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Lawyers boycott courts, hold protest
Express solidarity with Lucknow colleagues
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Lawyers here today struck work to express solidarity with their colleagues in Lucknow, who were beaten by the police a few days back. Work in courts was affected.

The lawyers staged a demonstration in the New Court complex.

Led by the District Bar Association, Mr B.K. Goyal, the lawyers were joined by senior colleagues, including former minister and general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, former District Bar Association president Harish Dhanda and Taxation Bar Association president P.C. Garg.

The speakers condemned the police action on agitating lawyers in Lucknow, who had taken out a peace march.

The speakers demanded action against those who had resorted to “unprovoked” lathicharge on peaceful lawyers, injuring several of them. The lawyers also demanded an independent inquiry to identify the culprits so that they were duly punished.

The DBA president, Mr B.K. Goyal, thanked his colleagues for cutting across party lines to join the protest.

He pointed out that the lawyers had shown unity and solidarity in this critical hour.

Jagraon: All members of the Bar Association here observed strike and boycotted the courts on Wednesday in response to the call given by the Bar Council of India against the “barbaric police action on advocates” of Lucknow. The members also sat in dharna from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the office of the local SDM.



MCPI comes out in support of lawyers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
The Punjab State Committee of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) today condemned the lathi-charge on lawyers in Lucknow by the police.

Mr Kuldip Singh, state secretary of the party, said the act was barbaric, uncivilised and against norms of justice and rule of law. Police brutality had crossed all limits while dealing with the peacefully agitating lawyers, he said.

The incident was a blot on the image of the police and had exposed its real face. In fact, it had reinforced the observations made by Justice A.N. Mulla of Allahabad High Court long time back: “There is not a single lawyers’ group in the country whose record of crime comes anywhere near that of an organised unit known as the Indian police.”

While expressing solidarity with the cause of the Avadh Bar Association, the MCPI demanded action against the erring police officials.

The unit also urged the High Court and the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice and direct the government to take action against the guilty so that it acted as a deterrent in future, he added.



Six of family drugged by ‘friend’, robbed
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Dollo Kalan (Ludhiana), September 8
Friendship with an undertrial proved costly for a family in this village when six of its members, including three women, were drugged and looted by him last night.

The victims consumed a drug-laced milk cake offered by him after dinner last night at their house in this village. They were found lying unconscious this morning.

The victims — Balbir Singh, his wife Harjit Kaur, his son Pawan, daughters Neeta, Simarjit and Raj (husband of Simarjit) — were admitted to the civil hospital by neighbours. They had not gained full consciousness at the time of filing of the story and were yet to be declared fit for giving statement to the police. Neeta was eight-month pregnant.

The sadar police has pieced together bits of information provided by the victims. Sources said Pawan had spent some weeks in Central Jail here after being involved in a street fight case. He had become friendly with an undertrial, Ajay Kumar, in the jail. The police is yet to know the details of his criminal background.

Ajay Kumar frequently visited the house to meet Pawan after his release on bail from the jail. Soon he become quite friendly with other members of the family. Last night after having his dinner with them he offered milk cake to the unsuspecting victims. The milk cake was laced with some drug as the victims fell unconscious after consuming it.

A neighbour, Ms Krishna Devi, was the first to spot the trouble in the house. She said this morning she found that the doors of Balbir Singh’s house were open while no one was seen. When she went inside she found some of the victims were lying on the floor and others on the bed.

She raised the alarm and called other neighbours. The victims were taken to a local dispensary and then to Civil Hospital.

The police has registered a case. Raids were being conducted to nab Ajay. The police is hoping that Pawan would provide them with clues about him once he gained consciousness.

Balbir Singh and his sons were employed in a local factory and owned small piece of land.



Australian envoy to visit PAU
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 8
The Australian High Commissioner in India, Ms Penelope Wensley, will visit Punjab Agricultural University tomorrow to review the projects being undertaken by the countries on the campus.

She will review programme of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Funded project — permanent beds for irrigated rice-wheat and alternative cropping system in north-west India and South East Australia. The varsity is collaborating with the CSIRO, Australia on this subject. Drs Liz Humphireses and Yadvinder Singh are the Australian and Indian project leaders, respectively.

Ms Wensley is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Prior to her appointment to India, she was Australia’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva.



Struggling for land record for 18 years
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Since 18 long years he has been fighting for the possession of his agricultural land in Dhandra village ,near here, but thanks to bureaucratic wranglings and redtapism, he has not been able to get a copy of the revenue record showing possession of the land, which is worth crores.

Mr Bhajan Singh, a 70-year-old resident living in Santokh Nagar area here, is the owner of the land worth Rs 2 crore but till he gets a ‘‘farad’’ showing ownership of the land, he cannot claim possession.

Forced into penury, Mr Bhajan Singh is one of the frequent visitors to various offices of the mini secretariat. His pleas to officials fall on deaf ears.

The Tribune has championed his cause during the past four years. everytime his tale of woes appears in newspaper, his case is either taken up in earnest for some days or is thrown out of their offices for going to the press.

Some months ago, Mr Bhajan Singh had applied for a copy of the "farad" by depositing Rs 100.

He was told to bring the "khasra" and "khatauni" numbers of the land in question from the register with the circle patwari. His request for these numbers was registered two months ago, but is yet to get the revenue record showing these numbers.

Again, he has been making the rounds of offices for getting these numbers, but to no avail. He alleges that some revenue officials do not want to provide him with the record as they have allegedly tried to change the record in connivance with some claimants on the land.

He claims he was given the possession by the Commissioner, Patiala Division, years ago and if he was given the changed ‘‘farad’’, these officials feared that he would raise a voice against them.

He claimed that the land was given to his wife by his mother-in-law, who had died some years ago. ‘‘I have been moving from pillar to post to get a copy of the farad from the patwari concerned but even after four years of struggle, I am not able to get the same.’’ said Mr Bhajan Singh.

Claiming that the copy of the revenue record in his possession was part of a major scam in the revenue department, Mr Bhajan Singh said if the matter was probed, then names of many employees and senior officials would figure in it .

Now he has filed a complaint with the Vigilance Bureau, which has been sent to the head office .

‘‘Last time I was given a copy but they gave me the old record while I had asked for the new record. ’’ he said.

In an affidavit he furnished to the officials concerned, a copy of which is with the Tribune, Mr Bhajan Singh has claimed that as per the revenue records while the "intakaal number 219" of agricultural land in Dhandra village is in the name of Jaswant Kaur, Angrez Kaur, Naginder Kaur, Ram Singh and Chhinder Kaur, the owners of the land, in the copy of the 'farad' given to him the owners are Ram Singh and Gurvinder Singh.

The revenue officials claim that the man has lost his mind and is on a wild goose chase. They claim that whenever they provided him with a copy of the record, he refuses to take it ,stating that it is a fudged document and not the original one. 



Cong leader booked for insult to Tricolour
It is a mere eyewash, says BJP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
The city police today finally took action in the Tricolour controversy by booking a Congress leader under the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act surprisingly it let off many senior Congress leaders who were present when the incident took place but had ignored the dishonour of the national flag on the birth anniversary of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The police booked Tejinder Singh Thind, President Freedom Fighters Successors Association, which had organised the function held at Guru Nanak Dev Bhavan jointly with Terrorists Victims Association on August 20. No action has been taken against other senior Congress leaders present at the show or office of the Terrorists Victims Association.

The state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party which was spearheading the campaign against the insult to the national flag has threatened to launch another agitation ‘It has expressed its disappointment that so far only one person has been booked.

Terming the registration of the case as a mere eyewash, Mr Anil Sareen, BJP State Secretary alleged that the police was ‘bothered’ more about its political masters than national honour.

He said even though the BJP had given photographs of the senior leaders who attended the function yet only Tejinder Singh Thind was booked while others were let off.

The BJP in a complaint to the police had demanded the registration of a case against PPCC President H.S. Hanspal, Vidhan Sabha Speaker Kewal Krishan, Congress National Secretary Manish Tewari, Mayor Nahar Singh Gill, Terrorists Victims Association President, K.K. Bawa, Deewan Jagdish and former MP Chiranji Lal Sharma.

However, Police sources said there was no evidence that these leaders were responsible for insulting the national flag.

A police inquiry found Freedom Fighters Successors Association President Tejinder Singh Thind guilty as the name of the association was painted on the national flag.

Sources said other Congress leaders could not be booked merely on the argument that they attended the function.

However, Mr Anil Sareen said a meeting of the BJP leaders would be held soon to decide the future course of agitation.



Brother, sister die as truck rams into hut
Our Correspondent

Khanna, September 8
Two members of a family and a trader were injured in an accident that took place near the SSP office complex on GT Road early this morning. The accident occurred when a speeding trailer being chased by the Mandi Gobindgarh police hit a truck parked on the road.

According to sources, at 3 am, a trailer (HR 37-A 7452) coming from Mandi Gobindgarh rammed into a truck parked on the road. The truck in turn rammed into a nearby hut. Five-year-old Mafi was crushed to death while her brother Bhura (12), who received serious injuries, died at the Civil Hospital, Khanna. The cleaner of the truck also died on the spot.

Anju, mother of the deceased children, received injuries. She was admitted to the Civil Hospital here. Another person, identified as Lasir, a trader of Budha Kheri, Haryana, was also injured.

The driver of the trailer and the truck have absconded. The police has registered a case.



Railway passengers not a priority here
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
An atrocious rail journey is not unheard of. And in case you happen to start it from the Ludhiana railway station, it will prove to be a nightmare.

Passenger’s woes start right from the entry at the enquiry counter. The enquiry number 131 is either never answered or is perpetually engaged. At the railway station too, announcements are made about only those trains that are stationed at the platform and not those which are to arrive.

Passengers are never informed about the status of a train on whether it is on time or is late and if it is, by how long. The announcer keeps repeating information about those trains that are already at the station.

Passengers generally seek information about those trains that are scheduled to arrive at the station. With telephone enquiry not working, passengers are forced to travel to the railway station and wait at there for hours in case the train is late.

With no announcement about the arrival of trains, they have to walk from various platforms to the enquiry counter to know their status. Railway officials have not evolved any system to make periodic announcements about the trains scheduled to arrive in short period. Instead, they make announcements only when the train actually arrives at the platform, leading to chaos.

Similarly, no proper information about reservations is provided. The reservation charts are seldom found intact. A few pages are invariably missing and passengers have to depend on railway officials to confirm their reservations. Railway officials however maintain that some passengers tear away the charts, causing inconvenience to others.

A senior railway official claimed that announcements about the arrival and departure of trains were made regularly. The official said information was also given about those trains that were late or were scheduled to arrive within a couple of hours. He however admitted that delay in announcement about the arrival or departure of a particular train did occur, but only in those cases where information from other stations had failed to arrive. “Whatever (information) that is available here is made public instantly,” he claimed.

On phone enquiry issue, the official maintained that there were three service numbers — 131, 2745977 and 2744454 — on which people could get information round the clock. But, he pointed out that given the number of enquiries made in the city, with a population of over 20 lakh, there was likelihood of these numbers remaining busy for sometime.



Colony residents up in arms against slum dwellers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Coming up against the mushrooming of slums in their area, residents of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Block-E, Pakhowal Road, have urged upon the Chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust to fulfil his promise of demolishing jhuggis.

The Chairman of the trust, Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, had promised them that he would get the encroachments removed by July 30 after the residents had protested in this regard. But even after the deadline has passed, the slum dwellers continue to encroach upon the land in the posh colony.

Led by Mr Pran Nath Bhatia, patron of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar Residents Welfare Association, the residents in a memorandum to Mr Garcha claimed that they were finding it difficult to live there as the slum dwellers indulged in anti-social activities and littered garbage in their colony and parks.

The residents stated that the jhuggis had sprung up in the area a few years ago and following protests by residents these were razed during the tenure of former Chairman, M.M. Vyas. These came up again before the elections and some candidates got their names included in the voters list.

Mr Bhatia said more than 250 jhuggis had come up in the area comprising 475 acres belonging to the Improvement Trust. The jhuggi dwellers were creating problems by drawing electricity through kundi connections. They reared pigs, which were a nuisance as they entered the green belts of the houses. And the worst was that the dwellers used parks as open-air urinals, he added.

The residents threatened that if the trust did not redress the grievance they would be forced to intensify the agitation.



SBP staff to go on strike on Sept 10
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Employees of the State Bank of Patiala will observe a strike on September 10 against the “rigid” attitude of the Management.

On a call given by the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation, the bank employees in city branches held a demonstration here today.

The federation said the management’s attitude was “rigid and uncompromising” on the issue of compassionate appointments to dependents of the deceased employees. Despite assuring of a “positive” approach, the management has backed out, the employees said.

They alleged that the bank had taken unilateral decisions in the introduction of cross-selling of some schemes, which was a change in the service conditions of employees and against the spirit of the Bipartite settlement.

The federation also expressed concern over the shortage of clerical and subordinate staff in the bank.



Owners of immigration firm booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
A major immigration racket flourishing in the region has been detected.

The Division No 5 police has booked Harjinder Singh and Harjit Kaur, owners of Santoshi Consultancy, here along with two company managers Eesa and Puja. The case has been registered on the complaint filed by Davinder Singh of Sudhar village. As many as 23 youths of the district were duped by the immigration consultancy.

It reportedly took lakhs of rupees from them on the pretext of sending them abroad.



Copper wire worth Rs 40,000 stolen
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 8
The Sidhwanbet police has registered a case under Section 379 against unidentified persons for steeling copper wire.

According to sources the Assistant Engineer of Sidhwanbet subdivision complained to the police that some persons had stolen copper wire from the 63 KV transformer, valued at Rs 40,000.

The police has started investigations but no arrest has been made so far.

In another incident, the local police has registered a case on the statement of Jagdev Singh of Dasmesh Nagar Agwar Khawaja Baju, Jagraon, under Sections 457 and 380 IPC against some persons having stolen 10 quintals of soap from their factory during the night.



Cluster approach to benefit textile industry
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
After Mohali it is now the textile industry in Ludhiana that will benefit from the cluster model approach. Post-sanctioning of Rs 50 crore for the purpose, the textile industry is fast gearing up to form the cluster.

Recently, a meeting of the apex committee formed for allocation of funds, was conducted at New Delhi in this regard.

“The formation of cluster, by providing support services under one roof, will give cost and time benefits to the textile industry. It would help industry emerge competitive as expert services would be available,” said Mr Rakesh B. Mittal, chairman, CII, North.

Ludhiana was selected as one of the 19 clusters for development of infrastructure by the Ministry of Commerce. In consultation with the Federation of Knitwear, Textile and Allied Industries Association (FEKTAA), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, under the Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme, sanctioned a multi-utility complex (MUC) project so as to form a textile cluster here.

The multi-utility complex will provide a single-window support services required by the value chain of the Ludhiana textile cluster. These services would include an R&D centre, an information centre, a training centre, a design centre and an exhibition centre.

“The project would help the cluster by providing it easy access to information in a focused and customised manner. While the common R&D centre would help save units on costs on capital, operations and maintenance, training would enhance technical knowledge base of workers and their skills, resulting in increased productivity and reduced costs,” said Mr Vinod Thapar, president, Knitwear Club.

The design centre would provide information on international fashion trends and forecast apart from exploring product diversification possibilities for the raw material available in the Ludhiana cluster. The proposed exhibition and business centre, that would be used to organise the buyer-seller meets, trade fairs, exhibitions and fashion shows, could become a hub to attract importers, buying houses and domestic buyers.

As the complex would be professionally managed, it would being in professional efficiencies contributing towards overall improvement in performance for product diversification, he said.

Apart from providing benefits of expert services, formation of ‘clusters’ would help industry present its concerns in a collective and comprehensive manner. It would also have a multiplier effect as it would facilitate generating more resources from the available schemes, Mr Mittal said.

While the industry would be required to invest 15 per cent of the project cost, 10 per cent would be contributed by a financial institution and the remaining 75 per cent shall be borne by the government. As soon as the funds were released, for which meetings were on, work would begin and the textile industry here would soon have world-class infrastructure, said Mr Thapar.



PNB computers develop snag
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Customers of Punjab National Bank have been facing problems in getting payments. They claim that the computer network interlinking various banks and branches has been out of order since Monday and the bank has not taken any measures so far.

However, bank officials maintained that the system had not collapsed but slowed down only. The officials claimed that the payments were being made to the customers but these had been delayed only as there was some problem in the network. They said the system would be in order by tonight.

Some customers also staged a demonstration in Industrial Area to press upon the bank management to make corrective measures at the earliest. Most of the branches in Ludhiana are computerised and interlinked.



Biz brief

Ludhiana: A marketing campaign, “Faber Chappar Pad Ke Jeeto”, was launched here today. Faber-India has earmarked a budget of Rs 10 crore for this four-month campaign, said Mr K. Hira, senior vice-president, while addressing a press conference. TNS


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