L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Murdered jeweller's wife, kin at loggerheads
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
Even as the alleged killers of Rajesh, owner of Raghav Jewellers, have been nabbed, his parents and in-laws are at loggerhead over the issue of the recovered gold.

Mr Joginder Pal Verma, father-in-law of the deceased youth , who is a resident of Jalandhar along with some other relatives met DGP S. S. Virk yesterday demanding that the recovered 2.5 kg of gold besides silver jewellery, priced at about Rs 40 lakh should be handed over to his widow, Ms Savi Sachdeva and children, Anmol, aged eight and Muskan, aged five, who had no other means of livelihood.

The three had left Rajesh's house few days after his murder on May 13.They had even filed an application before the city police that day alleging that Mr Ravi, brother of Rajesh and their parents knew about the suspect girl, Neeru. However, this charge was denied by Ravi Sachdeva and his parents.

Mr Joginder Pal Verma claimed that Ravi Sachdeva who was the partner in the shop, knew that the girl had gone with his brother.

“Yet, he did not act in time to sense danger for his brother's life,” they alleged. They requested the DGP to hand over the recovered gold to Rajesh's widow and children as they were the “real victims” of the crime.

Mr Ravi Sachdeva, however, recounted his own side. “Nobody can compensate for the loss of a brother. I could not open the shop properly as we have nothing to sell. The robbers took away all gold and silver jewellery. Further, we are under huge debt and can only recover partially with the help of the recovered gold. I open the shop for an hour after few days to convince those persons to whom we owe money that we are not running away.’’

He claimed he did not know about the alleged closeness of his brother with Neeru.“I can only say that the girl once tried to entice me but I kept a fair distance from her.”



45 days to install effluent treatment plants
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
Industrial units here have heaved a sigh of relief as the government has granted them 45 days time to install effluent treatment plants.

The disconnection of power of these units had been ordered by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB).

Nearly 200 units, that mainly include dyeing, electroplating and fastener manufacturing units, said they were willing to install effluent treatment plants. However, more than half of these units are located in residential areas and will have to shift as per government’s orders.

“We are happy that the government has granted us 45 days, but the units that require shifting should be allotted land for the purpose,” said Mr Joginder Kumar, President, Ludhiana Electroplaters Association.

The government, last week, granted 45 days to these units to install, modify or stabilise effluent treatment plants. Consequently, the PPCB also issued an order on July 25 keeping its previous directions of withdrawal of electricity connection to these units in abeyance and asked the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to restore connections.

Talking about the relocation of these polluting units, Mr Kumar said the government should allot them 25 acres of land so that they could shift from residential areas. “Even the Supreme Court had issued directions that land be allotted for relocation on a priority basis. Hence, asking the units to shift out without providing them any space for the same is unjustified.”

Industry representatives said that owners of these units are quite willing to move out. But land was the key problem. Mr Kumar said that in 1993, the government acquired some agricultural land of which it allotted 349 acres to the PSIEC. The corporation identified pockets for polluting industry on 110 acres. However, all this land was either encroached upon or was under litigation due to which the polluting units were not allotted anything.

The industry demanded that at least 50 acres of undeveloped land be allotted to polluting units for relocation. They said it was not possible for industry to stop operations. Allotment of land was necessary so that these units shift and are able to carry on with their operations, they said.



Bulls on rampage
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
It was a terror of a different kind for the residents of Rajinder Nagar near Kailash Cinema Chowk here today when two raging bulls, who were fighting in the street for some time, suddenly went on the rampage and damaged doors, machinery of a printing shop and an adjoining house.

Surprisingly, one of the bulls became calm for about 15 minutes after banging his head against a door and patiently waited for the other bull to come out of the printing shop. The bull that had entered the shop, Graphic Printers, broke the door, damaged a printing machine and terrorised the owner, Mr Harish Kumar, and his family.

The bulls were not deterred by a strong crowd of about 200 persons, who had gathered in the street. They simply marched through the crowd which quickly gave way.

Mr Harish said his calls to the police control room proved futile, as the cops on duty instructed the family members to drive the animal out with a stick.

He claimed that the bulls had already injured 7-8 persons in Chander Nagar but neither the municipal corporation nor the Wildlife Department had reigned them in so far despite complaints by the residents.



Murder accused in police custody
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 26
The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr S.S. Dhaliwal, has remanded Rajeev, alias Raja, and Pooja, alias Neeru, arrested on the charge of being involved in three major robberies and murders in the city, to police remand till July 28.

The DGP Mr S.S. Virk, had announced the arrest of 28-year-old Raja and 23-year-old Neeru in a press conference here yesterday. The police had claimed that the duo was involved in the gruesome murder of Rajesh, owner of Raghav Jewellers, Ghumar Mandi.

It was also claimed that the duo was also involved in the killing of jeweller couple Darshan Singh and his wife, Paramjit Kaur, in their house on July 4 this year and in the murder of Jaswant Rai in July 2005.



Overbridge work from next week
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
Work on the railway overbridge in place of the old lakkar bridge would start within a week if the City Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill is to be believed.

Talking to the TNS yesterday, Mr Gill said they would hold a meeting with the Railway and PWD officials tomorrow and hopefully the hiccups in the way of the bridge would be cleared. He added that work on the elevated road was being taken up on a fast pace and it would be open to public soon.



Senior Deputy Mayor resigns
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
Senior Deputy Mayor of the local Municipal Corporation, Mr Prem Mittal, today resigned from his post citing personal reasons.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Mittal said he was not keeping good health for sometime and wanted to spend more time with his family after decades of public service.



Innocent girl’s photo pasted on ‘most wanted’ poster
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
In one of the most shocking faux pas committed by the city police, the picture of an innocent girl of the city was pasted on the “most wanted” posters of Pooja, alias Neeru, which were circulated all over the country.

No wonder, the real Pooja, alias Neeru, the prime accused in the four murder cases along with her alleged paramour, Rajeev, alias Raja, coolly roamed in the city for two months after the Raghav jeweller murder case without being noticed.

Who knows, if the real Neeru had been spotted, the murders of another jeweller, Darshan Singh and his wife, Paramjit Kaur, could have been avoided.

The father of the innocent girl, who requested anonymity, met the city SSP A. S. Rai, complaining about the shocking defamation of his daughter which could ruin her life.

The SSP later told Ludhiana Tribune that he was conducting an inquiry into the grave mistake. “Stringent action would be taken against the police official responsible for the mistake.’’ he said.

The SSP has reportedly ordered the immediate removal of the posters from the city police station and has also sent a message to the police headquarters requesting the same.

Her father said his 21-year-old daughter was an employee with another jewellery shop and had never worked with Raghav Jewellers. He said he was at a loss to understand how his daughter's picture was flashed as Neeru's. He has threatened to move court, seeking damages fearing his daughter can have problems in matrimony.

The family learnt about the posters today morning when an electronic channel flashed pictures of the “most wanted” posters while running the story on the arrest of Neeru and Rajeev. A relative saw the news and alerted the family, which took up the matter with the SSP.

Police sources said the SSP's investigation had questioned an SI with the CIA police who had reportedly procured the picture. Sources said the SI was being asked if he had procured the picture himself or through someone else.

What was worse, the mother of the accused girl, Neeru, was in police custody from the day of murder but no one verified from her. Even the family of the deceased youth, Rajesh, could have verified the picture.

The police faux pas has put some newspapers (not The Tribune) and TV channels in tight spot ,too, who carried the picture of the “most wanted” posters.

Interestingly, the posters were made on the day when Ludhiana Tribune had published the picture of the real Neeru on the day she was booked in the case.



SC only issued notices to politicians: minister
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
The Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats, Irrigation and Power, Mr Lal Singh, said the Supreme Court had only issued notices to him and other politicians and not ordered the registration of FIRs as was being claimed by a section of media and Opposition parties.

He was addressing a largely attended rally at Field Ganj in the Ludhiana East constituency, organised to launch the mass contact programme of the Congress party here today. Hundreds of people, including women, braved a heavy downpour to attend the rally.

The minister asserted that the Congress would fight the election on the issue of development and welfare programmes implemented during its tenure and form a government since the “Opposition was berefit of any issue”.

Mr Lal Singh asserted that during the last four years, the financial condition of the state had substantially improved and Punjab had emerged as the most-favoured destination of the corporate sector, and so for the empowered committee on mega projects had approved 203 projects worth Rs 73000 crore with a potential of 16 lakh jobs.

The government had also released funds of Rs 650 crore under the Punjab Nirman Programme for the fast development of urban and rural areas of the state and claimed that the utilisation of these funds, Rs 5 crore in each constituency, would totally change the development scenario of the state.

On the power front, he said the state government had a power generation capacity of 5700 mw and to augment it further, it had tapped other sources for additional power of 7200 mw from the projects like Shahpur Kandi Hydel, GVK Goindwal, Lehra Mohabbat Phase II and 1500 MW from Super Thermal Plant from Chhatisgarh.

Parliamentary Secretary Surinder Dawar said Rs 40 crore had been spent on various development projects during the last four years and a special project of Rs 18 crore for covering the Sullage nullah passing through the constituency had also been launched.

Others who attended the function included Mayor Nahar Singh Gill, Mr Bal Mukand Sharma, a former minister, Mr Vijay Khullar, Mr Gurivinder Singh Atwal (both vice-presidents, PPCC), Mr Jagmohan Sharma, president, DCC, Mr Ramesh Joshi, Director, Punjab Pollution Control Board, Mr Parminder Mehta, secretary PPCC, Mr Shushil Prashar, member, AICC, Mr Som Nath Grover, President, Punjab Beopar Mandal, Mr Ashok Prashar Pappi, general secretary, PPCC, Mr Rakesh Prashar, Mr Ashok Bagga, Mr Sanjay Talwar and Mr Jasbir Singh Chadda (all councillors). 



Music, dance items to publicise Centre’s programmes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
Several music and dance programmes highlighting the flagship programmes of the UPA government were staged on the third consecutive day today by the Song and Drama Division, Shimla unit, at Sahnewal. These programmes were staged as a part of the ongoing Public Information Campaign launched by the Press Information Bureau in coordination with the other units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The troupe comprising 18 artists from the division presented “Padharo Mahare Desh”, a folk dance from Rajasthan that gives the message of brotherhood and communal harmony.

Rouff, an age old folk dance of Kashmir, folk dances Bhawai and Ghoomar of Rajasthan, Maharashtra’s Lavani and Hikadu, which also displays the Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission from Jammu region, were also presented.

The national integration items “Koi Bole Ram Koi Allah Bole” and “Chaman Yeh Dil Ka Hai” were presented by the troupe.

The troupe also presented colourful programmes covering various themes under the UPA government’s flagship programmes like the National Rural Health Mission, the National Rural Employment Scheme and the Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission. The troupe also presented Sufi Naa’tia Kalam on the occasion.

The Drama Division troupe presented group song “Do Phool Khiley Ik Tehni Par” and one more on “AIDS Awareness.”

Gogada, a humorous and satirical item on the Zamidari system under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme showcasing money lending, black marketing and bribery was also presented.

A dance item on Consumer Awareness under Consumer Affairs and Food Supply for the Mid-day Meal Scheme was staged.

Besides, solo songs, duet songs were presented by the troupe covering themes like family welfare under the National Rural Health Mission, AIDS awareness, National Integration. The solo song “Dekh Durdasha Naari Ki” based on female foeticide and women welfare, was presented.

A large number of people, including students from nearby schools, witnessed the presentations. The troupe is led by Mr Rajnish Kumar, Assistant Director, Mr Inderpal Chhabra, Instructor, and Mr Vinod Kaul, troupe secretary, Song and Drama Division, Shimla.



IT returns to be accepted on Saturday, Sunday
Kuldip Bhatia

Designated post offices for IT returns

According to Ms Manisha Bansal, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Ludhiana City Division, the following 29 post offices in the city will accept income tax returns from assessees and issue duly stamped receipts quoting serial number and date of receipt of the return:

Basant Avenue, Basti Jodhewal, B.R. Street, CMC, Daba Road, Dhandari Kalan, Focal Point, Gurdev Nagar, Industrial Colony, Iqbal Ganj, Jail Road, Janta Nagar, Labour Colony, Lajpat Rai Market, Ludhiana CPO, Ludhiana HO, Old Courts, Madhopuri, Millerganj, Model Town, Mundian Kalan, New Model Town, Postal Colony, PAU, Rajguru Nagar, Samrala Road, Shivpuri, Sidhpeeth, Speed Post Centre.

Ludhiana, July 26
The income tax offices in the city, and at Khanna, Malerkotla, Moga, Jagraon, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Phagwara, Kapurthala, Dasuya, Nawanshahr and Nakodar, under the charge of Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Ludhiana, will remain open on July 29 and 30 from 10 am to 5 pm for the receipt of annual returns. On July 31, the income tax returns will be accepted till 6 pm.

Stating this here today, Mr Kanwaljit Singh, Joint Commissioner HQ (Admn) said that special bulk receipt counters would be operational at Ludhiana and Jalandhar from July 27 to 31 to enable the bar members file bulk returns (more than 10). Similarly, separate dedicated queues would be earmarked for receipt of income tax returns from senior citizens.

According to Mr Singh, form 38 for filing fringe benefit tax return had been notified by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the same could be downloaded from the website of the department (incometaxindia.gov.in.) along with other forms like 1, 2, 3 and Saral 2E.

He informed that the CBDT had extended the due date for furnishing return of income as well as return of fringe benefits for the assessment year 2006-07 from July 31 to October 31 in cases of non-corporate taxpayers, including partners of the firms and charitable trusts and institutions. However, in the case of individuals and HUFs, not having income under the head ‘profits and gains from business or profession’, the due date for filing return of income continued to be July 31, 2006.

In a bid to facilitate tax payers, the CBDT had extended the facility for filing return of income tax at various designated post offices all over the country. In the city alone, 37 post offices had been authorised to receive the IT returns. The list of such post offices had been displayed at Aaykar Bhavan in Rishi Nagar here, Mr Singh added.



Provisions under ESI scheme highlighted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
The Employees State Insurance (ESI) Scheme under the Ministry of Labour and Employment provides all possible provisions of social security to the employees in the organised sector. The scheme covers general healthcare, maternity, disability etc besides other areas of social security for the assured persons.

This was stated by Mr Ramesh Lal Verma, Assistant Director, ESI Corporation, Chandigarh, while speaking on “Social Security of Workers in Organised Sector” on the second day of the five-day Public Information Campaign which was organised by the Press Information Bureau at Sahnewal today.

Mr Verma threw light on the various provisions of the scheme which covers expenditure on the treatment of the assured employees during their illnesses. He said the assured employees are paid full wages during their period of illness. However, the scheme is restricted to the employees having monthly salary upto Rs 7,500, he added.

He also informed that in case any employee covered under the scheme becomes disabled, the corporation provides cash benefit to them. Disabled persons are also provided artificial limbs, etc. The disabled persons are assigned work according to the state of their disability, he added.

He said those who are rendered permanently disabled due to accidents, are granted life-long pension. Rs 2,500 is given to the next of kin of the deceased person for performing last rites.

Under the provisions of the scheme, any organised industrial unit running on electric power with a minimum of 10 workers get covered under the scheme and the units without electric power need to have 20 workers to get entitled for this scheme.

Mr Verma also informed that the corporation has eight hospitals in the state. As many as 71 dispensaries under the ESI Corporation are providing healthcare facilities to the employees, he added.



Mindset change emphasised to improve Indo-Pak relations
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 26
Prejudiced thinking and fanaticism of certain sections of Indians and Pakistanis, supplemented by interference of superpowers, were the main reasons behind the failure of the Indo-Pak peace process, inferred a colloquium, led by Dr Mohamad Irfan Farooqi, a psychologist from Punjabi University Patiala, working on a UGC research award titled “Psycho-social dimensions of Indo-Pak relations: a psychological analysis”.

Having interacted with around 1000 Indians and Pakistanis on the issue, Dr Farooqi claimed that the perpetual conflict between the two nations was rooted in the conditions of their creation. “Though the ‘two-nation’ theory, which seemed justified at the time of the Partition, had since been forgotten, constituents of the two communities were not ready to forget it,” maintained Dr Farooqi, referring to the outcome of the final discussion held here today.

Curricula and textbooks in both nations also portrayed prejudice and hatred for the known ‘enemies’. However, Pakistani social studies textbooks allegedly spread more venom against Indians in general and Hindus and Sikhs, in particular. By virtual Islamisation of textbooks, the successive Pakistani governments have caused incalculable damage to normalisation process, pointed out the psychologist. Intensive study of these books reflects dissonance between acts of Pakistanis and principles of the republic of the Pakistan government, he added.

Mr Jatinder Bhola, president, municipal council, said that superpowers like the USA had been acting in a clandestine manner to derail the peace process. “Observations in the past reveal that there had been a sudden fall in the progress of peace process whenever it reached the near success point. Besides, Pakistan’s certain agencies, sponsored by superpowers, were found to be responsible for nurturing terrorism in India,” argued Mr Bhola.

Mr Pardeep Sharda, principal, MGMN Senior Secondary School, and Mr Bhupinder Bath, principal, GSSS Kanganwal, suggested that scholars of warring nations should join hands to change the mindset of nationals of both countries. “Besides arranging seminars on the subject, the scholars should take the services of Hindus and Muslims visiting their relatives in India and Pakistan. They, instead of spreading hatred, should try to soothe the sentiments,” suggested the educationists.

Professor Prem Jain, Mr Khem Singh, Mr Rajesh Sharma and Dr Surinder Sapra participated in the discussions.



BSNL employees stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 26
Led by activists of the BSNL Employees Union, telecom employees here today staged a dharna in front of the main office of Ludhiana Telecom district. They were protesting against the indifferent attitude of the General Manager, Mr S.K. Nigam.

Mr Balwinder Singh, district unit secretary of the union, charged the General Manager with working against the interest of the employees. He said many demands agreed in the local council were not being implemented.

The union functionary regretted that despite repeated pleas made by the employees, the authorities had failed to initiate necessary steps for cleaning the water tanks of the two BSNL residential colonies at BRS Nagar and Tagore Nagar.

“Residents of both colonies are complaining of polluted water supply and in some cases even worms are found in drinking water. In the absence of periodic cleaning, the water tanks are stinking and residents are supplied contaminated water. The outbreak of water-borne diseases appears to be a matter of time”, they said.

Other speakers at the dharna complained that frequent transfers of staff had become a routine which was allegedly being made at the instance of a senior BSNL officer.

The trade union leaders deplored the alleged harassment of BSNL employees by the vigilance wing of the department and launching of frequent investigation over trivial matters.

Mr Balbir Singh, district president, Mr Hari Narayan Singh, Mr Nikka Singh, Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Jaswant Singh, Mr Yogesh Kumar, Mr Amarjit Chander, Mr Rajeev Sharma and Mr Ramesh Lal also addressed the gathering.



Flower man on PAU’s board
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
Mr Avtar Singh Dhindsa has been appointed a member of the board of management of Punjab Agricultural University for a period of three years. A notification to this effect issued by the Financial Commissioner, Development, was received here today.

A former student of this university, Dhindsa is also a known pioneer floriculturist of Punjab. He has his flower fields in Langroa village in Sangrur district which has attracted the Bollywood film producers and directors because of its striking similarity with the vast stretches of flower beds in Holland.



Pension restored
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 26
The Indian Audit and Accounts Department had stopped paying pension from July 2005 to the ex-servicemen of the Myanmar army and their widows. But the Indian Ex-servicemen League Punjab and Chandigarh has succeeded in convincing the government, which has agreed in principle to release the same, Col Bhag Singh, senior vice-president of the league, said in a press note here today. He also disclosed that the ex-servicemen and their widows shall also be entitled to the arrears for the period they did not get pension.



3 killed in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 26
Three persons died in different accidents here in the last 24 hours. A pedestrian, Gurmeet Singh of Khurshaidpur, was killed when Sucha Singh of Tahli Dia Chhanna while riding his motor cycle hit him killing him on the spot. The accused fled from the spot.

In another accident, a cyclist, Bhag Singh of Pakhowal, was killed in Sem Nala Pakhowal when an unidentified person on a motorcycle rammed on his cycle.

In the third accident, another cyclist, Amandeep Singh of Bhaini Baringan, was killed when his cycle was hit by the Swaraj tractor being driven by Avtar Singh of Sukhana.

Cases of the three accidents have been registered. No arrest has been made so far.

2 booked for fraud

Seetal Singh and Harpreet Singh of Khadoor allegedly committed fraud in lottery draws during November 2000 to February 2003. The police has registered a case under Section 420, 406, 120 B of the IPC at the instance of Jaswant Singh and Surinder Singh of Pakhowal. No arrest has been made so far.

Jewellery stolen

Some unknown persons struck at Bhanohar village and allegedly stole jewellery weighing about 15 ‘tolas’, about 9 kg of silver and 250 kg of iron amounting to Rs 2,50,000 after breaking open the door of a shop. The police has registered a case under Section 457, 380 of the IPC at the instance of Kiran Kumar Dhir, a resident of Brahmpuri, Purana Bazar. No arrest has been made so far.

15 booked for assault

Tarri, a resident of Akhara, along with three unidentified persons allegedly assaulted Joginder Singh of the same village. Some dispute with regard to the loading of sand in trollies is said to be the reason behind the assault.

In another incident, the police booked Charan Singh and Gaganjit Singh of Akhara at the instance of Mahinder Kaur of the same village. She alleged that the duo entered her house and assaulted her. She has been admitted to civil hospital, Jagraon.

In the third incident, Gurdeep Singh, Amar Singh and Chamkaur Singh of Johlan allegedly entered the house of Sukhwinder Kaur of the same village and abused and beat her with sharp-edged weapons. Some old enmity is said to be the reason behind the incident.

Dayal Singh, Jupa Singh, Sapali, Amrit and Dogar Singh of Bassian allegedly assaulted Harbans Kaur of their village with bricks. Some water dispute is said to be the reason behind the assault.

The police has registered all four cases. No arrest has been made so far.



Biz Clip

Launched: FritoLay has launched its new breakfast cereal — Quaker Oats. The company said in a press note issued here that it aimed to cater to the demand of the health-conscious consumers through this product. TNS



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