Saturday, September 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Live bomb dumped on roadside
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
Some persons, suspected to be industrial workers, dumped a live bomb, found in a scrap, near a main road beside a slum in Focal Point late yesterday. The police has put sandbags around the bomb to minimise the chances of any damage if it explodes.

The dumping of the bomb on roadside proves how seriously do industrialists take the directions of the district administration that it should be informed whenever a bomb is found in a scrap. The recovery is a usual event here; it becomes serious only when the bomb explodes — because of factory workers who are careless or children who play with it.

The city has had several such explosions, in which, at least 10 persons, mostly children, have lost their lives. Still, some careless Industrialists easily ignore the administration’s directive.

The police said some labourers had spotted the bomb and informed the police.

The police, then, cordoned off the area and put sandbags around the bomb.

The police has informed the district administration and the Army personnel have been called to defuse the bomb. However, going by the past experience, we can safely assume that it will be some time before the Army sends its team here.

A visit to the site showed how a lot more precautions needed to be taken, instead of just covering the bomb with sandbags. Slum children were seen playing near the place where the bomb had been dumped, with their elders having a hard time persuading them to stay away from there.



Nocturnal beast keeps nights awake
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Samrala, September 6
Electric fences and night patrols have come up in villages around Samrala to ward off a mysterious animal that has spread panic here in the past one week. It has killed two animals and attacked some humans as well.

The administration machinery, including the police and wildlife officials, have failed to trace the animal. The delay has only helped rumour mongers, with false reports of attacks adding to the tension. The animal had killed a buffalo and a calf, besides attacking some persons of Sihala village some days ago. Some labourers, coming from Hardon to Katala village, had, reportedly, seen this animal last night.

Persons of villages like Sihala, Burma, Kherian and Katala conduct night patrols armed with rifles and sticks. They have even put electric-barbed-wire fences around some houses. A team of wildlife officials that had visited the villages remains clueless. Some describe the animal to be a brown dog-like creature, while others say that it is a cheetah. “The animal could not be identified by the injury marks found on the dead animals,” said Mr Jaspal Singh Jassi, Subdivisional Magistrate of Samrala.

Mr Jaswant Singh, a plumber of Sihala village and one of the labourers who had seen the animal near Katala village, said this “huge animal” had pounced on him. His employer, then, told everyone to leave their bicycles there only, following which, he dropped everyone home in a Tempo.

Chander Shekhar, a teenager of this village, said he had also seen the animal. “It looked like a cheetah, that brushed me in the fields, but I escaped. My dog kept barking at it,” he said.

Many women and children say that they have been attacked by the animal, but the administration does not believe them. Officials say that some wild animal may have strayed out of a forest, but it is unlikely to have attacked the villagers.

The SDM said he had visited the village many times after the killings of calves on Sunday. He said: “Villagers say that the animal can jump over walls, is bigger than a dog and difficult to see due to dark. No two versions match, so, this appears to be a baseless fear. However, we are alert and villagers on night patrol can call me anytime they find something.”

The Sarpanch of Sihala village, Mr Tirath Singh, said, while the attacks had scared most villagers, only two officials of the administration had come there to review the situation. He said no combing operation had been conducted to catch the animal. He said, “Reports of attacks are not new for us. Earlier, we, too, believed it to be some ferocious dog, but dogs don’t jump over walls to kill cattle. Dogs keep barking all night, which shows that the animal is still around.”



Harassed PSEB consumer complains to CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
Harassed by the continuous demand for money by two officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board, a consumer today filed a complaint under oath to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and other senior officers of the board charging these officials with demanding bribe from him.

In an affidavit submitted to the Chief Minister, Mr Jiwan Soni, a PCO operator of Haquiqat Nagar, Haibbowal Kalan, here alleged that a junior engineer and a lineman of the area demanded Rs 5,000 from his wife when she failed to produce the receipt of the electricity bill.

Mr Soni alleged that the two officials visited his house and asked his wife to show the receipt of the bill which he had already paid. He said since he was not at home, his wife could not show them the receipts. Consequently, the officials threatened to disconnect their power supply if she did not pay them Rs 5,000. As his wife could not pay the money, they disconnected the power supply and took away the wires.

When Mr Soni returned home and learnt about the incident, he went to the SDO concerned and showed him the receipt of the bill. His electric supply was resumed instantly and meter was also installed.

However, Mr Soni decided to ensure that this did not happen again and complained to the Chief Minister under oath. He pointed out the demand on the part of the PSEB officials was illegal and they had no authority to take away the meter as they only wanted to extort Rs 5,000 from his wife. He has urged the Chief Minister to take strong action against both these officials as they are defying the very agenda of the Chief Minister to wipe out corruption from the state.



Row that filled empty galleries
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Hiding from the camera
Hiding from the camera: Students avoid being caught by the camera while standing in queue to buy tickets for Ek Chotti Si Love Story in Ludhiana.— photo by Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, September 6
Controversial film ‘Ek Chotti Si Love Story’ opened to a packed Arti Cinema here today, in spite of the Mumbai High Court stay order that came yesterday. It was a young crowd at the show, comprising mostly boys of schools and colleges, who had bunked classes to stand in queue for the tickets as early as 8 am.

The media-hype due to the controversy over certain scenes filmed on the duplicate of Manisha Koirala ensured that all shows went house-full today. In spite of the threats from Shiv Sainiks and the stay order, the screening was peaceful. No official of the police or the administration made any move to stop the show.

A cinema official said theatres didn’t come under the purview of the court order, “The distributor has released 80 prints for various cinema halls across the country and the stay is on the further release of the prints,” he said. He also said the film had been given ‘A’ certificate after having been cleared by the censor board for screening.

The official, on the condition of anonymity, said he was delighted at the sight of long queues. “We will recover the costs soon this way,” he said.

The mood at the first show was electric. Youths, several of them not even adults, had lined up for the tickets early on and didn’t regret missing classes for the show. However, they shied away from the camera. There was a lot of jostling at the ticket window — seen after a long time at a cinema hall here. There were only a few couples, who had got the boxes reserved; otherwise, there was hardly any woman there to see the movie. Four college girls, who had come to the theatre, left when they were teased and chased by boys.

Most youths there said they had come just to see those controversial scenes. Those who called the movie educational would change their mind after hearing the fantasies of these youths about their women teachers and the actresses in the movie. Students, who could not get the tickets in spite of the struggle at the booking window, were seen begging for tickets at the window. An underage student, who had grown a stubble to look like an adult, was saying to the ticket clerk: “Please Sir, I have bunked my classes only to see the movie.”



Parmar to head Animal Breeding in PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
Dr O.S. Parmar, Senior Dairy Cattle Breeder, is the new head of the Department of Animal Breeding, Genetics and Biostatistics, Punjab Agricultural University.

Dr Parmar is a leading dairy scientist in the field of cattle improvement and his major achievements is breeding one of the best herds of crossbred cows which recently touched a 305-day milk production of about 4,000 litres and peak yield as high as 52.5 litres a day with systematic application of animal breeding technologies.

The supply of the semen of genetically superior, pure-bred, exotic and crossbred bulls to dairy farmers and the dairy development agencies is his other major contribution.

Dr Parmer was instrumental in the establishment of a new automatic machine milking parlour in the university which served as a demonstration unit for farmers. A large number of dairy farmers are now adopting this equipment to improve the quality of milk to produce export-oriented milk and milk products.

He is actively associated with various animal husbandry and dairy development programme of the Animal Husbandry Directorate and Milkfed as a member of its various technical committees.

At present, Dr Parmar is concentrating his research work on the comparison of Holstein Friesian crossbreds produced from different developed countries to develop suitable recommendations for the import of germ plasm.



Commuters a harassed lot
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, September 6
The commuters commuting daily and covering a radius of more than 5 km especially from Ludhiana to Doraha are sore over the formalities introduced by the national Highway authority of India regarding the issuance of their passes.

The commuters who cover a distance of more than 5 km and are within the Ludhiana district are facing a tough time as the toll tax authorities are now demanding a sum of Rs 500 per month (the sum mentioned by the authorities) from them as against the earlier sum of Rs 150 produced by them.

Since many of the employees are working in educational institutions, banks, factories and at other work places, they think that it is better to avoid the toll-tax rather than pay Rs. 500 for the monthly pass.

Mr Jaswant Singh Gill , principal, Guru nanak National college, Doraha , who commutes daily from Ludhiana to Doraha, said that earlier he was issued a pass in Rs 270 by giving his employer’s proof. “The next month I was asked to pay Rs 150 along with the copy of the ration card as the proof of my residence. This time they are demanding a copy of the ration card as a local resident to get a pass of Rs 150 issued or asking me to pay Rs. 1350 per month and commute free from Jalandhar to Doraha on the toll roads,” he further added.

The employees demand that they should be exempted from showing any local proof if they are coming from within the limits of the district and should be treated at par with the local residents as they, too, have to ply daily between their work place at Doraha and their place of residence.

It may be noted that the toll tax collection was initiated on the National Highway by NHAI on June 24 this year and the rates for vehicles like car, jeep, van, light commercial vehicle, truck, bus and heavy construction machinery from 96 to 206 km have been fixed at Rs. 50, Rs 90, Rs 175 and Rs 375, respectively. Further the rates for the same vehicles are Rs 30, Rs 55, Rs 105, Rs 225 respectively from 206 km to 272 km. The rates for these vehicles from km 272 to km 372 are Rs 45, Rs 80, Rs 160 and Rs 340 respectively. The rates applicable for one way journey, are in force till March 31,2003. Doraha falls under the third category of rates i.e. Rs 45 for car, jeep, van, Rs 80 for light commercial vehicles Rs 160 for truck and bus and Rs 340 for heavy construction machinery and earth moving equipment.

From the very first day of its implementation the toll-tax collection scheme has drawn criticism from almost all sections of society with some terming it as an open loot and the others phrasing it as a highly undemocratic move due to its excessive prices.

Since then the commuters have been trying to avoid toll-tax payment by finding alternate routs via Rajgarh or Kanech-Rampur. Since the Rajgarh-route was regarded the nearest, the commuters took to this way but were soon disheartened as the villagers, fed up with the nuisance caused by heavy vehicular traffic, partly blocked the ring road passing from between the village leaving the commuters with no other choice but to go through a longer route. The ring road of the village has got damaged within two months due to heavy vehicular traffic and the villagers too seriously complain of the threat to their lives.



Namdharis honour Hanspal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
It was a journey down the memory lane for the Namdharis while honouring Mr H.S. Hanspal for being appointed president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC). Mr Hanspal was felicitated by the Namdhari society yesterday at a colourful function attended by several other Congress leaders including Transport Minister Tej Prakash, local MP, Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, District Congress Committee president Gurcharan Singh Ghalib and senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress Pawan Dewan.

While felicitating Mr Hanspal, the Namdhari leaders observed that his appointment was an honour for the entire brotherhood. The speakers recalled the services and sacrifices rendered by the Namdharis for the freedom movement, particularly, as Namdhari leader Dalip Singh Namdhari pointed out to how the Kukas laid down their lives while fighting against the British.

The Namdhari leaders reiterated their commitment towards the national interest and assured Mr Hanspal of full support. They pointed out the Namdharis had always stood by the Congress in its best and worst times and they would continue to do so under the leadership of Mr Hanspal.

The other speakers, including Mr Tej Prakash and Mr Ghalib, recalled the sacrifices made by the Namdharis in the freedom movement.

Later the local Congress leaders led by former PCC general secretary Ramesh Joshi honoured Mr Hanspal at a separate function at Circuit House.



A rural mela under the aegis of Nag devta
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Kot Gangu Rai, September 6
In an era where computer games and bowling alleys are ruling the roost and information technology is the buzzword, a rural mela with all its rustic robustness and simplicity is a welcome break and takes one back to the times when such events were eagerly awaited the entire year.

The annual Baba Nag Bhagh mela, organised by Guru Nanak Sports Club here for the past 56 years, is one such event where thousands of people from the country and abroad not only come to pay their obeisance at the shrine of the Nag devta but also enjoy various sports events held by the club. This year, too, there was a fair sprinkling of NRIs who plan their yearly visit to coincide with the mela and also foot a major part of the nearly Rs 6 - 7 lakh budget for festivities spread over four days.

The mela concluded with an impressive colourful ceremony watched by a thousands of people late in the evening today. Punjab Transport Minister Tej Prakash Singh was the chief guest o the occasion.

The village was marked by a carnival-like atmosphere when a Tribune team visited the venue of the events. Hawkers selling their wares and innumerable stall owners doing brisk business could be seen all along the road leading to the shrine facing the stadia. Every visitor had his preference for the schedule of events after paying his obeisance. Undoubtably, the major attraction were the bullock-cart races along the bank of the canal which saw participation of the top teams of the state with the winner — Kot Gangu Rai cart racer Amarjit Singh — taking a trophy and more than Rs 21, 000 in cash. Other prizes included desi ghee canisters to the top three winners besides blankets for all participants — mainly sponsored by the villagers and the club.

Elaborating on the background of the event, club president Satinder Singh said although the origins of the mela are shrouded in the past, but legend has it that more than a century ago a woman of the Kooner clan gave birth to a boy and a snake in the village. One day a sadhu came to the house for alms but saw that the snake was hovering over the boy lying in the courtyard. Mistaking the brotherly gesture of the snake, he rushed ahead and killed it. Soon after the boy too died. The sadhu had hardly left the village that he also died. The villagers built a small shrine in their memory and with time it has become an impressive temple. It is mandatory for all Kooner clansmen living in the vicinity to pay their obeisance. Some even arrive here from foreign countries regularly, he narrated.

It was 56 years ago that games were added to the festival making it a four-day affair. Today an impressive stadium in the middle of the village is the venue of the events which has been constructed by the chairman of the club, NRI Nazar Singh, in the memory of his father, the late Gurdial Singh. In the words of a villager, “ it is virtually the epicentre of our lives since we prepare all-year round to play host to some of the best sportsmen in the state.”

He said the events include kabaddi, bullock-cart racing, volleyball, tug of war, pigeon flying, cards, races by small calves, long jump and the high jump. Another high point of the event are the dances by specially trained horses. Girls too took part in many of the events. NRIs who have settled abroad and have been earlier players themselves too took part in exhibition matches amid applause from a packed house.

NRI Teja Singh told TNS that he is a regular visitor to the mela and also sees it an opportunity to meet his old friends. This is something which is not found in the UK, he added nostalgically.

Similarly, Indore resident Ranjit Singh, a transporter, comes down regularly and even sponsors some of the prizes to the top teams. It is a part of a tradition which we hold dearly. In an era where the youth are going astray and are into drugs, it is heartening to note that the youth of this village and many around here are relatively free from the menace, he added.



20 bags of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 6
The Sidhwan Bet police, at a naka near the Kachcha Rasta from Sidhwan Kalan to Swaddi Kalan, seized 12 bags of poppy husk from a vehicle. According to a press note by Mr M.S. Cheena, SSP, the police signalled the vehicle to stop at the check post but the driver tried to speed up and escape. The police apprehended all occupants of the vehicle, including the driver, identified as Harnek Singh of Kishanpura besides Rajinder Singh of Patti Multani, Karamjit Singh of Kotli, Surjit Singh of Bagian and Balraj Singh of Umrewala and seized 12 bags of pappy husk.

According to the press note further interrogation of Balraj Singh revealed that eight bags of poppy husk were seized at his instance at Malsian Bajan village. The total value of the poppy husk is about Rs 1.20 lakh. The police has impounded the vehicle and registered a case under Section 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Two injured: A scooterist and the pillion-rider were injured when a Tata 407 vehicle hit them on the Payal-Chawa road, yesterday.

The injured have been identified as Arun Kumar and Aman Sharma of Vardhaman Colony, Ludhiana. They were admitted to the Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana.

The incident took place when Arun Kumar was on his way to Chawa from Payal on his scooter (PBU-6219) with his companion Aman Sharma and a tempo (PB-13-K-9201) driven by Daljit Singh of Ward 5 of Payal hit them, injuring the two. The Payal police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 338 and 427, IPC, against the driver of the tempo.

Attacked: The Payal police registered a case under Sections 323 and 324, IPC, on Thursday against Kinner Singh, alias Kinna, who allegedly attacked Baldev Singh of Ghudani Kalan with a spade and injured him. The injured was first hospitalised at Civil Hospital, Payal, and later shifted to a hospital in Khanna.

Police sources reveal that both had been involved in a dispute over the issue of the making of a dharamshala in the village.



Undertrial booked, no action against cop
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
In a complete reversal of events, the division no. 8 police station booked an undertrial, Rajinder Singh ‘Pappu’ for allegedly interfering with the duty of a policeman and manhandling him.

The police, however, has not taken any action on the undertrial’s that the complaint cop, Kishan Lal, had demanded Rs 500 for allowing his family to serve him food when he went to the old district courts in connection with an attempt to murder case pending against him.

The undertrial and the cop, along with others, were involved in a clash in the old district courts complex, last evening. According to reports first the cop assaulted the undertrial. Later he was beaten by other undertrials and allegedly also apologised to them. 



Woman murdered by husband
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
A woman allegedly lost her life after failing in an attempt to stop an extra-marital relation of her husband in Basti Jodhewal colony last night.

A postmortem examination conducted at the Civil Hospital confirmed death due to strangulation. The victim, identified as Nirmala, belonged to Bihar and had come here to live with her husband just a fortnight ago. Her body was found hanging from a ceiling fan.

The police has booked her husband for her murder.



Unique concept of multimedia
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 6
Children education system is being transformed to meet the challenges of the 21st century. To cope with it, Oswal Multimedia K.I.D.Ltd. has come up with the concept of multimedia knowledge library “Intell-I-Brary” in India with the fusion of teaching methodologies with the technology. Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School has tied up with the company. Sister Helima, principal of the school, was the first to try out the concept of OMIKD. Mr V.K. Anand, executive director, OMIKD, presented CDs to the principal.



Telco launches vehicles
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company Limited (TELCO) launched its ‘Ex’ Series vehicles here today. Hundreds of distributors and customers of the company were present at the launch.

The Senior Vice-president of Telco, Mr S.P. Arya, told reporters at the launch that the vehicles had extra power and torque.


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