L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Voters face identity card crisis
Kuldip Bhatia

Facsimile of I-card of Manav which shows his place of residence as Sewerage Board Colony instead of Laxmi Street in Civil Lines
Facsimile of I-card of Manav which shows his place of residence as Sewerage Board Colony instead of Laxmi Street in Civil Lines, Ludhiana.

Ludhiana, October 23
Thanks to the large scale bungling and clumsy work done by the entrusted agency with the job of preparing the voter identity cards by the Election Commission of India, thousands of eligible city residents, who had applied for the voter cards and had got themselves photographed months ago, were yet to receive the important document.

The persons who had not been issued the voter I-cards till now, would not only be denied their constitutional right to vote in the coming elections, but would also lose their right to possess the I-cards, which are considered a valid proof of identity for various purposes like getting a driving license, a firearm licence, a passport, opening a bank account and getting PAN number from the Income Tax Department.

On the other hand, a large number of government employees, who were earlier deployed on election duty during the last phase of photography for issuing voter I-cards, were saddled with thousands of undelivered I-cards for the simple reason that the names of voters or their addresses were wrongly printed on these cards.

A couple of days back, a frustrated employee of the Animal Husbandry Department approached a resident in Laxmi Street in the Civil Lines area and showed him a bunch of undelivered I-cards asking whether any of their family members, who had applied for the same, was yet to get the I-card. And in that lot of undelivered cards, one of the members of that family, Manav, found his card. While the house number was mentioned correctly on the I-card, the address given was of Sewerage Board Colony which is nowhere near the area where the person lived.

The said government employee told Manav that he had visited more than half a dozen colonies to trace the owners of the card and had ultimately come to the right person as he had a faint idea that at the time of being photographed the youth (Manav) had said he lived somewhere near Kailash Cinema. Among the undelivered cards, bearing a wrong address was yet another I-card of Nishchay Sachdeva, who happened to be the next door neighbour of Manav. While the recipients of the card appreciated the trouble taken by the determined employee of the Animal Husbandry Department, the fact remained that both Manav and Nishchay were issued such I-cards, which were of no practical value because in both cases the residential address was wrong and these could not be used by them as proof of residence.

These instances, however, are not isolated cases as thousands of such voter I-cards, carrying glaring mistakes like wrong names, incorrect parentage, mixed up photographs and wrong residential addresses, have reportedly been returned to the district authorities by the government employees on election duty after the employees concerned had failed to locate the persons to whom the cards had been issued.

Moreover, a large number of I-cards, which were duly delivered to the right persons, had mistakes in one or the other particular of the holder and for those who tried to get the mistakes removed the laid down procedure, turned out to be an ordeal.

The affected persons strongly felt that with the goof up on the part of the agency, the whole exercise of, or a substantial part of it at least, had been nothing but a waste of time and effort and the very purpose of issuing voter I-cards (as proof of identity and residence) had been defeated.



Traders disappointed with Divali sales
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
The atmosphere appears to be less than festive this time despite the fact that the Divali is round the corner. If traders are to be believed, the sales are quite low as compared to previous years. The attractive festival bonanzas offered by various companies have failed to generate the expected business during Divali.

Shyam Lal, a trader in the Field Ganj area, said the festivities start at least a week in advance and the sale and purchase also start by this time only. However, he observed, the mood does not appear to be too festive. He said even the bazaars did not wear festive look. Presenting a grim scenario, he said Divali this time had not pushed up business.

Another trader Vipin Kumar said the traders do most of the business around Divali. It is not only Divali but the marriage season also which pushes up the sales of consumer products like consumer durables, garments, saris and other daily-use items. Although some outlets reported brisk business, most of them, however, maintained that the sales were not up to the expected levels.

Nitin Jain, a jeweller in Sarafa Bazar, also claimed that the sales were routine. He observed: “It does not look like Divali this time and this happens to be the experience and opinion of everybody in the business”.

Hardeep Singh, who runs a gift shop in Ghumar Mandi, disclosed that during this time around Divali, he seldom found time even to have food as there was huge rush of people making purchases. “But this time it seems to be a routine day only”, he said, while adding, “with only two more days left for Divali, nobody expects any miracle anymore.”

With a sustained campaign against crackers and the arrival of the foreign, particularly Chinese manufactured lights and other electronic gadgets, traditional candles, earthen lamps and hand-made earthen replicas of temples are also not finding many buyers. 



Divali sounds death knell for owls
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
The festival of lights brings joy for humans but sounds the death knell for owls. Some tantriks in the city kill owls to perform black magic and sell them for hefty prices during Divali days.

Investigations have revealed that an owl is being sold in the market for anything between Rs 10,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh. Tantriks are charging their clients between Rs 50,000 and Rs 2 lakh for performing a “tantrik vidya” in which dried flesh of owls, claws, feathers and blood are used.

It was revealed that during and after a financial slump, city residents especially industrialists, try methods to please Goddess Lakshmi. The idea of sacrificing an owl, associated with the goddess, appeals to them.

Bird-watchers admit that owls disappear during Divali days. They claim that a species of the owl family, which is small in size, is seen at night in suburbs of the city during some months, but not during Divali.

Sources say tantriks make deals with bird-catchers, who are paid at least Rs 10,000 for every owl. Owls are caught during the daytime as the bird is not able to see clearly in the sun. Old, deserted and dilapidated houses are shelters of owls and bird-catchers can be seen in these houses. One such house was located near the Punjab Agricultural University campus.

The tantriks send their client who seeks a solution to his monetary problems to a bird-catcher, who charges the person heavily on the plea that catching the owl for killing will bring bad luck to him. So he asks for a handsome sum. The client has no option as the tantrik tells him that he has to complete the “upaya” or he would be ruined.

Sources say that an owl bought by a tantrik directly is used for performing black magic on at least 10 persons.

Recently, a financier in the city, who is in hiding presently as he is under a huge debt, had bought an owl for Rs 1.5 lakh. He had performed a puja thinking that good luck would come to him.

Mr Mohit Sharma, an astrologist, said the trend of sacrificing owls was continuing for the past many years in the city. He said with the affluent class ready to pay any amount, the tantriks were fleecing them by suggesting them to buy an owl. He, however, said it was a misconception that killing owls would bring good luck. “It would only annoy the goddess”, he added.



Cashing in on superstitions

Ludhiana October 23
Divali, the festival of lights, crackers and sweets, has several religious myths associated with it and the so-called fortune-tellers and tantriks of the city are keen on exploiting these to make a fast buck.

A ‘pooja’ performed on the auspicious occasion of Divali is instantly effective with 101 per cent guarantee, proclaims a pamphlet and follows it up with” Jab kahin na ho kaam, hum se lein samadhan”. ‘“Do not run here and there. Even a prayer can change your fortune” reads another underlined headline.

The pamphlet , which carries both Hindi and Punjabi versions with a sprinkling of English, is being circulated by one of the so-called computer jyotish centres that have come up all over the city.

The pamphlet claims that the consultant was a gold medallist in an astrology course and a specialist in solving “life problems, like troubles in business, studies, foreign travel, childless, love marriage and other family related problems’.

The Hindi version assures that by the judicious use of “Samudrik Shastra’ and with the help of the specialist a solution can be found for financial, family, mental, political or other complex problems. The reader is further told that Vastu Shastra was also being used for solving problems.

Next, in a special note , the pamphlet exhorts childless couples to benefit from the ‘sadhna’ or meditation done at the computer jyotish centre. Results are guaranteed.

The Punjabi version, however, differs a little bit as far as the ‘problems’ are concerned. Here, the specialist has included strained husband-wife relations, a family feud, witchcraft involving the administration of some mysterious substances , hindrance in getting a visa, mental tension and so on.

It assures the reader that a solution is guaranteed through ‘karam kand, havan yajna, gandmool pooja, recitation of Maha Mritanjaye and the Vastu Shastra.

But this is not all that the computer jyotish centre has to offer.

It also promises that the ‘jantar-tantar’ and the lucky stone or gem given by the specialist would start acting within 24 hours. The centre also offers to make horoscopes by hand and on the computer as well. An international matrimonial service is also available at the centre which claims that alliances in far off countries were being arranged very promptly. In the end, the reader is asked to obtain an appointment on telephone. The only thing that the pamphlet is mum about is the fee involved in getting a special Divali pooja.

Sources in the astrology business confide that the ‘fees’ differs from client to client depending upon how heavy a purse he or she carries around. It is not only the pooja performed on behalf of their clients that brings these astrologers easy and fast money, most of these astrologers also sell cheap imitation gems and rings , available from Jaipur at exorbitant prices. The superstitious customer is cleverly forewarned that a similar gem could be available for a far lesser amount in the market. The money being charged for the gem includes the cost of pooja done to activate the positive effects of the gem.

A man, who was handed over a yellow-dyed stone as a good quality Pukhraj by an astrologer for Rs 2,200, was dismayed when the stone lost its colour after one year. When he asked the astrologer for an explanation, he was told that it was good for him because his body had absorbed the power of the stone.

Gullible customers who fall prey to such cunning opportunists are usually told to perform bizarre rituals in the name of providing a solution to their varied problems. They are made to recite crazy mantras over a spoonful of moistened black grams or dal which is then scattered in the courtyard of one’s own house or that of the ‘jealous’ neighbour.

A businessman who was experiencing a lean period was told to drop 5 kg of heavy lead or wood charcoal into the Sutlej or the Buddha Nullah for five consecutive Thursdays or Saturdays.



Notes of caution for Divali

  • Don’t wear synthetic or silk clothes while lighting with crackers.
  • Wear cotton clothes.
  • Play only with good-quality crackers.
  • Handle crackers with utmost care. Light these from a distance.
  • Bombs and rockets should not be ignited in hands.
  • Clothes for drying should not be kept in the open.
  • Children should not be allowed to play alone with crackers.
  • Put the burnt part of the body in water in case of an injury.
  • Apply a local antiseptic on the burnt part of the body.
  • Cover the injured part of the body with a cloth.
  • Wash the rashes and apply coconut oil.
  • After giving the first aid, take patient to nearby clinic or hospital.
  • In case of eye injury, wash the affected eye with water. Don’t rub it. 



BJP leader’s son robbed of Rs 2 lakh
Our Correspondent

Khanna, October 23
Naresh Sood, son of Mr Hans Raj Sood, President, BJP Ludhiana district unit, was allegedly robbed of Rs 2 lakh and beaten up by some employees of a wine contractor of Khanna on the G T Road on Tuesday night. Two of the alleged robbers were nabbed on the spot and were handed over to the police. Hans Raj Sood, father of the victim, alleged that police was trying to shield the accused. Naresh was admitted to Civil Hospital where he is under-going treatment.

According to the victim, he was coming to his house here after closing his shop in Ludhiana around 10 pm. When he reached near Bija village some persons signalled him to stop. Since, they were not in uniform so he did not stop. He was chased by them. But unfortunately near Dada Motors, his car stopped due to some technical fault. Then he tried to run away but was caught and beaten up. In the meantime, five or six other persons reached there in a car. They took Rs 2 lakh from his car.

Family members of the victim immediately reached the spot and nabbed two accused who were handed over to the police. Dr Hans Raj Sood has alleged that six persons have been caught by the police but no action has been taken against them. He alleged that police was under some kind of pressure.

The SSP, Khanna, Mr Kapil Dev, said the police was investigating the matter and action would be taken against those found guilty. The statement of the victim has been recorded.

Six rounded up

The local police has registered a case against five workers of a wine contractor who allegedly beat up and robbed a trader, the son of the BJP district president, on Tuesday night. Six persons have been rounded up by the police in this connection.

Naresh Sood, the trader, was returning from Ludhiana in his car after closing his shop when some youths in a van signalled him to stop. As he did not do so, the youths started chasing him. When he reached near the Dada Motors showroom, his car developed a technical snag. The youths reached there and started beating him up. They snatched the keys of the car from him and they took away Rs 2 lakh from the vehicle. The father of the victim alleged yesterday that the police had not yet lodged an FIR. The police registered a case under Sections 341, 379, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

Meanwhile, Sukhminder Pal Singh Grewal, president of Yuva Morcha, Punjab, has condemned the incident. Mr Grewal said a delegation would meet Governor O. P. Verma to ask him to take strict action against the culprits. Senior BJP leaders Balvir Chand Kapila, Pawan Kumar Tinku, Rajiv Katna, Vijay Kumar Sharma and Naresh Sood also condemned the incident.



In the dock for exposing scandal
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
Even as the Congress Government in the state was harping on fighting corruption, an employee of the state Health Department is suffering for his audacity to expose a major scandal.

After facing harassment in the form of repeated transfers, threats and mental and physical tension of making rounds of senior officers, police and courts to get the accused punished in the scam, the employee, Sukhminder Singh, is now facing arrest as a case under the SC-ST Act has been registered against him allegedly at the behest of some persons who were pressurising him to stop pursuing the medical scam.

He has been booked on the complaint of another employee, Buta Singh, who accused him of calling certain names banned under the Act. However, Sukhminder Singh shows documentary record of the department signed by several employees, stating that the alleged incident did not happen.

“It is a blatant misuse of the SC-ST Act. It is being used as a tool against me by those whom I had exposed in the scam,” he writes in an SOS call to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh.

He had exposed the scam during the Akali-BJP regime in the state. Instead of being rewarded for the bold work, he is now running from pillar to post to elude arrest. The Act has no provision for bail. Police sources said the case has been registered on the directions of the National SC-ST Commission. They said they had to implement the orders. Sources informed that the police has, however, ordered a separate probe into the matter and has desisted from arresting the health employee.

Documentary evidence produced by Sukhminder Singh states that the state Health department had conducted an internal inquiry into the matter and had found the alleged incident to be false. The inquiry report stated that Sukhminder Singh was being pressurised in such a manner to force him to withdraw medical scam case.

Despite this the commission went ahead and recommended registration of the case. The health employee had furnished documents signed by several of his colleagues as witness that no such alleged incident had taken place and it was a motivated complaint.

‘‘I am astonished that instead of being rewarded for exposing corruption, I was being pressurised in such a manner to stop pursuing the case.’’ he said claiming that the persons accused in the case have even approached him with a compromise, saying they will harass him more if remained stubborn.

Earlier, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) had come to the rescue of the employee. It had recommended registration of cases against some employees of the Civil Surgeon’s office, Ludhiana, for dereliction of duty and tampering with the records.

Sukhwinder Singh is posted as a senior clerk at the Primary Health Centre, Sidhwan Bet. He is president of the Punjab Health Department Subordinate Employees Federation. He had exposed the scam worth Rs 2.5 crore regarding irregularities in the sale and purchase of medicines. Bogus entries were found in the scam.

Several persons, including an Additional Director, Health Service, a former civil surgeon, two assistant civil surgeons, purchase officer, an assistant and a pharmacist along with 10 other employees face charges in the scam.

Sukhwinder Singh had approached the PSHRC with his list of grievances. The commission had deputed the ADGP S K Verma for a detailed inquiry.

A copy of the inquiry report in the possession of TNS states that the investigation was done on the petition of Sukhwinder Singh, who is paying a heavy price for the exposing wrong-doings of officials. He had said that false complaints were being registered against him by Ludhiana police and he was being regularly transferred on one pretext or the other as an ‘award’ for taking the lid of the scam.



Marrying for immigration no new thing
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
The recent complaint by a Khanna youth against a self-proclaimed NRI girl that she duped him of Rs 3.3 lakh is not a new thing. People desperate to go abroad seek the easy route of marriage with a girl of the country they want to go to. In a region where people are too much desperate to seek immigration to western countries and even Australia and New Zealand, different methods are adopted to get a legal visa to those promised lands.

It is learnt that the youth had paid Rs 3.3 lakh to the girl not for the marriage, but for getting a visa, which he would have been entitled to after marrying her. The girl had allegedly taken Rs 4 lakh from another youth. The girl has already denied that she has received any money from the youth and claimed that she was forcibly made to sign the cheques and the document in which she is reported to have admitted to taking the money.

Although the girl happens to be of Indian origin, people here do not mind marrying women of foreign origin, irrespective of their age, religion or language. Such marriages are registered here regularly.

Take the matrimonial tale of 37- year-old Manmohan Singh and 34-year-old Aisolde Litter of Germany. Both cannot coverse with each other as the woman is German while the man is a rustic Punjabi, unable even to speak Hindi, let alone English or German.

Manmohan Singh belongs to a village near Payal in Ludhiana district. Manmohan managed to immigrate to Germany without undergoing the cumbersome procedure required to procure a visa. Their marriage was registered on July 27, 2001, in the office of the then Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, under the Special Marriages Act.

Theirs is not an isolated case. Only three days earlier, another Punjabi youth, Palvinder Singh, married a German woman, Reita Fefe, who was almost double his age. That marriage was also solemnised by the then Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana.

Such marriages are never consummated as they are not solemnised for that purpose. According to an immigration lawyer, marriage is the simplest way available to people to migrate to countries where visa rules are strict.

Under this procedure, a bride is arranged from the country of destination by a friend or relative. The rates are settled. The “girl” — in most cases they are middle-aged women — is flown to India. Here she signs the matrimonial contract, making her “groom” eligible to migrate to her country.



Streetlight project inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 23
Congress legislator Surinder Dawar today inaugurated a streetlight project, completed at a cost of Rs 6 lakh, in Issa Nagri and Brown road. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Dawar said the state government had chalked out several plans for the development of major towns and cities and adequate funds were being made available to urban local bodies for development projects.

He said the Municipal Corporation had launched a road development project which would be completed by the end of this financial year.

Mr Sanjeev Talwar, councillor, Ward No. 51, said the work of installing streetlights in colonies like Sadhu Sunder Singh Colony, Issa Nagri, CMC Chowk to Civil Hospital, Kot Alamgir, Kucha Inayat Mohalla, Ahata Mohammad Tahir and surrounding areas had been completed.

He said streetlight poles were being erected along the stretch from Hargobind Marg to CMC Chowk. He stated that the work of installing streetlights in Field Ganj, laying slabs on small open drain and extension of water supply network in Issa Nagri would be taken up in a few days.

Among those present at the function were Mr Rakesh Parashar, councillor, Mr Ashok Bagga, Mr Raj Mehra, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Bobby, Pastor Ram Lal, Mr Ramesh Masih, Paster Avinash, Master Samuel, Mr David, Mr Robert, Mr Paramjit Singh Pamma, Mr Parminder Singh Kittu and Mr Inderjit Singh Manga.



DGP seeks details on molestation case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
Taking serious note of an alleged molestation complaint against a serving DSP by a woman constable, the Director-General of Police, Punjab, has sought details of the case from the local police, including the action taken on the victim’s complaint.

The department has been stunned by the alleged incident. The woman reportedly proceeded on a two-day leave after several officials, including senior officers, approached her with a compromise offer on the issue.

Sources told Ludhiana Tribune that the woman was standing by her version. The accused DSP has also sent a clarification to her regarding the incident. It could not be confirmed whether he had apologised to her or not.

SSP Narinderpal Singh said it was a matter of routine to send details to the DGP office and not much should be read into it. He said the SP(H), Mr Arunpal Singh, has began an inquiry into the allegation.

He said the inquiry could not be made time-bound as enough time had to be given to the accused and the complainant to prove their points. He said independent witnesses would also be examined, if need be.



Stone for tubewell laid
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 23
The municipal council will undertake development works in accordance with requirements of residents, irrespective of their political affiliation, said Mr Joginder Pal Singla, council chief, here today. He was addressing a gathering at the foundation stone laying ceremony of a tubewell in Ward No. 10, costing Rs 11.36 lakh. The tubewell would supply drinking water to the residents of Ward No. 10 and Ward No. 14 and start functioning within a month, he added.

Around 60 per cent population of the town lives on the Amloh side of G.T. Road and Educational institutions were on its opposite side. Students have to cross the busy road and many precious lives are lost in accidents. The council has taken up the matter of laying a subway on the road, Mr Singla said, adding that he had also promised to provide Rs 8 lakh for the purpose.

Executive officer Lachhman Singh Saini said a project for parking of trucks would be completed within six months. This would prevent the parking of trucks on both sides of the G.T. road, due to which the smooth flow of traffic was being hindered.

Councillor J.P. Sharma, president, Gobindgarh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said a dharamshala with a capacity to accommodate 1000 persons would also be built. Mr Sunil Dutt, Mr Deepak Sapra, Mr Harinder Bhambri, vice-president, DCC, and other councillors were also present.



Annuals that bloom longer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 23
A nursery, technocare, has devised a new technique for avid flower lovers by growing flowering annuals, which will bloom for a longer time.

The nursery has worked out a solution for such people. Annuals that usually flower after the New Year are already in full bloom with the help of ‘speedlings’ — seedlings prepared in a traditional way in beds.



Four booked for stealing truck
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 23
On the statement of Surjeet Singh, a resident of Manawala village in Amritsar district, the Koom Kalan police yesterday registered a case under sections 382, 384 and 34 of the IPC against four boys. The complainant had stated that the suspects had stolen his truck carrying 500 bags of rice from Pirthipur village near Mattewara on Wednesday afternoon. The complainant further stated that the suspects had also kidnapped the truck driver , Kaka Singh, who was a resident of his village.

5 booked for assault: The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under sections 341, 323, 440, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mohinder Singh, a resident of Rishi Nagar, Haibowal Khurd, against Gurbax Singh, Jasbir Singh, Tajinder Singh, Surinder Kaur and Kulwant Kaur, residents of the same locality. The complainant had alleged that the suspects had assaulted him on Tuesday while he was passing through the colony.

A case was registered under Sections 452, 323, 427, 379, 506 and 34 of the IPC and sections 25,54 and 59 of the Arms Act on the statement of Gurbax Singh against Mohinder Singh, Ravinder Pal Singh, Tajinder Pal Singh and Soma. The complainant had alleged that the suspects had forced their way into his house and stolen gold ornaments and Rs 1,500 at gunpoint.

Forgery case: The division No. 2 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 468 and 471 of the IPC against Kidar Parshad, Meena and Jagdev Singh, employees of Andhra Bank, Gill Road, Miller Ganj. The police said today that the suspects had withdrawn money from the account of a client with the help of forged cheques.

Scooterist hurt: The Salem Tabri police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC on the statement of Mohammad Imam Ansari, a resident of Baljeet Nagar, against a scooterist who hit him on the Jassian road and injured him.

Gamblers held: The Model Town police yesterday arrested Surinder Singh, a resident of MIG Phase I, Dugri, Ram Krishan, a resident of Ambedkar Nagar, and Kallu while they were gambling at a public place and booked them under the Gambling Act. A sum of Rs 350 and a deck of playing cards were seized from their possession.

The Haibowal police yesterday seized Rs 55,380 and a deck of playing cards from Pawan Kumar, Anil Kumar, Kulwant Singh and Mahesh Kumar, all residents of Durga Puri, who were arrested while gambling.

Liquor seized: The Kotwali police yesterday arrested Chhotu Ram, a resident of Habib Ganj, near Amar Pura, near the Clock Tower, seized 13 bottles of illicit liquor from his possession and booked him under the Excise Act.

Raids conducted:
The local police conducted raids to nab an NRI girl who allegedly duped two families of Raje Wal and Ismilpur villages of Rs 7 lakh on the promise of marriage.

On the complaint of Sukhdev Singh, the police registered a case against Ravneet Kaur, who claimed to be an Australian citizen, along with Maclim Moore, Harjinder Singh, Harvinder Singh and another accomplice of the girl.

Robbery case: The local police claimed to got a clue regarding a case of robbery in which Rs 1.85 lakh were looted near village Dehru. Sources said three persons involved in the case had been arrested. However, the SSP had denied any arrest.

On Monday night, Gurmit Singh, an employee of M/s Chaudry Steel Industries, was returning from Bhogpur after collecting money. When he was waiting for a bus for Mandi Gobindgarh at the Doraha bus stand, a driver who was known to him reached there in a car. Two youths were already in the car. They offered him a lift and he accepted. After some time, the youths attacked him with sharp-edged weapons and fled away after snatching his bag containing cash. A case has been registered in this connection.



Liquor shop in village looted
Our Correspondent

Doraha, October 23
Three youths looted Rs 3500 from a servant of a liquor shop at Dhamot village, today.
According to the statement given by the servant, Balwinder Singh, three youths came on a motorcycle (without registration number) to the liquor shop and demanded liquor. They then took out a weapon and asked Balwinder to hand over the cash.

When he retaliated the three attacked him and fled with the cash.

A case has been registered in this regard under Section 382 of the IPC at Payal police station.



Singer booked on husband’s complaint
Our Correspondent

Khanna, October 23
The Khanna police has registered an FIR against a Punjabi folk singer, Daljeet Kaur, on a complaint lodged by her singer-husband, Manjeet Rahi.
The police said Manjeet Rahi had lodged a complaint that Daljeet Kaur, her son, Manav Preet, and two others forcibly entered his house with the intention of occupying it. The police has registered a case. Denying the allegation, Daljeet Kaur said there were two portions of the house, of which one was in her possession. She said she had entered that portion to clean it in view of Divali.



Labourers robbed of Rs 20,000
Our Correspondent

Amloh, October 23
At least six armed robbers, posing as policemen, entered a house in ward No. 8 and robbed migrant labourers of Rs 20,000.

The labourers, working in the FCI depot, had received their wages a few days ago. The robbers also beat up the labourers. The SHO said a case had been registered.



PNB, Punjab zone, records 25 pc growth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
The net profit of Punjab National Bank (PNB) in Punjab zone for the half year ending on September 30 crossed the record level of Rs 272.30 crore (audited) as compared to Rs 217.95 crore in the corresponding period, last year, recording a year-on-year impressive growth of 24.94 per cent. This was stated by Mr U.S. Bhargava, General Manager, in a press note issued here today.

He said the total business of the zone reached Rs 19364.36 crore. The aggregate deposit of the bank in the same zone at the end of September stood at Rs 12037.90 crore as compared to Rs 11052.16 crore in the corresponding period, last year, registering a growth of 8.92 per cent.

Mr Bhargava stated that the net credit of the bank in the zone at the end of September stood at Rs 7063.46 crore as compared to Rs 7385.25 crore in September 2002. This is despite the fact that the food credit availability was substantially low at Rs 2438.31 crore as compared to last year’s Rs 3541.43 crore in the corresponding period. Thus there has been an increase of Rs 781.33 crore in the non-food credit since September, 2002, and in percentage terms the figures come to 20.33 per cent.

He maintained that the bank continues to focus on enhancing lending in retail segments, especially in trading and housing segments, where it recorded a growth of 46 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively.

In order to cater to the traders community the bank also plans to open trade finance branches, besides putting up help desks from time to time at important commercial centres in the state. During the half year ending in September the disbursement in retail lending was to the tune of Rs 263 crore compared to 149.37 crore, last year, thus registering a growth of 76 per cent.

The bank has the largest zonal network of branches here i.e. 488 and all are computerised, Mr Bhargava said.

Referring to the Centralised Banking Solutions (CBS), a project which will interconnect all branches, Mr Bhargava stated that 32 branches in the zone had already advanced to the CBS system and customers can now to operate accounts all over India at CBS branches. More than 280 branches at 55 centres all over India have already come under the system.



Chamber seeks meeting with RCF
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 23
The Steel Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a letter to the district industry officer has urged him to get a meeting arranged with officials of the Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala, and diesel components workshop, Patiala, here. This, he said, would help in exploring the possibilities of consumption of re-rolled products by local workshops, enabling the industry to work to its capacity for reducing the cost of production and to cover up the demand recession.

It was further stated at the meeting that Punjab was situated far off from the source of raw materials. The inputs had to be imported, which attracts freight charges and other taxes.


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