Saturday, September 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Chief tastes apathy of improvement trust
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
A resident of Ludhiana had applied for a plot in the Model Town Extension area under a scheme launched by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) in 1997. He paid all installments and applied for a sale agreement. His job number was 8255. Till date, neither he has been given the possession of the plot nor the sale agreement in his favour even after five years of making the final payment.

The victim of the apathy of trust employees is none other than Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, newly appointed Chairman of the LIT.

His case epitomises the slow pace at which the trust works and is an ideal story of harassment of common people, who have to move from pillar to post to get the possession their plots.

“All these years I was told that the plot was under litigation and till the court gives its verdict, I could not be given the possession of the land. I was approached by a property dealer, who offered me Rs 18 lakh for the plot. I refused and he approached me again with a raised price of Rs 25 lakh. When I became the Chairman, I confirmed from the record that the case was never in the court. Then I realised that I had been a victim of the nexus between property dealers and some LIT staff, who kept telling me that the plot was under litigation. This is a sorry state of affairs,” said Mr Garcha.

He said his was not the only case and hundreds of others had been misled by LIT staff and approached by property dealers, forcing them to sell their land at throwaway prices.

He said he had already issued a warning to the staff and effected some transfers within the local office. “This would definitely help the matters. And if they do not mend their ways, strict action would be taken,” added the Chairman.

Once again urging the people to bear with him, Mr Garcha said that he had spent all these months clearing pending files. He said it would take another month for the work to come back to normal. “The work relating to plots allotted years ago is pending. We are also clearing it side by side.”

Meanwhile, posters have been put up in the entire office, about Mr Garcha's case regarding the non-possession of his plot.

The aim behind putting up the posters is to inculcate a sense of confidence among customers of the trust. The posters read, “Please note that all our customers are equal. Our Chairman's personal work will only be attended to according to his job number and when his turn is due, not before, not after. Please do not enter into any arguments with us on this issue.”

The poster is giving nightmares to some and respite to some. “This explains the poor functioning of the trust and gives a feeling that if the Chairman himself is on the waiting list, our work will also be done,” said a customer.



3 Railway men suspended for forcibly taking over train
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 12
The dispute between members of the Northern Railway Men’s Union (NRMU) and higher railway authorities of Ferozepore division finally led to the suspension of assistant divisional secretary of the NRMU Daljit Singh, driver Nathu Ram and assistant driver Daljeet Singh after they allegedly took control of the engine of an electric goods train going from Ambala to Jalandhar at the local railway station yesterday.

High drama was witnessed when NRMU members boarded the engine of the goods train from Ambala and forced the train driver to abandon the engine. The NRMU members did this in protest against the decision of the Ferozepore division authorities to let the staff of the Ambala division to run the newly-introduced electric goods train from Ambala to Jalandhar. The NRMU had been insisting that from Ludhiana onwards the train should be run by the Ferozepur division staff.

According to railway sources, disciplinary action will also be taken against driver Gurdip Singh and assistant driver Kehar Singh, who abandoned the train and went back to Ambala without informing the higher authorities about the incident.

Among the NRMU members against whom a case has been registered at the GRP police station are local unit president Ram Kumar, secretary Ashok Kumar, Parmod Kumar and Mohan Singh.

Members of the NRMU alleged that their officers had gone back on their promises and that the union members had warned them yesterday that drivers of the Ambala division would not be allowed to take the train farther than Ludhiana.



Kidnapped worker found in Panipat
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 12
A factory worker who had been kidnapped by a Panipat-based financier in order to realise an amount of Rs 50,000 from his friend was rescued by the district police yesterday from his abductors who had taken him to Panipat.

His alleged abductor , identified as Billu Lala, has been arrested and the rescued worker has been reunited with his family by the police.

Nand Kishore, a migrant working in Malwa Factory at Harrian village near here had intervened in a dispute between Billu Lala of Panipat and his friend Raj Kumar who owed Rs 50,000 to the former on account of some money transactions concerning a ‘committee’. Raj Kumar, who had been eluding Billu Lala for quite some time, was finally nabbed outside the factory where he worked with his friend Nand Kishore who intervened and bought some more time for his friend. After that, Raj Kumar vanished from the factory to elude Billu Lala.

When news of his disappearance reached Billu Lala in Panipat, he came to Harrian village and kidnapped Nand Kishore and left a message to be delivered to Raj Kumar that if he wanted his friend Nand Kishore back and alive, he must pay his money at the earliest. The matter was brought to the notice of Koom Kalan police by Mr. Baij Nath, an uncle of Nand Kishore.



One hurt in students’ brawl
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
An exchange of hot words resulted in a brawl between two groups of students of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College on the campus, leaving one injured, here today. There are also reports of firing on the college premises, late last evening.

Baghel Singh, a student, was injured in the fight. He has been admitted to a local hospital.

According to information, a student passed some remarks against a former student of the college, who had died in a road accident recently. The deceased’s friend, Ranbir Singh, objected to the remarks. This led to a brawl between the two.

Last night, another student, Mani had attacked Ranbir, along with six other students, in the hostel. Other students came out of their rooms, which unnerved the alleged assailants and one of them opened fire at them. Later, the assailants fled.

The police reached the spot and registered a case under Sections 336/506/148/149 of the IPC and under Sections 25/54/59 of the Arms Act against the accused. Today morning, some supporters of Mani came on the campus and picked up a fight with other students. Eyewitnesses said that sharp-edged weapons were also used during the brawl. The injured student’s condition is said to be stable. The police is investigating the case.



Driver takes away impounded truck, held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
The local police has arrested Gurdas Singh, who stole a truck from the police custody here last evening and tried to flee. According to information, in charge of the Janakpuri police picket had impounded a truck as the driver Gurdas Singh, could not show the documents.

The truck was parked outside the police post. Last night Gurdas Singh came to the post and unlocked the truck with a duplicate key and drove away the truck.

As the policemen came to know about this a message was flashed on the wireless. He was arrested by SHO Mr Randhir Singh and the truck impounded. A case has been registered.



Cong leaders fight it out over demolitions
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
The controversy surrounding the illegal construction going on within 350 feet area along side GT Road in the local Samrala Chowk, in contravention of the rules, is growing murkier by the day. While the demolition squad of the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, (MCL), had to return empty-handed from the spot following protests by the owner of the building, some Congress leaders have threatened to launch a protest against this inaction of the MCL.

The issue is threatening to snowball into a major controversy as it has become a straight fight between two Congress leaders, Mr Ashok Bagga, husband of the area councillor on the one side, and Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, state president of the All-Indian Youth Congress (I), who is also a complainant in the case, on the other.

While the demolition squad was forced to return without performing their duty on Wednesday evening by the area residents led by Mr Ashok Bagga, the other leader is saying that protests by the law violators did not mean that they should be allowed to have a field day. He said that this was happening despite the fact that the state government, led by Captain Amarinder Singh, had launched a massive drive against corruption.

Stating that if the MC would not take action against the defaulters within a day’s time, Mr Grewal said that he would be forced to sit on dharna outside the MC office along with his supporters, thereby exposing the clout of the other Congress leader, who was siding with the defaulters. Some local MLAs have also hinted at throwing their lot behind Mr Grewal.

“If protests can ward off the demolition squad, other defaulters will also follow suit and adopt this convenient method. The entire city would become a haven for violators. They should treat everybody equally and if they have taken action against other defaulters, they should take him also to task,” asserted Mr Grewal. He has written a letter to the Chief Minister also making him abreast of the latest developments in the city.

Illegal structures are coming up at Samrala Chowk along the G.T. Road despite the fact that any such activity is banned within 350 feet of the area. While construction is going on unabated, the owner of the shop is being allegedly patronised by a Congress leader. On Wednesday evening a demolition squad led by Area Town Planner had gone on the spot to raze the building but the area residents blocked the JCB machine and forced the squad to leave the new construction untouched.

The Commissioner, MCL, was not available for comments despite repeated attempts. He was said to be busy in a meeting.



Parking blues at Bhadaur House 

Ludhiana, September 12
With scores of new vehicles, including two-wheelers and cars, hitting the city roads everyday, the problem of parking outside commercial complexes and markets is assuming alarming proportions all over the city. The scene in and around Bhadaur House, the busiest part of the old city, is chaotic.

Body text with indent: When the market came into being in the early seventies it was considered as the first up-beat market of the town. Showrooms of some leading brand names of those good old times, such as the Gwalior Suitings, were opened in Bhadaur House. The market was a haunt of youngsters. They roamed in groups on motor cycles with no restrictions on the number of pillion riders.

But in the past 30 years the face of the city has changed a lot. Now the city is full of swanky, air-conditioned shopping centres and plazas which offer imported and expensive stuff of all kinds. Business has become the key phrase. An average Ludhianavi is in hurry to make his fortune. Basically, it is because of this hurry that people leave their vehicles on roadsides rather than parking those in earmarked enclosures.

Calibre Plaza , the air-conditioned market opposite Bhadaur House, has a spacious parking on the roof with two huge elevators serving all the time to take the vehicles up and down. Most visitors riding scooters and motor cycles prefer parking their vehicles on the roadside opposite the Bhadaur House block facing the market.

Similarly, visitors with cars crowd the Bhadaur House parking. Car owners can be seen anytime pleading with parking attendants posted outside the various blocks of Bhadaur House to allow them park their vehicles for ‘just five minutes’. Most of the car owners, who are denied entry by the Bhadaur House parking attendants just park their cars wherever they can find space on the road.

Earlier, it was the ‘tehbazari’ wing of the Municipal Corporation which started towing away scooters and motor cycles from Calibre Plaza and impose fines every other day. Those who hoped that the MC action would effectively check the menace of sloppy parking in the area were utterly disappointed.

Then it was the turn of the police, which has towed away a number of two-wheelers in the past month. The police action brought some reprieve. Shopkeepers were told to ensure that only their customers parked their vehicles in front of the shops. Those visiting Calibre Plaza must be desisted from parking their vehicles on the road, even for a short duration.

Ever since most shopkeepers have been making polite request to two-wheeler-borne visitors. One of the shopkeepers has put up a “No Parking’ sign in front of his shop.

But the overall parking scene retains its ugliness. Scooterists in hurry don’t spare verandahs reserved for pedestrians. Observers feel that the Municipal Corporation should turn the basement of Calibre Plaza into parking for two-wheelers.



SAD gets majority in co-op society
Our Correspondent

Amloh, September 12
The SAD has won seven seats in the Cooperative Agriculture Service Society at Salana Dull Singh Wala village, here today. Mr Piara Singh, Assistant Registrar of the Cooperative Society of Kamano, with additional charge of Amloh, was the returning officer.

Of seven elected candidates, Mr Amar Singh, Mr Jang Singh, Mr Jaswant Singh and Mr Jagtaar Singh belong to the SAD as claimed by Mr Tajinder Singh. They secured 131 votes while the remaining three Congress-supported candidates Mr Hardeep Singh, Mr Major Singh and Mr Minder Singh, secured 77 votes. 



Importance of speaking English

With the coming of MNCs in India and the world becoming a global village, the importance of English has increased. Otherwise also it is the most spoken language in the world. Many jobs require fluent spoken English. students with Punjabi or Hindi medium cannot compete with their counterparts with English medium, however, hardworking and intelligent they may be. They feel handicapped with spoken English and thus they are the losers. I suggest the following points which may mitigate the problem of such students.

Students who study in Punjabi or Hindi medium upto matric, also study Punjabi and Hindi as full subjects. Those who take medical or non-medical streams or other technical courses should not be required to study compulsory Punjabi at the 10+2 level. Rather they should be taught English in place of Punjabi. Thus two periods daily can be devoted to English. I request the chairman of the Board of Punjab School Education, Mohali, to consider my suggestion in the interest of the children of the poor and average parents. You can talk to the students of this category who have taken admission to medical or engineering colleges (though small in number ) and also law college students having studied in Punjabi medium. Such students otherwise very intelligent cannot compete in getting jobs after doing their professional degrees. In B.Sc of PU, Chandigarh students are required to study Punjabi for one year. Such students as of above category should be taught English for all the three years. They should also be taught spoken English throughout their professional courses. The over enthusiastic lovers of Punjabi have done harm to the poor students by opposing the teaching of English right from the primary stage. Simple things should be taught at the primary stage regarding the teaching of English. Students should be encouraged to speak simple words of English of routine use in the such schools. Periods of spoken English should be introduced in high classes . This will help the bright students (deprived of convented teaching) in making their career.

Harnek Singh, Aloona Pallah Vill.

Not an act of a role model

Major S S Khosla needs to be congratulated for exposing the exaggerated claims of the Municipal Corporation (MC), Ludhiana on bad roads and poor sanitary conditions as prevalent and deficiencies in other basic amenities in the city areas, vide item,”Blatant lies” (Ludhiana Tribune 4-9-2003). Ludhiana Tribune is doing a great service to the city by highlighting the unfinished tasks to be attended to by the MC. Since a lot has appeared in the press on bad roads, I shall restrict myself on poor sanitary conditions in the city areas and on ‘MC as a role model.’ The reports showing garbage dumps being put to fire with emanating smoke, garbage littered on the roads, blocked sewerage, etc have appeared in the press and are common in city areas. The practice of burning domestic waste creates a serious problem of pollution and is therefore, highly objectionable.

This practice being followed by the MC employees as well as spraying of insecticides on dumps requiring immediate removal need to be banned immediately.

Because the civic body has more or less failed in its task, there is an urgency of forming a coordinating wing with police personnel to tackle sanitation properly in this mega city. The help of students of National Service Scheme (NSS) of various colleges through the Coordinator and local NGOs should be enlisted, which can be of great use to the civic body. The sweepers and other supervisory employees need to be educated properly by holding awareness camps. It is also binding on the public to render whole-hearted support to accomplish the gigantic task of maintaining good sanitation throughout the year in the city areas.

Although the unfortunate comment ‘MC as a role model’ of Chief Minister, Punjab, was based on good fiscal position of MC and cent per cent drinking water supply to the residents of Ludhiana city, clearing of garbage dumps by burning, leading to thick smoke and foul smell, and spraying of insecticide on dumps go much against the civic body claiming the recognition.

Also, it is pertinent to mention that “Ludhiana MC being role model”, was also in the news when the present MC officers tried to claim undue credit of the commendable work done by a former MC Commissioner. At that time i.e. in mid February, 2003, the media had set things in right perspective by clarifying the actual comments of the Planning Commission which have been based on former MC Commissioner Dr S S Sandhu’s painstaking work and process of wide-ranging reforms initiated by him.

To keep continuity, if the present MC Commissioner and his set-up had maintained the aforementioned work and wide-ranging reforms, which had won wide acclaim, in toto or in modified form, then the contribution of completing and making a beginning (?) of water supply to the declared and undeclared areas of the city, respectively, could give a good support to the commendable work and its replication as referred to above.

More importantly, a part of the surplus or unspent amount should have been used to keep roads in good condition, to maintain parks, to provide good sanitation, etc. It must be mentioned that the maintenance of roads and parks and the removal of domestic and industrial wastes are a continuous process and have to be attended to routinely and regularly without any break or slackness, whatsoever.

Dr Gurkirpal Singh

Punjab staff demand hike in DA

Release of one more DA installment at the rate of 4 per cent , effective from July, 2003, by the Central Government for its employees and pensioners is most welcome. It will raise the quantum of DA/DR from 55 to 59 per cent of the basic pay/pension.

More than 7 lakh Punjab Government employees, including those working in various boards and corporations and pensioners urge the Punjab Chief Minister to release the instalment at the earliest in the wake of substantial improvement in the financial health of the state which is evident from the substantial increase in the salaries and various allowances of Punjab Ministers and MLAs.

Meanwhile, the Union Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, is requested to merge the 50 per cent DA/DR in the basic pay/pension for all purposes including retirement benefits in accordance with the recommendation of the 5th Central Pay Commission.

Yash Paul Ghai



Antakshri organised by Niharika Club
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 12
Members of the Niharika Club organised antakshri, here today. Ms Shaheen, vice-president of the club, initiated the proceedings by welcoming the chief guest, Mr Perveer Arya, Managing Director of a Hindi daily, and the members of the club. The programme was conducted under the supervision of Advisory Board of the club.

The programme was anchored and coordinated by Mr Ashwani Kumar from AB Entertainers. Four teams with three participants each were selected by draw of lots on the spot. The teams were named after ragas of Indian classical music, bhairavi, shvranjani and rageshwari.

The programme was divided in five rounds, ‘kari-se-kari’,‘ khyal hamara andaz tumhara’, ‘sthai aur antra’, double word round and ‘sur hamare geet tumhare’. Many surprise gifts were given. Winners and participants were also given certificates on the occasion.



Bank launches plantation drive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
Punjab National Bank, Dhanasu, Ludhiana, organised a sapling plantation camp at Government Senior Secondary School, and Jawahar Navodhya Vidyalaya, Dhanasu. Mr A.K. Loomba, Senior Regional Manager, Ludhiana, was the chief guest. Mr Loomba inaugurated the camp by planting a sapling on the school ground.

On the occasion a cultural programme was presented by the students of the school.

Mr S.R. Malhan, Manager of the local branch of the bank, spoke about the achievement of the bank. Topper students and the participants of the cultural programme were honoured. Mr Loomba presented mementoes to certain customers of the bank. He also awarded the best branch award to the staff of the local branch.

Mr H.C. Juneja, Senior Manager, regional office, staff of the branch and teachers of both schools were also present on the occasion. Mr Bhupinder Singh, a teacher, presented the vote of thanks.



Drug de-addiction campaign

Ludhiana, September 12
At a meeting organised by the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle (GGSSC) here today, Principal Secretary, Department of Defence Services, Geetika Kalha said “the government had decided to hand over the responsibility of Ferozepur and Sangrur drug de-addiction centers to the Circle. OC



Five booked in dowry death case
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 12
The police has booked five residents of Jitwal Kalan village for allegedly electrocuting a woman, Charanjit Kaur. No arrest has been made so far.
According to Mr Karnail Singh, father of the deceased, Charanjit Kaur was married to Kashmir Singh as per sikh rites in 1998 and was given dowry, including jewellery and household items.

Immediately after the marriage, her husband started compelling her to bring more dowry. He used to beat her at the instance of his father Jairam, mother and two brothers. When Charanjit refused to bring any more dowry, her in-laws conspired to kill her, he alleged. Mr Karnail Singh said, “I know that my daughter could not have ended her life. Her-in-laws killed her because she did not bow to their demands.”

The police has registered a case under Sections 304B and 133 of the IPC. The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination.



Bid to waylay old man, 4 booked
Our Correspondent

Doraha, September 12
A case has been registered under Sections 307 of the IPC and 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act against four miscreants who tried to waylay Gurdev Singh yesterday.

The case has been registered on the statement of Gurdev Singh of Ajnaud village. The victim has been admitted to the Sidhu Hospital, Doraha. He was cycling home, with Rs 20,000 in his bag. Four miscreant tried to snatch the bag. He resisted. He raised the alarm. The four miscreants fired at the old man and fled away. 



Scooterist crushed to death by train
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, September 12
Bhupinder Singh, a resident of Panjetan village in Machhiwara, was crushed to death today by a train when he tried to cross the railway track even though the crossing was closed.

He was returning home on his scooter from Sahnewal when the accident occurred. A case has been registered by the government railway police and the body has been sent for a post-mortem examination to Civil Lines.



Bank takes over property
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, September 12
Punjab National Bank has taken over the possession of the property of M/s Star Metals, Mandi Gobindgarh, mortgaged with it after serving notice on the party under the securitisation Act. The firm owed Rs 35.80 lakh to the bank.

The bank will also take the possession of immovable properties mortgaged with the bank in six other accounts against Rs 135.81 lakh under the above Act. This was stated by Mr.D.K. Bhatnagar, Chief Manager, Punjab National Bank, Regional office, Chandigarh B, in a press note here today.

He has specifically stated that assets of other defaulters mortgaged with the bank were being acquired after completion of notice periods and other requirements under the Act.


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