L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Two NRIs allege raw deal by housing society
Ownership ‘illegally cancelled’, plots ‘sold’
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
The Satluj Co-op House Building Society, which has 600 plots in Friends Colony on Ludhiana-Chandigarh road since 1982, is in the thick of controversy with two UK-based NRI families alleging illegal cancellation of ownership and selling of their two plots by society managers.

The NRIs — Prem Brar and Shashi Sharma — have in their complaints before the local police also claimed that around 50 plots have been cancelled wrongfully, which has resulted in profit of crores of rupees to some members of the society and huge loss to the actual owners. The market value of each of these plots is at least Rs 10 lakh.

While society president Devinder Gupta claimed that the plots were cancelled legally because the owners did not build houses, thus hampering the development of the colony all these years, the complainants termed it selective action, as a majority of the plot owners had not built their houses and their plots had been left untouched.

A visit to the site revealed that construction had taken place on just around 100 plots.

Only a few of these had some constructed houses, while a majority just had boundary walls. A major chunk of the society land was occupied by wild overgrowth. Some owners had even left construction midway.

“We were hoping that the plots would act as our connection to our roots in the city,” said the complainants.

They rued that they could not develop the plot all these years due to security reasons. The colony was situated on the outskirts of the city and very few houses had come up there.”

Though they had been paying development charges asked from them over the years, their plots were cancelled in an arbitrary manner, the complainants alleged.

Devinder Gupta, however, claimed that the society had followed proper procedure before cancelling the plots. He said notices were issued to the owners personally and through newspapers before the cancellation of the ownership.

On the other hand, the complainants refuted this, maintaining that they had not received any notice or any information regarding the cancellation. They said the society had cancelled their plots in 1991 also but restored it when they confronted the officials. They claimed to have paid additional development charges in 1994.

“We had invested our hard-earned money in the plots. But today we neither have the money nor the land,” they lamented.

The NRIs said they were pained that on the one hand the government was luring NRIs to invest in Punjab, on the other such treatment was being meted out to them. They have demanded registration of case against those guilty.



Leave educational institutions alone, Nayar tells parties
Tribune News Service

Members of the Ramgarhia College Council honour noted journalist Kuldip Nayar in Ludhiana on Tuesday.
Members of the Ramgarhia College Council honour noted journalist Kuldip Nayar in Ludhiana on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Sayeed Ahmed

Ludhiana, September 12
Eminent journalist Kuldip Nayar today asked political parties to keep away from educational institutions.

He regretted that political parties were prejudicing the minds of young students, which was not good for society and nation.

Addressing a seminar on “Student-Teacher Relationship” — organised by the Punjab Sabhyacharak Wa Samajik Bhalai Sanstha — at Ramgarhia College here today, Nayar opposed the interference of political parties in the functioning of educational institutions. He said students must not be influenced along political lines.

Nayar asserted that traditional values needed to be nourished and nurtured at all cost.

He said it was important on part of parents also that they inculcated good values among children. He said students with best values could build best nation.

He also underlined the need for drawing a line between the government and the nation.

He said one could always be against the government, but not the nation. “The nation belongs to all of us and the government does not mean the nation.” National interest should be paramount, he added.

Later talking to mediapersons, Nayar regretted controversy arising out of the singing of national song Vande Mataram. He pointed out that once again it was politics that was taking precedence over national interest.

“There shouldn’t be any controversy over the national song.” He blamed all those who opposed it or wanted its singing made mandatory. He said the song had moved the nation for over a 100 years.

Earlier in his welcome address, Ramgarhia Education Council president Ranjod Singh said Nayar had made immense contribution towards society by way of his writings. He said students had a lot to learn from people like Nayar.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Principal Harmit Kaur, Amarjit Singh Chawla, Dheeraj Gupta, Satnam Manak, Dr S.S. Dosanjh, Dr Inderpal Sigh, Dr Ravinder Kaur and Dr Pirthipal Singh Sohi.

(Photo on page 5)



SAD (A) activists wave black flags to Kuldip Nayar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
Activists of the SAD (Amritsar) today protested against eminent journalist Kuldip Nayar’s visit to the city by waiving black flags and shouting slogans against him. Mr Nayar was to address a seminar on the student-teacher relationship at the Ramgarhia College for Girls. The seminar was organised by the Punjab Sabhyacharak Samajik Bhalai Sanstha.

However, Mr Nayar took a different route to the college to avoid any confrontation amidst adequate security arrangements. The protesters gathered on the main road which Mr Nayar avoided.

The activists alleged that Mr Nayar in a write up in an English daily had passed uncharitable remarks against the Sikhs and Akal Takht. Mr Nayar was honoured at Akali Takht on July 2 this year. In fact, the article was the first-hand account of incidents which took place at Akal Takht the same day following a clash between activists of the SAD (A) and the SAD. The SAD (A) apparently took offence to the observations made by Mr Nayar blaming it (SAD-A) for those incidents.

The protesters were led by the party general secretary, Prof Jagmohan Singh, and included several other leaders. They maintained that they were resolved to make a symbolic and peaceful protest only against Mr Nayar.

However, there were not many supporters of the SAD (A) protest against Mr Nayar for his undisputed secular credentials. Some of the participants at the seminar said the SAD (A) had only vested interest to gain cheap publicity from the protest. Moreover, Mr Nayar’s stand during the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 in New Delhi is too well known as he carried out a sustained campaign to get justice for the victims.

Mr Nayar on his part said that he had never written anything against anyone. Nor did he meant to hurt the feelings of any person or community. He said he did not mind the protest by anybody against his writings. However, he added, the ideal way would have been to contest the article on factual basis in black and white.

“There is always a proper and democratic way to mark your protest or voice the difference of opinion,” he pointed out. He also refrained from any critical comment against the protesters saying they had a right to protest and dissent in a democratic manner.

Interestingly, the organisers of the seminar included Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla, a former president of the Sikh Students Federation. Mr Chawla has now joined the SAD.



Yellow metal loses sheen
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
Rapid fluctuation in gold prices failed to attract buyers leaving jewellers an unhappy lot. The yellow metal, driven by international forces, has witnessed a reduction of more than Rs 500 per 10 grams in the last four days. However, customers failed to turn up with an increased number of people taking to forward trading, said jewellers.

“We are suffering heavily as demand has reduced to less than 20 per cent of what it was around a year and a half ago. Fluctuations are occurring due to forward trading and if the same continues this festive season would provide no relief to jewellers from losses. Even after this reduction we did not get buyers,” rued Mr Anand Prakash Sikri, president, Ludhiana Jewellers Association.

The prevailing price in local markets today was Rs 9,090 per 10 grams against nearly Rs 9,600 last week. Gold prices, in the last one year, have witnessed an increase of more than Rs 3,000 per 10 grams.

The initial rise gave a setback to the market as consumers waited for rates to decline. Following the initial increase, trading in yellow metal started growing due to high returns as a result of continued upward trend. The demand for jewellery, hence, according to local dealers, is less than one-fourth of what it was a year and a half ago.

Around 40 per cent of the total buyers, prior to this recession, are estimated to be those who bought gold for investment purposes. While their demand is almost nil now, demand from consumers who purchased for cosmetic reasons too has ebbed. Besides, shradhs these days are a contributing factor to reduced sales.

“As it is very easy to get into forward trading, people are preferring that instead of physical purchase and sale. With speculation dominating trading internationally, there is sharp volatility and the ultimate losers are jewellers,” said Mr Vineet Dhanda of Prem Jewellers.

Forward trading in bullion has risen not only at international level but in this region too. As per estimates a daily trading of Rs 1,000 with the city’s share of more than 25 per cent is being done in this region. “Forward trading requires very less money and undoubtedly volumes in this region have increased,” confirmed Mr H.S. Sidhu, executive director, Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE).



17-year-old battles for life
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 12
Monu (17), a resident of Punjab Mata Nagar colony in the city, has nothing to look forward to. Afflicted with life-threatening blood disease of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (blood cancer), he cannot even afford the basic treatment, which is way beyond the resources of his family.

According to Dr J.S. Sekhon, an oncologist in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital here, who has been attending to the patient both for indoor and outdoor management of the disease, the treatment of the patient is expected to continue for some two and a half years, most of it outdoor.

Even though hospitalisation of the patient for the entire period of treatment is not required, the total expenditure will run into anything between Rs 3.5 and 4 lakh, including the cost of medicine, blood transfusion, laboratory tests and hospitalisation from time to time.

Any delay in the commencement of treatment or disruption in between can lead to serious complications, which may even threaten the life of the patient, says Dr Sekhon.

Mr Bansi Lal, father of the patient, barely earns enough to support the family. As his son struggles for life, all his hopes are now pinned on generous individuals, service clubs or voluntary organisations, who may come forward with a helping hand and save his son.

Financial assistance in the form of cheques or drafts, drawn in favour of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, can be sent to Department of Medicine (Oncology) with “funds for treatment of Monu” written on the rear.



Rs 9,000 cr released for development works: Pandey
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
The Minister for Science, Technology and Horticulture, Mr Rakesh Pandey, has claimed that during the past four and half years a record development had taken place in the state and funds amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore have released for different developments and welfare programmes in Punjab.

He was addressing a well attended function after inaugurating the execution of a new tubewell in ward No. 60, New Madhopuri, late last evening. He also released funds out of the Punjab Nirman Programme amounting to Rs 6.97 lakh for laying the sewerage pipes in the street Nos. 15 - 20 of the area.

Mr Pandey said the state government had chalked out a special programme for the fast development in the urban areas of the state for which a Municipal Development Fund of Rs 991 crore had been set up for providing drinking water supply to the people in 117 towns and sewerage facility in 37 towns of the state.

He claimed that with the substantial improvement in the financial condition of the state it had emerged as a favoured destination for the big industry for investment and 235 big projects costing to Rs 80,000 crore had already been cleared by the government which would generate employment for 11 lakh people in the state.

Whereas the welfare of weaker sections is concerned, the minister said during this year funds amounting to Rs 1154 crore were being spent to implement various welfare schemes framed for these sections of the society. He said the government had created a special corpus of Rs 450 crore to ensure regular and timely disbursal of pensioners/financial assistance to 11 lakh aged persons, widows, orphans and handicapped beneficiaries.

Mr Pandey further said Rs 80 crore had been released to provide toilets in the houses of SC families in rural areas and the government had also enhanced the amount of Shagun from Rs 5,100 to Rs 15,000 on the marriages of daughters of SCs.

He also said the government was going to strengthen the Public Distribution System in the state and the various food items like wheat, rice, pulses, kerosene oil etc would be made available for poor people at subsidised rates though the ration depots.

The minister said the government had selected Ludhiana city under the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewable Mission for developing it as a model city in North India. Various projects amounting to Rs 3,995 crore had already been sanctioned.

He said with a view to permanently sort out the complex problem of traffic in the city a Ring Road around Ludhiana city at the cost of around Rs 1,100 crore and the work was likely to be allotted shortly.

Mr Pandey said funds more than Rs 50 crore had so far been spent on various development projects in Ludhiana North constituency and more grants of Rs 6 crore were being spent on the execution of various development works in the constituency under the Punjab Nirman Programme.

He exhorted the party workers to launch a campaign to apprise the people of the achievements of the Congress government during the period of past four and half years.

Others present on the occasion included Mr Ashwani Sharma, secretary, PPCC, Mr Sita Ram Shankar, Mr Satish Garg, Mr Vinod Bharti, Mr Lucky Lakhanpal, Mr Kimti Lal Jain and Mr Subhash Taina.



Members seek probe into club’s ‘lavish expenditure’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
Several members of the Sutlej Club Ludhiana have taken strong exception to the excessive expenditure being incurred on various expansion work in the club. They have also questioned the purpose of constructing a separate office for the club president in the premises. The Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner happens to be the ex officio president of the club. The presidents have so far been operating from their main or camp offices. In fact the Deputy Commissioner’s residence is located next to the club premises in the Rakh Bagh area.

The issue assumed importance after a wall collapsed recently in the club premises. Several members like Mr GR Chopra in a representation to the club president have alleged that the wall collapsed due to lack of planning as there was extra load on the lintel. They have warned that unplanned construction in the club might lead to a major tragedy.

The members have in particular demanded an inquiry into the massive expenses incurred on the renovation of the health club. They said, the ex president, while handing over the charge to the newly elected committee of the club had sanctioned Rs 10 lakhs for the renovation. However, from the own admission of the treasurer during the executive committee meeting on September 3, 2006, about Rs 25 lakh had already been spent for the purpose without any prior approval of enhancing the expenditure.

The members also demanded an inquiry into the alleged “lavish expenditure” on the executive meetings. They said, once the meeting concludes and the officials leave, there is celebration and festivity at the cost of the club money.



Mayor hears villagers’ problems
Our Correspondent

Doraha, September 12
Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, Municipal Corporation Ludhiana, alongwith Mr Ramnath, general secretary, district Congress committee, Mrs Sukhbir Kaur Garcha, councillor, had a special meeting with prominent personalities of the village as well as the villagers today when he announced specific dates for solving the problems of villagers.

The villagers complained of the near total lack of sewerage facilities and how even a slight shower made their agony worse. They also talked about the village pond that had outlived its capacity and was a constant threat to the villagers if it broke its banks. Many a times, they were rendered houseless because sewerage water entered their houses, the villagers complained.

Also, there was irregular supply of electricity to the tubelights on the periphery of the village The ever-increasing population of migrant labourers, lack of cleanliness and sanitation facilities, water-borne diseases and the resultant quacks were some of the problems that were put forth 'aggressively' by the villagers.

The Mayor promised the problem of water shall be solved by installing a tubewell on September 20 . Also, the work of sewerage shall be initiated on October 3, he said. The problem of lighting shall also be addressed, the Mayor added.



Psychiatric society to hold annual conference
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 12
Roshni, a registered NGO in collaboration with the Indo-Pak Punjab Psychiatric Society (IPPPS), will organise the first annual conference of the IPPPS from September 15 to 17 at Ludhiana and Chandigarh.

More than 200 delegates from India and Pakistan will take part in the conference. Giving details about the conference, Dr A. K. Kala, president IPPPS, said the Pakistani delegates will include renowned experts of mental health and related fields. The theme of the conference is ‘Mental Health Through Heritage’.

A workshop on Media and Mental Health will also be conducted during the conference. Topics like Punjabi sufi poetry and mental health, cultural psychodynamics, Punjabi personality, tradition of religious healing in Punjab, spirituality and mental health, community education programs, rehabilitation of patients with severe mental disorders, rehabilitation of mentally ill patients through micro finance and successful rehabilitation of female patients with schizophrenia shall be discussed by experts.



Seminar on innovation management
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
The Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) organised a seminar on Innovation Management here last evening.

Dr Prem Kumar, director, Sri Aurbindo Business School, who was the keynote speaker, said in absence of innovations companies could face problems like decline in sales, revenues, shareholders' returns and stock prices.

Mr M.C. Munjal, president, LMA, and Mr Kamal Wadhera, general secretary, were also present on the occasion.



5 booked in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 12
The local police has booked five persons of the local ward No. 7 under Sections 498 A, 307 and 120 B of the IPC for allegedly harassing for more dowry and attempting to murder Maninder Kaur. The victim is admitted to a private hospital in Ludhiana.

Terming the incident as an accident members of the accused family alleged that the victim was being pressurised to implicate them in a false case.

According to an FIR, lodged on the complaint of Maninder Kaur, five members of her in-laws, including Rakesh Kumar (husband), Sunita Rani (mother-in-law), Paramjit Kaur (sister-in-law), Jasbir Singh and Jeewan Kumar (brothers-in-law) had allegedly tried to kill her by setting her afire yesterday.

Badly burnt Maninder told the police that she had married to Rakesh Kumar about 2 years ago. Her father, Amrik Singh, had given adequate dowry at the time of marriage. She alleged that the accused had been harassing her bringing inadequate dowry and giving birth to a female child.

“Though my parents had shown their inability to fulfill their demands they continued harassing me and ultimately tried to kill me yesterday. Besides abusing and thrashing me they set me afire when I was sitting alone in my room at the first floor of the house yesterday,” Maninder told the police and the doctors attending her at Ludhiana.

Lucky, the younger brother of Rakesh, has denied the charges levelled against members of his family. Terming the incident as an accident he alleged that the parents of Maninder were pressurising her to implicate them in a false case. Mr Gurdeep Singh, SHO (city) has started investigations into the matter but no arrest has been made so far.



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