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Land grabbing: MC ordered to act against guilty staff
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Coming heavily on government employees who had allegedly allowed some land sharks to usurp land worth crores of rupees in Bhaura village, the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, has asked the Municipal Corporation to fix responsibility on guilty employees and take legal action against them.

In a communication to the Municipal Commissioner, Mr Vikas Partap, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, said whether the employees deliberately ignored the usurping of land or due to carelessness allowed people to grab land worth crores, action should be taken against them.

He also asked Mr Partap to get the area demarcated and protected by a barbed wire. He added that as the land fell within the municipal limits, it was the responsibility of the municipal corporation to protect it so that it was not passed on to grabbers causing losses to public exchequer. Besides, he directed the Commissioner to get the registries of the houses existing on the land checked. And if the occupants were found to be residing illegally, action should be taken against them.

The action came in the wake of a Tribune report some days ago highlighting that land worth Rs 100 crore was being illegally occupied by some persons allegedly in connivance with some government employees.

Originally belonging to the Public Works Department (PWD), the land had attracted land sharks in the past also. The villagers had been trying to get it vacated, but had failed to do anything. They had sent SoS calls to the Deputy Commissioner as well as the Municipal Commissioner to come to their rescue and save the land.

The villagers said soon after the Deputy Commissioner’s orders a battery of officials came to their village and took a stock of the situation. They said nothing happened there after.

They said up till a year ago as many as seven kanals worth Rs 10 crore was a pond. Some private persons got the pond filled and laid the foundation stone of a structure. Following complaints by villagers the MC demolished the structure.

The complainants alleged that an influential person of the village was selling public land at the rate of Rs 20,000 to Rs 27,000 per square yard. They further alleged that the connivance of the officials of the Revenue Department could not be ruled out. Vindicating their stand, the villagers said the land belonged to the PWD as was mentioned in the revenue records earlier and a former sarpanch of the village was its tenant. When and how the land was mutated in his name in violation of the rules was an indicator that some government officials were involved in the scam.

Producing a copy of the jamabandi of 1963-64, in which Khasra number 27 was shown to be ‘abaadi deh’ of Bhaura village, the villagers said not only seven kanals but the entire eight acres worth Rs 100 crore was being usurped gradually.

The villagers also urged the authorities to look into the market near the GT Road claiming that shops there were also constructed on the PWD land. “If the government constitutes a commission to look into the Rs 100 crore scam, many skeletons are going to tumble out of the closet,” they claimed.

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14 Cong activists booked on assault charge
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 16
The Raikot police has booked 14 Congress activists, including a block president, under Sections 307, 323, 341, 379, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC and 25-27-54-59 of the Arms Act for allegedly assaulting office-bearers and members of the Narinder Kaur Abduction Joint Action Committee at Bhaini Baringa village on the Malerkotla Raikot road, near here, last evening.

Seven persons were injured in the attack. The incident took place when the victims were campaigning to mobilise people for participation in a protest rally scheduled to take place at Raikot tomorrow.

The Congressmen on the other hand denied charges levelled against them and maintained that the incident occurred due to some misunderstanding. The police had registered the case without verifying the sequence of events, they added.

Earlier the action committee activists had blocked vehicular traffic near the place where the incident occurred to impress upon the police to register a case. The blockade was lifted after Mr Gurtejinder Singh Aulakh, DSP, intervened and assured the protesters of prompt action against the suspects.

According to Mr Lal Singh Dhanaula, chairman of the Paramedical Employees Association and Ministerial Services Union and president of the Narinder Kaur Joint Action Committee, a group of armed miscreants led by Mr Pal Balwinder Singh Talwandi, president, Block Congress Committee, attacked him and his associates when they were campaigning for support for a rally at Bhaini Baringa village last evening. Mr Lal Singh Dhanaula, Mr Devinder Singh, Mr Parkash Singh Hissowal, Mr Gagandeep Singh, Mr Karnail Singh, Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Gulzar Singh were injured in the attack. The injured were shifted to the Civil Hospital, Raikot, later in the evening.

Mr Malwinder Singh Mintoo, Mr Honey Gill, Mr Bittoo, Mr Jarnail Singh, Mr Kaka Singh, Mr Boota Singh, Mr Kewal Singh, Mr Sukhi, Bawa, Mr Kaddoo Johlan, Mr Bhola and Mr Sarabjit Singh had been identified as the attackers, besides Mr Pal Talwandi. The complainant alleged that the attackers used weapons, including swords and axes, and Mr Pal Talwandi had aimed a revolver at the activists. “The suspects threatened to eliminate me before leaving the place,” reported Mr Dhanaula to Mr Dharam Pal, SHO.

Accusing the police of acting under pressure of the action committee members, Mr Talwandi denied the charges levelled against him and his associates. He alleged that the complainant had got the case registered against him and his associates to build pressure to get a similar case registered against Mr Palwinder Singh, husband of Ms Narinder Kaur, cancelled. “Though I was not present on the occasion they went to the extent of implicating me and some of my associates in a false case. In fact some of my friends had asked the activists to stop making false propaganda on the public announcement system against me. They, instead of refraining from mud slinging, started beating them. Persons on both sides were injured in the incident,” said Mr Talwandi while talking to Ludhiana Tribune.

The action committee was constituted to impress upon the administration to probe into the case in which Mr Parminder Singh, husband of Ms Narinder Kaur, was booked under Section 307, IPC, for allegedly firing a shot from his revolver at the Raikot bus stand last month. Besides demanding the cancellation of the case, the committee had urged the police to book Mr Pal Talwandi for attacking and attempting to abduct the nurse about a fortnight before the previous incident.

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Cops probing land ownership case of PM’s kin
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
The city police today launched an investigation into the alleged duping of a kin of the Prime Minister , Dr Manmohan Singh, by a land developer in South City.
Sarabha Nagar DSP R. K. Bakshi visited the controversial piece of land and took copies of the land documents on the basis of which Dr C. K. Singh, a renowned pathologist and a close relative of the Prime Minister, and Mr Amrit Lal were claiming the ownership of the land.

The police has also directed both the claimants to maintain a status quo on the piece of land.

Mr Bakshi said the documents were being verified and a case would be registered accordingly.

Dr C. K. Singh has claimed that he had bought the 500 square yards plot from the Vikas Housing Development in 2000 where as the other claimant bought it this year.

The police is examining how the plot was sold off twice. 

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Migrant held for kidnapping girl

Ludhiana, November 16
The city police has successfully saved a seven-year-old girl from the clutches of an alleged kidnapper, who was on his way to Bihar to sell her.
Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, the SP City-II, Mr D.P. Singh, said the girl was kidnapped by a migrant labourer, Ravi, who lived in the neighbourhood of the victim at Sahnewal. The kidnapping took place last evening. A police party managed to catch the culprit from the Sirhind railway station. TNS

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Leaders forget martyr Sarabha
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Martyrs are never forgotten. They are immortal. But sadly this does not seem true in Ludhiana. For the martyrdom day of Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha was conveniently forgotten by the district administration as well as by the political leader today.

Barring the Secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Parminder Mehta, the Joint Commissioner, Mr B.K. Gupta, nobody reached War Museum to pay tributes to the martyr where his statue was put up 20 days ago.

Mr Mehta and his supporters reached the museum in the morning and paid tributes to the martyr by garlanding the statue. They observed silence for two minutes at the spot. Mr Gupta also paid floral tributes to the martyr along with some staff members.

But unfortunately, no one else visited the place today although the city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill had announced that they would organise a function today after relocating the statue in the Feroze Gandhi market.

‘‘No function was organised and important personalities failed to reach war museum to remember the contribution of Kartar Singh Sarabha in the freedom struggle. Otherwise VIPs can take thousands of people in trucks to show their might in political rallies.

“Just remember the Congress rally. They did not leave any stone unturned to gather people in hundreds to reach the spot. Why could not they do so today to show their gratitude towards the martyr who laid down their life for all of us? ’’ asked Mr S.S. Chana, a local resident angrily.

He said it was a matter of shame that while the media had already reported about the failure of the MC to relocate the statue of martyr Sarabha within the promised time.

‘‘We are disgusted at the treatment meted out to the martyr”, he added.

Meanwhile, tributes were paid to Kartar Singh Sarabha at various functions organised by different political and social organisations, the Congress and the CPI.

The District Congress Committee organised a function at the local office which was presided over by the district president, Mr Jagmohan Sharma.

Another function was organised by the local unit of the CPI at Bharat Nagar Chowk. In the absence of a statue, which was supposed to be installed there in the park, the party activists garlanded a protrait of the great martyr and recalled his outstanding contribution to the freedom movement. 

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Solve murder case, pleads US-based family
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, November 16
A US-based son of a murdered octogenarian ex-serviceman is seeking the help of the local police to solve the murder case. Even though more than a month has passed since the ex-serviceman was found brutally hammered to death in his farm house, situated on the outskirts of Parjian village, Biharipur near Alipur Chhinna, the police has not solved the case.

What disturbs the NRI family more is that the police is not probing the role of an estranged relative, who was an ASI of the Punjab Police posted in Ludhiana, in the murder case.

In an e-mail representation sent to the Director-General of Police (DGP) Punjab, with a copy to The Tribune, Mr Hardev S. Grewal , resident of Bakersfield, California, has sought speedy investigation into the case with focus on the role of some relatives. He said as he was settled in USA, he was in not in a position to make rounds of the police offices to keep a tab on the progress.

Giving details of the murder he said: ‘‘We have a farm in Parjian village, Biharipur di Basti, Alupur Chhinna. My father , Gurdeep Singh Grewal, was residing at the farm house for the last eight years and looking after the cultivation of the land. On the night of October 6, this year, he was murdered at the farm house. The assailants had hammered him to death with a heavy iron bar. ’’

He rued that so far the police had not been able to trace the culprits. He alleged that the motive behind the murder was personal enmity.

‘‘ In this regard I want to state that this murder was planned on the pretext of robbery by stealing the tractor-trailer from the farm house whereas the cash amounting to about Rs 8000 and a gun lying close by my father were found safe. Had this been the case of robbery, the cash and gun would too have also been taken away by the culprits ’’, he alleged

He suspects that some family relatives, with whom he and his father were fighting a legal battle, could be behind the murder.

‘‘My father had also given a statement in the court that he was getting threatening calls from some relatives repeatedly and had requested for the security of his life.

Local SSP R. K. Jaiswal said the police was working on the case and he do not want to book any person before being fully convinced about his involvement. He declined to divulge the line of investigation saying that the police was examining all theories, including robbery as well as personal motive.

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Raids for checking power thefts resented
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
The Punjab State Electricity Board's (PSEB) move to take the police help in case of suspected industrial thefts has caused panic among the local industry.
According to sources, police personnel conducted a raid on an industrial unit here yesterday. The move has disturbed the industry, which has been opposing the new provisions of taking the police help for dealing with thefts.

"Time and again, we have been opposing provisions under the Electricity Act, 2003, that talk of such stringent measures. In case of the industry, there are high chances of mischief by labourers and other elements. It is entirely wrong to harass industrial houses in such a manner," said Mr P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

New provisions relating to power thefts, which permit heavy penalties and penal action, have been recently enforced. Industrialists have lodged their protest against these provisions a couple of times earlier too.

When contacted, Mr K.D. Chaudhry, Chief Engineer, PSEB (Central Zone), said: "The provisions do permit us to lodge police complaints in case of power thefts. However, so far we have not undertaken any such measures against industrial units in Ludhiana."

He refused to comment on the electricity board's plans with regard to power thefts by industrial consumers.

According to representatives of the industry, penalty for power thefts should be related to consumption and not to the quantum of power connection as these provisions specify.

Resenting the directions to prosecute those involved in power thefts under the Electricity Act, 2003, they said the electricity board already had enough powers to deal with thefts and there was no need for such strict measures.

"Such regulations are against the consumers and even in case of minor violations, electricity consumers are harassed. It is entirely wrong to conduct a raid in case the electricity board suspects someone of a power theft.

"A penalty of Rs 10,000 per kilo watt for industrial consumers, for instance, is a measure that is uncalled for. Such provisions should be immediately withdrawn."

Industry associations said that while framing certain provisions, the government should consult industrial and other electricity consumers so that such issues could be dealt with in a better manner.

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PSEB staff hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
In protest against the supension of 32 employees in the Tarn Taran circle, employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), under the banner of the PSEB Employees Federation, AITUC, Punjab held a dharna outside the electricity board office on Ferozepore road here.

Stating that the act of suspending employees was unjustified, the protesting employees demanded that those suspended should be re-instated. “The employees were suspended in August by the electricity board authorities on the grounds that some electricity connections that had been permanently withdrawn were working,” said Mr Amrik Singh, general secretary of the federation.

He said during that period, employees were busy providing new connections and had been put on other duties and it was not justified to hold them responsible if some connections were functioning.

The federation, which also submitted a memorandum to the Member, Distribution, Mr J.S. Sekhon, also demanded that “false” police cases registered against few employees should be withdrawn.

Mr Kewal Singh Banwait of INTUC also addressed the employees.

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At the Crossroads
Recalling good old days

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit to Shimla has made him nostalgic of the years he had spent at that hill station as a student, first at SDB College and then at HP University. Indeed, he had been a lonely figure on the roads there and it took him 60 minutes to reach his college from the bhavan where he was staying. Little did he realise that at time, like William Wordsworth, he was storing in his mind the sights and sounds of the benign nature around him :

The eye it cannot choose but see,

We cannot bid the ear be still;

Our bodies feel, where'er they be,

Against, or with our will.

My own stay in Shimla from 1951 to 1961 has become an integral part of my memory. It is difficult to forget the days when sudden showers drenched me through and through. In winter, snowflakes could waylay me as a gesture of their warm greetings. Sunny days had a charm of their own when the aroma of flowers wafted around me like butterflies. Autumn, of course, was a period of the year when the sad songs seemed to be sweetest. It was,however, in late February and early March that red flowers in clusters hung on the branches of rhododendron trees like big lamps. In the words of Mir Taqi Mir:

Gulshan mein aag lagg rahi thhi

range-gul say Mir

Bulbul pukari dekh ke Sahib

paray paray

(The garden was afire with the blossoming of red flowers in plenty. The Nightingale cried out - 'Beware, beware - O' the visitor.')

Incidentally, I was also 22 years old, like Hamid Karzai, when the train reached the summer hill station in October, 1951. He reminisces : 'As I got out of the train and started walking to the university, the rain had stopped and water drops fell on me delicately as we walked along the road. Then and there, I decided not to go back to Delhi from Shimla'. In my case, I had to face cloudy weather and a nip in the air, when I alighted at Summer Hill. I had come from University Camp College, New Delhi, with the determination of not going back in any way. I preferred employment in Gorton Castle that entailed a walk of 60 minutes from my residence. I feel, like Faiz Ahmed Faiz, that :

Har dagh hai iss dil pai, bjuz daghe - nadamat

(Every scar is there on my heart, except that of repentance.)

It is, of course, impertinent on my part to compare my sojourn in Shimla with that of the august personality of Hamid Karzai. Still, I cannot help echoing my sentiments, when I joined the Indian Institute of Advanced Study(IIAS) as Fellow in 1998, with his own when he studied at Himachal Pradesh University at Summer Hill. He says: 'I had been yearning to be back in the auditorium ever since I last entered its portals in 1983'. Likewise, I yearn to enter the seminar room at IIAS, ever since I left Rashtrapati Nivas at Shimla in 1999.

Strange are the methods of clinging to the past. This is like packing up the luggage before preparing oneself to embark on the arduous journey in the time present. Without the consciousness of the past as well as of the present, it is not possible to face the future. There is no uncertainty of any sort as the die is cast long before one is aware of one's destiny. Still it is permissible, I hazard to presume, to seek respite for some time from the hullabaloo of life that one encounters day in and day out. Mirza Ghalib says:

Jee dhundhta hai phir wohi

Fursat ke raat din

Baithhe rahein tassavure

jaanan kiye hue

(My mind seeks the good old days and nights of leisure. Then I could dream of my beloved in wakefulness).

N.S. Tasneem

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C forms available in 'abundance'
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
The Excise and Taxation Department today sought to clarify the apprehensions of traders and business community about the non-availability of the C Forms. The department maintained that the C Forms were available in abundance and sufficient quantity here also.

According to the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr D.K. Verma, there appeared to be some communication gap between the business community and the department which led to the rumours about the non-availability of the forms.

He said traders could get the form in as many numbers as they want any time during the working hours from the office. Mr Verma said there was no need to panic either as there was sufficient stock of the forms available with the department. 

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Anti-drug march on Nov 20
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 16
Dr Charan Kamal, chief secretary, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, said though the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 had been formulated three years back, it was still waiting for its implementation at the ground level. Tobacco and other drug vendors were operating openly in front of schools, colleges and other educational and religious institutions, which was a complete contravention of this Act.

He said the organisation was working vigorously to create a drug-free environment. He appealed to the local community to participate in the anti-drug march which would commence on November 20 from Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, Model Town Extension and terminate at Deputy Commissioner Office at 12 noon. 

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Another dowry death case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Yet another dowry death has been reported in the city. Upma, a woman belonging to Jalandhar, died due to poisoning under mysterious circumstances in the house of her husband situated behind Chaura Bazar.

Mr Satpal Gupta, father of the deceased, has alleged his daughter that was being tortured for dowry. Sources at Division No 4 police station said a case was being registered against her in-laws.

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Hutch, Nokia tie-up on SMS
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Hutch and Nokia today announced an alliance to offer 'Indi SMS', a local language SMS service for Hutch customers who use Nokia phones. This service will enable Hutch post-paid and pre-paid customers to send and receive SMS in Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu, on their Nokia phones.

Mr Naveen Chopra, Chief Marketing Officer, Hutchison Essar, said: "Communicating in one's mother tongue is more convenient as it enables a person to be more expressive and keeping this in mind, we have launched this service."

Mr Devinder Kishore, Director, Marketing, Nokia, India, said: "The service is our endeavour to connect with diverse Indian consumers and allow them to communicate in their native languages. 

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