L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Haul of smuggled liquor, 3 held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 22
Come foggy nights and activities of liquor smugglers, who bring cheap liquor from Chandigarh and sell it at double the rates here go up. Division No 7 police has thwarted one such attempt and claimed to have seized a big haul of smuggled liquor and pouches from the possession of three notorious narcotics smugglers.

The three arrested youths — Mohinder Lal, Maninder Singh, alias Manna, Charanjit Singh alias Channa — were alleged history sheeters with as many as 15 cases of narcotic smuggling registered against them at several police stations in the state. They had become so daring in their activities that they used to take home delivery orders for supplying the smuggled liquor.

The three were arrested by a raiding party led by ASI Harbans Singh, in charge, Tajpur police post, who took a big risk while intercepting the supply. SSP Narinderpal Singh and DSP R.K. Bakshi said following on a tip off, SHO Gurpreet Singh laid the trap and deputed ASI Harbans Singh for the job. They said the smuggling from Chandigarh had become a nuisance and they were launching a special drive to check it.

SHO Gurpreet Singh said the smugglers had become quite proficient in their trade and were patronising many customers.

The smuggling of liquor from Chandigarh was proving quite profitable for them as they were selling the liquor at almost double rates here.

Over 4000 litres of liquor, including bottles and pouches, were seized.

The bottles of Officers Choice was bought at the rate of Rs 700 per case from Chandigarh and sold at nearly Rs 1400 here. The pouches were available at the price of Rs 280 for 50 pieces while they were sold at over Rs 500 here. The pouches were of Hero Whisky brand.

Police sources said the smugglers had hinted at their links with certain influential persons involved in the racket. 



Killer of 10-year-old boy held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 22
The Basti Jodhewal police today cracked the murder case of a 10-year-old boy, Shintu Kumar, whose body was found wrapped in a plastic bag in the Budda Nullah on February 7 this year.

Bimal Kumar, a resident of Bhiwani in Haryana, has been arrested on the charge of murder. The accused was allegedly frustrated over the refusal of the boy’s mother to have illicit relations with him.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Gurbans Singh Bains, SHO, said the accused, who also had five children, had confessed to the murder.

Shintu was the only son besides three daughters of Subash Prasad, an employee in a textile company here. The accused was a family friend and used to frequent their house in Preet Nagar. He started pressurising his friend’s wife to establish illicit relations with him. When the woman did not agree, he murdered her son.

The accused confessed to the crime in the presence of the mother of the boy and a couple of mediapersons at the police station. He said he had strangled the boy using a muffler. In order to hide the body, he wrapped it in a large plastic bag and dumped it in the Budda Nullah.

Mr Gurbans Singh said the police had worked on various theories, including child abuse, personal enmity etc, but no concrete lead was being established. The woman had informed the police that the man had cast an evil eye on her. However, the police could not establish much connection as no one thought someone could go to such an extent, he said.

When some persons said they had seen the boy with Bimal Kumar on that day, the accused was questioned and arrested.



Education office returns grant
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 22
The Local Block Primary Education Office has received more than Rs 33 lakh as grants for promotion of primary education. A sum of Rs 16.26 lakh has already been utilised while Rs 6 lakh meant for the construction of Block Resource Centre is being returned due to lack of suitable place for its construction in the town.

According to Ms Inderpaul Kaur, the BPEO office has received more than Rs 33 lakh under the Sarab Sikhiya Abhiyan scheme for various projects. A sum of Rs 10.15 lakh has been received for carrying out sanitation work in block schools, Rs 7.5 lakh for repair and maintenance, Rs 1.48 lakh for school grant, 1.465 lakh for teacher grants and 1.2 lakh for the construction of new rooms in six schools.

Government elementary schools at Mohalla Amarpura, Momnabad and Rasulpura and Government Primary Schools at nearby Kanganwal, Dehliz Kalan and Nathumajra villages have received grants for the construction of new rooms.

Ms Inderpaul said, ‘‘Unfortunately we are compelled to return Rs 6 lakh, meant for the construction of block resource centre, as there is no place available in the town for its construction. Besides this we have a grant worth Rs 2 lakh in our hand, which can be utilised for the construction of a primary school provided a plot measuring 500 square yards is donated to us’’.

Mr Rajneesh Sharma, President Municipal Council, on the other hand appealed to philanthropists to donate the land so that the grant could be utilised for the welfare of local residents. He said, ‘‘Unfortunately, the Municipal Council does not have suitable land and had to return a grant worth Rs 5 lakh earlier, which was received for the construction of a community hall, we also need land for a park also.’’



NRI’s gift not for city schools, says DPI
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, December 22
The 290 computers and other hi-tech accessories like scanners, printers and laptops that have been sent recently by a UK-based NRI would be distributed in government schools of Kapurthala, Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts and Ludhiana was simply a route in the transit of this equipment to its final destination.

This was stated by Mr Sohan Lal, DPI (secondary), during a function organised by the Parent-Teachers’ Association of Government School, Kot Mangal Singh, New Janta Nagar, to mark its upgradation from middle to high level school here today.

The DPI said since the NRI, Mr Ashok Kalia, hailed from Kapurthala, he wanted that most of the computers should reach the government schools in that district.

The statement comes in sharp contrast to the recent statement made by the District Education Officer (secondary), Mr Avinash Chander Sethi, during a press conference organised in Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar. The DEO had said 61 schools of Punjab, including five to six schools of Ludhiana district, would get these computers.

Since then, some top government schools of the city had become hopeful of introducing computer education, which was not being imparted for the past over one year, on minimal charges.

They had even started making preparations for the set-up in the schools.

Some government teachers present during the function seemed shocked at the statement of the DPI. They said Mr Kalia’s idea of sending the computers to Kapurthala was understandable. However, they alleged that the ministers were probably doing some bungling as Gurdaspur was the constituency of Mr Khushal Behl, Education Minister, Punjab, and Amritsar was the constituency Mr Darbari Lal, Minister of State for Education.

Meanwhile, the DPI said all DEO offices of the district would soon be made hi-tech and computers with Internet connections would be set up there. He said the inquiry marked against some teachers of secondary schools possessing fake degrees was still pending.

Regarding the controversy over giving eggs as mid-day meals, Mr Sohan Lal said it was just an idea. The issue had been raised by some associations promoting vegetarianism. Regarding the plan to close down some government schools, he said that nearly 35 schools of the state that had very little strength would be closed down and the students would be shifted to nearby schools. Ms Tejinder Kaur, Secretary, Education, accompanied the DPI. 



School, college timings changed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 22
Keeping in view fog and poor visibility in the morning hours, Mr Anurag Verma, District Magistrate, in an order issued here today has changed the timings for the opening of all educational institutions in the district.

As per the orders, no educational institution in the district including schools, colleges and polytechnics, would start before 10 a.m. The Deputy Commissioner said the orders would come into force from tomorrow and would remain effective till January 15 next year.



New toll tax policy on anvil, says Bajwa
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 22
The Punjab Government would soon give effect to a new toll tax policy under which tax would be charged from the vehicles plying on 18 main roads constructed on 'built, operate and transfer' (BOT) basis in the state. The collection of toll tax would commence shortly. Two more state highways - Chandigarh to Jalandhar via Phagwara and Chandigarh to Patiala via Zirakpur and a newly constructed bridge on the Sutlej river near Sidhwan Bet would be covered by the new policy.

This was stated by the PWD Minister, Punjab, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, who was here yesterday to preside over the concluding function of a photo exhibition, put up by noted photographers Tej Partap Singh Sandhu and Ranjodh Singh at the Sutlej Club.

He said the funds raised through the new toll tax policy would be utilised on the maintenance of the roads, and claimed that with the new mechanism, the quality of roads and bridges would be substantially improved. He said the work on the four laning of Jalandhar - Amritsar road would be taken up shortly as the Union Government had released funds amounting to Rs 100 crore for this purpose. In the first phase of the project, a stretch of 20 km would be taken up by the National Highway Authority.

The Minister disclosed that there was a plan to renovate all PWD rest houses in all districts. For this purpose, an amount of Rs 5 to 6 crore would be raised every year by levying a cess on services like gas stations and "dharam kandas" (weigh bridges) situated on different major roads in the state.

Mr Bajwa further informed that a high-level delegation comprising of representatives of different sections including those from culture, art, education and social bodies would visit Pakistan so that the prevailing tension could be minimised. He said people of states of Punjabs on both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border share deep emotional and cultural ties and there was a big scope to further improve these. "There are many families who have their relatives living on both sides of the border and they are the most affected by the tension between the two countries. With the positive steps taken by the governments of both countries, the people are looking forward to improvement in bilateral relations", he said.

Referring to the demand from the Sobha Singh Memorial Foundation, Mr Bajwa announced that the road from Batala to Sri Hargobindpur would be named as Sobha Singh Marg as a tribute to the great artist Sobha Singh.

Mr Kulbir Singh, Managing Director, Sugarfed, Mr Gurbhajan Singh Gill, Senior Vice-President Punjabi Sahit Academy and Prof Mohan Singh Cheema also addressed the function. Mr Bharat Bir Singh Sobti, Additional Advocate General and Mr Harpreet Singh Sandhu, Deputy, Additional Advocate-General were also present at the occasion.



Anganwari workers seek better deal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 22
Hundreds of anganwari workers /helpers protested in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office here today.
They submitted a memorandum of their demands to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, for forwarding it to the Minister for Social Justice, Women and Child Development, Punjab.

The protest was led by Subash Rani, district president of the Anganwari Workers’ Union.

The anganwari workers were protesting against the government’s decision to hand over their department to panchayats.

Addressing the protesting workers, Ms Subash Rani said the services of anganwari workers/ helpers should be regularised as had been done in Pondicherry. Moreover, they should be paid additional salary for additional work assigned to them.

She said travelling and Dearness Allowances should also be fixed for them. The workers demanded that they should be treated on a par with government employees and should be entitled to minimum wages as fixed by the Labour Department.They also demanded that they should be covered under the pension scheme and should get the benefits of provident fund.

Anganwari workers demanded that they should be promoted to the posts of clerks and Class IV employees.

They threatened to intensify their stir if their demands were not fulfilled by the government.

The general secretary of the union, Ms Pinder Kaur, treasurer Surjit Kaur, senior vice- president Baljit Kaur, Narinder Kaur, Doraha, Manjit Kaur Machhiwara, Sharanjit Kaur, Varinder Kaur, Kuldip Kaur, Jagraon, Harinder Kaur, Khanna, Manmohan Kaur. Senior vice-president of the Punjab unit of the union Harjit Kaur Panjola were also present at the protest rally. 



Plea to CM on gazetted holidays
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 22
The Indian National Bank Employees Congress (INBEC) national president Mr K.R. Tripathi, the Deputy-General Secretary, Dr Shiv Gupta, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (Labour and Employment ) chairman, Mr Balwant Rai Kapoor, and the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Punjab, vice-president, Mr Sunder Lal Mehta, have jointly submitted memorandums to the Labour Minister, Ch Jagjit Singh, the Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, appealing to them to declare all Punjab Govt’s gazetted holidays under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, so that the holidays were observed by banks employees, insurance employees and other financial organisations.

Dr Shiv Gupta, deputy gen-secretary of the INBEC, stated that the Akali-BJP government discriminated against the bank, and insurance employees by deleting more than 20 holidays under the Negotiable Instruments Act, whereas as per the set legal procedure and precedence, all gazetted holidays of all state governments were valid under the Negotiable Instruments Act and banks, the LIC, insurance companies employees observed the same gazetted holidays. But the Punjab Government during the year 2001-2002 discriminated against the bank employees.

The INBEC delegation had already met personally the Punjab Labour Minister, the Finance Minister and the Chief Minister who assured that there will be no discrimination for holidays for the year 2004. Now the Punjab Government had announced gazetted holidays for the year 2004 whereby 32 holidays had been declared, in addition to 16 restricted holidays for Punjab Government employees. Therefore, all 32 holidays under the gazette of the Punjab Goverment must be notified under Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, for banks and insurance employees.



Pensioners flay govt policies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 22
More than seven lakh Punjab Government and semi-government employees working in various boards and corporations as well as pensioners are upset with the state government for its “anti-employee decisions and policies”.

In a statement here today, Mr Yash Paul Ghai, additional general secretary of the Punjab Government Pensioners Association, said the affected employees and pensioners had been holding demonstrations and rallies throughout the state for the past one year against these “unjust” decisions. The decisions included cut in commuted pension, reduction in leave encashment benefit, withdrawal of benefit of priority appointment to one of the defendants of a deceased employee, ban on recruitment, abolition of 60,000 posts and denial of pension to government-aided private school and college teachers.

He pointed out that during its 22-month-long rule and after having presented two budgets, the government had failed to fulfil even a single promise made on the eve of last Assembly elections. On the contrary, several benefits, available to the employees and pensioners for the past 30 years, had been withdrawn. Mr Ghai said

that if these decisions and policies were not rolled back, it might cost the Congress dear during the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. The ruling party should learn a lesson from its debacle in the recently concluded state Assembly elections, he added.



City stores fail fashion-conscious dames
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 22
“ Ludhiana is a stupid town. You never get the things you want to wear on special occasions like New Year Eve. After giving it a deep thought, I decided to wear a short skirt with gum boots with heels and a polo-neck sweater. But can you imagine, there are no gum boots with heels to be found in the entire city. A search through shops has not yielded a good polo-neck sweater either. I am so angry and frustrated,” said Shruti ( name changed ).

A college going student, Shruti wants to stand out at the party bidding farewell to the old year and wants to usher in the New Year with great style. She says,” I planned this outfit last month and have been searching all hi-fashion shops looking for the high-heeled boots but without any luck. I will have to go to Chandigarh and get shoes made from a shop in Sector 8. If I don’t get a nice sweater, I will go for an off-shoulder sweater, again an difficult to find in the city. I will have to get the hosiery material and get it tailored. I am going crazy. Even my parents are fed up and have termed me fussy.”

Does the cold weather bothers the young girls? “, they say No’ Who feels cold?” and then there is a lot of dancing and lot of fruit punches laced with gin.” But the fact is that since these parties are arranged privately and are attended by girls and boys both, girls like Shruti want to stand out in the crowd. Their role models are the VJ’s and models. Shruti says she religiously cuts off the pictures of stylish dresses, make up items and shoes from fashion magazines and pastes them in a scrap book as a ‘ready reckoner’.

Simi, another young girl says,” Yes my whole group is debating on what to wear as we all want to look stunning. Thank God! my clothes come from abroad so the problem of what to wear is not there. I get nice costume jewellery from Thailand too. But the problem is that there are many other girls who get imported clothes as their parents keep going abroad. So this time , I have decided to wear coloured contact lenses to look different. My dress is blue and I will wear blue contact lenses.

Another girl, Mishu is fighting the battle of bulge. In order to loose extra kilos she has been starving in order to fit in a nice dress but she has been unable to find one in her size. “The manufacturers make sizes S and M or L but what about people who are XXL. What will I do? she laments.” I have read that in metros many boutiques cater to large sizes but there is not one such place in Ludhiana. Oh! when will this city become more modern?”

The girls are satisfied with the city only as far as costume jewellery is concerned. Danglers that are in these days and can be found in plenty. “Thank God for small mercies”, say the frustrated girls. 



Help comes for thalassaemic kids
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 22
Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, has informed that a novel programme, named Student Aid Thalassaemia (SAT), has been launched in the district to help the patients suffering from thalassaemia.

Under the programme, every student in schools would be persuaded to donate Re 1 per month towards the fund for the treatment of thalassaemia children, who need regular blood transfusion and other costly treatment.

It was a special moment for thalassemic children and their parents, as they had gathered under one roof to participate in the fourth annual day celebration of the Punjab Thalassemia Welfare Society (PTWS), an NGO working for the welfare of thalassaemic patients.

Mr Verma, while addressing the function organised by the Punjab Thalassaemics Welfare Society to honour the blood donors and the organisers, said the administration would extend continuous financial help for treating such children. Sufficient funds were required for the treatment of different kinds of infections like hepatitis B , C , HIV positive etc., caused as result of blood transfusion . He said that if treated properly, the average cost varied between Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh per year per child which normally the parents were not in a position to afford.

He said that thalassaeima major could be prevented by screening all young people for the presence of thalassaemia trait, and in the event of marriage between two thalassaemia carriers, proper genetic counselling and diagnosis during pregnancy could prevent the birth of a thalassaemia major.

The facility for the detection of carrier state as well as for antenatal diagnosis was available at any centre committed to thalassaemia care , he added.

The Deputy Commissioner exhorted all voluntary and social organisations working for the service of the suffering humanity to come forward to extend financial assistance to thalassaemia-affected children.

He informed that the Ludhiana Branch of the Indian Red Cross Society had already released funds amounting to Rs 7. 30 lakh to the Punjab Thalassaemic Welfare Society and organised five blood donation camps , out of the total 31 camps in the district. He informed that a total of 422 units of blood had been collected for thalassaemic patients during this year raising the total number to 3329 units of blood so far from blood donation camps organised by the different voluntary organisations, hospitals and educational organisations. He said that the DMCH had done excellent work for the treatment of these patients and a separate centre was functional in the hospital under Dr Parveen C Sobti, head of the Paediatrics department.

He announced a grant of Rs 51,000 on the behalf of the Sutlej Club Ludhiana for the Punjab Thalassaemic Welfare Society. On the occasion, Mr Sunil Jain, secretary, Sutluj Club, and Bakshi Mohinder Singh, president, Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital, announced donations amounting to Rs 1000 and Rs 2500, respectively. The Deputy Commissioner also honoured around 25 blood donors and representatives of the organisations for their services in this regard.

Under the SAT project, which has been launched with efforts put in by Dr Praveen Sobti, In charge, thalassaemia section and Department of Paediatrics, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, PTWS would be established with some permanent source of income for the treatment of thalassemic children. Mr Kewal Malhotra, president, Punjab Thalassaemia Welfare Society, was also present on the occasion.

Baljit, a nursing student with Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital and two other children, Gurkamal and Damanpreet Kaur, who were thalassemic patients, were also given prizes for excellence in studies.

Tanvi Puri, a student of Sacred Heart Convent School, gave an impressive Bharatnatyam performance on the occasion. Later, thalassaemic children displayed their talent through various song and dance items and were given prizes by the DC.



Ex-servicemen observe black day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 22
The local chapter of the Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, today observed a black day and staged a demonstration outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office to protest against the non-acceptance of their long-pending demands.

They handed over a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner for forwarding it to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In a copy of the memorandum issued to the press, president of the league, Col Bhag Singh, said the Union government was adopting an apathetic attitude to their demands. He said the demand of ‘one rank one pension’ was long pending.

The league is demanding removal of the 33 years service condition for earning full pension. The memorandum said a soldier retires at a young age but was not assured of any alternative induction and was earning lowest pension amounting to Rs 1275 as the basic pension per month, which is lower than a safai karamchari. 



Dog show witnesses keen contest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 22
The all-breed dog championship and grey hound races were organised by the Sutlej Kennel Club, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, on the Academy Campus yesterday. Despite unfavourable weather conditions, participants turned up in large numbers for competitions in different events. A keen contest was witnessed in different categories as dogs of various local as well as exotic breeds vied for top positions in the championship.

The show evoked an enthusiastic response from many dog lovers, who had came to take part in the day-long events from different parts of the state and the adjoining states.

The inaugural ceremony of the show was presided over by Dr G S Aujla, IPS, Director, Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur. Dr Aujla, spoke on the important role played by dogs in prevention and detection of crime and urged them to spread this awareness amongst the masses, so that crime prevention initiatives of the police may be further reinforced and strengthened.

Dr Aujla expressed confidence that by organising such events, close co-ordination between the public and police can be facilitated and the communication gap, which often times leads to mutual distrust and suspicion, can be narrowed down.

In the grey hound races, which were a special attraction of the championship, dog, named Aces, belonging to Mr Gursimran Singh was declared the overall champion and bagged the first trophy and cash prize of Rs 5100 whereas Peter of Mr Raza Khan of Malerkotla, Fire Fighter owned by Mr Balwinder Singh of Thamanwal village, and Tom Boy owned by Mr Inderjeet Singh Dhaliwal stood second, third and fourth, respectively, and won cash prizes.



New LIT trustees take over 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 22
The newly nominated trustees of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), Mr Sanjeev Talwar and Mr Rakesh Jain Kala Navkar, today formally assumed office at a function here.

Led by Congress legislator Surinder Dawar, the new trustees, along with several prominent functionaries of the ruling party and councillors, arrived at the main office of the LIT where they were accorded a rousing reception by Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, chairman, Mr Bhupinder Singh Basant, Mr Surinder Singh Bindra and Suba Harbhajan Singh, all trustees, and employees of the Improvement Trust.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Dawar expressed the confidence that with the induction of two councillors as trustees, the coordination between the LIT and the municipal corporation would further improve and both the bodies would step up their efforts to make the city a better place to live in.

Both Mr Talwar and Mr Jain expressed their gratitude to the Chief Minister and the Local Bodies Minister for posing confidence in them and providing them with an opportunity to serve the city population as trustees of the trust.



Roopika club celebrates Xmas
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 22
Members of the Roopika Ladies Club today celebrated Christmas here on their club premises. The club was tastefully decorated for the occasion with Christmas trees, balloons, bells and pictures of Lord Jesus and Mother Mary. Enthusiastic members were specially dressed up for the occasion.

Meena Gilhotra, president of the club said not only children but elders, too had the right to celebrate the festival. Many children were dressed as Santa Claus. Indoor games were organised for the members and the guests. The women also enjoyed tambola. 



Traffic blocked

Ludhiana, December 22
Traffic remained blocked on the Rahon Road near the octroi post here today following a clash between autorickshaw drivers and shopkeepers over a two-day-old dispute. A dharna was also staged. TNS



Seminar on sewing machine industry today

Ludhiana, December 22
The Small Industries Service Institute (SISI) will organise a seminar on sewing machine industry here tomorrow.
Experts from the NISIET, Hyderabad, representatives of leading banks and other government agencies, besides prominent members of the industry, will participate in the seminar. This was stated by Mr S.S. Bedi, Cluster Development Executive from the SISI. He said an action plan had been prepared for the uplift of the sewing machine industry cluster in the city.

He said the Union Minister for Small-Scale Industry had identified various clusters for the focus plan under its development programme. One main cluster selected in Punjab is that of sewing machine industry. — OC


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