L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Poor drainage worsens problem
Rain takes heavy toll on roads
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
The rain experienced during the past many days has taken a toll on almost all the major roads in the city which are needing immediate attention and the Municipal Corporation is facing the task of repairs.

Intermittent rains that kept on lashing the city during the last one month caused washing away of top layers of bitumen and huge potholes have been formed on the roads.

The poor drainage compounded the matters as accumulation of rain water on the roads ate into the bitumen. Subsequently, due to flooding and movement of vehicles, craters were formed on many busy roads in city.

Things have come to such a pass that it has become a bumpy ride on Ferozepur Road, Pakhowal Road, Rani Jhansi Road, Col. Gurdial Singh Road, Punjab Mata Nagar, Gill Road, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, BRS Nagar, Model Gram, Transport Nagar and many other areas.

Incidentally, craters have formed on the Damoria bridge road that has been washed away. It was recarpeted twice in less than six months time. It could have lasted for around two years had the water not accumulated on this road. Being a very busy stretch, hundreds of vehicles including heavy ones pass through this road everyday. The water logged road gets damaged easily due to traffic.

Municipal Commissioner, Vikas Pratap, said the MC had already identified major roads needing attention. The delay was caused due to rains. Even the repair work that was taken up on many other roads came to a standstill whenever it rained.

The MC had chalked out a plan to recarpet those and tenders would be called for the purpose, he added. Residents said that they do not know how long would it take now to repair all the roads.



Rural docs not paid salaries since Jan
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 16
The Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) has expressed its resentment against the non-payment of salaries and other expenses to the ‘service provider doctors’ serving in rural dispensaries all over the state. It has further castigated the government for what it termed as deliberate delay in action against those behind abusing and manhandling Dr Jasdip Kaur, rural health service provider, serving at the subsidiary health centre in Ali Chak, Gurdaspur district.

In a statement here today, state president of the body Dr Hardeep Singh and general secretary Dr Balwinder Kumar noted with regret that the salaries and other monthly expenses to the service provider doctors were not paid by the zila parishads since January this year. Similarly, the para-medical and other supporting staff in the rural dispensaries also remained unpaid during this period.

Whereas the service provider doctors were feeling harassed by the negligent attitude of the government, the health services in rural areas were also being affected badly. “The treatment being given to the service provider doctors is simply humiliating and it will discourage the medical professionals, who have opted to serve in rough condition in rural areas,” they remarked.

The association has taken exception to the failure of the government to take action against the accused guilty of abusing and manhandling Dr Jasdip Kaur in Ali Chak village. The PCMSA functionaries alleged that the son of a former sarpanch along with some other persons had assaulted the woman doctor while she was on duty.

The complaint along with the medico-legal report of the injuries was sent to the police but no action had been taken to apprehend the culprits till now. Alleging that the accused persons were being protected by influential political leaders, Dr Hardeep Singh and Dr Balwinder Kumar maintained that the denial of justice and the police inaction had created a sense of insecurity among the medical fraternity.

The association has urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to intervene and take up the matter for providing funds for the salaries of rural doctors while further asking him to take stern action against the culprits of the attack on the woman doctor. 



Woman's body recovered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
Three days after a highly decomposed body of an unidentified middle-aged woman was found in Basti Jodhewal, another body of a relatively younger woman was taken out from Ganda Nullah (sewer drain) in Issa Nagar near the Civil Hospital this morning.

The body appeared to be of a migrant, believed to be around 25-year-old, from Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. There were no external injuries on the body. Her hands and legs were tied. She was just wearing a blouse and petticoat.

SSP R.K.Jaiswal said the woman seemed to have died sometime last night. She was probably gagged. There does not seem to be evidence of rape. A board of doctors has been constituted for the confirmation of the cause of death as well physical abuse. Jaiswal said though bodies of both women seemed to have been dumped at the respective places after being murdered elsewhere, there was no correlation between the two murders.

He said the police was close to identifying the first body, while efforts were on to identify the body recovered today. He said the women were of different age group and it does not seem to be handiwork of one person.



Industry seeks extension
Submission of annual returns
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
The local industry has asked the government to extend the last date for submitting annual returns by at least three months.

Industry leaders said on account of shortage of forms C, H and F with a few states, it is tough for them to furnish these forms in such a short period.

"The sales tax department has fixed March 31 as the last date for filing annual statements with form C, H and F. However, some states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are facing shortage of these forms. Industrialists have to obtain these forms from these states they trade with and due to shortage, it is not possible to get these forms by the end of this month," said general secretary of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association Varinder Kapoor.

Industrialists said that even the city is facing shortage of these forms, urging the government to extend the last date for submitting annual statement by another three months.

The association also pointed out problems faced due to the requirement to furnish form C on a quarterly basis. "Earlier this form was issued for transactions conducted throughout the year but now it is to be furnished every quarter, which is quite a hassle keeping the shortage in view," added Kapoor.

Industrialists urged the government to do away with the requirement to submit these forms every quarter and instead let these be submitted on a yearly basis.



Shed demolished, house owner injured
Our Correspondent

Amloh, March 16
The shed of the house of Jarnail Singh, a Dalit, was pulled down and he was allegedly attacked with sharp-edged weapons last evening. He was admitted with injuries to the local civil hospital. Jarnail Singh (40) said he had filed a suit in the court of the additional civil Judge, senior division, Amloh, against Parminder Singh and others for interfering in the matter.

Jarnail Singh said he along with his wife Paramjit Kaur and three children was at their residence last evening when the sarpanch, the panchayat officer and the police started demolishing the shed. “I tried to stop them from doing so, as a case was pending in court in this regard. Other persons have also constructed houses on the common land in the village within lal dora. He should not be singled out,” added Jarnail Singh. “They attacked me and inflicted injuries”, he said.

He further said he was admitted to the hospital but there was no doctor to attend to him. He was given treatment today only.

Medical Officer Dr Gulzar Singh refuted the allegation saying the injured was not neglected. He said necessary medical aid was given to him and the medical legal report was sent to the police today, while X-ray had been referred to the civil hospital, Mandi Gobindgarh, due to the shortage of staff. There was only one doctor at the hospital and he was seen handling the dispensary himself. Being a sub-divisional headquarters, the hospital sans basic facilities.

Block development officer, Amloh, Vinod Kumar could not be contacted.

SHO, Amloh, Ajay Pal Singh said the police was sent with development officials as per the directions of the competent authority. Action would be taken on Jarnail’s complaint that he was attacked after recording statements in this regard, he added.



Sand mafia strikes back with vengeance
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
While the election results were still being declared on February 27, the sand mafia in Ludhiana had already prepared itself for a different coup. And by the time it was clear that the Shriomani Akali Dal-Bhartiya Janata Party alliance was set to take over the reins of the government, most of the authorised contractors were made to flee, allegedly by a group of people who are owing allegiance to three serving ministers in the government.

Sand mining is a lucrative business in Ludhiana. With both adequate supply of sand as well as huge demand, it offers assured profits. No wonder, the mining spots in the district get huge bids. Currently the sand mining in Ludhiana fetches an annual revenue of about Rs 1.5 crore, while the contractors make at least 10 times more money than they deposit as royalty.

The mining spots are auctioned every three years. However, there has been no auction for quite some time, as the present contractors had got it stayed from court. The matter is pending in the Supreme Court. With the result, the contractors were provided special monthly lease permits.

With such huge assured returns, the mining involves a lot of power play as well. And only those who are close to corridors of power grab the contracts. Even the public auctions are manipulated, as the decision to allot contract to a particular person or group is taken much in advance ahead of the auction, which remains a mere formality. And no other bidder is allowed to offer any bids, as they are not even let inside the venue of the auction.

Since the sand mafia knew that the matter was sub judice and it would take quite some time to get the spots auctioned, they took no time in ousting the existing contractors, using all the force at their disposal. The mafia groups which claim allegiance to three different cabinet ministers have already controlled the business and that, too, without paying any royalty. Only yesterday, some members of the group reportedly manhandled the employees of an existing contractor. They even snatched some money from the employees from Jamalpur Leli village in the city suburbs.

It is learnt that the sand mafia initially tried to win over the existing contractors by offering them some nominal share in the earnings. Once they tried to resist, they were ousted all together. And none of the contractors have complained to the police against their ouster, knowing well that their pleas would go unheard.

The members of the mafia seem to have struck with a vengeance, as they have been asserting that those who were currently holding the permits had grabbed the contracts fraudulently after ousting those who were already in the business. They alleged that one former minister had grabbed the sand mining in Ludhiana using his position of influence. A son of a senior Congress leader at the Centre was also learnt to be involved in grabbing the mining contracts in Ludhiana and elsewhere during the previous regime.



MCPI-U condemns farmers’ killings in Nandigram
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
The Marxist Communist Party of India-United (MCPI-U) has condemned the indiscriminate firing on farmers at Nandigram in West Bengal, which led to the death of 12 of them. The farmers were agitating for the protection of their lands against the forcible acquisition by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM)-led Left Front government in West Bengal.

The land was to be handed over to Salim Group, a multinational company of Indonesia, for setting up of special economic zone (SEZ). Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, general secretary, and Kuldip Singh, state secretary of the MCPI(U), in a joint statement here today said, it was a "brutal and callous act committed under the auspices of the so called Left Front government of Budhdev Bhattacharya which, instead of protecting the interests of poor farmers, has gone out of its way to defend and promote the interests of big capitalists and discredited multinational corporation like Salem group, which was a party to the butchering of thousands of communists by General Suharto-regime in Indonesia".

The leaders observed “this barbarous and brutal incident shows that by helping the big capitalists and multinationals at the cost of poor farmers, the CPM leadership has deviated from its path of defending the workers and farmers".

Lyallpuri and Singh said that indiscriminate industrialisation and the creation of SEZs policy was totally unsuitable to the Indian situation. They said despite opposition from all quarters except big monopolists and foreign capitalists, the "reformist" leadership of CPM is insisting to go ahead with the policy of creating SEZs. 



Assess crop damage accurately, officials told
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
Strict action would be taken against civil servants involved in the special ‘girdawri’ in case they did not present a true account of the damage to the crops on account of hailstorm and heavy rain in the district.

This was stated by S.S. Channy, principal secretary, department of labour and employment, at the end of his two-day visit to assess the extent of damage after visiting 14 villages in Khanna and Payal sub-divisions along with Sumer Singh Gurjar, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana.

Today, he started from Libra village on the outer skirts of Khanna city where he reviewed the ongoing special ‘girdawari’ and discussed the extent of loss with the people of the area.

He informed that taking a serious note of the damage, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had deputed officers of the rank of principal-secretary level to visit various districts so that the assessment of actual losses could be ensured at the earliest.

During the visit, he visited 40 villages and assured the farmers that compensation would be paid as in the coming days.

He also directed the revenue officers engaged in the ‘girdawri’ to positively complete the work within the coming two days and warned that in case of any kind of laxity on the part of any official strict action would be taken against them.

The villages he visited today included Chakohi, Bhamaddi, Jarg, Issru, Kotla Dhakk, Rasoolra, Faizgarh, Rajewal, Majri, Ikolahi in Khanna sub division and three villages i.e. Jarg, Sirthala and Mahanpur of Payal sub-division.

He also asked the panchayats to get the written consents of the owner of the land in favour of the cultivators, who were ploughing their fields at contract basis so that the affected cultivators could get the relief and compensation to be given by the government.

Channy said he was moved by the plight of the affected farmers who had been ruined by the natural calamity.

DC S.S. Gurjar said the pace of ‘girdawari’ had been further accelerated and the revenue officials from the other subdivisions have been deputed to help the patwaris of the affected villages.

He said the work would be completed within a period of two days.



One killed in road mishap

Jagraon, March 16
Pardeep Kumar of Pona was killed while Deepak Kumar also from Pona was injured when Pradeep’s scooter was hit by a speeding truck near Agwar Gujjran village. — OC



65 kg opium seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 16
A case has been registered against Tirlochan Singh alias Tochi of Galib Kalan village under the NDPS Act. About 65.5 kg of poppy husk has been recovered from his possession. He is absconding.

Two held with illicit liquor

Sandip Singh and Harwinder Singh of Talwandi Nau Abad have been booked under the Excise Act by Hambran police. The police also recovered 30180 ml of illicit liquor from their possession from Phagla village. No arrest has been made.



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