L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rowdies rule the roads on Holi
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, March 6
Holi revellers indulged in hooliganism in the city throughout the day with policemen watching helplessly.
The situation became tense when the son of a city councillor and his friends threw eggs on a man saying his prayers in the balcony of his house. Residents of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar demanded the Sarabha Nagar police register a case, but the police was working on a compromise till the filing of this report.

The incident took place around midday when one Vivek Chhabra, a son of a Congress councillor of the city, Mr K.L Chhabra, along with more than 10 friends threw eggs at two women standing in the balcony of a house in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar. When the mother-daughter duo, Ms Jasbir Kaur and Ms Maninder Kaur, objected, the boys threw more eggs, this time hitting an old man, Mr Amar Singh Bindra, and his son, Mr Vijay Bir Singh.

On seeing the sentiments of the "amritdhari" Sikh being hurt, the family tried to persuade the boys to behave, but to no avail. The boys repeated the act for the third time, when locality residents chased the boys and apprehended two, Sahil and Anil Chatley. The two, along with a Mahindra Scorpio belonging to the group, were taken to the police station. According to Mr Vijay Bir Singh, the two disclosed that they were friends of the city councillors' son, who was part of the group.

Repeated complaints by the Bindra family failed to persuade the police to register a case. It is alleged that the police, on the intervention of Mr Chhabra, was compelling the family to accept a compromise. No case had been registered till late evening.

Meanwhile, the city wore a deserted, albeit colourful, look today as high-spirited youths roamed the city streets shouting "Holi hai! Holi hai!"

Since all markets were closed for the day with the exception of a few shops, the city roads were the domain of youngsters armed to the teeth with Holi weaponry, sparing no passerby. A group of over-enthusiastic revellers was seen pestering car drivers for money in front of Calibre Plaza in Bhadaur House. A helmet-less teenager sustained injuries in Maharaj Nagar after falling from a scooter. Even train passengers were not spared. Youngsters stationed on both sides of the Dhuri and Ferozepore railway lines threw colour missiles at rail passengers.

It was a day of roaring business for liquor shops, making the rowdiness of the day worse. A roadside seller of bhang near Ghanta Ghar also did brisk business as did those selling the same intoxicant at Focal Point and other migrant-dominated areas.

Meanwhile, the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle celebrated Hola Mohalla today at four different venues in the city with traditional fervour. The venues were Baba Isher Singh Public School in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School and Gurdwara Shri Sukhmani Sahib in Urban Estate, Phase-II, Dugri, and Government Middle School at Beela village.

A Hola Mohalla procession was taken out from Gurdwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar in the morning, led by the Panj Piaras. The march terminated at Baba Isher Singh Public School. A similar march was also taken out from Gurdwara Singh Sabha in Sargodha Colony.



Kids come together for Holi fun
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 6
Kid members of the Strawberry Club had fun splashing colours at one other at a Holi party organised by the club here today. The children dressed in white conveyed the message of love and unity. They dance to “holi hai” and “Rang barse”.

Organisers of the party, Shikha Lamba and Shivani Arora, said Holi allowed the kids to do “masti” without restrictions. Gujjias were distributed among the children.



Sudhar Khalsa College director booked 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 6
The Jagraon police has booked the director of Khalsa College, Sudhar, under the Atrocities Against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act, 1989, for allegedly harassing an SC employee of the college and using certain words against him that are banned under the Act.

Mr Manjit Singh Khatra, former Principal of Guru Hargobind Singh Khalsa College and at present its honorary director, has been booked on the directions of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes.

Commission Chairperson Tanzyn Wangyal had on February 19 issued the directions to the police. The police, however, did not implement the orders, at which the complainant approached the commission again.

According to the FIR, the complainant, Mr Balwant Singh, a junior assistant, has alleged that the accused called him names and denied him promotion. He has also alleged that the accused was harassing him one pretext or the other.

The controversy has been on in the college for long while now, with opposing groups formed.

The complainant, not getting justice from the police, had approached the commission, which ordered an inquiry into the episode. The police, subsequently, gave Mr Khatra a clean chit.

Mr Balwant Singh again approached the commission and complained that the police had conducted a one-sided inquiry.

The commission, after conducting its own inquiry, found several discrepancies in the one conducted by the police. Coming down heavily on the police, Mr Wangyal said in his order for the registration of a case that the police had not fulfilled it s primary duty and the inquiry violated norms laid down by the SC-ST Act.

The commission found that the inquiry officer had not taken all the evidence and witnesses into account.

Meanwhile, Dr B.R. Ambedkar Mission Welfare Society president Gurdev Singh has demanded the arrest of Mr Khatra as a case has been registered against him.



Come summer, pollution generators are on
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 6
Even though the pollution level has reached an alarming proportion in the city, it seems that it does not bother the residents as well as the authorities concerned if the use of diesel-run generators is any indication.

With the onset of summers, a season of sweat and power cuts, residents resort to switching on their thick smoke-yielding generators caring little about the environmental hazards caused by these.

While the poisonous smoke-emanating machines function without any check, the officials concerned are yet to wake up to the dangerous situation arisen in the city, which incidentally tops the list of most-polluted cities in India.

Being an industrial town, the city has already witnessed the ever increasing pollution levels crossing the alarming concentrations but there seems to be no hope as the industry as well as the public transport system is emanating poisonous gases. The diesel-run generators add to the concentration of pollutants.

The condition worsens as soon as summers come. As there is a rise in temperature and power cuts, the residents switch on their generator sets run on diesel. The pollution caused by diesel generators has compounded the degrading environment condition in the city.

While the generators emanate thick smoke it becomes near impossible to breathe in the air near them. Whenever there is a power cut, one can witness black clouds of smoke.

All this goes on unabated as Punjab Pollution Control Board employees do nothing about it. Some residents demand that there should be a policy decision by the state government that no diesel-run generators would be allowed. ‘‘If there can be gas-run geysers why can’t there be gas-run generators. The idea is that the pollution should be checked. But is there anybody who is serious?’’ asks a resident.

‘‘You visit any area in the city, be it domestic or market, the menace of pollution caused by these generators is there. Rough estimates say that every household has a generator. The residents have installed them on their roofs with long exhaust pipes discharging poisonous gases up in the air thinking it won't pollute their immediate surroundings and realising little that the environment in general has become polluted,’’ he said.

According to official figures on pollution, the suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the city is between 500 to 600 microgram while the permissible limit is only 200 microgram. These are the startling revelations of the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

The data about the presence of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen are also not less alarming. Both the pollutants are about 80 microgram in the city, while other cities in the state do not have more than 10 to 12 micrograms of these pollutants.



He has donated blood 80 times
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 6
“My aim is to donate blood 100 times. I will be able to achieve my goal in next five years as a person can donate blood only four times a year. Till date I have donated blood 80 times,” says Sudhir Mudgal.

Sudhir has received several certificates from the Red Cross for donating O+ blood since 1985.

Happy-go-lucky Sudhir was moved by communal strife that followed operation Bluestar. He and his three friends toured Punjab with messages of ‘peace’ on their bicycles.

In 1985, his fellow students at Arya College decided to organise a camp for blood donation. He was told that his blood group was acceptable to all positive blood groups. 



Sewer project makes life miserable
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 5
Local residents, especially shopkeepers on the Samrala-Khanna road, are suffering owing to a sewerage project that has been on since long.
The slow pace of the work on the project has brought shops on this road on the verge of closing down. Shopkeepers complain that while they are paying the electricity bills and rent, for more than the past four months they have not had any business worth the name.

The town had a partial sewerage system laid. The municipal committee is executing the project in phases with a loan assistance form HUDCO. The first phase of the scheme is for the main sewer and disposal works at a cost Rs 1.92 crore, while the second phase will cover mainly the branch sewer at an estimated cost of Rs 2.80 crore.



Poultry farmers suffer losses
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 6
Even as the bird flu scare has caused huge losses to poultry farmers who resorted to distress sale in some areas, retailers are pocketing the margin.
While the poultry retailers here had claimed that they would lower the price of raw and cooked chicken, in most retail outlets, chicken continues to be sold at the old prices.

The poultry farmers said there was a temporary boom in the chicken market two days ago but then it came down. The consumption of poultry products had risen by 80 per cent during the last fortnight but it was the glut that was causing the problems. ‘‘There were only 10 per cent buyers a months ago. We have buyers now but what should we do with eggs and broilers that have not sold for the past several days,’’ said Mr Sanjiv Bassi, poultry farmer.

He said they had been surveying the market and had found that the retailers were selling three eggs for Rs 5. While they were buying an egg for 70 to 71 paise and pocketing a margin of Re 1. The common man is shelling out the same price for the products. Some restaurants had even hiked the prices of chicken last week.



Readers write
Indifference to female foeticide is a shame

It is unfortunate that people of this region have adopted an indifferent attitude to the scourge of female foeticide which has led to a skewed sex ratio. It is immoral that technology — ultrasound scanning — is being misused by doctors for minting money by perpetuating the tendency among couples to abort the female foetus. Thus, medical specialists who have pledged to save lives themselves connive with culprits to commit murder in the womb. This results in the vicious circle of reserving the mother’s womb for favoring the birth of a male child only.

Unfortunately, the momentum for waging a war against the murder of female foetus has not picked up steam as there has not been a concerted campaign against it weather by the state government or various social organisations or NGOs. Stray efforts by some NGOs are not being supported sincerely by the authorities and religious preachers. Society is silently suffering from this menace which has serious ramifications for us in the coming years. I suggest the following corrective measures :

(A) Religious preachers of all communities should be urged to include a solemn pledge in the daily prayers (ardas) being held at religious places, thus, getting commitment from people not to kill girls in the womb. The couples themselves promise not to abort the female foetus at the time of marriage ceremony itself in the presence of the entire gathering. This will help build and boost the low morale of would be mothers. Let us admit that it is only the insecure or discriminated womanhood that has perpetuated this malice.

(B) Let the state governments involve each everyone, especially, the youth in the war against foeticide by ensuring greater participation in the seminars at the school, college and state level. Let there be essays in the text books countering this scourge and the ramifications for the youth of tomorrow. The government should also subsidise treatment at the time of the birth of the girl child. Private nursing homes, too, should display their philanthropic spirit by subsidising such charges.

(C) Social pressure on culprits shall definitely help, but we need to change our minds first. Change is difficult, but change we must for our survival, both on the physical as well as the moral plane as for as eradication of female feticide is concerned.

B.B. Goyal, Ludhiana

Merger of 50 per cent DA with pay

During the last week of January, due to ensuing general election the government had announced some sops for the industry and tax payers, including central government employees. It was announced that w.e.f. April 1, 04, 50 per cent DA would be merged with pay of central government employees but there was no mention about central pensioners. There was a speculations that the pensioners would also benefit and 50 per cent of their DA would also stand merged.

The Northern Railway Pensioners Association clarifies that 50 per cent DA cannot be merged with pay unless the pay scales are revised and for revising of pay scales, a pay commission has to be constituted. Therefore, if the government proposes to merge 50 per cent of DA with pay that portion will remain as a separated element, such as dearness pay, and may be reckoned for pension HRA etc. Only the balance DA will continue as such along with additional DA sanctioned. This merger of DA will not give any relief/benefit to pensioners unless the pay scales are revised and parity in pension based on the new scales are given.

It was also announced in the media that w.e.f. January 1, 4 percent DA increase would be effective, but it is not understood as to how an increase would be possible as price index increase allows an increase of only 2 per cent. It is being felt that so far no official announcement of increase in dearness relief has been made.

K.L. Chitkara, Ludhiana

PAN card not received

I submitted my application form No. 002499459 dated 23.9.2003, complete in all respects for a PAN Card (Income Tax) through UTI, Ludhiana, to the Vice-President, UTI, Inverter Services Limited, Bela Pur, Navi Mumbai - 400614, on 23.9.2003.

Vide UTI office Bombay No. PAN/4010095664 Appl. no. 002499459 dated 15.10.2003, I received a letter from UTI office, Bombay, that I have not sent my date of birth (though there was no column for date of birth) through speed post along with photostat copy of my higher secondary exams (having real date of birth) on 7.11.2003.

Over 4 months have lapsed, I have not received my PAN card (Income tax) for far though it was said that the PAN card will be sent within one month of application. My PAN no. is AAA TDO 732A.

Will the UTI, Bombay and UTI Ludhiana look into this unexpected delay. I have written four reminders to the UTI, Bombay, but not a single letter of mine has been acknowledged.

How regrettable !.

Bimla Verma, Ludhiana

Fear of TB

I draw your attention to a news item appearing in The Tribune regarding the fear of TB epidemic erupting in the area adjacent the Buddha Nullah. It is so full of sewage and industrial waste that its colour is black. It has indeed become an open drain. The underground water near Buddha Nallah is not fit for drinking.

Even the vegetables grown along Nullah are being irrigated with his highly contaminated water. Not only this, the vegetables are even washed with this water before being sold in the markets. Sometime back the authorities had decided to construct a road along both sides of nala. Had this been implemented, the localities could have been at least 10 feet away from the Nullah and people would have found difficult to drain sewage and industrial waste into the Nullah. There was a time in the past when its water was so clean that its bed could be seen. At present, it is indeed the stream of sorrow and cries for immediate attention.

Anil Sharma, Ludhiana

Woes of pensioners

It is not known to many that the Central Government is giving a raw deal to their pensioners as compared to Punjab, which is extending a number of additional monetary benefits to their pensioners not available to central government pensioners.

A comparative study is as under :

Medical allowance: For outdoor treatment, the Punjab government pensioners get Rs 250 per month as medical allowance whereas, Central Government shells out only Rs 100 p.m. to their pensioners.

Old age allowance: Punjab gives a raise to their pensioners at the rate of 5 per cent and 10 per cent of the basic pension on their attaining the age of 65 years and 75 years respectively. But Central Government pensioners are deprived of any such increase.

Central government pensioners while in service were subjected to transfer from one corner of the country to another. Besides the paying capacity of Central Government to its pensioners is better than the state government since the Centre wields power of taxation in respect of residuary list of subjects apart from Union and Concurrent Lists under the Constitution of the country.

In view of the above it is legitimate for the Central government pensioners to expect pensioners package at least equivalent to the best offered by any state government like Punjab.

Unfortunately, the Central Government has not so far acceded to the demands of central government pensioners to improve their pensioners benefits at par with the Punjab Government pensioners.

It is high time for the Central Government Pensioners organisations to come forward and vigorously pursue with the political parties to include the aforesaid demands of Central Government pensioners in their election manifesto.

R.N. Sehgal, Ludhiana



Rotary Ludhiana North wins photo contest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 5
The Rotary Club of Ludhiana North won the first prize in project and photo display. This was stated by the club secretary, Rtn R.S. Behal, at a meeting here on Thursday. About 500 delegates and 70 clubs from J&K, Himachal and Punjab had participated in the competition.

He said on March 8, Prof Rajinder Singh, physical education lecturer at GGN Khalsa College, will deliver a lecture to club members on meditative walk. 



Man attempts to set own house on 
fire, threatens suicide
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Sudhar, March 6
An ex-serviceman of this town gave a sleepless night to the police and Halwara Air Force Station officials by first attempting to set his house on fire and later threatening to commit suicide if anyone broke into the room he had locked himself in.
The man had also locked four children with him.

It all began in the evening when he set a few suitcases and a quilt on fire in his room which he bolted from inside. He had with him his three children and one adopted child of his brother. The police managed to get them all out and douse the fire, but the man sneaked back into the room and locked himself in once more.

It was after a marathon 16-hour long persuasion that the ex-serviceman came out of the room. He handed over a knife to Inspector Jasvir Singh Rai, local SHO. He came out on an assurance by Mr Rajwant Singh, Chief Security Officer of Halwara Air Force Station, that he would get him some job soon.

The man had locked himself in the room at 7:30 pm last night and came out at 11:30 a.m. today. He did not sleep at all through the night and neither did he allow those handling the situation to rest, continuously displaying histrionics. He kept sharpening the knife, threatening to kill himself if anyone forced his way into the room. All that police officials and residents of the area could do was watch him through a large window in the room.

According to police sources, he was disturbed over certain family and employment problems. He retired from the Army recently and was not able to adjust with the changed circumstances of his life. His family problems concerned mainly misunderstanding with his relatives.

The police decided against registering a case because as it is he had many problems.

The policemen and relatives of the man and a few residents of the area displayed courage in controlling the fire.

All persuasion by the police and relatives had failed. A Tehsildar of the area and even Raikot DSP H.S. Brar reached the place late at night. In the morning , the police thought of roping in defence personnel to persuade the man. This ploy succeeded as he agreed to come on Mr Rajwant Singh’s assurance.

Later, family members requested the police and mediapersons to not register a case or publish pictures and the name of the man.



Two killed in road mishaps
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, March 6
Hardeep Singh, a bus driver who lives in Boparai village, was booked under Sections 279, 304-A and 427 of the IPC yesterday. Hardeep was booked following a complaint by Mr Ranjit Singh, a resident of street No. 22 of Ashok Nagar mohalla.

The complainant had stated that one of his relatives was hit by a bus driven by Hardeep near the Partap chowk on Friday while he was going on his bicycle. His relative died on the spot. Hardeep, however, sped away. No arrest has been made so far.

Balvir Singh, a bus driver and a resident of Dhuki Di Patti village near Jandiala, was booked yesterday on the complaint by Mr Surjit Singh, a resident of Kadiana village. The complainant stated that the accused rammed his bus into the autorickshaw being driven by his brother Kashmir Singh near Hotel Amaltas on the GT Road, killing him on the spot yesterday.

Held for forgery: Major Singh, a resident of Adarsh Colony of Balongi village, was arrested and booked under various sections of the IPC on Friday. The police said on Saturday that the accused used to prepare forged documents for financed cars before selling them.

Booked: Kirpal Singh, a resident of Ganaur village, was booked under various sections of the IPC on a complaint by Mr Raj Kumar, a resident of Durga Puri in Haibowal Kalan, on Friday. The complainant had stated that the accused, who was driving a Gypsy, had hit his brother’s scooter while he was going near the Lion Bhavan in Punjab Agricultural University on March 4. His brother Raj Singh has been admitted to DMC Hospital.

25 students booked: Following a complaint by Mr Jagdish Singh of Fehlon village in Tarn Taran, a case was registered against 25 students of Guru Nanak Engineering College on the charge of damaging bus driven by him. The complainant had stated that he was driving a PEPSU Roadways bus from Sangrur on Friday, when a mob of students stopped the bus and shattered its wind-screen and window panes. The students also beat him up and bus conductor Gurbax Singh and injured them.

Assault cases: Following a complaint by Mr Tarsem Singh, a resident of Herrian village in Hoshiarpur district, a case was registered against an unknown driver and conductor of a private transport bus on Friday. The complainant stated in his complaint that the accused had beaten him up in front of Golden Motors in Jodhewal chowk on Friday night. The accused also threatened him before fleeing.

Onkar Singh, Sohan Singh, Joga Singh and four other unknown persons were yesterday booked for assaulting Mr Rajesh Jain, councillor, who lives in Sunder Nagar. The complainant had alleged that the accused had beaten him up and abused him on Thursday evening. They also allegedly snatched his gold chain before fleeing.

Vehicle thief held: Mahesh Kumar of Shakti Vihar mohalla in Chander Nagar, Haibowal Kalan, was caught red handed on Friday while trying to steal a three-wheeler. He was arrested on a complaint by Mr Ravinder Singh, a resident of the same locality. The accused was booked under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC.

Arrested: Following a complaint by Mr Kuldeep Singh, Additional SDO, PSEB, Arun Kumar, a resident of Sector 23, Chandigarh, was booked and arrested and his bus was impounded. The complainant stated that Arun had rammed his bus into an electric pole located in front of the main market in Sarbha Nagar on Friday evening and as a result of which the transformer on the pole was damaged.

Pistol seized: A country-made pistol was seized from Kuldeep, alias Kapur Chand, a migrant from UP, along with a cartridge. He was booked under the Arms Act.

Liquor seized: Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Hargobind Nagar, was arrested and 14 illicit liquor bottles were seized from his possession on Friday. He was booked under the Excise Act.



Two satta operators held, cash seized
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 6
The Khanna police has arrested two satta operators and recovered Rs 76,200 from their possession. Three mobile phones and some diaries have also been seized. The names of many prominent persons of the area have allegedly been mentioned in the diary and phones. The accused Rakesh Kumar Toni and Charanjit Bittu were arrested from a street near bus stand, Khanna. A case has been registered.

2 vehicle thieves arrested: The local police has arrested two vehicle thieves, Lal Bahadur and Bikahu, both from Bihar, and recovered a stolen scooter from them. According to police, ASI Sikander Singh arrested two persons from Military Ground. During questioning they confessed that they were using a stolen scooter.



Performance of banks reviewed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 6
Performance of banks in Punjab was reviewed during a meeting of state-level review committee here yesterday.
Mr S.K. Awasthi, General Manager, Punjab National Bank, New Delhi, presided over the meeting.

While reviewing the performance of banks in Punjab, Mr Awasthi said for better agriculture production it was necessary to improve post-harvest technology, crop pattern and seeds of HYVs (high yielding varieties). To improve soil health, it was necessary to add organic matter to soil. Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Director, Institutional Finance and Banking, called upon the bankers to make all out efforts to improve the credit deposit ratio in the state, which was stagnating around 43 per cent for a long time.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |