L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Residents pelt MC squad with stones
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
For the third consecutive day, the demolition drive of the local municipal corporation following directions by the high court, failed in face of stiff opposition by the alleged encroachers.

The demolition squad led by ATP Tejpreet Singh had to return from Hargobind Marg after residents pelted the team with stones. In the process, the windscreen of the ATP’s vehicle was broken. The team had to return without carrying out the demolition.

Around a dozen encroachments, mostly outer walls of some houses, were razed to the ground by the demolition squad led by STP Balkar Singh Brar in the Jawahar Nagar area. The team, however, did not remove toilets constructed on the streets. Mr Brar asked the residents to demolish the structures themselves by tomorrow evening.

Two demolition squads were dispatched to clear the encroachments in the Jawahar Nagar area and Hargobind Marg today. Mr Brar’s team reached the Bharat Nagar chowk area in the morning and following protests by the residents, he asked them to remove all the structures that were covering 10 feet and 9 inches area on the streets.

Later, the squad reached the Jawahar Nagar area where it camped till evening and only a dozen structures were demolished. Mr Brar, however, claimed to mediapersons that 550 illegal structures were cleared.

Mr Tejpreet Singh’s team had to face stiff opposition on Hargobind Marg. Angry residents started throwing stones at them. The JCB machine, a heavy police force and the ATP had to return. Nobody was injured.

The area was witnessing activity since morning when some MC employees had asked the residents to demolish the structures themselves. Incensed at the direction, the residents had called up the Parliamentary Secretary and MLA, Mr Surinder Dawer, who reached the spot immediately. He assured the residents that nobody would touch their constructions. The MC team had not reached the area by that time and he returned after the assurance. Hagobind Marg falls under Mr Dawer’s Assembly constituency.

The residents said their houses were constructed at least 25-30 years ago. The civic body did not say anything to them all these years but suddenly had woken up from its slumber, they said, adding that they were paying house tax to the MC for the portion which was being termed as encroachment.

Meanwhile, a communique by the MC in the evening claimed that it had served notices on the encroachers and some of them had removed the unauthorised construction. It claimed that the MC was also demolishing the constructions.



Doctor found violating MTP Act, notice to be
issued today

Mahesh Sharma

Raikot, April 5
A doctor allegedly advised medical termination of pregnancy to a woman after performing sex determination with an ultrasound machine installed illegally at his clinic. On receiving a complaint, the SMO, Sudhar, conducted an inquiry and reportedly “sealed” the machine.

The doctor would be issued a show-cause notice tomorrow, sources in the civil administration confirmed.

The state consumer forum had earlier ordered the doctor to pay Rs 4.50 lakh to the family of a woman who had allegedly died due to his negligence four years ago.

A rights activist and president of the Mullanpur Mandi Welfare Association, Mr Rakesh Gupta had complained to Dr I.S. Bagga, SMO, Civil Hospital, Sudhar, that a doctor had illegally performed sex determination test and advised the MTP to a woman of Mullanpur.

While the woman and her husband were going to Barnala on February 8, she developed some complication and a passerby asked them to take the advise of Dr Ramesh Jain at his clinic, Lajawanti Hospital, situated on the Barnala road. When the doctor came to know that she was pregnant, he advised the couple that they should confirm the sex of the foetus.

The couple was made to understand that it was not illegal to know the sex of the second pregnancy. After doing an ultrasound scan, the doctor told them that the foetus was female. They had on argument on the issue of payment, as the doctor had demanded Rs 3,000 as fee.

He had offered to do the MTP also at a cost of Rs 8,000. The complainant said on receiving the complaint, Dr Bagga raided the clinic of the doctor.

Dr Bagga was not available for comments.

Referring to the information received from the SMO, Mr Prem Chand, SDM, Raikot, said the equipment at Lajawanti Hospital had been sealed and the doctor would be issued a show-cause notice tomorrow.

Sources said the consumer forum had earlier ordered Dr Jain to pay Rs 4.50 lakh to the family of Narinder Kaur, a resident of Jhordan village, who had allegedly died due to his negligence. A case was registered against Dr Jain after a post-mortem examination of Narinder Kaur.

The doctor was sentenced to one-and-a-half-year of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000 was imposed on him. 



After flood, traffic chaos haunts Gill residents
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
The water-level of the flooded pond in Gill village has receded but it has washed away a stretch of road on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road. Traffic snarls and minor accidents have become the order of the day on the road even as villagers demand that it should be re-carpeted. The traffic gets blocked in the early hours everyday and the situation worsens as the day progresses. Scooterists keep falling in potholes.

In the morning yesterday, serpentine queues of heavy vehicles were seen on the road after a truck had got stuck in the slush. It was after the help from the villagers, that the traffic was cleared.

The villagers said vehicles slow down near the craters as it is very difficult to cross the damaged stretch of the road at normal speed. This leads to congestion as the road is busy.

They said children were the worst sufferers because their buses and autorickshaws would get stuck in the jam every morning and they had to pay fine to the school authorities for reaching late.

“It becomes very difficult for us. We cannot reach offices and our respective destinations in time. Moreover, the vehicles keep blowing horns and emit poisonous smoke throughout the day. This has made our life a hell. If something is not done soon, we will have to resort to agitation,” said a villager.

The commuters have started taking alternative route from Bulara village. The villagers of Bulara also claim that their ring road would be damaged very soon due to the plying of heavy vehicles so frequently. They said even Bulara village was facing traffic problems now and they had to keep their children confined to houses fearing accidents.

Mr Sahil Sood, owner of a marriage palace situated on the road, said they had given a representation to PWD officials to repair the road and they had promised that the re-carpeting would be done by March-end. He said though the deadline had passed, work on the road was yet to start.

He said the problem of floods was going to be persistent because the villagers were discharging more water in sewers after an overhead water tank was constructed in the village.



2 held in taxi driver’s murder case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
The city police today arrested two of the four accused charged with the murder of a taxi driver in Bathinda on April 1. They had allegedly killed him with a sharpedged weapon after hiring his taxi and were in the process of selling the vehicle in Ludhiana when they were caught by the local police.

The accused have been identified as Naib Singh and Mangat Ram while the third person and the alleged gang leader Gurmeet Singh managed to flee. They told the police that Vicky had promised them Rs 1000 each for the job after selling the car.

DSP, Sarabha Nagar, Ravcharan Singh Brar claimed in a press conference in the evening that the police in fact had information about the stolen vehicle but stumbled upon the murder of the taxi driver, Jaswinder Singh, when blood stains were found in it.

He said when the car was signalled to stop by the Sarabha Nagar police team at a police naka, the three travelling in it ran out, of whom the police was able to catch two.

DSP Brar said the Bathinda police informed them late that four persons had hired the car. The identity of the fourth is not known so far.



Assault on scribes condemned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
While the manhandling of three journalists by some booking clerks at the reservation counter of the Ludhiana Railway Station has been widely condemned, some of the accused are taking shelter in the name of unionism. Instead of apologising for their conduct, the employees are trying to defend themselves. Unfortunately, the union is also trying to protect them.

Meanwhile, the journalists’ fraternity today held a meeting at the Circuit House. They condemned the incident and demanded the arrest of the culprits against whom a case had already been registered. They urged the railway authorities to suspend the erring officials who had resorted to murderous assault on the journalists.

They alleged that scores of complaints had been pouring in against the malpractices going on at the reservation counter. 



Passing Thru

Rakesh Bharti Mittal
Mr Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Northern Region

How would CII’s office in Ludhiana help industry?

The CII office in Ludhiana, which is the second in the state after Amritsar, would not only provide a platform to voice industry’s concerns, it would also work in close cooperation with the state government and district administration.

While CII talked about 8 per cent growth in GDP last year, what kind of growth do you think is achievable for this region?

The region has a high potential for growth. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that a double digit growth is possible in this region. However, measures like agri-sector reforms, streamlining of state finances, development of infrastructure and focus on education, healthcare and overall social development are imperative to achieve the same.

What is the scope of cluster development programmes in Ludhiana?

Our experience with cluster development programmes in Mohali and Gurgaon has been very encouraging and we think it would work well in Ludhiana also. In fact, a lot of clusters like sewing machine, light engineering goods, hosiery and bicycles can be developed here. In a meeting with the industrialists, the idea was discussed and they were quite open to it.

And what is your stand on the implementation of VAT?

We welcome VAT and assure full support to the government in its implementation. In fact, even the states that have not implemented it would be forced to introduce VAT, given it’s benefits. Introducing VAT is a first step towards moving forward.

— Shveta Pathak



Notice issued to circus manager
Cruelty to animals alleged
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Following an alleged violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, by Amar Circus, which is camping in the city, the Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, today issued a notice to its manager for restraining sick animals from performing and providing veterinary care to them immediately.

The Deputy Director also summoned the record pertaining to the registration for performance of animals with the Animal Welfare Board of India, appointment of a permanent veterinarian by the circus and the treatment and death records of animals as per the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001.

The manager has been asked to produce the record in the office of the Deputy Director tomorrow. The notice has further asked the manager to get the opacity of eyes of the hippopotamus treated by a veterinarian or a wildlife expert. The Deputy Director said keeping ox without FMD and HS vaccination was also in violation of rules.

The action follows an inspection conducted by a joint team of veterinary officers and activists of the People for Animals, who had in their report claimed that many animals performing in the circus were suffering from problems and needed immediate attention.

The team had claimed that three dogs had deformities of limbs due to malnutrition and lack of exercise. A corrective treatment was advised for them and the Deputy Director has asked the circus company not to use them for performance. Similar orders have been issued for a mare who was reported with deformities of all the limbs. The two white crested cockatoos were also detected with skin infection.

The experts had also claimed that the hippopotamus was suffering from cataract and in all probability, was not able to see clearly. The joint team had submitted the report with the Deputy Director who took the action today.

The report also mentioned that the general cleanliness of animal shelters was not upto the mark as polythenes and stones were scattered everywhere. There was also record of the treatment given to the animals. No first aid kit was present.



Vehicular traffic suspended for hours
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Vehicular traffic remained suspended near Shastri Nagar for a couple of hours early today as the bar of the level crossing got stuck. The guard alleged that the bar was stuck as some youth forcibly tried to lift it up after it had been brought down in anticipation of a train.

It happened early in the morning. The bar got stuck and it could not be lifted in the routine manner. With the result the traffic was stuck for a couple of hours, much to the problems of the people travelling in their private vehicles. As the traffic remained held up for about two hours.

There was nobody to divert the traffic in advance. It was with lot of efforts that the bar could be lifted. But it could not be brought down. Later the railway officials used a chain to stop traffic for the passage of the trains. 



Mazdoor sabha flays UPA policies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Mr Madala Narain Swami, national president of the All-India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS), while accusing the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre of economically ruining the farmers for its WTO, World Bank and IMF friendly policies, said the sabha would launch a struggle to tackle the issues.

He was addressing a press conference after the conclusion of two-day meeting of the central executive committee of the AIKMS. He said the sabha had been focusing on the issues like suicides by farmers, facilitation of multinational companies to get a control over all agricultural activity in India by the Central Government through its policies and failure of the UPA government to enact comprehensive legislation for agricultural labourers. He alleged the CPI and the CPM, which claimed that they were protectors of the interests of poor peasantry, had been supporting the policies of the UPA.

The farmer leader, who once remained as Member of Parliament, said the AIKMS would hold a national conference in Jalandhar on September 9 to September 11 to evolve strategies to fight anti-farmer forces. He said delegates of the sabha belonging to 11 states of the country would participate in the conference.

He said the main motive of the conference would be to discuss the issue relating to the fact that on the one hand, the peasantry was facing economic crises on the other hand, the Indian ruling classes had been intensifying their attack on them on the diktats of the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF. Suicides by farmers all over the country and starvation deaths were manifestation of the deep crises being faced by the peasantry, he added.

Debt was rendering many farmers landless, he said. The unemployment was on the rise and wages of the labourers were being reduced. With the passing of the Patent Bill, the UPA government had given monopolistic control over the seeds to multinational companies and that too under the diktats from the WTO.



Residents face power cuts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Summers might take some time to come to full swing, but power cuts for even more than three hours per day have already begun. Electricity board officials attribute these cuts to a sharp rise in demand and say the situation in near future depends on the mercy of rain gods.

The daily consumption this year has already crossed the highest consumption that was recorded last year. Against the highest per day consumption of 823.92 lakh units last year the demand this time has already exceeded 939.12 lakh units, say officials.

To meet the situation, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has started imposing scheduled cuts for one-hour every day on 24-hour rural lines, for both three wire and four wire lines.

While officials say no cuts are being imposed in cities like Patiala, Amritsar and Bathinda, power cuts of 45 minutes have been scheduled for industrial feeders in Ludhiana, Khanna, parts of Jalandhar and Amritsar.

A PSEB official disclosed that the board was purchasing more power this year in comparison to last year. 



Peace march to halt at Khanna
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 5
A peace march that is being taken out from Delhi to Multan under the leadership of the Magsassey Award winner, Mr Sandeep Pandey, in order to promote amity and friendship between India and Pakistan will halt at Khanna for interaction and cultural exchange with peace marchers.

Principal K.K. Sharma, secretary of the Indo-Pak Friendship Forum, said in a press note here today that the nationals of Japan, Pakistan and Denmark were participating in the peace march. He said the forum, in association with local organisations including Municipal Council, A.S. High School Trust and Management Society, A.S. College Alumni association, I.P.T.A, Supan Saaz Khanna, Senior Citizens Council Khanna, Arhtia Association, and Cattle Feed Manufacturers Association, was organising a function to welcome the peace marchers at Ashoka Green Marriage Palace on April 6. He said a noted Punjabi poet Jagtar Patar would attend the function.



Widening road or digging grave
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 5
The widening of G.T. Road from Mullanpur towards Jagraon side and the digging of one side of the road from Mullanpur for the said purpose is proving dangerous for the vehicles resulting in frequent accidents or slips.

The work, which started about three months ago, continues at a slow pace and about 4-km-long side cutting and digging of earth to pave way for a metal road is being done.

The heavy vehicular traffic on Ludhiana Ferozepur G.T. Road is well known to everyone.

The digged feet-deep work still awaits the attention of the contractor, government machinery and to compound matters and the work has been put to a stop causing great inconvenience. Incidentally, the road edge does not show any indication signs resulting in the accidents.

People of the area are demanding an immediate completion of the work to safeguard precious lives.



Pensioners sore with Centre
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
Central Government employees and pensioners across the country are sore with the Union Government for not setting up the new pay commission. Interestingly, the economy is in a better shape as per the economic survey presented to Parliament in February this year stated a press note of the Government Pensioners’ Association.

In view of ever-increasing prices, inflationary trends and various other factors, the revision of pay structure and pensionary benefits have become inevitable. Most of the state government’s, too, follow the Central pattern in respect of pay structure and other benefits for their respective employees.

The 5th Central Pay Commission had also recommended the next revision after a span of 10 years which is now, due from January , 2006. The UPA government should, therefore, set up the Sixth Central Pay Commission without further delay.

A memorandum on this subject has been sent to the Prime Minister.



Pensioners’ rally in Chandigarh today
Our Correspondent

Samrala, April 5
As the Punjab Government has been dilly-dallying on the acceptance of the genuine demands of the Punjab Government pensioners since a long time pensioners from different departments have decided to stage a protest rally at Bridge Market in Chandigarh on April 6. After this, thousands of pensioners will proceed towards the Punjab Assembly to gherao it.

In a press statement, Mr Prem Sagar Sharma president, Punjab State Pensioners’ Maha Sangh, said they had been forced to take the step as all other means had failed to get their demands accepted.



Brahmin Sabha holds meeting
Our Correspondent

Samrala, April 5
An emergency meeting of the executive committee of the Brahmin Sabha, Samrala, was held at local Durga mandir under the presidentship of Mr Behari Lal Saddi. More than 25 members participated.

Mr T.K. Sharman, general secretary, announced the agenda of the meeting. Heated discussions took place about holding of the election meeting on April 10.

Mr Prem Sagar Sharma, Kulwant Rai Sharma, Mr Pawan Kaushal, Mr Sudesh Sharma, Mr Surinder Vashishst, Mr N.K. Sharma, Mr Maheshawar Dutt Atre, Mr Jatinder Nath, Dr K.K. Bhagi, Munshi Amar Chand, Mr Nitya Nand Vashisht, Mr Surinder Joshi, Mr Om Parkash, Mr Bachnram and Mr Amarjit Sharma were among others who expressed their views.

Keeping in view the celebrations of Shri Parsuram Jayanti, the election of April 10 was cancelled. Mr J.N. Tiwari gave the details of income and expenditure which was passed by voice vote.



3 thieves caught in police dragnet
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 5
The Khanna police has arrested three thieves and recovered several stolen items from their possession. The SSP, Khanna, Mr Pramod Ban said here today that SHO,City, Wajir Singh, under the supervision of Mr Rajeshwar Singh Sidhu, DSP, Khanna, had arrested these thieves at a special naka.

The SSP said a police party led by SHO Wajir Singh had arrested three thieves from Lalheri road today noon when they were on the way to sell stolen items. The police has recovered two TV sets, three CD players, two fans, two mobile phones, one camera, and many items of grocery from their possession.

The thieves were identified as Gurpreet Singh Soni, son of Balwir Singh, resident of Bazigar Basti, Samrala road, Khanna, Arvind Kumar, son of Muhasib, resident of Satona village, UP, and Vijay Kumar, son of Ram Bahor, resident of Bimi, Sultanpur, UP.

The police said many cases have been registered against the accused at the city police station. 



One-week strike by scrap dealers against VAT
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Iron scrap dealers will observe a week-long strike in protest against implementation of value added tax (VAT) from tomorrow onwards. Satish Gupta, president, Ludhiana Scrap Dealers’ Association, said in a press note that as a result of implementation of VAT, scrap buyers and sellers were forcing dealers to pay tax.

According to dealers, this is posing problems for them as they are already working on low profit margins.

Mr Gupta said in protest against this, scrap dealers would observe one-week strike from Wednesday onwards. “No buying and selling would take place during this period,” he said.

The association conducted a meeting to discuss the issue last evening. The meeting was attended by Ashu Jain, Lalit Singla, Sanjay Gupta, Bhupinder Singh, Sourav Gupta and Deepak Jain among others.


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