L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Moving on Ludhiana roads more risky than river rafting: Survey
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

* Accident ratio here 44 times more than that of developed nations

* Two-wheelers more vulnerable to mishaps

* 67% mishaps occur between 6 and 8 pm

Ludhiana, April 8
A special traffic survey has found out that accident ratio per 1000 vehicles in the city is 44 (forty four) times more than that of similar size cities in the developed nations.

Two-wheeler drivers in the city, especially those in young and middle age group, are more prone to be injured or killed in the road accidents. Evening hours are more dangerous for driving.

These are some of the main findings of a first time survey on persons admitted to various hospitals after suffering injuries in road accidents. Two prominent educationists , Prof Balwinder Pal Singh, GHG College Gurusar Sudhar and Dr Deepinder Singh, M.H. Medical College, released the startling findings on the occasion of World Health Day today.

"It was found that moving on the roads of Ludhiana is even more risky than river rafting or ice skating", they opined.

In the study, 100 respondents participated. Most important findings of the study were that in Ludhiana, after every 1000 vehicles, accidents occur with 88 vehicles. These figures are 44 times the percentage of accidents happening in developed nations.

The city has basic infrastructure that could support a population of 5 lakh. At present, it is home to over 30 lakh persons. Most of the respondents were between age group of 16-40 years. At least 67 per cent accidents have happened during evening hours, between 6 to 8 pm.

An important fact that surfaced was that two-wheelers were more liable to accidents then any other vehicle -68 per cent. In addition, auto rickshaws and rickshaws are the vehicles involved with majority of accidents -58 per cent. In the next category were buses and trucks.

Head injury is most common type of injury persons suffer from, especially the two wheeler drivers. Among the injury types, next common are fractures of the limbs, especially arms.

When investigated about the condition of the roads, 68 per cent respondents opined that roads were in bad shape where accidents took place. Further , around 77 per cent respondents, while reinforcing the fact, said that the roads were encroached by rehris, illegal vends, extension of shops by shopkeepers and wrongly parked vehicles.

Interestingly, 94 per cent respondents in loud voice said that there was no proper demarcation or display of traffic sign boards on the roads.

Study also points out that people of Ludhiana pay less respect to the traffic lights as they do not hesitate to jump red light where traffic police men are not posted. Another important fact revealed by the majority of the respondents (66 per cent) is that they have distinctively pointed out towards auto-rickshaw as the vehicle mainly responsible for the accidents on the road.

A large number of people are suffering daily due to these accidents. For many, it proves to be a nightmare for rest of their life.

The survey puts a lot of blame on the traffic police for the sorry state of affair. It claimed that the cops were rarely challaning wrongly parked vehicles. No one has pointed out those encroachers, who extend their encroachment up to the middle of the road. There is hardly any traffic sign board and or demarcation on the roads. Lucky are the people of Ludhiana who have ever seen zebra crossings any where in the city, the survey said taking a dig on the municipal corporation.

The survey recommended that it was high time to make traffic system fool proof. Heavy fines should be imposed on the violators of traffic rules. This will burn a hole in the pocket of violators and next time they will think twice before breaking traffic rule. The authorities should not issue licence without hard driving test. In addition, use of old vehicles that increase risk of accidents should be prohibited. Efficient traffic policing with increased surveillance was the need of the hour.



Married man keeps minor girl in captivity
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
A minor girl of Jwaddi village, Mandeep Kaur, working as a dancer, was allegedly enticed into a relationship by a married man with three kids, who is now keeping her in captivity and her parents are knocking at various doors to get her rescued.

Coming to her aid, SDM Amrit Kaur Gill had directed the Model Town police to conduct a raid on the accused’s house in the area, get the girl released and produce the accused in her court on April 12 after the girl’s parents told her that she was being forcibly detained and was in a bad mental and physical state. Despite her orders, the police has not gone to the place, allege her parents.

Mandeep Kaur, who will turn 18 in July as per a copy of her birth certificate in possession of The Tribune, had been working with a dance group for quite sometime and was the bread winner of her family with four younger siblings.

She was allegedly taken away by Jatinder Kumar, alias Vipin, who used to work with her. He is already married twice and has three children from two wives.

According to her parents, Sinder Kaur and Kashmir Singh, Mandeep went missing in June last year when she left home saying that she had to perform in a party out of station and it would take her some days to return. She never returned.

The couple was in the dark till the start of this month when somebody told them that their daughter was confined to a room and was in a miserable condition. “We were told that she was hit on one of her legs so that she can not run away. We went to see her in Model Town and met Jatinder. He told us to go back otherwise he will get us killed,” said Kashmir Singh.

“We just want our daughter back. She is not even a major. The news that she is in a bad shape is giving me sleepless nights. Please help me to see her once,” said her mother with folded hands.

They alleged that they had gone to the police also but nobody listened to them. “We would bring our daughter back and get her treated. But the police is not listening to us. How will they produce the accused on April 12 if they do not conduct raids and find out whether he is there or not. They are not even taking the SDM’s order seriously,” said Sinder Kaur.

The couple said even if their daughter had got married to him, they would bring her back. “She must be repenting. That is why she has got the message conveyed to us. After all children make mistakes but that does not mean she should be held captive.”


A lady doctor casting her vote during the IMA elections in Ludhiana
A lady doctor casting her vote during the IMA elections in Ludhiana on Sunday. — Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Mitra group sweeps IMA poll

Ludhiana, April 8
Arun Mitra was elected president of the Ludhiana Chapter of the Indian Medical Association today by defeating B.S. Sekhon by 60 votes.

They won all the posts of vice-president, secretary, joint-secretary and the treasurer. They include Subash Batta, Rajiv Gupta, D.P. Singh Arora and Karamvir Goyal, respectively. — TNS



One arrested

Ludhiana, April 8
One of the two accused in the case of throwing a youth in front of a speeding bus was arrested by the Raikot police today.

DSP Narinderpal Singh said Satinder Singh was arrested from the Raikot bus stop today. The police was searching for the second accused, Pali Singh. — TNS



Acid attack case
Accused had conducted trial on stray dog?
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Parminder Kaur made a fervent appeal to organisations and social workers to pool in money for the treatment of the four injured girls. The treatment cost was at least Rs 10 lakh. She would be writing to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to release some funds from his fund. A similar recommendation would be made to the deputy commissioner Ludhiana for using Red Cross funds, if possible, for the treatment.

Ludhiana, April 8
The acid attack case took a grim turn today when the chairperson, Punjab State Women Commission (PSWC), directed the city police to verify the role of an alleged accomplice of the accused Balkar Singh in the case.

Chairperson Parminder Kaur also made a startling disclosure that the accused had, along with an accomplice, allegedly tested sulphuric acid on the tail of a stray dog to ensure the desired result when he would throw the chemical at his former friend.

Talking to reporters after inquiring about the health of the injured girls, under treatment at the CMC hospital, she said parents of one of the girls had informed her that the accused had an accomplice, but the police had not taken any action against him.

She said the accused does not seem to have thrown the acid in a fit of rage. "It was a planned operation. The youth, with the alleged accomplice, had bought the sulphuric acid well in advance. I have been informed that they conducted the trial on a dog."

She expressed deep shock at the incident. "I would be recommending capital punishment for the accused, and the trial should be held in a fast track court."

"The life of the girls was destroyed. There are remote chances that two of them would be able to see properly. Their future is uncertain, as the parents had no money for the treatment and chances of their marriage are also bleak."

SI Manjit Singh said their investigation had not found any clue about the involvement of a second person.

He said the accused Balkar Singh had bought the acid on his own. "No one told us about an accomplice or that a trial was conducted on a stray dog." He said the allegation seem to be made on hearsay only.



Ludhiana Calling

The other day at one a well-known restaurant, a family with its baby came and occupied the next table. Copper plates were displayed on the tables along with quarter plates. The man, who seemed to be well educated, asked the waiter to clean the copper plate as he could see a layer of dust. The waiter kept a wet cloth on the plate to wipe hands. The man asked, "Why should we clean your dirty plates? We are footing the bill, its your job". The poor man found no place to go when the waiter said that they had to wipe their hands and keep the napkin in the copper plate. For eating their food, they will be served other plates.

National or Congress flag

A BJP leader who was recently elected to the Assembly was taken aback when a resident asked him why he had joined the Congress after the elections. The MLA could not understand what was wrong. The resident innocently replied, ‘‘You have put up a Congress flag atop your car’’, much to the chagrin of the MLA, who had put up the national flag.

Beggar menace

Beggars can drive one crazy when they pester people on traffic chowks. There seems to be no solution to this problem. A beggar crossed all limits when he erected his shelter on the edge of a road divider on busy Dandi Swami Road the other day. He was seen resting on the road and traffic was moving past him. Any vehicle could have hit him badly. He continued to sit for quite some time till a traffic cop asked him to go away. (see picture)

Blind faith

Despite scientific advancement in all spheres of life, people blindly follow rumours without questioning their credibility. For full week, the city was abuzz with rumours that mobile phones would blast, sending people into a tizzy. Recently, people had rushed outdoors in the dead of night when rumours of an impending earthquake spread. No one paused and questioned that when no machine can so far accurately predict an earthquake and that, too, well three hours in advance, how was it possible for someone one to do so? It seems Tarksheel societies have to start crash courses to educate people.

Garbage heaps

Garbage heaps have become a common sight in the city. While the MC is to be blamed for the slow pace for lifting mounds of litter, residents too have to take the blame. Residents or their servants make the effort of walking up to the dust bins kept on roadsides by the MC. However, once close to it, they throw the packets of dustbins from a distance. Most of the packets fall on the road only, causing a mess. Residents can help the MC a lot by at least throwing the litter in the bin so that it can be easily removed.

Gift for ‘scribes’

Some local ‘journalists’ put the entire fraternity to shame at a press conference of the Kotwali police, where cops announced the recovery of thousands of pirated CDs and DVDs. The moment the cops ended their brief and the accused were taken away after the pictures, some self-professed journalists, who belonged to rarely heard newspapers or channels, first requested for "gift" of a few CDs to them and later pounced on the heaps of the packets. It was only when harsh words were used by other journalists and the police officials that the alleged journos refrained from the activity.

Contributed by Shivani Bhakoo, Kanchan Vasdev and Jupinderjit Singh



Sacha Sauda: SSF activists burn Sonia’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
Activists of the Sikh Students’ Federation (SSF), led by their president Gurcharan Singh Grewal, today burnt an effigy of Congress president and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi for her alleged role in getting the investigating officer in the murder case against Dera Sacha Sauda head Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh changed.

The SSF leaders alleged that the dera head and his supporters were involved in the murder of a Sirsa-based journalist, Ram Chander Chhaterpati. They said the CBI was investigating the case well and the investigating officer had gathered considerable evidence against the accused.

After the dera head announced his support to the Congress during the last Assembly elections allegedly with an assurance that he would get relief in the CBI investigation, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and its affiliates like the SSF have turned against the dera.

It is believed that the SAD lost maximum seats in the Malwa region due to the dera announcing his support to the Congress.



Release of Sikh detainees sought
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
The Sikh Students’ Federation (Mehta) has demanded the release of the Sikh youth languishing in various jails for quite sometime.

SSF leaders Paramjit Singh Khalsa and Major Singh said with the Shiromani Akali Dal forming the government in the state there was hope among people of a new era of peace and cooperation. The two leaders demanded that avenues be created for the employment of the educated unemployed youth in the state.

They said the problem of unemployment was quite serious and it needed to be tackled on priority.



SAD leaders forget party worker’s sacrifice
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 8
A few saffron siropas presented by SAD leaders during their terms of opposition and a few hundred rupees are the price the party has paid for the sacrifice of husband of Balbir Kaur of Jogi Majra village.

Jagroop Singh, the woman’s husband, was killed after being bayoneted by a policeman at Kup da Tota, near here, during Rasta Roko Dharam Yudh Morcha, organised by the outfit 23 years ago.

Besides losing her husband, Balbir Kaur lost her infant son for lack of care, as the proceeds from the sale of 3 acres were spent on the treatment of her husband.

Perturbed over the indifferent attitude of senior party leaders, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the widow of the martyr has decided to return siropas and the Rs 500 that had been offered to her family at a function at Kup Kalan a few years ago.

"The tragic part of our story is that leaders of the party for which my husband sacrificed his life forget us immediately after capturing power on the basis of fake slogans. They exploit our sentiments by shedding crocodile tears at elaborate functions and give benefits to their kin after returning to power by befooling us," lamented Balbir Kaur while talking to Ludhiana Tribune.

Visibly upset over the non-observance of annual day on April 4, Balbir Kaur told that her husband Jagroop Singh Fauzi had succumbed to his injuries about two years after being bayoneted by a policeman at Kup da Tota on April 4, 1983. He was trying to carry two injured persons to safety.

The family had to sell its small land holding to meet the cost of his treatment for more than two years, and their infant son too died due to lack of care.

"He participated in the morcha out of conviction, but did not know that his party would let him down," she told leaders, adding that senior leaders like Badal, S.S Barnala and late G.S. Tohra used to call on her husband, but had shied away from offering any financial assistance.

"But for Rs 500 in cash and trunkfull of siropas from the party, no meaningful assistance has been forthcoming. We used to be called on the stage at the samagams, but this time again they have even not done with this formality," she said.

Even today she manages the household with the meagre income by selling milk. She regrets that she could not ensure proper upbringing of her three sons or secure them jobs during the previous SAD regimes.



Pensioners to get full respect: Gosain
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 8
Deputy speaker, Punjab Legislative Assembly, Sat Pal Gosain said the pensioners would get full respect in the government departments of the state and their problems would be sorted out on priority.

Gosain said this at the annual conference of the Northern Railway Pensioners' Welfare Association held at the Pensioners' Bhawan in Mini Secretariat, here, today.

The government in the state led by the Akali-BJP combine was determined to provide a transparent and corruption free administration to the people. The orders had already been issued to the heads of all departments to complete the work at their ends as soon as possible, he added.

The deputy speaker promised the association of the state government's assistance in constructing the railway pensioners' building in the city.

On the occasion, he gave away fees to ten needy students. He also honoured veterans above 75 years.

Chairman of the association, Sher Singh, highlighted the problems faced by the pensioners. He also demanded to enhance medical allowance from Rs 100 to Rs 300, as provided to the pensioners of the Punjab Government.

Chairman, Pensioners’ Bhawan, B.R. Kaushal, Krishan Lal Chitkara and Vishwa Mitter Bhandari, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Northern Railway Pensioner's Welfare Association also addressed the conference.



Marriages of 4 poor girls performed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 8
The Shaheed Memorial Sewa Society conducted the marriages of four poor girls here today in Haibowal.

Freedom fighter Dewan Harish Chander was the chief guest on the occasion.

Praising the efforts of the society Jagdish Dewan said the best ‘daan’ was the ‘kanya daan’.

Councillor Sohan Singh also condemned female foeticide. He further said gone are the days when people differentiated between girls and boys.

Secretary of the society, Vajinder Singh, apprised the people of the social activities undertaken by the society for the last 40 years. 



Non-payment of salaries resented
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 8
Employees of the health department here are resenting the non-payment of salaries for the month of March till now due to administrative problems and the brewing resentment might culminate in a protest if immediate remedial measures were not taken.

Focusing on the problems being faced by the employees, co-convener of the coordination committee of the Paramedical and Health Employees Association, Punjab, Amarjit Singh Pandher said the health staff was finding it difficult to meet the expenses of their children for the new academic session. Moreover, the purchase of wheat in this season by the employees was also to be put off as a result of the non-payment of salaries.

Pandher said the civil surgeon had retired on March 31 and the department had not delegated powers of “drawing and disbursement” to any other officer due to which the salaries could not be drawn from the treasury office and paid to the employees. He urged the department to sort out the matter without any further delay.

He asked the government to release adequate funds for a wheat loan of Rs 5,000 to class III and class IV employees this month so that they were able to purchase wheat well in time.



Crumbling building poses threat
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

This crumbling building in Chowni Mohalla, Ludhiana, is a threat to life and property in its neighbourhood.
This crumbling building in Chowni Mohalla, Ludhiana, is a threat to life and property in its neighbourhood. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, April 8
A crumbling three-storey building in Chowni Mohalla is threatening life and property in its neighbourhood. Despite repeated pleas of its owner to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation to demolish it, the building stands precariously.

The owner of the building, Puran Chand Talwar, in a complaint to the commissioner, MC, said parts of the building fall every now and then and the debris fall on the street, where a number of people keep walking.

He added that the building was in the possession of some tenants, who had shifted to safer places but were not vacating the house. ‘‘I am forced to keep the unsafe building intact. I cannot demolish it but if it harms somebody, I should not be considered responsible for it, ’’ he said.

He added that a part of the house had come crashing down during a recent earthquake and a car parked near the house was damaged badly. Fortunately, nobody was injured.

Earlier about three years ago, a part of the building was demolished by the municipal authorities as it was precariously hanging towards Chowni Mohalla. A squad had pulled it down at that time as the neighbours had complained to the MC.

Talwar has urged upon the authorities to inspect the building as soon as possible and take an immediate step so that any loss can be prevented. ‘‘If some action is not taken immediately, the building would surely come down during the rainy season,’’ he said. 



Cops overburdened with 'security' jobs
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 8
The security cover provided to people, more for satisfying their egos than any security risk, has been putting too much stress on an overworked police force that is already short in numbers across the state. The problem seems to be more serious in as big a district as Ludhiana. A section of the police officials has also been asking as why private people should be provided official security at the cost of public exchequer.

Senior officials have been seeking to get the considerations for providing security cover to people reviewed.

These are being carried forward since the days of militancy in Punjab.

The move has been necessitated, particularly after the change in the government that led to a number of people from the ruling Akali-BJP coalition demanding security cover from the police. Obviously, this is for the status and not for any security risk.

A senior police official told The Tribune that the relatives of some senior high risk police officers were still enjoying the same security cover as they used to during the peak days of militancy. Even if one or two security personnel are withdrawn or deputed on some short-term duties they start shooting off protest letters and crying hoarse that their lives are endangered.

In a city like Ludhiana, while police is already under severe pressure due to shortage in manpower, the problem is more serious. A relative of a former DGP is learnt to be enjoying the security cover of six police personnel. This is more than a sitting legislator. And nobody dares to reduce it, the official said, while adding, as a matter of fact the person has no security risk. There are a number of people like that who continue to enjoy personnel security at the cost of the public exchequer.

Since it happens to be a sensitive issue nobody wants to take any chance. Although all these people are in the zero-risk category, they are provided security cover. If something untoward happens with the "secured" person in absence of the security cover, it is the officer who will have to answer for it, the official pointed out.

He said, best course available was to review the security needs of people at the state level and formulate a policy in black and white.

The police officials are also questioning the logic of providing security to people who have no contribution towards public life. They have been asking as why should a private person be provided with official security.

Let them spend from their own pockets for their safety and security and pay to the government if they want police personnel only. The results would be for everybody to see as the number of applicants seeking security cover would go down by a huge proportion.



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