Friday, September 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Farmer clubs wife, aunt to death; kills self 
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Relatives mourn over the tragic incident in Seeloani village
Relatives mourn over the tragic incident in Seeloani village on Thursday.
— Photo by Pradeep Tewari

Seeloani (Raikot), Sept 18
Tragedy struck a family of this village when an enraged 27-year-old farmer clubbed his wife and aunt to death and killed himself by consuming Celphos tablets in the morning today. Those who died in the macabre incident have been identified as Jagdev Singh (27), also known as Buta, his wife, Ranjit Kaur (25), and his aunt, Surinder Kaur (40).

While members of the family maintained that Buta did so without any provocation, some members said that he was upset due to a fight between the two women over domestic chores. As both women were fussing over the work, he hit his aunt with a spade and then hit his wife also.

Around 6.30 am, Surinder Kaur was milching a buffalo when Buta ran to her and killed her with a spade. After hitting her, he turned towards his wife, Ranjit Kaur, who was holding a cup of tea, and clubbed her with the same spade.

The servant of the house ran to Buta’s uncle, Jasbinder Singh, husband of Surinder Kaur, who had gone to fields to bring fodder for cattle.

When he came back, he saw the women lying in a pool of blood. He started making arrangements for taking them to hospital. An ambulance was called. In the meantime, Jasbinder Singh saw Buta consuming Celphos tablets. He also took him to the hospital. Ranjit Kaur succumbed to her injuries in the DMCH, Ludhiana. Surinder Kaur breathed her last in Sandhu Hospital. Buta also died in the DMCH after few hours.

A pall of gloom engulfed the village, around 50 km from Ludhiana, when the news of barbaric murders spread. Villagers were saying they could not believe that Buta had committed such a crime. “We could never imagine, he could do so. He was a man with a pleasing personality. I do not know what prompted him to take such a step. After killing the women, he called me up over the phone and told me that he had cut both the women to pieces. Then he banged the phone. I tried his number again, but nobody picked up the phone. I told my husband to rush to the village. When I came here, they had already been shifted to the hospital. The floor was stained with blood,” said Paramjit Kaur, Buta’s aunt, who was married in Chol village, near Seeloani.

Buta's children, Gursharan Singh (9) and Satinder Singh (6), were turned orphans within a few minutes. They were fast asleep when the tragedy struck them. Fear was writ large on the faces of Surinder Kaur's children, Palwinder Singh (16), Jagdish Kaur (14) and Gaganpreet Kaur (10).

They were not able to understand what had happened to their cousin, who loved them like anything. Palwinder Singh said he was in the bathroom, getting ready to go to school, when this happened.

“There was no noise in the house and everybody was doing his work. When I came out of the bathroom, I saw my mother and ‘bhabhi’ lying in a pool of blood. My cousin was in bedroom. He was drinking something. I thought he was drunk and I could not gather courage to go to him. Then my father came in and he took them all to hospital,” said an unconsolable Palwinder.

Mukhtiar Kaur, 80-year-old mother of Buta, was in shock. She lost had her second son, daughter-in-law and sister-in-law within a few minutes. Widowed at a young age, she had brought up her three sons with great difficulty. She had lost one of her sons two years ago in an accident. The eldest son had spelt doom for the family today. She was lying on a cot when the incident took place. But she could not see or hear anything due to weak eyesight and poor hearing capacity.

Neighbours said the two families were living together happily for the past many years. Jasbinder Singh, Buta’s uncle, whose wife was killed by him, said he had told the police not to register any case against Buta. “I do not know what provoked him to take such a step. Otherwise, he loved my wife like his mother,” he said.



Irregular timings irk parents
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, September 18
Non-uniformity of school timings during the ongoing mid-term examination has become a major problem for the parents of many children, especially those studying in CBSE schools here.

Since the duration of tests for different classes is variable, the parents said that this had led to much trouble for their wards. They said that their children in the primary section had to sometimes wait for more than one hour for their senior schoolmates to get free before they could come back together in their vans, mini buses or any other conveyance running in contract with the schools.

The variation of timings for different classes is also a major trouble for all those parents who have more than one child in a school and themselves bring their wards back home. The parents said that during the normal school timings, the school closed for both their children at one time and it was convenient for them to pick them back together. But these days they had to take two rounds of the school at an hour’s gap.

While the tests for English, Hindi, environmental studies and mathematics are of two-hour duration for primary section students in some schools, the duration of tests for general knowledge and moral studies for the same students is just half-an-hour as was today in Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School, Sarabha Nagar.

Many parents had thought that their children would be back in buses at the same old time around 10:30 am, but the children were sent home in the first shift at 9 am. Ms Niharika, a parent, said that she had gone to the temple in the morning and had locked her home. When she came back around 9 :30 am, she saw her daughter weeping and standing near the gate. ‘‘When I called up the bus driver to enquire about the matter, he shirked the responsibility saying that he was told by the school authorities to send the children back in two shifts today.’’

The parent explained that normally, her daughter’s test was over by 10 am and other children coming in her mini bus had had their test till 10:30 am. So her daughter and her classmates were made to sit in the bus almost half-an-hour in advance, unmindful of the hot and humid weather these days. ‘‘At times, they were even sent in another van coming at 10 am but it was always overloaded and my daughter often got bruises on her arms and legs when she came back home,’’ she said as she narrated the problems.

Yet another parent, Ms Shweta, said that this Monday was the first day of her son’s examination. She said that as per the date sheet, the examination was scheduled to be over by 11 am.

So she thought that her son would be back by 11:15 am in his bus. She kept waiting till 11:30 am when she called up at her friend’s place who too was worried about her daughter’s arrival.

She then called up at the school, from where she got to know that her child would be coming in a bus that would start at 12 noon. She said that it was no point to confine the children in school for an extra one hour and now she was herself picking her son from the school since the very next day.

When contacted, Sister Helima, Principal, Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School, confirmed that the timings were variable but she said that she was helpless as some tests were long and some were short. She said that the parents must cooperate during such days. Mr R.S. Patial, Principal of DAV Public School, too, said that there was some variation in timings for different classes but it somehow could not be adjusted. 



Scheme for kids comes a cropper
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 18
The Elementary Guaranteed Scheme (EGS) started by the district education department as part of the Sarb Sikhya Abhiyan seems to have turned into a flop show. No teaching aid has been supplied to such schools, no payment has been made to volunteers, no books have come for the students and no child has ever been served a mid-day meal.

With no incentive and hardly any encouragement, the volunteers feel that they have been cheated by the department. Having religiously served for their communities by bringing slum-children and school drop-outs, in the age group of six to 14 year, back to schools and teaching them for four hours in the evening at their homes or any common place for the past nine months, they have not received even a single penny against the promises made to them.

The scheme was started in the district in January this year and volunteers were selected for the purpose.

At that time, they were promised a payment of Rs 1,000 per month each. But with no payments, many widows, needy women and young boys, who opted to render their services, are finding it difficult to make both ends meet.

Many of the volunteers have been spending on chalks, copies and pencils from their own pockets to facilitate the learning process.

Initially, seven schools were brought under the scheme. Soon the number went up to 42. The volunteers said in the beginning they were much motivated as they had thought that they would also get a chance to serve the society, besides being able to bring home small income every month.

They said they approached slum-children and drop-outs and convinced their parents to send them to school.

Anita, a volunteer in Shimlapuri colony, said she had told parents of children that they would get meal worth Rs 3 every day from the state government, besides getting new books for learning. The parents felt convinced and started sending their children to school, she said.

“Since more than nine months have passed, but children have neither been provided with any meal or books, the wards and their parents feel discouraged at times,” she added. “As a result, many parents have stopped sending their children to schools,” she added.

Ms Sudesh Yadav, a volunteer from Lohara colony, said everyday when children got together in the evening to attend classes, they asked for books. “No syllabus has reached us, so we sometimes approach different schools, borrow books from children of different classes, note down the topics and lessons and then teach children. But this cannot go on for long,” she said.

Ms Harvinder Kaur, District Education Officer (Elementary), confirmed that there had been a lapse in payment and distribution of books and teaching aids.

She said the quota of books was expected to be released soon.

She said she would take up the matter with higher authorities and demand for immediate release of the payment of all volunteers.



Indian health mission in UK
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, September 18
In order to explore the possibilities of collaboration and tie-up in the health sector between India and the UK, the “Indian Healthcare Federation”, a subsidiary of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), recently sent a high-level delegation of heads of 20 big hospitals from all over the country headed by Dr Naresh Trehan, Director, Escort Heart Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi.

Dr R.S. Maheshwari, Director of Lifeline Superspeciality Hospital, Ludhiana, who was also part of the delegation, talking to Ludhiana Tribune said that India’s healthcare sector had made impressive strides in recent years . From a Rs 86,000 crore industry in 2001, it was expected to touch Rs 270,000 crore by 2012.

Major corporates had made significant investments in setting up state of the art private hospitals in metropolitan cities in India. Using the latest technical equipment and services of highly skilled medical personnel, these hospitals were in a position to provide a variety of general as well as specialists services. Success in all areas of specialialisation, be it cardiology, cardiac surgery, Nephrology, neurosciences, orthopaedics, ophthalmology or transplants were comparable to the very best in the World. Moreover, these services were available at extremely competitive prices.

“There is tremendous pressure on national health system in Britain because more than 10 lakh of patients are waiting for their turn for treatment or surgery. They have to wait for 6-12 months for bypass surgery or Hip replacement or eye surgery. While in India any patient can go to any hospital and get himself operated. A bypass surgery costs about Rs 8-10 lakh in England which is available for Rs 1.5- Rs 2 lakh in India. A simple MRI of brain cost £ 750 that is Rs 50,000/- in England with a waiting list while in India its cost less than Rs 3000”, said Dr Maheshwari.

In August 2001, the UK’s Secretary of State for Health, Mr Alan Milburn, made the important decision to reverse the government policy on allowing British patients to seek UK state funded treatment overseas. This means over 600 health authorities and primary care trusts in the UK will be in a stronger position to send groups of patients abroad as part of their wider effort to reduce waiting times.

Dr Maheshwari said that if the population of Non Resident Indians was around 10 million, more than 15 lakh Indians lived in UK. If British Government allowed them for their treatment and surgery in India, then the health sector could be the biggest profit-making sector after information and technology.



DMCH managing society members 
demand transparency
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 18
Three senior members of the managing society of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital have expressed unhappiness over the functioning of the society and have sought transparency and openness.

Mr Prem Nath Gupta, Mr Jagdish Behl and Dr Ramsarup, founder members of the society, in a letter to the secretary, DMCH Managing Society, have said that the glory of the institute is fading away gradually. “The whispers overheard in the corridor of the hospital leave the impression that we have deviated from our objective and that the efficiency of services rendered to patients in the hospital needs much to be said. The number of persons carrying the sense of dissatisfaction is increasing alarmingly,” they have observed.

Mr Prem Nath Gupta has served the DMCH as secretary for more than two decades, Mr Jagdish Behl has also served as the secretary and Dr Ramsarup as the treasurer of the society, respectively.

According to them, more than five months have passed and only one meeting of the society has taken place. Most of the promises as regards transparency, accountability and working through effective committees are still to be fulfilled. All policy decisions are taken arbitrarily, independently and without referring to the managing society. This has resulted in dissatisfaction among faculty and administrative staff. The managing society is not taken into confidence over important policy matters. Now it may become difficult for most of the members to endorse such decisions.

They have also taken exception to the announcement that the Principal of the DMC would be appointed from outside. They described it as vindictive and biased. “All former Principals were promoted from within. Any policy change permitting selection of a Principal from outside will have a damaging effect on our faculty”, they have said.

They have also criticised the employment of some person at high salaries at a time of financial crises. The decision of employing persons at such high salaries has been taken without the approval of the managing society, they have alleged. The working of the hospital is quite different from the working and managing of a factory, they have stated.

Regarding tackling the financial crises, they have observed, “We can jointly raise plenty of funds by approaching old students who are now settled abroad and occupy very high status there. We can approach them to come forward to upgrade the standard of education at the college and equipping the hospital with the latest equipment for the benefit of the patients.

They have expressed concern over the agitation by the employees. “Agitational approach by employees should be handled with intelligence. This can be achieved with persuasion, love, compassion understanding and winning the confidence of the staff,” they have said.

According to Mr Gupta, Mr Behl and Dr Ramsarup, the institution needs openness, dedication, discipline and willingness to do social service. Any pressure on the institution due to interaction with the industry can never yield good results.



Encroachments, violations continue unabated
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 16
Encroachments on government land and violation of building bylaws continues in the mega city unabated, thanks to the mighty land and builders’ mafia and its increasing political clout.

The recent incidents of political functionaries, especially those from the ruling party being directly or indirectly involved in several cases of encroachments and violation of building norms in the city were, by no means, rare or isolated instances but were manifestations of a deep-rooted malaise, defying all enforcement and regulatory measures.

If involvement of politicians in providing protection to unlawful occupants on government land or those flouting the building bylaws in some of the cases which came to light during last few months, is any indication, right from some of the ministers, down to legislators, office-bearers of ruling Congress and Youth Congress, councillors and even a few top political functionaries in the civic body were hand-in-glove with the encroachers and those circumventing the building bylaws.

Such is the power wielded by law-breakers and their political godfathers that in a recent case involving brazen encroachment on MC land on Dugri road and construction of a commercial complex on this site, a Cabinet minister from the city had to intervene and move the MC in action for removal of the encroachment since another senior politician in the MC was allegedly putting his weight to stall the demolition. The person charged with unlawful occupancy, when faced with demolition, had openly stated that he had paid huge amounts of money to a senior political functionary and also to an office-bearer of the Youth Congress.

Only last week, at least three councillors from the ruling Congress had stoutly opposed demolition of a commercial premises in Samrala Chowk, which was being constructed without a sanctioned building plan and in gross violation of the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Their plea, though absolutely untenable, was that the act of civic administration was selective and others having constructed buildings in the same area without an approved building plan, were not being proceeded against.

In fact, going by all kinds of violations of the building bylaws in the construction of residential, commercial, industrial and institutional buildings in the city, the increasing political interference has made the task of regulation and enforcement all the more difficult for the civic officials. While there could be no two opinions about dubious dealings by the officials in building branch of the MC and their innovative methods to make easy money from violations of the building laws, the wheeling dealing by the politicians was admittedly a bigger menace, wreaking havoc on the regulation of building activity in the city.



Street vendors demand right to employment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 18
Hundreds of street vendors, led by members of the Rehri Phari Union, Punjab, yesterday held a rally in front of the Municipal Corporation headquarters here and later submitted a memorandum to the MC authorities, demanding adequate safeguards to their right to employment. They cautioned the administration that in the absence of immediate positive response to their demands, the union, in coordination with the National Alliance of Street Vendors, would be forced to launch an agitation to secure justice.

Addressing the rally, Mr Bal Krishan Pappi, president of the union, and other activists of the street vendors body lamented that the threat of forcible eviction by the police or the civic staff constantly loomed large over the majority of the rehri and phariwalas, which called for a clear and unambiguous policy in this regard.

Emphasising the need to give effect to the proposed national policy for the street vendors, the speakers demanded that specific places be earmarked for them, the removal of rehri and pharis should be stopped for good and the vendors should be given proper receipts against recovery for the use of public places.

Mr Pappi further asked the MC authorities to provide basic facilities like sheds, water supply, public utilities and waste disposal in order to maintain public health, hygiene and sanitation and further all urban developing agencies should earmark spaces for street vendors in all new colonies. He urged the civic administration to set up area-wise coordination committees, comprising officials and representatives of vendors to sort out all matters and enable the vendors to continue their trade without harassment and fear.



Robbery incidents on the rise
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, September 18
Incidents of robbery by armed intruders in the outer colonies of this expanding city have become a regular feature over the past three or four years but the police has met with little success in containing the menace.

The brutal attack in Sector 39 of the Urban Estate on the Chandigarh road a couple of days ago in which all three members of a family present in the house were assaulted in their sleep by four armed robbers has refreshed memories of the notorious “kale-kacchewale”, who were considered quite a terror as they struck at will in the outer colonies of the city and isolated houses on the periphery of villages a couple of years ago.

Mr Rohit Chaudhery, former DIG of the Ludhiana range, had identified these gangs as those of the Bavaria tribesmen, who were considered to have perfected their “art”. The police is, however, not attributing the latest incident in the Urban Estate to “kale-kachhewale” but to amateurs , who “would be caught in a day or two”. The police is understood to have got some vital clues from a thorough examination of the house and is raiding various places to find and interrogate certain listed suspects.

Meanwhile, it has been noted that the general preference for vehicle of such criminals is the innocuous three-wheeler, which makes for the most common sight all over the city.

Nobody — not even a cop unless informed — would suspect that a three-wheeler carrying five or six passengers is in fact carrying a whole gang of criminals on the prowl. And there seems to be no check at all on the movement of old and rusty autos, which do not bear even a registration number.

Sources say that if the police cracks down on unroadworthy autos and shady auto-drivers , the menace of robberies can be checked to a great extent. A list of all authorised auto-drivers, along with their vehicles, would surely go a long way in curbing the rising crime in the city.



Electoral rolls prepared
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
Electoral rolls for the board constituency, part of the board constituency for the SGPC elections, which falls in the district have been prepared and published for inviting claims and objections in accordance with the Sikh Gurdwaras Board Elections Rules, 1959.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, informed that the rolls had been displayed in the offices of SDMs of the subdivisions. The areas have also been assigned to them.

Giving details about the revising authorities and areas assigned to them, Mr. Verma informed that SDM, Jagraon, had been appointed the revising authority for all areas under Jagraon tehsil; SDM, Raikot, for Raikot tehsil, SDM, Ludhiana West, for all areas under Ludhiana West tehsil; SDM, Ludhiana East, for all areas under Ludhiana East tehsil; SDM, Payal, for areas under Payal tehsil; SDM, Samrala, for all areas under Samrala tehsil; SDM, Khanna for all areas of Khanna tehsil.



Office-bearers of pensioners’ body
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 18
The chairman of the managing committee of the Pensioners Information Centre, Mr B.R. Kaushal, has constituted the executive committee from amongst different associations of Central and state government pensioners. The general house of the centre had authorised Mr Kaushal to nominate the office-bearers and members of the executive committee at a meeting held here on September 6.

The office-bearers and members of the executive committee are:

Col H.S. Kahlon — senior vice-chairman; Col Bhag Singh, Mr R.S. Behl and Mr H.K. Sood — vice-chairmen; Mr Balbir Singh — general secretary; Mr Gurmail Singh —additional general secretary; Maj H.S. Neelon — joint secretary; Mr K.S. Panchhi — organising secretary; Mr Swarn Singh Jaggi — propaganda secretary; Mr S.N. Vinayak — press secretary; Mr G.L. Bajaj — finance secretary; Mr Des Raj Garg — cashier; Mr V.K. Khanna — legal secretary; and Mr V.K. Sharda — auditor.

Mr M.S. Cheema, Mr Harbhajan Singh, Mr Bachan Singh, Mr Sardool Singh and Mr D.P. Bhatia — executive committee members; and Mr Jarnail Singh Dhillon, Mr Ajit Singh Arora, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Mr M.L. Sood and Mr S.P.S. Madan —special invitees.



Inner-Wheel team installed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 18
A new team of office-bearers of the New Inner-Wheel Club was installed at a function held at the Satluj Cub here today.

The team comprised president — Madhu Khosla; secretary — Namrata Singhania; and treasurer — Rippy Chatwal. Ms Neena Singh, vice-president and regional head (north) of HDFC Bank, was the chief guest. She also visited Nirdosh, a school for mentally challenged, run by members of the Inner-Wheel Club. 



Delhi businessman robbed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 18
Mr Rakesh Khare, a businessman from New Delhi, was deprived of cash and mobile phone by robbers near the Jagraon bridge here on Wednesday.
The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC.

In another case, the police on Wednesday registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Jinder Singh, a resident of Phase II, Urban Estate, Dugri, against Jaswinder Singh. The complainant alleged that the accused stole a scooter on September 12.

Fraud cases: The police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 419, 467, 468 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr Surinder Kumar against Joginder Singh, Narain Ram, Bhure Lal and Roop. The complainant alleged that the accused had fraudulently got his plot transferred in their name.

On the statement of Ms Sharanjeet Kaur, the Shimla Puri police registered a case on Wednesday under Sections 468 and 471 of the IPC against Satnam Singh Changiara, Harinder Pal Singh and Sarup Singh, all residents of Dhandari. The woman alleged that the accused had sold her a scooter having forged documents.

On the statement of the Assistant General Manager, State Bank of India branch at Civil Lines, the police registered a case on Wednesday under Sections 467 and 468 of the IPC against Harish Mittar. The complainant alleged that the accused had submitted forged bank drafts for clearance.

Assault cases: The police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 323, 324, 506, 445, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Harjit Singh against Surinder Singh, Jagpreet Singh and five others. The complainant alleged that the accused beat him up on Wednesday.

The police has registered a case under Sections 452, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Jagtar Singh against Jagtar Singh and Ramesh Kumar. The complainant alleged that the accused beat him up on September 16.

The Haibowal police registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC on Wednesday on the statement of Gopal against Satish Kumar, Raju and two others. The complainant alleged that the accused stopped him on Tuesday, beat him up and threatened him.

Liquor seized: The Division No. 1 police arrested Mohammad Maladdin on Wednesday and seized nine bottles of IMFL from his possession and booked him under the Excise Act.

Mandi Ahmedgarh
2 arrested:
The police has arrested two members of a gang which has been operating in this area for about 10 years. It has also identified six other members of the gang.

Mr Amandeep Rai, SSP, Sangrur, said the gang robbed residents of Sabina Woollen Mills colony, near Rohira village, on the night of May 28. Armed with sharp-edged weapons and a pistol, the miscreants took away cash, jewellery and household items. The arrested persons have been identified as Rahul Kumar and Rajinder. 



Special loans for handicapped
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
Punjab and Sind Bank has joined hands with the National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation (NHFDC) for providing credit to persons with physical disability for income generating purposes.

Following this, applicants can avail themselves of the loans in all branches of the bank nationwide.

Announcing this here today, Mr H.C. Mahajan, Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the corporation, and Mr Swarn Singh, General Manager of the bank, said the bank would disburse loans. Initially, this facility would be available in Ludhiana only. Subsequently, it would be extended nationwide, they said.

Mr Mahajan said there was no limit on the number of applicants to be extended this facility, but a maximum sum of Rs 5 lakh could be financed. The minimum amount is Rs 50,000.

The interest rate was 5 per cent per annum for male applicants and 4 per cent for women. He said the borrowers had not to contribute any margin for loan up to Rs 1 lakh.

Earlier, while inaugurating a workshop, he said first such loans were disbursed by the corporation in 1998 in Andhra Pradesh. In Punjab, such loans were earlier provided by the Directorate of Social Security.

A small exhibition was also organised by handicapped entrepreneurs in which products manufactured by them were displayed.


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