L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Muslims take out procession against Delhi blasts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Hundreds of Muslims today staged a protest against the twin bomb blasts outside Jama Masjid, New Delhi, yesterday. The Muslims gathered in front of Jama Masjid, Field Ganj, and took out a procession. They also submitted a memorandum to the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, through the Deputy Commissioner.

The protest was organised by the All-India Majlis-e-Ahrar. Hundreds of people participated in the march. They were led by Maulana Habib-u-Rehman, president of the majlis, Mr Atiq-u-Rehman, national spokesman, and Mohammad Bakr Hussain, vice-president.

The protesters demanded that the Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, should be removed since he had proved to be the “weakest Home Minister”. The majlis demanded that all the mosques across the country should be provided foolproof security. They also demanded setting up a commission of inquiry, headed by a sitting Supreme Court judge, to find out the root cause of the blasts.

The memorandum observed that the anti-national elements had deliberately chosen the historic Jama Masjid to create communal tension in the country. It urged the President to identify the culprits and award them punishment.



Trees die in Focal Point as authorities sleep
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Discharge of industrial effluents and sewage in the green belt of Focal Point is taking a toll on the trees which are dying slowly due to the collection of water.

Some trees have been uprooted while others have dried up as the Pollution Control Board and the local Municipal Corporation sleep over the degeneration of environment in the industrial area. Needless to say, the Focal Point, which is known for its high concentration of pollutants in the air and water, requires more trees than any other area in the city.

Even a casual survey of the area reveals how the discharge of polluted water has killed many trees but none of the authorities seems bothered. Let alone initiating action on their own, they do not seem to care even as many industrialists write to them asking them to save the trees.

In a green belt in Phase VI near a hosiery unit, some trees have fallen into the pool of water after getting dried up. The park has in fact become a dump of fly ash and waste water. A board put up there claims it to be an MC park.

Nobody knew where the water was coming from, but a tea stall owner near the park said some tankers unloaded in the park. He added sewerage water was also being discharged into the parks as the MC had failed to provide a proper drainage system in the area.

The MC officials, however, vent their grouse stating that the sewerage was choked as the industrialists discharged some materials which could not be drained by the system.

In another park in Phase VI, commonly known as Tanki Wala Park, the trees which dried in the autumn did not sprout in the spring as the park remained waterlogged throughout the year. ‘‘Only some days ago, some workers drained out waste water from the park after installing motors. Now it has become a marsh. The layer of earth, which was exposed after draining the water, spoke volumes about the chemicals that were discharged in the green belt violating the pollution laws that advocate treatment of residues before discharging water,’’ said an industrialist.

‘‘We keep complaining about deteriorating environment. But nobody cares. There are very stringent pollution laws in our country. But nobody follows them. The authorities do not seem to enforce them. That is why they do not try to find out who is discharging effluents with the sewage, ’’ said R.D. Sharma, an industrialist, who has been spearheading a campaign against pollution in the Focal Point area.



Outgoing SSP ‘pardons’ five policemen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
With the last day of the outgoing city SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, in office, nearly 35 cops of different ranks lined up before him seeking forgiveness in separate cases of indiscipline and departmental inquiries going on against them for negligence in duty and other charges.

Sources informed that at least five of them were re-instated after they assured the SSP that they had learnt a lesson for their negligence in duty and other charges against them. The SSP has reportedly warned them while promising to give a favourable opinion to senior officers in departmental inquiries to most of the others also.

Hoping that the SSP would be in a benevolent mood today, the cops met him just after he had addressed a thanksgiving press conference in which he expressed gratitude to the residents of the city for helping him in his successful three-year tenure in Ludhiana.

Many of them could not be re-instated by the SSP as only an officer above the level of the DIG can re-instate them. Prominent among those were a number of Sub-Inspectors booked in cases of dereliction of duty or under corruption charges by the Vigilance. Many were booked on the directions of the senior officers for extortion and misuse of authority.

Later, the SSP reportedly told them to meet him in his office after 1:30 pm. The accuse d officials lined up well before that. They were carrying thick files of their cases with supporting documents in their favour.

The sources said the cops begged forgiveness urging the SSP to be kind. The SSP had taken strict action against these cops during his tenure. It was because of these cops that the city police earned a bad name in the media and was criticised by the public.

Earlier, the SSP in the press conference called upon the city residents for helping the police in tackling crime in a professional way. He said he had found the local media very responsible and professional in their reporting and coverage of events.



Tension in village; ‘trespassers’ on the run
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Tension prevailed in Gill village and surrounding areas the whole day as word spread about a coloniser allegedly forcibly occupying about 10 acres of land with police help late last evening.

Today, both parties, the landlord and the coloniser, Satwinder Singh Bittu, Director, Solitaire Colonisers and Builders, held separate press conferences to present their version of the episode. The owner of the land, Mr Gurnam Singh, and his son, Mr Jaswinder Singh are on the run after a case of trespassing was registered against them yesterday.

Ms Bhupinder Kaur, wife of Mr Gurnam Singh, landlord, said the coloniser was using his influence to renege on the payment due to them. “My husband had sold the land and had received a part of the agreed amount but Bittu was not paying the rest of the money. We are caught unawares when a strong police party allowed Bittu and his men to harvest the standing wheat crop and pull down a house on the land,” she naratted.

Flanked by women relatives, she said she and her daughter-in-law were being harassed by the cops to divulge the whereabouts of her husband and son.

She later accompanied mediapersons and showed them the ploughed wheat. An unsavoury incident was saved there when some armed men at the disputed land tried to chase cameramen of various dailies for taking pictures of the ploughed field. They were armed with swords and lathis.

On the other hand, Bittu said he had bought the land in February 14, 2005, and had paid 10 per cent of the land money. The remaining amount was paid later on. He also said he had allowed Mr Gurnam Singh to till the land till they paid back the entire amount. He said the prevailing high prices were responsible for the current situation. 



21 acres of wheat crop destroyed
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, April 15
Wheat crop in 21 acres was destroyed in a fire here yesterday. The cause of the fire is due to short circuit, said Mr Bhupinder Singh, a farmer.

He said the fire had erupted in the fields of Mr Harpreet Singh Gill from the Kalra Palace side on the Rahon road.

The SHO, Mr Pritpaul Singh Mangat, reached the spot and the fire was brought under control with the help of villagers. Due to unavailability of a fire engine, a JCB machine was put into action.

The affected farmers included Mr Gill, Mr Bhupinder Singh, Mr Balwant Singh, Mr Harminder Singh and Mr Raghbir Singh.

The MLA of the Koomkalan constituency, Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, has urged the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, to pay compensation for the loss.

The fire engine from Khanna reached the spot after the fire was brought under control.



Stop misuse of case property vehicles: DIG
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
The issue of misuse of case property vehicles by cops, especially those heading police stations and police posts, has assumed centrestage once again. The Deputy Inspector-General (DIG), Ludhiana Range, has sent a missive to the SSP, Ludhiana, to stop the misuse of vehicles.

Sources said the DIG had taken a serious view that a number of police officers, including gazetted officers, have been using impounded vehicles. He had asked the SSP to immediately ascertain the records and take action against the erring cops.

The sources said the DIG had learnt that a number of SHOs were using impounded cars, especially 10-seater vehicles. The issue came to notice when three cops had misused a case property car for various months and carried out their alleged extortion activities. Though the cops were booked, several others continued with the practice.

The sources said even an SP-rank officer was using a swanky car impounded in a case. Another SHO is well known for using one after another case property cars in the custody of his police station. He changes them frequently but a 10-seater car is his favourite. It is even seen parked outside his house.

Another SHO goes on joyrides in a car the registration number of which is similar to that of a councillor’s car. Yet, there has been no check on him. The sources said the SHO had conveniently erased a digit of the car number now.



Setback to Birmi as Congress rally gets cancelled
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
In a severe setback to the Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, the Congress rally scheduled to be held here tomorrow has now been cancelled. The party sources revealed that the severe factionalism within the party led to the Chief Minister asking for the cancellation of the rally at the last moment.

The rally was scheduled to be held at Basti Jodhewal, which falls in the Ludhiana Rural Assembly segment represented by Mr Birmi. He had single-handedly been working hard to ensure a good turnout. However, the ‘sabotage’ by some leaders within the party ensured that the rally was cancelled, much to the disappointment of Mr Birmi.

It is learnt that the Chief Minister was apprised that Mr Birmi had not taken into confidence most of the legislators, ministers or party leaders about the rally. Earlier also, on the occasion of Vishvakarma Day, Mr Birmi had ensured that no other leader from the party was present on the stage. This had reportedly annoyed the Chief Minister as other leaders had felt ignored.

The intense rivalry of one upmanship among some legislators and ministers in Ludhiana about their “close proximity” has led to the cancellation of the Chief Minister’s visit on several occasions.

While Mr Birmi was untiringly working for the success of the rally, his rivals were reportedly putting in extra efforts to ensure its failure. With the Chief Minister’s office getting intelligence inputs suggesting that the rally could prove to be a failure with most of the leaders, legislators and ministers possibly boycotting it, he decided against it.



NRI society formed to strengthen mutual ties
Kuldip Bhatia
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 15
The Guru Hargobind NRI Society formed at Raqba village of this district, with the endeavour of some prominent residents and their counterparts settled all across the globe, might turn out to be a path-breaking move which might pave the way for similar bodies all over the state to achieve the objective of stronger mutual ties between NRIs and the native population.

The brain behind the formation of the society, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, Chairman, Punjab Housefed, said the society would aim to bring the NRIs, and particularly their children born and brought up in foreign countries, closer to their roots through constant exposure to the culture, traditions and history of their respective villages.

The society would encourage communication between the NRIs and native people as also provide a platform to the ‘sons of the soil’ for investment in the development of infrastructure and other community projects as had been witnessed of late in many parts of the state.

Giving details of the setup, Mr Bawa, who has been nominated as one of the nine patrons of the society, informed that the society had one executive committee of 15 members and a president from the village and another executive comprising NRIs with a president.

In a joint meeting of the village population and a large number of NRIs, convened in Government Senior Secondary School of the village, Mr Yuvraj Singh (Canada) was named as founder president while his counterpart from the village would be Mr Major Singh, Principal (retired).

Among the NRIs in the executive committee were Mr Tarlochan Singh Saggu, Mr Devinder Singh, Mr Nirmal Singh Grewal (all from Canada), Mr Mandeep Singh Babbi, Mr Sanjeev Inder Singh, Mr Romy Sidhu, Mr Harjit Singh Sidhu, Mr Gurpal Singh Pali, Mr Daljit Singh, Mr Jasmel Singh Bobby (all from the USA), Mr Darshan Singh Sidhu, Mr Harjit Singh Sidhu (UK), Mr Pritpal Singh Bheena (Phillipines) and Mr Kuldip Singh (Germany).

The executive members nominated from among the village residents included Mr Devinder Singh Sidhu, Mr Kulwant Rai Sehajpal, Mr Jasvir Singh Sidhu, Mr Jaswinder Singh, Mr Harinder Singh Sidhu, Mr Baljinder Singh Sidhu, Mr Gurbachan Singh Sidhu, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Jagmel Singh, Mr Rachpal Singh Sidhu, Mr Gurdev Singh, Mr Mohinder Singh Prajapat, Mr Baljinder Singh and Mr Nirbhai Singh Bhajji.

Mr Kuljit Singh Sidhu, IAS (retd) and a native of this village, who is also among the patrons of the society, was presented with a shawl and a portrait of Baba Banda Bahadur for his valuable services rendered to the village and community as a whole at this occasion.



Lakhanpal sees promising days for Punjab
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Chief Secretary K.R. Lakhanpal said today the state would witness massive development in terms of infrastructure. He said investments to the tune of thousands of crores had started coming in and a number of projects had been cleared.

Mr Lakhanpal, who was on a private visit here today, said when the new government took over in 2002, the state faced a severe financial crunch. Since then, finances had stablised and the state was on the path of development, he said.

He said the government had chalked out a comprehensive programme for balanced development of rural and urban areas in the state. Special development projects had been envisaged for cities like Ludhiana, Amritsar and Bathinda, he said. A ring road for Ludhiana had already been approved, he added. 



CPO scheme launched

Khamano, April 15
A smagam was held at police station, Khamano, to launch a CPO scheme at Khamano and CPOs were given uniform on the occasion. The SMO, Khamano, Mr Harmeet Singh Hundal, gave directions to CPOs about their duty and stationed them in different wards.

He said the scheme was being launched on the directions of higher officials and it would be expanded to villages also after consultation with sarpanches, panches and prominent persons of the villages.

Nagar panchayat president Harbhinder Singh; former president Dharmpal; vice-president Major Singh; Dr Jagdeep Rana; Dr Ranjeet Singh; Dr Charnjeet Singh Khamano; councillor Satpal Kainth; Kashmira Singh Bilaspur; Hari Chand; former president of the Truck Union and some other councillers were present on this occasion. — OC



Judge bereaved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Mohinder Singh, a former police officer and father- in- law of Mr Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Additional District and Sessions Judge, passed away here this morning. He was 76 and had been ill for the past few days. He leaves behind five daughters.

His funeral was largely attended by senior judicial officers friends and relatives.



4 booked for murder bid

Jagraon, April 15
Sikander Singh, Gurcharan Singh,alias Dandu, Kulwinder Singh, alias Vicky, and Manjit Singh,alias Gora, of Agwar Ladhai have been booked under Sections 452,307,323,427,506 and 34, IPC, for attempt to murder after tresspassing into a house. According to information, all four used to harrass the daughter of Amandeep Singh, resident of house No. 3642, Agwar Ladhai. They broke open the door of the complainant's house and assaulted Amandeep Singh with the intention to kill. The injured has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital. No arrest has been made so far.

10 booked for assault

Sandeep Singh, Sikandar Singh, Raisingh of Jand, Joginder Singh, Man Singh, Manjit Singh of Lattala, along with four unidentified persons, intercepted Pardeep Singh of Gujjarwal and his friend Baljit Singh near the Gujjarwal bus stand and assaulted both of them. The Dehlon police has registered a case under Sections 341,323,148 and 149, IPC, on the complaint of the injured Pardeep Singh . No arrest has been made so far.



Police accused of shielding culprits
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 15
A local resident has urged the state government to initiate action against octroi employees, who had allegedly assaulted his son and daughter-in-law when they were returning home on Tuesday.

While the octroi contractor claimed to have removed the employees from service, the Sadar police asserted to have started investigation into the matter.

According to Mr Paramjit Singh, his son and daughter-in-law were roughed up by the employees but the police instead of acting against the suspects had been pressurising him to settle the issue with them.

“Though the employees intercepted my son and daughter-in-law without any reason and beaten up my son besides misbehaving with his wife, the police failed to register an FIR even,” said Mr Paramjit Singh.

Accusing the Sadar police of shielding the culprits, the complainant alleged that the suspects had broken windowpanes of the auto they were travelling.

He urged the authorities to protect life and property of his family as contractors had been threatening them of dire consequences in case the complaint was not withdrawn.

“One of the octroi moharars, who had been acting on the behest of contractors, threatened me of dire consequences and claimed that he had links with an IG,” said the complainant.

Police sources, however, refuted the charges leveled against them and maintained that investigation to the case had been initiated.

Mr Mange Ram, the contractor, when contacted, claimed that he had removed the employees from the service.



Truck driver convicted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 15
A truck driver Gurmit Singh of Shiekhupura village, Fatehgarh Sahib, has been convicted on charges of causing death of two scooterist by crushing them under the truck. He has been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for two years.

Delivering the verdict, Mr Jaspal Verma, Judicial Magistrate, held that prosecution had proved beyond doubt that the accused had caused the death of Jaspal and Banarsi Dass of Jagraon on January 1, 1996, while driving his truck rashly.

The Judge declined the plea of the accused to release him on probation with the observation that the accused had committed grave offence by killing two innocent persons. The Court also ordered the accused to pay a fine of Rs 5,000.

The accused was booked by the Railway police under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC in Ludhiana following a request from the Railway police post, Jagraon. The gateman of the Railways, Mr Ashok Kumar, had reported about the accident. Two persons-Jaswant Rai and Rampal also recorded their statements with the police that they had witnessed the accident.

As per the prosecution, Jaspal was driving the scooter and Banarsi was the pillion rider. They were going from Sabzi Mandi to the city. When they reached near gate No: 35, the truck driven by the accused the scooter, and the occupants fell down on the ground and were crushed to death under the truck.

The accused had pleaded not guilty. But finding convincing evidence against the accused, the court has sentenced him accordingly. 



HDFC, Kotak banks tie up

Ludhiana, April 15
HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to share their ATM network. This agreement will give customers of the two banks access to over 1,400 ATMs across the country.

The agreement was signed by Mr Aditya Puri, Managing Director, HDFC Bank, and Mr Uday Kotak, Executive Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank, said a press note.

While HDFC Bank has 1,335 ATMs across 228 locations, Kotak Mahindra Bank has 75 ATMs at 41 locations. — TNS


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