Tuesday, June 17, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Two inspectors, ASI penalised; 2 
constables suspended
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
Two inspectors, including an SHO, an ASI and two constables were identified and penalised by the district police today for helping and harbouring an accused cop, Inspector Paramjit Singh, in the cop-on-the-run case here.

Inspector Balbir Chand Tewari(SHO Division No 2 ) was transferred to the Police Lines, along with ASI Gurbinder Singh, who was earlier posted at Sahnewal police station. Inspector (Reserve) Harwant Singh, in charge, Police Lines, was also divested of the post. A departmental inquiry had also been opened against all of them.

Constables Malkit Singh and Charanjit Singh were also suspended and sent to the Police Lines. The decision was taken on the basis of a report submitted by SP(H) Arunpal Singh. Senior officers of the district discussed the matter at a long meeting chaired by SSP Narinderpal Singh. They found that there was enough evidence against these cops.

The police also decided to conduct a joint operation with the Vigilance to nab the accused cop. SP (city-I) Harish Kumar was directed to provide all assistance to the Vigilance team in this regard. The role of the Punjab Police in this case had come under a cloud as the police had not arrested the accused cop yet.

But this police action vindicated the news stories published in these columns. Ludhiana Tribune was the first newspaper to report the irregularities in the case. Inspector Paramjit Singh was wanted by the Vigilance in cases of corruption but was marking his attendance in the Police Lines. Later, he was spotted at the Civil Hospital with some other police officials, who were helping him.

Mr Narinderpal Singh, SSP, said that the inquiry by Mr Arun pal Singh found that Reserve Inspector Harwant Singh had helped the accused cop in marking his attendance. Inspector Tewari and ASI Gurbinder Singh accompanied him to the Civil Hospital, along with the two constables. But for the photographs published in these columns, the glaring irregularity would have continued.

SSP Narinderpal Singh said no laxity would be made in the case and he would take strict action against any person found harbouring a criminal, even if the accused was a police officer.

Meanwhile, the state Vigilance Bureau had sought a detailed report from the local Vigilance Bureau regarding the case of Inspector Paramjit Singh. Local Vigilance Officials, in a report based on pre-limn inquiry, had mentioned the accused cops and recommended strict action against them.

It was suggested that the cops helping an accused and an absconder should be booked for sheltering a criminal and abetting in criminal activities.

As per the norms, an accused person wanted by any security agency in the country should be arrested by any other agency who gets a hold on him.

In this case Inspector Paramjit Singh was wanted by the State Vigilance Bureau on the charges of corruption, possessing disproportionate assets to his known sources of income and manhandling DSP Darshan Singh besides obstructing him in his official duty during a raid on the house of a government doctor on April 24.

The Vigilance Bureau officials had been conducting raids since April 24 to arrest the accused cop. However, he could not be found anywhere.

The State Vigilance Bureau had booked Inspector Paramjit Singh, former SHO, Police Station Sadar, Ludhiana, for amassing huge property and wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.

A case under Sections 186, 332, 333, 353, 220, IPC, was registered for obstructing the raiding team of Vigilance Bureau. He was also booked under Section 13 (1) (E) and 13(2) Prevention of Corruption Act at Vigilance Bureau police station here.



Cong, Akalis set to battle it out
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
Although the panchayat elections are not fought on party lines, yet there is hectic activity in the ruling Congress and the opposition Akali Dal with both the parties sponsoring candidates in every segment. Placed in an advantageous position for being in power, the Congress seems confident about the positive outcome, while the Akalis maintain that the panchayat polls will prove to be a referendum on the functioning of the government in the state.

The District Congress Committee (Rural) president, Mr Harmohinder Singh Pradhan, expressed confidence that the party sponsored candidates would emerge victorious in all panchayat segments in the district. He said the workers have already been mobilised and they would ensure that those candidates who enjoy party support win in the elections.

He said the panchayat elections would provide a chance to the party workers to create awareness among the people about the performance of the government. He claimed that ever since the Congress government took over in the state, there has been significant change all around.

On the other hand, the Akalis are also not letting anything to the chance. Buoyed by the newfound unity between two main rival groups led by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and former SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the Akali leaders and workers hope to present a good show this time.

A former minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal maintained that the panchayat elections will reaffirm the popularity of the Akali Dal among the people. Mr Grewal observed that the panchayat elections hold added significance for the state politics as these would set a new trend particularly in view of the fact that the general elections were scheduled to be held next year. 



Farmers get uninterrupted power supply
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
Leaving no stone unturned to woo voters on the eve of the panchayat elections in the state, the Punjab Government has ensured uninterrupted eight-hour power supply to the agriculture sector. The weather gods also seem to be in favour of the government as there is no dearth of irrigation water in the canals.

Whether the “efforts” of the government would translate into votes is yet to be seen, farmers are definitely a happy lot. Obviously, they could not have asked for more. Uninterrupted power supply for eight hours is enough for most of the farmers who have, unlike previous years, finished transplanting paddy.

“I have already finished transplantation. Now I freely visit the city to complete other pending works. After so many years we have witnessed power supply with no fluctuations. It really helps as we can prepare more fields for transplantation. Last year, there were many hiccups. We had to install high-power generators to make our crop survive. But we did not require them this time,” said Mr Charanjit Singh, a farmer of Pakhowal village.

Fortunately, this year the three canals criss-crossing the district are also filled to the brim. There is no dearth of irrigation water and no cases of water theft.

The farmers are also “smart” enough to understand the reason for the supply. “We know they want to please the rural sector as it was a bone of contention between the Congress and farmers. We are sure that soon after the elections, things will never be the same. Never mind, we are also making hay while the sun shines,” said another farmer of Pakhowal.

“It is true that earlier with the low voltage it was very difficult to run our powerful motors. We had to depend on other means even during the supply. Although it was free of cost but it did not serve our purpose. So we had offered to pay for a better and uninterrupted supply. We used to spend a lot on diesel to run generators. It’s better we pay the bill and save environment,” said Mr Buta Singh, another farmer.

Some farmers, however, complained that they had demanded 10 to 12 hours’ supply but the government failed to do so. Some of them do not have more than five acres of land and still they complain that power supply is inadequate.

“What does eight hours’ supply mean to us when we have to keep the water standing in the fields for 24 hours? Look at the hot weather and rate of evaporation. It is very difficult for us. And if they give us electricity in fields, there is no power in our houses. Why do they not treat us equal to urbanites?’’ asks a farmer.



Father’s Day a low-key affair
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, June 16
There was not much hype and hoopla on Father’s Day yesterday.
Gaurav of Isha Continental says the sale of cards on Father’s Day was far less as compared to Mother’s Day, which fell on May 11. Women could be seen bringing their children to buy cards for their fathers.

Children bought cards with wordings showing their gratitude for their fathers.

Says Ms Ruchi ,“ I love my father a lot. I have always felt so strong and protected when I hold his hands. I value his advice a lot. Though I am close to my mother, my bond with my father is stronger. He is my friend , philosopher and guide.”

However, a visit to Old-Age Home revealed a different story. Disappointment was writ large on the faces of old men hoping against hope that their sons would pay them a visit.

Eightytwo-year-old Harbans Lal and his wife have been living in Vivekanand Old-Age Home for the past seven years. They say,“We had four children—two daughters and two sons. We did our best to provide them education and got them married. However, when we thought that the time had come for us to lead an easy life, both sons did not have any room to spare. To avoid everyday bickerings, we moved to our daughter’s house. It was not possible to live in the daughter’s house for long as she faced problems from her in-laws. Finally, we moved to this home” Harbans Lal said their daughters came with their children at times, but the sons never visited them. “It seems we are dead for them.”

Prem Singh, after the death of his wife, felt very lonely. His three sons and their wives felt that he was a nuisance. Fed up of being treated with disrespect, he left his house and is staying peacefully in the old-age home. Since he was in the armed forces, he gets a handsome pension, which he spends on the inmates of the home.

When reminded of Father’s Day, he laughed and said, “When there is no respect for fathers, what is the significance of the day?

Eightythree-year- old Bishen Das had gifted his property to a temple. He said he had a big house in a village near Anandpur Sahib. The house is occupied by his sons and their families. Since they were treated as pariahs in their own house, they chose to live in the old-age home. “At least we live among equals and live with dignity.”

Jagannath, another inmate said, “Gone are the days when ideal sons like Sharvan and Ram were born who served their parents. These days, the sons want to live in their nuclear families and forget their parents. So no use celebrating special days for fathers and mothers. Since children do not care much , let the commercialisation of these days stop.”



Gurdas Mann enthrals audience
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 16
Dressed in a bright red kurta and a lungi, and an embroidered jacket, Gurdas Mann captivated audience with his performance, shaking his ‘chimta’ vigorously and playing on his ‘dhafli’ at a mega concert held at South City in Ludhiana last evening.

The show was organised by ETC Channel Punjabi and was telecast ‘live’ all over the country and abroad.

Thousands of people from nearby villages had also come to see Gurdas Mann perform.

As per the norm, Mann started with tributes to God. Although the show started much later than the stipulated time, the fans kept waiting. While Gurdas Mann charmed the huge audience by singing songs of their choice inside the venue, outside the situation was chaotic. The police, security officers and members of organisers treated fans shabbily.

Many people carrying VIP passes had arrived to catch a glimpse of their favourite singer, but little did they know that they will be manhandled and lathicharged. The SP City, Mr Paritam Singh and the DSP, Sadar, Mr Manjit Singh Deshi, were allegedly witness to the manhandling of the VIP card holders. A policeman, on condition of anonymity, said the main reason for chaos was that more passes were distributed than the seating capacity.

The venue did not give semblance of a cultural evening, but appeared more like a battle scene. The mounted police was pushing people. Boisterous scenes were witnessed throughout the show.

Despite all pandemonium, Gurdas Mann sang ‘yaar punjabi hai‘, ‘apna Punjab hove’, ‘ni me yaar di kamli’, ‘sawari’, ‘pind diyan galiyan’ and set the stage on fire. Preeti Sapru and Bhagwant Mann, the anchors of the show, kept the audience enthralled with their witty repartee. Bhagwant Mann took on Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Mr Advani much to the delight of the people. The Fire Dance Group presented dances. Present on occasion were Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Minister for Jails, SP Traffic Gurdial Singh, SP II Pritam Singh, Director South City and many other distinguished persons of the city.



DCC is a house divided
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, June 16
New alignments are taking place in the District Congress Committee, Ludhiana (urban and rural). The presidents of the DCC (urban and rural) Mr K.K. Bawa and Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, respectively, have been replaced by Mr Jagmohan Sharma and Mr Harmohinder Singh Pradhan, a former MLA.

Mr Parminder Mehta, who was till recently president District Youth Congress, was replaced by Mr Komal Khanna. Mr Mehta was later appointed secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. These appointments had been made by Mr H.S. Hanspal PPCC president.

Mr Bawa and Mr Lapran were appointed presidents of the District Congress Committee (urban and rural) by Capt Amarinder Singh, when he was the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Mr Lapran had earlier replaced Mr Harmohinder Singh who had been elected MLA from Raikot. He was being opposed by Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, MP from Ludhiana, who was very close to the Patiala scion and he managed the sack of Mr Harmohinder Singh on the allegations of being a supporter of Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. Mr Hanspal, after assuming the presidentship of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, started asserting himself and was now appointmenting his own men in the organisation. Mr Jagmohan Sharma, who had been appointed in place of Mr Bawa was a local businessman and was the nominee of the Pradesh Congress President. Similarly Mr Mehta was also the nominee of Mr Hanspal.

The Congressmen in Ludhiana district were badly divided and at present Mr Surinder Dawer, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA and Mr Bawa and Mr Lapran from one group. While Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Higher Education, Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Minister of State for Jails, Mr Harmohinder Singh, president DCC (rural), Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Minister for Transport, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, MLA, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, MP and his wife, an MLA from Khanna, form the other major group in the District Congress Committee. Mr Gurmit Singh former political secretary to the assassinated Chief Minister Beant Singh was also with this group. Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib was trying to present himself as a neutral leader of the district. But Mr Galib was opposed to the Mayor of the Municipal Corporation. Mr Galib and Mr Dullo were also stated to be closer to each other and they had the support of Samrala MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon and the District Congress president (rural) Harmohinder Singh Pradhan. Mr Jagmohan Sharma, who was from the trading community, was trying to create a rapport with the Congress workers and leaders.

The group led by Mr Surinder Dawer, comprising the Mayor, Mr Bawa, Mr Lapran and Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha had been campaigning for the transfer of Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner for a long time but the Chief Minister did not pay much heed to their pleadings. Though now Deputy Commissioner Aggarwal had since been transferred to Bathinda, yet they could not take the credit for his transfer. The transfer of the Deputy Commissioner was managed by a senior officer of Ludhiana who claimed to be close to the ‘coterie’ of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. The officer allegedly had his own reasons to get Mr Aggarwal out of this district.

Mr Anurag Aggarwal was given a dinner by the district Congress leaders which was attended by majority of the senior leaders, including Mr Galib, Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Mr Birmi, Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, Mr Gurmeet Singh, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon and Mr Harmohinder Singh Pradhan.

The Congressmen, who were against Mr Anurag Aggarwal, were the supporters of the Commissioner, Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, and were also the supporters of the SSP, Mr H.S. Sidhu, who had been transferred to Jalandhar. The Commissioner Municipal Corporation claimed to be in Ludhiana due to his own clout and was not at the mercy of the local Congressmen.

Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of State for Printing and Stationery, who has been elected thrice to the Vidhan Sabha, was also siding with the majority group. Mr Hanspal, who was associated with the Namdhari Darbar at Bhaini Sahib in Ludhiana district, was strengthening his base in Ludhiana and he could be a claimant to the Congress ticket for the Lok Sabha elections next year.



Congress undertakes mass mobilisation drive
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 16
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has launched a concerted drive to hold public meetings in each of the 210 blocks in the state to apprise the people of the programmes and policies of the Congress government as also to expose the misdeeds of the previous SAD-BJP coalition government.

Addressing a well-attended workers’ meeting in the Ludhiana (West) assembly segment, represented by the Minister for Higher Education, Mr Harnam Das Johar, PPCC chief H.S. Hanspal focussed on the ongoing campaign against corruption which was initiated by the government immediately after coming to power. He sought the cooperation of the public to make the campaign a success and rid society of the menace of corruption.

Making a scathing attack on the erstwhile SAD-BJP government, Mr Hanspal charged it with robbing the state for its personal gains. The then government had pushed the state under an unbearable debt burden of Rs 54,000 crore for which a staggering sum of Rs 3,650 crore had to be paid back every year. “Allthough the state economy was in a total mess when the Congress government took over, the deft financial management has paid dividends and the state economy has been put back on the rails.” He claimed that Rs 1,500 crore had been earmarked for various development projects during the year, out of which Rs 270 crore would be spent on repair of roads.

The PPCC chief, while outlining various schemes launched by the government for the welfare of the weaker sections, particularly the Scheduled Castes and farmers, reiterated the commitment of the government to ensure allround development in the state. Mr Johar described the party ranks as the real power of the organisation. 



BJP for steps to check conversions
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 16
Expressing concern over the alleged conversion of Dalit Sikhs and Hindus or those from the weaker sections of society to Christianity, the BJP has urged the Union Government to take effective steps against the trend.

A delegation of party functionaries, comprising among others, Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, general secretary of the state unit, Ms Gurcharan Kaur, Member, Rajya Sabha and former state president of the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha, met the Minister of State for Home Swami Chinmayanand to apprise him of the conversion of around 50 Dalit Sikhs to Christianity in Machhiwara recently.

The BJP functionaries alleged that the conversions were taking place and foreigners were being relocated in border areas under a deep-rooted conspiracy allegedly hatched by several foreign agencies, including the ISI. Without naming the Congress, they said certain political parties keeping mute over the issue due to political compulsions were also equally guilty.

The BJP leaders claimed that in the recent past a significant number of foreign nationals, including Bangladeshis, were rehabilitated in border villages in Ferozepore district as part of a political scheme to use them in the next Assembly and Lok Sabha elections allegedly by certain senior officials and their Congress bosses. To corroborate their allegations they maintained that BJP workers had identified hundreds of such persons during the last election and their names were removed from the electoral rolls.

Calling for effective legislative and administrative measures to check this menace, the party activists apprehended that conversions and relocation of foreign nationals in border areas could snowball into a major security threat. The minister assured the delegation that the Ministry of Home Affairs was already aware of the matter and he intended to tour border areas along with a team of senior officials by the end of this month.



Electroplaters demand CBI probe into land scam
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 16
The Ludhiana Electroplaters Association has demanded a CBI inquiry into an alleged land scam involving the sale of 110 acres by the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) at a price much lower than the market rate. The alleged scandal involved top politicians and bureaucrats during the tenure of late Chief Minister Beant Singh.

In a memorandum submitted to the Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), New Delhi, and the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, New Delhi, the president of the association, Mr Joginder Kumar, alleged that the management of the PSIEC, in connivance with some government officials, had sold 110 acres of industrial land to an influential person of Mundian Kalan village at the rate of Rs 1 lakh per acre plus a simple rate of interest. Though 400 acres of the adjoining land was sold at the rate of Rs 6.26 lakh per acre in 1994 to six industrial units.

The state government had acquired 796 acres of land in Dhandari Kalan village and its nearby villages for setting up an industrial focal point at Ludhiana.

The purpose of developing the focal point was to relocate the dyeing and electroplating units located in the congested areas of the city and also to draw a plan for the next 10 to 15 years to accommodate new units and to prevent their haphazard growth.Out of this, 349 acres was allotted to the PSIEC for development.

In 1993, PSIEC invited applications for various categories of plots varying from 250 to 10,000 square yards. The applications were received in certain categories and the corporation again invited applications in 1994. The corporation claimed that 110 acres of land reserved by the PSIEC for polluting industry had been encroached upon and was under litigation. At the time of the draw of lots, the number and size of plots were reduced accordingly.

The electroplaters said that 70 acres of land out of 110 acres was sold to an influential person at the price much below the market rate. The members said that this decision was against the recommendations of the Supreme Court and the polluting units were left out by the PSIEC.

“We tried hard to get the remaining 30 acres of land at the reserved price so that these units could be shifted from residential areas but to no avail. Rather, this 30 acre of land was again sold to the same person at the same rate without even collecting the nominal administrative charges,” said Mr Jagjit Singh, another member of the association.

It is pertinent to mention here that the 325 members of the electroplaters’ association have repeatedly written in vain to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to initiate an inquiry. They had also written to former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to order a CBI probe into the alleged scam.



Encroachers rule the roost in tyre market
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 16
With encroachments galore on both sides of the narrow road of the tyre market, right in front of the railway station, the entire stretch has become a persistent problem for commuters and a large number of traders of Kesar Ganj Mandi, books market, Lakkar Bazar and Saban Bazar, for whom the road is a convenient shortcut to their respective markets. In the wake of chaotic traffic conditions on the Old G.T. Road from Jagraon Bridge to Clock Tower due to construction work on an elevated road in progress, the volume of traffic on this section has further increased, and so have the problems of the commuters. The road witnesses frequent traffic jams, which lead to verbal duels and occasional fist fights, much to the embarrassment and inconvenience of the road-users. Mini-trucks, tempos and slow-moving carriages like hand carts, rickshaws and mule carts, transporting goods to and fro from the wholesale karyana market and other shopping centres through this road, further impede the flow of traffic.

The affected shopkeepers of the adjoining markets allege that tyre dealers not only stack heaps of discarded tyres outside their shops on both sides of the road, but also carry out the repair work and reconditioning of these tyres in the middle of the road, obstructing the smooth flow of traffic. At times, when stocks of old or new tyres are loaded and unloaded at the tyre shops, tempos and mini-trucks are parked in such a way as to block the entire width of road, leaving no space for others to pass by.

Not only traders and residents, but a large number of students of Government Girls School in Lakkar Bazar, who pass through the market on their way to school and back home, have to undergo the agony of slipping through stacks or tyres or haphazardly parked vehicles, and occasionally have to pocket obnoxious remarks. The shopkeepers further charge the tyre dealers and their workers with threatening and abusing them if asked to be considerate to other road-users. A number of traders in the wholesale market claimed that the tyre dealers were keeping the traffic police personnel and the tehbazari staff of the municipal corporation in ‘good humour’ to continue with their arrogant conduct and gross misuse of public places.



Revenue document eludes him
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
Four Ludhiana Deputy Commissioners have come and gone, but a 70-year-old man of the nearby Dhandra village is yet to get a copy of a revenue record.
Mr Bhajan Singh, a poor farmer, who claims to be the owner of agricultural land worth Rs 2 crore at Dhandra village, has been forced to live life in penury as he has been unable to procure a copy of the ‘farad’, which would prove his possession on the land.

He has been frequenting the Mini- Secretariat for the past many years and despite having submitted various applications, copies of which are available with him, officials have failed to satisfy him.

‘‘The land belongs to me, but I cannot prove this unless I have a copy of the ‘farad’. I have been moving from pillar to post to get a copy of it from the patwari concerned, but even after four years of my struggle I haven’t got it,’’said Mr Bhajan Singh.

‘‘I had almost lost hope and had stopped coming here, but somebody told me a new Deputy Commissioner has joined. So I have again come to the office.’’ he added.

A few years ago, when Mr Bhajan Singh asked for a copy of the ‘farad’, he was asked to grease the palm of a revenue officer by paying Rs 2000. However, he could not pay the amount due to financial constraints. As a result, even today he is without the document despite various orders from officials to the employees concerned.

He had even appeared before a former Deputy Commissioner at a ‘sangat darshan’ programme. The Deputy Commissioner had ordered the patwari concerned to provide him the document, but till date he hasn’t got it.

Having failed to obtain a copy of the ‘farad’ even after orders from the district administration, he also attended a ‘sangat darshan’ programme held by a former Chief Minister in the city.

The Chief Minister had also directed the officials concerned to expedite the matter.

Some revenue officials on condition of anonymity said there was no mention of his possession in the revenue records and whenever they provided him with a copy, he refused to take it, stating that it was a fudged document. The officials said the revenue records did not bear his name.

Mr Bhajan Singh was one of the injured during a recent clash at Dhandra over the same piece of land in which two persons were killed.

The police had registered a case against his opponents under Sections 302, 307, 148, 149 and 506 of the IPC. The complainant in the case also claimed that the land was listed as ‘common’ land in the revenue records. It had several partners and the power of attorney was with Bhajan Singh. 



Waiting for recognition of brave act
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana , June 16
Even as the district administration here recently announced awards for brave citizens achieving rare milestones, five youths of Issewal village are waiting for such a recognition for the past one and a half years.

The youths had risked their life to catch two members of a four-member gang of thieves indulging in theft of transformers at Issewal and the surrounding areas. As many as 60 transformers were stolen in a span of a few months in 2001. Despite receiving SOS calls from villagers, the Jagraon police and the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) could not do anything to contain the thefts.

For two months in 2001, the youths kept a vigil during night hours to catch the gang and finally succeeded. The task was not simple. Since then no transformer has been stolen.

The youths—Harinder Singh, Baljinder Singh, Gurinder Singh, Manpreet Singh and Baljinder Singh Nambardar— were just given appreciation certificates by the Jagraon police for their feat. The panchayat of Issewal village tried to get them an award at the Independence Day celebrations, but in vain.

Interestingly, during the past two years, the administration has given awards to gunmen of senior police officers, clerks of the DC office and personal assistants of senior police and civil officers for ‘meritorious’ service.

Now the panchayat has made a fresh effort. A memorandum has been submitted to the new Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, in this regard. In a break from the past, Mr Verma had announced a award for a brave woman, Anu Sharma, for fighting four armed robbers. An award has also been announced for Ms Tulsa, daughter of a watchman, for topping the higher secondary examinations of the Punjab School Education Board.

Mr Verma has reportedly marked the case to his GA, Mr Vinay Bublani. Mr Sukhpal Singh, speaking on behalf of the youths, said they had approached the DC to consider their names this year. He said the youths were quite hopeful for getting official recognition for their bravery.

Mr M.L.Sachdeva, Chief Engineer, PSEB, said he was not aware of the case and would ask for the file of the theft of transformers in the area. He said he would act as per the record.

The PSEB suffered financial losses amounting to Rs 24 lakh because of the theft. The villagers suffered when the power supply required for the irrigation work remained suspended for several days till a new transformer was installed. Besides, they incurred more expenses on agriculture as diesel was required for drawing water from tubewells.

Exhibiting a sense of responsibility, the youths took up the challenge of nabbing the notorious gang. They achieved the target in two months of round-the-clock surveillance after waiting for more than a year for the two agencies (the PSEB and the police) to perform.

Mr Sukhpal Singh said the youths had added another honour to the list of achievements made by residents of Issewal village. It is known as a village of heroes. The only Paramvir Chakra winner from the Air Force, Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, belonged to this village. There were several other Army and Air Force officers also.

The story of the youths’ rare act of chivalry, as narrated by them and the villagers, goes like this. The village and the adjacent areas were facing a serious problem of theft of transformers for the past several years. A gang was operating in the area. The police and the PSEB had been informed.

As official channels—the police and the PSEB—had failed to do anything in this connection and people were feeling upset as they had complained to the police umpteen times, but in vain.The PSEB said providing security for the transformers was beyond its purview.

Due to the thefts, people had to go without power for weeks. Officials of the PSEB took several days to provide a new transformer.

Even as the others were requesting the official agencies to act, these five youths took the task upon themselves. They began to keep a vigil in the area, especially at night, and finally succeeded in nabbing the thieves. 



Award for Anu Sharma
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
In view of the exemplary courage and presence of mind shown by Ms Anu Sharma, who single handedly thwarted a robbery bid by four gun-wielding robbers, the administration has decided to honour her on the Independence Day function on August 15.

Highly appreciating her act of bravery, Mr Anurag Verma, DC, said she not only saved the life of her three children but has also set up an example of courage for other citizens in the future. He said if a timely action was made on such occasions, anti-social elements could be challenged and caught to give them punishment under the law.

The Deputy Commissioner has also appealed the people to emulate the act of Ms Sharma so that the bad elements could be checked from committing such crimes. The SSP, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, has also lauded the brave act.



Tulsa to be honoured on I-Day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
For achieving marvellous success in the plus two examination, the district administration has decided to honour Tulsa who had topped the examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board, at the Independence Day function.

Announcing this here today, Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, said that Tulsa deserved to be honoured for passing her examination with flying colours and would be awarded.

Appreciating her efforts to work against all odds, the DC said that she had brought laurels to the district. He congratulated Tulsa for her success. He said that her outstanding performance was in spite of financial constraints and lack of other facilities. He wished her a grand success in her future academic career.



1,200 pouches of liquor seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
The Jagraon police today claimed to have achieved a major success against bootleggers by confiscating 1,200 pouches of liquor, each of 180 ml, being smuggled into the region. The liquor was smuggled for use in panchayat elections, police sources said.

According to Mr M.S. Chhina, SSP, Jagraon, the police was on the trail of liquor smugglers for the past few days. The smugglers were bringing pouches from Chandigarh. The liquor was seized from a Maruti car (DL-2CC-0585). The smugglers escaped.


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