Friday, January 26, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Political interference hits police functioning
Alarming rise in crime 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — Authoritative political bosses and obliging police officials are being held responsible for alarming rise in crime here. The local police, however, claims that all heinous crimes that have taken place in the recent past were only sporadic incidents and that the police has been on its toes to check the crime in the city.

Excessive political interference in police postings, particularly at the SHO level, is believed to be one of the main reasons for the alarming rise in crime rate in the city. The postings of SHOs are reportedly not decided at the local level but from the top. It is alleged that the Chief Minister’s office, rather house decides SHOs’ postings. The role of a senior Akali leader is also not ruled out. It is not just the ruling party politicians who enjoy influence over the police, even the opposition leaders belonging to the Congress have also been wielding considerable clout among the police force.

Sources in the police department revealed that over half of the police stations in Ludhiana were being headed by officials from outside the district. And most of these officials, are said to be from the home district of the Chief Minister or nearby areas. These officials are obviously not familiar with the area and the people over there, which makes it difficult for them to identify the good and bad elements there.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, when contacted by TNS, denied the charges and said that the police was not working under any kind of political pressure. “ We have been doing our duty for the best interests of the residents of the city. If anywhere, any police official has been found to neglect his duty, he has been suitably dealt with, his political connections notwithstanding,” he said.

This month itself four murders have taken place, including three, on a single day. Violence and robberies are also reportedly becoming the order of the day and the police has been working overtime not just to deal with the spurt in crime, but also to try and create a feeling of security amongst the city residents.

For the Ludhiana police, the year began on a depressing note, when a Congress leader and a financier, alleged to be loan sharking for several senior police officials, was accused of attempt to murder the husband of an Akali Municipal Councillor, Manjit Kaur Gogi, on December 31, 2000. Several raids were conducted to nab him.

It was through his contacts in the police department that he was being updated about all developments regarding his possible arrest. In fact, a senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, had earlier admitted to Ludhiana Tribune that they were under pressure from several police officials to slow down the arrest procedure. However, a police officer and Station House Officer of Haibowal, Inspector Rajeshwar Singh, was accused of allegedly tipping the accused that the police was likely to raid his premises and he made good his escape. Sources reveal that the accused Congress leader remained in constant touch with the SHO and the two were in regular touch with each other over their cell phones.

In another incident, a former “cat” and a Punjab Police Inspector, Gurmeet Singh Pinki, reportedly shot dead a man, Avtar Singh, on January 7. The city residents took to the streets demanding police action against the erring cop after the local police had earlier named only the gunman of the dreaded Inspector, Bittu Gill in the first information report. It was alleged that the accused police officer is a favourite of senior police officers in the state and thus he was being let off the hook. An irate crowd also later tried to torch the newly constructed house of the police Inspector, while the police allegedly stayed away . The neighbours pleaded with the 250-strong mob not to indulge in violence as it would also affect the neighbouring houses.

It was only when the situation became volatile that the police filed a new FIR and Gurmeet Singh was named the main accused. Since then, the police has been able to arrest eight of the nine accused, including the main accused, Inspector Gurmeet Singh. In fact, one of the accused, ASI Pavan Kumar was arrested by the police only today.

Even as the dust was about to settle on this issue, the police was in for another shock when the body of six-year-old Amit was found from the Old Jail complex on January 13, three days after his alleged kidnapping. The residents of the Kote Alamgir and Islamnagar area had alleged that the sordid affair could have been avoided, if the police had acted in time. After this incident, the SHO of Police Division No. 2, SI Randhir Singh was ordered to be placed under suspension and two police officers had publicaly declared that the Senior Superintendent of Police had himself ordered for his suspension. However, it subsequently turned out to be a case of transfer to the police lines, courtesy the police officer’s political connections.

Again, the situation reached an all-time low on January 16, when three murders were reported in the city. An ASI, Sat Prakash was murdered by unknown assailants near his house in New Kundan Puri as was a notorious history sheeter of Chowni Mohalla, Bau, allegedly as a sequel to the rivalry between two groups of people in the locality. He was allegedly murdered by a brother of Satish, a businessman owing allegiance to Lovely of Haibowal following a brutal attack on Satish by Bau in June last year.

Tension prevailed in the city for a while after the murder of Suraj Bhan, alias Bau, and a bandh was observed on January 19, when a few incidents of stone pelting were also reported. Again on January 2, rumours of an armed attack by a few people belonging to the group fighting against the murder of Bau, led to a curfew-like situation in the city.

The SSP, Mr Kuldeep Singh, said that in almost all these cases, the police had succeeded in solving the cases and was dealing with the guilty with an iron hand. He assured that the situation was improving with the local police launching special drives to nab suspicious elements. 


Another cop held in Avtar murder case
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — Parveen Kumar, an ASI with the Punjab police and an accused in the Avtar Singh murder case, was arrested by the city police, the eighth person to be arrested in this case at a naka today.

Avtar Singh had died in a shootout incident that took place on the night of January 7 in Maya Nagar Colony of the city. Gurmeet Singh, alias Pinki, a former Punjab police cat, is the main accused in the case.


Beauty pageant with a difference
By Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — This time no Miss beautiful eyes, no Miss Photogenic and no Miss Talented. This will be India's first beauty pageant which will be based on ethnic Indian costumes. The title is named Malika-e-Husn. The contest would consist of five rounds. All the participants will be dressed in traditional wear like sarees, lehangas and suits.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune here today, Ms Sulakshana, the choreographer of the contest, said that in the rat race of the beauty contests held from time to time, the Pragati India Group, the organisers of this event, decided to organise a pageant with a difference. She said: "We felt that people were getting bored with the same style of beauty contests. There was all Western touch in these contests. This kind of contest would provide an identity to the typical Indian beauties."

The contest, which will be held on January 27 at Kumra Palace, is a joint venture of the Pragati India Group, the JD institute of fashion designing and the VLCC, Ludhiana centre. Mr Rahul Parashar, one of the directors of the contest, said that the first two rounds would be introductory ones. These would be followed by the host question round, the judges' choice round and the common question round.

The main event will be supported by six sub-titles, Husn-e-Zulf (the girl with beautiful hair), Mrignaini (the girl with beautiful eyes), Gaj-Gamini, Adakara, Malika-e-Tasvir and Husn-e-Jalwa.

While talking about the pageant, Rohini Sood of the VLCC said that the contest would be based on the inner beauty and self-assessment of the participants. She said: "This would bring the simplicity of the Indian culture to the limelight. When asked about the main reason for the VLCC to get associated with the event, Rohini added: "The contest would boost the theme — look good, feel good, which is the main motto".

The event manager said to avoid any discrepancies in the attire of the participants, the dresses would be provided by the students of the JD institute for the final rounds and the grooming of the participants would be done in a similar manner. The traditional Indian make-up and hair-do would be provided by the VLCC.

Mrignaini and Husn-e-Zulf were held today in which 10 participants took part. The contest was judged by Kiran Kant, Nisha Dhanda and Sulakshana (former Miss Shimla and Face of the Year, 2000).

The contestants were judged totally on the awareness and the care they provided to their beautiful hair and eyes. The participants were asked the positive aspects on the beauty of the eyes and hair in their view. The results of the other sub-title would be released on the final day, January 27.


Senior officers involved in Dalit torture case?
By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — Were the three dalit youths allegedly tortured by the CIA Police, in October last year at the behest of some senior police officers or is the Inspector under suspension, Maninder Bedi, then in change of CIA, being made a scapegoat to save the skin of certain senior officer (s)?

The accused police cop, his lawyers and the police have already denied the allegations of the torture of any of the youths. A perusal of the news reports of the incident, the later developments and recent inquiries made by the Ludhiana Tribune from police sources and the complainants, suggest that an incident of such a sensitive nature cannot take place without the proper knowledge or consent of senior officers. Certain police officers were also quoted extensively by the media boasting about the details of the arrest of the youths, who were nabbed to curb the menace of gambling during the Diwali-Dussehra season.

It all began with a news report in these columns that gambling was going on in several parts of the city and the police was not taking any action to curb the social evil. Stung by the criticism, the district police swung into action and arrested at least 17 youth in raids at several places in the city. Three of these arrested youths were later allegedly tortured by the CIA police. One of them died and the other two received serious injuries.

Later news reports stated that certain policemen had also taken the money recovered during the raids. Then came the reports about the torture. A case was registered against Maninder Bedi and sub-Inspector Jaswinder Singh, but no arrests were made. It was only early this week that Maninder Bedi was arrested on the orders of Mr Sumedh Saini, who has been told to inquire into the case on the recommendation of the National Minority Commission.

According to sources, at least four senior officers were present during the alleged torture of the youths. It has also been reliably learnt that an officer of the rank of the DSP had got the money paid to compensate the family of Raju, the youth who died allegedly due to torture, in order to hush up the case. All these aspects of the case are yet to be probed.

When a number of senior officers were quizzed in this regard, they denied giving any orders to Maninder Bedi. The officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and who were quoted in news reports just after the arrest of the youth in fact pointed fingers at each other. While some said that it was not in their area, others belonging to the area concerned said a police officer of any area had to obey the orders of any senior officer, even if he is of some other area.

The denials and the counter-allegations clearly suggest that there was certain seniors behind the incident. As one of them said, the inquiry officer was probing these aspects of the case and something was expected to come out in the open soon.


Maninder Bedi hospitalised
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — Maninder Bedi, an accused in the custodial death case, was today admitted to the local Civil Hospital. He was reported to be suffering from respiratory problem.

Bedi, an Inspector under suspension, was remanded to judicial custody by a district court yesterday. He was arrested by the Mohali police on Monday on the orders of Mr Sumedh Saini, DIG, who is investigating the case.


Vets stage demonstration, meet CM
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — The Unemployed Veterinary Doctors Association today staged a demonstration to protest against the delay by the government in filling up various vacant posts of veterinary doctors.

They wanted to meet the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who was the chief guest at the final and concluding ceremony of the Asian School Hockey championship.

The district administration had a heavy police contingent surround the astroturf stadium in the PAU campus. All entry points were heavily guarded and visitors were thoroughly frisked, before being allowed in.

However, protesting students staged a demonstration outside the stadium, raising slogans. The Chief Minister went to the administrative block, where he had a closed-door meeting with the outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Dr G.S. Kalkat. He took about half-an-hour there. The Chief Minister met the protesting students and assured them that the vacant posts would be filled soon.

However, according to one of the student leaders, the Chief Minister expressed his helplessness in announcing the filling up of the posts instantly, since it could not be done in view of the Majitha assembly byelection scheduled for February 19.

Students maintained that there were 500 vacant posts of veterinarians in the state and the government was not filling them up.


Shopkeeper duped
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — A cloth merchant running a shop near the Division No. 3 police station was today duped by a four-member group which included three women.

The shopkeeper lost about Rs 35,000 in the process. According to Sarbjit Singh, the owner of the shop, said three woman and a man, all in their middle ages, came to his shop in the morning. They saw several rolls of garments but were not able to decide on which design to buy.

Then in a very polite manner they requested the shopkeeper whether they can take some of the rolls to a gurdwara near by where they can consult certain elders. The shopkeeper allowed them but sent one of his employees with them.

At the gurdwara, the group met certain other people, older in age. They then told the shop employee to bring more rolls from the shop. The employee, lured by the seemingly genuineness’ of the customers, went back. However, he and the shop owner when returned with more rolls of clothes, they saw that no one of the entire group was present there. They rushed back to the shop hoping that the group might have gone to their shop to see more designs but in vain.

Crowd gathered at the market after the shopkeeper raised a hue and cry. His friends and other shopkeepers conducted a search for the group at several places and informed the police only late in the evening.


Marketing problems in agriculture discussed
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — A majority of Indian buyers still prefer fresh vegetables compared to processed vegetables because of cost and taste differences. In the next four or five years, agriculture in the Punjab would have to face the problem of surplus production and lower prices, since the state government has not taken adequate measures to prepare Punjab farmers for the changed scenario in the Indian market and the WTO regime. These were some of the observations made at the concluding day of a seminar organised in PAU.

In their concluding remarks, agriculture experts who had gathered here to participate in the two-day seminar on Marketing and Processing of Agriculture Produce, organised by Punjab Agriculture Management and Extension Training Institute (PAMATI) in association with Panjab Agriculture University, said the state has failed to prepare and implement any action plan to deal with the surplus production, though various study groups had warned the government about the present agriculture crisis. The government, policy-makers and farmers’ groups will have to act fast and in a planned manner if they want to save the economy of the state.

Speaking about the production, marketing and export potential of fruits and vegetables, Dr M.S. Sidhu, Department of Economics and Sociology, said, “It is very difficult for the small and marginal farmers to directly market their perishable crops. Most of the processing units prefer medium and large farmers for contract farming of vegetables. The scheme of Apni mandis has played a significant role in increasing the income level of farmers. However, to exploit the markets in other states and countries, the farmers should make big groups or cooperatives.’’

Elaborating his point, Mr Sidhu further said in the changed scenario not much can be expected from the government. It was not easy to promote processed vegetables in the near future as the purchasing power of Indian consumers was drastically lower than their US counterparts. The high cost of transportation, packaging, grading and processing further increased the cost of agriculture commodities.

Dr Poonam Sachdeva, Department of Food Science and Technology, pointed out that out of 110 million tonnes of vegetables produced in India, about 18.4 lakh tonnes were produced in Punjab alone. However, 70 per cent of the population of the country residing in rural areas was consuming just 10 per cent of the vegetables. They do not have adequate purchasing power and accessibility.

Interestingly, speakers were quite pessimistic about the scope of viable agro-processing units in Punjab. They criticised the state government for the lack of will and determination to come forward to rescue the farmers. Mr Sidhu suggested the government should make new legislations to promote contract farming. It will stabilise the price of vegetables for the parties.

Speaking about the production, marketing and export potential of honey from state, Mr B.S. Chahal, ex-Additional DEE, said the production of honey has drastically decreased in the state because of fall in the area under cultivation of nectar crops such as sunflower and mustard. Though there was not much problem of marketing in this case, production was continuously decreasing. Indeed, there was a lot of potential in the domestic and European market.

Dr H.S. Garcha, ex-Dean, who is currently associated with Agro-Dutch Industries Limited, pointed out that there was a lot of scope for mushroom production in Punjab. In 2000 alone the state had exported mushrooms worth Rs 64 crore. Out of total 5 mt mushroom production in the world, India’s share was about 40,000 tonnes. Though mushroom has high nutritious values lack of awareness and various taboos connected with it were affecting its demand in the domestic market.

It was decided at the end of the seminar that as part of the follow-up action plan, awareness seminars would be conducted in four districts, including Gurdaspur, Faridkot and Sangrur, to prepare the farmers for the marketing and processing of the agriculture produce.


‘Proposal was discussed in MC House’
Mayor supports construction of elevated road
By Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — The much debated proposal of 2.5 km long elevated road, over the Old GT Road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema in the city, might create fissures between the ruling SAD-BJP combine in the Municipal Corporation, with the city Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, joining issue with the sangahrsh samiti of traders and shopkeepers and a section of BJP councillors led by the district president of the party, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, who are vociferously opposing the project.

The sangahrsh samiti has mobilised a sizeable number of shopkeepers along both sides of the Old GT Road against the elevated road, apprehending that the prolonged construction work would adversely affect the business activity in the prime commercial markets, located between Jagraon Bridge and Old Sabzi Mandi Chowk.

The district unit of the BJP, obviously for political reasons, has extended support to the shopkeepers, opposing the project, on the ground that the cash strapped civic body should accord priority to providing basic amenities to almost 40 per cent of the city population, which was still denied facilities like clean drinking water and sewerage. Moreover, the BJP functionaries, including some party councillors, allege that the project was never discussed and approved in the general house meeting of the MC.

The Mayor has rebutted the allegations of the BJP and at the same time sought to allay the apprehensions of the shopkeepers and traders. Asserting that the elevated road was a necessity to ease the traffic congestion and to bring down the alarming level of air pollution caused by congestion of all kinds of vehicles in the area, Mr Grewal says, " The stretch of Old G.T. Road, passing through the city, is one of the worst polluted areas according to the studies conducted by the Punjab Pollution Control Board. Both the shopkeepers, located along the road and the residents in the localities, were exposed to environmental pollution."

Moreover, once operational, the elevated road would take a substantial load of traffic from Dholewal side and Civil Lines, through the proposed flyover, which will replace the Lakkar Pul, thereby bringing a marked improvement in traffic movement, which eventually would bring in more shoppers to the commercial areas and provide benefit in terms of more customers. The traffic on the elevated road would also have easy access to areas like Chaura Bazar, Clock Tower and other adjacent commercial areas since it would be connected with the multi-storey parking of the MC.

The Mayor expressed his complete disagreement with the BJP charge that the proposal was never put before the General House of the MC. He said the project was discussed in detail and unanimously approved in the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) in July 1999, April 2000 and September 2000, and the resolutions were subsequently adopted by the General House in September 1999, May 2000 and December 2000.

Mr Grewal further claimed that estimates of all the works, irrespective of the quantum or amount of work, are put before the F&CC and the minutes are subsequently put before the next General House meeting for confirmation in routine. "Not even once, since 1991, any estimate is put before the house directly," he said.

He said the propaganda, by certain people who have their vested interests, that the MC was not according due priority to providing basic amenities was absolutely wrong and far from truth. The civic body had already completed a Rs 33 crore project for drinking water, under which 56 tubewells have been installed and almost 90 per cent of the population has been provided the facility of clean drinking water. Similarly, a Rs 150 crore sewerage project was being taken in hand, which was expected to be completed in three years.

The sangharsh samiti of shopkeepers, however, still maintains that elevated road will not serve any useful purpose and rather than spending a staggering sum of about Rs 38 crore on this project, the MC should take construction of ring roads around the city, construction of roads along Budha Nullah and speedy completion of flyover in place of Railway Foot Bridge (Lakkar Pul) to improve the traffic conditions in the city.


Factionalism comes to fore at YC rally
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — It was as usual factionalism at its worst during the rally organised here yesterday by the Indian Youth Congress to protest against the "wrong policies" of the ruling Akali Dal-BJP combine in the state. However, IYC president Randeep Surjewala managed to handle the situation deftly, ensuring that no group got ignored or annoyed.

Right from the beginning of the programme which started with the arrival of the IYC president till the end, two different factions, one led by former district president Pawan Dewan, who is now the chiarman of the Urban Development Cell of the IYC, and the other led by the incumbent district president Parminder Mehta, tried to pull in different directions, betraying traditional rivalry against each other.

The rally was jointly organised by the rural and urban units of the District Youth Congress. While Mr Parminder Mehta, the urban unit president, and Mr Manjit Singh Hambran rural unit president of the party were working in tandem, the state president Mr Devinder Singh Babbu was left out.

The differences between the two groups were obvious when the two organised separate press conferences for the IYC president. While the group led by the Mr Dewan organised the press conference at the Circuit House, the rival group led by Mr Mehta organised a separate press conference at the residence of another youth Congress leader, Mr Amarjeet Singh Tikka. Mr Surjewala proved shrewd enough and addressed both press conferences in a span of one hour only, repeating what he had said earlier.

It looked like a tug of war for the local leaders, making it difficult for Mr Surjewala to draw a balance. However, the state president Mr Babbu made no qualms about his support to the group led by Mr Dewan.

The organisers of the rally ensured that the state president did not get any mention anywhere in the posters and banners. While banners were raised in the name of AICC President Sonia Gandhi, Mr Surjewala and the district presidents, rural and urban, there was no banner which mentioned the name of the state president. Surprisingly, both Mr Mehta and Mr Hambran had raised the banners in the name of former state president Jasbir Singh Gill, Dimpy. The only consolation for Mr Babbu was that he was allowed to speak at the protest rally.

Earlier, Mr Surjewala criticised the ruling SAD-BJP government for betraying the interests of the farmers in the state. He alleged that the ruling alliance leaders were busy in amassing wealth. He asked the state government to explain where had the Rs 350 crore central package for farmers hit by paddy glut gone. He said the government should reveal the names of the recipients of the aid. He also criticised the union government for submitting to the pressure of the developed countries like the USA by accepting the WTO without taking any safeguards for the local agriculture and industry.

Former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, while addressing the rally, lambasted the state government, accusing it of rampant corruption. She claimed that the Congress will soon return to power.


Forum fines PSEB for deficiency in service
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the Punjab State Electricity Board to send the bill to Mr Zail Singh on the basis of actual reading recorded in the meter and adjust the excess amount received from the complainant if the same has already not been adjusted.

The forum further directed the board to pay Rs 1,000 as compensation to the complainant for deficiency in service and Rs 500 as cost of litigation.

The complainant stated before the forum through his representative that he had DS connection at his residence in Giaspura. The meter installed at his residence was changed by the board in December, 1998. The complainant alleged that the opposite party had been harassing him. He further alleged that after the change of meter he received a bill on February 27, 1999, for Rs 269 which was not as per the actual consumption. The complainant stated that the reading was shown as 17 units but he was charged for 142 units. The complainant alleged that the board had also sent some other wrong bills.

The PSEB in reply had admitted that the disputed connection was installed on the premises of the complainant and that the meter was charged. The board denied that there was any deficiency in service or wrong bills were sent. After hearing both complainant and counsel the forum observed the bills were not correctly sent by the opposite party.

In another case, the forum directed the Punjab State Electricity Board to refund the amount of Rs 4,402 as bill paid by the complainant Mr Santokh Singh, a resident of Rauni village in Payal tehsil. The bill was quashed by the forum. The forum further directed the PSEB to pay Rs 1,000 on account of deficiency in service and Rs 500 as costs of litigation.


Limousines, the bridegooms’ pride
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — With the advent of the new millennium, there have been winds of change in our social fabric. Traditional ways of marriages have given way to more sophisticated arrangements. Flowers come all the way from Bangalore and special chatwalas come from Sita Ram Bazaar in Delhi. So it is hardly surprising if bridegrooms don’t want to go to their sweetheart’s place on a ‘ghori’ decked up like a ‘Christmas Tree’. They want to look sauve and ultramodern dressed in a ‘designer suit’ and in a gorgeously bedecked limousine, just like their Western counterparts. The limousine (in the picture) was specially brought from Mohali where it had travelled from America.

Enterprising NRIs have brought these cars from Canada and America giving out for hiring. Rental charges amount from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 a day. Generally NRIs, who come to get married in India, consider it a prestige symbol to travel in a limo alongwith close members of the family. Maninderjit, who has come from Ireland, never wanted to be on horseback to go to his bride’s place. He says, “I am horrified at the thought of sitting on a decked up horse with my friends and family members dancing in front of me. I think it is far more dignified to go in a Limousine. The mare and the accompanying ‘band wallas’ also do not come cheap.”

Going in a limousine is becoming quite an ‘in thing.’ It is also a flagrant show of wealth and power. Perky, a prospective bridegroom is dreaming of his wedding day. And one of the things besides his bride that excites him is the thought of a ride in the swanky car. He says, “I used to see such cars in English movies only and I used to wonder if I would ever get a chance to ride one. Now that I will be actually travelling in a limousine fills me with a lot of thrill.” 


Help assured to Kargil martyrs’ kin
From Our Correspondent

AMLOH, Jan 25 — The Punjab Government is committed to the development of villages of Kargil martyrs and special grants would be given for this purpose. This was stated here by Minister for Public Health. Addressing a gathering on the first anniversary of Kargil Martyr, Gurbax Singh Laddi, at Bhadal Thuha village, 2 km from here, yesterday. He said that Rs 38 lakh would be spent on the water supply scheme in this village.

He also said that Rs 5 crore would be spent on water supply for Kandi area and the work would now be undertaken and checked by panchayats instead of the department. He assured full assistance to the families of martyrs by the government.

He laid the foundation stone of waterworks and garlanded the statue of Gurbax Singh.

Brig Kuldeep Singh Kahlon, Director, Sainik Welfare Punjab, said from Punjab 206 youths had laid down their lives in different operations and 53 families had received assistance by now as per rules of the Punjab Government. Jobs have been given to family members of Kargil martyrs, out of which three have joined police forces, 13 gazetted class 1, 33 class III and class IV in different departments.


Plea to protect city green cover
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — Dr Sandeep Jain, president of the People for Animals, has written a protest letter to Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal. In the letter he said that Ladhowal seed farm was maintained and used by the Central Government and Central Seed Farm was functioning over the land, measuring about 2700 acres. It is on the right bank of Sutlej river in Bet area comprising agriculture land and thick forests having a variety of flora and fauna.

He has written that the land which has been recently transferred to the Government of Punjab is being allotted to Punjab Agriculture University (1250 acres) and the Industries Department for setting up a focal point for polluting and non- polluting industries.

The move to hand over land for agriculture purpose is fine. But when the land will be allotted to industries, the forest will be cut and the animals like sambhars, deer, wild boars, jackals, mongoose, peacocks, partridges and numerous birds will become homeless. There have been three cases in the past few months when sambhars have strayed into city areas and died. Only one could be saved by our organisation.

The area under forests in Punjab is rapidly vanishing, resulting in scarcity of rainfall and increase in pollution. The setting up of industries on the bank of rivers means that the wastage and polluting chemicals etc. will be thrown into the Sutlej and cause pollution and kill aquatic animals. It is a fact that these areas are under constant threat from floods. Floods during 1988 and 1992 damaged many villages. If the forests are cut down, the land will be washed away easily by currents of water during rainy season. It is feared that Ludhiana will be surely affected by this. Due to rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, the area under green cover has dwindled fast. Residents suffer from various diseases like asthma, bronchitis, allergic disorders for want of fresh air. Water level has gone down and chemical pollutants in water have increased.

We are not against industries and industrialisation. They are the backbone of our economy and development. But before taking this step, the concept of protection of environment, wildlife and soil erosion must be kept in mind. The focal point can be made somewhere else. It is requested that this area may be made reserve forest or sanctuary to attract tourists and to protect the diminishing wildlife in state. The area should be made restricted area.


Migrant labourer nabbed
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Jan 25 — A migrant labourer from Bihar was nabbed after he made an unsuccessful robbery attempt in the house of a local doctor. He has been identified as Gauri. A country made pistol and some sharp-edged weapons were recovered from his possession.

Gauri was nabbed after he ran away from the house of Dr Pritipal Singh at Laheri Road in the heart of the town. He was nabbed by local residents and handed over to the police.

Gauri allegedly broke open into the house of Dr Pritipal Singh around noon near Adarash Theatre, an area which is usually abuzz with activity. He reportedly went straight into the kitchen and threatened Dr Pritipal’s wife, Dr Rupinder Kaur. When she tried to raise an alarm, Gauri allegedly attacked her with the pistol butt.

Although she suffered injuries, yet she managed to raise an alarm and cried for help. In the meantime, Gauri managed to escape.

However, he was chased by three youths Jatinder Kumar, Kishore Sharma and Gurdev Singh. After a hot chase, the youths got hold of him. Although he tried to resist, he was overpowered by three youths and handed over to the police.

The city police has registered a case in this regard. Gauri has been detained for interrogation in the CIA headquarters here.

The police sources said, it was a major breakthrough, as for the first time a robber had been nabbed red-handed. While in earlier cases, the involvement of migrant labourers was suspected, the police did not have any proof.

The police hopes to get some clues from Gauri regarding other cases and possible operations by some other robbers’ gangs.

Meanwhile, Dr Rupinder Kaur has been admitted to the civil hospital here, where her condition was stated to be stable.


Inderjit Kaur's in-laws booked
From Our Correspondent

DORAHA, Jan 25 — A case has been registered against the in-laws of the girl whose body was recovered from the Sirhind river, near Doraha.

According to Mr Ashish Kapoor, SHO, Payal police station, a case under Section 304-B of IPC has been registered against her husband Devinder Singh, father-in-law Pritpal Singh, mother-in-law Kuldip Kaur and brother-in-law Mitthu.

"Inderjit Kaur who was married to Devinder Singh four years back and has a two-and-a-half-year daughter, was allegedly tortured and harassed for dowry by her in-laws and this became the main cause of her death," said Santokh Singh, father of the deceased, on whose statement the case has been registered.


Frost-free models push up refrigerator prices
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 25 — The coming of frost-free refrigerators in the market has pushed up the prices substantially. Though mega capacity models have failed to make any significant impact on the market, companies have offered the customers a wide choice. The most favourite model is undoubtedly 165 litre and other low capacity refrigerators. The market is offering a wide range of colours, capacities and styles. Interestingly, the advertising campaigns of different companies have succeeded to push the sale of refrigerators even during the winter season.

Dealers say though the general slump in the market is affecting the refrigerator market also, during the current marriage season the sales may pick up. Earlier the companies used to offer special discount and free gifts on the purchase of refrigerators, but this year they have not offered any discount or free gifts even on new year sales, except zero per cent interest schemes.

The rates of 165 to 170-litre refrigerators have been varying between Rs 8,200 and Rs 9,425. The rates of Indian companies are substantially lower than the foreign brands. In the category of 190 to 210 litres the rates are in the range of Rs 9,000 to Rs 11,000. Two companies offering the consumers conventional refrigerators in the capacity of 310 to 315 litres at Rs 15,500 and 16,000.

However, frost-free refrigerators are available in higher capacities such as 202, 242, 250, 262, 285, 320, 380 and even up to 680 litres. The demand for frost-free refrigerators, says a local dealer, is limited to the upper middle class. The rural customers, especially who want to buy it for marriage purposes, still prefer conventional models.

The rates of frost-free refrigerators start from Rs 14,800 for a 220-litre model. Foreign companies are offering the 280-litre model as the lowest capacity of frost-free models costing around Rs 19,500.

The consumers' expectation of fall in refrigerator prices on account of Christmas, New Year or winter season has not been fulfilled by the companies. The drastic fall in sales has further limited their options. Even the distributors are not ready to offer any substantial discounts out of their commission.

The plight of farmers because of distress sale of paddy and potato has also affected the sale of refrigerators in the region. Analysts say even in the coming days there is no chance of any significant fall in refrigerator prices unless the government announces any cut in excise duty on them.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |