L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Residents allege encroachment by SSP
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
What can be termed case of a law enforcer turning into a violator, the SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Ludhiana, has encroached upon a part of the road in Rajguru Nagar to erect a shelter for his guards. The residents are protesting the step by the SSP.

The concrete structure has come up on the main road of Rajguru Nagar lining the boundary wall of the house of the police official. Residents say earlier there was a makeshift structure and after being posted as SSP, VB, the official has converted it into a pucca shelter.

When Tribune team reached his house (number 292) in B-block of Rajguru Nagar, a brick structure had already come up. The cosmetic finishing was yet to be done. A guard posted on duty refused to comment.

Residents said many police officials were residing in the area but none of them had violated the laws by encroaching the road. They either had temporary structures or just erected tents for their guards.

The construction began two days ago and the walls were completed today morning. The residents said they were mute spectators to the violation, which was being done right under their nose.

‘‘We cannot complain to the authorities as the violator is a senior police official. He is cocking a snook at the rules. He should have behaved as a law abiding citizen. When commoners are not allowed to do such violations why should he be allowed to do so?’’ asked a resident requesting anonymity.

‘‘Being on the main road itself the violation is visible to anyone who passes through here. We wonder that none of the authorities concerned took any action. Why cannot they ask a police official to give a place to his guards in his house which is the right thing to do,’’ said another resident.

The SSP could not be contacted despite repeated calls. Municipal Town Planner, S.S. Bhatia said as Rajguru Nagar was under the jurisdiction of the Improvement Trust and the Municipal Corporation did not have anything to do with the alleged encroachment.

‘‘The IT has not transferred Rajguru Nagar to us. So they are responsible for anything that happens in the area,’’ said Bhatia. 



Power cut
Residents suffer as babus stay away
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
The corridors of power were powerless throughout the day owing to a daylong power cut in the mini secretariat much to the harassment of the as their works could not be taken up and most of the officials remained away from their seats.

The generators available with the offices gave in and there was no power supply to any of the offices. The worst scenario was in the Sub-Registrar Office where the visibility was poor and the people were perspiring in the absence of fans.

Major S.S. Aulakh, a resident, said many like him were waiting for the officials to attend to people but they remained away from their seats due to heat.

‘‘I have been waiting for the tehsildar since 10.30 a.m. There are many like me who are waiting since morning. But there is nobody to tell us whether he would come or not,’’ added Major Aulakh.

He said that even the Deputy Commissioner and Additional Deputy Commissioner were not available in their offices. ‘‘I went to them to complain many times but everytime I was told they were away,” he added.

There were many who had come from far away villages and wanted their work completed today. But their wishes could not come true.

The residents said that if the officials were not to attend the offices and they knew that there was a power cut, they should have pasted notices that works would not be taken up.

‘‘What was the need to keep us waiting in scorching heat. The officials must have made themselves comfortable at cooler places leaving the residents to wait for them endlessly. If the Deputy Commissioner's office does not have an alternate power supply arrangement, what to talk of other offices?’’ asked a resident of Jwaddi, who had come for getting his land registered.

‘‘There is no light in the Sub Registrar's office. Nobody tried to make any arrangement. It was pitch dark throughout the day as the office was located in the basement,’’ said a resident. 



Farmers protest faulty compensation records
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 26
Accusing certain revenue officials of harassing farmers whose wheat crop had been damaged due to hailstorm and alleging manipulating records to the benefit of illegitimate claimers.

Hapless peasants detained them in their office and let them free only after receiving an assurance to rectify the records and ensure payment of compensation to the genuine sufferers.

SAD leaders led by MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon have urged the district administration to expedite the process for payment of compensation to the affected farmers.

Dr Indu, SDM Payal, claimed that cheques worth Rs 80 lakh had been distributed to the beneficiaries in six villages where wheat crops had been damaged during recent hailstorm.

Responding to a question on alleged harassment by the revenue staff Dr Indu said she, acting under directions of Sumer Singh Gurjar, deputy commissioner, Ludhiana, had deputed officials to verify facts and submit a comprehensive report within two days.

"After we receive report on the subject we will ensure that compensation is given to the genuine sufferers without any further delay. Any illegitimate beneficiary who has received payment in connivance with the revenue authorities will have to refund the same. However, action against the erring officials will be taken by appropriate authorities after verifying allegations levelled against them," said Dr Indu.

A number of farmers of Jarag area, including Jaspreet Singh Soni, Narinder Singh, Darshan Singh, Dalip Singh Rauni and Sarabjit Singh Mander had accused certain revenue officials of harassing them.

"While they manipulated girdawaris in connection with certain farmers who had not cultivated wheat but claimed compensation, they did not visit our fields even to evaluate losses incurred by us," allege the farmers. When the revenue officials refused to listen to their grievances the irate farmers locked them inside their patwarkhanna on Tuesday.

However, the patwari and his associates pleaded and assured the farmer that needful will done to get them their due. Kuldeep Singh Mangewal, a senior SAD leader of the area said a delegation led by Sharanjit Singh Dhillon MP had also apprised DC Ludhiana of the situation.

Interestingly, the incident has sent a message in the area that farmers could afford to ignore an officer or a top rank politician but not a patwari. Interestingly, Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab had come down to Jarag village to show sympathy with hailstorm hit farmers and had directed the bureaucrats to ensure payments of compensation within 10 days of his visit.

"All rank and file in the department gave top priority to the interest of peasants but certain revenue officials, including some patwaris, allegedly by taking bribe conspired to benefit illegitimate claimants and harassed genuine victims," said Kuldeep Singh Mangewal.

It is pertinent to mention that Badal directed the deputy commissioner to depute honest staff for the disbursement of the compensation so that the compensation could reach to the actual beneficiaries only. Though he warned that stern action would be taken against the erring officials the patwaris seemed to have ignored his warning. 



Bhagat Singh as video game hero raises eyebrows
Ravi Inder Singh Makkar

Machhiwara, April 26
Martyr Bhagat Singh is being portrayed as a comic character by some sticker making companies as he is being openly being featured as a character in video games.

Faces of most of the characters of the video games have been replaced by the face of great son of India Bhagat Singh and it has been released in the form of stickers by some sticker making companies.

The pictures found by this correspondent reveal that the companies have replaced the faces of Bruce Lee and another character with that of Bhagat Singh wearing a turban.

Youth akali leader Rupinder Singh Benipal has strongly condemned the wrong portrayal of the national hero. Benipal has asked such companies to collect all the released stickers from the market and then apologise for hurting the feelings of citizens.

Darshan Lal Jain, manager of local Shaheed Bhagat Singh Public High school has urged civil authorities to take stern action against the erring companies.

When this correspondent visited the market, the name of the sticker printing company could not be known but it was revealed by some shopkeepers that the stickers are printed at Delhi.

“It is most unfortunate that these companies are making fun of the great martyrs just for the sake of money. On the other hand, this act of the companies has hurt the feelings of millions of countrymen who have and honour this great son of India,” says Benipal.



Labourer succumbs to poisoned curry
Our Corresspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 26
The migrant labourer who had been admitted to a local private hospital in an unconscious condition after reportedly consuming curry prepared from insecticide-sprinkled tomatoes from fields of a farmer at Rachhin village near here a week ago, breathed his last today.

The Dehlon police, after registered a case under Section 174 of the CrPC, has intensified efforts to identify the deceased.

The labourer, aged about 20 years, was shifted to the local Hind Hospital in an unconscious condition on April 20.

Manjit Singh of Rachhin village had told the hospital authorities that the labourer, later identified as Indul, had fallen unconscious after consuming curry prepared with tomatoes plucked from the fields of the former. Indul died without making any statement today.

Jarnail Singh, in charge of Latala Chowki, said the adress of the victim could not be ascertained.



MC Election
YC to corner govt on aata-dal scheme
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 26
With an eye on the elections to five municipal corporations in the state, the Punjab Youth Congress is planning to organise separate rallies in five cities to corner the government on its "failure" to provide subsidised aata and dal to the people.

The protests would be held separately at Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Amritsar and Bathinda starting on May 2 at Jalandhar and concluding at Amritsar on May 30.

The PYC president, Vijay Inder Singla today presided over a meeting of the workers and office-bearers of the party to chalk out the course of action. He pointed out that the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata party alliance had promised to provide aata at Rs 4 per kg and dal at Rs 20 per kg. At that time the alliance had not laid any condition that the rates would be valid for the people living the below poverty line.

"Now even the BPL people are not being provided aata and dal at the promised rate," he remarked.

Singla disclosed that the Youth Congress would hold the alliance accountable to the people and ensure that it does not take people for granted. "They will have to deliver what they promised, otherwise they have no right to continue in officer", the PYC president asserted, while claiming that there was already a sense of disillusionment and alienation among the people and they were feeling cheated.

Akshay Bhanot, another senior Youth Congress leader, said the protest in Ludhiana will be held on May 16. The preparations had already started and the workers were being mobilised. 



PSSF demands action against attack on member
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 26
lnderjit Singh Bhagrana, who succumbed to his injuries at the Sector 32 Hospital, Chandigarh, after being severely injured in an attack by miscreants, was remembered at a meeting of  Punjab Subordinate Services Federation (PSSF). The meeting was held  here today under the  presidentship of PSSF, state vice president,  Balbir Singh Ghuman.  The PSSF has also demanded action against alleged attackers.

District Congress Chief Lakhvir Singh Rai in a separate statement has condemned the attack on the comrade and expressed sympathy with the family.

PSSF members lauded Bhagrana for strengthening Student Federation of India and for his contribution while working with many organisations of the CPM and as village sarpanch for many terms.

Bhagrana also led an agitation against some influential persons involved in alleged rape of a Dalit lady who were later punished by the law, according to a press release.

District chief Jarnail Singh, secretary Harmesh Singh (PSSF), district general secretary, Government Teachers Union, Amar Singh, also spoke at the meeting.



Bank officers put forth demands
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
Members of the Punjab National Bank Officers Association demanded one more opportunity for the pension scheme, lifting of ban on employment on compassionate grounds and stopping outsourcing in the banking industry.

At a meeting of the association held here, the executive body meeting demanded parity in holidays with state government employees. The members also pointed out shortage of officers in branches and said that officers be posted in branches against the sanctioned posts of officers that were lying vacant.

They also demanded that officers should not be transferred prior to completion of three years at a branch.

Among others present at the meeting were Sarabjit Singh from Patiala, V.K. Dhiman from Kumkalan, V.K. Sethi, Naresh Salwan, K.S. Rana, Manoj Kumar, D.M. Sharma, Nirdosh Gupta, Mohan Bhalla and B.B. Goyal.



MC sangat darshan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has decided to hold sangat darshan programme to redress grievances of city residents every Monday.

The first programme would be held on May 2 in the main office of the MC at Mata Rani Chowk. Complaints of residents in Zone A would be taken up on that day.

Another programme would be held on May 9 in the Zone B office of the MC near Shingar cinema at 10.30 a.m. 



City firm signs jv on retinitis pigmentosa centre 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 26
Stem Cell Pharma Inc (SCPI), a US corporation, King Multitech Global Private Limited and Ludhiana-based King Exports Group Company, today announced the signing of a joint venture for setting up a Retinitis Pigmentosa Centre in India.

A company spokesperson said the proposed centre would treat Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) patients with an amniotic membrane derived from embryonic stem cell implant, developed by the president of SCPI, Dr Alfred T. Sapse. The implant had shown preliminary beneficial results when used in RP patients.

On becoming functional in October 2007, the centre will have an amniotic tissue bank, where amnions would be collected, stored and used, identical with the USFDA approved good tissue practice bank, besides providing facilities for ophthalmological examinations, electro-retinogram (ERG) and other related diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Initially, the centre will have a staff of five specialist doctors, trained in the art of the implant, as well as additional supporting staff which would be able to perform 10 to 15 stem cell implants a day in the initial stage, at the cost which would be compatible with the expenditure incurred in the USA.



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