Saturday, June 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Mystery shrouds the death of a businessman
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 23 — Mystery shrouds the death of a 29-year-old business man who was found dead at his factory around 7 a.m. today.

Though the police has termed the death as a case of suicide because no prima facie evidence to suggest murder was found at the spot, relatives, neighbours and friends of the deceased have alleged that it is a case of murder.

The body Tirath Garg, a resident of Jagraon, engaged in a cycle parts manufacturing business here, was found on the premises of his Janta Nagar Colony factory by neighbour, Jaspal Singh and a few workers when they reached the factory for the morning shift. The factory is located along with two other factories in a rented building that has a common gate and the first floor of the factory is occupied by two families for residential purposes.

People of the area informed that generally one of the three factory owners used to run a double shift and in such a situation the gate of the factory would be locked from inside by that particular factory owner. 

It is learnt that the deceased was running a double shift yesterday and as the first shift finished at around 10.30 p.m. and the next shift was supposed to begin at around 7.00 a.m. today, Tirath Garg decided to stay back instead of going back to Jagraon. 

When workers reached the factory this morning and could not get any response on repeated banging at the door, they smelled a rat.

It was then that Jaspal Singh came down and broke open the main entrance. When the labourers and Jaspal Singh went towards the side of the premises where the factory of the deceased was situated, they found the doors were unlocked and on entering the factory, they found the body of the deceased on a cot.

The police and the family of the deceased at Jagraon were informed.

Mr Subhash Garg, brother of the deceased, said his brother had been murdered and a few goods had also been stolen. He alleged that when he reached the spot, he found that the entire place had been ransacked, two gold rings, a gold chain and some cash were missing. He also alleged that there were two injury marks on the neck of the deceased.

However, the police claimed that neither there were any signs of scuffle in the room nor there was any kind of injury marks. 

The police said the the cause of death would be confirmed only after the post-mortem report was received.


6 hurt as lightning strikes near ammunition depot
Army asks residents to vacate the area
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 23 — Alarm bells went ringing around an Army ammunition depot in Baddowal village and surrounding colonies of the city’s periphery this morning when strong lightning struck a labourer’s house leaving six persons, including three minor girls, injured and the house badly burnt and damaged. Even the telephone communication system of the depot was damaged and all lines of it and surrounding areas went dead. 

It was, however, a providential escape for thousands of residents of the city as the lightning struck just outside the ammunition depot otherwise, a Bharatpur kind of tragedy could have been repeated. The incident, beside stunning the residents around the depot about the massive danger they are living close to, also renewed attempts by the defence authorities to get ‘ illegal ‘ construction removed around the depot and to evacuate the residents at the earliest.

The Army authorities have dispatched fresh notices to the residents informing them that the land within 1000 yards of the depot is required to be cleared of all constructions and buildings under the Indian Works of Defence Act, 1903. The public notice undersigned by Col M.I. Hussain Commandant of the 17 Field Ammunition Depot, that the offenders of the Act are liable for legal action against them. It is common knowledge in the city that thousands of houses around the depot have been constructed against this Act and the defence authorities have been fighting tooth and nail for their evacuation,

While the Bharatpur ammunition depot had flared up the Army’s struggle, today’s lightning incident has renewed the attempts. The incident took place at about 8.15 this morning when strong lightning struck at a house constructed in the fields of a farmer, Avtar Singh Grewal, situated between the Baddowal village and the Army depot. The house rented out to a labourer’s family headed by Dina Nath presented a scene of destruction. 

While one roof of the semi- concrete house had completely collapsed, the other one had developed thick cracks. An adjoining hut built of straws was completely burnt. While Dina Nath escaped with minor injuries, his son Ved Pal, daughter-in- law Soma Devi and three small grand daughters Sushma, Jamna and Reshma were hit by the debris of the collapsed roof under which they remained buried for some time and had to be hospitalised. Most of them received head injuries but they were not of serious nature. The injured were discharged from a hospital in the afternoon.

“All my hard-earned belongings have been lost” said Dina Nath, pointing towards the burnt mattresses, cots and the crumbled house. So immense was the power of the lightning that his television was almost reduced to ashes. Considerable damage was caused to other furniture of the house. Even one wooden door was ripped apart. Not only the house, even a couple of trees near it were also burnt.

Mohan Dass Paswan, an eye-witness, recalled the horrifying scene, “I was working with 10 or 12 other Labourers in the paddy fields nearby when a huge splash of lightning appeared in the sky. Two eye and one spear-like formation descended on electric wires near the unfortunate labourer’s house with a loud bang”, he said, adding that within moments the house caught fire and collapsed.

Another person Tilak Raj, living nearby said he has in his house when he heard a loud bang and ordered his family to take cover as the bombs in the ammunition depot had began exploding. He said only after a few minutes when no other explosion occurred that they dared to come outside. He said within a short span of time moe than 500 persons had collected around the house. He also recalled that so massive was the voltage of the lightning when it struck the wires that for a few seconds electric supply to the village, which was off since last night was restored. The bulbs lit up and the fans or other gadgets began working.

The farmer Avtar Singh said in fact the labourers working in the paddy fields did a commendable job by rescuing the children buried under the debris and controlling the fire. The labourers also took the family to nearby hospital.

Major Gurcharan Singh, Administrative Officer of the depot, when contacted said the Army had been warning the people about any incident since many years but no one was giving a heed to their warning. He however, assured that the depot had the best security from incidents like fire and lightning and there was no scope of any major tragedy. He however added that after the Bharatpur ammunition fire nothing could be left to chance and the residents should immediately leave the place.



Flouting building bylaws norm, not exception
“Everything can be fixed and everyone has a price”
From Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, June 23 — The gigantic problem of unplanned and haphazard development in the industrial capital of the Punjab which further leads to pathetic state of basic civic amenities to a majority of the population in the city, assumes alarming proportions in view of increasing trend among the residents to flout building bye-laws and to change ‘land use’ with impunity because of little or no penal action taken by the authorities against the offenders.

The Ludhianvis’ firm belief that “everything can be fixed and everyone has a price” has so emboldened them that they systematically go about the whole thing. The violation of building bylaws is planned well in advance; the authorities concerned, be it the municipal corporation, the improvement trust or any other government agency, are taken into confidence; deals are struck and even the penal action for the violations are finalised in advance, reveals a source who claims to be in the ‘know of things’.

While the state government have been impressing upon the bodies entrusted with the job of urban development to take serious view of change of land use and to straightaway demolish the structures falling in this category rather than compounding the offences, the Improvement Trust seems to have other ideas.

The 265-acre scheme of the trust, Maharishi Valmiki Nagar, is one among numerous such residential localities in the city which, more or less, have been converted into commercial centres, thanks to selfish motives of certain residents and conniving officials, who firmly believe that their personal fortunes are more important than enforcement of rules and regulations.

Almost the entire stretch of residential plots in the colony, located on main Humbran Road, has flourishing shops and commercial establishments where the backyards of the houses should have been. The building bylaws are very clear on the issue. The residential houses, built on plots located on any main road cannot even have a back door towards the road side and the access has to be from a bylane, sources assert.

But this is not the case in Block-A of Maharishi Nagar. Either the owners of the residential houses have constructed shops for their own use or some others have rented the shops in addition to collecting a hefty ‘pugree’. Not to be left behind, even the managing committee of a temple on the main road could not resist the temptation of creating ‘material assets’ and has built two shops on one side of the main entrance.

Some residents of the colony, who were upset at the unchecked emergence of commercial establishments in the residential plots alleged that certain senior officials of the Improvement Trust were in connivance with the ‘law breakers’ which is borne out from the fact that no action was taken when the ‘unauthorised’ shops were under construction.

In the process, the unscrupulous officials and concerned plot owners might have been the gainers but the Improvement Trust turned out to be a big loser. The shops constructed by the trust in the designated commercial area in the locality have no takers. While some shops in one of the two markets, sold in auction, have failed to commence business activity so far, shops in the other are yet to be put to auction. A property dealer in the area confided that auction of the shops is being put off because of disinterest of the buyers. “When the business activity is confined at the main Humbran Road, who would like to risk his investment in a shop inside the colony and why ?”

Trust engineer J.S.Pandher, when contacted, told The Tribune that notices had been served to 22 plot owners in the locality for violation of building rules but no further action had so far been taken against them although the notice period had lapsed. When asked as to why the construction was not stopped when it was in progress, he said “we had initiated the process for demolition of the ‘unauthorised structures’ but the affected persons approached some high ups and we had no choice but to give up.”

Those closely involved with the process of urban development expressed their grave concern over mass scale violations in building bylaws and change in land use.

“If the trend was allowed to continue unchecked, the whole system of planned development of residential and commercial areas, even in new colonies would collapse and civic life would become chaotic,” a retired civil engineer residing in the area observed.



Cool Ludhiana nights
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 23 — Nights have started cooling down with the temperature dipping down by about five degrees during the night.

While the day temperature had already fallen by several degrees, the night temperature had so far remained normal.

According to the sources of the Meteorology Department of Punjab Agricultural University, the minimum (night) temperature came down to 23.5° C from 28° C. The day temperature was also relatively low as compared to the normal temperature at 33° C.

Ludhianvis once again woke up to mild showers today. The city recorded a rainfall of 1.6 mm. Weather experts said mild and isolated rainfall might continue for few more days.

They said due to the south-western currents from the Arabian Sea under the influence of low atmospheric pressure over Pakistan and north-western India the moisture in the atmosphere might continue to increase.

The relative humidity shot up to a maximum of 91.4 per cent today against on 78 per cent yesterday.



Disability not a hurdle for him
From Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, June 23 — Physical disability did not shatter his confidence. When he was eight-month-old, Gurvinder Singh Puniani suffered a polio attack, which affected his two lower and one left upper limb. His father, a cloth merchant, made all efforts to get the best treatment for his son but all his efforts were in vain.

From the very beginning, Mr Puniani had decided not to take up his father’s business. Instead, he aimed to become a doctor. His father made him realise that owing to his physical disabilities, he may not be able to achieve this goal. His father suggested him to choose commerce stream and target to get some bank job. But inspired by his college teacher, Mrs Amrit Reshma, he made up his mind to become a teacher.

Mr Puniani is presently running a commerce coaching centre here. “I have nearly 100 students from class XI to M.Com. level and I am taking classes for accounts, mathematics, statistics and taxation,” he says. Today, at the age of 29, he is working for 14 hours a day and his average monthly income is Rs 25,000.

Mr Puniani is highly qualified. He has done M.Com, M.A. (economics) and a postgraduate diploma in statistics. He gives credit to his sister, Mrs Varinder Kaur ,for her support during school days and his eldest brother, Mr Arvinder Singh, and his friend, Mr Ranjit Singh, for infusing strength and courage all his life.

Mr Puniani believes that life has given him much more than what he had expected. He won a best teacher award when he taught during a personal contact programme conducted by Himachal Pradesh University. He also reminisces about a day in college when he was awarded seven prizes including the best student award.

He has displayed some of his mementos in his office. Some posters with titles, ‘Be an Optimistic’, ‘10 Commandments of Success’, ‘The ABC of Happiness’ and ‘Six Reasons Why You Should Smile’ have been fixed by him in his office may be to make sure that he is never disheartened.

For handicapped persons, Mr Puniani has a message, “Though life is full of battles but these can be successfully won with ease if one is determined and always maintains faith in the Almighty.”

During his college days, he wrote a story entitled ‘Zindagi ek Paheli’ which ended with this piece of poetry:


“Zindagi ek tarana hai

Dukh sukh ka afsana hai

Gamon mein bhi haste jao

Zindagi ka kya tikana hai”



Summer training camp for children
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 23 — Times have changed. Unlike the past when kids use to visit relatives in their holidays or “freak out”, they have become more self-conscious. They are eager to learn more and more. Be it dance, skating, singing, computers, kids today have left no stone unturned.

Seeing interest of kids, in such matters, summer training camps have mushroomed everywhere in the city.

One such training camp has been started in Guru Nanak International School, where dance professional Aruna Verma is teaching dance to tiny tots. Besides school, classes azre also taken up.

A dhol and music system have been arranged. Children have been picking up well, says Aruna, who herself learnt dance from Gopu Krishan Ji, Guru Arjun Desai & Roshan Kumari Ji, Jyotika Verma, Visharad in classical Kathak.

Manish is looking after skating classes, which run from 6.30 a.m. to 8.00 a.m.



Aping the West blindly
By Thakur Paramjit

RAIN parties, Halloween parties, discos, dating...the youth of Chandigarh are blindly aping the western trends. Indian values, ethics, principles...shut up, what rabbish are you talking about. The modern generation does not want to live the life of their fathers. Like free birds, they want to enjoy life fully — dancing, romancing and...

Chandigarh has been transformed from a sleepy city of retired people to a mini-cosmopolitan full of activities for the youth. Now, every other day, there is a theme party, or a celebrity visiting this city to inaugurate a web-site or a showroom or to launch a product. Fashion related activities also find a prominent place in this scenario.

Almost 99% of the ‘mod & fast’ girls of this city do not spend their own money on leisure related activities. So whether she goes out to dance or dine, buy a dress or a lipstick, it is the duty of the boyfriend to open his wallet. Flirting has become the in-thing for a number of girls. But contrary to her claims, can she keep the relationship at the ‘talking stage’ only. Certainly not. When he spends so much on her, and she goes on ‘outings’ with him and stays shut with him alone in a room, can physical relationship be avoided? At the initial stage, both think they are enjoying life, but later, the boy realises that he has ruined his career, and the girl becomes a ‘sophisticated prostitute’ after the boy ditches her. No Indian man likes a flirtatious girl to become his wife. Whatever we say or do, in our hearts we stick to Indian values as far as matrimonial alliances are concerned. An Indian boy may enjoy sexual proximity with a number of girls, but would always like to have a virgin for a wife. Many of my female readers might say that this attitude was unjustified. But this is a reality of life.

Those related to the fashion and modelling industry too, grumble about the exploitation in this field. While the main aim of institutes calling themselves, ‘cradles of fashion’, is to mint money, a majority of the people in modelling industry are full of jealousy. Give them a chance, and they will tell you the ‘stories’ about their rivals. “You cannot trust anybody in this field — befit a show organiser, a choreographer, an event manager, a compere or a model. Moreover, established persons in this field do not let the new talent to come up. They think that they are the ‘kings’ and every aspirant should bow to them and request them for a chance”, discloses a compere on condition of anonymity. “He is right to some extent”, says another, leg-pulling and back-biting are a common phenomenon in this field.

But how can he blame others when he himself enjoys talking ill about one person in front of the other? “A sweet tongue can be quite treacherous, you know”. Talking about payments for fashion shows, a model confides, “many a time, a choreographer charges a fee for models from the organisers, but does not pass on the same to the models. On being asked for it, he simply says that since he gave the model a chance to walk on the ramp with the top models of India, the question of making a payment does not arise. This is highly unfair.”

Drug addiction has also infiltrated into the society as a by-product of modernisation. The rich and the affluent of today have little time for their offspring. They have to often cry after having spilt milk. But who thinks of the future, while indulging in the rosy present? — Thakur Paramjit



Youth Congress remembers Sanjay Gandhi
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 23 — District Youth Congress (DYC) led by its president, Mr Pawan Diwan, today organised a function to observe death anniversary of Mr Sanjay Gandhi in Simlapuri area here. Mr. Devinder Singh Baboo, president, Punjab Youth Congress, and Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, Secretary PPCC, among others paid glowing tributes and offered flowers to the portarit of Mr Gandhi.

Describing the late Mr Gandhi as a dynamic and energetic youth leader, the PYC President exhorted the party workers to follow the programmes given by the departed leader, including population control, tree plantation and environmental improvement.

Mr Diwan, speaking at this occasion, called for creating unity and goodwill in society and putting an end to discriminations based on religion, region, languages and castes.

The YC workers observed a two-minute silence in memory of Mr. Gandhi.

Those who spoke at the occasion included Mr Harnek Singh Dhir, Vice-President of DCC, Mr Balwinder Singh Bedi, BCC President Mr Palwinder Singh Taggar, BYC President, Mr Harpal Singh Saini, Mr Kuldip Singh Bitta, Mr Avtar Singh Kanda, Mr Navnit Malhotra, Mr Kharaiti Lal, Mr Swarn Singh Happy, Mr Nirmal Singh Uppal, Mr Sukhdev Singh and Mr Pritam Kumar.



Helping farmers in operations
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 23 — For efficient production of field crops, vegetables and fruit plants, to effect precision and timeliness in farming techniques and reducing the cost of cultivation, much research in farm machinery has been oriented to develop appropriate machinery, equipment and tools.

The development of farm machinery at PAU here has played a vital role in mechanising some of the field operations like wheat and paddy harvesting and threshing and for this combines and threshers are available in large quantity. Also potato sowing and harvesting has been mechanised and good quality potato diggers and planters are available. The university has also developed large number of equipment to mechanise other field operations.

The technologies /machinery developed by PAU include sunflower thresher, stubble shaver, straw combine, reaper strip till drill, multi-crop seed drill cum-planter, manually operated oil seed drill, high clearance sprayer, paddy transplanter sugar cane planter, wheel hand hoe, scythe, potato diggers, pulverising roller attachments for cultivator, paddy thresher, groundnut digger shaker, manually operated garlic planter and safe feeding chute.

Out of these, sugarcane planter was developed in 1998 and manually operated garlic planter in 1999. The department is presently working on forge harvesting machinery.

The department is maintaining a liaison with small-scale manufacturers to promote the newly developed farm equipment. The drawings and prototypes of the machines are supplied to the manufacturers free of cost. Training is also given to the manufacturers. The farm machinery testing centre at PAU is a unique facility which has helped to strengthen the industrial liaison between PAU and industry. It has also helped the manufacturers to improve the quality of their products.



Phones continue to remain dead

LUDHIANA, June 23 — Thousands of telephones remained dead for the second day running today in and around Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, due to a fault on account of laying of fresh cable wires by a private company.

This five level exchange also caters to Vikas Nagar, Pakhowal Road, Urban Estate Phase I and II . The exchange reportedly went dead around 5 am in the morning yesterday. Till the time of going to the press this evening, the telecommunications in these areas had not been restored.

It is not for the first time that this telephone exchange has gone out of order. Residents of the area complain that the exchange frequently breaks down, throwing normal life out of gear.

According to Mr J.C. Aggarwal, District Telecom Manager, some of the existing cables had been damaged during operations to lay new optical cable wires. He assured that the telephone services will be restored very soon.

Incidentally, residents of the area complain that the new cables are being laid at a depth of just three-and-a-half-feet, whereas the actual depth should be six feet.Back


Master Tara Singh birth anniversary preparations give rise to controversy
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 23 — The elaborate preparations being made by the Panth Rattan Master Tara Singh Yaadgari Committee to celebrate the 116th birth anniversary of the veteran Akali leader here on June 25 have given rise to a controversy, which could have far-reaching political repercussions.

The committee has Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, senior vice-president of the SAD (Badal) and a strong contender for the post of jathedar of district unit of the ruling party, as its patron, Mr Pritpal Singh, President of Gurudwara Akaligarh as its chairman, while Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia, a councillor, claiming to be the head of the Master Tara Singh Akali Dal, is its president.

According to a detailed programme announced by the committee, besides Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, and Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Mrs Upinderjit Kaur, are scheduled to preside over a congregation in Gurudwara Dukh Niwaran, inaugurate a free medical camp and a library, in the memory of the founder of Akali Dal.

Describing the celebrations as a political stunt of Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia to come closer to the SAD (B) leadership, the youth wing of the ruling akali dal has cautioned the party leadership against such “selfish and opportunist” persons who had been persistently hobnobbing with the Congress and had always harmed the Akali Dal, particularly during its long history of struggles and difficult times.

In a ‘letter of protest’, written to the party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, a large number of activists of the Akali Dal Youth Wing have alleged that Mr Dukhia had opposed Akali Dal candidates in municipal corporation elections, both in 1991 and 1997 at the instance of the Congress, which he contested as an independent against official nominees of the party. Not only this, during the grave crisis, the Sikh community was facing in 1984, he justified Operation Bluestar and joined hands with Mr Rachhpal Singh of Delhi to form a ‘Congress-sponsored’ Master Tara Singh Akali Dal in a bid to weaken the traditional akali dal.

The Youth Akali Dal activists, including Mr Gurpreet Singh Dharampura, Mr Taranjit Singh Bindra, organising secretary of the party, Mr Kirpal Singh Arora, vice-president Mr Manjit Singh Chauhan, and several others have impressed upon the party high command and Mr Badal, in particular, to keep at bay those who were ‘misusing’ the name of the veteran Akali leader for their personal political gains.Back



Centre set up for kids with cerebral palsy
From Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, June 23 — For the first time in the city, a rehabilitation centre for children suffering from cerebral palsy has been set up and is successfully taking care of 40 such children.

Ashirwad — The North India Cerebral Palsy Association was formed at Sant Isher Singh Nagar here some 10 months ago with the efforts of five persons, three of these were doctors and the rest were businessmen.

At Ashirwad — NICPA, these children with special needs are being offered physiotherapy, speech therapy and special education facilities. Says its president, Dr Harjit Pruthi, “Our aim is to inculcate all those skills in the child which would help him to go normaley to school, earn independent living, get married and have family life.”

Explaining about the condition of the disease, Dr R.S. Sodhi, orthopaedist and general secretary of the association, says, “Cerebral palsy causes weakness or loss of voluntary purposeful movements. Excessive spasm in lower or/ and upper limbs of the body may occur in some cases. Other associated defects like mental subnormality, poor hearing or vision, speech problems, drooping of saliva or squint in eyes may also be caused. Convulsions with a varying impact are also a sign of cerebral palsy.”

According to members, though there are two schools in the city for mentally retarded children, the needs of cerebral palsy children cannot be met in these schools as mental retardation and cerebral palsy are not synonymous. Children with cerebral palsy have a pronounced physical disability whereas mental development can be normalised with special education. Therefore, there is a need of such special centres. They also say that if this condition is detected at an early stage and right therapy is started at an appropriate time, the condition improves significantly.

When a child first visits the centre, he is assessed for his physical and mental disabilities by Ms Pooja, the therapist, who then recommends suitable treatment. “While most of the children suffer from more physical then mental disabilities, the situation may be just the opposite,” says Pooja.

For physiotherapy, the centre is equipped with bolsters for head control, crawlers for helping the child crawl, corner chair for balancing the trunk part, peto chair for standing, peto plinth for climbing up and down and a balance board to stimulate balancing of the entire body.

Other than this , Mrs Kum Kum Sharman, a psychologist, visits once a week to assess improvement in the mental disabilities of the children. She also helps in improving handwriting skills in children. Also Dr Vinay Gulati, a prosthesist, visits the centre every two months.

Of the total 40 children, 15 children visit the centre daily. The centre is drawing not only the affected children of the city but also those from Jalandhar, Nakodar and Hoshiarpur. These children visit at varying frequencies. Four children going to normal schools visit in the evening batch.

The registration fee has been kept at Rs 150. Monthly fee of children visiting daily is Rs 500 while for others it is at least Rs 200. Meanwhile, parents of the children feel that this is a boon for them as earlier they had to go to either Delhi or Hyderabad for the treatment. But with the coming up of this centre, they have been saved from these hassles.

The centre was formally inaugurated last month by Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, who had assured full cooperation. He had also asked Ludhiana residents to come forward and one family should adopt one child as the monthly expenses per child have been estimated to be Rs 15,000.

The centre is receiving donations from different sources. A car donated to the centre recently is likely to be used for commuting of the children.

But financial constraints are there. “We want to import some gadgets for physiotherapy worth Rs 3 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh from the UK but we are waiting for some donations,” says Dr Pruthi.



Two killed in mishaps
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 23 — At least two persons were killed in two rail accidents that occurred near the railway crossing at Dhandari Kalan and near the Model Town extension during the past 24 hours.

According to information, the body of a person around 45 years of age was found near the Dhandari railway line after he was allegedly run over by a train yesterday. The body of another man, Dev Raj was also found near the Model Town extension railway line after he was allegedly run over by another train.

One arrested: The police has arrested another member of the 10-member gang of the notorious car thieves led by Harwinder Singh Bittu, which is operating from Delhi.

The accused, Jasmeet Singh Sonu, was arrested by the police after his name and address was reportedly revealed by another accused, Jagminder Singh Happy, during the interrogation. The latter had been arrested by the police three days ago and a car had been recovered from him. Five of the other accused — Harwinder Singh Bittu, Deepu, Mithu, Gurpal Pala and Chamkaur Singh had been arrested by the police in Bathinda on May 26.

It is learnt that Jasmeet Singh Sonu was arrested by the police from Delhi and another car was recovered from him. Inspector Ranbir Singh also informed that they had received information about the other cars that were stolen by this gang and then sold off in various districts of Punjab.

Adulterated desi ghee recovered: The local police recovered 88 containers each carrying 16 kg of adulterated desi ghee being sold under the leading brand names after the raid at a shop owned by Rajiv Sood at Gill Road on June 20. It was informed that the accused, in connivance with a leading bakery in the Model Town area, was selling adulterated desi ghee for the past 12 years.Back


Caught in his own trap
From Lovleen Bains

SAHNEWAL, June 23 — The dramatic story of the kidnapping of Ram Singh and the factual story of his reaching the USA is being narrated with astonishment by the police and the public in Doraha.

According to official sources, Ram Singh, a 28-year-old non-resident Indian, was said to have been kidnapped under mysterious circumstances while he was driving a Maruti-Zen car on the Neelon-Doraha link road. Ram Singh, who resided in Ridland (California), had reached India on June 1 and had taken a Maruti Zen car by the number PB-05-D-0108 from the house of his maternal uncle, Mr Kulwant Singh, who has a bungalow at Aggar Nagar (Ludhiana) and is at present residing in England.

Mr Ajmer Singh Nagra, father-in-law of Ram Singh, had informed the police that Ram Singh before arriving in India, had made a two-day stay in England and made a request for his car from his uncle that he had granted humbly. He also informed that Ram Singh had come to India with a view to invest money here. He had exchanged currency worth Rs. 50,000 and had Rs. 35,000 left with him on June 13.

The incident, as related by the relatives of Ram Singh, was that on June 13, Ram Singh started for the house of his father-in-law at Nagra (Samrala) from the house of his father Devinder Singh of village Jhalewal (Ludhiana) at about 12 noon. On June 15, the Doraha police found his Zen car lying abandoned on the Neelon-Doraha link road. The bonnet of the car was lying open and there was no petrol in the car. Also, the front glass was broken and the stereo was missing. A few things discovered lying in the car included a single shoe, a shirt and a passport. Taking the car in its custody, the Doraha police registered a case under section 364/IPC and began further investigations.

All these days, the police made efforts to solve the mystery. It was only on June 22 that the truth was revealed much to the surprise of everyone.

The facts brought out are that Ram Singh, was married to Pawandeep Kaur, daughter of Ajmer Singh Nagra, on April 17, 1995. They stayed in the USA with their year-old child. He was dissatisfied with his marital life. Both husband and wife had trivial matters to fight on and thus Ram Singh made up his mind to put an end to all this once and for all. He was aware of the fact that he would never get divorced from his wife’s side because of political approach of his father-in-law, Mr Ajmer Singh Nagra, who is a close relative of the MLA, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon. To make matters worse, Ram Singh had extra-marital relations with Pinky, a divorcee who resides in California and originally belongs to Lambaran village of Jalandhar. Ram Singh was staying with Pinky for the past one year at California. With a view of getting rid of his wife and also due to complete ignorance of his father-in-law, Ram Singh made a plan of his own kidnapping.

The DSP, Mr Balraj Singh Sidhu told the press that Ram Singh took the Maruti-Zen on June 13 and went to Phillaur. From there he hired a taxi and asked the taxi driver to follow him. Ram Singh stopped his car near Gurudwara Katana Sahib on the Neelon-Doraha Link Road, himself broke the front glass, left a shoe and some other things in the car and seating himself in the taxi reached Delhi from where he reached Seattle in the USA by air.

A few days after reaching the USA Ram Singh made a telephone call to his cousin Daya Singh, who informed him that the situation had become complicated and the police had taken a serious note of the proceedings. It was continuously on the look-out for the truth of the whole matter. His relatives were being watched over every minute by the police, he said. Hearing this, Ram Singh had to speak out the truth before the police. All his plans were dashed to the ground and he was caught in his own trap. Back


        Why waste the police force on security duties?

War and peace do not go together. War-time methods cannot be used in peace time much less mingled together. In large towns, the criminal feels safe in the crowd. Ludhiana today, coming up as a metropolitan city. The scale of policing has not kept pace with the increase in population Crime figures are intentionally kept low. Apart from that, the old and efficient constabulary that was the central point of police administration is not more than 20 per cent of the whole lot now. Neither the Home Guards nor the SPOs can fit the bill. They are inefficient for investigation, patrolling as well as public dealing.

When the police was at war with the militants, Home Guard jawans and SPOs were used to fill up the vacancies for routine policing in towns and villages while the regular constabulary used to fight militant organisations. Thanks to the ‘brave leader’ who came as an angel of peace and wiped out militancy completely with the help of the police force. Now that peace has been restored, why continue with war-time measures and waste the police force on unwanted security covers? Not only Ministers, but even MP, MLA and Municipal Councillors, because of their official position, claim security cover at state expenses, not because they are in dager of any assault from opponents but because they want to acquire social status. This loss of manpower is seriously affecting the interests of the innocent citizen, who is also the voter of these political higherups. Men on security duties on VIP visits and route duties etc., when called out for night patrolling, are so tired and unwilling to work that their sluggish movements with contemptuous looks can hardly be result oriented. They can neither spot out criminals from the people moving in the streets nor is there a will to do so.

After Independence, a free-for-all atmosphere prevailed in the country. The criminal tribes, whose livelihood was completely based on crime and who were heckled by the Criminal Tribes Act (that was later abolished), were once again free to earn their living through criminal activities. They were absolutely quiet during militancy for fear of being killed by the terrorists or by the police in encounters. Their activities in large towns are now on the increase as they know that the old discerning eyes of the competent constabulary are no more there to identify them. They roam about in the streets of residential colonies under the garb of sadhus, mendicants, snake charmers or faqirs. They mark their target houses during day time for operations at night. Even their fresh settlements in the peripheries of town are not raided by the police because of paucity of man power in the force.

The first thing that stands out in the above discussion is that it is high time that the DGP discusses the issue of drastic reduction in security covers so that men are available for day and night patrolling for the common man. VIPs have no right to exploit the helplessness of the innocent citizen who is also their voter and deprive him of the benefits of police administration.

The present DGP, Mr Sarabjit Singh, IPS, has proved his worth as a leader of the force. His tenure in office has been marked by several instances of hauling up ISI Agents, some criminals and smugglers of narcotic drugs.

The following are a few other suggestions for toning up the working of city police:

1. The conventional ‘beat’ system as envisaged in the police rules and hitherto carried out successfully by the constabulary should be re-introduced. Beat books on revised proformas should be prepared at the district level for distribution among the Beat constables. As the beat areas have increased a lot and constables going in for beat duties cannot cope up with the strain either on foot or on bicycles, they should be provided with motorbikes. For the time being, till the manpower quota is increased, a regular experienced constable can be sent with a Home Guard jawan SPO for each beat. Officers on night patrolling should question the absentees and other defaulters.

2. The registration of domestic servants by their employers can never be successful because the employers are afraid of losing their servants and do not take them to the police stations for verification. This work has to be done by the police staff through door to door checking, carrying cameras and finger impression apparatus with them. A certificate of compliance should be obtained from supervisory officers after a thorough checkup.

3. Bulk registration and issuance of information sheets to rickshaw pullers coming from other states should be undertaken by simultaneous raids conducted by the SHOs and chowki incharges.

4. In the larger towns of Punjab like Ludhiana, nearly half of population comprises of migrant labour from other states. Registration of factory labour by the local police has been a failure. This should be got done by factory owners who should maintain factory-wise registers for the verification of labour, on proformas given by the district police.

In the present scenario, it is only the SSP in a district from whom the subordinates are afraid of and not dare to obfuscate matters while reporting facts.

It is usually the man behind the machine who matters.

(K.G. Dewan is a former Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana.}Back




Ramandeep honoured
From Our Sports Reporter

LUDHIANA, June 23 — Mr Ramandeep Singh, captain of the Indian hockey team, that had won the Four-Nation International Hockey Tournament recently held in Australia, was honoured by Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, senior vice-president of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), at Sarabha Nagar here last evening.

Speaking at this occasion, Mr Talwandi observed that the nation had high hopes from the present hockey team led by Ramandeep and expressed confidence in the Indian team which he was sure, would strive to regain the lost glory of Indian hockey in the forthcoming Olympics. He said he would take up the matter of providing befitting rewards, incentives and suitable jobs for the top ranking national and international players with the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Lamenting the declining standards of hockey in the country, Mr Ramandeep Singh pointed out that qualitative improvement in the game could only be brought out when the players were fully equipped and had assured employment opportunities so that they could fully concentrate on the game. He stressed the need for arranging sponsorships for the game by corporate houses.

Mr Talwandi presented a shawl and a sword to the Indian hockey captain.Back


Captain who leads from front
By Surbhi Bhalla

Class, sparkling strokeplay, impeccable in defence, awesome powers of concentration — he's master of the game. Ramandeep Singh Grewal has plucked a feather from the Dhanraj Pillai's cap. It is only because of all the hard work he's put into.

He has come a long way, from being a small town boy (Raikot) to a national hero. The strides that he made in the past several years earned him the prestigious task of leading the Indian team. And amazing strokes have made Ramandeep Grewal stand tall in the Indian hockey team.

Grewal (29) still remembers his major move. It was when he sought admission in Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Agriculture College (B.Sc).

Seven years away from home in the quest for a future, took him to great heights. "Everything in life is a performance”, is his motto and he has proved it by doing M.Sc in agronomy simultaneously.

He joined the university team initially. Soon he was in to junior team (89-90). He performed reasonably well in the junior team, but it was in the senior team that he showed tremendous progress, which he joined in 1990-91.

He joined the Indian camp in November 92. It has been a roller coaster ride for him in the hockey. Along with the peaks, he has had his share of lows. He was dropped from the team in 1993 when he could not play the nationals because of the exams. But the team could not do without him and he played the Bombay nationals in 1994.

He first grabbed the spotlight when he was appointed captain in December 1999. He then played in Azlan Shah Cup in Spain. He also participated in the 1998 Asian Games.

In pre-Olympics this team came up with flying colours as it provided tough competition to Australia, Germany and South Africa.

In an interview with Ludhiana Tribune, he said he the team was ready for the Olympics which are going to start from September 15 in Sydney. He firmly believes that hard work can put them on the road to success.

The team will face South Africa, Australia, Spain and Korea and Poland on September 17, 19, 21, 23 and 26, respectively. Ramandeep and the team have just returned from a two-month coaching camp in Bangalore which began on 15th May.

He is quite satisfied with the camp as it focusing on physical fitness and match practice. He is strictly following the fitness schedule and concentrating on penalty strokes, scooping and other technicalities.

He is keen to give a message to the X & Y generations to work very hard and achieve whatever they think is not possible. Go forth in life, face challenges and climb every peak boldly, is his advice to tthe youngsters.Back


Unique surgery at heart institute
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 23 — In one of the rare feats in medical surgery, doctors at Sigma Heart Institute and Imaging Centre, here performed tracheal reconstruction (reconstruction of wind pipe) on a patient, who had been stabbed in the neck.

According to Dr Murtaza Chisti, Chief Cardiac Surgeon, Sigma Heart Institute, Roop Lal (24) had suffered injuries in the neck after he was stabbed. Earlier, the doctors in a local hospital had not been able to locate the fracture in the wind pipe. Initially, he had been inserted with the artificial tube for the supply of oxygen to his lungs. Although this provided some initial relief, after sometime he felt difficulty in breathing. He was referred to the centre.

Dr Chisti said: “Fortunately we could locate the real problem in time and we took no time in operating him”. However, it was a “difficult and delicate” operation because of the delicate location of the wind pipe. It took four hours for Dr Chisti and his team to reconstruct the wind pipe.

Two weeks have passed and Roop Lal is back to his normal routine. He is a professional musician and is about to resume his performances soon.

In another case, Dr R. P. Singh performed transradial angioplasty on Mr V K Bansal, a 47-year-old officer of the Punjab National Bank, who was suffering from myocardial infraction of inferior wall.

In routine angioplasty, Mr Bansal will have needed to lie down on bed for 18 hours after completion of the procedure to prevent bleeding from the groin artery. Since the patient was not in a position to lie down for a long period, Dr R P Singh decided to perform the angioplasty from the wrist artery. this in itself is said to be a unique achievement in the cardiac surgery. Within five minutes after the operation the patient was shifted to the ICU that too on a wheel chair instead of a stretcher. Dr R P Singh has mastered this new technique of radial angioplasty in Paris.

According to Dr Amardeep Singh, Managing Director of centre, coronary angioplasty has been traditionally performed using the trans-femoral approach (artery in thigh). However, vascular and bleeding complication are seen relatively more frequent and contribute to patient morbidity and prolongation of hospitalisation.

Transradial approach reduces vascular and bleeding complications. Immediate mobilisation is possible and increased patient comfort reduces duration of hospitalisation besides reducing the procedural costs.Back


RPO Lok Adalat in Ludhiana today
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 23 — The Regional Passport Office will organise its first-ever Lok Adalat at Ludhiana on Saturday (June 24) between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

All those applicants whose applications for fresh passports or service cases, which have been pending with the Chandigarh RPO since the beginning of 1999 would be taken up for on-the-spot decision. “In cases where discrepancies, if any are removed, passports would be instantaneously granted,” said Mr Suresh Babu, Regional Passport Officer.

He said his office had already issued between 700 and 800 letters of the Ludhiana police district, whose applications for fresh passports or service cases have been held up for one reason or the other to come personally and attend the Lok Adalat. The applicants must bring with them a copy of the letter sent to them by the RPO here.

The RPO would carry all the relevant files to Ludhiana so that decision could be taken after hearing the applicant. A number of applications are pending since the beginning of 1999 for want of some piece of information or affidavit, date of birth certificate or for an attested copy of photograph of the applicant or because of any other technical discrepancy.

Mr Babu said the idea of organising Lok Adalat was to help the general public. “Not every applicant can travel to Chandigarh to remove objections. As such, the RPO has decided to go to people by organising Lok Adalats in bigger towns or district headquarters to start with.

At present, Chandigarh has one of the 28 Regional Passport Offices in the country which caters to requirements of people of 41 districts of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

He said the entire staff of the RPO dealing with the cases which are likely to be taken up at the Adalat would travel to Ludhiana to satisfy the applicants. Other important towns of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh would also be covered by similar subsequent Lok Adalats, he added.

He said that once passport is granted, it does not mean that it would be issued from Ludhiana itself. The passports would be written and despatched from Chandigarh within the next few days after each Adalat is held at a district headquarter.

He said the RPO had sought cooperation of both the district administration and the Police Department in holding the Lok Adalat.

The venue of the Lok Adalat would be Bachat Bhavan or one of its adjoining auditorium depending upon the turnout of the applicants.Back


Sa Re Ga Ma audition
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 23 — The audition of Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma was held here today at Basant Resorts. The audition was conducted by Annuj Kappu, music director of Sa Re Ga Ma, who is on a tour of the region in search of talent for this musical programme.

However, Kappu seemed to be very disappointed with the poor response of the city people. In a talk with this correspondent, he said the response from the people was rather inadequate presumably because they had not received proper training in music. The programme, which is quite popular in India as well as in other countries, requires deserving people." But in Ludhiana we did not find such a talent. In Chandigarh, the results were far better.”

Kappu who is giving music in various serials and doing an album for Md. Waqil (the mega-finalist winner for Sa Re Ga Ma) further said: “This is an all-India level competion,and people should have positive social approach towards music.” He was accompanied by Sunanda Sharma, a vocalist of the Banaras Gharana and disciple of Girija Devi.



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