L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Yet another daylight theft
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
In yet another broad daylight theft, thieves broke into a house in the Model Town area and decamped with jewellery worth about Rs 1 lakh and Rs 8,000 in cash.
It all happened within a span of an hour when the occupants of the house had gone to the market. This incident has sent shock waves in the area as residents said it was for the first time that a theft had taken place in daylight.

The house belongs to Mr Narinder Singh Judge. The thieves broke into one of the rooms rented to Mr Arvind Bharadwaj, Assistant Manager Marketing, The Tribune, Ludhiana. Mr Bharadwaj had been living as a tenant there for the past four years.

Mr Judge said he along with his wife and Mrs Bharadwaj and her children had gone to the market at around 12.30 today. They had locked the house from outside.

After they returned home at around 2 pm, they found the door of one of the rooms open. The room had been ransacked and the almirah and the locker had been opened.

The thieves had apparently jumped over the fence and then broke open the outer door followed by the main door. They went to the bedroom where the almirah had been kept.

The Model Town police has registered an FIR and started investigation. The house is located near the children's traffic park and is not far from the police station.

The residents said it was shocking that thefts and robberies had now become a routine in the city.

They said the police appeared to be shirking away from its responsibility by attributing the rise in such cases to migrant labourers. 



Four booked in murder case
Our Correspondent 

Mandi Gobindgarh, July 9
The mystery of the disappearance of a newly married pregnant woman who had been missing since July 3 has been solved with her body being found near the Nirwana branch canal, around 25 km from Ambala, on July 6.

According to Mr Balwinder Singh, former Sarpanch of Gobindgarh village, parental house of the deceased, Surinder Kaur (20), daughter of Mr Gurmukh Singh, was married to Mandeep Gir of Surjit Nagar, Mandi Gobindgarh, two years ago.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Balwinder Singh along with relatives of the deceased alleged that her in-laws used to demand more dowry. Her parents were not informed that she had gone missing. They came to know after a few days and looked for her as they suspected that she had either been eliminated by her in-laws or forced to commit suicide.

A case was registered on July 6 at the Mandi Gobindgarh police station on the statement of Mr Gurmukh Singh against her husband Mandeep, mother-in-law Laxami, brother-in-law Jasbir Gir and his wife Manju under Section 304-B, IPC. The police has arrested the three accused except Manju. They were produced in the court of the SJM Amloh, today.



Kulhars fail to enthuse city potters 
D. B. Chopra

Ludhiana, July 9
Selling tea at the local railway station was suspended for at least two hours recently when the station superintendent received an order of Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav that tea must be served in kulhars only.

Taken aback, tea vendors rushed to the nearby Karim Pura bazar to buy small earthen pots known as "karuas" and are used in a variety of religious rites.

Though everyone predicted a bright future for potters, they are still making pitchers etc. The initial euphoria among them has ebbed.

The Qilla mohalla houses about 10 potter families but none of them have taken to making kulhars.

Prem Chand, a potter who mostly makes children's piggy-banks, says that "we cannot compete with the kulhars arriving from rural areas. In the city, we have to pay for the clay and the cow-dung cakes needed for baking. Clay for making a 100 kulhars would alone cost Rs 25 to us. Baking pots is also expensive these days. We cannot afford to sell 100 kulhars for less than Rs 70 while we are being offered a rate of Rs 25 per 100."

Potters in the other parts of the city such as Haibowal are also making their usual wares instead of kulhars.

Tea vendors at the railway station say that they are paying between Rs 40 and 45 for 100 kulhars, which makes these more expensive compared to disposable plastic cups. It is because of this price difference that the tea vendors carry a kettle in compartments and continue to use disposable plastic cups. Passengers, too, prefer plastic cups to kulhars.



Five quintals of narcotics burned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
The police today burnt five quintals of narcotics seized from the district and the Khanna police district on the banks of Sutlej near Ladowal village here today.

Supervised by DIG Parag Jain, officers of the department set fire to a huge pile of narcotics packed in gunny sacks. The drugs set ablaze included poppy husk, smack, charas, ganja and heroin.

Also destroyed were 20,734 intoxicating tablets, 94 capsules, 144 injections and 100 bottles of cough syrups. The material was recovered in 263 cases which were in post and pre-trial stages. Samples had been kept where the cases were in the pre-trial stage. 



Morcha destructive: Badal 
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, July 9
“The Panthic Morcha, enjoying the active support of the Congress government, is ultimately going to prove inimical to be interests of the SGPC in particular and Sikh community in general,” said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, while canvassing in favour of his party candidates at Rampur, Ghudani, and Sahnewal villages late yesterday evening.

“The religious ideals and sentiments of the Sikhs are being hurt by the undue interference of the Congress government which is putting pressure on the masses as far as the SGPC elections are concerned,” he added.

He further said that his party was confident of its victory as Sikhs had faith in the working of SAD and hence they would in no case entertain any outside political pressure to ‘defile the sanctity of their religious institution’. The voter fully understood the urgent need of the hour and the people to whom this sacred authority should be entrusted. Sikhs had always tried to uphold their moral and religious dignity by staunch idealistic principles and would continue to keep up the practice,” he added.

He appealed to the Sikh voters not to be influenced by the morcha’s vested interests and policies and to think and act rationally and logically.

Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, MLA, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, MP, Mr Heera Singh Gabria, Mr Gurmail Singh Sangowal, party candidate, Jathedar Daya Singh, Bibi Balwinder Kaur, Mr Tejinder Singh Rampur, Mt Jagjiwan Pal Singh Gill, Mr Tejinder Singh Sandhu, Jathedar Santa Singh, Umaidpuri, Mr Bharpoor Singh Rauni, Baba Jagroop Singh, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bulara, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal and Mr Pal Singh were also present.



Govt’s policies anti-people, says Kanwaljit
Our Correspondent

Amloh, July 9
Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, has failed on all fronts during his tenure of three years, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former minister and SAD general secretary, said in Salana village, near here, yesterday.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who was addressing an election meeting in support of SAD candidates in the SGPC poll, accused the Congress of following anti-people policies .He said the shortage of power in the state had hit industry , farmers and other consumers. The concession of free water supply up to 50 units to Dalits had been withdrawn.

He said the government had announced that Rs 60 per hp would be charged in the case of new power connections for farmers' tubewells, but now it had been decided to install meters in the case of the old connections. He claimed there was no administration worth the name in the state. He appealed to the voters to support the SAD candidate ,Mr Jassa Singh Ahluwalia.



Bureaucrats blamed for PSEB ills
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
Punjab State Electricity Board(PSEB) technocrats yesterday blamed bureaucrats for the ills plaguing the board, besides holding them responsible for derailing power sector reforms time and again.

Mr M. S. Bajwa and Mr P. S. Dhaliwal, president and general secretary, respectively of the association, said the bureaucrats had failed in clearing important projects like Lehra Mohabbat Stage-II which would have been completed by the board soon as the funds had been committed by the PFC in 2002. At the same time, the bureaucracy had performed badly in having not secured a share in the 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Power Project in Himachal Pardesh.

Similarly, the state made no efforts to stake a claim in projects at Dulhasti (390 MW), Baglipur (450 MW) and Tehri (1000 MW) and Coal Dam (800 MW). "We have been pleading for the need of having a gas linkage from Panipat to Punjab for a gas plant but the proposal has been shot down. Such a plant can be commissioned in agreement with the Gas Authority of India as the gestation period is less," they said.

He said the association was of the opinion that the bureaucracy was serving certain vested interests and was least concerned with the socio-economic development of the state. The Centre had decided to review the Electricity Act, 2003, and had deferred its implementation for a year in most of the states, including Punjab, but it was a matter of concern that the bureaucrats were only trying to unbundle the PSEB into several companies and sideline technocrats in the entire process of reforms, they alleged. The role of technical members had also been marginalised.

Mr Bajwa said it the performance of the PSEB in generation and transmission was outstanding. Earlier, the board could not manage its finances well due to excessive interference by the bureaucrats, he said, adding that the State Electricity Regulatory Commission was constituted in 2001 and it had given only two tariff orders and the PSEB was now sound financially.

The board had generated Rs 165 crore as profit in 2003-04 and was the only state electricity board in the country to do so. It had generated profit for meeting future requirements of generation plants like Lehra Mohabbat Stage-II but due to the failure of the bureaucrats to decide on the agency to execute the project, the funds could not be utilised last year, he alleged.

The regulatory commission had two technical members, out of which one technical member had already retired and the post had been lying vacant for the past several months, he said. The vacant posts of member in the commission and members in the PSEB must be filled from the cadre of serving Chief Engineers of the board, he said.

The board management had not undertaken any internal reforms, including faster means of mobility for technical staff, decentralisation and proper training for complaint and lower staff, he said.

They questioned the large-scale transfer orders issued during the past month, so much so that several officers had been transferred four-five times in the same city, creating confusion, he said.

The board had also not recruited graduate engineers in the past five years, paralysing rural subdivisions, he added.



Delhi firm accused of Rs 55 lakh fraud
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 9
On the statement of Mr Vikas Jain, Managing Director, Oswal Fashion Private Limited located on the GT Road, the Salem Tabri police yesterday registered a case under Sections 406, 420 and 120-B of the IPC against Ram Sharma, director of a New Delhi-based firm, and Meraj Duggal of the same firm.

The complainant stated that the accused had purchased goods worth Rs 55 lakh from his firm and given a cheque in lieu of the goods. But the cheque was not honoured by the bank concerned and the accused had thus committed a fraud on him.

In another case, the Civil Lines police yesterday registered a case under Sections 420, 406 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Balwinder Singh, a resident of Kohara village, near Sahnewal, against Varinder Pal Singh and Ramesh Kumar.

The complainant stated he along with Lakhbir Singh, Gurmeet Singh, Makhan Singh, Parodha Singh, Ajay Singh, Buta Singh and Balbir Singh had given Rs 6.30 lakh to the accused on the understanding that the accused would arrange foreign visas for them and send them abroad.

But the accused neither sent them abroad nor returned their money, added the complainant.

In third case, the Division No: 6 police station yesterday registered a case under Sections 406, 420 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Bhupinder Singh, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, against Kuldeep Kumar, manager of Express Transport Company, and Pritpal Singh, owner of the transport company, Mohan Singh and others.

The complainant had stated that he used to export spare parts to Varanasi and other towns of Uttar Pradesh through the transport company but the accused sold off one of his consignments in the market and committed fraud.

Minor abducted: The Division No: 7 police station yesterday registered a case under Sections 363, 366 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of a resident of Sector 32, PUDA Urban Estate, here against Amit.

The complainant stated that the accused had abducted his 16-year-old daughter.

Theft cases: The Division No: 3 police station yesterday registered a case under Sections 411, 458, 467, 471 and 260 of the IPC on the statement of Inspector Jaswinder Singh of the CIA staff against Davinder Singh, who lives in a village near Nawanshahr.

The police said today that the accused was arrested and a car was recovered from his possession. The accused was trying to sell the car with the help of forged documents.

The Sarabha Nagar police yesterday registered a case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sunil Kumar, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, against Baljinder Singh, a resident of Kheri Nodh Singh village, and Barinder Singh, who lives in a village near Mandi Gobindgarh.

The complainant had stated that the accused, who were his employees in his factory, had stolen Rs 30,000 from an almirah after breaking open locks.

On the statement of Mr Janak Raj Goyal, a chartered accountant living in Transport Nagar, the Division No: 6 police yesterday registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC against Harpreet Singh, who lives in a village near Sudhar.

The complainant stated that the accused had stolen his Tata-609 vehicle from in front of his residence on the intervening night of July 7 and 8.

Woman beaten up: On the statement of Ms Parmeshwari, a widow living in Sant Pura, the Division No: 2 police station yesterday registered a case under Sections 452, 323, 148, 511, 506, 148 and 147 of the IPC against Ram Dara Giri, Ramesh and Ram Das Giri, who live in the same locality.

The widow sated that the accused had forced their way into her house, beaten her up and also threatened her.

Cop injured: The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case yesterday under Sections 279, 337 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of constable Harjit Singh against Vipan Kumar, a resident of Kundan Puri.

The constable stated that the accused, who was driving a scooter, had rammed his vehicle into his scooter near Rajindera Model School in Haibowal Kalan as a result of which he was injured.

Held for betting: The Model Town police arrested Om Parkash, a resident of Azad Nagar, along the Dhuri railway line, and booked him under the Gambling Act yesterday.

The police said today that the accused was indulging in booking 'satta' and 'darra' bets at a public place near Atam Park and a sum of Rs 535 was recovered from his possession. He was later bailed out.

Knives seized: The police yesterday arrested Suraj Singh and Gauri Shankar and seized knives from their possession. Both were booked under the Arms Act.



Monsoon sales start before season
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 9
Monsoon sale proclaim many posters in the city, but this is a gross misnomer as monsoons have not arrived in the city, though they were predicted to hit the city around July 4. The shopkeepers generally started monsoon sales during this time. Many big and small departmental stores were offering monsoons discounts up to 50 per cent on electronic equipment, clothes, shoes, bed linen and other items.

Even gold jewelers’ shops were offering discounts on making charges. As it was the auspicious time for marriages ending by July 27 and the next auspicious period would again been somewhere in October.

The shopkeepers generally put things on ‘sale’ at the onset of the rainy season for two reasons. Firstly the customers were normally not in the mood to purchase in the damp, rainy season wading through slush and mud on the roads of the city. The other major reason was that the customers did not want to spend money on buying summer stuff, which would remain unused.

So the shopkeepers tempted the customers with attractive offers. Only when the unsold goods would move out the liquid cash would enable them to buy fresh stock. Since the timing of sale was normally first and second week of July so departments had started monsoon sales without the arrival of monsoons.

A big storeowner claimed, “During the sale, the customers stand to gain. The lehngas originally priced for Rs 25,000 are being sold at half prize. This would mean that the customer can buy more clothes and that, too, again at reduced rates. We also gain as cash flow becomes more regular and is available for buying fresh stock. This way we don’t have to take loans. So if our profit margin goes down, at least our dead stock is cleared. We get customers even from outside the city as people can purchase their entire dowry, so they wait for ‘sales’.

Mr Vipin, owner of a store in Ghumar Mandi, says,” We want to get rid of suits made of cotton fabrics as the season of cottons ends. Moreover, the festival of Raksha Bandhan brings in a spurt in buying activities. Sometimes we incur small losses when we move our dead stock, but then that is the part of business.”

Shopkeepers on prices of air conditioners and refrigerators are offering discounts. The customer could even negotiate the discount.

But the housewives were getting wary of such sales. Radha and Sunita Bhogal say,” We are disgusted that monsoons have not arrived but shops have started monsoon sales. Moreover they have become so stale. The shopkeepers write up to 50 per cent discount but we generally find out that 50 per cent rebate is limited to only a few items. This is just a ruse to entice the customers. They are an almost year-round feature. Moreover, the things sold at sale are not of good quality."Monica and Shaymali, who travel frequently to metros, say, ”Sales in Ludhiana are so boring. In Mumbai and Pune, the big stores offer customers nice attractive gifts like cameras and watches after a purchase of certain amount of goods, Certain stores ask you to deposit Rs 11,000 and offer you air tickets of the same amount plus free clothes worth Rs 5000. Or stores ask you to give away your old trousers or jeans and get a rebate of Rs 200 to 300. Yet others allow the customers to mix and match and offer free gifts like imitation jewellery, vials of perfumes and many others.

Why can’t the shopkeepers make sales more exciting here by offering more promotional schemes? What we need is a change in sale strategy,” they added. 



Everything at your doorstep 
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, July 9
In this fast-paced world where time is money , the life of working couples has become much easier with their getting almost everything delivered at their doorstep. Important items of daily need like cooked food, fruits, vegetables, medicines and milk are just a phone call away.

"When I get unexpected guests at dinner , I do not panic like I used to earlier when I would get busy in the kitchen to hurriedly prepare a meal.But now there is no problem. I can get food and ice cream from a couple of dhabas or parlours within 15 minutes. I sit with the guests and enjoy their company and hardly do we finish exchanging pleasantries ,when the food arrives. My grandmother would have been so happy if she had such comforts.She could have pursued her hobbies of classical singing and gardening as her work would have been very easy.Alas! she had no such luck."

The best thing about getting things at the doorstep is that one does not waste time and expensive petrol going to the market .Moreover certain food items and medicines are available at 10 to 15 per cent discount . Another advantage is that these reach you quicker. When someone's birthday comes, one can order the florist to deliver a bouquet,and pronto it will reach the person.

Mala Sikand,who works in a multinational bank, says:"Owing to long working hours, I never find time to pick and choose. So I shop on the net. My favourite sites give details of the latest products and delivery is within a week.I can order apparel and accessories, home appliances, toys and games, CDs, food and beverages. I have no problem as I know the quality is good. "

Many persons shop on the net these days as practically everything is available on different websites. Then there is tele shopping. One can state the code number and item number and order the product. Earlier one had to waste a lot of time paying electricity and telephone bills and depositing school fees. But no more headaches. Many service providers take care of all this on payment. The agent collects the bills and after depositing the money gives you the receipt.



Punjab Beopar Mandal hails Union Budget 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 9
The President of the Punjab Beopar Mandal has hailed the exemption limit of income tax up to Rs 1 lakh and at the same time resented the hike in the Central excise duty on the steel and levy of 2 per cent cess.

Commenting on the Central Budget proposals he said that for the first time since the time of Mr T.T. Krishnamachari, Mr Chidambram had thought of giving relief in the income tax to the people.

It was a good gesture on the part of the finance minister.

He also welcomed the benefits given to the farming community as he maintained that the prosperity of the trade and industry was dependent on the welfare of the farming community.

The mandal chief did not appreciate the dereservation of small-scale items and said the small scale industries needed more sops.

He also sought scrapping of the VAT and suggested that American system of taxation should be adopted in the country.

Regarding the imposition of 2 per cent cess for education he said that this was a pious idea if it was implemented honestly. He also welcomed the relief to the textile industry. 



A TV channel for kids, by kids

Ludhiana, July 9
A new TV channel is to select children from all over India to run their own television channel, Hungama TV. The hunt is on for smart kids. It will culminate in the selection of 20 kids, who will be called Hungama TV Captains and would run the new channel, a soon to be launched ‘Made in India’ kids channel. This is the Hungama TV’s USP, its core founding principle of being a channel by the kids and for the kids. OC


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