L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Water supply issue dominates MC meeting
Sops for Deputy Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and councillors
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 2
Councillors from various wards of the city highlighted the problem of short supply of potable water in their areas during in the General House meeting of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation here today. This led to uproar in the meeting.

In the backdrop of tall claims of the MC authorities for providing drinking water to the entire population, the councillors raised the grievances of the people in the zero hour of the meeting.

Starting from Mr Harbhajan Singh Dang, Akali leader, to Mr Sardul Singh Grewal, Ms Sunita Rani, Mr Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Mr Surinder Sharma, Mr Varsha Rampal and the leader of Opposition, Mr Parvin Bansal, all talked about the water crisis being faced by the residents of their respective areas and demanded immediate redressing of the problem.

Mr Bansal came up with an idea of providing an alternate source of power generation at tubewells so that water could be provided during power cuts also.

Referring to the problem raised by these councillors, Mr S.K. Sharma, MC Commissioner, said there were 485 tubewells supplying water in the city as compared to 285 three years ago. He said there was no shortage of water. The problem was created by small pumps installed by residents to store water in overhead water tanks.

He offered the councillors to take action against those who had installed such pumps, but the move was opposed by one and all.

He said he had written to the Punjab State Electricity Board to provide hotline at every tubewell so that water could be supplied during power cuts also. The MC had also written to them to provide the schedule of power cuts so that water could be supplied accordingly, he added.

The leader of Opposition, however, did not like the idea of hotline. Stating that it would be near impossible to have a hotline on 485 tubewells, Mr Bansal said installing generators would be the only feasible remedy for the problem.

Meanwhile, sops for Senior Deputy Mayor, Deputy Mayor and all councillors of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation was another highlight of the meeting.

The MC authorities also constituted various committees to review development in the city and ensure quality of development projects being taken up by the civic body.

The agenda item providing for pension to the councillors after they completed their term in the House was passed by majority amidst thumping of desks.

An additional sop suggested by city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, to provide family pension to councillors also invited applause from all members.

Facilities to Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor, including telephone, transport and residence, already provided to city Mayor, also got consent from the House.

Councillor Mr S.K. Sharma said the MC had constituted a Development Works Review Committee, with the ATP, Ms Kamalpreet Kaur, as its Member Secretary and two councillors, Mr S.S. Ahluwalia and Mr Hakam Singh Gyaspura, as its members.

The committee would look into all development works and if some deficiency was found in any of the projects, action would be taken against the officials concerned and the contractors. The contractors would be blacklisted for three years and officials would be chargesheeted, he said.

Another committee, headed by SAD councillor Harbhajan Singh Dang, would keep a check on the quality of material used for various development projects. The committee would also assess whether there was any favouritism in allotment of development projects in the past.

The MC would also fix a limit of allotment of various projects for the contractors and the latter would not be allowed to apply for the projects beyond that limit. It would ensure speedy completion of the projects.

The Commissioner said out of 2,500 development projects taken up during his regime, 2,285 were completed and only 215 were pending.

The House also resolved not to issue and renew licences of commercial establishments in residential areas which were utilising or storing inflammable articles in their units. This issue had been hanging fire for quite some time now.

The agenda providing for extension of MC limits was also passed, but the councillors demanded that the outer areas should be included in the MC limits. The civic amenities to these areas would, however, be provided only after the already existing areas were provided with these.

The issue of reconstitution of wards was kept pending for the next meeting. The auction of vacant land belonging to the MC in different wards invited quite a discussion. While Congress councillors raised their hands in its favour, the Opposition councillors demanded constitution of a committee to decide whether the land should be sold or not.

Later, it was decided that the auctions would be conducted in the presence of the Mayor, the Commissioner and the area councillor. Other councillors could also attend the auction to ensure transparency.

Majority of the councillors also gave their consent to changing the use of residential building to commercial units in around 12 cases. The House also agreed to transfer a piece of the land of dumping grounds in Jamalpur for the construction of a sewage treatment plant.

A committee was constituted to decide on land for a cemetery. Headed by the city Mayor, the committee would identify the land for the purpose.

The House also decided to provide monetary help to the families of some workers who died while working on MC projects. It also agreed to repay the instalment of HUDCO loans in the interest of the development of the city.

The issues of traffic, encroachments, inactive Tehbazaari Department, illegal hoardings, sewer, non-lifting of garbage, electricity poles in the middle of roads and reducing of rate of interest on the bills were also raised in the meeting.

Barring a few incidents when councillors did not agree with each other on some issues, the meeting went off peacefully. A two-minute silence was also observed for Doda killings.



Shiv Sena protests against J&K killings
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 2
Various organisations today condemned the massacre of about 30 Hindus in two separate incidents yesterday in Jammu and Kashmir. Activists of the Shiv Sena also held a demonstration. They were demanding the dismissal of the Jammu and Kashmir Government since it had failed to provide safety to Hindus.

Parliamentary Secretary Surinder Dawar, in a statement, expressed grief over the killing of innocent people in Jammu and Kashmir. Expressing sympathies with the bereaved families, he urged the government to ensure that the guilty were punished at the earliest.

A senior BJP leader and ex-Rajya Sabha member Lala Lajpat Rai said, it was shocking that such incident had taken place in Jammu and Kashmir and that too at a time when India expected Pakistan to respond positively to its friendly gestures. He pointed out that militants had struck in the hometown of Ghulam Nabi Azad within a couple of days of his getting elected to the state Assembly. He blamed the J&K and Central Government of being too soft towards terrorism.

Senior Akali leader and general secretary of the SAD Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal also condemned the massacre of the innocent people. He demanded that the government must ensure the safety and security of people. He said the recent incident of the killing of 30 innocent people had shaken the confidence of people. He said both state and the Central Governments should take steps to ensure that such incidents do not take place in future.

Earlier in the day, the activists of the Shiv Sena staged a protest demonstration against the killings. The demonstrators were led by the state president, Mr Ravinder Arora.

District Congress Committee leader Kewal Arora has also condemned the incident.



Murder: father seeks probe into police inaction
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 2
A Dalit family of Jhuner village has demanded a probe into the alleged inaction of the local police in connection with murder of their son, who was shot by assailants at Jitwal village when he was returning with his employer two years ago.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Human Rights Commission has advised the Sangrur SSP not to close the case as was apprehended by the complainant, the father of the deceased.

The police, on the other hand, stated before the PHRC that no clue regarding the incident of murder and looting had been found and that the matter was still under investigation. The SSP had been sending a status report to the commission regularly.

Gurmel Singh of Jhuner village has urged the higher authorities, including Director General of Police, Punjab, and the Chief Minister to order an inquiry into alleged inaction of the police in the case of murdering Sukhjiwan Singh, his son who had been employed with a petrol pump owner.

Sukhjiwan, after appearing in class XII examination, had joined temporary service at a petrol station at Sehora. He had gone with his employer Harvinder in the morning on May 9, 2004, but was killed by some unidentified persons at Jitwal village on the night.

"We failed to understand why should robbers shot Sukhjiwan and leave Harvinder who was driving the car and was having a weapon with him. Even if they had killed my son why did they allowed Harvinder to keep pistol whereas they had taken away, cash, mobile phone and the keys of the car," questioned Gurmel Singh but received no answer .

Gurmel Singh had been running from pillar to post to get the investigation expedited, but with no avail. His complaints to some welfare organisations, including the SC/ST Commission went unanswered.

Though the Chief Minister Office had directed his application to the SSP, Sangrur, on June 24, 2004, and the later the SSP referred the case to CIA Bahadurgarh, nothing concrete was done by the police to find the truth.

"Instead of extracting truth from the owners of the petrol pump, the police induced me to submit that I no longer wanted to pursue the case. The submission was used to misguide the PHRC at one stage," asserted Gurmel Singh, telling that the commission had later accepted his request to order the district police to keep the case open.

Perusal of orders passed by the Additional Registrar, PHRC, showed that the commission had observed that a substantial crime had been committed in the case.



Medicos protest, burn Arjun’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 2
Students of medical and dental colleges in the city, led by activists of the Joint Action Front (JAF), today held a massive march against the reservations policies of the Union government.

The protesting students, carrying banners and raising slogans against the reservation policy, marched in procession from the Nehru Sidhant Kendra and went to the Deputy Commissioner's office in Mini Secretariat, passing through Bhai Bala Chowk and Ferozepur Road. The medicos were joined by students of Punjab Agricultural University and several other local schools and colleges.

On arrival at the secretariat, the students burnt an effigy of Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh while denouncing him for slapping of the reservation policy which spelt doom for the professional and higher education. The students also distributed pamphlets among the public to create awareness about the demerits of the reservation policy.

Addressing the rally, Mr Jangveer Singh Gill, president, Ludhiana General Category Welfare Federation, highlighted the demerits of reservation in the education sector while expressing solidarity with the agitating students and the JAF of medicos.

Later, the protesting students submitted a memorandum to Mr J.K. Jain, Executive Magistrate and Public Grievance Officer, who assured them that their demands would be communicated to the Government of India and the Prime Minister's Office.



New traffic plan in the offing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 2
To tackle the evergrowing traffic chaos in the city, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation in collaboration with traffic police will chalk out a traffic regulation plan.

The civic body is carrying out a survey with the help of traffic cops, who would submit a report within three months and suggest ways and means to combat the menace.

Stating this here today, Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner, MC, said they would follow a three-point agenda to manage the traffic in the city. It would include awareness among people, traffic regulation and traffic engineering.

Under the plan, the MC and traffic police would educate masses to follow traffic rules, would ensure that violators would not go scot free and provide physical infrastructure like roads, railway overbridges, flyovers and traffic light chowks to ensure smooth flow of vehicular traffic.

He said there were 33 traffic light chowks in the city and they were identifying more places where these lights could be installed. There would be various places of parking for taxis, rickshaws and other vehicles so that these did not interfere with the smooth flow.



Notice to DEO for violating court orders
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana , May 2
The District Education Officer (DEO) Primary, Ms Harvinder Kaur, and Ms Rama Rani, Headmistress of M B Primary School, Naya Mohalla, here, has been ordered to appear before the court on May 26, 2006. The court has asked them to ''show cause'' why, for non-compliance of decree of the court, they should not be sent to ''civil imprisonment''.

The orders were passed by Mr Jaspal Verma, Civil Judge, Junior Division, in an execution application filed by Ms Durgeshwari Devi, a retired JBT teacher. She said officials were not obeying the orders of the court passed in her favour.

The teacher had claimed before the court that she was employed by the management of M B Primary School, Mandi Bagh Khazanchian. The school was recognised by the Education Department, Punjab, and grants were received by the school.

It was submitted by her that she retired in December, 1992. But she was not granted the regular pay scale and thus she was deprived of the monetary benefits from the date of her appointment till the date of her retirement and pensionary benefits. However, she had lost the case before the lower court.

But the judgment was reversed by the Sessions Court and the case was decided in favour of the retired teacher. The education department was directed to pay all benefits to her. The appeal filed by the department before the high court was dismissed.



Power bill collection made easy

Ludhiana, May 2
Power consumers of the city can now heave a sigh of relief since they will no longer have to wait in queues to deposit their bills.

The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has signed an agreement with M/s Easy Bill Limited for collection of household, commercial and industrial electricity bills for the city.

According to the Chief Engineer, Operations, the company has opened 54 bill collection centres at various places in the city.These centres would be functional even on gazetted holidays, Saturdays and Sundays. — TNS



Book Birmi for insulting National Flag: BJP
Action sought for threatening journalist, too
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 2
The BJP has demanded the registration of a criminal case against the Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, holding him responsible for the "dishonour" to the National Flag at the rally organised by him. The party has also condemned the threats issued to some reporters by Mr Birmi for reporting this insult to the National Flag.

In a statement issued here today, the general-secretary of the state BJP, Mr Anil Sarin, pointed out that the rally was attended by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, and several ministers and legislators. He said the state government and the Congress should apologise to the nation for "insulting" the National Flag.

Organisers of the rally had distributed the small National flags among party workers who allegedly used these for fans to beat the scorching heat. The flags were later thrown away and trampled over by the crowds. The issue has blown into a major controversy with Mr Birmi having threatened one of the journalists for reporting it. Since then the opposition parties have started demanding Mr Birmi's resignation.

Meanwhile, mediapersons from all newspapers and channels submitted a memorandum to the District Magistrate Ashok Kumar Gupta for taking action against Birmi for allegedly threatening a senior correspondent of The Indian Express.

The mediapersons have urged Gupta to intervene in the matter and safeguard the freedom of the Press and respect to the National Flag.



Youth Cong leader offers
himself for Sarbjit's release

Ludhiana, May 2
A former general secretary of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Kimti Rawal, has offered himself for the gallows for getting Sarbjit Singh, facing capital punishment in Pakistan, released.

In a letter addressed to Pakistan President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, Mr Rawal has offered the novel formula to bail out Sarbjit. He observed that the fundamentalist leaders in Pakistan were not concerned with Sarbjit, but they wanted an Indian to be hanged.

Mr Rawal said he was sincere in his offer and did not want any publicity for the purpose.

When asked how could it be possible, he said "they just want to hang an Indian, because Sarbjit is as innocent as I am .So, it would hardly make a difference". He added this would provide some relief to the family members of Sarbjit, who had been facing the trauma for the past 15 years. TNS



Welfare society honours Sidhu

Ludhiana, May 2
Mr Kuljit Singh Sidhu, an IAS officer, and Prof Manjit Singh Sidhu, both belonging to Rakba village in this district, were felicitated at a function organised by the Rajguru Nagar Welfare Society at Circuit House here yesterday.

Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, Chairman, Punjab Housefed, presided over the function and presented robes of honour and mementoes to the guests while recalling their distinguished services in their respective fields.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sidhu, a Maharashtra cadre bureaucrat, said he had served on different posts in Maharashtra, far away from his native place but he had always made it a point to maintain contact with his roots and his unbound love for the land of Punjab.

Mr Sidhu expressed his pleasure at the formation of an NRI Sabha in Rakba village as a result of untiring efforts put in by Mr Bawa.

Prof Manjit Sidhu emphasised the need for the creation of basic infrastructure in the villages so that the exodus of rural population towards the cities could be checked. OC



Man held for bid to kill father, brother
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 2
A farmer of Dasaundha Singh Wala village in Sangrur district, along with his son, was shot at by another son who wanted to grab land situated at a prime location in Raikot town. The Raikot police arrested the accused along with the weapon and cartridges after registering a case.

According to sources at the Raikot police station, Major Singh, apprehending threat to his life from his son Darbara Singh had shifted along with son Gurmit Singh to the latter’s in-laws place at Dasaundha Singh Wala village near here. The father and the son had escaped attacks by Darbara Singh many times.

The accused ambushed Major Singh and Gurmit Singh near a deserted drain bridge near Shehbazpura village on Sunday. “As we approached the bridge, Darbara Singh who was lying in wait on one side, fired on us, but we escaped unhurt. We saved our lives by running away from the scene,” reported Major Singh and Gurmit Singh to the Raikot police.

According to Mr Gurtejinder Singh Aulakh, DSP, Raikot, the accused was arrested by a police party led by Mr Randhir Singh, SHO, Raikot, and a 32-bore country-made pistol was seized from his possession.

He was arrested on the identification of Major Singh. Preliminary investigations revealed that Darbara Singh had been creating nuisance for the family for a long period. He admitted to have attempted to eliminate his father and brother in order to grab six acres of land situated at the prime location in the town.



Woman kidnapped
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, May 2
As many as 14 persons, including two brothers, allegedly kidnapped a woman last night, assaulted her, stole a motor cycle and a cell phone. The Raikot police has registered a case.

According to information, Sarbjit Kaur was present in her house at Kulan Patti Tajpur Road, Raikot, when Balvinder Singh and Daljit Singh of Akalgarh, alongwith several unknown persons, entered her house, assaulted and detained her in illegal confinement. According to the victim, they also stole motor cycle no. PB-56A-4690 and a mobile phone. They were allegedly armed with rifle and canes. No arrest has been made so far.

Sarpanch booked

The sarpanch of Chaminda village has been booked for allegedly harassing a woman under Sections 452, 354 IPC. According to information, Ms Sarbjit Kaur of Chaminda was present in her house on April 24, when Bahadur Singh, sarpanch, entered her house and harassed her. The Sudhar police has registered a case. No arrest has been made.

Liquor seized

The Sidhwanbet police arrested Kulwant Singh of Parjian Biharipur from his village and recovered 13,680 mls of illicit liquor from his possession. A case has been registered.


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