L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC brings down temple, tempers flare up
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
There was tension in the New Subhash Nagar here after MC officials demolished a temple on encroached land under a high-tension wire today.

The agitated public attacked area councillor Gurbax Singh Billa's residence and pelted it with stones, causing minor injuries to his wife, who was alone at home.

According to the information available, the MC staff, headed by area town planner Harpreet Ghai, kept the move a secret and reached the spot to pull down the structure, which was around 10 feet by 15 feet in area.

The temple had come up on a green belt near a high-tension wire tower and was in violation of the Supreme Court's recent directions of not allowing any more religious encroachments on government land.

While the demolition squad was busy with its work, residents of the area gathered at the site to oppose the move. They also blocked traffic for around 30 minutes on the Rahoan Road to oppose the MC's action. Finally, the police was asked to intervene to lift the blockade.

Talking to The Tribune, Billa said, "My wife was alone at home when the angry public came to my residence and started pelting stones. They abused me and alleged that I was behind the incident. They damaged my office table and chair." He added that he was at the MC office at the time of the incident.

Sources revealed that the temple had come up around an year-and-a-half back. "First an idol was placed and soon four walls were constructed. The place was taking the shape of a temple, which was technically an encroachment as the area was between two roads and was a part of the green belt of the MC," said the sources.

They added that senior officials promised the agitators that they would be given an alternative site to instal idols and construct a temple.

Giving details, Ghai said, "It was a new encroachment and we went to remove that. People tried to oppose us, but we continued our work. However, the matter was settled by senior officials, who promised the temple authorities that they would be given a new site to instal the idols." At present, the idols were at the temple priest's home.

Meanwhile, a delegation of people opposing the move met SSP Dr Sukhchain Gill, seeking his intervention. Dr Gill said, "It was a matter related to the municipal corporation and things had been sought out."


Frogs produced in court, released
Our Corresponden

Ludhiana, October 1
Following orders of a local court, the wildlife department has freed 14 frogs, allegedly recovered from the physiology department of the local Christian Medical College (CMC). They were produced before the court.

The frogs were released with the permission of Judicial Magistrate Parminder Kaur. The orders were passed by the court following an application moved by officials of the wildlife department.

The photographs, taken by the department at the time of releasing the frogs, were produced in the court here today.

A team of officials from the District Forest Office, Ludhiana, had raided the college premises on September 29. They had accused the CMC authorities of violating the Wildlife Protection Act. However, the CMC authorities denied violating the Act.



Larvae of dengue-causing mosquito destroyed
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
A team of health officials led by Dr Amarjit Kaur, senior regional director from the department of health and family welfare, Chandigarh, destroyed larvae of AEDES mosquito (causing dengue fever) in nearly 100 waste tyres at the workshop of Shaheed Sukhdev Singh Inter-State Bus Stand, Ludhiana.

It is the second time in the past one month that health officials and anti-larvae wing, Ludhiana, have found AEDES larvae from the bus stand.

Ludhiana had witnessed the worst dengue outbreak in 2008, wherein more than 3,000 cases were reported from the city followed by half a dozen deaths. Dr Amarjit was on a two-day tour here, undertaking a special "dengue prevention" campaign in Ludhiana and its periphery.

Dr Amarjit also visited the Civil Hospital, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH). District Epidemiologist Dr GP Mangla stated it was the "carelessness" on the part of the bus stand authorities that could cost dear to the city residents.

"Despite our requests, the authorities have not destroyed the waste tyres, which provide a conducive environment for the AEDES larvae to breed."

A team from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program had visited the city in August to detect and destroy the larvae of AEDES mosquito. Thereafter, zonal malaria officer from Patiala Dr Satish Chander took control of the "anti- dengue campaign" in various localities. But the unwillingness on the part of people and the authorities to take preventive measures has defeated the purpose of the campaign.

AEDES larvae were also found in a number of city hospitals, Punjab Agricultural University, railway station, Borstal Jail and various other public places.

To ensure participation of LMC officials, Dr Amarjit also took a look at the "challans" against people in residential areas and at public places with stagnant water in coolers. Emphasising on timely action in case of dengue fever, the regional director called upon the people to go for the Rapid Diagnostic Test available at the DMCH, Ludhiana.



Rs 5.5 lakh fraud unearthed
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
Tehsildar-cum-Sub Registrar (West) today unearthed a fraud by catching a party that was going to execute a sale deed of a property worth Rs 5.5 lakh of a dead man red handed.

The fraud came to light when Tehsildar KS Randhawa received a sale deed being executed on the basis of a power of attorney by Nek Chand, who died in 2001.

The sale deed was related to a 200 sq yards plot worth Rs 5.5 lakh in the Hajoori Bagh colony and the party had already received an advance for the same. Had the Tehsildar not shown alertness, the party would have pocketed the money made from deceased’s property.

Nek Chand had executed the power of attorney in the favour of Kamaljit Singh in 1999. Nek Chand died two years later. Kamaljit was trying to misuse the revenue document after 10 years of its execution.

The tehsildar smelt a rat when he saw the power of attorney signed by a lambardar. The signatures were later struck off by the lambardar himself. This made the tehsildar suspicious. When he inquired into the entire case he found out that it was a fraud.

‘‘When I enquiring through phone calls, I found out that the man was no more, ’’ said Randhawa adding that a few property dealers, too, were involved in the fraud.

When he found out about the fraud, the party tried to give him a slip. He, however, did not allow them to move and handed over the case to the police.

Randhawa said he did not bow down to political pressure that was exerted on him for releasing the persons. He said a few persons, including officials of the revenue tehsil, Phillaur, were involved the case. More skeletons would tumble out of the closet after the police completes its investigation.



Leprosy gone, but fear of rejection ails him
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Seshav Dunta
Seshav Dunta

Ludhiana, October 1
"I will never go back to Orissa because I am scared that my family will not accept me," said 45-year-old Seshav Dunta, a farmer from Orissa, who had left home 15 years back after he was diagnosed with leprosy.

Though fully cured now, Seshav is scared to go back to his family for the fear of rejection due to his disability.

Seshav's fears perhaps sum up the story of most leprosy afflicted people in India. Much in pain due to the disease, these people are constantly living in the fear of social rejection. Loneliness is perhaps their lone companion.

"After I was diagnosed with leprosy, my wife deserted me and married someone else. I was under treatment at the civil hospital back home and had been recovering, but the thought of people scoffing at me frightened me no end. So I decided to leave the village and come to Punjab as no one knew me here," Seshav said, with tears of desolation in his eyes.

Having lost fingers of both hands as well as over five toes of his feet, Seshav is presently living in a lepers' home in Batala, where he tends to the kitchen garden. He has constantly been shifting since coming to Punjab.

"I do not want to be recognised as an unwanted and orphaned leper," he said.

Seshav is not the only one suffering the agony and pain every single minute. There are 25 lakh leprosy afflicted persons in India who have to face harassment everywhere they go.

"A majority of leprosy patients are facing self-stigmatisation. Fear of social stigma and rejection is more in their own minds than in the minds of others," said Amarjit Kaur Talwar, social activist working with Pune-based International Leprosy Union-Health Alliance since the last two years.

She was in town to conduct a three-day socio-economic rehabilitation programme at the Punjab Agriculture University for the people who had once suffered from leprosy, but were now fully cured.

She added that more than creating awareness about the disease and its treatment, there was an immediate need to rehabilitate the patients so as to instil the confidence to face the world with disability in them.

"Only then will we able to pave the way for the social acceptance of the leprosy afflicted," Talwar remarked.



Sealing Drive
MC squad returns empty handed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
Municipal corporation squad that had gone to seal a building near Krishna Mandir, Model Town Extension, had to return empty handed after the area’s councillor intervened.

Area Town Planner Kamaljeet Kaur said: “We had gone to seal a building where a branch of Andhra Bank is going to come up according to the boards. Before we could start our action, area councillor Makkar reached the spot and told us to seal all commercial shops and buildings in the area.” However, building owner was asked to stop construction and we got building locked in front of us.

According to information, the building is going to house a branch of Andhara Bank and orders were issued from higher authorities to seal it. Besides, the municipal officials, too, were unaware whether the issue was sub judice or not.

When Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha was asked about it, he said, “Area councillor Makkar had a genuine point that all illegal construction in the lane or locality should be stalled immediately. I have directed the ATP to conduct a survey and than go for an action so that we are not accused of ‘pick and choose’ policy.”



Water samples fail in rural schools
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
Information collected from the health department revealed that 13 water samples out of the 33 taken from schools in rural areas in July were found to be unfit for consumption. Twenty one samples of water out of 64 taken in August were also not fit for drinking.

Seventy to 90 per cent water samples in schools in rural areas have been found to be unfit for drinking, resulting in diseases among schoolchildren.

Water supply through hand pumps is stated to be the main cause of contamination of water in rural areas.

A study conducted by a fellow of Harvard University, along with Dr Pardeep Sharma, oral and maxillofacial surgeon at Civil Hospital Ludhiana, made these revelations.

Dr Sharma said hand pumps in the rural areas are very close to toilets (not even 25 ft away), which generates aeromonas bacteria, which is resistant to chlorine. Even otherwise, overhead (potable water) supply is very poor.

Although it is claimed that 120 litres of water is supplied to the households, only 4 litres of water reaches them.

An environmental estrogen is causing pre-mature puberty and cancer of testicles among children, said Dr Sharma.

Pesticide residue and dioxins are long-acting cancer agents. Further, triceolosal is used in toothpastes and soaps, which is a toxic matter. This gets accumulated in the body and is transmitted to the next generation.

The samples of water were taken from Primary School Lasara, Government High School Lohara, Saraswati Dayanand Model School Payal, Government Senior secondary school Kumlakalan, Government Senior Secondary School, Bhaini Sahib, and Bhagpur.

The health department has set up committees in the villages to put up the RO system for the supply of potable water.



PSEB employees seek revised pay scales
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 1
A protest rally by the coordination committee of employees and the engineers of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) organised at zonal headquarters today demanded immediate implementation of the new pay scales as unanimously recommended by the Wage Formulation Committee (WFC).

Addressing the rally, trade union leaders and representatives of the Staff and Engineers’ Association charged the state government with deliberately delaying the implementation of the recommendations of the Wage Formulation Committee.

Since the PSEB was an autonomous board and competent enough to take a decision on wage revision, the interference of the Punjab government on this issue was totally irrational and unconstitutional, the speakers said.

The trade union leaders further stressed that the PSEB management must take a firm stand on implementation of panel’s report and grant revised pay scales to all cadres without any delay. “Since the employees of the Central and the Punjab government have already got the revised pay scales recommended by their respective pay commissions, any further delay in grant of the revised pay scales to the PSEB employees will be gross injustice.”

The speakers even asked the government and the PSEB authorities to initiate steps for granting revised pay scales immediately failing which the representative bodies of engineers, officials and staff would be left with no alternative other than intensifying the agitation in the next couple of days.

Prominent among those who addressed the rally were Harbhajan Singh, Karam Chand Khanna, Swaran Singh, Parkash Singh Mann, Jagir Singh, Ramesh Kumar, Hari Dutt, Rajinder Singh Virk, Balraj Sekhon, Jaswant Singh Zafar, Sikandar Singh, Gursharanjit Singh. Jagdish Rana, Kulwant Singh, Davinder Singh and Surinder Singh.



Youth Cong protests against power shortage, tariff hike
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 1
Activists of the District Youth Congress led by its president Dimple Rana today staged a demonstration in front of the city central division office of the Punjab State Electricity Board at the Old Sabzi Mandi Chowk. They were protesting against prolonged power cuts and the hike in power tariff.

A large number of party workers, along with all block and ward presidents, office-bearers and members of the district executive took part in the demonstration.

Rana said the SAD-BJP government in Punjab had failed on all fronts, especially with regards to making available adequate power to trade, industry and common man. “Hit by severe recession, acute scarcity of power and unwarranted increase in power tariff, the industry was being forced to shift to other neighbouring states, while a large number of small and tiny units were on the verge of closure due to power cuts eight to 12 hours of power cuts.”

Rana ridiculed the government on the announcement of subsidy on the power tariff hike. Even though the issue was still under discussion and it was doubtful whether the government would keep its word, but the PSEB had already set the process of sending bills on enhanced rates to the consumers.

Targeting the BJP legislators for closing their eyes to the misery of the urban population, Rana said in their blind lust to stick to power, they had simply forgotten basic issues and had betrayed the urban voters. “The BJP has failed to safeguard the interests of urban population, especially trade and industry for which the party will have to pay a heavy price in the next elections.”

Claiming that power supply situation was far better during the previous Congress regime as the then government had the management skills to procure electricity from all available sources to meet the demand. 



No paddy harvesting at night
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
Ludhiana deputy commissioner Vikas Garg today passed an order, banning the harvesting of paddy at night and the burning of paddy straw in the fields. The order said the paddy crop harvested at night with combines contained much higher levels of moisture than the government-specified limit, due to which procurement agencies had been refusing to buy the crop at the time of procurement.

This had been leading to tension in grain markets, resulting in disruption of the law and order situation.

Even the post-harvest farm residue was being burnt in the fields, leading to environment pollution and the spread of various respiratory diseases.

The DC banned the harvesting of paddy with combines between 6 pm and 8 am as well as the burning of paddy straw in the fields under Section 144 of the IPC.

The order came into effect from today and would be in force till November 15.



Teachers’ union stages dharna

Ludhiana, October 1
The Government School Teachers’ Union, Punjab, today staged a dharna at the Mini Secretariat under the presidentship of Bhajan Singh Toor.

Teachers demanded that all contract teachers should be regularised with new grades, new staff should be recruited for mid-day meal and primary schools should have at least five teachers.

Teachers said the post of Director-General Schools Education should be abolished and Class V and Class VIII examinations should be scrapped. — TNS



2 booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 1
The Sudhar police has booked two persons for allegedly taking Rs 1.23 lakh from complainant Jaswinder Singh “to get his wife’s IELTS exam cleared”, which they failed to do so.

Jaswinder Singh of Jodhan, in his application to SSP, Ludhiana (Rural), Gurpreet Singh Bhullar accused Amarjit Singh of Paddi village near Sahnewal and Jasvir Singh of Dulayan village near Ludhiana of committing a fraud by charging Rs 1.23 lakh from him to get his wife Sukhpreet Kaur's IELTS exam paper cleared with at least “6.5 band”.

He stated that the accused had taken the amount on November 6 last year but failed to get the exam cleared. Sukhpreet Kaur secured only 4 bands in the exam. The accused tried to elude him on one pretext or another and finally refused get the exam cleared and refunded the money in March this year.

On March 30, the complainant lodged a complaint with the SSP, who entrusted the case to SHO (Sudhar) Tehal Singh to conduct the inquiry. In the inquiry, Tehal Singh found the allegation to be true. After due legal opinion from the DA (Legal) and on the basis of inquiry report, the police has booked the accused under Sections 420 and 34, IPC.

However, no arrest has been made so far.

Liquor bottles seized

Samrala: A case has been registered against a few persons who were carrying liquor illegally in a car that turned turtle near Hedon village.

A few residents of the area approached the cops after the car overturned near a canal adjoining Hedon village. The cops found 108 bottles of liquor illegally stocked in the car. However, the accused fled away fearing police action against them. A manhunt has been launched to nab the culprits. — TNS



Probe against fake export firms for duping govt
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 1
A large number of fake export firms have swindled amounts worth crores by not fulfilling obligations as per the FTDR 1992 and the Revenue Recovery Act 1890 norms.

The Directorate of Foreign Trade has initiated the process for identifying and prosecuting those who had opened these firms at fictitious addresses and eloped after swindling lakhs of rupees during the past several years.

Though the civil administration has declared these firms as non-existent the police has launched a probe for establishing the identity of owners of these units.

At least seven fictitious firms, purportedly operating from this part of otherwise backward region of Sangrur district, owed Rs 92 lakh to the department. Unable to realise these amounts the office of the Joint Director of Foreign Trade, Green Field, Ludhiana, had sought intervention of the civil administration for identifying the defaulting firms and individuals.

Though the administration had declared these firms as non-existent, the Punjab police has launched a probe for establishing the identity those who had facilitated opening of defaulting fake firms.

Perusal of records revealed that a large number of exporters had availed the export benefits but did not fulfill export obligations against the licenses obtained by them. The department had imposed penalties worth lakhs on these defaulters.

Though the firms had transacted export business worth billions of rupees last year, the officials of the Directorate of Foreign Trade failed to realise these amounts from them in normal course.

Collectors and the deputy commissioner, Sangrur, when asked to facilitate realisation of penalty amounts from seven firms declared them as non-existent. The local cops acting on direction of the Sangrur SSP has now initiated a probe for establishing identity of organisers of these firms.



Teacher crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 1
A retired teacher of Sidhwan Bet was killed yesterday when he was mowed down by a school bus.

The deceased was identified as Gurnam Singh (68). He was going to market in the morning when the school bus of Blossom Convent School in reverse mode hit him.

Gurnam Singh could not recover himself from the shock after the hit, and before he could understand what had happened, he was mowed down by the bus.

Arjan Singh, an eye-witness, said the conductor of the bus tried to caution the driver but he did not pay heed. Gurnam Singh died on the spot.

The principal and management of the school reached the house of the victim and expressed their sorrow with his family. They succeeded in persuading the family not to take any action against the school, bus or the driver. The family even did not report the matter even to the Sidhwan Bet police.

4 held: The police has arrested four women for allegedly stealing batteries from the BSNL exchange at Hans Kalan village. Balwinder Singh, an employee, alleged that the accused were caught stealing batteries from the exchange on September 30.

The accused, identified as Shakila, Anguri, Seema and Payal, residents of Kutba Gate near Raikot, had gained entry into the the BSNL office by scaling the boundary wall. They had made away with a battery and were attempting to steal another one when they were caught.

A case has been registered under Sections 379, 511 of the IPC against the accused. They were produced before the Sub Divisional Court. 



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