L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cop’s family shot 
Homicide or suicide?
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 12
The bodies of three members of a family with bullet injuries were found in a room at a farmhouse in Ladpur Tooran village, near here, yesterday. The bodies were cremated after a post-mortem examination today.

The deceased have been identified as Balwinder Singh (30) son of Dalbara Singh, a constable posted at the police lines, Fatehgarh Sahib, his wife Mandeep Kaur and his son Harkamal (4). They stayed at the farmhouse. The wounds are suspected to be from the service revolver of the constable. The revolver was lying near the body of the woman.

Sources said the constable came late at night on Sunday and went to his room where his wife and son were sleeping. In the adjacent room, his mother and younger brother were sleeping. When his mother got up in the morning, she found the door bolted from inside. She peeped through the window and saw the bodies. The police was informed.

Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Parliamentary Secretary (Home and PWD), attended the funeral. A deputation consisting of Mr Amrik Singh, father of Mandeep Kaur, and Mr Jagtar Singh Massar, her uncle, met Mr Dharamsot in the hospital and expressed doubt on the suicide theory. He directed the police to solve the case in a week.

Mr Daleep Singh Pandhi, former minister, expressed grief over the killing on a telephone from Kapurthala.



Housing society charged with irregularities
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
The managing society of the Ludhiana Aggarwala Cooperative House Building Society, which manages the posh Aggar Nagar in the city, has been charged with financial and other irregularities by former office-bearers of the society.

In a memorandum to the Secretary, Department of Cooperation, Punjab, copies of which have been sent to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Minister for Cooperation Jasjit Singh, the former president and three directors of the society have demanded a high-level inquiry into the affairs of the society and Tagore Public School, owned and run by the society, after the removal of the office-bearers. They have also sought the appointment of an administrator to manage the day-to-day work of the society.

Addressing a news conference here on Sunday, Mr Surinder Gupta, former president of the society, and Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal, former manager of the school, alleged that the management of the society had allowed the BSNL to carry out road-cutting and laying of cables in part A of the colony without receiving payment of about Rs 8 lakh for the purpose. The BSNL had paid only around Rs 4.5 lakh so far. The cable laid by the BSNL in the colony was also supplied by one of the executive members of the school management, which was again in gross violation of the cooperative laws.

Mr Gupta and Mr Aggarwal said the main gates of parts A and B as well as the boundary wall of the school, which were in good condition, were reconstructed at a cost of Rs 3 lakh. The water tank on the roof of the building rented out to a bank, was replaced, entailing an expenditure of Rs 4 lakh.

They said the managing committee had also sold two shops behind the petrol station in part A to the school for Rs 14 lakh even as the school was owned, and run by the society itself. “The deal smacks of ulterior motive on the part of the management, which might be thinking in terms of changing the very identity of the school,” they said.

The management was also charged with other irregularities, including “whimsical” termination and appointments of teachers and principal, slashing transfer fee of residential and commercial properties and implicating former office-bearers in false civil and criminal cases.

Mr Gupta and Mr Aggarwal claimed that they had lodged several complaints with the local officials of the Cooperative Department but nothing had been done so far.

The president of the society, Mr Gobind Ram Bansal, termed the allegations as incorrect and unfounded. He said the new managing committee of the society had lodged a complaint with the Cooperative Department and the police against the previous office-bearers for misappropriation of funds in the purchase of a piece of land at Beermi village at a cost of Rs 4 crore without the permission of the general body.



Martyr’s aged father in distress
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, October 12
The government’s assurance of providing every sort of help to the families of martyrs has not helped them much as it has “adopted a tendency” of giving these families only a martyrdom certificate. The aged father and young sisters of martyr Lance Naik Ranjit Singh of Hambowal village are at the receiving end and have been finding it difficult to make both ends met.

Lance Naik Ranjit Singh lost his life on March 7, 2000, in Operation Rakshak in Jammu and Kashmir. Ranjit’s wife had left her in-laws’ house after two months of his death and had taken her two small sons with her. Pension and all other grants are being received by Ranjt’s wife, who is living with her parents at present. There is no one to take care of Ranjit’s old father and sisters.

Having been separated from his only son, Jarnail Singh, an ex-serviceman, has approached the state government and various departments regarding his tale of woes but in vain. Jarnail Singh gets a pension of Rs 2,300 every month along with 7 to 8 quintals of wheat and 6 quintals of paddy annually for discharging his duty as a granthi of the village gurdwara. However, it is not enough as his two daughters are to be married soon.

After going from pillar to post, Jarnail Singh sent letters to the Chief Minister, the state Finance Minister seeking help, but to no avail.

Now a disheartened Jarnail Singh has posted letters to the President, the Prime Minister, the Governor of Punjab and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal. He regrets that leaders and bureaucrats who had made various promises during the “Shradhanjali Samagam” of his son had no time to listen to his problems. He condemned the government for considering the martyr’s wife as the only legal heir and neglecting his parents. He said he was being humiliated by the government, which was turning a deaf ear to his demands. He has warned the government that he would commit suicide if his demands were not met.

The Director, Sainik Welfare, Brig Joginder Singh Jaswal, said his department often received such complaints from families of the martyrs. Mr Jaswal said the department had decided to release Rs 2 lakh for the family of every martyr from the War Heroes Fund. Such a relief was expected for Ranjit’s family soon, Mr Jaswal said.



Loss to farmers being assessed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 12
The Revenue authorities have initiated the process for assessment of loss due to the downpour yesterday in the local town and surrounding villages that left farmers of the area high and dry. Meanwhile, the local MLA has asked the authorities to expedite damage-control operations after visiting mandis in the area.

Reacting to reports of massive damage to ripe paddy crop and heaps of it lying unsold in purchase centers, the Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur Mr Husan Lal directed the SDM, Malekotla, to provide necessary help to the officials concerned so that they could control further damage.

The SDM said farmers of at least 10 villages in Ahmedgarh block had suffered massive losses. Completely ripe paddy, moong and oilseed crops were the worst hit.

Rohira, Baurhai Kalan, Baurhai Khurd, Momnabad, Kup Kalan, Kup Khurd and Ahmedgarh Chhanna villages reported substantial losses.

The SDM said the local office of the Joint Sub-Registrar had been provided more staff, including two kanungos and some patwaris, so that a fresh girdawari could be prepared within the stipulated period to enable farmers receive compensation for losses incurred due to the rain.

Ms Razia Sultana, local MLA visited the local market committee office and purchase centers associated with it. Expressing concern over the condition of the farmers, she directed the authorities of various procurement agencies to expedite the purchase and lifting of the produce so that fresh arrivals could be accommodated. She took stock of the situation in the area. “I will impress upon the Chief Minster to provide compensation at revised and enhanced rates to farmers,” she said.

Meanwhile, various kisan unions have demanded higher compensation for the farmers.



Man posing as DSP dupes jeweller
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
A local jeweller, Mr Sunil Jain, who owns a showroom near the Bharat Nagar chowk, was duped of gold ornaments yesterday by a man in his early 60s who posed as a DSP posted at the Vigilance Department.

According to information, the man arrived at the showroom in a car driven by a driver. After giving his introduction, he expressed his desire to buy some gold sets. He asked the showroom owner to send an employee with him to the nearby mini-secretariat where, he said, he wanted to show the sets to one of his relatives, also posted in the Police Department. On reaching the secretariat, the man asked the employee to wait for him in the car. When the man did not return, the employee called the jeweller. It was found out that he had hired the car. 



Ludhiana Calling

Photo by Sayeed AhmedRoadside begging in the city has been on the rise in spite of a crusade launched sometime ago by the city police to discourage it. Hordes of beggars from market places and elsewhere were picked up and taken to jail only to be released after a few days. At that time, it appeared to be the end of the begging business in the city. But no. That was not to be. Begging women from Rajasthan , who carried infants in their arms and pestered passersby for a pack of milk in the Bhadaur Hosue market, were back to their wily profession as soon as the police relaxed. These woman would get the milk pack from a kind-hearted person and re-sell the same at the same shop , though at a lesser price. City residents, on the other hand, too, have become wary of such beggars with the result that most of them do not bother to have a second look despite repeated requests by these beggars to lower down the window pane and donate something in the name of God before going any further.

Cold weather

Vague and ambiguous forecasts by weathermen notwithstanding, the weather has remained unpredictable, more so in this part of the country. With the mercury dipping quite unexpectedly during the past couple of days, people have started searching for their woollens. Only a few days ago, the weather was too hot to leave any scope for winter wear. Old-timers maintain that it is after a long time that the weather has turned so cool when it is only the beginning of October. Otherwise, the winter was shrinking. With Ludhiana having so much stakes on the woollens, any warmth makes their business cool. The reverse has happened now. With the weather turning cool, their business has started getting hot. There has also been an unexpected demand for hosiery products in Ludhiana during the past couple of days. And if the weather remains such, hosiery manufacturers are all set to make hey when the sun does not shine.

Cable operators’ blackmail

Cable operators in Ludhiana have always made news for one reason or the other. Ranging from “blackout” of certain channels to dispute on rates, there is no dearth of controversies. The two main service providers, Siti Cable and Win Cable, seem to have overlooked their internal competition when it comes to striking a bargain with news and other channels for some handsome remuneration. Only a few months ago, the cable operators had blacked out some news channels, as they reportedly demanded some premium for airing these channels. While that issue was sorted out, now the operators have again resorted to blackout. Win Cable does not air CNN and Siti Cable does not air BBC. There are some other much sought after channels which also remain inaccessible, thanks to the cable service providers. In the absence of a proper law regarding the cable networks, the cable operators are making their own writ run, whether anybody likes it or not. Otherwise, what should explain their “blackout” of one or the other channel, when they charge full money from customers. And not surprisingly, they are blocking only the free-to-air channels. And why? Only they know the answers.

Consumer culture

Ludhianvis are vainglorious. They have reasons to be. Probably for their entrepreneurship as they have the habit of success. No wonder Ludhiana has scripted some great success stories like the Hero Group, the Bharti Group, the Vardhaman, to name only a few. The latest craze among Ludhianvis appears to be sleek mobile sets that have been flooding the market. Although there is no survey available about the ratio of the availability of mobile sets in proportion to the population, almost everyone in the market in the city can be seen carrying a cell.

Ring tones

Mobile service providers appear to be using the best of software technology. They seem to be setting new rules and in the course making a quick buck. The latest fad happens to be the personalised ringing tones, introduced by a particular mobile company first and followed up by others later. Now you can dial a particular number for listening to hymns, another for film songs, some for something naughty and spicy. And for everything it is the consumer who has to pay. And even if you want to change one tune for another, this will again cost you money. So beware of the melodic tunes!

Time for woollens

Chill in the weather might have warmed romantic hearts but don’t forget to keep yourself warm to prevent various infections that have begun with the change of weather. Cases of viral infections and chest infections have already started coming in large numbers, say doctors. They have a word of caution. “Avoid sudden exposure and keep yourself properly covered up”. Kids, particularly, are more vulnerable to such infections.

So all you mothers and school-goers, its time to take out woollens.

Navratras bring cheer

With Navratras beginning on Thursday, businessmen appear to be the happiest lot. Business activity was comparatively dormant in the past few days due to Shradhs. A city-based retail showroom owner said he could organise only a “small” function to mark his showroom’s anniversary as it fell during Shradhs. Besides attractive discounts, schemes and gifts on purchases, one can look forward to many a new product in the market.

Officials’ ego

The issue of scrap bombs stares in the face of city residents once again. It was in the mid-1990s that bombs were first recovered in scrap after the Kuwait war. Since then the recovery of such bombs and occasional blasts have become a usual feature. However, despite having an experience to handle the issue, the Ludhiana district administration, the Customs Department and the Police Department were found wanting on managing fresh recovery of such explosives. Instead of working in unison, the departments accused each other of laxity in timely detection and disposal of bombs. This has left city residents wondering if the personal egos of the officials concerned is bigger than the cause of safety of the residents.

Traffic cones

The city Municipal Corporation leaves no stone unturned to boast about its achievements in providing basic amenities to residents. Most of these remain on paper or to be specific newspapers only. But there are several issues which remain untouched. For instance, it has been over two years now since traffic cones on the Ferozepure road, which helped in the regulation of traffic, have disappeared after being broken by vehicles. The city traffic police has been requesting the MC to install new ones but it is yet to respond positively.

Roads in bad shape

Even as the local Municipal Corporation had got some roads in the Sarabha Nagar area dug up to lay sewer pipes in the posh area, it is yet to repair these, causing inconvenience to the area residents.

Contaminated water

After reports of failure of water samples of many schools in the city, many people have started handing over water bottles to their children studying in these schools. Though the Municipal Corporation had washed its hands off the problem stating that the school authorities had got their private source of water, parents have not been able to heave a sigh of relief. They have advised their children not to drink water from the school tap as it would make them sick, but students are having a difficult time avoiding the water. If only the school authorities wake up and do something in this regard.

— Sentinel



Beware! wads can have ‘half’ or fewer notes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
Complaints have started pouring in about the fewer number of notes in the wads. Even some wads have been found to be containing ‘half’ notes only which cannot be noticed even while counting.

Mr Pramod Kumar, a local lawyer, learnt it a hard way. Yesterday when he withdrew Rs 10,000 from a bank, he counted it properly. However, he did not check the notes. But when he loosened the wad, he found that three notes in the wad were only ‘half notes’. The half notes had intelligently been tucked with the notes inside. Nobody would notice them as the wads are sealed will cellular tape midway. Only when the bundle is opened one can notice these half notes.

Mr Pramod Kumar said although he approached the particular cashier of the bank who had given him the bundle, he got no compensation. Even the Branch Manager refused to be of any help as bank officials maintained that since the bundle had already been opened, the bank could not take the responsibility. He was advised to check and count the notes next time.

In another related case, a senior city surgeon found Rs 1,000 less in a wad of Rs 10,000. The doctor said when the cashier gave him the Rs 10,000 wad he did not count it since the cashier was quite well known to him. But later he found that the wad contained Rs 1,000 less.

The doctor also went to the cashier and Manager. They again expressed their helplessness, since he had not counted the cash at the counter. After the Reserve Bank of India ordered the banks not to staple the bundles, the banks have now been sealing the bundles with rubber and cellular tapes. This makes removing of a few notes from the bundle quite easy.

Incidentally, both these cases were reported from two nationalised banks only. A senior official of one of the banks, when contacted, claimed that there was no scope for such things. He said, even if there was any such case it must be due to a mistake and not a deliberate act.

However, he advised that the best thing to avoid such situations was to check the cash and notes right at the counter only, even if it took some extra time.

He said it would be easy to change the bundles at that instance only. After the customer had left the counter and the bank, the bank did not take any responsibility, the official said. 



Reservations about servants’ registration
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
A large number of people have expressed their reservations against the district administration order to get their servants registered with the police. A cross section of people told The Tribune that it was practically not possible. A businessman pointed out that even when somebody registered a servant’s name with the police, what did the police do in case something wrong happened.

Mr D.V. Saharan, a senior citizen and retired businessman, said the registration of servants was not a logical process. He pointed out that even if people registered the names of their servants they could furnish only those details which were provided by servants themselves. He observed that it appeared to be an excuse only for the police for intimidating the common man.

Another businessman, Mr Lalit Mohan, asked what could the police do in cases where the owners had already furnished the details. Mr Mohan called for end to the registration of cases against people who did not register their servants with the police. He said the police should instead take some practical measures. Moreover, he pointed out that it was not that whosoever came here to work was criminally inclined.

Mr Saharan maintained that the police appeared to be shirking from its responsibility. He pointed out that recently when there was a spurt in the incidents of purse and chain snatching, the police, instead of taking preventive measures, advised women not to wear too much jewellery or carry too much cash with them. “This simply amounts to the admission on the part of the police that roads and markets are not safe”, he said.

The police has registered several cases against people who did not register their servants with it. Mr Mohan maintained that it was a mockery. This only deviates the attention of the public from the real issue — law and order. The administration and the police, he said, appeared to be only passing on their responsibility to the general public, which is not fair.



BJP leaders’ arrest a ‘political stunt’
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 12
Mr Ram Niwas Jain, president of the BJP Amloh Mandal, has alleged in a press note that the arrest of Mr Hansraj Nakra and Mr Satpal Sareen was a conspiracy of the Chief Minister.

He said the BJP state chief Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, would also be arrested under the conspiracy. “This is a plan of the Punjab Government to divert the attention of voters,” he said.

He said the Congress got 296 excess votes in the last parliamentary elections but in these five months of Congress governance, it had not done anything for which it could maintain this number.



Tributes paid to Bhagat Singh
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, October 12
Tributes were paid to Shaheed Bhagat Singh on his 97th birth anniversary by the local Nau Jawan Sudhar Sabha. A natak samagam and ‘mashal’ march was organised last evening to pay homage to Bhagat Singh.

The ‘mashal’ march was led by Prof Jagmohan Singh, president of the Zamhoori Adhikar Sabha, Punjab, Mr Amolak Singh, president of the Lok Morcha, Punjab and Bibi Krishan Devi, former president of the local Women Sabha.

Slogans like “Shaheed Bhagat Singh amar rahe” and “Inqlab zindabad”, were raised. After passing through streets and bazaars of the historical town, the march reached the Ram Leela ground , the venue of natak samagam.

Prof Jagmohan Singh lighted a candle in front of a portrait of Bhagat Singh. Students of the local Shaheed Bhagat Singh Public High School paid tributes to the martyr.

The Art Centre, Samrala, presented nataks “Sarsati” and “Miti Rudhan Kare”, both directed by Master Tarlochan Singh. The Nau Jawan Sudhar Sabha honoured writer Lal Singh Dil and Master Tarlochan Singh.



Pak team visits grain market
Our Correspondent

Khanna, October 12
A three-member delegation of Pakistan visited the biggest grain market of Asia here today. The delegation included the Special Secretary, Agricultural Marketing, Punjab, Mr Mohammad Yousaf, Additional Secretary (Agriculture Marketing), Mr Syed Niwaj, and the Director Marketing, Mr Rafiqueul Rehman. They were escorted by Mr S.S. Randhawa, Deputy General Manager, Mandi Board, Punjab.

Mr Mohammad Yousaf said he had visited various agricultural institutions in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal. He said Indian farmers were more prosperous in comparison to Pakistani farmers as the Indian government provide subsidies to them.

He said Faislabad University of Pakistan and Punjab Agriculture University will share research in the coming future.



Man found dead inside bank
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
A resident of Hisar was found dead under mysterious circumstances in the clock tower branch of the Bank of India this morning. The incident has exposed the security measures as the man was not an employee of the bank but allegedly spent the night there with some of his friends who worked with the bank.

Sumit Kumar, (23) had come to meet his friends and slept in the bank only. He was found dead in the morning. The SHO (Kotwali) told reporters that the man seemed to have suffered cardiac arrest.

He said the police had sought a written reply from the bank authorities about the incident.

He said it was shocking that an outsider was allowed to sleep in the bank. He said on inspection it was found that the bank had not taken proper security measures.



Student beaten up by drivers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
A local student was allegedly beaten by a group of drivers and conductors of private bus operators outside the city Bus Stand today morning.

The injured student, Akhtar Ali, was admitted to civil hospital. In his statement to the police, he said a conductor first refused to accept his student bus pass and beat him up when he insisted it was his right. Drivers and conductors of other private bus operators joined him and he suffered injuries. A case has been registered.



Illegal crackers recovered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
The police recovered a huge haul of illegal fire-crackers from Basti Jodhewal here last night. The crackers, estimated to be worth lakhs were stored in four godowns taken on rent by Rajinder Kumar, a resident of Shekhan Mohalla, here. The police had to arrange 10 vehicles to transport the stock to the police malkhana.



Rise in sponge iron prices
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, has expressed concern over the rise in the prices of sponge iron after the recovery of bombs and other explosives from imported scrap.

It has condemned the hike in the prices and described it as exploitation of the situation. Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber, said in a statement here today that the government was responsible for this and the Central Board of Excise and Customs did not permit commissioners to issue public notices prescribing restrictive procedures.


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