rice had included Rs 20 per quintal as drought relief. The centre has fixed the price of levy rice at Rs 1024 per quintal.

Similarly, the rice millers were also asked to make the payment to the paddy growers out of the levy price.

It may be mentioned here that the Punjab Government is yet to receive the compensation for the drought for paddy and other crops, a request for which had been made by the state government a few months ago. The Punjab government has sought more than Rs 6,000 crore as drought compensation for the Punjab farmers. The state government claims to have spent more than Rs 1,000 crore for the purchase of power from other states to meet the power needs of the agriculture sector during the kharif season. As a result of these efforts, Punjab has recorded the ever highest paddy production as more than 1.25 crore tonnes of paddy had arrived in the mandis, and purchased by the official agencies and the millers.

The farmers who had sown crops other than paddy, including cotton, have suffered losses and have not received any compensation so far. Who will compensate them?


Menace of kite-flying
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, December 25
The sight of a colourful, high-flying kite may make one’s spirit soar, but the sight of a boy who got injured while flying a kite or chasing one prompts one to conclude that at times, kite-flying brings misery to scores of boys.

Kite-flying in the city may be fun for those who do not mind the expenses involved. They are not concerned with the pandemonium their falling kites create on the city roads with hordes of boys chasing these. The sight of a falling kite is too tempting for the underprivileged kids to ignore due to the risk factor involved in the exercise.

A teenaged boy had to undergo a long treatment after he fell from the roof of his house at Jamalpur last year. An iron road jutting out from the roof had ripped the boy’s thigh. A migrant labourer’s son was electrocuted at a labour colony on outskirts of the city while he was trying to retrieve a kite entangled in electric wires. Several cases of injuries associated with kite-flying go unreported.

Though Lohri is about three weeks away, the kite business in the city is already soaring. Shopkeepers at Daresi, who specialise in selling various kinds of kites and specially tempered threads, (door), are doing a brisk business, as also those in the Field Ganj area which is another popular centre for kite lovers.

Lohri and Basant Panchami are two occasions when competitive kite-flying takes place on the banks of the Sutlej near Ladowal and on Daresi grounds. Several individuals and teams fly their kites with high-stake betting.

In order to put an end to the menace of falling kites on the city roads, avid watchers of the kite-flying scene in the city suggest that all kite-flying activity should be shifted to open spots on the periphery of the city.


Christmas spirit all over Ludhiana
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
Christians of the city held a midnight mass last night. To celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ, they gathered in various churches of Ludhiana to thank the Lord for his sacrifice for mankind. They sang hymns and read passages from the Bible. His message of love and peace is more relevant in the present day modern world torn with strife.

The atmosphere of gaiety could be seen in the city. Confectioners were doing brisk business selling plum cakes. Gift shops were bedecked with Christmas trees, buntings, Santa outfits and other gifts.

Christmas is a greatly loved function by most of the city dwellers. Father Daniel of Sarabha Nagar Church says that for carol singing, they were invited to many Sikh and hindu homes. Christmas spreads the message of oneness, peace, joy and love and binds people .

Dozens of schools held Christmas celebrations much before the actual date as the schools close for Christmas vacations.

Christmas was celebrated in Swiss International Public School. There was vibrance, ecstacy, colour and joyous spirit all around. The air was filled with celebrations as there were dance performances, fancy dresses, mono acting and singing performances as well. Also, Santa Claus came and distributed gifts.

A kids’ dance party was enjoyed by tiny tots at Everest Playway Nursery School. The school wore a festive look with beautiful stars, flowers and balloons. The pictures of Jesus were all around. Punjabi folk dance performed by students, and the kids dressed as Santa Claus and some dressed as fairies remained the centre of attraction. The Principal, Mrs Vandana Sharma, along with tiny Santas welcomed the guests with warm wishes.


Helmets and Sikh women

A lot of hue and cry has been raised over the issue of wearing of helmets by women two-wheeler drivers and pillion-riders. It has been stated that Sikhism does not allow wearing of any kind of cap. Nowadays, it has become common to see girls and women with uncovered heads moving about, and affixing their caste — again prohibited by the Gurus for a casteless order — after the name instead of Kaur, as is mandatory in Sikhism. Political parties, too, have stepped in for their vested interests instead of trying to educate the people against this malpractice, which has assumed alarming proportions.

The cops should go ahead with the challaning drive but could exempt those who have Kaur written after names in their driving licences. If Sikh boys with shorn hair wear helmets to avoid being challaned, why the exemption for women and girls?

Gurpreet Singh

City of materialistic people

After living in Ludhiana for more than 30 years, I have come to realise that this industrial town belongs to materialistic people where the language of money speaks louder than the speech of ordinary and civilised citizens. I am referring to the views of Major Khosla, “Cheated Villagers”, published in these columns on November 28. On the one hand, the MC is demolishing houses in villages, on the other hand it has allowed money launderers to raise imposing structures flouting all bylaws.

I fully endorse the views of the Major on the apathetic attitude of MC officials towards the illegal construction in the BRS Nagar. Had the MC taken timely action on the complaint of Dr Gurkirpal Singh of 456-B, BRS Nagar, against the owner of 451-B, BRS Nagar, the problem of such violations would have been nipped in the bud.

The Congress government in the state came to power for eradicating corruption in public life and the present Commissioner was handpicked to clean Ludhiana of such maladies in public life. I am astonished to see that he is completely ignoring the problems of law-abiding citizens.

V.K. Dilawri

Banish dowry

Ours is a male dominated society. In Ludhiana the evil of dowry has grown in urban and middle class families. The inlaws demand dowry as a right and the poor girl is relegated to a secondary place and of a marginal importance in the new family. She has been reduced to a thing and not a human being.

The recent spate in the cases of bride burning in the city exposes the hollowness of our social and cultural system. The torture of married woman and cases of bride burning is rampant in lower middle class urban families. The birth of female child is still considered to be a burden on the parents and is not a celebrated event. From her childhood she is made to feel that she is a burden and the family will have to save over the years to give a hefty dowry to the bridegroom and his parents so that she buys a respectable place in her in laws’ family.

Education, beauty, good features, culture and qualification may be important but a fat dowry overweighs all these considerations. Even in modern world where women are marching ahead in all walks of life, the evil practice continues unchecked. Naked materialism and consumerism has only whetted the appetite of the dowry seekers. The dowry amount depends upon the social and economic status of the prospective bridegroom.

The Anti-Dowry Act, 1976, must be given more teeth for eradicating this social stigma. The dowry seekers should be socially boycotted and given exemplary punishments. The public and voluntary organisations should come forward to root out this evil practice from our society.

Rahul Trehan

Rampant encroachments

A shop is being constructed near plot no C-26, Phase V, Focal Point, Ludhiana (on the rear of Ludhiana Steels), adjoining Harmohit Dhaba, on the police Station-Focal Point road. The walls were constructed on 16.12.2002 and the same were white-washed on 17.12.2002.

There is rampant encroachment in this area. A small temple has been constructed near to the above site. Harmohit dhaba stated above, too, is an encroachment. In fact, the whole area along the boundary walls of the factories has been allegedly encroached upon making life a virtual hell for the people residing in the area.

Though this letter is anonymous for obvious reasons, the facts can always be verified you. Please take immediate action not only against the encroachments but also the area inspectors.

Residents of Focal Point

Rhetoric statement

This is with reference to Finance Minister Lal Singh’s statement which appeared in Ludhiana Tribune of December 4 under the heading “Lal Singh promises proper use of funds.”

This can be taken as another rhetoric statement by a politician which cannot be implemented even if the Finance Minister meant it with all sincerity, which again is doubtful, simply because of the all-prevalent corruption at all levels of governance in the state, statements to the contrary notwithstanding.

The funds, which are allocated to various schemes, are handled by the officials at the district, tehsil and village level, where sharks, in the guise of government officials, simply swallow the bulk of the money without allowing these to reach the intended persons or spent on the schemes for which these are not meant. Like Rojgar Yojna, old age pension, area development funds to quote a few of the many high sounding and well-meaning government schemes.

It is a known fact that right from the Chief Minister down to the lowest functionary, watch helplessly at the blatant misuse and embezzlement of funds. Repeated confessions on misuse of funds have been made by none other than the Prime Minister.

If politicians/ministers really want to change the system and want that the government funds should reach the intended beneficiaries, then instead of making tall claims through their speeches which are more for public consumption, they should get down to the task of correcting the system within integrity, sincerity and determination.

To achieve this they have to be ruthless in punishing the defaulters and removing them from the system, irrespective of their position and contacts, with the highups in the prevailing nauseating misgovernance.

They have to evolve the methods of checks and counter-checks involving in the process NGOs and the people who mean business and are always willing to lend their support without financial considerations.

Major S.S. Khosla (retd.)

Harassment at RPO

Apropos the four complaints received by The Tribune Adalat published in The Tribune dated December 24, 2002 (page 10 column 5,6 and 7) about the inordinate delay in the issuance of passport, there are hundreds of others who face harassment and rebuffs when they approach the authorities at the RPO office at Chandigarh. With numerous requests for timely issuance and the volume of complaints, it is not surprising that a number of letters fail to get space in these columns.

On such case is of Sandeep Kaur Sodhi, who applied for a passport on June 26, 2002 (file no. 6900036702). Hundreds of applications, not moved through agents, are deliberately delayed by the authorities with the motive of shelling out cash from the applicants. The appointment of an IPS officer on RPO, Chandigarh, has really created intolerable hassles for the applicants of passports in this region.

It is high time that the Ministry of External Affairs intervened to provide relief to the people from this region.

K.B.S. Sodhi


CMC student missing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 25
Kartik Rao (23), medical intern at the Christian Medical College (CMC), here is reported missing since December 7, 2002. According to the principal, CMC, Kartik Rao, who was staying in the men’s hostel left the hostel without any permission.

The principal said since then Kartik did not report back. He said that nothing is known about his whereabouts and anybody having any information may report to the college authorities.


13-yr-old girl abducted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
The Haibowal police has registered a case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC against Rakesh Kumar who allegedly kidnapped a 13-year-old girl living in Rishi Nagar and took her to an undisclosed place.

Mr Munni Lal, brother of the kidnapped girl, had complained to the police that Rakesh, who originally hailed from Unnav district in UP, had abducted his sister and fled the city. The police is on the look-out for the accused.

Forgery in SDM office

On the recommendation of the Deputy Commissioner, the police has finally registered a case in connection with the alleged issuance of birth certificates from the office of the SDM bearing forged signatures of the officer. According to information, a clerk of the SDM office has been named as an accused. No arrest has been made so far.

One dies in mishap

The Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 279, 338, 337, 427 and 304-A of the IPC against the driver of a Maruti Zen car, who knocked down a scooterist Mr Paramjit Singh, a resident of Phase-II , Dugri, to death near Lalton village and fled from the spot.


The Salem Tabri police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC against the driver of an unknown truck who hit and injured a scooterist, Mr Mohan Lal, a resident of Shiv Puri, near the Amaltas Resort on the Jalandhar road.

The Sadar police also registered a hit and run case under Sections 279 and 427 of the IPC against Mukhwinder Singh, a resident of Lalton Kalan, who was driving a jeep which crashed into a Honda City car being driven by Mr Veerpal Singh, a resident of Dehlon. As a result of the crash, Mr Veerpal Singh was injured and his car badly damaged.

Cases of beating

The Civil Lines police, on the complaint of Mr Sandip Verma, a resident of street No 5 in Field Ganj, has registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 324, 506 and 34 of the IPC, against Kapil Dev, Veena Kumari and two others accompanying them. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him on the road and beat him up as a result of which he was injured.

On the statement of Mr Mandeep Singh, a resident of Nooranwala, the Haibowal police has registered d a case under Sections 323, 342, 506 and 34 of the IPC, against six unknown assailants who allegedly intercepted him on the way and beat him up.

The Basti Jodhewal police has registered a case under Sections 341 and 323 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Deepu, a resident of Madho Puri, against Manjit Singh, a resident of street No 3 in Tibba Road mohalla. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him on the road and beat him up as a result of which he was injured.

On the statement of Ms Kiran Rani, a resident of Gobindsar mohalla, the Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Sections 354 and 34 of the IPC, against the driver and conductor of a mini bus. The woman had alleged that the accused were beating her son and when she came to his rescue, the accused got hold of her arms and tore up her clothes. No arrest has been made so far.


On the statement of Mr V.K. Anand, Chief Security Officer, Hero Cycles, GT Road, Sherpur, the Focal Point police has registered a case of theft under Section 381 of the IPC against Shaukat Kumar Rai. The complainant had alleged that the accused, who was employed in the factory, had been caught while stealing away nickel from the factory premises.


The Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 386 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kuldip Singh, a resident of Threeke village, against Vicky Gill, Ricky Gill, Paramjit Singh and Jeet Pal Singh. The complainant had alleged that he had bought a Maruti Zen car from the accused on installments. Since he failed to pay three installments, the accused arrived at his house and forcibly took away the vehicle.

Narcotics seized

On a tip-off, the Focal Point police has arrested Hari Lal, a migrant residing in Friends Colony in Sherpur, and seized 17.80 kg of ganja or cannabis from his possession. The accused has been booked under Sections 20, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

The Division No 2 police has arrested Rajinder Pal, a resident of Bajwa nagar, and seized 3.5 kg of poppy husk from his possession while the Civil Lines police arrested Sanjay Kumar, a resident of Jind in Haryana, and seized 6 kg of poppy husk from his possession. Both the accused have been booked under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Held for blocking traffic

The Sahnewal police has arrested Bhura Singh, a resident of Sangrur, Gurbachan Singh, a resident of Doraha and Raj, a resident of Kohara, on the charges of parking their vehicles on the road and obstructing the flow of traffic. All the accused, booked under Section 283 of the IPC, were later bailed out.

Liquor seized

The Sadar police has arrested Mohan Singh alias Mohni, a resident of Lalton Kalan, and seized an unspecified quantity of illicit liquor from his possession. Similarly, the Kotwali police arrested Raghuvir Kumar, a resident of Garha village near Jalandhar, and seized illicit liquor from his possession. Both the accused have been booked under Section 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

The Sarabha Nagar police has arrested Pritpal Singh, Ajit Singh, Varinder Kumar and Sunil Kumar on the charge of drinking at a public place and booked them under the Excise Act.

One arrested

The Kotwali police has arrested Vinod Kumar, a Nepali youth, and seized a kamanidar knife from his possession. The accused has been booked under the Arms Act.


The Jodhewal police yesterday arrested Niranjan Singh, a resident of Una in Himachal Pradesh, and booked him under Section 279 of the IPC on the charge of carelessly driving his Tata Sumo at a breakneck speed.

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