Monday, October 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Refusing ‘hafta’ to cop costs shoemaker his life
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
In a shocking case, a shoemaker was killed allegedly by a constable with the local Railway Protection Force (RPF) for not paying him ‘hafta’ of Rs 50 only. The policeman has been booked and arrested for the murder by the Government Railway Police (GRP) here.

The accused, Hari Ram, posted at the railway station for the protection of commuters and railway property, was allegedly seeking the money as ‘hafta’ from the deceased, Beeru Ram, last evening. When Beeru refused to pay him and tried to escape in the Jannayak Express, the policeman pulled him down. He lost balance and his legs were crushed under the train. He succumbed to his injuries at CMC Hospital today morning.

Initially, the incident was perceived as an unfortunate accident. The involvement of the cop was, however, revealed when witness to the entire sequence of events, Sanjay, spilled the beans.

Sanjay also worked as a shoemaker at the railway station. When Beeru Ram died at CMC he revealed to some persons that he had met the gory end because of the policeman.

He stated in the FIR, “The cop Hari Ram is quite notorious in the area for taking “hafta” from persons operating business from the railway station. He used to take Rs 50 each from several shoemakers at the railway station.”

“Yesterday, he caught hold of Beeru and me and demanded the money. I gave him the money but Beeru said he had not earned anything that day and would give him the money some other day. This angered the policeman who started abusing us and even pushed Beeru around.”

He further said, “Beeru escaped from his clutches and jumped on to the Jannayak Express, that was leaving the railway station. However, the cop pulled him down and Beeru was crushed under the train. He was rushed to CMC Hospital by stall owners and other shoemakers but could not be saved.”

Tension gripped the railway station again today afternoon when over 300 persons, including women, staged a massive demonstration in protest against the ghastly act of the accused policeman. The mob was prevented from turning violent by the presence of the police.

The demonstrators were demanding a thorough probe into the ‘hafta racket’ run by the policeman on the station. They lifted the seige only after the police informed them that the accused had been arrested. Women relatives of the deceased, especially his mother and wife, were wailing at the station.

GRP sources said the policeman was arrested late at night. A case of attempt to murder under Section 307 of the IPC was registered initially. It was changed to murder (302) today when the victim died. The sources said the policeman had been recently transferred here from Jalandhar. He had allegedly faced charges of corruption there also.

The condition of the family members of the deceased was pathetic. The man was married two years ago but had no children so far.



Demons go up in flames
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
There was an air of gaiety in the city on the occasion of Dasehra today. People dressed in colourful clothes flocked Dasehra grounds as the festival of victory of good over evil was celebrated in different parts of the city with religious fervour.

Every year the effigies of Ravana, his son and his brother, are burnt with the same amount of excitement. The biggest fair in the city was held at Daresi Grounds and people from all walks of life gathered there to witness the burning of the effigies. Magic shows, plays and shooting competitions were the major attractions of the fair.

The crowd cheered as the effigies went up in flames. The sound of crackers stuffed in the effigies could be heard from a distance .

Dasehra mela in Urban Estate Dugri, Ludhiana, was inaugurated by Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Minister of Transport (Punjab), and Mr Malkit Singh Birmi, Minister for Jails, Housing and Urban Development, Punjab was the chief guest. Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor of Ludhiana, presided over the mela.

Lala Lajpat Rai, MP, hoisted the flag. Mr Mohinder Singh Kalyan, former MP, Mr Prem Mittal, Senior Deputy Mayor and Mr S.R. Kaler, Deputy Director, Local Bodies, Punjab, were the guests of honour.

Prizes were distributed by Mr Surinder Dawar, MLA, Ms Sushil Gupta, Deputy Mayor, Mr Kuldip Singh SDM (West), Mr Charanjit Singh Atwalm former Speaker (Punjab) and Mr Shakti Sharma, chairman of the Shri Ram Mahotsav Committee.

The effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnada were burnt by Mr Malkit Singh Dakha MLA, Mr Inder Iqbal Singh MLA and Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha MLA at 6 pm.

In addition to these two venues, Dasehra was also celebrated at Sarabha Nagar. Mr SK Sharma, Commissioner, Municipal Commissioner and Mr KL Sachdeva were the chief guests. Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister for Printing and Stationery, Punjab, and Mr Father Daniel Gill, priest of Sarabha Nagar Church were present on the occasion .

Dasehra celebration’s were also held at Aggar Nagar and this year Rajguru Nagar held its first Dasehra fair. The people of Jamalpur also enjoyed the Dasehra Mela.

Meanwhile, due to the festival season, the trains are also packed fully. All Jammu-bound trains are full. Railway authorities informed that this time the rush was 15 to 20 per cent more than that on the usual days, and from Ludhiana station also the maximum rush was for the Jammu-bound trains.



Politics mar Dasehra celebrations
Our Correspondent

Khanna, October 5
Congress-supported Dasehra committee celebrated Dasehra at military camping ground despite cancellation of permission of using the ground by the military authorities. While the other Dasehra committee, backed by the BJP and the Akali Dal was forced to celebrate Dasehra at the ground of A.S. Senior Secondary School. However, this committee was earlier permitted to celebrate Dasehra at military camping ground, both by the SDM, Khanna, and the military authorities.

Earlier, Dasehra was being celebrated in Khanna only at one place, military camping ground. The reason behind this was that the Dasehra committee, headed by Mr Sedha, who got permission for celebrations at the old venue was backed by the BJP and the Akali Dal, was not ready to invite local Congress leader as chief guest. The Congress leaders pressurized the local administration to withdraw the permission given to the Sedha group. Sedha group protested against this action of the administration and organised a protest march. They met the local SDM. Mr Jaspal Mittal and asked him to give permission but he denied and said they can celebrate Dasehra at any other place.

Interestingly, a day before, the military authorities cancelled the permission given to the Dasehra committee supported by the Congress. But they had not given any weight to that order and carried out celebrations at the military camping ground.



MC chief, Moser Baer MD get LMA awards
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Ludhiana Municipal Commissioner S.K. Sharma has won the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) Dayanand Munjal Best Manager award for 2002 while the LMA Trident Young Innovative Entrepreneur Award has been bestowed upon disco jockey (DJ) Bhanu Ahuja. The LMA Vardhman Award for Entrepreneur of the Year went to Mr Deepak Puri, Managing Director, Moser Baer. The awards were given by the Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, at a function held to mark the silver jubilee of the LMA here today.

While Mr Puri has been credited with making his company the world’s second largest manufacturer of optical and magnetic storage devices, Mr Sharma has been given the award for turning the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation into a profit-making body. From a loss of Rs 18 crore, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has declared profits of Rs 28 crore after paying debts. He has also been conferred with the award for providing safe drinking water to every colony in the city. Bhanu was chosen for the award for his sound and equipment management skills and for achievements in the field of house-keeping.

While Mr Sharma and Bhanu Ahuja were present on the occasion, Mr V.J. Prakash, Managing Director, Moser Baer’s European Optical Media Operations, received the award on Mr Puri’s behalf.

Speaking on the occasion Justice Verma said, “While we strengthen our existing industries we must not lose sight of the new opportunities in the knowledge-based industries like information technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals etc. Food processing is yet another sector where the state can take lead”. He added that the state had the requisite infrastructure and manpower to make a mark in these industries.

Mr Tejendra Khanna, Chairman of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd and the Indian Advisory Board, Standard Chartered Bank (USA), spoke on ethical professionalism and global competitiveness. He told the gathering that the business sector had attracted a lot of attention in the past couple of years, most of it for wrong reasons. Widespread scams in the business sector all over the world had raised fundamental questions on the working of business enterprises. The issues relating to business ethics and corporate governance had assumed great significance, he added.

He said, “While most companies in developed countries have codes of ethics and ethics’ programmes, very few companies in the region care to deliberate on ethical values of an enterprise and fewer ensure that people working in the organisation understand these values”.

Earlier, Mr V.K. Goyal, general secretary, LMA, welcomed the guests and presented a detailed report about the activities of the LMA. Mr Manjit Singh, president, LMA, in his presidential remarks endorsed the views expressed by the keynote speaker.



Ex-sarpanch’s son attacked to settle political scores
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Intense groupism and rivalry witnessed in the countryside during the panchayat elections in June continues to simmer even today. There have been numerous instances where scores were settled through pitched battles or by getting false cases registered against political adversaries.

The latest instance to come to light is the attack on 30-year-old Narinderpal Singh Noni of Malsian Bhaike village in Jagraon police district. The victim is the son of a former sarpanch who owes allegiance to the Akalis and actively canvassed for the party candidate during the poll. Though the Akalis lost, the Congress faction has been trying to settle scores by allegedly harassing him. The attackers beat him up mercilessly and tried to bundle him in their car, but he was saved following his father’s intervention along with some villagers.

Alleging inaction by the police in not registering a case following political pressure by a son of the local MP, Noni said he was working in his fields when Satvinder Singh and Parminder Singh along with five men armed with sharp edged weapons, alighted from a car and started threatening him with dire consequences. They encircled him and beat him up mercilessly. All this while they kept on abusing him for messing up with them and for supporting their opponents during the poll, he alleged.

Noni said he somehow managed to free himself from their clutches and ran towards a nearby tubewell. He had hardly gone some paces when he fell down after getting a blow of a sharp-edged weapon. “I was subsequently attacked by others and suffered several deep gashes on my head and various parts of the body,” he added.

They were dragging him towards their vehicle when Jagmel Sigh, his father, who had been informed by some passersby, rushed to the fields, pushed his way through and fell on him to shield him from further blows. Sensing that other villagers might be on their way, the attackers threatened both of them and fled the scene.

Noni further said his father took him to the Civil Hospital, Jagraon, where the doctors attending on him did not lodge a medico legal report (MLR), a mandatory requirement in such cases, for the next three days. The report was finally lodged after certain influential persons intervened. He was forcibly discharged from the hospital even though he had suffered serious head injuries. He is now undergoing private treatment.

He has urged senior police officers and the district administration to get the matter investigated.



Four get burn injuries
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Four persons, including two women, suffered burn injuries after a high-tension electric wire fell on them while they were sitting in their house at Kanganwal village here today. The wire fell when some cable operators were installing cable wires in the area.

The injured persons have been identified as Vinod Kumar, Malakhan Kaur, Indu Devi and Ram Keshav. All are migrants and have been living in a rented house in the village for quite some time.

While the four persons felt shock after touching some household goods, the electric gadgets of three houses in the neighbourhood were also burnt.

The four persons were rushed to Mohan Dai Hospital in the city where Vinod Kumar, Malakhan Kaur and Indu Devi were discharged while Ram Keshav was referred to CMC Hospital as he had sustained more than 50 per cent burn injuries. 



Cong a divided house, says BJP chief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Ensuring the victory of the BJP-SAD alliance in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections and taking up the problems of the people with the Centre are the top priorities of the newly elected state BJP chief Avinash Rai Khanna.

On his maiden visit to the city, the MLA from Garhshankar, said he would ensure that the rank and file of the party was geared up for the massive exercise and to disseminate the policies and programmes of the party among the masses. Our endeavour will be to win all Lok Sabha seats from the state and the non-performance of the Congress government will be the main plank, he added.

Mr Khanna said he was not averse to teaming up with the Congress in taking up some of the pressing problems of the state. “I have offered to work with all political parties of the state but the Congress has not shown any interest in getting them solved. In fact, the state government has adopted a dual policy on the major issues and has cleverly blamed the previous government for the ills plaguing us today”, he pointed out.

He said there was no cohesion between the PPCC chief and the Chief Minister. Both have their own views on various issues and the Congress chief has publically criticised the functioning of the Chief Minister. “This shows that their own house is divided and with both of them spending most of their energy in fire fighting exercises, where is the time to look after the interests of the people?” he questioned.

The party chief said the government was inexperienced and had tried to push through measures which did not go well among the masses. All major decisions had to be rolled back in face of stiff resistance from the people. The government has also mishandled the farmers agitation, he added.

Commenting on his team, he said it would be in place within the next fortnight. The emphasis will be on team work and only those who had worked tirelessly for strengthening the party would be accommodated.

Reacting to a query on the fake degree submitted by a son of MLA Surinder Dawer to secure admission in a city college, he said they had tried to raise the issue in the Assembly session but could not do so for paucity of time. “We will file a civil writ petition in the High Court in this context in the coming days”, he revealed.



Board issues notice to polluting unit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has issued a notice to a tin factory in Hira Nagar on Kakowal Road for causing air and water pollution, thereby violating the provisions of the Water Act, 1974, and the Air Act, 1981.

The notice was issued following raids on the premises of OK Tin Factory by officials of the PPCB after receiving a complaint from residents of area. They had been claiming that the unit, which was recycling vegetable oil tins, had made their life a virtual hell by creating hammering noise and discharging chemicals into the sewerage.

During the raids, the officials found that the industry had not made any arrangement to treat its trade effluents discharged during washing process, had put a diesel generator set of 5-10 KVA capacity and had not provided with adequate stack height. In a report submitted to the SDM, the officials claimed that the industry had installed a machine for fixing of new covers on the tins, thick smoke was generated from the furnace and noise from the industry was creating nuisance in the area.

They further said the noise levels were beyond the permissible limits of 55 db/Leq and the contribution of noise by the industry was more than 10 db. Officials prepared a visit report, but it was not signed by the owner of the factory, Mr Ghanayia Lal, claimed the PPCB officials.

It was also claimed that the industry was operating in a predominantly residential area of the city and was engaged in the process of cleaning old vegetable oil tins with the help of hot caustic solution in a tank and then cleaning the empty tin with fresh water. The trade effluent generated from the washing was being discharged into public sewer without any treatment. The report said Mr Ghanayia Lal had not obtained any NOC from the board.

It is worthwhile to mention here that the residents have been complaining against the unit for the past many months. Their issue was finally taken up by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, who asked the PPCB authorities to look into the complaints of the residents.

Ludhiana Tribune had also highlighted the problems of the residents several times. Residents had been claiming that the factory produced hammering sound and generated foul smell thereby affecting the health of residents. They claimed they were not able to rest a while in their houses as the constant noise and smell always disturbed them. They added that their children could not study due to noise as it affected their concentration.

The unit belongs to migrants from Uttar Pradesh, who started here with a small time factory.



Courts complex at Samrala — a mini secretariat
P.S. Batra

Samrala, October 5
Samrala subdivision is one of the oldest subdivisions in the state. Earlier, the tehsildar court and judicial courts were functioning in the old tehsil complex and the offices of advocates, deed writers, typists, naqsha nawis, photostat booths and bar room were located there.

The complex was taken over by the PUDA authorities about two years ago. The advocates have shifted to the newly constructed chambers in the new tehsil complex and their bar room construction has also being completed recently. Deed writers, typists, naqsha nawis and the owners of the photostat and other booths, who have shifted from the old complex have constructed their offices in this complex by spending money from their own pockets.

Now this new complex has been functioning for the past more than one and a half years. In the new complex, judicial courts and the offices of tehsildar, assistant registrar cooperative societies, tehsil welfare office, soil conservation office, PUDA office, DSP and SHO offices are functioning and the office/court of the SDM, Samrala, the office of the BDO, Samrala, bus stand are situated very near to this complex. The complex in itself is a ‘mini secretariate’, this may be a unique complex in the whole state of Punjab where all offices at subdivisional level are functioning so near to each other.

Although the subdivisional treasury office is functioning in the new complex, but the lone branch of the State Bank of Patiala is functioning in the heart of the city, about one km away from this complex. All persons who needs to deposit their amounts in the shape of challans, have to go to the bank branch and have to face the traffic hazards and a lot of inconvenience in carrying money in large amount, besides loss of time.

Meanwhile, leaders and social workers of the area, including Mr Parminder Singh Gill, general secretary, Legal Cell Punjab, Congress, Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, secretary-general, BKU (India), Mr Jagjiwan Singh Kheernian, Youth Akali leader, Mr Behari Lal Saddi, president of the Brahmin Sabha, Samrala, Mr Kuldeep Khullar, social worker and secretary of the Akali Dal, Samrala, Mr Amar Nath Tagra, president of the BJP, Mr S.P. Kalra, president (city) of the BJP, Mr Ujagar Singh Jaggi, member of the Block Samiti, Mr Malvir Singh Khatran, member of the Block Samiti, Mr Gurtej Pal Singh Bhagwanpura, Youth Akali leader, have urged the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr Anurag Verma, to open an extension counter of the State Bank of Patiala in the new courts complex keeping in view the difficulties of the litigants and the farmers, who come here for the registration of sale deeds and have to deposit cash by way of challans.



Encroachments dot GT Road
Vijay Bansal

Ludhiana, October 5
Hundreds of hawkers have encroached upon both sides of the GT Road, near the bus stand, Sidhwan Bet road, Tehsil road, Moga road and Ludhiana road, by either stationing their handcarts or by installing wooden kiosks.

The encroachers openly defy the “no parking” signboards put up by the police. They not only obstruct the smooth movement of traffic but also create problems for the pedestrians. The problem is acute even near the office of the local administrator and the encroachment continues unabated in the absence of checks by the PWD, B&R Department, despite the orders issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court against encroachment. It may be recalled that court had come down heavily on the encroachment on either side of the GT Road.

The problem is compounded by the haphazard parking of hundreds of buses on the main road. People board and disembark on the main road itself adding to the existing chaos. As such the vehicular traffic is affected leading to traffic snarls during rush hours. Interestingly, this continues even though the traffic police has an office right at the main roundabout on the Ludhiana- Ferozepore road.

Pedestrians are the worst affected as the width of the normal passage has been reduced and people have to virtually walk on the roads in fast-moving traffic, which has often resulted in accidents, some of which have proved fatal. The residents have taken up the matter with the authorities a number of times but to no avail.



26 lakh given for rural development
Our Correspondent

Khamano, October 5
The next year will be celebrated as development year by the state government and grants will be given for the repair of link roads and for the development of villages. This was stated by MP Shamsher Singh Dullo at Sanghol village near here. He distributed grants to villages for various development works.

While lashing out at the previous Akali-BJP government, he said vacancies were on sale during their regime, but now in the present Congress government was granting jobs on the basis of merit.

He said Sanghol-Khanna road would be repaired soon and a sum of Rs 2.75 crore had been cleared for the purpose. Mr Dullo distributed grant cheques worth Rs 26 lakh to 36 village panchayats of the area for development works.

The MLA of the area, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, announced a special grant of Rs 10 lakh for the development of Sanghol. Mr Harbans Singh Pandher; Chairman Block Samiti, Khamano; the DSP Mr Balwant Singh; the BDPO, Mr Roop Singh Khamano, Sukhdev Sharma, block president of the local unit of the Congress Khamano, Dr Amarjeet Singh Sohel, Mr Harbhinder Singh, president Nagar Panchayat, Mr Sukhvir Singh Pappi and Mr Sadhu Singh Gill, Youth Congress leader were also present on the occasion.



Preparations for Valmiki Jayanti reviewed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
A meeting of functionaries of the Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj (BVDS) held here yesterday reviewed the preparations for Valmiki Jayanti and the shobha yatra to be taken out on October 9 in the city on this occasion.

The national convener of the BVDS, Mr Vijay Danav, who presided over the meeting, said arrangements for the shobha yatra had been finalised. The shobha yatra would have band parties, gatka parties, schoolchildren and scenes depicting life and teachings of Maharishi Valmiki. The entire route of the yatra would be tastefully decorated with welcome gates and buntings with several points for offering “langar” and “prasad”. Arrangements were also being made to shower flower petals by an aircraft on the yatra.

Mr Danav made an appeal to the city residents to observe “deepmala” to mark Valmiki Jayanti. He also asked the district authorities to ban the sale of liquor and meat on the occasion. The meeting also decided to take stern action against those found using intoxicants or carrying weapons during the yatra.

Prominent among others present at the meeting were Mr Lakshman Dravid, Mr Ashwani Sahota, Choudhry Yash Pal, Mr Mohan Vir Chauhan, Mr Krishan Pal Bedi, Mr Vijay Kumar, Mr Pawan Bali and Mr Sanjeev Kumar.

Meanwhile, the District Valmiki Sabha, at a meeting presided over by Mr Garib Das Nahar, took stock of the arrangements for Valmiki Jayanti and the shobha yatra. Giving details, Mr Shekhar Sahota, general secretary, said that the shobha yatra would commence from Daresi Ground. The Minister of State for Printing and Stationery, Mr Rakesh Pandey, would be the chief guest at the function.


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