L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Vigilance lifts haze over fogging scam
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 16
The alleged fogging scam involving employees of the city Municipal Corporation has taken a serious turn with the Vigilance Bureau, Ludhiana, in its preliminary inquiry report, stating that a substantial chunk of fogging was being done on paper only.

In a report sent to the State Vigilance Bureau, the local Vigilance officials have sought of a regular inquiry into the alleged scam.

The report states that some MC employees were fudging the claims of fogging a given area with a mixture of petrol, diesel and marathon.

A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act, cheating and fraud could also be registered on the basis of the report.

The report implies that the accused were playing with the lives of city residents as the fogging is done to kill mosquitoes etc for prevention of diseases.

But as this was allegedly being done on paper only with the connivance of certain councillors, the city residents were suffering from diseases as dangerous as dengue every year.

The report comes as a shot in the arm for Mr Parvin Bansal, Councillor, BJP, and leader of the Opposition in the Municipal Corporation, who had exposed the alleged scam a week ago. He was, however, accused of making false allegations against the MC employees.

The Municipal Employees Union had even filed a complaint with the police seeking registration of a case against Mr Parvin Bansal.

The Division No 2 police was investigating the complaint against Mr Bansal.

A senior official of the Vigilance Bureau has revealed to Ludhiana Tribune that the accused were allegedly showing the work as done and misappropriating the funds for the purpose and were in all likelihood even selling the petrol and diesel.

The MC fogging team is required to take the verification signature of the area Councillor after each fogging operation.

However, on September 9, an alert Councillor, Mr Parvin Bansal, exposed the alleged scandal in which workers of the civic body sought fake certificate from him without ‘actually’ spraying the mixture of chemicals in his area.

The Councillor checked the tanks carrying medicine and found that only 15 to 20 per cent of chemicals were used and rest were intact. He raised an alarm and both employees left the place within a few seconds.

Mr Bansal called up the Vigilance Department. An on-the-spot inquiry was conducted by a DSP-rank official.

Mr Bansal said he had got complaints that funds allocated for buying insecticides were misappropriated by some MC employees in connivance with some officials.



Cycle parts exporters allege harassment
Revenue Intelligence cracks down on them
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 16
Cycle parts exporters today held a protest in front of the office of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) against the alleged harassment at the hands of the officials, whom they charged with forcing the exporting units to declare evasion of custom duty on their parts.

Mr Inderjit Singh, president, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, and Mr G. L. Pahwa, president, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, led the protest. They said during the past couple of days, several cycle parts exporters had been detained for interrogation by the DRI officials and were made to confess evasion of duty. This has caused widespread resentment and a sense of fear among the industrial community here, they added.

However, the DRI officials, said it had been officially stated that several cycle parts exporters here were indulging in a large-scale evasion of customs duty under “duty-free replenishment scheme”.

Explaining the modus operandi, the officials told Ludhiana Tribune that a number of exporting units were claiming duty-free import entitlement against such expensive raw material that was not “actually” used in the finished cycle parts exported by them.

Many of erring units had stated that they used cold rolled coils (CRC) as one of the inputs for manufacture of cycle parts meant for export whereas in fact they had used hot rolled coils (HRC), which was much cheaper, the officials said.

These units, through false information regarding the used such raw materials, had made duty-free imports equivalent to the value of the inputs, thereby evading a huge customs duty.

The officials revealed that an investigation in the cases of duty evasion in such a way was in progress and in its preliminary stage the department had recovered around Rs 1.25 crore of customs duty evasion claimed illegally.

Meanwhile, a deputation of the industrialists met the Joint Director, Revenue Intelligence, and expressed its protest against the insistence of the officials to “physically verify” the inputs of export products.



SHO nabbed on graft charge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 16
A flying squad of the state Vigilance Bureau, Chandigarh, today morning nabbed SHO, Kotwali, here while he was allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 5000 in his rented house near Shingar Cinema from a lottery trader.

DSP Kahan Singh, who led the Vigilance team, told mediapersons that the team had caught Inspector Harjinder Singh, posted as Station House Officer at Kotwali, which is also known as Division No. 1 police station, on the charges of taking Rs 5000 from the complainant, Bal Krishan Mehta, a lottery trader of Shivaji Nagar here.

The DSP also claimed that the accused SHO had allegedly threatened to book the lottery trader under some case if he does not give him Rs 20,000.

Mr Mehta, in his complaint to the State Vigilance Bureau, stated that he expressed his inability to pay the amount. Later, after some negotiations, the deal was struck at Rs 5000.

The accused cop, however, claimed that he was innocent and had been falsely implicated at the behest of a ‘well-connected criminal’ whom he had nabbed recently.

Shouting to reporters in his defence while being whisked away by the Vigilance team in a Tata Sumo car, he said the criminal had warned him of facing such consequences if he dared to nab him.

He also claimed he would prove his innocence.

The Vigilance raid started at 8 am. The complainant, Mr Mehta, had met the SHO few minutes ago in the house and handed him the money.

The Vigilance team nabbed him at that moment and later conducted a thorough search of the house for about three hours.

The Vigilance team members also revealed that they would be searching the accused cop’s house, where his family lived, in Jalandhar later today. DSP Kahan Singh said the accused would be booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.



4 held for drug trafficking
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 16
The Jagraon district police claimed to have arrested four members of an inter-state gang involved in drug peddling here. Two vehicles used in trafficking, along with 20 bags of poppy husk, were seized from their possession.

According to Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SSP, Jagraon, the police had received information that traffickers would supply bags of poppy husk brought from Rajasthan. Three special teams were constituted to nab the smugglers and a team led by Mr Dharam Pal, SHO, Jagraon, succeeded in overpowering four persons while they were shifting bags containing poppy husk from a truck to an Esteem car at grain market, Roomi village, on the Jagraon-Raikot road.

The arrested persons were identified as Saggar Singh of Pakhowal, Jaspal Singh alias Pala, Nachhatar Singh alias Satto and Gurmit Singh of Akhara village. The police seized the truck (PB 10 L 9849) and the car number (DL 9 C 4915) containing 20 bags of narcotic substance.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the gang had been active in the area for the past more than ten years. They used to bring the material concealed under the bags containing chalk powder. The present consignment was brought from Kishanganj in Rajasthan. 



Passing Thru

D.P. Rastogi
Dr D.P. Rastogi, Chairman, Postgraduate Committee, Central Council of Government of India.

What is the future of homoeopathic system of medicine in India?

Many myths prevail about Homoeopathy in our country. These are not only false but completely ridiculous at times. Homoeopathy works fast in many cases than allopathy. It is the only science which assures that it can definitely improve the quality of life of a patient of cancer or AIDS or other fatal diseases. Even side effects of chemotherapy can be minimised.

What would you like to advice to young homoeopath doctors?

One trend of modern homoeopathy that disturbs me is that many homoeopath doctors are diverting from the practice of classical homoeopathy as advocated by the father of the science. Hahnemann, in his “Principles of Homeopathy.” Under that system, the doctor administered one medicine at one time but now the doctors give several medicines at one time. What is the state of homoeopathic colleges in India?

There are only 31 postgraduate homoeopathic colleges in the country. There is only one institution in North India. It is Guru Nanak College of Homoeopathy in Ludhiana, which is completely un-aided.

— Jupinderjit Singh 



Campaigning for local bodies poll ends
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 16
Campaigning ended for the elections and byelections to various local bodies and a ward of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. The elections are being held for the Nagar Panchayats of Mulanpur Dakha, Sahnewal, Malaud and Machhiwara. The contests is mainly between the ruling Congress and the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

The Congress organised a rally at Mulanpur which was addressed by the secretary, All-India Congress Committee (AICC), Mr Manish Tewari, senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress Pawan Dewan and other senior leaders from Sahnewal, Malaud and Machhiwara.

Addressing the rally, Mr Tiwari appealed people to vote for the Congress candidates. He claimed that the Congress government had launched a massive development programme for the rural areas. The main emphasis of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre was on the rural and agricultural development, he added.

He said even the state government had taken a lot of measures in the interest of the farmers and the downtrodden. He claimed that decision to give power to the farmers free of cost and up to 200 units free of cost to the Dalits was a landmark decision which would change the face of rural economy and development in the state.

Despite so much resistance and a lot of financial constraints, the Congress government in the state had taken these measures for the public welfare, said Mr Tiwari.

Meanwhile, hectic activity was witnessed during the last day of campaigning in Ward No. 66, where byelection is being held on September 18. All legislators, councillors of the city and the Mayor were moving door to door seeking votes for the party candidate, Mr Subash Taina.

They appealed people to vote and acknowledge the development carried out by the Congress government in the urban areas.

In a statement, the senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, claimed that the Congress candidate was far ahead of his rivals. He claimed that with the support of the entire rank and file of the party, the Congress was likely to win by a handsome margin.

Referring to the reports of some disturbance, allegedly planned by the Akalis and the BJP, he warned that it would have dangerous ramifications.

The BJP candidate from the ward, Mr Charanjit Bhargava, also held a door-to-door canvassing. He alleged that the Congress had failed to provide basic amenities to the people. He claimed that the resentment among the people against the Congress was so much that the party (Congress) candidate was likely to loose his deposit.

Mr Ajit Singh Dhillon, an Independent, who was originally supported by the SAD has also made his presence felt in the area. The SAD leadership has been campaigning for the BJP candidate since it remains in alliance with it. However, most of the Akali workers were being found to be supporting Mr Dhillon, with tacit approval of the party leadership.



College polling booth declared super-sensitive
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 16
The district administration has declared a polling booth at Janta College for Women as super-sensitive in view of Chhapar Mela. The Sangrur police has claimed to have made adequate security arrangements at all 32 booths in the district, including 20 sensitive booths, where polling for electing representatives to civic bodies would take place on Sunday.

Sources in the civil administration said booths at Janta College for Women had been declared super sensitive and 19 other booths have been declared sensitive. Due to the controversy over the death of Sham Sunder Jain under mysterious circumstances, the administration had apprehended tension during election to Ward Number 10 here.

Perusal of records revealed that 20 booths at Cheema, Dirba, Moonak, Khanuri, Dhuri and local town had been declared sensitive. These include Government Senior Secondary School Pindwala, Government Girls High School and Mahavir Dharamshala at Khanauri; Government Senior Secondary School for Girls and Government Senior Secondary School for Boys at Moonak; Cooperative Society, Government Elementary School, Dharamshala Lallu Patti, Gita Bhavan, Sarav Hitkari Vidya Mandir and Government Senior Secondary School at Dirba; Government Senior Secondary School, Cooperative Society, Ballu Patti Dharamshala, Government Primary School near Samadhan, Dharamshala Ramdassia, Dharamshala Manna Patti, Dharamshala Chuhar Patti and Government Senior Secondary School, Cheema.

Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Sangrur, claimed that adequate arrangements had been made to ensure the security of candidates and voters.



UT statehood: Cong conspiracy alleged
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 16
Activists of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), led by party vice-president Avtar Singh Makkar, have termed the proposed statehood for Chandigarh as a deep-rooted conspiracy, hatched by the Centre which would once again push the Punjab into turmoil.

In a joint statement here today, the SAD activists rued that ever since the reorganised state of Punjab had come into being, successive governments in the Centre had been discriminating against this border state while the Congress party had always maintained its anti-Punjab policy.

“Chandigarh was carved out on the land belonging to Punjab and from the very beginning, it was meant to be the capital of the state. The people of the state will not allow the city to be snatched away and all attempts for this purposes will be thwarted,” they said.

Mr Makkar urged the party chief and former Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to evolve an effective strategy to foil the anti-Punjab conspiracy of the Centre.

He said the party ranks were fully prepared for any agitational programme chalked out by the party president to achieve this objective.

Among other signatories to the statement were Mr Harpal Singh Kohli, former spokesman, Mr Harbhajan Singh Dang, leader of the Opposition in Municipal Corporation, Mr Jaswinder Singh Bhola, Mr Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria and Mr Swarn Singh Maholi.



BKU warns against statehood to Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 16
BKU (Lakhowal) has warned against granting statehood to Chandigarh, maintaining that it was part of Punjab and the territory had been allotted to the state during the Rajiv-Longowal Accord.

In a statement today, the acting president of the BKU, Prof Manjit Singh Kadyan, said there was no demand from any particular group and it had come from some unidentified people. He regretted that a responsible leader of the BJP could suggest statehood for Chandigarh. The BKU leader warned that such a step would have dangerous ramifications.



Huge gathering at Chhapar Mela
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 16
Thousands of devotees thronged the Guga Mari temple at Chhapar village near here to worship snake, the embodiment of “Nag devta”. The organisers heaved a sigh of relief when the first day, known as “chowkis” saw a large number of men and women attending the religious fair.

The police, found it difficult to control the unexpected large gathering. Being one of the largest fairs of the North, Chhapar Mela had started attracting a large number of devotees since early morning.

Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SSP, Jagraon, in charge of the mela, said more than 1,000 policemen had been deputed to ensure the security of the devotees. Besides 16 patrolling parties, eleven nakas would be set up at inner sphere and six nakas on the outer boundary. Six observation posts, each attended by a group equipped with binoculars, wireless sets and video cameras, was strengthening the vigil, claimed the SSP.

To keep a check on the sale and use of liquor, special teams had been constituted. Policemen in plain clothes had been deputed at sensitive points. The police would also be assisted by concealed movie cameras which would keep an eye on bad elements.

Mr Jaiswal claimed that only a limited number of four-wheelers had been issued passes to enter the mela area. This, he said, would restrict the entry of weapons and wine. Though the fair metamorphosed into a political battlefield during the past few decades, but this time leaders and workers of various parties were still busy setting up their respective pandals. In all, seven political camps would be held in the coming two days and front-line leaders of all parties would address conferences on September 18. Adequate arrangements for drinking water and medical camps had been made by social organisations. 



Chhapar Mela comes of age
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 16
A village fair that originated as a small gathering of locals to worship snakes, embodiment of Guga, 150 years ago has developed into a mega festival in the past three decades. Chhapar Mela is now an amalgamation of social, economic and political events.

The legend had it that a boy and a snake were born together at Chhapar village. The serpent and the boy were so intimate that if one suffered pain the other would cry.

One day the mother of the child, while working in the fields, laid him on a small cot. To save the boy from scorching sun, the snake stretched its hood over him. Mistaking the snake to be ready to biting the boy, a passer-by killed it with his stick.

The child died as soon as the snake succumbed to the blow of the stick.

The family of the boy was advised by the elders to perform religious ceremonies to worship Guga and Sidh.

The place has been recognised as Mari Guga where people from all walks of life gather to worship Guga on the fourth day of the Bhadas month every year.

Farmers of the Malwa region recognise the fair to the extent that they change their agricultural chores according to the dates of the fair.

There is a legend connected to another fair which is known as minor Chhapar Mela. A faqir had anchored a twig after cleaning his teeth. A local person uprooted it, just for fun.

The faqir cursed the loclas that the place would witness a major camp here and it would be followed by a deserted look.

Though originally the fair witnessed a small congregation of the devotees of Guga, it has now transformed into a big festival. 



Explosives at dry port to be destroyed
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 16
Several tonnes of explosives, lying at the Dhandari dry port here for over a year, would finally be destroyed by the Army in October.
The explosives recovered from three containers of imported scrap include rockets, mortar shells, medium machine gun cartridges, bottle bombs and hand grenades.

Owing to the risk involved in destroying explosives, the district administration, Customs authorities, police and Army have been working on the details.

At a meeting today, it was decided to carry out the process on October 8 and 9.

The explosives were recovered in April last year and segregated in November. Sources said owing to the high risk involved in the process, it took time to work out the details.

“The entire operation involves huge responsibility. We have to cordon a very large area for the disposal, apart from taking care of other details,” an official said.

The process of destroying the explosives would be carried out by the Army, with assistance from the police and the Customs Department and logistics support from the district administration.

The recovery of explosives from the containers of imported scrap had created panic in the region. Officials said the danger would be over after the operation is carried out due to strict pre-shipment checking. “Pre-shipment inspection is carried out by leading international agencies now, which is why there are not many chances to get more explosives. After the ones that were recovered last year are destroyed, the danger would be over as the quantity of explosives was quite large. It would be easier to deal with containers that arrive in the future,” an official said.



Shobha yatra of Ganesha begins
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 16
The atmosphere went with the chants of “Ganapati Bappa Morya” when a 20 foot tall idol of Ganesha was set up in a pandal in Janak Puri Square this morning. Devotees and officials of the Baba Ganapati Sangh had turned up in large numbers to bid a farewell to Lord Ganesha before its final immersion in Sutlej later in the night. The devotees had been worshipping Lord Ganesh fervently since the idol of Lord Ganesha had been set up on September 7.

The devotees had come from the far-flung areas to participate in the mammoth shobha yatra arranged by the Sangh.

The yatra started at 11am from Janakpuri after performing all the rituals. DIG Parag Jain flagged off the yatra. Since, thousands of people are a part of the yatra , it moves at snail’s pace.

Many religious figures, sadhus, Brahmans , school- children playing bands, and displaying tableaux pertaining to Ganesjha’s life formed the part of cavalcade.

The city people joined in and had erected “welcome arches” to accord welcome to Lord Ganesha while his devotees had arranged chhabeels and langars for those participating in the yatra. From Janakpui the yatra’s route was through Baag Sufian, Kidwai Nagar, Benjamin Road, Chauri Sadak, Ghas Mandi and had to pass through the main Chaura Bazaar. All route was decked up with steamers, colourful flags and welcome arches .

Mr Harish Bedi, president of the Sangh told Ludhiana Tribune that it would be about 11pm when they would reach phillaur where the yatra would culminate after 10 days of Ganpati Utsav. At Phillaur, the idol of Ganesha would be immersed in the River after performing all rituals. 



PSEB man in vigilance net

Amloh, September 16
The Vigilance Bureau, Fatehgarh Sahib, nabbed a Class Four employee of the PSEB, Amloh, today for allegedly accepting bribe of Rs 1000 from a consumer of Ramgarh village.

The raid was conducted by Mr Jaspal Singh, DSP, and Mr Pritam Singh Inspector, Vigilance Bureau, Fatehgarh Sahib.

Mr Raminder Singh, Xen, and Mr Prem Kumar, SDO, PSEB, said they were not present at the time of incident.

Mr Pritam Singh, president, Technical Services Union, Mr Kesar Singh, secretary, PSEB Employees Federation, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Pandher, senior vice-president, Motor Mazdoor Union, PRTC, Patiala, condemned the action of the Vigilance Bureau for framing the employee, Bikramjit Singh.

At the time of incident the employees raised slogans against the alleged high-handedness of the Vigilance Bureau. OC



Concession disparity irks pensioners
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 16
Travel concession equal to one basic pension is admissible to Punjab Government pensioners after every two years. The pension of post April, 2004, retirees has been fixed by merging 50 per cent DA with the basic pay. They are entitled to travel concession by 50 per cent more than those of pre April, 2004 retirees. It is a case of disparity, as per a press note issued by the Government Pensioners Association.

In a communication to Punjab Fiance Minister, Surinder Singla, the association has urged him to end the disparity by allowing travel concession to pre - April retirees by adding dearness pension in the basic pension from April.



Vanamahotsava at police academy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 16
Vanamahotsava was celebrated in the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, here today. All senior officers, staff members and trainees of various courses were present for the tree plantation in the academy.

Mr R.S. Gill, Additional DGP-cum-Director, Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, inaugurated this function. He highlighted the benefits of tree plantation and said plants played an important role in the life of human beings as they purified the air pollution and gave a healthy atmosphere.

Mr B.K. Garg, DIGP, PPA, Dr S.S. Chauhan, Deputy Director (Indoor) PPA, Mr Kamal Kumar, Deputy Director (Administration), Mr G.S. Sandhu, Deputy Director (Outdoor) PPA, Phillaur, and other senior officers of the academy were also present.



1 arrested for raping minor
Our Correspondent

Khanna, September 16
The police has arrested president of Ramleela Colony, Sanghol, on the charge of raping a minor of New Abadi Khana here today. Another accomplice of the accused Anil Kumar, is at large and the police is conducting raids to nab him. A case under Sections 366-A, 376 and 506, IPC, has been registered.

The mother of the victim said in her complaint to the police that her daughter had gone to school to take examination. At about 2.30 p.m, she had called her on a phone and said she was standing near Sanghol village and semmed to be in trouble.

The victim’s shirt was torn and there was blood on her clothes. The victim said when she came out of the school, two youths were standing there.

One of them was Anil Kumar, who was known to her. She went with them to her maternal uncle but on the way they took her to an under-construction house near a petrol pump in the Bassi area. After raping her, they left her near Lohar Majra village.



Senior citizens resent cut in BSNL pulse rates
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 16
The All-India Senior Citizens Organisation, Purana Bazar here express resentment in a press note in connection with the cutting of the pulse rates by the BSNL without considering the plight of senior citizen subscribers of the BSNL .

The BSNL has announced that calls made from BSNL landlines to private operators like Connect, MTNL, Spice, Airtel, Tata Indicom, and Hutch will now be costlier and the organisation feels that it will be a great burden on the senior citizens. They say since the pulse rates have been decreased from three minutes to 45 seconds, it will mean that the senior citizens will also now have to pay four times more for every call they make from BSNL fixedline to landlines of the private operators.

Mr Rattan Lal Pambi, general secretary, says that senior citizens are totally dependents on the younger generations. They are being penalised before the celebration of Elder People Day on October 1, 2005.

They demand that since they constitute 7 per cent of the population they must be given telephones by the BSNL and all telecom operators should not take any security from them.


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