L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Govt sleeps over Rs 150-cr land scam
Inquiry nails LIT officials
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
More than a year has passed since the Deputy Director, Local Bodies Department, submitted an inquiry report, regarding an alleged land scam, in which officials of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) had given 2.19 lakh sq yard of land to the Kabir Cooperative Housing Society by allegedly bending the rules.

No action has been taken deputed till date against any of the officials who caused a whopping Rs 150-crore loss to the state exchequer.

Deputy Director Sarojini Gautam Sharda was deputed by the Local Government Deptt to conduct an inquiry on September 17, 2004, after some newspapers had reported the scam.

Deputy Director Sharda, in the report, had said there was some illegality in allotting the land.

On the eve of the visit of Chaudhry Jagjit Singh, Minister, Local Bodies, some Akali leaders alleged that while the Congress-led government in the state was going ga ga over providing corruption-free governance, no action had been taken against corrupt officials who enjoyed patronage of some ministers.

Not only Akali leaders, some Congress leaders have also been taking up the matter with the senior authorities for bringing the guilty to book but to no avail.

A trustee of LIT and a city councillor, Ms Malkiat Kaur, had written to the Chief Minister several times for a fair and thorough probe into the matter.

She had even urged upon the LIT Chairman to call an urgent general house meeting so that “ the record of the scandal be presented in the house and officers asked to explain as to why the enquiry is being delayed”.

The government had notified the LIT in November 1981 to allot 45 per cent to 55 per cent of acquired property of the Kabir Cooperative Society on the condition that each member be given one plot which he would not sell for a period of 10 years.

The trust had urged the government to give 65 per cent of the property plus an additional 15 per cent property on reserve rate, to the Kabir Cooperative Society.

However, the demand was declined by the government.

Despite it being unlawful to give the additional 15 per cent property the trust allotted more than what was permitted, it was alleged.

The engineering wing of the LIT, in its report, had found that the trust allotted 69 per cent property to the society instead of 65 per cent.

The trustee had been demanding that the land should be taken from the society and allotted to those people who were making rounds of various courts to get the plots, which in many cases existed only on papers.

This would not only spare those innocent people of harassment but would also earn revenue to the trust, she said. Ms Malkiat Kaur had been claiming that the trust was conducting the inquiry half-heartedly as it wanted to shield many officials who were involved in the scam.

Sources in the LIT said, in 1992, the trust officials, alongwith the society members, had passed a resolution and amended the laws of allotment and gave upto 70 per cent land.

An agreement was also signed by both the parties. However, the trust officials have no record of rest 30 per cent of land.



‘Jassi’ comes calling!
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
While every second actress is willing to do the dare bare act for a role in films, television’s Jassi, Mona Singh, says an emphatic no to skin show.
The actress, who was in the city today to give away prizes to winners of a promotional campaign by Coca Cola, recently signed a film with Page 3-fame Bobby Pushkarna.

She said it was only roles with ample opportunity to act that she would be keen on.

“I am keen on serious stuff and also comedy, as I am comfortable with both. Exposure is strictly a no and I am not made for all that,” asserted the model turned actress.

Dressed in a red kurti with golden embroidery and black jeans, Mona, who appeared much younger and slimmer than her on-screen looks, said getting out of Jassi’s image did not bother her at all.

“Infact, if people called me Jassi even after 50 years, I would love it,” she said.

Mona’s fans would be disappointed to know that her contract for Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin ends this year. That could mean the end of the serial too.

“Anything that begins has an ending,” she maintained.

But she asserted that she would remain associated with television always.

On whether she would get married to Armaan Suri, her previous boss and her romantic interest in the serial, an enigmatic smile lits up her face as she says, “hopefully”.

Talk to her about the viewers’ complaint about the transition Jassi’s character has witnessed and she explains: “The change was much according to viewers’ demand. Besides, if one considers the journey that Jassi went through from a secretary to a CEO, the role is quite practical.”

Jassi Jaisi... has been a pioneer in changing the regular saas-bahu stuff that viewers had to put up with and the success of the serial was vivid from the fact that many more channels are coming up with tele-serials on similar lines, she said.

She loves the attention the serial Jassi Jaisi... gave her and today that Jassi is a household name (one gets Jassi books and Jassi clothes in markets, the postal department even released a stamp bearing Jassi’s image), Mona has little regret for “not being able to go out on roads alone”.

Work in serials in demanding and she tells us it means 15 working hours every day and sleeping even less than five hours at times! But she never forgets her working out and particularly breathing exercises.

In the serial Jassi Jaisi.., Mona says she enjoyed every bit of it — from her role as the simpleton secretary to a glamorous model and then a CEO. But what she enjoyed the most is “comedy with Nandu”.

A commerce graduate from Pune, this Punjabi lad, who hails from Delhi, reveals acting was always her dream. What would she have been if not an actress, and the Jassi in Mona replies: “may be some secretary in an office”.

Mona also gave away prizes to winners of the Coca Cola Khara Sona contest. 11 persons from Ludhiana, 12 from Jalandhar, 3 from Malerkotla and one each from Raikot, Mukerian and Hoshiarpur received the prizes.

Mr Manish Chaturvedi, general manager, Coca Cola India, Mr Sunil Kapoor, regional marketing manager, Coca Cola India, Mr Kailash Goenka, MD, Ludhiana Beverages and Mr Rohit Sagar, general manager, Ludhiana Beverages, were also present on the occasion.

During the day, Mona interacted with students at Khalsa College for Women and also visited Basant Resorts and Kipps outlet here.



‘Jassi’ interacts with Khalsa college students
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 25
The students of Khalsa College for Women were on the top of the world today when their role model Jassi (Mona Singh), interacted with them at the college premises.
The students thronged at the open air theatre of the college to get a glimpse of their favourite Punjabi star who was in city to promote Coca Cola.

The enthusiastic students left no stone unturned to ask several questions regarding her professional and personal life. Dona, one of the NCC cadets of the college, asked her about the marriage plans in serial.

In an attempt not to reveal anything about the serial, Mona just said “Jaldi” in a polite manner.

Another student asked whether she would like to be identified as Jassi or Mona Singh. “I do not feel much difference. I got fame because of my character but the role was given to Mona Singh. I am popular because of being Mona Singh and Jassi both”, she replied smartly.

Neha, another under-graduate student asked why she had become vindictive in the serial? Mona Singh said, “So that people do not take a simple girl for granted. People often try to exploit the simplicity of a person.I think, they should be taught a good lesson”.

Dr (Ms) Varinder Kaur Thind, Principal Khalsa College for Women, too could not resist herself and appreciated her role for promoting Punjabi culture worldwide. “The way you say Baba Ji Meri Madad Karo depicts that you are strongly attached to your roots. Secondly, your healthy friendship with Nandu (in the serial) sets an example.”, she said.

Mona stayed for about 35 minutes at the college and it had become difficult to manage huge rush of students. The students refused to attend their classes till their favourite star was around. With the efforts of teachers and NCC cadets, Mona was able to reach to her car comfortably.



Abandoned baby taken to children’s home
Caretaker Dilshad crestfallen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
It was a gloomy evening for the family of Dilshad Mohammed when the Ludhiana police took away the 3-month-old girl, adopted by him after she was abandoned by her biological parents, and handed her over to SGB Children's Home in Dham Talwandi Khurd.

Shamma was given her name by Dilshad and his wife Saira Bano, parents of seven children who had found her abandoned on a roadside and had started considering her a member of their big family.

Touching scenes were witnessed when a police party from Basti Jodhewal police station reached the couple's house in New Shakti Nagar in the evening today.

The couple refused to hand over the girl. The police had to use little force to recover her and shift her to the police station. Later, she was handed over to Dr Jagdeep Singh of SGB Childrens’ Home.

While Shamma found a new home at the Childrens Home where she would be looked after well and provided education for a better future, Dilshad, his wife and seven children found it quite difficult to part with the girl.

Though Dilshad, a rehri-puller, admitted that he was not able to educate his children due to his poor economic condition, he was not willing to give away the girl.

‘‘She will get two square meals and all the love from all of us. What else does a human being require? ’’ he asked angrily.

After handing over the girl to the representatives of the childrens' home, the family returned with a heavy heart unable to understand the complexity of legal course that had taken away their loved one.

Shamma was found abandoned on Basti Jodhewal Road on the midnight of August 30.

Dr Jagdeep Singh had gone to recover the girl the next day but the family had refused.

Facing pressure, he had written to Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, who had referred the matter to District Social Security Officer.

The latter had stated that the girl be handed over to a home, authorised by the state government to help such children. Legal opinion was also sought in the matter.

Finally, a police party went to Dilshad's house which faced a lot of pressure from the members and residents of Shakti Nagar, who were not willing to part with the girl. According to Dr Jagdeep Singh, as per the notification of state government related to legal adoption, an abandoned child could not be kept by a family without undergoing a legal process.

‘‘We will allow the family to spend some hours with the girl at home whenever they will want to meet her. They would be welcome anytime.

“We will not stop them. Afterall Dilshad has done a commendable work by saving the girl which many of us would think twice before taking such a major decision, ’’ said Dr Jagdeep. 



Prize catch catches cops on wrong foot
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
The hoopla over the arrest of Jagtar Singh Kaleka, an alleged votary of the separatist movement in Punjab, who was nabbed from Moga by a Ludhiana police team late last night, has come out to be much ado about nothing.

Contrary to the claims of the police in Moga and later in Ludhiana last night, the accused does not have a single case of terrorism or sedition against him. There were two cases registered against him for making provocating speeches in support of a separate Sikh state in 1987, but the allegations were later proved to be false. He was acquitted by a court of law.

The city police had booked him in a case of cheating and forgery of documents last night at the Haibowal police station. He was accused of possessing a fake passport in the name of Jagbir Singh.

The police had claimed that the man had been hiding in the USA for the past 16 years and had returned to India on a fake passport and assumed another identity. The police had hoped that he was a prize catch from whom information about the regrouping of terrorists in Punjab could be extracted.

However, by today evening the police were looking for cover after learning that the passport was made in the USA and not in India and could not be considered fake just because it was in some other name.

The accused also told mediapersons in a local court today that he was innocent and possessed a legal document.

Interestingly, the local media and the police had identified him as Jagtar Singh Taari, whereas he was never mentioned as Taari in the police or other records. 



Dharna against arrest of ‘terrorists’
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, November 25
About 200 residents of Maqsudran and adjoining villages today staged a dharna for several hours in front of the SSPs office in protest against the arrest of two residents of the village and an one other on the charge of spreading terrorism and possessing explosives.

Several leaders of the SAD (Amritsar) spoke. The protesters claimed that the police had falsely implicated Manpreet Singh of Dhulkote and Chamkaur Singh and Bhagwant Singh of Maqsudran.

The police had claimed on November 20 that the youths were activists of the Babbar Khalsa International and were planning to kill Baba Bhaniara for his “anti-Sikh” activities and MP Jagdish Tytler for his alleged role in the 1984 riots.

Thakur Singh, Sarpanch of Maqsudran, claimed that the youths were picked up from their respective houses but were later shown as arrested near a railway bridge where they were trying to plant an explosive. The police did not make any move to disrupt the dharna.



Sahir Awards to be given today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
Adeeb International (Sahir Cultural Academy) will organise Jashn-e-Sahir-2005 at the Nehru Sidhant Kender here tomorrow. The function is held every year in memory of Urdu poet Sahir Ludhianvi. An Indo-Pak writers' meet and the 33rd Annual Indo-Pak Mushaira will also be held on the occasion.

Stating this here today, Dr Kewal Dheer, general secretary of Adeeb International, said Jashn-e-Sahir was being organised at a high level and writers, poets and artistes from India, Pakistan, USA, UK and other parts of the world were participating. Dr Dheer said Sahir Awards, instituted by Adeeb International in memory of Sahir Ludhianvi, would be presented to Gulzar, Sharmila Tagore and Prof Narang from India and Iftikhar Arif and Azhar Javed from Pakistan. Adeeb Awards would be given to Dr Rahat Indori, Taranmum Riyaz and Bushra Ejaz from Pakistan.



Passing Thru

Arvind Mediratta
Mr Arvind Mediratta, chief marketing officer, Indian subcontinent, Yum Restaurants International.

Why did your company select Ludhiana as the first destination in Punjab for a KFC outlet?

The decision to open KFC here after entering Delhi was taken after a careful study of the market, per capita eating out expenses, income levels and potential. Ludhiana is one of the most affluent cities. People here love eating out and that makes it a high potential market for us.

What all would the restaurant offer?

The restaurant would offer non-vegetarian and vegetarian food. The items we offer are our specialties, the recipes of which are not disclosed even to those who work in the company. For vegetarian stuff, we have a separate crew.

Any plans to generate awareness on health food among customers?

Our website offers nutrition details like calorie count of food offered by us. However, so far no such decision has been taken to make all such details available at our outlets too.

Any expansion plans?

Next year we plan to open 55 Pizza Hut and KFC outlets. KFC is our fastest growing brand across the globe and rapid expansion is on the cards.

—Shveta Pathak



Makkar’s appointment may alter political equilibrium
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
The appointment of Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, a political green horn, as president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) would certainly change the political equilibrium in Ludhiana. So far considered to be like any other leader, Mr Makkar’s elevation to the post has also elevated his status and influence in Akali politics in the city.

Mr Makkar, who remained acting president of the district unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) considers himself to be a representative of the urban Sikhs in a party that has mostly been dominated by the Jat Sikh community. He has always been lobbying for the due place and representation to the community within the SAD-B while arguing that it (the community) has always stood by the party.

He had a long drawn rivalry with Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, another senior vice-president of the party. In fact both of them were strong rivals and claimants to the post of district president of the party that was ultimately given to Mr Hira Singh Gabria. Not many people have doubts about the reasons of Mr Makkar’s elevation to the post. A senior leader of the party remarked, “in fact his being a non-entity proved to be the greatest qualification for him as Mr Badal did not want any strong leader or a political heavy weight to become the SGPC president.

On the other hand most of the Akali leaders hailed the appointment of Mr Makkar as the SGPC president. Party general secretary and former minister, Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, while welcoming the appointment of Mr Makkar to the prestigious post observed, “the elevation of Makkar to the post of the president of the SGPC proved that in Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) everybody had a chance to grow.

Mr Grewal maintained that it was an honour for the people of Ludhiana that Mr Makkar had been appointed president. He hoped that the SGPC would come up to the expectations of the people. He pointed out, that Mr Makkar enjoyed a clean image and had an unblemished career in public life. He congratulated Mr Badal for giving a chance to an ordinary leader whose only qualification was that he was a “Panth loyalist”. 



Sikh Sangat hails Makkar’s election
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara November 25
A meeting of Bangalore Sikh Sangat was held at Khalsa Public School, Madiwala, Bangalore. It was attended by Dr Harminder Singh Khalsa, Surjit Singh Amritsar, Sudarshan Singh, Dalip Singh Malik, Baljeet Singh, Mahinderpal Singh, K. D. Singh, Joginder Singh Baba, K. S. Rekhi, C. P. Singh, R.S. Bhalla, Kartar Singh Chandok, Joginder Singh Sabharwal, Gursharan Singh Sethi, Pritam Singh, Balbir Singh Pawa, Dharampal Singh Jalhalli, Jaspal Singh Rajasansi and many other prominent Sikh personalities.

All members felicitated and congratulated Jathedar Avtar Singh Makkar on his election as 39th President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee, Amritsar.

A motion of thanks was also given to Sr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal, for nominating and ensuring election of Mr Makkar for this coveted post. 



Munim beaten up; dharna against police
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 25
The Paledar and Munim unions of Khanna grain market today held a dharna at the grain market against the police for allegedly beating up a munim of M/s Pallah Trading Company, whose owner was injured in a robbery attempt yesterday. Later a meeting was organised at the police headquarters in this regard.

On Thursday evening a person tried to rob a commission agent at the local grain market. The victim, Major Singh Pallah, said at about 3 p.m. the accused came in a Maruti car at his shop and wanted to sell wheat. He added that he told the accused that he had Rs 35,000 and the rest he would arrange later. The accused asked Mr Pallah’s munim to receive the trailer coming from the GT road. When the munim went to receive it the accused attacked him. He received minor injury. He raised an alarm and people nearby overpowered the accused. He was later handed over to the police.

Mr Dharm Pal, president of the munim union, alleged that the police had beaten up munim Ranjit Singh.

Later, the police and munim union leaders reached an agreement in which it was decided that in future the police would take into confidence the president of the Arhtiya Association before interogating any commission agent, munim or labourer of the grain market.



Teenager boy lost and found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
A 13-year-old teenager of New Janak puri colony kept the city police on tenterhooks for several hours after he disappeared under the mysterious circumstances from his house and was later recovered at a relative’s house in New Delhi.

The boy, Rahul, had gone to a relative’s house in the national capital without informing his parents, who were relieved when the relatives informed that the boy was with them.

The Salem Tabri police, which registered a DDR into the boy’s disappearance on the complaint of his father Harish Kumar had alerted the state police with fears that the boy could have been kidnapped for ransom. A number of police teams searched the boy at several places Wednesday. It also searched the boy at the local bus stand and the local railway station.

Yesterday morning, a family member informed the police that the boy was safe and had gone on his own. Though the family members claimed to the police that the boy had gone with a relative and was just careless in not informing his parents, the police was not buying the theory.

SHO G.S. Bains said they would question the boy after his return from Delhi about the incident. He said the police had taken the disappearance quite seriously. The family was also telling the police that the boy was kidnapped either for ransom.



Samagam begins at Gurdwara Nanaksar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 25
"Universal brotherhood, humility and equality of mankind are the values enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib and it's when we imbibe these teachings that the sufferings of mankind will be abated." These remarks were made by Baba Jaswant Singh on the inaugural day of the three-day Gurmat samagam which got under way at Gurdwara Nanaksar Sahib here today.

He said in this age of technology and computerisation, we had to trace our ethical and religious roots and take guidance from the rich heritage endowed by our great gurus and spiritual intellectuals.

Baba Jaswant Singh called upon religious preachers and heads of religious bodies to concentrate on educating the youth.

With reverence, the 21 Guru Granth Sahibs were installed at Darbar Sahib and akhand path was held to mark the commencement of the samagam. Thousands of devotees, including NRIs, took part.

According to Mr Kirpal Singh, spokesman for the Trust, in the morning of November 27, bhog of 21 akhand path would be performed and in the evening the sikh philosophy would be preached. Many ragis would recite gurbani and perform kirtan till the morning of November 28.

Meanwhile, a three-day dental and medical check-up camp organized by Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College and Hospital was inaugurated today by Baba Jaswant Singh. Dr Sarbjit Kaur and Dr Sareen Vachara from England had come to participate in the camp.



Man caught trying to rob commission agent
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 25
A robber tried to rob a local commission agent and a SAD leader at the local grain market last evening. The commission agent received injury on his neck in the attack made by the robber. The residents caught the robber while he was trying to escape. He was handed over to the police.

At about 3 pm, a man came to the shop of Mr Major Singh Pallah, a commission agent, at the local grain market and asked him to sell his wheat in cash. The commission agent asked him about the quantity of the wheat.

The man told him that he had 50 quintals. The commission agent agreed to pay the amount of Rs 40,000 in cash. When the man came to know that the commission agent had cash with him, he asked the agent's assistant to go to the gate of the grain market to receive the trolley.

In the meantime, he attacked the commission agent with a sharp-edged weapon. The commission agent received a minor injury on his neck. He caught the robber as the two were engaged in a scuffle. The commission agent raised an alarm but the robber pushed him and ran away. Hearing the cries, some neighbours gathered who caught the robber on the spot.

The police was informed and SHO City Wajir Singh and the in charge, C I A staff, Khanna, reached the spot. The robber was handed over to the police party. Investigations are in progress.



Motorcyclist dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, November 25
Ved Parkash of Jandi was killed on the spot when his motor-cycle was allegedly hit by an unidentified vehicle. The Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case under Sections 279, 427, 304-A, IPC, on the basis of a statement of Baldev Singh of Jandi. No arrest has been made so far.



Canara Bank cracks down on defaulter
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
Canara Bank, SSI branch, took physical possession of the property of M/s Jai Gita Forge Private Ltd for alleged default in repayment of loan.
According to the bank, the party availed credit facility from the bank and defaulted in repayment of dues to the tune of Rs 79.32 lakh.

“The bank issued a 60 days notice to the borrower in September 2004 but they failed to come forward following which we took over the physical possession of the property in the name of the borrower,” the bank said in a press note issued here today.

Bank officials Mr D.V. Kohli, Divisional Manager and authorised officer, Mr Onkar Gupta, Senior Manager and Mr S.C. Gupta, branch head, locked and sealed the premises of the defaulter in Focal Pint here. Entire stock, plant and machinery that were hypothecated to the bank were also attached, the bank said.



KFC opens outlet 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 25
Yum Restaurants International plans to open nearly 55 KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants across the country. The company, that has 33,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries across the globe, is upbeat on growth in Punjab and expects a major increase in customer base in the region.

Mr Arvind Mediratta, chief marketing officer, Indian subcontinent, Yum Restaurants International, who was here to inaugurate the 11th outlet of the KFC in the country yesterday, said the company opted for Ludhiana owing to huge spending power and a high per capita expenditure on eating out. The restaurant, located at Ansal Plaza.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |