L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Industrialists gear up for massive stir
Power shortage, steel price hike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 28
Hundreds of industrialists belonging to various industrial houses today staged a demonstration against the continuous rise in the prices of steel and shortage of power in the state. They demanded that the rise in the prices of steel be checked to prevent closure of engineering units.

The demonstration was jointly organised by the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, the Fastener Manufacturers Association, the Machine Tools Manufacturers Association and several other federations. Prominent among those who participated in the demonstration were Mr Inderjeet Singh Pardhan, Mr Avtar Singh, Mr Ajit Singh Kullar, Mr K.K. Seth, Mr Inderjit Singh Arora and others.

The general secretary of the CICU, Mr Avtar Singh said, industrialists, most of whom belonged to the small and medium sector, had launched their agitation from today. He said the agitation would spread to other parts of the state also. The Ludhiana industrialists, he said were coordinating a programme with others around the state to stage a massive demonstration outside the Parliament House to press for their demands. The date of the demonstration would be decided in a day or two.

Mr Pardhan pointed out, while the rising steel prices were cause of concern for everyone across the country, the steel consumers in Punjab were faced with an added problem of power scarcity. He said, the two problems had created panic in the industry. He argued, with the closure of steel and furnace units for two days in a week, besides seven hour routine daily power cut, the production of steel had been hit severely. As a result, the supply of the steel was too short of the demand leading to a sharp rise in prices over and above that which was being regularly affected by the five leading steel manufacturers in the country.

The industrialists warned that in case the industry was not bailed out, it would lead to social unrest. They pointed out, small-scale sector is the largest employer in the country and in the state as well. The way the industrial units were closing down the time was not far when thousands of people would be forced to take to roads for want of employment.

The industrialists rued the shortage of power supply. They said the government had stopped supply to industry and provided it to the farm sector. While the industry was not opposed to providing facilities to the agriculture sector, these should not be at the cost of industry. They asked the state government to purchase extra power from the Central pool.


Govt orders flouted with impunity
SDM finds staff absent; fans, lights on
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, July 28
Even as the state is facing severe shortage of electricity due to delay in the monsoon, the government directive to run offices from 8 am to 2 pm is being flouted with impunity.

The gross violation of the government orders came to light in this subdivision today, when the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Jagraon, conducted raids on various offices after 8 am. He found that most of the employees, including senior officials, were absent from duty while fans and lights were on.

According to the SDM, Mr Gurmit Singh, around 8:10 am he inspected the Child Development Project Officer's (CDPO) office and found that only Mr Naresh Kumar, peon, and Mr Ujagar Singh, chowkidar, were present in the office and no other staff members, including the CDPO, was found present. He said that ironically all lights and fans were on.

In the office of the Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO), Ms Manjit Kaur, the Gram Sevika was found absent from duty at 8: 12 am. Similarly, all staff members ,including the SDO, Panchayati Raj, Jagraon, were found absent at 8 :12 am.

The SDM visited the office of the Municipal Council, Jagraon, at 8:15 am and found Mr Hardev Singh, EO, Ms Manju Bala , Accountant, Mr Faqir Chand, Mr Gurpal Singh and Mr Sukhdev Singh, both Inspectors, absent.

The office of the District Food and Supply Office was found empty at 8:30 am. All lights and fans were on and two peons were found on duty. In the office of the Agriculture Officer, Jagraon, Mr Dilbag Singh, AO, Mr Lal Singh and Mr Nachhattar Singh were found absent at 8:35 am.

In the Fisheries Department, none of the staff members were present at 8:35 am. The movement register of the office of SDO, Mandi Board, Jagraon, no entries were shown after July 20. Only Mr Krishna Kumar, Junior Assistant, and a peon were found present at 8:35 am.

The Excise and Taxation Office had only Mr Hari Singh, a peon, present. All others were absent. Mr Sukhminder Singh, Secretary, Market Committee, Mr Hardev Singh, Mr Gurmel Singh and all other staff member were not present at 8:40 am.

However, all staff members at the office of the General Manager, Punjab Roadways, and the Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Committee, Jagraon, were found present during the raid.

The SDM reported the matter to the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, and wrote to the department heads recommending disciplinary action against defaulting employees.

During a surprise check of the office of Assistant Labour Commissioner, Ludhiana ,by Mr Prem Chand, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Ludhiana (East) on the directions of the Deputy Commissioner, as many as nine officials, including two Assistant Labour Commissioners, were found absent from office till 8.40 a.m.

the officials found absent were Mr Jaspal Dhami, Mr R.L. Chaudhary (both Assistant Labour Commissioners), Mr Satnam Singh, Labour Officer, Mr Labh Singh, Mr Ramesh Chand, Mr Rattan Lal, Mr Malhara Singh, Mr Swaran Singh (all Labour Inspectors) and Mr Jaspal Singh, a clerk.

The DC said he had written to the Principal Secretary, Punjab,and Department of Labour and Employment to initiate strict action against the officials.

The Deputy Commissioner said that the checking was conducted in a bid to ensuring attendance of employees in government offices as per the changed time schedule by the Punjab Government .

Mr Verma said more surprise checks would be conducted to ensure the functioning of offices from 8.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. so that the general public could be properly attended to. He asked all government officials to strictly observe punctuality.


Shopkeepers call orders arbitrary, continue protest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 28
Continuing their protest against a government order prohibiting opening of shops beyond 6 pm in the wake of severe power crisis in the state, shopkeepers and traders of Bagh Wali Gali staged a demonstration here today. Shopkeepers from several other markets, including Maleri Street, Lalu Mal Street, Ghas Mandi and Chaura Bazar, also joined the protest.

Speakers, including Mr Rajesh Gupta, president of the Bagh Wali Gali Shopkeepers Association, said the trading community would not take these arbitrary and draconian orders. The decision on closure of shops so early in the evening was bound to further aggravate the situation created by unprecedented recessionary trends, already prevailing in the state and the trade would no longer remain economically viable, they said.

The traders were sore that the administration was resorting to repressive measures and highhandedness to implement the decision and even those members of the trading community, who were prepared to run their business with the help of power generators, were being forced to fall in line.

In the present hot and humid weather conditions, people hardly shop during day time and in the evenings, when it is peak time for the shopkeepers to do business, they are being forced to put up shutters, they added.

The protesters termed the arm-twisting tactics like threat of disconnection of power, police repression and challans under the Shops Act, as unfortunate. The decision would not only hit the trading community, but also brought down government revenue. In case, the government wanted to strictly enforce the decision to save power for the agriculture sector, it should make comprehensive provisions to compensate the traders for losses on the pattern of relief being provided to the farmers for loss of crops due to natural calamities or other disasters, they demanded.


IG to probe graft charge against senior cops
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 28
The Inspector-General (Jalandhar Zone), Mr S K Sharma, has decided to personally investigate the allegation levelled by a suspended ASI of the Ludhiana police that certain senior officers of the city police have been taking money on a weekly or monthly basis from junior personnel.

The ASI was arrested recently on charge of hobnobbing with a gang of narcotic smugglers which was supplying charas in the city. The ASI, however, said that he would take the lid off alleged rampant corruption in the department. In his statement to Mr Sharma he named several senior officers who had been allegedly receiving money regularly from their juniors.

The police department had kept the case under wraps.

The Ludhiana SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, has already submitted an inquiry report in this regard. He was directed by the IG to conduct an investigation into the “serious” matter himself. However, the IG felt that there were still some unanswered questions in the SSP’s probe report.

“I have received the inquiry report of the SSP. But there are certain loose ends which need to be tied”, said Mr Sharma while speaking to Ludhiana Tribune on the phone. He declined to disclose the details of the inquiry report.

The allegation levelled by ASI Malkiat Singh has become a topic of discussion in police circles. Sources said an ADGP of the Punjab police was also taking personal interest in the matter and conducting a secret inquiry.

The ASI was arrested in May this year by the Salem Tabri police on a charge of involvement in the activities of narcotic smugglers. He had allegedly let off a narcotic smuggler after taking a bribe from him. The ASI however levelled a counter-allegation that several senior police officers were indulging in corruption.

The ASI gave a statement to this effect and later sent representations to Mr Sharma, the DGP, Punjab, and certain ADGPs. Mr Sharma told him to file an affidavit regarding his claims, warning him that if his allegations were wrong he would face the consequences.

A senior officer of the local police said the allegation levelled by the ASI was false and motivated. Expressing surprise that information about the case had leaked out, he said the ASI made the charge out of frustration and was resorting to pressure tactics.


School functions make a hole in parents’ pocket
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, July 28
“My daughter had to dress up as a young belle of rural Punjab in order to participate in her school’s function. My husband and I were happy that she would be on stage. Similarly, my son had to dress up as an astronaut in a play. The problem arose when it came to getting the dresses. We were told by the school authorities that either we got the dresses stitched or hire these. On enquiry we found that hiring of a ‘gidha dress’ would cost Rs 350, including the jewellery, and the astronaut dress would be available for Rs 150 plus a security deposit of Rs 500. It really upset our budget”.

Now that the schools have opened, the schools are arranging for a number of functions. Even in pre-nursery schools, a variety of functions are being held like rain dance and Teej. The poor parents have to spend quite a sum on these school functions. Mrs Jolly, a housewife, says: “For those who can afford buying and hiring costumes, it is not a big issue, but for the salaried class spending money for several functions throughout the year requires clever juggling of budget, which is unnerving.”

There are some shops in Ghumar Mandi and Chaura Bazar that are doing a brisk business renting not only dresses but also costume jewellery.

In a survey conducted by Ludhiana Tribune, it was found that a Rajasthani dress costs Rs 250 onwards with matching jewellery also for the same amount. Haryanvi dancer’s jewellery costs Rs 350, similarly a bharat natyam dancer’s jewellery can be hired for Rs 350. Imitation jewellery, replica of ornate sets worn by Aishwarya Rai and Rani Mukherjee known as “Devdas” or “Chalte- Chalte” can be hired for Rs 1000. Parents are faced with a Hobson’s choice. If they let their children participate, there is a hole in their budget. If they keep them out, then too they suffer from guilt pangs as they deny their children a chance on stage. Can’t the schools stock their “drama cupboards” with costumes?


SEBI inspects offices of 5 brokers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 28
Officials of the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today conducted surprise inspection of the offices of at least five brokers working in the Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE).

The inspection continued till late in the afternoon. However, none of the officials was prepared to divulge any information. They officials left with some documents, besides taking statement of the brokers.

It was learnt that about 12 officials of SEBI inspected the offices of stock brokers DP Gandhi, Trivinder Dhingra, Smirdhi Financial Services, Naveen Bhatia and R Kohli.

The officials scrutinised all documents, besides questioning those working there.

While SEBI, which is a regulating body monitoring various financial services in the country, conducts routine inspections on a regular basis , today's inspection came as a "surprise".

Such inspections are conducted only on the basis of complaints and to verify discrepancies.

The Executive Director of the LSE, Mr HS Sidhu said, this was a routine inspection.


Inquiry into custodial death acquits cops
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 28
The Jagraon district police has acquitted officials of ChowkiMann police station of the charges of torturing a resident of Ajitwal village to death and later cremating his body in a clandestine manner.

Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP Jagraon, stated in a press note that investigations conducted by SP (Detective) Jaspal Singh Dhanoa had ,established that the allegation of custodial death levelled by Satwant Kaur, wife of the deceased was not true.

He said the charges were motivated. The Jagraon police had on July 14 ordered a high-level inquiry into an alleged custodial death case of truck driver Balbir Singh in Chowkimann police station on July 4.

Satwant Kaur, a resident of Ajitwal village in Moga district, had in a complaint to the Jagraon SSP alleged that her husband was beaten to death by cops at the behest of his brother Manna.

She said her family members were fear-stricken all these days and could muster the courage of reporting the matter to the police after a week only. She also alleged that

The SSP said that the man had died in hospital and not the police station. He said the man as well his brother, Manna, were called to the police station regarding a complaint filed by the latter.

The deceased reached there first but fell unconscious because of some illness.

The police took him to the hospital where he died. The SSP said police had informed the family members and handed over the body to them, whom they cremated themselves.


Bank donates wheelchairs to students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 28
Bharat Overseas Bank yesterday donated wheelchairs among disabled students from Saket. Mr G. Krishnamurthy Chairman and CEO of the bank presided.

According to Mr Ram Parkash Gambhir, Manager, Ludhiana branch, a customer meet was also organised. As many as 40 customers from different branches of Punjab and Chandigarh attended the meet.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr G. Krishnamurthy said with significant technology initiatives at an advanced stage of implementation, the bank was confident of achieving the targeted business volume of Rs 5,000 crore by the current fiscal year as compared to Rs 3,900 crore from the corresponding period last year, a growth of over 28 per cent.

The bank had chalked out a new business strategy to reduce business volumes from the corporate segment to 40 per cent from the existing 60 per cent and to improve the retail lending portfolio to 60 per cent from the current 40 per cent.

The retail lending activities would cater to small and medium enterprises also, he said.


City musician wins Zee contest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 28
A young musician Haneet Aneja (24) has brought laurels to the city by winning Chalti Ka Naam Antakshri competition organised by the Zee TV recently. He had teamed up with a famous model in the Parwane team and won the show hosted by Anu Kapoor.

Mr Aneja, who runs a dryclean shop at Bharat Nagar Chowk here, was selected for the show after rounds of competition with other singers from across the nation.

He returned to the city today and was given a warm welcome by his family and relatives. The show is likely to be telecast on the evening of the coming Friday.

He belongs to Kanpur. He learnt music from a musician Ravi Shankar Singh. He had won the ‘Best Singer of Uttar Pradesh’ award in 2001. An year earlier, he was chosen the ‘Singer of Kanpur’. He had to shift to Ludhiana to manage the shop here after the sudden demise of his father.

He said he was very thankful to the Zee TV and Anu Kapoor for giving him a break. He aimed to become a playback singer. ‘‘It was a dream-come-true for me to sing in front of Anu Kapoor’’, he said. He added that he was indebted to his family and his friend, Mr Gopal Sharma, who lived in Kanpur.


Govt determined to root out corruption, says Dharamsot
Our Correspondent

Amloh, July 28
Under a self-employment scheme of the government for poor persons, Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Parliamentary Secretary, distributed 23 rickshaws among beneficiaries at municipal complex here recently.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Dharamsot said it was the dream of Mahatma Gandhi to provide work and generate sources of income for each family living below the poverly line in the country. The government is determined to root out corruption from the administration. In view of draught like conditions, the government had urged the Centre for a special package for the state, Mr Dharamsot said.


SSP forms panels for redressal of grievances
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 28
Traffic Advisory Committee and Economic Offences Committee have been formed at sub divisional level as per the instructions of Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, Jagraon. The committees will redress the grievances of the people in different cases. The economic offences committee will also deal with financial disputes between commission agents and the farmers.

A meeting of all these committees was held in a marriage palace, 3 km from here, under the presidentship of Mr Ahir. 


Farmer alleges harassment by PSEB staff
Our Correspondent

Khanna, July 28
Mr Jasvir Singh, a farmer of Rohno Kalan, has alleged that some employees of the Punjab state electricity board are harassing him.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, he has alleged that he had applied in 2003 to shift his electricity connection. The connection was shifted on a temporary basis and the cable laid . The cables had joints at several points which led to low voltage. After repeated requests the department gave an estimate of Rs 9,096.The farmer deposited the money on April 16,2004, vide receipt no. 234.

But the connection had not been shifted till date. the employees of the board visited the site and returned without doing any work. Mr Jasvir Singh appealed to the Chief Minister to direct the employees to do the job.


Woman alleges murder of husband
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, July 28
Baljit Kaur, wife of deceased councillor Mastan Singh, has alleged that her husband was murdered by his business companions.

According to sources, Mastan Singh, a former councillor, was working as a property dealer at Mundian Kalan village. On June 9, his business associates made him a call asking him to bring Rs 7 lakh as some land was available at reasonable price around Samrala. Mastan Singh along with one of his friends Bajrang went to meet them.However, he did not return.

According to police sources, they were allegedly killed when the motorcycle they were driving hit a tree. The police recorded a case under Section 174 of Cr.PC taking it to be accidental deaths. The bodies were recovered on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road between Neelon and Katani Kalan.

Now Baljit Kaur has alleged that her husband and his companion did not die in an accident as persumed.She says Mastan Singh and Bajrang were murdered by those whom they went to meet on June 9. Baljit kaur is at present a Municipal Councillor. The SSP has marked an inquiry into the case. The investigating officer, Mr Barjinder Singh Dhillon, DSP, Sahnewal, told the Tribune that they were now working on the murder theory and fresh investigations had been initiated in the case.

Meanwhile, relatives of Mastan Singh assembled in a good number before Sahnewal police station to demand speedy investigation in the case. Mr Dhillon assured them of justice.


Property dealer found murdered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 28
Gurbachan Singh (45), a property dealer from Chaunta village, was allegedly stabbed to death on Monday night by unknown assailant(s), who after committing the crime took away his motor cycle and some cash on his person.

The murder came to light when the mutilated body was discovered yesterday from a field along Machhian Road by his brother Mohinder Singh, who lives in Bonkar Gujjran village.

The Koom Kalan police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Mohinder Singh against Sukhdev Singh, alias Sukha, who also lives in Bonkar Gujjran village. Though the main accused has absconded, the police has taken into custody some persons, including a woman.

According to the complainant, his brother closed his office in Chaunta village on Monday night before heading home but did not reach there. On Tuesday morning he, along with his brother Karnail Singh and some villagers, started looking for Gurbachan Singh, They came to know that a body was lying in a field along Machhian Road.

Mohinder Singh told the police that Sukhdev Singh’s wife used to telephone his brother because of which the latter suspected illicit ties between the two. He expressed apprehension that Sukhdev Singh, with the help of some of friends, had killed his brother on mere suspicion.

Preliminary investigations by the police show that a woman had telephoned Gurbachan Singh on Monday night. A number of police teams have been sent to Jalandhar and Amritsar to look for the accused .

Fraud cases

The Model Town police on Tuesday registered a case on the statement of Mr Rakesh Sachdeva, who lives in HIG Flats at Dugri, against Amarjit Singh, who lives in Model Town Extension, Ludhiana.

The complainant has stated that the accused had purchased cloth from him and given three cheques for Rs 4,000 each none of which was honoured by the bank concerned. When he asked the accused to pay in cash, the complainant threatened him.

The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ram Murti, a resident of Harcharan Nagar, against Ajmer Singh, Satwinder Singh, Tarlochan Singh, Amarjit Kaur and some other persons.

The complainant has stated that the accused had sold a plot to him which was owned by someone else.

Cases of assault

On the statement of Mr Mohan Singh, a medical representative working with Cipla Limited, who lives in Urban Estate at Dugri, the Division No 8 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC against Munish Mehta, Dr Karan Batra and 17 boys accompanying them.

The complainant had stated that the accused had assaulted him at DMC Hospital on Tuesday. He had threatened him before going away.

Another case of alleged assault under Sections 341, 323 and 506 of the IPC was registered at the same police station on the statement of Mr Kishore, alias Mukesh, a Bihari migrant serving as a servant in the house of Dr Gaurav Khurana in Ram Nagar, against Rani Gaurav, wife of the doctor. The complainant has stated that the accused had locked him up in a room and beaten him.


The Division No 7 police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Rohit Malhotra of Street No 12, Shivaji Nagar, against Sukhdev Singh, a resident of Baba Jiwan Singh Nagar.

The complainant has stated that the accused had rammed his tractor into his scooter in Sector 32 of PUDA Urban Estate along the Chandigarh road on July 22 as a result of which he was injured and admitted to CMC Hospital. His scooter was also damaged. No arrest has been made.


Another case against Inspector
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, July 28
The Jagraon police has slapped another case on suspended Punjab police Inspector Mukhwinder Singh, who was booked two months ago on the directions of former DIG Dinkar Gupta for allegedly taking a bribe from a narcotic smuggler.

A fresh inquiry has found that the Inspector had allegedly misappropriated a consignment of medicines seized along with a huge quantity of poppy husk from a truck used by an alleged narcotic smuggler, Harchand Singh, alias Chandi.

Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, Jagraon, stated in a press release issued here today that investigations had revealed that the Inspector had not put on record the stock of medicines seized from the vehicle.

Mr Ved Prakash Sharma, a shopkeeper from Bathinda, had complained to the police that the truck was carrying his stock of medicines too. Inspector Mukhwinder Singh has been charged with cheating and criminal conspiracy.


Booked for lewd behaviour with daughter-in-law
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, July 28
The Sahnewal police has booked Tarlochan Singh, father-in-law of Mandeep Kaur of Ramgarh , for making advances towards the latter, thus inflicting on her physical and mental torture.

In a case registered yesterday under sections 452, 354, 323 and 506 of the IPC, Mandeep Kaur, wife of Sumanjit Singh, has alleged that her father-in-law initially pressed her for bringing more dowry.

Then he began to abuse her, physically and mentally. He began making advances towards her. Several times the complainant approached the Ramgarh police chowki and each time a compromise was arrived at.

For some time Mandeep Kaur, a mother of three, resisted his advances and ultimately reported the higher authorities .

An inquiry was conducted into the matter and on the directions of the SSP, a case was registered against her fatherinlaw Tarlochan Singh, who has absconded.

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