Thursday, March 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Panchayats rally behind jail scam accused
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
The food-medicines scandal in Central Jail today took a new turn when panchayats of seven villages along with representatives of some outer colonies came out in open support of a doctor, who is at present serving at one of the villages, and is a co-accused in the alleged corruption case.

Panchayat heads and members of the villages have rallied along on one point only. They are demanding ‘justice’ for the suspect, Dr Gurmeet Singh, who, they claim could not be involved in such a criminal case. The villagers cited self-less service of the doctor in their villages in the past two years.

“We can't believe that the doctor who spends money from his own pocket to cure people in the villages can be involved in corruption, ” said sarpanches of Seera, Meharban, Mangat, Bajra, Khwaj Ke, Kakka villages, and representatives of Harkrishan Vihar and several other adjoining colonies.

Dr Gurmeet Singh was one of the seven persons allegedly involved in the Rs 60-lakh scandal. Other accused were a serving and a former jail superintendent, some jail employees and contractors. They all have been charged with misappropriation of funds by making false entries of supply of food and medicines meant for jail inmates.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Surjit Singh of Seera village and Mr Girdhari Lal of Harkrishan Vihar said the panchayats of their and other villages appeal to the state government to withdraw the ‘false’ case against the doctor.

Acting as spokesmen for panchayats, they said the doctor was serving in a backward area for the past two years. They said very few doctors were willing to serve in these areas but Dr Gurmeet Singh was available round the clock to the villagers.

“Dr Gurmeet Singh had gone out of the way to take care of the patients. We were shocked to hear that the state Vigilance Department had booked him in a corruption case ”, they said.

The local chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), In a statement, said the doctor only prescribed medicines or the diet and was not involved in any manner in purchasing food or medicines for the inmates.

The village panchayats said Dr Gurmeet Singh was serving selflessly in their area and ever since he had been named in the corruption case, health services in the area were suffering.

The panchayats have also demanded a high-level probe into the registration of the case.



Amendment to Rent Act sought
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 12
The Punjab House Owners Association has urged the state government to amend the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949, in the coming Budget session on the pattern of the Chandigarh Administration. The Supreme Court has suggested the Punjab Government to revamp the act.

The president of the association said the act was enacted in the wake of partition and influx of lakhs of refugees into India from Pakistan, to restrict the increase in rent of certain premises situated within the limits of urban areas and to protect them against attempts by their respective landlords to evict them.

Of late, the act was being misused by unscrupulous tenants while landlords were subjected to physical, mental and economic torture. NRI Punjabis were also victim of the act as their homes and other landed properties in urban areas were being illegally occupied by unscrupulous tenants. Mr Shivdev Singh said now, when there was no problem of rehabilitation of refugees, the Punjab Government should also issue notification as done by the Chandigarh Administration on November 6 last or bring a fresh Bill in Budget session.

The Supreme Court in a case between Rakesh Wadhwan and others versus M/s Jagdamba Industrial Corporation and others on May 15 last had suggested to the Punjab Government to revamp the legislation. “There are several lacunae in the provisions of the Act creating bottlenecks in their smooth implementation highlighted in several judicial pronouncements and such deficiencies are benefiting unscrupulous litigants and to some extent frustrating the very purpose sought to be achieved by the legislation”.

Mr Shivdev Singh said on the persistent demand of the association, the Beant Singh government had enacted a Model Rent Act in 1995, which was also accorded assent by the President, but unfortunately, Beant Singh was assassinated and the successor governments did not notified the Act.

The president also demanded setting up of special courts to expeditiously decide pending cases in different courts pertaining to the Act.



Rollback in urea prices hailed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 12
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kisan Morcha today hailed the rollback in prices of fertilisers and expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and the Union Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, for several other concessions like cut in interest rates on agricultural loans and lowering of interest on loans and advances to the government employees.

Presiding over a meeting of the morcha, its convener Mr Jaswant Singh Chhapa reiterated the party’s commitment to the interests of farmers. “By conceding to the genuine demand of the farm sector, the NDA government at the Centre has proved that it stands for the welfare of the farmers and weaker sections of society. The relief measures have been widely welcomed by farmers, Dalits and employees,” he said.

Mr Chhapa maintained that a few days back, a delegation of farmers, led by BJP functionaries, comprising Mr Raj Nath Singh, general secretary, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, state president, and himself, had met the Prime Minister to apprise him of the problems being faced by peasantry in Punjab. The delegation had made a fervent plea with Mr Vajpayee for rolling back prices of fertilisers and diesel and remission of agricultural loans.

In a resolution, adopted at the meeting, the morcha condemned the police action on peacefully agitating farmers, seeking payment of sugar cane arrears, in district Amritsar. Mr Chhapa said the matter of hike in the price of diesel was being taken up with the government.

Prominent among those present at the meeting were Mr Vipan Chander Pal, BJP district president (rural), Mr Satwant Singh (Sangrur), Mr Rup Singh (sarpanch, Khadoor Sahib), Mr Ajmer Singh (Jhandeana), Mr Ashpinder Singh Grewal, Mr Babbu Singh, Mr Buta Singh (Rorian), Mr Nirbhai Singh (Alamgir), Mr Manoj Parbhakar (Ayali Kalan), Mr Ujagar Singh (Sihar), Mr Iqbal Singh (Koom Kalan) and Mr Kala Singh (Pirthpur).



‘Roll back hike in pesticide prices’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
The local unit of the Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) has urged the Centre to roll back the hike in the prices of pesticides.
According to Mr Sarabdeep Singh, a spokesperson for the outfit, said the government had not done the farming community any favour by rolling back the prices of urea since the farmers were entitled to more concessions.

He said the government was subsidising fertilisers to the tune of Rs 1,200 crore, but the real benefit was not being passed onto the farmers. The benefits were being cornered by companies, he alleged.



Dowry devours another life
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 12
A family of Patran town has been accused of bride burning.
According to Mr Ruldu Ram, his niece, Upma, was married to Sanjeev Kumar of Patran in 1995. A handsome dowry was given to the bridge, but in-laws of the girl started harassing her for more dowry. Because Upma’s mother had earlier been killed by her in-laws, she had been living with family of her maternal uncle. Family kept on fulfilling demands of her in-laws for seven years and paid huge amounts many times.

Mr Ruldu told that Upma’s in-laws demanded Rs 50,000 two weeks ago, but the family could not pay due to financial constraints. Infuriated at the refusal, Sanjeev Kumar (husband), Prem Chand (father-in-law, who is the president of a religions organisation of Patran), Seeta Devi (mother-in-law) and Sony (brother-in-law) insulted and beat Upma on Sunday night and on Monday morning they were told that Upma had been admitted to the Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, in seriously burnt condition.

He alleged that maternal uncle of Sanjeev had threatened Upma not to give statement against her in-laws, otherwise, her two sons would be ruined.

Though Upma is learnt to have stated before dying that she set herself on fire due to ill-treatment meted out to her by members of her in-laws’ family, but police has not arrested them yet. Upma died in the hospital on Tuesday.

Friends and relatives of the aggrieved family went to the police station, Patran, but they were allegedly not heard sympathetically. Hundred of local residents also went to Patran to hold a protest against the police inaction, but the accused were not arrested.

Ms Chiter Rekha Sharma, Ms Veena Puri, Ms Raj Rani, Mr Rajneesh Gudoo, Mr Sham Sunder and Mr Jaswinder Singh Sodhi (all municipal councillors) have demanded immediate arrest of the accused.

Enquiries from the office of the DSP, Samana, revealed that the Deputy Superintendent has gone to Patran to investigate the matter and a case has been registered under Section 306 of the IPC. However, no arrest has been made so far.



Remove Vedanti, says Khalsa Panchayat
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 12
The Khalsa Panchayat has reiterated its demand for the removal of Akal Takht head priest Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti for his acts of omission and commission, and appointment of a new impartial ‘jathedar’ in his place to end the resentment and confusion prevailing among Sikh masses.

In a statement here today, Mr Bhupinder Singh Nimana, panch of the body, made a fervent appeal to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to take timely action against the Akal Takht head priest lest the entire Sikh Panth should be made to face humiliation. “Any delay in this matter on the part of the SGPC President, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, will be taken as an act of perpetuating injustice.”

The Khalsa Panchayat, which professed to be committed to cleansing the system and safeguarding tenets of Sikhism, hailed the removal of Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Kesgarh Sahib, and the move for unity between Akali factions. Mr Nimana observed that the Akali leadership was absolutely right in feeling that the factionalism among the akali leadership had caused immense political damage and had led to the return of the Congress in Punjab.

He, however, cautioned the leadership against any attempt to take personal advantage from the unity process. 



Students get degrees
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 12
Graduate and postgraduate students of Ramgarhia Girls’ College and GGN Khalsa College were awarded degrees at the annual convocations held here today.
At Ramgarhia Girls’ College, 189 students were awarded degrees. These included 93 students from BCom, 51 from BCA, 12 from BBA, 13 from MA (music) and 20 from BA (English) and Punjabi (honours). Besides, 32 students from the college were given college colours and merit certificates.

On the occasion, several retired principals and academics were also honoured. These included Ms Kuldip Kaur from the Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women, Mr Kuldip Singh from GGN Khalsa College, Mr V.K. Mehta from Arya College and Ms Harinder Kaur Dhillon from the Khalsa College for Women.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, was the chief guest. He said he had urged the NCERT authorities to include a topic on five minority groups in the syllabus from next year. He also told the college principals to make the courses job-oriented. Ms Harmit Kaur, Principal of the host college, gave away prizes to students.

A convocation was also held at Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College where graduate and postgraduate students were given degrees. Mr Tarlochan Singh was the chief guest here too. Mr Gurdip Singh, Principal, and Mr Kuldip Singh, Director, congratulated the students.



‘Check illegal cable tariff hike’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 12
The president of the district unit of the National Consumers Awareness Group, Mr M.P. Singh Gogia, the Anti-Corruption Council of India’s secretary-general Dr Shiv Gupta, the Urban Estates and Welfare Association (Punjab) president, Mr Kirpal Singh Kalra, the Lal Bahadur Shashtri Social Forum president, Mr Sushil Malhotra, have jointly appealed to the Director of the Vigilance Bureau (Punjab) and the Deputy Commissioner to take effective steps against the illegal and unjustified increase in the monthly charges by cable operators, who have been compelling residents to pay Rs 350 per month whereas it was only a mere Rs 100 during 2000.

He said all local cable operators had agreed to charge less than Rs 200 per month but some cable operators were pressuring the residents to pay Rs 350, threatening that otherwise their connections would be disconnected.

Mr M.P. Singh Gogia has welcomed the decision of the Mumbai High Court restraining the unjustified increase in the charges by cable operators who have also been directed not to disconnect cable connections of those who have refused to pay the hiked charges.

The office-bearers of the National Consumer Awareness Group have appealed to the Vigilance Bureau to check the actual income of the cable operators, as at times they do not issue receipts for the fee charged by them.



Monopoly of cable operators

The residents of Kitchlu Nagar are being harassed and fleeced by cable operators, who are charging them arbitrarily for the service. They snap the connections of those who do not pay subscription in time.

This area is served by two operators — Laser Communication in the D Block and another one in the main market. Both of them have divided their areas of operations and do not entertain any request for connection by a resident from each others areas.

In this way, they have created a monopoly. They hike subscription rates every month as per their whims and fancies, putting the subscribers to a lot of harassment. This month, the subscription has been jacked up to Rs 250 per connection. Earlier the rate was Rs 100 per month, which was hiked to Rs 150, Rs 180 and Rs 200 over the past few months.

Besides, the operators are collecting Rs 50 per connection on the pretext of showing the World Cup series, which is totally unjustified and unwarranted. Why are they forcibly collecting these charges when no additional facility has been given to the people ?

Many residents took the plea that not all of them were watching the series, but this failed to cut any ice with the operator. They started disconnecting the connections of the people who did not pay the enhanced amount. Some were firmly told that they would not get a connection in future, if they refused to give in to their demands from time to time.

Enquiries from other areas have revealed that the charges being collected from us are on the higher side since many operators are charging only Rs 100 to Rs 150 per month. If operators elsewhere can provide quality services at much lower rates why this duo here is unable to do so at the same price?

I, on behalf of the Dr Kitchlu Nagar Welfare Association, appeal to the administration to have a regulating mechanism in place so that the people are not harassed by these unscrupulous operators.

Virinder Bhakoo

Poor sanitation

The sanitary conditions in Pindi Street are getting from bad to worse each day.

Since there is no proper sewerage or drainage system, sullage overflows spreading a foul smell all around. The tap opposite to M/s Bhagat Singh is dispensing dirty water and as a result most people are suffering from stomach diseases.

No MC official has so far visited our area for inspection. The authorities are requested to depute some officials to look into our complaints on priority basis and oblige.

Lalit Verma

Drug addiction

Drug addiction is on the rise in our society. Frustrated youths are taking to drugs. Broken families, unemployment and complexities of the modern age have created a widespread unrest and frustration among the youth which is driving them toward drugs.

Most young men and women start taking drugs for pleasure. But soon they get used to it. Drug addiction leads to a complete degeneration of man, physically and spiritually. He becomes a parasite and a criminal. Many young persons have been ruined due to this menace. They have become slaves of drugs. The government and other voluntary organisations should work hand in hand to root out this abuse among the youth of India.

Rahul Trehan

Corruption in MC

This is in reference to Councillor Simarjit Singh Bains’ letter on the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana. I fully endorse his views that corruption is rampant in all MC departments.

A case of harassment of a fruit merchant, Jagjit Singh, at the hands of corporation officials at various levels was brought to my notice by the victim himself. For obtaining a transfer certificate for his property, he had to run from pillar to post for many months because he was not willing to pay the hush money to the corporation staff for issuance of the certificate. They charge Rs 2500 to Rs 5000 for each case depending upon the property concerned.

He sought the help of an honest councillor who got the job done, but with great difficulty. Even the councillor found it rather difficult to get the job done. The name of the officials involved were also revealed to me, but the same are not being mentioned here due to various reasons.

If the officials at the helm of affairs in the corporation are interested in improving the functioning of the corporation, they can take up this case for investigation. I am ready to lend help.

Major S.S. Khosla

Mobile dispensaries

This industrial city has been expanding fast and the population has crossed the 30-lakh mark, but the present civil hospitals and dispensaries are quite inadequate to deal with the rush. Moreover, many people are neither aware, nor they can afford to travel to such centres, especially the infirm, disabled, aged ones and the very poor.

It will be in the fitness of things for a welfare state to start mobile dispensaries immediately. These should have qualified doctors, medicines and apparatus for diagnosing common ailments that can, otherwise, lead to complications, if left unattended for long.

Let the men and the material at the disposal of the Health Department be judiciously used for the maximum welfare of the maximum people. These mobile dispensaries can usefully educate people about various family welfare schemes and can go a long way in educating the masses about healthcare and female foeticide.

B.B. Goyal

Change in policy

Buckling under the pressure of the Centre, the Punjab Government has decided to shift classes XI and XII from colleges to schools. What will be the effect of such changes on the future of college-level institutions? I think the government has not thought it out seriously.

At present there are 170 colleges in Punjab, out of which 140 are being run with fiscal aid from the government. But aid has already been reduced from 95 per cent to 60 per cent and in case the government implements the said decision, it is sure that 90 per cent of the colleges will be shut down.

The implementation of this policy will bring drastic results. First of the buildings that have been constructed for these classes will become rest houses for students of higher classes. Then, teachers, who taught such classes, will be considered unnecessary burden on colleges.

The College committees will neither be able to shunt out these teachers nor pay them their salaries.

Parents and educationists are of the opinion that the standard of education in schools is much lower as compared to that of at colleges.

By taking such a step, the government will be playing with the future of the students and it will not be in the interest of the country.

Vinod Bala



Residents seek traffic lights
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 12
Residents of localities along the GT Road (National Highway) near Karabara Chowk have urged the Municipal Corporation to install traffic lights on Karabara intersection in the wake of frequent road accidents on the busy stretch which has a high volume of vehicular traffic.

Residents said the T - intersection provides access to several localities and commercial centres like the Grain Market, Bahadarke, Kasabad, Phamra, Basti Bazigar and Azad Nagar . Those taking a turn at this intersection, however, are under constant threat of being run over by speeding heavy vehicles since no traffic light is provided at the spot.



Hotel association submits memorandum
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab has submitted a memorandum to the government reiterating with regard its demands to charging industrial tariff of electricity instead of the commercial tariff, releasing of the new tourism policy, charging house tax on actual rent of the rooms and not on tariff inclusive of all facilities and amenities, tax holiday for 5 years for all new hotels and resorts and opening of a tourism office at the international Airport, New Delhi. They are also stressing on the need to identify new places for religious and cultural tourism, development of the Ranjit Sagar Dam for Water Sports, Golf Course, speedy work of the Harike Pattan Bird sanctuary which will be the first of its kind in Asia and to set up a ropeway between Naina Devi and Anandpur Sahib to attract more religious tourists, renovation of all religious and historical places, opening of a Tourist Information Centre at Ludhiana, nomination of one representative of the HRAP in the Heritage Tourism Development Board. This was disclosed here today by the president of the association, Mr N.S. Nanda.

Dr H.S. Bajaj, organising secretary of the association suggested that an institute of Hotel Management and Tourism should be started in Patiala.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |