L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Fuel scam
Court declines anticipatory bail to accused
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, March 11
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau today received a shot in the arm when a city court dismissed the anticipatory bail applications filed by accused in the multicrore Municipal Corporation fuel scam.

The Special Judge, Mr Inderjit Kaushik(Additional Sessions Judge), rejected the pre-arrest bail applications filed by Chief Sanitary Inspector Ashwani Kumar, driver Shiv Kumar, XEN Kashmira Singh, XEN Dharam Singh and Mr Balbir Singh.

The court rejected the regular bail application filed by the main accused Kishan Lal, the only employee arrested by the Vigilance Bureau so far. The Vigilance Bureau had accused him of being the main link in the racket. He was also booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act later for possessing moveable and immoveable property disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The bureau officials had claimed that the accused had property worth Rs 1.25 crore.

The court had reserved the orders after hearing the arguments on the bail application on March 9. The Additional Public Prosecutor, Mr Mitter Sen Goel, had contented that the custodial interrogation of the accused was needed to unearth the scam. On the other hand, defence counsel had claimed that their clients were innocent and had been falsely implicated in the case.

However, the court granted bail to owners of Highway Service Station, a petrol station at Basti Jodhewal, Mr Gurcharan Singh, his wife Paramjit Kaur, XEN of Zone A, Prem Lal Sharma and Mr Som Lal. Counsel for the XEN had contended that his client had joined the post a few months back and was not involved in the scam. The Vigilance had accused the petrol station owners and staff of being hand in glove with MC employees in the scam.

The scam was unearthed three weeks ago but the investigations were hindered because of “pressure tactics” by some of the accused. Armed with an interim bail, the accused were not joining investigations, and if some of them appeared before the Vigilance, they came with hundreds of supporters.

The Vigilance claims that as much as 50 per cent of diesel, amounting to Rs 7 crore, purchased in the past five years by the civic body, was never used to full tanks of MC vehicles.

The records of three more clerks are yet to be verified. The modus operandi was to show the vehicles were in use on paper. Roadworthy vehicles covered several kilometres per day on paper alone. Even condemned vehicles were shown as in use.

Two road machines with jammed engines were shown consuming 75 litres of diesel in half a day! Out of every Rs 2 spent on these vehicles, Rs 1 went into the pockets of the accused.



Anti-encroachment drive halted
Ensuing LS poll main reason
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, March 11
The anti-encroachment drive launched by the local municipal corporation in the wake of High Court orders to remove all permanent encroachments on public land seems to have fizzled out.

After the initial enthusiasm, the drive has come to a standstill in view of the forthcoming poll as no politician worth his salt would allow demolitions in his area. As a result, roadside encroachments in various parts of the city have picked up momentum.

Hundreds of vendors selling sugarcane juice have come on the city roads and as the summer approaches, more are likely to be seen. These diesel-operated cane crushers not only occupy a lot of space, but also generate noise and air pollution, besides posing a health hazard due to the un-hygienic conditions under which the juice is extracted, stored and served to passersby.

Rehris selling cut water-melon, papaya, ice-candies and other summer favourites have joined the race to occupy vantage locations in city markets and localities.

Take for example the case of rehris selling papaya shake near Ghanta Ghar. Several chairs have been put up for customers in utter disregard for the people’s right to passage. Since most roadsides pace in the old city has been gobbled by these roadside enterprises, the focus has now shifted to Focal Point with plenty of open spaces and shady trees under which roadside business of one or the other kind can be run.

The Municipal Corporation carries out operations against these rehris from time to time. Rehris confiscated are returned on payment of fine.



Two youths held for friend’s murder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
The district police today claimed to have solved the case of murder of a youth, Vicky Sharma, whose body was found behind a factory in Salem Tabri about six months ago, with the arrest of two of his friends.

Addressing a press conference here today, the DSP, Mr Satwir Singh Grewal, and the Sub-Inspector-cum-SHO, Salem Tabri police station, Mr Buland Singh, said the 18-year-old youth was stoned to death by his three friends on September 26, 2003.

The victim had taken offence to a joke played on him by his friends. After an altercation between him and them, Vicky was beaten to death with bricks. The four friends had gone to Phillaur to pay obeisance at a religious place that day and were returning home when the incident occurred.

The three friends have been identified as Shashi Kumar, Raj Kumar and Ravinder Singh, alias Chirri. The first two are in police custody. The arrested persons have confessed to the crime.



Jhuggis appear in green belts
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 11
The directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court for removal of encroachments on government land in the city notwithstanding, unauthorised settlements on green belts and other vacant sites in E-Block of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar Colony in Pakhowal here are on the rise. Insanitary conditions, created by hundreds of jhuggi dwellers, coupled with the menace of stray cattle has made the life of residents miserable. Repeated pleas by the residents to the authorities of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) have failed to evoke any response.

According to functionaries of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar Residents Welfare Association, unabated growth of jhuggis around the super deluxe flats in vacant plots and even some parks in the area has added to the woes of the people.

Many unlawful settlers were running dairy farms and piggeries around their jhuggis, much to the annoyance of the residents. These dwellers at times misbehaved with the colony residents objecting to their activities.

Mr Pran Bhatia, a former councillor and patron of the association, pointed out that the dwellers were in the habit of leaving their cattle to graze in the parks. To make matters worse, a sizeable population of pigs, scattered garbage and waste material all over and children ran the risk of being bitten by stray animals.

The state of sanitation in the colony leaves much to be desired. “Several pockets have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” rued Mr Arvind Sharma, association member.



PAU student selected in Short Service Commission
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March11
Navneet Kaur, a student of the College of Agriculture, Punjab Agriculture University, has been selected in the Short Service Commission Examination, 2004. This was stated by Dr M. S. Tiwana, Dean, College of Agriculture.

Giving details, Dr Tiwana said Navneet was a B. Ed student of the college. She also had the distinction of acting as the leader of the 'Giddha' team of the university. She represented Punjab Agriculture University in North Zone Inter-Varsity Badminton Tournament for 2003-04.

Lauding the qualities of the student, Dr Tiwana said Navneet was diligent, hard working and had the perseverance to face the hurdles head-on.

Her determination, incisive analytical ability and curiosity to learn more would make her blossom into a responsible citizen of the nation. Dr Tiwana wished her luck for a prosperous and bright future.



Shaan belts out hit numbers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
Singer Shaan enthralled the audience at the “Shaan Aksar Tour” concert, which was organised at South City here last evening under the aegis of Royal Stag Mega Music.
Complimenting the Ludhianvis for their zest for life and passion for dancing, Shaan made the people dance to his tunes.

Shaan started the musical evening by singing “Aksar kyon ye lage ki tum koi aur ho” from his new album, “Aksar”. He sang popular numbers like “Ankhon se kajal ki terhan, phoolon se khushbo ki terhan” and “Kuch to hua hai, kuch ho gaya hai” from “Kal Ho Na Ho”.

He also sang fast numbers like “Kus mus hasi” and “Collar ko thoda upar chada ke, cigarette ke dhuein ka chhalla uda ke” from “Kaante”. A song from “Lagaan”, “Ghannan ghannan ghir aaye badra”, also clicked with the audience.

Shaan announced that since he was a cricket fan, he would go to Pakistan and sing for both teams. Varsha Mathur, an up-and-coming singer, sang duets with Shaan, including “Jadoo hai nasha hai, madhoshian hain” from “Jism”.



Robbery at hosiery unit?
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
Mystery shrouds a robbery reported at Nagesh Factory in Salem Tabri late last night with the police, factory employees and the factory owner making different claims about it.

According to factory sources, at least eight armed robbers decamped with Rs 10 lakh at gunpoint from the hosiery unit last night. The police was informed about the incident but when the officials called the owners and senior employees of the unit, they did not corroborate the statement of junior employees.

Mr Buland Singh, SHO, Salem Tabri, said the owners had so far not made any official complaint about the robbery though the police had visited the site.



Dullo kicks off poll campaign
Our Correspondent

Amloh, March 11
Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, Congress nominee from the Ropar (reserved) constituency, kicked off his election campaign from Amloh today. Mr Dullo has been allotted Congress ticket for the second time from this constituency. He had defeated the SAD candidate in 1999. A gathering of party activists was organised by Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, MLA, at the Canal Rest House here.

Launching an attack on the NDA government, Mr Dullo asserted that the Centre had been discriminating against Punjab by not lifting the levy sugar from mills, which had delayed the payment of sugarcane arrears to farmers. “The Centre has spent Rs 500 crore of public money on advertisements for the election campaign. The money should have been utilised for development works”, he added.

Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot criticised the anti-repression rallies organised by the SAD. He said these rallies were not for the welfare of the state but to divert the attention of the people from the corruption cases registered against the Badal family.

State Congress general secretary Joginder Singh Maini, district Congress chief Vaid Hari Kishan, senior vice-president Gurdev Singh Khanyan, zila parishad chairman Pakhar Singh Salana, Amloh council chief Baldev Singh Aulakh, block Congress president Shingara Singh and state organising secretary Swatantra Karkara also addressed the gathering

Block samiti chairman Dilbagh Singh Bhambri, councillor Jeevan Kumar Puri, social worker Pargat Singh Ania, former sarpanch Nirbhay Singh Saunti, block samiti member Joginder Singh Naraingarh and panches and sarpanches of the area were present on the occasion.

Later, Mr Dullo addressed an election rally at Tohra, the native village of SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra. A former SAD district president-turned Congress activist, Mr Rajinder Singh Tohra and Mr Lal Singh Tohra, senior vice-president, district Youth Congress, weighed Mr Dullo against coins. They also presented Rs 20,000 to the candidate.



Dhillon weighed against coins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
The SAD-BJP candidate, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, was accorded a warm welcome on his visit to several villages in Machhiwara Block today. He was weighed against coins at eight villages.

People in large numbers turned out to hear him speak. He drew crowds and at many places his cavalcade was stopped amid pro-Akali slogans.

In Machhiwara, he was weighed at 19 places in the mandi by the arhtiya association. Speaking on the occasion, he assured those present that their “days of woes” were over and he would ensure that “inspector raj” was scrapped.

Mr Dhillon said although Punjab was a prosperous state, misrule by successive Congress regimes had ruined it.

Area MLA Inder Iqbal Singh, former MLA Jagjit Singh Ghugrana, adviser to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and S.S. Dosanjh addressed the rallies.



Big parties lack definite agenda, says Ramoowalia
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, President  of the Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) and candidate for the Lok Sabha parliamentary constituency from Ludhiana, while opening his election campaign in the old grain market Jagraon, said his party was fighting election on a definite agenda, whereas the SAD, Congress and the BJP lacked it. These parties had started to get the services of film stars and actresses to draw crowds and attract voters, he added.

Lambasting the Congress, SAD and the BJP, Mr Ramoowalia termed them “dishonest” parties under whose regime various scams had happened.

Mr Ramoowalia claimed that the LBP was secular in nature with the aim to fight unemployment, higher taxes and higher steel prices. He asked the BJP, SAD, and the Congress to include in their agenda the arrest of those travel agents who had cheated thousands of Punjabis by luring them to be taken abroad.



Ex-servicemen hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
Ex-servicemen of Ludhiana district held a dharna peacefully in front of the SDM’s office in Jagraon on Tuesday in protest against the non-release of priority connections.

The ex-servicemen were authorised for the release of tubewell connections for agriculture vide the Punjab State Electricity Board CC No. 25/2003 and Memo No. 19087/19887 dated 9.4.2003. For the same, they had deposited Rs 3000 per BHP after the submission of test reports following which some connections were released. However, the release of priority connections had been stopped suddenly.



Man held with 2 quintals of poppy husk
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
The Shimla Puri police has arrested Davinder Kumar, a resident of Suraj Nagar at Chimney Road, and recovered two quintals of poppy husk from his possession. He was booked under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Hit by bus, boy dies: The Division No. 7 police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ram Chander, who hails from Maharashtra and lives in a slum near Transport Nagar, against Surjit Singh, a resident of Lakhmari village in Kurukshetra district of Haryana.

The complainant has stated that the accused had hit his son, while driving a Haryana Roadways bus at a crossing near Transport Nagar on Tuesday afternoon, resulting in his death on the spot.

2 accidents: The Salem Tabri police registered two cases of road accidents. The first case was registered under Sections 279, 337 and 338 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kidar Parshad, who hails from Bihar and lives in Sabzi Mandi, against the driver of a car (PB-10Z-5944).

The complainant had stated that while he, along with his relative Vijay Parshad, was crossing Kara Bara chowk on the evening of March 7, the accused had hit Vijay Parshad as a result, he had sustained injuries.

The other case was registered under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Pawan Kumar, a resident of Habib Ganj, against Vijay Singh, a resident of Ball Singh Nagar, in Basti Jodhewal. The complainant had stated that the accused, who was driving a motorcycle, had hit father, Kanshi Ram on the morning of February 14. No arrest has been made so far.

Theft alleged: On the statement of Mr Tarsem Lal Duggal, a resident of New Chander Nagar in Bhaura Colony, the Salem Tabri police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC against Gurmeet Singh and his wife Gurmeet Kaur.

The complainant had alleged that the accused, his tenants, had stolen an LPG cylinder and a gas stove, breaking open the lock of his house.

Liquor seized: The Sadar police has arrested Dalip Singh, a resident of Rajja Pur village, and recovered 12 bottles of illicit liquor from him. He has been booked under the Excise Act.



BSNL announces tariff for WLL subscribers
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
After waiving installation charges till March 31, 2004, the BSNL has announced an alternative tariff option for WLL (M) on a par with basic services tariff applicable to urban subscribers. Other terms and conditions applicable to the handset availability option remains the same, says Mr G.S. Julka, General Manager, Telecom.

The subscriber will have to pay a monthly rental of Rs 120 in the exchange area with a capacity of 30,000 lines and Rs 180 in exchange with a capacity of below 1,00,000 lines. In urban areas, the monthly rent has been fixed at Rs 250 on a par with basic phone. The subscriber is entitled to 50 free calls, first 300 calls will be charged @ Rs 1 and further units will be at Rs 1.20.

For the handset, the subscribers can opt for any of the four options, i.e. subscribers may have a handset for Rs 22 as insurance charges, in 25 installments of Rs 200 each, on Rs 5,000 refundable security when he surrenders connections or he may have his own set of choice. One can go for a mobile set for Rs 22.

He further said in the package offered to commercially important customers/corporate sectors that intend to take bulk connection from the BSNL, activation charges of Rs 200 per connection had been waived off subject to a minimum of 50 connection applied at a time. Activation charges of Rs 100 per wireless application applied had also been waived off subject to 50 WAP connections applied at a time.

VPN facility is already available to corporate subscribers with free intercom if the combined cellular bills of corporate sectors (in one name) is between Rs 1 to 2 lakhs. About 5 per cent discount is applicable if bills are less than Rs 2 lakhs per month but 10 per cent discount is applicable if the bills are above this limit.

SMS charges have been reduced to 40 paisa from 60 paisa. For post- paid subscribers international SMS is Rs 3 per message subject to maximum of 160 characters per SMS.

Mr Julka said international roaming was available in 160 nations on demand for which a refundable security of Rs 7,500 was required. For existing post paid subscribers having six months old connection, free calls worth Rs 75 and Rs 150 had been given to subscribers of 325 and 525 plan, respectively. In group messaging, 400 free SMS had been offered in Rs 100 only and 1000 SMS for Rs 200 in the 525 post paid plan.

The General Manager said the BSNL had decided to offer discount on long distance transmission part of leased circuits to all users, i.e. for bandwidth of 2MBps and above on high usage routes linking New Delhi with Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad 30 per cent discount would be given. A 20 per cent discount had been given on inter -state capital/union territories routes and 7.5 per cent on leased line charges on the balance routes provided the annual telephone bill was more than Rs 20 lakhs per annum.

To popularise ITC cards, rent free IN PCO's have been provided. Any person can make local, STD, ISD calls using ITC cards for Rs 10 per unit, which are even less than an ordinary call. STD/ISD PCO's are also available on demand.

Keeping in view enormous response to post paid connections the student power scheme has been extended up to March 31.

Mr Julka also said for regular telephone subscribers, installation charges had been waived off till March 31. Shifting of telephone anywhere in India was free. Subscribers, on demand, could access Internet through telephone line on flat rent of Rs 399/Rs 499 for rural/urban area exclusively for personal use. ISDN connections were available on demand in Ludhiana SSA.

One ISDN connection is offered rent free to the individual organisation having two telephone lines and a monthly average bill of Rs 10,000 calculated together for past six months. Alternate tariff plan had been introduced for basic phone subscribers i.e. on payment of Rs 350 as rent, 150 calls are free and for the rest of the calls the pulse rate is Rs 1.20 per unit and rent Rs 750 per month. As many as 600 calls are free. For rest of the calls, pulse rate is Rs 1.10 per unit only. Similarly, on rent of Rs 1650 per month, 1,800 calls are free and for the rest of the units only Re 1 will be charged.

However, charging pulse for the basic phone subscribers continues to be of 3 minutes and not 2 minutes as interpreted by some people. BSNL is committed to provide best possible services at cheapest rates to its subscribers, he added.



BSNL launches WLL mobile service in Khanna
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 11
WLL mobile (Tarang) service was launched by the Chief General Manager of the BSNL, Mr G.S. Bhatia, at Khanna on Wednesday. Khanna has become the fourth city in Punjab where this facility has been started.

While addressing a function organised at the BSNL complex, Khanna, the Chief General Manager said under the scheme customers would have limited mobility under CDMA technology. He said this scheme would be launched in Amritsar, Bathinda, Jalandhar and other major cities of the state. The other cities where the scheme had been launched are Ludhiana, Patiala and Tarn Taran.

The function was also attended by Mr Amit Singla, DGM, Mr G.S. Julka, General Manager, Ludhiana, Mr Devinder Singh, DET, Mr Balram Bhardwaj, SDO, Mr Hansraj Kaushal, SDO, Mr D.K. Sodhi, SDO, and Mr Sham Singh, a senior most employee at Khanna office beside others.


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 |