L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

After Budda Nullah, it’s Sidhwan canal
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
While the state government is in the dock for failing to contain pollution in the Budda Nullah, Sidhwan canal is becoming a garbage dumping ground with every passing day as the authorities concerned prefer to look the other way.

With no water released into it, the canal has dried up, leaving it a mere depression full of filth and garbage. And if something is not done soon, the day is not far when it will also go the Budda Nullah way.

Piles of garbage, polythene bags and residue of some industrial units are all that make up the canal, whose depth has gone down considerably due to the accumulation of garbage over the period of time.

Owing to the callousness of the Sidhwan canal division, there is no check on the mushrooming of slums around it.

Equally responsible is the local police, which has not taken any action against people who litter, especially those who throw things into it after listening to soothsayers.

The authorities seem to have done their job by merely putting up a board urging people not to litter in the canal. The board has been put up on the Ferozepore road and can be read only by those entering the city.

The issue has left the committee of experts constituted by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission to look into the condition of Budda Nullah baffled.

At a recent meeting, the experts expressed their concern at the state of affairs of the canal.

They categorically stated that there was no check on the pollution and the state government would wake up to the problem when it was too late.

The banks of the canal are fast turning into slums, as migrants have erected their shanties alongside it at many places.

They litter along the banks and wash their clothes and utensils in it whenever their is water.

While more and more people have started to live along the canal, the authorities of the Sidhwan Canal Department prefer to sleep over the issue.

Also, some scrap-dealers have started collecting their scrap and dumping it near the canal.

At times, polythene bags and other scrap material are blown by the wind and get deposited in the canal.

While the officials concerned deny it, sources said the water carrying capacity of the canal had suffered because of the garbage and litter that form the canal’s bed now.

The water had damaged the concrete embankments and wide cracks had emerged in it at several places, threatening a road alongside the bank.

A visit by a Tribune team today found the shallowing of the canal due to deposition of garbage. Albeit, it has become a hunting ground for rag-pickers who collect the scrap and sell it for recycling.

Department sources said a number of persons, especially near the Malerkotla road, had been throwing different pollutants in the canal and paying no heed to the directive of the department. A complaint in this regard had also been sent to the police.



Cong spectacle remembers Lala Lajpat Rai
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
Glowing tributes were paid to Lala Lajpat Rai on his 78th martyrdom day at Jagraon today. Close on the heels of a recent Congress rally at Ludhiana, the party rank and file ensured to make it an impressive show.

In spite of it being a big draw, some prominent leaders, including Gurcharan Singh Galib and his supporters, absented themselves from the function, indicating the emergence of fissures in the party in Jagraon, a crucial Assembly segment with lots at stakes for the Congress.

Led by former minister and Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC) vice-president Darshan Singh Brar, Jagraon Vikas Manch president Raman Kumar and Block Samiti chairman Shamsher Singh Dangia, party workers from all parts of the constituency converged on the old grain market.

The local Congress leadership took the initiative to organise the rally for the first time at Jagraon where Lala Lajpat Rai began his political and professional career.

Indian Youth Congress (IYC) president Ashok Tanwar and AICC secretary Manish Tiwari were also present on the occasion.

Interestingly, the rally signalled the emergence of a new set of local Congress leadership represented by Mr Brar, Raman Kumar and Mr Dangia, who managed the show in spite of opposition from the old group associated with two-time MP Gurcharan Singh Galib.

This was indicative of the emergence of a deep divide within the Congress here.

Without naming Mr Galib, Raman Kumar and Mr Dangia alleged that efforts were made to sabotage the rally by carrying out a slanderous campaign against the organisers before the rally.

They said, Jagraon, the traditional Congress constituency, was thrown into the Akali kitty due to wrong selection of candidates by ignoring the sentiments of the rank and file.

Besides lashing out at the Akalis, Mr Brar tried to convince the gathering that he was very much part of the party activities in Jagraon and had not “fled” to Bagha Purana constituency, as was being falsely made out by his political adversaries.

Though Mr Tanwar and Mr Tiwari confined their speeches to paying homage to the freedom fighter, Mr Tiwari also stressed that the decision of giving the party ticket for the constituency was the prerogative of the high command.

Prominent among those who addressed the rally were Punjab Youth Congress president Vijay Inder Singla, former MLA Gurdeep Singh Bhaini, PPCC secretary Pawan Dewan, HOUSEFED chairman K.K. Bawa, Zila Parishad chairman Mohinder Kaur, former Jagraon MC president Davinder Kathuria, chairman Jagraon market committee Daya Chand Jain, Jagraon Arhtiya Association president Vijay Jhanji and District Congress Committee secretary Inderjit Jhanji.



Vajpayee, Gujral, Jayalalithaa to attend Akali rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
Two former Prime Ministers and a few former Chief Ministers of various states are likely to participate in the Shiromani Akali Dal rally at Moga on December 8 to mark the 80th birthday celebrations of the party chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Talking to reporters here yesterday, Mr Badal disclosed that former Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Inder Kumar Gujral, and former Chief Ministers of Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh Om Parkash Chautala, J Jayalalithaa and Chanderbabu Naidu would attend the rally at Moga.

The SAD supremo asserted the Moga rally, "unlike the sarkari rally of the Congress, would be the people's rally". He stated that the Ludhiana rally organised by the Congress was aimed at misleading people by creating an illusion as if the party (the Congress) enjoyed massive support.

Mr Badal claimed that there was disillusionment among the masses as the government had failed on all fronts. He said SAD would not be deterred by such misleading propaganda of the Congress. He alleged the official machinery was being misused by the Congress and it should better be described as a "sarkari rally" and not a political rally.

Meanwhile, two senior advocates Harish Rai Dhanda and Iqbal Singh Gill yesterday submitted a representation to the Election Commission of India demanding the announcement of the date of elections and imposition of code of conduct to prevent the "blatant misuse of state machinery by the Congress".

The two advocates alleged that the Congress was organising the publicity at the cost of the state exchequer and it must be stopped to do it at the earliest. 



Police exhumes body of Delhi trader
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
A team from the Delhi police today exhumed the body of a tyre-tube trader belonging to the national Capital who was allegedly murdered by four other traders and dumped in specially dug up pit in a house in Jeewan Nagar, Focal Point, here. Business rivalry is being termed as the main motive of the crime.

A police spokesman said the victim was Mukesh Kumar of the Sultanpur police station area in Delhi. He had come to Ludhiana on November 6 and had Rs 65,000 cash with him.

He, along with four accused traders Raja Ram, Bajinder, Sonu and Rajesh Chowdhry, had stayed over for the night. Police sources said the accused took him to a rented room in Jeewan Nagar, where they strangled him with a rope.

The accused then dug up a pit and dumped the body. They later told anxious family members of the victim that Mukesh had left early for Delhi.

When he did not reach his house the next day, his family members approached the police for help. The police detained Rajesh for questioning in which he revealed the crime. Later, on his revelation, the police reached Jeewan Nagar here today and recovered the body.

There have been innumerable such cases where the criminals have used rented houses. One of the famous of those was the Prabir kidnapping case in which the kidnapped youth was kept in Urban Estate, Ludhiana.



No breakthrough in mystery of naked bodies
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
The soul-stirring recovery of the body of a brutally murdered young girl from a trunk in the Malwa Express recently has refreshed painful memories of an even worse rape and murder of two young sisters whose naked bodies were recovered from two gunny bags while unloading rice husk at Khanna railway station in April, 1996.

Even more than 10 years after the incident, the case remains untraced with the Government Railway Police, Punjab, still not able to even identify the bodies. It seems the laxity of the railway staff makes it quite convenient for criminals to get rid of bodies in such a manner.

The bags from which the naked bodies, with revealing marks of torture, beating and rape (later confirmed in the postmortem examination report) bore the stamp of Lakhinpur Kheri district in Uttar Pradesh. The eyes and tongue of the deceased were protruding out and their faces were blackened.

The goods train had started from Varanasi on April 3. It was loaded five days earlier on March 31 with the coaches sealed in the presence of the railway authorities there, the police investigation stated.

The train reached Khanna late night on April 6. 1996. The postmortem report said the girls were killed about 24 hours before the recovery of their bodies. This suggested they were killed enroute but the seals of the coach in which they were recovered were found intact.

The police investigated from each stop of the train. It could only learn that a Nepali youth was searching for two girls of almost the same description at Haridwar railway station.

A woman from Yamunanagar added more mystery to the case. She was contacted by the police who had read her advertisement in newspapers searching fro her two daughters. The description matched with the bodies.

But the woman did not identify the bodies. Yet, after the girls’ cremation she sought the ashes. Her role perplexed the cops but the lead was not developed for unknown reasons.



Capt heads corrupt govt: Badal

Samrala, November 17
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, Punjab, said yesterday that the government of Captain Amarinder Singh was the most corrupt. It had been misutilising government funds in “useless yatras’’.

While addressing a big rally in the village Manki, 7 km from here, Mr Badal honoured 12 Dalits who left the Congress and joined the Akali Dal.

The rally was also addressed by former Member of Parliament Kamal Chaudhri and Jathedar Kirpal Singh Kheernian, member, SGPC.



Freedom fighters — a neglected lot
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, November 17
Freedom fighters are sore over the callous and apathetic attitude of the state government towards them. They feel that despite doing so much for the country, they are being harassed at the hands of the district administration and the state government.

Mr Dharam Singh Kanech of Kanech village, who is also president of the district unit of the All-India Freedom Fighters' Organisation, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune said it was unfortunate that before Partition they were being ruled by ‘gore’ (Britishers) and now their own countrymen were ruling them (freedom fighters).

Mr Dharam Singh alleged that it was very difficult to get work done at the local district administration's office. "Officials not only neglect us but also humiliate us. It is not just me who feels like that. Freedom fighters always get a lukewarm response in these offices", he said. He further added that they were never invited to any government function.

"We come to know about the PM's or the CM’s visit to the city through newspapers only. Earlier we were sent letters by the state Governor to attend the Republic Day and Independence Day functions, but these also have been stopped now. It is not that we want our presence to be felt, but such functions give us nostalgic moments", he said.

Mr Dharam Singh, on behalf of his organisation, further added that the Punjab Government gave them pension which was peanuts (just Rs 3,000 a month), whereas the neighbouring state Haryana was providing Rs 5,100 to their counterparts. "At the dusk of our life, we want that we should be given patient hearing by government officials", he said.



Urban lure irresistible for migrants: study

Ludhiana, November 17
Healthy savings, better lifestyle, good income and availability of resources are some of the major factors influencing migrant population to migrate from rural to urban areas.

This has been found by Atul Kumar, an MBA student of Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE), in his recent study on “Rural-urban migration decision analysis in Ludhiana city” carried under the guidance of Sandhir Sharma.

The study has been conducted on over 100 migrants in the city.

It has found that maximum people (migrants), over 80 per cent, are satisfied with their decision to migrate to the urban areas.

The study also evaluates the difference between their perceived value, which they must have thought before coming to the urban area, and actual experience while staying here for at least three years.

The study says around 50 per cent respondents live in the urban areas for more than nine years.

Over 90 per cent of the respondents are from the northern region of the country. A majority of respondents (almost 3/4th of total sample size) are in jobs and belong to the business class.



Auditions from today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 17
Hungama TV has received a phenomenal response from kids across the country for ‘Parle-G Hungama Captains Hunt’. The 10-city hunt in India kick started three weeks ago. This week it will tour Ludhiana Bangalore and Baroda. The two-day audition will be held at Shantiniketan Adarsh School, CMC Road, here on November 18 and 19.

The hunt till now has toured cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Indore and Lucknow this month. In the city auditions the candidates would be evaluated on their extempore speaking skills, group dynamics and their unique talent. Qualified judges would evaluate all rounds to arrive at two candidates per city, who would compete in the Grand Finale to be held in Mumbai on December 9 and 10.

Hungama TV will select 10 smart kids in the age group of 8-14 to represent their respective cities as the Hungama TV Captain. Initiated in 2004.



Journalist trapped in hotel lift
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
Pramod Batish, a senior journalist, was trapped in the lift of Hotel Nagpal Regency on Ferozepur Road this afternoon.

Batish, alongwith two more persons, was trapped for over 10 minutes as the lift stopped functioning. "Neither did the siren work nor was there any phone or speakers in the lift with which we could contact those outside," he said.

It was only after he started banging on the lift door that some fellow journalists who had come to attend a press meet at the hotel heard him. They informed the hotel management and the trapped were taken out.



Fruit vendors shift to New Subzi Mandi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
Fruit dealers today shifted from Old Subzi Mandi to New Subzi Mandi near the Jalandhar bypass following the inauguration of the second fruit shed in here.

"All 80 ahrtiyas have already shifted and trading too has started," the chairman of the Subzi Mandi Association and councillor, Mr Madan Lal Bagga, said here today.

Earlier, one of the sheds was opened, but due to space constraints all vendors were not able to shift. With the opening of two sheds all 80 vendors had shifted, Mr Bagga said.

He added that due to insufficient space in the Old Subzi Mandi, fruit vendors had been facing problems. "As two new sheds have been started, fruit trading here will benefit a lot.”

In Old Subzi Mandi, fruit vendors had to accommodate in around merely 2 acres, while the new market is spread in an area of over 54 acres which will have 14 sheds. The entire mandi will take a few months to begin functioning.



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