L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Money-minting cops nabbed
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 10
The state Vigilance Bureau today claimed to have busted a racket of ‘money-minting’ cops with the arrest of a Punjab police constable and a Home Guard jawan, who were allegedly indulging in gross misuse of their authority and extorting money by falsely implicating the chosen victims. Both were posted as gunmen with the SHO Focal Point, SI Warryam Singh.

A team of Vigilance Bureau working under the supervision of SP-Flying Squad Mukhwinder Singh Chhinna, arrested Head Constable Avtar Singh and SPO Harwinder Singh from near Samrala chowk today.

Mr Chhinna claimed that the racket was spread far and wide and more cops, including some senior officials could be booked or questioned. The accused often used to illegally detain the victim in police stations where they were not even posted. He said a mobile phone has been recovered from Avtar Singh, from which details of his regular contacts would be found.

A Maruti car (PB-10-D-1093) which was recorded as a case property in the focal point police station but being used by the accused has also been recovered from them.

The Vigilance team could not meet SHO Focal Point Warryam Singh, who was also untraceable though there was no case or allegation against him at this juncture, Vigilance officials said .

Mr Chhinna said the duo was always on the prowl in the city, choosing prospective targets, whom they implicated in false cases and then released them after taking lakhs of rupees. The two accused often used to talk to some senior police official over the phone seeking regular directions.

He said the Vigilance action was taken on a complaint of a local industrialist, Mr Sushil Kumar Bedi, owner of the Ashish Rubber Industries. A team of vigilance sleuths led by DSP Paramjit Singh Khaira had arrested the two cops, who have confessed that they were connected to some senior official, he said.

Mr Bedi had in his complaint to the state Vigilance Bureau alleged that he was picked by the accused on October 29 from his factory. The accused cops had also taken away six drums of kerosene stored in his factory. They threatened to book him for illegally storing the kerosene oil, for which a permit is required.

The cops kept him in the Division No 6 police station that night whereas they were posted in the Focal Point police station. The cops kept in regular touch with a senior police official over their mobile phone. They told Mr Bedi that he would have to pay Rs 3 lakh or ‘celebrate’ Divali in custody.

Mr Bedi’s family collected the money pooled in by relatives and friends and got him released the following morning. No case was registered against him. Mr Chhinna said after taking the money, HC Avtar Singh had talked over the mobile phone with a senior official and said: “We have got the money. What should we do now.’’ Mr Bedi said he was released after getting the nod from the person on the other end of the phone call.

Mr Chhinna said an inquiry was conducted on the complaint and some credible evidence was found on the basis of which the raid was conducted today afternoon.



Traffic cops fail to manage traffic
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 10
Traffic cops have miserably failed to manage traffic due to failure in ensuring proper lane driving.

Traffic cops posted at the busy road stand as mute spectators to knotty traffic jams occurring regularly at the place. Their presence does not deter drivers from jumping lanes, eventually causing more jams.

To add to the woes, the cops posted here work on the whims and fancies and block traffic movement towards Bhadaur house, the main market area, thinking it as the only solution of regulating the traffic.

What they hardly realise is that the vehicles, which are in good number, have to take a long route to the market where they reach only after becoming part of choking jams at the Chawni Mohalla chowk and Mata Rani Chowk. To cap it all, the construction of the elevated road has blocked the mata rani chowk turn forcing the vehicles to take a u-turn from near clock tower and thus seriously hampering traffic movement at that spot.

This is what exactly happened today afternoon when three ‘worthy’ cops prevented the vehicles from moving towards Bhadaur house. All pleas to the cops that this was the only route open to the market due to the construction of the elevated road fell flat. Not only were the cops working on their own , they were abjectly rude and abusive to the commuters.

‘‘We dont know how you would reach Bhadaur house. We are only bothered at clearing traffic jam here. We are not interested if the diversion was causing jams at other crossings’’ was the plain reply.

The cops were, however, turning a blind eye to the formation of three to four lanes on the road, which were blocking the traffic from the opposite lane and thus the real cause of the jams.



Probe ordered into Rs 150-cr land scam
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 10
A year after a senior official of the Local Bodies Department had conducted an inquiry into a land scam, the department has ordered yet another inquiry into an alleged scam worth Rs 150 crore, in which officials of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, (LIT), had given 2.19 lakh square yards of land to the Kabir Cooperative Housing Society in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar by allegedly bending the rules.

The Deputy Director, Local Bodies Department, Ludhiana, Mr S.R. Kaler, has been asked to look into the allegations and submit a report into the case in which a loss of whopping Rs 150 crore was caused to the state exchequer.

The alleged scam dates back to 1981, when the government had notified to 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 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 80 per cent property to the society instead of 65 per cent.

With the assigning of inquiry to Mr Kaler, many a eyebrows are being raised as Ms Sarojini Gautam Sharda, an official of his rank had conducted an inquiry into the same a year ago. She had, in her report, said that there was some hanky panky in allotting the land. Sources had revealed that the file was sent to the Local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh for further action. But no action followed. The minister, during no its recent visit to the city had refused to comment on the issue stating that the matter was in the high court and hence subjudice.

Some local Congress leaders, who had pointed out the alleged scam, had been demanding action against the officials concerned. 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 LIT chairman. Paramjit Singh Sibia to call an urgent general house meeting so that “ the record of the scandal be presented in the house and officers be liable to explain as to why the enquiry is being delayed”.

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 exist only on papers. This would not only spare those innocent people of harassment but would also earn revenue to the trust. She 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.



Cyclists, officials overwhelmed by hospitality
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, December 10
Punjabi hospitality has bowled over the participants from 24 countries in the Asian Cycling Championship being hosted at the velodrome of Punjab Agricultural University. The cyclists and officials from different countries who are in the city for the mega event slated to begin tomorrow were overwhelmed by the hospitality and expressed satisfaction over the security cover provided to them.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune through interpretors, the cyclists revealed how they had been relishing Indian dishes. A young participant from Japan said when they visited Sahnewal and Doraha where the road races would be held from Sunday, they were over joyed to see the arrangements made by the Punjab Police for their safety.

The entire stretch between Khanna and Doraha was sealed and a heavy posse of security personnel was doing duty. He said with such strong security provided to them, the cyclists were feeling quite safe on the roads.

Mr Ding Cruz from the Phillippines, the Chief Commissaire for this meet, said he, too, was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm shown by the people during their visit to Sahnewal. “ With a lot of enthusiasm among the sports lovers of the region, the PAU veldrome, venue for this event will be packed to its capacity and the forthcoming Asian Cycling Championship will certainly be a big success,” Cruz added.

Cyclists from various participating countries who have come here, had strenuous training sessions today to prepare for the road races which begin tomorrow on the National Highway 1 on the 17.5 km stretch between Doraha and Khanna near here.

Mr J.S. Grewal, general secretary, Cycling Federation of India, meanwhile said the Indian contingent expected no medal in the road races as the riders from China, Korea and Japan had excelled in these. “We hope to grab some medals in the individual pursuits and mass start events”, Mr Grewal said.



PHRC pulls up MC, PSEB
School, college under high-tension cables
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 10
Pulling up the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC) and Punjab State Electricity Board for allowing construction of a school and a college under high-tension electricity wires and later on compounding some constructions thereby posing a threat to lives of students, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC) has asked the state government to look into the matter.

Acting on a complaint filed by Mr Rakesh Verma, president of Giani Zail Singh Ekta Dal, that lives of many students of BVM School and Lord Mahavira College and Hospital was under threat as the Jamalpur-Moga 220/132/66 KV high tension power cable passed over the institutions, the PHRC stated that ‘‘it was the negligence by MC and PSEB officials who did not check the construction of these places’’.

The commission felt that its intervention was not required in the matter. The departments concerned should look into the matter and take all necessary steps for enforcing legal requirements. The PHRC gave this judgement after a report by the SDM(W), Ludhiana, which had indicted the managements of two educational institutions for flouting the rules while carrying out construction.

The SDM also stated that the Ludhiana Improvement Trust had passed the maps of these buildings. The authorities of the college had not only flouted the norms but had also constructed buildings at places which were not cleared in the map. Interestingly, the MC compounded these constructions also caring two hoots for the lives of children who would be studying here, claimed the report of the SDM.

The SDM report also stated that the BVM School had not got the building plan approved and no department could be held liable. But in this case it was the responsibility of the then Building Inspector of the MC to have stopped the construction of this building in 1993. The PSEB officials, who allowed the construction of these schools, should also be held responsible for the same, the SDM said.

Finally, the SDM held that only the PSEB authorities can tell whether the buildings were situated at the minimum safe distance from the cables or not and action could be taken accordingly.



Protect human rights of poor, says PSHRC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 10
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has exhorted the officers of different departments to ensure the protection of human rights of the people, particularly belonging to the weaker sections of the society, while performing their day to day duties.

This was stated by Mr N.K. Arora, a member of the commission, while addressing a seminar to celebrate International Human Rights Day organised by the District Administration at Bhachat Bhavan, here today.

The member said under the Constitution, it is the foremost duty of all civil servants to redress the genuine problems of the people and they should be vigilant to respect the human rights, as even their negligence from the duty could cause a violation of human rights.

Mr Arora claimed that the people had full faith in the working of the Commission which was evident from the steep rise in the flow of complaints with them. He informed that when the Protection of Human Rights Act was enacted, only 90 complaints were received in 1992 and now during this year till date more than 18,000 complaints of different kinds have been received by the commission.

He said around 60 per cent of the complaints related normally to the family disputes and those relating to violation of human rights were enquired from the different agencies and sent for action to the government.

The state government gives due importance to the recommendations of the commission and takes action accordingly. He appreciated the efforts of the local administration for taking a lead in organising the seminar to create awareness among the public.

Mr Arora said the commission had been set up to enquire about the violations of human rights complaints or negligence in this prevention of such violence by the public servants and to intervene in any proceedings involving any allegations of violations of human rights pending in courts.

He said the commission has power to hold parallel inquiry on the complaints of human right violations. He said that procedure to file a complaint with the commission was quite simple and any person on a simple paper could submit the complaint in person or by post. He also called upon the administration to take required steps to educate the people regarding their rights given in the Constitution, so that the people could be more vigilant to safeguard their rights.

The member said that civil servants with public dealing departments should also give more attention to identify the violation of human rights relating to their departments and implement measures to check the violations.

He said that it was right of every citizen to get pollution-free environment, clean drinking water and sufficient parks.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, informed that all the district officers had been directed to accord priority to redress the grievances of the public at the earliest. He assured that the complaints relating to the Human Rights Commission violation would be attended immediately so that justice could be given at the earliest. 



Exhibition of rare stamps
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 10
A two-day district-level philatelic exhibition, which commenced at Lodhi Club here today, turned out to be a rare treat for the stamp collectors with rare, valuable and antique postage stamps being displayed. Postal stamps pertaining to various themes like butterflies, bicycles, dogs, post-Independence, birds, disneyland, Indian tourism, etc, were displayed.

It was inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, in the presence of a large number of philatelists and other distinguished guest. Stamp collectors in all age groups thronged the exhibition and enjoyed the splendid display of stamps.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Manisha Bansal, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Ludhiana city division, said such philatelic exhibitions were organised by the Department of Posts to inculcate the hobby of stamps collection among the children.

In the competition organised, the first prize in the senior category went to Mr Suraj Jaitely for stamp collection on bicycles, Mr Raj Paul Oswal won second prize for his collection on Jainism, while Mr Rajesh Gupta won the third prize for his collections of post- Independence stamps.

In the junior category, the first prize was claimed by Ishaan Malhotra for stamps on elephants, the second prize went to Neha for her India Tourism collection and the third prize was won by Milan Gupta for his collection on varieties of snakes.

The Deputy Commissioner while congratulating the winners, invited the philatelists to put up a similar exhibition at Sutlej Club during Christmas and New Year celebrations.



Kalkat releases “book”
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 10
The Mewa Singh Gill Memorial Foundation today organised a function to commemorate the 82nd birth anniversary of the late Mewa Singh Gill, eminent lawyer and former member of Parliament at Punjabi Bhawan.

Dr G. S. Kalkat, Chairman of Farmers Commission, Punjab, released the book titled “Thandian Lattan” having a collection of poems of the late Mewa Singh Gill. Speaking on this occassion, he expressed deep concern over the problems faced by the farmers.

Mr Gurdish Singh Grewal, president, and Mr Kanwaljit Singh Bajwa, secretary of the foundation, handed over a cheque of Rs 18,000 to the Principal of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana, for providing scholorship to three deserving students. Poet Inderjit Singh Hassanpuri was honoured for his contribution towards the Punjabi language.

Dr Ravinder, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid Medical University, Punjab, Dr Khem Singh Gill, former Vice-Chancellor, PAU, Dr D.S. Heera, Bar Association, president, Mr Balwinder Goel, secretary, Mr Rana Harjasdeep Singh, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, member, Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, Mr Rajneesh Gupta, freedom fighter, Mr Diwan Jagdish Chander, Colonel Chanan Singh Dhillon, Mr Gurbhajan Gill and Mr S S Johal, Deputy Chairman, Punjab Planning Board, also graced the occassion.



Joke contest organised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 10
Members of the Gitanjali Club had organised joke competition here today at their weekly meet in the Gitanjali Ladies Club Complex, Hambaran Road. Ms Karuna Jain, president of the club said idea was to make women to behave more naturaly while cracking jokes. Generally men tell jokes and women are the passive learners.

The ‘joke competition: Muskarate Raho’ was quite successful as quite a number of women to participated. The winners of the competition were Ms Kusum Gupta 1, Ms Sheetal Nayyar II and Ms Saroj Khurana was declared third.

Besides joke contest 20 other women won prizes at the games played the during coffee session.



Nine booked
Our Correspondent

Khanna, December 10
The police has booked nine persons, including one woman, on the charges of raising illegal colony in Chhota Khanna village here today.


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