L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC to act against ‘rich and influential’ encroachers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Facing criticism for not acting against big encroachers in its demolition drive, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation is now concentrating on some alleged rich and influential defaulters, who had encroached upon public hand.

The anti-encroachment drive, launched by the local civic body following the orders of Punjab and Haryana High Court, invited criticism and protest from the ‘‘poor’’ encroachers who were alleging that the MC was “selective” in its action. They had been claiming that the civic body did not touch the “rich and influential” and concentrated on the structures of “poor” people only.

According to Mr Balkar Singh Brar, Senior Town Planner of the MC, the high court had, in its direction dated April 8, asked the civic body to nail the big fish as it was being alleged that it was only targeting the small encroachers.

Mr Brar said that the high court had also asked them to identify big encroachers and submit an action taken report against them till May 20. The case comes up for next hearing on the same day.

He added that they had identified 300 such defaulters and had already issued notices to them. Many of them had put objection with the MC and the process of taking final decision in this regard was going on. The final decision will be taken after scrutinising the record produced by the alleged encroachers, he said.

Mr Ashok Bajaj, Legal Adviser of the MC said that it was up to the civic body to decide the action to be taken against these defaulters. He added that it can either compound the encroachments or order the demolition if it found the faults glaring.

Out of the list of 6,000 encroachments submitted by the MC to High Court two years ago, the former has been able to identify only 300 encroachments that belong to rich and influential. Interestingly, none of them were targeted in the recent anti-encroachment drive. The officials were camping in Jawahar Nagar area only after clearing some encroachments on GT Road.

Officials said that following a final decision after going through the objection petitions filed by the alleged defaulters, the action will be taken according to the rules. They said that almost 40 per cent of alleged encroachers had already submitted their objections to the body and it was reconsidering their cases.

The MC has asked the Deputy Commissioner to provide heavy police security to the demolition squad so that they do not have to cow under pressure of alleged encroachers.

Following the direction of the high court the MC faces a big challenge in taking action against ‘rich and influential’ encroachers. In the past, it had been alleged that the civic body had regularised the encroachments of some influential businessman by amending the town planning schemes. At the same time it was taking action against small-time defaulters.



Parents blame daughter for suicide
Tribune News Service

Santosh Kumari
Santosh Kumari


Ludhiana, April 11
Just 48 hours after a woman killed her two children and then committed suicide in New Anand Puri colony, her relatives, including her parents, in-laws and husband, have blamed her for quarrels in the family and held her responsible for the death.

There was less sympathy for the deceased woman, Santosh. After performing the last rites of the three deceased, the relatives have stood in full support of accused Kavita (real sister of the deceased) and her husband Sajjan Kumar, who had been booked for abetting Santosh Kumari for suicide as per the suicide note.

Santosh and her younger sister Kavita, belonging to Behrai village in Jhajjar district of Haryana, were married to brothers Ashok Kumar and Sajjan Kumar seven years ago. Santosh had two children while Kavita gave birth to a boy six months ago.

The bodies of Santosh, her son Rahul and daughter Neha were found in a room on the first floor of the house on Saturday by Ashok Kumar. The police has detained Sajjan Kumar and started investigations by recording statements of the family members and neighbours.

“My wife was very quarrelsome. Her temper flared up at the slightest provocation and she used to turn violent” said her husband.

Raj Singh and Sunder Kala, father and mother of Santosh who reached here yesterday, also corroborated the statement.

“Santosh was short-tempered. He even used to beat up her siblings. Once she tied her younger brother upside down for not doing school work” they claimed.

Kavita, the co-accused and younger sister of the deceased said she was not responsible, “I and Santosh were doing shopping together on Saturday afternoon and then in the evening there was minor altercation about use of stereo. This wasn’t new for me. I went outside to a neighbour’s house and learnt later at night only that she had taken such a drastic step”

Ram Roop, father -in-law of the deceased, also held her guilty. He said they did not even know about the suicide note which was recovered from the kitchen by the police. 



Truckers resent harassment by police 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
The Punjab State Goods Transport Association today staged a demonstration to express its resentment against the alleged harassment suffered by them at the hands of the police and officials of the Sales Tax Department.

At a meeting held here today, the association decided to meet the Chief Minister, the Transport Minister and the Minister for Excise and Taxation of the state.

Association chairman Charan Singh Lohara said truck and tempo drivers were being harassed at will by officials. “We are not only made to pay heavy penalties but made to grease the palms of some corrupt officials,” he alleged.

“Truck drivers made an easy prey for the officials and everybody targeted them,” he alleged.

Mr Lohara said the pulling over of trucks by excise officials for physical verification of goods led to a lot of harassment as they were made to unload goods and then load these back on to the truck, costing a lot of time and labour.

It is not just the issue of undue penalties imposed on truckers but also the “money extorted” from them by the police and excise officials.

President of the association Bhupinder Singh Pandher said even PCR personnel who were not related to the traffic or transport department fleeced truckers.

“Anybody can stop you anywhere and find flimsy excuses to extort money,” he regretted, while seeking end to the harassment.

Besides, truckers had to pay toll tax at a number of points. General secretary of the association Sarbjit Singh said they had learnt that the government was planning to impose additional toll tax every 80 km. Facilities on roads across the state were negligible in front of the amount collected as toll tax from truckers, he said.

Truckers said they would submit memoranda to all Deputy Commissioners of the state, followed by meetings with higher-ups. In case no action was taken they would be forced to resort to agitation, they said.



Transporters give memorandum to DC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Protesting against alleged excesses at the hands of personnel in the Traffic Police and Transport Departments, tempo and truck operators’ unions today held a protest march here and submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner (DC), Mr Anurag Verma.

The associations, led by Mr Charan Singh Lohara, Chairman, Punjab State Goods Transports Association, Mr Bhupinder Singh Pandher, president of the association, Mr Tirlochan Singh and Mr Kirpal Singh Sandhu, apprised the DC of their problems.

They alleged that in the name of checking, personnel of the traffic police and other departments at times detained trucks even for entire night, causing undue harassment to transporters.

Members of the unions said after imposing huge penalties, personnel from these departments “insisted on their share to be given too”.

Mr Pandher and Mr Harbhajan Singh said getting fresh documents made had become a herculean task.

However, in other states this work was done very efficiently, as a result of which transporters were now preferring other states like Haryana and Rajasthan.

The unions said at octroi posts they were charged Rs 50 to Rs 200 extra than the due amount." That money goes into the pockets of the employees on duty at the posts,” the members said.

Mr Kirpal Singh Sandhu and Bhola Singh pointed out the excesses meted out to transporters by the PCR and other police personnel and said the situation needed to be improved.

Emphasising on the need to streamline things, Mr Lohara said the police should do highway patrolling within its authorised area only.

Mr Amarjit Singh, president of the All Tempo Union, and Mr Sadhu Singh, chairman of the union, said fire stations were far from the city and located in crowded areas which caused delay when they were required. They demanded that fire stations in Transport Nagar be made functional for the benefit of residents.

They demanded that it should be ensured that the musclemen of private contractors at octroi posts did not trouble transporters.

The operators also brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner their problems like non-availability of potable water.

The operators threatened to gherao the officials of the departments if no measures were taken to resolve their problems.



Midwife held performing abortion
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 11
The District Health authorities raided a private clinic in Sahnewal yesterday where midwife, Ms Gurpreet Kaur, was allegedly performing an abortion in violation of the provisions of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test Act 1994.

Civil Surgeon Dr Rajinder Kaur, said here today that a team comprising a District Family Welfare Officer, Dr Manorama Awasthy, Dr Sarjeewan Kapila and Dr S.S. Dhir, raided Preet Clinic at Railway Road, Sahnewal, and caught the midwife in the process of carrying out medical termination of pregnancy on a woman, Ms Bimla Rani, wife of Mr Bhupinder Kumar.

The midwife was arrested and the clinic was sealed, according to Dr Rajinder Kaur. The woman undergoing abortion was sent to the Civil Hospital for necessary follow-up treatment.



New therapy brings hope for cerebral palsy patients
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 11
Improved management and combination of several therapies might bring a new ray of hope for cerebral palsy patients, till now considered incurable, if the trials conducted by a New Delhi-based NGO — Udan for the disabled — are any indication.

The team of experts from the NGO, led by Dr A. Mukherji, conducted a workshop at the seminar hall of GGN Khalsa College here today and explained the therapy for cerebral palsy patients.

Explaining the “Udaan Multimode Early Medical Intervention Therapy for Cerebral Palsy and Multiple Handicapped Children”, they presented statistical data and video of many such children who had received the therapy with good results.

They said both therapists and parents of the patients needed to understand as to how the work could be largely carried out locally with available resources.

Dr Mukherji remarked that cerebral palsy was one of the outcomes of infantile brain damage at the muscle controlling areas, occurring before or during birth or within two years, with the result that the tone of muscles and the ability to control them voluntarily was impaired.

Additional impairments might include impaired mental ability, coordination, limb deformity, vision defects, hearing and speech impairment. Many children had a combination of these defects, depending on the severity, site and extent of the brain damage.

“Till now, the established medical opinion considers these brain damages to be virtually irreversible. However, extended experiments conducted by the NGO, recognised and aided by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, have shown that this may not necessarily be always true.”

“The pioneer methodology comprises the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for such children, as a supplement to intensive standard therapy of including paediatric physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and special education, all on a one-to-one basis for 8 months.”

The treatment was further supported, at a later stage, by acupuncture and Unani neuro-restorative therapy to enhance the learning and function recovery curve after partial recovery of damaged brain by hyperbaric oxygenation.

“We have so far treated more than 90 patients of this disease with statistically significant improvements, as compared to a matching control group of 20 children, given only standard therapy.”



Fellowship for Dr Walia
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Dr Ujagar Singh Walia, Sr Agronomist (Weed Control) from the Department of Agronomy, Punjab Agricultural University, has been selected as fellow of the Indian Society of Weed Science for 2004-05 for his contributions in the field of research, teaching and extension.

During national biennial conference of the Society held at PAU, Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, bestowed Dr Walia with the fellowship.



Passing Thru

D.R. Ahuja
Mr D.R. Ahuja, President, All India Senior Citizens Organisation

What do you think are the main problems faced by senior citizens in our country ?

A large number of senior citizens are aged and poor and unable to meet their basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and healthcare. No one is concerned about the welfare of the aged. They are left to fend for themselves.

Do you think the government is sincere to the problems faced by senior citizens?

The central government as well as state governments are indifferent to the problems, misery and agony of the senior citizens. The problem is becoming acute the breaking up of the joint family system. After marriage, sons feel that parents are encroaching on their privacy and they break away from the family. Elderly parents feel miserable and lonely, have to run their household often without adequate means.

What do you think, the government should do for senior citizens?

The government should build adequate number of Senior Citizens’ Homes in all cities of the country. Separate hospitals for paitents suffering from old-age diseases should be set up. Provision should be made in the National Health Policy to provide special wings for the aged in the hospitals.

— Anil Datt



Commission agents to meet Mandi Board chief today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Fruit and vegetable commission agents will meet the new Chairman of the Mandi Board, Mr Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria tomorrow at Chandigarh. “We would talk to him about our problems due to the decision of privatising collection of fee,” disclosed Mr Amarbir Singh, general secretary, Punjab State Fruit and Vegetable Commission Agents Association. Fruit and vegetable commission agents, he informed, would also meet on April 15 to draw up strategy on the issue.

Agents, who have been protesting on the issue for several months now, contend that the decision to fix a certain amount, which would be collected by a private contractor from the agents, would result in a major increase and the agents would not be able to afford it.

However, despite protests, privatisation has been done in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Samrala, Ferozepur, Pathankot and Bathinda, Mr Amarbir Singh informed.

However, in Ludhiana the auction for giving the contract to a private party was deferred after an agitation by the agents on March 28.

Agents allege that in Jalandhar, they are facing problems due to the private contractor who is imposing heavy penalties.

“We have been against the decision to privatise this collection of fee. Now that in several places the decision was implemented, agents are being harassed. In Jalandhar, penalties as high as 21 times the fee are being imposed,” alleged Mr Singh.

He said agents in Jalandhar would observe a bandh from April 15 onwards. “In fact we plan to intensify our agitation. Despite bandhs, we were paying revenues , which we plan to stop paying now in case of bandh,” he said.

He said the weekly revenue generated in Punjab was over Rs 20 crore. “If they decide not to pay heed to our demands, we would have to resort to stop paying the fee during bandhs,” he said.



Protest against gate on level crossing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Residents of several colonies and villages today protested against the installation of a gate on an unmanned level crossing on a 16 feet-wide road instead of 66 feet-wide stretch in Shaheed Karnail Singh Nagar here.

Raising slogans against officials of the district administration, the residents of Bhai Himmat Singh Nagar, Bhai Karnail Singh Nagar, Guru Nanak Colony, Baba Deep Singh Nagar, Bachittar Nagar, Ishar Nagar and adjacent villages staged a massive dharna in SKS Nagar.

Under the aegis of the Joint Action Committee, led by Mr Piara Singh Dhillon, the residents said some officials were allegedly sitting over the file pertaining to the issue as they wanted to help a private party.

They said they would oppose the installation of the gate on the 16-feet road and criticised the decision of railway officials to install a gate on the street.



Villagers camp along side canal for bodies
Our Correspondent

Uchcha Jattan (Khamano), April 11
An eerie silence prevails in this village as a large number of residents are camping in Ropar , Patiala and Sangrur districts along side the Bhakhra Canal in search of the bodies of the five missing family members of the village sarpanch Kesar Singh.

The missing members include his son Gurmeet Singh, daughter-in-law Surinder Kaur, daughter Simranjit Kaur (5) and sons Vipal (3) and Aash(2). No clue has been found about their whereabouts and now the villagers and relatives of the missing persons are camping at different sites downstream the canal where bodies of people drowned in the canal are usually recovered.

Majority of villagers reached Khanauri in Sangrur which is the last point from where the bodies can be recovered. The villagers are unable to believe five members may have committed suicide by jumping into the canal. Kesar Singh said his family had no enmity with anyone and Gurmeet was not facing any problems. He suspects some foul play in the whole incident.



Three held for planning dacoity
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 11
The police have arrested three persons from the Military Camping Ground on Sunday night. Two persons fled the spot.
According to the SHO City police station, the raid at Military Camping ground was made following a tip out of that some armed men are planning dacoity.

The police impounded a Maruti car and arrested three persons and recovered a .315 bore pistol and two cartridges from them. Two daggers were also recovered from them. The arrested were identified as Anil Kumar, son of Harbhjan resident of Tirlok Puri, Mandi Gobindgarh, Raman, son of Mohinder resident of Jethi Nagar Khanna and Mukesh Kumar, son of Pawan Kumar resident of Krishna Nagar Street No. 2, Khanna. All three accused were produced in a court here which remanded them in police custody till April 15.



4 booked for murder
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 11
Harisingh, Buta Singh, Narinder Singh and Bakhtawar Singh all of Dhalian village, assaulted Harbhajan Singh of their village with sharp-edged weapons.

The Raikot police has registered case under Sections 307, 323, 148, 149 of the IPC on the statement of Harbhajan Singh and referred him to DMC Ludhiana. Land dispute is said to have led to the attack.

Poppy husk seized: Bharpur Singh of Malak has been arrested from new grain market Jagraon and 51 kg of poppy husk was seized from his possession . A case under Section 15, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act, was registered.



Banks ‘making tall claims’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
In a mad pursuit of meeting their targets, some leading multinational banks do not mind making tall commitments which they later fail to meet or simply refuse to fulfil. One customer Mr Gurinder Grewal learnt it the hard way. However, had he not been a little alert, he could have been lured by the tall claims and regretted later. Ultimately he decided to get his loan, which had been sanctioned to him, cancelled.

Mr Grewal said that Standard Chartered Bank had sanctioned a loan to him. Later, he received a letter signed by the bank’s sales manager, Mr Sidarth Khanna, relaxing certain conditions, which the bank had earlier refused him. When he confirmed about the authenticity of the relaxing terms with Mr Khanna, the manager said, the bank did not offer any concession. When Mr Grewal referred to the letter, Mr Khanna denied that he had signed any such letter.

Mr Khanna had maintained that he had nothing to do with the letter, which was signed in his name under the bank letterhead. He claimed that it was forged.

Mr Grewal said, he got suspicious when he wanted Mr Khanna to give it in writing that the letter he (Mr Grewal) had received in his name was not signed by him (Mr Khanna) and the signatures were forged. Mr Grewal then contacted senior officials of the bank. He said that he had a valid reason to suspect the bank as the bank officials had themselves admitted that the signatures had been forged. “Tomorrow they can forge more documents and leave you in trouble”, he pointed out.

Later instead of getting it in writing that the letter was forged, he received a communication from one of the senior officials in the bank in Delhi that the bank had agreed to all terms and conditions mentioned in the letter, which the bank claimed and still claims, carried forged signatures only. He said, when he tried to confirm from the official that should he consider the earlier letter, which the bank maintains had forged signatures, as correct, he (the official) did not respond.

Mr Grewal said, he had also identified the two persons who had handed him the letter. But the bank had not taken any action against any of them for the reasons best known to the bank.


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