L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


ASI suspended for beating up BJP man
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
The district police today suspended an ASI posted at Division No. 3 police station here and recommended similar action against a Head Constable of the wireless unit for allegedly beating up a BJP worker, Mr Pawan Garg, last night.

Mr Garg had gone to the police station with some other persons for lodging a complaint against a bus driver. But the policemen beat him up instead of taking any action against the driver, who works for an influential transporter.

Senior police officials swung into action this afternoon after learning about the incident. DSP Mohan Lal said ASI Harjinder Singh had been suspended with immediate effect. A recommendation for suspending Head Constable (wireless) Satbir Singh has been made to the wireless unit of the Punjab Police.

The police has, however not lodged any FIR against the policemen saying that Mr Garg was yet to lodge a formal complaint.

Mr Garg, who is undergoing treatment at the Civil Hospital here, told Ludhiana Tribune that he was part of a group of persons that had hired four buses to visit various religious places. They returned last night. At Basti Jodhewal chowk, they requested the bus driver, to drop some families near their houses in the city. The driver was reluctant, but on the intervention of two PCR cops, he agreed to do so.

However, he drove the vehicle in a rash manner which frightened the passengers. Mr Garg said he was also abused by the driver. The bus passengers, after forcing the driver to stop the vehicle took him to the nearby Division No. 3 police station. They complained to ASI Harjinder Singh, who questioned the driver. However, when the driver showed him a card of the transporter he was working for, the policemen changed their attitude towards the complainants.

Mr Garg alleged that he was taken inside a room and beaten by the ASI and several other policemen. His supporters standing outside called some BJP leaders and local residents who, rescued him.


Woman kills minor daughter
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
A woman in Abupura village in Jagraon has allegedly strangulated her two-year-old daughter to death in order to teach a lesson to her husband with whom she was having strained relationship for the past some time.

The woman, Paramjit Kaur, has been booked for the barbaric murder of the child on the complaint of her husband, Inderjit Singh today late evening.

The SHO, Sidhwan Bet police station, Mr Raminder Singh, said the woman and her husband were married in 2001 and lived peacefully till last year when the problems arose. The woman wanted the man to live with her parents in Kapurthala which was unacceptable to her husband.

The issue caused much bitterness between the two and they often quarrelled. Her husband Inderjit Singh told the police that when he reached home today evening he found the child dead but his wife seemed to have no remorse about it. He called his parents and other relatives and found that the child had marks on her neck.

The woman was questioned and she confessed she had killed the child as she was continuously weeping and was a block to her free life.


Tribune impact
Army ex-nurse offered job, money
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
The milk of human kindness has not dried up. This was evident today when city residents came up enthusiastically to help a former nurse with Indian Army, Lieut M.G. Welseley, after her plight was highlighted in The Tribune today.

A number of people came up to help her financially. Some have even offered her a job. Mr S.S. Puri, a 73-year-old businessman in Dugri, said
he was ready to offer her the job of a nurse for his ailing brother, who is admitted in DMC .

He said that he would hire her services for his elder brother if she was keen for the job. He added that he had faith in Army personnel as they were known for their sincerity and devotion towards work.

Ms Savinder Kaur from the local Sheela Hospital and vice-president of the Trained Nurses Association, Punjab, too was ready to offer her the job of a nurse if she was willing. She said her association would help her financially also in case she did not want to work.

She said that she was shocked to see that a talented woman who had served the nation in her prime was homeless and forced to earn her livelihood by doing menial jobs. She added that being a leader of nurses, she was ready to shoulder the responsibility of this woman who needed help.

Meanwhile, Ms Welseley could not be contacted and it could not be learnt whether she was willing to accept the job offers. She was not present in her room today when The Tribune team went to contact her. She was said to be away for some urgent work.


Rain thrills zoo inmates
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
Mild showers came as a big relief from heat for most city residents. But more pleased than humans seemed the inmates of the Ludhiana Zoo. They could not express much, but their mood said it all. The 10 tigers, four dozen peacocks and the deer abandoned the shady groves and the water pond to stroll freely in the compound of the zoo without bothering for the scorching sun.

Though the cool weather lasted only for a short while, during this time, the tigers were seen taking a leisurely stroll. The peacocks oblivious of the threat from the big cats, danced with joy. The lone ostrich in the zoo also seemed to have put his loneliness behind him and joined the peacocks to celebrate.

The lack of funds may be causing trouble for the maintenance of the zoo, but good weather appeared to have boosted the appetite of the tigers who get 10 kg of beef every day. The beef is brought to the city from Sarahanpur by train and then delivered on the zoo premises by a contractor.

The Ludhiana zoo has 10 tigers belonging to two families. One family consists of four members, while the second has six. Nevertheless, at any given time only one family is allowed to move freely, while the other remains locked inside. It was an unfortunate day for the family of six, who had to remain inside today. Those who visited the zoo today had a good close look at the various birds and animals, who were out to oblige.

The zoo has received a new bus for the safari ride.



Man strangles father-in-law
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
The Sadar police has registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Gurdhian Singh, a resident of Dhunawal village near Dhuri in Sangrur district, now living in Phullanwal village, against Dharminder Singh alias Kaka, a resident of Phullanwal village.

The complainant stated that his sister Malkit Kaur got married with the accused in 1991. But her husband used to beat her up frequently. After a recent incident, she came to her brother and apprised him of the matter. In order to pacify her husband, he said he, along with his father Mohinder Singh and Harnek Singh, a member of the panchayat, went to the house of the accused on Monday.

However, the accused had a scuffle with Mohinder Singh and strangled him following which the latter fell on the ground and died on the spot. No arrest has been made so far.


Paddy farmers ignore experts’ advice
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
Contrary to the advice of the state government, agricultural experts and Punjab Agricultural University for sowing late varieties of paddy to ease the pressure on natural resources, the farmers of the district have finished transplanting paddy in many areas. The PSEB too has advertised that it will supply eight hours of uninterrupted power supply only after June 10.

Transplanting paddy before June 10 means that the farmers had already sowed their nurseries in early May.

Unmindful of the irreparable damage to resources, the farmers are busy transplanting paddy and in many cases the varieties not recommended. This despite the fact that the watertable has gone down over the years. In some areas, it has been recorded as low as 350 feet. Incidentally, Ludhiana falls in the grey blocks of the state where more water is being drawn than is being replenished.

Experts have repeatedly advised the farmers to transplant paddy only after June 10 to avoid the problems of glut due to higher moisture content and reducing pressure on the depleting watertable and the power supply. The PAU experts had appealed the farmers to cultivate late varieties of paddy to get the maximum yield with low moisture content.

A survey of some villages by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that many farmers were transplanting paddy and many had already completed the practice a week ago. Although all farmers Ludhiana Tribune spoke to were aware of the depleting watertable and the directive by the university, they were carrying on regardless.

The farmers said that they were forced to transplant the paddy early as labour was available just after the harvesting of the previous crop. ‘‘ It becomes very difficult for us to find labour later as most of the labourers who are migrants go back due to lack of any work. We find the going tough as the work is done manually.’’ said Bachhiter Singh, farmer of Narangwal village.

Another farmer, Tarlochan Singh of Bhutta village, said he was well aware of the depleting underground water but he was unable to do anything. Pointing to the transplanted fields around him, he said, “I cannot fight this problem alone. I am not the only one who is transplanting paddy. I cannot relax when others are doing it. “He also said the level of water was going down and he and other farmers had to increase the depth of tubewells almost every year.

The experts at PAU said it was after many years of research that the university had directed the farmers to sow only late varieties of paddy. If the farmers did not listen to them experts they were in for trouble in the coming years and would find the damage almost irreversible.

The late varieties produced more yield, required a lesser amount of water than the early varieties and were much more resistant to many diseases. They added that only after obtaining positive results from research had the scientists asked the farmers to cultivate only late varieties and transplant the pods after June 15.

The scientists said that by resorting to early sowing and transplantation, the farmers waste precious underground water for about six weeks.

As a result, the present centrifugal pumps would have to be replaced with submersible pumps to draw water from deeper levels. This would involve huge costs which the farmers, who are already under heavy debt, could ill afford.


Bankers seek wage revision
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
Members of the Central Bank Officers Union (CBOU) deliberated on various factors affecting the performance of public-sector banks, progress of reforms, initiated by Dr Manmohan Singh urban he was the Finance Minister, impending wage revision and technology in the banking system.

Inaugurating the 7th biennial conference of the CBOU here yesterday, Mr S. Nagarajan, Deputy General Secretary, All India Bank Officers Association (AIOBA), and general secretary, All-India Central Bank Officers Association, observed that the process of consolidation through mergers and acquisitions of the public sector banks and financial system, which was on the cards during the tenure of the previous NDA government, might be delayed but there could be no escape from the exercise. “Technology will have its own toll on the banking systems. Core-banking solutions, if put into operation, will have its reflection of human assets excess,” he said, adding that change had to be accepted but not on terms proposed by ruling elite or regulators of the financial system.

Mr R.I. Sridharan, general secretary, AIBOA, explained about the impending wage revision for bank officials with effect from November 1 2002. The special package offered to State Bank officers from October 1, 2001, onwards ranged from Rs 550 to Rs 1000 with an average increase of Rs 500 per month and the beneficiary officers had already drawn the arrears. He stressed that collective bargaining character in the banking industry had to be retained lest attempts were be made to introduce the concept of fixed pay.

Lambasting the policy of privatisation and suppression of trade union rights, pursued by the NDA government, Mr C.H. Venkatachalam, secretary, All-India Bank Employees Association, remarked that situation prevailing under the outgoing regime was against the interest of the common man and more specifically against the trade union movement. He was of the view that the process of privatisation could be put on the back burner for the time being.

Mr Venkatachalam further said as per published results of public sector banks as on financial year ending March 2003, the total operating profit was Rs 40,000 crore while an amount of Rs 28,000 crore was appropriated towards provisions of ‘bad loans’, leaving the net profit at Rs 12,000 crore. Referring to the wage revision for workmen, he said an amount of Rs 818 crores had been offered by the Indian Banks Association (IBA) which was not satisfactory. “In return, the IBA wants freedom to introduce technology, freedom on mobility and rationalisation of special allowances which is not acceptable to the employees.”

Mr C.M. Puri, president, All-India Central Bank Employees Federation and member of board of directors of the bank, explained about working results of Central Bank of India and called upon officers to work for the betterment of the bank which would strengthen the case to retain the as a public sector organisation undertaking.

Meanwhile, the Indian National Bank Employees Congress, the Indian National Trade Union Congress and the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (labour and employment wing) urged the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambram, to prevail upon the Indian Banks Association for signing wage settlement of banks employees due since November 2002.


Ludhiana Calling

Photo by Pradeep TewariIMMEDIATELY after Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav took over as Railway Minister, he ordered a ban on the sale of tea in plastic cups. He went a line further ordering that the tea must be served in the age-old earthen cups only, reminding of the past when such cups were too frequent. Now the tea vendors at the railway station are finding themselves in a fix as from where to procure the earthen cups. They have already stopped serving tea in plastic cups and have introduced glasses. But they have reportedly been told that the glasses cannot be a substitute and they will necessarily have to serve tea in earthen cups only. Some of the vendors at Ludhiana railway station disclosed that they had had a tough time during the last week after the orders of the Rail Minister were conveyed to them to get the earthen cups. Within no time the prices of the earthen cups jumped up and there was a genuine shortage as well. Now the vendors have started ordering these cups from other states. But even that does not seem to help them as the demand is growing across the country. This is only the beginning of the rail journey of the Rail Minister. Who knows what lies ahead?

Roadside business

The roadside around the busy Ghanta Ghar has already been occupied by a colourful host of roadside business-makers who virtually sell everything. The busy lanes and by-lanes of the old city are literally bursting at the seams with regard to these roadside vendors. All vantage points have already been gobbled up . It is indeed very hard for a newcomer to find a favourable niche in these streets to run a small roadside business

But the enterprising class of migrants, who have come all the way to the city from UP and Bihar to make a fortune for themselves, are not the ones to give up easily. This migrant barber is surely running an open-air saloon with considerable success under a tree along the railway tracks. Because there is no dearth of customers for him . The city is just teeming up with migrants.

Welcome rain

Those who thought that the record-breaking heat wave would continue unabated for another two weeks or probably a month were proved wrong by the wide-spread downpour on Sunday night. The brisk rain , though accompanied by ferocious winds and awesome lightening, was welcomed by one and all. Particularly by the farmers , who were looking forward, oops.. up to the sky ever since the completion of the wheat harvest. The heavy downpour saved the farmers lakhs of rupees which otherwise would have been spent on the purchase of diesel to run the water-pump sets. Which is good for the environment as well. Little wonder that the farming community is eagerly hoping for a couple of big showers like the one on Sunday to further facilitate the sowing of paddy which is yet to pick up.

Blessing in disguise

The recent heat wave may have forced people inside but resultantly the roads are empty during most parts of the day. The city that is a driver’s nightmare has turned into a motorists delight. It is a different matter that not many people are adventurous enough to be out on he roads during these hot sultry days to enjoy the drive. There is only one thing that most people say, “how we wish that he city roads would permanently be this empty”. Nevertheless, at the same time they add we know “if wishes were horses, beggars would ride”.

Ladoos galore

In the wake of the Congress victory in the Lok Sabha elections, followed by Dr Manmohan Singh taking over as the new Prime Minister of the country, the Congress ranks seem to have forgotten the drubbing the party had received in the entire state and particularly in Ludhiana. Putting their party’s defeat behind like a bad dream, everybody who was anybody or even nobody in the party hierarchy went on a ‘ladoo’ distribution spree all over the city. It is altogether a different story that those going in for distribution of sweets or taking out victory rallies and processions paid more attention to media coverage and getting the photographs splashed in the newspapers. In any case, it turned out to be a boom time for sweet shops.

— Sentinel


Seminar on untouchability
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 1
The District Welfare Department, Fatehgarh Sahib, organised a seminar on the PCR Act 1955 regarding untouchability at Grain market, in Amloh. yesterday. Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, MLA, was the chief guest and Mr Pakhar Singh Salana, Chairman, Zila Parishad, presided over the function.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Sadhu Singh said the Congress, had always worked for the uplift of the scheduled castes. He said the Congress government at the Centre and in the state would jointly adopt welfare policies. He distributed cheques worth Rs 13.5 lakh to beneficiaries for the construction of pucca houses.

District Welfare Officer Pritam Singh Koarey talked about various welfare schemes.


Satta operator booked
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
On a tip-off, the Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under the Gambling Act against Kamaljit Singh, a resident of Haibowal Khurd. The police said today that the accused was indulging in booking satta bets at a public place in the area.


On the statement of Mr Lakhvir Singh, a resident of Jassowal Sudan village, the Sadar police yesterday registered a case against Pardeep Singh and Sukha Singh, residents of Jassowal village.

The complainant stated that the accused had intercepted him and assaulted him as a result of which he was injured and admitted to the Civil Hospital at Ludhiana. The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case on a statement of Mr Amandeep Singh, a resident of Kapil Park in Haibowal, against Raj Kumar and Jatinder Kumar, residents of Gopal Nagar, and Sonu, who lives in Dhakka Colony.

The complainant stated that the accused came to his shop on Monday, assaulted and threatened him. The Civil Lines police has registered a case on a statement of Ms Jaswinder Kaur, a resident of Phase-I , Urban Estate, Dugri, against Manish Mehta, Gurdev Singh, Jatinder Randhawa, Pushpinder Singh, Rakesh Kaul and G. S. Chadha.

The complainant stated that the accused, who were her colleagues in a private company, had intercepted her in Krishna Nagar on Sunday, assaulted and threatened her. No arrest has been made so far.


Mahant is arms dealers’ body chief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
Mr Pritpaul Singh Mahant (Ludhiana) was unanimously re-elected president of the Punjab Arms Dealers Association at the general body meeting of the association held in Jalandhar last evening. While Mr Kewal Krishan (Muktsar) was elected senior vice-president of the body, the house authorised Mr Mahant to nominate the other office-bearers and members of the state executive committee.

Mr Mahant vowed to strive for the waiver of the condition of getting the security certificate on the supplies from Indian Ordnance Factory products, saying that it was quite cumbersome and impractical. He said the association would seek an increase in the quantity of arms and ammunition on the dealers’ licences to bring it on a par with their counterparts in adjoining states of Haryana and Delhi.

He said nobody would be permitted to harm the interests of the arms dealers to achieve personal gains and action would be taken against the offenders.


Sheetal Vij’s bail plea hearing tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
The Jalandhar based industrialist and exporter, Sheetal Vij-accused of evading custom duty has filed a bail application. The hearing on his bail application was adjourned to June 3 by the Chief Judicial Magistrate-Mr Arunvir Vashisht, here today.

Mr Vashisht directed officials of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to produce the record concerned on the next date.


Six SHOs shuffled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
The city SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, has reshuffled six SHOs. The new postings are Rattan Singh Brar - SHO Sadar, Harjinder Singh -Division No. 6, Manjit Singh- Division. No 3, Insp. Sakattar Singh- Sahnewal, Dilpreet Singh- Division. No. 8, and Jogi Ram- Shimla Puri.

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