L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Fourth fatal accident in 4 days
Doctor among two killed, 4 hurt
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Dr Vijay Kumar’s friends grieve at the Civil Hospital.

Ludhiana, March 25
Two persons, including a doctor, were killed and four injured in a pileup caused by a speeding truck that rammed into a vehicle on the Salem Tabri road here this morning.

The driver of the truck was nabbed by the people and thrashed before being handed over to the police.

The victims have been identified as Dr Vijay Kumar (28), a resident of Hamirpur, and Balwinder Singh (35) of Lohara. The injured -- Vipan (27) of Ladhowal and Ashok (14) -- were taken to the Civil Hospital.

According to Yashpal, an eyewitness, the incident took place at 9 am when the driver, Sukhwinder Singh, who was returning to Pathankot after unloading building material, lost control over the 10-tyre truck (HR-55-E- 8279) and ran over Dr Vijay Kumar who was on a motorcycle.

The truck then hit an Indica. The impact was such that the car was tossed onto the divider. Harminder Singh, Amandeep Singh and Bawa, who were travelling in the car, sustained injuries.

Balwinder Singh was the second victim of the truck, which crushed him to death. People offered him water, but he died soon after.

In police custody, the truck driver said he panicked and tried to speed away the vehicle, and in the process, toppled an autorickshaw and hit an SUV, a vegetable cart, a cyclist and two more motorcycles.

Later during the day, the truck driver backtracked from his statement and alleged that the tragedy took place due to brake failure.

The accident resulted in a massive traffic jam as onlookers blocked the road. It took more than two hours for the police to clear the road.

Since it was rush hour, serpentine queues were seen from the Jalandhar bypass to the new Sabzi Mandi.

Daljit Singh, SHO of Salem Tabri, said the driver had been booked under Section 304-A, IPC, for negligent driving and causing death of two persons.

“First the truck crushed a motorcyclist and later hit a car and other vehicles. The truck would have sped away, but a motorcycle got stuck under its wheel. In the meantime, people chased the vehicle and forced the driver to stop the vehicle,” Darshan Lal, a fruit vendor and an eyewitness, said.

The friends of Dr Vijay Kumar, the first victim who died in the accident, were shocked. He was going to Baba Ramdas Hospital and UPSC Jain Charitable Hospital when the incident took place. It is learnt that he was engaged and was scheduled to marry soon.



1 killed, 14 hurt in accident
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 25
One person was killed and 15 others were injured in an accident that took place near here late yesterday evening. The accident took place after a tyre of the Qualis (PB BH 6865) suddenly burst, turning the vehicle turtle.

The first aid team headed by Manjit Singh promptly came to the rescue of all occupants. However, Jagdep Singh (18), son of Bakshish Singh, died on the spot. Parminder Kaur, wife of Jaswant Singh, was referred to CMC, Ludhiana, in serious condition. Thirteen others like Manjot Kaur (30), wife of Amandeep Singh, Arshdeep Singh (5), son of Jasvir Singh, Gurpreet Kaur (33), wife of Jasvir Singh, Gurmit Kaur (35), wife of Amarjeet Singh, Harpreet Kaur (38), wife of Gopal Singh, Karanjeet Kaur (19), daughter of Bakshish Singh, Gurdeep Singh (22), son of Jaswant Singh, Nachattar Kaur (55), wife of Late Pal Singh, Nirmal Singh (50), son of Barnam Singh, Gursewak Singh (1), son of Amandeep Singh, Simran Kaur (6), daughter of Jagtar Singh, Imalsi (4), daughter of Gopal Singh, Amritpal Singh (3), son of Jagtar Singh, were admitted with multiple injuries to Sidhu Hospital. Hardeep Kaur (50), wife of Bakshish Singh, was taken to nearby Rajwant Hospital where her condition is said to be stable.

The occupants were on their way to Khanna after attending a marriage party in Ludhiana when this accident took place.


Rape, murder of girl
Acquaintance arrested
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
The uncle of a nine-year-old minor has been arrested for raping and killing her on Tuesday night. Behind the soft face of Ramesh Kumar, a friend of the girl’s family for years, was a brute who executed the most foul deed.

Ramesh’s newly wed wife and mother were shocked at his disclosure and reportedly told him to backtrack from his statement. He tried to trick the police, but circumstantial evidence went against him.

A child had spotted the accused with the victim in the locality and gave the crucial lead to the police.

In police custody, Ramesh alleged that the girl became a victim of his illicit relations with her mother. He killed her as she had seen them together. She was threatening him that she would tell her father about it, he claimed.

Police sources said the father of the victim suspected the involvement of Ramesh in the crime as he had objected to his visits to his house yesterday.

Ramesh told the police that the girl died while he was raping her for the second time.

He said he had strained relations with his wife and the revelation of his illicit relations would have put his marriage in danger. He lured the girl to accompany him on the pretext of buying her expensive clothes and shoes. He bought her an ice-cream and took her to a vacant plot at Kali Sarak.

He then gagged her before raping her. He also punched her in the abdomen for threatening him. He left her behind and returned home at 10 pm, where his wife quarrelled with him for coming late.

In the morning, he visited the girl’s house to evade suspicion and started grieving with the family. He also provided monetary support to the family for her cremation.



‘Overburdened’ MC engineers go on casual leave
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Protesting against the state government’s "callousness" in filling vacant posts of junior engineers in the municipal corporation, 47 engineers including XENs, SDOs and JEs besides the supervisory staff of the municipal corporation’s B&R department went on “mass” casual leave for four days beginning today. The engineers said their pleas had been ignored by the government during the past several years.

Municipal commissioner AK Sinha has convened a meeting with the protesting staff tomorrow.

Municipal Corporation Engineering Association general secretary Sunil Sharma said the engineers had been forced to take such a step as the Punjab government had not bothered to listen to them. "A representation has already been made to the state government on this issue today. We’re also convening a state level meeting of engineers of five MCs - Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala, Bathinda and Ludhiana - on March 27 in Ludhiana. Though the problem of staff crunch persists in each civic body the government is not at all bothered", said Sharma, adding “if things didn’t improve we’ll go to the courts as well”.

Association president Joginder Singh said, “If more staff is recruited efficiency in the MC’s functioning will increase. But here nobody seems to bother. The commissioner has asked us to meet him tomorrow. We’re ready for negotiations provided the government assures us the vacant posts would be filled", said Joginder.

It may be mentioned here all development projects in city were being looked after by just 17 junior engineers against the sanctioned 90 posts. One JE works for about three subdivisional officers whereas three to four JEs were required to work for an SDO.

"We are all overburdened and have to be in the field, besides having to maintain management books and undertake other tasks. The government must fill the vacant posts immediately to provide us relief", he said.



Tax refunds to be cleared soon
Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
The income tax department’s decision to clear the backlog of pending refunds has come as a relief to all those tax payers whose refunds have been pending with the department for two years.

The processing of the returns has started and soon the refunds would be available. The Central Board of Direct Taxes had recently instructed the department to clear the backlog.

Fresh instructions have been issued to the department regarding the processing of the income tax returns. The instructions mention that in all returns filed in ITR-1 and ITR-2, where the aggregate TDS claim does not exceed Rs 4 lakh and where the refund computed does not exceed Rs 25,000; the TDS claim of the tax payers concerned should be accepted at the time of processing the return.

It also mentions that in all returns filed in forms other than ITR-I and ITR-II, where the aggregate TDS claim does not exceed Rs 4 lakh and the refund computed does not exceed Rs 25,000 and there is 70 per cent matching of TDS amount claimed, the TDS claim of the tax payer concerned should be accepted at the time of processing the return.

In all remaining cases, the TDS credit would be given after due verification.

Jatinder Khurana, a lawyer, added that the refund cases had been lying pending with the department since the financial year 2007.

“It is disheartening for tax payers who pay the tax on time but fail to get the refund on time. The department should issue the refunds on time,” he said.

The Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, GS Randhawa, said they were in the process of paying the refunds to the tax payers. “A technical snag is the problem behind the late releasing of the refunds. In addition to this, non-mentioning of the permanent account number and bank account number by the tax payers also creates a problem in the issuance of refunds. Thousands of forms are lying with the department where the tax payers have not mentioned the required information,” he added.



Problem of plenty for Punjab
Bumper crop creates space shortage
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Even as Union Agriculture Minister, Sharad Pawar, has said no to exports of wheat, Punjab is all set to face the problem of plenty this harvesting season as the shortage of space for storing 31.39 lakh tonnes is staring on its face.

To address this problem, the government has decided to store wheat in a few mandi yards, closed sugar mills, rice mills and at industrial focal points at Raikot, Bathinda and Goindwal.

The state is expecting a bumper crop this season. About 115 lakh metric tonnes of wheat would be purchased by the government procurement agencies as revealed by a district-wise survey conducted by DS Guru, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.

Since 57 lakh tonnes of wheat and 57 lakh tonnes of paddy are already lying in the stock as per the statistics available with the Food and Civil Supplies Department, Punjab, the state would be left with space for only 68 lakh tonnes. The state would face problem in storing 44.24 lakh tonnes of wheat.

Taking the issue of the shortage of space seriously, PUNGRAIN, the nodal agency of all government procurement agencies, had in February asked private parties to provide open space on the five-year-lease- basis.

With the private parties coming up to provide space on lease, only 12.85 lakh tonnes could be adjusted. The rest of 31.39 lakh tonnes would not have space for storing.

Director, FCSD, DS Grewal is, however, hopeful that they would adjust the produce at a few identified places. ‘‘We are going to store it in mandi yards, closed sugar mills, rice mills, industrial focal points at Raikot, Bathinda and Goindwal. There is no problem at all, ’’ he added.

Meanwhile, the government procurement agencies, too, are crying shortage of storage space. PUNGRAIN has a dearth of space for 12.50 lakh tonnes, Punjab Agro has 9.71 lakh tonnes, Markfed has 9.68 lakh tonnes, PUNSUP has a dearth of 7.74 lakh tonnes, and Punjab State Warehousing Corporation has a shortage of 4.61 lakh tonnes.



Councillors ‘mislead’ residents on encroachments
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
While the municipal corporation is doing its bit to remove unauthorised encroachments in the city following a high court directive, a few councillors, motivated by petty politics, are reportedly misinforming residents and even encouraging them to flout regulations.

A glaring example of such ‘misguidance’ was witnessed at Chand Colony near Haibowal today when an MC anti-encroachment squad arrived there to demolish illegal structures. The residents (read those violating the norms) accused their area councillor of being “responsible” for the encroachments, claiming he had told them to go ahead with the construction without getting the site plan sanctioned. ‘‘He had told us nobody could touch us as long as he was the area’s elected representative,’’ the residents said in unison. His "assurances" given to the area residents, however, fell flat when MC workers arrived to raze their illegal structures. The residents raised a big hue and cry and shouted slogans today when an MC demolition squad came to remove the encroachments.

Ram Kinker Chauhan, hailing from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, part of whose house was demolished by MC workers, alleged the area councillor had “misguided” him.

‘‘Being illiterate I wasn’t conversant with the rules on constructing additional structures. Hence I didn’t get the map sanctioned from the MC, onIy later coming to know this was mandatory. Along with some other residents we met the husband of the area councillor for assistance. After he assured me I could undertake minor alterations I continued with the construction. I’m not the only one - except for a few all colony residents have not got their maps sanctioned. MC officials can check the records", Chauhan stated, adding all the other illegal structures should also be demolished.

SS Bindra, assistant town planner (D zone), said: “The area of houses belonging to lower income group residents of Chand Colony was between 25 to 45 square yards. To save a few thousand rupees they continue to violate building bylaws as, up to 50 square yards, there are no development charges. Just to save Rs 5,000-8,000 they didn’t bother to get the plans sanctioned. As most of the inhabitants here consist of migrants, there is a need to make them aware of the regulations”. The area councillor, Sneh Lata, expressed ignorance about the matter, saying her husband, Balkar Singh, “would be the right person to talk about it”. However, despite attempts to contact him, Balkar was not available for comments.



Rein in private institutions, students’ body urges govt
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 25
Expressing concern over mental and economic exploitation of students by private educational institutions in Punjab, the Sikh Students Federation- Mehta (SSF-M) has urged the state government to initiate effective steps to discipline the institutions and go in for harsh measures if these fail to mend themselves.

SSF-M secretary general Major Singh Khalsa said managements of private educational institutions in the state had been charging exorbitant tuition fee and other funds in an arbitrary manner while school and college students had been denied the right to organise themselves and fight for justice.

“The temples of education have gone astray from their real purpose of spreading education and working towards the creation of a just society. They have virtually become commercial bodies, extorting all kinds of funds, apparently with the connivance of bureaucrats and the political leadership,” he maintained.

Attributing the persistent rot in the education system and the alarmingly low level of government investment in the sector to the ban on student organisations in schools and colleges, he asserted that timely remedial steps remained elusive as students had not been allowed to voice their demands and grievances.

He said, “The Punjab government ought to disaffiliate private educational and technical institutions that have entered the field of education just to make money. The state government should take up the matter with the Centre for intensive screening of all such private institutions and take disciplinary action if warranted.”

According to Khalsa, education had been divided into two parts, one for wards of the rich and the other for those from poor families. With the cost of education going up steeply, brilliant students from economically weaker sections of society felt cheated and betrayed, he added.

He further stated that they would soon take up the issue with the state government and a delegation led by SSF-M chief Paramjit Singh Khalsa would discuss all education-related matters in a bid to save students from the clutches of private educational institutions.



From Schools & Colleges
Inderdeep gets gold medal
Our Correspondents

Ludhiana, March 25
Inderdeep Kaur, a student of the Government College for Women here, was presented a gold medal by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during the convocation of Panjab University at Chandigarh. Inderdeep had topped the university’s Punjabi honours examination in April last, scoring 77 per cent.

College principal RK Aulakh, in a congratulatory message, wished the student well for the future. Inderdeep said the credit for her achievement went to her teachers. She vowed to serve the Punjabi language.

College grant

Kamla Lohtia SD College has received a grant of Rs 2.5 lakh from Hira Singh Gabria, Punjab’s Minister for Jails, Tourism and Cultural Affairs.

An announcement to this effect was made during the Panjab University zonal youth festival, hosted by this college in October last.

Handing over a cheque to the college management, Gabria said the state government was keen to improve the standard of education and a lot was being done towards this end.

Naveen Mittal, president of the governing body of the college, expressed gratitude to the minister for the grant. The funds would be spent on the development of the college, he added.

Farewell party

MA-I students of the geography department at the SCD Government College for Boys organised a farewell party for their seniors at the college here on Thursday.

The students presented a cultural programme and wished the MA-II students well. The function started with a religious song, followed by group dance, bhangra, Western dance, humorous skits, light music and party games.

Balwant Singh and Kirandeep Kaur were adjudged Mr Farewell and Miss Farewell, respectively. Jasbir Kaur Makkar, college principal, and Dr Dharam Singh, head of the department, wished success to the students.

Online answers

Class X science results of the Central Board of Secondary Education will be available on the websites www.steps.TCYonline.com and www.rediff.com from March 26.

Students can log on to rediff.com and click on the link for their geographical location to see answers to question papers. Mock science tests will also be available on rediff.com.

Seminar on TB

A seminar on causes and consequences of tuberculosis was organised at Tagore International Senior Secondary School, Sahnewal, at part of annual day celebrations.

VK Chandel, principal, presided over the function and BK Aneja, managing director, was the chief guest.

Various speakers addressed students and teachers on consequences of the dreaded disease and exhorted them to change their lifestyle to avoid pathogens causing tuberculosis. Outstanding students were felicitated by the organisers.

Interview psychology

The training and placement cell and the Indian Society for Technical Education organised a seven-day workshop on ‘Psychology of interview and selection’ at the Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology.

Asit Ghosh, director, Tuff Track International, and Col HS Singha illustrated various elements of interview and group discussion to the students. Assertiveness, courtesy, pragmatism, analytical approach, keen participation and precision were mentioned as important elements.

Computer applications

Raikot: A five-day workshop on computer applications for students of education was organised at the Sadbhavna College of Education here.

Programme co-ordinator Alka said the workshop was organised to increase computer literacy among rural students.



Farmers turn to turmeric for better returns
Tribune News Service

Khamano, March 25
Expecting high prices for turmeric, some farmers from Fatehgarh Sahib and adjoining Khanna villages are busy preparing their fields for cultivating the crop by mid-April. Agriculture department officials in Khanna said they had received queries from nearby farmers seeking information on turmeric cultivation. Even those who are already growing the crop are busy responding to enquiries from their colleagues.

“I decided to cultivate turmeric over eleven acres a few days ago. Now, having gone through the information and the kind of rich dividend turmeric pays, I’ve decided to grow this crop over the entire 60 acres of my land”, said Ravi, a farmer in Amloh.

Not stopping there, Ravi decided to spread the word around and talked to farmers in the area. “All of us together may cultivate turmeric over nearly 200 acres. Dialogues are on with various companies for direct sale of processed turmeric”, Ravi added.

Farmers, however, face the problem of getting good quality seeds. Some of them visited Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and Punjab Agricultural University at Ludhiana to purchase turmeric seeds but could not get them.

Some people are charging an exorbitant price of Rs 30 per kg of the seeds, though the same seeds are available for only Rs 18 in the southern states.

At present there are only two varieties of the turmeric crop cultivated in Punjab - Selam and Rajapur. Retired army brigadier KS Dhillon from Sanaura village of Jalandhar district, who had been growing the crop for the past many years, said the area under turmeric cultivation is expected to increase this year as the crop needs less water, fewer pesticides and even less hard work.

“The market price of turmeric is hovering at about Rs 200 per kilogram. It gives higher returns as compared to conventional crops including rice and wheat. If a farmer works hard he could get up to 125 quintals from one acre, which would yield 18 to 20 percent turmeric powder after being processed”, he said.

Dhillon added the soil on which potatoes and sugarcane is sown is good for turmeric, whereas alkaline and sandy soil did not favour turmeric cultivation.

“PAU has limited varieties of Punjab-I and Punjab-II and not many farmers buy this seed due to low availability. Now with the setting up of a processing plant in Hoshiarpur the problem of marketing has also been resolved,” he said.



City to get swine flu vaccine soon
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Ludhiana, having witnessed 100 positive cases of swine flu followed by 30 deaths in the last year’s pandemic, will shortly receive preventive vaccine to be administered to high-risk patients.

The district health authorities have sent a demand for 4,000 doses of “Panenza vaccine” to the department of health and family welfare, Punjab, provided by the Government of India against the demand given by the state government for the state of Punjab.

District epidemiologist Dr GP Mangla said doctors, nursing staff, paramedical employees at civil and private hospitals, including Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), SPS Apollo Hospital, Oswal Cancer hospital, who have been deputed to attend swine flu patients will be administered the preventive vaccine.

The rapid response team (RRT) from the civil surgeon office will also be given the dose of the vaccine.

“At the same time, we have asked the hospitals to give us the list of high-risk patients who will also be administered the vaccine,” said Dr Mangla.

However, the department of health and family welfare, Punjab, has given clear instructions on the administration of the vaccine so as to avoid complications caused by allergic reaction.

To avoid reaction of the vaccine with skin, central nervous system, neck stiffness, lungs/vessel inflammation and temporary reduction in blood platelets, it has been advised to give the shot in the hospital under the supervision of doctors.

It has also been instructed not to give the vaccine to pregnant women without the consultation of the gynaecologist.

On the other hand, a senior physician from the city, while pointing towards the “effectiveness” of the vaccine, said: “There are chances that this vaccine, which has been manufactured in international market, may not prove effective on Indians as there are chances of a mutation in the nature of virus here.”



Rs 115-cr GADVASU budget passed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
The board of management of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) today passed the annual budget for 2010-11 with an outlay of Rs 115.57 crore and a deficit of Rs 38.85 crore.

GADVASU would spend 47.14 per cent on salaries and allowances of staff, 0.44 per cent on travel allowances and 52.42 per cent on contingencies and wages.

As per the budget approved, the university would spend 35.01 per cent out on research, 45.56 per cent on teaching, 6.88 per cent on extension education and 12.56 per cent on general administration and development.

Dr VK Taneja, Vice-Chancellor, explained that due to the grant of Rs 25 crore being released annually by the state government under non-Plan schemes, there was a deficit of Rs 38.85 crore as per the budget.

There had been an expenditure of Rs 28.22 crore against the sanctioned grant of Rs 25 crore under these schemes during 2008-09.

The expenditure under these schemes was likely to go up to Rs 35 crore during 2009-10, of which Rs 28.20 crore had already been earmarked.

The issue of increasing the grant to Rs 45 crore was being pursued by the university with the state government.

BS Randhawa, GADVASU Comptroller, said of the 129 schemes for which the budget was approved, 72 non-Plan schemes were to be funded by the state at an estimated cost of Rs 67.35 crore.

Dr Taneja said livestock professions had been expanding and more funds were needed by the university.



Road repair ongoing process in city
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
The repair of roads has become a norm in the city. The absence of follow-up procedures by the Ludhiana municipal corporation and substandard material used by contractors are primarily responsible for roads getting damaged so early here.

Work on repairing roads is currently under way at Dugri along canal, Model Town extension, near Housing Board colony, Rajguru Nagar, etc.

According to sources in the municipal corporation, road-laying projects in the city are allotted to different contractors under the PWD specifications.

Junior engineers maintain a measurement book in which the technical or supervisory staff confirm that the work has been carried out as per the PWD specifications.

“Generally, contractors are asked to maintain the road for a period of three years, for which an undertaking/bond becomes mandatory. It becomes the responsibility of the contractor to see that roads do not get damaged for three years. But, everything goes haywire here. It is easy to see newly laid roads get damaged within two months. Contractors use substandard material in connivance with officials. Only strict action against erring contractors can prevent this from happening,” said a junior engineer working with the municipal corporation.

MIG Welfare Society, Urban Estate Dugri, general secretary Kuldeep Singh Kreer said roads in their area were being repaired after almost a decade.

“In spite of several requests to area councillors and MLAs, the roads had not been repaired for the past 10 years. The repair work was recently started after an assurance by the Commissioner. We hope to get some relief now,” added Kreer.

Joint Commissioner MS Jaggi said being a big city, repair of roads became an ongoing process.

He said weather was no bar for laying/repair work on roads. “Roads get damaged due to heavy traffic. Repair is an ongoing process, which continuous throughout the year,” he said.



Laddowal bypass a road less tread
Kanchan Vasdev

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Over a year after the Laddowal bypass connecting the city with Laddowal was developed by the Public Works Department (B&R), it has failed to catch the attention of motorists in spite of being a shorter and traffic-free route.

In the absence of signages to direct commuters from Jagraon and Ludhiana on one side and Phillaur and Jalandhar on the other to take this road, people often take a detour through the city.

The 10-km stretch developed under a project with the help of NABARD connects the city with Laddowal. It passes through Haibowal Dairy Complex and several villages, including Balloke, Chuharpur, Laddian Kalan, Barewal Dogran, before joining the GT Road from Laddowal.

The idea behind laying the road was to help Phillaur-bound traffic from the Jagraon side to have a shortcut and avoid heavy traffic areas like Humbran Road, Rajpura Road, Domoria bridge and other old city parts to finally reach the Jalandhar Road.

On the other side, the traffic from the Phillaur side does not need to come through Domoria and Jagraon bridges after crossing the elevated road.

A number of traffic chowks dot the Ferozepore road starting from Jagraon bridge up to Sarabha Nagar. These often witness serpentine queues of vehicles.

Residents of villages lining the Laddowal bypass say they do not see many vehicles pass the bypass.

“The bypass has not been advertised properly. If they popularise it, the traffic in the city will come down to a great extent,” says Mahinder Singh, a resident of Balloke village.

He adds that they will take up the matter with Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh to post policemen at the Haibowal Dairy Complex and Jassian village for diversion of traffic.

It is strange that in spite of so many months of its opening, not much traffic has been seen on this route. “The road is good and can save many kilometres. There is no maddening traffic also,” he quips.



Lok Bhalai Party to get farmers’ land freed
Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana, March 25
The Lok Bhalai Party will launch a movement to get agricultural land, belonging to peasants, freed from the illegal possession of land mafia, which is allegedly flourishing under the umbrella of ruling party leaders.

All democratic parties are invited to join hands with the party, Ramoowalia said. Accusing successive governments of ignoring exploitation of farmers at the hands of land grabbers and travel agents, party president Balwant Singh Ramoowalia regretted that none of the government agencies had bothered to verify the authenticity of alluring and misleading advertisements being published in leading vernacular daily newspapers. Rather, the authorities have been shielding those who had facilitated transfer of lands illegally.

Criticising the state police for allegedly trying to suppress the democratic right of farmers and labour unions to protest against atrocities of the government, Ramoowalia regretted that none of the parties had dared to come to the farmers’ rescue, who died while struggling to save their lands.

Maintaining that a large number of farmers were becoming landless daily, Ramoowalia regretted that this had many a farmer to commit suicide.

“But we will not let this trend continue. Besides educating them about the causes and consequences of changed lifestyle we will launch a coordinated movement to get the lands restored to their original owners,” said Ramoowalia.



14 leaders arrested
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 25
The Ludhiana Rural police is bent upon sabotaging the farmers’ protest rally at the behest of ruling SAD-BJP alliance. The government has directed all district police chiefs to round up all trade union, labourer and farmers’ leaders.

Houses of union leaders like Kamaljeet Khanna of the Inqulabi Kender, Hardev Singh Sandhu of the Kirti Kisan Union, Avtar Singh Tari of the Pendu Majdoor Union, Sukhdev Singh Manuke, Mohinder Singh Seelon of the Jamhoori Kisan Union and Jagat Singh Leelan of the BKU (Kirti) were raided. But, suspecting police action all of them managed to escape.

However, Inderjit Singh Dhaliwal of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Balkar Singh Takonda, Ram Singh and Nirmal Singh Bhumal of the BKU (Ekta), Baldev Singh Rasulpur and Ginder Singh Rode of the Pendu Majdoor Union (Mishal), Surinder Singh Acharwal, Ranjit Singh Bhaini Baringa, Sikander Singh Sehbajpura, Jasbir Singh Lohatbaddi, Baghar Singh Boiparai Khurd, Nirbhai Singh Boparai of the Jamoohari Kissan Sabha and Gurcharan Singh Acharwal of the Kirti Kisan Union were picked by the police for questioning.

Manjit Singh Dhaner and Buta Singh of the BKU (Ekta) have termed the police action as illegal, unwarranted and undemocratic.



PSEB staff stage dharna against junior engineer’s arrest
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 25
The vigilance team of Ludhiana today nabbed a junior engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) red handed while taking a bribe from a resident of Galib village. Gurcharan Singh, the villager, had in a complaint lodged with the Vigilance office in Ludhiana had stated that assistant junior engineer Manminder Pal Singh had demanded Rs 20,000 from him for settling his penalty of Rs 67,000 imposed on him for using ‘kundi’ connection in his shops.

He had stated that the junior engineer was threatening to disconnect the power connections in his or in the name of his family members if he failed to pay the money or deposit the penalty amount.

The vigilance team took him into confidence and asked him to negotiate the amount. The deal was settled for Rs 5,000.

The junior engineer had asked him to pay the amount in the office today. Soon after Gurcharan Singh paid Rs 5,000 to him, the vigilance team seized the money and arrested him.

As soon as the vigilance team left for Ludhiana with the accused, employees created ruckus and claimed that the vigilance team had falsely implicated Manminder Pal Singh. They staged a dharna outside the office and blocked the traffic on the Jagraon-Sidhwan Bet road for more than two hours.

Later on, Jagraon DSP managed to get the dharna lifted after pacifying the agitators. A deputation of PSEB employees met the SSP, who assured them of proper investigation.



Sutlej Club
Expensive gifts, money to woo voters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
The election fever at the Sutlej Club has reached its pitch Members are leaving no stone unturned to woo the voters. Be it throwing lavish parties or giving expensive gifts everything is going inside the club unabated. Lakhs of rupees would be spent on these parties, which will be held at resorts on the Ferozepur Road.

With only a few days left for the elections (March 28) to the executive body of the club, the two major groups in the elections are giving a tough competition to each other.

The main fight is for the post of the general secretary. Two major contenders for the post are Sanjeev Dhanda and Gurinderjit Singh Laddi.

One of the members said the contenders were personally visiting their homes and offering expensive gifts to them. “People are flowing money like the water to woo the members,” he added.

SMS is the yet another method adopted by the members to convince the voters to be on their sides. One of the club members said he had been continuously receiving SMSes from both parties.



Congress leader accused of land grab
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, March 25
An NRI women has accused a senior Congress leader of grabbing a piece of land owned by her and her sister here.

Navdeep Kaur, a resident of Dakha village now settled in Canada, has accused Major Singh, another NRI and Congress leader, of grabbing a piece of land owned by her and her sister Navjeet Kaur.

The matter was brought to the notice of Navdeep Kaur by village numberdar Karamjit Singh when she visited her ailing father in New Delhi.

She visited the village and found that the accused had allegedly occupied their 8 biswas of land that they had been in possession of since 1991.

She said the revenue record of Dakha 1 indicated his possession of land in killa No. 24/5 whereas Major Singh owned a relatively smaller piece of land in Dakha 2 under Killa No. 25/2. She said Major Singh was now occupying both piece of land.

On the other hand, Major Singh refuted the charges claiming that he had done nothing wrong.

He said he had valid papers of the properties and if someone had some misunderstanding, the same could be sorted out through discussion.

Navdeep Kaur has approached SSP Harinder Singh Chahal seeking justice and peaceful possession of land.



Ram Navami celebrated with fervour
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Ram Navami was celebrated at ISKCON temple with religious fervour here. The festival started in the evening with “sankirtan” by devotees. Devotees from Delhi and Kurukshetra were specially invited for the “sankirtan”.

Temple president Rajsuya Das gave a sermon on the life of Lord Ram and said the festival commemorated the birth of Lord Ram who was worshiped for his prosperous and righteous reign.

Earlier, the abhishek of Lord Ram was done by devotees. Chhapan bhog was offered to the lord.

The devotees later took part in an aarti and feasted on “parshadam”.



Preneet stresses on moral values
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur today asked students of the Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Gujjarkhan campus, to have strong moral values along with educational qualifications to lead a respectable life.

Speaking during the college convocation, she said it was a moment of pride for the students to get degrees, but without a value system, these were pieces of paper.

Stating that woman power had been emerging as a major workforce in the current scenario, she asked the students to go out and serve the country.

“We can together take the country ahead in the field of development. All that we require are grit and determination,” she remarked.

She awarded degrees to 400 graduates and postgraduates who had excelled in studies or co-curricular activities.



Accident victim dies in hospital
Tribune News Service

Khanna, March 25
An accident victim undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Ludhiana succumbed to his injuries late last night.

The victim, Paras Gupta, a resident of Khanna, was undergoing treatment at a private hospital for the past around three months.

His motorcycle was hit by an unidentified vehicle near Daheru village in December. He received multiple injuries and was admitted to hospital.



New showroom
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Lift and Shift Systems, dealing in Godrej material handling, have opened their showroom at the Focal Point here. This is their first outlet in the state. Equipment for lifting and shifting heavy material, besides spare parts, will be available at the showroom.



HC Judge inspects courts
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, March 25
Justice Ashutosh Mohantta, Judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court-cum-Administrative Judge for Ludhiana Sessions Division, inspected the working of the local courts here today.

He was welcomed by Sessions Judge SP Bangarh, Additional Sessions Judges Kishore Kumar, JS Chouhan, Munish Singal, Mohammad Gulzar Manjinder Singh, AS Grewal, fast-track court Judges Harveen Bhardwaj, BR Garg, AS Narula, Civil Judge (Senior Divison) JPS Wahniwal, CJM Jatinder Kaur and judicial magistrates in the morning.

A contingent of Punjab Police also presented the guard of honour to the dignitary.

Deputy Commissoner Rahul Tiwari, Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh, office-bearers of the District Bar Association were also present.

Justice Mohantta inspected the working of the courts of Judicial Magistrates Amit Thind, Yukti Goyal, Ashish Saldi, PS Kaleka, Karan Garg and Ajay Mittal at the district courts complex. The rest of the courts would be inspected tommorrow.

Justice Mohantta could not hear the grievances of people at the Circuit House from 4 pm to 5 pm as scheduled even as several persons waited for his audience till the filing of the report.

Several lawyers, including Bir Inder Sekhon, former DBA secretary TPS Dhaliwal, Rana Harjasdeep Singh, GS Bal, Jagmohan Sanghe, also could not meet Justice Mohantta over the construction of a controversial wall in the courts complex.

They will meet him tomorrow when he addresses lawyers in the Bar room at the courts complex.

The lawyers, however, handed over a copy of the representation adressed to District Bar Association president at the office of the DBA.

Jagraon: Justice Mohantta also visited the Jagraon sub-divisional courts here today. He was accompanied by District and Session Judge, Ludhiana, SP Banger.

Justice Mohantta remained at the courts for around three hours and inspected the courts premises along with SSP Harinder Singh Chahal, SDM Mukand Singh, law officers Mandeep Kaur Bedi, Ranjeev Kumar Bashist and Ravi Inder Singh.



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