L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC seeks denotification of 57 slums
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 15
The Municipal Corporation has written to the state government for denotifying 57 slums on the periphery of the mega city after comprehensive development works were carried out in these colonies and all basic amenities were provided to the inhabitants during past one-and-a half year.

Disclosing this, the MC Commissioner Mr S.K. Sharma, told Ludhiana Tribune that of the 211 slums which had been identified under the urban slum development programme through improved access to basic services with the active assistance of Indo-USAID and Cities Alliance in the city, basic amenities like water supply, sewerage, roads and streetlights were provided in 57 colonies at a cost of around Rs 5 crore. The colonies which were selected for development works did not involve any encroachment on government or municipal land.

Since the erstwhile slums were being provided civic amenities like in other city localities, the government had been asked to denotify these localities from the list of urban slums, Mr Sharma added.

Giving more details of the project, he said that initially 211 low income settlements, providing shelter to a population of over 3.5 lakh persons, were identified and almost all of these settlements did not have access to basic civic amenities. Under an integrated project, the Indo-USAID and the Cities Alliance, in partnership with the National Institute of Urban Affairs had launched a programme to provide support to the MC to improve access of services to these low income settlements.

The first phase of the project, that of preparing a database of the settlements, accompanied with ward, zone and city level maps, availability of infrastructure and other facilities, was completed in January 2002, followed by phase II in May 2003 under which the establishment of sustainable framework for provision of urban services in these localities was facilitated. After the project was formally launched in May 2002 and there was intensive interaction with stake holders, NGOs, community organisers and civic experts, a programme for community mobilisation was initiated to bring out the potential of the people in dealing with their own problems.

Mr Sharma said that the central feature of the project was the preparation of Community Action Plans for upgrading the low income settlements in the city. The plans were prepared for 57 settlements in the first phase and development works were carried out in these settlement, benefitting about 10 per cent of the urban poor in the city. “In the next phase of the programme to be taken in hand soon, another cluster of urban slums will get the basic amenities which would be yet another step forward towards achieving the goal of providing basic civic amenities to the entire city population.”



Police crackdown on gangsters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
In order to stem any clashes between different groups of anti-social elements following the exposure of gang rivalries through the Lalla murder case, the district police has launched a massive crackdown on these groups to avoid any law and order problem in the city.

The police raided a taxi operator's office, opposite Luxmi cinema, late last night and nabbed four persons and seized a .32-bore gun, 50 live cartridges and a large number of sharpedged and blunt weapons. The FIR states that the accused were planning to commit a robbery when they were apprehended on the basis of information.

The accused were identified as Danny, Tarsem Lal Sharma, Didar Singh and Mohan Lal.

Insiders reveal that the raid was part of the police crackdown on anti-social elements who were trying to regroup after the murder of ace gangster Anil Sharma, alias Lalla, and arrest of another gang leader Raman Kumar, alias Rana, in the case.

It has also come to light that a Youth Congress leader considered close to Rana was the main informer of the police in the last night's raid. It is also being suspected that Rana had also divulged lot of information to the police after his arrest about the activities of various gangs in the city.

Sources said a number of hotels were also raided by the police last night. The raids were held because of two reasons. One of them was to bust gangs of flesh trade. The second was to bust some gangsters allegedly hiding in these places.



Converting park into parking lot draws flak
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 15
A proposal of the Municipal Corporation to convert a public park near Gurdwara Mai Nand Kaur in the upmarket commercial area of Ghumar Mandi has evoked protests from area residents, shopkeepers and others.

The MC had identified seven places in different localities for construction of multi-level paid parking lots to ease parking congestion, particularly in thickly populated and congested areas. Among these sites, a park in Ghumar Mandi was proposed to be converted into a parking lot in the wake of indiscriminate parking of vehicles all along the busy market and frequent traffic jams during the day. A number of shopkeepers were of the view that parking of vehicles, both of shopkeepers and customers, did pose a big problem and the issue had to be sorted out. However, they were opposed to the conversion of the green belt into a parking lot, which would be tantamount to denial of a basic facility to the area residents. The proposal, they observed, was also against the professed commitment of the MC to keep the city clean and green.

Reacting strongly to the proposal, Ludhiana Welfare Association president Manjit Singh Matharoo termed it unreasonable and against the larger interests of the city population. He made a strong case for declaring the road from Ghumar Mandi Chowk to the Aarti cinema chowk as “one way” which would ease the traffic congestion to a great extent as the load of vehicles entering the market would be shifted to the national road. The division of incoming and outgoing traffic on two adjoining roads would also facilitate parking of vehicles within the yellow line marking on both sides.

The shopkeepers felt that the yellow lines marked on the main Ghumar Mandi road right up to Aarti Chowk and on the national road could provide adequate parking space for hundreds of vehicles if the encroachments, including pushcarts, phariwalas and other unlawful occupants, were removed. “Stationary and mobile vendors positioning themselves at will all around the market with scant regard to inconvenience caused to others wreak havoc on the traffic movement and at the same time gobble up the space designated for parking of vehicles.” Ghumar Mandi shopkeepers made a fervent plea against the construction of a parking lot in the park. Instead, they urged that the park be properly developed with landscaping, installation of fountains, playway equipment for kids and seating arrangements.



Traders gherao ETO
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
Angry traders today gheraoed an Excise and Taxation Officer in Kesar Ganj Mandi alleging that he had demanded bribe from one of them. The traders also raised slogans against the department officials alleging that they were being harassed.

According to Mr Kala, a trader, his goods were stopped by the said ETO during checking. He alleged that he was told to pay Rs 4,000 as penalty since he was not carrying the bills. When he handed over the amount he was provided with a receipt of Rs 2,000 only and that too of previous date.

The trader brought it to the notice of the colleagues who started gathering at the venue. They gheraoed the vehicle and said they would release it only after some senior official came there. They said they would be handed over to the senior officials only.

The traders had not lifted the gherao till the filing of this report. They did not allow anyone to meet the excise official. They alleged that the sales tax officials were harassing them.



Witness to Siahar violence disappears
Tribune Reporters

Siahar (Ludhiana), February 15
The controversy over the control of the Nanaksar Ashram thath at this village has taken a new turn with the mysterious disappearance of a witness in the violence case.

Pandit Acchhru Ram, an old man of the village, had sustained injuries during the violence at the thath on October 11. He was recorded as a witness in the FIR registered against some persons responsible for the violence in which a person was killed and several others were injured. Acchhru Ram reportedly disappeared from his residence at the village a fortnight ago. When he did not turn up, villagers raised the alarm. He used to live alone in the house.

He was looked after by villagers after he sustained the injuries. They thought he might have left for his relative’s house.

With his disappearance, both the factions fighting for the control of the thath have found another opportunity to level allegations and counter-allegations against each other. While the spokespersons of both sides blame each other to be instrumental in his disappearance, none of them have came forward to give a statement in this regard.

Mr Gurdev Singh Grewal, a spokesman for the Baba Mann Singh faction, said they had informed the higher officials about the disappearance of the injured. He however, evaded further questions on the issue.

Mr Jagdev Singh Andloo, spokesman for the Baba Harnek Singh group, said they had nothing to do with the whereabouts of persons who were in the other camp. He apprehended that the faction led by Baba Mann Singh might use his disappearance as a trump card.

Meanwhile, office-bearers of the Nanaksar Gurdwara Gursikh Temple Society, Richmond, have claimed that Baba Harnek Singh enjoyed support of all followers of late Sant Meehan Singh in Canada and other overseas countries.

Mr Gian Singh Garcha, a follower of Baba Harnek Singh in Vancouver, alleged that Baba Mann Singh’s followers were trouble shooters in Canada.

He further alleged that they had spoiled the peaceful environment at Siahar thath.

Vindicating his claim, he added that the government of British Columbia had granted status of tourist spots to the temples of Nanaksar Thath at Canada and ‘‘in an attempt to maintain peace at these religious places the administration had banned the entry of many persons of the Baba Mann Singh faction to these spots.’’

Gurdev Singh Grewal, a spokesman for the Baba Mann Singh faction, however refuted this and clarified that Baba Mann Singh, Sewa Singh and Harchand Singh were not included in the list of persons whose entry had been banned to those places. He, however, admitted that the entry of some persons, including Madho Singh, a grand son of Late Baba Meehan Singh had been banned.



Main leaders miss Poorvanchal rally
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 15
The much-hyped ‘Poorvanchal Ekta’ rally organised here today by more than one dozen social and religious bodies of the migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar as a measure of their unity and show of strength, turned out to be a damp squib.

Belying the claims of the organisers, none of the Union Ministers or other VVIP’s, except for a lone MLA from Bihar, made it to the rally which had a thin attendance in stark contrast to the claim of putting together a crowd of over five lakh from all over the state and even some neighbouring states for the rally.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Janardan Singh, president of the Poorvanchal Ekta Abhiyan, observed that the sizeable migrant population in Punjab had made a significant contribution to the prosperity and development of the state. He said the migrants had met the vast needs of the state for farm workers as well as both skilled and unskilled labour in the industrial units.

“However, the hard work done by the migrant workers has not been duly recognised and the migrant population is still being accorded the status of second class citizens. The migrant workers, who have been living in different cities of Punjab for decades now, are being denied their constitutional rights to have a ration card, get enrolled as voters and are being discriminated against even in the matter of providing basic amenities in localities predominantly inhabited by them.”

Dr Janardan Singh and other speakers threatened to launch a mass agitation against the discriminatory polices of the government and the district authorities if the migrant population continued to be given a shabby treatment.

Among others, Prof Naval Yadav, MLA from Bihar, Mr Prem Pandey, president of the Bhartiya Jan Jagran Sangathan, Mr Ram Chander Yadav, councillor and Mr Vijay Danav, coordinator, Bhartiya Valmiki Dharm Samaj and adviser of SAD-B addressed the rally.



Pothohars’ body backs Naresh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
An executive body meeting of the Dhan-Pothohar Brotherhood, Punjab, was held here today under the chairmanship of its President, Mr N.S. Nanda. The brotherhood congratulated Mr Nanda for visiting Pakistan and his native place.

His village, Darkari Khurd, is situated in Rawalpindi district in the Dhan Pothohar region. It was trip down memory lane for him. One of the villager, Mr Raja Mohammand, gave him two slabs, bearing the names of his father, grandfather and great grandfather, which were dismantled by the mob at the time of the Partition.

It was also decided to organise a shaheedi conference in March 2004 here in memory of all those Pothoharis, who were killed during the Partition.

Mr Nanda said the Brotherhood would back Mr Naresh Gujral who will contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha election from Jalandhar.



Project to fortify road launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA, today said a sum of Rs 1000 crore was being spent on the repair of 880-km-long roads and construction of 42 bridges over the rail lines and rivers.

Mr Dakha was addressing a gathering after launching a Nabard project for the strengthening of Ludhiana-Hambran Road at a cost of Rs 1.03 crore at Partapura, 8 km from here, today.

Mr Dakha said the state government had chalked out a comprehensive plan for the development of the state. He said the government had also started a new welfare schemes for the poor people. Under Kanya Jagriti Yojna deposits of Rs 5000 each on the birth of up to two daughters in SC families were being made by the government and a new Ashirwad scheme has been launched from January 26 this year to give shagan of Rs 6100 on the marriage of the daughter of SC families.

Claiming fast development in the Dakha Vidhan Sabha constituency, he informed that development projects worth more than Rs 10 crore had been launched this year. He said the repair work of the Bhundri-Sidhwan Bet road at a cost of Rs.1.37 crore had been completed. Market committees were funding the repair of link roads in the Dakha constituency. Besides, the construction of streets and drains have also been started in over 30 villages. Mr Dakha said in the urban area, a big project of sewerage in the Lohara-Dhaba area had also been initiated at cost of Rs 3 crore.

Earlier, the MLA laid the foundation stone of a scheme to construct streets and drains in Mullanpur and Sawadhi Kalan villages. Later he laid the foundation stone of a road in Simla Puri near Merh Di Chakki.

Mr Manjit Singh, President, District Youth Congress, addressing claimed that the Congress government had launched a welfare programme for the weaker sections costing to Rs 500 crore in the state.

Mr Joginder Singh Jhamat,Vice-Chairman, Congress Cell, PPCC, Mr Amarjit Singh, former Sarpanch Ayali, Mr Inderjit Singh Salempur, member, block samiti, Mr Nahar Singh Maggi, Harmohan Singh, Sarpanch Balipur Khurad, Mr. Gurmej Singh , General Secretary DCC also attended the function.



Reinstate dismissed workers, says union
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
The Moulder and Steel Workers’ Union today demanded the reinstatement of 213 dismissed employees of the Avon Cycle and Pahwa Cycles at a convention held at Hanuman Janjhghar in the Jawahar Nagar area here.

Union leaders alleged that the management was resorting to tactics of exploiting the workers. They alleged that the workers were being denied justice.

Demanding that the workers should be taken back, they said, they could be served chargesheet and then dealt with according to the law.

They pointed out that dismissal without trial amounted to denial of justice. They would submit a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner in this connection tomorrow.

The workers also demanded that the Section 144 restriction imposed by the government in the industrial area be withdrawn. They said the workers’ right to voice their protest should not be gagged. They also sought better working condition in the industry according to the government norms. Members of some other workers’ unions also participated in the convention.



Eklinga Mahadeva shobha yatra
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 15
Lord Eklinga Mahadeva, riding a silver chariot, would be the main attraction of the 17th annual shobha yatra which would be taken out on February 17 by the Shivaratri Mahotsav Committee, according to Mr Sunil Mehra.

Mr Mehra said today that devotees of Lord Shiva, who would pull the divine chariot, would become eligible for attaining salvation. Ekligna Mahadeva, whose original place is at Udaipur in Rajasthan, is now gracing the Shiva Mandir at Gaughat here with its presence in the form of a five-headed silver Shivalinga and is available to the general public for darshan every Monday.

Mr Mehra said that the shobha yatra would start from the Shiv Mandir at Gaughat at 10 a.m. and reach Daresi Grounds via Circular Road. It would be led by Swami Nigambodh Tirath ji Maharaj.

Mr Mehra further told that the entire route of the shobha yatra had been decorated. About 400 tableaux depicting scenes from the “Shiv Purana” and other mythological legends would take part in the shobha yatra, apart from 150 school bands.



Youth training programme
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 15
The Vyakti Vikas Kendra India (VVKI), a local unit of the Art of Living, is organising a youth leadership training programme (YLTP) for the economic and social uplift of villages and all-round development of the youth at Nasrali village (Mandi Gobindgarh) from February 18 — February 28, stated Mr Vivek Sharda state coordinator YLTP, in a press note here yesterday. Providing details of the VVKI, the press note stated that it was a charitable non-profit organisation founded by Sri Sri Ravishankar. It functioned in about 100 countries across the globe.

This is the first YLTP being held in Punjab, which is fully sponsored by the organisation. It is meant especially for the literate village youth in the 20-25 age group. They will be given an overview of chemical-free farming and its importance for their economic growth. 



Gurmat samagam from Feb 18
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 15
A three-day gurmat samagam will begin on February 18 at Gurdwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha at Sarabha Nagar.
Giani Sant Singh Maskeen and his troupe from Alwar is taking part in the samagam.

The gurdwara management, in collaboration with the local Sikh Missionary College would also hold a shaheedi saka samagam on February 22 in memory of the martyrs who laid down their lives at Shri Nankana Sahib on February 20,1921.



Shopkeepers oppose parking lot proposal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
Bhadaur House Market Association has opposed the proposal of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation to construct a multi-storeyed parking complex at Bhadaur House. A meeting of the association was held here today under the chairmanship of its president Mr N.S. Nanda.

Giving details of the meeting, Mr Nanda informed that the House took a serious note of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation’s move to earmark Bhadaur House Market for the construction of a multi-level parking complex in 30,000 sq. ft. area. It was resolved to oppose the decision of the corporation and safeguard and protect the status of the market.

Mr Gaurav Gera said the Badaur House market was one of the leading, posh and most commercially developed markets of the city and it would be ruined if a multi-level parking complex was constructed over there.

Mr Chander Shekhar and Mr Surinder Thapar said there was no need to construct this type of parking complex, as there was already a parking house on Municipal Corporation premises.

Mr Nanda said a memorandum would be submitted to Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, to urge him to look into the matter personally in this regard. A deputation will meet Jagjit Singh, Local Bodies Minister, requesting him to intervene.

A sub-committee consisting of Mr Jagdish Anand, Mr K.S. Ghai, Chander Shekhar, Gopal syal, Shiv Bhanot was formed. Mr N.S. Nanda and Surinder Thapar will be ex-officio members. Others who attended the meeting included Vinod Madan, Devinder Batra, Toni Chawla, Rajinder Kumar, Kishan Chand Sharma, Balwinder Singh and Ravinder Singh Nanda.


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