Tuesday, April 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Probe ordered into DMC employee’s torture
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has ordered magisterial inquiry into the six-month-old case of alleged illegal confinement and torture of a DMC employee by the district police.

Acting on a petition filed by a human rights activist, Charanjit Bakshi, the PSHRC has ordered the District Magistrate, Ludhiana, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, to depute a senior officer for magisterial inquiry into the charges of illegal confinement and police torture levelled by the employee, Rajinder Kumar, alias Bahadur, who worked in a canteen of the DMC.

The inquiry, to be completed by May 14, falls on the next date of hearing of the case, according to a copy of the order received here today.

Rajinder Kumar went missing in July last year after a clash between the cops and the DMC union in the hospital premises. A number of DMC employees, including women, were picked up the police after several policemen were attacked and injured by DMC employees.

The police had unleashed a major crackdown on the employees and several of them were rounded up and beaten up in various police stations. The cases of these employees against the police had been pending in the PSHRC as well in various courts.

These employees returned after a few days but Rajinder Kumar returned after three months i.e in October last year with signs of torture and multiple fractures on his legs.

Rajinder Kumar alleged that he was kept in different police stations and at several unknown places. Ultimately, in October, he was left in front of a dhaba near the DMC hospital by some cops of Division No 8 police station.

The human rights activist took up his cause and after a few months of deliberations, the PSHRC found the petition fit to be registered as a case.

Mr Bakshi had demanded that the case be given for inquiry to some magisterial officer and not to the police. He also sought serious action against the erring cops. He said not only the employee was kept in illegal confinement but was also denied proper medical treatment.



Farmers start sowing paddy, threaten water table
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Contrary to the advice of the state government and agricultural experts of Punjab Agricultural University against the early sowing paddy to ease pressure on natural resources, the farmers of the district have already started cultivating paddy nurseries, caring two hoots for the recommendations.

By sowing paddy nurseries in mid-April, the farmers will start paddy transplantation by early May. The government takes up the cause of paddy transplantation but no one tries to stop the practice at the initial stage of cultivating paddy nursery. If the farmers do not transplant paddy in the fields, they will lose money.

Unmindful of the damage, the farmers have been cultivating paddy nurseries and sowing unrecommended varieties. This also despite the fact that the water table has gone down over the years and in some areas it has been recorded as low as 350 feet.

The experts have been urging the farmers to sow paddy nurseries only after May 15 to avoid the problem of glut due to higher moisture content, besides trying to reduce pressure on the already-depleting water table and power supply. The PAU experts have appealed to the farmers to cultivate late varieties of paddy to get the maximum yield with a low moisture content.

A survey of some villages by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that many farmers have been sowing paddy nurseries while many already completed the exercise a week ago. Although these farmers are well aware of the depleting water table and the directive by the university, they are still cultivating the nurseries and some of them are preparing the fields.

According to the farmers, they are forced to cultivate paddy early due to the availability of labour just after the harvest.

"It becomes very difficult for us to make the labour available if we cultivate it after May 15. Most of the labourers who come from other states go back after the harvest. Then, we find difficulty in cultivation practices as most of the work is done manually", said Rajinder Singh, a farmer of Mohi village.

A farmer said he was aware of the depleting underground water level but he was unable to do anything.

"I cannot fight with this problem alone. I am not the only one who is cultivating paddy. Why can't they stop others also to cultivate it. I cannot relax when others are cultivating it", he said. He added that since the level of water was going down, he and other farmers had to increase the depth of tubewells. According to PAU experts, it was after many years of research that the university had directed the farmers to sow only late varieties of paddy.

After various researches, the PAU had found that the late varieties produced more yield, required lesser amount of water than the early varieties and were much more resistant to many diseases. They added that only after obtaining positive results from the research, the scientists had asked the farmers to cultivate only late varieties and transplant the pods after June 15.

The scientists said by resorting to early sowing, the farmers would waste precious underground water for about six weeks. If the trend continued, the underground water in the upper layers would get depleted. 



VB grants more time to school
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has accepted the request of a city school for giving it more time to submit its record pertaining to admissions to LKG during the past 10 years. While Sacred Heart Convent School (Sarabha Nagar) has sought more time, Guru Nanak Public School has submitted its record to the investigating officer, it is learnt.

Two other schools, DAV and Sacred Heart in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar have been summoned to appear before the bureau at Chandigarh on Tuesday. The bureau had issued notices to these four schools after receiving complaints that the schools were forcing parents to pay donations that were being siphoned off by the school management in connivance with senior district officials.

Guru Nanak Public School is learnt to have submitted all record pertaining to LKG admissions during the past two years. The school Principal, Mr R.S Gill, said, “ We had record for the past two years and only that has been submitted. The record prior to that is unavailable with the school, having been reported lost and a complaint in this connection is already with the police”.

Sacred Heart Convent Principal Sister Helema on the other hand had sent a request letter seeking 15-day time for submitting the record, but the investigating officer has granted the school seven days to produce the record. Earlier this year, following complaints of bungling in admissions, the Income Tax authorities had summoned the school record for scrutiny. The school has taken a plea that it is yet to put together all its record that has been scattered after its evaluation by the tax authorities.

The bureau has, however, expressed dissatisfaction over the two-year record submitted by Guru Nanak Public School. It is learnt that the school’s head clerk who had represented the school at Chandigarh today has been asked to have a senior school functionary explain the loss of record. Meanwhile, the incident has generated a strong debate in the city on the issue of ‘sifarish’ and ‘money’ playing active role in the admissions to a class like kindergarten. It is felt that strong action should be taken against all officials and middlemen found guilty of misusing their official positions for seeking admissions. Preliminary investigations by the bureau have established beyond doubt the involvement of local senior officers in making recommendations for admissions to top city schools.



Sutlej Club general secretary suspended
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Controversy and Sutlej Club have almost become synonymous for residents of Ludhiana, with this five star club running into unsavoury situation more often than one would expect. While the recent heat generated over the dissensions with regard to differences in the Executive Committee is far from over, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, who is also the president of the club, has unceremoniously suspended the club’s general secretary, Mr Sunil Jain.

This late last night development has caused a virtual polarisation among its elite members, some of whom pay up to Rs 3 lakh to secure entry into this club. Originally started to function as an officer’s club, the Sutlej Club has become a full-time occupation for many, including some officers, due to large financial stakes involved. No wonder that allegations of misappropriation, use of undue favours etc have become a regular talking point in the club.

The president of the club, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, when contacted confirmed that Mr Sunil Jain had been suspended and given a show-cause notice. "He has been suspended for seven days from both the membership as well as from the post of general secretary for creating indiscipline and misconduct in the club premises. The club is a government property valued at around Rs 200 crore. According to the constitution of the club, the president has the powers for appointing and punishing any club member violating the constitution of the club. All such decisions are taken mutually by the president and executive committee members”, said Mr Aggarwal.

Mr Sunil Jain, the suspended general secretary of the club, confirmed that he had been suspended for seven days and said that he will give the reply later to the suspension notice. Neither the President nor the general secretary have escaped criticism for the style of functioning from the club members. While Mr Agarwal has been accused of taking undue interest in the affairs of the club of which he is president only in his capacity of being Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jain’s detractors allege that the precious club resources are put into use to please officials and political relevant people. The suspension of Mr Jain is in keeping with the allegations against him.

It may be recalled that after having a meeting with the executive committee members last evening, the president of the club took the decision against the general secretary. 



Gold biscuits found from doc’s locker
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau today found as many as 70 tolas of gold jewellery, including foreign-made six gold biscuits and some diamond jewellery from one of the two lockers in Punjab and Sind Bank owned by Dr Amarjit Singh, who was caught for indulging in private practice last week.

The Vigilance Bureau, however, has failed to trace absconding Punjab Police Inspector Paramjit Singh, who was booked for interfering with the vigilance work and manhandling a DSP-rank officer when a vigilance raid was on at the doctors’ house.

Vigilance sources disclosed to TNS that they had conducted several raids to nab the absconding police officer but were unsuccessful.

The vigilance team operated two lockers owned by Dr Amarjit Singh and his wife Kanwaljeet Kaur at the Punjab and Sind Bank, Ghumar Mandi. One of the lockers was found empty while in the second the gold jewellery was found.

The market value of total jewellery is being pegged at over Rs 2 lakh. The vigilance had already announced that they had found evidence of movable and immovable property worth over one crore of rupees.

Dr Amarjit Singh was caught red-handed while indulging in private practice at his residence in Ghumar Mandi . He was posted as Medical Officer, Mehsanpur village near Phillaur.

The vigilance raid was obstructed by Insp. Paramjit Singh, a close friend and neighbour of the accused doctor. The police official had created quite a ruckus at the raid site by trying to run away with a file containing details about his property. He had kept the file in the house of the doctor.



Traffic chaos in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Traffic flow remained suspended near the Old Courts chowk this morning owing to the painting of zebra crossing and stopline. Traffic was also blocked at the Bharat Nagar chowk as the recarpeting of road was in progress.
Despite the fact that the Old Courts chowk is the busiest area in the morning, the painting work was taken up at this time only. Long queues of vehicles were seen on the road. Resentment prevailed among commuters as they reached their destinations late.

They said the painting work could have been taken up at night or it could have been delayed by two to three hours, when the traffic load is lesser.



Rash driving by youth costs girl her toe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
In a bizarre incident, a car ran over the foot of a two-and-half-year old girl. She is undergoing treatment at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) where a surgery had to be done on her toe.

According to Kanwaljeet, father of the victim, he, along with his wife and daughter Itina, were having a stroll in front of their house in the Rajguru Nagar area on Saturday when a car bearing registration number PB-10 AX 0977 ran over the foot of his daughter. He alleged that when he tried to intercept the two youths driving the car, they came out of the car and tried to manhandle him.

They also threatened him of dire consequences if he reported the matter to the police. They claimed themselves to be related to a local political leader.

The victim was rushed to the DMCH. However, the doctors could not save her toe as it had got detached from the foot. An FIR had been registered in the Sarabha Nagar police station. 



Cong rally for hosiery manufacturers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
A number of Congress workers today took out a scooter rally in support of hosiery manufacturers who have been on strike for the past 22 days demanding the withdrawal of the Central excise on hosiery and textile products. The rally led by the district president of the party, Mr K.K.Bawa, passed through different areas of the city.

Mr Bawa said the Congress was strongly against the imposition of the Central excise on hosiery products. Mr Bawa said since it was the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre which had to take a final decision on the issue, the Congress could do little about it.

The Congress leader pointed out that the state government had declined to introduce VAT in the state. He assured that the Congress would also support the hosiery manufacturers in Parliament. He said the matter had been brought to the notice of the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, and the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Dr Manmohan Singh.

Meanwhile, the hosiery manufacturers continued with their dharna. Some hosiery manufacturers observed fast to protest in this regard.

A meeting of the Ludhiana Textile Club was also held in protest against the imposition of the Central excise. Among those who attended the meeting were president of the club, Mr Shakti Nittu, and club secretary, Mr Iqbal Singh Khurana.



Is hosiery stir getting politicised?
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
The hosiery manufacturers’ strike appears to be assuming political overtones with some of the leaders trying to draw parallels between efforts made by the Congress Government in the state and a former Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Although the hosiery manufacturers have preferred to remain anonymous to get cooperation from all quarters concerned there are some leaders who for their political affiliations are sounding discordant notes.

Trying to derive political mileage out of the issue, the general secretary of the pradesh Beopar Mandal, Mr Sunil Mehra, who is a BJP leader also said that the Punjab Chief Minister was not taking any interest. He observed that the way Capt Amarinder Singh had courted arrest on the issue of minimum support price for farmers, he could have similarly raised the issue of central excise with the Union government.

Mr Mehra pointed out a Chief Minister’s word would obviously carry more weight. He lauded the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for leading a delegation of manufacturers to meet the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee on April 10. He regretted that the Punjab Chief Minister was not bothered about the problems of the hosiery.

Countering his charges, the Congress MLA Mr Surinder Dawer, criticised vested interests for politicising the issue when it concerned all hosiery manufacturers.

He argued that the Chief Minister could hardly do anything on the issue since Central excise was a Centre subject. He observed the leaders who were blaming the Congress Government should better approach their own government at the centre for withdrawing the excise duty.

Mr Dawer pointed out Capt Amarinder Singh was the first Chief Minister who announced that he would not introduce VAT in the state.

He added that it was after Punjab deferred the decision on VAT that other states followed suit. He claimed the Punjab Government was more serious and sincere about the problems of the hosiery manufacturers than anyone else.



PHRC directive to MC on development work
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC) has issued directions to the Municipal Corporation to ensure that the level of street No 7 in the New Simla Puri locality on the Gill Road in the city where resurfacing work was being undertaken, was kept at a proper level so that the accumulated rainwater might not enter the houses and create problems for the residents.

In an interim order on the complaint of Mr Sher Singh, a resident of the locality, Justice N.C. Jain, Chairperson of the PHRC directed the MC administration that the contractor, to whom the work was allotted, be instructed accordingly and a report be submitted before the commission on the next date of hearing on June 26.

The PHRC Chairperson further directed that a copy of the order, along with a copy of the rejoinder filed by the complainant, be sent to the Executive Engineer (O and M) of the MC with explicit instructions that the official receiving the orders of the commission would personally place it before the officer concerned for compliance.

Earlier, the MC had submitted, in its reply through the Executive Engineer (O and M), that the development work in the said area had already been entrusted to a contractor and it was likely to be completed before May 31.

The complainant Mr Sher Singh, in his rejoinder to the reply submitted by the MC, had charged the civic administration with prejudice and discrimination. He had further pleaded that responsibility be fixed for delay in execution of development works like providing water supply and surfacing of roads and the guilty officials be brought to book for causing harassment to the public.



Rajrani chief of Doraha council
Our Correspondent

Doraha, April 21
Ms Rajrani was unanimously elected president of the Doraha Municipal Council, while Mr Bant Singh Daburjee and Mr Sardara Singh were elected senior vice-president and vice-president, respectively, in an election held here today.

Mr Sucha Singh Mast, SDM, Payal, who was the presiding officer, administrated the oath of office to all 13 councillors.

The name of Ms Rajrani was proposed by Mr Daburjee and seconded by Mr Adarsh Pal Bector, both Congress councillors. No other name was proposed. Ms Rajrani has won the council election for the third time.

The name of Mr Daburjee was proposed by Mr Jaswinder Singh Jassa and seconded by Mr Surinder Pal Sood, both Congress councillors. Similarly, the name of Mr Sardara Singh was proposed by Mr Gurnam Singh and seconded by Mr Navjeet Singh.

According to Mr Mast, the entire process was peaceful and the newly elected office-bearers promised to work for the development of the town.

It may be noted that out of the 13 seats, the Congress had won 10 seats. One Independent candidate supported the Congress. The SAD managed to get only two seats.



Sant Ram is Khanna MC president
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 21
Mr Sant Ram was elected president of the local Municipal Council at a meeting held at municipal town hall today under the chairmanship of the Sub-divisional Magistrate, Mr Jaspal Mittal. Earlier, all 27 newly elected councillors took oath.

Name of Mr Sant Ram, a Congress candidate, was proposed by Mr Parm Jit Singh and seconded by Mr Gurminder Singh Lally.

The name of Mr M. P. Jassal, a SAD-BJP candidate, was proposed by Vijay Sharma and seconded by Ms Urmila Sahenewalia. Mr Sant Ram got 20 votes while Mr Jassal got eight votes .



PSEB employees to step up agitation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 21
As part of their ongoing agitation against privatisation, all major unions of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employees will burn effigies of the management till April 23 and hold zonal-level protest demonstrations at Patiala on April 28, 29 and May 2 which will be followed by two days strike on May 6 and 7.

A joint meeting of the PSEB employees’ unions held here yesterday flayed the government’s move to disband the PSEB at the behest of multinational companies and replace it with a private corporation which would look after power generation, transmission and distribution.

According to Mr Radhey Shyam, an activist of the trade unions, the meeting was of the firm view that the PSEB had a social commitment as well and it would be against the larger interests of the public as well as the employees to hand over this body to private companies, whose sole motive was profit.

Among other office bearers of the PSEB Employees Struggle Committee, the PSEB Employees Federation, the PSEB Employees Front, the PSEB Workers Federation (INTUC), the Bijli Mazdoor Sangh and activists of several farmers’ organisations like the Kisan Sabha, the Kirti Kisan Union, the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal), the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, the Punjab Kisan Sabha and the Khetibari and Kisan Vikas Sangh attended the meeting.

Various speakers, including Mr Radhey Shyam, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Harbhajan Singh, Mr Ranjit Singh, Mr Karam Chand Bhardwaj, Mr Phaljit Singh, Mr Swarn Singh, Mr Parkash Singh Mann, Mr Gursewak Singh, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, Mr Bhupinder Singh, Mr Lehmbar Singh Taggar and Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu expressed apprehensions that once the private sector was allowed entry into the power sector, the priority areas like agriculture and industry would be neglected. The privatisation would also adversely affect other segments like less profitable areas and the people might have to bear additional financial burden by way of a hike in the power tariff.

The participating representatives of farmers’ organisations expressed their complete solidarity with the agitating PSEB employees while calling upon the government to scrap the decision of disbanding the board. They also criticised the Union Government for adopting Electricity Bill 2001 in Parliament and demanded that the decision should be kept in abeyance.



Indians caring, says French model
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 21
French model Andrea holds India and Indians in high esteem. She believes that the country possesses varied rich cultures which make it unique. Though it is her first visit to the country, she finds Indians to be warm-hearted, caring and affectionate.

The model is on a month-long tour to India. She was in the city today to launch the scintillating fragrance of Emami Golden Beauty Talc. Twentytwo-year-old tall model said she liked the Punjabi ‘juttis’ most. “Oh, these are so pretty I have got three pairs. I have also bought some Punjabi suits with ‘dupattas’. They really give a traditional look. I am fond of wearing traditional things”.

Explaining the concept behind the French model’s presence, Mr Mohan Goenka, Director, Emami Group of Companies, says: “France has always been associated with fragrance and perfume and fragrance is the only value add the average Indian looks for in the talc. It has always been our endeavour to bring beauty, the way an individual wants it at an affordable price”.



35 booked for attack on excise team
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
The district police has registered a case against 35 persons regarding attack by a mob on a team of the local Excise and Taxation Department yesterday.
These persons have been booked under Sections 186,148, 149 and 353 of the IPC on a complaint lodged by Mr Balkar Singh, ETO of District Ludhiana-3. The complaint stated that the ETO and his team had stopped a shopkeeper of Gur Mandi to check the sale tax receipts for the goods he was transporting. The shopkeepers objected to this and called more supporters who attacked the excise officials. Police sources said the shopkeepers in the mob had been identified and their names would be included in the complaint soon.


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 |