L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Illegal crackers trigger blasts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 5
A newly wed woman, Babita, was seriously injured in a massive blast in New Nanak Nagar of the Salim Tabri area where crackers were reportedly being manufactured illegally. The police had recently registered a case against the house owner, Ricky in this record.

Eyewitnesses said the blast occurred at around 3 pm. The family members were allegedly busy in manufacturing the crackers. Some crackers went off accidentally which triggered a series of blasts.

The impact of the blast was massive. Babita was thrown out of the house and she fell on the road. She was taken to the Civil Hospital from where she was referred to the Christian Medical College and Hospital, where her condition is stated to be critical.

The house in which the crackers were being manufactured suffered major damage. The roof was extensively damaged.

The impact of the blasts was also felt in the neighbouring houses.

The administration is finding it difficult to tackle the problem of the illegal manufacture of crackers in the city. Although the police has registered several cases, it does not seem to have deterred the manufacturers.



Restrictions on sale of crackers
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 5
Dr Indu Malhotra, SDM, Malerkotla, has imposed restrictions on the sale and storage of crackers in the town and its surrounding areas, including Dhuri, Malerkotla and Amargarh.

Cracker sale will now be allowed only at tubewell No 3 and behind Mahatma Gandhi Memorial National Senior Secondary School in the town and at Doctor Zakir Hussain Stadium, Government College ground and a vacant plot near temple at Talab Bazaar, Malerkotla.

Starting from today, the restrictions will remain in force till November 20.

While the administration has asked various departments to remain prepared to meet any emergency arising out of any mishap caused due to mishandling of crackers at any shop or godown in the area, some of the dealers have reportedly stocked explosives in thickly populated residential area.

The municipal council has issued notices to some businessmen, which according to it had been importing crackers during the year allegedly without paying octroi on consignments.

Dr Indu said crackers had been on sale in almost all markets during previous years.

“Fortunately no untoward incident took place due to storage of these explosives in the thickly populated areas. Had there been any such incident, it would have been very difficult for the fire brigade to reach these congested areas. Keeping in view these factors, we have imposed a ban using powers vested under Section 144 of the relevant Act,” said Dr Indu.

The offices of the Municipal Council and the Market Committee have been directed to keep their fire fighting equipment and water tanks in order. The Local Body authorities have asked to improve cleanliness and keep a check on quality of eatables on sale.

The Civil Hospital authorities at these towns and surrounding villages have been directed to make arrangement for dealing with any emergency.

Sources said some businessmen who been dealing in fireworks in the past years, had been issued notices only recently.



Councillor-chief tiff mars MC meeting
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 5
Peeved at the Municipal Council President's action of disallowing entry to some councillors at a meeting, the agitating councillors ensured that no business of the council was conducted or estimates approved at a meeting.

The group led by Mr Shamsunder rejected all the items in the agenda as a mark of resentment because the President and the Executive Officer had not allowed two of the councillors to attend the meeting on the pretext of being late.

Meanwhile, the local unit of the Congress party condemned the role of the President in harassing the councillors owing alliance to the party.

Mr Shamsunder and Mr Jatinder Bhola (both former vice- presidents of the council) said the adjourned meeting was scheduled to take place at 9.00 am on Tuesday.

As the meeting used to take place in the Town Hall earlier, all the councillors allied to their faction had gathered there before the start of the meeting.

But the President shifted the venue to his own office without giving any notice of the same.

As Ms Chitter Rekha Sharma, one of the councillors, had undergone a major surgery only a couple of days before the meeting, she walked slowly and Mr Mohinder Multani another councillor accompanying her too slowed down.

Instead of accommodating the ailing member of his council for the delay of a few moments, the President asked the Executive Officer not to allow Ms Sharma and Mr Multani to sit in the meeting, the anguished group leaders said.

Expressing resentment over the alleged arbitrary decision of the council President and government representative, the seven members out of those present in the meeting (11), recorded their disagreement on all items of the agenda.

These leaders also resented the deviation of procedure of the meeting in respect of writing the minutes of the meeting.

The Executive Officer of the council admitted that two councilors had reached the President's room a few minutes late.

"It was not within my purview to allow or disallow somebody to attend the meeting. I could have given comments in the proceeding book but that was taken away by the president," explained the EO when asked by a section of media

Meanwhile, the local unit of Congress has taken a serious notice of the recent developments.

Mr Ravinder Kumar, president of the city unit, expressed anguish over the attitude of the President towards the lady councillors.

He alleged the President had been threatening some of the Congress councillors of suspension on the pretext of absence from the meeting and as a part of his designs he stopped the councillors from attending the meeting.

He urged the district administration to appoint a observer for conducting the business of the council.

Meanwhile, a team of officials from the office of SDM, Malerkotla marked as many as 17 employees of the office of the Municipal Council absent on Wednesday.

The Executive Officer included the list of absentees. Dr Indu Malhotra, SDM, had ordered the Tehsildar, Malerkotla, to conduct a surprise raid on the local government offices on Thursday.



Outcry against LPG, petrol price hike
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, November 5
There has been great resentment and public outcry against the steep hike in the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG. The Rs 20 per cylinder hike seems to have irked people the most. The common man feels that the government had deliberately delayed the hike in view of the Assembly elections in Maharashtra.

Reacting sharply to the hike, senior BJP leader Lala Lajpat Rai said the UPA government had betrayed the trust of the common man. He said for all these months, the UPA government stayed quiet and now after the elections in Maharashtra were completed, it did not take much time to raise the prices.

He said the hike in the prices of LPG would hit the common man hard. The rise in the prices of diesel would lead to a rise in the prices of other essential commodities, he said. This was the harshest Divali gift that any government could give to the people who had voted it to power, he said, questioning the so-called pro-people approach of the Left parties which were supporting the government.

The general secretary of the SAD, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, said the UPA government had played a cruel joke with the people, adding that the UPA government did not seem to be concerned about the common man.

Ms Sangeeta, a housewife of Gurdev Nagar, said she was shocked to learn that the prices of gas cylinders had been raised by Rs 20 at a single go. “This is too much and will hit every household and that too on the eve of Divali”, she said, hoping that the government would withdraw the hike or at least bring it down.

Mr Tulsi Dass Jaitwani, president of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, criticised the hike and said it had come at a wrong time.

Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, said the hike would trigger a rise in the prices of other essential commodities also.

The Punjab unit of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) has decried the increase in petrol, diesel and cooking gas prices and has termed it as an anti-people step.

The state secretary of the party, Mr Kuldip Singh, said in a statement here today that the prices had been increased at a time when oil prices were coming down in the international market.

He criticised the role of the CPM and the CPI leadership, charging it with betrayal of the masses. Left party leaders had been assuring the people against any rise in the prices of petroleum products but the Congress led UPA government has gone ahead with the price hike.

Mr Kuldip Singh said, adding that the CPM and the CPI should reconsider their support to this anti-people government” The party urged the Union government to reconsider the decision and withdraw the increase in the larger interest of the common people.

A meeting of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Action Committee, attended by a large number of house wives also flayed the increase in the prices of petrol products, especially that of LPG cylinder.

Samrala: Farmers have been hit badly by the increase in prices of diesel, petrol and LPG. This was stated here on Friday by Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, national general secretary of the BKU.

He said a minor increase of Rs 10 per quintal in the MSP of wheat will benefit them by Rs 105 crore. Whereas the hike in prices of diesel, petrol and LPG will put a burden of more than Rs 246 crore in the next six months.

Mr Rajewal said 30 lakh kl of HSD is consumed in Punjab every year. Of this 50 per cent is consumed by farmers. This way there will be a burden of Rs 157.5 crore on them alone. In petrol farmers will have to share an additional burden of Rs 18 crore. For LPG it is Rs 71.25 crore. This adds up to Rs 246. 30 crore.

He said the industry and trade would also pass the burden on to the consumers.



Goods worth lakhs destroyed in fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 5
Goods worth lakhs were destroyed in a fire that broke out in a godown stocking mosquito repellent coils at Khasi Kalan village, near here, today.

According to sources, the fire broke out at 2 am in a godown of M/s BBF Enterprises which manufactures mosquito repellent coils. The fire was noticed by the watchman who informed his employer. As many as 12 fire engines took three hours to control the fire. No one was hurt but the cause of the fire could not be ascertained.



Illegal construction activity on
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 5
The state government is learnt to have taken a serious view of the construction of commercial buildings in the designated residential areas in the mega city and the civic body has been asked to submit a detailed list of the commercial buildings that have come up in violation of the building bylaws in the recent past. Still, the unregulated building activity continues unabated, thanks to an unholy nexus comprising officers of the building branch of the municipal corporation, the powerful builders' lobby and elected representatives of the public (councillors and other functionaries).

It is not only the commercial builders who are showing scant regard for building norms and are committing all sorts of conceivable violations, but the residential buildings are also being constructed in a whimsical manner, with little or no enforcement of the regulations. In most of the cases of violations of building norms, the lower or middle-level officials allegedly make a settlement at their own level, thereby causing massive financial loss to the MC by way of composition fee or land-use charges.

Besides officials of the building branch of the municipal corporation conniving in promoting and patronising construction of buildings without approved building plans and at variance with the rules in the city, of late, politicians, including a large number of councillors and political functionaries in the civic body, have also started interfering with the process of enforcement.

More often than not, in pursuance of their ‘vested interests’ they rather stand in the way of demolition of buildings, thus promoting unlawful building activity.

Such is the clout wielded by the builders and their influential supporters that many a time the demolition squad of the MC has to return without dismantling a single brick of the buildings being raised in violation of the rules. As far as inspection of commercial buildings by political functionaries is concerned, sources in the MC building wing claimed that even the Mayor or his deputies were not empowered to conduct such inspections unless accompanied by competent officials of the MC.

Inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that most political functionaries, coming out in the open in support of offenders and abetting unlawful building activity, had vested interests.

It is no secret that as far as builders of commercial complexes or other institutional buildings are concerned, they believe in striking deals with whoever can come to their rescue in unlawful activities, be it officials or political functionaries.

The defaulting builders are emboldened by the fact that, barring a few instances, the officials concerned of the building branch, responsible for enforcement, went scot free even when their connivance was proved. 



Thrown out by son, he spends nights on footpath
Kanchan Vasdev

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 5
Jaagar Singh, 92, was thrown out of his house by his son and daughter-in-law six months ago. Since then he has been living on a footpath near local Fountain Chowk.

A blanket continues to be his only protection from cold. Jaagar Singh earns his dal-roti by selling desi jutties. Whatever he earns is enough for his tea and food.

My daughter-in-law got a case registered against me along with 12 others some months ago. I was jailed for some time, and released. When I went back to my house in Purana Bazar, I was not allowed in by my children,” says Jaagar Singh.

He had built the house in 1948 in Purana Bazar. The house is still registered in his name. He has complained to the police to allow him entry into his house. “I used to run a dairy in my youth. I spent the earnings on my son and the house.”

Before living on the footpath Jaagar Singh had rented a room for Rs 500 a month. But he was thrown out from there also for he couldn’t pay the rent.

He finds at least three buyers for his jutis. He earns a profit of Rs 20 a day, just enough to buy food. Seeing him shivering, a tea vendor gave him an old sweater.

“My two sons died young. My wife used to say that one is enough to look after us. It is good that she died before seeing the callousness of the third one,” Jaagar Singh said.



Vigilance DIG seeks people’s cooperation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 5
Punjab Vigilance Bureau, Jalandhar Range, DIG Ishwar Chander has urged people to cooperate and assist the bureau in checking corruption.
He was addressing a district-level seminar on corruption “Sanchetna” organised by the bureau at Arya College here today as part of the ongoing Vigilance Awareness Week, which began on November 1.

The DIG said under the prevailing anti-corruption Act punitive measures being taken by the agencies concerned were not bearing desired fruits as corruption had become a social phenomena and it could only be minimised by the involvement of the people.

He called upon the social and educational organisations to persuade people in a big way to create a strong voice against corrupt people. He added that even parents should not marry their daughters with corrupt officers.

The DIG stated that during the week around 20 functions at the district and subdivisional levels, including declamation contests, debates, seminars, rallies, etc. had been organised to create awareness among the people in this regard.

Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, said along with the corrupt government officials those people who pay bribe for getting undue favours were equally responsible for spreading corruption. He said that introspection and internal vigilance should be exercised at all levels, including government machinery and public.

Mr Sumer Singh Gurjer, ADC(D), said to check corruption in offices, the district administration had taken concrete steps like launching of Suvidha, a single window facility, quick disposal programme and putting up notice boards at all villages with information regarding the funds spent for development works in villages.

Mr Naunihal Singh, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, proposed a vote of thanks and added that the bureau would invite cooperation from every section of society in their drive against the corruption.

Others who addressed the seminar included Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SP, City (I), Mr Harpreet Sandhu, Senior Deputy Advocate-General, Dr D.J. Singh, Deputy Director, PPA, Phillaur, Mr Pardeep Thakur, Assistant Editor, Prof P.S. Bhogal, Mr Vijay Sathi, president, college management committee, and Mr S.M. Sharma, Principal of the college.



Railway staff’s ultimatum to committee
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 5
Activists of the Uttariya Railway Mazdoor Union while charging the functionaries of Northern Zone Railway Employees Society with financial irregularities have served an ultimatum on them in this regard. They threatened protests and agitation if the latter failed to follow suit.

Addressing a protest meeting of the employees in front of the office of the society here today, the divisional president of the union, Mr Parveen Kumar, and other trade union leaders observed that opening of a unit of the society here was a welcome step. But at the same time they levelled allegations of malpractices against the present office-bearers of the society.

Among the charges levelled by the union were purchase of computers at higher prices, a cut in insurance policies, nepotism in recruitment of employees of the society and grant of extra benefits like higher bonus, house rent allowance. They also demanded that interest rates on loans given to the railway employees should be slashed.

Mr Manohar Parashar, Mr Raman Malhotra, Mr Ajaib Singh, Mr Amrit Lal, Mr Amrik Singh, Mr M.K. Trikha, Mr Rajendra Sharma, Mr Biren Singh, Mr Gurmel Singh and Mr Sukhjinder Singh also addressed the meeting.



27 employees found absent
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 5
At least 27 employees at various government offices here were found absent on Wednesday during a surprise check conducted by a team of the SDM’s office, Malerkotla.

Dr Indu Malhotra, SDM, Malerkotla, said she had received complaints that a large number of employees at various offices used to come late to their offices. After apprising the Deputy Commissioner of Sangrur, Mr Sukhdev Singh, Tehsildar, Malerkotla, was asked to conduct a surprise check at the offices.

Besides finding the office of the Labour Inspector closed at the time of checking, the team found 12 employees absent at the office of the municipal council. The Executive Officer had also not reached the office until the staff remained in the town.

Eleven employees were marked absent at the office of the market committee while four employees were absent at the Horticulture Department.

Though some officials claimed that they had left office for attending offices at the district and division levels, the movement registers showed no entries to this effect.



Atwal exhorts NRIs to invest in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 5
Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal has exhorted Punjabi NRIs to make liberal investments in the industrial, education and other sectors in Punjab. Addressing a function organised to honour Dr Amarjit Singh Marwaha, an NRI from Los Angeles and the co-founder of Punjab and Sind Bank, here last night.

Mr Atwal said Dr Marwaha was one of the few prominent NRIs who had done well. Dr Marwaha had been instrumental in the setting up of a large number of educational institutions.

The Deputy Speaker said during his visit abroad he had the opportunity of discussions with a large number of Punjabi NRIs who were anxious to see the development of industry and other infrastructure in their native villages.

He said the only hesitation was bureaucracy, redtape and interference of officials in the execution and operation of industrial and business establishments in the country.

Dr Marwaha said the NRIs were in search of opportunities to invest in Punjab to improve the educational and health facilities. He said the government system should be streamlined to minimise harassment at the hands of the departments concerned, so that the flow of foreign investment could be given a practical shape.

He said he wanted to get himself involved in the development of educational institutions in different parts of Punjab, including his native district, Faridkot.

He said he had decided to build a modern auditorium at Mohindra College, Patiala, at a cost of Rs 50 lakh and the construction would start within a week.

Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, MLA, Mr N.S. Gill, Mayor, and Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, also addressed the gathering.



IT Dept holds awareness camp
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 5
As part of the Vigilance Awareness Week, the subdivisional office of the Income Tax Department organised an awareness camp for local residents at Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School today, which was chaired by Mr S.N. Sharma, ITO, Malerkotla.

Addressing a gathering, Mr Sharma claimed that it was an endeavour of the department to bring total transparency in the implementation of taxation laws. The department was determined to educate taxpayers so that they contributed their share in national reconstruction.

Mr D.R. Sharma, Director of the school, Mr Ravinder Puri, president, Journalist Association, Mr Prem Jain, president, Cattle Feed Manufacturers Association, and Mr Tarsem Sharma, patron, Arhtiya Association, were also present on the occasion.



Orientation course for govt staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 5
The local administration yesterday started a special orientation course for its staff. The week-long training is being given by Mr Anil Batra, a leading counselor of the Hero Mindmine. Mr Anil Batra employee as a person.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, who has been instrumental in initiating the programme, said that the aim was to improve the interpersonal attitude of the staff towards visitors.

He observed it was a sort of fine tuning initiated at the local level in cooperation with the Hero Mindmine, a sister concern of the Hero Group of Companies. He disclosed that the orientation programme aimed at improving the positive attitude of the employees was being organised on complimentary basis thanks to the interest shown by Mr Sunil Kant Munjal of the Hero group.

Mr Verma said that the programme was a sequel to the “Suvidha” project which was implemented in Ludhiana district a few months ago.



Models showcase Ritu Kumar’s winter wear
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 5
Ritu Kumar’s winter collection was showcased by 14 models on the ramp at a hotel here today. The models wore stunning embroidered sarees. Then the models sashayed down the ramp wearing colourful long shirts and crinkled tissue lehngas.

Shaded dupattas, which were heavily embroidered, drew an applause.

Ritu said she was happy that Indian women now had the freedom to wear clothes of their own choice. The models wore beautiful combinations of peacock crimped skirts and different cut tops.

Some skirts were layered, some tucked up. The use of mirror work on clothes and cowrie shells brought in a lot of colour and one was reminded of gypsies. Their headgears, a colourful band with mirrors, completed the gypsy look.

The turquoise colour was the most used today Ritu said, “Enough of earthy colours. I have used bright colours. The gypsy look is popular. Loose scrimped skirts are wearable and comfortable.

I have tried to bring back the look of the 60s.”

The music played was selected from the 60s too. Ritu’s creations showed her unique style.

Her salwar suits in black and beige were captivating and what everyone liked about her clothes was that they covered more and exposed less.

Sonalika, Lakme’ face of the year, Krishna, Kanika Romil and Sahiba Singh, some of the models that walked the ramp, had participated in Ms India Pageant last year and this year.

The collection was less hippy and more cosmopolitan, with leather jackets to go over silk gypsy skirts, clinging silks with the 60s’ crystals and beaded blouses worn with boots and hats.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |