Tuesday, February 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


2 traffic cops suspended for harassing 
IPS officer’s kin
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
The district police has suspended an Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police (ASI) and a Constable of the local traffic police on the charges of misbehaving with the wife and the mother-in-law of an IPS officer currently posted at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur.

According to police sources, the two policemen were ASI Jarnail Singh and constable Satnam Singh. The two policemen had illegally detained the driver of a car of the IPS officer, Mr S.S. Chauhan, in which his wife and mother-in-law were travelling. The incident occurred on Saturday late night at Jalandhar bypass road. The family was returning to its home on the police academy premises, when the policemen stopped them near Jalandhar bye pass chowk.

The policemen spoke rudely with the two women. Due to the detaining of the driver, who was allegedly dragged out of the car despite being in police uniform, the two women were left stranded on the road for nearly half an hour.

Family sources said the women and the driver had identified themselves to the two policemen but they allegedly did not pay any heed to it. Family sources said the papers of the car were complete and the driver had not violated any traffic law. Yet, the two policemen harassed them unnecessarily.

The driver and the two women were allowed to leave only after intervention by Mr Chauhan. He reportedly rang up Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, SSP, Ludhiana. Mr Sidhu took a serious note of the incident and immediately ordered the suspension of the two policemen. Mr Chauhan is a former SSP and is now posted as Deputy Director (Indoors)

Mr S.S. Chauhan, when contacted at Phillaur, however, refused to comment on the issue. He said he would not like to comment on the internal matters of the police department. Highly placed police sources here said stern action had been taken against the two cops, as misbehaviour with women was unwarranted. They said no traffic law had been violated and the conduct of the cops was contrary to the ‘polite’ image projected by the Ludhiana police.

The incident comes close on the heels of harassment caused to a team of city journalists, including a female journalist, at Alamgir last week when a car in which they were travelling was impounded by the police.

The traffic police has in fact remained in news for all the wrong reasons for the past 10 days. First, an ASI had invited criticism from his seniors as well as from people representing all walks of life, when he challaned a Sikh driver for not wearing a helmet while driving a car. The driver was the Press Secretary of SAD.

Then, three cops of the traffic police, including another ASI, were suspended for accepting bribe from some truck drivers in lieu of allowing them to pass through a police check post near Jalandhar byepass.

To cap it all, a scooter impounded by the traffic police and kept at Atam Park police post premises was taken away by some persons on forged documents.



36 judicial employees may face sack
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
Threat to terminate the services of 36 employees working at the judicial complex here today has generated a lot of tension. These staff members had become surplus after five judicial officers, who were recruited by the Punjab Public Services Commission (PPSC) during the tenure of Mr Ravi Sidhu, were terminated from a Ludhiana court. These judicial employees have been working against temporary posts.

The District and Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, is learned to have received a communication from the High Court with regard to the sacking of the surplus staff. After the sacking of the five judicial officers, these employees were adjusted in courts, copying agency and record room. The withdrawal of two courts from Khanna and Jagraon has further complicated the matter.

More than 200 employees working in the district courts today assembled in the Sessions Court compound at 10 am. A deputation of the employees headed by Judicial Employees Welfare Association’s president Jagdev Singh, vice-president Paramjit Singh, secretary, Kulwant Singh, Sukhwinder Singh Sohal, president, Stenographers Association, Mr Satpal Bhatia, president, Process Server's Welfare Association, Mr Fariyad Singh, president, Class IV Employees Union, met District and Sessions Judge Baldev Singh. But he asked them to meet him during the lunch time, as he was to attend the cases fixed for today.

During the lunch time the leaders of the employees urged the District and Sessions Judge not to dispense with the services of the surplus staff, with the plea that it would lead to the starvation of their families. They added that 30 posts were lying vacant, so the surplus staff be adjusted against these posts. Reportedly, the District and Sessions Judge told them that the High Court had given direction to terminate the services of the surplus staff, working on temporary posts. Though with the sincere persuation, the District and Sessions Judge agreed to adjust 16 clerks, three stenographers and three Class IV against the vacant posts, claimed the union leaders. But the services of the 14 employees, including eight stenographers and six Class IV employees, were likely to be terminated.

The employee leaders also tried to save a few of their colleagues, with the plea that the stenographers were ready to work on the posts of the clerks. They be also adjusted against the few vacant posts of the clerks by changing their cadres but failed to convince the competent authority.

Apprehending termination of the surplus staff, the aggrieved employees and their union leaders have sent telegrams to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court to save them from termination. In these telegrams they have urged the authorities to take their case symphatically. Sources confirmed that a representation in this context was also given to Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi, inspecting judge, Ludhiana, by fax in Circuit House, Ludhiana, who was in the city yesterday to attend a marriage function.



Gandhi Memorial in state of neglect
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

The board depicting the history of Gandhi Memorial lies in utter neglect
The board depicting the history of Gandhi Memorial lies in utter neglect.

A dog relaxes near the memorial
A dog relaxes near the memorial in Ludhiana.  — Photo Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, February 3
Just three days after the local leaders had made a beeline to garland a memorial, raised in the everlasting memory of the Father of the nation near the old bridge on the Sutlej, where his ashes were immersed as per his wishes on February 12, 1948, the place is lying abandoned and crying for urgent attention.

Various political leaders of Ludhiana and Phillaur had visited the memorial on January 30, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, and the place was given a clean look. But just after a few days the place of utmost historical importance is lying unattended.

This is a common practice that political leaders visit the memorial every year on the birth and death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, but the place remains utterly neglected for the rest of the year. People living near the place recall that the Phillaur civil administration and some politicians sometimes used to clean the place a few years ago to prepare it for these two occasions but for the last few years the place has been completely ignored.

A visit to the memorial today revealed that there were no caretakers for the place as it was littered all over and stray dogs were seen sitting inside it. Pieces of bones were also seen littered here and there.

It seemed as if the place was never cleaned. No emphasis was laid on its upkeep since its day of setting up. The lawns were not maintained. The board reading the historical importance of the place was eaten up partially by rust.

Set up in the scenic background of the Sutlej in February, 1948, after the Bapu’s death, the calm and serene environs of the samadhi were quite an attraction for the residents of Phillaur town, inmates and visitors of the Punjab Police Academy and tourists visiting the place but with the deterioration of the place , very few people visit it now.

The memorial was constructed here as this place was selected by the then Union government for immersion of the ashes of Gandhiji. He had wished that his ashes should be spread in different parts of the country. The place was just beside the then GT road bridge over the Sutlej river. However, with the passage of time the bridge became too narrow to cope up with the ever increasing traffic and another bridge was constructed at a distance. This shifted the focus from the memorial also. Today it is almost a jungle.

Civil administration sources said they were helpless about the matter as the samadhi was maintained by an organisation called Vayu Raksha Brigade. However, there was no information about the address of the organisation or its members.



‘Excise officials hand in glove with tax evaders’
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 3
Widespread resentment is brewing among the members of trade and industry over the introduction of Exim Form. The recent statement by the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, that the move had been necessitated to check the large scale sales tax evasion has added fuel to the fire.

Condemning the remarks of the Finance Minister, the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry observed that several stringent laws and departmental procedures were already in place to curb the evasion of sales tax. The Section 14-B of General Sales Tax Act would serve the desired purpose if enforced properly. Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber, was of the opinion that provisions of the sales tax act were apparently being used to harass the honest tax payer on one hand and to fill the pockets of government officials on the other hand.

Mr Sharma further said the provisions of purchase return to match with the sale return had not been made use of due to reasons best known to Excise and Taxation officials. Similarly, computerised sales tax barriers collected all the relevant information and no goods carriers could cross the barriers without providing information. "If the sales tax barriers are functioning properly and collecting all information how can somebody transport goods without paying the tax," he wondered.

The chamber president alleged that officials of the Excise and Taxation Department were operating in collusion with the tax evaders. The massive gap between the entry of goods at the local railway station and corresponding entries at the sales tax barrier was conclusive proof that traders as well as officials together were party to evasion of sales tax.

Mr Sharma maintained that the Exim Form would only serve to harass the tax payers, hamper production, restrict the movement of raw material, other inputs and finished goods and hit the crisis-ridden industry and trade hard. "The government will do well to review the decision without any delay and withdraw Exim Form in the larger interests of the state economy.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Printing and Stationery, Mr Rakesh Pandey, today assured his support to the trade and industry, saying he would take up the matter with the government and ensure that Exim Form was not introduced. At a meeting with members of the Punjab Pardesh Beopar Mandal here, he said he would convey the feelings of the trade and industry to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and would also raise the matter in the Cabinet meeting to be held tomorrow.

Speakers, including Mr Sunil Mehra, general secretary, Mr Mohinder Aggarwal, district secretary of Beopar Mandal, Mr Amrit Lal Verma and Mr D.S. Chawla, president, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, told the minister that the proposed Exim Form would cause harassment to the trade and industry, besides breeding corruption.

The traders pointed out that trucks were being detained at the state border, causing scores of problems to the members of trade and industry. "Delay caused in arrival of essential raw material and other items has adversely affected exporters, who may even lose precious business in the long run." The restriction sought to be imposed on free movement of goods would also disturb inter-state trade and discourage buyers from neighbouring states.

The beopar mandal general secretary, Mr Mehra, later made it clear that the proposed state-level protest demonstration tomorrow would be held as scheduled and the traders would further intensify the agitation if the government failed to relent.



Maruti to deal in second-hand cars
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
Taking note of vast potential in the second-hand car market, Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) has decided to buy and sell pre-owned cars. Disclosing this here today, the Managing Director of the MUL, Mr Jagdish Khattar, said: “The company will sell and buy pre-owned Maruti cars in the city and the business will be conducted under the brand name “True Value”.

Mr Khattar said owners of Maruti cars of any age could avail themselves of the facility. The cars would be evaluated through a scientifically developed and transparent evaluation system by Maruti. The system aimed at providing the best value to sellers of pre-owned cars, he said, while adding that the documentation was also hassle free. Customers selling their Maruti cars to “True Value” would also get services like finance, insurance and other benefits under one roof.

Pointing out the advantage, he said the cars purchased by them would be refurbished in state of-the-art workshops using genuine parts. He said cars up to seven years old would be sold under “True Value”, meeting the budgets of varied segments of customers. Warranty based on the age and mileage of the cars would also be provided.

Realising the potential of the second-hand car market, Mr Khattar said, in the unorganised sector, a buyer of pre-owned car was sometimes sold a stolen vehicle or a vehicle used for criminal activity. He said the service would be available in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Faridabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Nagpur, Coimbatore, Guwahati, Chennai, Ajmer, Cochin and Jammu.



‘Aggar Chetna Rath Yatra’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
The “Aggar Chetna and Sadbhavna Rath Yatra”, which will start from Delhi on February 16 and go around the country during next two years, will enter Punjab at SAS Nagar on February 26 and proceed to Rajpura on February 27, where it would be accorded a reception by the Aggarwal community. An elaborate programme has been chalked out by Punjab Pradesh Aggarwal Sammelan for the week-long movement of “rath yatra” in Punjab to spread the message of Maharaja Aggarsain of unflinching belief in democracy, non-violence and communal amity.

Addressing a meeting of state working committee of the sammelan here yesterday, its president, Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal, said the “rath yatra”, led by Mr Pradeep Mittal, president, and Mr Banarasi Das Gupta, chief patron of the Akhil Bharatiya Aggarwal Sammelan, during its tour of different towns in Punjab, would go around several important places like Jallianwala Bagh, Golden Temple and Durgiana Mandir in Amritsar and Hussainiwala Border in Ferozepore.

Prominent among others present were Mr Sat Pal Aggarwal and Dr Renu Goyal (Amritsar), Mr Ashok Bansal, Ms Veena Garg and Mr Manjit Kansal (Moga), Mr I.D. Aggarwal (Ferozepore), Mr Amit Bindal (Rajpura), Mr Om Parkash Aggarwal and Mr Subhash Gupta (Zira), Mr Manoj Gupta (SAS Nagar), Mr Subhash Aggarwal (Khanna), Mrs Manju Parkash, Prof P.P. Kansal, Mr D.K. Gupta, Mr Prem Kumar Gupta and Mr Sanjeev Gupta (Ludhiana).

According to Mr Aggarwal, the yatra would reach in Ludhiana on February 28 where it would be received by office-bearers of the Punjab Pradesh Aggarwal Sammelan and Aggarwal Sabha, Punjab. After a reception and lunch at Aggarwal Sabha Dharamshala on Shivala Road, the yatra would proceed to Aggar Nagar in the evening.

On the next day, the yatra would leave for Phagwara on its way to Jalandhar, followed by Amritsar on March 2, Taran Taran and Moga on March 3, Zira and Ferozepore on March 4, Kotkapura and Bathinda on March 5.



Jatha suggests ways for ‘cleaner & greener’ city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
The Bharat Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha has chalked out an extensive plan for the promotion of healthy environment in the entire city. The jatha has vowed to fight against the ever increasing pollution as well as filth that abounds the city. It has sought the co-operation of the residents of the city from all walks of life to help them achieve their goal.

Members of the jatha have come forward with certain suggestions that will ensure a “cleaner and greener Ludhiana”. Members are of the opinion that most of the shopkeepers throw their garbage in the middle of the road. It should be made mandatory for all shopkeepers to keep dustbins and dispose off the garbage properly.

The jatha is also concerned about industrial pollution and maintain that Industrial Focal Points should be away from the main city and should be developed as satellite towns. Immediate steps should be undertaken for the proper management of industrial effluents as these pollute underground water throughout the city due to the natural east to west flow of water table.

The suggestions put forth by the jatha included: The Municipal Corporation is duty bound to provide dustbins at crossings, main roadside and main bazaars and slum areas. It should also be mandatory for the shopkeepers to keep dustbins. Cleanliness in front of shops should be the responsibility of owners.

Many a times, the garbage collected from the ‘mohallas’ is thrown just on another crossing. This should be properly disposed off. Anti-mosquito spray should be carried out more frequently than is being done presently particularly in the slum areas so as to prevent the spread of dengue fever in the coming period.

Coming heavily on the vendors selling uncovered eatables, the jatha called for strict actions against them as they contribute the maximum to numerous stomach ailments. People should be imparted education in this regard. An aggressive campaign should be launched to educate the people on how to dispose off the non-biodegradable waste like plastics. Safai karamcharis should be educated on modern methods of waste management.

It should be mandatory for those constructing the house, to plant at least two trees inside and two just outside their house. Incinerators should be provided for management of hazardous hospital waste. Sufficient number of dustbins should be placed in Rose Garden.

Garbage on roadside should be removed by the Municipal Corporation on daily basis. At present it remains lying there for many days together. Vermiculture technology should be made popular for speedy decomposition of solid waste. Pigs and stray cattle too have become nuisance particularly in the outer areas of the city and there is a need to check this.

Construction of roads on each side of Buddha Nala should be completed. Trees should be planted on each side. Encroachments should be removed without any concessions. Park maintenance should be reintroduced. More flyovers should be constructed particularly towards CMC and hospital. More footbridges should be constructed. On main roads sidelanes should be made for manually driven vehicles like rehris, cycles and rickshaws. To ease traffic metro rail project should also be given a thought.



Rly pensioners seek concessions for senior citizens
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
A monthly meeting of the Railway Pensioners Association was organised under the presidentship of Mr Sher Singh. He strongly pleaded for granting similar concessions to senior citizens as being allowed in western countries, namely free road and rail travel during non-peak hours, free medicare facilities, free telephone connections with concessional rentals and call charges, special rebate in Income Tax and sufficient old age pension as per price index.

He further stated that the number of such senior citizens was not more than 7 per cent but the government had not been able to extend any of these benefits to them due to the financial crunch, although these political bosses and other senior bureaucrats were enjoying maximum benefits and valuable resources were being drained out in various scams.

Successive governments have failed to create pensioners’ fund for the benefit of its employees and pensioners. Mr Sher Singh further stressed that old-age pension should be raised to Rs 1000 per month at least, so that such citizens might not have to depend on their children. Mr K.L. Chitkara general secretary, moved the resolution to this effect which was carried by voice vote to appeal to the Central and state government to grant these concessions.



Commemorative stamp on Kalpana sought
Tribune Reporter

Ludhiana, February 3
Mr Yashpal Bangia, honorary secretary of the Ludhiana Philatelic Club and State President of Philateic Congress of Punjab convened a meeting of the its members on Sunday, pay homage to Dr Kalpana Chawla. They resolved to urge the Centre to release a commemorative stamp in memory Ms Kalpana Chawla.

The principal, Mr Ranjit Singh of Government High School , Salem Tabri said the school had held a condolence meeting to mourn the death of seven astronauts who lost their lives in tragic manner when their spaceship Columbia went into flames. Special homage to Kalpana Chawla who was a becon light for the youngsters.

Fatehgarh Sahib: The local bar association, at a condolence meeting held here on Monday under the presidentship of Mr M.S. Sehgal, paid tributes to Kalpana Chawla who lost her life during her space expedition. The lawyers observed a two-minute silence to mourn her death.



Parents cautioned against drug abuse
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
Dr Rajeev Gupta, psychiatrist addressed members of the Rotary Club of Ludhiana North here recently. He gave a talk on addiction problems and depression. He discussed with the members about the common causes and symptoms of drug addiction. Dr Gupta said since the menace was acquiring alarming proportion. It was essential for them to be alert about the problem in their children.

Dr Gupta said in case children showed any change in behaviour and undue aggressiveness, misuse of drugs should be suspected. He said majority of smack addicts used smack in the toilet and odd smell in the toilets raise suspicion. He blamed TV channels and cable programmes for giving a distorted picture of the social and family life in the country.

While talking on depression, Dr Gupta said when any person had persistent sadness, loss of interest in life, negative ideas, weeping spells, suicidal ideas and severe sleep disturbances, one should take psychiatric help. He said the continuing economic recession had hit the people very hard in Ludhiana and other adjoining towns. He felt that sudden change in lifestyles was increasing stress levels and causing epidemic of depression and other psychosomatic problems.



Lok Bhalai Party targets youth
Tribune News Service

Narangwal (Ludhiana), February 3
“The Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) plans to enroll 50, 000 youths in the state by March,” said Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, MP and president of the party .
Accompanied by noted Punjabi singer Harbhajan Mann, who is also the president of the party’s cultural wing, Mr Ramoowalia addressed students at Narangwal, Sudhar and Dakha. Hundreds of students pledged to fight social evils like dowry and shun alcohol consumption and drug abuse. Three girls, who had been cheated by their NRI grooms, narrated their tales of woe at the gatherings.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Ramoowalia said the only way to fight social evils was to prepare the new generation to shoulder their responsibilities, hence, the party’s focus was on enrolling students for the Lok Bhalai Student Force.

“There is a great need to awaken and organise the youth to tackle the pressing social problems. They are the citizens of tomorrow and should be sensitised towards the burning issues,” he stressed.

He claimed that his party was not pursuing any big political agenda but concentrating on various socio- economic issues.



SAD to block traffic on  GT Road
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 3
The Shiromani Akali Dal, Khanna (urban and rural circle), organised a meeting at Gurdwara Kalgidhar, G.T. Road, Khanna, on Sunday under the presidentship of Jathedar Daya Singh, President, SAD, Ludhiana (rural).

The meeting was organised to chalk out the programme of ‘rasta roko andolan’ to be held on February 10. It was decided in the meeting that Khanna and Payal Circles of the SAD would block traffic at the G.T. Road in front of Manji Sahib Kotan Gurdwara.



PSEB Foundation Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
An impressive function marked the celebrations on the 44th Foundation Day of the PSEB here today. The event was held by the Central Zone of the board and was inaugurated by Mr J. N. Sachdeva, Chief Engineer.

According to Mr Gopal Krishan Sharma, a spokesperson, a large number of employees took an active part in the festivities. Speaking on the occasion, Mr R S Khokhar, SE, said the board was a part of the PWD and came into being at Patiala in the present state in 1959.



9 booked for attempting to grab land
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
The Sarabha Nagar police has booked nine persons for committing fraud and forgery in order to grab a prime land worth crores belonging to Decent Neighbour Co-op House Building Society, Barewal, on Ferozepur Road, here.

The case was registered on the complaint filed by Mr Jaspal Singh Chugh, an advocate and former president of the society, and Mr Harbhajan Singh, president of the society. The complainants had alleged that the accused had tempered with and forged the original record of the society, in connivance with officials of the Cooperative Department. According to the FIR, the accused had allegedly forged the signatures of the deceased treasurer of the society on the money receipts of the society pertaining to 1991.

A case under Sections 420, 465, 467, 471, 120-B, IPC, has been registered against nine persons i.e. Bhupinder Singh, Rajinder Singh, Darshanjit Singh, Gurdial Singh, Iqbal Singh, Harmohinder Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Jatinderjit Singh and Harbhajan Kaur.

Those accused are not members of the society and have not deposited any sum with the society. The names of the accused also do not find mention in the register of members or in the audit report prepared by the audit branch of the Cooperative Department in 1994 or in the list of voters prepared by the department in 1996.

The accused had allegedly removed the original pages of the proceedings book and added new pages showing the transfer of plots in their favour. This was done in connivance with officials of the Cooperative Department, it has been alleged in the FIR.

One of the accused, Gurdial Singh, allegedly with the intention to grab the plot of Mr J.S. Chugh, advocate, had earlier lodged a false complaint against him wherein he had claimed himself to be a member (No. 4) of the society. Interestingly, membership number 4 belonged to Gurdial Singh who had died in 2000.

The complainant also alleged that one of the persons amongst the accused had given an affidavit disassociating himself from the accused once he realised that they wanted to grab the property of the society.

The complainants have written to the SSP, Ludhiana, to recover the record of the society from illegal custody of the accused in order to unearth their illegal activities.



3 theft cases registered in Sarabha Nagar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
There has been a spate of thefts in the Sarabha Nagar area during the past two days. The Sarabha nagar police has registered at least three cases of thefts in the area. On Saturday morning, an unidentified persons entered the house of Ms Raj Rani of Bhagat Singh Nagar posing as an insurance agent, and decamped with a gold chain.

He had allegedly demanded Rs 2,700 from her stating that her husband had sent him as he had bought a policy from him. When the woman refused to pay him the money he went away with a gold chain. A case under Section 420, IPC, has been registered against the unidentified accused.

Dr Gurbachan pal Singh of Sarabha Nagar also complained against his two servants who allegedly fled after stealing gold ornaments worth Rs 18,000 from his house on Saturday evening. A case has been registered against the two under Section 381 IPC.

In a similar case a servant of Ms Bharati Arora of BRS Nagar decamped with some household goods and clothes on Sunday evening. The stolen goods were worth Rs 18,500. A case under Section 381, IPC, has been registered against her servant.


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