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Bid to grab public land worth Rs 100 crore
Revenue officials’ involvement alleged
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 10
A piece of 8 acres of land worth Rs 100 crore in Bhaura village, originally belonging to Public Works Department (PWD), is being allegedly grabbed by some private persons in connivance with some officials of the Revenue Department as the land has been mutated in the name of a tenant in violation of rules.

Till a fortnight ago, as many as 7 kanals of land, worth Rs 10 crore in Bhaura village, falling within the limits of the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, was a pond. Some private persons filled in the earth and raised the plinth level of the pond. Foundations of the structure were laid when villagers complained to the authorities. A team of the MC demolished the structure late last evening.

The villagers of Bhaura alleged that Mr Viren Sahni, son of a former sarpanch of the village, was selling the land at the rate of Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 per square yard. They further alleged that the connivance of the officials of the Revenue Department could not be ruled out. Vindicating their stand, they said that the land belonged to the PWD as was mentioned in the revenue records earlier, and Mr Narinder Nath Sahni, former sarpanch of the village was a tenant. When and how the land was mutated in his name in violation of rules was an indicator that some officials were definitely involved in the scam.

They claimed that the pond existed at the spot till a fortnight ago. They said that their claims could be corroborated by testing the sample of the soil taken from the second layer of earth which would proved that there was a pond.

“A team can visit any time and get the soil samples tested from Punjab Agricultural University,’’ said Mr Gurmej Singh and Mr Darshan Singh, both villagers, who had been moving from pillar to post for the last two weeks to get the scam unearthed.

They demanded that a commission should be constituted to look into the entire scam. Only then the truth would come out.

Producing a copy of the jamabandi of 1963-64, in which Khasra number 27 was shown to be ‘Abaadi deh’ of Bhaura village, the villagers said that not only 7 kanals of land but 8 acres of land was also being usurped slowly and gradually. They added that the accused had started construction on 7 kanals.

Supporting the villagers, Ms Kashmir Kaur, area councillor, said that it was actually a village pond earlier and now a bid to usurp the public land was being made. She urged the authorities to look into the matter and public land worth Rs 100 crore be saved from going into private hands.

The villagers also urged the authorities to look into the market near the GT Road, claiming that the shops were also constructed on the PWD land. ‘‘If the government constitutes a commission to look into the Rs 100 crore scam, many skeletons are going to come out of the closet, ’’ claimed the villagers.

They also demanded that a public park should be constructed at the place of the pond so that children and elderly of the village can play or spend their time in it. Besides, they said that the names of the officials of revenue records, who connived with the alleged grabbers, should be made public and action should be taken against them. 



A nostalgic get-together
Mahesh Sharma

Pakistani guests with their Indian relatives during their visit to a village near Mandi Ahmedgarh
Pakistani guests with their Indian relatives during their visit to a village near Mandi Ahmedgarh.

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 10
Muslims of the area had to reach nearby Dhano village, the most distant village of Malerkotla police station, where a group of Pakistani guests had arrived to visit their friends and relatives. These guests had arrived in India for the Mohali Cricket Test match.

Though allowed for a brief period these guests felt high at the hospitality of the Indians. They wished the series of cricket matches should continue forever.

Led by their family head, Mr Mukhtiar Ahmed Munnavar of Kenalia in Pakistan, Surayia Begum, Tahir Mahmood and Mohamad Arif were happy that the Indian authorities allowed them bring three-year-old Faisal Rehman, whose name had not been entered in the passport. Having a cricket bat and ball in his hand, he himself seemed to be interested in the game.

Mr Mukhtiar Ahmed was delighted over the decision of the two nations to liberalise the process for granting visas to cricket fan, as it was the first time in his 40 years that he could think of meeting his relatives. “Cricket was only an excuse for seeking visas. We were eager to meet our relatives”, admitted Mr Munnavar. At the same time, the residents of Chandigarh and Mohali treated them like VIPs.

Commenting on the otherwise complex system of granting visas Mr Munnawar said his mother Razia Begum had died four months ago without getting her desire to meet her blood relatives completed. She used to feel better for days together after having talked to her Indian relatives on the telephone.

The group member said: “We feel that India is many times advanced than our country and we wish that there should be no borderline between the two nations. The visa-giving authorities should be given to the Chief Minister of the Punjab, who has already proven to be friendly for Pakistanis”.



Contract killing: man paid Rs 30,000 to kill another
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 10
The Jagraon district police today claimed to have solved a case of contract killing by arresting the main accused and four of his accomplices in the murder case of Jarnail Singh of Chakkar village.

Jarnail Singh, a middle-aged man of Chakkar village was allegedly killed by Balbir Singh, alias Kala, a contract killer who had Rs 30,000 from the main accused, Parminder Singh, alias Goni, Goni had allegedly promised him Rs 1 lakh after the job was done. He is, however, yet to be paid this amount.

Jarnail Singh was shot dead on March 5. Goni was nurturing an enmity against Jarnail Singh and he finally decided to eliminate him. Finally a deal was struck between the two for Rs 1.3 lakh.

The police had arrested six persons in three different raids. These included Jasvir Singh, alias Seera, Baljinder Singh, alias Manjinder Singh, Darshan Singh, Parminder Singh, alias Goni, Balbir Singh, alias Beera, and Balbir Singh, alias Kala. Two countrymade pistols, four cartridges, another countrymade .315 pistol and two cartridges were recovered from them.

A case was already registered against some accused under Sections 302, 148, 149 the IPC on the statement of Jarnail’s wife. Search is on to nab another accomplice of Kala.

The police claimed that Kala was allegedly a professional contract killer. In 2000 he had killed Surjan Singh of Kadarwala police station in Dharamkot after taking Rs 1.5 lakh from his son Dyal Singh.

A case under Sections 302, 120-B, 414, 148, 149 of the IPC and Sections 25, 27, 54, 59 of the Arms Act was also registered against the two in this regard.



4 booked in double murder case
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 10
With the arrest of 10 accused, the police claims to have solved the mystery behind the blind murder of two persons of the focal point area, Mandi Gobindgarh, on the night of February 12. The bodies were found lying in a pool of blood, which bore wounds.

Mr D.S. Rana, DSP, Amloh and Mr Harbans Singh, SHO, Mandi Gobindgarh said on a tip-off the police held a naka at Ambey Mazra water channel (minor) today. The police noticed a car no. DL2C-0583 (fake number), which was signalled to stop. The police party nabbed the occupants of the car who were identified as Davinder Kumar, alias Vicky son of Raj Kumar, Mandi Gobindgarh, Dharmender Pal Singh Rinkoo son of Dharampal, and Daleep Kumar, alias Tidda, alias Nitta, son of Dharampal, a resident of Ambey Mazra. The car in which they were traveling belonged to Kuldeep Singh of Mandi Gobindgarh and its original number was PB 26 A 7618, which was stolen and the case was registered vide FIR number 48 on March 7.

According to police sources four persons were involved in the double murder case. The fourth accused Hemraj, a resident of Mandi Gobindgarh, was booked earlier in some other car theft case and is now in judicial lockup at district Jail Nabha. The accused run a dhaba at Mandi Gobindgarh near the truck stand. They told the police, that they had committed the crime with a view to becoming rich overnight and hatched a plan to dispose of a loaded truck parked at the truck stand.

The truck was loaded with scrap from Zee Steel Corporation near railway crossing, Rajkot (Rajasthan). The truck left for A.R. Alloys, Mandi Gobindgarh on February 5. Rahul Thada was the agent in this deal. The truck was parked at the truck stand on the day of incident. The accused lured the truck driver Jagdish Kumar to accompany them in a car and he was murdered with sharp-edged weapons and his dead body was thrown in a vacant plot at Focal Point, Mandi Gobindgarh.

Thereafter, the cleaner Mohan Lal accompanied them in the car and he too met the same fate and his dead body was also thrown there. The accused are said to have admitted that one-ton scrap from this truck was sold by them to a scrap dealer.



Passing Thru

Ustad Hidayat Khan
Ustad Hidayat Khan

Is our modern generation moving away from classical music?

The lovers of classical music are only increasing in numbers. However, we do realise that in order to attract young people, the presentation concept of classical music has to change. It needs to become more visual and faster so as to attract the younger generation to match their fast pace of life.

Have the changes occurred?

Globalisation has affected almost everything, even classical music. One cannot say it with precision whether the change is good or bad, but the change has taken place. The Indian classical music is growing as the singer or an instrumentalist is allowed to express his emotions, and can improvise, add ornamentation according to his mood and personality. It is not rigid. Unlike the western classical music which is suffering due to its rigid confines of symphonies written years ago by Mozart, Beethoven and others.

How much role do the audience play in motivating a performer?

Audience plays the major role. Though I am based in New Jersey, I enjoy performing in India as the Indian audience has indepth knowledge of classical music. Though music has no language and American audience too enjoys playing of my sitar, but Indian audience know of alaap, jhala, drut, lai etc and their applause are a clear depiction of their joy with music.

— Asha Ahuja



Cong leadership under fire from workers
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 10
In the run-up to the organisational elections from the grassroots level to the district unit of the Congress, the president of the District Congress Committee (Urban), Mr Jagmohan Sharma, had a tough time when his supporters engaged in fisticuffs with dissenting party functionaries at a meeting here on Monday in which a party observer Mr Harbhajan Singh was also present.

The meeting was convened to discuss the forthcoming elections and to assess the mood of workers before the process to elect new office-bearers was set in motion. As close supporters of Mr Sharma conducted hectic lobbying to create an impression that the reigning DCC President, nominated after the Assembly elections by the state leadership, enjoyed the support of the majority and was a formidable claimant to the post, activists of some other front organisations of the party raised objection to what they termed as ‘bullying’ tactics and sought to interact with the observer.

At one stage, some of the vocal opponents of the DCC President, including Mr Ravinder Syan of the Captain Brigade and a secretary of the PPCC, Mr Parminder Mehta, protested that the meeting was being conducted in a prejudicial manner and those against the style of working of Mr Sharma, were neither invited to the meeting nor allowed to speak.

Criticising the autocratic way of working of the district chief of the party, Mr Syan, along with some other party functionaries, held a news conference at his residence in which he charged Mr Sharma with ill-treating the party workers, who dared raise voice against him.

On the other hand, Mr Sharma maintained that contrary to the allegations levelled by Mr Syan, it was he who had tried to disturb the meeting and create a bad impression on the party observers.



Resident rues faulty printing of Rs 100 note
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 10
Ruing the bad printing of notes by the Reserve Bank of India, a local resident today said that he had received a Rs 100 note which looked like a duplicate note.

Mr Ravi Kumar, manager, Basant Resorts, said he had received the note from somebody in the market two days ago and was shocked to see that the imporant currency notes are also printed like this.

The Rs 100 note bearing number- 4UA 479943 was produced by Mr Ravi Kumar. He said he was surprised to see that the RBI treated notes like a pamphlet and printing was faulty.



Railway pensioners flay Budget
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 10
Railway pensioners are sore for there have been no concessions to pensioners and senior citizens in the Budget. Mr Sher Singh, president, North Railway Pensioners’ Association, said income tax exemption on the income up to Rs 1.5 lakh was already there and nothing more was added. Just a minimal increase of Rs 0.5 in bank interest rate was a joke played on senior citizens.

“Now we talk, live, and get education on the western pattern, but pensioners and senior citizens, who constitute about 14 per cent of the Indian population, are not getting any concession on the pattern of western countries,” said Mr Sher Singh.

The recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission, including the restoration of commuted pension after 12 years instead of 15 years and 1 per cent increase in pension for those who had put in more than 33 years of service, have not been heeded. There is also anomaly in family pension for pre-1996 retirees.

Since 1996, the medical allowance has been a paltry sum of Rs 100 per month. It should have been raised to Rs 300 per month in view of soaring prices of medicines and consultation fee etc.

There has been no increase in pension for persons of 65, 75 and 80 years of age as is allowed by the Punjab Government. Mr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, while in the Opposition, had advocated in the Rajya Sabha that the NDA government should accept all recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission, but now he being head of the government has turned a deaf ear to the demands of pensioners.

Senior citizens having no source of income must be given Rs 200 per month as old age pension, he said.



Doctors call for nuclear-free world 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 10
The Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) has called for complete abolition of nuclear weapons, end to arms trade, declaring South Asia as nuclear free zone and diversion of funds to provide healthcare to all.

This consensus emerged at the two-day 7th national conference of the IDPD held on March 5 and 6 at Hyderabad on the theme “peace and development through health.” The meeting was presided over by Dr L.S. Chawla, a city doctor and president of the organisation.

Inaugurating the session, Dr Ron McCoy, co-president of the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), urged the medical personnel to come forward to work for peace, which formed the basis of any developmental process, including health and education. “Peace is not just a political issue but more so a health issue as health has been found to be most seriously affected in the event of war and violence.

Giving this information here today, the IDPD general secretary, Dr Arun Mitra, said Dr McCoy and Dr Gunnar Westberg, another co-president of the body, explained in detail as to how the IPPNW had been working towards the objective of restoration of peace and an end to arms race. They said while on the one hand the IPPNW had been working to build public opinion against war and violence, it was also lobbying with the decision makers through a direct dialogue with them in different countries.

Dr Mahesh Pandey, vice-president of the South Asian Region of the IPPNW, expressed satisfaction at the improvement in the relations between India and Pakistan, saying even though it was a slow but a positive development for the whole region. But he remarked that the recent developments in Nepal, where all democratic institutions had been suppressed, were a matter of serious concern for the whole region as it could lead to further escalation of violence.

Dr L.S. Chawla, president of the IDPD, in his presidential address observed that the South Asian Region had become insecure after nuclear weapons tests by both India and Pakistan. He was, however, happy that during the visit to Karachi by a delegation of the IDPD in December last year at the invitation of the Pakistan Doctors for Peace and Development (PDPD), both the organisations had resolved to work in unison for elimination of the weapons and to declare South Asia a nuclear free zone.

Dr Mitra presented a report of the activities. The special session for students was attended by over 100 medical students from different medical colleges of the county. Ms Ankita Chaudhary, national students’ representative in the IDPD, presented the report of students activities.

Prof Kamal Nayan Kabra, a leading economist, Mr J. Sri Raman and noted journalist Praful Bidwai addressed the conference on political economy of war, prospects for global security and eradication of poverty and hunger, the essentials for peace. The conference unanimously elected a central council to run the affairs with Dr L.S. Chawla as president, Dr Arun Mitra as general secretary and Ms Ankita Chaudhary as national students’ representatives of the IDPD for another term.



Bus operators seek fare hike
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 10
The Ludhiana Mini Bus Owners Association has sought a hike in the bus fares in the wake of heavy losses being suffered by them on account of increase in the cost of bus chassis, body fabrication and diesel.

Presiding over a general body meeting of the association here yesterday, Mr Jasbinder Singh Grewal, emphasised upon the bus operators to strictly charge fares on each route as fixed by the government and lend cooperation in the ongoing campaign for checking of bus fares on different routes served by mini buses.

A large number of mini bus operators, serving various rural area routes, attended the meeting and discussed scores of problems being faced by them.

Mr Malkiat Singh, Mr Manjinder Singh, Mr Gursimrat Singh and Mr Kuljit Singh taking part in the deliberations demanded strict action against illegal plying of four-wheelers and three-wheelers outside the municipal limits, which were causing heavy loss to the bus operators. They pointed out that the matter had been brought to the notice of the district transport officials without any effect so far.

The bus operators decided to take a delegation to meet the Chief Minister and the state Transport Minister in the next few days to call for redress of their problems.



Tension grips Dhakki again
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 10
Tension gripped Maksoodra village once again when the two rival groups came in clash over the celebration of “Amavas” by the supporters of Darshan Singh at Dhakki, today.

The supporters of Baba Darshan Singh, who had gathered from all over the places including Dhuri, Sunam, Lehra, Bhawanigarh, Nabha and Amloh, formed a crowd of more than 200 people even as Section 144 of the CrPC has been implemented at the place. As the crowd gathered momentum, Guria Patti people raised a hue and cry , out of which most of them were the women folk of the village. As tension gripped the village, a battalion of commandos and women force had to be immediately deployed at the place to avoid any untoward incident.

The people of Guria Patti alleged that the Baba was celebrating “Amavas” in order to make a show of his supporters. They disapproved of the crowd gathered to celebrate the occasion. Even as the situation has been brought under control by the security personnel, the tension has not eased as yet.



Weapons used in murder recovered
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 10
The police has recovered a sum of Rs 3.5 lakh and the weapons used by a driver to allegedly kill his master. This has substantiated the claim of the police that the case had been solved within hours after the crime was reported.

Police sources said Dharam Pal Singh of Ghungrana, main suspect, was arrested at a naka.

The suspect told the police that he had hit his master Baljit Singh on his head with a metallic equipment while he was asleep and pierced his vital organs with a spear kept in the house.

After killing his master, he had taken away the money which Baljit Singh had got on account of the sale of his house. He had buried the cash near a hand pump at his house in Ghungrana village. 



Train dacoity accused held
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 10
The Khanna police has arrested the kingpin of the gang involved in a train dacoity here. A person was killed and two others were injured by seven armed robbers in a Jalandhar-Delhi bound super fast train on February 26. The robbers had looted cash and gold jewellery from six passengers.

The police had already arrested six persons in this regard, who had confessed to their involvement. However, another accused involved in the conspiracy was still absconding. The police produced the arrested accused, Krishn Mishra, in the court of Sub-Judge, Mr K.K. Goel, here today, who sent him to police custody till March 15.

Mr Pramod Ban, SSP, said that a police party led by CIA in charge Gurdeep Singh had arrested Krishn Mishra, a resident of Darbhanga in Bihar. He said that the accused had confessed to his involvement in the dacoity and told them that he remained in Ludhiana only for one day after committing the crime.

He disclosed that he went to his hometown the next day. Mr Ban said that the accused tried to escape when the police party reached his house but was arrested.


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