L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cholera breaks out in 16 congested localities
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 24
As gastroenteritis appeared to be on the wane, as many as 16 cases of cholera were admitted to the two city hospitals with the patients coming mostly from congested localities of the old city. At the same time, sources in the Health Department claimed that three cases of cholera and around one dozen fresh cases of gastroenteritis were reported from different parts of the district, including two from Khanna town.

Officials at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) said 11 confirmed cases of cholera were undergoing treatment at the hospital. Out of them four were admitted directly from different parts of the city while seven others were referred by different doctors or nursing homes. Five patients of cholera were admitted to Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital (BRCH), the hospital source disclosed. Senior health officials, including the Civil Surgeon, Dr S.N. Tiwari, were not available for comments.

In a press release, the health administration maintained that teams of doctors and para-medical workers were going from door to door in affected or disease-prone colonies to distribute ORS packets and chlorine tablets. At the same time, people were educated about the preventive measures against water-borne diseases. Both the teams of the Health Department and the Municipal Corporation were also collecting water samples from different areas which were tested for chlorination at the spot and later sent for chemical analysis. The results of the chemical analysis of water samples, collected so far, were, however, not made available officially.

Officials of the Health Department and the O and M wing of the MC maintained that there was complete coordination between the two and collective steps were being taken against spread of water-borne diseases. The MC officials further asserted that a strict vigil was being maintained on quality of water supply and sewerage-related problems of the city residents.

Meanwhile, the Jagraon and Raikot towns in the district were stated to be under the attack of gastroenteritis with about one dozen victims having been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Jagraon, and a private hospital in Raikot.



Now, slum-dwellers hold protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
A day after residents of Block E, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Ludhiana, protested against the mushrooming of slums in their colony, it was the turn of slum-dwellers to show their might to the Ludhiana Improvement Trust authorities today.

The slum-dwellers staged a protest in front of the improvement trust’s office to oppose the announcement of the Chairman regarding the demolition of jhuggis by July-end. At the time of the protest, a meeting of the improvement trust was going on.

Accompanied by women and children, the slum-dwellers claimed that 250 families would be rendered homeless after the anti-encroachment drive. While cursing the residents of the area, who had staged a protest yesterday, slum-dwellers said they were spending their life peacefully.

“When we came here seven years ago nobody stopped us to build jhuggis. Now suddenly these people are after us. We do not know why they are threatened by poor people like us?” said a woman.

“Our children work in their houses without being paid. To remunerate them, they give them the leftovers. This way we are surviving. They had asked us not to litter in the parks. We stopped doing it. Even then they are unhappy with us”.



Recovery of loans: BKU alleges harassment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 24
Taking a serious note of alleged humiliation of farmers and their women folk in the course of recovery of agricultural loans, the Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) has threatened the government with “direct action” against erring officials in case the practice is not stopped immediately. The union has threatened to obstruct the entry of recovery officers in villages.

Talking to mediapersons here today, the BKU president, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, and the secretary-general, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, alleged that officials, deployed for recovery in Muktsar and Ferozepore districts, had literally let loose a reign of terror in villages. “The officials, most of the time, visit villages when farmers are out on work and taking advantage of their absence, they intimidate women and children. There have been instances when women have been given indecent threats.”

Mr Lakhowal said there was widespread resentment among the farming community against the “coercive methods” of recovery officials in a large number of villages and chances of a direct confrontation in such a volatile situation could not be ruled out. In such an eventuality, there could be heavy loss of life and property, he cautioned.

BKU functionaries called upon the government to put an end to such “intimidating and humiliating” practices. “If the government is so keen to effect recoveries of loans without considering the ground realities, it should prepare a comprehensive list of defaulters and make it available to the BKU so that all of them can court arrest in a single instance and save their family members from harassment,” they said.

Lambasting the Congress-led government at the Centre, Mr Lakhowal and Mr Kadian alleged that it had committing a fraud with farmers. “The so-called relief of Rs 58,000 crore worth of farm loans is a mere eyewash since the fact is that farmers are being made to pay each and every penny of their outstanding loans.” 



Rs 3 lakh snatched in broad daylight
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Two car-borne robbers snatched a bag containing Rs 3 lakh and cheques worth Rs 67,000 from an employee of the Proctor and Gamble company near Children's Traffic Training Park, Model Town, here this morning after throwing red chilli powder in his eyes. The victim was on foot.

The victim, Mr Varinder Kumar, was an employee of Raj Agency, which handled the local business of the Proctor and Gamble company. He used to collect cash from different sub-offices and deposit it in a bank. It seems that the robbers had kept an eye on him and chosen the spot to commit crime where there is not much traffic.

Mr Varinder Kumar revealed that the robbers came in a long car and suddenly obstructed his way. One of the youth was wearing turban while the other was clean shaven. The youths threw chilli powder in his eyes and snatched his bag. He tried to resist but the robbers beat him up before fleeing in the car.

The incident has put a question mark on the massive security arrangement claims of the police which has been sounding a red alert twice daily besides erecting special check points to avoid such incidents for the past few weeks after a number of snatching and robbery cases were reported from different parts of the city.

In today's case, however, the victim and his employers have to share the blame as well, if the police claims about their negligence is to be believed. Despite police instructions of taking care while carrying money or seeking police security, Mr Varinder Kumar, alias Veeru, a frail youth, was carrying the money on foot only.

DSP Ravcharan Singh Brar claimed that the youth was rounded up twice by the Model Town police for carrying a huge cash on foot in the past. He was let off after the intervention of his employers who confirmed the source of the money and assured that they would take some security measures. However, no measures were adopted and hence the robbers struck today at the "soft target".

The DSP said the police had sounded all industrialists, banks and traders to seek police protection while transporting cash but no one had come forward.



NGOs seek longer duration of Amarnath Yatra
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which organise a free langar and provide various other services to the pilgrims during the holy Amarnath Yatra have demanded that the duration of the yatra be increased to two months from the current one month.

Some of these organisations, which are based in Punjab, have urged the Jammu and Kashmir Government not to discourage people from performing the pilgrimage. They reasoned that in case the government increased the duration of the yatra to two months, it would have several advantages. Besides, a number of more people would have the chance to have the darshan of the cave. The government would not be over burdened as the rush would also relax and spread to two months instead of one.

Mr Gopal Dutt Sharma, who has been organising regular langars during the time of yatra, pointed out that once the yatra was spread out to two months, the daily pressure of the pilgrims would get reduced. This would not put any pressure on the government machinery and other resources required at the time of the yatra.

Nearly two lakh pilgrims had the darshan of the holy cave last year, while the number was expected to increase this year. Mr Sharma said his organisation had received many queries by the people about the yatra. He pointed out with the situation in Kashmir appeared to be better right now and with a huge number of tourists going there, more and more people were encouraged to go for the pilgrimage.

Mr Lalit Sharma, who also organises a langar during the yatra, said that the government should take note of the situation. “When the government can allow so many tourists to Kashmir, why can it not allow the yatra to continue for more time?”, he asked, while adding that continuing the yatra for one more month would provide further boost to the economy of Kashmir.

He said his organisation had already submitted a representation to the Government of India through the Home Minister seeking his intervention on the issue. Mr Sharma said although it was understandable that the government had a tough task in handling the yatra but he pointed out it should understand that in case more pilgrims go there they would not restrict themselves to the yatra alone but would also go to other places of tourist interest. This would provide the much needed boost to a dying tourist industry in Kashmir, he observed.

There were over 100 NGOs from Punjab alone which provided various services, including free langar, to the pilgrims during the yatra.



Panchayat stages dharna against encroachment
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 24
The gram panchayat of Naraingarh village, including sarpanch Balbir Singh and other residents, staged a dharna in front of the Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) on Tuesday in protest against an alleged encroachment on the village common land. The BDPO proceeded on leave for two days and the Panchayat Officer also left the office, Mr Balbir Singh told mediapersons.

Two plots of 8 acre and 3.5 acre (reserved for SCs) of the village common land (shamlat) were auctioned on lease and the entries made in the record book in the presence of Mr Karnail Singh, SEPO (Gram Sewak), deputed by the BDPO. The Panchayat Secretary recorded the proceedings of the auction. It was read to the parties and their signatures were obtained therein, the sarpanch asserted.

The 8 acre plot was leased to a handicapped person, Mr Buta Singh, for Rs 1,46,000 and 3.5 acre plot was leased for Rs 53,000 to Mr Amar Singh, who demanded a passage through the first plot. It was agreed by all concerned to give passage of two “karam”, approximately above 2 kanal, to Mr Amar Singh. So Rs 4,735 were reduced from the total lease amount of the first plot. As such Buta Singh paid Rs 1 lakh on the day of the auction and the balance of Rs 41,265 was paid on May 5. Mr Buta Singh’s signatures were obtained on the counterfoil of the receipt book.

Contrary to the agreement, Mr Buta Singh ploughed the whole plot on May 17, including the marked passage. The next day morning the panchayat sent Melu Ram, cowkidar, to tell Mr Buta Singh to leave the passage. In the evening Mr Buta Singh said he had made a complaint to the BDPO and would leave the passage after the decision.

The panchayat approached civil and police offices of the Amloh subdivision and Fatehgarh Sahib district to vacate the passage. On the orders of the Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, a police party reached the site to get the passage vacated but returned empty handed on the plea that the police force was inadequate.

“It is all due to political pressure on the bureaucracy. I belong to the SAD. I am being pressurised to side with another candidate in the SGPC elections, I am being threatened with dire consequences,” the sarpanch maintained.

On the other hand, Mr Buta Singh said he had made a complaint to the BDPO, Amloh, on May 5, supported with an affidavit that the sarpanch has embezzled Rs 5,000 out of the lease money and at the time of enquiry by the ADC, he said his signatures on the counterfoil were forged.



The langoor which amuses people with its antics
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, June 24
Karishma was the cynosure of all eyes when she came along with her master to Bhadaur Market. She was tied with a chain, yet she looked into the eyes of the people with great curiosity and did not blink an eyelid.

Her funny antics amused people. She pretended that she liked to smoke but she viewed a cigarette offered by someone with a suspicious eye.

She climbed over scooters parked in the area and sat staring in the view mirror as if asking the mirror ... mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s fairest of them all’. Ramu, working in a shop, said: “It was great fun to watch her antics. It was interesting to play with her. she brought us out of our bedroom”

How did Karishma reach here? Some lover of animals brought her in train all the way from Rampur. Manan says that the moment he saw her, he wanted to make her his pet. His family members were not happy with him for bringing the ‘langoor, but she soon endeared herself to the other members. She is docile.

If some body tells her to lie down and sleep, she promptly lies down. She is like a faithful and obedient dog, fetches newspapers from outside and brings these to me.

What about her diet? Manan said that she is not fussy at all.

She eats fruits and vegetables. She only gets annoyed when we start eating and do not give her food. Then she starts shouting angrily. Sometimes on purpose, we do not give her food as she looks cute getting angry. She does not misbehave with the guests and sits quietly staring at them.

Manan says:”Life has become interesting with Karishma around. At times out of affections she comes near you. we now understand that she wants to be cuddled. When she is scolded she goes into a sulk, and wants to be pampered. She does not like smoking, but at times pretends she loves smoking.”

When told that to keep animals chained is an offence, Manan looked scared, and said that he will leave her in hernatural habitat. Now after being so much domesticated, will she be able to survive in her natural habitat?



Police shielding accused, alleges resident
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
A local resident has charged the Haibowal police of shielding a migrant labourer who had trespassed into his house with an intention to kill his family members.
Mr Chander Shekhar Sood, resident of Shakti Vihar in Haibowal, who is into hosiery-production business, alleged that an associate of his maid, Malti, had trespassed into his house on the intervening night of May 8 and 9 with an intention to kill his family members.

He claimed that while he was away on a business tour to West Bengal, his wife and children were alone in the house. When the alleged accused, Dev Lal, was trying to enter the house through a window, he banged into the windowpane resulting in a noise. Hearing the noise, the family members woke up. Dev Lal allegedly fled from the spot. His neighbours tried to chase him but to no avail.

He claimed that the next morning, some policemen came to his house and told his family members that a person was caught by the watchman of the area but he managed to give him a slip also. The policemen assured the family of arresting him soon. Then on June 9, some police officials came with Dev Lal and told the family that they had arrested him.

Mr Sood claimed that Dev Lal confessed in front of his neighbours that he had come to murder his entire family as they had not given Rs 20,000 to Malti. The neighbours were ready to be witnesses in the case. He alleged that the police was not saying anything to Malti who had been threatening them.

The police has, however, denied the allegation stating that the accused has been behind bars and a case of theft registered against him.

Mr Gurpreet Singh, SHO, Haibowal Police Station, said Dev Lal was arrested by the police a few days ago and he was in jail. He added that the police had recovered a motor cycle from him and he was facing charges of theft.

The SHO said Mr Sood wanted to make Malti work forcibly in his house taking advantage of her poverty but she was not willing to work there. So Mr Sood was making complaints against Malti as she had refused to take his orders, he said, adding that Malti was filing a defamation case against Mr Sood for damaging her reputation.

In a complaint to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Sood claimed that he was facing a threat from Malti and Dev Lal. He stated that Malti had asked for Rs 20,000 from him in order to repay her debt, but the family refused to pay her the amount.

Mr Sood claimed that the area councillor, Mr Rajiv Katna, had accompanied him to Haibowal police station but the police was dilly-dallying in the case.



Valmiki Sabha comes to the aid of Pandey 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 24
The Shri Guru Valmiki Sabha, led by Mr. Rakesh Malhotra, has asked the Punjab Congress chief, Mr. H.S. Hanspal, to take stern action against those Congressmen who were trying to defame Mr. Rakesh Pandey by burning his effigy and levelling false allegations against him.

A press release by the sabha here today said that a meeting was held near Chand Cinema to express solidarity with Mr. Rakesh Pandey as his father the late Mr. Joginder Pal pandey had also been a champion of the Dalit cause.

Mr. Malhotra said in spite of an assurance given by Mr. Hanspal to the opponents of Mr. Pandey , the burning of Mr. Rakesh Pandey's effigy also amounted to an attempt to tarnish the image of the party as well.

He said Mr. Hanspal must take immediate action against such elements in the party.

Among others who attended the meeting were Mr. Banwari Lal Rajasthani, Mr. Faqir Chand Shankar, Mr. Kamaldeep Sharma and Mr. Valaiti Ram Kundra.



Readers write
IT refund not given

It is incorrect to say that the IT refunds till March, 2004, have been closed. I claimed a refund of Rs 1200 in IT returns filed on 5.6.2002 for the assessment year 2002-03 which remains unpaid.

The amount was irregularly deducted by Punjab and Sind Bank, Gurdwara Kalgidhar Road, Ludhiana, from FDRs interest on 30.5.2001. My request to the ITO salary circle Ludhiana, on 21.1.2004 and to the Union Finance Minister on 30.3.2004 have gone unheard. A copy of the complaint has also been sent to the Union Finance Minister.

Will IT Department look into the matter and oblige?

A.S. Kandhari

Sunday closed

Under the Shops Act, the commercial/industrial units are supposed to be closed on Sundays or alternatively any other day in a week. Only notable commercial complexes, including Chaura Bazar, observe Sundays as closed days. In the other areas shopkeepers have hand-printed posters declaring only last Sunday as closed day in utter violation of the Act. When they violate the act, it is obvious they greeze the palms of shop inspectors.

The present Chief Minister is possibly oblivious of this fact. Possibly the district authorities are also not in the knowledge of this irregularity. Will the district authorities swing into action and direct shop inspectors to enforce the Act in the entire city.

Subhash Behl

Those who did not vote intentionally

I appreciate your kind gesture in bringing this electoral truth to the notice of the political parties as well as the Administration. In every election, a large number of voters are devoid of their constitutional right. It is a dual loss to those who lose the number of votes polled in his/her favour, and to those who are devoid of their right to choose the person of their choice. The third party — the functionaries who delete the names of the voters from the electoral rolls — may have some financial benefits from those at whose instance they do the nefarious work. When the present-day Punjab Government assumed charge of the state after experiencing such an electoral loss, it had announced to get the matter thoroughly investigated and to punish the guilty but nothing was done, which encouraged those elements.

Yet, there is another class of voters who, like former CEC, Mr Longdogh, do not prefer using their right to vote because they think none of the candidates is sincere and honest. Hence, the decline in vote percentage day by day. The criminals and the chargesheeted get elected themselves by hook or by crook. Where is the room for honesty? Please start a column of those who did not vote intentionally.

Swarn Singh Sanehi

Do not waste session

It is painful to note that the issue of tainted ministers has gobbled up the entire first session of the 14th Lok Sabha. No business could be transacted except oath taking ceremony and President’s Address to Parliament. Motion of thanks to the President’s Address had to be passed without discussion.

There appears to be no sign of resolution of crisis and it is feared that confrontation may not spill over into budget session. This has disappointed over a billion people who have sent their representatives to the Lok Sabha to redress their grievances. If political parties cannot resolve differences among themselves, how will they solve the problems of the nation? Both sides should climb down from their stand to de-escalate tension. Criminalisation of politics is a serious issue. This is a threat to the very survival of democracy in our country. Ruling party and Opposition should talk to each other instead of talking at each other. The earlier it is done, the better it would be.

Anil Sharma

Not the best

The MC commissioner claims that the civic body is one of the best corporations in India but I rate it as most incompetent, inefficient and irresponsive. By constructing 4-5 flyover bridges and one biowaste plant, one cannot take credit for being the best in the country.

There is no cleanliness, street lights are non-functional and there is no supply of regular and pure water. The sewerage system is choked. The claims of the MC for prompt action, even redressing the complaints within 48 hours, are only in the media. The ground reality is quite different.

Sher Singh


1 dies in mishap

Jagraon, June 24
One person was killed and four were injured in a head- on collision between a TATA 407 and a tractor -trailer at midnight near Chowkiman on the Jagraon- Ludhiana road.

According to information, the TATA vehicle carrying electronic equipment of 'HUTCH' was coming from Ludhiana with six persons whereas the tractor- trailer carrying potatoes was going from Moga to Ludhiana when they collided. — OC



Two cars stolen
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 24
Two cars were reportedly stolen from different parts of the city yesterday, according to the police.
A Maruti car belonging to Mr Jasvir Singh, resident of Sant Isher Singh Nagar, Pakhowal Road, was stolen from outside his house.

A Santro car belonging Mr Niravjit Singh, resident of Kitchlu Nagar, was stolen from outside his house. Cases have been registered under Section 379 of the IPC.

In-laws booked: The Division No 3 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 307, 498-A, 342, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Beeru Rani, resident of the Kashmir Nagar mohalla, Tajpur Road, against her husband Bittu, brother-in-law Shinder and mother-in-law Taro, resident of Khud Mohalla.

Ms Beeru Rani had stated that the accused had been beating and threatening her after the marriage and demanding more dowry. On Wednesday, the accused allegedly tried to kill her by sprinkling oil on her and setting her afire.

The police said today that the accused were absconding.

Man beaten up: The Civil Lines police yesterday registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Malkit Singh, resident of Avtar Nagar, near the Ferozepore octroi post, against Naginder Singh, alias Goga, resident of Sarabha Nagar, and one other unknown person accompanying him.

The complainant had stated that the accused had intercepted him in New Courts Complex on May 25, beaten him up and threatened him due to an old enmity.

Poppy husk seized:
Sub-Inspector Bakhshish Singh of Sidhwanbet Police Station, on an information given by Mr Simmranjit Singh of Sidhwanbet village that some person had kept two bags of poppy husk in his fields at Khurshaidpura village, recovered two bags containing 80 kg of poppy husk. A case has been registered under Section 15, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act.


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