Friday, April 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


4 top schools in vigilance net
Principals charged with seeking donations
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau is all set to repeat its Punjab Public Services Commission (PPSC) ‘act’ in the city. But this time those in front of the firing line include managements of four top schools of Ludhiana, facing allegations that they were demanding money as donation through underhand means on various pretexts, including seeking building and development funds and for granting admission to kindergarten classes. The Vigilance Bureau has issued notices to these schools to submit their admission records for perusal.

The Vigilance Bureau has asked principals of these schools to appear before the investigating officer at Chandigarh on Monday. School managements have directed to submit all record pertaining to admissions for the past 10 years. The Vigilance Bureau is learnt to have swung into action following the intervention of a top bureaucrat of the state, who received a complaint in this regard. If charges are proved, the Vigilance Bureau is likely to register a case of extortion against those involved.

The complaint before the Vigilance Bureau states that these schools ignored merit in favour of money. These schools, it is learnt, have fixed quotas allotted to influential persons, including some in the district administration, who recommend admissions on the pattern that was being followed in the PPSC prior to the Vigilance Bureau busting the scandal.

A personal messenger of the Vigilance Bureau is learnt to have served notices on these school principals, two located in Sarabha Nagar and the remaining two in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar. The principals would present themselves will all records pertaining to the admission in LKG class during the last 10 years. Once some irregularity is established, the Vigilance Bureau aims at targeting some people who claimed to be ‘close’ to the school managements and promised admission for a fixed sum to those who failed to make it to the list of selected candidates.

At least three of the schools are contemplating taking the plea that they are minority institutions and are, therefore, entitled to raise funds for their expansion. Legal experts differ saying that the forcible donations can be interpreted as ‘extortion’ as it involves exploiting the sentiments of parents, each one of whom wants the best education for his child and, therefore, agrees to pay irrespective of his financial status.

The complaint before the Vigilance Bureau, it is learnt, accuses the principals of these institutions of amassing assets besides other charges. The Tribune has learnt that most of the official records of these schools are already lying before the Income Tax authorities who have also summoned these school principals to appear before the officers concerned next week. Therefore, the school authorities are likely to appear before the vigilance and seek more time for presenting the school records.

It may be mentioned that some parents have already filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the issue of schools asking for donations, which is currently pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Once the investigation sets rolling, those who filed the PIL may also be included in the investigation.



MC supervisor, cop held for graft
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau today claimed to have caught red-handed an employee of the local Municipal Corporation and a Head Constable of Khanna police in different raids, while accepting bribes from customers.

Babu Lal, a supervisor with the Municipal Corporation, was arrested earlier in the day during a raid on the MC Head Office at Mata Rani chowk. He was caught red-handed while accepting money for leasing out a park to a civilian for few hours. The accused was supposed to issue a receipt for the money but did not do so.

Mr Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu, SSP (Vigilance), said the MC had a policy of charging a sum of at least Rs 2,000 for leasing out an open space or park to city residents for marriage functions, parties or social gatherings. But as per information with the Vigilance Department, some employees were indulging in illegal gratification by keeping the amount with themselves.

The supervisor allegedly used to charge Rs 1,000 from the clients. Today, Mr Satish Kumar, who runs the Anti-Corruption, Fraud and Crime Education Society of India, an NGO, was sent as a decoy to the supervisor. The supervisor took a sum of Rs 500 in advance. He was caught red-handed while accepting the bribe.

Mr Satish Kumar later claimed in a press note that the accused had also taken money from some rehri owners, who run their business close to the parks. The department is looking into these allegations.

In the second case, the Vigilance team caught red-handed Head Constable Shiv Ram of the Khanna police, who was posted with the Issru police post, while taking a bribe. The policeman was caught from the District Courts in the afternoon while accepting a bribe for giving favourable statement in a case. He had taken the money from Karam Singh, a resident of Dad village, near here.

Both the raids were conducted under the supervision of DSP Darshan Singh.



Rift in District Bar to fore
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
Expressing resentment over not calling the meeting of the general house of the District Bar Association (DBA) despite giving a requisition to the Bar President, numerous members of the DBA yesterday held a meeting of the general house under the chairmanship of Mr K.K.Jain, former president of the DBA.

Two resolutions were passed at the meeting. It has been unanimously resolved that advocate members of only the DBA and not any other Bar association has a voting right in the annual elections of the DBA.

The resolutions further say that: “A month earlier to the annual elections, a complete list with full addresses and enrolment particulars be given and displayed and provided to the members of the DBA.”

The president and the secretary of the DBA, Ludhiana, were not present at the meeting. However the vice-president, Mr B.P.Singh Gill, the finance secretary, Mr Rakesh Bhatia, and the joint secretary, Mr Sandeep Kapoor, were present at the meeting.

Mr Balwinder Goel, member of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, Mr Hemant Kalia, Mr H.L.Sethi, Mr Harjasdeep Singh Rana , all former presidents of the DBA, fully supported the resolutions.

Addressing the meeting, Mr K.K. Jain said, “We are not against any individual.”

The Organisation of Young Lawyers staged a dharna in front of the office of the DBA on April 2 seeking deletion of the names of the outsider lawyers from the voting list of the DBA. They had demanded to convene a meeting of the general house.



Case registered in shoot-out incident
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
A case has been registered in a shootout incident between two groups at the Bhagwan chowk area in Division No 6 in which a passer-by was injured. The incident took place at about midnight last.

Chander Shekhar, (17), a migrant labourer received a bullet injury when he was passing through the area. He claimed to have witnessed the incident. Interestingly, the labourer was found lying unconscious on the same spot by two PCR cops, who brought him to the Civil Hospital.

The mystery over the episode deepened when the labourer left the Civil Hospital in the evening against medical advice. His whereabouts could not be known.

Earlier, talking to mediapersons in the morning, he said he had given a statement to the police that he was passing by the chowk when he saw two groups of persons clashing with each other. He said one of them fired a shot which hit him in the arm.



Good Friday opportunity for grace
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
Tomorrow is Good Friday. “A day that reminds everyone that no one in this world can escape sorrows and everyone has to wear a cross. While some are wearing visible crosses, most people wear invisible crosses. Jesus was crucified not only on a wooden cross but had to wear invisible crosses for he saw these for what they were — not punishments but opportunities for grace” says Father Daniel Gill of Holy Cross Church, Sarabha Nagar.

Christians of the city will observe a fast on Good Friday as Christ was put on the Cross. Father Daniel says, “A religious procession by the Christian community will start from Holy Cross Church, Sarabha Nagar, and pass by Malhar Theatre, Pakhowal Road , Bhai Wala Chowk, Pakhowal Chowk, National Road, Ghumar Mandi, PAU Road, Circuit House, Usha Palace, Shri Durga Mandir, Shri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara and Satluj Hospital. It will end at Sacred Heart Convent School, Sarabha Nagar. The participants will have a prayer service in the chapel of Sacred Heart School.

Good Friday is the Christian commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, observed on the Friday before Easter. Originally, it was a day of fasting in preparation for the celebration of the death resurrection-exaltation of Jesus.

In the Catholic tradition, the liturgy of the day consists of reading the passion, the ceremony of the veneration of the Cross, and communion from the sacrament consecrated the day before.

On Easter Saturday there will be a night vigil at Holy Cross Church in Sarabha Nagar and other churches of the city. Easter Sunday is a day of feasting as the Christian festival of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. On Sunday, before the feasting starts, the Christians attend High Mass in the churches of the their parish. Easter eggs and greetings are exchanged

Since the outlook of city residents has become secular, people from other communities are also participating of the special Easter breakfast being served at a local hotel.



Big or small, truckers’ strike hits all
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
The ongoing nationwide strike by truckers seemed to have had its impact on all, with everyone from a small vegetable vendor up to big industrial houses like Nahar Group feeling the heat. Huge stocks have started getting piled up in various industrial houses as these could not be delivered to respective destinations owing to the ongoing strike that entered the fourth day today.

The industrial houses, including big ones, are worried as the delivery of export orders is getting delayed. With no solution in sight as yet, the delivery is likely to get delayed further. The strike has also led to shortage of raw material and other inputs.

Some of the large-scale manufacturers revealed that they were worried as to how to meet their own deadlines for the delivery of the orders. As of now there was no scope for producing extra goods. Moreover, this is the peak season with the demand at its highest level. The truckers’ strike could not have come at a worse time, they added.

According to Mr Raj Awasthi, Chairman, Sportking, they are awaiting the orders to be delivered to various destinations across the country. Even the goods meant for export are awaiting transportation for the onward movement to different countries. Mr Awasthi disclosed that the factories had been operating to the full capacity, but the stocks could not be cleared due to the strike.

Bigger the group, bigger the problems. Mr Kamal Oswal, Managing Director, Nahar Group, also said they were facing severe problems regarding the delivery of orders. There was no way out. The group is one of the largest exporters in the country. With four days already having been wasted, the delivery is likely to get delayed further. Mr Oswal said if the strike continued for a few more days, it might ultimately lead to the shortage of raw material. It is the exporters who are most worried as the foreign buyers always insist on timely delivery of orders.

It is not just the industry but almost all aspects of life that have been hit by the truckers’ strike. Long queues of vehicles have already started to appear at petrol pumps as people apprehend that the strike may get prolonged, leading to shortage of diesel and petrol. This is despite the assurance given by petrol pump dealers of having enough stocks to last for a number of days.

The prices of vegetables have also started rising. Vegetable traders in the local vegetable market claimed that they had received the supplies from different parts of the state and Delhi only four days ago. Fresh vegetables have almost gone out of the market and it is only the potatoes and onions that are available in the market. These stocks are also limited and ultimately there may be no vegetables in few days.



Exams claim another life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
Upset over her bad performance in matriculation examinations, a 17-year-old girl reportedly committed suicide by setting herself ablaze at her house in Mohar Singh Nagar this afternoon.

Harsimran Kaur was declared brought dead at the Civil Hospital. Her parents Dr Inderpal Singh and Dr Sanmeet Kaur are homeopathic doctors, who run a clinic in the Pindi street.

According to her parents, the girl had been upset for the past few days because she had not fared well in the examination.

The girl’s act has come as a blow to the parents, who had adopted her, the police said. Sources said the police was convinced with the statement of the parents and no further investigation for finding any other reasons for her death was necessary.

Neighbours revealed that the girl was very studious and had been doing well in studies till now. Neighbours also corroborated the parents’ statement that the girl was depressed after her examinations.



Stray cattle a hazard for motorists
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 17
An ailing cow or an ox squats in the middle of a busy road and honking motorists desperately try to manoeuvre past the animal. This is a common scene one can witness every day in the city.

With an increase in the number of vehicles, the traffic situation is pathetic, and some of the roads, particularly in the interior localities of the old city, are virtual nightmares for the drivers. Unrestricted movement of stray cattle on the roads, many of whom keep squatting for hours together, further compounds the traffic problem.

It is not uncommon to see a number of cows squatting on one side of the road, at times on a busy highway, and turning the wide stretch of road into a one-way passage, with vehicles taking turns from both sides to slip through and continue their journey. More often than not, these animals, especially when they come in running haphazardly, cause serious and occasionally fatal road accidents.

Despite tall claims by NGOs and other bodies working for the protection and welfare of the animals, no one has come forward to take care of the stray cattle, who are left to fend for themselves. The couple of “gaushalas” in the city are far too inadequate in terms of capacity to accommodate the vast number of animals on roads. Similarly, little effort has been made by the civic administration to check the menace.

Although the exact number of stray cattle roaming around on the roads and causing disruption to vehicular movement cannot be figured out, the number runs in thousands.

The problem needs to be tackled at different levels, feel traffic experts and civic administrators. The administration as well as the NGOs ought to create adequate infrastructure, including spacious cattle pounds, where such stray animals could be housed. The government should also make sufficient budgetary allocation for setting up animal shelters in the towns and cities and providing food and fodder to the cattle. “The movement of stray cattle on the roads is a nuisance and the problem is going to persist if no remedial measure is taken,” remarked a resident.



Funds allocated for ‘model grams’
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 17
Development work in villages declared as ‘model grams’ will begin at the end of next month. Funds have been allocated and the formalities of tenders, etc are being completed. This was stated by Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, state Minister for Rural Development, while talking to mediapersons yesterday at Lakhasingh Wala, Mr Randhawa’s native village, 3 km from here.

The delimitation of Vidhan Sabha constituencies has been postponed for the time being as the government is yet to decide whether the base of census of 1991 or 2001 should be considered for the formation of reserved constituencies. As such, the Parliament elections next year are likely to be held according to the existing constituencies, he asserted.

The Punjab Government is determined to implement the promises made in its election manifesto and has made elaborate arrangements for the procurement of wheat and paddy, the minister said. The government has been campaigning to make farmers aware about the diversification of crops to bring them out of the circle of paddy and wheat rotation, to introduce alternative crops under contract farming and to buy back the entire produce at predetermined prices. The returns from alternative crops will be higher than from wheat and paddy, he maintained.

The minister assured the Pensioners’ Association that he would talk to the government to maintain the existing option for the disbursement of pension to the pensioners either through the treasuries or through the banks.

Earlier the minister visited the house of the late Pandit Keshwa Nand, a long-time Amloh council chief, who expired on February 3, 2002.

Pandit Keshwa Nand’s widow Maya Devi (70) expired on April 9. The minister shared the family’s grief. Among others, Mr Baldev Singh Aulakh, Amloh council chief, Mr Mela Ram, advocate, Mr Lal Chand and Mr Rajinder Singh Rozi, councillor, were also present.



Club suspends membership of gazetted officer

Ludhiana, April 17
A controversy of sorts has engulfed the local Sutlej Club here after the club authorities suspended from membership a gazetted officer on the ground that his security guards, who had accompanied him to the club on April 12 on the eve of Baisakhi celebrations, misbehaved with some officer-bearers of the club.

The president of the club has issued directions that no member, other than the Deputy Commissioner, SSP, MLA, MP, Mayor or a minister, will be allowed inside the club with a gunman. The president of the club said the member had been suspended and a show-cause notice had been issued.

The suspended member said all these allegations were baseless. "Though I am a member of the club I hardly visit the club. I had some differences with some people during the election campaign. Since they came to power, they have been trying to settle personal scores.” OC



Development project launched
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
A Congress legislator, Mr Surinder Dawar, today launched a comprehensive development project in Ward No 56 for intensive repair of MC quarters and augmentation of water supply in the area. The area councillor, Ms Malkiat Kaur, who was also present at the function, said that the project was estimated to cost Rs 12 lakh.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Dawar said that in pursuance of its poll promise to provide a corruption-free administration in the state, the Congress government, headed by Capt Amarinder Singh was continuing a relentless drive against corrupt officers and politicians.

The campaign, he added, would go on till the entire system was cleaned up. Focusing on the ongoing development projects in the city, he said the civic administration was committed to bring about qualitative improvement in the basic services and to provide better infrastructural facilities in the city.

The area councillor, Ms Malkiat Kaur, announced that the plan for sinking new tubewells in Janakpuri and other surrounding localities to tide over the water scarcity in summer months, was in the pipeline and work would be taken up soon.

Prominent among others present at the function were Mr Prithipal Singh Ghayal, Mr Ajit Singh, Mr Ajaib Singh Kapoor, Mr Nirmal Singh Virk, Mr Jatinder Singh, Mr M.L. Sabharwal, Mr Kulbir Singh and Mr R. Tiwari.



Ban on straw reaping operations
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
Keeping in view the apprehensions about fire from the operation of straw reaping machines, Mr Anurag Agarwal, District Magistrate, today banned the operation of straw reaping machines in the district till April 25.

The DM said that during the wheat harvesting season it had been noticed that during straw reaping operations, the standing wheat crop in the surrounding fields caught fire resulting in huge financial loss to the farmers. This ban had been imposed till April 25 since most of the wheat crop would be harvested and the farmers could carry out the operations with the reapers to prepare wheat straw for their cattle.

He urged the farmers to strictly abide by these orders which were issued in their interests.



Dal Khalsa launches membership drive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
The Dal Khalsa today constituted its organisational body with many new faces and began its enrolment drive for primary membership of the party.

Mr Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib, a vice-president of the party, today formally launched the membership drive in Punjab. He hoped that the party could bank upon the primary members for ensuring a prosperous Punjab and secure future of the Sikhs.

Mr Kanwar Pal Singh has been appointed secretary, political affairs, Mr Sarbjit Singh Ghuman would look after organisational matters, Mr Tirlochan Singh Zira has been given the charge of secretary, religious affairs, Mr Shinder Pal Singh is secretary, cultural affairs, Mr Iqbal Singh Mann is in charge of public relations, while Mr Kabul Singh Kang will be secretary, social affairs, and Mr Randhir Singh will look after youth affairs.

To strengthen the party at the grass-roots level, Mr Satnam Singh has constituted a 20-member working committee that includes Master Harchand Singh, Dr Sukhdev Singh, Dr Arpal Singh Chinna, Subedar Nirmal Singh Bhinder (retd), Subedar Baldev Singh (retd), Principal Raminderjit Singh, Mr Sarbjit Singh Patiala, Mr Harnek Singh Bhullar, and Mr H.S. Dhami besides others. Separate panels were also constituted to steer the working of the party in different fields.

Mr Satnam Singh said the Dal Khalsa was dedicated to protecting the political and civil rights of the Sikhs. Listing his party’s aims and objectives, he said, “We will continue in our struggle to uphold political freedom for Sikhs”.

Mr Satnam Singh who has been undertaking an intensive campaign in the rural Punjab these days to create an awakening about the aims and objectives of the Dal Khalsa said his party would be holding a public function at Patiala on April 20. He said an interactive session would be held during the function in which a panel of Sikh scholars would answer the queries of Sikh youths who would be participating in the function.



Gang of thieves busted
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, April 17
With the arrest of Manjit Singh of Jadahan, P.S. Dehlon, Surjit Singh of Dhurkot, Tarsem Singh of Lohgarh, Harpreet Singh of Kulal Majra, Baljinder Singh, alias, Binder of Dashmesh Nagar, Patiala, Harish Chander of Bhinder Kalan and Gulzar Singh of Chughe Kalan, the police has claimed to have busted a gang of thieves who used to forge documents of vehicle and sell loaded goods at throwaway prices in other areas.

Mr Mohinder Kumar, SHO, Raikot police station, said a case under Sections 406, 420, 412, 467,468, 471 and 120-B, IPC, had been registered against them and Pawan Kumar of Lohgarh wherein it was alleged that Manjit Singh, Surjit Singh, Tarsem Singh, Harpreet Singh and Baljinder Singh had formed a gang and they had changed the registration number of a truck from HR-37A-0913 to MP-09-KB-0904 and also forged false documents. It was alleged that they had loaded refined oil from Palampur (Gujarat ) for Jorhat (Assam). But instead of taking the oil to the destination, they had sold the oil to Harish Chander, Pawan Kumar and Gulzar Singh.

A .38-bore pistol with three cartridges and a .12-bore pistol with two cartridges were seized from Harpreet Singh and Balwinder Singh, respectively. Mr H. S. Grewal, Judicial Magistrate, Jagraon, remanded the suspects in police custody for two days today. Gulzar Singh and Harish Chander ,from whom the police recovered 315 and 58 packs of refined oil, were sent to judicial custody.

Machines stolen

On a complaint of Ms Gulzar Kaur of Budhel, the police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC involving the theft of four sewing machines, two boxes and some other articles from a sewing centre being run in Government Elementary School, Sudhar (Jagraon). She has been posted as instructor there. According to the information, she had left for home after school hours, but next day when she returned, she found the lock broken and articles missing.

ASI’s cellphone

The court of Mr H.S. Grewal, Judicial Magistrate, Jagraon, ordered Mr Joga Singh, ASI, to surrender his mobile phone when he appeared for some case in the court but did not switch it off.

Snatcher held

The local police arrested Upkar Singh, one of the two accused who on April 7 snatched gold earrings from Ms Harnam Kaur of Ramnagar, Jagraon, when she was going to gurdwara.

Held for gambling

The local police arrested Ashwani Kumar, alias Achhi, of Mohalla Balochan, near Subhash Gate, and recovered from him Rs 750 collected by the accused for number game. A case under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act has been registered.

3 held for assault

the police arrested Binder Singh, alias Chitta, Dharam Singh, Harpal Singh, alias Bagga, of Hathur and recovered a stolen gold chain and a gold ring. It is alleged that on April 12, the trio injured Sukhdev Singh after entering his house at Hathur and when his nephew Major Singh intervened, they snatched the chain and ring. According to the information, the cause behind the assault was that Sukhdev Singh did not lend money to them.

Woman ends life

Mrs Jasbir Kaur, 50, of Kothe Jiwa (Jagraon), reportedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance. According to the information, she was admitted to the Civil Hospital, but could not be saved.



CII to hold seminar on business in Sharjah
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
CII, as a part of its initiative in the Gulf region, is working in partnership with the Sharjah Airport International Free (SAIF) Zone and has an MoU with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. To further strengthen CII- Sharjah Cooperation, CII (Northern Region ) is organising a Seminar on business opportunities in SAIF zone, Sharjah, in Ludhiana on April 21. The SAIF zone team is led by its Deputy Director, General Sheikh Saqer al Qassemi, a member of the ruling family of the Emirate of Sharjah.

A press release issued by the CII said the objective of the seminar was to explore and discuss the possibilities of business between India and Sharjah, with particular reference to the facilities offered for business by the SAIF zone, situated next to Sharjah International Airport with fully developed infrastructure, business-friendly formalities and sponsorship rules. Commencing operations in 1996 with 55 companies, SAIF zone today had over 958 companies from all over the world, including prestigious companies from India.

It was the world’s first ISO 9001-certified airport free zone and the fastest growing in the region. The seminar would explain and highlight the various innovative facilities offered by the zone.

The Emirate of Sharjah, which is a part of the Federation of United Arab Emirates, has the additional advantage of ideal location with sea-ports on the east and west coasts of UAE, excellent trade centers, international banks, excellent education facilities in terms of universities and on the whole, world-class facilities for doing business, according to the release.


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