L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Sale of newborn babies: racket unearthed
Doctor at large, 2 midwives held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 21
The city police today claimed to have unearthed a racket involving selling of newborns. The prime accused, a registered medical practitioner (RMP), allegedly used to sell newborns after telling their parents that their children were stillborn.

SP City-II D.P. Singh and DSP Satvir Atwal said the main accused, Dr Ranjit Singh Yadav, along with six other accused, including a couple of midwives in his hospital in Focal Point and some other hospitals of the city, allegedly conspired together in the crime.

The police said while the doctor managed to escape, two women, including midwife Hardeep Kaur and boutique owner Usha Rani, had been arrested in the case.

He said the accused used to keep the patient unconscious for two days after the delivery by administering anesthesia.

On regaining consciousness, the patient was told that her child had died due to septicaemia (blood poisoning).

The doctor used to convince the patient that the child’s life could not be saved and that her life had been saved with great effort. This was done in those cases where women did not have many relatives around.

The accused had allegedly sold five children, mainly males, at Rs 1.5 lakh each.

A majority of the money went to the doctor, while the other six accused pocketed between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 each.

The police did not disclose the names of the buyers of the children, claiming that the identity of the buyers was yet to be confirmed.

The police, however, presented Gobind Nagar resident Shanti Devi, whose newly born son was rescued from the arrested women, in front of the media today.

It claimed that two women — Hardeep Kaur and Usha Rani — were caught while they were on their way to hand over the child to prospective buyers.

Usha Rani runs a shop, Usha Boutique, in Civil Lines. She was one of the several women who used to arrange for buyers, the police said.

The police said Shanti Devi, who is the mother of two boys, was not convinced with the claims of the doctor and approached the police. On her complaint, the police carried out investigation and unearthed the racket.



City cops step up night vigil
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 21
The city road are no longer wearing a deserted look at night, especially during the crime-prone hours of midnight to 4 am, thanks to the massive night-domination exercise started in the wake of the recent spurt in crime incidents.

“You will find cops all over the city during day time and actually more at night time,” asserted DIG Parag Jain.

With the city witnessing a series of crime incidents and the confidence of the residents in the police shaken up, the cops have virtually come on the roads to keep a tab on the alertness of the force and keep criminals at bay.

To provide the residents a peaceful sleep, DIG of Ludhiana Parag Jain and SSP A. S. Rai along with several SPs and DSPs are personally supervising night domination work, delivering pep talks to the PCR cops, checking nakas and police stations to keep the force on toes and hence prevent crime. The officials are randomly checking the cops.

The officials are also in the process of infusing new life in the Police Control Room motor cycle squad which has been termed as the lifeline of the city police. At any given time, 90 motor cycles with two cops riding each, have been put on the road to increase the police presence and boost public confidence.

The state government too has realised that it cannot ignore the need of upgrading the vehicles and police machinery. The government has sanctioned Rs 15 lakh for the city police. The money along with Rs 4 lakh would be spent mainly on buying new motor cycles and some communication machinery, Mr Rai said.

A team of Ludhiana Tribune was also on the roads last midnight to catch the preparedness of the police to the latest challenge thrown by gangs of criminals, who have committed several robberies and murders in the previous dark fortnight.

The team witnessed a pep talk delivered to the contingent of the PCR-Police Control Room motor cycle squad at Aarti Chowk, “You are the lifeline of the city police. Of late, we have drawn flak due to the sluggish work of this department. But now is the time to pull up our socks and man the city in such a way that no longer is it considered haven for criminals,” said the DIG.

“We are aiming to take the PCR squad to a new high” he told Ludhiana Tribune. “Their presence on the road means confidence for people and discouragement for the criminals.”

“We are aiming at less than five minutes. That would be the ideal tough. The world’s best comes close to three minutes,” he claimed.

The DIG revealed that at any given time there were 90 motor cycles on the roads. The cops worked in three shifts 24 X 7 to man the city. Apart from this, the SHOs of the police stations and those in charge of chowkis conduct surprise checks and set up nakas riding in the new cars given to them.

“The DSP and above ranks are also getting new cars soon,” the SSP revealed, adding that the new communication system, walkie-talkies and mobile phones for the PCR cops were also arriving. Even the telephone lines at the control room were being increased for better response.

The officials meet another group of cops at Jalandhar bypass. “You would get promotions for good work and a stringent punishment for any laxity,” announces the DIG, adding, “it is not the machine but the man who is riding it that is important for us.”

At another naka in Kochar Market, manned by Commandos, on special duty in the city due to the crime wave, we are stopped. There was no official with us now. We were frisked and our car is searched bumper to bumper. The documents are scanned and details noted down.

The city may be safe till some criminals find some chink in the armour or the cops go lax. We hope not.



MC forgets its promise; minister comes to the aid of well diggers
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 21
Coming to the aid of four divers whose services have been utilised by the local authorities from time to time to fish out bodies involved in various accidents and who were promised jobs by the Municipal Corporation, the Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers and Steel, Government of India, has written to the Local Bodies Department of Punjab to provide them jobs as promised.

Satyan Sahani, Rudal Mahato, Umesh Sahani and Mrityunjay Sahani— four divers, were honoured by the LMC some years ago for recovering bodies of several well diggers and other persons involved in different accidents. Besides honouring them, the MC officials had said at that time that they would be absorbed in the civic body but the promise remains unfulfilled even after six years.

Not only have they not been given jobs but the monetary award of Rs 50,000 each announced for them at that time has also eluded them so far. They were given trophies and were garlanded at a function but a sum of only Rs 1,000 was given to each of them by the Red Cross.

Mr R.P Rathi, Officer on Special Duty to Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers, in a letter (dated June 29, 2006.Number-05/01/CFSM/06), to the Personal Secretary of the Local Bodies Minister has said their case should be considered sympathetically and they should be given a job in the MCL.

Despite moving from pillar to post all these years, the well diggers, who had risked their lives to recover bodies, are waiting for the authorities to fulfill their promises. Their skill is so much acknowledged by the district administration that whenever a body is to be fished out from some water body, they are summoned.

‘‘A few days ago we were asked by a senior official of the MC to guard the garbage dump at Tajpur Road. We sat there for two days but a tea vendor and her accomplices hounded us out from there. They said we were interfering in their work,’’ said Rudal Mahato.

These well diggers had helped the district administration in 1999 when two labourers were buried as a well that they were digging caved in. Despite launching a massive rescue operation, the administration machinery had failed to recover the bodies of well diggers for two days. Disappointed with the unsuccessful operation, angry residents staged a dharna. It was at that time that these well diggers were summoned and they recovered the bodies. Last year also, highly decomposed bodies were fished out by these persons from Buddha Nullah. Nobody, including the policemen, were ready to touch the badly decomposed bodies when these people had jumped into the nullah and helped the police. 



Taxpayers urged to file returns
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 21
Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (CCIT) Aarti Sawhney has called upon people to file their income tax returns and disclose their true income.

She said if tax-payers did not come forward voluntarily and paid taxes honestly, the department would be left with no other choice but to initiate penal proceedings against defaulters.

Ms Sawhney was speaking at a meeting of the Ludhiana Citizens Council (LCC) here last evening.

Director General Income Tax, North West Region, V.D.S. Balhara was the guest of honour at the meeting.

Senior officials of the department, including R.K.Roye, Vijay Kumar, B.B. Mohanty, Subhash Mishra, Ajay Kumar, all commissioners, and Roshan Sahai, Director of Investigation, attended the function.

Ms Sawhney said through the annual information return (AIR) the Income Tax Department had collected a lot of information from third parties, which provided valuable information about the financial transactions regarding income and expenditure of various firms and individuals who should be filing tax returns but were not doing so.

“The information collected through AIRs will also provide the basis for scrutiny selection where Assessing Officers will then match the nature and value of transactions with the return of income filed by persons concerned.”

She said information about unaccounted financial transactions, collected at the national level, ran into several thousand crores.

Ms Sawhney remarked that those who evaded taxes should come forward, show their actual income, correct withdrawals for household expenses and pay due taxes in the shape of advance tax.

She added that while the department would not spare defaulters, as far as honest tax-payers were concerned, they had no reason to be apprehensive.

To provide better services, Ms Sawhney said, all administrative commissioners would be available on Wednesdays after lunch hour to hear the grievances and difficulties of the tax-payers.

Council president K.S. Kelley, vice-chairman Ramesh Banda and secretary general Ashok Juneja pointed out the difficulties being faced by the business community and individual assessees.

Responding to the demand made by secretary-general Sudhir Sehgal and general secretary Ravi Gupta for opening extra counters for the receipt of income tax returns, the CCIT said 27 additional counters would be set up from July 28 to 31 for the purpose.

There would also be separate arrangement for accepting bulk returns from bar members.

In his address, V.D.S. Balhara remarked that if taxes were paid honestly, there was no need for surveys, searches and seizures.

He said a simplified income tax law was on the way to Parliament and was expected to be passed during the winter session.

Among others, J.S. Minhas, Rajeshwar Yadav, Sandeep Dahiya, Kanwaljit Singh and Harish Rai Dhanda were also present.



Doubts of tax payers dispelled

Ludhiana, July 21
With a view to establishing co-ordination between tax payers and Income Tax Department, a special meeting was organised by various industry associations and taxation department here today.

Mr Vijay Kumar, Income Tax Commissioner (Ludhiana III), who was the chief guest on the occasion clarified various doubts of tax payers pertaining to procedures and exhorted them to file their returns on time. — TNS



Beant Singh’s family finds saviour in Dullo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 21
After having been marginalised and isolated for a long time, the family members of former Chief Minister Beant Singh seem to have found their saviour in the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo. Mr Dullo, who was a minister in the Beant Singh government, has helped the family come out of oblivion. The family seems to be becoming politically important, at least in Ludhiana. The appointment of Mr Gurkirat Singh, a grandson of Beant Singh, as the Political Adviser to the PCC president has also come as a bonus for the family.

The family was left high and dry after Mr Tej Parkash was dropped as the Transport Minister and his younger sister, Gurkanwal Kaur was appointed a junior minister in his place. Even those associated with the family, like the Dakha MLA, Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha, had also started feeling ignored and isolated. However, for the time being, that seems to be the thing of past.

While the family loyalists are upbeat, some sections in the Congress are irked over these developments. The PCC president on his part has also signalled quite a number of times that he continued to be committed to giving due regards and respect to the family of the late leader. In fact, Mr Dullo hardly misses any chance to glorify Beant Singh.

During party functions, it is ensured that the family loyalists control the stage with Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha compering the proceedings. The speakers are also chosen carefully and tactfully in order to ensure the dominance of the group.

Some sections in the Congress also believe that the latest list of the office- bearers that was brought out was influenced by the family loyalists who had a complete say, at least, about the appointments in Ludhiana. The fact that not a single senior leader from Ludhiana has found any place in the PCC is also being attributed to the same reason that Mr Dullo wants to ensure the supremacy of the family in the district.

After being appointed the PCC president, Mr Dullo had promised to ensure that Mr Tej Parkash was reappointed as a minister in the government to restore the honour and the dignity of the family. However, he has not succeeded in doing this so far, but he has managed to restore the dignity, honour and the importance of the family at least. 



Women get tips on plantation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 21
Punjab Agricultural University here organised a special training course in floriculture for women to help them give aesthetic touch to their homes and surroundings.

The four-day course organised by the Directorate of Extension Education in association with the Department of Floriculture and Landscaping concluded at Kairon Kisan Ghar today.

The participants were given tips on various plantation seasons — summer, rainy and winter — for landscaping of houses and surroundings; use of trees, shrubs climbers and pot plants for landscaping; kitchen gardening; use of insecticides and pesticides and other aspects of floriculture.

The course was inaugurated by the Director of Extension Education, Dr S.S. Gill, who said: “We generally believe in cleanliness but ignore unkempt surroundings.”

The Head, Department of Landscaping and Floriculture, Dr Ramesh Kumar, who devised the training schedule, said various practical aspects of nursery raising, seed collection and processing, propagation of chrysanthemum and layering of plants were explained to the participants.

Around 20 participants were also taken on a tour to the university nursery.

Subject specialists, including Dr Paramjit Kaur Pandher, Dr Parminder Singh, Dr Jagjit Singh, Dr Premjit Singh, Dr R.K. Dubey, conducted the course.



Trend of ignoring old parents lamented
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 21
The state body of the Shri Sanatan Dharam Mahavir Dal, Punjab, has decided to launch a crusade against the trend of humiliation of senior citizens at the hands of their children. The body has urged leaders of various social organisations of to join hands to inspire the youth to understand the significance of ethics and ideals in community and individual life.

While talking to the Ludhiana Tribune after interacting with office bearers of social organisations of the town and surrounding villages, Mr Shiv Kumar Lomash, president of the NGO, held that moral values were on the decline and people were becoming more opportunistic. “Materialism has eclipsed moral values to the extent that revival of graceful and dignified life of septuagenarians seems to be a hard job,” said Mr Lomash. Referring to information received from office-bearers of various units of the organisation, Mr Lomash lamented that a majority of old men and women had been feelings ignored at the hands of their grown up and established children.

“Disclosures made by inmates at old age homes and orphanages show that most of them had prosperous children and they had been deserted for no solid reason,” said Mr Lomash.

Terming the trend as a blot on society, Mr Lomash said the dal had decided to launch a crusade against increasing trend of humiliation of senior citizens at the hands of their children. “As the situation has reached an alarming stage, a concerted effort is required to aware the youth about their social responsibility,” maintained Mr Lomash.

However, the elders would also be asked to acclimatize according to transforming social structure and accept certain changes in norms in the families. 



At The Crossroads
Interplay of literature and journalism in Johar’s writings
N.S. Tasneem

Meeting an old friend at Cedar Heights (Chail) in May last was an exhilarating experience for me. The period of nine days spent together, day and night, would ever remain etched out in my memory. I could know in this period the working of his mind from close quarters. To find him absorbed in writing all through the day, from early dawn to late dusk, revealed to me the secret of his success as a writer. For him writing, is the sole aim of his existence, nothing else matters.

He is never seen biting his nails while contemplating thoughts. Words are at the tip of his pen, ready to settle down in the cradle of a page. His mind is attuned to logical thinking and flawless expression. He never distorts facts to prove his point. Nor does he crave for such words as can proclaim his erudition. He disdains pseudo-scholarship and ornate style of writing.

Surinder Singh Johar started his literary career as a short story writer and then turned to writing novels. He had seen life at close quarters when he ventured into the literary field at the age of 35, his earlier journalistic writings notwithstanding.

Born in Rawalpindi in 1927, he had set his heart on a law degree when the partition of the country took place. Hurriedly he left the place of his birth and crossed over to this side of the border with his parents and siblings on August 13, 1947. He was in Hoshiarpur on August 15. Thereafter, started the life of struggle, first as a contractor of timber in Pathankot and then as an employee in the erstwhile Pepsu state.

Having been in the publicity department at the start of his career, he was drawn to the field of journalism. He took up the thread that had been snapped in Lahore in 1947 and obtained postgraduate degrees, first in Punjabi and then in political science. In the meanwhile, he developed a flair for writing and succeeded in getting the post of Field and Publicity Officer (Government. of India) in Shimla where he remained from 1954 to 1959. It did not take him long to be appointed as Editor in the Publication Division and later as Assistant Information Officer in the Press Information Bureau and Information Officer in the Planning Commission as well as the Home Ministry.

He made his mark in the world of Punjabi fiction with his first novel “Tuttian Tandaan” in 1967. Thereafter, he presented seven novels and five collections of short stories in due course of time.

As a novelist, he is in the company of Nanak Singh and Jaswant Singh Kanwal who are masters in plot-construction. Johar too lays emphasis on the sequence of events and resorts to linear description. He is baffled to see the hiatus between appearance and reality. He has found that ‘one may smile and smile and be a villain’. He is not a social reformer in the strict sense of the term. His concern is with the moral degradation in society. Corruption in all forms is repugnant to his sense of right and wrong. He craves for a social order that ensures justice to all.

Johar is a literary figure that has ventured into journalism, more by choice than compulsion. There is a pronounced streak in his mental make-up that prompts him to journalistic writing. Mostly, the current political issues attract his attention and he expresses his opinions without reservation. The course of political changes in Punjab, during the past six decades has not been smooth. He bemoans the loss of time spent in sorting out the messed up things in the political field. Nothing escapes his eyes which is not fair. Nor can he ignore the jarring note that disturbs the rhythm of life. His writings for newspapers and journals seldom provide the much-needed relief to his tense mind. He, however, takes recourse to literary writings when he is in an introspective mood.

Surinder Singh Johar is a bilingual writer. He has written in English the biographies Guru Nanak, Guru Teg Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh. Besides, he has delineated the course of Banda Singh Bahadur’s life during the turbulent period of the history of Punjab in the eighteenth century. The life of Giani Zail Singh also cast a spell on Johar’s mind as it was the case of a semi-literate village lad moving from the mud-house to Rashtrapati Bhavan. He was with the Giani in an official capacity when he was Minister of Home Affairs as well as the President of India. His long meetings with this unique personality helped him gauge the working of his mind. As a result, he penned the biography of Giani Zail Singh both in English and Punjabi.

At present, Johar is engaged in writing his autobiography, completing his eighth novel and bringing forth his next collection of short stories. In the field of journalism, he is busy as ever.

He is unmindful of the awards he has received in Punjab and Delhi for his literary and journalistic writings. The credit for making the interplay of literature and journalism possible goes to him without any doubt.



Lok Suvidha camp organised
Our Correspondent

Khamano, July 21
A Lok Suvidha camp was organised by district administration Fatehgarh Sahib at Bhari village near here, in which several complaints were redressed on the spot. This camp was inaugurated by Parliamentary secretary Harbans Kaur Dullo and was chaired by Deputy commissioner Fatehgarh Sahib Mrs Jaspreet Talwar.

In her address, Bibi Dullo said that these camps bridge the gap between administration and people and bring them closer to each other. She said these camps save time and trips to offices. She said that Punjab Government was doing its best to solve the problems of the poor people. These camps will continue in the near future.

Mrs Jaspreet Talwar said that these camps were being held in all blocks of the district and people came in large numbers in these camps. She gave information that more than 1000 complaints were received out of which 750 were cleared on the spot. The remaining were marked to the respective and concerned departments for quick action.

There was more rush at the desk of driving licenses stall, pension stalls. Several complaints were about power connections to the farmers and concerned officials were directed to clear them.



Medical allowance hike meagre: pensioners

Ludhiana, July 21
In a heart-warming gesture to lakhs of Central Government employees and pensioners, the Union Cabinet yesterday gave nod to setting up of the Sixth Pay Commission with an 18-month tenure to submit its recommendations on wage revision. The panel will examine issues such as pay and allowances, service conditions, promotion policies and retirement benefits. It will also examine the need and quantum of interim relief. The decision has been widely welcomed.

Meanwhile, in a communication sent today to the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, the Punjab Government Pensioners’ Association has conveyed its resentment over the Punjab high-powered committee’s recommendation to raise medical allowance from Rs 250 to 300 per month. ‘‘A raise of Rs 50 after more than eight years was miserably inadequate to meet the ever-increasing medicare cost these days. It should be enhanced at least to Rs 350 per month’’.

Communication further urged the Finance Minister to merge 50 per cent DA with basic pension for pre-April, 2004, retirees as it had been done in the case of post-April, 2004 retirees. Pensioners want old age allowance at the age of 80 as this benefit was given to the MLA-pensioners in Punjab. The third Punjab Pay Commission also made a recommendation to this effect 18 years ago. Pensioners also demanded the setting up of Fifth Punjab Pay Commission without further delay. OC



PPCC Legal Cell to honour Bansal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 21
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Legal Cell will honour the Union State Finance Minister, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, in a function tomorrow evening at Ludhiana Club.

Giving the information, Mr P.D. Sharma, former chairman of the PPCC Legal Cell, said that Mr Bansal would also address the legal fraternity, doctors, principals of schools and colleges and share his views.



Christians’ rally today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 21
Mr Waris K. Masih, Presbyter Incharge of Kalvari Church, the Church of North India (CNI), Ludhiana, held a meeting with heads of local churches of all denominations, where in the economic condition of Christians of Punjab, the fundamental and political rights of Christians were discussed.

In a unanimous resolution, it was decided to fight unitedly for the rights of the community. The meeting decided to offer full support to ensure maximum strength of the rally being organised by Sanjha Masihi Morcha under the leadership of the Mr Joel V. Mal, Moderator, Church of North India on Saturday the July 22, 2006 at Diocesan playground, Issa Nagri, Ludhiana, in which all the Christians of Punjab are going to participate.

As a mark of protest all Christian schools, colleges and institutions in Punjab will remain closed on Saturday the July 22, 2006, a press release said here today.




Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 21
Bhagwant Kaur, mother of Mr Surjit Singh Bhatti, a social worker of Jandali Khurad and Principal, University College Rampura Phool, passed away following a prolonged illness on Wednesday. Eighty-six-year-old Bhagwant Kaur was a renowned social worker and women rights worker of the area. Her bhog ceremony will take place at village gurdwara on July 23. OC



Six injured in clash
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 21
Six persons of Baazigar community, including three women, were injured in a clash between them and a team of city police at Baazigar Basti, Bahadar Ke road, today evening.

The clash reportedly took place when the police team was in hot chase of a suspect. The suspect was driving a Scorpio and had not stopped at a police nakka.

Sources said he abandoned the vehicle near the Basti and fled. The chasing team caught a man resembling him but the other residents opposed the move, saying he was innocent. A bloody clash ensued.

Four injured persons were admitted in civil hospital. They were Ambu Ram, Jeeto, Kashmiro and Naaro. Some cops also suffered injuries too but not serious enough requiring hospitalisation.



Held for bid to commit suicide
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 21
Gurdip Singh alias Kala, son of Gurnam Singh, has been arrested on the charge of attempt to suicide when he was in police custody on the charge of theft. The Jagraon police recovered a truck No. PAT-9657 and registered a case under Sections 379 and 411, IPC. The accused has also been charged under Section 309 of the IPC for attempt to suicide.

Two booked for assault

Ranjit Singh and Sohan Singh of Littran village allegedly abused and assaulted Kuljinder Kaur with sticks after entering her house. The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 452, 323, 356, 34 of the IPC. The victim has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Raikot. No arrest has been made so far.

Pedestrian injured

Pal Singh, son of Bukan Singh of Dakha village, was injured when he was hit by a tractor. The Dakha police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 338 of the IPC on the complaint of the injured who has been admitted in Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana. No arrest has been made so far. 



Satpaul appointed CVC, BSNL

Ludhiana, July 21
Mr Satpaul, Commissioner, Income Tax, has been appointed Chief Vigilance Commissioner with the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (Bsnl) under the ministry of telecom with his headquarters at Delhi.

Mr Satpaul, who has served as Commissioner Income Tax at Ludhiana, Delhi and Gwalior will remain on deputation with the ministry of telecom for three years. He belongs to Jalandhar district. — OC



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