L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Daylight robbery in Ghumar Mandi
Rs 3.5 lakh looted, shopkeeper shot at
Tribune News Service

A relative attends to Mr Ram Parkash Bharti, who was shot at and injured by robbers in his shop in Ghumar Mandi in Ludhiana on Monday
A relative attends to Mr Ram Parkash Bharti, who was shot at and injured by robbers in his shop in Ghumar Mandi in Ludhiana on Monday. — Photo by I.V

Ludhiana, November 22
The crime wave continues to sweep the city as two armed robbers struck in broad daylight at the office of Western Union Money Transfer in Ghumar Mandi here and decamped with Rs 3.5 lakh in cash besides injuring the owner of the shop.

Mr Ram Parkash Bharti, owner of the shop, was removed to the CMC hospital. He was injured in his right arm with a fire shot. Doctors said he was out of danger. They said he may remain under shock for some time.

According to Mr Bharti, two robbers entered his office housed on the premises of Bharti Gift and Crockery Showroom and started inquiring about the exchange price of international currency. Later one of them opened a drawer and took out Rs 1.5 lakh. When he protested, one of the robbers took out a pistol and fired at him. He received injury near his wrist on his right arm.

The robbers took out another Rs 2 lakh from another drawer, downed the shutter and fled. They were on a scooter, according to the shop owner. During the incident, both the servants of the shopkeeper were out for some work. After hearing the fire shot, one of them reached to the shop, opened the shutter and went to the hospital.

Mr Bharti said the duo, one bearded and the other wearing a cap, had come to his office at 10 am also and inquired about the market price of Euro, Dollar and Pound. After knowing the price, they told him that they would come later in the day.

Mr Bharti said the robbers had asked him whether he would be able to pay them in lakhs on the counter. He added that they wanted to ascertain that he had this much of cash with him in the shop.

The incident created a sense of fear among the shopkeepers and those in the proximity of Mr Bharti’s shop downed their shutters for some time. Incidentally this is yet another incident in a row as robberies have been reported from many other parts of the city, including Aman Nagar, Simranjit Colony, Rishi Nagar and near Fountain Chowk. But the robbers earlier had struck during the night and today’s was the only incident when they had struck during daytime.

The shopkeeper said the robbers were in an inebriated state and were shaky while robbing him. Following the incident, many police officers came to the place. Further investigations are on and the police was recording the statement of the victim till the filing of this report. 



BJP demonstration against seer’s arrest
Poor response to VHP bandh call
Tribune News Service

Workers of the BJP and other Hindu organisations take out a procession against the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya Swami Jayander in Ludhiana
Workers of the BJP and other Hindu organisations take out a procession against the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya Swami Jayander in Ludhiana on Monday. — Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, November 22
The district unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party staged a demonstration in protest against the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya Swami Jayander. The activists of the Mahila Morcha and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha also participated in the demonstration.

They demanded immediate and unconditional release of the Shankaracharya and urged President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to dismiss the government of Ms Jayalalithaa for playing with the sentiments of Hindus. They said the Shankaracharya was being falsely implicated in a case of murder under a deep-rooted conspiracy of certain “anti-Hindu” forces.

The party leaders appealed to the people to rise above their ideological affiliations and protest against the humiliation of a revered institution that had been set up by Adi Shankaracharya hundreds of years ago. They condemned the Leftists supporting the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre for their role in the arrest of seer.

BJP leaders warned all those forces which were defending action against the Shankaracharya of dangerous repercussions. “Do not take Hindus for granted...once they start retaliating it would be disastrous”, they said.

Mr Satpal Gosain said the issue concerned everyone irrespective of his or her party affiliations. He said people were asking if it could happen to Hindus in India, where should they go.

Prominent among those who participated in the protest were Dr Subash Verma, Mr Balbirchand Kapila, Pran Bhatia and others.

Meanwhile, the nationwide strike call given by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in protest against the arrest of the seer received poor response here. Business establishments functioned normally. The work was also normal in all banks and other commercial establishments.

Members of the Ludhiana Brahman Sabha, led by its district president Krishen Rai Sharma, state chairman B.K. Dutt, senior vice-president Pandit Dharampal Sharma, staged a dharna at Clock Tower in response to the strike call. 



Cong councillor charged with encroachment, removed 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 22
The Department of Local Government, Punjab, has removed Mr Sat Pal Puri, Congress councillor from Ward No. 66, for abusing the authority bestowed upon him as an elected representative of the people.

The order was issued by Mr B.R. Bajaj, Principal Secretary, Department of Local Government, Punjab. He charged the councillor with encroaching upon the public land and constructing shops on a portion of a road in Shiv Puri locality along Budha Nullah.

In fact, the removal of Mr Puri has come after the dismissal of his leave petition by the Supreme Court in January 2003. Through this petition Mr Puri had challenged the judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court for declaring his election as councillor in the previous term as null and void. The Local Government Department, Punjab, had earlier also, removed Mr Puri from the post of the councillor in August 2001 but he continued to occupy the post on the basis of an interim order passed the High Court.

According to the findings of the Principal Secretary of the department, the final disposal of the write petition of Mr Puri by the High Court in May 2002 had made it clear that Mr Puri, who successfully contested the municipal corporation elections from Ward No. 66, for the second term in May 2002, was ineligible to do so.

Before his removal from the post under Section 36 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, the department had served a show- cause notice to the councillor on July 21, 2003, and later a detailed report was sought from the municipal corporation on the reply filed by Mr Puri.

The government accepted the stand taken by the municipal corporation authorities that neither any building plan was approved by Mr Puri for constructing shops, nor was the disputed construction compounded on payment of composition fee, as claimed by Mr Puri.

An affidavit submitted by the Municipal Corporation Joint Commissioner, Ms Babita Kler, to the department maintained that the corporation had never passed any order for the realisation of composition fee of the commercial property. Even otherwise, there was no provision under the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, for the regularisation of encroachment on roads or streets.

Meanwhile, the leader of BJP councillors, Mr Parveen Bansal, in a statement today hailed the removal of Mr Puri. He said the step would go a long way in checking the abuse of the post and serve as a lesson to other public figures.



Rs 1,640 cr development plan submitted to World Bank
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 22
The Punjab Government is committed to accord top priority to urban development and providing basic amenities in towns and cities. To achieve this objective, a comprehensive plan involving an expenditure of Rs 1,640 crores has been submitted to the World Bank for providing drinking water and to lay sewerage in 22 cities and towns of the state.

This was announced here today by Punjab Minister for Local Bodies Choudhry Jagjit Singh while addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone of five truck parking lots, to be constructed in Transport Nagar at a cost of Rs 1.28 crore. He said the financial condition of the state had substantially improved and the pace of development had picked.

The minister said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had already taken up with the Centre the issue of seeking facilities and incentives on a par with other neighbouring states for the purpose of promoting industrial development in the border districts of the state. He said stress was also being laid on enhancing power generation and development of other infrastructure facilities.

Referring to the development of the city, Choudhry Jagjit Singh remarked that the municipal corporation, under the leadership of the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, and the Commissioner Mr S.K. Sharma, had made record development and Ludhiana had emerged as one of the fastest developing cities in the entire region. He further said that all problems of the civic body, related to development projects, would be settled at a special meeting of the senior officers of the Local Government being convened on December 13 at Chandigarh.

Mr Surinder Dawer, Parliamentary Secretary, Power and Housing, Punjab, said the state government was committed to provide all basic facilities to the urban population. He said in Ludhiana city alone, more than Rs 400 crore had been spent on development during the past two and a half years. He claimed that in the Ludhiana East Assembly segment, development projects worth Rs 25 crore had been executed in all the 11 wards.

The Mayor, addressing the gathering, claimed that during the past two and a half years, the municipal corporation had executed a large number of big development projects in the city.



Gas agencies warned against artificial scarcity of LPG
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 22
The Deputy Commissioner today held a meeting with representatives of all gas agencies and warned them against creating an artificial scarcity of LPG. He also cautioned them against indulging in any kind of malpractice or trying to exploit the common man by overcharging.

He told them that a few days ago, he had got the stock of a gas agency checked and the results were shocking. In 11 cases, physical checking of the gas cylinders, supplied by the gas agency during the past 10 days, was got done by visiting the houses of the customers. It was found that all the 11 cases were of bogus and fictitious delivery, that is LPG was never supplied by the agency at the addresses and only book entries of delivery had been made by it.

The only inference that could be drawn was that the gas agency had diverted these cylinders to the black market.

The Deputy Commissioner said gas agencies should set their houses in order. In case the artificial shortage of LPG did not end, raids would be carried out in the coming days. Physical checking of cylinders supplied by the gas agencies, as per their record, would be done. If any fictitious entries were found, action as per the law would be taken against the proprietors of the offend gas agencies.

The Deputy Commissioner also directed the gas agencies to issue identity cards to the delivery boys. The delivery boy should also be having as many delivery vouchers as the cylinders he was carrying.

The Deputy Commissioner also told the gas agency owners that henceforth whenever domestic cylinders being used for commercial purpose were caught, information would be obtained from the person concerned as to from which gas agency he had purchased the cylinder and whether it was purchased by him in his own name or in the name of somebody else. If it was found that gas agency had knowingly sold the cylinder for commercial purposes, strict action would be taken against the gas agency.

He also expressed his unhappiness over the current state of affairs to the representative of the oil companies concerned. He told them that had they been vigilant on their own, the kind of irregularities, which had been detected, would not have occurred. He asked them to conduct regular checking on their own.

He cautioned them that in case gas agencies of a particular oil company were repeatedly found to be in the wrong, the local representative of the oil company shall be personally held responsible.

The Deputy Commissioner also directed the District Food & Civil Supplies Controller that she should daily collect the current delivery date data from all gas agencies and get this data displayed on cable TV for the information of the general public.

He also appealed to the general public that in case they are facing any exploitation at the hands of the gas agencies, they should not suffer silently. They should come forward and bring the matter to the notice of Ms Simarjot Kaur, District Food & Civil Supplies Controller or Mr Nabh Srivastava, LPG Coordinator, at his phone No. 2448500 on Tuesday and at phone No. 2450092 on Friday or the dealers of oil companies i.e. M/s Dewan Gas Agency (of Indian Oil) at mobile phone No. 9814933999, M/s Talwar Gas Agency (of Bharat Petroleum) at mobile phone No. 9814034634 and M/s Ludhiana Sales Agency (of Hindustan Petroleum) at mobile phone No. 9814531019.

If the problem persisted, they should bring the matter to the notice of Mr Ajay Sood, PCS, Assistant Commissioner (Grievances), DC Office, Ludhiana.



Fraud case against ex-sarpanch
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 22
The police has registered a case of fraud against an ex- sarpanch of Somal Kheri village and two others at the Payal police station. The former sarpanch allegedly forged the will of a mahant of a dera.

According to the F I R registered at the Payal police station on Monday Mahant Bachan Dass, chief of Dera Badrana, made a will in favour of his follower Mahant Tarsem Dass, a resident of Somal Kheri village in 1966. In 1983 Mahant Tarsem Dass came to know that a resident of his village was claiming that he was the owner of the dera land. He also came to know that the accused had got a forged will in his favour. Mahant Tarsem Dass filed a case against him.

During the hearing Mahant Tarsem Dass came to know that Dev Raj had got fake thumb impression of Mahant Bachan Dass on the will. He requested the court to match the thumb impression with the will of 1966 with that of 1983. The Court further ordered to match thumb impression on both the wills. The record was summoned from Registrar of Revenue of Jalandhar and sent to the Director Finger Print Bureau, Phillaur. The bureau narrated the thumb impression of both the wills were not matching. Following the report a case was registered against Dev Raj, son of Nikka Ram, Payare Lal ex-sarpanch of Somal Kheri village and Gurbachan Singh who had died.



Akalis weakened state’s financial health, says Congress leader
Our Correspondent

Amloh, November 22
Politicians should desist from the use of religion for political goals which would prove disastrous for the peace of the state asserted Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Parliamentary Secretary (Home and PWD) at a social function at Baraichan village near here yesterday. “We should follow the path shown by Guru Nanak Dev Ji which is panacea of all ills in these days”, Mr Dharamsot maintained.

Dr Sikandar Singh Director Punjab State Warehouse Corporation, criticised the Akali Party which had weakened the financial condition of the state during its regime. Now the Punjab Government is striving to provide employment to the youths of the state by inviting big industries in the state.

Mr Gurdeep Singh after his resignation as State Press Secretary of the Rashtriya Adhiapak Dal, has declared in the function to join the Punjab Pardesh Teachers Union which was welcomed by Mr Davinder Paul Sharma State Chief of the union. Mr Ajit Khanna Press Secretary and Mr Lok Nath Sharma member Punjab School Education Board also spoke. Mr Gurdeep Singh was honoured by Mr Davinder Paul and Mr Sadhu Singh with a Siropa.



Applications for ‘Role Model’ award invited
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 22
The Swami Vivekananda Study Circle has invited applications from students of various colleges in Punjab and Chandigarh for the “Role Model“ award instituted by the circle.

With its headquarters here, the study circle is a socio-cultural organisation that endeavours to promote the ideals of Swami Vivekananda.

Dr A.K. Jain, general secretary of the organisation, said the applicants would be judged on the qualities such as patriotism, honesty, selflessness, etc.

The applications on prescribed proforma (available with college Principal) should be submitted by December 6. The awards would be presented in January 2005.



Makar Sankranti Parv at Ayyappa Temple
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 22
Sree Ayyappa Seva Samiti is holding a special 41-day Makar Sankranti festival at Shri Ayyappa temple in sector 32-A of PUDA Urban Estate on the Chandigarh Road, according to Mr. Tulsidharan Pillay, general secretary of the samiti.

Mr Pillay told Ludhiana Tribune that the festival had got under way on November 16 with the lighting of the holy flame and the holding of a satsang session which was inaugurated by Mr. K.R.Puri, president , United Welfare Association, sector-32-A. Daily kirtan is being held from 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm at the temple. The festival would conclude on December 26 when a special puja of Lord Ayyappa would be held and a recitation of Sunder Kand would also be solemnised, added Mr. Pillay.

After the conclusion of the festival, a batch of devotees would leave on a visit to the Sree Sabrimala Ayyappa Temple in Pathanamthitta district in South Kerala which is also known as the Golden Temple of the South. Those wanting to visit the temple should contact the samiti, added Mr Pillay.



Riding for a noble cause
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 22
Steven of UK rides on a horse to satisfy his urge of adventure and also to fulfil a social need. Steven, a graduate in Quality Surveying from UK, had a quest for adventure, so he packed his bags and reached Nepal, where he taught for six months in rural schools. Then he went to Burma, Bangladesh and then crossed over and reached Kolkata on February 20, 2004. He said while in Burma, he decided to do something for children’s education living in rural areas of India, Pakistan and China.

He got in touch with the Action Aid India Society. Many corporate houses are supporting this society.

Steven, talking to Ludhiana Tribune at Punjab Agricultural Veterinary College, where he and his horse Rosy were staying said, “While I was satisfying my hunger for adventure, I thought of doing something for the education of children in rural areas of India, Pakistan and China. It is tough riding a horse with the fast moving traffic. But people have been very supportive”.

He said he met a man who was riding a bicycle for this cause and he took him to a school in Tohl, 15 km away from Ambala. “There I understood the difficulties of students. For 300 students there were 3 computers and the students had to pay extra Rs 80 for learning computers. The students need more computers. There is no boundary wall as the school cannot afford it, and things from the school are getting stolen”. The visit to the school helped him to get first hand knowledge on the problems faced by children here.

Steven will travel on the horse back to Phillaur today and then to Jalandhar, Amritsar and from there he will cross over to Pakistan by November 28, as his visa expires. He will change the horse there and travel to the terrain of Kara Korum. He said he would be joined by few persons in that part of his trip. He would then go to China from there.



Four shops burgled, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Jagraon November 22
Karan Singh, son of Pal Singh, a resident of Barnala road, Raikot, along with some other persons allegedly broke open the locks of four shops and stole VCE, 2 cameras, 2 bundles of cycle tubes, Rs 600 in cash.

According to the information, the accomplice of Karan Singh managed to flee whereas, Karan Singh was caught and beaten by the people. He is now admitted in Civil Hospital, Raikot.

The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 457, 380 of the IPC on the statement of Pritam Singh, a resident of Hardaspura. An iron rod, plier and some other instruments have also been recovered from Karan Singh.

36 quintal tea stolen: The tea shop of Sushil Kumar Jain, a resident of Maya Nagar, Ludhiana, was burgled at Kothe Sher Jang Jagran. It is alleged that some unknown persons broke open the locks had stolen 115 bags of tea valuing more than Rs 3 lakh. The local police has registered a case under Sections 457, 380 of the IPC on the statement of Sushil Kumar Jain.



Man kills Neelgai
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 22
A neelgai was allegedly killed by a man in Khatra village, near here, today. Villagers tried to nab the culprit but he escaped. The police reached the spot and started investigation.

Mr Baldev Singh, Sarpanch of the village, said at about 1 pm some villagers heard the sound of a gunshot. He was informed about the incident. When they reached the spot the culprit ran away leaving behind the carcass of the neelgai, he added.

Mr Jagdev Singh, a farmer of the village, said the villagers had seen many a time two persons roaming in the village, one of whom they identified as William. He was suspected to have killed the neelgai.

ASI Mahavir Singh said the police had informed the Forest Department office in Doraha.



WTO harming Indian economy, says expert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 22
Financial institutions like International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are entering the Indian market with the sole motive of making huge profits at the cost of people living here.

This was stated by Prof Arun Kumar, a leading economist from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. He was delivering a lecture on the topic "Globalisation and India's Development" at a seminar organised by the local chapter of the Bharat Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha today.

He said over the decades the emotional attachment of the elite with the poor and toiling masses had progressively weakened. They prefer to link up with the global elites. That is what they understand by progress. For fulfilling their aspirations they require high wages and don't mind achieving them at any cost, hence, the economic disparities. They do not see its link with growing social and political tensions in the country, he pointed out.

The biggest threat to our country is from poverty and food scarcity. With the market forces dominating, agriculture production also will be decided on the basis of persons capacity to buy. Since the rich have more purchasing capacity, the agricultural production of goods used by the poor will fall, thus, marginalising them further.

Moreover, in the name of technology, land reforms are being scuttled and an out right propaganda has been unleashed in favour of bigger farms. This will make the marginal farmers landless. Under the WTO regime, the developing countries are being asked to abolish their subsidies on their agricultural produce while they are themselves offering huge subsidy to the farmers. This is happening when only 0.4 per cent of US population is engaged in agriculture while in our country over 60 per cent of the population is dependent on the agriculture sector for its livelihood, he added.

The elite and the ruling classes have been resorting to the black marketing to generate additional income and stack the ill-gotten wealth abroad. This leaves inadequate resources for the nation's development and forces us to give concessions to the MNCs.

Citing an instance, the Professor said today that Rs 10 lakh crore were generated in the black market t and this results in the loss of Rs 4 lakh crore in taxes. This would be sufficient to offer employment, housing and healthcare to all citizens.

Ironically, our country has not been able to defend its national interests in the organisations like WTO. This is in contrast to days when India used to be viewed as a leader of the developing world. The one-way globalisation, as accepted by us, has weakened our country.

Sectarianism gains and the idea of the nation weakens and its capacity to deliver declines, creating a vicious circle. In international forums, any weakened country is unable to either define its long-term interest or to defend its interest. This parallel economy makes the policy makers a saleable commodity which in turn damages the security of the nation in the broadest sense.

Prof Arun Kumar said to reverse this trend concerted efforts on the part of the people who stand for sustainable development that serves the interests of vast majority of our country is required. 



Move to bring bakery products under VAT flayed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 22
The Punjab Bakery Association today condemned state government’s proposal to bring bakery products under the purview of Value Added Tax (VAT). “We have learnt that the government is planning to bring bakery products under VAT which is highly unfair. Moreover, when even sweetmeat has been spared why should we be subject to this tax?” said Mr Ramesh Mago, president, Bread Association, here today.

The association will send a representation to the state government in this regard, he said.

Association members said earlier when the SAD-BJP government had tried to impose VAT on bakery products they took up the issue with it and the decision was withdrawn.

“In case of bakery shops the work carried out is on a daily basis and at a very small scale. Such a tax would give a severe blow to the industry,” they said.

Meanwhile, the association elected its executive body members. Mr Suresh Vij was elected president of the Punjab Bakery Association.


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