L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


ADC denied bail in petrol station scam
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 13
The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Gurbir Singh, today dismissed the anticipatory bail application filed by Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Ajmer Singh in the infamous petrol station scam, with the observations that his custodial interrogation was necessary to bring the true picture on record.

The court also dismissed the anticipatory bail application moved by Area Manager of BPCL Rajeev Mishra, Territory Manager Mukul Joshi, and Surain Singh, an official of forest department, with the same observations.

However, the judge granted pre-arrest bail to Ms Ritu Sharma, wife of an accused Kamal Sharma, with the remarks that there was nothing on the record to suggest that she had participated in the business of firm M/s Bajrang Bali Transport Company.

The counsel of ADC had argued that he acted in good faith after receiving No Objection reports from the departments concerned. Moreover, when the matter was brought to his knowledge, immediately a show cause notice was served as to why the NOC should not be cancelled.

The regular bail application of the Assistant Town Planner, Mr Varinder Singh and Kamal Sharma, the alleged beneficiary of the NOC, was also rejected. They were arrested by the Vigilance Bureau on the day of registration of the case. However, the forester-Santokh Singh and Vishwanath Sharma were granted regular bail with the observation that there was nothing on record against them.

The Vigilance Bureau, Ludhiana, had charged the officials of wrongly issuing a No Objection Certificate to a party for setting up of a petrol station at Sahnewal in gross violation of norms. It was claimed that huge amount of money had exchanged hands in the process of issuing the NOC

The Additional Public Prosecutor, Mr Solanki, had argued that the site of the petrol station was in a rural area. As per the law no NOC could be issued if the distance between two petrol stations is less than 1,000 meters in rural areas. In this case the distance was about 800 meters.

The Vigilance Bureau had lodged an FIR against several officials and alleged beneficiaries of NOC under Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, and Sections 465, 468, 471, 120-B of the IPC on April 5, 2006.



Compensation cheques distributed among ’84 riot victims amid protests
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
The task of distributing compensation to victims of the 1984 riot victims was stopped for some time amid allegations from some victims that hundreds of families had been denied their due.

Four affected persons are presently sitting on a fast-unto-death outside the DC’s office to ensure that all affected are brought under the ambit of the compensation scheme.

The police had to be called into the Mini Secretariat where two counters had been set up to hand over cheques to the shortlisted people. Mr Surjit Singh, a member of the Danga Peerit Association, said over 900 families had been left out on frivolous grounds by the authorities. What is the rationale of compensation when all families in the state are not being covered by the scheme, he questioned.

Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Gupta said 400 cheques had been distributed at 10 counters set up at various places in the East and West subdivisions of the city. Cheque distribution has already been in progress in other subdivisions since April 11.

He said the entire process of giving cheques to 3,466 persons would be completed by April 16. He also added that staff would be present on duty on three holidays i.e. from April 14 to 16.

The DC said several cases were under scrutiny and compensation would be given to them after the approval of the government. He dismissed allegations that several families had been left out of the process.

He also appealed to the families of those affected not to disrupt the process and instead help them run things in a smooth manner.

Later in the evening, a delegation of the protesters led by former SGPC chief Jagir Kaur met the Deputy Commissioner and discussed the demands of the protesters. She said the DC assured her that their demands would be looked into and the hunger strike would ended.



Compensation brings some relief to riot victims
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 12
Victims of the 1984 riots, who received cheques for compensation from the SDM of Payal were ignorant about the Supreme Court orders or any constitutional organisation, including the Shankran Committee or the Nanavati Committee, the recommendations of which had enabled them to receive Rs 2 lakh each as compensation for the losses suffered during the riots.

Though no formal function was organised to distribute cheques worth Rs 102 lakh, the beneficiaries, mostly farmers, acknowledged the cheques as grants given by the Congress government as according to them they had lost all hope of getting compensation.

Mr Tejinder Singh Dhaliwal, SDM, Payal, claimed that he had distributed cheques worth Rs 2 lakh each to 51 riot victims. ‘‘As we had been directed to complete the process within the stipulated period, we decided to distribute the amount without wasting time on arranging elaborate functions,’’ stated Mr Dhaliwal.

Ms Gurbachan Kaur, a resident of Lapran village , thanked God for the monetary help received by her family almost after 22 years of riots that had led to the death of her husband, Darshan Singh. ‘‘The rioters had killed my husband who was alone at our house in Delhi as all other members of my family were visiting our relatives in Punjab. We do not know what made the present Congress government pay us Rs 2 lakh, when previous governments had been ignoring our demands,’’ said Gurcharan Kaur.

Gurdev Kaur was so upset to recollect her painful experience that she could not narrate the tale of her woes. Her son, Jagpal Singh, told that the family had lost everything, including standing crop in UP. ‘‘Though the amount paid to us is negligible in comparison to the huge loss and suffering, it will breathe life into our household,’’ said Jagpal.

Sukhdev Singh, a transporter from Bilaspur village , shivered on recollecting his horrific experience when rioters attacked his truck loaded with tea belonging to a trader. ‘‘We had saved our lives by hiding in a Muslim colony and my sons had to get their heads shaved in order to bring the truck back. In the absence of any financial help we had to compensate the trader whose goods had been lost in the riots,’’ said Sukhdev Singh.

Surjit Singh, a resident of Rano, looked at the cheque that he received from the SDM with a little consolation. He along with four other friends had been living peacefully near Barasama village near Lucknow when the rioters attacked them. ‘‘We fought for more than 20 years to get compensation but received nothing and now when we had lost all hope, simple submission of a form, fetched us a sum of Rs of 2 lakh’’, said Surjit Singh. 



Non-availability of NCERT books leave students in a fix
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 13
Schools affiliated to the CBSE have begun their new session, but books printed by the NCERT are not available . Due to change in the syllabus, new books in science, maths, social studies and history have been recommended for Classes I, III, VI, IX and XI.

Parents and teachers are worried as these books are not available in the market. The board keeps changing the syllabus every year and books are never available when the new session begins.

Principals of schools say despite repeated reminders to the NCERT the books are not made available to students on time. Parents have also condemned this lackadaisical approach of the NCERT .

Meanwhile, private publishers are reaping the benefits as they have published books according to the new syllabus. They have priced the books at double the rates of books printed by the NCERT .

"How can we teach children without books ? Had they not changed the syllabus, books would have been available in the market or children could use second-hand books. But now with the changed syllabus, that possibility is ruled out. Parents too are frustrated ," said Ms Kusum Sharma, a teacher of a convent school.

Some schools have downloaded details of the syllabus from the internet and are making students study.



Atmosphere in Punjab congenial: Patle
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 13
Mr Shishu Pal N Patle, a national leader of the BJP and an MP from the Bhandra constituency in Maharashtara claimed that the outcome the party’s alliance with the SAD during past decade had yielded positive results and Sikhs who earlier been painted as hardliners by some forces, have regained their esteemed status.

While talking to Ludhaina Tribune, Mr Patle claimed that the BJP-SAD alliance had yielded positive results and a trench between Hindus and Sikhs had narrowed soon after the NDA government was formed. “The alliance not only resulted in everlasting peace in the nation, it also slapped the subversive forces also,” claimed Mr Patle.

“The BJP leaders of the western and southern states were initially against the decision to make alliance with a regional party that had been advocating special rights for members of a community that had been painted as hardliner. But it produced amazing results and everybody wondered when the ditch among two communities was filled with love and affection,” commented Patle.

Mr Patle, who had stayed here during his pilgrimage to the Vaishno Devi temple said the scenario in the border state was different to that visualised by him and his colleagues earlier.



Undertrial flees from police custody
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April13
Panic prevailed among police officials when an undertrial managed to flee from police custody —Bollywood style. According to information, Kali, alias Gurmeet Singh, of Tahli Walian Chhanna falling in the area of Mehatpur village, was brought by the police from the jail.

He was being produced in an excise case pending in the court of Mr Gopal Arora,Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Jagraon, with other inmates of the jail. Kali, who was facing trial in two narcotic cases under Hambran police station and Sidhwan Bet, was also facing proceedings in an excise case in Jagraon court.But since he did not appear earlier, he was declared proclaimed offender in 2003 and arrested about six months back.

Today, when the police was bringing Kali with other jail inmates to the court, he managed to flee from the custody of the police as he was not handcuffed.



Youth held under Arms Act

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 13
The Sudhar police has arrested a youth of Kilaraipur village who had fled from police custody from a judicial court and was facing trial under at least 12 cases. Sources at the Sudhar police station revealed that Rajinder Singh, alias Gora, of Kilaraipur village had been nabbed in an Esteem car near Saholi bridge by a party led by Mr Shawinder Singh Dhillon, SHO, Sudhar, last night. The police seized the car and a country made 315-bore pistol from his possession.

Police investigations revealed that Rajinder had been facing trial in at least 12 cases, six registered at police stations in Jagraon district and an equal number in Ludhiana district. He had been booked at the police station division number 5 in Ludhiana. OC



Industry strike on April 20; unions get active again
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
Union activity, that had assumed a low profile following two decisions pertaining to Avon Cycles and Oswal Woollen Mills last month, seems to have re-grouped with a fresh vigour. This was evident in the tone and tenor of the speeches and the tremendous response of workers at the state-level convention of workers conducted by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) in the city today. The union also decided to observe an industry strike on April 20 throughout the state.

After vigorous union activities in the past two years, that were marked by various strikes and protest rallies here, the decisions pertaining to two companies wherein workers were asked to report for duty along with no pay for no work, unions maintained a low profile. Representatives of the industry also said it was a positive development for the industry.

However, at today's convention, the workers expressed dissatisfaction on the "agreements", alleged that the companies concerned were violating terms of agreement and reiterated their demands pertaining to minimum wages and the implementation of labour laws.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Raghunath Singh, vice-president, CITU, said: "We will not stop raising our voice whenever labourers are victimised. They had agreed to take workers back, but they violated terms of agreement. Industry is openly flouting labour laws too, and to press all these demands, we will observe a total strike in industry on April 20."

Regarding the agreement, the agreements in the case of Avon Cycles and Oswal Woollen Mills, he said the union had never intended to create any unrest. "When they agreed to take workers back, we had no problem. What irks us is that whenever workers raise their voice against the non-implementation of labour laws, it is termed as labour unrest. But all these years, when the industry kept flouting laws and did not give even minimum wages to workers, none even took notice of it."

The industry, meanwhile, said strike and fresh activity by unions was worrisome. " It is unjustified to observe strike. The industry is not violating laws. Such unnecessary union activity should be curbed. They are only provoking labourers for their own motives. A peaceful industry environment is a must for the economic progress of the state and such activities are big hurdles in that way," said Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary, United Cycle and Parts and Manufacturers Association.



Distributors to get tough with drug manufacturers 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 13
Irked over frequent policy changes by drug manufacturers and other manipulative tactics which were harming the interests of the trade in general and the pharmaceutical distributors in particular, the Pharma Distributors Association (PDA) has resolved that no distributor would take up the business of any company in future unless a letter of cooperation (LOC) was obtained by the company concerned from the association.

Giving this information here today, Mr Suryakant Gupta, general secretary of the association, said all members of the association from different parts of the state, attending the general body meeting, had agreed to implement this decision in letter and in spirit so that the exploitation of the trade by companies could be stopped.


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