Tuesday, January 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


‘Tantrik’ brother of Kuldip Manak booked 
for molestation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 20
A 60-year-old ‘tantrik’, who is a brother of a famous Punjabi singer, has been accused of outraging the modesty of a female member of a family of Thrike village allegedly on the pretext of freeing her two-year-old son from the influence of devil.

After carrying out a day-long investigation, the Sadar police booked the alleged tantrik, Rafiq Khan, son of Nikka Khan and brother of Punjabi singer, Kuldip Manak, under Sections 354, 452 and 506 of the IPC. The accused lives in Guru Amar Dass Nagar, near Thrike village. The charge include advance preparation of assault, molesting a woman, criminal intimidation and trespass.

Yudhvir Manak, son of Kuldeep Manak, while commenting on the unsavoury incident to Ludhiana Tribune on the phone, said though his father and his uncle were not very close to each other any longer, yet they suspected the veracity of the complaint. He said his uncle was an elderly man and had never done anything of this sort throughout his life, even though he had been a ‘tantrik’ for many years.

The incident took place in a house near the village at about midnight. The victim, a married woman, allegedly used to visit the ‘tantrik’ for curing her son, who cried a lot. The ‘tantrik’ said the child was possessed. He told the panic-stricken parents that he would handle everything and gave an appointment of last midnight.

The father of the child was told to bring certain things like pulses, threads and other things. After conducting the puja, he sent the man away to throw some items in a canal or river. When he was away, he told the woman to strip and take a bath so that she was relieved of all her problems.

He also gave her same ash to rub on her body. However, he, allegedly forced her way into the bathroom and started molesting her.

The shocked woman raised an alarm and was rescued by her husband, who had just returned after performing the task of throwing some items in the Sidhwan canal. The tantrik was beaten up, but he managed to flee.

Police sources said the harassed family approached the village panchayat. They went to a city police station at about 1 am to lodge a complaint but they were directed to go to the Sadar police station, as the area fell under that police station.

Family sources told Ludhiana Tribune that they believed the ‘tantrik’ as he was the elder brother of a famous Punjabi singer. They said the child had some physical ailments and they were told by some person that the tantrik could do the job for them.

Meanwhile, several influential persons close to the famous Punjabi singer were making all out efforts to scuttle the police action in the case. Sources said the case was being discussed at a senior level as it concerned an influential family. The police, however, refused to buckle under any of pressure and booked the ‘tantrik’.

A police team visited the spot in the afternoon and inquired about the sequence of events from the villagers. The panchayat members had also corroborated the statement of the aggrieved family.

Police sources said teams had been sent to raid the possible hideouts of the tantrik.



Cold hits business, travel
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 20
Extreme cold prevailing in the region has hit normal life in Ludhiana. Markets and roads wear a deserted look, as everyone prefers to stay indoors. Though the district administration has closed all educational institutions, as long as the cold persists, some schools are continuing to hold higher classes.

One of the biggest sufferers has been the Sunday Market set up in Chaura Bazar. A visit to the market yesterday showed that roadside vendors had not received even 25 per cent their usual business even after offering heavy discounts. The goods are going damn cheap.

With weather experts suggesting that these conditions may prevail for a few days more, shopkeepers of Chaura Bazar, who mostly have rural clientele, do not expect much business. “People prefer not to move out or go shopping in such harsh winters,” said Mr Raman Kumar, a silk trader of Chaura Bazar. He was satisfied that the continued cold had helped in clearing most of the hosiery stock.

The hotel and restaurant business, too, has been hit. According to Mr N.S. Nanda, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab, the occupancy has come down by 70 per cent. He said: “People do not like to travel in such cold, even if they have to make important business trips.”

The bars have been the worst-hit. Mr Nanda said: “Contrary to the expectations that, in winters, people would like to have more drinks in the bar, bars have had few customers. By 10 pm, the bars are closed, as there is no customer. Because of the dense fog, people avoid driving.”

Trains and buses have also been delayed by hours. Not a single train was running on time today, like it has been for the past several days. The late arrivals of trains have forced regular passengers to either avoid travelling or take alternative modes of transport. Even the super fast trains like Shatabadi are running late by several hours.



Cop alleges police torture
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 20
Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, MLA, Amloh visited the civil hospital here yesterday, to enquire about the health of cop Balwinder Singh (36) has been undergoing medical treatment there since Lohri Festival. As stated by cop Balwinder Singh, who is posted as Head Constable in the excise wing at Patiala, he had come to his house in ward No 6, Amloh, to celebrate Lohri of his son.

During Lohri celebrations, Balwinder’s relatives were busy performing bhangra. In the meanwhile, two drunken cops allegedly entered the house and indulged in indecent behaviour with women. They were pushed out of the house, which was then bolted from inside.

After some time the two cops came back again with more police force and thrashed him. They put him into their vehicle. When his wife objected to the high-handedness of the police, cops abused her.

Balwinder Singh was taken to the local police station, his clothes were put-off and was tortured naked in the biting cold of the night. He was admitted and medically examined in the Civil Hospital. Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot expressed concern over the incident and said he had brought the matter to the notice of the SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib. He assured the members of the family of the injured cop that the government would not spare the lawbreakers.

On the other hand, on the statement of Jagroop Singh, Head Constable, the police has registered a case against Balwinder Singh. It has been alleged in the complaint that Jagroop Singh and Ajay Kumar (SPO) were on duty on January 13, at the Mandi Gobindgarh chowk, Amloh. Somebody informed them that a quarrel had taken place among the relatives of Balwinder Singh.

When they reached his house, they were manhandled, they alleged. Thereafter, they called in more police force and took Balwinder Singh to the police station. The injuries on the body of Balwinder Singh were the result of fighting among the relatives, police sources said. No arrest has been made in the case so far.



DC reviews LPG shortage
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 20
Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner, has said that strict action will be taken against those LPG dealers who are caught exploiting the temporary shortage of the LPG due to the backlog after a breakdown at the Jamnagar refinery.

He has told the coordinators of oil companies and the other officials concerned to inspect the LPG distribution by gas agencies in the city.

The DC reviewed the LPG shortage at a meeting with coordinators of oil companies and other officials concerned here today.

Mr Aggarwal also told these officials to listen to the problems being faced by the distributors and consumers.

At the meeting, Mr S.K. Wassan, District Coordinator LPG, said the backlog was likely to be cleared shortly.

He also said Indian Oil had already covered the backlog, whereas, the BPC had a backlog of 10 days and the MPC had a backlog of five days. The oil companies have assured the DC that they will tide over this situation shortly. People should not panic.

Ms Simarjot Kaur, District Food and Supply Controller, said the department was properly monitoring the situation on daily basis and no dealer would be allowed to fleece people by creating an artificial shortage of the LPG.

Mr Rahul Bhandari, ADC (G), and Ms Bhawna Garg, SDM (East), also attended the meeting.



Encroachments pose problems for public
Our Correspondent

Samrala, January 20
The unauthorised encroachments in the township are causing hardships to the residents. The civic body, responsible for removing these encroachments, is also feeling helpless in doing its job.
The problem illegal and unauthorised encroachments still persists because of the alleged connivance between the civic body and the defaulters. They have become a hazard for the travelling public and the vehicles plying on the roads.

For example, the National Highways which pass through the town on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road find encroachments galore. Many accidents have occurred on this road due to these encroachments. Similarly, the Samrala-Khanna road is choked with heaps of cow-dung and unauthorised parking lots. The Samrala-Machhiwara and the Samrala-Beeja roads are littered with heaps of dirt and rubbish. Same is the condition of the Samrala-Behlolpur road.

The pleas of the residents with regard to these encroachments seems to have fallen on deaf ears. The grievances committee also seems to be a toothless agency for the job. The politicians of the town are also not taking keen interest to get these encroachments removed. The social workers of Samrala, Mr Kuldeep Khullar, Mr Amar Nath Tagra, Prof Hamdardveer Nausheharvi, Mr G.S. Prince and Captain Makhan Singh, Commandant Rashpal Singh have appealed to the local SDM, Mr Jaspal Singh Jassi, to look into the matter personally for an early redressal.



Homeless and pitted against cold
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, January 20
Bhiku, a tramp, collects waste papers, cardboard boxes, and other waste material and sells them to earn livelihood. Since it can barely give him two square meals, it is unthinkable for him to have a roof over his head. Homeless he sleeps in market place. But the police often chases him away and now he sleeps out in open .Now Bhiku and his ilk, migrants, penniless, homeless and defenseless against extreme cold, these people have not been able to sleep as their frail frames and very few woollen clothes cannot face the cold, icy winds and such low temperatures.

There are many unfortunate people who have no other choice but to sleep in the open under the fog-filled sky. They have migrated from states like Bihar, Orissa and UP looking for jobs. But in spite of their best efforts, they have not been able to find permanent jobs. Ill equipped to face the wrath of harsh weather and an equally harsh police, which does not allow them to sleep in the vacant market places, they are driven out to spend endlessly long anguish filled nights.

Suju, Kamal and Laghu, all from Bihar, are losing their energy facing harsh cold. All young men have been unable to land jobs. They say, “There are no night shelter for people like us. The police drives us away from railway platforms. market places. Where shall we keep our meagre bedding? We have to find a place to answer the call of nature. During night, we light up a bonfire of waste material to keep ourself warm. Even stray dogs come closer to us and we let them be with us as they give us their warmth.”

People talk of electricity cuts, cold weather, change in school timing but no one talks of these homeless people- how these people would be faring. “Why do the government have to spend money on useless things? Why can’t they build night shelters for such people and provide them with hot soup. Soup kitchens should be run for them. But who cares. They do not bother the conscience of politicians. But even the NGOs are not bothered. They can spend a lot of money on making arches for various processions, but will not do any thing for home less and houseless people who are living under trying conditions,” lamented Professor Jagjit.



Resentment against cable operators
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 20
With the Cricket World Cup only a few weeks away, the cable operators have once again started holding the consumers to ransom by charging exorbitant rates. The rates charged by the operators range between Rs 350 to Rs 400 per month per connection. Several organisations have already highlighted the issue and appealed to the district administration to intervene.

The National Consumers Awareness Group Ludhiana Unit president Mr M.P. Singh Gogia, the Anti-Corruption Council for India’s secretary-general, Dr Shiv K. Gupta, the Urban Estates Welfare Society general secretary, Mr H.S. Lamba, the Indian Crime Prevention Society Punjab president Mr Naveen Sharma, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) Legal Cell convener, Mr Kirpal Singh Kalra, the Lal Bahadur Shastri Social Forum president, Mr Sushil Malhotra, the Urban Estates Ram Lila Dussehra Committee presidnet, Mr Raj Garg, have jointly appealed to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, to take strict legal action against the Ludhiana cable operators who have increased their fees many a time. Three years back, they were simply charging only Rs 100 per month, while now they had “illegally, and illogically” enhanced their fees to 350 to 400 per month.

They said that the cable operators were blackmailing the public in view of the cricket World Cup starting in South Africa. Moreover, the rates charged by cable operators in the same locality were not same and they were charging different rates from different segments of public.

They demanded that all cable operators must issue printed and signed receipts so that the number of their connections may be verified. Most of the cable operators concealed the facts of the actual number of their customers so that they may not have to pay any charges to the selling channels like Sony, Zee TV, Star Channel etc. They also concealed their actual income. Therefore, the Income Tax Department must make special raids to detect leakage for income tax revenue.

They threatened that the consumers would get their connections disconnected enmasse, if the cable operators did not reduce their monthly charges. The forum would also file the complaint at all the district consumers forum and MRTPC Commission for necessary intervention in the case and direction to the cable operators to adopt logical and legal fee structure.



Rough road called southern bypass
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 20
The imposition of toll tax near Doraha on the National Highway 1, is taking a toll on the road alongside the Sidhwan Canal that connects the city with Doraha. The road needs immediate repair.

Potholes and bumpy rides are the order of the day on this road, the southern bypass of the city. Maintaining this road has always been a problem for the authority concerned, as it runs along a water body. The situation has worsened after the National Highway Authority of India has imposed the huge toll tax near Doraha.

While the road always had a lot of traffic on it, smart drivers discovered this road as a new route between the city and Doraha to evade the tax. After the setting up of barrier at Doraha, the traffic increased manifold on this road, creating, potholes and gaps.

Frequent users of the road complain of bumpy rides. They pay numerous taxes to the government, but don’t get smooth roads in return. At night, the journey becomes more difficult, due to a lack of streetlighting on the road.

Drivers lose control of vehicles at night, as they can’t pick the potholes in the dark. The ride becomes dangerous, as one can easily fall into the canal. I have been seeing it for the past two years, but the road has never been repaired,” said a commuter.

Mostly private vehicles like cars and jeeps ply on this road. Heavy transport vehicles rare sight on the road. If light traffic can ruin the road to such an extent, the state of this 30 km stretch, from Ferozepore Road of Ludhiana to Doraha, can be easily gauged.

Mr Gurnam Singh Azad, Executive Engineer Public Works Department (B&R), blamed the condition of the road on the paucity of the funds. He said the PWD had written to the state government about it and chalked out a big project for the repair of all major roads in the district. However, he could not say whether the road would be repaired in near future or not.

Mr Azad also said the condition of the road had worsened after the setting up of the tax barrier at Doraha, but, roads were meant for heavy traffic; and it was the duty of the maintenance authority to provide commuters with good roads.



Club celebrates couples’ day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 20
In spite of foggy weather, 650 odd members of the Gitanjali Ladies Club and their spouses turned up to celebrate annual function and couples’ day on the club premises last night. The members had worked hard to make the function success. The main features of the function were inter-club dance, skit and games.

The evening started with ‘Vande Mataram’. Skit Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, was a satire on the present day society. Inter-club dance competitions proved entertaining. The Sarabha Nagar Ladies Club presented the best dance and the second position was secured by the Gayatri Ladies Club.

The best couples on the dance floor were awarded prizes. In the senior section, Mr and Ms Bhalla were declared best dancers and in the junior category Mr and Ms Rimpi won the prize.

A couple that carried the biggest bunch of keys was also given a gift.

The president of the club, Ms Jatinder Walia, and the secretary, Ms Gurmeet Walia, welcomed the guests that included Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of State, Mr Surinder Dawar, MLA, Mr Rahul and Ms Rakhi Bhandari (ADC’s) and Ms Bhavana Garg, SDM.



1 held for selling adulterated kerosene
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 20
On a tip-off, the Division No 4 police has arrested Tarsem Lal, a resident of street No 3 in Fatehgarh mohalla, and booked him on the charge of selling blue kerosene in the black market. The police said it seized two drums of kerosene from his possession which had been adulterated by the accused.

Booked for bigamy: The Civil Lines police has registered a case of bigamy under Sections 494, 420 and 120-B of the IPC against Mukesh Kumar, a resident of Delhi, on the complaint of his first wife, Ms Kamla, a resident of Ghumar Mandi. The woman had alleged that her husband had married another woman while their divorce case was still under way in a court.

Two held: The CIA Wing of the city police, on the directions of the SSP, raided a place in Giaspura yesterday and arrested two members of a gang while three others managed to elude the cops. The gang was allegedly hatching a plan to commit dacoity. The arrested have been identified as Munmun Bihari and Santosh Kumar Bihari. Those who are absconding have been identified as Navdeep, Shankar and Umesh. The police has also seized two desi pistols and several cartridges from their possession and booked them under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act and Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC.

Jeweller duped: The Civil Lines police has registered a case under Section 406 of the IPC against an unknown person on the complaint of a jeweller at the Fountain chowk who was allegedly duped of three gold chains on Saturday evening. The jeweller, Mr Alok Malhotra, had alleged that the unknown person took three gold chains from him on the pretext of showing them to his family members who were supposedly sitting in a car outside the shop. It was only after a while that the jeweller realised that he had been duped.

Fraud alleged: The Haibowal police, on the statement of Mr Akbar Hussain, a resident of Jwala Singh Colony on the Jassian Road, has registered a case of fraud against Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Sirhind mohalla. The complainant had alleged that the accused had taken Rs 15,000 and his motor cycle from him on the pretext of securing a bank loan for him. But the accused neither returned his money nor the motor cycle and neither secured a bank loan as promised by him.

CDs seized: At least six shopkeepers have been caught by the Basti Jodhewal police for selling duplicate audio and video CDs. Most of these CDs were of new films, some of which are yet to be released.

The shopkeepers were operating from the Subash Nagar market. About three sacks full of CDs were seized in the raid. Several shopkeepers downed the shutters of their shops, later, to protest against the police action.

Gamblers held:
The Sahnewal police has arrested five gamblers in two separate cases registered at the Sahnewal police station. In the first case, Vijay Kumar, Vishal Kumar and Pardeep Kumar, all residents of Nandpur village, were arrested. A total of Rs 1,150 was recovered from their possession. In a similar case, Rs 750 were recovered from the possession of Vikas Kumar and Sandeep Kumar of Nandpur village.

Booked: A case under Sections 341, 294 and 560 of the IPC has been registered at the Sahnewal police station against three people for alleged threats made to a women on Sunday.

Nardeep Kaur, a resident of Dehlon road, Sahnewal, has complained to the police that she was obstructed on her way by Bittu of Majara village and Goldi of Dehlon road, Sahnewal.

The alleged accused, the complainant said, threatened her and used abusive language. She said they demanded that they should be allowed to meet the complainants' daughter often and without any hindrance and if the complainant objected to it, she would have to pay for it.

The case has been registered but no arrests have been made so far.

Opium seized: The Raikot police has seized 2,120 gm of opium from Daler Singh of Seo Majra village from a secret box built in a tanker (MP 09 K 7537) and registered a case under sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.



Industrialist booked for stage-managing kidnapping
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 20
The alleged kidnapping case of a New Kuldip Nagar-based industrialist and his assistant has proved to be a stage-managed case with the Basti Jodhewal police arresting both of them.

According to the police, Prem Chand and his assistant, Kishan Lal, owed money to several persons and had disappeared on their own. They cooked up a false story of kidnapping to avoid people to whom they owed money. Prem Chand was not even an industrialist as was claimed earlier.

Both of them have been booked for cheating. The earlier case of kidnapping has been cancelled.



Killing shot by ‘fake’ doctor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 20
An allegedly fake homoeopathic doctor, practising from a roadside kiosk, has been arrested by the Basti Jodhewal police on the charge of causing the death of a woman by administering her a wrong injection.

The 50-year-old woman, Veena Rani, who lived in New Madhopuri, was given the penicillin injection without any initial test. The police said the doctor claimed to be a qualified one, but his degrees seemed fake.



Hotel industry hails steps to boost tourism
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 20
The Hotel and Restaurant industry in Punjab is upbeat over several promotional measures being taken by the government to give a boost to the tourism trade in the region.

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab has hailed the government move for taking up the issue of listing the Golden Temple in Amritsar as a ‘World Heritage Site’ with UNESCO. Mr N.S. Nanda, President of the association, has expressed his gratitude to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and Mr Ashwani Sekhri, State Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, for their initiative. “It (the Golden Temple) is an important monument not only for the people of Punjab but also for the entire mankind. Moreover, it would also be a befitting honour on the occasion of the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in 2004.”

Mr Nanda has urged Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, Shiromani of the SGPC, to rise over petty political differences and to offer full support to the government and INTACH for getting Golden Temple listed as a ‘World Heritage Site.’ On behalf of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab, he also extended full support and cooperation to the Department of Tourism, Punjab and the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the proposed ‘Heritage Festival’, to be held on February 14 at Patiala.

He lauded the government move for recommending the PSEB to charge industrial tariff of electricity from the hotel industry as per a notification of the state government, issued on March 20, 1996, instead of the commercial tariff being charged at present. Till now, the PSEB was refusing to treat hotels and restaurants as an industry and they were being made to pay for the power consumed on commercial rates. Charging industrial tariff would not only boost the hotel industry, but would also increase the tariff compliance by the hoteliers.

Mr Nanda has strongly criticised the proposed hike in power tariff, as recommended by the PSEB to the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission from 33 to 48 per cent. “This massive hike will prove a big blow to the hotel industry, which is already facing a crisis. Further, yet another increase in power tariff is not justified as the PSEB had jacked up the tariff only a few months back (in August last year).” Talking about the acute scarcity of LPG, which had caused great deal of hardships to the hotel and restaurant owners, he alleged that certain unscrupulous distributors in the city had deliberately created the artificial scarcity for their personal gains. He called upon the district administration and the Food and Supplies Department to intervene and properly regulate the LPG supply in the city.

Mr Nanda has also appealed to the state government to come out with a new tourism policy without any further delay as the matter had been hanging fire for quite some time now.


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