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Samrat Shankar fined for showing python in shows
Kanchan Vasdev and Rajneesh Lakhanpal
Tribune News Service

Jadugar Samrat Shankar Ludhiana, November 28
Taking a stern action against noted magician Samrat Shankar for displaying a python in the shows in violation of the Wild Life Act, a local court has fined the manager of the magic shows organised by the magician and the owner of the python for Rs 20,000 each.

If both the persons fail to pay the fine they will have to undergo simple imprisonment. The court also said that as the python being exhibited by the magician was of young age and did not fall in the provisions of the Act but it was in the custody of the accused and they were ordered to pay a fine of Rs 20,000 each. In default of payment of fine, they should undergo simple imprisonment for three months.

Magician Samrat had fallen in the net of the local Wildlife department after the president of local chapter of PFA, Mr Sandeep Jain, who is also a member of Animal Welfare Board of India had complained against him.

The district wild life officials had, on September 11, barred him from using the animal in his shows and had seized them. He was asked to produce the certificate till September 30. Interestingly, the magician had applied to the Haryana Wildlife Department for the ownership certificate after this only. While the magician claimed that he had already a certificate from the local authorities, he had written such a letter to the wildlife warden only after he was booked for illegally possessing the animal.

The issue was taken up with the Haryana government by the local chapter of PFA and he was not granted the certificate as the python was purchased after 1972 and was not registered before. Sources said that the age of python did not correspond to the age claimed by the applicant.

Animal experts said that before granting the permission the wildlife authorities also found out the source of procurement and whether the seller had the permission from competent authority to keep, breed and sell the scheduled animal. If it had been caught from forests, did the applicant have permission to this effect?

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

Samrat Shankar 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 Animal Welfare Board for animal performance. He had failed to show the ownership of the python. The matter was reported to Divisional Forest Officer, Ludhiana and forest officials had seized the scheduled animal and a case was registered against him. The court had sent the python to Chhat Bir zoo.



Narcotics smuggler held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
The Sarabha Nagar police here today claimed to have arrested a businessman-turned-narcotics smuggler, who was supplying opium in the city.
Addressing a press conference here today, DSP (Sarabha Nagar) Gurjit Singh Romana said the police had seized 3 kg of opium from Davinder Singh, a resident of Urban Estate, Dugri, here. He said the opium was pegged at over Rs 60,000 as per the prevailing market rate in the city. He said Davinder Singh used to supply the drug to truck drivers. He got the supply from Jagga of Jand Singhwala village in Sirsa district of Haryana.

He said the man was a new entrant into the illegal trade and had been supplying opium for the past three months only. He said the man had suffered a huge loss in business and his small-scale industry of manufacturing cycle parts was closed down.

Talking to reporters, Davinder Singh said he had lost a lot of money and then fallen in bad company. He said one of his distant relatives used to consume opium and he knew some person in the business.

The police said it was hopeful that more smugglers would be caught after further questioning of the accused.



Autorickshaws a necessary evil
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 28
The environmental pollution and traffic congestion caused by them and scant regard shown for traffic rules notwithstanding, more than 25,000 autorickshaws plying on the roads are here to stay and have, more or less, become a necessary evil to sustain life in the city.

In the absence of an alternative and economically viable mode of transport, autorickshaws have virtually become a major mode of local transport, particularly for the working class as well as the lower and middle classes, who need to commute considerable distances on a routine basis.

The city, in fact, never had a comprehensive local bus service and the fleet of buses, being operated on local routes by the municipal corporation, had gone non-functional more than a decade back. The increasing presence of autorickshaws in the city was towards fulfilling the huge gap in the local transport service and growing needs of a sizeable population for an economical and faster mode of local transport.

While autorickshaws have now become an integral part of city life, they have also created a host of problems. Almost without exception, the thick black smoke-emitting vehicles with alarming level of emission of poisonous gases wreak havoc on the environment. Sources in the transport department maintain that no amount of tuning and adjustment can improve the level of emission in autorickshaws, most of which run on improvised engines and use kerosene as fuel.

Apart from causing massive pollution, thousands of autorickshaws have also added to traffic congestion on roads. With encroachments all around and traffic regulation being the last of the priorities of the authorities, autorickshaw drivers flout traffic laws with impunity, perhaps due to lack of knowledge and adequate training or deliberately to protect their business interests. It is not uncommon to see an autorickshaw picking or dropping passengers in the middle of the road, right at an intersection, jumping traffic lights and changing lanes with total disregard to the inconvenience caused to other road users and holding up traffic.

Though autorickshaw operators are not solely at fault since there are hardly any designated stands for them, but parking of three-wheelers indiscriminately on road sides, particularly in congested and thickly populated residential and commercial areas, also creates traffic chaos and adds to the woes of city residents.

Not that the traffic department and the city police have not made any attempt to regulate the movement of autorickshaws and enforce relevant laws. But for varied reasons, the steps taken so far have not had the desired effect. According to traffic department officials, the problem is complex. “If we come down heavily on the defaulting operators, they raise a hue and cry and seek political support. If we take things easy and act with laxity, autorickshaw drivers flout every law.”

A significant part of autorickshaws operating in the city do not possess valid documents and another large percentage of these are not roadworthy. The transport departments has launched yet another drive to issue stickers to autorickshaws after verification of documents. These stickers will save the operators from harassment due to frequent checking on city roads because possession of the sticker will be proof that the vehicle has all relevant documents.



Suspects in kidnap bid yet to be booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
The Panchayat of Khandoor village near Jodhan has locked horns with the Jagraon police over the latter’s alleged inaction in registering an FIR against five persons, including a Sub-Inspector, who had allegedly tried to loot and kidnap a village resident yesterday.

The alleged incident took place in the house of Sital Singh, owner of a scooter agency and agricultural farms, yesterday morning when he was preparing to leave the house with his relatives to perform the engagement ceremony of his daughter in a nearby town.

The girl’s marriage took place today even as some of the key relatives were shuttling between the offices of various police officers to get action on their complaint.

Sital Singh had some monetary dispute with Sukhdev Singh of Dhurkot, who allegedly barged into his house with four persons, including a Sub-Inspector of the Punjab police, and attempted to rob the complainant of cash and jewellery at gun-point, the panchayat alleges.

They had almost taken away Sital Singh in a car but alert relatives and villagers foiled the attempt. The accused were given a good thrashing and two pistols were recovered from their possession. They were handed over to the Mullanpur police.

However, the suspects were yet to be booked. SHO Paramjit Singh, said the police had received complaints from both parties and had decided to first inquire into the matter. He confirmed that the suspects had gone there but said they were claiming that they had gone to bless the girl.

The SHO claimed that the police had visited the spot and found exaggeration in the account of the complainant.

Former MLA Tarsem Jodhan, who has taken up the family’s cause with the police officers, said he was pained to learn about the sufferings of the family and would launch an agitation if justice was not done.

Bhen Singh, brother of the victim, Sital Singh, said the accused, Sukhdev Singh, planned the timing of the attack on the ring-ceremony day of the victim’s daughter. He said Sukhdev Singh had hired those persons and pistols were in the possession of Sub-Inspector Gurmail Singh and his brother and Junior Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Jasmail Singh.

He said even though the men were caught red-handed, yet the police had neither lodged any FIR against them nor arrested them officially. The Mullanpur police, however, claims that there was nothing objectionable in carrying arms by the cop and his brother. The SHO said the pistols were licenced.



Students asked to deposit more fees
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
The parents of students studying in colleges were expecting that the balance money from the hiked fee will be returned to the students, but the government has shocked the parents by asking the students to deposit more fees for the next term by December 2.

Vice-President Dr Amritpal Singh and secretary Roshan Lal Arya of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of Government College, Ludhiana, in a joint statement have said the government had hiked the fees and later withdrawn it. The students were to get the surplus fee money deposited back. But the order of the college to students to deposit more fees by December 2 is totally unjustified. So many students will be unable to pay high fees and have to withdraw from colleges.

They have warned the government that if it does not withdraw the decision then the parents of the wards will protest against it.



CM must quit, says Tohra
Our Correspondent

Amloh, November 28
“Capt Amarinder Singh should resign himself or people of Punjab will force him to relinquish office”, SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra said, addressing a gathering in a gurdwara at Jakhwali village of the Amloh constituency today. Mr Tohra accused Capt Amarinder Singh of violating the election code for which the Election Commission had issued a show-cause notice to him. Mr Tohra appealed to the masses to reach Ropar on the day of hearing of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and others. Speaking about interference, he said the gathering of people could be called a pressure on judiciary. The SAD respect the judicial system. The nature of the next morcha would be decided after December 1. The SAD was behind Mr Badal. He criticised the performance of the channel, Punjab Today.

Captain Kanwaljeet Singh, former state Finance Minister, flayed Punjab Government for withdrawing the facilities provided to the people of the state by the Akali-BJP government, including shagan scheme, and power concession to Dalits.



BKU ultimatum to govt on arrears
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
The BKU Punjab, today served an ultimatum on the state government, stating that if arrears due to sugarcane farmers of Ropar district were not paid by the management of a sugar mill by December 2, it would launch a state-level agitation.

In a press note here today, the union president, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, said the union would take control of the agitation being held outside the sugar mill at Morinda on December 2 if the management failed to pay last year’s arrears to farmers.

He said the mill had asked sugarcane growers of Ropar to bring in fresh sugarcane as the mill was scheduled to begin crushing from November 22. However, since the management failed to assure the payment of the arrears, the Ropar unit of the union put up 24-hour nakas along roads leading to the mill.

He stated that the state government should announce a new price of Rs 143 per quintal for surgarcane keeping in mind the current price index. He said a meeting of the union would be held at Gurdwara Shaheedan at Morinda on December 2 to plan further strategy. 



At the Crossroads
Commemorative volume on Sobha Singh

During the last century, the figure that emerged unequivocally on the art scene in Punjab was that of Sobha Singh, who tried his hand at landscape painting and sculpture carving but earned international fame in portrait painting. He changed the concept of portrait painting by merging the personality on the canvas with the foreground or the background. There was a symphony that emanated from the strokes of his brush and the colours toned up the contours of the portrait to reveal the hidden charm. Mostly the impression was in the eyes (of the portrait) which served as a mirror wherein the mood of the personality had been reflected.

Sobha Singh was born at Sri Hargobindpur on November, 29, 1901, and when he died on August, 22, 1986, he had a galaxy of admirers. Among them Purdaman Singh Bedi holds a prominent place. He met the artist in 1952 at Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd, when he was a student at Government High School, Sidhwan Kalan. At that time Sobha Singh was wearing a turban, which he later discarded, and exhibited some of his paintings there, the legendary painting of Sohni Mahiwal among them. Later he went to Andretta, near Palampur, in 1955 with his classmates on a sponsored trip. The artist presented him a copy of the painting of Sohni Mahiwal when the boy told him of having seen that painting at Sidhwan Khurd.

Purdaman Bedi had resolved in 1975, when he started his Punjabi monthly “Mir”, to bring out a special number of the journal with a view to highlighting the achievements of Sobha Singh. At one time 200 pages had been published but the plan fell through. Ultimately the birth centenary of Sobha Singh was celebrated all over Punjab in 2001. At that time Purdaman Bedi had started working on the commemorative volume of Sobha Singh. The volume, “Sardar Sobha Singh Simriti Granth”, finally saw the light of day. It comprises 320 pages and 80 photographs and is the outcome of a lifelong devotion of an admirer to his icon. N.S. Tasneem



Seminar on book on Guru Garib Dass held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
A literary seminar was organised in the conference hall of Punjabi Bhavan today by the Sarv Bharati Likhari Sabha International (SBLSI) in collaboration with the Punjabi Sahit Academy and Sirjandhara to deliberate on a recently published book, “Guru Garib Dass Ji: Jiwan ate Chintan” (Guru Garib Dass Ji: Life and Philosophy)” written by Dr Swaranjit Grewal of the local Ramgarhia Girls College.

The chief guest, Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, said the compositions of Guru Garib Dass Ji were in tune with the philosophy of Guru Granth Sahib. He said that had this “bani been available prior to the 17th century, it would have been included in Guru Granth Sahib like the bani of other devotees and saints. The teachings of our great gurus and saints can indeed take us out of the morass of tension and egocentricity prevailing in the modern times.”

Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh, former Dean, Languages, Panjab University, who was the guest of honour on the occasion, said Dr Grewal’s book on the life and philosophy of Guru Garib Dass Ji was the need of the hour as in the present times of growing influence of Western culture, saints could show the way.

Dr Jagtar Dhiman, Senior vice-president of the SBLSI, welcomed the chief guest and other dignitaries and conducted the seminar.

Dr Jatinderpal Singh Jolly, Dr Kulwinder Kaur Minhas and Prof Balwinder Pal Singh presented their papers on the book. In unanimous terms, they highlighted that the philosophy of Guru Garb Dass Ji spread a distinct message of better living. They appreciated the efforts made by Dr Grewal in digging out information and details about the Guru Garib Dass Ji’s life and philosophy from different sources and bringing these to the fore in the form of a book. The book would serve as a useful resource material for other researchers, they said.

In his address, Swami Shankranand Ji Bhuriwale gave a call for keeping the innerself pure as we do our environment and nature.

On this occasion, various literary figures, including Dr K.S. Aulakh, Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh, Prof Satish Sharma, Karamjit Aujla, Dr S Tarsem, Gurbhajan Gill, Ms Manu Sharma Sohal and Dr Jagtar Dhiman (Punjabi Culture Study Circle) were honoured with mementoes and shawls. Various literary figures, including Kulwant Jagraon, K.S. Aujla, Prof M.S. Cheema, Dr S. Tarsem, Gurbhajan Gill, Telu Ram Kohara, Gurcharan Singh Sake, Prof Satish Sharma, Senator, PU, deliberated on various aspects of the book.

A literary magazine, “Prapti, brought out by the SBLSI, carrying writings of more than 30 writers and a literary CD of songs were presented to those sitting on the dais.

The function concluded with the presentation of a vote of thanks by Mr S. Davinder Sethi. A langar was also served after the seminar.



STs demand benefits
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
The district unit of the All-India Tribes Dal, Ladowal has demanded all benefits and facilities to the people belonging to the Scheduled Tribes from the Union Government.

In a press statement issued here, Rana Bawa Singh Sansi, chairman of the dal, Ladowal, said the people of Scheduled Tribes, i.e. Khana Badosh, Vimukat, Jaties, Kabile including Sansi, Borria, Barrer, Bajigar, Gihara, Nutt, Sirkiband, etc were still waiting to get their rights regarding vacancies and appointments and other benefits at the rate of 7.5 per cent.

Rana Sansi said the chief ministers of different states had also demanded benefits and facilities to the Scheduled Tribes earlier but nothing could be done for them. Even the National Human Rights Commission had made a similar demand but to no avail. He said the Scheduled Tribes should be given their due rights.



Plea to restore recruitment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
The Punjab Safai Mazdoor Union, while flaying the dilly-dallying attitude of the government towards accepting demands of the workers, has demanded immediate restoration of recruitment for kin of those dying during service on compassionate ground.

A union deputation, led by Mr Mohan Lal Nahar and Mr Ajved Kumar, called upon the Secretary Local Bodies, Chandigarh, yesterday and expressed its resentment about the failure of the government in issuing clear instructions to the local bodies in this regard. As a result, a large number of such cases had been hanging fire for the past two to three years and the eligible family members of deceased workers were left in the lurch.

Mr Nahar pointed out that several meetings held with senior officers of the municipal corporations in Ludhiana and elsewhere had turned out to be futile and the officials had refused to see reason in the absence of clear-cut directions from the government.

The deputation later met the Punjab Transport Minister, Mr Tej Parkash Singh, and the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister to impress upon them the immediate need to remove all hurdles in the way of recruitment on compassionate ground.

Other members of the delegation included Mr Ram Nath Sandhu, Mr V.P. Chanda, Mr Diwan Chand Sahota, Mr Sat Pal Bhatti, Ms Chandra Wati, Mr Mahi Pal Sahota and Mr Jagdish Bhatti.



21 akhand paths at Gurmat Samagam 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
The annual Gurmat Samagam, under the supervision of Baba Jaswant Singh, started with 21 akhand paths taking place simultaneously at Gurdwara Nanaksar, Samrala Chowk, here today. A large number of devotees, including NRIs were present at the inauguration of the samagam. The bhog of akhand paths will be held on November 30 at 11 pm. The samagam will be held from 6 pm to 6 am during these days. Several kirtani jathas will participate in the samagam.

A medical and a dental camp was also organised today at the samagam. It was inaugurated by the chairman of Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College. Doctors of the college, including the Principal, Dr O.P. Naar, Dr P.S. Kapur, Dr Vikram Prabhakar, Dr Gagan Dogra , Dr Anuj Chabbra, Dr Pankaj Sharma and Dr Nitin Sood will conduct dental surgeries and check-ups. Besides free operations, the patients will also be given medicines free of cost.



Woman killed, one booked
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
The Sahnewal police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Mr Baldev Singh, who lives opposite the police station at Sahnewal, against Vijay Kumar of Landa Boani village. The complainant has stated that the accused, driving a truck, hit his mother Sheetal Kaur at Sahnewal Chowk yesterday, as a result of which she died on the spot. The police today said that the accused was arrested and granted bail.

Fraud cases: The Jodhewal police yesterday registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC and various sections of the Copyright Act on the statement of Mr Sunil Kumar of Durga Puri, Haibowal Kalan, working as field officer for a Delhi-based VCD manufacturing company, against Bawa Sharma of Subhash Nagar, running a karyana shop at Friends Nagar, Sekhewal Road. The complainant had stated that the accused was selling duplicate CDs released by his company. If raided, the accused could be caught red-handed, added the complainant. No arrest was made so far.

The Civil Lines police registered a case under Sections 467,468,471 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Randhir Singh of Old Nabha in Patiala district, against Paramjit Singh of Urban Estate, Dugri, Satish Kumar and Harjinder Singh, hiring near Timber Market, Bharat Nagar chowk. The complainant had stated that he had rented out a shop to the accused, who did not pay him any rent. The complainant further alleged that the accused had prepared a forged chit with his signature, which purported to show that they had paid Rs 60,000 to him. No arrest was made so far.

Woman assaulted: The division number 3 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 341, 323,506 and 448 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Mamta Aggarwal of Rupa Mistry Atreet against Rinku, wife of Mr Shiv Kumar of Noorwala Road and her mother, mother-in-law and two other unidentified women. The woman had alleged that the accused came to her house last night and beat her up. The accused also threatened her, added the complainant. No arrest was made so far

Accident cases: The Shimla Puri police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279,337,338 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Bharat Bhushan of New Prem Nagar, near PAU, against an unknown motorcyclist. The complainant had stated that the accused had hit his scooter with a motorcycle, as a result of which he was injured and the scooter damaged yesterday. No arrest was made so far.

The Sahnewal police registered a case under sections 279,337,338 and 427 of the IPC yesterday on the statement of Mr Sunil Adalikha of Model Town, Gurgaon, against Amritpal Singh of Panglian village. The complainant had stated that the accused hit his Maruti van with a Tata Sumo, as a result of which the vehicle was damaged and he was injured yesterday. No arrest was made so far.

Noise pollution: The Sarabha Nagar police yesterday arrested Pargat Singh, of Daad village and took into custody a Gypsy. It also arrested Amandeep Singh of Sanaur in Patiala district, Chauhan of Old Courts in Shimla and Nitin Sharma of Mohalla Talab, Jammu Tawi. The police said the accused were making loud noise on a public address system fitted on the Gypsy vehicle in the main bazar of Sarabha Nagar and causing disturbance to the public. The accused, who were booked under various provisions of the Noise Pollution Act, were later granted bail.

Held for gambling: The division number 2 police yesterday arrested Manmohan Singh of Bhai Gopal Singh di Gali in Khud Mohalla and booked him under the Gambling Act. The police said Rs 210 was recovered from possession of the accused, who was booking satta bets. The accused was later granted bail.

Knife seized: The division number 2 police yesterday arrested Ashwani Kumar of Shiv Nagar in Jalandhar and recovered a kamanidar knife from his possession. He was booked under the Arms Act.



Extra protection to top steel producers resented
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
The small-scale industry has resented the extra protection being provided to the five top steel producers of the country by the Centre. The industry has alleged that under government protection, the steel producers have been holding the steel consumers, particularly in the small-scale sector, to ransom.

In a letter to the Union Steel Secretary, Ms Binu Sen, the president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr P.D. Sharma, alleged that the steel producers were misleading the government to seek extra protection. He pointed out that the steel producers had mistakenly taken the case of cars, where the impact of steel prices was nominal. He said this argument was not tenable as iron and steel users in the lower segment were on the verge of closure. He added that in case of cars, Honda had started importing steel from Thailand.

Putting up a case for the cut in import duty on steel, Mr Sharma pointed out that steel producers in the country were mainly dependent on China for coal and coke. China had reportedly decided to stop export of these commodities he said, adding that under these circumstances, it was difficult to understand as to why the government was shirking from cutting duty on steel import.

Mr Sharma observed that India had much to learn from other countries. He said, “We must protect our steel consumers to protect jobs and avoid upheaval in the economy”. He said even with protection, USA’s steel producers had raised prices nominally.



Bank branch inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, November 28
In this age of globalisation, a country can progress with the development of its industrial sector and not through the political sector, said Mr S.C. Bassu, Chairman and Managing Director, Bank of Maharashtra, at the inaugural function of its 11th branch in Punjab at Motia Khan market here today. A total of 250 accounts were opened at the opening day.

The bank planned massive expansion in the near future with modern and technical banking facilities like ATMs, tele-banking and mobile touch screen. It also provided bank facilities to the industry which would provide 24-hour service, Mr Bassu added.

He stressed for co-ordination between small-scale, medium scale and big industries and each should be complementary to the other. Speaking about the performance of the bank, Mr Bassu pointed out that the bank had established 67 branches in the region and 1,255 branches in the country.

Mr B.K. Piparaiya, General Manager and Regional Head, in his welcome address, stated that this public sector bank would open three more branches in Punjab at Khanna, Moga and Ropar shortly. Mr Kapil Dev Chaddha, Branch Manager, said this full-fledged computerised air-conditioned branch with foreign exchange centre would serve the people of this industrial town efficiently. Mr P.S. Lamba, Bank Manager, Leela Bhavan, spoke about the development of the bank.


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