L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Dera head named in murder case
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Baba Harnek Singh, controversial head of the Siahar Nanaksar Dera, Swami Gobinder Singh (who holds the number two position there) and eight of their supporters are in trouble as the Khanna police has named them as co-accused in the alleged murder case of Jeet Singh, a supporter of the rival group led by Baba Maan Singh.

Due to the turn of events, Baba Harnek has indefinitely postponed his visit to the dera here. He was expected to come here this month or early next month. Sources in his group confirmed that he may not come to India in the near future.

Baba Harnek Singh has already been expelled from the Sant Samaj headed by Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi for allegedly indulging in banned activities.

The head of the dera and others are named in challans submitted in a local court by the Khanna police a couple of days ago. It is alleged that Baba Harnek Singh had ordered, over the phone from Canada, to Swami Gobinder Singh and Manmohan Singh to open fire at the followers of his rivals who had gathered at the Siahar dera on October 11. The firing had resulted in the death of Jeet Singh.

It is for the first time that the dera head's name figures as co- accused in the case. A witness of the firing incident, Jagtar Singh, has claimed in his statement recorded under Section 161, CrPc, that such a phone call was made.

A copy of the challan, obtained by the Ludhiana Tribune, states that the challans have been submitted against the main accused, Avtar Singh, alias Fauji, who is already arrested in the murder case of Jeet Singh.

The deceased suffered gunshot injuries in the violence at Siahar between rival groups on October 11 and died on October 25.

The challan states that police investigations have established that Avtar Singh is the main accused in the murder of Jeet Singh. The other accused would be arrested and supplementary challans be presented against them soon.

A copy of the challan, obtained exclusively, by the Ludhiana Tribune states that the challans have been submitted against the main accused Avtar Singh alias Fauji, who is already arrested in the alleged murder case of Jeet Singh. The deceased suffered gunshot injuries in violence at Siahar between rival groups on October 11 and had died on October 25.

The challan clearly states that police investigation has established Avtar Singh as the main accused in the murder of Jeet Singh and other accused could be arrested and supplementary challans be presented against them soon.

Mr Pal Singh, a spokesman of Baba Harnek Singh, said the police was working under political pressure and falsely implicating the dera head. He said Swami Gobinder Singh, who is a trustee and looks after the management of the dera here, was being made an accused to "grab" the dera.

He claimed that the conspiracy was to put all major supporters of Baba Harnek Singh in jail so that the other group could take over .

The Khanna SSP, Mr Pramod Ban, has, however, says the police is not taking sides in the case and is working within the legal framework.

The Siahar Nanaksar Dera has been witnessing a bitter controversy between the rival groups since October last year. The dera was headed by the late Sant Meehan Singh, who had crowned Baba Harnek Singh as his successor after his son Baba Maan Singh and two others had declined the offer.

However, recently Baba Maan Singh demanded ouster of Baba Harnek Singh, alleging that he was indulging in 'bad' activities. Most o Siahar residents support Baba Maan Singh while the rival has a huge following abroad.

At stake is not only the post of dera head, but land and movable property in India and Canada.



Fly ash from dyeing units a perennial problem
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
The uninterrupted emission of flying ash from dyeing and tyre-manufacturing units in the Focal Point area continues to cause various problems for the other industrial units in the area. The fine and delicate ash settles down at everything, be it machinery or products. The worst sufferers remain the paint-manufacturing units which are not able to get the desired results with the fly ash literally darkening their colours.

According to Mr R.D. Sharma, general secretary of the Indian Bicycle Manufacturers Association, the problem is prevailing for last so many years. He disclosed that they have made scores of representations from the Municipal Corporation to the Pollution Control Board, but no remedial action was ever taken. They have on several occasions nabbed the people depositing the ash along the roadside or in parks, but ultimately they are let off without any punishment.

There are about 40 dyeing and about a dozen tyre-manufacturing units. These units use the husk which turns into fine ash. Even the soot from the tyre-manufacturing units keeps on flying in the area and ultimately it settles down on the surface, be it machinery, products or even human beings with severe health hazards.

Mr Sharma said that dyeing and tyre units dispose of the soot in Green Belt (Focal Point), in parks, along roads and in the open areas during the night hours. They would get it disposed of by trolleys. Only last night industrialists laid a trap and nabbed one trolley. However, the trolley owner did not reveal the name of the person for whom he had been working.

The flying ash is not only damaging the machinery in the area but is also a serious health hazard. Since the ash is too fine to be noted, it straightway makes way into the eyes causing a burning sensation. The effect of the ash is so severe that even the mild scratching leads to injuries to the eyes. Anyone who rides a bicycle or two-wheeler or even walks on foot suffers from the same problem.

Mr Sharma maintained that they had even themselves approached the dyeing and tyre-manufacturing units to take remedial measures so that the soot and ash does not fly out. “All our protestations seem to have fallen on deaf ears and there seems to be no civic sense among these industrial unit owners”, he regretted, while lamenting the indifferent attitude of the officials of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation and the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

The fly ash does not remain restricted to the industrial area only. It also spreads out to the adjoining residential area where people have been complaining of eye and chest problems. “The particles are very delicate and invisible that these can make way to anywhere causing serious problems”, he said, while seeking immediate attention of the chairman of the PCB to find some solution to the problem. 



Faux pas by Sales Tax officials
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Sales tax officials are finding it difficult to own responsibility for a faux pas that led to erroneous imposition of penalty on a hosiery dealer. The ST officials had held him guilty of evading sales tax. So much so the officials ensured that the two cheques, one for the amount of tax evaded and the other for the penalty amount were issued instantly by the “erring” manufacturer.

With the sales tax collections on a decline the officials have started conducting raids. Under this campaign, some officials of the department raided the premises of Miniking Knitwears on January 24. The unit owner was prima facie found to have evaded the tax to the tune of Rs 4,76,315. Besides a penalty of Rs 5 lakhs was imposed on him. He was asked to issue the cheques for the total amount instantly.

Protests of the unit owner that he was wrongly being implicated fell on deaf ears. Confident about his credentials, he approached the Federation of Knitwear, Textile and Allied Industries Association. The federation leaders met the assessing officer and showed him the relevant clauses of the Act. The assessing officer admitted the mistake and the cheques were not encashed.

Federation leaders, including Mr Vinod Thapar and Mr Narinder Miglani, who met the assessing officer yesterday, addressing a press conference here today regreted that honest tax-payers were being wrongly implicated.



MC meeting a smooth affair
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 29
Cutting across party lines, councillors unequivocally lauded the initiative of Commissioner S.K. Sharma and City Mayor Nahar Singh Gill for development of infrastructure and improved civic services in the mega city at the general house meeting held here today.

In particular, the councillors belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bhartiya Janata Party praised the political leadership and the administration for the pace and quantum of development works in the past more than one year without political bias.

At the outset, Mr Sharma told the house that a notification on waiver of interest on arrears of water supply and sewerage charges had been received and the government had allowed payment of all such arrears without any interest or penalty upto Feb 29, 2004.

By the same order, the interest on delayed payment of user charges in future had been slashed from 18 percent to 9 per cent. He said the MC would issue a public notice in the next couple of days in which the actual user charges and the interest accrued would be segregated to enable city residents make payment without having to get the bills corrected.

The Commissioner said all zonal offices of the MC would be computerised and all functions would become online after linkage of zonal offices with the headquarters within the next one month. The zonal commissioners would be directed to be available in their respective offices at stipulated time for meeting members of the public and area councillors for speedy disposal of complaints and other pending matter.

The meeting turned out to be a smooth affair except for a furore towards the fag-end lasting a few minutes when Congress councillor Sat Pal Puri alleged that the anti-encroachment drive launched by the MC on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court was, in fact, culmination of a campaign started by certain BJP councillors in the previous house.

Charging Mr Puri with encroaching municipal land, the BJP councillors demanded that the house should take a spot decision to demolish the "unlawful construction". Retorting to the allegation, Mr Puri levelled counter- charges that several influential politicians , including a senior BJP leader and a councillor of the same party, had encroached government land and "their illegal structures should also be pulled down".

The Mayor, in a bid to bring down frayed tempers, announced that an all- party committee of councillors would examine all such cases and action taken in accordance with the law without fear or favour. The house unanimously resolved to take up with the government the grant of facility for remission of interest on house tax arrears on the lines of user charges for water supply and sewerage.

Responding to the demand of several councillors for declaration of unauthorised colonies within the city limits, the Commissioner informed the house that a comprehensive policy had been finalised by the Local Bodies department and approved by the council of ministers.

The meeting adopted the draft of the Municipal Corporation (Control of Advertisement)Bylaws,2003, approved renaming road from Pakhowal Road to Ferozepore Road via Sacred Heart Convent School as Bhagat Charan Singh Beermi Marg and sanctioned a grant for Rs 5 lakh for Sri Gobind Dham Gaushala.



At the crossroads
Welcoming the process of change

During the advancing years of one’s life, it becomes difficult to be in step with the times. The mind, cluttered with memories, does not accept new ideas. The acceptance of new concepts seems to be a challenge to the time-tested opinions. One instinctively recoils from the onslaught of information technology. Still there is no escape from the overpowering influence of the new dimensions of knowledge.

The new generation is moving out in diverse directions which sometimes indicate cross-purposes. Youngsters are hell-bent on deconstructing the edifice of social behaviour and moral codes. They want to breathe in the open air of self-realisation and ego-boosting. Their primary concern is to be in accord with the changing patterns of human existence. As such, their family relations and human bonds are under constant strain.

I feel fossilised unless I continue to seek the company of the college- going generation. It means I want to be with those who are in their early twenties while I am in the mid-seventies. In a way I want to eliminate a little more than half a century from the period of my life. This elimination is not a loss to me but a big gain. This helps me straighten up my stooping shoulders and activate my shuffling feet. So, I start thinking anew and revising my old beliefs. In case everything is mutable, why stick to the worn-out modes of human behaviour?

When I compare my generation with the present one, which can be termed as the third generation, I find that the young ones are more honest in the expression of their views. We used to pretend our petty loyalties to the family members and fall in line with the views of the elders for fear of displeasing them. Many a time, we espoused their concepts of right and wrong without putting our heart and soul into them. We wanted to be model sons and daughters without expecting the parents to be the ideal ones. They loved us for the sacrifices we made for them and we admired them for the affection they showered upon us.

Now, of course, teenagers do not entertain any idea of relegating their desires to the secondary position. They know what they want and nothing can deviate them from the path of self-gratification. They want their parents to give them ungrudging support or get aside from their chosen path. They know their minds, besides having some fixed ideas. They are not inclined to change their opinions, particularly concerning their own interests, for the sake of appeasing others. Now or never is their watchword.

They have no mind for making ironic statements or sarcastic remarks, nor do they expect others to do so. Open-minded they are and they want others to be frank and forthwith with them. The hallmark of their personalities is “utility consciousness”.

In no way can I bring myself to deprecating the mindset of the youngsters. They are under the influence of global turmoils at the individual, social and political levels. They are part of the things that indicate the futuristic vision of mankind. It is, of course, a self-propelled process which humanity has been witness to many a time in history.

New eras always befuddle the minds of the older generation at the initial stages. Later, things fall into a pattern and become part of such a scheme as it is dearer to their hearts. Ironically, when there is stability of one sort or another, the process of change starts in an imperceptible manner.

N.S. Tasneem



Sahit Academi to honour 8
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 29
‘Sardar Kartar Singh Dhaliwal Felicitation Function’ by Punjab Sahit Academi, Ludhiana, will be held on January 31 at Punjabi Bhavan. Prof Ravinder Bhattal, general secretary of the academy, said eight persons would be honoured on this occasion.

Prof Bhattal said ‘Sarv-Shreshtha Sahityakar Award’ would be given to Santokh Singh Dhir. The award includes Rs 1 lakh in cash and a citation. Sardar Kartar Singh Literature Award will be given to Dr Harkirat Singh, Dr Jatinder Singh Noor, Mr Manmohan Bawa, Mr Deepak Jaitoi, Mr Kuldeep Kalpana and Mr Lal Singh Dil. The award includes Rs 21,000 in cash each and a citation.

The recently introduced award to ‘Promising Laureate’ will be given to Pali Bhupinder.

The academy will also be providing fellowships to renowned poet Amrik Singh Pooni. Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra will be the chief guest.



Second-time winner of President’s Police Medal

Sahnewal, January 29
Inspector Mohinder Paul, posted as Reader to the IGP, Operations Punjab and Chandigarh, was awarded with the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service on Republic Day.

He said, “The dream has come true for me and my parents. My father, the late Dilbag Rai Bhagat, and mother Raj Rani always wished that I should some day bring pride not only to the family but also the entire nation. I have worked with single-minded devotion. Now I realise that hardwork does pay.”



Two eve-teasers booked
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 29
Victor Kumar was arrested by the Division Number 2 police yesterday and charged him under Section 354 of the IPC on the complaint of a resident of Punjabi Bagh.
Another similar case was registered as the Haibowal police station on the statement of a resident of Haibowal Kalan against Jasbir Singh Nambardar, a resident of the same locality. The complainant had stated that the accused teased her by using foul language.

Cases of theft: The Shimla Puri police registered a case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC on Wednesday against Vikram Masih, a resident of Guru Arjan Dev Nagar at Moga. The police said the accused was arrested and a stolen LML Vespa scooter was recovered from his possession.

Baljeet Singh, another resident of the same locality at Moga, was arrested and booked under the same sections of the IPC by the Shimla Puri police on charges of stealing a scooter, which was recovered from the accused after his arrest.

The Haibowal police has registered a case under Section 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Vijay Mohan Beri, resident of Anand Nagar in Haibowal Kalan, against Sunil Kumar, a migrant servant from UP. The complainant had stated that the accused stolen gold ornaments and cash from the house.

Assaulted: The Haibowal police registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC on Wednesday on the statement of Sonu, a resident of New Sant Nagar in Haibowal Kalan, against Raju and two others. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him on the way, assaulted him and threatened him.

Held for gambling: The Model Town police on Wednesday arrested Bau Singh and Darshan Singh, both residents of LIG Flats at Dugri, and booked them under the Gambling Act. The police said Rs 70 and deck of cards were seized from their possession.



Watchman murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
A 50-year-old watchman at a factory in Industrial Area-B here was found robbed and murdered in his house within the factory premises. Prem Nath Shukla’s body bore marks of multiple stab wounds. The murder was detected by some labourers who came to work in the morning and could not find the watchman at the gate.

The Division No. 6 police has registered a case and suspects that robbery seems to be the main motive. 



Minor kidnapped
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 29
A minor girl of Fatehgarh Sibian village has been kidnapped by a resident of the same village and the Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case under Sections 363, 366, IPC, against the accused.

According to the complainant, Ms Sarabjit Kaur, mother of the victim, she had left her daughter, Ganpreet Kaur, alias Geena (15), at her house for fetching fodder. When she returned, she found her daughter missing. She learnt that one Kesar Singh had abducted her daughter. The police has started investigations.


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