L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

New Year celebrations turn tragic
Two youths die in car accident
Our Correspondent

Khamano, January 1
Two youths died and three were injured in a road side accident near Hedon village, 8 km from here ,at about 2 am today. They had gone to Shimla to celebrate New Year but two of them died and three were struggling for life at CMC, Ludhiana.

According to information available, Sukhmeet Singh Goldy (19) of Karimpura, Ludhiana, Gurdeep Singh (30) of Arjan Nagar, Ludhiana, Sandeep Kumar (24) Ludhiana, Jasmeet Singh (19) Ludhiana, and Sajan (15), Ludhiana, had gone to Shimla in Maruti car No PB-10-3285 bearing temporary number to celebrate new year. But when they were coming back to Ludhiana, the driver of the car lost control and the car struck a stationary truck on a dhaba near Hedon village. The accident was so fierce that the car was badly damaged. One of the youth, Sukhmeet Singh Goldy died on the spot and Gurmeet Singh also died on the way to hospital.

Some other youths who were going on the route in a car took the victims to the civil hospital, Samrala. Three of the youths Sandeep Kumar, Jasmeet Singh and Sajan who were also seriously injured were referred to CMC Ludhiana, where they were struggling for life. Heart-rendering scenes were witnessed at civil hospital Samrala, where the bodies of two youths were lying and were handed over to their families members after post-mortem examination.



Powerless start to New Year 
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
Power played its truant best on the first day of the New Year. Domestic as also industrial consumers suffered due to prolonged unscheduled cuts that stretched to over six hours in several areas. In most areas, power supply was withdrawn for half an hour to one hour after every hour or so.

The cuts started in the morning causing much inconvenience to residents. Industry said if the situation continued they would have to suffer heavy production losses.

“As we got up early today, it being the first working day of the year, I had to wait for almost an hour as there was a power cut. The whole day went bad as power supply was withdrawn after every hour or so. It is quite a disappointing beginning to the New Year and we hope that the PSEB will have a little mercy on people and give us better supply this year,” said Suruchi Kalia, a resident near Ghumar Mandi.

The situation was no better in areas of Sarabha Nagar, Civil Lines, old city like Chaura Bazaar where power was out the entire day.

Industrialists condemned the state government for poor power situation and said the absence of government’s will to improve the situation was quite clear as it started the year on a bad note.

“Power supply has been bad during winter but today it was really terrible. Due to frequent cuts our sophisticated machines suffered and apart from revenue losses due to reduced production, it seems we would have to spend money on maintenance of machines that get damaged on account of sudden cuts,” rued Vinod Thapar, who has a factory near Jalandhar bypass.

Even as there is only one official industry cut and no daily cuts have been declared, industrialists said the situation was worsening each day.

PSEB officials said little improvement was expected and the board was forced to resort to long power cuts due to shortage in supply. They added that there was heavy gap between demand and supply and power generation had been hit due to low water level in reservoirs at hydro power plants.

The state had to borrow power from other states and had to return it as barter and it would only be after a fall in demand post winter that residents can hope for any betterment, said officials.



Industrialists defer dharna on Gabria’s advice
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, January 1
Strong resentment is brewing among industrialists against the failure of the Punjab government to meet their pressing needs. 

The industrialists had decided to organise a dharna in Ludhiana today against the anti-industry policies of the government but it was deferred with the intervention of Hira Singh Gabria, minister for jails and tourism, who promised that he would arrange their meeting with the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal within one week.

The industrial organisations of Punjab had decided to organise a state-level dharna in Ludhiana today against the hike in lower tariff, imposition of entry tax and the advance deposit of three months electricity bills with the Punjab State Electricity Board from January.

Hira Singh Gabria pleaded with the representatives of the industry at three hours meeting last night that dharna would embarrass his position as venue of dharna fell in his constituency and moreover he was their representative in the Punjab government.

The industrialists complain that they had approached the Chief Minister a number of times and brought their difficulties to this notice. Despite assurance by the Chief Minister, nothing had been done to mitigate their problems.

Avtar Singh, general secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, told this reporter that the hike in the power tariff had not been withdrawn by the PSEB so far despite the announcement by the Chief Minister that the PSEB would get subsidy for it. The industrialists had received three electricity bills on hiked power tariff and paid the same. He said the state government had imposed a 4 per cent entry tax witch was also causing a lot of harm to the industry.

Avtar Singh said the arrears of Vat had not been paid so far. The industry, he said, had demanded that entry tax should be revised on Chinese finished goods which were coming to Ludhiana and giving setback to the small-scale industry and particularly the bicycle industry.

Inderjit Singh Pradhan, president of the chamber, disclosed that he had received a telephonic message from chief engineer PSEB J S Sekhon that the scheme of receiving three months advance consumption bills of power had been postponed for a year and the state government would take up this matter with the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission. 



Farmers, beware! Spurious seeds in the market 
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
The PBW 550 variety of wheat seed that was released for multiplication purpose by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) during the last Kisan Mela here, has been sold by shopkeepers in black market.

Farmers have raised a question that when the university did not supply the seed to any outsider except for PUNSEED and a few Krishi Vigyan Kendras, run by university itself for multiplication, how the particular variety came into open market? Not only this, the farmers also complained that the seeds sold by shopkeepers opposite university were spurious, which did not give good production.

Sarabjit Singh, a young farmer from Thathiansol village near Amritsar, said he had purchased the new variety from a shopkeeper opposite PAU gate number 1. He said the seeds were given to him for Rs 300 per kg. "I did not mind spending huge amount hoping that it will yield good results. But to my shock, when I got the seeds checked at a private laboratory in Amritsar, I was told that those were all spurious. I was shattered and did not use the variety. It is unfortunate that poor farmers are being cheated in such a manner", he said.

Another farmer Mukhtiar Singh from Faridkot district said he had sown the seeds but 30 out of 50 grains did not produce the crop.

Director Extension Education, N.S.Malhi, said shopkeepers were duping the farmers but university had no role in it. The wheat variety, which met with international standards, had not been released till date.

He said the seeds were being multiplied by the university and it would be available in abundance by February, 2008. "Not even a single grain has been given to anyone by the university. Those, selling spurious PBW550 seeds were duping the farmers and university should not be held responsible for that", he added. 



Octogenarian’s body found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
The putrefied body of Sawitri devi, who was allegedly murdered about nine days ago by a Gujarati couple who lived as tenants in her house at street no 13, Vishwakarma Colony here, was found after nine days today.

The murder came to light this morning when her son Vikas, a financier based in Jalandhar, came to meet her. However, Vikas found the house locked from outside. After breaking open, he was shocked to find the putrefied body of her mother inside the room and jewellery worth several lakhs missing.

Later, police investigation revealed that she was allegedly killed around December 23-24. Investigating Officer, ASI Kamal Dutt, said the Gujarati couple, identified as Munna Patel and Urmila Patel, have been booked under section 460 of the IPC. He said during investigations it came to light that the couple had taken the room on rent for sometime and had gone missing since the past few days. Police doubt that the woman was killed for jewellery as she had no other valuables with her.

Vikas said he had come to visit her mother as she was not responding to her phone calls. 



Fun, gaiety mark New Year celebrations
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
City residents welcomed the New Year dancing to dhol beats and bursting crackers. Apart from hotels and clubs, at almost every nook and corner in the city, people, young and old could be seen dancing, boozing and celebrating the New Year.

Markets like Sarabha Nagar were heavily crowded and even the relatively low on activity ones like BRS Nagar witnessed a lot of celebration. And soon as the clock struck 12, bursting of crackers along with loud cheers filled the air.

Celebrations started right from evening itself and city roads too kept busy as many chose to play loud music in their cars on and were dancing on roads. "There is nothing like celebrating in the open - on road or market - with a group of friends. We had lot of fun and besides, as most hotels and clubs allow only couples, this was the easiest and even the most economical option for us," said Jaspreet Singh, a student.

The evening saw heavy rush at bakery outlets. "I went to buy a cake and we had to contend with a smaller one, there is hardly anything left," said Manisha Chadhha, a resident.

City hotels and clubs had planned a host of parties. At the local Fortune Klassik, Mann brothers Harbhajan and Gursewak, enthralled people with their music. Park Plaza had a Polish band while the function by Satluj Club had singer Sukhbir to entertain people.

A wide majority constituted those who chose to stay in the cosy environs of their homes. "I wanted to stay at my home with my family this time. It was quite nice with almost every channel offering good programmes, comedy and dance items et al. Plus of course was the convenience of not having to go out in such chilling cold," Vishakha Verma, another resident said. 



Rs 600-cr plan for marketing produce, says minister
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
With a view to ensure the shifting of farmers to cash crops, the state government has formulated a Rs 600 crore plan for creating a modern marketing system in the state, where latest facilities for purchasing, preserving and marketing will be provided.

This was stated by agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langah while addressing a gathering at a function organised to distribute allotment letters to commission agents at the new vegetable and fruits market at Salem Tabri today.

Langah said in spite of the huge production of grains to bail out the country from the food crises, the financial condition of state farmers was alarming and they had incurred a debt of over Rs 25,000 crore.

He said under the current circumstances, it was the duty of the union government to declare a special package for farmers.

Referring to the awareness programme for farmers, the minister said during the current financial year, funds amounting Rs 30 crore were being spent on conducting farmers’ training camps.

He said sufficient funds would be provide for research on new techniques.

The state was in the process of replacing seeds in a phased manner.

Langah said the state was facing a major problem of power shortage because of wrong policies of the previous Congress government.

The SAD-BJP government has decided to add 4000 MW power in the next four years.

Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said with a view to bring about a major improvement in the marketing system, a new project worth around Rs 1,100 crore, assisted by the World Bank, directorate of marketing and inspection and Rashtriya Rishi Vikas Yojna, was under preparation.

Sharanjit Singh Dillon said the state government was committed towards ameliorating the financial condition of the peasantry.

He criticised successive Congress governments in the state and centre for adopting anti-farmer policies.

Among others who addressed the function included district SAD president Santa Singh Umedpuri, district President SAD (youth), Inder Mohan Singh Kadian, SGPC member Gurmail Singh Sangowal, Punjab Mandi Board secretary Dipinder Singh and Association of Vegetables and Fruits Market chairman Maddan Lal Baggawe. 



GADVASU VC extends New Year wishes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
Vice-chancellor of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) Dr V.K. Taneja today extended his good wishes for the coming year to all varsity employees.

On the occasion, Taneja elaborated upon the all round achievements of the university in the fields of research, teaching, extension, infrastructure development, administration, finance and academics in 2007. He said the first phase of renovation of research laboratories and lecture halls had been completed. The course curriculum was made available to students in the form of CDs, which gave them a better opportunity to understand the subjects and interact with teachers.

He said efforts were being made to fill various administrative, technical and support staff posts. Ever since the establishment of the varsity, a substantial increase in the budget had taken place. Total expenditure had moved up from Rs 16.2 crores in 2005-06 to Rs 27.2 crores in 2006-07. The ratio of percent expenditure on salary contingency had also improved from 84:16 in 2005-06 to 60:40 in 2006-07. Around Rs 40 crore were likely to become available for 2007-08, said Taneja.

More funds are now available for teaching and research. A large number of research schemes had been submitted to various funding agencies and while some have been approved, others are under various stages of consideration.

The VC said concerted efforts were also being made to strengthen extension activities. A livestock show and two Kisan melas were organised for demonstrating new technologies to livestock farmers. A number of training courses for farmers and entrepreneurs were also held. The VC added that students had taken keen interest in sports and co-curricular activities and won many medals for the varsity.  



NSS camp concludes
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 1
A 10-day camp organised by NSS boys unit of GNN College at Government Elementary School, Kaddon, concluded here today.

The camp was inaugurated by college management committee general secretary Prof B.S. Pangli and principal Dr N.S. Sidhu. During the camp, volunteers cleaned the school campus by removing wild grass, bushes, etc. The volunteers also planted saplings.

During the course of the camp, campers were given training in yoga in keeping with camp motto “Healthy youth for healthy India”.

Lectures were delivered by Dr S.S. Virk, J.S.Gill and Baldev Raj from Samrala. They spoke about the importance of good health and highlighted the ill-effects of environment pollution. Former DGP D.R. Bhatti also addressed the volunteers. He advised them to stay away from drugs and serve society.

Punjab Police state apex committee secretary Gursharanjit Singh also delivered a lecture.

Saplings were planted by D.R. Bhatti, Angrej Kaur and Ajmer Singh.

Campers also took part in a rally to generate awareness on drugs, dowry and female foeticide.

The rally passed through Doraha town, Begowal, Rampur and Katana village. At Katana village, students enacted a street play on corruption. Rampal, a camper, recited a poem depicting the degradation in moral values among the youth.

On the concluding day, the campers cleaned hockey grounds adjoining the college campus. 



Farmers’ Suicide
BKU to take up issue with PM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
The Bharti Kisan Union has constituted a team to survey suicide by farmers and take up cases of the victims’ families for compensation at various platforms. Addressing mediapersons here today, BKU regional president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said they had been highlighting the issues of poor farmers in the state who were being forced to commit suicide.

Lakhowal said the families of farmers were left to fend for themselves when their only breadwinner was choosing to die due to poverty.

Lakhowal said around 12,000 farmers had committed suicide during the past one decade. The reason was low support price. No government has ever fixed the MSP in accordance with Sensex. He said they would take up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on March 26.

They would demand employment for a member of family on compassionate grounds for victims’ families.

The farmers were debt-ridden in the state as the input of resources was exceeding the output.  



Police nabs fugitive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
The Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar police has arrested a fugitive who had been on the run since October.

Pawan Raj was undergoing life imprisonment in central jail here for the murder of municipal councillor Pappu in 1998.

He allegedly married a woman in Jabalpur while on parole.

Later, the woman filed a marital dispute case against him for which the local police had been taking him to Jabalpur regularly for court hearing.

But to surprise of the police, the accused was living in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar with the woman and a child. He was employed as a mason. A police team raided the house and nabbed him this morning. 



Maan regales revellers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
Guru Nanak Khalsa college for women organised a cultural extravaganza, “Welcome 2008”, here today. The New Year celebrations were presided over by singer Harbhajan Mann.

College students presented a variety of cultural and colourful items like folk songs, dances, bhangra, western dance, etc.

The programme started with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp. Mann sang for the audience from his new album and talked about the revival of Punjabi cinema and challenges before it.

College governing body joint secretary Gurvinder Singh Sarna presented a vote of thanks.

Principal Dr Manju Chawla wished students, staff and guests a happy New Year.

She congratulated students for organising the function. Mohanbir Kaur and Namita Kohli managed the show. Harmohan Singh Sarna, Harbhajan Singh and Gurcharan Singh were also present.  



Advance for power

Consumers are peeved at the decision of the PSEB forcing them to deposit payment in advance for two to three months. The decision affects all sections of society, including the middle class, salaried persons, shopkeepers, traders, industrialists and villagers.

The SAD-BJP alliance had assured populist schemes ahead of assembly elections, which they failed to fulfil. Such policies adopted by the government are only making things difficult for people, as they are already hard-pressed owing to increase in prices of daily commodities. It will be wise for the government to withdraw the decision, as it cannot sustain for very long with such hard measures in a democratic setup.

Virinder Bhakoo



Son-in-law booked for contract killing
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Mundiya (Ludhiana), January 1
"I had thought I would get another son in the form of my Surrey (Canada) based son-in-law. But he turned out to be the biggest cheat, when he first harassed us for three years and then planned my murder, an act which I had not imagined in my dreams."

Ranphool, a victim of an international contract killing case, tries to sum up his feelings in those sentences.

When he finally opened up after a while, bitternesss flows, " I gave everything I had for the happy married life of my daughter and this is what they return to me."

The hurt is not only limited to the in-laws, " All newspapers, TV channels in India and Canada are talking about our case, yet not a single political or religious leader has come to offer sympathies or help to us."

There was time when Ranphool, a clerk with the District Transport Office, Mohali, and owner of few acres of land in this village, used to proudly show the picture to the visitors. Today, he tries to hide it, " Please don’t take photo of this picture. My daughter would be embarrassed. " he requests Tribune photographer Inderjeet Verma.

Badly pained at being fighting the case on his own, Ranphool terms that the society has collapsed," There is no support system. Only saving grace was of the police which acted on his own and caught the gangsters even as we had no idea a gang of contract killers was on our prowl."

The division no 7 police had announced three days ago the arrest of four persons, including a Canadian NRI and three contract killers from Ganganagar, who were on way to kill Ranphool Singh. The son-in-law Veerharinder Singh and father-in-law Inderjit Singh, along with a relative Sukhi , all based in Canada have also been booked in the case for conspiring the crime.

The three-year-long story of their treachery began with the marriage only on November 1, 2007

of his daughter Pawanjot Kaur. Veerharinder had said he was a graduate owning gas stations. He turned out to class 12 pass and an employee in a factory. Pawanjot was B.Sc medical.

Ranphool claimed the man and his family were all good till they gave wrong information to the embassy that had rejected the papers of my daughter to emigrate to Canada. It was only after several months struggle that an appeal was filed and his daughter got the approval to go.

However, Ranphool claimed the in-laws demanded Rs 30 lakh, "We tricked them that Pawanjot was sick and could not attend the phone calls of her father-in-law who was camping here to take the money. They only learnt when Pawanjot reached Canada."

He said she was not accepted in the family and went to live with her grandfather, " I started receiving threats which culminate in the contract killing plan."

Ranphool said he had not married his daughter to the NRI with an aim to send her abroad and felicitate the emigration of other relatives, "My father and brother were already there. We could have used that channel also. It was only that the canadian responded to the matrimonial that the match went through."  



Five booked for assault
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 1
The Sidhwan Bet police has booked five persons of Virk village for assault.

According to information, a girl, Surinder Kaur (name changed), had been seeing Balwinder Singh (name changed), of the village to which the girl’s family members were opposed.

Jatinder Singh, Bhola Singh, Gobinda, Chotta and Shinda waylaid Balwinder and assaulted him. He had to be admitted to a hospital in Ludhiana. 



Rice straw can improve soil health: Dr Kang
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
A training camp for farmers was organised jointly by PAU departments of soils and farm power and machinery, under the aegis of the “Niche area of excellence project for soils and water management in high intensity cropping regions”, at Hisowal village here today.

The aim was to educate farmers about the usefulness of rice straw incorporation in soil.

Punjab Agricultural University vice-chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang was the chief guest, while extension education director Dr N.S. Malhi presided over the camp.

PAU experts visited the 3.5-acre farm of Iqbal Singh of the village where wheat crop was sown by “happy seeder”.

Dr Kang emphasised the significance of managing rice straw in relation to improving soil and environment health.

He stressed the need for having strong link between farmers and university experts for proper implementation of technologies.

Dr Malhi said farmers needed to reorient their approach from simply increasing crop yield towards profitability and quality, adding that it could be accomplished by bringing in value addition through diversifying and some area under pulses, vegetables and fruits, etc.

Dean, postgraduate studies, and project’s controlling officer Dr S.K. Mann said farmers should be made familiar with information about proper inputs used in crop production and they must procure the right inputs from right sources.

Dr S.S. Ahuja shared information on cost-effective mechanisation in Punjab agriculture.

Dr H.S. Sidhu talked about the machinery development for rice residue management.

Dr Neena Singla talked about rat control in wheat sown in rice residues, while Dr Yadvinder Singh informed farmers about the beneficial effects of managing rice straw.

Dr Viraj Beri, head, department of soils, proposed a vote of thanks and appreciated the efforts of Iqbal Singh. 



Jarkhar sports fest from Jan 14
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 1
Jazzy B, famous singer will perform at this year’s sports festival at Jarkhar, around 15 km from here. The 22nd edition of the festival, to be organised by the Punjab Rural Sports Promotion Council and Canada Kabaddi Cup Tournament Committee, in association with the Mata Sahib Kaur Sports Club of Jarkhar, is scheduled to be held from January 14 to 17.

A meeting of the Jarkhar Sports Club was held here today to review arrangements being made to conduct the festival.

After the meeting, club president Balbir Singh and chairman Narinder Pal Singh Sidhu said special arrangements were being made for spectators, including erecting separate enclosures for women and children, in view of the Jazzy B’s show.

Besides a hockey tournament, competitions in kabaddi, basketball, handball, volleyball and athletics would be conducted during this four-day festival.

Hockey star Gaganajit Singh would lead the torch procession, beginning from the historic gurdwara, Alamgir Sahib, in which a number of prominent sportspersons drawn from different disciplines would participate, they added.

A show by daredevils of Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, horse riding performance by nihangs, gidda and bhangra by students would be held on the opening day of the festival, Balbir Singh said.

Former captain of the Indian hockey team Dhanraj Pillay would be given Surjit Singh Randhawa award while wrestler Sikander Alamgir would receive the Amarjit Grewal award for promoting sports.

Comedy artistes Jaswinder Bhalla and Bal Mukand Sharma would also be honoured for their contribution to promoting culture. 



16 teams for soccer tourney
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 1
Sixteen teams will vie for top honours in the 7th annual football tournament to be organised by Dashmesh Sports Club at Kila Raipur, near here, from January 2 to 4, according to club president Gurdeep Singh.

The winners will pocket a cash prize of Rs 12,000, while the runners-up will get a cash prize of Rs 9,000.

Residents of the area settled abroad have extended financial help to conduct the tournament, club secretary Amanjot Singh. 



Black Elephant clinch title 
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 1
Black Elephant cricket club beat Amritsar XI by 29 runs in the final of the 7th Dhruv Pandove memorial cricket tournament for under-14 boys, which concluded here on December 31.

For the winners, the spotlight was on Anmolpreet Singh and Abhinav Mehta who scored 58 and 38 respectively.


Black Elephant: 195 all out (Anmolpreet Singh 58, A. Mehta 38, Kanwarpal Singh 24, Rohan Marwaha 6for 24).

Amritsar XI: 166 all out (Rohan Marwaha 50, Gagandeep Singh 32, Ashish Chouhan 4 for 15, Ajay 1 for 24, Kanwarpal Singh 1 for 24). Subeer Hayer and Sukhminder Singh were declared the best batsman and best bowler respectively while Karan Kalia was given the boy of the tournament award.



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