L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


3 convicts sustain burns in jail
LPG pipe leakage leads to fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 21
Three prisoners in the Central Jail here sustained burns on their arms and legs when a fire broke out in the kitchen due to a suspected leakage in an LPG pipe this afternoon. Jail officials claimed that the convicts had mishandled the pipes.

The jail officials have summoned officials of the Chandigarh-based gas agency to check the remaining LPG cylinders and pipes for preventing any such incident in the future.

The fire broke out at about 1pm when convicts were preparing lunch for about 2,500 convicts and under-trials. There was something wrong with the flame in one of the burners. A convict was examining the pipe when the gas came out with a gush and fire broke out, a jail official claimed.

The clothes of three convicts — Raghbir Singh, Bal Singh and Babu Lal—who were standing close to the pipe caught fire. The flames were doused by other inmates and security guards in the kitchen.

The three were given first-aid treatment in the jail hospital and later shifted to the Civil Hospital as the burns were over 25 per cent. They are out of danger, as per doctors.

The injured claimed that there was a blockade in the pipe and the fire broke out when they were examining the pipe.

The jail officials said the cause of the fire could be a leakage or mishandling of the pipe by some of the convicts. The officials said elaborate safety measures had been taken in the kitchen to prevent such incidents. All pipes, burners and cylinders had been checked just two weeks ago as part of a routine exercise, they said.

No inquiry has been ordered into the incident. The officials are awaiting the report of the experts from the gas agency for further action.

The fire brigade was not pressed into service as the fire was doused in time.



Protests, marches mark bandh against VAT
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 21
The call for a nationwide bandh by the Akhil Bharatiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal today in protest against the introduction of value-added tax (VAT) from April evoked good response with most shops, business establishments, industrial units, workshops and other commercial enterprises remaining closed for the day.

A large number of traders and shopkeepers of local markets, led by functionaries of the Punjab Pardesh Beopar Mandal, held a demonstration at the Clock Tower chowk and burnt an effigy of VAT.

Majority of the shops, eating joints and commercial centres at Ghumar Mandi, Sarabha Nagar, Civil Lines, Field Ganj, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Model Town, Chaura Bazar, Saban Bazar and Kesar Ganj Mandi remained closed. Traders in other markets held separate demonstrations.

The rally was addressed Mr Kasturi Lal Mittal and Mr Mohinder Aggarwal, president and secretary of the district unit of the beopar mandal, respectively, Mr Sunil Mehra, state unit secretary, Mr Sat Pal Gosain, former deputy speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, and Mr Varinder Kapoor, secreratry, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

Members of the Ludhiana District Chemists Association, led by association functionaries Tikka Dalip Singh, G.S. Chawla, Harish Kapila and Pardeep Passi wore black badges and took out a protest march from Pindi Street to the Clock Tower.

Mandi Gobindgarh: Business establishments, tea stalls and local industry remained closed here today in response to the bandh call given by the Bharatiya Udyog Beopar Mandal to protest against the implementation of value added tax (VAT) from April.

A protest march was taken out through the Loha Bazar and an effigy symbolising VAT was burnt at the main chowk on the national highway. A rally was held which was addressed by Mr Om Prakash Gupta, president Beopar Mandal, Mr Bal Mukund, BJP leader Mr Tajender Singh Salana Advocate, national general secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, former SGPC member and Mr Joginder Singh Maini, state unit secretary, Pardesh Congress Committee.

Later talking to mediapersons, Mr Gupta, Swami Sohan Lal and Mr Prakash Chand Garg asserted that VAT in its present form was not acceptable to the business community as it had been drafted by persons who had no experience and knowledge about the results of its implementation.

Amloh: A bandh was observed by shopkeepers of the town against the implementation of VAT. Later a rally was addressed by BJP district unit vice-president Raj Pal Garg, SAD (A) local unit president Suchha Singh, SAD councillor Baldev Sedha. They organised a protest march through the main bazars of the town and presented a memorandum to the SDM in this regard.

Samrala: On a call given by several organisations a bandh was observed in the town. Bazars, petrol station, grain and vegetable markets remained closed in protest. Traders and shopkeepers held a demonstration in the city.

Mandi Ahmedgarh: Traders here observed a bandh on Monday and resented the government move to implement the said regulations.

Shops and business organisations remained closed till evening after which some shops were opened owing to public pressure.

The office-bearers of the Cattle Feed Manufacturers Association, Chaura Bazar Welfare Association, Shopkeepers Association and Medical Store Union resented the government move to implement VAT.

Doraha: A complete bandh was observed at Doraha on Monday as the shopkeepers kept their shutters down.

Organisations and associations, including the chemists association, Readymade Garments Association, Maniari Association, Kariyana Merchants Association, Hardware Association, Electronics Union, kept their shops closed. Mr Pritam Singh Jaggi of the Kariyana Merchant’s Association said the government should retract its arbitrary move on VAT.

Jagraon: All industrial, commercial and business concerns observed a total bandh on Monday in Jagraon to protest against the decision of the government to implement Value Added Tax with effect from April 1 this year.



For most markets, it was weekly off
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 21
While the bandh against the VAT system in Ludhiana was complete, a number of traders, most of them retailers, said it had to be successful as over half of the markets remain close today, it being a weekly off. The traders resented the bandh call given against VAT. They said while they support the bandh, they did not want it on a Monday.

Vipan Kumar, a silk trader pointed out that most of the local markets like Dal Bazar, Gud Mandi, Akalgarh Market, AC Market and others remain closed on Mondays. By giving a call for the bandh on Monday, the sponsors of the bandh had kept only the interest of the big traders in mind.

Mr Sunil Kumar, a businessman, said it were the retailers who had to close their business establishments for two consecutive days, i.e. Sunday and Monday.

The strike call was given for Monday deliberately in order to ensure that the bandh was a success. The sponsors of the strike will try to claim it as their success, while the fact remains that it was a routine closure, certain shopkeepers added. 



His heart beats on the wrong side
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 21
Pawanjot, son of Mr Dalwinder Singh, a farmer of Fatehgarh Sahib district, was born with his heart on the wrong side and with all his major arteries connected to the wrong chambers of the heart. Due to this congenital defect, he used to frequently turn blue and this hampered his growth.

After consultation at various hospitals in Punjab and Delhi, the boy’s father came to Dr Harinder Singh Bedi, chief of cardiac sciences at Sigma New Life Heart Institute here.

Dr Bedi said the defect was transposition of the great arteries, which is very rare and can prove fatal, if untreated. “Another more alarming complication was that Pawanjot’s heart was on the right side and there were two major holes in the heart. Such a combination of two major defects is extremely rare, and in fact it has not been reported so far.”

As the child’s lungs had also been damaged due to pressure of the abnormal heart, he was not in a position to tolerate any procedure done on by a heart-lung machine. In view of the peculiar complications of the case, a special operation called a “bi-directional cavopulmonary anastomosis” was performed.

In Pawanjot’s case, the surgery had to be performed without the heart-lung machine. The four-hour long surgery. Pawanjot did extremely well and turned pink as soon as the surgery was completed. A check after the surgery showed a perfect result.

The other members of the cardiac surgery team were Dr Raman Pal Singh and Dr Bhupender Singh Sengar.



Dead man’s plot sold ‘fraudulently’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 21
Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma has asked the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana, to register a case against Hardeep Singh, son of Kulwant Singh of Tehsil village in Ludhiana district, under Section 419, 420 of the IPC for allegedly committing a fraud by selling a plot belonging to a dead person.

Hardeep Singh reportedly possessed a power of attorney which had become invalid after the death of the owner.

Giving details of the case, Mr Verma disclosed that Sodhi Singh, son of Lal Singh of Dugri village, had submitted a complaint against lambardar Mohan Singh and Hardeep Singh of the same village for executing an illegal land sale deed for a piece of land situated in Dugri by using invalid power of attorney after the death of the owner.

Mr Verma said the complainant submitted that Hari Singh, son of Sikander Singh, had executed the power of attorney in 1989 in favour of Hardeep Singh relating to a piece of land.

Hari Singh died on February 23, 2004, but Hardeep Singh on the basis of power of attorney executed a sale deed on April 24, 2004, two months after the death of Hari Singh, in favour of Mr Jagroop Singh, who is a close relative of the accused, with a view to grab the property.

Mohan Singh had identified the seller and the purchaser to facilitate the deed.

In the complaint, it was also demanded that the lambardari of Mohan Singh should be terminated.

The Deputy Commissioner said the complaint was enquired by Extra Assistant Commissioner (under training), who established that Mohan Singh had only identified the seller, Hardeep Singh, and purchaser, Jagroop Singh, and thus had committed no wrong in performing his duty as lambardar.

The EAC (UT) had reported that after the death of Sodhi Singh, the power of attorney became invalid but Hardeep Singh deliberately used the invalid power of attorney and got the sale deed executed.

Mr Ajmer Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, also agreeing with the report of the EAC (UT) had recommended for the registration of a criminal case against Hardeep Singh.

The Deputy Commissioner said the legal opinion was also taken from District Attorney, who reported that prima facie an offence under Sections 419, 420 IPC read with 465, 468 IPC, had been committed and accordingly recommended for registration of criminal case.



Cong policies causing demographic changes: BJP
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 21
The state unit of the BJP has accused a section of bureaucrats of allegedly promoting the ‘hidden agenda’ of the Congress to Islamise the nation. It has warned that the country would prove to be a hell for other communities if a joint crusade was not launched against such designs.

Though it would continue its alliance with the SAD, the party had initiated fresh movement to strengthen their base in rural parts of the state so that it could bargain better during seat allocation at the time of elections, he said.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune after addressing a meeting of party workers, Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, state general secretary and spokesman of the BJP, said the demography of the state had changed drastically due to the partisan policies of the Congress government. With fast growing population and immigration of Muslims, the ratio of non-Muslim population was fast declining, he said.

“A section of bureaucrats is bent on promoting the ‘hidden agenda’ of the Congress by promoting Islamic organisations in Punjab and other states. More than 10,000 organisations, including Islamic seminaries, have been promoting their sect in the name of religious education,” said Mr Grewal. The country would prove to be a hell for others communities if the present trend was not checked, he said.

Referring to the observations made during his recent visit to Bihar, he said, “It is shame on us that our Hindu brethren living in the area of Kishanganj are not allowed to cremate bodies of their kin as the area is dominated by Muslims and they force them to bury the dead according to Islamic tradition.”



Doc, family live in fear of goons
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 21
An MBBS doctor and his family is living under fear of some alleged goons in Basant Vihar Colony, Noorwala road, Basti Jodhewal, with the police not being able to provide respite from terror. The goons do not seem to have any fear of law as they had allegedly forcibly locked the clinic of the doctor and were not allowing him to practice in the area.

Dr S.P. Singh has alleged that goons ruled the area and they have forcibly closed down his clinic. He has lodged a complaint at the Basti Jodhewal police station, but no action has been taken so far, he says.

In a representation to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, he said the goons had allegedly loaned some money to a vegetable vendor operating near his clinic. The vendor had disappeared and now the alleged goons were asking him to pay the loan.

An armed group ransacked his clinic on February 14 and locked it. The doctor had rushed to the police for security, but his pleas went unheard.

He also gave a representation to the SP (City-II), Mr Pritam Singh, who told the Basti Jodhewal police to inquire into the matter.

Mr Jaswinder Singh Mangat, SHO, Basti Jodhewal, admitted that the complaint had been received, but the complainant did not identify anyone. He said he had sent an ASI to the clinic today to verify the allegations.

The doctor said he had not given any guarantee to the alleged goons about the vendor, yet they were forcing him to pay Rs 15,000 borrowed by the vendor.



BSNL employees hold demonstration
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 21
Employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) today held a demonstration in front of the office of the General Manager, Telecom, here in protest against the apathetic attitude of the administration towards members of National Federation of Telecom Employees.

Charging the top brass with discrimination and victimisation on the basis of affiliation of the employees to the NFTE, the district secretary, Mr Mohinder Prasad, and other speakers asked the BSNL officials to act in an impartial and just manner.

The trade union leaders also flayed the leniency of the administration in handling the corruption cases while sounding a note of caution that soft- paddling in such vital matters would not be tolerated.



Company workers hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 21
Over 125 workers of M/s Farm Parts Company held a dharna protesting against the alleged compulsory retrenchment of workers. The protesting workers, under the banner of Moulder and Steel Workers Union, also presented a charter of demands to the labour inspector.

According to Mr Vijaynarayan, leader of the union, following the high-handedness of the management all the workers did was that they started gathering. But the management retrenched the workers.

The union members urged the Labour Department and administration to get the matter resolved. They threatened to intensify their struggle if the workers were not taken back by the management.


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