L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Ladhowal’s loss is Halwara’s gain
Land prices crash as airport project ‘shifted’
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 26
With uncertainty looming large over the prospects of an international airport coming up at Ladhowal on the city outskirts, the land prices have started crashing in areas in the periphery. The land prices in these areas had shot up phenomenally after the proposal came up for setting up an international airport there.

However, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is believed to have decided against setting up the airport at Ladhowal. Instead the ministry is learnt to be interested in setting up an international airport at Halwara, about 25 km from here. An Indian Air Force base already exists there. While it is not clear whether the existing airfield will be augmented and opened up for civilian traffic also or a separate airport will be set up. However, it is almost certain that there are very slim chances of an airport coming up at Ladhowal.

While the prices of land around Ladhowal village had shot up, earlier, even in the adjoining areas also the land prices had witnessed a boom. Although the current boom was attributed to already prevailing market sentiment across the state, but the proposal of setting up the airport also contributed to the shooting up of the land prices. The speculators had already drawn up plans to construct luxurious hotels in the area. They were only waiting for the work to start for the airport.

In the process hundreds of small time and several big real estate dealers have been made to lose huge money. It is learnt that immediately after the real estate dealers got a hint that the airport was not coming up at Ladhowal, they started beating a retreat. While some managed to off load their land, most of those who had tried to cash in on the news of the airport project, have been left in the lurch.

Some real estate dealers disclosed that had it not been for the overall real estate boom in the state, some of them would have been forced to penury. They said although the property prices crashed to some extent, but these were not too low. These were still at a stage where the dealers could make a safe exit. However, they agreed the prices were nowhere near the rate when it was thought that the airport would come up at Ladhowal.



Sterilisation case: boy’s father refutes IMA charge
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 26
The father of an alleged mentally challenged youth, who was a victim of a fraud played on him by his friends and was got sterilised at the Civil Hospital in October, is a deeply pained man today. First, he suffered the shock of the operation of his son, then the police inaction after his complaint. Now he has been labeled as a liar in some news reports and by a doctor’s association, which have not even met him to find out the truth.

While on one hand he is being stalked by the accused youths and their well-wishers, who were pressing him to compromise on the matter, on the other hand his painful experience has been ridiculed in some newspapers as well by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

“I am a poor man. I don’t have access to any pressure groups, who can take up my case. I think people like me should remain silent about our sufferings or else we would be painted as liars” said Mr Surinder Pal with tears running down his cheeks in the Ludhiana Tribune office last evening.

His immediate cause of frustration was the claim of Dr Gursharan Singh, state secretary, IMA, “Instead of coming to the aid of a poor person like me, the IMA has in a statement to the media and a letter written to the SSP, Ludhiana, labeled my complaint as false and motivated.”

“The IMA and some journalists have claimed that my son was not mentally challenged. They have neither met me nor my son and seem to have come to the conclusion on their own. On the other hand, I being a father will be too happy to learn that my son has normal mental faculties.”

He said he had been stating from the day one that his son was mentally challenged and had later taken to drugs in the company of some youths of the colony. It was these youths who took him to the hospital to arrange money for drugs.

“I have never said that any doctor, nurse of medical staff had lured my son, yet the IMA has gone to the town to defend the medical staff.”

He said a couple of newspapers had also carried defamatory news reports about his son. “They have called me a liar and even claimed that my son was jailed for some days in the past in some case. He said he was shocked that the media had also carried the adverse news reports without even verifying it from me.

He said he felt quite helpless as every body was concerned if his son was mentally challenged or not, “The media and the IMA have forgotten that even if my son was a drug addict and did this for money with his friends, he was still unmarried and the system cannot allow him to make false claims and undergo such an operation.”

He rued the fact that drug addicts undergoing operations to arrange money for narcotics was not a cause of alarm for public.



PSEB grossly overstaffed, says industry
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 26
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is grossly overstaffed. The number of PSEB employees per 1,000 customers is among the highest in comparison to electricity boards of other states. Whereas the Kerala State Electricity Board has 4.20 employees per 1,000 customers, this number is almost four times more, 16.90, in case of the PSEB.

This has been pointed out by the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association in a letter to the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission. The association, that has raised objections to the PSEB’s proposal of tariff hike for 2005-06, said employee cost in the PSEB worked out to be almost 19 per cent of the total revenue expenses in comparison to an average ranging between 9 per cent and 15 per cent in most of the other state electricity boards.

The association said employee strength per 1,000 customers in Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board is 5.72 whereas the same is 5.11 in Karnataka State Electricity Board, 7.40 in Gujarat State Electricity Board, 8.96 in Maharashtra State Electricity Board, 10.72 in West Bengal State Electricity Board and 11.06 in Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board.

Asserting that excessive staff strength needed to be controlled, Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary of the association, said it was one of the key factors contributing towards mounting expenses of the electricity board.

Objecting to the board’s proposal to raise electricity tariffs for 2005-06, the association said any such hike would hit business, exports and create problems like unemployment in the state. Industry associations had been pointing out time and again towards the need to control excessive expenses and curb losses during transmission and distribution.

“There are various factors which highlight that there is no need for the PSEB to raise tariffs. For instance, the Punjab government has announced that it would bear all expenses of the agricultural sector for tubewell connections. The burden thus, would not pass on to the PSEB, which means there is no need to increase tariffs,” said Mr Kapoor.

It was also pointed out that the board was not successful in bringing down its transmission and distribution losses. “Even the PSERC has admitted that T and D losses/ line losses are on the higher side. Had the PSEB taken safety measures or remedial steps to reduce these losses, there would have been no need to increase tariff or other charges.”

On the PSEB’s proposal to increase meter / metering equipment rental and other charges, the association said charges were recoverable from consumers when meter/ metering equipment was damaged. “The board wrongly said the same have not been revised,” alleged the association.

It said claims by the board that it had not increased security or tariff or ACD were false as these were increased several times.



Elderly couple catches robber
Our Correspondent

Khanna, December 26
An elderly couple caught a robber trying to loot them at gunpoint on Saturday night. Later other residents handed over the robber to the police.

On Saturday night, around 9 pm, five armed robbers entered the house of Mr Baldev Singh Bhatia in Mata Rani Mohalla. They asked the couple to give cash and jewellery to them at gunpoint. However, the wife of Baldev Singh caught one of the robbers. The robbers threatened to shoot the couple. The robbers fired upon them but the couple escaped unhurt. Meanwhile, the couple raised the alarm and their neighbours reached there. They informed the police and handed over the robber to the police. The robber was later identified as Rakesh Kumar. The other four robbers managed to escape.

Police chief, Khanna Naunihal Singh, claimed in a press conference here today that an employee of Mr Baldev Singh had connived with the robbers in the crime.

The SSP said that the employee had hatched a conspiracy to nab Mr Baldev Singh with five persons belonging to Uttar Pradesh.

The SSP said that police parties had been dispatched to different places to arrest the absconding accused.



Draw for 90 flats in Bhagat Singh Nagar held
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 26
The draw of lots of 90 flats of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar Housing Complex, Phase-II, conducted by HOUSEFED passed off peacefully today.

The auction was organised today after the first auction held two months ago was cancelled due to the alleged bungling in the allocation process.

However, contrary to the previous stormy day of draw of lots, the process passed off today without any protest from the applicants. Mr K K Bawa, Chairperson of HOUSEFED, said the draw of lots was carried out in a transparent manner where the applicants verified the slips put in the box, and one by one 90 slips were taken out by different applicants themselves.

The draw was held in the presence of Mr Raminder Singh Additional Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Mr B.S Jatana, Managing Director, HOUSEFED, Punjab, Mr Harkirat Singh Gill, Vice-Chairperson, HOUSEFED, Punjab, and some other officials.



Father, son booked in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Khanna, December 26
The Payal police registered a case under the Dowry Act against a father and son duo of Ghaga village in Samana tehsil here today.

According to the police, Kala Ram, father of victim Shammi Devi and resident of Doraha, had lodged a complaint with the SSP, Khanna, against Mewa Ram and Hari Ram brother-in-law and father-in-law of Shammi Devi, respectively. In the complaint, Kala Ram stated that her daughter was married with Binder Ram 10 years ago. However, Binder Ram died five years ago. Her father-in-law assured her to marry her with his younger son. After the assurance she started to live with her brother-in-law. However, her brother-in-law never married her. After some time her in-laws started demanding dowry.

Meanwhile, her brother-in-law was booked in a murder case. Her father-in-law demanded Rs 50,000 from them and assured to arrange the marriage of Shammi soon. But even after taking money Hari Ram did not marry his second son with Shammi.

The DSP (H) inquired into the complaint and recommended the registration of a case against the accused. Following the recommendation the Payal police registered a case.



Youth, factory worker killed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, December 26
Mandeep Kumar (18) was killed when a loader truck hit his scooter near Ambey Majra village, 2 km from here, on the G.T. Road yesterday.

According to the father of the deceased he along with Mandeep was coming to Gobindgarh from Sirhind around 7.30 pm yesterday. He was driving the scooter when the truck hit the scooter. Mandeep fell and was trapped under the wheels of the truck while he fell on the other side. The truck driver tried to flee but was nabbed by a police patrol party. The police impounded the truck and detained its driver Darshan Singh.

In another incident, a factory worker, Amarjeet Paul (30), was killed in a mishap in a factory while he was working on a machine today.



Udham Singh trust vows to get memorial to martyr
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 26
The controversial issue of 1,500 square yards of land of an elite club in the city resurfaced at a function organised to celebrate the 106th birth anniversary of Shaheed-e-Azam Udham Singh when the city-based Shaheed Udham Singh Trust resolved that it would not relax till it get a memorial and a library set up in the memory of the martyr in the city.

At the function, the trustees and the participants vowed that they would leave no stone unturned to get his memory preserved in the form of a befitting memorial. While the Ludhiana Improvement Trust and office-bearers of the Lion’s Club had been denying that the land was earmarked for the martyr’s memorial, the members of the trust passed a resolution that they would struggle to get that land vacated. The 1,500 square yards of land in Udham Singh Nagar is presently in the possession of the Lion’s Club.

“We cannot be telling lies all the time. We cannot just make a statement that the land was earmarked for his memorial and his bust was also put up in the area. How can they claim that we are just believing in hearsay,” said Dr Jaswant Singh Chamak, secretary general of the Shaheed Udham Singh Trust.

He claimed that at the time when Udham Singh Nagar was created, the plot was reserved for raising a memorial to great martyr Udham Singh, which remained unoccupied for a long time. ‘‘The plot was reserved for this noble purpose, but it is not known when and who changed the utilisation plan. The bust of the martyr was also destroyed over the years. This is how we respect our martyrs.” he added.

Dr Chamak further stated that the president of the Ex-servicemen league of Punjab, Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (retd), who is also a resident of the same area, had been protesting against the same, but no action was taken by the authorities concerned.

In other resolutions, the participants demanded that more than 3,000 documents pertaining to Shaheed Udham Singh, now lying in England, should be brought to India, a Udham Singh Chair should be set up in some universities of Punjab. They also demanded the sanctioning of a corpus fund of Rs 10 lakh for the Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial library.

The trustees also said that while on one hand the original site for the martyr’s memorial was being used for commercial purposes, the Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial library is being run in a rented building in the Dhobi Ghat area.

The Improvement Trust officials said that in revenue records the land was given to the Lion’s Club in 1970 and since then it had been its sole occupant and the rightful owner. Among others who spoke on the occasion included Dr Tejwant Singh, Dean College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, PAU, Dr Jasdeep Singh Chandi, Associate Professor of Surgery, DMCH, and Janab Arif Mohammad Chaudhary, president, Indo-Pakistan Friendship Society and advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, was the chief guest on the occasion.



Fauji Beat
Rid Army of political interference

POLITICAL interference in the Army started when Mr Krishna Menon was the Defence Minister in the 1950s. Its shattering fallout in the 1962 war was too obvious to be missed. This interference coupled with favouritism continued to grow over the years.

But the country was lucky to have a Prime Minister in Mr Lal Bahadur Shastri who stood by the Army in the 1965 war. If the 1971 war was a big success, it was because of the then Army Chief General (now Field Marshal) Sam Manekshaw, who could convince the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi conclusively that delaying of the war till December, 1971, was essential for the country’s success. If we could hold our heads high in the Kargil war in 1999, it was due to our junior leadership.

Having once taken roots, political interference and favouritism have kept on denting the reputation of the Army. Almost every second year, some promotion at the higher level is made either by the Ministry of Defence or is manipulated by the Army Headquarters by twisting the rules to favour or disfavour some one.

Do we need any better proof of this that the growing dissatisfaction in the Army, which reflects itself in the court cases and representations against denial of promotions? That sizeable number of senior officers have started going to courts does not speak well of the justice in the Army.

Those who continue to feel that the malady of political interference and favouritism will not affect the fighting potential of the armed forces are deceiving the country.

Sehjra Memorial

It was 48 Infantry Brigade of Golden Arrow Division that captured a strategic area of 52 km in the battle of Sehjra bulge in the 1971 war. In this daring action in the Ferozepore sector, five officers one JCO and 24 other ranks sacrificed their lives. For their success in this historic battle, the formation and its units were awarded the battle honour of “Sehjra” and theatre honour of “Punjab 1971”. The units of 48 Infantry Brigade also won six Vir Chakras six Sena Medals and one Atti Vashisht Seva Medal for their bravery in the battle.

The Sehjra Memorial, which commemorates the supreme sacrifice made by the men of 48 Infantry Brigade, was raised in Ferozepore in 1999.

Abdication of command responsibility

If 10 Army men were detained illegally for eight days in Jalandhar cantonment police station, as reported, the blame should go to the Army unit of these men. A defence spokesman is reported to have said that initial interrogation of these men by Brig Zile Singh, Commandant of Military Hospital, Jalandhar, pointed to their involvement in the disappearance of an eye-operating machine from the hospital. It was for this reason, the report says, that Brig Zile Singh allegedly handed over these men to the police.

The Army is a unique organisation where as a leader you have the powers to order your men to face bullets in battle without reasoning. And this is why the powers to reward and punish them are vested in you. This brings one to the question: Why were these men handed over to the police when it was not a civil offence? The men involved in disappearance of the equipment were under the Army Act and the equipment also belonged to the Army.

The right action would have been to investigate the case by holding a court of inquiry to pinpoint responsibility for the disappearance of the equipment. Thereafter, the culprit/culprits should have been tried under the Section 52 or 54 of Army Act, as applicable, or under another appropriate section, if a different offence was made out. It was totally wrong for the commandant to hand over his men to the police. By abdicating his command responsibility, he has proved that he was hesitant to deal with his men whom he “commands”.

— Pritam Bhullar



Educationist Data Ram dead
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 26
The beacon of education of Mandi Ahmedgarh and the founder of Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School and Sacred Soul Public School, Data Ram Sharma, died after prolonged illness here today.

He was 62. He is survived by his wife and three children. He was cremated in today afternoon. Hundreds of people from various walks of life attended the funeral procession. Leaders of various social and political organisations condoned his death and paid tributes to the departed soul. His death is being viewed as a great loss to the education circles in the town.

Data Ram was born in a lower middle class family of the local town. He started his career as a teacher at local M.G.M.N. Senior Secondary School. After remaining associated actively with the majority of educational institutes of the area, he started a school in a rented room. He worked hard for more than 30 years on this school which grew up to a multistoreyed senior secondary school.

Mr Mukesh Sharma, Executive Magistrate, Ahmedgarh, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha (MLA Kila Raipur), Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura and Mr Jasvir Singh Khangura, both Congress leaders, Mr Raghir Nandan Sharma, Ms Razia Sultana MLA, Malerkotla, Mr Nusrat Akram Khan Bagga, former minister, Mr Abdul Gaffar, former education minister, Mr Sinder Singh, chairman, Market Committee, were among others who condoned his death.



One sent to police custody for murder
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 26
The Raikot police with the arrest of Kamaljit Singh, alias Kala, claimed to have solved the murder of Aas Kaur, 85, of Jalaldiwal. Earlier the police had arrested Kamaljit Singh’s wife Balwinder Kaur, alias Binder. Ms Jitender Walia, Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, today sent Kamaljit Singh to one day’s police remand.

It may be recalled that Aas Kaur, 85, had no male child and as such she had adopted her own daughter’s son Kamaljit Singh about 15 years ago. She managed his marriage with Balwinder Kaur and every thing went on smoothly for years. Aas Kaur had some money deposited in bank, which Kamaljit Singh was insisting to withdraw. However, Aas Kaur did not agree to this. Feeling frustrated, Kamaljit Singh and his wife Balwinder Kaur murdered Aas Kaur. They also kept the body in the house for two days. The Raikot police recovered the body after someone informed it. A case was registered under Sections 302, 34, IPC.



Everest school kids present colourful show
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 26
The 35th annual prize distribution function of Everest Punjab Senior Secondary School, Moti Nagar, was held here today.

Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliament Secretary and state Minister of Power, Housing and Urban Development was the chief guest. The programme started with Saraswati vandana. Students presented a bright and colourful programme on the occasion with performances, including skits based on discipline and anti-corruption and folk dances songs.

Mr Rajinder Sharma welcomed the chief guest, parents and the guests of honour. Mr Dawar while addressing the students lauded the remarkable progress made by the school in the field of education and sports. He advised the students to endeavour to shine in every sphere.

Group songs such as "Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell," "Ek Main or Ek Tu" presented by the tiny tots spellbound the audience. A Rajasthani dance and modeling were also presented by the students. The most eye-catching items representing Punjabi culture were the famous bhangra and gidda.

Mr Darshan Singh Bedi, Mr Darshan Singh Virk and Mr Ram Singh Dhillon gave away the prizes to the participants.

Ms Asha Sharma, coordinator, IGNOU, also addressed the gathering and congratulated the students.

Govt College's NSS camp

The NSS unit of SCD Government College here is holding a camp at Partap Singh Wala village here. The camp was inaugurated by college Principal Dr Darshan Singh Gill yesterday. As many as 1,000 volunteers attended the camp on its 2nd day. The programme officer, Dr Rajinder Jain and Prof Rajdeep Gill addressed the NSS volunteers. As a resource person, Dr Jain delivered a lecture on disaster management and trained the students and volunteers in tackling various problems.

Prof Gopal Krishan and Prof Rupinder Singh also addressed the volunteers. The camp will be held in two sessions daily. In the morning session, the resource persons from various fields will deliver valuable lecturers on subjects like AIDS, T.B, dental problems, technical education, female foeticide, tree planting etc. In the second session, volunteers would survey the entire village and would make aware the villagers regarding various problems.

The head volunteers of the camp, Naresh, Sandeep Pahwa, Rohit, Upneet, Inderjeet Singh Johri and Harmander Singh, also participated actively.

GMSSS organises contest

A declamation contest was organised here by the Kishora Sikhia cell of Government Multipurpose Senior Secondary School, Cinema Road, here under the guidance of Principal H.K. Mayer. As many as 25 students participated. Ms Paramjit Kaur and Ms Sarabjit Kaur, Science teachers were among the main organisers.

Students spoke on the topics like population explosion, pollution, cable culture etc. Parminder stood first, Rohit second and Happy secured the third position in the contest. Mr Bhagwant Singh, Ms Santosh Sharma and Ms Sandeep Rani were the judges.

Principal Mayer distributed prizes to the winners. In his presidential remarks, he asked the students to create awareness among the masses about increasing population of the country.

BCM School's field day

The school in Dugri organised "Triveni Field Day" here today. The motive behind organising the field day was to encourage the students and to prepare them for future. The function had some inspirational items like "Khud Jiyen Subko Jeena Sikhayan" and another item "Save Environment".

An interview session was conducted for the UKG class students, who also performed fusion dance depicting the amalgamation of the East and the West. Many surprise games were organised for the parents also, according to the Principal, Dr Vandna Shahi.

Sonal Mansingh opens workshop

A week-long workshop commenced at Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines, here, today under the renowned classical dancer and Padma Vibhushan Sonal Mansingh. The girls who have the privilege of being the part of the workshop were beaming with enthusiasm and happiness.

The dance teacher at KVM, Ms Seema Sood, said the girls were lucky to get the nuggets of gems from honourable Sonal Mansingh. The Principal, Mr S.C. Saxena, said he was honoured to provide a medium to spread the glorious tradition of the country through Sonal Mansingh.

Teachers' training programme

More than 150 teachers of various government schools put up an excellent show of teaching learning material during the concluding day of the teachers' training programme at Government Inservice Training Centre (GITC) here on Saturday.

The five-day programme generated enthusiasm and curiosity amongst participating teachers to make innovative working models, charts, posters and other teaching aids on various subjects and topics.

Addressing the teachers, DEO (S) Mr Yashpaul Mehra, spoke about the need of refresher courses and training programmes for government teachers.

The Principal, GITC, Ms Gurdeep Kaur, appreciated the teaching aids prepared by the participants. She advised the teachers to supplement the knowledge of the students by using latest techniques.

Among those present on the occasion included Deputy DEO Manjit Kaur and other senior lecturers.

Annual day of Ritambhra school

The annual day function of Ritambhra Public School was held with a dazzling performances by the students of the school here. Ms Jennifer Rankin from the USA was the chief guest.

Principal S. Jain read the annual report of the school and welcomed the guests. Meritorious students were awarded prizes and certificates. Prof S.C. Jain, founder president of the school, congratulated the students and the school staff for putting up a brilliant show.



Sekha gets Nanak Singh award
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 26
The Punjabi Novel Akademy organised a literary seminar at Punjabi Bhavan here today. The function was organised to pay homage to novelist Nanak Singh on his death anniversary as well. The chief guest was Dr Katar Singh Suri, son of Nanak Singh. Mr Kulbir Singh Suri, another son of Nanak Singh, also participated.

Dr C.R. Modgil, Director, Haryana Punjabi Akademy, presided over the function.

Dr Joginder Singh Rahi, national lecturer, UGC, retired from Guru Nanak Dev University, was the keynote speaker and spoke on “Craft in Punjabi Novel”.

Dr Surjit, Reader in Punjabi University, Dr Sukhdev of Panjab University, Mr Karam Singh Aujla, Mr Kewal Kaloti and Ram Swaroop Ankhi also spoke.

Novelist Davinder Sekha was presented with the second Nanak Singh Yadgari Award at the function. Mr Mitter Sain Meet, secretary the Akademy conducted the function well.


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 |