L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Inter-state gang of robbers busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
The police today busted an eight-member gang of robbers that operated at marriage functions and recovered stolen gold and silver ornaments, besides some watches from them.

Addressing mediapersons here today, the SP (Detective), Mr Gurpreet Singh, said all eight hailed from Karhia village in Rajgarh district of Madhya Pradesh. Among those arrested were five women and three men. They had been identified as Nirmala, Savitri, Chanda, Sonam, Sonu, Arjun, Gobind and Suresh. Three of the women in the age group of 18-22 years were unmarried.

Preliminary investigations had revealed that they came here during the wedding season (October-February) and entered marriage palaces and hotels, where these ceremonies were being performed, to lay their hands on purses, jewellery and cash. The gang was nabbed by the CIA wing of the police on the complaint of Ms Balbir Kaur, who had alleged that her purse had been stolen when she was attending a marriage on the Pakhowal road last night.

The CIA staff put up nakas at various places and the gang was intercepted at Daad village, near here.The police recovered two wrist watches, a few pairs of earrings and rings, besides few silver necklaces and anklets. A case had been registered under Sections 356, 379 and 411, IPC.

The members of the gang had been coming to various districts of Punjab in the past also and did not generally stay in one place for more than 2-3 days. They came to Punjab on the pretext of selling “daris” and floor mats. The modus operandi was that they either posed as beggars outside marriage palaces or the women, in shimmery clothes, went to attend marriage and pass on stolen purses and other articles to the other members of the gang waiting outside.

The SP said wherever they went they stayed under the open sky but the food they eat and the blankets and quilts they used bore testimony to their lifestyle. The police claimed that their arrest would help solve many cases of theft and robberies committed in other districts also as inquiries had revealed that they had a fair idea of Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Nabha. Their interrogation would help locate other members of their families operating in Punjab.

Meanwhile, Gobind, one of the arrested, said he had come here as part of the gang for the first time and he was being paid a paltry sum of Rs 50-100 as against the others, who were sharing a major chunk of the loot. He claimed that back home Chanda and her family had bank balance of nearly Rs 1-2 lakh.



MC workers’ sangharsh panel splits
Our Correspondent

Members of the Sangharsh Committee, Municipal Corporation, stage a dharna in front of the MC building
Members of the Sangharsh Committee, Municipal Corporation, stage a dharna in front of the MC building in Ludhiana on Wednesday. — Photo by I.V.

Ludhiana, December 3
In the wake of the confrontational approach adopted by the SAD-BJP combine after the arrest of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the alliance forged between the unions affiliated to different political parties to form a joint the sangharsh committee’ of municipal workers here, has become the first casualty.

A faction of the sangharsh committee comprising activists from the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) met the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, Mr S.K. Sharma, here today to discuss their pending charter of demands and the 15-day ultimatum given to the administration, which was due to expire tomorrow. The other faction, aligned with the SAD, served another notice of demand, almost similar in nature with a fortnight for its acceptance.

The sangharsh committee, dominated by activists of Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj (BVDS), also held a rally at the main gate of the MC office to focus on their pending demands. Mr Sharma told Ludhiana Tribune that the demands put forth by the union concerning administrative problems were accepted and action assured to the delegation. Other issues, which needed policy decision, including restoration of recruitment on compassionate ground for the next of kin of the employees, who died while in service already stood referred to the government and the civic administration would take up the matter.

On the other hand, Mr Vijay Danav, chief organiser, BVDS, and key functionary of the committee, as well as other speakers at the rally, charged the Congress government with being unsympathetic and indifferent to the grievances of the civic employees. They said the government was paying only lip service to the working classes. They alleged that the facilities enjoyed by the employees during the SAD-BJP regime had been snatched by the new government.

The sangharsh committee activists threatened that if the demands were not conceded within a fortnight, the unions affiliated to the body would be forced to adopt the path of agitation.

The demands listed in the charter included recruitment on compassionate ground, an end to contract system of labour in the sanitation, horticulture and O and M wings, filling of vacant posts in different departments of the MC, implementation of the government decision for the grant of DA instalment in cash, providing an option for change in the pension scheme, implementation of the Valmiki Ambedkar Housing Scheme (VAMBAY) for safai workers, framing a comprehensive promotion policy, grant of higher scales to deserving employees, regularisation of the services of ad hoc employees and contract workers and department seniority lists for promotions.



Badal misusing Panth, says Khalsa Panchayat
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
The Khalsa Panchayat, Ludhiana, has condemned the Akalis for projecting the arrest of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son in corruption cases and their arrest as an assault on the Panth.

Mr Charanjit Singh Khalsa, a panch of the outfit, said “It is ironical that the party which has ruled the state for five years without highlighting the sacrifices of the martyrs of the Panth is now evoking their names to mislead the people by projecting the acts of omission and commission by the SAD chief and his near and dear ones as an assault on the Panth.”

Citing instances, he said the party, while in power had always projected the Chief Minister as a servant of the people a but now the Akalis were using the term Guru panth da das. The party, which had passed through difficult phases in the more than 70 years of existence, today stood exposed as a corrupt party. Those responsible for bringing the party into disrepute should be questioned and punished by the masses, he stressed.

He said the SAD chief and supporters had lowered the image of the Sikhs across the world. He said the party had kept quiet when self-styled Baba Bhaniarawale burnt copies of Guru Granth Sahib. No mass protest, as witnessed during the arrest of Badal and his son, was launched by the Akalis even though they were in power.

He said Mr Badal had been exposed and his claim of fighting for the cause of the Punjabis sounded hollow. He should have tried to get the long-standing problems of the Panth solved when he was the Chief Minister.

The Panchayat has appealed the people not to be misled by the propaganda of the Akalis and expose Mr Badal for the corrupt politician he is, so that others could take a lesson from his plight.



Another volte face by Trust Chairman
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 3
In the face of a well-entrenched nexus of corrupt employees and certain property dealers, the Chairman of Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, has reversed yet another of his own decisions, purportedly taken to improve the working and bring transparency in the office. Hitherto, the LIT office, which had virtually become out of bounds for public after the introduction of the ‘single window’ system with much fan fare some time ago, would once again conduct public dealing till 1 p.m. with immediate effect.

Ever since assuming office a few months ago, Mr Garcha, a green horn as far as political grooming is concerned, has been making scores of hit and misses, unfortunately more misses than hits till date that is, to tide over rampant corruption and bring some semblance of order in the scam-ridden trust. While there could be no doubt about the sincere intentions of Mr Garcha, the caucus of a group of employees, claiming proximity with senior political functionaries and bureaucrats, have retained an upper hand with the result that the process seems to have been set in motion to revert to the ‘old style’ of working in the trust.

Immediately after taking over, the LIT Chairman, being convinced that most of the employees, and officials for that matter, were interested in dealing with the matters in which they either had a vested interest or which could fetch them easy money from the property dealers, restricted the entry of public to the office and interaction with the dealing staff. Members of the public were directed to approach the single window, set up for entertaining all works relating to the LIT. Mr Garcha also had a notice put up outside his office that being very busy for some time to come, he would not entertain visitors in the office.

This system, however, proved to be short-lived as the employees and officials continued to deal with the public, though selectively, the single window procedure flopped and even the chairman also resumed meeting people in his office.

More than once, Mr Garcha went on record to lament that he found himself helpless to effectively deal with employees and officials with questionable conduct for the simple reason of political and administrative patronage enjoyed by them.

He had also motivated quite a few other chairmen of the ITs in the state to launch a drive pleading for more administrative powers to the Chairmen with little or no response from the government.



This artist feels for Kashmir
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, December 3
A majority of his paintings revolve around like in Kashmir, social evils present there the suffering of women and the struggle of the people. M.Akram Khan, an artist from Reasi, Jammu and Kashmir, who has put up an exhibition of his paintings at the old premises of Dayanand Medical College for the past two days, feels deeply for Kashmir.

An artist at Government College of Education, Jammu, Akram says: “Two of my very good paintings are displayed at Prime Minister’s house. They are ‘The burning Kashmir’ and ‘Seasons’. The burning Kashmir depicts that in case there is a war between India and Pakistan, what would be the fate of the Kashmiri people. This painting has been appreciated by all”.

One of the paintings, ‘Woman empowerment’ depicts the progress by a woman to reach higher positions. And their journey ends at Moon. ‘Fear of terrorism’ shows the fear, the worry on the faces of the Kashmiri women till their men return home in the evening. ‘Kaluchak episode’ depicts a terrorist killing a woman, who is feeding her little baby. In his painting ‘Waiting’, the painter portrays a woman, who is waiting for her husband. She is in despair whether her husband will come or not. His other paintings include ‘Revenge’, ‘Shimmering light’, ‘Tragedy of a soldier’, ‘Humanity’, ‘Nelofar’, ‘Turmoil of face’, ‘Innocent’, ‘Burning soul’ etc. One of his paintings ‘Agony of woman’ presents the dowry death of a pregnant woman. A postgraduate in Urdu from Jammu University, Akram Khan said he had already put-up his exhibitions throughout India and now he is planning to organise one in Germany.”I have already exhibited my art at places like Kolkata, Amritsar, Jyothipuram, Patnitop, Nagpur, Lucknow, Karnataka, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar etc. Two of my paintings were brought by one Swedish in Jammu for Rs 40,000”, he said. 



Communal harmony week at DMCH
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 3
To strengthen the spirit of communal harmony in the younger generation, students at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital celebrated the national integration week by holding various activities on the theme ‘Communal Harmony’ on the old DMC campus.

The programme was planned for the medical and nursing students and conducted under the aegis of the National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFHC), New Delhi.

Dr Daljit Singh, Principal of the college, inaugurated the event. Dr Rajoo Singh Chhina, Medical Superintendent (P), also graced the occasion with this presence. The programme got a headstart today with a painting exhibition by Akram Khan, an artist of international repute. Dr B.S. Shah introduced the painter, who hails from Kashmir and has held numerous exhibitions.

Another attraction of the day was a declamation contest based on such topics as the “Role of Youth in National Integration, “Beware of External Forces”, “Unity in Diversity”, “Bharat Nadiyon ka Nahin Dharmon ka Bhi Sangam Hai.”

Medical and nursing students participated in the declamation contest, using their oratory skills to the most.

The first prize went to N. Kanwal while Balpreet got the second prize and third prize was won by Nidhi Kalotara. The judges were Dr N.S. Khaira, Dr Grewal.

Tomorrow, the DMCH students will present a choreography show, a puppet show and a play on the Old DMC Campus. 



Investors duped of deposits
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 3
Hundreds of persons who had become members of Mutual Benefit Scheme to obtain scooters and motor cycles on instalments have been duped of their deposits.
According to a complaint by Parminder Singh, Gursharan Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Harbans Singh, all residents of Dhulkot, to SSP, Jagraon, the scheme was launched by Sheetal Deol and Gurpreet Singh, partners of Deol mutual benefit scheme, Deol Finance Co. They had started depositing monthly instalments of Rs 860 and Rs 1350 with an assurance from Sheetal Deol and Gurpreet Singh that the scheme shall run for 33 months and the members would be delivered a scooter or a motor cycle as per their wish. As many as 400 members were enrolled and huge amounts of money was collected from them. In spite of the fact that the instalments had been paid, no two-wheeler had been delivered or the money refunded.



Tohra blames Congress for Partition
Our Correspondent

Amloh, December 3
“Successive Congress governments at the Centre had been betraying with the interests of Punjab, whether it was the question of Punjabi-speaking areas, capital of Punjab or of Punjab waters remarked SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

He was addressing a function after laying the foundation stone of the Mata Gujri Hall at Maghi Memorial College for girls at Amloh. He announced Rs 7.50 lakh for the construction of the hall on behalf of Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, MP and Rs 2.5 lakh from his own discretionary fund. He assured more grants out of SGPC funds if the college trust consented to change the name of the college as Khalsa College.

He said had the Congress leaders in 1947 waited for two more years for independence the results would have been different and the division of the country which had resulted in the loss of many lives and property of the people saved.

Mr Tohra quoted the constant loss to the income of gurdwaras in Pakistan as the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee at the behest of that government used to give gurdwara land on lease at the rate of Rs 25 per acre which was raised to Rs 500 after pressure from the SGPC, whereas he had received an offer of Rs 6,000 per acre from a Pakistani national he maintained.

The demarcation of boundaries of Pakistan were planned up to Gurgaon which were pushed up to Wagha due to the sacrifice of the Punjabi people who were later given a step-motherly treatment by the Centre.

The awareness among regional parties has succeeded in dislodging the 50 years of the Congress rule at the Centre.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra MP, accused the Congress government of framing sarpanches of the Akali party in false cases whereas the SAD government did not discriminate against the rival party sarpanches. Mr Jassa Singh Ahalluwalia, member, SGPC, demanded the maximum grant for the college.

Students presented a cultural programme. The college Principal Dr Bhagat Singh Bedi, spoke on the achievements of the college.

Among others, trust chairman and former justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Ujagar Singh, was present on the occasion. 



PPSC must hold screening list

The Punjab Public Service Commission's (PPSC) decision to shortlist candidates on the basis of their academic qualifications to be called for interviews for the posts of college lecturers is confusing. To give only one interview chance to the candidates who had applied for both the batches of 1999 and 2001 is another minus point of the selection process.

Since it is a re-conduct of interviews, the PPSC should hold the screening tests as well as interviews for both batches separately as was done earlier. The new process may be challenged in the high court and the process may be stalled.

Mrs Jaswant Ghai, Ludhiana

Retiral benefits

A fixed monthly medical allowance of Rs 250 being paid to Punjab Government employees and pensioners since January 1, 1998, is inadequate to meet the increasing cost of medicare. Since January 1998, medicare cost had registered a rise of 39 per cent according to the consumer price index and medicare cost data. The medical allowance should be raised from Rs 250 to Rs 350.

As serving employees, they get HRA, CCA, rural area allowance and bonus. However, after retirement, they have been deprived of these benefits. The MLS-pensioners in Punjab have been allowed old age allowance" at the rate of 5 per cent, 10 per cent and 15 per cent of the basic pension on attaining the age of 65, 75 and 80 years, respectively. However, the Punjab Government pensioners are given this benefit only at 65 and 75 years. Though, the third pay commission had recommended a third stage for them, they have been denied the benefit.

Punjab, having the highest per capita income in the country, should have no problems in extending these small benefits to its former employees.

Yash Paul Ghai, Ludhiana

Rural retail banking

It will be a win-win situation if banks come adopt retail banking. I feel that banks still have an urban bias. Banks’ retail services have not penetrated rural India. In the housing loan segment, persons from the rural areas are not able to avail the loan as houses are under “lal dora” or in fields with no title deeds with them to deposit as mortgage with banks.

The banks must offer soft loans to such people so that it creates a demand in the rural clusters. Rural retail credit should be the agenda of retail banking.

B. B. Goyal, Ludhiana

Encroachments remain unchecked?

The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has declared this year as development year and Rs 100 crore have been set aside for this purpose. However, encroachments are not being removed. Gill Road, meeting Haryana and Delhi via Sangrur is wide but at several points it has been encroached upon. The encroachments are not being removed either by the “tehbazari” of the MC nor by the traffic police or the city administration.

Sher Singh, Ludhiana

Poor show by MC

I congratulate Ludhiana Tribune for expressing the true feelings of the public vis-a-vis the municipal corporation in the column Ludhiana Calling under the head “Traffic police pain is Ludhiana MC's Gain' on November 26.

I would like to say that 'Dugri Urban Estate public's pain' is also the MC’s gain as a lot of money has been saved by not repairing the roads for long.

I have not seen any safai karamchari sweeping the roads in HIG Phase-II for a long time. This when the Dugri Urban Estate is a government-developed colony.

Likewise, there are scores of colonies on the outskirts of Ludhiana which are contributing to the financial gains of the municipal corporation.

Basic civic amenities are lacking.

Major S.S. Khosla, Ludhiana



Two books released
Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 3
The Punjabi Sath Barwali Khurd celebrated its fifth annual function under the chairmanship of Dr Surjit Patar and Dr Nirmal Singh Lamba, near here, yesterday.

The Bapu Kartar Singh and Bebe Harnam Kaur memorial awards were given away to Principal Joginder Singh Khant Manpur, Dr Gurnam Kaur and Prof. Nirmal Datt. They were given a sum of Rs 2100, a turban and a memento each.

Dr Surjit Patar and Dr Nirmal Singh released ‘Baal Odarian’ by Mohinder Singh Manpuri and ‘Sogi Parchhaven’ by Nirmaljit Kaur Ghuman. A baal sabha was also held under the chairmanship of Headmaster Parkash Singh Samrala. More than 60 schoolchildren participated and delivered lectures and sang songs.



13-year-old boy abducted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 3
Sunil Kumar (13), son of a migrant from UP, was reportedly abducted by some persons from Sherpur Kalan yesterday. The Focal Point police has registered a case under Section 365, IPC, on the statement of the boy's mother Samiterra Devi, who hails from Gorakhpur district of UP and now lives in Rajiv Gandhi Colony. No arrest has been made so far.

Purse snatched: On the statement of Balvir Kaur of Partap Singhwala in Haibowal, the police on Tuesday registered a case under Section 356, IPC, against three women and three men. The woman stated in her complaint that she , along with her husband, had gone to attend a marriage and as soon as they reached the venue, the accused accosted them and snatched her purse. The purse contained two wrist watches and some gold ornaments. No arrest has been made so far.

Charas seized: The police on Tuesday arrested Ashwani Kumar of Jammu Colony and Bhagat Singh of Model Town and booked them under Sections 20,61 and 85 of the NDPS Act. The police said that the duo were held during a routine check on the Amar Pura culvert and 110 gm of charas was seized from their possession.

Two killed: The Sahnewal police on Tuesday registered a case under sections 279 and 304-A, IPC, on the statement of Kaka Kumar, resident of Koom Kalan village, against Santokh Singh of Daad Majra village. The complainant had stated that the accused, who was driving a truck , had hit his brother Vijay Kumar on the GT Road near Heeran village and sped away. His brother had died on the spot. No arrest has been made so far.

The police registered a case under Sections 279,427 and 304-A, IPC, on the statement of Raj Nandan Singh against Suresh Chaturvedi. The complainant had stated that the truck of the accused, had hit an unknown man who had died on the spot. No arrest has been made so far.

Gamblers held: The police had arrested Surinder Kumar, Goldy and Mintu, all residents of a slum near Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and booked them under the Gambling Act. The accused were gambling at a public place and Rs 1,360 along with a deck of playing cards were seized from their possession.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested Bikram Singh of Basti Abdullapur and seized 12 bottles of illicit liquor from his possession. He has been booked under the Excise Act.



2 kg opium seized
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 3
Dehlon police claims to have arrested two persons and recovered opium from them.
According to a press note released by Mr M.S. Chhina, SSP, Jagraon, ASI Charanjit Singh and Jaspal Singh who were on patrol duty on Lehra Butahari road spotted two scooterists near Nangal Road and seized 1 kg opium from each of them.

The accused were identified Tarlochan Singh and Harbhajan Singh, both residents of Dhamot. The police has impounded the scooter and registered cases under Sections 15, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act.



Rs 1-cr tie draws crowds
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 3
A tie for Rs 1 crore! This diamond-studded purple tie is on display at Ebony. It has been worn by Salman Khan and Mahima Chaudhry in Mumbai, Shonal Rawat, Ms Asia Pacific, in Delhi and Irina Brar, golf champion, in Chandigarh. Now city residents have the opportunity of wearing the most expensive tie while it is on display on December 3 and 4.

Ishi’s, creators of exquisite diamond jewellery have created this world’s most expensive tie. The tie, resplendent with diamonds and delicate white gold links has been especially crafted on exquisite royal purple silk to match the brand colour of Ishi’s.

Mr Ashish Goenka, MD of Suashish Diamonds Ltd, creators of this Satya Paul craftsmanship said, “We believe that this tie will go down in history as the ultimate representation of great style. With this opportunity we unfurl Ishi’s promise of making every occasion special. We hope our consumers will enjoy the experience of being king for these two days!”



City to have Sify Video conferencing
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 3
Sify Limited yesterday launched its video conferencing service, branded ‘iMeet; at its iWay chain of cyber cafe’s across the country (including Ludhiana). The service has also been launched at Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Amritsar.

According to an official press release, “The true potential of the Internet lies in its multi-media capability. Making this available widely at affordable prices will greatly benefit both consumers and businesses. For instance, a newly married bride located in Chennai can meet; her parents in Delhi whenever she wants; or a frequent-traveller father can regularly ‘meet’ his wife and children when on tour. Similarly, the owner of a business can now talk face to face with sales people, suppliers or customers across the country cost effectively; while sale managers can conduct periodic sales reviews with field staff without regular country-wide travel. Empowering people with the power of the Internet with such services to enhance their quality of life is what we mean when we say ‘Making the internet work for you”.

The service is enabled over Sify’s Tier I backbone infrastructure and the broadband connectivity of the iWay chain. The video-conferencing facility can be booked, once the calling parties decide to meet, at a convenient iWay in each city. The video-conferencing can then be initiated at the appointed time for a face to face discussion.

Soon users can also video-conference with their relatives or business associated in India or abroad, who have a broadband connection, as well as video conferencing capability with a multi-media PC and a webcam.

At Rs 5 a minute for both participants this service is available at over 100 iWays across 24 cities and will be scaled up to 350 iWays in 40 cities in the near future.



City gets state-of-the-art exchange
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
The city will soon have Wireless Local Loop (WLL) service called Tarang. The Director Operation, BSNL, Mr S.C. Choudhary, disclosed this while inaugurating the city’s new state-of-the-art telephone exchange in the Rishi Balmik Nagar Exchange Building on Monday.

Mr Chaudhry said the Punjab circle was much ahead of the other telecom circles with 2.7 lakh connections having been given here out of 44 lakh countrywide. He said Rs 20 crore out of 200 crore had been sanctioned to the Punjab Circle for the upgradation of outdoor plant. Also 20 lakh lines would be provided countrywide, he added.

Congratulating all team members for the installation of the new exchange, the Chief General Manager, Telecom, Punjab Circle, Mr G.S. Bhatia, said the team under the guidance of Mr G.S. Julka, GM Telecom, Ludhiana, had commissioned the exchange within target time. Till date there were 45 cash counters working at 28 places to streamlining bill collection process and one mobile van had been engaged to collect the bills at various places of the city on the last days of bill collection due date.

Mr Suresh Chander Badal, Deputy GM, said through this exchange, all new facilities, CLI, DTMF dialling, IDSN, call forwarding, call waiting, call transfer, answering machine service (AMS) etc would be provided. As many as 5,000 numbers would be shifted from E-10B to the new exchange. 


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