L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Admn issues fresh notices to residents
Kulliewal land scam
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Following the government’s reluctance to regularise illegal constructions in Kulliewal village, the sword of damocles once again hangs over hundreds of residents of the village with the district administration issuing fresh notices to them for vacating land originally belonging to the provincial government.

With the fresh notices, the Kulliewal scandal, involving land worth Rs 50 crore that originally belonged to the provincial government and was grabbed by private persons in connivance with officials of the Revenue Department, has come to haunt the residents again who fear that they would be losing their houses constructed after spending their life’s savings.

The local administration has asked residents of four colonies, including Baba Jiwan Singh Nagar, New Puneet Nagar, Swatantra Nagar and Sawan Vihar, to show cause why they should not be evicted from the government land. The notices have been issued under Sections 4, Act 1 of the Eviction and Rent Recovery Act, 1973.

As many as 300 residents of Swatantra Nagar were told to appear in the court of SDM(East), Prem Chand today. They gathered outside his office in the morning and submitted papers.

Surprised at the notices, the residents said they were expecting that their constructions would be regularised as the Administration had invited applications from them, requesting allotment of government land on which they had already constructed their houses.

The applications were invited in view of a notification by the state government regarding allotment of provincial and central government land. The residents were asked to submit their applications for the allotment till December 31, 2002.

Officials said after the receipt of applications, the cases of these people would be scrutinised and if the government decided in their favour, the land on which they had constructed houses allotted in their names. Sources in the district Administration said the notices were issued after there was no nod from the government. They said the Administration had no option but to serve the notices.

Unfortunately, these residents were the ones who had to bear the brunt of the situation as they were “mislead” by certain persons as well as some officials of the Revenue Department who allegedly impressed upon them to buy these plots on installments.

Mr Kewal Chhibber, a resident, said he did not know that the land belonged to the government and had been cheated by those who had showed him “kachhi” registry. Similar was the case of Mr Nirmal Singh. “I had constructed the house 20 years ago. All these years nobody said anything to me and when I paid the entire amount to the property dealer, they told me that this was government land.”

The residents, who mostly belong to the poor strata of society, chose to purchase this land as it did nor require them to shell out much money in one installment. They were told to pay monthly installments over the years.

The Administration swung into action and demolished some constructions in November last year and banned further construction. The residents were not aware of the fact that the area was agricultural land belonging to the provincial government, allegedly sold to innocent people by land grabbers in connivance with officials of the Revenue Department.

The district administration had then booked property dealers. The Administration had claimed that it was narrowing down on key players in the scandal. These included several influential persons close to politicians. But no action has been taken against any influential persons so far.



Diarrhoea outbreak under control
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 12
With the district and civic authorities taking corrective and preventive measures, the outbreak of diarrhoea in the Hargobind Nagar locality near Giaspura on the outskirts of the city has been brought under control and many of the patients, who had reported sick on Monday, have been nearly cured.

However, the over all scenario did not give any impression of a major outbreak of the disease in an epidemic form. Besides, in stark contrast to the general impression that contaminated water had given rise to the gastro-intestinal disorder, many other factors, including poor hygiene and insanitation in the affected area, coupled with an abnormally high density of population in the colony, had also to be taken into account.

A Ludhiana Tribune team, which went round a number of streets and houses in the colony on Thursday, found that a majority of the residents, mostly migrant workers, were living in pathetic conditions. A majority of the houses had blocks of cubicles, some of them two-storeyed, each housing 20 to 30 families. The level of insanitation and unhygienic conditions, both within and outside the houses, has to be seen to be believed.

During a visit of a team of senior officers, including the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, the Commissioner of the municipal corporation, Mr S.K. Sharma, and the Civil Surgeon, Dr M.K. Tiwari, to the affected locality this afternoon, water samples were drawn from MC water mains in three different houses and on the spot checking with chlorimeter were found to be fit for human consumption.

The area councillor, Mr Surinder Sharma, who had raised the issue of contaminated water supply in the area in the general house meeting of the MC on Saturday also confirmed that the contamination was caused due to a faulty water connection of one of the residents, which was disconnected on the same evening.

A sizeable portion of the population, residents told the visiting officers, was dependent on underground water drawn through hand-pumps and the locality being in the vicinity of a large number of industrial units, the underground water was unfit for human consumption. The people were advised not to use water drawn through hand-pumps for drinking.



Production starts at Avon Cycles
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Production of bicycles has resumed at Avon Cycles after striking workers resumed work. The lockout was lifted by the company after an agreement reached yesterday during a meeting chaired by the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma. However, there was no decision on the 213 dismissed employees.

Managing Director Onkar Singh Pahwa said production had resumed. Although it was yet to touch the normal level, cycles had already started coming out of the factory. He said a considerable number of workers had joined duty.

The fate of the 213 dismissed employees still hangs in the balance as no agreement could be reached about them today. Earlier, the company had agreed that it could review the cases of some. However, some trade union leaders wanted to impose their own terms, which was resisted and by the company. The trade union has been seeking the reinstatement of all dismissed employees.

Mr Pahwa was categorical in his stand that the company would not tolerate indiscipline. He said those who had not joined duty so far had been given few days more after which the management may think of fresh recruitment.

Meanwhile, a deputation of the Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India led by its president, Mr Joginder Kumar, met the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill at Chandigarh. He was apprised of the labour unrest. He assured the deputation that he would bring the matter to the notice of the Chief Minister. Demanding strong measures against such strikes, the federation pointed out during the past 30 years, there was no labour unrest in Ludhiana.



NRI Punjabis honoured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
The Quami Sahit and Kala Parishad held a function to honour NRI Punjabis who had done the community proud by contributing to the prosperity of their brethren here.
A function was held at the Punjabi Bhavan. It was presided over by Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, MLA, Kum Kalan. Those honoured include Mr Beant Singh Dhaliwal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Grewal and Mr Joginder Singh Johal.

Mr Atwal exhorted the Punjabi diaspora to adopt their villages and contribute towards their development. The resources at the disposal of NRIs could be channelised to ensure that the villages had all essential facilities like schools, healthcare and avenues for employment for the youth at the local level, he said.

Funds could be deposited in the name of a village development committee so that teachers could be recruited. “Presently, most government schools in the countryside are facing a dearth of teachers with the government abolishing hundreds of vacant posts,” he added.

Mr Dhaliwal, while thanking the organisers for the honour, said the community was passing through a critical phase and the youth were blindly aping the west without thinking about the consequences. The situation was no better on the economic and political front, he said.

He said NRIs were in touch with their roots and just needed a little help from the government so that the funds that they invested in the state were secure. Investing funds in development works and business ventures was no problem for the NRIs, he said.

Mr Johal said there was a need to revamp the education system as it was not in sync with the ground realities across the globe. He said NRIs were willing to step in and take over the village schools, but the government had to show the way.

Mr Grewal said, “Punjab needs to be more organised. A state-level committee should be constituted to disperse funds placed at its disposal by the NRIs. The money should be spent on providing medical and educational services in the state.



Authorities blamed for insanitary conditions
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, February 12
Residents of Hargobind Nagar, from where more than 250 cases of diarrhoea have been reported, have blamed the Municipal Corporation and Health authorities for their callous approach towards handling the situation.

A number of residents complained that if timely precautionary measures were taken by the authorities concerned, the situation could have been controlled. The area is only a few lanes away from Gyaspura, from where hundreds of gastroenteritis cases were reported five months back.

Ranjana, a migrant, whose one-and-half-year-old son has been suffering from loose motions, complained that the condition of her son had been the same despite medication provided by Health officials. “We have been given medicines by Health workers, but my child’s condition has not improved. I will not rely on these medicines. I will take him to some private doctor to get proper treatment. Though, I cannot afford to spend money on expensive medicines, I still cannot see my only child die. I will borrow money from my relatives to get him proper treatment,” stressed Ranjana.

Ravi Kumar, an auto-rickshaw driver, said till Tuesday, sewerage was blocked at majority of places. “We get drinking water that emanates foul smell. Slush can be seen in the houses of majority of residents here because it is a low-lying area. The sewerage was cleaned only yesterday. But these arrangements are temporary. Once the situation is brought under control, nobody will bother. We are used to such behaviour,” he complained.

The area residents also blamed migrants for insanitary conditions in the locality. They said seven labourers were residing in a small dingy room in the locality. Small houses in the streets were often overcrowded. “People have rented out their accommodation. They come to collect rent every month without showing concern about the insanitary conditions. Tenants, majority of them migrant labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, throw garbage on roads, thus chocking sewerage. But we cannot dare say them anything,” said an area resident on the condition of anonymity.



At the Crossroads
Going back to the roots

Life must move forward but an occasional backward glance is stimulating, if not exhilarating. Linking the past with the present is like going back to the roots. When one comes to a place where one has lived earlier nostalgic memories flood the mind. The intervening period sinks into oblivion and one finds the past superimposed on the present. This coexistence of the past and the present at a particular period of time creates in the mind a trance-like state.

In this state of the mind, one becomes aware of time at two levels of existence but finds it hard for a while to come out of the charmed circle. The suspension between these two polarities is both a thrilling and an exasperating experience. It has been said that no one can become what one cannot find in one’s memories. Thus future is opened to us as we become reconciled to the past.

This is what some of the persons, who attended the World Punjabi Congress in Lahore recently, have experienced. The Higher Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, is ecstatic about his visit to his village Jabbishah Dilawar, near Peshawar. He has brought along a copy of the admission form submitted at the time of his joining the village school in 1936. The visit to this school provided him a rare occasion to see the signatures of his father and grandfather in the records of the school. For him, water from the ancestral well was nothing less than nectar.

Earlier Mr N.S. Nanda, president of the Dhan Pothohar Brotherhood, Punjab, brought two marble slabs from his village Darkali Khurd in Rawalpindi district. On these slabs have been inscribed the names of his father, uncle and grandfather. The present owner of the house had very thoughtfully kept the slabs in his custody to pass them on to the person concerned whenever he paid a visit. Now Mr Nanda is the proud owner of these slabs and regards these as an invaluable asset. He is nostalgic about the warmth with which the village elders welcomed him and talked animatedly about his ancestors.

The well-known Punjabi poet, Ahmed Rahi, left Amritsar at the time of the Partition. He paid a brief visit to his native place in 1951 and composed a poem in which he said :

Desan waleo apne des ander

Asin aaye haan vaang pardesian de

Gharan waleo apne ghar ander

Asin aaye haan vaang paraunian de

(O’ countrymen! we have come like aliens in our own land. O’ householders! we have come to our home like guests.)

It is said that Ahmed Rahi suffered a stroke in the 80th year of his life and was admitted to Mayo Hospital, Lahore. Eminent physicians tried to save his life but his condition deteriorated and he breathed his last on September 2, 2002. Just before his death, he struggled hard to say something but his words were incoherent. The nurse standing nearby bent down to comprehend his words. All of a sudden, she lifted up her head and said that Babaji had mumbled, “Take me to Amritsar”.

Such is the significance of the place that is associated with the memories of the early days of one’s life.

N.S. Tasneem



SGPC divests Gurtej of title
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 12
The SGPC has withdrawn the title of “National Professor of Sikhism” bestowed on Prof Gurtej Singh , former IAS officer, on the directions of Akal Takht. This is the only instance when an honour bestowed upon a Sikh scholar has been withdrawn by the SGPC. Bhai Santokh Singh, author of Suraj Prakash, was the first scholar to receive a siropa from Head Granthi, Harmandar Sahib in 1843.

Mr Gurtej Singh was a lecturer at Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, and Gurmat College, Patiala, before he joined the IAS. He later quit the service.

Mr Gurtej Singh got close to Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and it was during this period that he got the title. Since then he has brought out some books and a collection of essays titled “Chakarviu.”

In the recent past he came close to Gurbax Singh Kala Afgana, a Canada-based Sikh scholar.

In the Akal Takht-Kala Afgana controversy, Mr Gurtej Singh championed the cause of the latter and earned the ire of the Jathedar of Akal Takht. The Jathedar then sent a directive to the SGPC to divest Mr Gurtej Singh of the title.



Discrepancy in voter list
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 12
Resentment prevails among residents of Rajguru Nagar Colony over the non-inclusion of their names in the electoral rolls for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha constituency.
According to Mr Anant Ram Gupta, vice-president, and Mr Charanjit Singh Aulakh, counsellor of the Rajguru Nagar Welfare Society, there are nearly 4,000 residents of the colony whose names are not in the voters lists.

They have urged the Deputy Commissioner and the State Election Commissioner to order enlistment of voters whose names are missing from the voters lists. They should not be deprived of their right to vote, they have said.



Industrialist held for fraud
3 PFC employees face action
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau has arrested a local industrialist on the charge of involvement in a fraud allegedly committed by him in league with some employees of the Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC).

Daljit Singh, director of GK Woollen Mills, Rahon Road, has been arrested by the bureau, which has also initiated criminal proceedings against three employees of the PFC, who allegedly duped some loanees of the corporation by selling off their units for a song.

The loanees had paid off their debts but the PFC employees allegedly did not clear their records and sold their units to their own relatives or friends after declaring these as bad debt cases. Also, some loanees allegedly did not pay the debt but still got clearance certificates.

The action comes as a follow-up to an investigation conducted by the State Vigilance Bureau, Chandigarh, on a complaint made by the former Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal. A number of irregularities in the functioning of the PFC were detected by Mr Aggarwal, who later sent a detailed report to Vigilance officials for appropriate action.

According to a senior Vigilance official here, a team of sleuths, led by DSP Darshan Singh, arrested the accused, Daljit Singh, in this regard. The Vigilance officials were, however, tight-lipped about the identity of the PFC employees and the extent of their involvement. There were reports that the department had picked up the three employees from Chandigarh but officials here did not corroborate the information.

The fresh scandal has once again raised questions on the functioning of the PFC. It has been suffering huge financial losses for the past many years and even the Disinvestment Commission had recommended its closure due to heavy losses.



3 lootings in one hour
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, February 12
Three simultaneous lootings at gunpoint at three villagers late last evening has sent a wave of terror among residents of the area. The looting incidents occurred within an hour.

The first incident is reported to have taken place at Tibba village where two youths, who came on a scooter, looted a liquor shop at gunpoint and decamped with Rs 2300. The village falls under the purview of the Sahnewal police station where the DSP said a search was being conducted in this regard. A case has not yet been registered.

Another incident took place at Paddi village, at a distance of 1.5 km from the Tibba. It falls under the jurisdiction of the Sadar police station, Ludhiana. Two scooter-borne armed youths came to a liquor shop at the village and looted Rs 7000 from the vendor.

Yet another incident was reported from an adjoining village where again two scooter-borne youths looted a hefty amount from a liquor shop at gunpoint. Police officers, when contacted, expressed ignorance about the matter.



Held with pistol, cartridges
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 12
Sikandar Singh, alias Lalli, a resident of Mohalla Santokh Pura at Phillaur in Jalandhar district, was arrested by the Sadar police yesterday and booked under Sections 25,54 and 59 of the Arms Act.
The police said today that the accused was arrested in the evening following recovery of a .12 bore pistol and five live cartridges from his possession.

Man dies in mishap: The Sahnewal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279, 427 and 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Mr Rakesh Bajaj, a resident of Rose Enclave near the Rose Garden falling under the jurisdiction of the Civil Lines police station, against a driver of a tanker (PB-10A7-7284), who hit a scooterist, Parveen Kumar, on Tuesday afternoon on GT Road near Sahnewal and fled. Parveen Kumar, later, succumbed to his injuries.

Motorcycle stolen: On the statement of Mr Harcharan Singh, a resident of Baba Deep Singh Nagar, the Kotwali police yesterday registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC against an unknown person who stole his Hero Honda motor cycle from Chaura Bazar on the afternoon of February 2. The police said today that it was clueless about the theft.

The Division No. 2 police registered a case under the same Section of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kamaljeet Singh, a resident of Kucha No. 14 of Field Ganj against a person who stole a Maruti car on the intervening night of February 4-5. No arrest has been made.

Cash, mobile snatched: The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 452, 382, 506, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Mohan Sharma, a resident of Green City at Haibowal Khurd, against Suraj, Viteshi Chauhan, Chhotu Kumar, Sadhu Ram and some other unidentified persons accompanying them. The complainant had alleged that the accused forced their way into his house, beat him up and threatened him before decamping with Rs 1000 and a mobile phone.

Cases of assault: The Focal Point police yesterday registered a case under Sections 384, 323, 341, 506 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sewak Singh, a resident of Mohalla Azad Nagar in Shimla Puri, against Mohinder Singh and Naginder Singh, residents of Gopal Nagar and four others. The complainant had alleged that the accused had beaten him up and snatched his identity card. No arrest has been made.

Cop assaulted: The Sarabha Nagar police yesterday arrested Vijay Kumar and Raghwinder, residents of Majar Kalan village in Nawanshahr district, and Jagdeep Singh, a resident of Daulat Pur village, in the same district and booked them under Sections 353, 186, 323, 279, 506 and 34 of the IPC.

The police said today that the accused were arrested on the complaint of constable Sandeep Singh who was on duty at gate No. 2 of Punjab Agricultural University on Wednesday. The constable had stated that the accused assaulted him and interfered in the performance of his duty. All accused were bailed out.

Three ‘satta’ bookies held: The Division No. 7 police yesterday arrested three ‘satta’ bookies from various localities of the area and booked them separately under the Gambling Act.


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