Wednesday, October 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Dealers threaten ban on blended petrol
Want firms to educate consumers
Kuldip Bhatia

Mr J.P. Khanna, president, Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association, addresses mediapersons
Mr J.P. Khanna, president, Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association, addresses mediapersons in Ludhiana on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, October 7
Petroleum dealers in the state, while charging oil companies with marketing ethanol mixed petrol without adequate checks and necessary infrastructural support, have warned that the sale of blended petrol would be stopped from November 7 if the oil companies failed to come out with a comprehensive educational campaign for the consumers and at the same time exonerating the dealers from contamination of petrol and diesel.

Addressing a news conference after the executive committee meeting of the association here today, Mr J.P. Khanna, president, Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association, expressed dismay over the arbitrary decision of the Union Ministry of Petroleum to introduce ethanol blended petrol in some selected states and union territories without considering the merits and demerits of the non-standard petrol which did not have the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) specifications.

He said the oil companies, with monopoly in refining, storage and marketing of petroleum products in the country, were now in the process of replacing unleaded petrol with ethanol mixed petrol, which did not have BIS specifications. On the other hand, the samples taken from petrol outlets were tested under BIS specifications, which put the dealers in a difficult situation. The market reports, available so far, on blended petrol were far from satisfactory and at many places in the state, the customers have been blaming the dealers for poor quality of petrol. "The blended petrol, at times, contains water drops as water condensation occurs in ethanol mixture when it comes in contact with water. Moreover, the mixture of petrol and ethanol is not homogenous."

Mr Khanna said the decision to introduce blended petrol in some select states was also unfair. If the government considered the quality of blended petrol reasonably good and wanted to promote the same to save the foreign exchange, then the marketing should cover the entire country. In addition, the customers should have an option to purchase the fuel of their own choice depending on the suitability to their respective vehicles.

Claiming that the disparity in prices had hit the sale of petrol and diesel in places adjoining the neighbouring states, Mr Khanna made a fervent plea for rationalisation of sales tax and scrapping of octroi on petroleum products so that the price structure, at least in the state, was uniform. He said more than 500 retail outlets of petrol and diesel, bordering states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Chandigarh, were on the verge of closure due to the customers preferring to purchase fuel from other states where it was cheaper.

The petroleum dealers stressed that the rate of sales tax be brought down to make it competitive with other neighbouring states and octroi be replaced with entry tax to save the trade from apprehended ruination. Mr Khanna claimed that these measures would, in fact, result in generating more revenue collection for the government due to increase in sales volume.

Mr B.R. Tiwari, general secretary of the association, Mr Tarlok Singh, Mr Surjit Singh and Mr Raju Sharma, functionaries of the Ludhiana Petrol Dealers Association were also present at the occasion.



Cops teach a lesson to VIP brats
Politician dad pulls strings for punishing officials
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
Intense struggle for one- upmanship is on between Congress leaders and the district police here over the alleged misbehaviour of two VIP brats with Sarabha Nagar police station staff on Saturday night.

After teaching a lesson to sons of two VIPs for misbehaviour, the district police is withstanding strong pressure exerted by a Congress minister to take strict action against the policemen of the police station. The Congress lobby is demanding suspension or immediate transfer of the policemen.

However, the district police has so far managed to hold ground and refused to take any action arguing that the policemen had taken the correct stand against the youths. According to police sources the Congress minister was demanding suspension of three constables who had brought the youths to the police station and transfer to the lines of the SHO, involved in the case.

Staff of the Sarabha Nagar police station had a first-hand experience of the tantrums of VIP brats on Saturday night. Sons of a Congress minister belonging to this district and a local Municipal Councillor created quite a ruckus and abused every one after being caught by a police party in an inebriated condition on Saturday.

‘‘You are suspended’’ they roared to the policemen for daring to arrest them. They continuously abused and threatened them. ‘‘ You don’t know the influence of my father. He will get the severest punishment for you. ’’

Feeling extremely insulted, the policemen decided to register a case against them, come what may. The boys, however, mellowed down when they realised that their VIP status had no effect on the policemen. The influence of liquor had also lessened after spending over an hour in the police station and they tendered a written apology to the policemen.

It all began at about 9 pm on Saturday last when the police station got a call that some youths were drinking in a car parked near the Sarabha Nagar main market and harassing people. A police team deployed near the market was directed to look into the matter. The policemen, however, were taken aback when the youths abused them and asked, ‘‘Tuhadi auqat ki hai, sanu rokken di?’’ (How dare you stop us!)

The policemen took them into custody and brought them to the police station. The youths, who were totally drunk continued their bad behaviour. They revealed the identities of their fathers but all this had no effect on the policemen.

However, later the youths realised their mistake and tendered a written apology. Interestingly, the Sarabha Nagar main market has, become the point where such youths are taught a lesson by the police. A few weeks ago, the son of a senior Municipal Corporation official and another of a serving Congress MLA were challaned on various counts by the traffic police at this place only.



DC suspends licences of 2 commission agents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, has suspended the licences of two commission agents and recommended action against a purchase in charge and supervisor of a market committee after finding that the paddy purchased by them was below the fixed specifications at Khanna mandi here today.

The licences of M/s Pritam Singh and Sons and M/s Rosha Traders were cancelled and action recommended against purchase in charge Sucha Singh, inspector of PUNSUP and Supervisor of Market Committee, Khanna.

The DC visited the grain market along with Mr Sanjay Kaul, Joint Secretary, Government of India, Department of Food and Public Distribution, Mr K. Shiva Parsad, Senior Regional Manager, Food Corporation of India(FCI), and officials of different procurement agencies to monitor the procurement operations here today.

A team of analysts of the FCI took samples of the paddy purchased to determine its quality. After visiting the Khanna mandi and its sub-yard at Rahon Mr Kaul stated that the quality of paddy was within the fixed specifications. He directed the heads of the purchasing agencies and commission agents to ensure cleanliness of paddy before procurement. 



6 more dengue cases reported
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 7
Six suspected dengue patients have been admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of patients admitted at DMCH to 72. The fever has claimed two lives so far.

The six patients are from Ludhiana and belong to the age group of 15-30, years. About 60 persons from the city showing symptoms of dengue have been reported so far at the DMCH.

Meanwhile, Dr P.S.Ranu, member, Central Council of Homoeopathy, has claimed that homoeopathy can prevent and cure dengue. Dr Ranu said the fever, also called as break-bone fever, is caused by group B arbo-virus, where the female aedes aegypti mosquito transmits the disease.

Its symptoms have been divided into four stages. The stage of invasion — the first stage includes sudden onset of fever, severe headache, pain in the eyeballs, intense pain in joints and muscles and body ache. Second is the stage of remission where on the third day the temperature drops to normal and remains so for 12 hours to three days and the patient feels better. The third stage is of terminal fever and eruption where in some cases, there can be recurrence of fever and pain, but these will be mild than the initial stage. The fourth is the stage of convalescence in which fever may persist and cause protracted convalescence.



2 women, girl hurt in blast
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
Two women and a minor girl received burn injuries in a blast in a house at Peeru Banda Mohalla in Salem Tabri area today.
The exact cause of the blast could not be ascertained. The police claimed that it seemed some jar of kerosene oil had caught fire and exploded.

It was being suspected that the place where the blast took place was a factory manufacturing crackers for Divali.

But residents outrightly denied the blast. Some people admitted that they heard a loud noise but refused to guide the mediapersons to the house.

Later, Mr Buland Singh, SHO, Salem Tabri, told Ludhiana Tribune that the blast took place in the house of Tota Singh.

People in the area threatened mediapersons with dire consequences if they did not leave the area immediately. 




Keeping in view the lax law and order situation and recurrence of thefts all over the city, various private agencies dealing in security gadgets are finding it a lot more easier to convince their prospective customers to buy their respective products. From CCTV cameras to electronic locks for the main door and from peephole systems to fire-alarms, use of all these things to housewives and businessmen is now easier to explain for the salesmen employed by these firms.

In fact, these salesmen are now opening their sales talk with the phrase, ‘You know, how many burglaries are taking place in the city (auntiji or uncleji, whatever may be the case). One such enthusiastic salesman bumped into Sentinel the other day. He was hard to put off but when it was explained to him that the object of his sales-talk was a poor journalist, the guy nodded his head in dismay as he trudged back.

No child labour this

Some courier companies in the city have appointed small boys to deliver couriers at residents’ doorstep. While the boys are doing their work with an extraordinary zeal and are seen quickly delivering the couriers, the owners of the companies are playing smart to avoid criticism for employing child labour. Whenever somebody asks the small boys with innocent faces, they quickly respond, ‘‘I am 18. ’’ And if somebody counters them that they don’t look that old they will say, ‘‘My height could not grow as my parents were poor and they could not provide me with good food.’’

Dog’s caste

The other day a resident came to the office of a newspaper to give an advertisement regarding the sale of a dog. When he was filling the form, which is usually printed for matrimonial ads, he looked quite confused, only to be intervened by an employee who offered him help. ‘‘I am not able to understand which caste should I tick for the dog. This pup’s father belonged to a Jat Sikh and it’s mother is owned by me and I am a Khatri.’’ The employee, controlling his laughter could only say that the castes were printed for matrimonial advertisements only.

Belly secrets

As the mornings are going pleasant, morning walkers have started pouring in various places of the city. Suddenly the city has become full of health freaks. Pot-bellied men have also started jogging in the parks. It’s an amusing scene to see the pot bellied men running to reduce their waistline. Their secrets are disclosed by their friends only who mock at them during walking. The other day a man was laughing at his partner who was trying his best to lose weight. The passersby could not miss a laugh when he said, ‘‘Raat nu tan litre daaru pee jaane, hon te sawere dauran laonde hon.? (At night you drink litres of liquor and in the morning you start running.)

Photo by Pardeep Tewari

Fatal pouches

Even as various NGOs are spearheading a campaign against the pan masala and gutkha pouches, the sellers have dotted the city roads with small stalls selling the fatal pouches known for causing cancer. Of late small children are seen in the trade. At almost all roads young boys are seen with such pouches for selling. While they get themselves hooked to the pan masalas they are leaving no stone unturned to attract small boys to buy their product.

Festivals... too early

The festivals of Dasehra, Karva Chauth and Divali have come too early this season. The summers are not yet over and the weather is still warm during the day. In this inclement weather one cannot enjoy heavy sweets. Dry fruits, part of Divali shopping, do not appeal at the moment. Since Karva Chauth falls on October 14, women are bound to feel thirsty as it is very warm during the day. Similarly, one likes to wear colourful and festive clothes when Navratras begin but the mood is still sombre as the weather does not permit. One wishes the festivals come in November when winter has set in and one can wear one’s finery, eat a little rich food without feeling queasy.

Faux-pas during Dasehra

Dasehra has come and gone but there were many faux-pas committed during the functions. To take the cake was a function wherein some miscreants had burnt Ravana in the morning. So the organisers had no choice but to burn the effigies of Khumbhkaran and Meghnad only. People were disappointed but nothing could be done except provide adequate security to effigies. In another Dasehra mela before burning the effigies of Ravana a lighted arrow is fired at Ravana. But prior to that a fight starts with bows and arrows between actors playing the role of Ravan and Rama. Only when an arrow hits Ravana, the effigy of Ravana is hit by a lighted arrow. In this Dasehra mela, Ram could not aim at Ravana and his arrows were far off from the mark. Seeing the delay, Ravana very sportingly picked an arrow himself and pretended to pierce his chest with it. The crowd was delighted. In yet another Dasehra mela, when Meghnad injured Lakshman with an arrow, Lakshman could not get up as he had really fainted due to dehydration. All efforts to bring him to consciousness failed. He only revived when the crowds had left.

Counselling skills

For the first time two professionals from Mumbai had come to offer counselling to teachers and parents. The effort was made by Kala Sewa Society (Regd), an NGO. This organisation had organised workshops in different disciplines like tye and die, calligraphy, sitar, vocals, Bharatnatyam, Kathak, guitar, creative writing and pottery by eminent artists and artisans during summer vacations. The core group learnt during six days how to deal with people who undermine themselves in situations with others and get into self defeating patterns of behaviour. They also learnt some skills and techniques to help people take more responsibility for themselves and their actions, to establish a greater sense of self-esteem and enhanced effectiveness in their relationships with others. The teachers and parents went back with renewed vigour to bring about better relationships with their students and wards.

Tail piece

Written on the rear of an autorickshaw on CMC hospital route: ‘‘Nazar lavenga, jutti khavenga, CMC javenga.’’



Chinks in Akali unity bared at Dasehra function
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 7
Though officially the rival Akali groups have united, yet it seems Akali workers at grassroot levels have not forgotten their differences till now. This rift became evident during Dasehra celebrations held at Chanarthal Kalan village, near here, yesterday. The Dasehra celebrations organised here are unique in the state. A sports tournament is organised every year as a part of the celebrations that continue for four days and end one day after the celebrations in other towns.

The rift in the Akali leadership since 1999 had affected the sports tournament of Chanarthal Kalan village. As two parallel tournament committees began to organise tournaments simultaneously to where as one faction invited the Akali leaders the other invited Congress leaders.

This year the festival celebrations concluded yesterday. However, trouble broke during a function organised by the Janta Sports Club when district Jathedar Swaran Singh Chanarthal along with Lal Singh Razwara came on the stage, and Mr Surinder Singh remarked “ Some indirect Congress supporters have come on our stage”. At this the Akali activist began raising slogans against them. The SAD general secretary, Capt. Kamaljeet Singh, who was on the stage failed to cool down the Akali workers as the situation became tense. However, Mr Kirpal Singh Libra and Mr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, both former MLAs, succeeded in taking them out of the venue unharmed.

The chief organiser of the tournament Mr Harbhajan Singh, a former Sarpanch, said Mr Lal Singh Razwara’s son had organised a parallel tournament where Congress leaders had been invited. On the other hand Mr Swaran Singh Chanarthal and Mr Razwara said the allegations were baseless and expressed full faith in the leadership of Parkash Singh Badal and Gurcharan Singh Tohra. They said they would bring the incident to the notice of the high command.

Meanwhile, Mr Tohra also spoke on the occasion and said Capt. Amarinder Singh’s government would not be able to complete its term of five years. “The Congress has come to power due to our infighting. The Congress has always discriminated against the Sikhs.”



SAD(A) youth wing vows to fight police repression
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 7
The youth wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), while expressing serious concern over increasing lawlessness and police repression in the state, has asked the government to initiate immediate steps to restore the rule of law failing which the party would be forced to launch an agitation all over the state.

Addressing a workers’ meeting here today, the president of SAD(A) Youth Wing, Mr Balwinder Singh Bains, charged the government of having dual standards and pursuing repressive policies to crush the public outcry.

Rather than following the agenda of development, the government was resorting to witch hunt to settle old scores. To make the matters worse, the police had been given a free hand to mercilessly beat up the common people and even elected representatives of the masses, he added.



Master magician in dock over python issue
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
In an interesting twist to the controversy involving noted magician Shankar Samrat over the use of a python in his shows in violation of the Wildlife Act, the magician has applied for an ownership certificate of the reptile to the Haryana Government. Earlier, he had claimed before the local authorities that he already owned such a certificate.

In what is being perceived as an attempt to hoodwink the authorities, the magician has applied to the Chief Wildlife Warden of Haryana to issue him an ownership certificate on the plea that he had bought the reptile from Haryana.

The district wildlife officials on September 11 had barred him from using the animal in his shows and seized it. He was asked to produce the certificate by September 30. But sources close to the magician said the magician had applied for the certificate on September 18 and had asked the warden to issue it at the earliest as he had taken a plea that he needed to travel with it to other cities.

Interestingly, while the magician had claimed that he already had a certificate, he had written such a letter to the Wildlife Warden only after he was booked for illegally possessing the scheduled animal.

The sources said the magician was all set to spin trouble for himself once again as he did not know that he might not be granted the certificate as the python was purchased after 1972 and was not registered before. The sources said the age of python did not correspond with the age claimed by the applicant.

Animal experts said before granting the permission the wildlife authorities also find out the source of procurement and whether the seller had the permission from competent authority to keep, breed and sell the scheduled animal. Only if it has been caught from forests, does the applicant has permission to this effect.

The experts said the magician had purchased the python from Haryana and had transported it to Punjab without any permission for the transport of the animal.

Shankar Samrat was booked under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, as he was exhibiting a python in his shows. The reptile was not registered with the Animal Welfare Board for Animal Performance. He had failed to show the ownership of the python. The matter was reported to the Divisional Forest Officer, Ludhiana and forest officials had seized the animal and a case was registered against him. It is now pending in the court of Mr B.S. Deol, PCS-JMIC, Ludhiana. The court had sent the python to the Chhat Bir zoo. 



Governor to lead shobha yatra
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 7
The Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, and the Director-General of Police, Mr A.A.Siddiqui, will take part in the shobha yatra to be taken out from Daresi Ground here on October 9 on the eve of Valmiki Jayanti. This was stated by Mr Vijay Danav, national convener of the Bharatiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj (BVDS), at a news conference here today.

Mr Danav said Lala Lajpat Rai, Member of the Rajya Sabha, city Mayor Nahar Singh Gill, Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma, SSP Narinder Pal Singh, MC Commissioner S.K. Sharma, former Speaker of Punjab Assembly Charanjit Singh Atwal and many other senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal would be the guests at the function.

The yatra will comprise more than 400 tableaux, depicting life and teachings of Maharishi Valmiki, besides bands, gatka parties and groups of schoolchildren.

A book on the life and teachings of Valmiki, compiled by Dr Dev Raj Asur, senior director of the samaj, a VCD of bhajan will be released while a website ( will be launched at the function.

Mr Danav has asked the district authorities to ban the sale of liquor and meat on the occasion.



1.65 cr released under rural development plan
Our Correspondent

Amloh, October 7
Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, Minister for Public Health and Rural Development, said today that under the scheme of consolidated rural development programme more than Rs 1.65 crore have been released for Sounti, Mullepur, Khera, Raillon, Faror and Lakha Singh wala villages. The scheme would be extended to other villages soon.

Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, S.K.Ahluwalia said special attention was being given for the renovation and widening of roads at a cost of Rs 50 lakh in the district.

Bharti Kisan Union’s state unit chief Baldev Singh Mianpur appreciated the steps taken by Capt Amarinder Singh against corruption, but criticised the Central Government for delaying paddy procurement.

Former block samiti chairman Gurdev Singh Khanyan, D.R. Sood, general secretary, DCC, and former district Youth Congress chief Harinder Singh Bhambri also spoke on the occasion.

However, the local Congress MLA, Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, along with his supporters was conspicuous by his absence. 



Red Cross donates 16 wheelchairs
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, October 7
The District Red Cross Society, Sangrur, in collaboration with the National Institute for Visually Handicapped, distributed 35 tricycles, 16 wheelchairs and 26 pairs of crutches among disabled at a function held at MGMN Senior Secondary School, here today.

Ms Razia Sultana, MLA, was the chief guest. A function was organised in which students of the school performed ‘gidha’ and ‘bhangra’ apart from presenting songs.

Mr Mohan Sharma, district coordinator, in his address, informed the gathering that equipment worth Rs 32 lakh had been given to handicapped persons free of cost. Those wanting to avail of the free facility should approach the local Municipal Council office which would forward the demand to the Red Cross office at Sangrur.

Earlier, Ms Sultana inaugurated a newly-renovated conference hall in the school.



Clean park, urge residents

Ludhiana, October 7
Resentment prevails among residents of Rajguru Nagar Colony against the Ramlila Committee for not getting the ground in their locality cleaned after the conclusion of Ramlila. Morning walkers are finding it difficult to go for a walk in the ground.

The residents are also unhappy over the announcement of the Chairman, Ludhiana Improvement Trust, that the Ramlila mela would be held every year in this ground. OC



Two held on theft charge
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 7
The Sadar police yesterday arrested Harvinder Singh and Karamjit Singh, both residents of Bulara village, and booked them under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC. The police said today that stolen items, including a water pump, was recovered from their possession.

House burgled: Mr Anil Kumar, a resident of Urban Estate, Phase I, Jamalpur, has reported that thieves entered into his house on Sunday and decamped with household items and cash. A case has been registered.

In another case, the police on Monday registered a case under Section 381 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Vikas Grover, a resident of Yamunanagar, against Darshan Singh, a resident of the same city. The complainant alleged that the accused had stolen items worth Rs 18,000.

Assaulted: On the statement of Mr Vishal Rakhra, the Haibowal police has registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC against Deepak, a resident of Raghbir Park, and two others. The complainant stated that the accused assaulted him on Monday.

The Koom Kalan police registered two cases of assault on Monday.

The first case was registered under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Kamlesh Rani, a resident of Machhiwara, against Sat Pal, Prem Singh, Meeto, wife of Prem Singh, and Manjeet Kaur, all residents of Saleempur village. The woman alleged that the accused beat her up on Saturday.

The other case was registered on the complaint of Mr Gian Chand, a resident of Saldeana village, against Binder Singh, Sukhdev Lal and Sukhchain, all residents of the same village. The complainant alleged that the accused intercepted him on Sunday night and assaulted him.

Two arrested: The police on Monday arrested Rajat Sareen and Rasish under Section 279 of the IPC and various sections of the Motor Vehicle Act. The police said on Tuesday that the accused were driving a motor cycle with negligence near Gita mandir in the Daresi area.

Eve-teasing case: On the statement of Ms Reeta Sharma, the Division No. 3 police has registered a case under Section 354 of the IPC against Krishan Datt. The woman reported that the accused teased her daughter on Monday.



Two held in Gola murder case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
More than two years after an angry mob damaged the house of a police cat-turned-cop Gurmeet Singh Pinki for murdering a youth Avtar Singh, alias Gola, the district police today arrested two persons, including a Youth Congress leader, for the alleged incident.

Narinder Makkar, a Youth Congress leader, and Hoshiar Singh were arrested by the Ghumar Mandi police last evening. Confirming this to the Ludhiana Tribune today, Mr Ramji Dass, incharge, Ghumar Mandi police post, said the police had so far managed to identify these two persons only who had damaged the house.

Avtar Singh was murdered in early 2001. He was murdered for daring to ask the policemen who were blocking a street and drinking there to let him pass.


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