L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


3 killed, 26 injured in bus accident
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana/Khanna, April 30
Three persons, including a 9-month-old girl, were killed and 26 others were injured in a road accident involving a private mini bus and an oil tanker near Rasulra village on Khanna-Malerkotla road at about noon today.

Three seriously injured persons, including a youth whose right foot was badly crushed in the accident, were admitted to DMC hospital while others were under treatment at civil hospital in Khanna.

A pall of gloom engulfed Ikolaha village as the deceased and most of the injured persons belonged to this village.

The accident took place near a curve on the road when the rear side of an oil tanker coming from Khanna side hit the rear side of a private bus. The bus belonged to General Transport Company and was heading towards Khanna from Rauni village. The bus driver lost balance due to the impact and the vehicle overturned . The driver of the tanker, however, sped away after hitting the bus.

Gurinder Singh, a passer-by, who witnessed the accident said the mini bus was sent in a spin after the impact and eventually it overturned. He along with a friend, Rafi Mohammad, called the police and with the help of other residents of Rasulra village rescued the injured.

Rafiq Mohammad , while talking to The Tribune at DMC hospital, said the bus was twisted and mangled by the impact. The passengers were trapped in the mangled remains of the bus and were crying for help. It was with great difficulty that they were extricated from the bus.

The deceased have been identified as Mohan Lal (35), Manveer Singh (20) and Suman jeet Kaur (9 months), all residents of Ikolaha village. Three seriously injured patients, Gurpreet Singh, Asha and Atish Khan, have been admitted to DMC, Ludhiana.

The other injured have been identified as Saroj, Rajinder Singh, Suman, Neena Gandhi, Sukhdeep Singh (Conductor of the bus) Amarjit Singh (Driver), Narinder Kaur, Maninder Singh, Sarabhjeet Kaur, Prem Singh, Danwinder Kaur, Daljit Kaur, Harjeet Kaur, Sukhdarshan Singh, Bector Lal, Charanjit Kaur, Hajinder Kaur, Suman Soni, Harman Singh, Palvinder Singj and Jasvinder Singh. One of the injured, Rajinder Kaur, was rushed to a private hospital.

According to the Khanna police, while Mohan Lal was killed on the spot, Sumanjeet Kaur died on way to the civil hospital. The third deceased, Manveer Singh, was also referred to Ludhiana as his condition was serious but he succumbed to injuries on the way. Manveer Singh was a student of Plus II in Guru Hargobind Singh School, Ikolaha. Most of the injured belong ed to Ikolaha village and Panjrokha.

ADC Ajmer Singh told mediapersons that the victims would be given compensation as per state government’s instructions. He said the injured had been provided with medicines and other medical aid at the civil hospital.



Veteran sends 5 sons to Army despite shabby treatment
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Machhiwara, April 30
Despite being treated shabbily by the government and the Ministry of Defence, an 85-year-old World War-II veteran has maintained the rich tradition of choosing Defence services as career for five out of his six sons. Three of them are still in service while one has died and another retired.

Tale of Santokh Singh is not only an epitome of the apathy of the government , the Army but he has also been taken for a ride by a gang of swindlers besides having a bitter experience at the hands of mediapersons too recently. Though he won a pension case in 2001 after a long legal battle for which he had to sell his land and valuables, he still is fighting to get arrears of 44 years of pension, which he never got.

A gang of swindlers hoodwinked him 25 years ago by taking away his six gold medals. Promising that those would be re-presented by the then President of India. Needless to say the gang members never returned the prizes won by facing bullets and bombs and not even a case was registered by the police about the missing medals.

If that was not enough, recent media reports too pained him. It was reported that he had lost his medals without mentioning that the incident took place 25 years ago. The report sent the police here as well as Intelligence Agencies into a tizzy. Apart from them scores of other mediapersons and television channels made a beeline to Santokh Singh’s house only to realise the folly of the news report.

Already peeved at that ignorance of the government towards his plight, Santokh Singh is made to pose for television channels and give same explanations about the missing medals to the mediapersons. Eventually, the old story was ignored and his plight was being highlighted.

Santokh Singh and his son Amarjit Singh told the Ludhiana Tribune that splinters of a bomb explosion that hit him during the war were still stuck in his back. They were just reminders of the pain he suffers. He claimed that the government was committed to give him pension and other benefits but he got it only after a long legal battle in 2001, that too without the arrears.

His son revealed that they were now moving from one office to another to get the arrears but nothing has been done. Why did he then chose to send his children to Army? Santokh Singh replies with clear sense of pride in his voice and eyes, “ No job is better than the honour of wearing the uniform of the Indian Army. I would even send my grandchildren to the Defence forces just hoping that we would be treated better”.



Four held for duping viewers of TV serial
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 30
An inter-state gang of swindlers has allegedly duped thousands of viewers of a popular TV serial by collecting money in the name of forwarding charges for sending coloured television “won” by them. The Rajasthan police has arrested four members of the gang and recovered a portion of the money collected through illicit dealing and has also sealed their bank accounts. Though the exact amount of money swindled was yet to be ascertained, it was estimated to run in millions.

The action was taken by the police after The Tribune carried a report regarding a complaint made by Ms Neena Sharma, a resident of the local Subhash Nagar Colony, who had failed to understand as to how a fictitious firm of Rajasthan got a self-addressed inland letter, which she had dispatched to the organisers of a popular TV serial, “Chhappar Phar Ke”, anchored by superstar Govinda on Sony TV.

Mr Rajinder Yadav SHO of Saipau police station in Rajashthan, informed that Ashok Kumar Gupta of Shivpuri in Aligarh, who was kingpin of the gang had been arrested along with his accomplices Prem Bahadur of Surari Kalan in Maharashtra, Kirti Kumar of Usman Pur New Delhi and Shish Paul of Mandoli Extension New Delhi. They had been booked under Sections 420, 406, 467, 468 and 120 B of the IPC on the complaint of Neena Sharma and others.

Like many other complainants, Ms Neena Sharma was informed by a bogus firm that she had won a colour television set in the TV serial contest. By the time she could understand that the firm was bogus she had lost around Rs 2,000.

In complaints to the Director-General of Police, Rajasthan, the victims had accused the owners of Vishal Agencies, a firm located at 38, Adarsh Colony, Saipau in Rajasthan, of duping innocent people on the pretext of charging money for packaging and freight etc of the television set.

Those duped had sent their entries for the ‘Jeeto Chhappar Phar Ke’ TV serial contest. They had received letters mentioning that they had won colour TV sets worth around Rs 11,950 each and were one of the 20 winners. They were asked to pay Rs 1,650 each for packaging and forwarding the TV set.

The victims were asked to send drafts worth Rs 650, drawn on a branch of a nationalised bank situated in New Delhi. Contrary to the assurance made in the letter they received VPLs in the first week of December. Hoping that the VPL would contain documents for the release of a TV from some transport agency the aspirants got them released by paying Rs 1,050 each. But each envelope contained a set of 10 other forms instead of the expected documents.

The swindlers’ had then asked the winners’ to send these forms back along with a draft worth Rs 650.

The Rajasthan police, after receiving the complaints and going through the report published in The Tribune, registered an FIR against the accused and arrested four of them. Preliminary investigations revealed that Ashok Gupta, the kingpin of the racket, had procured the forms discarded by the organisers of the serial from a scrap dealer. They had used the forms to lure the participants and send the money in the hope of receiving a TV.

Besides seizing drafts worth Rs 80,000, the police recovered a huge amount from the house of the kingpin. The accounts being run by the suspects in HDFC Bank in New Delhi were also sealed. The gangsters did not write letters to the residents of Rajasthan as they apprehended that they might try to check the facts owing to easy accessibility of their office there. A majority of victims were from Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Madras, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir.



Protesters block traffic for two hours
Our Correspondent

Raikot, April 30
The joint action committee, constituted by various political parties of the local area, to impress upon the police to arrest the accused wanted in connection with a case registered at the local police station for allegedly setting afire the pesticide shop owned by an Akali leader at Bassian and assaulting his son, have threatened to stage a dharna in front of the office of the Senior Superintendent of Police at Jagraon in case the culprits were not arrested by May 6.

They blocked traffic at the local Hari Singh Nalwa Chowk for more than two hours today and constituted zonal committees to make the action more effective.

The police on the other hand denied the charges of inaction and maintained that it was working hard to nab the accused.

While addressing the activists of the JAC, the leaders of various political parties alleged that the police was hand-in-glove with the accused, who had set afire the pesticide shop owned by Mr Ved Parkash Rawal, an SAD leader and former Sarpanch, on Wednesday. They blocked the traffic on the Hari Singh Nalwa Chowk for more than two hours.

They further accused the staff at local Civil Hospital of trying to shield the accused by showing the main accused as admitted there for treatment. Before lifting the blockade they constituted three zonal committees led by Mr Dalip Singh Andloo, Mr Harchand Singh Barundi and Mr Harbans Singh (Lohatbaddi zone).

The Bassian zone would be led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Achharwal, Mr Dharampal Singh Andloo, and Mr Ram Sarup Kalsian. Mr Narinder Singh Sanghera, Mr Parkash Singh Issru and Mr Jaswinder Singh would lead the Sudhar zone. Representatives from more than 12 social and political organisations joined the dharna.

The leaders threatened to stage a dharna in front of SSP office at Jagraon in case the accused were not arrested by May 6.

Mr Tarsem Jodhan former MLA, Ms Harbans Kaur Sukhana member SGPC, Mr Jagjit Singh Talwandi (both SAD leader), Mr Harbans Singh Lohatbaddi (CPM Punjab leader) and Mr Baldev Singh Talwandi addressed the gathering.

Baljit Singh Rangi, former block president of the Youth Congress, along with his henchmen, had set afire the pesticide shop owned by Mr Ved Parkash Rawal, an SAD leader and former Sarpanch, on Wednesday. They had assaulted Mr Rawal’s son Raj Kamal before sprinkling petrol on the shop and setting it afire. The police had booked 16 persons under appropriate section of law.

Denying the charges of inaction Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, Jagraon, said he had directed Mr H. S. Brar, DSP Raikot to look after the operation to nab the accused him self. “Special investigation teams had been constituted which had been raiding possible hide outs of the accused and we hope to arrest them soon,” said Mr Ahir. 



Coop Dept inspectors laud transfer policy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 30
The promoted inspectors of Punjab Cooperative Department, while lauding the transfer policy announced by the state government, have demanded that the same be implemented in letter and spirit for the clerical staff as well.

A meeting of the body of cooperative department inspectors, held at Chatar Singh Park here today, discussed the problems being faced by them and decided the ways and means to take these up at the appropriate level.

Giving details of the deliberations, the spokesperson, Mr Setia informed that the inspectors urged the government to fill up the vacant posts of managers in cooperative banks and land mortgage banks in the state by posting inspectors, who were recruited in 1981. The step would not only go a long way in improving the efficiency of these banks, but would also take a lot of financial burden off the cooperative department.

The meeting further expressed concern over stagnation being faced by the inspectors, who had put in service ranging between 30 and 32 years in the department. Such inspectors, who were already drawing salaries equivalent to that of Assistant Registrar ought to be posted at subdivision level as it would not entail any additional financial burden on the department.

According to Mr Setia, the body of inspectors also deliberated on elections of the union which were due for some time now. A tentative programme was chalked out for the purpose and it which would be finalised in the next meeting, he told.



As mercury soars, residents turn to pools 
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, April 30
As the temperature soars, city residents have turned towards swimming for relief from the scorching sun. A majority of the swimmers are children up to 15 years of age. However, many men and women, too take a dip to get the cool feeling. A majority of the pools here are witnessing huge rush these days.

Swimming at the prestigious Sutlej Club is at its peak. Ms Ashima, a student of Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, said she made it a point not to miss her swimming even for a single day. She can swim in the water for an hour regularly, she said. “After school, I come here to get a respite. I like the surroundings with soft music being played in the evenings.,” said Ashima.

Attired in bright coloured swimming costumes, they look fresh. The club said has arranged for a small pool for tiny tots, where they can float and enjoy the water.

The swimming pool of the Municipal Corporation has also started witnessing rush. Efforts have been made by the officials for making it convenient and presentable for the swimmers.



BKU activists stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 30
Hundreds of activists of the BKU and other allied organisations today held a rally in front of the SDM’s office here in protest against the attack on Mr Nirmal Singh, district president, BKU (Ekta). They submitted a memorandum to the Tehsildar, Jagraon, and later sat on a dharna.

The rally demanded action against Darshan Singh, a commission agent of Jagraon, his accountant and others who forcibly removed wheat belonging to Jasbir Singh, a farmer of Chhajjawal, from Talwandi Kalan.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case against the commission agent and others.



Sahit Akademi celebrates golden jubilee
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 30
The golden jubilee celebrations of the Punjabi Sahit Akademi were held in Punjabi Bhavan here today.
The function was held in collaboration with the Punjabi Academy, Delhi. Dr Surjit Patar, president of the Punjabi Sahit Akademi read out the welcome address and the inaugural address was delivered by Dr Sutinder Singh Noor of Delhi.

Dr Prem Singh of Delhi was the chief guest while special guests on the occasion were Dr Rawail Singh, secretary, Punjabi Academy, Delhi. The function was presided over by Dr Tejwant Singh Gill. Writers, critics and poets from many states, including Srinagar, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh attended the function.

In the morning session, Dr Mohanjit Singh and Dr Manjeet Singh discussed the contribution of the writers outside Punjab to the development of Punjabi.

The seminar will conclude tomorrow.



An example of dignity in adversity
Tribune News Service

Rakesh Talwar
Rakesh Talwar

Ludhiana, April 30
Poverty and incapacitation are not enough to subdue the voice of his conscience. Despite overcoming pangs of starvation, Mr Rakesh Talwar, who had become paralysed after falling in a manhole, is not a broken man.

Deriving strength out of his righteousness, Mr Talwar today bluntly refused the offer of setting up a cigarette kiosk to earn his livelihood. “I prefer dying of hunger to selling poison,” he maintained.

He was offered money by a local good Samaritan, who had asked him to set up a cigarette kiosk at public place. But for Mr Talwar the offer was not acceptable.

“I believe in the dignity of labour. I will do any kind of work but not selling tobacco. I am against narcotics. How can I sell cigarettes and other tobacco products? Only because I have been rendered useless, I will not compromise on my principles,” he said.

Happy at his reaction, the good Samaritan has now offered him to set up a xerox shop with the help of an NGO.

Mr Talwar said he would be too happy to sell kids’ clothes. “For this again I need help,” said Mr Talwar. He is now moving from one office to other taking orders for visiting cards.

Around seven years ago, Mr Talwar had become paralysed after falling in the manhole near dhobi ghat. While he had been able to overcome the crippling effects of his disease to some extent, he is fighting a battle of sorts with the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.

Though corporation officials have refused to help him, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission has offered help by registering a case of rights violation.



Entrepreneurs attend training programme on management
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 30
The Management Development Centre (MDC) of the Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GNIMT) conducted its second one-day training programme on “Enhancing Personal Effectiveness” here today.

The speakers said there was a need for organisations to build an organisational capacity around teamwork to ensure their survival in the current business scenario such programmes could help the organisations in meeting these challenges.

The objectives of the programme were the alignment of personal objectives with organisational goals, enhancing personal effectiveness through teamwork, interpersonal skills and developing managers of tomorrow by focussing on the growth and development of people in supervisory roles.

The programme was presented in three modules. In module I, the subjects included motivating the team and how to remain self-motivated. In module II, the focus was on team work for organisational excellence, how to be a good team member and team as a tool for enhancing productivity. In module III, the topic was the importance of inter-personal relations.

Dr H. S. Singha, Director, GNIMT was the key speaker. Ms Sandhya Mehta, Assistant Professor in the Management Department was the resource person.



Industry fears imposition of anti-dumping duty on steel import
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 28
The engineering industry in the state is again faced with the threat of rising steel prices even as the prices of steel in the international market were falling. The steel consumers said, they were fearing that the steel cartel of the country was trying to force the government to impose anti-dumping duty on the steel imports just to retain the unrestricted monopoly.

The president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr P.D Sharma said, hurdles were also being created to block the entry of the Korean steel giant Pasco to invest in Orissa. He pointed out, once the Pasco came to India, the monopoly of the steel cartel will go and the steel prices will come down.

Mr Sharma maintained that with the falling steel prices in the international market, the import of steel was increasing. Steel in China was the cheapest at $500 per tonne. Fearing that the imports would set the prices crashing in India, the steel lobby has once again started demanding the anti-dumping duty on the import of steel. He disclosed that the steel lobby was pressing upon the government to levy anti dumping duty on steel.

He said, although the import duty on steel was just 5 per cent, the import duty on secondary steel was still 20 per cent which was quite high. It was earlier reduced by the government on the demand of the industry from 40 to 20 per cent. Mr Sharma argued that the steel producers were fixing the prices in the most arbitrary manner which they claimed ‘‘import parity basis’’. 


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