L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Four cops fall into canal, injured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Four cops of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) were injured while 8 had a miraculous escape when a canter in which they were travelling was hit by a truck and fell into the Sidhwan Canal near the BRS Nagar bridge this morning.

The cops were standing in the load compartment of the canter and fell into the canal. Eight other cops travelling with them managed to hang on to the vehicle. A Sub-Inspector and an Assistant Sub-Inspector who were seated in the front escaped unhurt along with the driver.

The injured cops are Bhupinder Singh, Jaspal Singh, Baljit Singh and Harpal Singh.

The incident occurred at 7.30 am when the canter was on its way from the IRB office at Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar (Block-I) to some undisclosed destination. It was negotiating the road crossing at the bridge when a truck coming from the opposite side hit it.

The other cops came to the rescue of those who had fallen into the canal. The driver of the canter was not a police employee and the vehicle was hired by the IRB.

It was learnt that the truck drivers had agreed on a compromise but the issue of paying compensation to the cops had not been finalised. No case had been registered till late evening.



Fire-fighting equipment installed at Mini-Secretariat
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
In order to ensure fire safety, the district administration has installed a comprehensive fire-fighting system at the Mini-Secretariat here. The building houses numerous government offices and had been without fire-fighting system for the last many years.

The fire-fighting equipment was installed at various places following a survey conducted by the fire department of the Municipal Corporation about the number and points of fire extinguishers required for the safety. The Fire Officer got the survey conducted through the Assistant Fire Officer and presented the detailed plan for the fire fighting system.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, said this was done considering the storage of huge records of the different offices located in Mini-Secretariat and movement of a large number of people who come daily for their routine works in public offices.

He said as per the survey report of the Fire Officer of the Municipal Corporation, the fire-fighting system has been fitted in the different offices situated in the Mini-Secretariat including all branches of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Additional Deputy Commissioner, basement, committee room, office of the Assistant Commissioner (General), SDM (East), ADC (D), DTO Office, record room and computer room of the DTO, DDLG office, canteen, Registrar’s office, SDM (West) and the saving office.

He said in all 89 fire extinguishers of different capacities have been fitted. Referring to the training regarding the operation of these fire extinguishers to the staff in case of any exigency, Mr Verma said he has written to the Fire Officer of the MC to arrange for a proper training to the working staff in the Mini-Secretariat and the staff on the night duty.



Scheduled power cuts for industry introduced
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Faced with an acute power shortage and an increased demand from the agriculture sector, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has introduced regular power cuts in the industrial sector. This may severely hit industrial production in the city as for almost half of the time, the industry will need to remain shut. The power cuts in the industrial sector have reportedly been introduced to divert the electricity to the agriculture sector for facilitating smooth paddy transplantation.

The decision has come as a surprise to the industry. Representatives of the industry say at a time when demand is at its peak, the industry cannot work to its full capacity, thanks to the power cuts introduced by the PSEB. The power regulation circular 2/2004 came into effect yesterday and would continue till further orders.

It has been learnt that since the demand in the agriculture sector has grown as paddy transplantation is at its peak, the PSEB decided to take some remedial measures. The power cuts are likely to continue for about a month and will not be withdrawn at least till the transplantation is completed. The government is learnt to have issue strict guidelines to the PSEB to ensure that the agriculture sector gets regular and adequate power supply during the peak season even if it means introducing cuts in the industrial sector. The PSEB may go in for power cuts in residential areas to maintain supply to the agriculture sector.

The industry representatives maintain that when the industry was expecting an increase in the supply of power, the PSEB has cut it short. They say, it will hit the industrial production, particularly in the steel industry, and may lead to escalation of prices.

According to this circular, the steel industry, which consumes most of the power, has been divided into two groups. One group will start closing its units from the peak load hour restrictions of June 9 till the closing of the peak load hours restrictions the next day — for 27 hours — and will work for the next 21 hours. The other group will close 21 hours and work for the next 27 hours.



Sword of Damocles hangs over
heads of four ministers
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Uncertainty has started haunting the four ministers from Ludhiana as the deadline for pruning of the ministry draws closer. All state governments will have to follow the 97th Amendment Act, 2003, which comes into effect from July 7, 2004. According to the Amendment, the strength of the ministry must not be more than 15 per cent of the total strength of the Lower House.

With a strength of 118 in the Punjab Assembly, the state can have 17 ministers, against the current strength of 25. There are five Parliamentary Secretaries and an equal number of Officers on Special Duty, enjoying the status of Minister of State. With at least eight ministers all set to be shown the door, one or two ministers from Ludhiana are likely to be dropped.

There are two Cabinet ministers from Ludhiana — Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Higher Education, and Mr Tej Parkash, Minister for Transport. Two Ministers of State, Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of State for Printing and Stationery, and Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, Minister of State for Jails and Urban Development, are from Ludhiana.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had declared prior to the Lok Sabha elections that the performance of the ministers in the elections would determine their continuation in the government. With results going haywire, the Chief Minister will have to make a tough choice in Ludhiana.

During the December-January rebellion, all four ministers had sided with Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, although Mr Birmi had shifted loyalty in the end. But in the parliamentary elections, Mr Birmi had trailed in his Assembly segment, Ludhiana Rural, by a slim margin of about 100 votes, although he had put in a lot of efforts. Mr Tej Parkash had trailed by about 6,000 votes in his assembly segment, Payal.

Significantly, Mr Johar had maintained a lead of about 3,000 votes from Ludhiana West, while Mr Pandey had scored a substantial lead of about 12,000 votes from Ludhiana North. While Mr Johar had spearheaded the rebellion against the Chief Minister, Mr Pandey was a known Bhattal loyalist. Mr Tej Parkash was also actively involved in the rebellion.

With circumstances having drastically changed and the Chief Minister in a relatively weak position after the Lok Sabha election debacle, the pruning of the ministry may not be an easy task. Sources close to two local ministers who are likely to face the axe asserted that they would not let themselves to be made scapegoats. They said the party high command would take a final decision on the issue.



Lawyers submit memorandum to HC judge
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
City lawyers today apprised Mr Justice Amar Dutt, of the Punjab and Haryana High Court of their problems at the judicial complex. He was here for the inspection of subordinate courts. The District and Sessions Judge, Mr Baldev Singh, accompanied the Justice Dutt.

Mr B.K. Goel, president of the District Bar Association, stressed on the need for shifting the Consumer Forum at the judicial complex and clearing the backlog of cheque-bounce cases. He said it must be ensured that the complaints filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act be disposed of as per the latest amendment of the Act.

In a memorandum submitted by Mr Goel on behalf of the Bar, the demand was raised for the creation of four permanent courts of Additional District Judges and Civil Judges (Senior Division), with permanent numbers. In case of the transfer of a judge, replacement should be promptly given.

The memorandum said there was a general practice that Judicial Officers ordered to deposit 3 per cent fee in cases filed for getting succession certificates even as it took years till the case reached its logical end. It suggested that the parties concerned should be directed to produce stamp papers for the issuance of the certificates at the end of the case.



BKU rejects SC verdict on SYL
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
In a dramatic development, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) today termed the Supreme Court decision on the construction of Satluj Yamuna Link Canal as a political verdict and rejected the same, saying the decision was immoral, unlawful and unconstitutional.

Presiding over an emergency meeting of the state committee of the union here today, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said the directive by the apex court to complete the construction of the SYL Canal within a period of four months was beyond comprehension since the Bench, which delivered the judgement, had admitted that the issue of distribution of river waters between different states was not in their purview.

The BKU chief said holding protest demonstrations and dharnas against the construction of SYL Canal would be meaningless. The verdict was against the interests of the state of Punjab and its people, who had the riparian rights on the waters of the Beas and the Ravi as Haryana had on the Yamuna river water. The political parties might go their own way on the crucial matter but the farming community and their representative — the BKU —would not tolerate this injustice, he maintained.

The BKU secretary general, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian and general secretary (Press), Mr Bhupinder Singh Mahesari made a fervent plea to the Union Government to make necessary amendment in the laws so as to undo the Supreme Court directives which were detrimental to the interests of Punjab. The just claim of Punjab on its river waters ought to be restored and any attempt to deprive the state of river waters would meet stiff opposition. In a note of caution, the BKU functionaries said that the union would resort to ‘direct action’ in case construction of SYL Canal was taken up through any central agency.

Mr Lakhowal disclosed that the district, block and village level units had been directed to enrol volunteers for participation in the mass agitation and direct action in the eventuality of the construction of SYL Canal being taken up.

Among others, who addressed the meeting, were Mr Baldev Singh Barkandi, Mr Puran Singh Shahkot, Mr Baldev Singh Gumtala, Mr Shamsher Singh, Mr Gurbaksh Singh Rajla, Mr Sukhminder Singh Kadian, Mr Sharanjit Singh Mehlon, Mr Surjit Singh, Mr Nirmal Singh Manuke, Mr Gurmit Singh Gehlewal, Mr Amrik Singh Mawi and Mr Avtar Singh.



Life is a curse for women like Vashi
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, June 10
Vashi is like scores of women who have found a way to make both ends meet, albeit in an arduous way. They pick up iron flings and other loose iron screws or small nuts on the road with the help of magnets. These iron pieces are not visible to the naked eye as these are hidden under dirt. The magnet is tied with a flexible wire to their waist.

Women like Vashi pick these up and keep put these in their bags, to sell these to scrap dealers. The money given in return after trudging miles is not enough compensation for the hard physical labour they put in but beggars cannot be choosers.

Away from their native homes in Uttar Pradesh, these women feel lonely and miserable after being abandoned. Vashi says, “I had a small shanty, security and a husband. though a violent one. One day, before I knew anything, he entered the hutment with a decked-up young woman and kicked me out. He did not even give me a chance to collect my two sarees. Neighbours intervened and I got my sarees.

Vashi goes on, “Since it was night, neighbours gave me shelter. The next morning, my neighbour Bani suggested to me to buy a magnet and start looking out for iron pieces. I started with her, but soon realised there was not enough for both of us. So we parted. We move in different directions looking for iron pieces. Life has become so hard that now iron has entered our hearts too. Hunger, cold, news of death, nothing moves us.

Vashi adds, “After hard work, scrap dealers try to cheat us. Then we have to cook. Hands and legs are like lead, unwilling to heed the signals of the brain. My strength is on the ebb and I will die soon. But who cares?” Many women like Vashi lead such lives and the world does not care.



Stop challaning Sikh women, says Panchayat
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
The Khalsa Panchayat today warned the state government and the local police department against challaning Sikh women for not wearing helmets and threatened to gherao those who “dared” continue the drive.

In a press note here this evening, Mr Charanjit Singh Channi of the Khalsa Panchayat said they had taken the issue with the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had in a reply said this was a state matter. He said as per the Punjab Motor Vehicles Act, Sikh women and those having medical problems were exempted from wearing helmet.

Mr Channi said despite this the Ludhiana police was challaning the women. He said the cops refused to see the copy of the Motor Vehicles Act. The Khalsa Panchayat would submit a memorandum to the Governor, Punjab, he said.



Railwaymen stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Workers of the Uttarya Railway Mazdoor Union have launched an agitation against the alleged high handedness of the Divisional Railway Manager and the Additional Divisional Railway Manager of the Ferozepore Division. According to Mr Nirmal Sharma, divisional president of the union, railwaymen have been staging dharna from 9.30 a.m. to 11 a.m and from 5 p.m to 6 p.m at platform No. 1. They said in case their demands were not met their strike will continue and may further be intensified.



Bairagi Maha Mandal patron dead
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
Tributes were paid to Mr Ved Parkash Bawa, patron of the Bairagi Maha Mandal, Punjab, at a prayer meeting organised here today.
Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, founder- president of the body, along with Dr Rajinderpal Singh Bairagi, general secretary, Mr Rajinder Kumar Bawa Jayantipur, Bawa Ravinder Nandi, Mr Ram Sharan Mansoorvi, Mr Rajiv Bawa and Mr Bhagwan Das Bawa placed on record the contribution made by the deceased to the service of humanity. Mr Bawa, a retired Chief Accounts Officer in the Railways, had died in Jalandhar last evening. He was associated with several social bodies and had also worked in a service organisation set up by former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral. 



‘Tantrik’ booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
The Jodhewal police, on the statement of Ms Renu of New Heera Nagar, yesterday registered a case under Sections 420, 354, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC against Deepak Kumar, of Haqiqat Nagar, and Jeewan Lata and her son.
The complainant alleged that Deepak Kumar, was a tantrik and had defrauded her. No arrest has been made.

Fraud cases: The Sarabha Nagar police yesterday registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr Gurnam Singh against Mohinder Singh, Khushinderjit Singh Lambardar, R.K. Singh and a lawyer P.P. Singh.

The complainant had alleged that the accused had forged documents pertaining to a plot in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and tried to take its possession. No arrest has been made so far.

The division number 6 police yesterday registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Mohinder Singh of Kura village near Samrala against Kamaljit Kaur of Hargobind Nagar and a travel agent, Lally, who lives in Delhi.

The complainant had stated that he had paid Rs 2 lakh to the accused for arranging a duplicate visa for Italy in his name but the accused neither arranged for the visa nor returned his money. No arrest has been made so far.

On the statement of Ms Rupinderjit Kaur, who lives in London, the division number 7 police has registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 419, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC against Ratanjeet Kaur and Hardev Singh, residents of a village near Ludhiana. The complainant had stated that the accused had committed a fraud on her by forging her signatures on an agreement.

Illegal possession alleged: The Civil Lines police yesterday registered a case under Sections 447, 448, 457, 511, 506, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ram Sunder, of Sarabha Nagar against Jarnail Singh, Ranjit Singh and three others

The complainant had alleged that the accused had broken the lock of his plot and had taken its possession. When he demanded an explanation from them, they threatened him. No arrest has been made so far.

Babies abandoned: The Model Town police yesterday registered a case under Section 318, IPC, on the statement of Mr Manpreet Singh, a resident of Vishwakarma Colony, against a couple who had abandoned a newborn in a plot near Roma Chowk market in Model Town on Wednesday.

Another case under Section 317, IPC, was registered on the statement of Mr Davinder Singh, a resident of Punjabi Bagh, against an unknown person who had deserted a baby in front of Guru Gian Vihar at Jawaddi.

Shopkeeper assaulted: On the statement of Mr Ajit Singh, a resident of Sarabha Nagar, the police has registered a case under Sections 451, 323, 427, 506, 148 and 149, IPC, against Pawan Kumar of Rishi Nagar, Rajesh Keshav and three others.

The complainant had alleged that the accused had come to his shop in Sarabha Nagar for the compliance of a court summons but the accused forced their way into his shop and beat him up.

Theft alleged: On the statement of Mr Surinder Kumar of Narinder Nagar, the police registered a case under Sections 448, 511, 380, 427, 506 and 34 of the IPC against Pappu.

The complainant had alleged that he was living in the house of the accused on rent. When he was away to his native village on the morning of June 8, the accused had broken the lock of his room and stolen some goods. The accused later threatened him. No arrest has been made.

Scooter recovered: The Shimla Puri police yesterday arrested Gurwinder Singh and Amit Kumar and recovered a stolen scooter from their possession. They have been booked under Sections 379 and 411, IPC.



Bank contests mill owner’s claim
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
The regional office of Indian Overseas Bank has contested the claim of Sanjeev Woollen Mills in which the mill owners had claimed that a Reserve Bank of India ombudsman had penalised the bank. A spokesperson of the bank said here today that the mill owners had misrepresented facts and twisted the recommendation of the ombudsman to project the bank in bad light.

Reacting to news reports published after a press conference held by the mill owner, the bank’s representative said the ombudsman had made a recommendation asking the bank to refund the commission with interest charged on various guarantees issued on behalf of the said firm in favour of the Customs Department. The award passed by the ombudsman has not become final and the bank was challenging the same before the Reserve Bank of India, the bank spokesperson said.

The bank has said that the mill owners have tried to circumvent the law in several cases, besides falsely and maliciously implicating the bank in various litigations. The bank has produced an order from a local court filed by Sanjeev Woollen Mills that reads: “In civil suit No 552 decided on April 28, 2000, the plaintiff has in fact put the court to sheer abuse by resorting to falsehood, concealment of facts… Falsehood is the sole basis of the suit”. The bank says that it will contest the claims of the mill owner made during the press conference in the appropriate court of law.


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