Sunday, May 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


2 guards found dead in clinic
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 3
Two guards employed with Vijay Anand Charitable Clinic were found dead under mysterious circumstances on the clinic premises here today.
Inder Kumar (50) and Satish Kumar (26) were found dead in a pool of blood in a bathroom at the diagnostic centre near the Government College for Boys.

While Satish Kumar was found clubbed to death, Inder had a slit wrist. Police sources said they could confirm that Satish had been murdered. It was, however, difficult to say whether Inder had been killed. The bodies have been sent for a post-mortem examination and the report would be available tomorrow.

Personal enmity seems to be the reason behind the incident. The police did not find any signs of a robbery or theft in the hospital. The cash had not been taken away and there was no damage to doors, windows or machines.

Strangely, no attendant in the hospital nor the wife and child of Satish heard any noise or unusual sound emanating from the ground floor. There were no patients as it was an outdoor diagnostic centre. The family of Satish lives in one of the top floors of the centre while that of Inder lives in Chander Nagar behind Arya College.

The police is working on two theories. Satish could have been killed by Inder because of some personal problem and later he might have committed suicide. However, no weapon has been from found the site.

Another theory is that someone might have killed them both. The police is perplexed why the murderer(s) would kill Satish in a brutal manner and only slit the wrist of Inder.

Mr Surinder Kumar Jain, Chairman of the management committee of the clinic, said Harpal Singh, another guard, was the first to find the bodies in the wee hours when he came for his shift. He called the police and rushed to the site.

He said the victims were hardworking and no one had seen them quarrel. The clinic staff said a few months ago, Inder had an argument with a scooterist over parking in front of the clinic. The scooterist had allegedly threatened him with dire consequences several times.

Investigation is on and senior officers have rushed to the crime site.

SP (City-I) Harish Kumar, DSP R.S. Bakshi and Division No 5 police station SHO Arun Joshi were investigating the case.



Early sowing on as govt sleeps
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 3
Even as farmers of the district have finished with the preparation of nurseries of paddy, much before the recommended time, the state government is yet to ask them to refrain from doing so.

Every year the state government spends lakhs of rupees on releasing advertisements in various media asking farmers to postpone paddy cultivation, but the public money spent on propaganda goes wasted as the time of appearance of these advertisements does not concur with the cultivation time.

While the advertisements are yet to appear, most of the farmers have already finished with the paddy cultivation. The rest are doing so at a fast pace. By the time the advertisements appear, the farmers will be busy transplanting the paddy saplings.

Even Punjab Agricultural University sent a flash to the farmers only two days ago, asking them to prepare the nurseries after May 10, despite the fact that the work of sowing started more than a fortnight ago.

A survey of some villages in Jagraon belt by Ludhiana Tribune team revealed that most of the farmers, who had harvested wheat in the first week of April, had already sown paddy and their saplings were all set to be transplanted. Only those farmers who had to delay harvesting due to some reasons were yet to sow the paddy.

Ironically, all farmers knew that they were putting a pressure on the natural resources by doing so. But they demanded a ban on early sowing, stating that it was not very difficult for them to delay cultivation. But seeing other farmers do so they were forced to follow suit.

“If a farmer in my neighbourhood prepares the nursery, how can I afford to wait for another fortnight. If I do so, I will expose my fields to the threat of insect pests,” said Mr Gurpreet Singh, a farmer of Mandiani village. Elaborating on this, he said insect pests start emerging on the early-sown crop and when his saplings (delayed crop) appear, the grownup insects would feed on his tender saplings. “Moreover if he sprays insecticides on his mature crop, the insects will leave his fields and assemble in my field. At that time I will not be able to spray chemicals because my plants will be too small to resist the insecticide. So my crop will be more vulnerable to insect pests,” he added.

Manjit Singh, another farmer, said if the government really wanted farmers to stop the practice, it should ban early sowing and enforce the orders. “Look at the way Pakistan government does it. They plough the fields of a farmer if he cultivates the crop earlier that the recommended time. Once we follow suit, no farmer will dare sow the crop ahead of time,” he added.



Poor show by Ludhiana dist pupils
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, May 3
With just 52 names from Ludhiana district appearing in the merit list of nearly 550 Class VIII students from Punjab, local students do not seem to have performed well in the middle examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board this year.

The topmost student has got 19th rank, second student has managed 54th rank while third student has secured 72nd position. Like the previous year, none of the students from government schools of the district has been able to achieve a merit position and entire list bears names of students from private and aided schools. Despite the fact that the district education department had introduced monthly examination and pre-board examination in all government schools one and a half years ago, no significant improvement in results could be seen this time again.

The results of last year were very close to those achieved this year. This time the topmost student here has got 757 marks, while last year it was lower by one mark. The topmost student last year had secured 18th rank. However, two years ago, a Ludhiana student had reached the top in the same examination in the entire state.

This time, Amanpreet, a student of National Public Senior Secondary School, Samrala, has stood first in the district with 757 marks out of the total 800. Laxmi from Bhartiya Vidya Mandir, Udham Singh Nagar, has stood second with 749 marks. Third position has been shared by Prabhjot Singh of Sanmati Vimal Jain Senior Secondary School, Jagraon, and Divya Gupta of Anand Ishar Senior Secondary Public School, Ahmedgarh Road, Chhapar, with both scoring 746 marks each.

Next in the list of meritorious student is Aman Sharma with 745 marks and Neeru with 743 marks, both from RS Model Senior Secondary School. A Machhiwara boy, Jasveer Singh from Chopra Public Senior Secondary School, has attained 742 marks, followed by Jyoti of RS Model Senior Secondary School with 741 marks. Scoring 740 marks are two students, Jagmanpreet Kaur from Senior National High School, Krishna Nagar, and Richpreet Singh from Chopra Public Senior Secondary School, Machhiwara. Umesh Goyal from Sanmati Vimal Jain Senior Secondary School, Jagraon, has scored 739 marks.

Interestingly, three students from the same school have scored same marks. These are Harpreet Kaur, Gurdeep Kaur and Neetu Bala, all from Guru Nanak Senior Secondary School, Janta Nagar, with 738 marks each. Hemant Brar of Bhartiya Vidya Mandir, Udham Singh Nagar, has got 737 marks. Two students, Harman Kaur of NM Jain Girls’ Senior Secondary School and Hemdeep Kaur of Spring Dew Public School, Nanaksar, Jagraon, have scored 735 marks. The next rank has been shared by Meghna Chhabra from Nauhria Mal Jain Senior Secondary School and Gursimrat Kaur from Anand Ishar Senior Secondary School, Chhapar.

Four students, Harjit Kaur from Spring Dew Public School at Nanaksar, Latika Gupta and Vikas Gupta from Bhartiya Vidya Mandir, and Rahul Sharma from Sanmati Vimal Jain Senior Secondary School, have attained 732 marks.



45 injured in four accidents
Tribune News Service

Doraha, May 3
Nearly 45 persons were injured, four of them seriously, in four accidents on the GT Road and the Ludhiana-Chandigarh highway this morning.
Three buses, two trucks, a scooter and some cows were involved in the accidents. A shop on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road was damaged when a bus rammed into it after hitting a truck while a major accident took place near Qadon Chowk on the GT Road. The other accidents took place on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh highway near Kohara village.

About 40 persons, including eight women and three children, were injured when a Punjab Roadways bus over turned at Qadon Chowk near Doraha. According to eyewitnesses, the bus driver lost control after he took a sharp turn to avoid hitting some cows. The bus, however, hit the cow and over-turned.

Passengers had to break open the emergency door to come out. Several passers-by, including police personnel, resumed the passengers.

A police personnel, Pawanjeet Singh, who was travelling in the bus and has been seriously injured has been rushed to DMC Hospital.

The bus was headed for Ludhiana from Jargarhi village.

Mr Anurag Agarwal, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, visited the hospital where the injured had been admitted. The SDM, Payal, Mr Sucha Singh Mast, has asked the SMO (Khanna) and the Medical Officer (Doraha) to coordinate with the hospital authorities to provide the required treatment to the injured.

The passengers belonged to the adjoining villages of the Payal area.

The second accident took place near Kohara in which four persons were injured. A private bus first hit a truck coming from the opposite direction and hit electricity poles before ramming into a shop. The power supply in the area was affected for some hours as the bus had damaged the electricity poles. A case has been registered.

In another accident, a private bus travelling to Machiwara from Ludhiana collided head-on with a truck. One person travelling in the bus was injured.

The fourth accident, involving a truck and a scooter, took place near Samrala Chowk. No one was injured.



MC to plug tender loopholes
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 3
In the face of a well-entrenched nexus between certain councillors and a few contractors, which has become a source of financial drain and embarrassment for the Municipal Corporation (MC), the civic administration is learnt to be in the process of revamping the tendering system to plug the loopholes and make it foolproof in all respects.

Reacting to protests by a majority of the contractors, enlisted with the MC, who were feeling victimised and marginalised due to the influencing factor of some of the councillors belonging to the ruling party, the Municipal Corporation’s top brass had twice postponed the receipt of tenders for different kinds of development works during the last fortnight. However, bids for development works worth around Rs 3 crore were received on April 30 and for a change there was no visible interference by the councillors, much to the relief of contractors and the MC officials.

While the municipal corporation’s administration was tight-lipped over what steps were taken to curtail the increasing interference of the councillors in the tendering process, it was reliably learnt that a senior corporation officer had issued a veiled threat to these elected representatives to desist from the practice.

According to informed sources, in the municipal corporation, the administration was seriously considering a proposal to revert to the old system of receiving bids in which tender forms were issued to the contractors without specifying the work. It was for the contractor to fill in the name of the work from amongst the lot for which bids were invited, attach a call deposit receipt of the stipulated amount of the earnest money and offer his sealed tender on a specified date. In this manner, the system was relatively secure because the identity and number of competitors was not known and the chances to manipulate things were minimised if not ruled out.

The system, however, had it draw-backs as well because at times the mandatory minimum number of three bids were not received for certain works and the same had to be advertised again and again. Under the prevailing system of tendering in which tender forms were issued for specific works, the administration could at least make sure that the contractors offered bids for all works, listed in the Notice Inviting Tenders (NIT). On the negative side, the present system of tenders did not offer any secrecy to the contractors and the vested interests (read interested councillors) could easily exert their influence.

When asked for comments, the municipal corporation’s Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, told Ludhiana Tribune that the work of receiving and opening tenders had been entrusted to the Joint Commissioner, Mr Prem Chand, who had also been given a free hand to evolve, whatever system he deemed fit. He ensured that the whole process of tenders was completely transparent.



Khalsa Panchayat seeks action against Vedanti
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 3
The Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat (SKP) has demanded action against Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, Patna Sahib Jathedar Iqbal Singh and other Sikh personalties and ragi jathas that participated in the programme organised by Baba Daljit Singh of Gurdwara Gurjot Parkash at Chicago on the eve of the 400th anniversary celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib.

Terming the decision of the Takht jathedars as unfortunate, the panchayat members said it was ironical that at a time when the SGPC was in the process of initiating a major awareness drive across the world to combat apostasy, drug abuse and mushrooming of deras in Punjab, these Sikh leaders had participated in a function of a dera which has been allegedly boycotted by the Sikh sangat of Chicago for reported anti - Panth activities.

Talking to TNS here yesterday, Mr Rajinder Singh, convener, Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, Mr Mangal Singh Khalsa, Mr Gurdev Singh, Jarnail Singh, all panches, said they had received a representation from the Sikh religious society in which the alleged anti Sikh activities of the dera have been listed, which include violating maryada, promoting superstition, honouring those excommunicated from the Panth and seating such self-styled babas alongside Guru Granth Sahib, claiming to be Jathedar of Takht Kesgarh Sahib and having announced that some weapons on display at his gurdwara belonged to the Gurus and had been gifted to him.

The panchayat leaders also alleged that Baba Daljit Singh had been removed from the management boards of the Kansas and Richmond Gurdwaras for anti-Sikh activities. They also showed documents wherein certain ragi jathas travel documents were confiscated by the Baba and they were made to do menial tasks in his gurdwara before they were rescued by various Sikh bodies of the area.

They also said that the Bada was targeting certain other social workers, who were running welfare programmes for the community, by providing false information of the law enforcement agencies of the city. They also claimed that the Baba had managed to get the portrait of himself with the Pope installed at the Chicago airport ignoring the Golden Temple, the Akal Takht and other eminent personalties of the Panth.

Mr Channi said they had also received information that the Sikh sangat in Germany, Holland and Austria was aware of the anti Sikh activities of the Baba and had boycotted him. He also added that the Akal Takht jathedar was informed by several organisations about the activities of this dera during his visit to America some time back, but Jathedar Vedanti had not only chosen to ignore all appeals but had accompanied a large delegation of other Sikh personalities and ragis.”

The panchayat members demanded that the SGPC was misguiding the masses and that the much publicised drive of the committee to curb apostasy and drug abuse in the state would come to a naught until all the committee members along with their family members did not affirm their faith in the Sikh rehat and maryada.

On drug abuse among the masses, they said that the committee had to make a beginning by declaring, again before the Akal Takht, that no intoxicants would be consumed by them or distributed during the committee scheduled next year.

The deras too had mushroomed since most political and religious leaders regularly honoured those who did not abide by the dictates of the Gurus, he pointed out.



BJP backs Gosain on corruption
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 3
The state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has extended its full support to the stand taken by the former Deputy Speaker of Punjab Assembly, Mr Sat Pal Gosain, in exposing the existing nexus between corrupt elements in the Congress, police and anti-social elements in public. The party has also called for a CBI inquiry into the recent video CD episode in which startling disclosures were made about dubious dealings of corrupt police personnel.

The state general secretary of the BJP, Mr Rajinder Bhandari, in a statement here yesterday, condemned the way certain local Congress leaders, including MLAs, had openly come out in support of corrupt elements in the police exposed in the video CD. This further confirmed that a nexus existed between corrupt functionaries of the Congress and corrupt police personnel, he said. He said corrupt elements, wherever they were, should be exposed and alienated rather than being supported. But corrupt and opportunist politicians thrived on corrupt officials, and in turn supported them. “This has been the Congress culture for years and the BJP is determined to expose it,” he added.

Mr Bhandari further alleged that the Congress and corruption were synonymous and prevalence of corruption in the present magnitude had been the result of policies and manner of functioning of the Congress in the country for decades.

“The Congress has been using anti-social elements extensively during election and in lieu thereof have been patronising these elements at the cost of justice and fair play in public life,” he alleged.

While exhorting people to come forward openly and extend support to the BJP in exposing the nexus between politicians, bureaucracy and criminals, he maintained that the BJP was for a clean and transparent system of governance.



CPM: break cop-criminal nexus
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 3
The CPM has expressed concern over the alleged nexus between police, smugglers and anti-social elements. The recent revelations through VCDs showed that the police, including senior officials, was connected with anti-social elements.

The dubious dealings of the police had belied the tall claims of the Congress government of rooting out corruption in the state.

Mr Kuldip Singh, state secretary of the party, said in a statement that it was intriguing that even the Akali-BJP regime did not take action against corrupt police officials and anti-social elements. “No political party or organisation should defend corrupt elements. Pro-people parties and other bodies should put pressure on the government for breaking this nexus:, he said.

Castigating the government move on opening casinos in the state, he said the casino culture would have an adverse affect on the youth and the rich cultural heritage of Punjab. Mr Kuldip Singh said his party supported the Engineers Association of the PSEB against the privatisation move. He also came down heavily upon the government for appointing former Chief Secretary Y.S. Ratra as the Chairman the PSEB.

Meanwhile, a meeting of members of the District Bar Association, has taken a serious note of the “alliance” between police personnel and criminals.



Beggars need humane treatment: NGOs
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 3
Some social and non-government organisations (NGOs) have demanded that the administration should address beggars’ problems in a humane manner rather than treating them like criminals. These organisations have also suggested ways and means to rehabilitate beggars and to dissuade them from begging.

One such organisation, Resurgence India, has also filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The PIL seeks the implementation of the Punjab Prevention of Beggary Act, 1971, which remains confined to official files only. The petition is primarily aimed at ameliorating the sufferings of beggars through proper rehabilitation.

Similarly, the People for Peoples Society, an NGO working for the uplift of the poor and downtrodden, particularly beggars, has also taken several initiatives for helping out the beggars. The issue assumes importance in the backdrop of the increase in number of beggars during the past several months.

Mr O.P. Grover, chairman of the society, and Mr U.K. Sharda, director of Resurgence India, maintain that the beggars cannot be held behind the bars for long. “They are not criminals and in Indian culture begging is no crime,” says Mr Grover. Some constructive measures should be taken to rehabilitating beggars, he adds.

Mr Sharda says begging is the symptom of a disease roots of which are yet to be identified. He says people take to begging for varied reasons. Both Mr Grover and Mr Sharda maintain that there are some beggars who cannot earn their livelihood due to various handicaps.

There are about 12,000 beggars in Ludhiana only. These belong to all ages and both sexes with the age ranging between four to 80 years. The figures are based on a survey conducted by Mr Grover recently.

Mr Grover himself went around begging for seven days to get an insight into beggars’ lives. “You cannot even imagine what happens in their world involves everything from stealing to prostitution depending on the situation the beggar is placed in”, he says.



Hindustanis are a minority: Javed
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, May 3
Javed Akhtar may probably be one of the few living legends of Urdu poetry. He continues to keep alive the tradition of poetry. He has lent a classic touch to the Urdu poetry. Javed was here recently in connection with the presentation of “Tiranga”, a poetic and musical composition depicting the history and background of the national Tricolour. Javed has composed four poems on the three colours and the Ashok Chakra in the National Flag.

The poems have been rendered in musical compositions by maestros of Indian music like Pandit Jasraj, Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Shafat Ahmad Khan and others. And Javed himself narrated the poems in original during the presentation.

Not just an artiste, he is a patriot and nationalist, whom India concerns as much as anything else. Is he satisfied with the state of affairs? “Sometimes yes and sometimes no”, he remarks, while pointing out, “there is no sense of nationalism left among us”.

He regretted, “While we have so many Hindus and Muslims in India, there are not many Hindustanis among us.... Hindustanis seem to be in a minority, an endangered species in India.”

While praising the virtues of freedom and democracy, he pointed out that their value could be best known from the people who did not enjoy freedom and democracy. He warned, “Let us pray to God that we are never made to realise the value of freedom and democracy”.

Javed also shared his concern over the plight of Urdu in the country. He said Punjab had contributed a lot towards Urdu. People from Uttar Pradesh might claim to be the guardians of Urdu, but it was Punjab that had contributed immensely towards Urdu. He pointed out that there were several great Urdu poets from the region. He said Sahir Ludhianvi was probably one of the greatest contributors to the language and was from Punjab, more specifically from Ludhiana.

He agreed that Urdu was a victim of parochial politics but hoped that people might realise the worth of Urdu. “It will survive all onslaughts, no matter who the invader is,” he asserted.



BKU drive against corrupt officials
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 3
The Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) will launch a drive to expose corrupt government officials and senior bureaucrats and make their ill-gotten wealth and other assets public.

This was stated by the BKU chief, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, in a statement here today. He said government functionaries, at all levels, were taking undue advantage of their respective positions. Taking a dig at the anti-corruption campaign launched by the Congress government in Punjab immediately after taking over, he said it appeared to have fizzled out.

“The Vigilance Bureau, after the initial crackdown and expose of several massive scandals, could not consolidate the early gains, which is evident from half-hearted follow-up in many such cases,” he said.

Making a resolve to expose corrupt officials, Mr Lakhowal said all district units of the BKU had been directed to prepare lists of corrupt officials and their disproportionate wealth and forward these to the headquarters of the union by May 10. 



Co-op bank staff to go on strike
Our Correspondent

Samrala, May 3
The Land Mortgage Banks Employees Union, Punjab, has decided to observe two-hour pen-down strike on May 6 and a full-day strike on May 13. This was stated by Mr Romesh Chander, vice-president of the union, here today.

He said members of the executive committee of the union had criticised the move of the Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Punjab, and the management to decrease pay-scales of the employees of co-operative banks and to bring these on a par with the scales of Punjab Government employees.

Mr Gurdev Singh and Mr Baljit Singh Kumbra, president and general secretary of the union, respectively, these pay-scales were not applicable to the co-operative bank employees. They said they were getting different pay-scales from Punjab Government employees as there was a lot of difference in the nature of their work.



Weather plays spoilsport at trade fair 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 3
Stall holders at the North India Trade and Culture Fair, which had been going on in the grounds of the Government College for Women since April 25, and is to conclude tomorrow, lost a day’s business due to a dust storm that hit the city yesterday. The dust flew in gusts forcing the artisans from different states to put their articles under wraps.

Mr Batra, who has brought pottery from Khurja, said, “Imagine taking care of hundreds of small and big articles. We hastily covered them with plastic sheets. But the dust storm was so strong that it flew away the plastic sheets. We had a tough time protecting our articles. We hardly had any visitors till 5 pm. After that some stall holders hastily set up their stalls, but most of us could not clean up all the dust that had covered the articles. In the evening, with an intention to have more visitors, the organisers allowed people to visit the fair without charging money for tickets.

In the morning all stalls were filled with dust. Although some of the stalls holders were readying their stalls to welcome visitors, many others were yet to lift the plastic sheets from pots and other objects. Workers were dusting the articles. The whole scene looked desolate. A stall holder from Patiala said they would not be able to pay even their hotel bill as the sales had been very low.

Mr Subash from Panipat, who has brought a variety of terra-cotta articles said, “We came here with a lot of expectations, but no one had expected that the truckers’ strike would take so long. Our goods reached late and unpacking took a long time. Another day was lost due to dust storm. We have not made much profits and will be going home with heavy hearts.”



Concern over spate of vehicle thefts
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 3
A spate of thefts, especially those involving vehicles, has been reported from the posh areas of the city over the past few months. A couple of cases of car thefts have been reported from Sarabha Nagar, BRS Nagar and adjoining areas such as the neighbourhood of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

In the latest incident, a car (PB 10-AZ-209), belonging to Ms Satwinder Kaur, a teacher at the Sacred Heart Convent School, Sarabha Nagar, was stolen from right outside the school premises on Wednesday. The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC at the Sarabha Nagar police station.

According to the owner, a student saw the car parked outside the school gate at 1.15 pm, but it was gone at 1.30 pm. A day earlier, too, an attempt had been made to steal the car by breaking the rear side pane and tampering with the lock.

On February 26, this year, Mr Anil Kumar, another teacher of the same school had lost his car from the same spot. The police has failed to recover the vehicle so far. Incidentally, three months ago, an unsuccessful attempt was made to steal the car of yet another teacher, Ms Sangeeta.

“Since the chowkidar sits inside the gate of the school and no PCR vehicles patrols the area, someone took advantage and stole the vehicle”, Ms Satwinder Kaur said. Other people said this was the sixth time in the past three months that someone had tried to steal a vehicle from outside the school.

Meanwhile, similar cases have also been reported from other parts of the city. These cases find mention in the crime file supplied by the police. However, though the police claims that the number of crime incidents in the city has gone down after the deployment of PCR motorcycles, there has been little success in solving most of the cases of theft.


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 |