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Poohla shifted to Ludhiana Central Jail
Wanted in 20-year-old attempt to murder case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 6
Much to the dismay of undertrials in the Central Jail here, a complete barrack has been vacated in the jail here for the lodging of Nihang Tarna Dal chief Ajit Singh Poohla, who is a proclaimed offender in a 20-year-old attempt to murder case in the city. The barrack has been cleaned for his stay while earlier, undertrials were lodged there in alleged shabby conditions.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made for his isolated stay in the jail and some undertrials and jail staff have been deputed for the round-the-clock duty at the barrack. All those undertrials lodged in the barrack have been shifted to other barracks causing problems in the already overcrowded barracks.

While the Ludhiana police will have to wait till August 9 for the production warrant of the Nihang leader, he has already arrived at the Central Jail here yesterday evening. He has been sent here due to security problems in the Nawanshahr jail where he was lodged earlier.

The Nawanshahr jail authorities have been relieved but the Nihang leader’s arrival has caused its own problems for the Central jail authorities here. He is facing equal security risk here also as four persons accused of murdering his brother, Jagir Singh Poohla, five years ago in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar here are already lodged in the jail. These accused have been claiming that they were innocent and were falsely implicated in the case at the behest of the Nihang leader. Jail Superintendent Kuldip Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that there was no special treatment for the Nihang leader and only few undertrials have been shifted out of the barrack due to security reasons. He said there were certain persons lodged in the jail having old enmity with the Nihang leader.

The Tarna Dal chief was a proclaimed offender in a two-decades-old attempt to murder case. He was then known as Jaswinder Singh, alias ‘Good Fighter’. He had jumped bail in the case and changed identity.

His real identity was exposed about three months ago by Col. G.S. Sandhu (retd), chairperson of the Majha Ex-servicemen Human Rights Front, an organisation spearheading the campaign against the Nihang leader for his alleged nefarious activities.

The Kotwali police here had gone to Nawanshahar to seek his production warrant in the case but were directed by a court there to seek production warrant from a court in Ludhiana.

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Encashing on faith to encroach
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, August 6
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority got a case of illegal possession registered against some persons for trying to take possession of a plot in Sector 32, Urban Estate, here by building a gurdwara. It was perhaps the first case of its kind here.

This has failed to deter encroachers trying to build or extend places of worship. There is not much opposition to such plans by government officials or social organisations. Mr S.S. Sandhu, Ludhiana Municipal Corporation Commissioner, who carried out the demolition of the boundary wall of the Durga temple near the Jagraon bridge, had to resign following protests by the temple management, including Lala Lajpat Rai, then a BJP MP.

When the wall was demolished, the shoe stands along the boundary wall of the Government College for Women across the road were dismantled. The flower shops along these shoe stands were also removed to widen the road. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had recently asked the corporation to submit a list of encroachments on public land and to remove those. A total of 52 places of worship were included in the list, but certain places were not mentioned. This was due to lack of a clear-cut government policy or norms on establishing temples and gurdwaras.

The process of building a place of worship on encroached land starts meticulously. An idol or a sacred symbol is placed in a park or vacant land and the sapling of a peepul tree or some other tree is planted. As the sapling grows into a tree, the place is turned into a place of worship and people start thronging it. There is no interference as religious sentiments are involved. The place also become a haunt of beggars, pickpockets and drug pedlars.

A green canopy has been put up by the management of the Krishna temple at Model Town Extension over shops selling ‘prasad’. A Ganesha temple is coming up across the road. A small Shiva temple has been built at the foot of the Lakkar Bridge.

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Beant Singh’s family ‘not impressed’ with government move
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 6
The Punjab Government’s decision to provide facilities of a Cabinet Minister to Mrs Jaswant Kaur, widow of the late Beant Singh, former Chief Minister, does not seem to have impressed the family. The family which is already feeling sidelined and marginalised is believed to have described the move as too little, too late.

It was about two years ago on the death anniversary of the late Beant Singh that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had announced that such facilities would be provided to her for lifetime. But even after two years the formal orders to this effect were not issued. It was only yesterday that the Punjab Cabinet formally approved the order.

Sources close to the family revealed that it was in a fix whether to accept the offer or not, particularly after Mr Beant Singh’s son, Mr Tej Parkash, was dropped from the ministry during the downsizing process. Although Mr Beant Singh’s daughter was taken in the ministry, Mrs Jaswant Kaur has been siding with her son, Mr Tej Parkash, and wants him to be reinducted into the ministry.

Sources disclosed that the Cabinet order was only a formality and issued at a time when the family was not too happy with the government. As far as conferring the rank of a Cabinet Minister on Mrs Jaswant Kaur is concerned, she only has a car, a ministerial house and other facilities enjoyed by a Cabinet minister. “What else will she get now,” a family source asked, adding that the government was only trying to appease and mollify the family after being humiliated.

Mr Tej Parkash and his mother, along with many supporters, continue to camp in New Delhi trying to prevail upon the high command that he (Mr Tej Parkash) may be reinducted into the ministry before the death anniversary of Mr Beant Singh, which falls on August 31. The family has already announced that a function at Kotli in Payal subdivision, the native village of Mr Beant Singh, would be organised. The government also holds a function there.

The family is learnt to be preparing for a massive showdown on the death anniversary to express its resentment against the government. The Cabinet decision is believed to be aimed at pacifying the family as the government does not want any confrontation on the occasion of the death anniversary. 

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High alert in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 6
The state government has placed the district administration on a high alert following the release of water into the Sutlej. The water is expected to rise in the city tomorrow. Confirming the orders, Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, said the government had asked the administration to be prepared for any eventuality.

He, however, said there was no need to worry as it would take at least five hours for the water to reach Ludhiana from the Ropar headworks. It was not known how many cusecs of water would cross the district, he said, adding that it had not reached Ropar yet.

He added that the district was prepared to face any eventuality and a flood control room had been set up in the district. He said the Dhussi Bundh alongside the Sutlej was intact and no report of any damage to it was reported even after a lot of water had passed through the river two days ago.

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3 pistols stolen from constable
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 6
Three pistols were stolen from a constable of the Chhattisgarh police from the local railway station under mysterious circumstances.
The constable, Mr Gokul Singh, was taking two .315 bore pistols and another .38 bore pistol to Chandigarh for examination in a forensic laboratory. He was coming from Durg town in Chhattisgarh but had come to Ludhiana instead of getting down at Ambala.

The constable claimed that he was unaware that Ambala was nearer to Chandigarh than Ludhiana. He had kept the pistols in a bag and was taking some refreshment at the railway station when someone stole the pistols from the bag. The Government Railway Police has lodged a case under Section 379 of the IPC. 

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Govt showing haste in unbundling PSEB: engineers 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 6
The PSEB Engineers' Association of the region held a protest meeting here under the chairmanship of its president, Mr MS Bajwa. A large number of engineers from various departments of the board participated in the meeting. All engineers expressed concern over the attitude of the state government in showing "utmost haste" in unbundling the PSEB.

The engineers expressed anguish over the modus operandi adopted in New Delhi, in which the public sector was kept out and the entire infrastructure worth several thousand crores of rupees was handed over to private companies.

The engineers wondered as to how the Government of India and the authorities concerned wanted to generate competition as the public sector had been totally eliminated in Orissa and Delhi. The government was aware that many state electricity boards, including the PSEB, were doing much better than the corporate entities in the power sector. They claimed that a private company could not deliver better results than those by the PSEB staff, despite numerous constraints and the dominance of bureaucracy. Commercial losses in Orissa and Delhi were about four times higher than those of the PSEB.

The engineers warned that the power sector was as important as water resources and state was already deprived of its genuine share in the power generation projects already installed in the northern region.

The engineers resolved to caution the state government to defer the implementation of the Electricity Act, 2003, for a minimum of two years so that it was not implemented without thought based on the strategy formulated by the bureaucracy.

The engineers resolved that in view of power shortage in the state, the idea of generating competition was meaningless. They said rather there was a need to allow integrated functioning of generation, transmission and distribution to increase the plant load factor and optimise the systems operation.

The engineers stressed the need for recruitment at various levels as there was shortage of staff in the AEs, SSOs, UDC and the cashier categories.

The PSEB should be compared in terms of staff strength with the other SEBs where 80 per cent work is done on contract basis. The PSEB was one of a few boards where construction of all transmission lines and substations was being undertaken by the department. 

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Unconscious patient abandoned by family
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 6
An elderly patient, who should have been in the care of his family members, appears to have been abandoned in a state of trauma. Brought to Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here on July 26 in an unconscious state, the persons, accompanying him, got him admitted to the hospital and left.

The unidentified patient, diagnosed with a head injury, has not regained consciousness since the day of his admission, according to Dr Dewan, the attending doctor. The patient remains in a critical condition and may need ventilators for survival. The CMCH has already spent Rs 50,000 on its own on the treatment of this patient.

The CMCH management has appealed to the relatives of the patient to come forward and lend a helping hand. It has also appealed to the philanthropists of the city to save the patient's life. Anyone who can identify the patient or wants to extend financial assistance could contact the Medical Superintendent of the hospital.

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Protest against denial of ration cards
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 6
The SC and ST Cell of the District Youth Congress today lodged a protest with the district administration against denial of ration cards to residents of Rajiv Gandhi Colony in the city.

In a memorandum submitted to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ajmer Singh, party activists, led by Dr Ajit Singh, alleged that more than 50 residents had applied for the cards over an year ago. Till date, the District Food and Civil Supplies Department had issued only five cards. “Even these ration cards have not been entered at any of ration depots in the locality, as a result the card holders are not in a position to purchase essential commodities.”

The activists also charged clerical staff and supervisory officers of the department with deliberately holding up the procedural work regarding issuing the cards.

Dr Ajit Singh said the affected residents and the party activists were holding the peaceful protest in a bid to make the officials concerned into action. “In case the administration failed to take remedial measures, the activists and the residents would intensify the agitation.”

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New block at Chintpurni dharamshala
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 6
A new, spacious and well-furnished block of Yatri Niwas at Ludhiana Dharamshala in Chintpurni will be inaugurated on August 8. That will provide better facilities to devotees visiting the holy shrine. Yatri Newas will have 75 rooms. President of the managing committee of the dharamshala Amrit Lal Aggarwal said Health and Cooperation Minister of Himachal Pradesh Kuldip Kumar would preside over the function. Among other Mr Rakesh Kalia, MLA from Una, Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister for Technical Education, Punjab, and Mr Prem Mittal, Senior Deputy Mayor of Ludhiana, would attend the function.

Mr Aggarwal said during the visit to the shrine on the next Sunday, the HP Minister would be apprised of various problems being faced by the devotees.

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Pensioners’ plea
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 6
The Government Pensioners’ Association said here today that even though, pensions for July had been disbursed by the Punjab Government, 50 per cent dearness relief had not been merged with pensions by most of the banks. This has led to resentment among the pensioners. The association has received several complaints in this regard from different parts of the state.

The Punjab Finance Department sent the DA merger orders to all the banks in July. However, these orders remain unimplemented..

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Birth certificates to be issued soon
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 6
All children born between January 1, 1989, and March 31, 2004, will be issued birth certificates by the local office of Registrar of Births and Deaths by this month, said Dr Indu Malhotra, SDM, Malerkotla, while addressing municipal councillors here recently.

Regarding minor changes in the certificate, Dr Malhotra said these would be done on the spot. The name of the child will also be entered.

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Police solves murder mystery
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 6
With the arrest of Raj Kumar Ghai, alias Raju, the local police has succeeded in solving the mystery behind the murder of Suman Rani (35), wife of Ashok Kumar, a resident of New Shastri Nagar, Mandi Gobindgarh.

The local police, on a statement of Mr Ashok Kumar, had registered the FIR number 113 on August 3. During investigation, the police reached the conclusion that Raju was the suspect. He was nabbed from the local railway station at midnight on Thursday when he was trying to escape by train to Amritsar.

The alleged perpetrator was the neighbour of Ashok Kumar. He called himself the state president of the Rashtriya Suraksha Samiti. He bore enmity with the family of Ashok Kumar. According to the district police chief, Mr Shiv Kumar, Raju has admitted the crime. As stated by him, 15 years ago, the victim had accused the wife of his brother, Raj Rani, of stealing the golden chain of Suman Rani. Raj Rani was pregnant at that time. Due to fear and tension of alleged theft, she had to be admitted to the CMC Hospital. She gave birth to the child in the hospital, but later died. Since then he vowed to take revenge.

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9 booked for selling PUDA plot without nod
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 6
Santa Singh, Harpal Singh, Pawan Kumar, Isher Singh, Sham Singh, Tej Kaur, Harbans Singh, Amar Singh and Harpal Singh of Sudhar have been booked under Sections 3, 5, 8, 9, 14 (1), 15, 18 and 21 of the Property Registration Act, 1985, on the complaint of Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), Ludhiana, by the Sudhar police as the suspects allegedly sold a PUDA plot without the authority's permission.

Opium seized: ASI Jaspal Singh, in charge of Jhodhan police post, arrested Mohammad Raseel of Ula district, Bareli (UP), in the Chaminde area during patrolling and seized 1 kg of opium from him. A case has been registered under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act. Later the suspect was remanded in two days' police custody by Ms Jitinder Walia, Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, Jagraon.

Two held: The Raikot police has arrested Mohinder Singh of Bassian and seized from him 105 kg of lahan and a working still. In another incident, the police arrested Ginder Singh of Cheema Patti Bassian and seizes a working still along with 105 kg of lahan. Cases have been registered under Sections 61, 1, 14 of the Excise Act against the two persons. 

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