L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Labourer held for killing employer
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 1
The Dehlon police has arrested Birane Araon, migrant labourer, who was alleged to have killed Mansha Singh of Lehra village, from Kilaraipur railway station when he was about to leave the area last night.

Mr Harjit Singh Brar, DSP, Dakha, said the police had nabbed Birane Araon from the railway station when he was about to board a train last night.

"Preliminary investigations have revealed that Birane had planned to leave the state immediately after committing the crime but intensive patrolling by the police foiled his attempt and he was nabbed when he was about to board a train destined for Haryana," said Mr Brar while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune.

He further stated that it had taken two days for Birane to prepare for the attack. In absence of any weapon with him, he chose to use a chopper. He sharpened the edge of the chopper for two days so as to ensure the result.

"I knew that my master was stronger than me and would not yield before me in ordinary combat. So I decided to attack him from behind and that also with a weapon that would give maximum impetus to the attack," said Birane to the police.

The idea that nobody would be able to trace him from his native state had prompted him to kill Mansha Singh, who had delayed payment of Rs 24 as part payment of his wages for two months.

The police has recovered weapon used and other parts that had been segregated to make it handy. The blood-stained clothes of Birane were also recovered from fields of Mansha Singh.

Birane Araon had killed Mansha Singh with a chopper on Saturday night as soon as he had bent down to mix feed for the cattle

After committing the crime, Brane had fled towards the fields taking advantage of darkness. Noise created by generators working in the neighbourhood had drowned the cries of members of the shocked family and the villagers had come to know about the incident much later.

The police had launched a hunt for the accused and succeeded in nabbing him last night.



Epidemic threat looms large over Sahnewal
Poor sewerage facilities hit life
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, May 1
The residents of Sahnewal are facing a grave problem of water accumulation and consequent diseases and ailments due to the absence of sewerage facilities.

The absence of proper sewerage system has made the life of residents miserable and hellish condition in which they are forced to live is really shocking. The water from houses gets collected in narrow streets (especially in the old Sahnewal) and makes the scene horrible.

The stagnant water, apart from emitting foul smell, is a breeding ground of mosquitoes and flies which conveniently multiply in this most congenial environment.

The passage through streets becomes difficult as they get clogged up due to water accumulation. The problem assumes alarming proportions in the rainy days.

Residents have been complaining of this problem off and on but their pleas have yielded no positive results. As more and more people now prefer to leave the urbanised settings and are settling down in towns like Sahnewal, the lack of sewerage facility has become more conspicuous.

As the population pressure increases, the immediate need for sewerage provisions too must be definitely looked into.

The cleanliness drive launched by the Civil Hospital and nagar panchayat has also not been of much help as the problem of water accumulation is ever persistent.

According to Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu, president, nagar panchayat, Sahnewal,“ Water accumulation is a major drawback for the town as the residents often face difficulties even while following their daily chores.

“We arrange fogging machines, especially for these areas, so that disease spread is checked. Moreover, cleanliness of the area is given attention so that residents may not fall prey to any water-borne infection.

“A resolution to this effect has already been sent a year and a half ago to the sewerage board but no response has arrived yet.”

But inspite of the tall claims made by the authorities, the residents complain of negligible civic amenities. Several of them have fallen prey to the infections.

Complaints of sewage mixing with drinking water are also not far to seek.

If the demand for sewerage facility is not met in the near future, a major epidemic can break out in the area.

Dr S. S. Dhir, SMO, Sahnewal, when contacted, said, “ Our health department initiates preventive measures by sending fogging machines from time to time.

“Also our malaria workers distribute Quinine and Chlorine tablets in the affected areas as a preventive measure but these steps are nullified when the stagnant water breeds more flies.

“Moreover, chances of the spread of diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, jaundice typhoid etc are more pronounced in the wake of present conditions.



PU lapse leaves students shocked
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, May 1
As many as 20 students taking MA sociology examination today in Kamla Lohtia SD College here were in for a shock when they found that their roll numbers had not reached the centre.

Mr Ashwani Bhalla, a senior lecturer of the commerce department of SCD College, Ludhiana, who is the centre superintendent of Kamla Lohtia College, felt shocked, too.

He said he had received the roll number of only three students, but the students who appeared to take the examination were 20.

Prof Bhalla said:"We opened the packet of question papers and there were only 10 question papers in the packet. Frantic calls to the Comptroller of the examinations led to the Panjab University faxing the names of 32 students allotted to the centre No. 32 i.e Kamla Lohtia college. More telephones calls were made to tell the examination department that question papers were in short supply."Only 10 question papers were not sufficient for 20 candidates. Then again a fax from university was received that authorised us to xerox the question papers and finally the paper started at 10.20 am and ended at 1.20 pm. The afternoon paper began at 1.30 pm and hence we had hardly any break."

Mr Ashwani Bhalla was quite displeased with the way examinations were being conducted this year. He said,"I have been teaching for the past 23 years and conducting examinations, but never has been there so many mistakes committed by the university as this year. During one paper, two students were issued the same roll number. The students have sent the examination fee, but the roll numbers were not sent by the university. Then every other day, the papers of some or other class has been out of style.The students have been caused a lot of anguish. "

Dr Harjinder Singh, whose niece took the sociology examination at Kamla Lohtia, said,"Today the university committed a blunder. How could they send the list of only three students when 20 students were appearing. My niece was very upset and was crying due to frustration as her roll number did not reach the centre. Then question papers were in short supply. When the university charges examination fees, I think the onus is on the university to see that the examinations are conducted in a smooth manner without causing heart break for students. We hope that the university does not mess up the results now."



Poverty forces couple to make suicide bid
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
A couple attempted to commit suicide by consuming poison in their rented house in Vishwakarma colony this morning.

Police sources said the victims, Pritam Singh(30) and his pregnant wife Harjit Kaur (27), took poison allegedly because of bad financial situation. Pritam, a labour, had been unemployed for some time.

They were rushed to Oswal Hospital where doctors termed their condition to be stable. The doctors were keeping their fingers crossed about the baby and said the next 48 hours were crucial.

The sources said the couple had a daughter too who was living with her maternal grandmother.

No suicide note has been found from the room so far.



Admn shuts eyes to stubble burning
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Advice of environmentalists and agriculture experts against burning of stubble in the fields notwithstanding, farmers of the district continue to resort to the practice. And the district administration is yet to take steps to stop stubble burning, which has posed a threat to the environment and health of soil.

Although some area under crop is still to be harvested, the farmers have started burning stubble to prepare their fields for the next crop. A visit to the villages in Jagraon and Mandi Ahmedgarh belts revealed that the practice was rampant despite the farmers being well aware of its hazards.

Last night, a farmer, whose fields are situated next to a petrol station in Mandi Ahmedgarh, set the stubble on fire without bothering that it could pose a major threat to the entire area.

The fields kept on burning throughout the night and the petrol station staff remained on their toes to be prepared for any eventuality arising out of the situation.

A number of fields on the Ludhiana-Jagraon road were set ablaze. A farmer said he knew he was not supposed to do so but he could not wait for long since he had to prepare his fields for the next crop.

‘‘Other farmers are doing it. So am I. When there is no action against them why should I be questioned? I, too, have to sow the next crop which would be under insect attack if it was delayed. Ask the government to enforce the direction and I would be the first one to follow it in toto’’, he said.

‘‘What will the burning of stubble for 15 days do to the environment? It is already under threat due to lots of other factors. People blame the farmers for everything. Cannot you see that we provide people with food and we are the ones who are left to commit suicides due to poverty?’’ he added.

He said for the health of his soil he would put an extra dose of urea fertiliser. Despite asking him repeatedly the farmer refused to tell his name as he said he would be questioned by some revenue officials.

Agricultural experts said the level of carbon dioxide was rising constantly in the atmosphere leading to a rise in the temperature. They said because of that practice only the level of carbon dioxide had increased by 25 per cent since 1850.

Doctors in the city stated that they were receiving patients complaining of various respiratory disorders due to dust particles present in the air after harvesting. Stubble burning would worsen their condition.



Exploitation alleged by labourers on May Day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
On the occasion of Labour Day, labourers in the city rued that even after more than five decades of Independence they were made to put in much beyond the lawfully permitted eight hours of daily work.

Addressing a rally of workers in Giaspura Stadium, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) zonal president Balwant Singh said that instead of framing laws that benefitted workers, governments had been working "for the benefit of capitalists in the country".

"In Ludhiana, which is an industrial hub, it is for all to see how workers are being exploited and they are given no rights to raise their voice. Instead of generating employment, industrial units are laying workers off and the trend continues."

He alleged that industrial units were flouting laws with impunity and there was no check to curb the tendency. "Ever since multinationals have marked their entry into the country, workers have been suffering."

The workers also said that there was never such a hue and cry till industry kept flouting labour laws, but when workers started raising their voice against violation of laws by them, it was termed as labour unrest.

Mr Raghunath Singh, general secretary, CITU, said the union would continue its struggle till the workers got their rightful dues. "It is a pity that when workers fight for their rights, false cases are lodged against them," he said.

The rally was also addressed by Mr Jatinder Pal Singh, CITU vice-president, Mr Jagdish Chand, joint secretary, and Mr Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon, secretary, district unit of the CPM.

The workers also submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on "inaction in a case of attack on CITU workers by the police in Ludhiana". In the letter, Mr Chittabrata Majumdar, general secretary, CITU, stated that the union had apprised the state government regarding the attack on CITU workers, but no action had been taken. Another attack took place on April 24 and false cases were also registered against workers, he wrote. Condemning the "police atrocities", CITU demanded stringent measures be taken against the managements of the companies concerned and also against the police.



Bigamy victim seeks justice
Our Correspondent

Amloh, May 1
Veena Rani (18), a local resident, complained to Parliamentary Secretary, Home, Justice and PWD, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot at his residence yesterday that she had been abducted by one of his relatives from Bhikhi and was forced to live with him. He had threatened her that he would kill her brothers if she tried to inform anybody about his abduction or leave the place.

Talking to mediapersons at the residence of Mr Dharamsot, Veena said her relative kept her at different places. After she had become pregnant, he assured her to marry her. He married her at a Nabha court.

When she came to know that he was already married and was the father of two children, she, along with her mother, informed the police about the bigamy. But, the police did not acted on his complaint and she approached Mr D.S. Rana, DSP, who issued orders for action on her complaint.

She alleged that the police asked her to pay Rs1,500 as expenses to hire a vehicle to trace the culprit. Her family could arrange only Rs1,300 by selling their utensils. The culprit was arrested in Bhikhi, but the police let him off on April 29 without subjecting to any legal trial.

Her parents said some members of Bhikhi panchayat had tried to settle the matter by paying Rs 50,000 to them. They alleged that they were made to sit at police station for hours together late in night.

Mr Sadhu Ram, SHO, Amloh, said Mr Malkiat Singh, ASI, was investigating the case. He admitted that the panchayat had assured the police to solve the matter at its level involving the first wife of the culprit by May 2. But it failed to settle the matter amicably and now the police would take action according to law. He refuted the charge of demanding money by the police from the complainant.



Let’s discuss public problems, appeals Opposition
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Tired of protests in the General House of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, the Opposition leaders in the house appealed to the councillors to ensure a peaceful meeting tomorrow so that public problems in get a chance to be heard.

Although the Opposition councillors have a plethora of problems which they want to discuss on the floor tomorrow, they said they would not like the meeting to end up in a storm.

Appealing to their counterparts, Mr Parvin Bansal, leader of Opposition, and Mr Harbhajan Singh Dang, leader of SAD councillors, said they would list their problems in front of the house.

Besides the agenda, Mr Bansal would raise the issue of traffic chaos, shortage of water, lifting of garbage, improper functioning of sewerage system and alternative source of power at water-pumping sites in the city.

‘‘I feel very sorry for the residents when the garbage is not lifted from the residential areas. Just go around in the city and you will find heaps of garbage all over.

“What is the corporation doing? Are they accountable to anyone or not?’’ asked Mr Bansal, who said that he would put his view across in the zero hour.

He went on to add that almost 60 per cent of the street lights in the city were non-functional. But nobody cared.

Almost all tubewells were having generators to supply water even during power cuts,. But 99 per cent of them were non-functional, he claimed, adding that the MC had no right to hike the water bills if it could not supply water to the residents.

Mr Dang would be airing his grievances regarding the alleged ‘‘pick and choose’’ policy of the corporation under which all the development works of the Congress councillors were allegedly given a green signal while those belonging to other parties were discriminated against.

Mr Bansal also said no development work was taken up in the past. ‘‘They have only recarpeted the roads and that too which did not require any such work. This is not development. This is only maintenance.”



Cong will stand by workers, says Dawar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Parliamentary Secretary Surinder Dawar today said the Congress would always stand by the labourers and claimed that the government had launched a number of programmes for the welfare of weaker sections of society during the past four years.

He was addressing a well-attended function organised to mark May Day at Vijay Nagar here today.

Mr Dawar pointed out that it was always in the tenures of the Congress governments that attractive welfare schemes had been launched for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and labourers.

During the tenures of the non-Congress governments, the interests of the Scheduled Castes had always been ignored, he alleged.

He informed that Capt Amarinder Singh's government had created a special corpus fund of Rs 450 crore to ensure regular and timely disbursal of pension and financial assistance to 11 lakh elderly, widows, orphans and handicapped beneficiaries.

He said Rs 60 crore had been released to provide toilets in the houses of SC families in rural areas.

The government had also decided to provide free education to the girls belonging to the SC families and enhanced the amount of ‘shagun’ from Rs 5,100 to Rs 15,000 on the marriages of daughters of SCs.

Mr Dawar said the government had also decided to implement the 85th Constitutional Amendment as a fulfillment of the poll promise.

He said fulfilling the aspirations of the SCs, the government had decided to allow 200 units per month of free domestic electricity to the SC families, which was costing more than Rs 50 crore to the state.

Apart from this, the government was already in the mode of implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to provide gainful employment to the unemployed people in the rural areas, he added.

Referring to the fast development, Mr Dawar said the government had launched a prestigious development programme named Punjab Nirman Programme under which funds amounting to Rs 700 crore were being spent on the urban development projects.

He said the state government had laid a major thrust to boost the power production and 23.11 per cent of the total plan size, i.e. Rs 924 crore, had been provided for generation of power and strengthening of transmission and distribution of power in the state to ensure the proper functioning of the industry so that the labour should not be effected due to power shortage.

Referring to the development in the Ludhiana East constituency, Mr Dawar claimed that Rs 30 crore had already been spent on various development projects during the past four years and a special project of Rs 18 crore for covering the Sullage Nala had also been launched.

He said Rs 7 crore were being spent on development projects in the constituency under Punjab Nirman Programme, out of which grants of Rs 1 crore had already been released and the remaining was being released shortly.

Others who addressed the function included Mr Ramesh Joshi, secy, PPCC, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, president, DCC (U), Mr Parminder Mehta, secy, PPCC, Mr Joginder Sarhali, Mr Sarbjit Sarhali (both labour leaders), Mr Sanjay Talwar and Mr Rakesh Prashar (both councillors).

Jagraon: Hundreds of members of the Punjab Roadways Transport Workers Union held a rally in front of the roadways depot to commemorate Labour Day here today. Leaders of the union, while addressing the gathering, flayed the decision of the state government to privatise the Panjab Roadways and its bus stands. They alleged that the bus stands were being allotted to persons close to ministers.

They said the privatisation policy had been adopted under pressure from the WTO and it would doom our country. Mr Amrik Singh and Mr Narinder Kumar, president and joint secretary, respectively, of the union also addressed the rally.



A novel way to preserve environment
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 1
As part of its drive aimed at spreading message of environment preservation by planting more and more saplings, the local unit of the Eco Club has presented a couple of the area with saplings.

Ms Ramandeep Kaur and her husband Harjinder Singh Kalsi were presented with five saplings by the activists of the club, led by Mr Jasbir Singh, Chairman, Conware, Punjab, and former minister, at their marriage at Harmindra Palace yesterday.

“We feel proud in receiving such a novel gift that would provide us shade, fruits and the oxygen. Instead of planting all saplings at our own house we would distribute four of these among our relatives,” the couple said.

Appreciating the role of the club in preserving environment, Mr Jasbir Singh said the move launched by it would go a long way in creating awareness among the masses about the contribution of plants in saving the earth from further deterioration.

Dr Indu, SDM, Malerkotla, patron of the club, had inspired its office-bearers to distribute saplings among all girls of the town and adjoining villages on the occasion of their marriage, so that the message of environment protection spreads fast.

The SDM had launched the move a week ago.

Meanwhile, Mr Dharam Pal Sharma, president of the club, announced that saplings would also be distributed among the girls on their birthday and other occasions.

Mr Jaswinder Lalli, councillor, Mr Pardeep Sharda, and Mr Khem Singh were present at the marriage.



Medicos to hold anti-quota rally today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 1
The Joint Action Front (JAF) of medical students is all set to take out a massive rally from Nehru Sidhant Kendra here to the Deputy Commissioner's office in the Mini- Secretariat tomorrow in the course of their ongoing agitation against the reservation policy of the union government.

In a bid to mobilise the students against the reservation policy, which the JAF maintained would have disastrous effects on the students community as a whole, the activists of the movement today organised an awareness campaign. The anti-reservation activists visited various schools and colleges of the city and urged the students to stand collectively against the reservation policies of the government. The student activists also asked the parents to join hands and participate in the stir.

Mr Ranjit Malhi, Secretary of General Category Association of Ludhiana, extended support to the JAF against reservation. In an official press release issued here today, the spokesperson of JAF said due to the caste-based reservations, the unity and integrity of the country was in jeopardy.



Information ‘not provided’ under RTI Act
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
The Federation of Pollution and Park Management Committees has complained to the Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab, against the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation authorities for not supplying information under the Right to Information Act(RTI ACT).

In a letter written to Mr Rajan Kashyap, Mr Pawan Sood, general secretary of the federation, stated that they had requested the Commissioner of MC to furnish details of expenditures incurred on the maintenance of parks and green belts during the past four years. The letter was sent in February but even after two months the authorities had not bothered to provide the details, alleged Mr Sood.



Jassa Singh’s birth anniversary celebrated

Khanna, May 1
The 288th birth anniversary of Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, the Sultan-ul-Kaum, was celebrated in the Kalal Majra village, near here, yesterday with religious fervour. The function was organised by Nawab Jassa Singh Educational Society.

After the Bhog of Shri Guru Granth Sahib, Bhai Harpal Singh Head Granthi, Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, gave a brief sketch of the life of Jassa Singh and exhorted the youth to lead a noble and pious life. OC


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