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Anganwadi protest causes chaos on city roads
Tribune News Service

SHO R.S. Sohal pacifies Anganwadi workers who staged a dharna in Ludhiana on Thursday
SHO R.S. Sohal pacifies Anganwadi workers who staged a dharna in Ludhiana on Thursday. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, August 26
Activists of the Anganwadi Mulazam Union, Punjab, today staged a massive demonstration and blocked traffic on the busy Ferozepore Road outside the Mini Secretariat for an hour in support of their long-pending demands.

The traffic was diverted via an alternative route but the entire city saw a major traffic jam, which lasted more than an hour. Traffic police cops were taken unawares when snarls of traffic were found at Ferozepore road, Ghumar Mandi, Bharat Nagar Chowk, Damoria Bridge and Old Courts Chowk.

The heavy traffic from Jagraon bridge and Ferozepore was diverted at Ghumar Mandi Road.

The dharna was lifted on the intervention of SHO, Division No 5, Mr R.S. Sohal, who pacified the demonstrators.

Ms Harjeet Kaur, general secretary of the union, addressing the participants, demanded a rollback of the decision of handing over Anganwadi centres to village panchayats, reinstatement of workers whose services had been terminated, appointment of workers as government employees and raising of dearness allowances to Rs 2500 and Rs 1500 for workers and helpers, respectively.

She alleged that the earlier allowance of Rs 300 announced on the occasion of International Women’s Day was yet to be paid to them.

The workers threatened that they would organise massive demonstrations at the district level from tomorrow till September 5. A dharna would be organised in Chandigarh in October.

If the government failed to redress their grievances, they would be forced to intensify their agitation further.

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Rs 150-cr plan to streamline power supply in city
Tribune News Service

Parliamentary Secretary for Power and Urban Development Surinder Dawar addresses officials of the PSEB
Parliamentary Secretary for Power and Urban Development Surinder Dawar addresses officials of the PSEB in Ludhiana on Thursday. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, August 26
Parliamentary Secretary for Power and Urban Development Surinder Dawar has said the government has finalised a scheme at a cost of Rs 150 crore to streamline power distribution in the city.

He was addressing a meeting of senior officials of the PSEB (Central Zone) at the Circuit House here today.

He said under the scheme more substations would be set up in various areas of the city, while the equipment at the old ones would be replaced so that all residents, irrespective of the locality, could enjoy quality power supply round-the-clock.

Elaborating on the far-reaching changes mooted by the government, he said the government was committed to ensure 24-hour power supply to villages and a scheme at a cost of Rs 240 crore was already underway. During the first phase, 5,444 villages had been covered, while the work on the rest of the villages was in the final stage.

In case of villages in Ludhiana district, he said, so far 918 villages had been covered under the project and uninterrupted power supply to the remaining villages would be ensured by December.

Commenting on the release of power connections, he said the earlier policy had been revised and for the convenience of consumers it had been decided to adopt a time-bound release policy. Now, power connections for big industrial units would be released within three months, for small units in two months while the connections for domestic supply would be released within 24 hours, he added.

He instructed the officials to be consumer friendly and listen to and redress their grievances at the earliest. The employees who failed to do so or indulged in corrupt practices would face the music, he warned.

He said the power supply from the 66 KV station in Haibowal and Sarabha Nagar had been improved by installing 220 MVA transformers. Similarly, a double circuit had been installed from the 220 KV substation at Sahnewal to the Kanganwal feeder that supplied power to Giaspura and surrounding areas.

He also the officials to get the worn out overhead wires replaced and shift electricity poles standing in the middle of various roads.

Mr Hari Om Garg, Chief Engineer, Central Zone, said a call centre had been set up to record grievances of the people. He said, “Any consumer can call at 9622 121212 and lodge complaint. It will be redressed immediately.”

Senior officials present on the occasion included Mr D.B. Chopra, Mr K.D. Chaudhry, Mr R.K. Goyal, Mr Tara Singh, Mr Pritpal Singh, Mr B.P.S. Gill and Mr Gopal Sharma.

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Youth kills 13-year-old to avenge humiliation
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 26
Streets at the nearby Jand village wore a deserted look today after an adolescent boy of the village was brutally murdered, while another youth went behind the bars on charge of murder.

Thirteen-year-old Nazir was allegedly murdered by Harpreet Singh (20), a carpenter of the same village, yesterday to avenge the humiliation that he had suffered at the hands of victim’s family. The incident also brought authorities of a village school under cloud after they reportedly permitted the deceased to go with the accused without the permission of his parents.

SSP Jagraon Rajiv Ahir said Harpreet Singh killed Najir Mahamad, a Class 7 student of the Government Elementary School of the village, to allegedly avenge the humiliation he had suffered a day earlier.

According to sources, Najir (13) used to live with his maternal uncle, Subhash Khan, at the village. Harpreet, having no interest in agriculture, began learning the art of carpentry from Subhash Khan. Being a casual visitor to the family and their relatives, Harpreet got interested in Nazir’s sister, who studies in Class 11 at a school situated near her native Kokri village, under the Mehna police station.

Members of panchayat, who had reprimanded Harpreet for his teasing the girl, said he had been rounded up by the Mehna police on the complaint of the Czarina, mother of the deceased. She had complained that Harpreet had been teasing her daughter and had once forcibly entered her house at Kokri village to hand over some letters and photographs to her daughter when no one was present.

On receiving information from the police station, panchayat members, led by a Congress leader, took Harpreet to the village of the girl on Tuesday and made him apologise to the family. Harpreet’s parents declined to own any responsibility for his actions thereafter.

Feeling insulted, Harpreet reportedly stayed away from his house the whole day. He, however, decided to avenge the humiliation. The next day he called Nazir from his school on some pretext. The school authorities, taking things casually, allowed Nazir to go with him.

Harpreet took Nazir to his fields and stabbed him, leaving the body there. Family members of the deceased and villagers learnt about the incident only when a police party arrived at the village to inform them about the crime. Interestingly, the accused himself reported the matter to the police.

Nazir’s body was taken to the Civil Hospital, Dehlon, where he was declared brought dead. The police handed over the body to the relatives of the deceased after a post-mortem examination. The body was later cremated at Kokri village.

Harpreet’s parents condemned the action of their son and supported punishment for the crime. They also consoled relatives of the deceased. On a visit to the village, Ludhiana Tribune found complete silence at both the houses, as members of both families had gone to Dehlon in connection with the case.

Mr Raj Singh Jand, a Congress leader, who was present at Civil Hospital said: “Both the boys were well behaved and no one apprehended the outcome.”

While school authorities declined to comment on the issue, sources at village said it was a routine with most of the schools of the area to allow students to leave if someone came asking for them.

Meanwhile, the Dehlon police has asked authorities of various schools to be vigilant and not allow students leave the school without the permission of their parents.

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Strike impact
Two lakh cycles await transportation 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
Huge stocks of bicycles are piling up at various manufacturing units in Ludhiana. With truckers continuing their strike, the bicycle manufacturers are fearing that they may have to stop production for some time in case the strike is not called off soon.

Leading bicycle manufacturers, including Mr Om Parkash Munjal, co-Chairman and Managing Director of Hero Cycles, Mr H.S. Pahwa of Avon Cycles, who is also the president of the United Cycles and Parts Manufacturers Association, have sought the intervention of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, in this regard.

The manufacturers said they supported the cause of the truckers but were opposed to the way they were pursuing it. They maintained that the imposition of service tax was absolutely unjustified as it would further lead to losses. The bicycle manufacturers observed that the truckers should also be responsive towards the problems of the industry.

They stated that on an average 30,000 bicycles were being manufactured daily in the city. They added that even big manufacturers did not have space to keep the stocks. They only option, they said, would be to shut down production for some time.

This, the manufacturers pointed out, would have other problems as hundreds of man days would be lost and this would add to the woes of daily-wage workers.

In a separate statement, the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings observed that the strike had affected the industry and people alike.

While supporting the truckers’ cause, it observed that those comprising the transport sector were mostly illiterate and would not be able to comply with the complexities of the service tax legalities, which is ultimately governed by the Central Excise Department. It further observed that the levy of 10 per cent sales tax would further enhance the cost structure of industrial products.

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Follow-up
Taraksheel team sees no ghosts
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, August 26
A team of the Taraksheel Society, comprising seven members, today reached Hambowal village after news of fear psychosis among residents for the past 10 days.
The team was being led by Mr Ashok (Ludhiana zone). The other members accompanying him were Master Bakshi Ram, Mr Kanwaljeet Verma, Mr Ram Singh Kalra, Dr Harinder Pinky, Mr Sarwan Kumar and Master Tarlochan Singh Samrala. But the victims and other villagers did not cooperate with the Taraksheels.

According to the Taraksheels, all statements made by victim Sat Paul Singh were self-contradictory. The Taraksheels stated that Sat Paul might have experienced some sort of fit on the night of August 22.

Similarly, the other victim, Pritam Kaur, has an eye problem. It can be estimated from the fact that someone came and lay on her bed. Her statement that the devil went away when she started reciting God’s name can be doubted, they added.

Surjit Singh, who claims of having seen the mysterious giant on Tuesday night, might have seen some bird, the Taraksheels say.

Regarding the incident which happened with Karnail Singh, the society says that he may be suffering from some sort of stress. Resham Singh’s wife, who came to the village just four months ago, could not clearly recollect what had happened to her.

The sarpanch’s statement that those of the opponent group do not allow the panchayat to work smoothly proves that something is wrong. Consequently, the society came to the conclusion that the fear was the result of a hearsay.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, the SHO, Machhiwara police station, said he did not observe anything the previous night till 10.15 a.m. On the other side two villagers had claimed of seeing a ghost twice on the same night.

Villagers’ statement that the incidents occurred after the dogs barked showed their faith in superstitions.

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City roads too hazardous for his wheelchair
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 26
Subedar Pritam Singh, a physically challenged war veteran having fought the Second World War for the British, who used to go around doing daily chores on his battery-operated wheelchair, is now thinking of disposing it off as the traffic congestion in the city has made it difficult for him to move around in it.

He calls his vehicle “free wheelchair”. He had imported it from Canada.

A similar vehicle was gifted to him by the Canada Government while he was on a visit to that country. He was sent there by the British authorities. While returning to India, he could not bring that with him. However, later he purchased it for around 5,000 Canadian dollars.

He said, “I brought it to India in 2002. I was quite comfortable driving it as the traffic on city roads was less. But now the number of vehicles has increased so much that I get scared and feel quite insecure on the roads. People do not observe traffic rules. When there is a traffic jam, I just park my vehicle on the roadside. The other day, a motorcyclist banged into me as he could not apply breaks in time. No one has regards for the physically challenged. I am developing a ‘crowd phobia’ these days and want to sell this vehicle.”

“I used to park it at the bus stand while moving out of the city by bus. But nowadays, I am finding it difficult to drive on city roads. Excessive honking and the heavy traffic on the roads make me nervous. So I have no other choice, but to sell it although I hate the thought of parting with it.”

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Sainik Board’s directive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
The District Sainik Board has asked all ex-servicemen, whose cases for increasing the minimum disability have been rejected by the Controller of Defence Accounts (Pension), Allahabad, to contact the board office on any working day for making a representation to review their cases and increase their pension.

Lieut Commander Tarlochan Singh (retd), District Sainik Welfare Officer, said only those persons who retired between January 1, 1996 and January 31, 2001, need to apply. He said ex-servicemen who fulfilled the abovementioned criteria should contact the board office with their documents and claims so that the needful could be done at the earliest.

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Annual celebrations of Punjabi Society
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
The 31st anniversary celebrations of the International Punjabi Society were held at Los Angeles, USA, recently in which more than 500 delegates from all over the world participated.

This was stated by Mr Pushpinder Singh, member of the managing committee of the society, in a press note here today.

He said the convention was hosted by Dr A.S. Marwah, president, Los Angeles branch of the society. Dr Amarjit S. Marwah has been living in the USA for over half a century. A dentist by profession, he served as commissioner, Los Angeles, for 18 years and as board member of many international organisations and the Bank of Punjab.

During the three-day convention, issues regarding problems being faced by Punjabis and also promotion of Punjabi language, culture and heritage were discussed at length. Prominent personalities at the convention included mayor and council members of Malibu, USA, and US Congressman Brad Sherman.

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Vehicle recovered within hours of theft
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, August 26
A Tata Sumo, which was taken away at gunpoint from its owner at Tibba village, was recovered by the Sahnewal police within hours of the incident.
The driver of the vehicle (HR08-B-7442), Harjinder Singh of Kanech village, had complained to the police that his vehicle had been forcibly taken away from him at gunpoint late last evening.

Narrating the incident, he said: “Two youths came to me in the evening and hired the vehicle. They asked me to go towards Jassar village. However, on the way they asked to stop the vehicle at Tibba village and took its keys in their possession at gunpoint. They then drove off leaving me behind.”

The police set up check-posts at various points. They recovered the vehicle along with one alleged accused, Ajmer Singh of Polangi, Haryana.

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One held with opium
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 26
The Haibowal police yesterday arrested Mustaffa, a resident of Meerut district, and seized 2 kg of opium from his possession. A case under the NDPS Act has been registered against him.
The accused was arrested from Haibowal Khurd.

Dowry case: On the statement of Ms Asha Rani, a resident of Kakowal village, the Jodhewal police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 406, 498-A and 313 of the IPC against her husband Ranjit Singh and mother-in-law Naseeb Kaur, who live in Sukhdev Nagar.

The woman stated that after her marriage, the accused had been harassing her and demanding more dowry. The accused even forced her to undergo an abortion, added the complainant.

House burgled: On the statement of Mr Sukhwinder Singh, a resident of Partap Singh Nagar, the Jodhewal police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC. He stated that thieves entered his house on Tuesday and decamped with CD players, video cameras and a mobile phone set.

Vehicle recovered: The Shimla Puri police on Wednesday arrested Uttam and recovered a Hero Honda motor cycle from his possession. A case against him was registered under Section 411 of the IPC.

Sumo taken away: The Sahnewal police has registered a case under Sections 382 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Harjinder Singh, a resident of Kanech village, against an unknown person.

The complainant stated that the accused hired his Tata Sumo for going to Jassar village. But as he crossed the Tibba bridge on the way, the accused asked him to stop the vehicle. The accused took away the vehicle at gunpoint.

One arrested: The Sahnewal police arrested Ajmer Hooda, a resident of Rohtak district, on Wednesday and seized a pistol, five cartridges and a Tata Sumo. The accused was booked under the Arms Act.

Liquor seized: The Division No. 7 police on Wednesday arrested Baldev Singh, a resident of Barewal Gujjran village, and seized 18 bottles of liquor.

The Sadar police on Wednesday arrested Baldev Singh, a resident of Ganna village, near Phillaur, and seized 35 kg of “lahan” and 15 bottles of hooch from his possession.

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Ex-sarpanch held
Our
Correspondent

Machhiwara, August 26
The Machhiwara police has booked a former sarpanch of Behlolpur village, Gurdeep Singh, for a murderous attack on Gurmeet Singh, nambardar, of the village under section 307 of the IPC and 27, 54, 59 of the Arms Act.

The latter is also general secretary of the SC/STcell of the district Congress.

Gurdeep Singh had allegedly fired at Nambardar Gurmeet Singh from outside the latter's house around 10.15pm on Tuesday from his licensed revolver. He then fled in his car.

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Steel price fall brings relief to industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
With steel prices registering a marginal decrease, the industry has felt much relief. Most of the industrial organisations observed that the fall in steel prices would also lead to decrease in the input cost and the cost of finished products. However, they regretted that the local steel manufacturing units were yet to decrease their prices.

Recently, major steel producers, including Tata Steels, SAIL and ESSAR, reduced the prices of steel by different amounts, which has been hailed by the industry.

Expressing relief over the fall in prices, the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings thanked the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, who, they said, took personal interest in getting the prices reduced.

The chamber claimed it was the follow-up of the initiative taken by the Members of Parliament from Punjab, including Mr Sukhbir Badal and Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, that helped in getting the steel prices slashed.

The president of the chamber, Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, and the general secretary, Mr Avtar Singh, conveyed their gratitude to SAD leaders for standing by the industry.

They said it was because of them that the Prime Minister and the Union Finance Minister were convinced to reduce the customs duty on imports of non-alloy steel and the melting of scrap.

Mr Joginder Kumar, president of the Tiny and Small Industries of India, and other office-bearers, Mr Harinder Singh, Mr Vinod Dhall, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Mr Manmohan Singh Ubhi, Mr Chabber Singh and Mr Jaswant Singh Birdi, welcomed the slashing of prices of HR coils.

But the leaders regretted that the proportionate relief in the prices of CR coils and strips had not been passed on to the consumers of cold rolled sheets and strips. They said there was a resentment in the industry over the attitude of the producers of CR coils and sheets, strips and pipes.

The Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association has also hailed the initiatives taken by the Central Government to cut the custom duty on non-alloy steel from 10 to 5 per cent and abolish it on the scrap. Besides, it also welcomed the slashing of the duty from 15 to 5 per cent on the ship breaking materials.

Mr Gurpargat Singh Kahlon, president, and Mr Charan Singh Kohli, general secretary of the association, said the steps taken by the government had started yielding positives results.

However, they maintained that mere reduction in steel prices would not help the industry much as there were other measures needed to help the industry.

However, the Fastener Manufacturers Association of India president, Mr Narinder Bhamra, said the local steel manufacturing units had not effected the price change yet.

He said when the major steel producers had increased the prices, the local units had also increased the prices of steel in the same proportion.

Although the big manufacturers had already slashed prices, the local units were still charging exorbitant rates.

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A reason to Smile
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 25
“Laughter has become a rare commodity as the stress is mounting’, is the feedback that Zee TV has received,” says Ashish Kaul, vice-president, Corporate Development of Essel World, said while on his visit to the city yesterday.

He said: “Smile TV, launched by Zee TV, which until recently was available on Direct-to-Home Dish TV, will now be beamed on the cable TV network from September 3. The purpose of the channel is to make people laugh as ‘laughter is the best medicine’.” Today viewers were bored of watching never-ending sob soaps. They were looking for a break and variety in television viewing, he added.

“Smile TV has the potential to provide novel entertainment to audience of all age group. The programming of the channel has been developed with the objective to bring wholesome fun and entertainment for 24 hours,” he said.

“Smile TV brings sitcoms, stand up shows, joke sessions, fillers and music.” But among its most interesting programmes would be “Hasne Bhi Do Yaaron”. The one-hour theatre show had been developed with the idea to create a “home theatre” feel by inclusion of live audience, he said.

“Kahani Mein Twist Hein” would be a spoof on all popular daily soaps on Zee TV. The show would attempt to tickle the funny bone of the audience. Unlike a typical “kavi sammelan”, which features erudite poets espousing verbose poetry, “Kyunki Yeh Hasya Kavi Muquabla Hai” would only borrow from the traditional concept of a “kavi sammelan”.

The game show, “Ulta Pulta Ek Minute”, would recreate the magic of popular game show “Ek Minute” but in a different way. 

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