L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Atwal for debate on tainted ministers
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

The Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, being welcomed by
The Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, being welcomed by
residents of Ludhiana at the Circuit House. Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, local MP, is also seen in the picture. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, June 11
Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal said there was a need to debate the issue of tainted ministers in Parliament in a broader context. Rising above the partisan considerations, he said it was urgent to debate the issue of criminalisation of politics in the country as it could threaten the very existence of the democracy.

Mr Atwal who arrived here late last night was accorded a rousing reception by the workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal led by the local MP, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon. Talking to this reporter after the reception, he said he did feel concerned over the repeated adjournment of the House on the issue of tainted ministers. He suggested that the government should take the initiative and invite the Opposition to discuss the issue and ensure the smooth functioning of the government.

Without identifying himself for or against the debate, he said the basic issue remains the criminalisation of politics. If people with criminal records join and make to Parliament, it will not be possible for the clean people to join politics. He observed that every right thinking person in and outside Parliament need to give a serious thought to the issue.

Mr Atwal agreed that it was the duty of the Opposition to cooperate with the government. But at the same time, the government also needed to take into consideration the genuine aspirations of the Opposition, particularly when the issues raised are of national concern.

Mr Atwal thanked the National Democratic Alliance partners and the leaders like Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr Lal Kishen Advani, Mr George Fernandes and others who reposed faith in him and elevated him to the coveted post of the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha. He also thanked the ruling party for helping him to get elected through consensus.

The Deputy Speaker said he would try to ensure that Parliament functions strictly according to the law. He pointed out that after becoming the Deputy Speaker, he belonged to the entire House, both to the ruling as well as to the Opposition parties. At the same time he cannot ignore the interest of Punjab and his constituency. “After all I cannot overlook the interests of the people who elected me and whom I am representing”, Mr Atwal remarked.

On the SYL issue, he said he would try to see the interest of the state and would follow the line to be adopted by the party. He regretted that the current government was not taking the Opposition along on resolving such a crucial issue which concerns each and every Punjabi.



5-member gang held on robbery charge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
Following a spate in the number of robbery and snatching incidents in the city, the district police today announced public confidence-building measures to mitigate the fear of criminals from the minds of city residents, especially industrialists.

Announcing this at a press conference about the busting of a five-member gang of alleged robbers, SP(D) Gurpreet Singh said the police had taken a number of measures for preventing robbery and snatching incidents in the city.

He said the city residents should not have any fear about their life and property as 10 special teams from the CIA and area police stations maintained vigil in different areas in mufti. He said the police had posted special teams near banks and cash counters of offices of government and private organisations which had been identified as sensitive spots.

Mr Gurpreet Singh said the police had identified certain pockets in the city having a predominance of migrant labourers or workers not belonging to the city. He appealed to city residents to cooperate with the police at specially laid check points. He said several person had caused unwarranted trouble when they tried to avoid nakas. The police had to chase these persons on the suspicion that they could be some gang members whereas as they turned out to be offenders of traffic rules.

The confidence building measures were aimed at ending the fear of the people. A number of organisations, especially of traders and industrialists, had expressed apprehension at the increasing cases of daylight robbery and snatching.

He said a team of CIA wing of the local police led by SI Gurpreet Singh had arrested five alleged criminals from Focal Point last night. They were identified as Ranjit Singh, Prem Chand, Baldev Singh, Ajay Kumar and Santosh Kumar. The police recovered a three .315 bore pistol, one .12 bore pistol, nine live cartridges and a number of iron rods from their possession. The accused admitted of attempting to commit robberies at some houses and snatch bags containing cash from people outside banks, but claimed that they were never successful.



Renal failure patient needs good Samaritans
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 11
Chandragupta (50) is dying a slow death and he knows that his days are painful and numbered unless some good Samaritans extend a helping hand.
Life for Chandragupta, or for his family of five, had not been a smooth ride since he came to know that his kidneys were failing and rendering him disabled day by day. A former clerk in a government department and the only breadearner for the family, the victim of renal failure was surviving on dialysis for the last nine years and was bed-ridden.

As he lies on his bed in the dialysis unit of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital here, his eyes do not betray his pain and agony, which is more for concern towards his two daughters of marriageable age and a son, who is still studying. For his family, subsistence has become secondary to the massive financial burden of his treatment and expenditure on dialysis, which taken places eight or nine times a month.

“I never thought that all of a sudden, my world would be shattered and my life would become a painful burden on me and members of my family. I was suffering from high blood pressure, for which I used to take little or no treatment. It was only after investigations, conducted due to continuously failing health, that I came to know about the kidney failure. Doctors had initially recommended kidney transplant, but no relative of mine was prepared to donate it. Those willing were mismatches,” said Chandragupta in a frustrated tone.

His wife said with a heavy heart that till now, the household was running on whatever savings the family had, but now those have dried up. “I am at a loss as what to do in such tough circumstances and what fate has in store for my poor husband,” she said.

According to Dr N.S. Khaira, nephrologist with the DMCH, Chandragupta’s health could improve as he needed more frequent dialysis and some injections, which could increase his HB level, but the high cost of the procedure and the drugs was a prohibitive factor.

The DMCH authorities had given special concession to him, but these were not enough. On behalf of the family of the victim, they appealed to philanthropists and social service organisations to come forward for help. Those wishing to extend assistance can contact Dr Khaira at 9814712988 or the Medical Superintendent at 0161-2304242, extension 709.



BKU flays move to freeze prices of produce
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has criticised the recommendation of the Agricultural Costs and Prices Commission to freeze the prices of farm produce at the prevailing level while reiterating its demand for linking the prices to the wholesale price index.

Talking to mediapersons here today, BKU chief Ajmer Singh Lakhowal maintained that the recommendation (for freezing prices) was not supported by data and sounded whimsical and therefore should be rejected immediately by the government. “Prices of tractors, engines, motors, pesticides and other inputs have shot up manifold and the farmers ale facing a crisis-like situation. In this grim scenario, many farmers have been forced to commit suicide.”

Mr Lakhowal, who was accompanied by secretary general Manjit Singh Kadian and general secretary (press) Bhupinder Singh Mahesari, observed that need of the hour was to ensure remunerative prices to the farmers to make agriculture a viable profession but the proposal to freeze the prices, if accepted, would hit the farming community hard and further erode the diminishing returns.

The BKU functionaries made a forceful plea for revision of support prices for all major crops on the basis of wholesale price index prevailing in 1966-67 which had gone up by 1400 per cent till now. Accordingly price of coarse grain be fixed at Rs 742 per quintal, paddy (parmal variety) at Rs 812 per quintal, cotton at Rs 3,500 per quintal, pulses and oil seeds at Rs 3080 per quintal and sugarcane at Rs 154 per quintal. They further wanted that the farm produce should be purchased within 24 hours of arrival in the mandis, the permissible moisture contents in paddy be raised to 22 per cent and adequate quantity of gunny bags be arranged forthwith.

Mr Lakhowal called upon the government to respond without any further delay and announce an upward revision in support prices of agricultural produce to pull out the farmers from out of poverty and to save the national economy. In the absence of a positive action by the government, the BKU would mobilise the farmers for a mass agitation, he added.



Selling articles on roads at risk of death
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, June 11
Small boys , girls, men and women are found selling small knick-knacks at the busy cross roads of the city. The articles sold vary from season to season and also what the contractor supplies them. These days the things being sold are pens, cute looking velvety animals to be hung in the car. Boys like Harman Singh get pens in scores from the contractor.

In the sweltering moist heat, he runs after cars and persuades the people to buy three pens for Rs 10. He gets a little commission on the sale of a set of three pens. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, he said," I have to keep selling things at Bharat Nagar Chowk or Dhole Wala Chowk as the red light is on for a long time. This affords us a lot of time to sell our wares. Sometimes, in pursuit of our customers, we are unmindful of the vehicles coming behind us and do get injured at times. Why do I choose such a hazardous job? Because I have no money to invest in any business. No one gives any jobs as I am not a skilled worker. My parents are too poor and we have 6 mouths to feed. My parents are daily wagers. Sometimes, they do not get any work. I am the eldest and if I do not work, my family will be in dire straits. My younger sister takes care of two siblings besides cooking meals. After gruelling work, we reach home , bone weary and hope that death would claim us in the night. But no such luck. The next day is the same horrible routine. Walk, walk walk, and beg people to buy pens. Though I save Rs 3 at every sale I make but it is not a dignified way of making a living.”

A similar story is recounted by Satish Kumar who sells pretty velvety animals for Rs 15 that make sounds. They look so attractive, that people are tempted to buy them. But again the hard work done by the petty salespersons is nothing compared to the hard work put in.

Since jobs are scarce, specially for poor uneducated people , they are thankful to the contractors who purchase things in bulk at very cheap rates and give the stuff to their agents , who in turn, give it to hawkers.

But the motorists are not very happy at ‘ shopping at cross roads.”Mr Sunil Bansal says,’ The chances of accidents increase as these hawkers come in from all directions. Sometimes a fatal accident can occur. Some of my friends have lost their mobiles at cross-roads. The police should do something about these people as they surely add to traffic hazard.”



Urge for freedom cost Roopinder her life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
It was the incessant desire for freedom of teenaged Roopinder Kaur that was the cause of all problems in her life. She was burnt to death in a mysterious fire at her in-laws’ house in Bhagwan Nagar a few days ago.

Her case is a classic example of a woman’s desire for freedom, right to lead one’s life and fighting with society at every step. Even as much is being talked about the independence of modern women, Roopinder’s case reveals how difficult it is for women in common households to live a life on their own terms.

Born and brought up in a small and congested locality near Dholewal Chowk in the city, 19-year-old Roopinder had revolted against her parents’ desire to marry an affluent NRI. She had chosen to marry a school friend’s elder brother secretly in Chandigarh and had even sought security from high court against her parents.

A month after her marriage, she had expressed the desire to meet her parents, which claimed her life. Her in-laws claimed that she had committed suicide and her parents alleged that her in-laws had killed her.

“I had never allowed her to step out of the house and mingle with people. I know this is a bad world for girls. She had done her Class XII through correspondence. Most of the time she was at home, helping her mother in the house. I do not know when she was lured into a relationship by Lov Shakti Sharma, whose sister used to study with her in Class X,” said Mr Kuldip Singh, her father, a businessman and former youth Akali leader.

Roopinder disappeared from her house in the wee hours on April 20. Her father had informed the police about the incident, but had not got a case registered as he did not want to damage her reputation. ‘‘A girl who disappears, even to get married to a person of her choice, earns a bad name for herself and her family.’’ he said.

Her neighbours said her family did not want Roopinder, a Sikh girl, to marry a Hindu boy. They had engaged her to an NRI on February 2. The marriage was fixed for next year. Roopinder did not wait for her marriage with the NRI and married the man of her choice. The family snapped ties with her. Her aunt kept on talking to her to persuade her to come back.

‘‘I had told her to come to my place. I had promised her that I would get her married to the NRI and she would be respected by one and all. I had even told her that one loses respect if one elopes. But she did not listen,’’ said her aunt.

‘‘I never tried to call her up or meet her. I had been confined to this bed for the last one month after my daughter went away. You can not understand the stigma I had to face. I was mentally ill.’’ said her father. He added that no father could rest in peace if his daughter eloped.

“Children do not know what is good or bad for them. She made a mistake and lost her life. This is the result of a love marriage.” a neighbour said.



Fake dollar racket: granthi held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
A granthi, who had absconded after a gang involved in printing fake US dollars at Nangal village was busted by the Dehlon police, recently, was arrested by a police party at a naka. The total number of accused in the case, with his arrest, has now reached five. The police had earlier seized Rs 46.46 lakh in fake dollars and dyes, chemicals and equipment used in printing these.

Mr Gurmukh Singh Cheema, DSP (D), Jagraon’ said Labh Singh, a granthi at a gurdwara at Nangal village was arrested by a police party, led by Mr Dharam Paul, SHO, Dehlon police station. “His conduct and unexplained roaming in a deserted area landed him in police custody. He was later found to be involved in the fake currency racket,” said Mr Cheema.

He said the gang was busted last week with the arrest of Ranjit Singh, alias Sehti, of Nangal village. One lakh fake US dollars, in denomination of hundred, dyes, chemicals and equipment used in printing these fake dollars were also seized from his house. Three more accused, Kamal Chand of Badhaihara village of Una district, Amarjit, alias Bhagat, of New Simlapuri, and Rachpal Singh, alias Mistry, of Harnampura village, were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday. A printing press, an electric motor and $ 1,000 were seized from their possession.



Minor boy becomes victim of perverted act
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, June 11
The conductor of a school bus of a convent school in the city has been booked by the Sadar police for allegedly sodomising a minor boy in Ayali Klan village last night.
The accused, Mukesh, (15) has been arrested under Section 377 of the IPC today evening. He was allegedly caught by some relatives of the victim, a 5-year-old boy (not a student of the convent school) last night. The medical examination of the victim confirmed the charges.

2 held with smack: The police on Thursday arrested Sandeep Singh, a resident of Janta Colony, at Jodhewal Basti and Sheena, a resident of Qilla Mohalla, near Daresi, and booked them under the NDPS Act. The police said this morning that 5 gm of smack was recovered from their possession after they were intercepted during routine checking.

Woman turned out: On the statement of Ms Kulwant Kaur, a resident of Dairy Complex at Haibowal, the police registered a case under Sections 419, 468, 170 and 171 of the IPC against Jatinder Pal Singh, living in street 1 of Deep Nagar at Patiala. She stated that the accused, her husband, threatened her by showing a forged identity card of the police and turned her out of the house.

Fraud alleged: The police registered a case on Thursday under Section 420 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kewal Singh, living in Basant Nagar at Shiv Puri, against Rinku and Ashwani, living in the same locality. The complainant alleged that he had paid Rs 2.5 lakh to the accused for arranging foreign passage for his son, but the accused neither sent his son abroad, nor returned his money.

Dowry case: The police registered a case on Thursday under Section 498-A of the IPC on the statement of Ms Neelam, living in Islam Ganj, against her husband Rajahar and mother-in-law Ram Piari, living in the same locality. She alleged that the accused had been harassing her and mentally torturing her, besides demanding more dowry.

Cyclist injured: The police registered a case on Thursday under Sections 279, 337, 338 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Chanan Singh, a resident of Partap Singh Wala village, against an unidentified scooterist. The complainant stated that he was going on his bicycle from the city to Partap Singh Wala. When he approached the Dairy Complex at Haibowal, the accused hit his bicycle and sped away from the scene on Wednesday evening. He was injured and his bicycle was damaged, added the complainant.

Bookie held: The police arrested Gulshan Kumar, a resident of Sanjay Gandhi Colony on the Tajpur Road, on Thursday recovered Rs 345 from his possession and booked him under the Gambling Act. The police said the accused was indulging in booking ‘satta’ and ‘darra’ bets in the area.



Furnace units allege discrimination by PSEB
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
The Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India (FOTSII) has charged the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) with discrimination and step-motherly treatment in imposing restrictions on power supply in the Ludhiana Central zone alone, putting the units located in the industrial capital at a disadvantage in comparison to those situated elsewhere in the state.

A meeting of the federation held under the presidentship of Mr Joginder Kumar here yesterday observed that with dislocation of production in the arc and induction furnace units, the user industry would have to bear the brunt. Some of the units had already jacked up the prices while the rates of iron and steel scrap had tumbled down. The vital sector of small and tiny units would have to face the cascading effect, it was apprehended.

Mr Joginder Kumar alleged that the restriction on power supply to furnace units had been given effect despite the assurance given by the PSEB chairman, Mr Y.S. Ratra, who had categorically stated that no cut would be imposed on industry as the board had made arrangements to procure additional power from other sources to meet the enhanced demand of agricultural sector during the sowing season.

Calling for immediate withdrawal of the power cut, the meeting urged the PSEB and the state government not to create further problems for the crisis-ridden industry and save the industrial economy from ruin.

Prominent among those present at the meeting were Mr Harminder Singh, Mr Vinod Dhall, Mr Rajan Gupta,Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta and Mr Manmohan Singh Ubhi, who represented different segments of industry.

Meanwhile, the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, Mr P.D. Sharma, said in a statement here yesterday that the PSEB had imposed power cut on steel furnace units from June 9 for a very short period. According to PSEB directions, the furnace units would operate for 21 hours and remain closed for next 27 hours. The board officials, Mr Sharma added, had indicated that the restrictions would remain in force for a brief spell as the PSEB was in the process of purchasing power from some of the surplus states. From out of the daily power consumption of around 1100 lakh units, the state was having a shortfall of only about 100 lakh units.


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