Sunday, August 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Dalits stage protest at Raikot
Allege Cong leader, cops shielding murder accused
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Raikot, August 9
Local residents and activists of various political parties staged a massive demonstration here today in protest against the alleged shielding of some persons accused of beating up a Dalit to death on July 20 by a Congress leader and police personnel.

The demonstrators also lambasted the authorities of the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, who, they alleged, delayed the treatment of the deceased till a bribe of Rs 2,000 was paid to the doctor on duty.

The major grouse of the protesters was that the police was believing the statement of the main accused, Balaur Singh, that he was admitted to the Civil Hospital at Charkhi Dadri in Haryana at the time of the attack.

The accused has showed more than 20 medical receipts to the police as proof of his presence at the Civil Hospital on July 18, two days before the attack. The relatives of the deceased, Surjit Singh, however, did not buy this theory.

“I have seen Balaur Singh attacking my father,” said Charanjit Kaur, daughter of Surjit Singh. Inderjit Singh, a son of the deceased told TNS here today that there were several other witnesses who had seen him in the jeep involved in the attack.

Surjit Singh had an old enmity with a group of persons in the town. On the evening of July 20, he was hit by a jeep. He was allegedly attacked by Balaur Singh, Pintu and three others with sharp-edged weapons and rods.

The All-Party Sangharsh Committee, formed to seek justice in the murder case of Surjit Singh, carried out a protest demonstration through various streets of the town, raising slogans against the state government and the Punjab police.

Mr Tarsem Singh Jodhan, a former MLA and spokesperson for the committee, who led the protest march, alleged that the police was deliberately sheltering the accused. He said it was a conspiracy by the police and the accused to save Balaur Singh.

Addressing the rally, Mr Jodhan alleged that the family had to pay a bribe of Rs 2,000 at the Civil Hospital for treatment of Surjit Singh. However, the delay in treatment allegedly caused his death.

A police official speaking on condition of anonymity said ASI Joga Singh of the Raikot police had gone to Charkhi Dadri to verify the claim made by of the accused.

He said as per his investigation, the claim was true. He said the police had arrested two of the accused and the force was not under any political pressure in the case.

The members of the committee included Mr Tarsem Jodhan, Mr Vijay Kumar Jain, Mr Nirmal Singh Mahant, Mr Nachattar Singh, Mr Ram Sarup Kalsia, Mr Ranjodh Singh Talwandi, Mr Atma Ram, Dr Praveen Kumar and Mr Harnek Singh.

The protest march went on for about four hours. A dharna was staged at Talwandi Darwaza. A memorandum was presented to Raikot DSP H.S. Brar by the committee.

Regarding the future course of action, Mr Jodhan said a delegation of the committee would meet the Health Minister and Chief Minister of Haryana regarding the alleged tampering of records of the Civil Hospital at Charkhi Dadri.



Schoolteachers gherao ministers’ houses
Tribune News Service

Teachers protest in front of the residence of Education Minister Harnam Dass Johar
Teachers protest in front of the residence of Education Minister Harnam Dass Johar in Ludhiana on Saturday. — Photo Pradeep Tewari

Ludhiana, August 9
Hundreds of teachers of the district under the aegis of the Punjab State Aided School Teachers and Other Employees Union gheraoed the residences of three ministers in the city today.

The teachers gathered outside the houses of Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister of Higher Education, Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of Stationery and Printing and Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, Minister of Jails and Housing Development, after school hours today and raised slogans against the government.

Mr Ranjit Singh, state president of the union, said the posts of school teacher n aided schools had been frozen since 1967 and now the government had put a ban on these posts. He said the government wanted to close down these schools, adding that they had been promised but nothing had been done on this front.

He said former Chief Minister, the late Beant Singh had promised the teachers that they would be given pension and even PPO numbers had been distributed but the present Chief Minister had not done anything in this regard. He stated that the dues of the teachers had not been paid and they never got their salaries on time.

Mr Kirpal Singh, district secretary of the union, said if the government failed to accept their demands, they would intensify their agitation.

Khanna: More than 150 teachers of different schools here organised a demonstration in front of the house of local MLA Harbans Kaur Dullo and MP Shamsher Singh Dullo on a statewide call given by the Punjab State Aided School Teachers and other employees union on Saturday.

The demonstration was organised under the leadership of Mr Sham Sunder joint secretary of the Ludhiana unit of the Union, in protest against the government decision to freeze new posts, demolish the pension scheme and stop grants.

Teachers of A.S. Senior Secondary School, Hindi Putri Pathshala, Guru Gobind Singh Senior Secondary School, Jain School and Guru Teg Bahadur Senior Secondary School participated in the demonstration.

Later, MLA Harbans Kaur Dullo called the leaders of the union to discuss their demands.



PCC smells dissidence in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, august 9
The Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) is learnt to be monitoring the activities of at least three Congress legislators from Ludhiana district, who include ministers also, for their reported dissident activities. Sources revealed that these legislators/ministers had been in regular touch with other dissidents in the party.

The PPC has assigned the job of looking into the activities of these elements to some trusted party leaders from Ludhiana only. These party leaders are conveying regular reports to the government on the activities of these people, whose loyalty to the Chief Minister has always been held in doubt. Some of them are supposed to be quite senior in the party.

Recently some of the dissident leaders from Ludhiana have met some senior leaders of the party high command, including Ms Ambika Soni and Mr Ahmad Patel in Delhi. They have also met Mr Vincent George, personal assistant of the AICC president, Mr Sonia Gandhi, who provides her with regular feedback about party affairs in various states.

As the dissidents intensified their activity, the leaders loyal to the Chief Minister also rushed to Delhi trying to lobby with the Congress high command. One of these leaders said the party high command was thoroughly briefed about the activities of the dissidents in Ludhiana. The dissidents might also be pulled up for trying to create bad name for the party and the government.

He claimed that the party high command has also taken serious view of their activities as it would directly go against the party interests. He said the party high command was also aware of the fact that the dissident leaders were only helping the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP in the state.

The Congress leader maintained that even the dissident leaders who met the party high command were told in clear terms that the dissidence could not be tolerated at any cost, particularly at a time when the party was preparing itself for general elections scheduled to be held next year. He said the dissidents have been asked to mend their ways and they had to work within the existing structure.

He pointed out that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was himself camping in Delhi for the past one week and he had already convinced the party high command as how the dissidents were trying to sabotage the good and clean image of the government in the state. 



Probe into spurious milk in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, today ordered investigations into the sale of spurious milk in the city. He has also written to the SSP to register cases against dairy owners who were indulging in this practice.

The Deputy Commissioner issued warning to those who engaged in adulteration and said stringent action would be taken against them under the Food Adulteration Act and various provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

He directed the Civil Surgeon to keep vigil on dairies and milk sellers. He also urged the people to help the administration in detecting the preparation of synthetic milk and inform either him or the SDMs, besides the Civil Surgeon.

He said an award of Rs 5,000 would be given by the District Red Cross Society to the informer. The information could be provided to the Civil Surgeon on phone no 2444193, SDM (East) on 2400150 and SDM (West) on 2412555.

He asked the people to inform the administration if milk vendors stopped the supply of milk after the publication of the action plan.

The Deputy Commissioner said synthetically prepared milk could cause serious disorders and harm health. He exhorted voluntary and social organisations to create awareness among the people in this regard.



Stray bull kills man
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
A 70-year-old man was killed by a stray bull in the Gill Road grain market here today.
Pal Singh, a resident of Gill village, was a cart driver and used to visit the grain market everyday to collect cattle feed for selling it in the village. Today, around 9.30 am, a stray bull hit him in the chest.

He fell on the ground and died on the spot. His body was taken to the local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

Mr Amarnath, a shopkeeper in the market, said they had written to the MC authorities a number of times to check stray cattle menace in the market area. Minor accidents took place almost everyday in the market, but generally these were not reported to the authorities,” he said.



Kidney racket victim awaits justice
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
Even as more than a year has passed since a victim of the kidney racket had sought help from the police, he is yet to get justice. Although the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) had asked the Sahnewal police to put up a challan in the court, the police is yet to do so.

Jagsher Singh of Pammian village had complained to the police in May last year that his kidney was removed on the pretext of providing his wife with a job. However, the promise was not fulfilled.

The commission had directed the Ludhiana SSP to see to it that the challan was presented as soon as possible in its order dated May 13. However, the police has failed to do so. Counsel of the victim had recently written a letter to the police, quoting the orders of the commission, but to no avail.

The PSHRC had directed the ADGP of the commission to personally investigate the case as the victim had alleged that a “partial” inquiry had been conducted by the police into the case. Upholding the plea of the victim, the PSHRC had also directed the ADGP to complete the inquiry within four weeks and submit a report.

The crime branch inquiry had absolved all three accused, belonging to Samrala, in the case. The ADGP had asked to ignore the earlier inquiry and asked the police to follow the case proceedings.

Jagsher Singh and his wife Baljinder Kaur are working hard to make both ends meet. “I am not even able to get a job. Employers ask me if I am fit to do my duty. I am not getting justice also,” he said.

As per the FIR, Jagsher Singh was an autorickshaw driver and his friends Sukhdev Singh and Navtej Singh were financially better off than him.

Sukhdev Singh’s kidneys had failed over two years ago and doctors had recommended a transplantation. Jagsher Singh agreed to donate his kidney and his friends promised him that his wife would be given a lucrative job worth hundreds of dollars per month in Hong Kong and he along with his children would also be settled there.

In March last year she was sent abroad. When she reached there, Navtej Singh allegedly started ill-treating her. She was given a petty job in a business house. She returned on April 10. When her husband learnt that he had been cheated, he contacted his friend over the phone but was told that he should be happy with whatever was being offered to his “illiterate wife”.



Work resumes on flyover
Money to PWD released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 9
Work on the proposed flyover to replace Lakkar Pul, which was suspended by the Public Works Department for more than a year, has been resumed.
The department has assured the Municipal Corporation not to make any claim on account of escalation of costs during the intervening period and to complete the project simultaneously with the ongoing work on elevated road between the Jagraon bridge and Chand Cinema, into which one leg of the flyover is to be integrated.

The MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, said that an amount of Rs 50 lakh was recently released to the PWD after the department produced a utilisation certificate of Rs 1.05 crore paid to it when the work was taken in hand last year.

The MC had earlier refused to concede the demand of the PWD for releasing more funds for the Rs 13.26 crore project on the ground that the department had failed to provide a utilisation certificate for the first instalment of Rs 1.05 crore received by it. Out of that sum, Rs 42 lakh stood deposited in the state treasury. Mr Sharma said the civic body had reconsidered its decision keeping in view the larger interests of the city population and need for development of infrastructure.

According to Mr Sharma, more funds were released to the PWD on the understanding that not only would the work be resumed with immediate effect, but the drawings and general alignment plan of the project would also be made available without delay so. This would enable the Northern Railway to take up construction of the portion of the flyover crossing the rail tracks. The civic body had already deposited a sum of Rs 4 crore with the Railways for this purpose. In addition, Rs 2.38 crore was paid towards cost of the railway land for the project.

The motorable railway overbridge which is to replace the ‘Lakkar Pul’ would provide the much-needed additional road link between the old city and Civil Lines, easing the volume of traffic, both on the Jagraon bridge and Domoria Bridge.

One leg of the flyover would be integrated with the elevated road for traffic coming from Civil Lines while there would be a dual carriageway for the traffic taking the bridge from the old G.T. Road near Raikhy Cinema Chowk.

Even before commencement of work by the PWD last year, the project had run into trouble because the amended alignment of the flyover, necessitated by the need to link it with the proposed ‘elevated road’ did not meet the approval of the Railway authorities. They were not prepared to provide additional land needed for the revised design.



Park management panels refute status report
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 9
The Federation of Park Management Committee has filed a petition before the Punjab Human Rights Commission, seeking a direction to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation and the Punjab Government to fulfil the agreement arrived at with the park management committees for the maintenance of parks in the town.

The federation, in its petition, maintained that the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation had agreed to pay Rs 1 per sq. metre as charges for the maintenance of the parks. The Municipal Corporation, it alleged, had backed out of the agreement.

The Additional Secretary, Department of Local Bodies, Punjab Government, stated: “To revive the green belts of Ludhiana city, controlling its pollution level and also keeping away stray animals, the maintenance of parks within the municipal limits was being done by the Municipal Corporation Ludhiana.

In the year 1995, the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, vide its resolution 6633 dated 6-11-1995, formulated the terms and conditions for maintenance of parks through the and press invited quotations from private local institutions.

As per Clause 7 of the terms and conditions of the resolution, the maintenance of the municipal parks at the rate of 50 paise per sq. metre per month was fixed for each organisation.

The Municipal Corporation Ludhiana, vide its resolution 2989 dated 16-9-99 revised the rate from 50 paise to Rs 1 per sq. metre per month.’

Mr S.S. Channa, President, Federation of Park Management Committee, and Mr H.K.L. Verma, convener of the federation, who appeared before Mr N.K. Arora, seniormost member of the Punjab Human Rights Commission, who heard the petition on August 7, refuted the status report of the Additional Secretary.

They maintained that the approved rate of 50 paise being unworkable, none came forward to take up the maintenance of the parks. The Ludhiana Corporation spent Rs 2.31crores annually during the period from 1995 and 1999 but the conditions of parks turned from bad to worse. As such the rate was revised to Rs 1 per sq. metre.

The federation pleaded, “There is no valid reason for withholding the payment due to the PMCs, except the high-handedness of the government.”



SAD castigates Cong govt
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 9
The SAD has castigated the Congress government in Punjab for imposing taxes on people, effecting a hike in tuition fee for higher education, rampant corruption in all departments and withdrawal of welfare schemes and incentives provided by the previous SAD-BJP government to weaker sections.

The district president of the party Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, addressing a workers’ meeting to mark the nomination of Mr Gurdip Singh Leel as organising secretary of the party, said people were disenchanted with the government.

Among those present at the meeting were Mr Ratan Singh Jamalpuri, Mr Bhupinder Singh Bedi, Mr Hardev Singh Jhammat, Mr Jaspreet Singh Dhawan, Mr Zora Singh, Mr Surinderjit Singh Sandhu, Mr Kulwinder Singh Rimpy, Mr Avatr Singh Happy, Mr Swarnjit Singh Sony, Mr Sanjeev Chana, Mr Rajwinder Singh Mintu and Mr Harnek Singh Dhillon.

Meanwhile, the district (urban) unit of the Shiromani Youth Akali Dal, at a meeting held chalked out a programme to set up party units at the ward and mohalla levels. 



Need to popularise Punjabi food, says Birmi 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, State Minister for Jails and Housing Development, has stressed upon the need to popularise traditional Punjabi food. The present trend of shifting to the fast food culture was dangerous for the health of young generation, he said.

He was speaking after inaugurating a newly set up traditional Punjabi food joint on the GT road at Sahnewal today. He said Punjabi food and culture were making fast strides in all parts of the world and people in other countries were preferring these.

Later, he inaugurated Vanamahotsava launched by the Municipal Council, Sahnewal. About 1,370 saplings were planted under the programme. He said the government had decided to plant more than 5 lakh during this season. He exhorted the people to plant maximum saplings, so that the problem of pollution could be checked effectively.

Referring to the programme for reforms in the jails, he said that the Department of Jails had received Rs 30 crore for bringing about substantial improvement in jails and to provide better conditions to the inmates. He said the work on the different projects under this programme would be initiated in the next month.

Commenting on the rumors of friction in the Congress Legislative Party, he asserted that all MLAs were fully supporting the Chief Minister and his drive against corruption. He said that such rumors were being spread by the Opposition leaders to create misunderstanding among the people and create hurdles in the anti-corruption drive.

He said the people of Punjab were fully supporting the policies of the Congress government. It was clear from the results of panchayat poll and elections to other bodies held recently.

Among others who were present on the occasion included Mr Isher Singh Meharban, a former minister, Mr Jagdish Garcha, Mr N.S. Nanda, president of the Punjab Hotel and Restaurant Association, Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal, Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu, president of the Municipal Committee, Mr Santa Singh Umedpuri and Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu.



NCW urged to help abandoned woman
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 9
Mr Gurdeep Pandher, a resident of Siahar village in the district, has urged the National Commission for Women (NCW) to rescue an old woman of the village who has been leading a miserable life after her sons forcibly took all her agricultural land and other valuables.

In a letter to the NCW, Mr Pandher said the woman, Ms Gurdev Kaur, was married in a middle-class agriculturists’ family. She had to run the family all alone after her husband’s death a few years ago. With her hard work, she managed to provide education to all her children. She got her sons and daughters married. But in her old age, her sons started beating her, Mr Pandher alleged. Once they hit her so hard that she fell unconscious. She was taken to the nearby office of the Registrar of Lands by her sons in unconscious state. They got the property papers prepared and got her thumb impression on several documents. Thus, all her agricultural land and other property was snatched. The sons took her movable and immovable property, said Mr Pandher.

He alleged that the poor woman was again beaten up by her sons and forced to put her thumb impression on some bank vouchers. The sons withdrew Rs 1 lakh from her bank account. After torturing their mother, the sons sold the property in the village and purchased plots in Sangrur district, Mr Pandher said in the letter. Mr Pandher has urged the commission to take strict action against the woman’s sons.



Flies in soft drink bottles
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
Even as the soft drink companies are struggling to fight the ‘pesticide controversy’, a shopkeeper in the posh market near Malhar Cinema has been supplied a full crate of Mountain Dew drink in which dead houseflies were floating. Some of the bottles had only plain water.

Mr Gagan Deep Singh and Mr Sandeep Singh, owners of the shop, said they were stunned to see houseflies in the bottle.

One of the customers drank a bottle in which only water was found. The bottles were sealed. The owners had complained to the soft drink company managers in the district. The supply was made from Sarabha Nagar main market.



Man run over by train
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
A man lost his life when he was crushed by a train near Rajguru Nagar here while he was crossing an unmanned crossing. Two more were injured after they were run over by trains near the bus stand here.

Rakesh Kumar died on the spot late last evening at the unmanned track near Thrike village. Ajay was injured when he was hit by a train on the Ferozepure line.

Another man had his legs severed after he fell in front of a train near the bus stand. The injured are admitted to the Local Civil hospital.



Sanitation funds misused?
Our Correspondent

Amloh, August 9
The sanitary condition of the town, has been continuously deteriorating due to stagnation of drainage water. During the rains, the dirty water enters into the houses of residents. Akali leader and former minister Dalip Singh Pandhi has alleged that the developmental funds around Rs 1 crore allotted to the local Municipal Council were allegedly misused and no arrangement for the disposal of drainage water was made. Mr Pandhi submitted a memorandum to Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, DC, Fatehgarh Sahib, suggesting to make alternative arrangements by acquiring some land for the disposal of drainage water till a proper sewerage system was laid.



Man booked for forging RC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 9
The police registered a case under Sections 420,468 and 471, IPC, against Rajiv Kumar of Durga Puri, Haibowal, yesterday. The police said today that he had forged the registration of a Maruti car and also “fixed” the chassis. He has been absconding.

Injured: The Haibowal police on Friday registered a case under Sections 279 and 337, IPC, on the statement of Mr Amit Kumar of Durga Puri, against the driver of a Maruti car that had allegedly hit his uncle on August 6 and left him injured. No arrest has been made.

Beaten: The police on Friday registered a case under Sections 323,341,148 and 149, IPC, on the statement of Mr Love Kish Kumar of Mundian Kalan village, against Amrinder Singh and seven others for allegedly intercepting him on the road and beating him up. No arrest has been made.

Gamblers held: The Sadar police on Friday arrested Santokh Singh, Kamikkar Singh, Tharwant Singh, Santokh Singh, and Sarabjit Singh, residents of Detwal village, and booked them under the Gambling Act. The police said that the accused had been arrested and Rs 240 along with a deck of cards had been seized from their possession.

Arrested: The Kotwali police on Friday arrested Nanne Lal, a resident of Chander Nagar, Haibowal, and Ravinder Kumar of Baldev Nagar and booked them separately under Section 283, IPC, for parking their three-wheelers on the road and disrupting traffic. 



Villager alleges being shot at
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
Satnam Singh of Uchi Mangli village got a bullet injury here today.
While Satnam Singh claimed that he was shot at by two persons regarding his love affair with a city girl, some persons of Uchi Mangli village lodged a complaint with the police accusing that the man had attacked them in their office. The police is investigating into the matter. 


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