L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Tension in village over land dispute
Tribune News Service

Khaasi Kalan, June 6
Tension prevailed in this village since this morning following a confrontation between two groups of villagers over the possession of 16.5 acres of land, valued at over Rs 2 crore. The Tajpur police post officials reached there in time and prevented a clash between the angry villagers.

While the main dispute centered on this piece of land, situated near the Dhakki Sahib Gurdwara, the open allegations and counter-allegations revealed that another 35 acres of land in the village was also encroached upon by one person or the another causing a huge loss to the panchayat and, eventually, to all villagers. The district administration has not taken any action on this front so far.

The dispute began early in the morning when a group of villagers, led by member panchayat Manjit Singh, Sukhjit Singh and Sukhdev Singh objected to the sowing of paddy on the disputed land by the rival groups comprising some local villagers and their Non-Resident Indian (NRI) partners.

Soon, more members of both the groups arrived on the scene and heated exchanges took place. Someone informed the police about the prevailing tension. A police team managed to separate the agitated villagers. While one group claimed that the disputed land was panchayat land, the other said it was vacant land classified as ‘gau charanda’ (land for grazing of cows) and they were possessing it for the past 40 years.

A dispute had taken place early this year also. It had engulfed the entire village and the police had to seize the weapons from all the villagers to prevent violence.

Manjit Singh and others later claimed before the police and media persons that the land belonged to the panchayat as it was a shamlat land. He claimed that the other group had forcibly grabbed the land and was sowing paddy in the morning when they confronted them.

Manjit Singh said the rival group, led by Joginder Singh, had grabbed the land whereas the villagers wanted to use it collectively for increasing the income of the panchayat and improving the civic amenities in the village. He also alleged that the rival group had even encroached upon a school ground in the village due to which the youngsters were quite harassed.

Joginder Singh, however, claimed that the land was not of the panchayat and was lying vacant till 1960 when his forefathers cleared the bushes and wild plants to make it fit for agricultural purposes. He said they were tilling the land since then and were its rightful owners.

He also claimed that he had paid Rs 5 lakh to the village panchayat, which had promised to make him the owner of the land. The police was investigating the matter and has called both the parties tomorrow.



Fake dollar racket busted
Jupinderjit Singh and Mahesh Sharma

Dehlon, June 6
The Jagraon police has busted a four-member gang involved in making fake dollars at a crude unit in Nangal village under the Jagraon police district for the last over an year. The racket is suspected to have started printing the fake currency after circulating counterfeit Indian currency ceased to be lucrative. The police has recovered $ 1 lakh, valued at over Rs 45 lakh, from the house of one of the member of the gang at the village this evening.

The owner of the house, Ranjit Singh, a Class IV passout, was arrested. Three other members of the gang — Kamal Himachali, Mistri and Bhagat Singh — were absconding.

There is an easy market for dollars in the state. People have a craze for this currency and are easily taken for a ride. The gang members used to pose as NRIs to the villagers and exchange dollars with Indian currency.

Ranjit Singh admitted that he was done in by his greed. He said, “I do not know the other accused. I had just leased out a portion of my house to them and learnt later that they were printing fake currency.’’

He said he had confronted them, but chose to keep quiet when they offered him Rs 2 lakh as his share. The fake dollars seized were without serial numbers. Hydrogen peroxide and some dyes were also seized.

The police was yet to ascertain the kind of machines used by the gang. Ranjit Singh claimed that the members of the gang had taken away the machines.

The police was verifying his claim that the other accused had stayed in his house in November last year. Ranjit Singh claimed that the accused left with the machines and left the dollars with him, saying they would come back and take the dollars after paying him Rs 2 lakh.



Cut customs duty on prime steel, says electroplaters association
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
A deputation of the Ludhiana Electroplaters Association met Mr J.P. Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Steel, and handed over to him a list of some points to be discussed at the National Steel Consumer Council to be held at Hotel Ashoka, New Delhi, on June 12 under the chairmanship of Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Steel Minister.

Mr Joginder Kumar, president of the association who is also member of the council, has demanded that the customs duty on prime steel and secondary/defective material should be reduced to 5 per cent from 15 and 40 per cent, respectively, and also non -tariff barriers on secondary and defective materials should be removed to provide a level-playing field. He also demanded that import of scrap at zero per cent should be allowed.

“We oppose the demand of the Indian Steel Alliance that the DEPB and 10 per cent margin should be allowed to the main producers. The main producers have enjoyed the benefits at the cost of the user industry in connivance with the NDA government. The scale of economy of the user industry has been shattered beyond proportions.

“We apprehend that the main producers under the garb of the Indian Steel Alliance are misleading the government and we warn the government not to fall in their trap at the cost of the user industry. Why the ministry has sought comments on import duties on iron and steel from the Indian Steel Alliance and not from the user industry is a question to be debated,” he added.

The export of iron and steel material and iron ore should be banned. He also demanded a roll back of the prices jacked up by the main producers by Rs 5,000 to Rs 5,500 per tonne from May 12, before the declaration of the poll results. He also decried the non-availability of iron and steel material in Punjab, as “step-motherly” treatment was being meted out to the units located in Punjab.

Since Ludhiana is a cluster of bicycle, auto-part forgings, hardware industry, wherein cold-rolled material is required essentially which should be made available reasonable rates. Usha Martins and Mukand Iron and Steel Co are the only manufacturers of cold-forging material and are exploiting the situation by supplying it at Rs 44,000 per tonne. Its availability at reasonable rates will enable the tiny/SSI sector to be competitive internationally.

Mr Joginder Kumar had also appealed to Mr Paswan to revive the freight equalisation scheme or else the main producers should absorb the major portion of the freight in the case of units located in the far-flung areas.



Rotting paddy makes life tough for villagers
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 6
Paddy worth crores of rupees is rotting in open godowns at the Malaudh-Uksi road near here. Besides causing a loss to the public exchequer, the rotting paddy is creating problems for residents of Malaudh town and surrounding villages, who are virtually living amidst stink and pests which destroy foodgrain and crops.

Paddy worth Rs 5 crore procured by Panjab Agro and PUNSUP four years ago is lying on open plinths at the Malaudh-Uksi road. The weevil and fungus infestested paddy has not only been rendered unfit for human consumption but has become nuisance for the residents of the area and passersby due to stink emanating from decomposing grain cereal.

A visit to open godowns revealed that thousands of paddy sacks were lying in the open, without being covered by tarpaulin sheets. The bags were totally damaged and paddy had been eaten up by weevils and fungus.

Inquiries revealed that that the paddy was stored by procurement agencies on these plinths in 2000. Though rice shellers had started milling of the yield, the rice was rejected by officials of the central food agency on technical grounds. A part of paddy was shifted to other shellers also. As the staff assigned to look after the paddy did not bother to cover it or spray insecticide to kill pests, it started rotting. Environmental factors, including rain and humidity, catalysed rotting.

Interestingly, paddy stacked at one of the rice sheller’s, was shared by the two state agencies. When Punjab Agro called tenders for the lifting of rotting paddy and the owners of the shellers where the said paddy was stacked reportedly offered ‘Rs 1 higher than the highest offer.’ The lifting of paddy was stopped later when PUNSUP, that was to share the produce, objected. The lifting was also stayed by a court, where sheller owners had filed a case against the central food agency, for allegedly not providing sufficient space for storage.

Mr Sohan Lal, a resident of the area, said some paddy sacks had been stacked in his yard also. “Though I was promised Rs 7,000 per annum as rent, no penny has since been paid to me. Instead weevils which are swooping the place, have made our life a virtual hell.”

Residents of nearby villages Maloudh, Uksi and Dudhal alleged that the reported friction among officials of the procurement agencies and sheller owners had made their lives miserable. “Weevils can be found in cooked food, we cannot rest as they crawl on our bodies with the monsoon approaching, we are apprehending a major epidemic in the area,” said a villager of Uksi.

Though the paddy was decomposed to such an extent that it was not fit for consumption of cattle, the authorities might auction it for cattle feed. The villagers feared that once the paddy was auctioned, it would be mixed with the good quality cereal and passed on to innocent consumers. They demanded that such paddy should be destroyed.



Badal ignored Punjab’s interests, claims Johar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is responsible for ignoring the interests of Punjab on the SYL canal issue and his friendship with the family of the late Devi Lal is the reason for his sacrificing of the state’s interests during his tenure. This was claimed by Mr Harnam Das Johar, Higher Education Minister, while speaking at a function here today.

Mr Johar alleged that Mr Badal had received funds amounting to Rs 100 crore from the Haryana Government to start the digging of the canal inside Punjab. He alleged that Mr Badal had been misusing the SYL canal issue to exploit the religious sentiments of the people for his vested political interests and the Kapoori Morcha launched by the SAD was responsible for terrorism.

Referring to the attitude of Mr Badal towards the SYL canal issue during his tenure as Chief Minister, Mr Johar said he had not taken a single step to get the issue resolved from the NDA government in the favour of the state. He said the people of Punjab were aware that Mr Badal had made huge investments in Haryana and had been busy pleasing the Chautala family by putting up the statue of the late Devi Lal and extending facilities to the Chautala family.

The Higher Education Minister said the decision of the Supreme Court came during the tenure of the SAD-BJP government, but Mr Badal had not properly represented the case of the state, because of his proximity with the Chautala family. He claimed that Capt Amarinder Singh had made efforts to get the issue settled in favour of the state.

He said the Chief Minister had called a meeting of his Cabinet for June 7 to discuss the issue and he would take up the issue with the Prime Minister within two or three days. He said Mr Badal was misguiding people on the issue Mr Johar said that the state government would not allow Mr Badal and his party to exploit the emotions of the people on this issue and create a law and order problem.

He said the Chief Minister had made it clear that Punjab had no surplus water at this stage and without surplus water the SYL canal would be of no use. He said with the fall in the underground water level Punjab was facing a serious shortage of water to irrigate crops of farmers.



Dairy man injured in attack
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, June 6
Three villagers attacked and injured a dairy man of Lato Joga village last evening.
Bikar Singh of Lato Joga village was allegedly attacked by Kaka Singh and Pawan Kumar of Gobindgarh village and another Pawan Kumar of Doraha. They were allegedly instigated by one of their relatives Sumandeep Kaur, wife of Baldev Singh, who doubted that her husband was having illicit relation with Baljinder Kaur, Bikar Singh’s wife. They after forcibly entering the house of Bikar Singh last evening, first attacked Baljinder Kaur and then injured Bikar Singh with a sharp knife.

Bikar Singh was employed with Baldev Singh at his dairy. They used to visit each others residence regularly. Sumandeep used to fight with her husband as she doubted that he was having illicit relationship with Baljinder Kaur. She even had a quarrel with Baljinder Kaur. According to the FIR registered at Sahnewal police station under Sections 452, 323, 324 and 34 of the IPC, it was on the instigation of Sumandeep that one of her relatives and a friend attacked Bikar Singh at his house.

The injured was admitted to Civil Hospital at Sahnewal. No arrests have, however, been made in the case so far.



Johar calls for steps to check gastroenteritis
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
In view of the spread of gastroenteritis and other water-borne diseases in different parts of the state, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Higher Education Minister, Punjab, has asked the district administration to take necessary preventive steps and ensure proper cleanliness and the supply of chlorinated clean drinking water in the city.

Mr Johar was addressing a joint meeting of the Administrative officers and party workers in Model Town here today. He asked the Civil Surgeon to ban the sale of over ripe fruits and rotten vegetables in the city. He also told him to ensure the presence of doctors and other medical staff in hospitals and dispensaries so that patients could be attended to immediately.

He said the people should also be educated through different media regarding the precautionary measures to be taken in preventing outbreak of such diseases. Mr Johar said that efforts should be made to educate slum-dwellers and the supply of clean drinking water, to residents should be accorded the top priority.

Among others, who were present on the occasion, included Ms Sushil Gupta, Deputy Mayor, Mr S.N. Tiwari, Civil Surgeon , Mr A.C. Sethi, DEO (Secondary), Mr Bittu Bhullar, Mr Brij Mohan Sharma, Mr Inderjit Tonny , Mr Jagdish Marwaha and Mr Hans Raj Gagat.



Protest march marks anniversary of Operation Bluestar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Suraksha Samiti organised a protest march against the killing of Hindus during trouble-torn time in Punjab on the occasion of the anniversary of Operation Bluestar here today.

Claiming that at least 35,000 Hindus were killed during militancy in the state, Mr Rajiv Tandon, district president of the samiti, said the persons responsible for the killings should be named in a white paper, which should be released by the government.

Samiti members raised slogans against the killings and carried placards during the protest march. The rally culminated at Clock Tower Chowk.

Mr Dharmendra Khera, a leader of the samiti, while addressing the participants, said the state had to suffer for 12 years during terrorism. He added that 35,000 Hindus had lost their lives and lakhs had to leave their homes.

He demanded that steps be taken to call those persons back in the state. He demanded that the state government constitute a committee to look after orphans whose parents were murdered by terrorists.

Mr Khera said the former BJP-led government at the Centre had promised to release a white paper on the killings of innocent people during terrorism, but had failed to fulfil its promise. He urged the present government to make public the names of persons responsible for the bloodshed.

Mr Raj Kumar Agnihotri, another samiti leader ,claimed that they would submit a memorandum to the Chief Minister in this regard. 



At The Crossroads
Eternal love in Sufi poetry

Sufi Foundation India, with headquarters at Chandigarh, is all set to revive people’s interest in sufi poetry and musicology. The sufis based their philosophy of love on man-woman relationship. They argued that profane love (Ishq-e-majazi) leads to divine love (Ishq-e-haqiqi). They considered God husband and the human being wife. The period of separation (birha) could be best utilised by repeating the name of the loved one. In this way the soul separated from the divine reality can achieve reunion with god.

Like the Iranian Sufis who sang the praises of Laila Majnun, the Sufis in the Punjab were deeply immersed in the lore of Heer-Ranjha. It was in the mystic poetry of Shah Hussain (1539-1593) that the echoes of the legendary love of Heer and Ranjha were heard unmistakably. When he found himself in the pangs of separation, he cried out inconsolably-“To whom should I relate

the pangs of my separation

I am seeking Ranjhan (in wilderness)

but Ranjhan is within me.”

Looking into one’s soul to find out the true source of love was the time-honoured sufi concept. Apart from the repetition of the cherished name concentration and meditation were the other essential attributes of true love. Dr Lajwanti found in Shah Hussain’s Kafis a happy intermingling of Iranian thought and the Indian way of life. In this way the philosophical concept was imbued with the local social bearing in a spontaneous manner. In another state of the mind, Shah Hussain says -

While repeating Mahi Mahi

I myself have become Ranjhan

All of you should call me Ranjhan

No one should call me Heer.

Later, Bulle Shah (1680-1758) gave new dimensions to this theme of the love of Heer and Ranjha. He was indeed a singular mystic poet who firmly established sufi tradition in Punjab.

The longings of a woman, long separated from her spouse, sometimes take deep philosophical overtones -

“Hajj pilgrims go to Mecca

My Ranjha is my Mecca

Indeed I am insane

I am engaged to Ranjha

My father coerces me in vain

Indeed I am insane

Hajj pilgrims go to Mecca

I am bound for Takht-Hazara

Indeed I am insane.”

Bulhe Shah has emerged, in the recent times, as the only sane voice in this crazy world. In fact his voice is the voice of human conscience. He rejected in his age the division of the society on communal lines. He sang and danced in the streets of Lahore in gay abandon so as to give vent to his pent-up feelings. He found himself at a loss to know who he was —

‘Neither am I of Arabia or Lahore

Nor am I Hindi of Nagaur

or a Turk of Pashaur

Nor am I resident of Nadaun

Bulha! kee janaan main kaun?

In the kafis of Bulle Shah, there are many references to the Punjabi folklore, especially folk tales. He is also aware of the role of legendary romances in the lives of the common people. In view of this, he takes up again and again, in his poetic creations, the concept of the eternal love of Heer and Ranjha -

‘By repeating Ranjha Ranjha

I myself have become Ranjha

You call me Dheedo Ranjha

Heer I am no more.’

N.S . Tasneem



Vedic yoga camp concludes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 6
A week-long Vedic Karamayoga Camp-2004 for girls which was marked with gaiety and fervour, concluded here yesterday. The camp provided a platform to girl students to undergo spiritual training. Mr Satyanandji, Munjal, Co-chairman and MD, Hero Cycles Ltd, was the chief guest for ‘valedictory session’.

The programme started with poem recitation- “Shaitan Aur Insaan” by Surleen of VIII-D. It was followed by yoga asanas and neiti yoga. Then a speech on ‘Sathyarth Prakash’ was delivered. A number of campers also expressed their views regarding the camp which helped them tap their potentialities in a fruitful manner and develop their confidence and mutual understanding. They expressed their gratitude to the school authorities for providing them an opportunity to attend the camp.

A Rajasthani dance item was presented by girls. The parents of the campers were also invited to express their views.



Bank branch inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 6
Punjab National Bank (PNB) has the largest number of inter-connected branches in Asia, said Mr U.S. Bhargava, general manager, Punjab zone, while inaugurating a mid-corporate branch of the bank yesterday.

He said the concept of mid-corporate branch was initiated on the advice of the Boston and Consultancy Group about two years back.

At the branch, borrowers’ accounts having a limit of Rs 3.5 crore and above would be processed and the branch would be manned by an official of the rank of assistant general manager, he said. Loan applications exceeding the powers of the branch would be sent to the zonal office and the head office, he added.


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