L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Is the might of coloniser mightier than the law?
Migrant couple not allowed to construct house on legal land
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
The might of a coloniser seems to be stronger than the orders of senior district and state-level officials as he was allegedly not allowing a migrant labour couple to construct a house on a plot in Satkartar Nagar, Basti Jodhewal, which they had bought after 22 years of hard toil.

The case of the victims, Sumitra Devi, and her husband Raj Nath, is quite similar to the story of a family in Hindi flick ‘Khosla ka Ghosla’. The only difference in their case was that the senior police officials had submitted inquiry reports in their favour and even ordered the accused coloniser to stay away.

Yet, he was not allowing the victim couple to add a brick to the foundations paid by them on the plot. City SSP A S Rai and SP City-II D P Singh had told the accused, Joga Singh alias Pupinder Singh, in clear terms that the law was in the favour of the couple and he should not interfere. Still, driving force from ‘unknown’ source, the accused prevents them from the construction.

Inquiries made by The Tribune reveals that the accused's closeness to state level police official was paying him dividends in the dispute. What is shocking is that the orders of the city SSP and inquiry reports by a SP, besides the reports of the Internal Vigilance Cell of the Punjab Police, have gone abegging.

Tears flow down their sunken cheeks as the victim couple narrate their long tale of woe.‘‘ For 22 years we saved every possible penny from their day and night labour to finally buy a plot in Kulliewal village here. But all that hard work is on the verge of being lost. We had thought we would provide house to our five children. Instead, our life is being spent in making rounds to the offices of the different police officials or the courts for seeking justice.’’

Though the Basti Jodhewal police had already booked the two accused persons on the basis of a high-level inquiry conducted by ADGP, Internal Vigilance, in the case, justice still eludes the couple as they wait for taking possession of the piece of land.

The inquiry reports state they have been wronged. The plot was part of a land in Kulliewal village belonging to two brothers Bhupinder Singh and Pupinder Singh. They had a dispute over certain areas. The plots falling in those areas were sold off to many persons before finally being sold to the couple.

The victims got the plot duly registered in their name. The inquiry established their true credentials and neighbours also reported that the plot was theirs. The revenue records also supported their claim. 



Cong team in city to pacify rebels
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
A team of high-profile Congress leaders especially sent to the city by the party high command to pacify rebels succeeded in winning over a worker but failed to do anything about two others.

Mr Ram Pal Mehfik, Congress worker who had filed his papers from Ludhiana (North)against the Congress candidate, Mr Rakesh Pandey, has withdrawn his nomination, according to Mr Jagmohan Sharma, District Congress Committee chief. Mr Madan Lal Bagga and Mr Harvinder Happy, however, remained undeterred in the battle for the ballot.

The team of Congress leaders included Mr Raju Parmar, former MP from Gujarat, Mr Narinder Budania, former MP from Rajasthan, and Mr R.N. Sharma, former Deputy Speaker of Himachal Pradesh. The team held a meeting with Mr Mehfik and Mr Happy, but Mr Bagga refused to attend it saying he was determined to fight as an Independent.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Happy said there was no question in backing out when he was planning to fight for a seat in the Assembly for the past four years. ‘‘They kept on pressing me for withdrawing my nomination by offering me a good post in the party cadre. I told them I would be elected an MLA by the people, I don’t need a party post,” he said.

Mr Bagga said he had also not withdrawn his nomination as he was committed to his promise made to his electorate. He accused the Congress leaders of misbehaving with him. ‘‘They rang me up and threatened of throwing me out of the Congress. But I am already contesting as an Independent,’’ he said.

The leaders were in the city on the last date of withdrawal of nominations.

Sources close to the rebel candidates said Mr Pandey had not even asked them once to offer their support to him. ‘‘If Mr Pandey is not caring two hoots for them why should they listen to anybody else? He is thinking that he does not need them. Then why should they withdraw their nomination?’’ said a supporter of a rebel candidate.

He said Mr Harnam Dass Johar, a candidate from West, had himself gone to dissidents working against him. ‘‘They all buried the hatchets and now all are working together. Why cannot Mr Pandey also follow his contemporary?’’ he said.



CM has initiated politics of hatred: Jaitley
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Accusing Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for making Punjab politics touch its nadir due to his arrogant attitude, BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley today called yesterday's verbal duel between BJP leader Navjot Sidhu and Congress leader Surinder Singla at Amritsar as an outcome of ‘‘politics of hatred’’ started by the CM himself.

Mr Jaitley was in the city today to campaign for SAD-BJP candidates. ‘‘He (CM) comes from a royal family and had the privilege of having the best possible education. But the way he behaves, nobody had expected this from him. Even his body language and vocabulary towards his opponents speak volumes about him. He has done an irrepairable damage to state politics, ’’ said the BJP leader.

He accused the UPA Government of giving communal orientation to the financial planning in the next Union Budget ‘‘that would shake the foundations of the secular and democratic fabric of the country.’’

Instead of considering the economic backwardness, the Union Government was trying to appease a particular minority community with an eye on the vote bank, claimed the leader.

‘‘The proposed financial slant to the planning may prove fatal for the country like the mentality which gave birth to the two-nation theory before partition of the country,’’ he said.

He also accused the Union Government for its failure to check price hike and its weak approach towards national security. He said that government had been soft in terrorism.

Mr Jaitley said that the state government led by Capt Amarinder Singh had also failed on all fronts. The Congress was elected when it promised that corruption would be routed. ‘‘But today they are involved in various scams. The City Centre project is a major indicator towards this,’’ he added.

Mr Jaitley claimed that the SAD-BJP combine would once again get a clear majority in the coming elections and form the next government. ‘‘Those people who are underestimating the BJP would only be surprised after the outcome,’’ he said.

Defending the claims of SAD-BJP alliance of providing wheat flour at Rs 4 per kg and pulses at Rs 20 per kg, Mr Jaitley said that these were not populistic measures but realistic measures. ‘‘Instead of selling land to rich at the rate of Rs 60 per square yard, it is better to give sops to the poor strata of society.’’

The BJP leader said that a double anti-incumbency wave was working against Congress in the Assembly elections and he counted many factors responsible for the debacle of Congress. ‘‘Besides political intolerance and arrogant attitude of CM Amrinder Singh and his coterie, the government has also failure to control corruption and unprecedented price hike.’’



Transport company told to pay Rs 5,000 as relief
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, January 29
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed transport company Green Carrier and Contractors Delhi Pvt Ltd to pay Rs 5,000 as compensation to a consumer for failing to deliver goods booked by the consumer.

The orders were pronounced by Mr A.S. Narula, president, Ms Puja Dewan and Mr Daljit Singh Bakshi, members of the forum, while deciding a complaint filed by Mr Naveen Nayyar, owner of M/s Desh Mukh Hosiery Factory, Madhopuri. It also directed the transport company to pay Rs 29,952 as the price of the lost goods.

The complainant had submitted before the forum that he had booked hosiery goods with the said transport company for sending the same to M/s Ganesh Cutlery Store, Bhav Nagar, Gujarat. It was alleged that due to negligence of employees of the company, the goods never reached the destination.

The transport company instead delivered the goods to M/s Minakshi Textiles, Sarkhej, Ahmedabad. 



Jhuggis come up on prime Trust land
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, January 29
Residents of Sarabha Nagar, Model Town Extension, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Vikas Nagar, Vishal Nagar and Punjab Mata Nagar have alleged that a prime piece of land belonging to the Ludhiana Improvement Trust worth crores has been encroached upon and a large number of jhuggis have come up on it, thanks to the Assembly elections and patronage of politicians.

The residents allege that the authorities concerned have shown disregard to the rules and no steps have been taken to check it. They further stated that two tubewells had been sunk by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation and a number of toilets had also been constructed for the jhuggi dwellers.

They have sent representations to the Deputy Commissioner, MC Commissioner and Administrator of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust in this regard but no action had been taken. They have also asked the Election Commission of India to intervene in the matter.

The residents say that Congress flags can be seen on a number of jhuggis.

The Executive Officer of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust in a letter to the Deputy Commissioner dated January 11 had stated that “as per the sanctioned layout plan of the Trust scheme for Model Town Extension, part II, a site for a hotel has been reserved along the Pakhowal Road and Sidhwan Canal. Some jhuggies have taken over the site in the past 10 years. The hotel site was sold through open auction and as there is some dispute pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court status quo is in force.

On December 11 some persons started boring of a tubewell on the berm of the Pakhowal road. The trust field staff tried to stop the boring and a letter was sent to the SHO of police station, Model Town, Ludhiana, for necessary action.

The development scheme of Model Town Extension II has already been handed over to the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana. Only the MC can take action in this regard. The Trust has already intimated the MC Commissioner about this.

The residents allege that the Trust is passing the buck on to the MC. They maintain that either it is sheer negligence on part of the Trust or is a case of connivance of Trust authorities with land grabbers and political parties.



Resentment over use of sports centres for poll work
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, January 29
Resentment prevails among the local sports fraternity against the decision of the administration to use indoor stadiums in the city for election purposes. Sportspersons fear this may damage the wooden floors at the Shastri Badminton Hall and the Multi-Purpose Indoor Stadium at the Guru Nanak Sports Complex.

Previous experiences have been bad with the use of the places for election work leaving these badly damaged. The worse affected are the Shastri hall and the Multi-purpose hall.

Hundreds of sportspersons, including shuttlers, judokas and spikers visit these venues daily for practice, but now their entry to these places has been banned, resulting in an upset in their routine besides causing damage to the infrastructure. These indoor halls were spruced up by the municipal corporation by spending several lakhs before the National Games in 2001.

Last week, the administration occupied multi-purpose hall, which is being used for rehearsal by the election staff. The Shastri hall has been taken over for making polling booths on February 13.

In the past, MC officials said, the teak wood floor at these indoor halls was spoiled by the election staff and the security personnel. “While the players take utmost care while using this infrastructure, the staff on election duty do not bother about it,” the officials rued.

They pointed out that the wooden flooring was done after the varnish painting and wax coating. When the Shastri Hall was used as the media centre during the last National Games, “durees” were laid on the surface to avoid scratches on it. However, now the election staff walk on it wearing all types of shoes which could render it damaged.

Despite strong opposition by sports lovers during the previous state Assembly elections in February, 2002, the Shastri Badminton Hall and the multipurpose hall were used for polling and counting purposes and then the floors there were vandalised and damaged. Moreover, the multi-gym set up at the Shastri Hall by the Badminton Players Association at a cost of Rs 80,000 for warm-up was found misplaced after the election process.

Representatives of different sports associations have expressed anguish over the use of sports centres for other than sports activities.



Badal to seek support for Dhanda
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
The Shiromani Akali Dal (B) supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, would address two rallies in support of Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, SAD-BJP candidate from Ludhiana (West).

Mr Ravi Sharma, a spokesman of Mr Dhanda, said Mr Badal would be here for two days during which he would 
address a rally at Jawahar Nagar Camp at 7.30 pm tomorrow and another at Chhoti Haibowal on 
January 31.

He would also address a rally in support of Mr Satpal Gosain, BJP candidate from Ludhian (East), at Issa Nagri tomorrow evening. This information was given by Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia, SAD leader.

Meanwhile, Mr Dhanda held a series of public meetings in the area. Addressing a gathering of residents of White Quarters, Dhuri Line, he exhorted them to see through the claims of the sitting MLA. Mr Rajinder Bhatia, councillor, also spoke on the occasion.

Also present on the occasion were Mr Ashok Sherry, Mr Davinder Thukral, Mr Avtar Chopra, Mr Ramesh Pandey, Mr Balwinder Chana, Mr Kamaljit Vicky, Mr Inderjit Shanty, Mr Balwinder Singh, Mr Jatinder Pal Saluja, Dr J.C. Sharma and Mr Gurmit Singh Billa.

The SGPC president, Mr Avtar Singh, addressed a gathering in support of Mr Dhanda at Model Town Extension. Another meeting was organised at the residence of Mr Pawan Puri, president of the Sarabha Nagar Mandal. Master Gurcharan Singh Baghi, Master Ajaib Singh, Mr Harchand Singh, Mr Gurdial Singh, Mr Deepak Chadda and Mr Dharam Kalia were also present on the occasion.



BJSP candidate joins SAD
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 29
Nominee of the SAD from Malerkotla Abdul Gaffar received a shot in the arm when Mr Ashootosh Vinayak, the Bharatiya Jan Shakti Party(BJSP) nominee, withdrew from the fray and joined the former’s election campaign. Mr Vinayak was inducted into the SAD by party supremo Parkash Singh Badal last night.

Mr Badal said after inducting Mr Vinayak and his associates into the party a large number of leaders from various parties, including the Congress, had shown inclination to join his party. “We welcome everyone who wants to defeat the Congress in the state and at the Centre,” said Mr Badal.

Responding to a question on frequent change in loyalties, Mr Vinayak said he had left the BJP and the BJSP with an intention to defeat the Congress nominee Razia Sultana.

Though Mr Gaffar was not present at the time of Mr Vinayak’s joining the party at around 11.30 p.m. yesterday, he accompanied him at the time of withdrawal of nomination papers at Malerkotla today.

Meanwhile, Vijay Goel, election in charge, Jagtar Singh, block president, Prem Chand, Satish Jain and Sanjiv Kumar, general secretary, were honoured by Mr Badal.



Saini backs Cong nominee
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 29
In a jolt to the SAD, Mr Daljit Singh Saini, ex-president of the SAD Kharar circle extended his full support to Congress candidate from Kharar Balbir Singh Sidhu here, and assured to campaign for him. Besides it, an Independent candidate Parminder Singh Sona also announced to withdraw his candidature in favour of Mr Sidhu. He added that he will withdraw his nomination to ensure the victory of Sidhu and to defeat the SAD (B) candidate.

While Balbir Sidhu said Gurkiart Singh, grandson of former Chief Minister late Beant Singh, PPCC President Shamsher Singh Dullo and PPCC Secretary Balraj Singh Gill had played an important roll in the decision of withdrawal of Mr Sona’s candidature. Others who were present on the occasion in a function held here in 3B-2, Mohali included the Municipal Council President Mr Rajinder Singh Rana, and Sarpanches of several villages.



Workers hold rally against political parties
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
A section of workers held a rally here last evening to generate awareness against “false promises being made by political parties”. Led by members of the Moulder Steel Workers Union, participants held a flag march in the city.

“Instead of relying on promises made by political parties, we want to tell people, especially the working class, to fight unitedly for getting their problems resolved. Political parties come to power after painting a rosy picture of their plans, but the plight of workers does not change much,” said Mr Mahinder Singh, general secretary of the Moulder and Steel Workers Union.

The associations that participated in the rally and planned to carry forward the campaign, included the Lok Ekta Sangathan, the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Mazdoor Sangathan and the Hosiery Workers Union.

Representatives of these unions said basic issues concerning workers like police excesses and denial of minimum wages had remained unaddressed.

They also blamed wrong economic policies of various governments for the deteriorating condition of the working class, including factory workers, farmers and small entrepreneurs.

“It is important that we get united and fight. We are not asking people not to vote. But they must analyse the situation before they take a decision,” they said.



Social security sought for senior citizens
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Better care of the elderly/senior citizens is the need of the hour as most of them die unsung, unheard and uncared for. This was stated by the All-India Senior Citizens Organisation here which has asked the government to draft and enlist the status of senior citizens in the Constitution. They feel that there was no social security of senior citizens in India.

Dr S.K. Thamman, organising secretary of the organisation, said today that after crossing 60 the old become prone to various diseases. There was need to introduce separate medical OPDs/ indoor wards for them in both government and private hospitals.

Members of the organisation have also asked for special security cells for the old. They added that a round-the-clock helpline for them was of utmost priority and they should be given free legal aid. More old-age homes in India should be opened, it added.

“The dispute whether the age of senior citizens should be above 60 needs to be debated upon as the Railways and banks were treating those above 60 as senior citizens whereas the Income Tax Department considered them as senior after the age of 65,” said Dr Thamman. The members also asked for the introduction of free travel.



Bairagi Mandal honours Deol
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
The Bairagi Maha Mandal yesterday honoured Mr Harwant Singh Deol for his outstanding contribution in spreading the message and awareness about the great sacrifice of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur in Canada.

A function was held here yesterday which was presided over by the president of the Mandal, Mr Krishen Kumar Bawa. Mr Bawa said Mr Deol had been regulaly observing the martyrdom of Banda Bahadur in Canada.

Mr Deol expressed his gratitude to the members of the Mandal.



Pensioners rue meagre interim relief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 29
At a meeting held here yesterday pensioners expressed unhappiness over the meagre interim relief granted to them. They pointed out that prior to the implementation of the 4th Pay Panel report, three instalments of interim relief were given in this order. The first instalment was at a flat rate whereas the other two were at 10 per cent each. However, the Punjab Government has, now, granted only 5 per cent interim-relief, which is inadequate.

It was further pointed out that the newly-constituted pay panel has been given 18 months to submit its report and the government will also take some time to implement it.

The newly constituted Punjab Pay Panel was urged to recommend at least 10 per cent more interim relief for state employees and pensioners.



Republic Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 29
Republic Day was celebrated in Green Grove Public School, Khanna. A fancy dress competition was organised wherein students dressed up as historic figures. Students presented a cultural programme with patriotic fervour.

At Atam Public School, declamations, speeches and dances with patriotic theme marked the function. The song 'Ma Tujhe salaam' was the attraction of the day.

The All-India Senior Citizens Organisation also celebrated Republic Day.



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