L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Scared of migrants, Dal Khalsa to launch statewide stir
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 1
The Dal Khalsa has resolved to launch a statewide agitation against the influx of migrants in Punjab. The party announced this here today. Hundreds of activists took to the streets here today to protest against what they termed as a ‘population bomb.’ The protesters urged the government to evolve a migration policy.

Displaying placards and banners the demonstrators tried to alarm migrants living in the interior of the city.

Dal Khalsa working president Harcharanjit Singh Dhami said the influx of migrant labour has had serious socio-economic-cultural ramifications on the society. Initially, cheap labour might have been a privilege, but now it had become a headache.

“We have waited for long for the influx to end, but the migration graph has spiralled out of control. Now the people are getting impatient to tackle the menace,” he stressed.

Asked as to what measures the Dal would suggest to the government, he said the government must promulgate an Act fixing the upper limit of the percentage of jobs for non-Punjabis in all enterprises in the state, whether in the private or public sector. It should further enact another law to bar outsiders from purchasing immovable property in the state. Steps should be taken to regulate and monitor the influx of labourers. There must be registration offices for migrants at all bus stands and railway stations. Similarly, the health department must introduce quarantine measures. Slum areas should be cleared, he added.

He said nobody could deny that migration of labourers reflected the demand for manpower. “However, no state in the country permits unchecked influx of migrants. It is imperative to legislate no-settlement laws applicable to migrants. No schemes should ever be promoted to settle migrants in Punjab and Chandigarh. Let the Central Government settle them in their home towns,” he added.

“We have been accused of exaggerating the situation. It is being said that if Sikhs go to other countries for better opportunities, why deny migrants the same right,” he said. Stressing that parallels could not be drawn between both situations, he said all such questions would be answered in our white paper.

Another leader, Mr Kanwarpal Singh, said more than 22 lakh migrants were working in the state while 15 lakh Punjabis were unemployed. The influx was managed by certain forces that aimed to reduce the Sikhs to a minority in their own state. The sudden rise of Hindi newspapers was an indicator to the trend.

Shinder Pal Singh, organising secretary of the outfit, and Sarbjit Singh Ghuman, said migrants were earning Rs 3,000 crore per annum and remitting two-thirds to their native places. A recent study by PAU revealed that more than 78 per cent labourers had expressed their desire to settle in the state and this figure was just 11 per cent of that in 1983-84.

Dr Daljit Singh said another disturbing trend was the use of tobacco among the rural folks, especially youngsters. “Sikh youth have taken to smoking and chewing tobacco after it made its entry with the arrival of migrants. Instead of adopting our culture, the migrants have polluted ours,” he added.



Reservations on march
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 1
There is resentment over the Dal Khalsa’s campaign against the influx of migrants into Punjab. A cross section of people today warned that such a campaign could vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the state. Moreover, they pointed out, the migrants, who are mostly the labourers have made substantial contribution towards the progress of Punjab.

Some leading industrialists in the city hoped that the campaign does not evoke much response from the public. At the same time they urged the government to adopt a cautious approach towards the issue lest it should boomerang into some major problem. Even the common people do not appear to be in agreement with the Dal Khalsa and related organisations in their campaign against the migrants.

A leading industrialist of the city pointed out, most of the industry and agriculture is run by the skilled and unskilled labourers. Moreover almost each and every household in Ludhiana has one or more domestic servants who are migrants. Any hostile signal to the migrants will lead to labour crisis in the state in general and the city in particular and the collapse of industry. He pointed out, while the migrants may be in need of the jobs, but the industry is also equally in need of the labour.

Some labour unions have also expressed surprise over the move of the Dal Khalsa. Mr Lal Chand Rao, president of the All India Mazdoor Ekta Party regretted that such voices were being raised against the labourers who had no other purpose in the state other than earning their livelihood. He maintained that not even one per cent of migrant labourers settle down here.

They only come here to work leaving their families in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa.He said, it would be too unfortunate to attribute any motives, like changing of demographic profile of the state, to them.

A leading lawyer of the city pointed out, it was a strange paradox that while certain Punjabis take pride in achievements of Punjabis abroad and at home but express hostile thoughts for some of them migrant labourers. He said, such chauvinistic and sectarian demands should be discouraged.



Hooked on drugs, Gagan took to crime
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 1
Gagandeep is well built, tall, handsome youth with an MBA degree. Son of a government school teacher, he joined a gang of robbers led by Gurjinder Singh of Gill village near here.

He was nabbed with Gill and their two accomplices Rajinder Singh and Avtar Singh by the Moga police four days ago.

The city police brought them here on production remand yesterday. The police was suspecting their role in some key robbery and snatching incidents here.

Gagandeep Singh said he was hooked on to opium and drugs as a student. He had done MBA from Lala Lajpat Rai Management Institute, Dhudike four years ago. His teacher father refused to give in to his daily demands for money.

He started as opium carrier before coming in contact with Gurjinder Singh. He tried several jobs, but his craving for drugs sucked him into crime.



Man killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 1
An employee of the Food Corporation of India, posted at Sahnewal, died after he was hit by a bus at Arti Chowk here today. Surinder Kumar was driving his scooter when he was hit by a PRTC bus. He died on the spot. Baldev Singh, driver of the bus, has been arrested.

He has been booked for causing death by rash driving.

The body remained lying in the middle of the road for quite some time leading to a traffic jam.



60 SAD(A) activists join Badal camp
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 1
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) former national president of the youth wing, Mr Balwinder Singh Bains, along with a large number of his supporters, joined the Akali Dal (Badal) in the presence of SAD-(B) general secretary, Mr Sukhbir Badal, here last evening.

Mr Bains claimed that at least 60 functionaries of the SAD (Amritsar) had said good bye to the party led by Mr Mann. Among those were two city councillors — Mr Simarjit Singh Bains and Ms Sunita Rani.

Mr Bains had successfully contested the recent elections to the SGPC against the SAD (B) candidate.

He has been a critic of the SGPC president, Bibi Jagir Kaur.

Even as the development was a foregone conclusion in the wake of a series of meetings between the functionaries of the two Akali Dal groups during the past few days, the issue was precipitated when Mr Mann dissolved the youth wing of the party a couple of days ago.

Mr Bains said that his election to the SGPC and opposition to Bibi Jagir Kaur should not be viewed as such big issues.

Meanwhile, the Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes wing of the SAD (Amritsar) has hailed Mr Bains’ joining the SAD (Badal).

In a statement here today, the national president of the wing, Mr Kirpal Singh Bhola, claimed that a majority of the party office-bearers would be joining the SAD (Badal) in the next couple of days. 



City getting dirtier
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, November 1
This ever-expanding industrial city is getting dirtier with each passing day largely due to the negligence of the local Municipal Corporation as well as citizens. Visit any commercial area, Chaura Bazar or Ghumar Mandi in the Civil Lines, you will find passersby and shoppers urinating along walls in the absence of proper urinals in the areas. The historic Ghanta Ghar has not been spared.

The corporation had built a fountain at the front of the Bhadaur House market to beautify the area. But the fountain has been out of order since long and it is being used as an open urinal by the auto-drivers and rickshaw-pullers.

The place emits stench all the time. The Bhadaur House Market Association has urged the corporation a number of times to dismantle the fountain so that the place could be converted into a clean and open space, but nothing has been done so far in this regard.

Other areas of the city, such as the old bus stand near the Laxmi cinema and the railway station, emit foul smell because of open urinals everywhere. Even if urinals exist at some places these are not put to use by the public as these are not properly cleaned.

In addition to this, the city is plagued by hundreds of open garbage disposal sites which are haunted by junk-pickers all the time.

It was about a couple of years ago that the corporation built some garbage dumps along the Ferozepur Road and covered these from three sides with huge hoardings which will conceal the garbage from public eye and lend a beautiful look to the city.

But these garbage dumps are not being put to use anymore. Garbage is being thrown in the open again making it easier for the junk-pickers to scatter the garbage.

It is reliably learnt that hundreds of safai workers of the corporation only come to collect their salaries at the end of the month.



Birmi distributes housing grants
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 1
The Punjab government will provide five marla plots/house to 2000 SC families during the current financial year at a cost of Rs 5 crore. This was stated by Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary for Jails Development after distributing housing grants worth Rs 4.50 lakh among 28 houseless families.

During the current year an amount of Rs 12 crore has been allocated to provide 80 lakh text-books to 14 lakh students belonging to SC families.

Mr Birmi also claimed that by improving the financial condition the state has been put on the track of fast integrated development, and a sum of Rs 1500 crores were being spent through Infrastructure Development Board to undertake various development projects, including construction of link roads, railway over-bridges, strengthening of major roads and construction of hospital and school buildings in the state.

Among others who were present on this occasion included Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu, president, MC, Sahnewal, Mr Kuldeep Singh Hara, president, Tempu Union, Sahnewal, Mr Sher Singh, president, Truck Union, Sahnewal, and Mr Jarnail Singh, sarpanch, Pawa Khagat. 



Crusader against illiteracy
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 1
After winning many awards in western countries, Dr Jaswant Singh is determined to work for the education of the rural section in Punjab. He, along with his associates, has launched a crusade against illiteracy and ignorance through the Anant Education and Rural Development Foundation. He was also determined to get the Punjab Public Library Act passed by the state government.

Though various organisations in England, the USA and Canada honoured him for his work, he yet to be recognised in his home state.

The inauguration of the first phase of multicrore projects will be done by the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, on Wednesday. He will also inaugurate Mobile Library Service for a cluster of villages including Jurahan (native village of Dr Jaswant Singh), Ranguwal, Jand, Phallewal, Kalakh and Dhulkot.

The project will be started with one bus covering all 138 blocks in the state. The estimated budget for first five years amounts to Rs 80 lakh which would be met by the contributions of members of the Anant Memorial Charitable Trust, Jurahan in Ludhiana district. The first phase of the project is dedicated to the Guru Nanak Dev Birth anniversary, claimed organisers of the library.

Commenting on the state of awareness in the rural area, Dr Jaswant Singh said it was unfortunate that the successive governments had ignored the concept of libraries and emphasised more the need of casinos.

Though Dr Jaswant had been imparting education in Panjabi University, Patiala, he left the job as the authorities did not confirmed his job and gave appointment on a contract basis.

He had also tried to get the Punjab Public Library Act enacted by the state government but with no avail. He said, “Had the state government passed the Act, the state could have contributed much more in the central pool of the civil services as the availability of books would have inculcated reading habit among children”. He also recounted the efforts made by Dr Amarjit Singh, former DPI, and Mr N.S. Rattan former civil servant.

Besides being the proud winner of the Elizabeth Siddall Award from the Michigan Education Association in recognition of his work as an educator in the USA, he had been recipient of the United Nations Award, the Loy Lasalle Award (by the United Nations Association) and many more prestigious awards.

To educate children about the library service, to promote literacy rates in schools, to provide a model for the local government, to generate “grassroot” support for public library and the immediate enactment of the Punjab Public Libraries Bill are the motives behind the launching of the project.



Cobblers left out of PDS net

Machhiwara, November 1
State governments and the Centre have ordered surveys for listing people living below the poverty line. But officials are adopting strange specifications to recognize such people and the whole system seem to be ridiculing at these reports.

A glimpse on the survey conducted by the Suburban Development Agency (SUDA) and the Nagar Panchayat here in 2002, reveals that cobblers are not considered among the poverty- stricken people.

Due to the negligence of surveyors, many poor people have been deprived of the facility of getting wheat at the concessional rates from ration depots. Earlier these poor families were being supplied 35 kg wheat per family per month at the rate of Rs 4.35 per kg. OC



Long queues on last day of filing returns 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 1
It was one of the busiest days at income tax offices with assessees turning up in huge numbers on the last date for filing returns. Long queues at the counters in income tax offices at Rishi Nagar and Tagore Nagar could be witnessed.

While the department accepted returns even on Saturday and Sunday, which are otherwise days off, the last day, too, went busy. Today, income tax returns were being accepted till 6 pm.

“Queues would have been even longer had they not decided to accept returns on Saturday and Sunday,” said Mr R.K.Mehta, a chartered accountant.



Negligence of passport office
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, November 1
Yet another case highlighting negligence on the part of the Regional Passport Office, Chandigarh, has come to light. Mr Harinder Singh, a resident of Lakhowal Kalan, near Machhiwara, received the passport of Mr Harcharanbir Singh, a resident of Piruwala village in Yamunanagar district of Haryana, yesterday.

Mr Harinder Singh has applied for the renewal of his passport five months ago. The postman delivered him a letter bearing his address, but when he opened the envelope he found that it contained the passport of somebody else.

Now he has appealed to the Regional Passport Authority, Chandigarh, to send him his passport that might have been sent to some other person.



Businessman accuses bank manager of fraud
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, November 1
The Kotwali police yesterday registered a case of alleged fraud under Sections 406, 420, 465 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sanjiv Goel, a resident of Sarabha Nagar, against B.B. Aggarwal, senior officer, Overseas Bank, Clock Tower branch, P.S. Antal, general manager of the same bank branch, and one Heera Lal.

Mr Goel had stated in his complaint that Heera Lal was his partner in a firm named Sanjiv Woollen Mill. Both of them had obtained a loan from the bank after depositing firm’s property documents with the bank.

Heera Lal opted out of the partnership in 1993. After that, he paid the bank loan in 1996-97. But the accused bank officials did not return the property documents allegedly in league with Heera Lal. No arrest has been made so far in this connection.

Cases of assault: On the statement of Mr Ashok Kumar, a resident of street number 3 of Sukhdev Nagar, the Division No. 6 police on Sunday registered a case under Sections 323, 325, 452, 427, 379, 148 and 149 of the IPC against Harsimran Singh, alias Sony, a resident of Bajra village, and about six other unidentified persons accompanying him.

The complainant had stated that the accused came to his shop in Transport Nagar in a Tata-407 vehicle on Friday evening. They forcibly entered the shop and beat him up and also damaged his shop goods before going away, he alleged. No arrest has been made so far.

The Focal Point police registered a case under Sections 452, 323, 341, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kewal Chand, a resident of HE block of Jamalpur Colony, against Satpal, Raju, Goldy and about four other persons.

The complainant had stated that the accused forced their way into his shop in Ranjot Nagar at Sherpur Kalan on Sunday and beat him up.

He was injured and had to be admitted to the Civil Hospital, added the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.

Gamblers held: The Salem Tabri police on Sunday arrested Moti Shah, Rangilla Shah, Mattu Shah and Sukhdev Shah, all migrants from Bihar living at Kasabad village, and booked them under the Gambling Act.

The police said this morning that the accused were gambling at a public place and that a sum of Rs 555, along with a pack of playing cards, was seized from their possession. The accused were later released on bail, added the police.

Two held: The Koom Kalan police on Sunday arrested Buta Singh and Chanan Singh, residents of Mangli Tanda village, and booked them under the Excise Act for drinking in a shop.

The police said some liquor, a jug and two glasses, were seized from the shop of Buta Singh.

Man dies in mishap:
A cyclist was killed in a road accident near Bija village on Monday afternoon. According to information, a Tempo was going to Jalandhar carrying dead body of a military official. When it reached near Bija village, it hit a cyclist who died on the spot.

The deceased was identified as Shingara Singh, son of Karam Singh, a resident of Gobindpur village. The body of the deceased was sent to the Civil Hospital, Khanna, for a post-mortem examination.


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