L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


EC means business
Directs Principal Secy to give magisterial powers to over 1,000 sector officers
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
The Election Commission of India (ECI) is leaving no stone unturned to ensure free and fair elections in Punjab. In a decision of far-reaching consequences, the ECI, in its latest instructions, has directed the Principal Secretary, Home, Government of Punjab, to give magisterial powers to all sector officers (officers of the rank of XENs etc.) who are in charge of 10-15 booths.

The Principal Secretary, department of home affairs and justice, has notified that all gazetted officers in the grade pay of Rs 5,000 and above are designated as Executive Magistrates to maintain law and order during the Assembly elections in their respective areas of jurisdiction from the date of notification (January 10, 2012) till the completion of the election process.

This means that over 1,000 sector officers deployed in the state shall henceforth have magisterial powers, including powers of search and seizure and to arrest any offender under Section 44 of the CrPC.

An official said on the condition of anonymity: “This will help returning officers in keeping a check over the nefarious activities of trouble-makers. Earlier, a returning officer hardly used to have two or three magistrates with him as only IAS/IPS officers, tehsildars and naib-tehsildars had the power of a magistrate), but now a returning officer will have 15-20 magistrates under him, which would provide him as well as the police enough leverage to deal with any untoward situation immediately.”


Parties play ‘safe’, no woman candidate in poll fray
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Neither the Congress nor the Akalis and the BJP have fielded any woman candidate from any of the 14 Assembly constituencies of Ludhiana for the January 30 Assembly elections.

The PPP also has an all-men candidate list from all the Assembly constituencies of the district.

Despite being a metro city, Ludhiana Urban with its six Assembly constituencies has failed to send even a single woman representative to the state legislative Assembly in the last seven Assembly elections.

From the entire Ludhiana district, only one woman has been an MLA in the last 35 years.

Congress candidate Harbans Kaur Dullo had won the Assembly elections from Khanna in 2002, defeating her rival Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal of the SAD.

According to Surinder Kaur Dayal (SAD), it’s not about a man or a woman, it’s about “winnability”. “If a party worker seems to have good chances of winning, the party fields him as a candidate,” she says.

“Though things are improving, it’s still not easy for women to de-condition themselves. Why very few women are able to make it to politics on their own is because they still want the protection of the three Ps -- ‘pita’, ‘pati’ and ‘putra’. It’s not that women are incompetent to handle politics,” she adds.

Malti Thapar, Punjab Pradesh Mahila Congress president, feels that the elections have been reduced to a show of muscle power and money game.

“The general, though erroneous, perception is that women are weak when it comes to the field of politics.”

Jugraj Sohi, a general council member of the PPP, says defensively: “The PPP is a young party. We are building up our cadre. Because of the sheer paucity of time, we have not been able to include as many women candidates as we would have liked to. But it is very much on the cards.”

“The BJP has fielded three women candidates from Punjab. In the coming years, the party will field more women candidates,” promises Rajiv Katna, district president of the BJP.



Play by the rules or face music, warn observers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
The 13 poll observers drawn from across various states have warned the candidates that they should not indulge in “allurement” (of voters) or lawlessness as it would not be tolerated.

Sending out a clear message to the candidates today, Sanjay Pratap Singh, a senior observer, said if the candidates felt that someone in the lower bureucracy or in the police department could be easily “tapped”, they were mistaken as they all were under “minute observation”.

Pankaj Srivastava, an IG from Gwalior, said the flying squads and raiding teams would be accompanied by paramilitary forces. He said the violations would be taken into account by police observers from the Centre, too.

About 25 companies of the paramilitary and other armed forces would be deputed in the district. Eleven of them would be for the Ludhiana Commissionerate; nine for Jagraon and five for Khanna.

Expenditure observer AK Khandelwal said they were keeping an eye on every party. The first inspection of the accounts of all the candidates would be conducted on January 18, followed by two other inspections later. The details of expenditure of the contestants had already been noted through various channels and the observers would cross-check the claims. In case of violations, the candidates would be booked, he said.

Expenditure list revised partially

Candidates held a meeting with district election officer Rahul Tewari regarding the expenditure rate list, which they felt was too “high” compared to their own rate list. Except for the rates of hoardings, banners and boards, Tewari reportedly refused to make any other changes.



Man thrashed to death
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Consuming liquor to celebrate Lohri led to brawls in various parts of the city and resulted in the death of a man in Bholla Colony near the Tajpur road here last night.

The incident took place around 10.30 pm last night when 30-year-old Krishan Kumar was returning to his house after celebrating Lohri at a friend’s house.

According to an eyewitness, three brothers identified as Shanti, Bunty and Bittu had blocked the road to celebrate Lohri. “They were consuming liquor in the middle of the road and were dancing around a bonfire. The trio was fighting with commuters entering the street,” said Raj Kumar, the victim’s brother.

Krishan Kumar, who was also drunk, asked the trio to let his motorcycle pass through. Instead of clearing the way, the accused entered into a heated argument with the victim and started thrashing him. Area residents rushed to the victim’s rescue, but soon after reaching home, he succumbed to his injuries.

The investigating officer said they had received information about the incident this morning and had registered a case of murder against the trio on the complaint of the victim’s brother. The autopsy is yet to be conducted. The police conducted a raid at the house of the accused, but they brothers managed to flee the scene.

A police official said complaints of clashes among drunk revellers kept pouring in till late at night.



High drama at Shaheed Sukhdev’s ancestral house at Naughara
Police, district admn officials all set to take possession of property
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
High drama was witnessed at Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar’s ancestral house at Naughara Mohalla in the old city area after the police and employees of the district administration came to take the possession of the house here this morning. However, they returned empty-handed after they found the martyr’s house locked.

The team asked members of Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust about it, but they said the temple authorities of Naughara Mohalla had the keys.

The incident took place this morning when a team of over 30 police officials led by Assistant Commissioner of Police (Central) Ramneesh Chaudhry and tehsildar Gursewak Singh gathered at the martyr’s house.

According to Sandeep Thapar, member of the memorial trust, the team had come to take possession of the house.

“They told us that they were following the direction of the state government. The house would be further handed over to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI),” said Ashok Thapar, who claims to be a relative of the martyr.

Criticising the move of the government, Sandeep Thapar, general secretary of the trust, said: “Why was the government sleeping over the matter for 80 years? Why did it not intervene when tenants were occupying the house? The members of the trust got the land vacated by giving Rs 5.5 lakh. Ever since, the Naughara Thapar Biradari Mandir has been looking after the house and construction is still in progress on the premises. I was shocked to know that the government wanted to take possession of the house. This is not fair. We oppose the move.”

He further said they had filed a petition in the High Court challenging the decision of the government.

On the other hand, Vishal Nayyar, who also claims to be a relative of the martyr, alleged that despite a government notification for removing “encroachments” from the martyr’s house and converting it into a memorial, the district administration was not making efforts to do so.

Vishal had also sat on a fast near the statues of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar and Shaheed Rajguru at Jagraon Bridge in September. He alleged that a group of persons had encroached on the martyr’s ancestral house. “Despite the notification, the district administration as well as the state government could not get the land vacated. The trust members should vacate the land. What is the harm if the house is converted into a museum? It would be an inspiration for the children,” he added.

The government has issued a deadline for January 23 for the vacation of the house.



Warning letter doesn’t scare rebels
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Rebel Congress councillors, who are against the candidature of Surinder Dawar from the Ludhiana Central constituency, seem to be “unaffected” by the warning letter sent by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, Capt Amarinder Singh, today, appealing those who had filed their nomination papers against the official party candidates to withdraw in the interest of the party.

Ashok Bagga, a Congress councillor who has filed the papers as an Independent, said he would not withdraw. “The party may take action if it wants. My fight is with Dawar and not the party,” he said.

The rebel councillors also participated in a road show and campaigned for Bagga today. Kailash Kapoor, a former councillor, said they were against ticket to Dawar and not against the party. “They have money. We have voters. We are ready to face any kind of music,” he said.

The letter warned that if they did not withdraw, the party would have to take disciplinary action against all of them and there would be no possibility of their joining back even if they wanted.



Constituency Watch: SAMRALA
No solution to sewage disposal
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Jammed up

Instead of the bus stand,  operators prefer using the congested main chowk of Samrala town.
Instead of the bus stand, operators prefer using the congested main chowk of Samrala town. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Samrala, January 14
As the state Assembly elections are just round the corner, hectic political activity is going on in this small town located on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh Road. Former Congress MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon is pitted against Jathedar Kirpal Singh Khirnia, father of sitting Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) MLA Jagjiwan Singh Khirnia.

There are about 1.45 lakh voters in the Samrala constituency, who reside in 202 villages apart from Samrala and Machiwara towns. The administration has constituted 164 polling booths for this Assembly area to facilitate voters.Even though sitting Akali MLA Jagjiwan Singh Khirnia was trying for the party ticket this time, but the Akali Dal had a surprise candidate in the form of Jathedar Kirpal Singh Khirnia, a former Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee member. Even former minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, SAD district (Rural) president Santa Singh Umedpuri and Bharti Kisan Union leader Balbir Singh Rajewal also tried to get the Akali ticket, but the party banked on veteran Akali leader, Jathedar Kirpal Singh Khirnia.

While the Congress is banking on Amrik Singh Dhillon, who was an MLA in 1997 and 2002, and had unsuccessfully contested the last Assembly elections from Samrala. Even before his name was announced, he was considered the front runner for the party ticket.

]When young Jagjivan Singh Khirnia was elected as the MLA by defeating Amrik Singh Dhillon, the people expected that he would find some solution to the long-pending demand of sewage disposal. But even as the elections are slated for January 30, the local MLA has not been able to find any solution to it. Even though Khirnia has distributed cheques for development works in the constituency, but residents say that apart from this, no considerable development work has been initiated in the area.

In the 2007 Assembly elections, Jagjivan Singh Khirnia of Akali Dal defeated Congress’s Amrik Singh Dhillon, who had represented this constituency for two consecutive terms, in 2002 and 1997. Karam Singh of the Congress won from this constituency in 1992. Amarjit Singh from SAD won in 1985, while Karam Singh of Congress won in 1980. In 1977, this constituency was represented by Prehlad Singh of the Akali Dal.

Fact file

Total electorate: 1, 45, 857
Male : 77,163
Female: 68,694

candidates’ speak

Congress candidate
Amrik Singh Dhillon

SAD candidate
Jathedar Kirpal Singh Khirnia

Major issues in your constituency?

Dhillon: In the last five years, nothing has been done on the development front. The sitting MLA had a corrupt coterie around him and that is why, people were feeling harassed. The youth of this constituency is suffering as there is no technical education college.

Khirnia: Drug addiction in Samrala and Machiwara areas is rampant. No development work has been done. No parks have been made so that children can play.

Your poll plank?

Dhillon: I want to carry out development work in the constituency and provide a corruption-free atmosphere.

Khirnia: We have already developed the area and more development will take place.

Promises made to the voters?

Dhillon: If I become the MLA, I will make sure that colleges and institutes imparting technical education are started as presently there is no institute for higher education. Providing facilities for setting up a higher education institute is the major issue for me, besides bringing more development schemes to the constituency.

Khirnia: We will set up stadiums in different parts of the constituency so that our youths can remain away from the menace of drug addiction. I would remain available for people 24X7 and will try my best to serve them.

What make you a better candidate?

Dhillon: Even though I have remained an MLA for two terms, I have never courted any controversy. Whereas the sitting MLA has been involved in several cases of corruption. That is why, instead of giving ticket to him, SAD chose his father. And that too at a time when political parties are promoting youth, but here it’s the other way around.

Khirnia: The Congress candidate has been involved in cases of land grabbing and other such. He had tried to encroach upon government land worth crores and had I not raised that issue, the government would have lost it.

What are your chances of winning?

Dhillon: I will win with a comfortable margin because wherever I go, people welcome me with an open heart.

Khirnia: I have been serving people of this constituency for decades and that is why, I will certainly win.

poll buzz
Congress deputes coordinator for poll complaints

Harpreet Sandhu, former Additional Advocate General, Punjab, has been deputed by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee to coordinate with the Assembly candidates of the Congress from Ludhiana West, Ludhiana Central, Atam Nagar, Ludhiana South, Gill, Dakha and Khanna constituencies and file poll violation complaints before the Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, on behalf of the candidates.

He will attend all complaints related to the violations of the model code of conduct.

Peoples’ choice

Samrala lacks recreation facilities. This can be known from the fact that we don’t even have a cinema hall in the town. The nearest and probably the only recreation point is Neelon Bridge. That is why people have to go all the way to cities like Ludhiana and Chandigarh to watch a movie.

— Gaurav Sethi, a stock broker

We want that Samrala town should have a park, where women can go for their morning and evening walks. Recreation facilities should be started in the town so that we don’t have to travel to other towns to watch a movie.

— Manjit Kaur Dhillon, housewife

Our town does not have any centre of attraction and that is why no development projects are coming up in the town. Even the transport and other businesses are owned by few people and that is why businesses are not flourishing here. Even the bus stand is in a shambles and bus operators prefer to use the main chowk, resulting in traffic congestion on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh Road.

— Amit Sood, a property dealer

There is no public library in the town and that is why, whenever I need any reference book, I have to depend on either the Internet or the library at Panjab University.

— Ramanpreet Kaur Dhaliwal, teacher

Even though Samrala is one of the oldest tehsil’s of the state, our town does not have any rail connectivity, which has been a long-pending demand. If the Ludhiana-Chandigarh rail link becomes operational, the traffic on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh Road will decrease and help us in a big way

— Amit Sharma, works with an NGO

Lack of higher education institutes is one of the main reasons why we have to travel long distances to study. Colleges offering professional courses such as BBA, BCA, MBA and MCA have opened in all parts of the state, but I wonder as to why no one is focusing on Samrala.~

— Samita Sethi, a student

Drug addiction is rampant in the region as medical stores flout norms and sell these habit- forming drugs openly. The district administration should tighten noose around these medical stores so that youth can channelise its energy in the right direction.

— Ravi Sofat, student

I belong to Bondli village, which has high potential of agro-based industry. But no such industry has come up in the Samrala area and that is why people like me have to travel to the town in search of jobs. The government should encourage such industries, which have high potential in terms of employment generation

— Harsimran Singh, employee in pvt firm



Womenfolk demand parks, women’s club
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Samrala, January 14
The womenfolk of Samrala town want well maintained parks, a women club, helpline for women in the police department and cleanliness. They say that they will vote for that particular candidate who agrees to fulfil all these demands.

Rachhpal Kaur, a college lecturer, says that due to the absence of a well-maintained park, they are forced to use roads for morning and evening walks. “There is hardly any place that can be used for this purpose. Walking on the road in the morning and in the evening is not safe as there is traffic on the road, which often causes accidents,” feels Rachhpal Kaur.

Women say that their relatives living in other towns often talk of yoga classes in parks of their respective cities. “But as we don’t have any park in Samrala, leave aside yoga classes, we cannot even go for walks. Roads can never be used for such walks, as we can easily become victims of snatching incidents,” says Amarjit Kaur Mangat, a housewife.

Some women feel that eve-teasing is rampant in the town. Parambeer Kaur Sandhu, another housewife, says that sewerage system in most parts of Samrala town is still non functional, in some parts it remains incomplete. “All MLAs, from the Akalis or from the Congress, promise that this problem will be solved but all in vain. This time we will vote for that candidate, who will give us in writing that he will solve this problem,” she said.

Sukhchain Kaur Benipal says that even though there is a kitty culture in the town, there is no place where women can hold these kitty parties. “Now, we either hold these parties at our homes or have to hire some restaurant. In Ludhiana, we hear that women clubs are formed where kitty parties, seminars for women and other such events are organised. I feel we should also have these facilities.”

Another woman feels that there is no health club for women in Samrala town. “As people are getting conscious for their looks, health clubs should be opened for women only,” says Rupinder Kaur Dhillon, another housewife.



Residents resent razing of 151-yr-old building in Sahnewal
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, January 14
The 151-year-old building of Sahnewal police station was razed to the ground today. A new building is being constructed at the backyard of the original one.

Even as the police officials contend that the building had to be demolished, as it had become unsafe, the general view is that it has been demolished to clear the way for the private contractors involved in the process of widening of National Highway No-1.

SHO Arvind Puri said that since the building had become unsafe, it had to be dismantled. “A certificate to this affect had already been obtained from the Punjab Heritage Department and an order arrived from the DG Office”.

But there is lot of resentment among the residents of Sahnewal and surrounding areas as they contend that the old a building could have easily been maintained and preserved.

“It has taken us by surprise that the government gave the permission to destroy this historical building so easily. If this is a move due to the road widening purposes, it is a matter of shame and concern.

At Sirhind, the private buildings have been left unscathed and a flyover has been especially erected to save them from demolition. In Doraha too the private buildings are still untouched. It is sad to see this particular building, which is a heritage, being so easily razed to the ground”said Jaswant Singh Gill, Secretary, Non-Government Colleges Federation.

“Is it not the duty of the government to think twice before taking such crucial decisions? If we keep on destroying our heritage in such a manner what will be left to show our future generations? What will we call our heritage and what will we be proud of?”rued Harpartap Singh Brar.

“We cannot afford to destroy our rich heritage in such an unintelligible manner. We need to preserve it at all cotsts. If the place has become unsafe for use we should try to maintain and preserve it for future generations rather than dismantle it so unthinkably” social worker Jandeep Kaushal said.



Donating blood for thalassaemic kids
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
The Arora Khatri Welfare Organisation (AKWO) under the Bhai Ghaniyaji Mission organised a voluntary blood donation camp on the occasion of “Maghi” in association with the Salaam Zindagi Foundation at Kings Spades Resort, Dugri Road. At the camp, 65 units of blood was donated.

Tarunjeet Singh, chairman of AKWO, informed that this camp had been organised to help thalassaemic children in which doctors and paramedical team from D.M.C. and G.T.B. Hospital participated. He further said that each unit donated would give a lease the life to a thalassaemic child by 15 days. The Salaam Zindagi Foundation has already adopted 83 thalassaemic children for blood, blood transfusion expenses, transfusion equipments and also supporting them for education. Ripudaman Singh, president, AKWO, promised that AKWO will further promote such activities for social benefits. He thanked Avtar Singh Takkar, chairman, TAKSONZ Group, for the support.

Meanwhile, the Lions Club, Ludhiana Royal, in association with the Bhagwan Valmiki Bharamalya celebrated the birthday of Melvin Jones, the founder of Lions Club International, at Railway Colony No 10, by holding a blood donation camp. On the occasion as many as 47 units of blood was collected by the team of Dayanand Medical and Hospital Blood Bank.



Four-day training for faculty concludes
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 14
A four-day faculty development programme on training methodology “Training the Trainers” was organised at the RIMT- Management Campus, which concluded on Friday.

About 40 participants from various RIMT institutes and from PTU -affiliated institutes participated in the programme. Speaking at the inaugural session, chief guest Dr Hukam Chand Bansal, chairman, RIMT Group of Institutes, urged the faculty members to take on the responsibility of educational, vocational and moral uplifting of students. The workshop was conducted by eminent personalities in the field of training, research and academics. Deliberations in various sessions covered topics such as communication skills for trainers, case study method of teaching, new teaching pedagogies, tips for better class participation and student involvement. The participants found the management games very interesting and enriching.



from schools
SDP School welcomes alumnus

Ludhiana: Alumnus SK Goel, chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs-cum-Special Secretary to Government of India, visited SDP School today. , Jasveer Singh Chauhan, principal, read the annual report of the school. Student took guidance from Goel regarding their future plans, problems existing in the society, India's progress at the international level. Feeling nostalgic about the school days, he expressed his satisfaction on the progress made by the school. He also encouraged the students to study well sothat they could be valuable and successful citizens.

The chief guest and other guests were warmly welcomed by Balraj Kumar Bhasin and other members of the managing committee.

Guru Nanak school celebrates Lohri

Lohri was celebrated in Guru Nanak Model Senior Secondary School, Doraha, with full zeal and fervour. Kite-flying competition was organised. Principal DP Thakur wished happy Lohri to all students.

The students rejoiced around the bonfire and also organised a cultural programme on the occasion. Peanuts and rewris were also distributed to the children. — TNS



from colleges
Lohri celebrated with zeal

Ludhiana: The director, principal, staff and students of GNN College, Doraha, celebrated Lohri on Saturday. Director Jaswant Singh Gill spoke on the historical significance of Lohri while Principal Dr Narinder Singh Sidhu said that Lohri of girls should be celebrated with as much enthusiasm as that of the boys as they were lagging behind in no field today.

The boys and girls danced around the bonfire. Peanuts and rewris were distributed among the students. — TNS



Two arrested with 60 cartons of liquor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
The police nabbed two persons and seized 60 cartons of illicit liquor from their possession. The accused have been identified as Paramjit Singh and Satpal Singh of Salem Tabri. The duo was nabbed from a police check post near Shamshan Ghat area near Chander Nagar Puli last night.

Station House Officer (SHO) Amandeep Brar said the accused were nabbed following a tip-off.

On seeing the police, the two tried to flee, but were intercepted by the police.

On conducting a search, the police found 60 cartons of liquor and a sharp-edged weapon from the possession of the accused.



Rs 5 lakh seized from collection agents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
The police has recovered unaccounted cash worth Rs 5.2 lakh from the collection agents of a liquor dealer.

According to the Station House Officer (SHO) of the area, Subhash Chand and Manoj Kumar, who were travelling in an SUV, were stopped during a routine check and cash was recovered from their possession.

The agents could not produce documents to account for the cash. The income tax department is investigating the matter.



Gambling joint raided, 41 nabbed
Tribune news services

Ludhiana, January 14
In a major development, the police today raided the gambling joint owned by Jagjit Singh Chawla, alias Bittu Chawla, in Janakpuri area here this evening. Besides nabbing 41 gamblers, the police also recovered Rs 57, 917 in cash, sharp-edged weapons, baseball bats and around 2.5 kg of poppy husk from the possession of the accused.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Ramneesh Chaudhary said during the raid, Bittu’s son Jasdeep Singh Chawla, alias Ashu Chawla, was present at the spot. ACP Chaudhary, along with 20 commandos and other police officials, raided the place.

Video recording of the raid was also done.

Bittu, who enjoys the patronage of a veteran politician of the area, was allegedly running the gambling unit in Janakpuri area.

It is alleged that the police was aware of the menace, but could not take any strict action due to political pressure.

But soon after the code of conduct came into force, the police cracked its whip on the gambling unit.



Gang of thieves busted, 4 held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
With the arrest of four persons, the police has claimed to have busted a gang of thieves.

The police nabbed the accused from a roadside eatery in Mangli area on the National Highway-I last night.

They have been identified as Ashok Kumar, Resham Singh, Jagdeep Singh and Basant Singh.

While the four accused landed in police net, their two accomplices Vijay and Mukhtiar Singh managed to escape from the scene.

Harjinder Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, said 10 containers of butachlor technical (a chemical solvent used to remove wild growth) were recovered from the possession of the accused. The officer said Rashem Singh, who was working as a truck driver at Dry Port in Industrial Area, used to inform his accomplices about the material lying in a container.

Jagdeep Singh, another member of the gang, used to break the seal of a container and the remaining ones used to steal the material.

“Jagdeep is an expert in breaking and rejoining the seal,” said the officer. The police claimed that the arrest of the gang would give respite to traders.



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