L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

All set for bandh today
Holiday in schools, colleges, PAU; industries to be closed; mini-buses not to ply
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 21
Not taking any chances in view of the bandh call given by Akal Takht tomorrow, the deputy commissioner-cum-district magistrate Sumer Singh Gurjar, while exercising powers under Section 144, CrPC, has banned the assembly of five or more persons, taking out of processions and holding of rallies in the district with effect from today.

The orders would remain in force till May 31. While passing the orders, the DC said he was apprehending the breach of the peace and public tranquility. He said the order shall not apply on processions or meetings for which previous permission has been obtained from the SDM concerned or any officer authorised by him and customary processions in connection with wedding and funerals.

The deputy commissioner has appealed to the people to extend cooperation to the administration for maintaining law and order and peace in the district. He also made clear that nobody would be allowed to disturb the peace and warned that strict action would be taken against unlawful elements in case of any kind of disturbance.

The deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar has declared a holiday in all educational institutes in the district, including private-run schools and colleges. He said in the interest of the students, all private and government schools, institutions, colleges and Punjab Agricultural University would remain closed tomorrow.

Meanwhile, several schools have declared a holiday tomorrow in view of the bandh call. The school authorities said they did not want to take any chances as it was a matter involving security of children.

The industry has also appealed to the industrialists to keep their units closed tomorrow. The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking has announced that it would keep units closed.

CICU president Inderjeet Singh Pardhan has asked the entire industry in the state to keep units closed tomorrow and strengthen the hands of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The United Cycles and Parts Manufacturers Association in collaboration with a dozen traders’ associations has decided to observe a complete bandh tomorrow.

The rural population in the district is all set to be inconvenienced as the Ludhiana Minibus Owners Association has decided not to ply buses on the routes throughout the day tomorrow.

According to a statement by J.S. Grewal, district president of the union, they took this decision after holding a meeting with the presidents of different districts.

At the same time, they have appealed to the state government to find a solution for the problem arisen out of Dera Sacha Sauda controversy. They said a poor man suffers during a bandh as many people depend on their daily earnings to keep their hearth burning.

The Bharat Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha has appealed to the public to maintain peace in the district by setting an example of unity and brotherhood. Dr Arun Mitra and Major Sher Singh Aulakh (retd), both office-bearers of jatha said that though an ugly controversy had erupted, the residents should act maturely and think in the larger interest of the state and nation as a whole.



Major development of city on anvil
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 21
The city is all set to witness all-around development worth Rs 2,053 crore as the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Government of India under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

Under the Rs 2,053-crore plan, Ludhiana will witness major water, sewerage, road, slum projects and houses that would have all amenities

This was stated today by the commissioner, MC, Vikas Partap. He said they had successfully cleared the second step in getting the funds under the mission. They would prepare the project reports and submit them to the Centre before taking up projects on the ground.

‘‘The decks have finally been cleared. The state government is now taking the services of a Hyderabad-based company to prepare project reports for different cities before submitting these with the Centre,’’ said Partap.

He added that under the major MC project, named City Development Plan, the Central government would sanction 50 per cent of the total grant, 20 per cent would be given by the state government and the rest 30 per cent would be pooled by the MC.

Under the plan, the city would witness major water and sewerage projects, roads, slums development besides ensuring mandatory reforms, including non-arbitrary and non-discretionary property tax regime and e-governance in the civic body wherever there is public interface.

‘‘The grant would be sanctioned after clearing of Detailed Project Reports. We can expect the money anytime as the state government has roped in a top-notch Hyderabad-based firm for preparing the DPRs,’’ added the commissioner.

He said the besides major roads, water and sewerage, nullahs and other development projects, the CDP would give a breather to the urban poor, who are forced to live in slums.

‘‘We would ensure them houses in developed colonies that would have all the amenities. Ludhiana would virtually grow slum-free,’’ he added. 



Trespasser not entitled to injunction: Court
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, May 21
A trespasser is not entitled to injunction against the true owner, held a local court while dismissing a suit filed by an illegal occupier of PUDA land.

The verdict was given by Gurdarshan Kaur, Civil Judge (Junior Division), while deciding the case filed by Nobat Rai of Rajiv Gandhi Colony, Focal Point, Ludhiana.

It was claimed by the illegal occupant that he was owner of property measuring 360 yards comprising three shops and three rooms. It was submitted that he was in possession of the said property for many years.

Even the electric connection installed in the property, was in his name. His possession was in the knowledge of PUDA. He was enjoying the possession without any hindrance. He was also paying water and sewerage charges to the Municipal Corporation, he added.

The petitioner further pleaded that it was declared by the government that any person in possession of government land since 1996 would be allotted the land on nominal rates. And he was in possession prior to 1990. As per the announcement, he had applied for the allotment of the land but he was not allotted the same.

On the other hand, a senior lawyer defending the case on behalf of PUDA submitted that the petitioner was in illegal possession of the land. As such, he was merely a trespasser.

It was well settled law that a person who seeks equity must do equity. Whereas the petitioner had not come to the court with clean hands.

Injunction was sought with the plea that he was owner in possession of the suit property. But he himself had admitted during his cross-examination that the PUDA was owner of the suit property.

“PUDA was statutory body formed for the welfare of the public at large. It holds the property as a trustee of the people and where any attempt was made by any individual or group of individuals to misappropriate or misuse the public proerty was not entitiled for injunction,” stressed the counsel for PUDA.

After going through the rival contentions rasied by both parties, the Judge found no merit in granting injuction against PUDA.

The court also dismissed the case filed by Rehmat Masih of the same locality, seeking injuction against PUDA with similar facts. He had submitted that he was in possession of two shops covering area around 42 square yards. He was running one PCO and a sweet shop, ‘Rehmat Sweet Shop’.



Two killed in car-train crash
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 21
Two persons were killed and another sustained injuries when their car collided with a railway engine at an unmanned crossing in Jhande village on the outskirts of the city this afternoon.

The deceased have been identified as Tarsem Singh of Pakhowal village and Hardial Singh of Barmi village. Both died on the spot. TJaswinder Singh of Kaile village was seriously injured and rushed to hospital. He was unconscious till the filing of this report.

Eyewitnesses said that the three were travelling in the car of Indica make from Ludhiana to Jhande village. The railway engine was coming from Ludhiana and going to Talwandi on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore railway line.

They could not see the engine approaching and banged into it.

The impact of the collision was so strong that bodies of the deceased were lying on the ground after the incident.

Villagers said that they have been demanding a manned crossing on the spot where such accidents were common. 



Tribune Impact
Streetlights only after sunset
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 21
The Municipal Corporation today announced the regulation of the schedule of streetlights in the city in order to save electricity in view of the impending crisis.

The action comes in the wake of a Tribune report that had highlighted that streetlights were switched on during broad daylight as it had failed to change the switch on time in summers.

Reacting on the report, commissioner Vikas Partap said he had directed the employees concerned to switch on the lights after the sunset only and not waste power. He added that they were even ensuring penalty on the contractor, who was leaving the lights on at the elevated road during daytime.

He added that he was taking action against the MC employees also who had not changed the time despite the days getting longer.

‘‘This would not happen again. I have warned the employees and contractors that if he found that power was being wasted he would take a strict action against them. If we can take action against people wasting water, we can take action against our own employees also for wasting electricity,’’ he remarked. 



‘Corruption is bug for state economy’
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 21
Terming corruption to be the most hazardous bug for the economy of the state, Harish Rai Dhanda, chief parliamentary secretary (ministry of local bodies), has called upon social organisations of the area to help administration, implement the government policies. These policies have been launched for the welfare of weaker sections of society.

He said one should imbibe good elements of the British administration instead of unnecessarily criticising them. “We must try to comprehend how the East India Company could rule a country like India whereas the successive post-independence governments have almost destabilised all institutes except the Indian army, railways and judiciary,” stressed Dhanda. He also said these institutes would also become lame incase immediate steps were not been taken to preserve their originality handed over to us by the British government.

Commenting on partial success of the Indian democratic system Dhanda pointed out that it could have brought better results with a little manipulation. “Though Indian legislation has some inherent defects, it has higher number of merits also. What is required is that we should know how to settle down in constitutional institutes which are a little away from idealistic approach,” said Dhanda while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune.

Dhanda contended that corruption had become an integral part of unwritten system which had emerged stronger than the written one. “Though corruption has become universal phenomenon in all departments, the civic bodies are the worst sufferers. Strangely enough, the contractors have been making handsome profits even after paying commissions and considerations to rank,” said Dhanda suggesting that tenders quoting excessively lower or higher rates should be cancelled out rightly.

He pointed out that the accountability for any anomaly could not be fixed as the files had been moving between a large number of desks. Moreover, a majority of elected representatives are mixed-up with contractors and officials and whenever someone is caught, they come to shield them.



Dhanda promises to root out corruption
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 21
The chief parliamentary secretary, local bodies, Harish Rai Dhanda, has asserted that he would ensure to root out corruption from the department. Addressing a function organised by the Rishi Nagar F Block Welfare Association here last night, Dhandha hinted at an immediate action against a certain corrupt mafia operating in the system.

Dhanda said his government was committed to provide a clean and transparent administration. He asserted that the corruption and malpractices would not be tolerated at any cost. He said he would ensure that the Local Bodies Department, which had direct dealings with the general public, would become more responsive and responsible toward their grievances.

He promised that people would no longer face any harassment and their problems would be solved.

Earlier, the society members, including S.K. Thaman, chairman, Surinder Puri, president and general secretary Vinod Khanna gave a rousing reception to Dhanda. Madan Lal Bagga and Balkar Singh Sandhu, councillors, were also present on the occasion.



Section 144 violated
Protests against dera chief
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 21
Cutting across party lines, leaders and activists in the area have started participating in protest demonstrations against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh.

The activities of the protesting organisations showed that the promulgation of Section 144 of the CrPC proved futile at many places.

Investigations by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that leaders and activists of various political parties, including the Congress and SAD, had been participating actively in protest marches sponsored by Sikh organisations of their respective areas.

While the protests were mild here and in surrounding villages falling under Malerkotla and Payal subdivisions, activists of Damdami Taksal in Raikot subdivision showed their resentment against the sect in a strong manner.

Interestingly, activists of the SAD and Congress, otherwise known for teething rivalry, joined a demonstration in Bassian town, situated on the Raikot-Jagraon road yesterday. Besides burning effigy of Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, the protesters also raised objectionable slogans.

The traffic was also blocked at many places.

The situation was tense at Chakk Bhai Ka, Lamma Jatt Pura and Boparai Kalan, where a large number of Damdami Taksal activists had gathered to lodge their protest.

Meanwhile, SSP Ludhiana (Rural) Gurpreet Singh Bhullar claimed that law and order would be maintained at all costs. "As a recognised body has given the bandh call, and that, too, on a sensitive issue, we will take extra precaution in handling the situation," said Bhullar, adding that alternative routes and diversions had been identified in case of any blockade on main roads.

Commenting on the reports of raising of objectionable slogans at certain places, Bhullar asserted that appropriate action would be taken in case video films prepared showed such incidents.



Dera row: Situation ‘must not be let out of control’
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 21
While the atmosphere continues to get surcharged particularly after the call for Punjab bandh from Akal Takht on Tuesday, there is a widespread apprehension among people that the situation might get out of control and the dark days of eighties might return to the state. People who have witnessed the eruption of terrorism in Punjab maintain that the sequence of events seems to be unfolding itself almost in a similar manner.

While everybody wants that the Dera Sacha Sauda head, Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, should have tendered an apology as his actions, whether inadvertent or deliberate, have hurt the feelings of crores of people, there is a difference of opinion about how the issue should be handled. Cutting across the religious, political or ideological identities, people, The Tribune talked to, appealed for peace and restraint. They said, the situation must not be let out of control.

Ravinder Vatsyayan, a leading Ayurveda practitioner, regretted that this controversy erupted when everything was going in a normal course. He pointed out that the terrorism had become a thing of the past and nobody ever thought about it again. “Although there is hardly any chance of it erupting again, but still people have started feeling apprehensive and concerned,” he observed, while adding, that the powers that be must take bold initiatives to assuage the hurt feelings of people.

One consolatory feeling is that there has, by and large, been no targeted violence in Punjab. While there is resentment against the actions of the dera head, the followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda, as long as they remain peaceful, are not being targeted.

Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, observed that people had no ill will against anybody, particularly the dera followers. They were angry over what the dera head had done. He said he knew thousands of followers (of the dera) who were devout Sikhs also. And quite a number of them had started distancing themselves from the dera.

He said although the atmosphere was quite surcharged, but the government was taking all care to ensure peace at all costs. Grewal said the government was ceased of the situation and everything was being watched carefully.

He assured that Punjab would not be allowed to go the way it went in early eighties as longs as Parkash Singh Badal was the Chief Minister. He claimed that it was the careful handling of the situation by Badal that saved Punjab from going violent. Otherwise there was anger in everybody’s heart as sense of hurt was too deep.

Congress leader Amarjit Singh Tikka observed that it was not the issue of party affiliation. He pointed out that the resentment was too widespread cutting across the party lines. He said, “Religion is a very sensitive issue and it needs to be handled with care.”

He said nobody could approve of what the dera head did. That is why everybody had risen against him, even the dera followers. He hoped that all parties should rise above the partisan considerations and handle the problem jointly.



Appeal for peace

Jagraon, May 21
A meeting of the peace committee was held in the Town Hall here today, which was attended by representatives of different political parties and associations.

Gur Loveen Singh Sidhu, SDM, and Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, who also participated in the meeting, addressed the gathering. Sidhu said peace in the state had been gained after a long struggle and it should be maintained at all cost. Tomorrow’s bandh should go very peacefully and he appealed to all to observe harmony.

Gurpreet Singh Bhullar appealed to youths not to wave swords by taking these out from covers.

Others who addressed the gathering included Ram Singh Thakural, Gurcharan Singh Grewal, Harmohinder Singh, Gurdip Singh Bhaini, Bhag Singh Mallah, Raj Kumar Malhotra, Subhash Joshi, Purshotam Lal Khalifa, Mohinder Singh Sidhwan and Vaid Naseeb Chand. — OC



Doctors appeal for peace
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 21
"Punjab is once again facing the threat of violence.The people in this border state suffered a lot during the long spell of terrorism and it is important that all groups concerned should go for reconciliation and try to calm down the frayed tempers and defuse the tension building up in the state."

These views were expressed by several bodies of medical professionals in a joint statement issued here today. Making a strong appeal for maintaining peace and exercising tolerance, the statement said that ordinary Punjabis had paid a very high price during the period of terrorism, and if timely preventive measures were not adopted now, the people might once again have sleepless nights. All concerned should make united efforts to restore peace and tranquility in the state and create an atmosphere for peaceful co-existence.

The signatories to the statement included Dr L.S.Chawla, president, Indian Doctors for Peace and Development, Dr Navdeep Singh Khaira, president, and Dr Sanjeev Uppal, secretary, DMC Medical Teachers Association, Dr Hardeep Singh, president, PCMS Association, Dr Balbir Singh Shah, member, Punjab Medical Council, Dr Arun Mitra, Dr Subhash Batta, Dr Rajeev Gupta, Dr K.P. Singh, Dr Manoj Sobti, Dr Narotam Dewan, Dr D.P. Singh Arora, Dr R.K. Sharma, Dr Karamveer Goyal Dr Kulwant Singh, Dr Satish Nauhria, Dr Surinder Likhi, Dr Suman Bali and Dr Inderjeet Singh Bagga, all functionaries of the Ludhiana branch of the Indian Medical Association.

Chemists to observe bandh

Meanwhile, the Wholesale Chemists Association, affiliated to the Punjab Chemists Association, has unanimously decided to observe bandh in the wake of the statewide call for strike on May 22. According to senior vice-president Harish Kapila, a meeting of the executive committee of the body had endorsed the bandh call and made an appeal to all retail and wholesale chemists in the district to keep their shutters down on Tuesday.



IHRO expresses concern over sectarian politics
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 21
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) today expressed its concern over the sectarian politics being played in Punjab on the Dera Sacha Sauda episode, “which reminds one of the turbulent past of the state wherein the main players were also the Congress and the Akalis”.

D.S. Gill, chairperson of the outfit, while hailing the stand of Parliament, said all political parties and religious groups at the national and state level have expressed their sympathy and solidarity with the Sikh community. The police, too, has done the right thing by booking Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. No one should be allowed to mock Guru Gobind Singh, who is universally worshipped as a saint-soldier, he pointed out.

He condemned the dera head for not categorically apologising to the Sikhs. 



Physically challenged persons given free prostheses
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 21
Mahavir Viklang Help Centre under the aegis of Mahavir International, organised a camp for donating artificial limbs to physically challenged persons at Lord Mahavira Homoeopathic Medical College here today. Prostheses were distributed free of cost to seven persons at the camp.

The chief guest of the function, Jinesh Jain, lauded the initiative  taken by the organisation for the welfare of physically challenged  persons.

He said the body was doing a great service to the humanity by making the physically challenged persons self-reliant.

Focusing on the activities of the body, its  chairman Jagan Nath Jain said such camps were being organised for the past 20 years and would continue doing so  in future.

Prominent among others present at the occasion were Sushil Kaura, Dewan Jagdish Chander, Roshan Lal Jain, Dr Tarun Chowdhry and Devi Das Devgan.



Tributes paid to Rajiv Gandhi
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, May 21
Glowing tributes were paid to former Prime Minister, the late Rajiv Gandhi on his sixteenth death anniversary here today. The main function was organised at the local party office which was presided over by the District Congress Committee, Ludhiana (urban) president, Jagmohan Sharma and attended by several party leaders.

Addressing the function Sharma recalled the "great vision" of Gandhi, who he said, had ushered in the modernisation in the country. He said, it was Rajiv Gandhi who introduced computers in the country. "Within a brief period he had set the country on a great path of progress and development", the Congress leader said.

Other leaders said Rajiv Gandhi had laid down his life for safeguarding the unity and integrity of the country. They claimed that the Congress had set a record in laying sacrifices for the nation. They appealed to the people to follow the path of secularism and mutual brotherhood set by the great leaders like Rajiv Gandhi.

In a separate statement senior party leader Amarjit Singh Tikka said the country needed leaders like Rajiv, who had a vision of a modern and progressive India. He said the nation owed deep gratitude to him for his vision and sacrifice.

MANDI GOBINDGARH: A state-level function of the sixteenth "balidan divas" of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was celebrated by the Youth Congress at Dr Ambedkar Bhawan, here, today, which was presided over by Mr Sandeep Bal president, District Youth Congress, Fatehgarh Sahib.

State Youth Congress chief Vijay Inder Singh said Rajiv Gandhi will be remembered for his contribution towards empowering the Panchayati Raj system in the country and the right to vote to the youth at the age of 18 years.

Flaying the SAD government, he said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had failed to maintain peace in the state which was brought by late chief Minister Beant Singh at the cost of sacrificing his life.

Among others, PPCC secretaries Harinder Singh Bhambri and Joginder Singh Meni, District Congress chief Lakhvir Singh Rai, senior Congress leader Shahbaj Singh Dhillon and DCC secretary also paid tributes to Gandhi.

Singla and other leaders offered petals on the portrait of Gandhi.

Eleven physically challenged persons were given tricycles on the occasion. 



Runaway prisoner arrested
Our Correspondent

Samrala, May 21
The police has arrested a runaway prisoner with a woman at Neelon Kalan village today.

The runaway prisoner, Sandeep Singh, alias Coopa, resident of Lal Kalan village, had run away from the police custody last month, when he stopped the police vehicle carrying him saying that he along with his companion wanted to worship at Khuaja Peer Masjid on the Neelon Kalan bridge, SHO Gurdeep Singh said.

In the case of Coopa escaping from the police custody, seven police officials were suspended and also arrested.

The police got a tip-off that Coopa was sitting in a house of one of his women friends. The police raided the house. Coopa tried to escape with the help of his woman friend, but the police arrested him along with his woman friend(Mandeep Kaur).

The police today produced the accused in the court and got their remand.

Eight cases, including one murder case, were already pending against Coopa, SHO Gurdeep Singh Gosal said.



Acid attack
Victims responding well to treatment 
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 21
Two young girls, Rajwant and Sandeep Kaur, who were victims of an acid attack in the city by a co-worker last month and are currently under treatment at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), are responding well to the treatment.

The girls are in their late teens and both come from poor families.

According to Dr Vijay Obed, plastic surgeon in the hospital, Rajwant Kaur was brought to the CMCH with 25 per cent burns, mainly on the face, parts of the anterior chest and abdomen, and some areas of the upper and lower limbs with injury to both eyes. She was managed with regular dressings, intra-venous (IV) antibiotics and eye care. Her wounds healed well and some areas were skin grafted.

"The vision in both her eyes is poor because of corneal burn injuries. She was discharged in a satisfactory condition on May 14 with the advice to come for regular follow-ups in both plastic surgery OPD and eye OPD."

The other victim, Sandeep, was diagnosed with 35 per cent scald burns, mainly on the face, parts of the anterior chest and abdomen and some areas of the upper and lower limbs. She also sustained respiratory burns and injury to her left eye. The victim had initially developed respiratory distress, for which she was managed with respiratory support in the intensive care unit. Her wounds were managed with regular dressings and IV antibiotics.

Dr Obed informed that once the general condition of the girl improved, she was taken up for skin grafting in the areas of the face and right upper limb. A surgical procedure was also performed on her left eye.

The patient is recovering well but would need further surgery to skin graft the burn areas. In the course of the treatment, 10 units of blood had to be transfused at various stages.

The CMCH and families of the victims, added the treating doctors, had expressed their extreme gratitude to the generous support and donations received both in form of finances for treatment and blood transfusion. "The treatments have been absolutely free for these girls and the follow-up treatment of Rajwant is also being provided absolutely free of cost."

Any further donations towards the treatment of these girls can be sent to the CMCH authorities, which would be duly acknowledged, said Dr Obed.



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