L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


55 hurt as bus, jeep collide head on
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Kelle (Sudhar), March 2
As many as 55 persons were injured, eight of them seriously, in a powerful head-on collision between a private bus and a Jeep on a busy road crossing near this village this morning. The wounded were admitted to CMC and DMC hospitals in Ludhiana, while others were set to a hospital at Sudhar.

Most of the injured were students and teachers travelling in the bus, (PB-10 U-9665), while two businessmen of Budhlada town Pramod Kumar and Vicky were travelling in the jeep.

Such was the impact of the collision that the bus turned turtle while the jeep was pushed away several feet. The rear wheels of the bus rolled away from the vehicle. The luggage carrier was found hanging from a tree. One of the injured, Rajdeep Kaur, was pregnant. She and her child are said to be safe.

A case has been registered against Kesar Singh, bus driver and Satpal Singh, Jeep Driver for over speeding and negligent driving.

The Dasmesh Transport bus left Ludhiana for Barnala and rammed into the Jeep on the Pakhowal, Halwara, Barnala and Ludhiana crossing at 8.10 a.m. According to eye-witnesses, the drivers of both the vehicles were overspeeding.

Kuldip Singh, on whose statement the case was registered, told The Tribune that the bus and the jeep collided head-on at the crossing.

Residents of Kelle village were the first to reach the accident site. They rushed the injured to the Sudhar hospital from where the serious were shifted to Ludhiana. Ambulance drivers Jasbir Singh and Sabba Kishan not only helped in rescuing the passengers, they also gave them first aid.

Sarbjeet Singh of Kelle village, who was at the crossing, called other villages. An announcement was made from the village gurdwara. Over 2000 persons gathered at the spot offering help. SDM Malwinder Singh Jaggi, DSP H.S. Brar and SHO, Sudhar police station, Inspector Jasbir Singh Rai, supervised the rescue operations. Most of the injured were student or teachers of Halwara Senior Secondary School for Girls, Ganga Giri College for Girls, Raikot, Khalsa College, Sudhar, and a school in Littar village.



Partial bandh against steel price hike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
The strike call given by the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), the Fasteners Manufacturers Association and certain other industrial organisations against the rising steel prices evoked a mix response here today. The CICU claimed that over 50 per cent of the industrial units remained closed.

The strike was observed against the rise in steel prices, which has adversely hit the industry, particularly the small-scale sector. Although the entire engineering industry is affected by steel prices, not all of it participated in the bandh. The organisations supporting the bandh said since these units had to meet their delivery deadlines, they could not suspend work.

The general secretary of the CICU, Mr Avtar Singh, claimed that the strike was largely successful as most of the industrial units participated in it. He said the industry would need to intensify the agitation as the Government of India did not appear to be concerned about the continuously rising steel prices in the country. He warned it would be too late in case no action was taken immediately.

The CICU general secretary pointed out that the production had already come down and several industrial units had shut down. He said with the increase in the prices of steel, the input costs had gone up phenomenally. Instead of suffering losses, industrial units preferred to suspend production, he added.

Despite the daylong strike, the industry did not expect any substantial relief from the government. "We will have to wait till the new government is formed," Mr Avtar Singh pointed out, adding that the future course of action would be decided later.



Shias take out tazia procession
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
A large number of Shias today took out the tazia (mourning) procession in memory of the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hassan and Hussain, grandsons of the Prophet, on the occasion of Moharram. Some members of the Sunni sect also participated.

The procession started from the Gaushala chowk and concluded at Sherpur Imambara. The processionists were served with water by members of other religions en route. Moharram is observed in memory of the conclusion of a war between followers of the Prophet against Yezeed at the famous battle ground of Karbala, now in Iraq. Muslims, mostly Shias, take out a mourning procession where they beat their chests. Some even walk on fire while others use sharp-edged weapons to injure themselves.

In Ludhiana, the mourners used sticks and beat their chests. They were joined by Hindus and Sikhs.

The Divya Shakti Sena organised a roadshow to mark the occasion. Members of the organisation belonging to various communities participated in the procession.




When it comes to the Punjab Government taking decision on any matter, they just cannot be trusted. Newsmen could not believe their eyes when some mediapersons were given excellent quality notepads when they reached Latala to cover the rally marking the completion of two years of Congress government in power. Once used to high quality of stationery, the same reporters were shocked when some of them were handed over accreditation and recognition cards by the Public Relations Department on third rate cards with extremely poor quality of printing. Many mediapersons now smell a scam in the printing of Id cards for scribes and want the Chief Minister to initiate an enquiry as to how these cards were allowed to be used thereby tarnishing the image of his government.

Fraudulent sales

Next time when you read 50 per cent off on all items in a sale, beware. It’s just another gimmick of the unscrupulous city shopkeepers to attract customers. Recently a well-known Ludhiana-based company known for its warmers, woollens, jackets, etc that has one of its outlet on the national road and whose owner has received several awards for outstanding business, advertised that it was giving away all items for half the price for a limited period. Readers who went there were told that there was no discount on cotton wear, while most woollens carried a 20 per cent rebate. Readers have complained that since the advertisement was misleading, the company must be booked under provisions of the IPC and Consumer Protection Act for playing a fraud on buyers, some of whom came from as far as Khanna and Jagraon.

Adding colour

These umbrellas  may not serve any useful purpose such as protecting you from rain or sun, but at least they add a lot of colour to life. Rajasthani’s men, women and children are seen all over the city selling these toy umbrellas that attract your fancy even in the heat despite being made out of wool.

Yellow pages

The city will soon get a directory of Yellow Pages from GETIT, a big publisher of Yellow Pages that had so far restricted its business to the metros only. The directory that is expected to hit the market shortly will help city residents locate products and services, adding convenience to their day-to-day activity. This will not only help the residents but also help the traders and business men reach their potential customers.

NCC movement

The NCC movement in the city has really taken a fillip. Both male and female cadets have displayed exemplary performances in several NCC functions and competitions. Lovepreet Singh has brought laurels by becoming the only cadet from Punjab to be selected for the prestigious ‘Guard of Honour’ rally in which cadets from the Republic Day parade are selected. The NCC officers here are elated over the achievements and hope that in the next academic session more youngsters would come forward to enrol themselves .

No ordinary mochi

This is no ordinary mochi that mends your shoes for a few rupees. A premier show shop with this captive name sells products that costs anything between Rs 200 to Rs 5000 and carries many national and international footwear. Recently, this retailing outlet announced the arrival of a range that includes stilettos, block heels, wedge heels and platforms in pinks, reds, silver, golden, purple, green, etc. Mochi is no ordinary shoe shop. This can be gauged from the fact that it has hired a national public relations company — the Fourth Estate to tell people that the “it caters to the finest taste of footwear for Indian men and women.’

Dearth of chief guests

These days most of the colleges are holding annual functions as the academic year 2003-2004 is coming to close. In the past week three prestigious colleges — Khalsa College for Women, Government College for Women and SCD College had invited Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Higher Education as the chief guest. He had more or less the same things to say. Variety, they say, is the spice of life. But not in this case.

Power cuts

The summer season is approaching and the best indication of the trouble times ahead — the long power cuts — have already started harassing city residents. Last week the cuts were limited to half an hour in the morning which was extended to one hour, and sometimes more this week. To add to the woes, similar cuts have been introduced in the evening also. While residents of the city face usual problems caused by the power cuts , the timing of the evening and morning cuts is quite disturbing for players of games like gymnastics, volleyball, basketball, badminton and other games played indoors under artificial lights. The power cut disrupts the games or training. Hallogen lights used at these places cannot operate on generators. Maybe the PSEB thinks of some way to end the disappointment of the players.

Peace process

While the Indian and Pakistani governments are making all efforts to build friendly relations with each other, the Ludhiana people have also done their bit in the past one week. Two delegations from Pakistan had especially been invited as guests for two separate occasions. An 11-member delegation from Lyallpur was at Punjab Agricultural University where an old boys’ meet was organised by the College of Agriculture. Similarly, 17 students from Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Technology (SZABIT), Islamabad, had been invited at Punjab College of Technical Education for an inter-college literary and cultural festival. Both the meets ended with a note of peace, love and fraternity.

Hogging headlines

For the last two years the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has always tried to make headlines. And when it comes to laying claim to something, the PR people of the corporation leave no stone unturned. However, the corporation found itself in the red after the vigilance department claimed to have unearthed a scam involving over Rs 7 crore. Surprisingly the alleged scam has been reported at a time when the corporation claimed itself to be the role model for others, at least in the financial management.

Water, water nowhere

About one-and-a-half-year-ago Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had laid down the foundation stone for the 100 per cent drinking water within municipal limits”. But what happened to that scheme is still not known. People here are waiting for the CM to unveil the scheme after its completion.



Congress undecided on Ludhiana nominee
Members close ranks against Galib
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
Notwithstanding the claims of the Congress MP from Ludhiana, Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, that he had received feedback about his renomination, several Congress leaders have already started lobbying against him. At the forefront is the family of the late Beant Singh.

Beant Singh’s family has its reasons to oppose Mr Galib who is accused of having worked against Ms Jaswant Kaur during the 1998 parliamentary elections when she was fielded from the Ludhiana parliamentary constituency by the Congress.

Even as Mr Gurkirat Singh, grandson of Beant Singh, has expressed his willingness to contest from Ludhiana if the party decides to field him, resentment prevails among Congress activists owing allegiance to the Beant Singh group over him not being appointed the Punjab Youth Congress chief.

His supporters feel that the decision to appoint Mr Ravinder Singh Awla as the youth wing chief was unfortunate as Mr Gurkirat enjoys a mass following among the youth of the state.

Mr Galib will need the support of the Beant family as Mr Tej Parkash, son of Beant Singh, is the MLA from the Payal Assembly segment, while another family loyalist, Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha, represents the Dakha Assembly segment. Both segments fall in the Ludhiana parliamentary constituency.

Mr Galib is learnt to be out of favour of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Mr Galib had revolted against the party when his son was denied ticket from the Jagraon Assembly segment. The party lost the seat and Mr Galib had to shoulder the blame.

Recently he sprang a surprise when he claimed in an interview to a newspaper that his name had already been cleared by the party high command and hinted at starting his campaigning. This was enough for his detractors to oppose him. His claim was also used against him as an attempt to mislead people.

Yesterday, several leaders, including sitting and former MLAs and ministers, held a meeting here to decide the course of action. They reportedly went to New Delhi to apprise the party high command that Mr Galib may not be a safe bet for Ludhiana. Some of his close associates like Mr K.K. Bawa and Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran have also joined the campaign against him.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has hinted that a new face may contest from Ludhiana. He has said, “The state would see several new faces contesting the poll. These would be competent people who have earned a place for themselves in public life.” At a recent visit to the city, the Chief Minister hinted that he was still looking for the right candidate and that a choice would be made by him in consultation with other party functionaries.

Even as party leaders have confirmed that the leadership was finding it difficult to get the perfect candidates, the Chief Minister has declared that the elections would be contested on the issue of “corruption by the Akalis” and his crusade to clean up the system.

During the past week, the Chief Minister is believed to have made several inquiries about the winning possibilities of several persons for the Ludhiana segment. The names that surfaced in the discussions included those of Mayor Nahar Singh Gill, Punjab Congress president, Mr H.S Hanspal, Mr Harmohinder Singh, Mr Darshan Brar and city hotelier Jagpal Singh Khangura.

Mr Khangura, however, said he was not interested in contesting himself, but was in favour of allotting the party ticket to Mr Galib. Sources disclosed that the Chief Minister was not keen on bringing celebrities to the state and preferred local leaders with a clean image.

Sources said there was a lot of opposition within the party ranks to the candidature of Mr Hanspal. They said five out of six local MLAs namely Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, Mr Tej Parkash, Mr Surinder Dabar and Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon were opposing the re-nomination of Mr Galib, while the sixth Mr Rakesh Pandey was neutral. However, at a recent meeting with the party high command leaders in New Delhi the party MLAs failed to come up with an alternative to Mr Galib.

Some observers feel that Mr Galib may quit the race if the ticket was offered to Mr Khangura, who they feel besides being a strong candidate has a clean image and has pursued a lot of development work in the Kila Raipur constituency.

The Ludhiana parliamentary seat has nine Assembly segments out of which six are held by the Congress and three by the Akali Dal. Four out of the six Congress legislators are members of the Congress Cabinet. These include Mr Tej Parkash, Mr Pandey, Mr Birmi and Mr Harnam Dass Johar. None of the Cabinet minister has so far actively lobbied for any party probable.

Some leaders who do not have any inclination pointed out that while the SAD had already launched its campaign, the Congress leaders were involved in damaging one another’s prospects. They felt that the high command should issue strict guidelines that the leaders or aspirants should not go public on their own and to bring such issues to its notice.



Development works go on stream
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 2
Ward No 58: A project for making pavement in streets of Hargobind Nagar was inaugurated by a former Congress MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, today. The work will cost Rs 12.5 lakh. Area councillor Jasbir Singh Chadha said work was already in progress for the expansion of sewerage and sinking of tubewells.

Prominent among those present at the function were Mr Prem Mittal, Deputy Mayor, Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia, member of Finance and Contracts Committee, Ms Malkiat Kaur, Mr Raju Thapar, Mr Kailash Kapoor, Mr Satwinder Singh Jawaddi, Ms Asha Garg and Ms Amarjit Kaur.

Ward No 49: Work on the recarpeting of streets around Congress Bhavan and roads in the Bhadaur House area has commenced. The work will be completed at a cost of Rs 7 lakh.

Congress legislator Surinder Dawar said the party would contest the elections on the basis of its performance in the state.

Ward No 51: Mr Dawar laid the foundation stone of the project for the widening and recarpeting of the road leading to CMC Hospital and the construction of streets at Issa Nagri and Sadhu Sunder Singh Colony on Sunday. The widening of the road would cost Rs 35 lakh while the street project would incur an expenditure of Rs 3 lakh. Area councillor Sanjeev Talwar said the water drainage system had been completed on the CMC-cinema road .

Ward No 67: Area councillor Hans Raj performed the inaugural ceremony for the development of green belt along the GT Road.

Work was also taken up for the pavement of streets in the Ganeshpuri locality and sinking of a tubewell. Mr Hans Raj focussed on development projects that were under different stages of execution in the area.

Ward No 68: Area councillor Ma Anuradha Nagar launched a project for the construction of streets in the Manna Singh Nagar locality. A large number of prominent residents of the area were present.



Encroachment near temple cleared
Kuldip Bhatia
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 2
A team of municipal corporation officials, accompanied by the police, cleared encroachments on the land adjoining Jai Shri Hanuman Mandir in Bhagga Lalari Chowk in the thickly populated Purana Bazar locality here last evening.
Tempers ran high as a section of the residents and functionaries of the temple management committee put up resistance.

The municipal land on which the temple management had constructed a shed, which was being used as a storeroom, is proposed to be developed as a commercial site and was sold in an auction by the civic authorities more than two years ago. After prolonged litigation, the temple management had lost the case both in a lower court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court. After removal of the structure, the possession of the site was handed over to the successful bidders.

The temple, which is also allegedly constructed on municipal land, was, however, left untouched.

According to Assistant Commissioner B.K. Gupta, who led the MC team, the site cleared today was being used for commercial purpose by the temple management. The demolition took quite a while due to the stiff resistance by a group of people led by Mr Tarlok Bhagat, president of the temple management, who claimed that an inquiry was being conducted into the matter by the Chief Secretary. Some of the shopkeepers downed their shutters.

Mr Harjinder Singh, Joint Commissioner, who also arrived at the spot, ordered the demolition and also directed that a complaint for interfering in the operation be lodged with the police against the functionaries of the temple committee.

The MC officials maintained that they had initiated the action in accordance with the order of the high court. Earlier, a sub-committee of the councillors set up by the general house had also concluded that the site belonged to the MC and that the temple management had encroached upon it.



Justice after years of fear
Kanchan Vasdev and Mahesh Sharma
Tribune News Service

Sirthalla (Ludhiana), March 2
‘‘Justice has finally been meted out to us. Although this has come to us after so many years of living amidst scare and threats, still, I feel that my fight against my husband’s untimely death in a fake encounter has reached a logical conclusion, ’’ said 50-year-old Parminder Kaur, wife of late Tarwinder Singh, who was kidnapped and murdered by a family rival in connivance with a Punjab Police officer in 1993. DSP Darshan Singh was sentenced to life imprisonment by a local court yesterday.

After fighting for 11 long years, the family is feeling happy at the sentence but at the same time members said they were hoping against hopes that they would get adequate compensation to repay the huge debt they had come under while fighting the case.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune at their residence in this remote village, the family members said that they had never thought that the DSP would be convicted by the court. A septuagenarian mother of the fake encounter victim, Ms Daljit Kaur said though the conviction would not bring her eldest son back but still it was a reason to rejoice.

Obviously elated at the court’s verdict in their favour, Parminder Kaur, reflected on how she had spent half of her life trying to save her children from the clutches of the accused as well as some staunch family rivals and then in struggling to bring to the book his alleged murderers. She said the verdict brought recollection of the saddest events of her life.

She remembered how the accused, DSP Darshan Singh, who was arrested yesterday after the court orders and others tried all possible pressures on the family to intimidate them into withdrawing the case.

‘‘My prime was spent in the exercise.’’ she added. The family’s miseries began in 1980 when their rivalry with a villager reached a feverish pitch. The family enemies allegedly connived with some cops and harassed them on one pretext or the another. Then two persons, including the son of Mehar Singh, who was also sentenced to life imprisonment, were murdered over possession of agricultural land and Tarwinder Singh and two of his brothers and father were named accused in the murder case.

When the four were booked for murder in 1988, Tarwinder Singh was bailed out in 1989. On March 30, 1993, Tarwinder Singh was allegedly picked up by some cops. They had told the family that he was being taken to the CIA staff, Khanna. When the family went to meet him at the CIA staff, Khanna, they could not find him.

They looked for him and contacted many senior police officers but to no avail. ‘‘I had a gut feeling that he was killed. A mother can always feel that her son was no more alive. ’’ said Ms Daljit Kaur, with tears in her eyes.



Valmikis seek ban on book
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 2
Activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Safai Mazdoor Congress and Dr Ambedkar Ekta Mission, led by Mr Kala Hans and Mr Sudesh Gharu, presidents of the associations, respectively, held a protest march and staged a dharna at Clock Tower Chowk here today. They were demanding a ban on the book “Janbaz Rakha” and registration of cases against the writer, translator and publisher of the book.

The protesters also disrupted traffic. Mr Hans and Mr Gharu said the district authorities had failed to take action against A.R. Darshi, author, Prof Kulvir Singh, translator, and Bhai Chatar Singh Jiwan Singh, publishers of the book, which reportedly contained derogatory references to the Valmiki community. Several organisations of the Valmikis had brought the matter to the notice of the authorities and a memorandum had been submitted to the Deputy Commissioner on February 25.

The DA(Legal) had recommended an inquiry rather than arrest and prosecution of the offenders, they said, adding that the situation could go out of control.

Leaders of the youth wings of the associations, Mr Paramjit Thapar and Mr Kishore Ghai, urged the government to intervene into the matter. 



Trader missing with car, cash
Our correspondent

Khanna, March 2
An iron and steel trader of Mandi Gobindgarh, Mr Anil Kumar, has been missing with his car and cash since last evening. He had gone to Ludhiana to collect cash from the parties whom he had supplied steel to.

According to Mr Sanjay, friend of Mr Kumar, he had gone to Ludhiana in his Zen car to collect money from his dealers. He would usually return to Khanna about 8 pm. When he did not return till late, his family members started enquiring about him. They came to know that the victim had received some cash from a party at about 6.30 pm and had not met anyone after that.

The brother of the victim, Mr Narved, has filed a complaint with the City police station, Khanna. He said his family was trying to locate him but had not succeeded so far.



Dharna by staff continues
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 2
The dharna by 50 “sacked” employees of the Hero DMC Heart Centre entered its sixth day today. Mr Chander Mohan Kalia, president of the DMC Employees Union, said they did not want to harass patients and attendants. He said for this reason, they were organising a peaceful dharna. “If the management thinks that it is the union’s weakness, it is mistaken. We will not tolerate its anti-employee policies.


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