Saturday, August 18, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Striking students lock up varsity offices
PAU employees back agitation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Intensifying their agitation further, students of College of Argiculture (COA), Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), surprised the university authorities here today by locking all offices of Thapar Hall and the administrative branch of the university which houses the office of the Vice-Chancellor.

The students locked all the entry points to this building before 9 a.m. and did not allow any of the employees to enter and start work. The Vice Chancellor, Dr K S Aulakh, could not enter office today due to the students action, and preferred to stay away. The Deans and Directors of PAU held several parleys with the striking students throughout the day to pacify them and to persuade them to call off the agitation.

The students finally relented to have a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor at about noon. Punjab Agricultural Students Association (PASA) leader Harcharan Singh Kang said that the VC had assured them that he had a talk with Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister, and he would talk to the Chief Minister to fix up a meeting of students on Monday. The students, however, did not agree to defer the agitation and said they will continue the strike till the state government advertises the posts.

The working of all the offices of Thapar Hall remained suspended the whole day. Meanwhile, the agitating students got a shot in the arm with the PAU Employees Union extending its support to PASA terming their demands as “just”. The president of the union, Mr D.P. Maur, while addressing a rally of the employees just after the strike said that the students were fighting for getting employment, which was their right after getting degrees.

The president of PASA, Mr Kamaljit Singh, said that they would not call off the strike until they met the Chief Minister. He said that the Vice Chancellor had made such promises a number of times but had failed to fix an appointment in the past.

He said the strike would be intensified if the Punjab government failed to advertise the posts of teacher of agriculture in schools. He said if the demands had already been accepted, then why was the government was not implementing there.

The students would start a hunger strike from Monday, and if the government failed to implement their demands, the responsibility of the consequencies would rest on the authorities, Mr Kamaljit Singh added. 


PAU for CBI probe into land scam
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has decided to recommend to the state government to order a CBI inquiry into the decade-old land scandal allegedly involving a former Vice-Chancellor and a leading industrialist.

This decision was taken at a special meeting of the PAU Board of Management (BoM) today. Sources in the PAU told Ludhiana Tribune today that the PAU would ask the state government to follow the recommendations of Mr R.N. Gupta, a former senior bureaucrat, who had suggested an inquiry into the matter by an independent agency.

The controversy was started some 10 years ago when the then president of PAUTA, Dr R.K. Batra, had charged the Vice-Chancellor with allegedly transferring more than two acres of its land to the Punjab Wakf Board. The Wakf Board had later leased out the land to a leading industrial house for an amount much less than the market price.

The VC was denying the charges on the plea that the decision of transfer of land was taken at a meeting of the BoM and that he alone could not be held responsible for the deal. Later an inquiry was initiated into the matter which had indicted the VC and a CBI probe was recommended.

The BoM had also resolved to appoint a senior revenue officer as an inquiry officer. In 1998, the then commissioner of Patiala Division, Mr R.P.S. Pawar, was appointed the inquiry officer. The inquiry has, however, been going on for the past three years and the university has now opted for CBI inquiry.


Flooded colonies make residents take to the streets
Tribune News Service

Residents wading through accumulated water in MS Nagar.
Residents wading through accumulated water in MS Nagar. — Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, August 17
A large number of residents of several colonies along side the Budda Nullah today blocked traffic near the Central Jail and staged a dharna in front of Tajpur Road here today for about two hours in protest against the failure of the police, district administration and Municipal Corporation to fill a breach in the nullah that had led to flooding of the colonies. In some colonies the water level was rising due to the breach.

The residents, led by leaders of political parties, agreed to end the dharna after officials of the police and the district administration succeeded in persuading them. SDM Kuldip Singh assured the residents of speedy clearance of water from the inundated colonies, filling the breach in the Budda Nullah and taking effective floods control measures to avoid any such incident in the future.

A visit by a Ludhiana Tribune team to the affected colonies revealed that water ranging from ankle-deep level to knee-deep level had inundated a number of colonies alongside the Budda Nullah, prompting the residents to remove their belongings to the safer areas. The main colonies affected were Swatantra Nagar, Prem Vihar, Banda Bahadur Colony, M.S.Nagar, Guru Nanak Colony and adjoining areas.

Water had entered several houses in low-lying areas of these colonies. A number of houses had been surrounded completely by the water, forcing residents to stay indoors. Unconfirmed reports said a few electricity poles had fallen, due to which at least two persons had been electrocuted.

Mr Mukhtiar Singh, president of M.S.Nagar colony, said the water inundated their colonies since the heavy rains on Wednesday morning. They said earlier they had thought that rain water had accumulated in the streets, but as the water level kept rising, they informed the police and the Municipal Corporation. Their worst fears came true when some residents noted that a breach had developed in the Budda Nullah, which was flooding their colonies. No government official came to their rescue, due to which they had no option but to stage a dharna.

Mr Vijay Danav and Chowdhry Yash Pal of SAD (Badal), while addressing the dharna, criticised the MC for not providing proper sewerage facility to the colonies. They said the sewers remain choked, due to which rain water had accumulated.

A number of residents said despite their repeated requests, the MC had not provided proper drainage facilities to their colonies. An official of the district administration said they had sought the services of the Irrigation Department and would provide immediate relief to the residents. 


1000 phones out of order
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 17
Over 1000 city telephones, falling under the Dholewal and Jugiana exchange, have been out of order since August 15 due to theft of telephone cables.

Several subscribers, including businessmen, traders, industrialists and residents of Dholewal, Dhandari Kalan, Campa Cola Chowk, Miller Ganj and Vishkarma Chowk, are facing a tough time.

Mr Harinderpal Singh, an industrialist at Dhandari Kalan, said, “We are held up due to non-working telephones and are operating from our homes.”

“The dead phones have caused inconvenience. The department should do the needful as early as possible”.

Mr Nizamul Haq, area manager, when contacted, said telephone cables were stolen on August 15. “We have already started the restoration work and because it is a lengthy process, the phones will become operational within two to three days”, he said.


Milkha Singh’s decision backed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
There has been widespread and unanimous support from sportspersons as well as the common man for Milkha Singh’s refusal to accept the Arjuna award. They feel that by not accepting the award, Milkha Singh has shown the guts and courage that a great sportsperson like him cannot be taken for granted.

Mr Teja Singh, a veteran sportsman and the Secretary, Punjab Basketball Association, described the decision of Milkha Singh as “bold and brave”. He pointed out, Milkha Singh had great achievements and it was not justified to club him with other non-entities. Mr Teja Singh suggested that the Sports Ministry should not ask for recommendations and applications for the Arjuna Award. It should do it of its own as it has all the record. This, he observed, will discourage the ugly practice of recommendations.

Mr Arun Dhand, who has remained a World Masters’ Badminton Champion Plus 35 category regretted that the Ministry of Sports had clubbed Milkha Singh with other non-entities despite his phenomenal achievements. He said, “Milkha Singh has remained an inspiration for thousands of sportspersons across the country. “He deserves a better deal”.

Neha and Gagganpreet Kaur, students, said, the allegations of wrong nominations and recommendations by the politicians for Arjuna Awards should be investigated. They pointed out that nothing could be worse than sports awards being distributed as favours. They observed, it had set a wrong precedent as the faith of countrymen in such awards has been shaken. The Sports Ministry, they suggested, needs to purge itself of all these charges and come clean to restore the prestige of such honours.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Grewal, a sportsman, appeared equally upset. Supporting Milkha Singh for his “bold decision”, he said, great players needed no government approval. He pointed out, the greatest honour and award for a sportsperson is the love and respect he enjoys among the countrymen. Milkha Singh is already popular and well respected by the countrymen, so he needs no government endorsement. He said, “Athletes like Milkha Singh serve as role models for others, so why should they care for awards and honours that have hardly anything to do with the performance.”

Mr Balwinder Singh, a businessman also echoed similar views. He suggested a uniform and transparent policy for selecting the sportspersons for honours. He pointed out that Arjuna Award is a national award and the recent controversy has lowered the dignity of this award. He stressed that the Union Sports Minister should take measures to ensure that such situations do not arise in future.


2 murder cases solved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
The Ludhiana police today claimed to have solved two of the three murders that took place on Janmashtami night in the city. According to the police, while illicit relationship had led to the murder of Harmesh Kumar in Salem Tabri, robbery was the motive behind the killing of a Nepalese watchman, Man Bahadur. The police has, however, not succeeded in solving the third murder of Gurinder Singh of Mandi Duabia village the same night.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Mr Harpreet Singh Sandhu, SSP, Ludhiana, said with the arrest of Rajinder, alias Raju, a resident of Model Town extension, and Baljit Singh, alias Billa, Dr Ambedkar Nagar Ludhiana, the police has succeeded in solving within three days a blind murder case involving the killing of a Gurkha/Chowkidar, named Man Bahadur. The accused, Rajinder, alias Raju, is already facing trial in another murder case registered against him in Division No 5 police station, Ludhiana, and was on bail. The other accused Baljit Singh, alias Billa, was also involved in two other cases of theft.

He said during preliminary questioning, the accused have disclosed that on the night of Janmashtami around 1-30 a.m., they accosted two persons riding a bicycle with the intention of looting them. Both accused stabbed him on the thighs and lower abdominal portion of the deceased and his companion, Dev Bahadur, and decamped with a meagre amount of Rs 60 from the pocket of Man Bahadur. Dev Bahadur, who was wearing a wrist watch was also stabbed, but he managed to escape from the scene.

Man Bahadur was shifted by another night watchman to his room, where he died the following morning due to excessive internal bleeding.

The SSP said in the second case, the police had solved the murder case of Harmesh Kumar, who was strangled the same night. Four have been arrested in the case. The SSP said the accused were relatives of a woman with whom the deceased had illicit relations. Moreover, the deceased had not returned some money he owed to the woman and her relatives.

The SSP said it was found that Kiran Bala had illicit relations with the deceased for the past four years and the deceased had exploited her both financially and sexually. The deceased owed Rs 80,000 to Kiran Bala.

On the evening of August 12, the deceased came to the house of Kiran Bala around 11p.m. in a drunken state and tried to induce Kiran Bala into having sex with him. Kiran Bala resisted the attempt as she felt that her family members might return who had gone to witness Janmashtami celebrations. In the meanwhile, Jaspal Singh (father), Kirpal Kaur (mother), Jaswant Singh a relative, Kulwinder Singh (neighbour) returned and entered the room on hearing them. Kiran Bala and the others four thereafter killed Harmesh Kumar using Kiran bala’s “Chunni”. The five accused used Jaspal Singh’s three-wheeler to dispose of the body at Anand Vihar, Salem Tabri, where it was found.

Four accused — Kiran Bala, Jaspal Singh, Kirpal Kaur and Kulwinder Singh — have been arrested in this case. One accused Jaswant Singh has absconded.


Talwandi leaves for UK
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 17
Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President, SGPC, today left for the UK to participate in the bicentenary celebrations of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in London.

Mr Talwandi along with his son, Ranjit Singh, have been invited by Sikhs of the UK to participate in the celebrations which will be held on August 18 and 19.

During the celebrations, a statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh will also be unveiled. The statue has been sculptured by Indian sculptors.


Roadways employees hold protest march
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
The Joint Action Committee of the Punjab Roadways employees unions held a massive protest march here today and burnt the effigy of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for not implementing the agreement signed between the workers’ representatives and the government on August 9, 2000.

The speakers asserted that according to the agreement the Chief Minister had agreed to increase the fleet of the transport by adding new 300 buses but nothing had been done in this regard.

They alleged that a joint checking committee of Punjab Roadways and Pepsu Roadways had submitted an investigation report to the transport secretary and other officials alleging the illegal operation of more than 200 buses, including about 80 buses of the neighbouring states, running from the city and neighbouring towns without permit.

The report submitted on June 8 and reminded on July 3 had revealed that Nirbhai, Pritam, Khatra, Jhujhar, New Patiala, Jimmy, National, New Fatehgarh Sahib, Kartar, Sutlej transport companies and number of buses of a local politician were running without any valid route permit on Ludhiana- Jalandhar, Ambala Cantt, Jammu, Haldwani, Tanakpur, Patna routes. These operations were resulting in an annual loss of more than Rs 1 crore to the Punjab Roadways, PRTC and the state exchequer in the form of fare and road tax.

Mr Khushi Mohamand, president, CITU, said,‘‘ The state government is determined to close down the Punjab Roadways. The KM bus scheme, illegal plying of private buses on the lucrative routes are the indications of coming bad times. But the workers would not allow the state government to play with the interests of the workers.’’

Mr Jaswant Singh Samra, state vice president, AITUC, said, ‘‘The Chief Minister had agreed during his meetings with them held on February 27 and March 1, 2001 that the government would add 300 buses to the Punjab Roadways fleet. The demands that were accepted included checking of illegal operation of private buses, to reinstate the suspended conductors and to increase the powers of the general managers of the roadways. But the government has failed to fulfil these demands.’’

The union leaders warned the state government not to test the patience of the workers otherwise they would be forced to intensify their agitation. They urged the government to ensure services for the wards of these employees, killed on duty, and to promote the deserving candidates.

Mr Avtar Singh, Mr Bhagwan Singh, Mr Amrik Singh and other leaders announced that the joint action committee would be held a rally on August 22 in front of the office of the Transport Secretary, State Transport, at Chandigarh.


Beware! this shortcut may prove fatal
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, August 17
The railway track running parallel to Dukh Nivaran Gurdwara under the Jagraon Bridge has become a virtual death trap for the people visiting the gurdwara and the residents of Railway Colony. The double track for trains to and from Delhi and another line for Ferozepur has claimed many victims over the years.

The Ludhiana Tribune team today saw a number of children, men and women crossing the railway track without being concerned about the approaching train. Two days back, a woman while crossing the track fell down out of nervousness and fright when she saw the train coming from behind her and lost her legs and an arm.

One of the sewadars of the gurdwara said it had become common for people to cross the railway tracks as it saved them distance and time. He said the people were careless and at times the entire family was mowed under the wheels of the train.

Recalling one such incident, he said a few days back, a woman and three children were crossing the railway track when the train suddenly approached. The woman lost her life while her children were saved by the sewadars.

Ms Surjit Kaur, president of Akali Istri Sabha, said at least a wall could be constructed on the side of the gurdwara. Hundreds of migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh had built jhuggis under the bridge.

Mr Gurcharan Singh, who has been running his small business under the bridge said, “I have had this little shop for the past 14 years. In these years, I have seen more than 100 persons lose their lives by coming under the train while crossing the tracks. The deaths makes the news for a day and then nothing happens.”

The small road beside the nullah used to get flooded during heavy rain, making it impossible for persons to go to Field Ganj through that road. The railway authorities should tell the drivers of the train to blow the horn constantly while on that part of the track and a few securitymen should be posted along the track.

Mr Ricky, another shopkeeper, said the railway authorities had lowered a part of land near the track so as to discourage people from crossing, but some junk dealers had again raised that part and were keeping huge sacks of junk on the raised part. The other day, a person while threading through those sacks, fell onto the tracks. He lay down flat on the ground and the train passed over him, leaving him unscathed.

Another official of the gurdwara said in spite of number of tragedies occurring near the gurdwara and visits of officials of the Northern Railways, the situation had not improved. The killer track continued to take its toll, partially due to haste and carelessness of the persons and mainly due to callousness of the railway authorities.


Begging menace on the rise in city
D. B. Chopra

Ludhiana, August 17
A local bus, bound for Ghanta Gahr halts at Samrala Chowk. A lean young man, clad in an old and dirty white pyjama and shirt, enters the bus. He carries an old and faded photograph pasted on a wooden board. He stands for a while and then kneels down.

The man kneels down further and folds his hands together. He then shows the old and faded picture around, gesturing towards the picture, but says nothing. He puts a couple of fingers in his mouth and takes these out with a fairly audible sound, indicating that he is dumb or deaf and dumb.

He pats his stomach with the palm of his hands and starts begging. A woman dishes out a one-rupee note. A couple of working girls in the next seat are reluctant to part with their hard-earned money. The man pesters them a bit more. One of the girls takes out a coin from her purse and he moves further. This continues till he has approached a number of passengers.

As another minibus comes to a halt, it is time for the bus to move. The beggar hurries down the bus to enter the one which has just arrived.

The begging scene in the city is changing as far as the number of beggars on local buses, which have been free of the menace so far have suddenly been targeted by these beggars.

There has been an influx of beggars into the city recently. Perhaps the city’s affluence has something to do with it. The number of beggars in front of temples is constantly swelling.

These beggars have created unpleasant scenes in front of the temples. As most of them spends their charity collections on drug, drug peddlers hang around these places for making a quick buck.

The authorities running various temples seem to be the least bothered about the filth outside these places. There are no beggars in front of local gurdwaras.

In Bhadaur House market, a number of Rajasthani women have a monopoly over begging. They are quick to spot new visitors and pester them till they get something. Their common ploy is they need milk for the hungry baby.

Beggars in Ghurmar Mandi market are so aggressive that if you refuse to be kind to them, you stand a chance of being abused and threatened. Women shoppers are perhaps the most harassed lot. The city can also be called the city of beggars. 


Police fails to trace missing girl
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Mr Gurcharan Singh, a retired employee, now working as a librarian with the District Bar Association, and his wife are waiting for their daughter, Ms Gurpreet Kaur, alias Rittu, for the past over three months. She had gone to her college, Khalsa College on May 7 to enquire about the date of examination after taking Rs 15 from them, but she never returned home.

The parents fear that she might have been killed or is being forced into flesh trade by her own brother-in-law.

The police had earlier declined to register even an FIR on the pretext that their daughter, who is 20 years old, might have eloped with someone.

Later, the FIR was registered at the police station, Haibowal, on May 13 against Pawandeep Singh, his mother Malkeet Kaur and Ms Prabhjot Kaur on the complaint of Ms Lovleen Kaur, who was “divorced” by Pawandeep. According to Lovleen, her husband used to beat her, and was a drug addict. He was unemployed and used to play “satta”.

She is now living with her parents, and a divorce suit has been filed in the court. But the police failed to recover her sister and the case was later transferred to the CIA staff.

The parents of the girl, consequently, approached the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, which had instructed the SSP, Ludhiana, on July 20, to properly investigate the case and submit a report by October 4, 2001.

According to Justice J.S. Sekhon, Member, PSHRC, the allegations “do make out a case for taking cognisance under the provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.” The parents of the girl alleged that Ms Malkeet Kaur, mother of the accused, had confirmed before the police that her son had kidnapped their daughter and she would produce them in the next few days. But nothing had been done so far.

Mr Gurcharan Singh and his wife have urged the authorities to find out their daughter at least to allay their fears.


Mediapersons resent frisking
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Mediapersons of Ludhiana have condemned the act of the city police to frisk them before attending a press conference. The security staff of the SSP, Ludhiana, Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, sought to frisk mediapersons here today afternoon outside the SSP office where the police had called a press conference.

The security staff frisked even the District Public Relations Officer and did not allow mediapersons to take their mobile phones in the SSP's office. The mediapersons staged a walkout, but situation cooled down after the SSP directed his staff to return the mobile phones and not to frisk mediapersons.

The mediapersons said they did not mind frisking for security concerns, but when their identity was known, the police should respect their identity.


Dharna against increasing thefts in Raikot
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Angry residents of Raikot town, about 32 km from here, staged a dharna at Hari Singh Nalwa Chowk late last evening to express their anguish at a number of theft incidents in the town. A number of political leaders cutting across party lines have demanded the transfer of the SHO of the city. A partial bandh was also observed in the city.

The immediate provocation for the residents was a theft that took place in a shop last night. Miscreants had broken into a shop. The shopkeeper claims to have suffered a loss of thousands of rupees as a number of valuables, besides cash, were stolen from his shop.

The residents and shopkeepers of the main market took to the streets last evening as the theft incident was the second successive one in the market. On the night of August 14, miscreants managed to break into a branch of Punjab National Bank but, luckily, failed to decamp with cash. According to sources, the thieves could not break the lockers and had to return empty-handed. The agitators said what shocked them more was that the two incidents took place when the police was on maximum alert due to the Independence Day celebrations.


Regular health checks: paws and nails

There is no faith that has never yet been broken, except that of a truly faithful dog. The day you get a pet to your home you invariably make a commitment to the pet that you will take care of all his needs and give him love. You may be expecting protection or company in return but the dog will give you unconditional love and more than you could ever prognosticate. In return all it needs, or better still, all that it deserves is that you effectuate your commitment. The dog, like humans, needs regular health checks and grooming. In this article I would be concentrating on paws and nails.

Although anatomically the paws and nails are placed at the lowest in the body, they by no stretch of notion, are inferior to any other part of the body. Like rest of the body they need constant attention and inspection. Paws should be checked for the length of nails. If the pet is walked on austere ground paws should be looked for thorns, glass, or any foreign matter sticking to the footpad or vegetation stuck between the webs. The regular inspection of paws may give an idea about many disease conditions like contact dermatitis, mange, interdigital pyoderma, which are characterised by loss of hair from feet.

Cracks and cuts on the pad must be given immediate attention and proper antiseptic should be applied.

Cracked pads may find some avail if butter is applied on them.

Nail trimming
Active dogs seldom need trimming but most dogs need to have nails trimmed at some point. Long nails always pose a threat of snapping off. While the vet will often clip them for you, many dogs need their nails trimmed more often than that to prevent injuries and other problems associated with overgrown nails.

Use nail clippers available at pet stores. These are specially designed for the task and do not crush the nails as a human clipper would do. Before cutting the nails, examine them carefully. If the nails are white, the difference between the nail and the pink quick is easy to visualise. If the nails are dark, it will be much harder to tell where the quick is, in which case you must take care.

If your dog resists having its nails trimmed, try trimming them while you sit on a couch with the dog on its back in your lap. By putting the dog on its back, you make the nails accessible and put the dog in a submissive position where they are less apt to fight. As with many things, this is easiest if you start while your dog is still a pup.

If the cutter is sharp, the nails won’t crack if you cut at right angles to the nail. That is, hold it so that the blades are on the top and bottom of the nail, not to the sides of the nail.

Do not cut below the quick. It will be painful to your dog and bleed everywhere. When in doubt, trim less of the nail. It will just mean trimming more often. Clip the portion above the quick for each nail and don’t forget the dewclaws. Flour or cornstarch will help to control minor bleeding.

Dewclaws are a “fifth” toe, positioned as a “thumb” to the rest of the nails and they do not touch the ground. Not all dogs have them, and they may be found on the front legs only or on all four legs. Jaspreet Singh


Barsi mela tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
The barsi mela of Baba Gajju ji Thapar will be organised on August 19 at Gurdev Nagar. A general body meeting of the executive committee and elections will also be held the same day.

Thapar families have firm faith in the saint. They pay homage and offer rakhis to him every year. A bhandara is also organised.


Mandip Grewal gets Sena Medal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Lt Col Mandip Grewal has been awarded Sena Medal for the second time. Lt Col Grewal is currently posted at NCC Group Headquarters, Ludhiana. He was decorated with Bar to Sena Medal on the eve of Independence Day, for his gallant services against the militants in Assam.

Earlier also he got the Sena Medal for his dedication and devotion to duty. He belongs to Sarabha, village.


SI’s servant dead
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Mystery shrouds the death of a 13-year-old boy, employed as a servant with a Punjab Police Sub-Inspector, whose body was found hanging from a ceiling fan, at the house of the police official in the police lines here today afternoon.

The police has recovered the body but no case was registered till evening. The boy is suspected to have committed suicide.


Theft case registered
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 17
The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Rajesh Kumar, owner of a shop.

According to the complainant, when he came to his shop on the Malerkotla road, Raikot, on Thursday morning, he found its locks broken and ghee tins, sugar, tea leaves, soaps, etc, missing from there. The total loss could not been assessed so far.

Hand chopped off
Mr Daljit Singh of Johlan village lost his right hand while changing gear of an electric fodder-cutting machine. He has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital for treatment.


Case registered
The Sahnewal police has registered a case under Sections 365, 379, 386, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC on a complaint of Mr Kuldip Singh of Raian village. He alleged that on March 18, Kabbe Singh and Sharda Singh of Kot Gangu Rai village forcibly dragged him from his house to some unknown place where two persons were present.

They allegedly tortured him and forced him to sign some blank papers. They also snatched away his gold ring and money.


Blind girl raped
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 17
A blind girl of Ranwal village was allegedly raped by Balbir Singh of the same village. The police has registered a case on the complaint of Mr Gurbax Singh, sarpanch of the village.

According to Mr Balkar Singh Sandhu, SSP, Jagraon, the accused committed the crime about 10-11 months ago when the mother of the victim had gone to her relatives and the victim was left under the care of the accused.

The girl did not disclose the fact to anyone due to the fear of insult. Even after the child was born to the victim, the mother and the daughter kept the matter under cover. The sarpanch of the village got the case registered.


Fall in steel prices
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 17
Steel prices have been falling in this industrial capital of Punjab for the past few days as there is slump in the market. The prices of iron scrap used in the manufacture of steel have also witnessed fall due to the availability of the same in abundance as huge quantity of scrap has been imported in the recent past.

Inquiries reveal that the steel prices have seen a fall of Rs 1,000 to 1,200 per tonne. The Union Government has allowed the import of iron scrap to the traders after the Budget without bank guarantee.

The inquiries reveal that the scrap dealers are allegedly evading customs duty and also evading railway freight. The importers of the iron scrap are supposed to pay 5 per cent customs duty and 20 per cent duty on finished products. They are allegedly importing rolling material which including CR sheets illegally and evading duty on the same.

The containers are supposed to carry about 20 tonne of scrap whereas the same are loaded with excess weight up to 28 tonne. They are allegedly thus evading customs duty and railway freight as payment for the less quantity is only made.

Mr P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, has alleged that the customs authorities are not exercising the necessary control over the import of finished goods which are arriving under the garb of steel scrap.

Even otherwise there is no shortage of scrap in the country itself, sources said.

It is alleged that scrap traders are managing certificates from the actual users against the consumption of imported scrap. The traders are required to submit the certificates of actual consumption of scrap imported by them.

Steel rolling mills of Mandi Gobindgarh engaged in the manufacture of flat steel have also suffered a setback due to the slump in the demand and availability of CR sheets in abundance.

According to Mr Raj Goyal, 10 steel mills have put up shutters and stopped production of flat steel while the remaining have reduced their production by 50 per cent. There are 40 steel mills which deal in flat steel, he said.

The prices of flat steel have fallen by Rs 4,000 per tonne during the past one year from Rs 16,000 to Rs 12,000 per tonne.

The demand for steel as a whole has also declined because of the slump in the consuming industry.

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