L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


20 pc increase in liquor price
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 11
For the first time in the last financial year the liquor prices have gone up. Sources in the liquor trade disclosed that the price rise was prompted by marriage season and the forthcoming new year celebrations.

Usually liquor prices see progressive decline as the financial year draws to a close. However, this time it has been quite opposite probable for the reason that most of the liquor trade is controlled by a single group.

Sources revealed that the price of liquor had gone up by 20 per cent. Greater the demand of the brand more has been the rise in the prices. There used be a saying that liquor was only commodity on which there was no maximum price as the traders could charge as much as they could provided they paid the duty. But they could not charge price lower than that agreed upon mutually by the traders.

Earlier due to competition among the rival groups within the city and the state, the prices would usually show downward trend. But after the liquor trade went in a few hands only, the traders have now started calling the shots. A trader disclosed that it was after a long time that they had managed to jack up the prices as usually it used to be other way round.

Hotels and bars will have to bear the maximum brunt of the price hike as it may not be possible for them to pass on the hike to the customers. The highest sales of liquor are now recorded on the new year eve. Earlier it used to be during the Holi celebrations. But with the new year celebrations being held more extensively, the liquor sales are believed to touch all-time high during the season surpassing even the Holi sales.

Obviously there would not have been a better occasion for the liquor contractors to increase the prices. It is believed that the prices have been increased across the state as most of the trade is controlled by a single group. Ludhiana, which happens to be the largest liquor market in the state is also controlled by a single group. Hence there was no problem in raising price here as there was no competitor who would offer liquor at for less price as used to happen earlier. Monopoly of liquor has started tasting bitter and that too on the new year eve.



Police accused of shielding 2 drug dealers
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 11
A social activist of the area here has accused the Ludhiana Police of shielding two members of a gang involved in illegal trafficking of narcotics and psychotropic substances in this area.

Mr Jaggie Chahal, a physically-challenged youth of Kanganwal village alleged that the Jodhewal Basti Police had been shielding two youths caught selling smack to a patient admitted at a private hospital at Model Town Ludhiana for treatment and de-addiction.

In a communication to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana, Mr Jaggie claimed that he along with his fellows had handed over a member of a gang of smugglers to Mr G.S. Bains SHO, Jodhewal Basti on Wednesday but instead of smashing the gang he represented, the police official let him free.

Mr G.S. Bains SHO on the other hand maintained that the caught youths were not traffickers but they were themselves addicts. “Both the youths belong to middle class families. The quantity of smack seized from them was also were small. So keeping in view the future of these youths they were set free after taking a written apology and assurance from their parents,” said Mr Bains. The SHO further told that one of the youths had since been admitted to a hospital at Jagraon for de-addiction.

According to Jaggie, Kuljinder Singh (24), a fatherless youth and his cousin had been living with his family for a couple of years. After completing schooling at Government Senior Secondary Kanganwal he was admitted to Engineering College at Ludhiana. During this period he started taking drugs which were made available at some centres at local town. Though his maternal relatives suspected his being addicted, Kuljinder never admitted it for the obvious reasons.

On last Wednesday when he fell unconscious after recurrent vomits, he was shifted to a renowned private hospital at Model Town Ludhiana. Doctors, who examined him there, diagnosed it to be a case of drug addiction and recommended de-addiction for him.

Like any other addict Kuljinder was in touch with the suppliers of the drugs who supplied it to him at his bed at night hours. The staff on duty had later caught him consuming smack in a bathroom after which the mobile phone through which the addict had been in touch with the traffickers was taken from him by his attendants.

On the next day Jaggie noticed some blank calls on the mobile phone belonging to Kuljinder and planned to reach the traffickers. He rang up the caller and talked as if Kuljinder was talking. Caller was asked to come to the hospital and meet Jaggie a physically-challenged youth. When he kept his promise and met Jaggie he was given Rs 400 for one dose of smack.

Mr Jaggie ascertained that the staff at hospital including security staff had refused to cooperate in nabbing the smugglers when they come to supply the drug as promised. Jaggie got the mobile number of Mr G.S. Bains SHO from one of his friends and informed him about his daring plan. Initially the police officer tried to evade the situation by telling him that he was attending some important meeting but he later agreed to come in case the suspects were caught.

Ultimately the trafficker was overpowered by Jaggie and his associates and handed over to the SHO, who took him to the police station. He was later identified as Ruby and another youth identified as Vicky was nabbed from Jalandhar as claimed by the cop. Jaggie said he had seen both suspects in the custody of the police.

Mr Jaggie has now written to the SSP Ludhiana to order a probe in to the incident and nab the real culprits who had been selling the drugs in this area.



Gang of looters busted, 5 held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 11
The Salem Tabri police today announced the busting of a gang of looters, including a husband-wife duo, who looted people by luring them into eating drug-laced sweets or tea while travelling in vehicles and even in the houses of some victims.

The key member of the gang was a woman, Nirmala Rani, who used to lure victims. People tend to trust the woman but realised their folly only when they gained consciousness after several hours and found to have lost valuables and cash. Her husband Hajari Lal was also involved.

Apart from these two, the other gang members nabbed were identified as Raju, Des Raj and Charanjit Singh alias Bittu.

Addressing a press conference in the police station today, SHO Arvind Puri claimed that Charanjit Singh was also involved in the murder case of an aged financier who was killed last month. The couple involved in his murder was arrested within two hours but Charanjit Singh had managed to escape during a police raid at a hideout.

Mr Puri said Charanjit was earlier acquitted in five murder cases. He said the gang was involved in several cases of looting passengers and other victims, whom they befriended and then robbed after entering their houses.

To victims included a trader in Doraha from whom they looted Rs 9,000. The gang members had also looted a businessman’s family in Malerkotla.

The police has recovered a .315 bore country-made pistol, 2 cartridges and three swords from their possession.



Bid to usurp Trust land, residents demand removal of encroachments
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 11
To usurp Improvement Trust land worth crores in Model Town Extension-II, Dugri road some persons are fast erecting jhuggis on a huge piece of land meant for constructing MIG flats here.

While the Improvement Trust is delaying the construction of MIG flats which were already allotted to prospective buyers in 2002, the some junk dealers and labourers have started using the land for living as well as storing junk by raising temporary structures.

Sources claimed that some land sharks allegedly patronised by some political leaders were eyeing the valuable land and they had encouraged the migrants to make shelters there so that over the years they can stake claim to it.

They said that this was the modus operandi of the alleged encroachers who first brought such people on the land they wanted to grab. First they constructed temporary structures and then converted these into concrete ones. After decades the land either formed a big slum with the dwellers forming a huge vote bank of a political leader or it was usurped by the encroachers.

While the trust faces a danger of losing valuable property, the residents are up in arms against the authorities for not taking action. They claimed that though they had spent their savings on constructing the houses in modern colonies, such slums were spoiling the atmosphere of a good residential area. They claimed that the slum dwellers indulged in some anti-social activities like drug peddling and prostitution besides they posed a threat to their safety also.

In a letter written to the Chairman of the Trust, the Shakti Enclave Welfare Association of Block-C has demanded removal of encroachments. Mr Chander Shekhar Prabhakar, President and Mr V.K. Bansal, office-bearer of the association claimed that the trust had taken out draw of lots for the MIG flats and allotment letters were also issued in December 2002. But till date no construction activity had taken place.

They claimed that the slum dwellers had made the residents’ life a hell. Even the thefts had increased in the area. ‘‘If they do not clear the encroachments soon, this will emerge as a dhakka colony and then trust will face losses besides spoiling modern colony,’’ said Mr Bansal.

Trust sources said that it had planned to start construction on the site some time ago but the employees were attacked by the encroachers. Since the chairman has written to the police to provide security to an anti-encroachment squad of the trust.

The residents claimed that it was impossible for them to live in vicinity of slum dwellers who indulged in anti-social activities an littered garbage in their colony and parks. The residents said that the jhuggis had sprung up in the area 9-10 months ago.

The jhuggi dwellers were creating problems for them by drawing electricity through kundi connections thereby increasing the load on the power supply in the area. They also reared pigs, which created nuisance by entering the green belts of the houses. Moreover, the dwellers used the parks as urinals and open toilets thereby creating breeding ground for disease-spreading germs.

The residents threatened that if the LIT authorities did not redress their grievances they would be forced to agitate. They said that it was the duty of the LIT to provide proper environment and proper amenities to the residents as the area was developed by it. But the LIT was not caring about their problems at all, they claimed.



Bank takes possession of Dashmesh Gears’ property
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 11
Indian Overseas Bank, Civil Lines Branch, Fountain Chowk, through Mr Y.S. Negi, Chief Manager of the Bank and Authorised Officer of the case, took the physical possession of property mortgaged in account of Dashmesh Gears at Jawaddi village adjoining Bonn Bread Godown, Sua Road, Ludhiana yesterday by putting locks and seals under the provisions of various sections of SRESI Act, 2002.

Dashmesh Gears owed Rs 40 lakh and was served a 60 days demand notice on May 25,2003 but in vain. Subsequently, the bank scaled the premises while exercising their rights. The entire exercise was carried out by GATS Financial Reconstruction Limited, an enforcement agency of the bank.

Mr P.S. Anttal, CRM of the bank explained that the bank was coming out heavily on defaulters by exercising their rights under the provisions of various sections of SRESI Act, 2002 and advised other defaulters also to repay debts to avoid stringent action.



SAD, BJP decry police action on workers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 11
The Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP have condemned the yesterday’s police lathicharge on BJP workers. They alleged that this was the worst type of “police raj” which did not tolerate any voice of dissent or protest no matter how peaceful it had been.

Reacting strongly to the police action, a senior BJP leader and ex-MP, Lala Lajpat Rai, condemned the lathicharge on the party workers. He said it reminded of the colonial rulers who resorted to unprovoked lathicharge on peaceful demonstrators. He said in democracy everybody had a right to protest and be heard, but what happened yesterday made everybody feel shameful.

The senior BJP leader demanded an inquiry into the incident. He said the party workers had gathered outside the SSP’s office to sit on a dharna to show resentment on the deteriorating law and order situation in the city. “Even this was not tolerated by the police,” he said, adding that, “the police probably does not want that its failures should be brought to their notice”.

Ludhiana MP and president of the youth wing of SAD Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, while condemning the police action, demanded that the people responsible for these excesses should be punished.

Senior Akali leader and party general secretary Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal also expressed his dismay over the police action.



YC demands arrest of Gosain
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 11
Congress and BJP functionaries continued to trade charges following yesterday’s dharna by the BJP at mini secretariat here against police excesses and poor law and order situation in the district.

As activists of the Youth Congress, led by Mr Arun Bedi, chairman of the Urban Development Cell of the party submitted a memorandum to the district police chief demanding arrest of Mr Sat Pal Gosain, former Deputy Speaker for trying to foment tension and his links with anti-social elements, the BJP, in a veiled attack on Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, Power and Housing, called for the sack of Chief Parliamentary Secretary (CPS) and the Parliamentary Secretaries (PS’s) in the wake of the judgement of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

Youth Congress functionaries, in the memorandum, alleged that Mr Gosain was providing patronage to goonda elements and also charged him with attempts to create communal tension. They levelled allegations of corruption and misuse of power as well against the BJP leader.

Other signatories to the memorandum were Mr Pankaj Sood, former general secretary, of the DYC, Mr Raj Kumar Kashyap, general secretary, PYC Beopar Cell, Mr Sat Pal Ghai, Mr Jatinder Singh Titu, Mr Yadwinder Singh and Mr Jatin Sikand.

On the other hand, the state secretary of the BJP Mr Anil Sareen, demanded that the step of granting ministerial status to CPS and PS’s being unconstitutional, as ruled by the Himachal Pradesh, these be sacked forthwith and the facilities on par with ministers, to them be withdrawn.

He said the BJP had all along been opposing the appointment of CPS and PS’s, since these put a very heavy financial burden on the exchequer without providing any benefit to the masses.

“On one hand, the Congress government in Punjab claimed that state was passing through a severe resource crunch and on the other hand, a virtual army of parliamentary secretaries has been created to circumvent the constitutional bar on the size of Cabinet.”



UN team films civic management
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 11
A team of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in India conducted an intensive tour of the city during the last three days to shoot the civic amenities and other infrastructural facilities available in the industrial capital of the state. The film shooting was a part of the project to study the Municipal Corporation model here for a case study of ‘Municipal Management and Capacity Building’. The UNDP had selected the city corporation from the entire country for the study.

The camera crew and other members of the team filmed the ambitious ‘water for all project’ under which potable water was being supplied to the city population in approved colonies, the waste management system including the bio medical waste disposal project, a number of green belts and leisure valley, besides interviewing a host of MC officers, city residents and functionaries of mohalla sanitation committees.

According to the MC Commissioner the UNDP had selected the city corporation for its study to prepare a document on ‘successful governance initiatives and best practices: experiences from indian states’.The two other case studies to be filmed elsewhere in India were in Uttar Pradesh, Uttranchal and Madhya Pradesh.

He said the short documentaries on these selected case studies would be used as an advocacy tool to facilitate experience sharing on best practices, both at national level and between state governments as well as a means to enable wider dissemination of information, as per a communication addressed by the Head, Human Development Resource Centre of UNDP to the Secretary, Department of Planning, Government of Punjab.

The Commissioner said the UNDP had taken into consideration various aspects like the magnitude of services provided by the civic body, operating efficiency, success in providing basic amenities, financial management and providing the infrastructure in the municipal limits. The MC in Ludhiana had already scored several firsts like providing drinking water to the entire population within its limits and setting up of the biomedical disposal plant. Besides the corporation had improved the financial management and launched an ambitious slum development project.



In service of people for 48 years
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 11
Dr T S Cheema, medical superintendent of Ludhiana Maternity Hospital also known as Dr B L Kapoor Memorial Hospital, has served poor and lower middle class people of Ludhiana for 48 years. He had built the hospital from scratch.

Dr Cheema family of scientists and Army officers. He joined the Ludhiana Maternity Hospital in 1957 after MD (Gynae) from Gujrat University. Probably he was the first MD (gynae) in this part of the country at that time.

The Ludhiana Maternity Hospital, shifted after the partition of the country, started in a dilapidated building in Naulakha gardens on the Benjamin Road. There were only 20 beds.

After the partition of the country, started in a dilapidated building in Naulakha Gardens on the Benjamin Road. There were only 20 beds.

In 1961 the hospital moved to the present site. The Municipal Committee, Ludhiana, then built one ward of 20 beds. It was known as municipal ward.

Dr Cheema said during those days death rate of neo-natal and pregnant mothers was very high and trained nurses were required. So they set up a nursing school to train nurses. After this a blood bank was put up.

Meanwhile Dr B L Kapoor left the hospital under the command of Dr Cheema who used to walk to the hospital. The hospital under Dr Cheema rose to be a popular maternity hospital for the poor.

Dr Cheema also added specialities like medicine, peadiatrics, general surgery, orthopaedics ophthalmology, dermatology and psychiatry. And established operating theatres, ultrasound and high-tech lab for infertility.

At present, bed strength of the hospital is 250 and employs 30 doctors.

There was not adequate support from the government and Dr Cheema had to beg from philanthropists and from the Rotary Club and the Lions Club to run the hospital.

The hospital received Rs 12 lakh grant from Rotary International for setting up Eye Department through the efforts of a daughter of Dr Cheema, settled in Germany.

Dr. Cheema’s wife Dr (Mrs) Raj Cheema also a known gynaecologist and has served people of this region as head of the Gynae Department of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital.

Even now she is serving people of the town. “I have been surviving on the income of Mrs Cheema’ says Dr Cheema.



BSNL employees union gets recognition
Our correspondent

Ludhiana, December 11
The BSNL employees union made a victory all over India with a margin of 39601 votes and in Punjab Telecom Circle with a margin of 651 votes in the 2nd membership verification held on December 1, 2004

According to a press release, the administration of BSNL New Delhi issued recognition of BSNLEU on February 6, 2004. Comrade Balbir Singh Circle Secretary and Comrade Balwinder Singh District Secretary stated that for the implementation of demand chart/election manifesto the union has started serious efforts at all level.

Issues like settlement of perks on a par with MTNL, pay anomalies, grade -V promotion, revision of pay scale of T.Mech, Senior TOA, Lorry Driver etc would be sought out.

The union will also oppose disinvestment and privatisation of BSNL and will not allow Voluntary Retirement Scheme and Compulsory Retirement Scheme policy of the Government. The Circle union and district thanked voters of Punjab and Ludhiana SSA.



Training programme for PNB staff
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 11
To provide a regular training to its staff members, the Zonal Training Centre of Punjab National Bank organised a training programme on "healthy living" based on principles of yoga and nature cure, with special emphasis on stress management and stress release.

The programme was conducted by Mr S.R. Mittal, a trustee of the Nature Cure Education Trust.

Mr Dhar, principal of the institution, welcomed the chief guest and participants. He explained the utility of the subject with reference to management style on the pattern of Japan to achieve a high degree of perfection and commitment.



Talk on management, creativity
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 11
The Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) organised a talk on twin topics of ‘New vision for better management’ and ‘Key factors for becoming creative’ here last evening. Speakers, Sister B.K. Asha and Dr Girish Patel, of the Brahma Kumari Mission, emphasised the need to search and control the inner self for better and creative management.

Sister Asha speaking on ‘New visions for better management’ observed that at the key center of every management system was the person and, therefore, it was important to understand the persona of the person who was doing the management and for whom it was being managed. A great advocate of value-based system, she said that in the changing scenario today, the organisational leadership, these days, had moved away from being charismatic and transformational to inspirational and serving.

Dr Girish Patel, a psychotherapist, conducted a talk-cum-practical session on ‘Key factors for creativity’. He said that a relaxed mind and meditation were pre-requisites to be creative and only then the mind of person could move towards creativity.

Mr V.K. Goyal, general secretary LMA, welcomed both the speakers and said issues of better and creative leadership were not two separate issues as one could not be there without the other happening. Mr Anil Kumar, vice-president of the association, wound up the session by emphasising the need to pause and detach oneself from non-productive thought process to be a better and creative manager.

The session was attended by more than 400 members.



Pensioners Day on December 17
Our Correspondent

Doraha, December 11
The Pensioners Day will be celebrated on December 17 at 10.30 a.m. in Pensioners’ Bhavan at Ludhiana. This was informed by Mr Madan Mohan Sharma, general secretary of the Retirees Welfare Association of Ludhiana.

He asked all pensioners to be present on this grand occasion. The pensioners would discuss the problems being faced by them and a definite solution would be sought out with open talks. 



Small industry flays power cuts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 11
A joint meeting of the Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India and its allied association was held here recently under the chairmanship of Mr Joginder Kumar to take stock of the situation on the issue of service tax clause 9 of Section - 2 of the Central Excise Act, power tariff and unscheduled power cuts.

Members strongly decried the one-hour power cut four times a day and demanded that at least eight hours uninterrupted power supply must be ensured.

The members also decried the tariff announced by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission wherein more relief had been provided to light supply consumers and power intensive units, whereas, marginal relief had been provided to medium supply and small power consumers.

Mr Joginder Kumar, president, apprised the members about the latest conditions of the case and had taken up the issue with the authorities concern regarding service tax. He further pointed out that the issues of service tax on electroplating, heat-treatment tests, service tax on commission agents of the tiny or small sector and custom duty on secondary/defective materials would be taken up on a top priority with the Prime Minister shortly.


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