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Regional potpourri


Potable water: About 3000 residents of Lakhanpal and Dhani villages of Jalandhar district will get potable water shortly under a Rs 57 lakh rural water supply scheme, envisaged exclusively for the two villages. This was stated by Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Punjab Revenue Minister, who was addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone of the Rs 3 lakh panchayat ghar at Lakhanpal village on Saturday.

: Mr K.S Sandhu, past District Governor of District 321-F, was the keynote speaker at a seminar organised by the three regions of Lions Clubs International in Kharar on Tuesday. He spoke about the role of public relations and service-oriented organisations. He exhorted the club members to work more for the welfare of people and to generate awareness about service projects among the people sincerely.

Lok Suvidha Camp: People of about 16 villages of this district on Friday expressed their grievances at fourth Lok Suvidha Camp organised at Samao village of Bhikhi block of this district. Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner, presided over the camp. The grievances of people were resolved at the spot. Mr Chaudhary said that at the three earlier camps, about 624 driving licences were prepared and medical check up of about 631 people was carried out. He said that 5,000 persons had been de-addicted at the local drug de-addiction centre till date. More such type of camps would be organised in future.

Saplings planted: More than 50 saplings were planned by the Lions Club at Sailli road on Saturday. Mr Ashok Sharma, MLA and Chairman PTDC, inaugurated the vanamahotsava ceremony. Mr Baljit Singh, project chairman of the vanamahotsava and pollution check-up camp said more than 200 vehicles were checked at a pollution camp organised here at JK Complex on Saturday.



ROTRACT CLUB: In a programme sponsored by the Rotary Club of Chandigarh Midtown, Parul Sharma on Saturday took over as the first president of the Rotract Club Dev Samaj College, Sector 45. The Principal of Dev Samaj College, Sector 45, Dr Shashi Jain, who was made an honorary member of the club, expressed gratitude to the Rotary Club for forming this 60-member all-girl Rotract Club. Mr R. K. Goyal, president of the Rotary Club, assured full financial and advisory assistance to the club.


Police action sought
: The panchayat of Nathuwas village has urged the Superintendent of Police to arrest the accused of a dowry death. The panchayat members along with Ratan Singh, father of the deceased, met the SP and said that Ratan Singh had married his daughter Urmila to Jangpal of Badal village about seven years ago. He alleged that the in-laws murdered his daughter by hanging her for not fulfilling their dowry demand.

Sacked manager held: A police party raided the house of the accused, involved in a private insurance company embezzelment case, in Meerut and arrested him. The accused identified as Umesh was working in PCL company as branch manager here and defrauded the bank of Rs 53 lakh. Judicial Magistrate Sanjay Sandhir sent him in police remand for three days.

Arrested on murder charge: The Ganaur police on Sunday claimed to have arrested a man, Dholak from Uttar Pradesh in connection with the alleged murder of Subhash, an employee of the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC), at Ahirpur Majra village in this district. Subhash was allegedly shot dead by two masked men when he was asleep on the roof of his house at the village a few days ago.

Demonstration by farmers: Representatives of various farmers organisations will hold a demonstration on August 30 in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in support of the demands of Mr Ravinder, a panch of Jatheri village, who has been on fast for the past 38 days. Mr Ravinder had started fast to press for the acceptance of his demand for the dismissal of the sarpanch from the post.


Regional potpourri
Here hangs a tale of return from the gallows

Babu Singh Sidhu
Babu Singh Sidhu

How would you describe being acquitted after being convicted and sentenced to death for seven murders? Nothing short of a miracle. An act of divine intervention.

No wonder then that for convict Ram Sewak, his Muktsar-based advocate Babu Singh Sidhu is almost like God. Someone who defended this labourer free of cost and brought him back from the gallows.

What is more interesting is that all aspects of this case, except one, remained the same. The same witnesses, the same judge and the same court that had earlier convicted him. Only this time, the advocate was different. And that made all the difference between life and death.

On October 17, 2001, six members of a family were murdered in Burj Sindhwan village of Punjab. Before being killed, two of the women were also raped. The police suspected Ram Sewak, an acquaintance of the family. Due to paucity of money, Sewak was not able to engage a lawyer and was thus convicted for the crime by the Fast Track Court, Faridkot.

The case was then sent to the Punjab and Haryana High Court for confirmation of the death sentence. There, a state counsel pointed out that the man had not been prosecuted for rape (under Section 376, IPC). Hence, on March 5, 2005 the case was sent back to the Fast Track Court, which had by then shifted to Muktsar, for re-examination.

Keeping the seriousness of the case in mind, the legal aid cell wanted a senior lawyer to defend the accused. Sidhu was asked to contest the case without charging any fee. Initially, he was hesitant to defend a ‘murderer’. But after Sidhu met Ram Sewak and went through the facts of the case, he changed his mind.

He asked for the re-summoning of witnesses. During fresh cross-examination, he convinced the court that one man could not possibly rape two women and then murder seven persons with sharp-edged weapons. The convicted man was absolved of all charges by Judge Hardyal Singh, who was the one to earlier convict Sewak in the case.

Gift of gurbani

Gursewak Singh, an NRI settled in the USA, has been distributing religious literature as well as CDs of gurbani free of cost in all gurdwaras of Punjab and Haryana. He has got thousands of CDs of gurbani made. Each ‘shabad’ has been explained in ‘katha’ form in these discs. He has also been providing the gurdwaras with a DVD player to operate the CDs.

This work is being carried out by a team of dedicated workers like Hari Singh Chamak.

Earlier, he had provided ‘birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib free of cost to various gurdwaras in Haryana.

For foreigners, he gets CDs made in English, explaining gurbani in their language.

Contributed by Naveen S. Garewal, Sarbjit Dhaliwal and Kanchan Vasdev

Parking slight sparks Professor’s fight

Prof R.L. Aggarwal
Prof R.L. Aggarwal

The next time you come across parking slips mentioning the fee amount at any railway station, you would do well to remember that this is the result of the efforts of a retired professor. He fought for almost eight years to get this rule implemented so that parking lot contractors do not overcharge innocent commuters.

To him goes the credit for the recently implemented rule, that has also made it mandatory for the contractors to shoulder responsibility in case of a theft or loss of a vehicle.

Prof R.L. Aggarwal, who retired from S.C.D. Government College from Boys, Ludhiana, kept knocking at various doors to force the railway authorities to make contractors put up signboards and issue parking slips mentioning the fee amount in print.

In his petition, he had urged the consumer forum to ensure that the parking contractors mentioned the fee on the slips, on a signboard and were held responsible for any theft or loss of a vehicle.

As part of this initiative, which started in February 1998, Prof Aggarwal went to each forum, including the District, State and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, twice before the rule was finally implemented in August this year.

“I was surprised that I had to knock at the doors of all redressal forums, up to the national level. Even when the national forum gave a decision in my favour and directed the district forum to implement it, the latter refused to do so. I had to go through the whole chain again,” he recalls.

It was in February, 1998, that Prof Aggarwal had to suffer humiliation at the hands of a contractor in Ludhiana. This made him take up the fight for the rights of countless innocent people like him.

Though he spent around Rs 50,000 to get justice, he was only paid Rs 19,000 by the railway authorities for deficiency in service. “At times, my wife used to get skeptical about the outcome of my struggle, but I never gave up. My perseverance has paid off,” he says with a victorious air.


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