L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Ray of hope for 205 retrenched employees
PAIC ready to adjust PLDRC staff for land
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
There is finally a ray of hope for the 205 families of employees of Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation, (PLDRC), who were issued retrenchment notices by the state government after dissolving the corporation three months ago.

The Punjab Agricultural Industrial Corporation (PAIC) has asked the state government to transfer 1550 acres of land belonging to the PLDRC at Laddowal to it and it would own the responsibility of these employees whose families were on the brink of starvation.

This was claimed today by the retrenched employees of the PLDRC who stated that a team of PAIC had visited Laddowal some days ago to see the land and had even spoken to the union leaders. They also claimed that the team had told them that PAIC was ready to adjust the employees of the PLDRC, provided the government transferred the land to them.

Claiming this here today, Mr Dalip Singh, general secretary and Mr Roshan Lal, president of the PLDRC Employees Union, demanded that the land should be transferred to PAIC so that their kitchen fires start burning.

They said after getting the shock of losing the jobs, two employees had died of heart attack. Some of them were even admitted to hospitals after they were shown the door. Not only this, the employees had not been paid the salaries for the past one year.

The employees were retrenched after the corporation was dissolved in November last year as it suffered huge losses. They had decided to launch a protest against the retrenchment. They claim that they had been working in the department for the past 25 to 30 years and had given their best to it. But during the twilight of their lives, the government had shown them the door without giving any compensation to them.

Trouble had arisen for these employees in 2001, after the 20-year-old lease of the erstwhile Central State Farm to the central government expired and over 2,700 acres of land was returned to the state government.

The state government had in turn distributed the land among Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), PLDRC and Punjab Police, and retaining some of it. The PAU had got 1250 acres, while PLDRC and police department were transferred 1550 acres and 50 acres, respectively.

As per the agreement between the state and the central governments, the liability of these workers rested with the state government, which had in turn passed it on to the PAU and the PLDRC, who got major chunks of the farmland. The government had given the responsibility of 183 employees to the PAU and 205 employees with the PLDRC.

At that time also the employees were not absorbed for at least a year. Then three persons had committed suicide and the state government had woken out of slumber and absorbed the employees. ‘‘Is the government waiting for us to follow the same dangerous path?’’ asked Roshan Lal.

He said that they had written to the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi and Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. He also said that they would be launching massive protest during the election time in the state if their demands were not met with by the government. 



New twist to suicide case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
The hopes of a Ludhiana-based couple who had lost their son after he committed suicide last year, to find persons responsible for his death have crashed to the ground with the Ludhiana police writing to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC) that the youth had not received any SMS on his mobile phone.

This despite the fact that the parents of Ashish Hansi, an IAS aspirant who had committed suicide on February 20 last year, had been claiming that he took the step due to some pressure as was evident from the SMS messages received on the phone.

Even the BSNL authorities had in a communication to Mr N.M. Hansi, Ashish’s father said that he had received SMS from 94170-9995 number, which was a phone number of the Mobile Service Centre of the BSNL at Chandigarh. The claims have put a question mark on the report of the police.

‘‘How can they say that no SMS was received by Ashish when we had started fighting his case on the basis of SMS only? I did not want to tell the contents of the message at this stage as I was apprehensive that the BSNL authorities were trying to shield somebody who had sent the messages from this phone number. The report has brought the investigation to square one,’’ said Mr Hansi angrily.

He said it was ironical that when BSNL was claiming that SMS was sent from the number, the police had denied it. A report submitted by the police to the PHRC, a copy of which is with The Tribune, states that according to the Principal General Manager, Cellular Mobile Telecom Services, no SMS was received by him on the said dates and there was no need of any further action in the case.

Meanwhile, Mr Hansi said he knew that this was going to happen and so he had already filed a petition to the NHRC stating that he was not satisfied with the proceedings of the case and he wanted to know the person responsible for his death.

He has also written to the President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, alleging that the mystery could not be unraveled because the BSNL authorities were claiming that the suspicious number (94170-9995) was a Mobile Service Centre of the BSNL Chandigarh. However, the identity of the person sending the messages remained hidden.

He has urged upon the President as well as NHRC to intervene in the matter pleading that he was an unfortunate father of a brilliant boy who was preparing for the IAS examination. He was working very hard to get through. But suddenly something happened one day and he committed suicide by hanging him on the ceiling fan.

He had moved his case in the Punjab State Human Rights Commission in September last year. He had claimed that the BSNL authorities had also claimed that the number was not a subscriber number and thus no messages can be sent from the same.

He also said that his son committed suicide on February 20. The suicide note recovered from his possession said he had written a note that ‘‘he was feeling too pressurised’’. Before that he was always sitting in his room and studying. On the fateful day also he was studying in his room and only his grandfather was at home. When his father reached home he knocked at his door. Getting no response from inside he broke open the door only to find his son hanging. He rushed him to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead. 



Source of HIV +ve blood identified
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 28
The police has traced the man whose HIV positive blood was used by Bahadar Singh, who claims to be a doctor, to infect a woman on Wednesday. SSP Pramod Ban told Ludhiana Tribune that the arrested man confessed to having taken the blood from an AIDS patient of Galwati village, falling under the Nabha Sadar police station.

The accused confessed about his crime and told the police about the source of the blood. The SSP said the accused admitted that he had come to know about a couple, living in Galwati village, suffering from AIDS. He thought of avenging betrayal by the woman, who had cheated on him. The accused claimed that he had spent huge sums of money on the woman and her family. He also claimed that he had sired one of the children of the woman.

The accused went to the couple and lured them into getting treatment from him. He succeeded in getting blood sample of the man and used the same blood to inject it into the woman.

SHO Sarb Jit Singh today took the three children of the woman and both her husbands for HIV test at the local Civil Hospital.

The SSP said the blood samples of the syringe and the patient, whose blood had allegedly been used, would be matched in the laboratory to confirm the statement of the accused.

The accused was today produced before the court of the Civil Judge, Ms Asha Mehta, who remanded the accused in police custody till March 1.



SAD youths burn CM’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Activists of the youth wing of the SAD today burnt an effigy of CM Amarinder Singh to protest against the alleged rampant corruption in all departments of the state and the recruitment of DSPs a few days ago by ignoring several deserving sportspersons.

Scores of workers led by Mr Inder Mohan Singh Kadian and Mr Kanwaljit Singh Dua, chiefs of the rural and urban units of the party, marched through various parts of the city and raised slogans against the government. They later burnt the effigy near the old court complex.

Addressing the gathering, the youth leaders said the government was claiming that it had eradicated corruption in the state but the ground reality was different. People were being forced to pay bribes to get their work done and those who did not pay were harassed.

The leaders said the selection of DSPs was an indicator of the way the government functioned. In true aristocractic style, favours had been extended to those who had remained loyal to the CM and his coterie.

The party has selected winning candidates and its was for the first time that the youth has been given representation in the distribution of Lok Sabha seats. The youth wing is all geared up to drum up support for the party and the workers have been asked to fan out in the villages and list the achievements of the SAD in the previous five years, they said.



Gang of thieves busted, 4 held
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 28
The Khanna police has busted a gang of thieves with the arrest of four persons involved in a number of thefts in the state.
According to the police, a special roadblock was set up near Ram Garh village. A police party, led by ASI Sikander Singh, arrested the four persons. During their interrogation, the accused confessed to their involvement in the crime.

The four arrested have been identified as Sunil Kumar Pathania, a resident of Sathani in Bilaspur district, HP, Ranbir Singh, a resident of Lodhi Majra in Ropar district, Raj Kumar Yadav, a resident of Nepal, and Avidevika, a resident of Bisra in Sundar Garh district, Orissa. The accused have confessed to having committed thefts in Malaud and Khanna.



Pindi Street firm booked
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 28
The Kotwali police yesterday registered a case under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC against a Pindi Street firm dealing in medicines on the statement of the business manager of an ayurvedic medicine manufacturing unit located at Solan in Himachal Pradesh.

Mr Sulesh Sharma, senior business manager of Shri Vaidyanath Ayurvedic Bhavan located on Nalagarh Road at Solan, had complained to the police that Ram Krishan Bhatia, Parveen Bhatia, Ashwani Bhatia and Prem Lal Bhatia, who were partners in Bhatia Medicos, a medicine shop located in the Pindi Street, had bought medicines worth around Rs 32.6 lakh from his employers between August 10, 2001 and September 30, 2001 but not paid the money in spite of repeated reminders.

Undertrial held with opium: Avtar Singh Tari, who is undergoing trial, was booked under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act yesterday after 30 gm of opium was seized from his possession by jail authorities when he was brought back from the courts after hearing. Tari, who lives in Gobind Nagar, was booked at the Division No. 7 police station on the statement of jail authorities.

Injured: The Sahnewal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279, 337 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Baldev Singh, who lives in Jodhewal Basti, against the driver of an unknown vehicle. The complainant had stated that the accused had hit his car last evening, as a result of which he was injured and the car was damaged.

Held for quarrelling: The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under Section 160 of the IPC against Sukhwinder Singh, Raj Kumar, Neeraj, Arvinder Kumar and Kaka, all residents of Gopal Nagar. The police said the accused were found quarrelling on the road. While Sukhwinder Singh and Raj Kumar were arrested from the spot, the other accused fled.



Furniture gilded with gold, gems
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 28
There is something exquisite for everyone. Furniture curved out in gold that forms part of exclusively crafted pieces in pure gold and precious stones from the Victorian era went on sale in Ludhiana today. Carved by master artisans, wrapped in pure silk, each piece by Fourth Dimension is a collector’s item. ‘Kochhar A. Show’, as the exhibition is called, aims to attract the city’s crème de la crème with classical English furniture.

This exhibition of Kochhar A (Ashok), The King’s Collection on the theme of Victorian era furniture showcases select 70 pieces of furniture from the period of 1880 to 1910. The 70-odd pieces include gilded cribs, cots, ornate corner stands, chairs, sofas, huge king’s chairs, inlaid tables of bewitching beauty, stools, mirrors, writing tables.

These pieces have been tastefully displayed at Firdaus, Hotel Majestic Park Plaza. The exhibition was thrown open to the city residents today and would remain open till Sunday.

Gilding in gold and precious stones have added value to the exotic works by master craftsmen. For the first time, the city residents are setting their eyes on beautiful, ornate, exclusively crafted furniture gilded in pure gold, silver and colourful stones.

Kochhar A has been in the furniture business for only a year. Realising a vacuum in the kingsize furniture area, he decided to resurrect this art. After making a study of royal furniture that adorns the palaces of European and Russian kings between 1880 and 1910, Kochhar A has recreated authentic English classical art in all its glory specially designed to enrich the environment.

Speaking to the Ludhiana Tribune, Ashok said his passion was photography. He captured unusual subjects and created masterpieces with his camera. His photographs were based on themes extraordinaire. He often told his clients, “You visualize any product, and I will give you results. He moved on to advertising and runs a design studio. Now he has also started making furniture.”

Ashok says that he carves out the pieces in A grade Burma teak to give value for money. He said, “The kind of exotic furniture that I have designed is part of the rich English heritage. It is found only in periodicals of leading auction houses.”

After holding his first exhibition in Delhi, he chose Ludhiana as he says, “Ludhianivis have large hearts and fat wallets. They have had exposure to the international market. The range of furniture varies from Rs 5,000 and Rs 1.5 lakh.

The easel stands look outstanding. A round table inlaid with precious stones that included mother of pearl, marquina, light emparadoora, saphire, emeralds and rubies made in fine mahogany with carved top, looked just out of the world.


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