Monday, December 18, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Elderly couple robbed of jewellery, cash
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 17—Suspected armed robbers struck at the house of an elderly couple in Santokh Nagar of the city early today morning. They decamped with cash and jewellery worth about Rs 2.5 lakh.

This is the second such robbery in the area. Just three days ago, a similar armed robbery had taken place in a jeweller's house in Lajpat Nagar , pointing at the possibility of a single gang operating in the area.

Today's incident took place at about 7 am when three youths barged into the house of Mr Khajan Chand in street no. 5 of the colony. The old man was alone in the house as his wife Mrs Ramesh Kanta Jain had gone out for participating in a ‘parbhat pheri". They live alone as their children are married and live separately.

When the robbers learnt that Mr Khajan Chand was alone, they ordered him to remain quiet. They also covered him with a quilt, warning him that if he moved he would be killed. The robbers, then, broke open an almirah and other boxes in the house. They also locked from outside a portion of the house occupied by a tenant family so that they could not come to the old man's aid.

According to an FIR registered with the Salem Tabri police station, the robbers took away jewellery, about 500 silver coins and about 80,000 in cash. Mr Khajan Chand said the cash was kept in the house as they deal in ‘committees’. Explaining the large quantity of silver coins, he said they considered it auspicious to store them.

The police reached the site and took photographs and finger prints. They also recovered a sabbal, brought by the robbers and used for breaking open the almirahs and boxes.

Mr Jaswinder Singh, SHO, Salem Tabri said the robbery appeared to be the handiwork of persons well-known to the family as they knew the timing when the old man would be alone in the house. Assuring that the robbers would be nabbed soon, he called the robbery an ‘unusual one’ as such incidents rarely happened during the early hours of the day.

He said the robbers probably chose the hour due to the dense fog that engulfs the area early in the morning. No neighbour saw the robbers. The old man's wife told reporters that while returning from the parbhat pheri she saw three persons, from a fair distance, carrying bags and starting two scooters near her house.

She could not read the scooter numbers. The old man also could not give much details about the appearance of the three youth. The old couple was visibly devastated by the financial loss. They revealed that they had not even insured the jewellery. A case has been registered in this regard by the police.


A theft a day keeps Ludhianvis awake
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 17 — On an average a theft or robbery took place each day in the city during the past one week.

Besides these incidents, scooters and cycles were also stolen.

The failure of the police to arrest the criminals has spread panic among residents, especially those living in colonies on the outskirts of the city.

According to Mr Satnam Singh, a resident of a colony near the Jalandhar bye-pass, residents are afraid of venturing out due to snatching incidents. They also take turns in staying awake during the night vigil.

Mr Sumit Batish, general secretary of the local unit of the Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress, said recently some miscreants tried to snatch a bag of cash by throwing red chilli powder in the eyes of the victim.

The week began with two thefts in Guru Nanak Colony. Two quintals of scrap were stolen from a shop. On the same day sanitary material worth Rs 19,000 was reported to be stolen from a shop in Salem Tabri.

An employee of an LPG agency was looted at gun point during day on Tuesday in Model Town Extension. The employee Inderjit had collected Rs 22,000 from the cylinder delivery man and was returning to the gas agency when three scooter-borne robbers looted him.

In yet another case on Wednesday, three armed men robbed a house in Lajpat Nagar. They stole cash and goods worth lakhs. On the same day another gas agency was looted near Raikot town in the district. These incident have spread panic among the gas agency owners. In a press statement, the agency owners have decried the police inaction in tracing the previous incidents of robbery involving gas agencies. They had also demanded security for the agencies in the wake of fresh robbery cases.

On Friday, a theft took place in a shop in Islam Gunj Colony. Today three suspected armed robbers robbed a house in Santokh Nagar.

The incidents seem to be the handiwork of different gangs. In today’s robberies at Lajpat Nagar and Santokh Nagar modus operandi was the same. In both cases the robbers gave signs of being well equipped with the knowledge of the houses and the family members.

A senior police official said vigil had been stepped up in the city in the wake of the recent incidents. 


Peacock saved, antelope fights for life
From Tribune Reporters

LUDHIANA, Dec 17 — A little touch of humanity has saved a peacock and might save an antelope from certain death. The injured bird and the animal have been brought to Ludhiana for treatment.

Volunteers of the local unit of the People for Animals rescued the peacock after it got entangled in thorny bushes at Morkrima village near Jagraon. The injured baby antelope was brought to the veterinary hospital of Punjab Agricultural University from Hoshiarpur after it strayed into the town.

After some villagers informed the PFA they had found an injured peacock and did not know how to treat it, the bird, too, was brought to the PAU veterinary clinic yesterday. An injured foot of the bird had to be amputated. Veterinary doctors of the Mandeep Nagar Jeev Daya Sadan hospital are treating the peacock.

Dr K.P. Singh, head of the PAU clinic, said, “The antelope was in a state of trauma when it was brought here. It was about to collapse, but our doctors resuscitated it. Antelopes are timid animals and the fear reflex is a mark of their behaviour. Even if its injuries are treated in time, it is difficult to bring an antelope out of the shock.”

Initially, the antelope was treated in a government veterinary clinic at Hoshiarpur, but was sent here after its condition did not stabilise. A team of doctors led by Dr S.S. Randhawa is treating the animal. “It is difficult to ascertain the cause of its injuries. These might have been inflicted by some other animals. It is also possible that the antelope was hit by a speeding vehicle,” Dr Randhawa said.

When asked about the chances of the survival of the antelope, the doctors said they were keeping their fingers crossed, even though the condition of the antelope had improved slightly. The animal is still semi-conscious. Its sensory organs are functioning only partially and it is being fed intravenously.


Homoeopathy seminar despite protests
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 17 — A seminar on Combinations in Homoeopathy was organised by the Northern India Homoeopathic Chemists amid slogans and dharnas. The protests were organised by the Punjab unit of the Save Homoeopathy Federation. Members of the unit said combination theory was against the principles of homoeopathy.

While participants were speaking at a seminar in Gitanjali Club, the members of the Save Homoeopathic Federation were busy shouting slogans in front of the club.

Dr Sermeet Singh Mavi, General Secretary of the SHF, said more than one medicine should never be used to treat a patient. Dr Ramakant Jagpal, President of the federation, said it was not necessary to combine various salts in treatment under homoeopathy. He said the seminar was a business-promotion exercise and combination treatment affected patients adversely in long term, while a single medicine destroyed the disease permanently.

The federation wrote a letter to the Health Minister, urging him to check those who practiced combination treatment.

However, the seminar continued smoothly despite the slogans. Speakers talked about the benefits of combination treatment in curing certain diseases. Dr S.P.S. Bakshi, President of the Central Council of Homoeopathy delivered an hour-long lecture on Allergy — A Hundred-Headed Monster. He explained how combination treatment could cure allergies.

Dr Ravinder Kochhar, Principal of Lord Mahavira Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, stressed the need for combination treatment in medical emergencies.


Lecturers’ interview cancelled
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 17 — On the directions of the Panjab University authorities, the local Arya College today cancelled the interviews for the post of lecturers in history and economics in the college.

The cancellation came in the wake of the university ruling that a 15- day advance notice was required to be given to the candidates aspiring for the posts. However in this case, less than 10 days time was given. The interview was rescheduled from December 10 to December 17.

According to sources, who were present at the meeting today, the selection committee members discussed the issue and found that happenings in the college were not in order. Most of the members of the selection committee voted for the cancellation of the interview. The sources further said the selection committee members, who had come from other cities, were also disappointed at the cancellation of the interview.

The university had directed the college to cancel the interview for the post of Hindi lecturer due to charges of irregularities in the selection process levelled by a selection panel member. Even a section of the college management was against holding interviews for the post it would financial burden to the institution.

The college principal, Mr V.K. Mehta, said the members of the selection committee nominated by the Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, for the interview recommended the cancellation of the interview keeping in view the university ruling. Mr Mehta added that the posts would be readvertised and interview dates would be scheduled again.

He said that today’s date was fixed because the advertisement had appeared on June 18. As per the university ruling interviews should be conducted within six months of the date of publishing the advertisement.

As many as 22 candidates had applied against the single post of lecturer of economics and 19 had applied against the single post of a lecturer in history. 


Ex-servicemen offer their services
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 17 — While the public is raising a hue and cry over the disrupted postal services due to the employees strike, a group of ex-servicemen have offered their services for managing the postal services.

A representative of the group, Col Rajinder Singh Sodhi (retd), has written to the local administration asking for the permission to allow them to shoulder the responsibility of the piled up post.

A resident of Rajguru Nagar, Col Sodhi, while speaking to Ludhiana Tribune said he had been working in the Corps Signal and was well versed with the tasks involving sorting and delivering of mail as he was looking after mail services in the Army.

He would be accompanied by 20 such volunteers in the beginning who would be going to all post offices in various areas and villages of the city.

“It is not a very tedious job as pigeon holes are there where the dak can be sorted and can be sent to the parts of the city. Moreover, it does not involve the technicalities as a list is to be made and then bundles are to be formed and then it can be delivered at its destination.” said Col Sodhi.

“I have conveyed to the Deputy Commissioner’s office today morning in his absence. I don’t think that there should be any difficulty in executing this idea. The moment we get the nod we will start working. We can start from tomorrow onwards. I am just waiting for the reply from the administration,” he said.

“I have seen in the Agar Nagar post office near my residence that the migrant labourers in a large number to have an idea about the fate of the money orders sent to their family members back home and I want to help the common man who has to bear the brunt of the situation. The elite class is no more dependent on the postal department now, ” he added.


Goods worth Rs 1 lakh stolen from car
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 17 — In a daylight theft, jewellery, cash and clothes worth more than Rs 1 lakh were stolen from a car parked on the Mall road.

According to a case registered by the Division No 5 police, Mr Jagdish Chander complained that three suitcases, gold ornaments, sarees, 10 suites, four woolen shawls, domestic goods and other woolen clothes were stolen from the car (Pb-08V-9805). 


Ex-servicemen fast on Vijay Divas
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec17 — The members of the local chapter of the Indian Ex-Services League (Punjab and Chandigarh) went on a token hunger strike in front of the Mini Secretariat to press their demands on the occasion of Vijay Diwas here on Saturday.

The president of the league, Brig (retd) P.S. Toor, said if their demands were not met they would be forced to go on an indefinite strike from March 15 onwards.

Their demands included a medical cover for the ex-servicemen as in case of civilians, 50 per cent pension for jawans, 35 per cent pension for widows, re-employment for ex-servicemen upto the age of 60, disability pension and travel concessions.

The league also demanded that the government should benefit the disabled soldiers and war widows of the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars at par with those of the Kargil war.

Meanwhile, rich tributes were paid to Flying Officer Shaheed Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon and other army martyrs who laid down their lives protecting the frontiers of the country during different wars, at a function held in the Mini Secretariat. Mr S. R. Kaler, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana , presided over the function .

Addressing the function, Mr Kaler said “Our brave soldiers have made unmatched sacrifices to safeguard the borders of the country whenever there was a war”. He said the families of these brave soldiers were the honour of the country and society should accord proper respect to them and should always come forward to help them at every opportunity.

He informed that the district administration, with a view to providing urgent solution to the problem of serving army men and families of martyrs, had decided to set up a special cell in the Deputy Commissioner’s office exclusively to deal with their complaints. He said this fully computerised cell would monitor all complaints and the complainant would also be informed about the action taken on their complaints within a stipulated period.

Wing Commander, S. Randhawa, Deputy Director, District Sainik Welfare Board, while paying tributes highlighted the various programmes launched by the government for the welfare of ex-servicemen and families of martyrs in Ludhiana district under different schemes of the Punjab and Union governments during this year. Financial assistance amounting to Rs 56.72 lakh has been disbursed among ex-servicemen, widows of ex-servicemen and their dependents. He said that apart from this 176 ex- servicemen and their dependents had been arranged employment in government, semi government and private organisations during the current financial year.

Brig Hardev Singh, Vice-President, District Sainik Welfare Board, addressing the function stressed upon the need to properly look after the families of Army martyrs as they had laid down their lives while fighting for the country.

On this occasion Mr Sukhminder Singh, brother of Flying Officer Shaheed Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, was honoured and cheques of Rs 5000 each as a grant for the marriage of daughters of ex- servicemen were also presented. As many as twentyseven widows of ex-servicemen were honored with shawls.

Among others who present on this occasion include Mr Shiv Singh, ex-Chairman, Improvement Trust, air Commander N.S. Chahal, air Commander M.I. Singh , Col P.S. Toor , Commander Station Headquarters, Col K.S. Slathia AD Brigade. Flight Lt Ashish Sharma represented the Halwara Air Force unit.


Pensioners’ Day celebrated
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 17 — The Punjab State Pensioners’ Confederation organised Pensioners’ Day at Bhartiya Kisan Union Office where hundreds of pensioners from all over the district assembled here today.

The pensioners flayed the Punjab Government for giving them a raw deal by not implementing their demands recommended by the Punjab Fourth Pay Commission in its report submitted to the government on February 20, 1998, despite several representations made by the confederation. They said even though Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had promised to fulfill their demands by June 30 last, these have not been implemented.

Mr Sardara Singh Gulala, General Secretary of the confederation, read out the performance report and Mr Des Raj Garg, Secretary, Finance, presented a statement of income and expenditure of the association. Sarvshri Surjit Singh, Jagpal Singh, H.K. Sood, S.N. Vanaik, Jagdev Singh Grewal, Madan Mohan Sharma and a few others expressed their views about the plight of the pensioners in their speeches.

Mr Kaushal, who chaired the function, informed that the District Administration had been good enough to soon give a gift to the pensioners by constructing a 'Pensioners information centre' in the Mini Secretariat, Ludhiana adjoining the District Treasury Office.

Mr B.R. Kaushal, President of the confederation, said on that day, 18 years ago, a five- member constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India, headed by the then Chief Justice, delivered a judgement, specifying that pension was a right and its payment did not depend on the discretion of the Government, but was governed by the rules which give sanction to the basic facilities and benefits to pensioners. 


FM’s statement a hoax: Rajewal
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Dec 17 — Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, Central Secretary, Bharti Kisan Union, today, termed the statement of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab, a hoax on the people. The Union Government imported wheat worth Rs 2600 crore, edible oils worth Rs 3000 crore, sugar worth 2700 crore and 25000 metric tonne of rice under the WTO, Capt Kanwaljit is reported to have said.

Mr Rajewal said the Finance Minister had not only misled the people with this calculated lie but had also jeopardised the credibility of his office. The WTO agreement has not yet come into force. It comes into effect from Ist January 2005. But, the BJP at the centre was cutting short the transaction period to avoid responsibility of preparing the country for competition by removing the quantitative restrictions three years before the scheduled period.

He said at the time of import of the above stated items there was no pressure from inside or outside the country on the union government. Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, a staunch Akali leader, was the Union Minister for food and supply at that time, who, despite the pressure from the pro Punjab lobby not to allow the import of wheat, rice, sugar and edible oils, himself allowed imports. The decision of Mr Barnala has till date very badly affected the Punjab farmers.

Mr Rajewal alleged that the statement of the Finance Minister was aimed at shielding Mr Barnala who was directly involved in a big food scandal . He felt sorry for the people who tried to bail out Mr Barnala by linking these imports with the WTO which had not been in force at that time.

He stressed that right thinking people should come out of their shells to expose the scandal which had ruined the economy of Punjab He demanded a CBI enquiry into this scandal.


Protesters want BJP councillor out
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Dec 17 — Nearly 200 residents of Kirpal Nagar staged a demonstration here today demanding the resignation of the BJP councillor from the area. They said he was responsible for the death of a four-year-old boy who drowned in the manhole in the locality on Wednesday.

Speakers criticised the local Municipal Corporation and the area councillor for not maintaining the basic amenities in the area.

The demonstrators were led by Mr Arun Katyal, a Congressman.


Mega Healthy Baby Contest
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 17 — Children dressed in their Sunday best, accompanied by their proud parents brought the Model Town Club alive today. The occasion was Mega Healthy Baby Contest. The organisers: VLCC.

The children were divided into four categories between six months and five years appearance, general health and timely immunisation chart were the criterion for judging the healthy babies.

VLCC paediatricians gave free counselling to parents. Dieticians spoke about nutrition for mother and child.

Child food recipe contest was also held. Medical checkup of children was done by Dr Archna Gupta and Dr Daljeet Singh. More than 150 children took part in the contest and three prizes were given to children in each category.

The organisers had arranged special prizes for the best dressed baby, most interactive child, most photogenic mother and child and most talented baby.

In the six months to one year category Roshan Kanwar, Saurabh Singh and Jasleen and Sunil. The best babies in between one and two years age group were Taniya Aggarwal, Shreya Gupta and Siddhartha Gupta. Gauri Bhatia, Dhwani and Gurleen were the healthy babies in the two to three years category. In the age group of 3-5 years, Niharika came first, Rahul second and Nikhil Sabharwal third.

Consolation prizes were given to Gurleen, Kishan Kapoor, Ruchika and Niharika.

The judges included Dr Divya Sabharwal, Dr Archna Gupta, Dr Tarundeep and Dr Bobby Bajaj.


Action against postal staff flayed
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 17 — Mr K.R. Tripathi and Dr Shiv K. Gupta, president and general secretary of the Indian National Bank Employees Congress and the National Organisation of Government Employees, respectively, have criticised the Centre for invoking the ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act ) against the postal employees. 

The INTUC leaders have also condemned the State Communication Minister, Mr Tapan Sikdar, for issuing threats to the postal staff.


Youth Congress rally
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Dec 17 — The District Youth Congress organised a rally at Upkar Nagar, here today. Among others the rally was addressed by Mr Kishan Kumar Bawa, secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress, Mr Pawan Dewan, chairman, Indian Youth Congress, Mr Ramesh Joshi, organising secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress.

Mr Bawa said the Akali-BJP combine had failed on all fronts. Mr Dewan said the wrong policies of the government had played havoc with the economy of Punjab. Mr Joshi said corruption had increased.


Land grab alleged
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 17 — A panchayat delegation, led by Mr Kuldeep Singh, sarpanch, Kila Raipur village, gave a memorandum to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, demanding possession of land acquired by the Grewal Sports Association (GSA), here on Friday.

The memorandum stated that the land on which the stadium was constructed, belonged to one Patti Suhavia of the village. The gram panchayat also demanded the removal of police and other serving personnel from the membership of the body. The GSA was not a representative body of the village. It was being dominated by police officials, stated the memorandum.

Mr Badal directed Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Minister for Technical Education, to probe the matter.


Explore B’desh market, exporters told
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 17 — Hosiery and cycle manufacturers have a lot of opportunities in Bangladesh for exports. The economy of Bangladesh was growing at the rate of more than 5 per cent per annum. It has already become self-sufficient in foodgrains.

The indicators of female literacy and public health were even better than India and Pakistan. The economy was opening for direct foreign investment as well as joint ventures. Indian investors, particularly the cycle and hosiery goods manufacturers of Ludhiana, can benefit from this developing market.

These views were expressed by Mr Farooq Mayeenuddin, Vice- President and Manager of the Arab Bangladesh Bank. Talking to TNS, he asked the city exporters to explore the Bangladesh market. He had come for the first time to the city to interact with the local manufacturers.

Speaking about the Indo-Bangla trade, he said Bangladesh was importing almost everything from India like onion, yarn, knitwear, wheat and other products. The total imports from India to Bangladesh were nearly Rs 7,000 crore against a Bangladeshi export of a meagre Rs 300 crore.

Mr Farooq disclosed that Bangladesh was the 6th largest user of Indian goods. It was also the third largest market of India and the biggest among the South Asian countries. The imports from India were around Rs 7,000 crore.

After the full implementation of GATT in 2005, the quota system will come to an end. In that scenario the local hosiery manufacturers by collaborating with Bangladeshi manufacturers can tap the markets of both countries as well as other countries.

The Indian investors can invest in the area of health and education. From Ludhiana alone, already about 25 exporters were exporting to Bangladesh.

While admitting a lot of malpractices indulged in by Indian and Bangladeshi exporters, Mr Farooq cautioned the traders that before entering into any trade pact, they must verify the financial credential of the companies. It will cover risk factors.



Seizure of hosiery: will traders relent?
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 17 — The see-saw battle over seized hosiery goods, worth more than Rs 5 crore, between traders and CBI and the Excise and Sales Tax officials continues to protract.

As a sequel to the seizure of goods the traders resorted to rail blockade at the local railway station in a bid to force the CBI to relent and release the confiscated goods. Later on they agreed to pay penalty. But they did not honour their commitment.

Mr Darshan Dawar, Joint Secretary of the Knitwear Club, moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court to appeal for the release of the goods. However, the court directed him to make traders concerned to show the documents to Sales Tax authorities.

When some traders of the Mochpura area approached the department with documents, they were told that their documents would be sent to the CBI. However, the traders are reluctant to produce documents before the CBI.

A trader said that he would prefer to forgo his claim over the seized material than fall in the trap laid down by the Sales Tax Department authorities.

Mr Jagmohan Sharma, President, Punjab Pradesh Vyapar Mandal, said the traders concerned should have paid the penalty and added that it was no use of repenting now.

Sources in the Railways confirmed that the officials of the Excise and Taxation Department and the CBI had sealed the consignments at the local railway station. One official said, “There were about 450 unbooked consignments and about 1745 were booked ones. The booked parcels are the property of the Railways.


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