L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Doctor booked for kidnapping NRI woman
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 30
A psychiatrist belonging to Maharashtra and practising at a clinic here for the past two months is turning out to be a headache for the local police. He has been accused of kidnapping a married NRI woman besides defrauding a local car dealer of over Rs 3 lakh.

The psychiatrist, Dr Arvind Anni Shakil Sagar (the police is verifying whether this is his real name), was yesterday booked by the Sarabha Nagar police on the charge of kidnapping Dr Kamaljit Kaur, who had returned to her native country few months ago to get some psychiatric treatment. She is daughter of a PAU professor and her in-laws also live in the city. She was being treated by the doctor at Amarjit Nursing Home here since February.

The woman was last seen on April 14 when she had gone to meet the doctor. She did not return and when her relatives went to search for her, they learnt the doctor was also missing. The family members lodged a complaint with the police.

The woman was herself an MBBS doctor and mother of two children. According to the FIR, the accused doctor allegedly made her a drug addict and later kidnapped her.

The police has raided several places, including some of the accused’s suspected hideouts in Amritsar, Chandigarh and Delhi. The police has pasted the doctor’s posters at all police stations of the state, besides at key railway stations and bus stands in Delhi and other cities of North India.

However, the police is yet to raid Ahmednagar city in Maharashtra to which the man belongs.

While the police was investigating the matter, it learnt that a car dealer of the Feroze Gandhi market here was also duped by the psychiatrist of Rs 3.2 lakh. The car dealer is yet to lodge a formal complaint with the police.


Rotten wheat makes life hell for villagers
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur Dakha (Ludhiana), May 30
Wheat worth crores of rupees is rotting in open godowns in many parts of the district. Besides causing a loss to the public exchequer, the rotting wheat is posing a number of problems for villagers, who are virtually living amidst stink and weevils, an insect which destroys foodgrain and crops.

The wheat, worth Rs 20 crore and procured by Punjab Agro four years ago, is lying on three open plinths in Rakba, Mandiani and on the Mullanpur-Raikot road. The weevil and fungus-infested wheat has not only been rendered unfit for consumption but it has become impossible to stand near the plinths for even a few minutes due to the stink emanating from the decomposing grain.

The villagers claim that weevils, which are swarming the place, have made their life a virtual hell.

“Weevils can be found in cooked food, we cannot sleep as they crawl on our bodies and when we reach home after driving a scooter our hair and clothes are full of these insects,” said a villager of Mandiani.

He said the villagers had even threatened to boycott the Parliamentary elections and made it an election issue. “For the past many months, we have been complaining about the problem but to no avail. With the monsoon approaching, we are apprehending a major epidemic in the village,” he said.

A visit to the open godowns revealed that lakhs of wheat sacks were lying in open with stink emanating out of the decomposing grain. The bags were totally damaged and wheat had been completely eaten up by pests and fungus. The sacks were not covered by tarpaulin sheets and had been left to rot in open.

Inquiries revealed that the wheat was stored on these plinths in 1999 and was not taken care of thereafter. The staff assigned to look after the wheat did not bother to cover it or spray insecticides to kill the pests.

Mr Gurmail Singh, a villager said it was ironical that hundreds of tonnes of wheat was being converted into dirt in a country where many people could not afford one square meal.

A visit to Rakba village revealed that the rotten wheat was being refilled in gunny bags and transported to another open godown nearby. Workers on the spot told The Tribune that the Deputy Commissioner had ordered the wheat to be shifted to a safer place. The contractor said he was being paid Rs 25 lakh for lifting and the work would take a month’s time.

They said that the rotten wheat would be auctioned for cattle feed as per the orders.

However, the villagers said the wheat was decomposed to such an extent that it was not fit even for the consumption of cattle.

The villagers feared that once the wheat was auctioned, it would be mixed with the good quality grain and passed on to innocent consumers in the form of flour. They demanded that the rotten wheat should not be auctioned.


Rs 6.30 lakh looted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 30
A gang of robbers active in the city for the past few days struck again by snatching Rs 6.30 lakh from two Mandi Gobindgarh-based iron merchants in Phase 7 of Focal Point today evening. The businessmen had come on a routine visit to the city to finalise a deal.

The incident took place at about 5:30 p.m. when the alleged victims, an iron merchant Rattan Sharma and his partner who were riding a scooter were waylaid and robbed of cash at gun point. The robbers were three in number and were carrying arms. The traders tried to resist but were rendered helpless when the accused brandished weapons.


IB stint for Dinkar Gupta
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 30
Last minute changes not withstanding, Mr Parag Jain is tipped to take over as the new Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) of the Ludhiana Police Range. The present incumbent, Mr Dinkar Gupta, a 1987 batch IPS officer is being sent on deputation to the Centre as Deputy Director of the Intelligence Bureau. While, Mr Gupta’s orders have been signed, those of Mr Jain are likely to be signed in a day or so.

Mr Gupta, who was the seniormost officer in the DIG rank, was promoted Inspector General of Police (IG) on Thursday. He has opted to be sent to Delhi on deputation as his wife, Mrs Vini Mahajan, a Punjab cadre IAS officer is already on deputation with the Central Government.

Prior to his appointment as DIG Ludhiana, Mr Gupta had the experience of serving in this police district as Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Mr Jain has served as SSP, Chandigarh, besides other places. Both Mr Gupta and Mr Jain were in the race for being appointed as SSP, Chandigarh.


Management of milk plant under fire
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 30
The acting general manager of the cooperative sector Verka Milk Plant in the city has come under fire from employees for various acts of omission and commission with the Milk Plant and Dairy Workers Union demanding a high-level inquiry and strict action against the erring officer.

In a memorandum submitted to the state government, the union alleged that the acting general manager of the plant, Mr P.K. Verma, was functioning in an autocratic manner and the workers of the milk plant were being kept away from the crucial decision-making process.

Mr Sukhdev Singh and Mr Nirmal Singh, president and secretary, respectively, of the union further said that for the past more than 10 years, each employee of the milk plant was covered under personal accident insurance of Rs 1 lakh at his own expense and invariably the union was always associated with the final decision in this respect.

However, the General Manager had set up a committee of a select few officers on April 5 which called for bids from the insurance companies. Without taking the employees union into confidence, the entire business of personal accident insurance was about to be entrusted to a particular company on May 5 at a premium of Rs 135 per employee. The union activists lodged a strong protest against the move. As a result, the union functionaries were included in the sub committee which invited fresh bids on May 7 and finalise the insurance policies at a premium of Rs 113.40 per employee. The union functionaries maintained that on being confronted, the said official threatened the employees.


Sehajdharis welcome SGPC poll postponement
Our correspondent

Ludhiana, May 30
The Sehajdhari Sikh Federation (SSF), while welcoming the postponement of the SGPC elections, has termed it as a correct decision at right time.

Talking to mediapersons, the SSF national president, Dr P.S. Ranu, said holding elections to the esteemed body of the Sikh community without involving lakhs of Sehajdhari Sikh voters would not have been only against natural justice but also a furtherance of the nefarious designs of Akali leaders to divide the community.

He said the SSF had already challenged the notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs issued on October 8, 2003, vide which the voting right of the Sehajdhari Sikhs was curtailed. The action of the Sikh Gurudwara Commission in setting the process of elections in motion was condemnable and was described as having been undertaken under the influence of Akali leaders even when the final decision of a civil writ petition (17771/2003) in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard was pending for July 19,2004.

According to Dr Ranu, the allegations being levelled by Mr Parkash Singh Badal and other Akali dal leaders against the Congress of interfering with the elections of the SGPC were a mere cover up for public consumption only whereas the SSF was struggling for the restoration of voting rights to the Sehajdhari members of the Sikh community. "It was Mr Badal himself, who had connived with the then NDA government at the Centre to delay the SGPC elections for three years but now when the Union Government had postponed the poll due to pendency of the writ petition and other technical grounds, the SAD-B is feeling upset and is crying foul."

In order to set the record straight, he told that the SSF had sent a fax message and a legal notice to the Union Home Minister Mr Shivraj Patil and the Union Home Secretary Mr Anil Bajpai asking them to restrain the Gurudwara Election Commission from issuing the notification for SGPC elections on June 1. "Such a step will amount to contempt of court since the matter is pending before the High Court and notices of motion have already been issued to all respondents, which include the SGPC, the Punjab Government, the Gurudwara Election Commission and the Union of India." The federation had also filed another application before the High Court seeking directions to the Union Government and the Gurudwara Election Commission, not to issue the notification for election and the case had been listed for hearing on May 31, 2004, Dr Ranu added.


SGPC poll: Akali groups vow to defeat Badal
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 30
Various Akali factions, Sikh Students Federation groups and other associated Sikh organisations are set to join hands to defeat the Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal in the forthcoming Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections.

The first death anniversary of Joginder Singh Bhutani provided a platform for various leaders of Barnala, Tohra and Ravi Inder Singh factions of the SAD, SAD (A) and other associated Sikh organisations to air their anguish against the Badals and Mr Dhindsa. They also urged Mr Surjit Singh Barnala to step down from the post of Governor and lead the Panthic Akalis in their fight against of Mr Badal and Mr Dhindsa.

Though no formal announcement was made regarding defection, Ms Surjit Kaur Barnala called upon the SAD leaders having allegiance to the Barnala faction to organise units in their respective districts.

Mr Bharpur Singh, a former chairman of the Punjab Forest Corporation and SAD leader of the Ravi Inder Singh faction, alleged that members of the Badal family, who were facing charges of corruption, were responsible for the downfall of Akalis and Sikhs. He demanded that the Badals should be summoned at Akal Takht.


Dr Ishwar Singh remembered
Our Correspondent

Doraha, May 30
The first death anniversary of Dr Ishwar Singh, the founder president of Guru Nanak Model Senior Secondary School and Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, was observed here today.

People from all walks of life and political leaders from various parties attended the ceremony. After the bhog of “Sahaj Paath,” several prominent personalities described the role played by Dr Ishwar Singh as a physician, a politician, a social worker and an educationist.

They said Dr Ishwar Singh’s whole-hearted dedication towards the promotion of rural education would be remembered for ages. They lauded the contributions made by him to the fields of education, medicine and social work.

Among those who paid their tributes were Mr Jaswant Singh Gill, Principal, Guru Nanak National College, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, MP, Mr Tarlok Singh Jaggi, an executive member of the college committee, Dr Amarjit Singh Dua, Dean, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar and Prof Balwant Singh Pangali, general secretary of the college management committee. Those who were present on the occasion included Bibi Bhagwant Kaur, president, College Management Committee, GNN College, Doraha, Mr Jogeshwar Singh Mangat, senior vice-president , Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, GNDU University, Amritsar. Mrs Raj Rani, president, Municipal Council, Doraha, Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh Gill, Mr Harjiwan Gill, Prof Gunwant Dua, Mr Adarsh Pal Bector, Mr Om Parkash Bector, Mr Inder Singh, Mr Rajinder Singh Khalsa, Mr Bhupinder Oberoi, Mr Sardara Singh Oberoi, former Principal N.S. Tuli, Mr Pritam Singh Jaggi, Mr Dharamjit Singh Jaggi, Mr Sukhpal Singh, Principal Urmil Sood and Principal Satpal Gosain.

Dr Ishwar Singh died due to a prolonged illness last year. He had been the president of the Management Federation of Private Aided Colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh. Besides, he was a manager of two schools at Jaspalon and committee member of Nanakana Sahib Public School, Ludhiana. He was actively involved in the functioning of various organisations and associations.


Pensioners’ dharna in Chandigarh
Our Correspondent

Samrala, May 30
The promises made to the Punjab pensioners by Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, have not been fulfilled. Even the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, has failed to keep her promises with the pensioners.

It was stated in a press conference held here by Mr Prem Sagar Sharma, the president of the Punjab Raj Pensioners Mahasangh.

He said resentment prevailed among his lakhs of pensioners against the adamant attitude of the Punjab Government. At an executive body meeting of the mahasangh held in Ludhiana it was decided to hold a protest dharna at Sector 17 Bridge Market in Chandigarh on June 17 to press for the acceptance of their demands.

The pensioners also welcomed the move of Congress president Sonia Gandhi to name Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister.

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