L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Gang of robbers busted
2 members held for snatching 73,000 from a trader
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Facing criticism for the rise in the incidents of robbery and snatching here, the district police today heaved a sigh of relief with the arrest of two suspected robbers. With this the police also claims to have busted a gang of robbers.

The accused have reportedly confessed to committing 17 robberies and snatching incidents at Sahnewal, Moga bus stand, Sherpur, Khanna, Jagraon, Mullanpur, Dehlon, Malerkotla, Phillaur, Nawanshahr, Pahir, Rajpura and Ludhiana.

Addressing a press conference, the DSP (Industrial Area), Mr R.K. Bakshi and the SHO, Division No. 6, Mr Harjinder Singh claimed that Head Constable Rajinder Singh showed exemplary courage in arresting the two robbers, Kishan Kumar and Sushil Kumar, after they had snatched over Rs 73000 from two traders from near Dholewal Chowk at about 10 pm last night.

The name of the Head Constable has been recommended for bravery award, Mr Bakshi said.

The suspects allegedly snatched a bag containing Rs 73,445 from Mr Vinod Kumar, a resident of Lakkar Bazaar, and an employee of Mr Vijay Kumar of Kesar Gunj, a Karyana dealer, after they had just alighted from a bus near the chowk. The money was collected from some wholesale customers in Rajpura and Sirhind.

The Head Constable, standing at a little distance, quickly responded to an alarm raised by the victims. He chased the suspects and pushed them down on the road after covering a long distance. A number of passers-by also helped him in nabbing the suspects

The police is also suspecting their involvement in several cases of robbery and snatching in Ludhiana also. Police sources said raids were being conducted to nab other members of the gang.



Tribune Impact
Reprieve for Shastri Hall 
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, June 29
Responding to the sports fraternity's concern towards (mis)using the stadia for non sports activities, the district administration today changed the venue of the rehearsal for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) which were scheduled to be held here at Shastri Badminton Hall of the Guru Nanak Sports Complex on June 29 and July 5. Today, the rehearsal was held at Khalsa College for Women, Ghumar Mandi.

Different sports associations have expressed gratitude to the administration for its decision to shift the venue for the rehearsal. Office - bearers of the various sports organisations, sports promoters and sports persons have thanked the concerned officials for understanding the 'sensitivity' of the matter and ordered the change of the venue.

It is pertinent to mention here that The Tribune carried the story in these columns on June 19 regarding the administrations' move to use the Shastri Badminton Hall for the SGPC poll when the local office of the Punjab Sports Department had received a communique from the Deputy Registrar, Local Bodies, Punjab, for making arrangements for taking over the hall for rehearsal purpose.

The sports fraternity had opposed the administration's decision to use the sports centre for other than sports activities. They had appealed to the local administration to make alternative arrangements for such activities since the venue had already been damaged during the last parliamentary elections.

The expensive wooden floor at the hall, used to store the election material and counting of votes during these elections was vandalised and the gym as well as the changing room, adjoining the badminton hall was dug up by the selection staff, besides causing inconvience to the shuttlers who used to visit the hall daily. The hall was spurced up at the cost of several lakhs of rupees during the National Games held in Punjab in 2001.

Mr R S Behal, honorary general secretary, Ludhiana District Badminton Association, met Ms Sarojini Gautam Sharda, Deputy Director, Local Bodies and the returning Officer, SGPC poll, on Friday last and urged her to shift the venue of rehearsal to some other place since the players were busy in preparing for the National Ranking Tournaments to be held at Bangalore and Chennai respectively early next month.



City girl makes it to IAF
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Keeping with the family tradition of serving in the armed forces, a city girl, Ravina Sandhu, granddaughter of a highly-decorated soldier, late Maj Jagir Singh Kokri, has been selected in the Indian Air Force as pilot.

With her selection, Ravina has become the fourth generation recruit in the family of Mention-In-Despatches and Vir Chakra awardee Maj Kokri in the armed force. She claimed that she was the only girl candidate from the state to have been selected.

She would leave Ludhiana for Hyderabad on July 3 where she would undergo training in flying. Born and brought up in Ludhiana, Ravina’s first love was flying. “I am feeling on top of the world. Since school days, I had determined to join the Indian Air Force as pilot. My cherished dream has come true.”

An engineering graduate from Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College here, Ravina opted for armed forces out of her desire to do something for the nation. She drew inspiration from her grandfather, who served the Indian Army with a rare distinction. He passed away at his residence in Barewal recently.

“My great grandfather, late Havildar Mangal Singh, was the first member of our family to join the Indian Army. Later my grandfather followed in his footsteps. I have been seeing that great soldier in my life. I have been drawing inspiration from my uncle, Maj Amarjit Singh, and my father, Col R.P.S. Sandhu. I had decided that I would make my career with the IAF. And I have done it.”

Alumni of Sacred Heart Convent School, Ludhiana, Ravina is eldest of her parents’ two children. Her brother passed his Class XII examination this year. She attributes her success to her mother, Dr Pushpinder Sandhu, a Professor in Home Science College, Punjab Agricultural University, and her father. “My parents have been encouraging me throughout my life as a student. Today, they are the happiest persons on earth,” said Ravina while talking to Ludhiana Tribune at her residence. “I have been making arrangements for my training at Hyderabad. I know it is going to be the most challenging part of my life,” she added.

Ravina has many feathers in her cap. Besides being an outstanding student, she won a gold medal in the state-level Rifle Shooting Championship, took part in the All-India Rifle Shooting and had won many medals.



Murder victim yet to be identified
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 29
The Salem Tabri police is yet to get any clue to the identity of the youth whose body was found packed in a plastic sack in the fields at Bhattian Bet village a couple of days ago.

The body was found on Sunday afternoon when Mr Gulzari Ram, a resident of Hazuri Bagh Colony at Bhattian Bet, went to his fields. He spotted a bag containing a body. A foul smell was emanating from it. He informed the police.

A police official said the body, which had been stripped by his killer(s), had apparently been thrown there after committing the murder somewhere else. However, the police could not find any clues that could indicate the use of any particular vehicle for bringing the body to the fields.

The official said the condition of the body suggested that the youth had been murdered about three days prior to the discovery of the body.

He said the doctors conducting a post-mortem examination on the body had sent body tissues for a forensic examination.



Ruppainwali youth is crorepati
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Lakhwinder Singh, a 22-year-old B.Tech student from Faridkot, could not believe his luck when he came to know that he had won Rs 2 crore in the Playwin jackpot. It was on June 19 when Lakhwinder had punched the numbers for his Playwin ticket and won the jackpot.

Talking to reporters here today, Lakhwinder said that he had always hoped to win a fortune. Some years ago, he had randomly picked up number 4,6,27,29,38,44, which had won him Rs 500. Since then he kept on trying his luck with the same number, as he had a belief that he would win a fortune, which he finally did. Interestingly, Lakhwinder belongs to Ruppainwali village (abode of money).

Lakhwinder, who belongs to a middle-class family, wants to complete his B.Tech degree, after which he plans to migrate to Canada. However, his priority is to spend some of the prize money on the village gurdwara. He wants to renovate it as it is in a dilapidated condition.

Lakhwinder kept on checking the number many times. His parents also find it hard to believe his luck.

Mr Anuj Mathur, vice-president of the Playwin, said Lakhwinder was the first winner of the mega jackpot from Punjab. He said, Playwin had got a tremendous response in Punjab and the company was doing a good business here.

Mr Mathur said Playwin has been in the online gaming business for over two years. It started its operation on March 5, 2003. In a short span of two years, Playwin had created 44 “crorepatis” and 2151 “lakhpatis”. The total prize money so far distributed by the Playwin amounts to Rs 725 crore.



Subscriber slips over BSNL slip
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
At the BSNL the left hand does not appear to know what the right does. This is apparent from the fact that while the bill for a landline phone is delivered on time, that for a cellphone on the same address the nigam could not locate the addressee. Moreover, a delay in depositing the bill led to the suspension of services.

Mr Jaswinder Singh stated that the outgoing service to his cell number was suspended since he had not paid the bill. But he added that he had never received the bill. When he reached the BSNL office he added that he found it difficult to get the exact amount of the bill.

He said he had taken the BSNL post-paid cellphone connection against his landline number. While he regularly got the bills of his landline number, he seldom received bills for the cell. However, during the past six months of the connection he received only one bill on the same address mentioned on his application form, which he deposited on time.

Interestingly, the BSNL was reportedly making inquiries from the customer with regard to address.

Inquiries with the BSNL revealed that while the bills for the landline connections are dispatched from here only, for the cellphones these are prepared and dispatched from Chandigarh. A senior BSNL official attributed the fault to the postal department, while admitting that there were numerous complaints of this nature.

Mr Dilbag Singh, a retired Army officer, said that he had also faced similar problem. He said for a long time he did not get any bill and then one day his outgoing services were suspended. He said it took him one full day to know the exact bill amount and today he had come to deposit the bill. He said the BSNL should evolve some proper mechanism in this regard. 



Instant mobile connections for pilgrims
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 29
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has made a unique offer of CellOne mobile phone connection to pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi, Amarnath Yatra and other visitors to Jammu and Kashmir on pilgrimage.

Stating this, Mr G.S. Julka, General Manager, BSNL, said under the scheme, mobile phone connections would be released and activated on the day of application, which should be complete in all respects. The applicants would have to submit applications along with a passport size photograph, proof of identity like photocopy of PAN card or driving license, proof of residence, along with a registration fee of Rs 200 and a security deposit of Rs 2000.

Mr Julka claimed that BSNL alone, was providing satisfactory cellular services in the J and K region and the CellOne mobile service with an upper edge in connectivity, was the best option for pilgrims and other regular visitors to the state. The BSNL tariff, he said, was also most competitive with as little as 10 paise per pulse or 40 paise per minute under 525 plan.




When the city got its directory of Yellow Pages, business houses made a beeline for getting an entry into the book to improve their business. But nearly a year later the situation has changed so drastically that the publishers are offering free entry into these pages if some places an advertisement in the pullout of a particular newspaper. No doubt it’s a good deal, but the question remains that how many people will actually read this particular directory.

Soccer mania missing

The Euro-2004 football championship has failed to enthuse city residents. No special shows have been planned in any city hotel nor the sports goods sellers are reaping any profit from the championship. Even though a state-of-the-art football ground exists at the football stadium where key matches of the national football league are held every year, no effort has been made by the football association to popularise the game among youngsters during the Euro-2004 matches.

Vigilance wale

A milk vendor was taken aback the other day when some police personnel stopped him when he arrived to deliver milk at a couple of houses in the Officers Colony. Though after a bit of arguments he was allowed to make the delivery. On asking, one of the policemen told him that a vigilance raid was on at the residence of one of the government officers. Unable to understand as to who could raid the house of his “sahib”, he asked, “Ji aye vigilance wale kaun hunde han (who are these vigilance guys)”? Pat came the reply from the policeman, “Ohi jinha ne Badal nun pharia si (Those who had nabbed Mr Badal).”

Law and order

Law and order in the city has gone from bad worse. One hears of robberies, assaults, thefts, muggings and murders, etc. without fail. The failure of the police to trace the culprits in most of these cases is not only encouraging petty robbers to go in for bigger targets but also inciting several others in this regard. Scores of unsolved robberies and muggings have been witnessed across the city in the recent past and most of these were not solved.

Haven for criminals

The local railway station, which continues to make news either due to lack of drinking water, hygiene or a transparent reservation system is again in news, as it has been found that criminals find it a good place to hide. Sometime ago, the division No. 6 police had arrested some persons from the Transport Nagar area who were planning to commit robbery. Two of them confessed that they had made the railway station their home and they used to hold meetings here. A teenage boy, who was nabbed by a shopkeeper while trying to steal his bag outside the Kamla Nehru market, divulged that he used to live at the railway station. Steps were taken but in vain.


Many four-wheeler drivers, particularly truck drivers, love to write something on the rear of their vehicles to attract others attention. While most of these phrases are hackneyed, some are really innovative and fresh. The other day, Sentinel spotted a new car with a new phrase in Punjabi- “Vekhi ja par chhedin naa” (keep on looking but don’t tease me). — Sentinel



Decision reserved on move against MC chief
Tribune News Service

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 29
Acting under pressure, officials here today failed to declare that a majority of the councillors of the Mandi Ahmadgarh Municipal Council had voted for the no-confidence motion moved against the Congress-backed President of the council. Of the 15 councillors, 10 had voted for the motion and five against.

This is reportedly the first instance where a no-confidence motion had been brought against the council chief of the ruling party. Incidentally, Council president Rajnish Kumar Guddu owes allegiance to Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

According to the proceedings, one of the major issues raised by the ruling faction repeatedly was the absence of MLA Razia Sultana, who is also an associate member of the council. A decision was reserved on the claims and counter-claims by councillors of both factions regarding the right to vote of Ms Razia.

The officers adjourned the council without deciding the fate of the motion. The record of the proceedings have been sealed and sent to the higher authorities concerned in Chandigarh for further action.

Tension ruled high at the meeting with both factions present in strength. The police had made elaborate arrangements to prevent any untoward incident. Dr Indu Malhotra, SDM, Malerkotla and observer for the meeting, said 10 councillors of the 15 voted for the motion while four, besides the President, opposed the motion. Mr Suraj Parkash Sharma, Executive Officer and convener of the meeting, said he had reserved the decision as he could not arrive at a conclusion since Ms Razia had abstained from voting.

Another point put forward by Mr Arora was that the person against whom the no-confidence motion was moved could not preside over the meeting, whereas Mr Guddu was allowed to do so by the officers overseeing the process.

The meeting was convened today. It started an hour late since the observer had to listen to arguments of the counsels of both parties.

Interestingly, three councillors remained undecided for a long time on this issue. Those who voted in favour of Mr Rajnish Sharma, included Mr Harpal Fauji, Mr Jaswinder Singh, Ms Raj Rani and Ms Raman Deep Kaur.



Study finds bank staff stressed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 29
“Stress is unavoidable in the present competitive environment,” says a study by students of the Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE). As many as 93 per cent of the respondents working at different levels in private banks were found to be under a high degree of stress due to overwork, inadequate working conditions and a tight time schedule. “Role stagnancy, role ambiguity, role conflicts, market saturation, low salary and competition” were the other reasons cited for stress at the work place.

A large number of the respondents under stress belonged to executive level. The study was carried out on employees of selected private banks in Ludhiana. The objectives of the study were to assess the nature, degree and sources of job stress in the banking industry and the effectiveness of techniques being used by banks to tackle stress.

The study was conducted by Sushant Agnihotri, an MBA final-year student at the PCTE, under the guidance of Mr Sandhir Sharma, a faculty member of the Department of Business Management.

According to the study, 29 per cent of the respondents were under mental stress, 27 per cent under physical stress due to hectic and long hours of work, 18 per cent under moral stress (yes boss syndrome), 10 per cent were under environment stress (a stress due to small office space, hectic working conditions, noise and rush), 9 per cent under social stress (prestige issues) and 7 per cent under self-induced stress. The degree of mental and physical stress was found higher than other kinds of stress.

A majority of the respondents said due to stress their health suffered. Fifteen per cent of the respondents said their quality of work deteriorated due to stress, 13 per cent of the respondents said stress led to intra-organisational conflicts while 12 per cent felt that stress led to depression and frustration.

The study found that lack of confidence, emotional exhaustion and a reducing sense of accomplishment were the other results of stress. Quarterly review of performance, high incentives, monthly tips and get-togethers were found to be popular stress-busting techniques used by banks. Behavioural development programmes, letters of appreciation and employee assistance programmes were the other successful tools being put into use by banks to cope with stress.

The study made the following suggestions to banks:

« There should be more communication between the management and the staff so that they can tell them their problems.

« Weekly performance reviews can be introduced.

« Employee assistance programmes and behaviour modification programme should be used for executive-level employees.

« Workshops should be arranged for executive-level employees to improve their efficiency.

« Training sessions should be introduced so that they can deal with stress.

« Large space and a congenial environment should be the priority of all banks.

« Proper health check of all employees should be done monthly.



Beware! savouring watermelons
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Next time you buy muskmelon and watermelon, beware, for these nutrient-rich fruits might be carrying harmful artificial colours and saccharin.
Sounds unbelievable, but it is true! Many fruit vendors in the city are injecting chemical sweetener — saccharin — mixed with dyes in these fruits to make them look bright coloured and taste sweeter, despite the well-known fact the bright colours used in edible substances can cause fatal diseases like cancer.

So when you savour a delicious red watermelon, make sure that you are not consuming harmful dyes and inferior-quality saccharin. Moreover, the water that is used to dissolve the dye and saccharin cannot be trusted as it can be drawn from a contaminated source also.

When melons reach the city in the wee hours from villages, the fruit dealers buy these in quintals. Then they inject buckets of water mixed with saccharin, red and orange colour in the fruits with the help of syringes. Unfortunately, the consumers never come to know that the melons have been injected with some harmful substances.



Stitching his way into Limca Book
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 29
Pawan Kumar Kailey has again entered the this year’s edition of the Limca Book of Records. He had earlier featured in the 2002 edition of the book. Pawan holds the unique ability to wear 35 jackets in 9,500 ways. Pawan (33) of Jalandhar had earlier designed and stitched a trouser with detachable parts that could be worn in different ways. More amazing is the set of 35 jackets, each made of four different parts and further divided into two parts by opening buttons back and front (4x2). These 35 jackets make 9,500 combinations (35x35x8).

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Kailey said he was not literate as he started stitching clothes 20 years ago. But his ambition was to do something unique and different. So he started stitching miniature clothes like half-inch night suit top and similar pyjamas for his own satisfaction.

The idea of making trousers that could be worn in different ways had been playing in his mind for many months. After he decided how to make them, it did not take him long to execute. Similarly, for making the jackets he thought of executing a unique feat. It took him around a year to figure out the logistics involved. The project needed a lot of money. A single jacket needed 2.75 metres of cloth, multiplied by the number of jackets. Thus he needed 26,950 metres of cloth and at market price, each jacket would cost him Rs 400 to stich. Thus the original cost ran into lakhs. Then to photograph the jackets meant further investment.

What did he stand to gain? No material benefits, but a lot personal satisfaction as well as name and fame. All important television channels telecast his dozens of exceptional achievements. He has been featured in almost all important English dailies and vernacular papers. India Today and other magazines have carried articles on him about his unique achievements like passing a kite through the eye of a needle.

He also holds the distinction of passing 2,500 threads through the eye of the needle. Besides, he can move his ears.

His brother invited him to Germany. He hogged the limelight in the German press and appeared on various channels. From Germany, he went to Italy. Again his amazing creations stunned the Italians.

Flush with his successful trips to Germany and Italy, Pawan says: “Now that I have realised my ambition of doing something extraordinary and drawing attention of the people towards them, I have decided to lay low for some time and focus on my tailoring shop in Goraya to give financial security to my family. But the ladies’ suits that I stitch are also very different, as no seams are visible. The suit can be worn inside out.” 



Labourer killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 29
Ram Anuj, 30, a migrant from Bihar who was working at a factory here, was killed on the spot when a speeding truck hit him near his house on the Sua road in Gias Pura late last night.

Ram Anuj was returning home after work from Dhandari on his cycle but before he could enter his house, the truck hit him. The focal point police has impounded the truck. The deceased leaves behind his wife, a son and two daughters.



Four hurt in mishaps

Jagraon, June 29
Satpal Singh of Konke Kalan was injured when his scooter (PB-10 HC-1546) was hit by Maruti Car (PB-03E-6800) near Nanaksar, 5 km from here. The police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 427 IPC against the unknown driver.

In another accident, a vehicle driven by Paramjit Singh of Malaud was hit by a car driven by unknown person, injuring Paramjit Singh and two persons accompanying him near Barundi. OC



Theft in shop

Ludhiana, June 29
Thieves broke into a hosiery shop in a residential area near Dal Bazaar on Sunday night and decamped with an unspecified amount of money, a number of valuable articles and some important documents. The theft was detected early on Monday when the shopkeeper, Mr Roshan Lal, went to open the shop. The shutter had been pried open by the thieves, while both the locks were intact. OC



Night power supply restored to industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
After a lot of hue and cry, the PSEB has restored regular night power supply to the light engineering industry. The industry has heaved a sigh of relief as the production has started going up to the requisite level.

The PSEB reportedly restored the night supply to the industry from the night of June 26. This was done after the leaders and representatives of various industrial associations met the PSEB Chairman, Mr Y.S. Ratra, urging him to restore the supply at the earliest.

According to Mr Joginder Kumar, president of the Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India, owing to the power shortage, the production and supply of the ingots was reduced by about 50 per cent. This affected conversion charges which went up to Rs 7,000 per metric tonne from about Rs 4,500 per metric tonne. He said, the prices of ingots had gone up to Rs 21,000 per tonne, while as the rates of the scrap had come down to Rs 14,000 per tonne only.

The supply to the industry was restored after the water level in Bakhra reservoir increased and the power generation was also enhanced. Moreover, the early rains also contributed to the increase in the water level.

The industrial representatives maintained that had the power cuts continued for another week the steel prices would have gone up further although these were contained for some time now. They have urged the government and the PSEB to make sure that the power supply was maintained at its maximum level so that the industry was not made to suffer any more.

The light engineering industry in Ludhiana provides parts to a number of big industries like the bicycle and auto manufacturers. Most of the units in the light engineering sector manufacture auto and bicycle parts. About a month ago, the PSEB had introduced peak hour power cuts to the industry leading to the shortfall in production and subsequent rise in the prices of various raw material.



Seminar on public-private partnership
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
The Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) will organise a seminar on the ‘Public-private partnership for infrastructure development’ tomorrow. Mr Pradeep Singh, president and chief executive officer IL&FS Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited, New Delhi, will be the main speaker, while Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, will be the guest of honour.

Disclosing this here today, the association president, Mr M.C. Munjal and the general secretary, Mr V.K. Goyal, said the subject was quite important particularly when the developing countries were struggling to provide much needed infrastructure services to their people.


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