L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Mohsina warns Cong men against indiscipline
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
The Congress general secretary, Ms Mohsina Kidwai, today told the party workers, councillors, legislators and ministers that any sort of discipline or indifference towards the party candidate from Ludhiana parliamentary constituency would invite strict action.

She said the performance of each party leader and worker was being closely monitored by the high command. She also hinted that Ms Priyanka Gandhi was likely to visit the city in connection with the party campaign.

Ms Kidwai was on a visit to the city to assess the campaigning of the party candidate, Mr Manish Tiwari. She made it clear that Mr Tiwari had been nominated from the constituency by the party high command and opposing him would mean revolting against the party.

The Congress leader held a meeting of the local legislators, ministers and party office-bearers at a local hotel.

She remarked that Ludhiana was one of the safest constituencies for the Congress and Mr Tiwari would win by a landslide margin.

Ms Kidwai talked to party ministers and legislators individually. She refused to buy the argument that the party should intensify its campaign only after Mr Tiwari files his nomination papers. She made it clear that no time should be wasted and all party workers should actively join the campaign at the earliest.

Today’s meeting was attended by the Punjab Higher Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, the Transport Minister, Mr Tej Parkash, the Minister of State for Printing and Stationery, Mr Rakesh Pandey, the Minister of State for Jails and Urban Development, Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, a local legislator, Mr Surinder Dawer, and the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill.

Ms Kidwai also inaugurated the media centre of Mr Tiwari at his election office on the Malhar Road. She appreciated the efforts of the party workers in organising the campaign. She said it was important to reach out to each and every voter in the constituency.



Lok Janshakti leader joins Cong
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 15
The Punjab Pradesh Safai Mazdoor Congress has decided to actively support the Congress nominee from the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat, Mr Manish Tiwari. Activists of the body have been directed to mobilise persons from the weaker sections, slums and Dalits.

This was stated by Mr Samay Singh Birla, president of the body, while addressing a meeting of the party in Ghumar Mandi here last evening. Mr Jagmohan Sharma, president, District Congress Committee (DCC) (Urban), and other party functionaries, including Prof Satish Sharma, Mr Nirmal Singh, Mr Sushil Malhotra and Mr Satish Sharma, were also present.

Mr Birla said the weaker sections and Dalits had always identified themselves with the Congress, both in the state and the Centre. He charged the Centre with taking massive funds from big business houses and allowing the prices of essential commodities to be hiked.

Dalits would not be misled by allurements and false promises of the BJP-SAD combine and would vote overwhelmingly for the Congress, Mr Birla added.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Manish Tiwari vowed that the Congress would continue to work for the welfare and empowerment of the weaker sections and Dalits.

Local functionaries of the Safai Mazdoor Congress, including Mr Baleshwar Datt, Mr Rohit Shodai, Mr Sham Lal Chauhan, Mr Sunil Kumar, Mr Naresh Kumar, Dr Balwinder Chanalia, Mr Sham Saggar, Mr Shiv Kumar, Mr Tara Chand Mullanpur, Mr Jajj Kumar, Mr Darshan Singh, Ms Hardeep Kaur, Dr Parbhat, Mr Ramesh, Mr Tehal Singh and Mr Rakesh Shodai, among others, attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, at a function organised by the Labour and Employment Cell of the PPCC at New Shivpuri here, local unit president of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) Hakim Qazi Shaukat Ali, along with other office-bearers, joined the Congress. He announced his support to the Congress candidate. Mr Balwant Rai Kapoor, chairman of the cell, who presided over the function, claimed that 110 office-bearers and active members of the LJP had joined the Congress.

The DCC (U) president, Mr Jagmohan Sharma and other party leaders, including Mr Ramesh Joshi, Secretary, PPCC, Ms Barjinder Kaur, Member, Punjab State Women Commission, Mr Hans Raj Gagat, organising secretary, Indian National Trade Union Congress, Mr Sunder Lal Mehta, vice-chairman, Labour Cell, PPCC, Mr Ravinder Sehgal, general secretary, DCC, Mr B.K. Rampal, convener, Legal Cell, PPCC, Mr Pawan Diwan, vice-president, Punjab Youth Congress, Mr Jagdish Chander, member, AICC and Mr Ranjit Singh Chauhan, welcomed new entrants to the party.



BJP will improve its tally, says Grewal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 15
A former state president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and member of the state executive of the party, Mr Sukhminder Pal Singh Grewal, has claimed that the party was in a much better position this time and would improve its tally in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing a party workers’ meeting at Jodhan village today, he said the poll would be contested on the issue of the prospective Prime Ministerial candidate. During his tenure, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee had proved that an ‘inexperienced’ Ms Sonia Gandhi was no match for him.

Launching an attack on the Congress government in Punjab, Mr Grewal maintained that the people were fed up with policies of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. “From his style of working, under the influence of a coterie, the Chief Minister has distanced himself from the masses. Most of the welfare programmes and Developmental policies, initiated by the previous SAD-BJP government in Punjab, have been scrapped.”



Health Dept sets its own rules
One post, two persons
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, April 15
The District Health Department seems to have refused to obey the orders of Director Health Services, Chandigarh, if the case of Mr Yadvinder Singh, a Radiologist at the local Civil Hospital is to be believed. The Radiologist’s transfer to the Civil Hospital had been cancelled and he was asked to report at the Primary Health Centre, Pakhowal, in September, 2003, as per the orders by the Health Department, Chandigarh. But even after seven months of the issue of the orders, he has been performing duty at the Civil Hospital.

Without being physically present at Pakhowal, his attendance is regularly marked there and he draws salary from Pakhowal. Not only this, since 1997, he has been availing himself of the house rent i.e. 15 per cent of the basic pay as well as staying in the government accommodation at the Civil Hospital. The reason for all these favours is the man enjoys a good rapport with senior Health Department officials.

At present, the only post of Radiologist at the Civil Hospital is being managed by two persons — Mr Yadvinder Singh and Mr Premjit Singh. The latter was transferred to Ludhiana on December 10, 2003, as per the head office orders and joined his duty on December 11.

A source in the Health Department, on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that the Civil Surgeon, Dr S.N. Tiwari, transferred Mr Yadvinder Singh from the PHC, Pakhowal, to the Civil Hospital and further sent the copy of his orders to the Director Health and Family Welfare, Chandigarh, for approval. The transfer orders of Mr Yadvinder Singh were cancelled by the Director on September 25, 2003 and he was asked to immediately report at Pakhowal. “Despite being transferred by the Director, Mr Yadvinder Singh is still working at the Civil Hospital here with Mr Premjit Singh on the same post. In the absence of Radiologist, the working at Pakhowal, Kalakh and Mansuran has been suffering. All these blocks have separate X-ray machines”, said the source.

The source further revealed that Mr Yadvinder Singh and his family had been staying at House Number 2, Old Civil Hospital here since 1997. “He is staying in the government accommodation and also availing himself of the house rent. All these favours are not possible without the connivance of higher officials of the department. Several times, Mr Yadvinder Singh was transferred to various places but he always managed to stay at the Civil Hospital here violating all the rules”, said the source.

Meanwhile, Dr S.N. Tiwari said workload at places like Mansuran, Kalakh etc was much less when compared to Ludhiana. So the services of two radiologists are needed here. Regarding the Director’s orders, he said, “The Director has telephonically told me that Mr Yadvinder Singh could continue here at the Civil Hospital and the copy of written orders would come later”.

Dr Tiwari also said he did not know anything about Mr Yadvinder Singh’s being availing himself of the house rent. “I’ll check-up with the Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Civil Hospital, about this”, he said.



MC stand on water supply sparks row
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 15
The stand of the civic administration on water supply to domestic connections in the city has sparked off a controversy with the residents feeling that the municipal corporation was acting in an impractical manner and telling the city residents to abide by directions which were difficult, if not impossible to observe.

The MC authorities had recently made it clear that under the provisions of the Punjab Municipal Corpo-ration Act, 1976, the domestic water supply was only meant for drinking purposes and other daily chores in the household and further that misuse of water for irrigating lawns and kitchen gardens or washing the vehicles was unlawful and punishable under the provisions of the relevant law.

Earlier, the City Mayor, while responding to the reports of feeble pressure in water mains, had maintained that the MC was responsible for providing water supply only at the ground floor level and the residents had to make their own arrangements to lift the water up to the overhead tanks after storing water at the ground level.

Senior MC officials, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, did agree that literal implementation of the provisions of the law was not possible because, in routine, the residents had to use water for several domestic purposes, other than drinking. However, the people should also behave in a responsible manner and desist from wastage of water, particularly during peak hours in the morning and evening.

An officer of the O and M wing, requesting not to be quoted, claimed that the MC was supplying at an average 213 litres of potable per capita per day in the city against the national norm of 135 litres. “Even though the supply and pressure in the water mains is adequate during scheduled hours of water supply, still if even a few persons wash their cars and scooters and water their lawns during the morning when the water is most needed by everyone, a lot of pressure is taken off by the booster pumps used for this purpose and other residents in the area are made to suffer for no fault of theirs.”

However, many city residents, to whom Ludhiana Tribune spoke to, were a little skeptical of the MC assertion that the water supply was solely for drinking purposes and they strongly felt that judicious use of water for daily routine in the household did not constitute its misuse under the provisions of the law. 



Doctor held for stealing cars
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Just a week after being released on bail in a car theft case, Mehtab Singh, an MBBS doctor, is again in the police net with the local railway police arresting him today for stealing two more cars from Mohali and Chandigarh.

Described as an ‘incorrigible’ car thief by police officials, the case of Mehtab Singh is one of a talented youth gone awfully wrong, thanks to his addiction to drugs. Youngest of the five “well- placed” children of a Kharar town based retired school headmaster, the accused is already facing six cases of car theft in Ludhiana, Moga and Chandigarh.

In January this year, he was caught by the Sarabha Nagar police here for stealing a car. He was locked in the Central Jail here under judicial custody and was later taken away to Chandigarh on production remand. He was released on bail on April 7 and was caught today.

Sources said Gurnam Singh, SHO, Government Railway Police (GRP), got a tip-off that some person was trying to sell parts of a car, which seemed to be stolen. He laid a trap for the man and caught him in the act on the premises of the railway station only.

A white Maruti car, CH-01P-9600, belonging to a senior doctor at PGI, Chandigarh, has been recovered from the accused. He had stolen it from the car parking. The car owner, Dr V.M. Gupta, who reached here after he was informed by the police, said he was shocked that a member of his own community had committed the crime. “It is a pity,” he said, adding that he was more sad than anguished at the case. He said he would try to arrange some rehabilitation for the youth.

Talking to The Tribune at the GRP police station, the accused, Mehtab Singh revealed that he had fallen in bad company while doing MBBS and was hooked to drugs. His favourite was Proxyvon capsules. He admitted that he started stealing cars to arrange money for the drugs.

Police sources said they had contacted his father over the phone but he had refused to come to his son’s aid. A police official claimed that the aged father was upset about his son and said he had already disowned him. The family had rescued him in the past and got him admitted to some drug de-addiction centre but the accused escaped.

Mehtab claimed he had got a job in a private hospital in Dehradun and was earning enough. However, he was not able to explain why was he used to steal cars. He admitted that he wanted money but also insisted that it was more of an obsession with him, “I just go mad and steal vehicles.”

He uses a master key and his favourite is a Maruti white car. He said it was very simple to open any car with his master key.

Police sources said the accused had stolen another car from Mohali on the same day. He had parked the car no. HR-51-0072 in car parking at the PGI car parking. He claimed he did not have enough money and the car from Mohali had run out of petrol due to which he stole the doctor’s car.



Timber merchant beats up youth 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Four persons were booked today, including a timber merchant, on the charges of illegal confinement and torture of a city youth last evening.
The youth was allegedly beaten up mercilessly by the accused and around 10 other unidentified persons on the suspicion of stealing Rs 38,000 of timber merchant Gonny.

The youth was admitted to the Civil Hospital by his relatives who rescued him from the clutches of the accused. According to the FIR , Rohit and Bantu, sons of the timber merchant, and their friends, Ashwani Kumar and his son Sonu, along with several other unidentified persons have been booked on the charges of torture, illegal confinement and kidnapping.

The youth was a friend of Rohit. He had gone with him to collect payment from a dealer. However, after taking the payment they parked scooter outside another client’s office in Jamalpur. The money, which was kept in the dickey of the scooter, was found missing.

Rohit and member of his family suspected Parminder to be the chief. They kidnapped him and beat him up mercilessly to extract a confession from him. When the youth did not admit, they rang up his family asking money in lieu of their son.



High-tension wires threat to residents
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 15
High-tension wires of the 66 KV grid at the Pohir road left Sukhwinder Singh of Lohatbadi with 75 per cent burns and Gurdas of Khera village dead on November 3, 1999. But the bent poles, due to which the wires are hanging low, have still not been repaired by the PSEB authorities

Showing his badly burnt body, Sukhwinder said that he, along with Gurdas, were electrocuted while they were repairing a truck on the roadside. “I was sitting on the road under the vehicle and Gurdas had climbed on the truck. Unaware of the high-tension wires, which were at very low height, he stood up and was caught by the electric wires and electrocuted. Gurdas succumbed to injuries on the way to hospital. Sukhwinder was taken to a hospital in Ludhiana.

Gurdial Singh, his father, said, “We consider it to be a miracle that our son, who had been covered by a piece of white cloth by passers-by mistaking him to be dead, survived. We had to dispose of his share of land to manage Rs 3.5 lakh to spend on his treatment.” The amount included hospital charges, cost of medicines and private treatment which continued for a long time.

Disgusted with the attitude of the electricity board authorities, Sukhwinder said his claim for compensation had not been accepted. “They did not accept the power of attorney given in my father’s favour on January 31, 2000, and now they say it is too late,” he said.

Once an expert diesel mechanic, Sukhwinder is totally disabled now. He has bought an old Maruti car to ply as a taxi.

Meanwhile, residents of Pohir village have urged the authorities to repair the poles and raise the level of wires. The authorities, on the other hand, maintained that nobody had approached them in this regard.



City residents in for a sizzling summer ahead
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 15
The city residents seem to be in for the most sizzling summer in the past four decades if the opening spell of the current heat wave is any indication.
With the mercury shooting up to 40.4° Celsius on Tuesday, the highest in the past 38 years for mid-April, the worries of the city residents about the scarcity of water and electricity have started tormenting them again. With the minimum temperature shooting up to 22°C, even the nights are getting warmer.

The rise in temperature has started reducing humidity with the result that the winds are becoming scorching. Weather pundits opine that because of the creation of a low pressure area, winds may blow from all sides but they see no respite from heat unless there was some rain or snowfall in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. They are also predicting dust storms from Rajasthan as the winds blowing present from the desert state across Panjab are already carrying dust particles.

Chances of rainfall in the near future are also bleak. Against an expected rainfall of 18.6 mm in April, it has rained only once ( 1.8 mm) in the past two weeks. So in all probability, this April would pass, by and large, as a dry month.



Sutlej Club becoming den of anti-social elements?
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, April 15
The prestigious Satluj Club is once again making news, but for all wrong reasons. The officer’s club has gained notoriety for drunken brawls and has become a meeting ground for anti-social elements. While, creme de la creme of the city was celebrating Baisakhi by listening to melodies of Punjabi singer Hans Raj Hans last night, some persons cornered a member on the roof of the club and thrashed him mercilessly.

The motive behind assaulting Mr Aman Mahant was simple. He has contested the recently held elections for the post of the secretary of the club. Though he did not win, his contesting the elections resulted in the defeat of the peron who thrashed him. The incident has sent shock waves among members of the club.

Giving details of the incident, a club member said “the Baisakhi celebrations turned sour when one of the former executive members Mr Aman Mahant, was thrashed by another club member, Mr Sunny Randhawa, in the presence of one of the office-bearers of the club”. According to eyewitnesses, Mr Mahant received several internal injuries and is believed to have submitted a written complaint to the Deputy Commissioner and club president, Mr Anurag Verma.

According to some members,” the two were not getting along with each other for the past several months. Both were the aspirants for the post of sports secretary of the club this year. Last night, after the programme, a minor altercation took place between the two.

But the altercation turned out to be a serious brawl, in which Mr Mahant was beaten by Mr Randhawa.

Sources said that at the time of brawl, Mr Vickey Sharma, owner of a beauty parlour in Kitchlu Nagar, who is not a member of the club, was also present with one of the office-bearers, whereas the invitation letter of the club had clearly mentioned, “to avoid inconvenience and unpleasant consequences, members are humbly requested not to bring guests and outsiders to the function”.

Mr Gurinderjit Singh Laddi, general secretary of the club, refused to comment on the issue, saying, “I do not know anything about the incident. I cannot comment till the time I get the real picture”.

Meanwhile, Mr Verma, when contacted, said, “I have come to know about the incident from Mr Laddi. Going by what he has told me, I have issued show-cause notices and also issued orders to suspend both Mr Mahant and Mr Randhawa from the club till an inquiry reveals the facts.” The inquiry would be conducted by Mr M.S. Jaggi, SDM (west), he said.



Pak scouts camp begins today

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 15
Sangrur and Fatehgarh districts are the only districts which will see the participation of their scout boys in the Pakistan Zamboori Scouts Camp commencing on Friday. Scouts from other districts could not get passports under the Tatkal scheme. Mr Bhupinder Singh Cheema, state organiser of Bharat Scouts and guides at Chandigarh said only 16 scouts reported for participating in the Zamboori camp. — OC



Local beautician judge for world contest
Our Correspondent

Indra AhluwaliaLudhiana, April 15
Indra Ahluwalia, a beauty therapist and director Grace Beauty Clinic and Institute, has been invited to Mumbai to be judge for an international make-up competition to be held at World Trade Center there on April 17.

In the competition, various types of make-up and hairstyle will be demonstrated by participants from India and abroad.



Insurance brokers open branch
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Trust Insurance Brokers Limited, promoted by the Syal Group, inaugurated its Ludhiana Branch here yesterday. The company, which has been given licence of Direct Broker for Life Business as well as General Business by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India, has already set up its offices in Jalandhar and Moga.

Addressing a press conference here last evening, Mr Ashok Syal, Managing Director, said the concept of insurance brokering was relatively new in India. He said brokers were expected to provide a wide range of services. He pointed out that like privatisation of the banking industry completely transformed the way banking was done, similar sophistication and technological innovations were expected in the insurance industry also. Therefore, in this scenario, the role of brokers became very important. They would assist the insured at the time of underwriting by providing risk assessment. Also in case of an accident, they would liaise with the surveyor for expeditious settlement of claim.

Mr Navneet Jyoti, Executive Director, said the penetration of insurance was too low at present in the country. With the coming up of private companies, awareness about insurance was growing. People were now more responsive to insurance. He said insurance brokers were further expected to spread awareness and tap new areas. 



Bank takes over property of defaulting firm
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 15
Officials of the Sunder Nagar branch of the State Bank of India (SBI) took physical possession of the moveable and immovable properties of a dyeing factory in Bhamian Kalan village on Tajpur Road here today under various sections of the Securitisation Act, 2002.

According to Mr Sunil Sharma, Assistant General Manager of the branch, the defaulting firm was served with a 60-day notice on January 17, 2004, for default in repayment of borrowings to the extent of Rs 2.85 crore. Since the defaulting firm did not respond to the demand for repayment of the outstanding amount, the bank had gone ahead to take possession of their properties.

Mr Sharma further cautioned all the bank borrowers to strictly adhere to the financial discipline regarding advances of the bank, failing which stringent action would be taken under the relevant laws against the defaulters.


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