L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Guru Nanak Dev Engg college Principal,
Dean reinstated

Naveen S Gatrewal
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, November 11
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has ordered the reinstatement of Dr R.P. Singh and Dr J.N Jha, Principal and Dean Academic respectively of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, with immediate effect by an order passed by SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur. The order was passed after the SGPC held an inquiry into the conduct of the two faculty members following allegations of highhandedness by students.

Though the one-line order does not say much, it is learnt that SGPC authorities found allegations against the two to be frivolous.

Dr R.P. Singh and Dr Jha resumed office today. The two had been suspended after an agitation by the students that started in the last week of September and lasted for two weeks.

When contacted, the Principal confirmed that he had been reinstated, but refused to make any comment on the ongoing situation on the campus.

He however, added that the matter had been resolved after due consideration by the SGPC and he only hoped that the atmosphere of the college would improve in the coming days.

However, some students reacted adversely to the SGPC order reinstating the two and said that the future course of action would be determined by the students when the college reopens on Monday. During the initial strike the students had remained away from their classes, but after the Principal and dean Academics were suspended, the teachers boycotted teaching and the senior students had started taking the classes.

During the course of agitation by the students and the teachers the teaching work at Guru Nanak Dev Polytechnic was also affected.

The GNE College is a prestigious engineering college of the region that has been functioning since 1959 after the villagers of Gill Village donated 80 acres of land for the purpose.

The foundation stone of this engineering college was laid by late President Dr Rajindra Prasad on the same day on which he laid the foundation stone of the Thapar Engineering College at Patiala. Students of this institution are spread across the globe had expressed unhappiness over the September agitation.



In-laws booked under Dowry Act
Rs 7 lakh was demanded
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 11
The police has booked four residents of Gurdaspur district under Dowry Act on the complaint of Sukhpal kaur a resident of Ramgarh Sardara village under Payal police station.

Sukhpal Kaur had alleged in her complaint that she married Jaspal Singh son of Asa Singh on March 12th 1999 in at Gurdaspur. She said that her husband was living in Holland at that time. He lived with er for more than two months.

He flew to Holland assuring her that he will send papers for her visa very soon. She alleged that her in-laws started harassing her for dowry. They demanded Rupees seven lakh and her father gave them rupees three lakh but they not satisfied with that amount.

She also alleged that her in-laws changed her birth date while submitting the papers to the Embassy of Holland. Due to the wrong information the Embassy of Holland denied to give her Visa.

A case under Section 498-A , 420, 467, 468, 471 and 420 of the IPC has been registered against Jaspal Singh husband of the victim, Asa Singh father in law, Manjit Kaur mother in-law and Sukhjiwan Singh brother-in-law of Sukhpal Kaur at Payal Police station. No arrest has been made in this connection till today.



Jhuggi-dwellers misuse city parks
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 11
Residents of several colonies here have pleaded to the Municipal Corporation to save city parks, particularly green belts, including leisure valley along the Sidhwan canal, from unlawful occupants, squatters and jhuggi-dwellers.

According to the Residents Welfare Association of Model Town Extension, the leisure valley and other parks in the colony were under threat from unlawful occupants and jhuggi-dwellers. Most of the jhuggi-dwellers, a majority of them migrant workers, use green belts in the area for dumping garbage. The residents claimed that all attempts to persuade the jhuggi-dwellers against misuse of the green belts had failed.

Residents of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar on Pakhowal Road, including those living in HIG flats in the colony, have lodged protests with the Improvement Trust authorities for its failure to check the misuse of parks by the jhuggi-dwellers. The trust has not taken any step in this regard, they claimed.

The residents emphasised the need to set up public toilets in all colonies, particularly in such areas where clusters of jhuggis existed. Those found guilty of spoiling the parks should be sternly dealt with. 



Jewellers shortchange 22 carat gold customers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Buying gold this Divali? Beware; you may be sold ornaments that do not have the purity for which you have paid. Some unscrupulous jewellers are passing off 18 or 19 carat gold jewellery or sometimes even less as 22 carats. Virtually no one is able to detect the lower quality. What is worse is that jewellers indulging in such practice even manage to convince the buyers that there is no need for them to obtain a receipt, making the situation worse for those who are being cheated.

“Ever since I detected that I was given ornaments with higher impurity than for what I had paid, I have decided to buy jewellery only after getting it certified on a caratometre and after obtaining a receipt for it”, says Mrs Seema Jain wife of a local industrialist, who lost thousands of rupees after she purchased gold jewellery from a family jeweller who exploited her confidence in him.

Mr Suraj Dhanda, who is in the jewellery business for two decades, says most big jewellers, with a view to allay the fears of the customers have put up caratometres, for testing the purity of gold. Since no money is charged for testing the purity of jewellery, every customer must insist on a certificate from the jeweller, he suggests.

There is a need to remain vigilant, especially these days with many people buying gold on the eve of Divali to buy gold. Since most people buy gold as a long-term investment, the impurity in the jewellery is not detected for several years till the buyer takes the jewellery back to a jeweller for exchange or sale. Unfortunately, in most cases by this time the owner of the jewellery does not even remember the source where he or she or their ancestors bought the ornaments.

“It is a common practice among small jewellers to make extra profit by selling 18 or 20 carat jewellery as 22 carat, especially since the buyer has no means to check. With most jewellers offering to buy back the ornaments, the buyer is generally not suspicious of the quality”, says Mr Sant Kumar who runs a jewellery shop in Sarafan Bazar.

He says what is being sold as 22 K gold, may have purity as low as 14 to 17 carats. During inquiries from many jewellers, most admitted that the customers did not know that they were being duped. The worst affected are those who buy up ornaments as savings.

Several customers have been duped, but are unable to do much because they do not have proof of purchase. Ms Savitri Devi, a resident of Ghumar Mandi, said she had purchased some ornaments about six years ago, but when she went back to sell the same ornaments, recently, to her horror, the buyer (jeweller) told her that the ornaments were made up of only 17 carat gold. She had actually paid for 22 carat gold plus the cost of polish and labour at the time of purchase. Several similar complaints go unheard.

The surprising part of the story is that even gold guineas with queen or king stamp are also being manufactured here on a big scale. Most of these fake gold guineas sold here are Ludhiana-made. One such guinea on being tested was found to be made up of 17 carats whereas the buyer had to pay Rs 4,950/- for that on the promise that it was pure 22 carat gold. Each guinea weighs eight grams.

Hardly any wing of the authorities concerned appears to be geared up to tackle this situation. A police official says that unless someone complains they cannot act suo motu and in the absence of any proof of purchase, the customer cannot establish that the jewellery was bought from a particular jeweller. A top city jewellers, who did not want to be named, said initially such a practice was started to cater to customers who were looking for bargains, but slowly the practice has spread involving most jewellers.



Divali spells doom for endangered owls
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Divali may be a season of celebrations but endangered owls continue to be sacrificed at the altar of black magic, practised to invoke Lakshmi Goddess in the city.

While some animal rights activists remain on their toes to save owls from the clutches of ‘tantriks’, the innocent birds continue to be captured and sacrificed in a clandestine manner. Investigations reveal that while the entire Kartik month of the Indian calender spells doom for these birds, the maximum number of owls are sacrificed on the Divali night.

Not only the uneducated but the educated residents of the city also resort to this practice by paying skyrocketing amounts to ‘tantriks’ during these days. Sources told The Tribune that residents, especially businessmen, pay lakhs of rupees to the ‘tantriks’ to please the Goddess of Wealth.

The practitioners of black magic either catch the owls themselves or buy them from professional bird catchers by paying anything between Rs 10,000 to Rs 2 lakh depending on the affluence of the client. Some ‘tantriks’ are known to have earned lakhs of rupees during the past 15 days.

Some days ago, activists of the People for Animals had rescued two owls from a ‘tantrik’ and treated them in their hospital. They were handed over to officials of the Forest Department here yesterday to be released in a forest.

It is learnt that black magic gained ground in the city during the time of slump. The disillusioned businessmen in their desperation to keep their businesses running took the help of the ‘tantriks’. Since then they have made it a habit to try to please the Goddess by sacrificing an owl, associated with the Goddess in Indian myths.

Mr Sandeep Jain, president of the Ludhiana chapter of the PFA said they were keeping an eye on the ‘tantriks’. But at the same time, bird watchers said that owls had disappeared of late. They claimed that a species of the owl family, which is small in size, is seen at night in the suburbs of the city during some months, but during Divali they are not found.

Buying an owl or some part of his body is not an easy process for the ‘tantriks’, claims a bird catcher who is a nomad. ‘‘Earlier I used to go here and there to catch monitor lizards which were sold for their meat. But as we can’t sell them openly now, I found catching owls was a promising profession in the city. So for the past four years, I am doing the same job and catching owls for ‘tantriks’,” he added.

He said he had caught all the owls during daytime as the bird was not capable of seeing clearly in the sun. He said most of the owls were caught from around 20 dilapidated houses in the city.

Sources say an owl, which was bought by the ‘tantriks’ directly was used for performing black magic on at least 10 persons. Dried flesh of owls, claws, feathers and blood were used in the magic.

While the animal rights activists try to educate people against killing owls, astrologers claim that it was a misconception that sacrificing owls would bring good luck. “It will only annoy the Goddess”, they add.



Festive fever grips city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
On the eve of Divali, Ludhiana appears to be in the grip of festive fever. With companies offering bonus to its employees on this festival, the extra spending power of the employees has added to the business potential.

Consumer durable companies have come out with fabulous offers with massive discounts. Many automobile companies are offering handsome discounts on the occasion. The volume of sales of all these products has increased.

The sale of these products goes up during the Divali season. A car dealer of the city disclosed that many customers wait for Divali to buy vehicles. There are two reasons. One that people expect good discounts on Divali and second a good number of people consider it as an auspicious occasion to buy their vehicle.

Bazars like Ghumar Mandi, Mall Road, Chaura Bazar and even those in periphery are abuzz with hustle and bustle. The shopkeepers are making good of the festive mood recording substantial sales.



2 held, 360 bottles of liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, November 11
The police here nabbed two persons with 360 bottles of English wine ‘Big Boss’ today morning. The wine was recovered from a Maruti car by sub-Inspector Dharampal at a naka at T-Point Mahadipur.

DSP Samrala Jasvir Singh said that both accused, Kulvir Singh of Ratenda falling Mukandpur police station and other Harvinder Singh of Kirpal Colony Phagwara were transporting the wine from Chandigarh to Jalandhar. The police stopped the Maruti car and plastic bottles were found out of the boxes in the car. Smugglers are using the Ropar-Machhiwara-Ludhiana road these days for illegal business. Both were booked under Section 61-1-14 of the Excise Act.



Nehru gave impetus to growth: Kidwai
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
The Punjab and Haryana Governor, Dr A.R. Kidwai, has said Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru put India on the path of infrastructure development, the gains of which are being reaped decades later.

Paying tributes to Pandit Nehru before his 115 birth anniversay at a function organised by the Nehru Sidhant Kender Trust, at Ludhiana, Dr Kidwai said it was because of Nehru’s vision that India had emerged as a leader of knowledge-based industry in the 21st century.

Dr Kidwai said Nehru believed that if India had to stand out as a global power, it would have to impart quality education to its citizens. He said that it was because of the quality education India had exported software worth $ 12.7 billion and emerged as a leader in the BPO industry.

He said that the growth in the banking industry and insurance sectors are double than the software development and the growth in the telecommunication sector had tripled as compared to the software industry. He said that if India had emerged as the third leader in world, it was as a result of its scientific and technical manpower.

Emphasising on the need for providing quality education to the citizens, Dr Kidwai said that India had to grab opportunities offered by post-WTO scenario. In such a scenario, the artificial trade boundary between countries would cease to exist and only countries providing services and products at economical rates would survive.

Dr Kidwai said that major powers like the USA, Europe and Japan were concentrating on India and China because these countries could provide products at competitive rates.

The Governor said in the pharmaceutical sectors, the growth potential for India was tremendous. He said that India was all set to become the biotech leader of the future by exploiting its rich resources of genetics.

Congratulating the trust for focusing on quality education and honouring 505 children with scholarships, Dr Kidwai said one must collectively work for the development of the country.

Dr Kidwai also visited Satpal Mittal Memorial Public School, which was educating poor children.

Earlier, Dr Kidwai gave the Sat Paul Mittal National Award for outstanding services to humanity for the year 2004, to Dr Anil Parkash Joshi, a social worker who initiated a technology initiative in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir to achieve peace. Dr Joshi’s technology inititative for peace had harnessed watermills to provide electricity to the villages.

The award comprises Rs 2 lakh in cash besides a citation and a medal.

PWD Minister Partap Singh Bajwa spoke about the visions of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Mr Rakesh Bharti Mittal, chairman of the trust, spoke about the activities of the trust.

DC Anurag Verma, DIG Parag Jain, Mayor Nahar Singh Gill, SSP Narinder Pal Singh and Mr Prem Nath Gupta, president of the trust were also present on the occation.



Village ponds to be desilted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
To tackle the problem of stagnated and overflowing sullage water from ponds in the villages, the district administration has launched a drive to desilt these ponds, so that, waste water disposal could be managed properly.

Directions were given to the officers at a special meeting of officers of the Development Department at Circuit house, last evening under the chairmanship of Mr Anurag Verma Deputy Commissioner.

The Deputy Commissioner directed all BDPOs to ensure desilting and development of at least 60 ponds i.e. five ponds in each Block and continue the campaign till all ponds were covered. He also directed the BDPOs to make use of eight JCB machines and start the work from those villages, where the Panchayats had sufficient funds.

He said that where the Panchayats did not have funds, the work should be carried out from the other grants released for development of the village. Mr Verma said that in case any Panchayat could manage the JCB at lesser rate than a Rs 300 per hour plus diesel fixed by the government, then they should be allowed to hire private JCB for this purpose. He asked the BDPOs to accord priority for the improvement of environment and check pollution.

Discussing the pendency of utilisation certificates of MP LAD and other grants released to the villages, the Deputy Commissioner took serious view of the delay in submitting the certificates and directed the BDPOs to expedite the utilisation of grants and send more than 85 per cent UCs before the next meeting. He also put on record the appreciation of BDPO Samrala and Machhiwara for the excellent performance in submitting the UCs.

The Deputy Commissioner asked the BDPOs to ensure the earth work by the villages , wherever the construction of the roads is being delayed, so that the grants for the strengthening and raising of roads could be utilised at the earliest. He directed the Officers of the PWD to keep in touch with the BDPOs and give the lists of the portion of roads, where earth work is required. He also reviewed the progress of Wet Land Projects and Vermiculture Projects and asked BDPOs to finalise at least one village in their block for these projects and start the work at the earliest, so that, the people could be benefited.

Referring to the problems of the panchayats in distributing the pensions, the Deputy Commissioner directed the BDPOs to solve such problems and ensure the immediate distribution of the pensions to the needy people , so that the released grant could be utilised in time.



Youths in search of greener pastures duped in Malaysia
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 11
The Delhi Police has arrested a member of an inter-state gang that had allegedly duped some unemployed rural youths on the pretext of sending them abroad.

The victims and the gangsters had been booked at the police station of IG Airport at New Delhi under Sections 420, 468 and 471 of the IPC and Section 12 of the Passport Act.

Mr Om Veer in charge of the police party that raided the residences of the accused, said that Shaukat Ali belonged to Rohira village, Aslam Khan, alias Lalla, was from Binjokee and Pawan Sharma was from Kurukshetra. Only Aslam was arrested, whereas two succeeded in dodging the police. Salim of Dugni village and Yammeen of Dhadehal village, who had been duped by the main accused, were already in the custody of the Delhi Police.

Information received from the police and close relatives of two victims revealed that a gang led by Pawan Kumar Sharma of Kurukshetra in Haryana had been active in this area for around four years.

Pawan Kumar Sharma, kingpin of the gang, used to fish his prey through his sub-agents working in this area. Referring to information received from Salim, his brother Riyaz Khan said, “Instead of getting him a job in Malaysia, Pawan Kumar of Kurukshetra tried to leave him in the forests of Thailand. He was later carried to Malaysia, Pawan Kumar of Kurukshetra tried to leave him in the forests of Thailand. He was later carried to Malaysia in the boot of a car. Around five other youths, including Yameen of Dhadewal village, were also taken in this manner.

To add insult to injury, Kala an associate of Shaukat Ali, had exploited him in Malaysia by making him work for him without any salary. He worked without pay in railways there, for another three months and ultimately took shelter with a Pakistani national, Salim who paid him a nominal salary.

The immigration authorities had caught them working illegally and both were imprisoned for around three months.

Narrating the sequence of events on Tuesday night, Mr Riyaz, said that the Delhi Police had reported to the police chowki at Kup Kalan that they wanted to arrest Shaukat Ali, who had been booked under various sections of law at airport police station in Delhi.

“When the police party proceeded to arrest the accused after informing the sarpanch of the village, he, instead of cooperating with the police, allegedly facilitated his escape.The Delhi Police had to return with one of the accused only.



Only small-time gamblers fall in police net
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Come Divali season and gambling is at its height in the city. But as in the past, this year, too, the police is contended with taking action against small-time gamblers only who are usually seen on the streets trying their luck on what is considered auspicious time for making money.

While the police briefing is daily full of registration of cases against gamblers and some arrests, no prominent person has been brought to book so far. No raid has been conducted at any city hotel, club or restaurant so far despite the common knowledge that these places are the hub of gambling during this time of the year.

Inquiries by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that many youngsters pool in money to even organise striptease parties around Divali. For this purpose, big hotels in the city or those situated on the Ludhiana-Jalandhar highway are hired. Two years ago, the city was rocked with the news of hiring of a marriage palace near Mullanpur Dakha by gays, a culture more associated with the Western world.

Police sources revealed to Ludhiana Tribune that these are big things beyond the reach of junior ranks. They said political patronage also prevents them from taking action against gambling. They said Divali day and night are the best time to conduct raids and bust gambling racket in the city. The registration of cases against commoners is merely an eyewash whereas cops themselves can be seen indulging in the activity in prestigious clubs on this day.

The police seems to be unable to know what is happening within the four walls of a club or hotel and can only spot gambling going on in the open that is in parks or streets. Cops concentrate more on people gambling a few hundreds or thousands of rupees. It is conveniently ignoring gambling of lakhs and even crores.

For the record, the police has arrested about 50 people in the past three days but none of these include any big name. The Sarabha Nagar police had raided a park in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and Anil Kumar, a resident of Gandhi Nagar, Pritam Lal, a resident of Nagpal Palace, Naresh Singh, a resident of Aman Nagar and Raju, a resident of Panjab Mata Nagar. A sum of Rs 1200 along with a deck of playing cards were seized from their possession,

The police also arrested some persons at a public place opposite the Gurdev Hospital along the Ferozepur road. A sum of Rs 1300 and a deck of playing cards were seized from them.

In the third case, Rs 950 were recovered at a public place outside the Housing Board Colony.

The division number 6 police could also manage to recover only Rs 750 from two persons and arrested them for booking illegal satta and “darra” bets in the area. Similarly, the division number 7 police arrested a person and recovered a sum of Rs 725 from his possession and booked him under the Gambling Act for allegedly booking satta and “darra” bets behind the Vardhman Mill.

The highest amount recovered so far was Rs 40,000 by the Basti Jodhewal police from gamblers in New Lajpat Nagar.



BSNL plans TV through broadband
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
BSNL subscribers can look forward for hassle-free connections where phones do not get out of order at all. Not merely that. The nigam is also planning to provide broadband services that will enable one to view TV channels as well.

Mr G.S. Bhatia, Chief General Manager, Punjab Circle, who inaugurated the BSNL’s NetOne Internet service in the city today, told TNS that the BSNL would be able to offer broadband services on the customers’ doorstep by the end of 2005.

Currently, it is exchange-to-exchange, but with optic fibre cable being added, subscribers would be able to avail themselves of the facility of unlimited bandwidth, he said.

The service would also enable customers to view television via cable for which the BSNL is yet to decide upon the policy including tariff. “However, the rates that we would offer would be much more affordable,” he claimed.

Mr Bhatia disclosed that they have already started the process of making pole free telephone exchanges. “While so far, the percentage of fault in connections has remained on the higher side, by 2007, we aim to bring it down to three per cent and it would be further reduced to merely one per cent by 2010.”

He said a majority of faults that occurred in telephone connections were due to some fault either in the DP or the dropwire, the wire that went from the pole to the subscriber’s place.

On BSNL’s cellular services, he said the corporation would expand its network for mobile phone services in Punjab from the existing 4.5 lakh to 14 lakh within seven to eight months. “With this our services will be available in every nook and corner of the state.”

He also said the cellular services subscribers will witness a major improvement in services within the next two-to-three months.

He also said that online cash counters by the corporation where the subscribers can deposit their bills have become quite popular as “the faults are fewer and these have resulted in higher efficiency. The moment the payment is made it gets recorded directly so there are no disconnections by mistake. Even refunds are speedier,” he said.


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