Monday, April 14, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Vigilance for action against 8 clerks in DTO office
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau has recommended registration of a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act against eight clerks of the District Transport Office against whom credible evidence was found in a massive raid on Tuesday.

The Bureau recommendations, made to senior officers for necessary approval and permission from the government, came close on the heels of the criticism that the Bureau had taken action against those 14 agents and one clerk only in scandal unearthed during the raids.

It was being suspected that the Bureau had buckled under the pressure of some of the ‘well-connected’ clerks and officials of the Transport Department.

The Bureau had booked 14 agents and one clerk for tampering with the government records and indulging in corruption. The agents were working for the clerks and taking money for some particular work, which was otherwise, done free of cost. The clerks had ‘sublet’ their work to the agents. About two to three agents had permanently been attached with a clerk.

But, the Bureau had booked only one clerk while no action was taken against the others. This had led to the speculation that the bureau had buckled under pressure.

Brushing aside the allegations, Mr Kanwarjit Singh Sidhu, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, told Ludhiana Tribune that the ‘guilty’ clerks would soon be brought to book. He said action had been recommended against them and necessary approval of the government was necessary. He said these clerks had not been caught red-handed but could be booked on the basis of the statements made by the nabbed agents.

Sources said action was likely against some senior officers of the department as well who were either part of the scandal or were unable to check the large-scale corrupt practices.

The sources said the action against such officers would be taken on the basis of the statement of the arrested clerks only.

The raids had exposed a clerk-agent nexus at the DTO office amounting to sublet government work to the agents by clerks

Some clerks had allegedly employed people to do their official work and share the collections that accrued from public transactions like registration of vehicles, issuing driving licences etc. The work of government employees had virtually been reduced to just signing the documents.

The Vigilance Bureau had also collected details about the price tagged with occupying a seat in the office. Employees allegedly got the prized seat after some arrangement with some high ups by paying a premium. The vigilance sources said they had collected enough documentary evidence and mobile phone sets and details of calls to substantiate their claims.

The agents were allegedly on the payroll of the employees. This had come to light through some documents in the possession of the Vigilance Bureau. The agents got commission from the employees according to work done by them.

The Vigilance Bureau raids were conducted after Vicky Singh, a resident of Shimla Puri had complained to the Vigilance Bureau regarding the alleged scandal. He said he had been forced to pay a sum of Rs 500 to a clerk for getting his work done.



Farmers forced to harvest unripe crop
Our Correspondent

Farmers try to reduce moisture from the hailstorm-hit wheat
Farmers try to reduce moisture from the hailstorm-hit wheat at the grain market, Machhiwara, on Sunday. — Photo Ravi Inder Singh Makkar

Machhiwara, April 13
The destruction caused by heavy hailstorm a few days ago in 63 villages, adjoining Machhiwara, has ruined most of the farmers of the area. They have now been forced to reap unripe wheat crop because of intense heat.

Though the wheat purchase in the local grain market has entered the third day, farmers like Suba Singh, Labha Singh, Thakur Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Raushan Singh, Buta Singh of Issapur, Lal Singh of Milkowal, Khazan Singh of Sainsowal, Kundan Singh of Sikandarpur, Puran Singh and Shingara Singh of Bairsall and Balbir Singh of Dhanoor are guarding heaps of unripe and damp wheat with a hope that they will be able to reduce the burden of loans by selling their crop at any price whatsoever.

Various political parties of Koomkalan have raised their voice in favour of the farmers. Taking stock of the damage done by the calamity, the MLA, Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, Transport Minister Mr Tej Parkash Singh, DC Ludhiana, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, and former minister, Mr Ishar Singh Meharban, have sent their reports to the government. However, it remains to be seen whether the governments provide relief to the farmers or not.

The president of the local Arhtiya Association, Mr Tehal Singh Aujla, former president, Mr Shakti Anand, Mr Nirmal Singh Nagra and Mr Amrik Singh Kahlon, vice-president of the District Congress, Mr Tejinder Singh Kooner, former chairman of the Market Committee Machhiwara, Mr Gurcharan Singh Mithewal, councillors Mr Ujagar Singh, Mr Sushil Vethra and Mr Ashok Sood have also appealed to the state government to provide compensation to the farmers for the destruction caused to the crop by the hailstorm.



Sainiks protest against schools charging donations
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
Activists of Shiv Sena (Bal Thackrey) took out a rally against some missionary and other schools in the city which have reportedly been demanding donations from the parents of the admission-seeking children. The activists alleged that the money was being reportedly misused by them.

The rally started from the Jagraon bridge here in the morning and culminated at Ghanta Ghar Chowk. The activists were raising slogans against these schools and were demanding strict action against them.

The senior vice-president of Shiv Sena, Mr Amar Takkar, while addressing the rally demanded a high-level inquiry into the working to such schools which were taking donations from the parents to admit their children and were utilising it to achieve other goals.

He said that it was surprising that the schools were making crores of rupees by just accepting donations for admitting children and did not have any record of it. He added that these schools had also kept a poor donation box in their schools and were minting money from the students that way as well.

Prominent among those who participated in the rally included Mr Dharmendar Khera, Mr Raj Kumar Agnihotri, Mr Parminder Singh Pappu, Mr Arun Banty, Mr Pawan Gaba, Mr Parkash Khatri, Mr Bansi Dabi, Mr Subhash Dabi, Mr B.R. Bhardwaj, Mr Sandeep Thapar, Mr Manoj Bhatia, Mr Kirpal Singh Basra, Mr Jaspal Singh, Mr Sodhi Sati Ram, Mr B.R. Bhardwaj, Mr Vijay Paswan, Mr Ravi Shankar Tewari, Mr Shri Kant, Mr Inderjit Giri and Mr Mahinder.



Stop fleecing parents, minister tells schools
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
The Minister for Jails, Housing and Urban Development, Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, today urged the managements of private schools to run their institutions strictly on professional lines with a motive to serve society by providing quality education at reasonable rates, so that ordinary people could afford to send their wards to such schools.

Addressing the annual function of Ryan International School, held at Guru Nanak Bhavan, yesterday, he expressed concern over fleecing of the parents of students by some of the schools in the name of building and other funds every year and by enforcing hefty donations.

He warned that the government would not allow the owners of such schools to exploit the parents as some of them were being run purely on commercial lines just like other business establishments. However, the minister said many of these schools were doing an excellent job in imparting quality education.

In his address, Mr Darbari Lal, Minster of State for Education, said the privately-managed educational institutions were playing a vital role in providing quality education to prepare the coming generation for the big competitions ahead with the induction of information technology at global level. He called upon the students to strive hard to acquire excellence in the specific field, so that they could make desired achievements in the future.

On this occasion they also distributed the prizes to the students for their achievements in different fields.

Ms Grace Pinto, Director, Ryan International School, highlighted the efforts of the school in bringing about integrated personality development of the students. A colourful cultural programme was also presented by the students on the occasion.



Briefcase stolen from car
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
Some unidentified persons broke the windowpane of a car belonging to an LIC employee and ran away with a briefcase containing Rs 20,000 and some important documents from a parking area at the Bhadaur House market late last night.

The development officer of the LIC, Mr Sudhir Sahni, had parked his car in the main car parking of the Bhadaur House. A security guard keeps a check on the movement of the people till late evening.

Mr Sahni said his office was located nearby and after keeping the bag in the car, he had gone to a shop with his friends to have some snacks and cold drinks. When he returned after few minutes, he found a windowpane of the car broken and the briefcase missing. He raised an alarm but in vain. A case has been registered at the Kotwali police station.



Redress grievances, urge pensioners
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 13
The Congress government in the state has not only failed to fulfil the demands of the Pensioners' Welfare Association but also changed the mode of disbursement of pensions, which has resulted in the non-payment of pensions for the month of March. This was stated at a meeting by Mr Balwant Singh Sodhi, according to a press note issued by Mr Mahender Singh, press secretary of the association.

Earlier, the pensioners were free to opt for the payment of pensions either through banks or the Treasury, but the Finance Department had issued a letter, saying that pensions would be paid through banks only. But the banks had not been issued any guidelines or provided extra staff for this purpose. The pensioners were required to fill the requisite forms in triplicate and send these, along with their pension books, through the Treasury to the respective District Treasury Offices. Besides this, the pensioners would also have to open accounts in the banks, said the press note.

The association had brought this matter to the notice of the Chief Secretary and he had assured that the options provided under the rules would not be withdrawn, but the delay by the Finance Department had resulted in the non-payment of pensioners, added the press note.

The Congress had failed to fulfil the promise it had made in its election manifesto to implement the recommendations of the Fourth Pay Commission, not yet implemented, including a hike in medical allowance and house rent allowance.

Mr Hakim Rai, president, Amloh subdivision, Mr Dhram Chand Verma, general secretary of the district, and Ms Vidya Nagar, vice-president of the district, also criticised the state government for not conceding to these demands. 



Give aid to ex-serviceman’s kin, govt urged
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, April 13
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) has urged the Punjab Government to grant assistance to the family of Jagrup Singh, an ex-serviceman of Jogimajra village, who had reportedly died due to injuries caused during “rasta roko andolan” at Kup Da Tota on April 4, 1983. Though the families of 12 other deceased had received Rs 1 lakh each on various occasions, the aggrieved family had to sell its small piece of land to meet the medical expenses on the treatment of the deceased, let alone receiving any assistance.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune in the presence of Ms Balbir Kaur, widow of the deceased, Mr Jaswant Singh, former Sarpanch, and Mr Jagat Singh, elder brother of the deceased, Mr Charan Singh Lohara, general secretary of the SAD (A), said the party would move court to seek justice. According to Ms Balbir Kaur, her husband had retired on November 30, 1982, after serving in the Army.

“We were told by some villagers that he had received injuries while trying to save Ujjagar Singh and Jagir Singh, who later lost their lives. Villagers took him in unconscious condition to the Civil Hospital, Ahmedgarh. Despite selling 13 bighas of land for his medical treatment we could not save him,” she added.

“My infant son Tejinder died during this period for the want of care. All sources have been exhausted. Now my sons assist me by doing labour in the fields of other farmers,” she said.

Ms Balbir Kaur claimed that she had met leaders of various factions of the SAD on numerous occasions but to no avail.



‘Remember Jallianwala martyrs’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 13
“Baisakhi is celebrated with great joy as wheat crop is harvested, but on the other hand, we forget the gruesome massacre of innocent people at Jallianwala Bagh which also was on Baisakhi in 1919. The innocent people who sacrificed their lives for the sake of their motherland ought to be remembered and this is very essential to safeguard our freedom.” These words were spoken by the president of an NGO, Ek Koshish, at a function held yesterday.

Addressing students of Guru Nanak Khalsa School (Gujjarkhan) at a function, ‘Effect of Jallianwala Mass firing on Indian Freedom’, the president said the students should never forget the sacrifices of the martyrs. On the occasion, the past president of the Rotary Mid-Town, Mr Tejwant Singh,and the Ludhiana City Jaycee’s president, Mr Jasminder Singh, also spoke on the occasion.

The anchor of the programme was Mr Amarjit Singh Arora. More than 100 students along with their Principal, Mr Balwant Singh, and staff members attended the function.



Plea to restore holidays
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
The International Sant Samaj today urged the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to restore the holidays on the martyrdom days of Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Tegh Bahadur which have been cancelled from the calendar of courts this year. The organisation also hailed the implementation of the Nanakshahi calendar.

This along with other resolutions were passed at a meeting of the samaj held under the chairmanship of Sant Shamsher Singh Jagera at Gurdwara Shahidan here today. Other resolutions which were passed were the constitution of a human rights body to check police atrocities and wrong doings in various deras across the state, cancellation of false case registered against the son of a trustee of Gurdwara Pheruman and urging the SGPC to publish books on Sikh history in all Indian languages for distribution among people at an affordable cost so that people can know about the rich traditions of the community.



Discussion on book of short stories
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 13
The Vichar Punjabi Sahitya Manch organised a discussion on a book of short stories ‘Sooli Tange Log’ written by Sahib Singh at Punjabi Bhavan last evening. Dr Surjeet Patar said that Sahib Singh had given an accurate analysis of declining economic, social, and political situation causing miseries for an ordinary human being.

Mr Surinder Rampur, Prof Mohinderdeep Grewal, president of the manch, Mr Jaswant Singh Kanwal and Prof Niranjan Tasneem, a Sahitya Akademi awardee discussed Sahib Singh Gill’s stories on innocent people. Later a kavi darbar was organised in which prominent poets like Surjeet Patar, Dr. S.N. Sewak, Satish Gulati, Kulwant Jagraon, Bibi Avtar Kaur, Ajit Singh Sikka, and many others participated. Author Sahib Singh Gill was honoured for his work on behalf of the manch.


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