L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC accused of selective demolitions
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 7
With only a few hours left for the local Municipal Corporation to present the action taken report in the High Court against the alleged encroachers, residents today accused the civic body of ‘‘selective action’’ claiming that it ‘‘spared the rich and influential’’ and demolished the structures of the poor.

The MC officials did not take action against any defaulters as no demolitions took place in the city today even as the officials remained busy throughout the day to prepare a detailed report. The case comes up for hearing in the High Court tomorrow.

Residents of Sadar Bazar and Jawahar Nagar said that the MC demolition squads camped in the area for three days consecutively and they were forced to live under shadow of fear. They confessed that they had encroached upon the public land but at the same time said that there were many influential and rich persons who had encroached upon huge piece of land worth lakhs of rupees.

‘‘Why are we not treated as equals to them? If they have to take up anti-encroachment drive they should remove the structures of wealthy people also who were declared defaulters in the list of encroachments submitted to the High Court.’’ said a resident.

The list of encroachments submitted by the MC has names of many big fishes. These include some colleges, religious places and some industrialists. The civic body had allegedly tailored some town planning rules to accommodate these influential encroachers.

The residents alleged that the first target of the MC’s demolition drive were poor people who had erected shanties near the GT Road. The Demolition squad of the MC had, on the first day of drive razed many jhuggis.

Later, it decided to take action against the shopkeepers and residents of the Sadar Bazar and Jawahar Nagar area but it could succeed in removing very few structures only. Massive protests by the residents stalled the drive totally. Then the civic body asked the defaulters to remove the structures themselves. The squad , however, did not go to any other part of the city although the list mentions illegal structures in all parts.

The anti-encroachment drive had taken the city by storm following the direction of the HC to the MC to submit a report on the action taken against as many as 6,000 encroachers, whose list was submitted by the local civic body two years ago.

While the civic body had already shown that it had removed 3,000 encroachments and only 6,000 needed action, the identified encroachers were issued notices a week ago.

The MC had to face a lot of political pressure from all corners also. Sources said that out of 6,000 illegal structures it was not able to remove 1,000 on the ground.



DGP assures early arrest of accused railway staff
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 7
Mr SC Jain, the Director General of Police Railways, Punjab today asserted that those railway employees accused of assaulting three scribes here on April 4 would be arrested at the earliest. He said, the railway police had already conducted some raids at several places.

Talking to a group of reporters who had gone to meet him at the Circuit House here today, Mr Jain pointed out, the police was already on the job. He said, the very fact that the police had incorporated section 307 of the IPC in the FIR showed that it was serious about the case. He said, the guilty would not be let off at any cost.

Mr Jain said, it was just a matter of time when the absconding employees would be arrested. “How long can they evade the arrest?”, he asked, adding they would ultimately have to give in. Nobody can escape the law and everybody would be brought to justice.

The DGP said that there was no pressure from anyone to relax pressure on the absconding employees. He said, even the Railway Employees Union had not said anything on the issue nor had it approached anyone. He sought to allay any apprehensions that the Government Railway Police had any soft corner for the railway employees. “Sometimes there is confrontation between the railway employees and the GRP men also, moreover railway police is committed to safeguarding the law and order”, he clarified.

He said, although the police had registered a case against the injured scribes also, but the police was already seized of the matter. It would not allow honest investigations be hampered at any stage for any reason.

Members of the delegation included chairman of the Electronic Media Association, Ludhiana, Mr Sumit Kaushal, legal adviser Rajesh Inderpal, president, Mr Yogesh Kapoor and president of the Chandigarh Punjab Union of Journalists, Mr Karan Kapoor.

Mr Jain also summoned the SHO GRP police station, Mr Ajit Singh Virk and asked from him the progress in the investigation. Mr Jain said, he was satisfied with the job being done by the local police and hoped the accused would be arrested soon. The journalists expressed satisfaction over the meeting with the DGP and said they were optimistic about the early arrest of the accused.



With harvesting near, migrant labourers most
sought after

Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 7
Even as the formal harvesting of wheat is to start from the second week of April, a section of farmers from Punjab has started visiting this town, particularly its railway station, to engage migrant labourers for the work.

As landowners and cultivators have been keeping themselves away from most of the agricultural operations, they have left with no option but to arrange for migratory labourers for adequate days to harvest the crop on time.

Mr Boota Singh, a farmer from the Makhoo area of Ferozepore district, said: “I have been sitting on this railway station for the past four days just to arrange about 16 labourers to carry out the harvesting in my fields. However, most of the labourers, who have been descending here, have already been engaged by other farmers”.

Mr Nachhattar Singh, a farmer from Bathinda, who has been camping at the railway station for the past two days, said most of the labourers who had been coming from Bihar and other parts of the country were going to those farmers with whom they had worked in the past. He said he was looking for those labourers who had come to Punjab for the first time.

A round of the local railway station which has become a centre for the labourers, revealed that the labourers were in high demand as hundreds of farmers from Punjab and some parts of Haryana had been visiting this place daily.

Information revealed that lakhs of labourers would be coming to Punjab and Haryana in these two weeks to carry out the harvesting.

Every day, major railway stations of Punjab and Haryana have been receiving a large number of labourers.

The farmers pointed out that they had been trying to arrange for the labourers as the weather had been playing havoc with the standing crops over the past few years and they had been suffering huge losses on this account.

Apart from it, economically also, it was cheaper to employ the labourers as they charged less.

The farmers pointed out that most of them would carry out the harvesting of wheat by using combine harvesters and only small and marginal farmers would opt for manual harvesting.

Mr Kattar Singh, a farmer from the Malwa region, said most of the Punjabi labourers had been taking 1.2 quintal of wheat for harvesting per acre apart from the daily wages.

He said these labourers used to work in the fields at their whim as whenever they would get a work with higher wages, they would leave the farmers in the lurch. 



DC’s directions on solid waste management
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 7
Deputy Commissioner, Anurag Verma today directed Executive Officers (EOs) of all municipal committees to ensure the proper management of solid waste in the cities and towns of the district on a priority basis and arrange for land-fill sites.

These directions were given by the Deputy Commissioner while presiding over a meeting of the officers of the local bodies here today.

The EOs were told to implement the programme of door-to-door collection of solid waste at least in one ward of each city on an experimental basis and later extend the programme in the whole city or town. They were also asked to make arrangements for the proper segregation of solid waste by removing plastic articles.

The Deputy Commissioner expressed concern over the delay in procuring five acres required for solid waste management by some municipal councils including those Sahnewal, Malaoud, Samrala, Payal and mullanpur and directed the EOs concerned take steps in this regard.

He also asked the SDMs to monitor the implementation of the programme and involve NGOs and educational organisations to create awareness among in this connection.

Officers of the Pollution Control Board were asked to ensure the implementation of the orders of the Supreme Court on waste management.

Ms Sarojini Sharda, Deputy Director, Local Bodies, said the programme had been started in Khanna city, where 50 rehries had been purchased and put in service to collect the waste from houses.



Woman officer, clerk booked for forgery
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 7
A lady education officer and a clerk have allegedly committed forgery, fabrication and criminal breach of trust and have been booked by the police for the same.

According to the information, Manjit Kaur, Block Primary Education officer, Pakhowal, and Gurcharan Singh, clerk, allegedly forged and fabricated documents and made withdrawals of Rs 24,11,000 from the GPF accounts of Jagtar Singh, Jaswant Singh, Ajit Singh teacher, and other employees.

The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471 IPC on the complaint of Mr Major Singh Sandhu, Deputy Education Officer, Ludhiana. 



‘Killer’s’ father stabbed to death
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 7
A resident of Koomkalan allegedly murdered a man of nearby Hawaas village today afternoon to avenge the murder of his brother, who was killed 15 days ago. According to KoomKalan police sources, Teja Singh stabbed to death Charanjit Singh whose son had allegedly killed his brother Ranjodh Singh. A love affair was stated to be the reason behind the murder of Ranjodh.

The sources said Teja Singh stabbed the victim several times near Mangli Tandaan village. A case has been registered.



Bank takes over defaulters’ properties
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 7
Canara Bank took possession of the properties of M/s B.L. Khosla Hosiery and M/s Mangat Mills due to default in the repayments of loans. Bank officials informed that parties were given 60 day’s notices in June and September respectively.

However, as there was no action, under Securitisation Act the bank took physical possession of the properties mortgaged in their names. The properties were locked, said bank officials. They said the entire process was carried out with the assistance of M/s GATS Financial Reconstructions Limited.



Passing Thru

Navin Kaul
Mr Navin Kaul, Chief Operating Officer, Spice Telecom. 

Punjab is second only to Delhi in mobile phone penetration. What do you attribute the trend to?

Mobile phone density is increasing on account of two main factors. One, reducing costs and the other, high per capita income. Increased competition in this industry has made mobile phones affordable for all. Not just the services, even prices of handsets have witnessed a major decline. And high disposable income with the residents of the state is also contributing towards increasing the density.

However, I believe there still is a long way to go.

You mean a large market still remains untapped? Yes, there still is a huge potential. Within 5-7 years, the industry would witness major changes as costs would come down. In fact, in three years time, no distinction would remain between urban and rural markets for mobile phones as companies are expanding their networks and focussing on all areas.

Value added services like latest ringtones and gaming are the latest fads. How important are these for mobile companies?

Value added services are major revenue generators. While initially it was only SMS that was extremely popular, now an increasing number of customers are going in for other services as well.

— Shveta Pathak



Badal clarifies about ‘meeting’ Hanspal
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 7
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), president and former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal today said that too much was being read out in the “meeting” between him and the President of the Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr HS Hanspal. He said, it was an “incidental” meeting as both he and Mr Hanspal happened to be at a single place at the same time.

Talking to the reporters here today, Mr Badal ridiculed the observation being made in certain quarters that he was seeking a rapprochement with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh in order to make him withdraw or go slow about the corruption cases against him. He said, “my stand is clear and I do not need any underhand means to defend myself”.

Referring to “meeting” with Mr Hanspal, he said, he had gone to see his US-based friend, Mr Darshan Singh Dhaliwal. Mr Dhaliwal is the brother of the SAD MLA from Samana Mr Surjeet Singh Rakhra. He said, when he went to Mr Dhaliwal, Mr Hanspal was already there. “We exchanged courtesies only and did not talk politics”, Mr Badal sought to clarify.

The SAD chief directed his ire against the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh accusing him of “corrupti5on and favouritism”. He said, while the issue of sell out of liquor trade in the state was still fresh in the memory of the people, the Chief Minister has come out with the “reward” to Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, by allowing him to operate his flying academy from the Patiala airport.

Mr Badal alleged, Mr Birmi was being “rewarded” for his loyalty to the Chief Minister. He pointed out, during the rebellion by the Congress MLAs against the Chief Minister in late 2003, Mr Birmi was the person who betrayed his colleagues and sought peace with the CM. “And now he has been suitably rewarded for his loyalty”, Mr Badal observed.

The former Chief Minister demanded that both the cases, Birmi’s and the liquor auction “must be investigated” by the CBI. However, he regretted, “nobody was there to listen to us and the Chief Minister was going scott free”. “With no check on his activities, the Chief Minister was running the state as his personal kingdom, leaving hardly any scope for dissent”, Mr Badal said, while adding that this was proving detrimental to the progress and development in the state.



Ramoowalia still day dreaming of third front
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 7
The Lok Bhalai Party president, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, today reiterated his optimism about the formation of the third front in Punjab excluding both the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and the Bharatiya Janata Party alliance.

He also nominated Mr Avtar Singh Mullanpuri as the acting president of the party.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Ramoowalia claimed that he was in regular touch with the leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal), Shiromani Akali Dal (1920), the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

He said, the five-party front, including his own, would provide the much-needed third option to the people of Punjab as they were fed up with both the Congress as well as the SAD-BJP combine.

The LBP leader questioned the claims of the Congress projecting the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, as having got the Indian detinues in Pakistani jails released. He claimed that a lot of efforts had already been put in prior to the visit of the Punjab Chief Minister, particularly by the Communist leaders like Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet and Mr A.B. Bardhan.

“Capt Amarinder Singh was undeservingly taking the credit for their release,” he claimed.

Mr Ramoowalia said his party would continue with his campaign against the “wrongful and unjust collection” of toll tax at Doraha.

He added that his party would not rest until it ensured that the toll barrier was either removed or the toll rates were rationalised.

He said that he was taking up the matter with the Union Government also.



Residents come together for cleanliness drive
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 7
It was a unique sight to see hundreds of residents join in to clean the Brindavan road, Civil Lines, here today. It was part of a drive inspired by Lifebuoy’s motto of “Duniya wahi badlenge jinhe apni suraksha ka koi darr nahin”. The drive was inaugurated by the ADC, Mr Ajmer Singh, who also participated in the initiative .

The drive was organised on the occasion of World Health Day. Residents of 31 cities in five states were mobilised to participate in the cleaning of one landmark street in each of these cities.

This effort will be sent as an entry for the 2006 edition of the Limca Book of Records. Ten schools in 31 cities were contacted under this drive and students were educated about health and hygiene.

Mr Ashok Venkatramani, vice-president (Skin Care), said the residents and schoolchildren had participated wholeheartedly in the cleanliness drive.



Kartar Singh kabaddi association sr vice-chief
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 7
Arjuna awardee Kartar Singh, Director, Sports Punjab, has been unanimously elected senior vice-president of the Punjab Kabaddi Association (PKA). According to Mr G.S. Malhi, honorary general secretary, PKA, Mr Kartar Singh was elected during the general body meeting of the association held at Guru Nanak Stadium here recently.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Kartar Singh assured that kabaddi would be given top priority. He said that the rules of the kabaddi (circle) which were discussed during a meeting of the representatives of India and Pakistan at the time of Indo-Pak Games at Patiala would be published shortly.

He further said that they had received an invitation to send two teams of circle kabaddi for the World Master Games to be held at Edmonton (Canada) from July 22 to 31.It was also decided to hold the next meeting of the PKA at Golf Club, PAP Jalandhar on May 1 under the chairmanship of Mr Balbir Singh, ex-MP and President, PKA.

Meanwhile, trials to select the Indian teams would be conducted here at Guru Nanak Stadium on May 5 and 6. Aspirants have been asked to report at the venue at 8 am.


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