L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


High drama aboard Swaraj Express
Army man slaps GRPF personnel
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
Hundreds of passengers aboard the Mumbai-bound Swaraj Express were taken for a ride, thanks to an altercation between some Government Railway Police Force (GRPF) personnel and Army men. One of the soldiers allegedly slapped one of the GRPF personnel which precipitated the situation leading to the train getting delayed by about an hour.

According to railway sources, the Swaraj Express which started from Jammu Tawi at its right time 11.25 a.m., reached Chakki Bank (Pathankot) at around 1.30 p.m. At Chaki Bank some soldiers boarded the train and occupied some reserved berths. When the travelling ticket examiner (TTE) asked them to vacate the berths they refused.

The TTE reportedly called the GRPF personnel who were on duty. They asked the soldiers to get down. When the soldiers refused an altercation followed. In the meantime one of the soldiers allegedly slapped a GRPF personnel.

Mr Sunny Singh, an area manager working for a pharmaceutical company, disclosed that while the train was supposed to depart within five minutes, the soldiers did not allow it to go ahead. They were joined by some other colleagues who were present at the station. Once the issue was resolved the train started. But again the soldiers pulled the chain forcing the train to stop once again. It took about one hour for the train to start again.

Mr Singh said that nobody seemed to bother about over 2000 passengers travelling in the train. He said he had to catch a connecting train from Delhi and he might miss it since the train was already late by an hour. He pointed out since it was getting foggy and the train might get delayed further.

There were other passengers also who had similar complaints. Mr Shyam Lal, who was going to Mumbai after having the darshan at Vaishnodevi shrine, said that they were literally left in the wilderness as the train was stopped at a deserted place. He suggested that under such situations there should be some system so that the passengers are informed as why the train has been held up and when it will move ahead.

Senior railway officials said here that they could not do anything since the incident had taken place near Pathankot. However, they disclosed that it had already been brought to the notice of senior officials at Ferozepore. The entire region comes under the jurisdiction of the Ferozepore Division.

A TTE, who refused to be identified, said that such problems are a routine matter and they have to encounter such situations regularly. He said that usually they are not able to tell anything to the Army personnel who are in groups. Since the incident occurred at Chakki Bank railway station the GRPF personnel were also there who tried to intervene, which only led to the ugly situation.

However, the railway officials agreed that the soldiers had also some genuine problems. Since they have to rush back to home or for duty they try to sneak into whatever space is available. Usually the soldiers are decent and comply and cooperate with the railway staff. But there are always some exceptions which cannot be generalised, the Railway official said, while adding that the issue “should not be blown out of proportion”.


Encroachments: bigwigs escape MC net
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 7
As the civic administration was mounting pressure and in the wake of thousands of notices served by the building branch of the Municipal Corporation on defaulters for removing encroachments from municipal or public land, a large number of shopkeepers and owners of residential houses were complying with the orders.

During last week, particularly since the beginning of this week, people in many city localities had pulled down temporary structures, reconstructed boundary walls, demolished cemented platforms in front of their houses or commercial buildings to avoid demolition work by the MC staff.

However, what the anti-encroachment drive, set in motion on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, had failed to achieve was that the big fish falling in line with it and voluntarily removing encroachments on roads, public streets and parks. As a little more than one month had elapsed since the high court issued time-bound directions to the corporation for clearing some 7,000 odd encroachments in the city, till date the number of sites, from where unlawful possessions had been removed, did not even cross the hundred mark.

Rather than moving against the big defaulters, including scores of industrial houses, who had encroached upon service lanes or public parks, or those who had constructed residential or commercial buildings in their entirety on government land, the corporation had so far focused on small shopkeepers, dhabas, petty commercial establishments or owners of self-occupied small houses.

At the same time, the MC had also kept its bulldozers and demolition squad away from a large number of religious institutions, schools and colleges and some marriage palaces, which, according the civic body’s own list, had encroached upon big chunks of municipal land and public streets and roads, obstructing the flow of traffic.

That the MC had been wary of taking action against those who wield political or other clout was evident from a letter which the Chief Vigilance Officer of the Local Government had recently written to the Directorate saying that the MC officials were not cooperating in taking action against a couple of hotels on the Ferozepur Road, a few commercial complexes and a prominent nursing home on the Mall Road, which had committed glaring violations of building norms and roads and streets.


Twelve buildings partly demolished
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 7
The officials of the building branch of the Municipal Corporation, headed by the Zonal Commissioner, Mr O.A.K. Sondhi, today partly pulled down about 12 commercial and residential buildings in Sunet village, near Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar locality, which were raised by encroaching upon municipal land or parts of public streets.

Mr P.K. Garg, Municipal Town Planner, who led the demolition squad of the MC, said the civic staff had visited the Jawahar Nagar camp locality a number of times during the day where residents and shopkeepers were seen removing encroachments to avoid demolition by MC bulldozers.

The MC team was assisted by a strong contingent of police, but it did not face any resistance from the offenders.

Later in the day, some more encroachments were cleared in the Salem Tabri area under the supervision of the Zonal Commissioner, Mr B.K. Gupta.


Dowry victim’s struggle for justice
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, January 7
It is almost an year since 25-year-old Manju Bala has been struggling to bring to book the culprits, her in-laws, who had allegedly tried to burn her.

She alleged that she had not able to get justice because of the apathetic attitude of the police, a local councillor and the treating doctor, who, in connivance with her in-laws, were trying to hush up the case.

A resident of Kailash Chowk, Manju Bala, was allegedly burnt by her in-laws on January 23, last year for not bringing enough dowry at the time of her marriage. A graduate from A.S.College, Khanna, Manju Bala’s marriage with Satish Kumar, a resident of Basti Jodhewal, was solemnised on April 14, 2000.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Manju Bala said that the local police was not taking the directions of Punjab State Human Rights Commission, seriously. The commission, in October last had directed the SSP, Ludhiana, to look into the matter and submit the report to the commission within eight weeks time.

“But nothing has been done so far. Whenever I visit the police officials, I see my in-laws sitting there with a local councillor, Mr Chanchal. The police officials maintain that I had given a statement to the treating doctor that it was an accident and my in-laws were not responsible for that. But the doctor is giving wrong statement. The police can ask from the eyewitnesses, the neighbours, who would definitely tell the truth. I was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition, how could I record such statements?,” she asked.

Manju Bala had complained last year that she was being harassed by her in-laws for not bringing dowry and they were insisting her husband to get married again .

“But my husband never used to take them seriously and asked his parents to stop troubling me. They used to beat me also. On January 23 last year, my father in-law Naki Ram, mother in-law Maya Devi, brother in-law Raj Kumar, his wife Raj Bala and younger brother in-law Attu, tried to burn me when my husband was away for a while,” alleged Manju Bala, who now lives in a separate house from her in-laws.

Manju Bala said that she did not want any compensation from her in-laws. She wanted justice and the culprits behind the bars.

“The persons who are responsible for my this condition, should be punished. Am I demanding too much from the authorities? Instead of listening to my woes, the police officials are levelling allegations against me and my husband saying that we wanted to have our share from the property,” she said.

After repeated attempts last year Manju Bala had failed to lodge a complaint against her in-laws with the Basti Jodhewal police station. She had even alleged that the police had refused to listen to her because of unknown reasons.


Traffic woes continue unabated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
The accident near the Rahra Sahib market near Model town yesterday once again threw up the issue of road safety in the city. Three persons escaped with injuries when a private bus trying to jump red light hit a traffic policeman and two scooterists. All sustained injuries in the incident. Such incidents happened almost daily and go practically unnoticed as most parts of the city are virtually without traffic lights. The city administration, according to most residents, seems to be waiting for a big accident to happen before it swings into action.

The sorry state of traffic in the city is a matter of concern for most residents. Even three top city administrative officials, including the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, have travelled in a private car to access the traffic scenario. But in the absence of any clear cut plan, all measures taken by the traffic police, the municipal corporation and the district administration are merely piece meal arrangements.

Nearly every traffic intersection in the city has malfunctioning traffic lights and traffic cop is hardly ever found regulating traffic. This is what led to the accident in the Rahra Sahib Market yesterday.

The road plastic pillars that act as road dividers at Do Moria pul and on the Ferozepur Road opposite the Circuit House have been broken by fast vehicular traffic turning the poll stumps as a traffic hazard rather than a thing of utility. Though, every administrative officer passes through these routes at least once a day, no effort has been made by anyone to improve things. Various departments have been passing the blame onto the other with the traffic wing of the police merely organising traffic camps to educate people about traffic rules.

“What good are the teachings of the police in the absence of sign boards or traffic lights on the road”, questions 12-year old Abhinav, who recently attended a traffic awareness camp. The traffic on the Do Moria bridge is choked in the most parts of the day and the vehicular traffic is heavy till the old courts. The traffic police appear to have shelved the move of diverting slow moving traffic under the bridge towards Subzi Mandi.

An ex-serviceman was knocked down by a fast moving vehicle outside the main bus stand last week and his body remained on the road for nearly two hours.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case against the driver who hit Head Constable Jagtar Singh and the two scooterists yesterday.


Road safety awareness for school kids
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
A state-level function in connection with 15th Road Safety Week, being celebrated from January 5 to January 11 would be organised in the Children Traffic Park on January 9, in which school students would be imparted special training on road safety.

An on-the-spot painting competition would also be conducted. A special exhibition on the theme would also be displayed for drivers. Transport Minister Tej Parkash Singh would preside over the function.

To review the arrangements, a meeting was held here today under the chairmanship of Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner. Prominent among others who attended the meeting included Mr M. S. Sandhu, District Transport Officer, Mr Gurdial Singh, SP, Traffic, Mr M S Grewal, DDPO and Mr Jagdish Chander Sethi, DEO (S).

The DC said during the drive, the students would be educated about the need to obey traffic rules. He asked the DEO(S) to distribute pamphlets supplied by District Transport Office based on traffic signs and rules in all senior secondary schools and to further ensure that the guidelines given in the pamphlets should be read out daily in the morning assembly.

He also told the DEO to arrange special written tests of the students of higher classes regarding the “Do’s and Don’ts ” given in the pamphlets within a period of 15 days, so that the students could have full knowledge of traffic rules.

Mr Sandhu informed that during the week, a special awareness drive was being conducted daily jointly by the traffic police and the staff of the transport association and several NGOs.

He said that today, as a part of the celebrations, pollution check of the vehicles was conducted and pamphlets on road safety were distributed by the Traffic Police at Jagraon. He said that Mr S. S Juneja, traffic missionary, displayed the “Dos and Don’ts” regarding the road safety through a slide projector.

Medical examination of 24 drivers was also conducted by the doctors of the Health Department. He further informed that road safety drive would be conducted at Khanna on January 8 and January 11, a special program would be conducted at Samrala.

Pollution checks at different places would also be conducted to create awareness among the people. He informed that reflectors on the backs of the trolleys were also being fixed to ensure the visibility of these vehicles with a view to avoiding accidents during night.

MANDI GOBINDGARH: The district police would extend co-ordination to the District Transport office to ensure strict implementation of traffic rules in the Fatehgarh Sahib district, said Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib.

He was addressing a gathering at the GT Road, Mandi Gobindgarh, after inaugurating the free pollution check-camp as well as a campaign for pasting reflectors behind tractor-trolleys during the 15th Road Safety Week being conducted by the District Transport Office.

He said that most of the drivers were in habit of violating traffic rules, so harsh efforts should be made by the traffic police to control such violations so that precious lives of the people could be saved. He said that all NGOs should also come forward to make the public aware of the traffic rules.

The District Transport Officer, Mrs Raghbir Kaur Khehra, said that more than 1000 reflectors would be pasted behind the tractor-trolleys in today’s campaign. 

She said that the ‘Road Safety week’ would be continued up to January 11. On January 8, checking of over-loading and speeding and pollution check up camp would be conducted on the G.T Road, Mandi Gobindgarh.

On January 9, a painting and motto writing competition would be organised at Baba Zorawar Singh Baba Fateh Singh Senior Secondary School, Fatehgarh Sahib, with the help of the Lions Club, Sirhind and a free pollution check camp would be held on the G.T Road, Sirhind, on January 10.

The concluding function of the week would be held at Nahar Sugar Mill, Amloh, on January 11. Reflectors behind tractor-trolleys would be pasted during the function. Lectures on traffic rules would also be delivered on the occasion said Mrs. Khehra.

Mr Sukhminder Kumar, ADTO, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Daljit Singh DSP, Amloh, were also present on the occasion.


IHRO asks Cong to sort out infighting
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO), while expressing concern over the dissidence in the Punjab Congress and dismay at the handling of the SYL canal case, which is now slated for hearing in the Supreme Court on January 13, has asked the AICC to explicitly resolve the dissension in the party as the state and its people have already suffered a lot.

The organisation had sought an interview with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, a fortnight back but found him busy due to party infighting, according to its chairperson, Mr D.S. Gill. He said the Chief Minister said how could Haryana approach the apex court and ask for the execution of its earlier order that had already been challenged by Punjab on several accounts.

While complimenting the Chief Minister on being instrumental in filing the case in the Supreme Court on the basis of the riparian principle, he, in a letter to Capt Amarinder Singh stressed the need to take up the case in the apex court more effectively than was being pursued these days.

The IHRO, he said, also expressed its concern over the dissidence in the Punjab Congress and in its message faxed to the AICC President on Saturday urged her to do the needful to break the impasse.


Govt servants panel stages dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
Members of the Government Servants Welfare Association, CRPF Colony, staged a dharna and submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner. They urged the Deputy Commissioner to get the false case registered against a colony resident withdrawn.

Scores of residents, including a large number of women, raised slogans against the authorities and demanded that the case be withdrawn forthwith. A deputation later met the Deputy Commissioner and brought the details of the case to his notice.

According to Mr Parkash Singh, president of the outfit, Neelam Rani of Dugri has some scores to settle with Vijay Partap Singh of their colony. About a year ago she got a false registered against the latter who was arrested. The case was taken to the Punjab and Haryana High Court which ordered the release of Vijay Partap Singh.

Now that he is out on bail, Neelam has once again forwarded a complaint to the SSP claiming that Vijay Partap Singh was threatening her with dire consequences and her life was in danger. Narrating the sequence of events, he said Neelam had got a case registered against him and he underwent imprisonment for many months. In his absence she used to send police personnel to harass his family and to vacate the house. The matter was brought to the notice of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission which directed the SSP to inquire into the matter, he added

The protesters said they had come to know that she has used her connections to get a case registered against him. Vijay is apprehending his arrest in the case but since we know all the facts, we have decided to be plead his case before the authorities.

Mr Parkash Singh said they were demanding an inquiry into the incident so that the truth could be ascertained.


PSEB workers flay privatisation move
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
The Punjab State Electricity Board Karamchari Dal has flayed the decision of the government to privatise the board and split it into separate corporations.

Mr Parkash Singh Mann, general secretary of the outfit, said the high-powered committee had recommended the privatisation of the board which would not only play havoc with future of the employees but also the people of the state. It seemed that the central and the state governments were riding roughshod over the rights of the employees, especially in the wake of the decision of the apex court banning strikes by employees, he added.

Hundreds of posts were being abolished and employees attaining the age of 50 to 55 years were being compulsorily retired. All agreements between management and employees had been ignored or were not being implemented in toto, he alleged.

The employees would hold protests from January 7 to January 22 at the zonal level, Mr Mann said. After this, a state-level rally would be held at Patiala on January 21. Besides, memorandums would be submitted to the respective Deputy Commissioners at the district level. The MLAs and the MPs too would be approached to plead their case before the government, he added. He said various farmer and social organisations had assured them of support.


People welcome sunny day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
After several days of playing truant with the city residents, the sun finally rose and spread its warmth with full might today, thereby breaking the long spell of biting cold, much to the relief of the city residents. Many were seen sun-bathing on rooftops and in public parks. People are hoping that the weather conditions will now improve further.

The presence of the sun was much more welcome due to the frequent power cuts that the city has been subjected to during the past few days. The city has been witnessing unscheduled and frequent power cuts owing to coal shortage in the Ropar thermal plant and requirement of power in excess of its supply.

People managed to dry their clothes in the sun after many days. Many are hoping that they will see a few more bright sunny days before mist and fog eclipse the sun again. Elders are of the opinion that the weather gods will unleash their fury once again till Lohri, scheduled for January 13 after which the weather will begin to warm up.

Ludhiana has been witnessing foggy weather for almost a month now with intermittent spells of sunshine. Due to pollution and other reasons, even when neighbouring cities have bright sunshine, the city has a damp and gloomy weather. With preparations for Lohri having started, it is once again festive time and people are hoping that the weather will not play spoil sport.


City electroplaters flay MC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 7
A deputation of the Ludhiana Electroplater’s Association headed by its president met Mr A.K. Dubey Principal Secretary, Local Self Government, Punjab Government, and apprised there about the augmentation of sewerage and stormy water system of Ludhiana, as there had been unplanned growth since 1980 onwards.

Mr Joginder Singh, president of the association, said that the present sewerage and stormy water system was quite inadequate as proper planning was not done. Moreover, more areas had come under the municipal Limits.

The laying of pre-mix on the road was a sheer wastage of public funds as the GT Road up to Dholewal road, which linked with the Industrial area B and the Industrial Area opposite PSHR subdivision, was always flooded with water during rainy season, he added.

Mr Joginder Kumar demanded the it was high time that sewerage and stormy water system should be augmented taking into account and drawing plan up to 2020. which was the need of hour.

Mr Dubey assured the delegation to do the needful at the earliest. Mr Joginder Kumar also demanded the World Bank assistance may be taken, where in there was a grant of 75 per cent.


Bus driver booked for attempt to murder
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 7
The Model Town police yesterday registered a case under Sections 307 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Head Constable Hardeep Singh against an unknown bus driver who was driving a New Fatehgarh Sahib Transport bus and jumped the red light injuring Head Constable Jagtar Singh and three other scooter riders in front of Rarewala market yesterday morning.

The complainant had stated that the accused had sped away from the scene of the accident after injuring Jagtar Singh and others. The injured cop was admitted to CMC Hospital in a serious condition. No arrest has been made so far.

Man killed in accident

The Salem Tabri police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Mod Khasmuddin, a migrant from Bihar, now working in Pahwa Coach Factory on the GT Road near Hussainpura village, against an unknown vehicle driver who hit an unidentified person opposite the factory and fled the spot. The accident victim died on the spot. No arrest has been made so far.


The Sadar police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Balvir Singh, a resident of Kutbewal Gujjran village, against a driver of a bus (PB-12-C-9063) who hit his three-wheeler on Tuesday night and sped away. Balvir Singh was injured.

Kidnapping alleged

On the statement of Ms Paramjit Kaur, a resident of Jhamerri village, the Sadar police yesterday registered a case under the Arms Act, against her employer Jagjit Singh, who runs a finance company near the Jawaddi bridge. The complainant had stated that the accused forced his way into her house on Tuesday afternoon and kidnapped her at pistol point, beat her up and forcibly carried her away in his car. When she raised an alarm, the accused threw her out of the car and escaped. No arrest has been made so far.

Eve-teaser held

The division number 2 police yesterday arrested Paramjit Singh, a resident of Islam Ganj and booked him under Sections 294 and 509 of the IPC. The police said today that the accused, who was teasing women on the road on Tuesday evening, was arrested on the spot and was later bailed out.

Cock-fight case

On the statement of Mr Sandeep Kumar Jain, President, PFA, Ludhiana, the Sarabha Nagar police yesterday registered a case under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960, against some unknown persons who had organised a cock fight near Sabzi Mandi on the Pakhowal Road on January 4. No arrest has been made so far.

Gamblers held

The Model Town police yesterday arrested Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Dhandra Road, Ramesh Chand, who lives near the Dhuri Line, Sudagar Singh, a resident of Manakwal village and Pawan Kumar and booked them under the Gambling Act. The police said today that the accused were gambling at a public place in front of cremation grounds in Dugri village and that a sum of Rs 520 was seized from their possession. All accused were later bailed out, the police added .

Knives seized

The Jodhewal police yesterday arrested Surinder Kumar, a resident of Dharampura mohalla and Sonu Kumar, a resident of Ravidasia mohalla, Dehlon, and booked them separately under the Arms Act. The police said today that kamanidar knives were seized from their possessions.

Liquor seized

The division number 2 police yesterday arrested Jony Kumar, a resident of Kalka Ji, falling under the jurisdiction of Sadar Bazar police station, Delhi and booked him under the Excise Act. The police today said that 11 bottles of illicit liquor were recovered from his possession.


Wire drawing units flay govt policies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 7
The Wire Drawing Federation of Punjab (WDFP) has attributed the crisis being faced by the industry in the state to wrong policies of the central and the state governments and the failure of successive governments to safeguard the interests of small scale industry.

The federation has decided not to support any of the former or present incumbents for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. A process has been initiated to discuss the matter with other bodies of trade and industry so that a suitable common candidate could be put up, who will be committed to the cause of industry.

Stating this, Mr Badish K. Jindal, president of the federation, said in a press note here today that the prices of iron and steel had gone up by more than 60 per cent during the past eight months and the government had been a mute spectator. Moreover, the Union Minister for Steel had openly supported the cartel of main producers of iron and steel at the Steel Council meeting for reasons best known to him.

Mr Jindal charged the government with leaving the industry in the lurch and to fend for itself. He alleged that main producers of steel were making huge profits through exports at the cost of domestic industry and the whole deal had assumed scandalous proportions, meriting a probe by the CBI.

Maintaining that the government was trying to throttle the industry, he cited the example of a draft amendment proposing all units employing 19 or more persons to be covered under the Provident Fund Act. The said legislation, if given effect, would lead to a negative growth and encourage corruption. Similarly, the industrial sector, which is the largest employment generator and makes highest contribution to direct and indirect taxes, was being given a raw deal as far as tax laws and other facilities and incentives were concerned. “The interest rates for industrial loans are the highest in the world and the share of the SSI sector is fast decreasing in total advances made to the industrial sector.”

The federation also blamed the Congress government in Punjab for the anti-industry attitude. Mr Jindal said the ruling party had slapped exim form on the industry, the single window system had failed to materialise, power tariff had been repeatedly jacked up and frequent raids on industrial houses by the Excise and Taxation Department had created an atmosphere of terror.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |