L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Canal tragedy shatters Moga families
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Rara Sahib (Ludhiana), August 8
When Manjit Kaur, a 28-year-old woman of Moga, had accompanied pilgrims to Ananadpur Sahib alongwith her four children in a jiffy two days ago, little had she imagined that she would lose her two sons in the Bathinda feeder canal and would be left shattered for life.

The ill-fated truck in which they were travelling fell into the canal this morning, leaving two dead, four children missing and 19 injured. They were travelling from Anandpur Sahib to Moga.

Tragedy struck this mother of four, when her two sons — Vijay (11) and Akashdeep (6) — were drowned in the canal along with her neighbour's daughter Pooja (11), who had accompanied her to pay obeisance at Anandpur Sahib.

She and her two daughters Karanjit (9) and Kamaljit (7) held onto the bushes alongside the canal and were rescued. But her son could not be saved. Search operations were on to find the bodies of these children.

Narrating the tragic event that left her shocked, she said, ‘‘I saw my daughter holding the bushes. I was telling her not to let her grip loosen when strong currents of water carried my sons. I shouted at the top of my voice for help. But there was chaos all around and I saw them disappearing in the gushing waters.’’

The police authorities informed her husband back home. ‘‘I do not know how I would face him. I only insisted on going there. Had I known I were to lose my sons, I would have never gone,’’ she said crying inconsolably despite having stitches on her lips at Sant Isher Singh Hospital bed in the village.

‘‘It was the truck driver, our landlord, who forced me to visit the place, as so many people were already going there. I packed my belongings instantly and we boarded the truck.’’

‘‘I wish a miracle happens and they are found alive. I had a complete happy family, but I have lost everything, ’’ she said while clasping onto her daughters, who were her only treasure after the tragedy.

In her grief she had a partner. A 30-year-old woman from Samadh Bhaike village in Moga, who also lost her 8-year-old son, Sukhchain (Bunty).

Her two daughters Amarjit (9) and Ramandeep (5), who were also accompanying her were however rescued.

‘‘My son was born to me with blessings from Anandpur Sahib Gurdwara. We used to visit the place every year. I do not know what went wrong this time.

If Gods were angry, they would have taken me away instead of my son,’’ she was heard crying at the pitch of her voice lying in the hospital.



Youths show exemplary courage, rescue 40
Mahesh Sharma

Search on for the bodies of children feared drowned
Search on for the bodies of children feared drowned. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Rara Sahib, August 8
Many lives were saved at Rara Sahib, thanks to some brave youths of nearby village. Tragedies have victims, but there are heroes too, who risk their lives in rescue operations. Residents and social organisations of villages surrounding Gurdwara Karamsar (Rara Sahib), near here, showed extraordinary courage and coordination in rescuing at least 40 pilgrims.

The authorities have announced that they would be honoured for their feat.

Survivors were thankful to God for sending Ranjit Singh of Ghaloti village and Darshan Singh, alias Billu, of Gidri village to the bank canal at the time of the accident and for their presence of mind in calling for help.

The Parag Jain, DIG, announced that Gurinder Singh of Ghaloti and Jaswant Singh and Jagpreet Singh of Katahari village would be honoured.

Ranjit Singh and Darshan Singh of Gidri village raised the alarm and called some farmers and migrant labourers working in their fields. “But we all felt helpless as none of us knew how to swim. It was only after Darshan Singh informed certain authorities and manager of Gurdwara Karamsar Trust about the incident that people from surrounding villages reached the spot and rescue operations were started,” Ranjit Singh said.

Eyewitnesses claimed a majority of survivors had been rescued before organised teams of rescuers arrived there 30 minutes later. Inflated tubes, ropes, buckets, clothes, bamboos and vehicles, including two-wheelers were pressed into service by the public within no time.



Gurdwara volunteers, villagers lend helping hand
Mahesh Sharma

Rara Sahib, August 8
Hundreds of villagers strived hard to rescue the 40 pilgrims who belonged to Moga and its surrounding villages. Under the leadership by Baba Teja Singh of Karamsar gurdwara here, a well-organised team of volunteers from the gurdwara and its surrounding areas reached the spot within minutes of receiving the information from Darshan Singh of Gidri village, a passerby who had seen the truck carrying pilgrims fall into the canal.

Jarnail Singh Granthi, besides sending volunteers to the spot, informed the authorities and office-bearers of various social and religious organisations at Bilaspur, Rara Sahib, Ghaloti, Ghudani, Katahri and Ghangas villages.

News of the incident spread like fire, enabling hundreds of villagers, to come equipped with an article of use to the rescue operation.

The villagers contributed a lot in providing the survivors and volunteers with eatables.

Besides serving langar and tea for all, the gurdwara authorities arranged transport to shift the rescued persons to various hospitals.

About 40 persons were given medical aid and 10 were admitted in the indoor hospital being run by the trust. “Though the administration has assured to pay the bill for the treatment of the injured, we do not charge for the services and medicines provided by our hospital,” said Jarnail Singh Granthi.



Sister loses 2 brothers in mishap on Rakhi eve
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 8
Two persons were killed and about 10 injured when a tractor trailer overturned near the Nanaksar Sahib gurdwara here today.
According to the information available, both deceased were brothers — Balwinder Singh (16) and Lakhwinder Singh (14) of Deharka and this has left their only sister Manjinder Kaur in deep anguish on the eve of Rakhi.

They, along with about 30 students of various schools, were on their way in a tractor trailer to participate in a sports tournament which was to be held at Sherpur Kalan village today. The tractor trailer they were riding on overturned near Nanaksar Sahib gurdwara killing both the brothers on the spot and injuring about 10 others.

Sources disclosed that Balwinder Singh and Lakhwinder Singh were going to participate in football matches at the tournament for their school teams.

The persons injured in the accident were: Amrit Pal, Gurinder Singh, Gur Iqbal Singh, Balwant Singh and Jagdish Pal of Deharka, Chander Vir, Jagdeep Singh, Jagtar Singh, Lakhvir Singh and Swarn Singh of Bhammipura, Amandeep Singh and Sukhjiwan Singh of Manuke.

They were rushed to Baba Ishar Singh Charitable Hospital, Nanaksar, and to a hospital in Ludhiana. Later, the bodies of both the brothers was taken to the civil hospital, Jagraon for a post-mortem examination.



Will Gurdwara Reform Movement click?
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 8
When Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra fell out in December, 1998, the events happened so quickly that Jathedar Tohra was eased out of the SGPC. Mr Badal humbled him with vengeance and chose not to accept his resignation but to out-vote him.

Subsequently the cohorts of Mr Badal unleashed a vilification campaign against Jathedar Tohra and tried their level-best to bring out the malpractices that were rampant in the SGPC. Bibi Jagir Kaur, who succeeded Jathedar Tohra, even went to the extent of declaring that a white paper would be issued against Jathedar Tohra, but nothing came out of this campaign. Despite the fact that Jathedar Tohra could not get a single seat in the last Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections, he was able to maintain his image and relevance in the Sikh affairs. Finally with the turn of events, Mr Badal and Jathedar Tohra patched up. It was during the period of discord between the two stalwarts that a demand was raised by the Badal camp for gurdwara reforms.

After the death of Jathedar Tohra, Mr Badal came to have absolute control over the SGPC affairs and things began to drift. The SGPC began to be used as power of patronage and the resources were diverted for the political activities. Moreover, the establishment also began to use political pressure to further their prospects. The ousting of Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta from the SGPC scene came as the last stroke which blurred the Sikh and traditional face of the great institution. Now when the things are in the open, the splinter Akali groups are joining hands to beat Mr Badal with the holy stick. They call it Gurdwara Reform Movement - II.

The situation got aggravated with the incidents of July 2 at Amritsar on the occasion of celebrations in connection with the quadri-centenary of the establishment of Akal Takht when Badal supporters led by Mr Avtar Singh Makkar and supporters of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann came to blows on the stage. The Jathedars of the Takhts on their own chose to single out Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and his group for the unsavoury situation and went to the extent of asking them to atone for their conduct by offering prayers at Fatehgarh Sahib. Mr Simranjit Singh Mann decided to invite all the splinter groups, including Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, to launch the Gurdwara Reform Movement and gave the slogan of freeing gurdwaras from the stranglehold of Mr Badal.

The pertinent question is: ‘Will the new initiative get a response from the Sikhs? While the average Sikh knows that the gurdwara administration has numerous ailments, the SGPC members on their own are becoming an authority over the gurdwaras falling in their constituencies and some other questionable practices have crept into the administration. But what is needed is a critical appraisal on the part of those who claim to have launched the gurdwara reforms clearly defining what ails the SGPC. They will also have to educate the Sikh Sangat regarding the affairs of the SGPC.

Those who have announced to launch the Gurdwara Reform Movement should know that the people in general and the Sikhs in particular know that the elections to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha are due to be held within a period of six months and their exercise should not remain confined to playing politics and they must show their sincerity to the purpose. 



39 depts to be brought under panchayats’ control: Bhattal
Our Correspondent

Khamano, August 8
“The officials who will not implement government policies in the right way, will be dealt with sternly and action will be taken against them immediately.” This was stated by the Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal while addressing a gathering at Dana Mandi here under the mass contact programme.

She indicated that a total of 39 departments will be brought under the control of panchayats in a stipulated time.

While answering a question, she denied that industries are shifting out of Punjab to Himachal Pradesh. She said that in the past, one or two companies had shifted but they had returned back to Punjab. While lashing out at Akalis, she said that they had done nothing for the people of Punjab when they were in power. She accused them of being power-hungry.

She said that farmers were forced to sit in mandis for several days and even they had to block traffic for their crops during the Akali-BJP regime.

She said that every village in Punjab had been given a grant of about 10-12 lakh for development works under the Punjab Nirman scheme.

She said that poor people will be given five-marla plots in the coming days. She said that all villages will be given 24-hour power supply and all arrangements are being made in this connection.

Congress MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon in his address said that all election promises made by the government had been fulfilled.



Gill villagers promised drainage system

Ludhiana, August 8
Clearing the confusion created by the Sarpanch and some member panchayats of Gill village, officials of the Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board (PRBDB) today assured the villagers that they would be compensated properly and a drainage system would be provided to them.

Mr Kulwinder Singh Rao, Deputy Project Director, who specifically visited the village from Chandigarh, listened to their grievances and said that they were committed to rehabilitate the villagers on the sidelines of a development project.

He promised to consider the demands of villagers including acquiring minimum land required for the project, and provide a sewerage system to the village.

After listening to him, the villagers said they had no problems with the development project and would assist the execution agency by every possible means.

In fact the officials were forced to organise today’s meeting after the village Sarpanch, Ms Baljinder Kaur, sent a copy of a resolution criticising the land acquisition to the media offices in Ludhiana.

In a signed statement, she had said that the villagers were unhappy over acquiring land for laying a bypass instead of widening the existing road. She had also stated that the acquisition would also level the village pond, affecting drainage and ecosystem.

Her statement caused quite a furore with the development agency. They decided to organise a meeting with the villages. Some days after the Sarpanch gave another signed statement saying that she had not sent any resolution to any mediaperson and the villagers were happy with the development.

This despite the fact that the mediapersons had copies of the resolution signed by her. Inquiries by the Tribune revealed that she was just a rubber stamp and her official position was being used by her male relative.



Auctioning of parking space opposed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
There is grave and widespread resentment among hoteliers, shopkeepers and newspaper managements against the reported auctioning of the parking space by Municipal Corporation, despite a assurance by the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation Ludhiana, Mr Vikas Pratap, to a delegation from the market yesterday to the contrary.

The MC has gone out of the way to auction the space which is primarily meant for business establishments there. The market was set up by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust way back in seventies. The parking space was exclusively meant for business establishments which were allotted space for shop-cum-offices and shop-cum-flats.

The market mostly houses hotels. Since hotels require maximum parking space, hotel owners had made extra payment at the time of the allotment. With the Municipal Corporation now having auctioned the space, anybody will be free to park his vehicle there.

Market Committee members talked to the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, who is in Delhi. He assured them that he would look into the matter.

The committee members appealed to the Commissioner, Mr Vikas Pratap, to cancel the contract in public interest otherwise it would be forced to seek legal recourse.



Families familiarised with Vedic values
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 8
The Ved Prachar Mandal organised an ‘Arya Parivar Milan Samaroh’ at the local Arya Samaj, Jawahar Nagar, here. Swami Brahmavesh Shastri and Pandit Balkrishan Shastri performed a ‘yajna’. Mr Rajneesh Gupta lit the sacrificial fire. Ms Ramesh Kumari, the chief guest, lit the lamp.

While addressing the function, the secretary of the mandal, Mr Roshan Lal Arya, said that the aim of the function was to attach families with Vedic culture. The modern generation was blindly following Western culture and hence paving the way to many social and moral ills.

He added, “The Vedas are the words of God. It is through the teaching of the Vedas that we can rid the society of its evils.”

Swami Bramhavesh said ‘to benefit the world’ is the sole aim of the Arya Samaj. 



Tributes paid to prof
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
The PAU faculty yesterday mourned the death of Dr A.K. Gupta, Professor in the Department of Processing and Food Engineering, who died on August 4 after a protracted illness.

Tributes were paid to Dr Gupta at a condolence meeting held in the Jacob Hall of the college of Agricultural Engineering.

Born on June 2, 1950, Dr Gupta completed his Master’s degree in processing and agricultural structure from the PAU in 1973. He joined the university service as Research Scientist in May, 1974. Dr Gupta served the university for almost 32 years in various capacities.

He was very popular among the staff and the students.



Chahal’s relatives attacked in district court
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
Putting a question mark on the security of litigants and advocates in the district court complex, a person opened fire at a rival group this afternoon.
The accused Harwinder Singh allegedly fired once from his .30 Mosar pistol at his rivals Kartar Singh and Jagdish Singh, both relatives of Mr Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, Media Advisor to the Chief Minister. Both the groups are allegedly involved in litigation in the murder case of Kamaljit Singh in 1998.

The accused could not flee from the spot as a police team led by DSP R.K. Bakshi caught him at the spot. DSP Bakshi told Ludhiana Tribune that he had reached the place after he learnt about the tension prevailing between the two groups.

He said the accused has been booked under Section 307 and 34 of the IPC.

However, Mr Devinder Singh, brother of the accused, who was also present in the complex said they had to open fire in self-defence.



Man jumps to death from hospital
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
A 74-year-old man, Jagdish Grover, father of local Congress leader Parveen Grover, today allegedly committed suicide by jumping from the fourth floor of DMC Hospital.
Police sources said the deceased was upset for the past few days due to the illness of a relative. The police has conducted proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPc.



Industry resents hike in power theft penalty
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
Local industrialists have condemned the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for its decision to increase penalty charges for theft tenfold. Representatives of industry said such a decision would only result in increased harassment to power consumers not only due to the increase in amount, but also due to the fact that disputes would be dealt with by the district administration and other authorities instead of the board.

Urging the Chief Minister to look into the matter, Mr G.L. Pahwa, president, United Cycle ad parts Manufacturers Association, said: “We have learnt that the board has effected an increase of almost 10 times in penalties for theft cases, which is highly unfair.”

While penalty had been increased for small power and medium supply categories from the Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000 per kw on the sanctioned load, it had been increased to Rs 10,000 per kw from Rs 2,000 for large supply, Rs 5,000 from Rs 1,000 for the NRS category and from Rs 500 to Rs 3,000, which was a manifold increase.

The association said consumers could not bear such a hike. “Besides, miscreants may even misuse and levy allegations on the base of which such penalty can be levied,” Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary of the association, expressed his apprehension.

Industry leaders also said the amount being heavy, small and medium units would be badly hit. “Industry is not in a position to suffer another blow as it is already reeling under financial crunch. Industrial units are already performing badly and many are on the verge of closure. The decision would further aggravate the problem.”

Terming the hike as anti-consumer, they said: “We urge the CM to look into the matter as the decision is neither in the interest of industry nor domestic consumers.”



Fixed fee based trading launched

Ludhiana, August 8
Kotak Securities, a leading stock broking house, today announced the launch of a fixed ‘fee based’ per trade brokerage charge for its customers.
Claiming the service to have been launched for the first time n the country, Mr Narayan S.A., Managing Director, said: “We are happy to launch this service for the first time in the country, introducing a fixed fee based brokerage model for retail investors. Anybody can trade in shares through us by paying a flat fee of Rs 9 as brokerage charges. Now having been in the business for 6 years and scaled up the business its time to pass on the economies of scale to the customer.”

The service, called ‘Kotak Flat’ will offer a flat fee of Rs 9, would be to customers across the country. It would be available only on the online trading platform, the company said.

Mr Narayan said, “the company has service offices in 249 cities and also a central customer service desk based in Mumbai. Kotak Flat is targeted towards the retail investors. The product has various slabs and customers trading in a particular slab will pay a fixed fee as brokerage charges.” 



Biz Clips

Amway India on Tuesday launched Artistry Time Defiance Intensive Serum (TDIS), a product that repairs and prevents the signs of premature aging. The company said the product would reverse the visible signs of aging in a fortnight. — TNS

AWARDS: Dada Motors has been awarded the ‘Excellence in Customer Care Award 2005-06’. The award was received by Mr Rishi Dada at the all-India dealers meet held in Sun City, South Africa, said a press note. Dada Motors also received the Highest Safari Selling Dealer in India award on the  occasion. — TNS



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 |