L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rice worth Rs 60 cr rots in FCI godowns
Bhushan Sood
Our Correspondent

Amloh, December 12
As much as 5.25 lakh quintals of rice, costing nearly Rs 60 crore is awaiting loading from the FCI godowns here. The Punjab Government has to pay an interest of Rs 2 lakh per day as interest to the FCI on this account. This is causing loss not only to the government but also to rice millers and the labour at the rice mills. There are 30 local rice mills.

Talking to the mediapersons here today, Mr Randhir Singh Gill, president of the Rice Millers Association, asserted that the reason behind the non-lifting of rice from the godowns was the tussle between two groups of transporters. Earlier, the local truck union contractor was allotted the contract of lifting the rice from the FCI godowns at the rate of Rs 880 per truck. But he paid less to the truck operators.

This year Mr Jasbir Singh from Rajpura gave a tender @ Rs 670 per truck which was accepted by the government. When the new contractor came for lifting the rice a few months ago, he had to face the wrath of the local truck operators. Fearing heavy demurrage of around Rs 2 lakh per day for delay in loading, Mr Jasbir Singh had to seek protection from the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard.

A deputation of the association presented a memorandum to Mr S.K. Alhuwalia, Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, yesterday, copy of which was released here today to the media, seeking immediate lifting of rice from the godowns. Mr Gill has assured protection during the lifting of rice from the godowns.

He said the mills could not operate till the government lifted rice stocks after making arrangement for its storage in the godowns. Moreover, each mill has to pay Rs 1,000 per day to the PSEB as minimum tariff and Rs 1,000 per day as loss of salary to labour without any work being done. If the government does not come to their rescue they would be ruined, he maintained. 



City gears up for Christmas celebrations
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, December 12
The city has started preparing itself to celebrate the festival of joy and happiness — Christmas. The markets in the city are flooded with dazzling decorative items to mark the occasion. Santa Claus, Christmas trees, decorative hangings, artificial snow, tinkling bells, Jesus Christ’s cradles etc can be seen all around in the markets and Shopping Malls. Several schools, colleges and clubs have already started organising various programmes to enjoy the festival which signifies togetherness, love, faith and, above all, caring for fellow human-beings.

It seems that the spirit of Christmas will dominate the city the whole month. Shops have tastefully displayed white and red Santa Claus and Christmas trees, which immediately catch the attention of people. Some of the Santa Clauses stand 5 feet tall, holding candies, soft toys, balloons, stars and joysticks in their hands.

The Advent Season has already started in the homes of Christians and convents. Christians believe that Advent Season cleanses one’s heart from all shortcomings.

During the month of December, Christians pray for their friends. Jyothi John, a student of CMC, said even if one did not like anything about the ‘Christmas friend’, prayers and good wishes for friends were a must. Children seem to be making themselves ready to receive gifts from Santa Claus.

This year, audio and video CDs of Christmas carols are a craze among people. One of the shopkeepers said people demanded CDs in order to celebrate the festival in the traditional manner. People had started buying gifts for their loved ones. A majority of the buyers were students, who bought small things to decorate their schools and classrooms.

Dry fruits comprising cashews, raisins, ginger and almonds are in demand, specially by the hotel people, to make a variety of cakes. Santa caps and Christmas candles are also in demand. People have been demanding maple leaves and colourful baubles.



Tribune Impact
Improvement Trust chief inspects encroached site
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
The Chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, today visited the encroachment site in Model Town, extension-II, and took stock of the situation.

Following a news report about the bid to usurp trust land worth crores carried in the Ludhiana Tribune today, the Chairman inspected the site and called a meeting of the affected residents at the trust office tomorrow.

He was accompanied by some other officials of the trust.

Mr Garcha asked the residents to make a list of their grievances and present these to him tomorrow. He assured them that the encroachments would be removed with the help of the police shortly.

The trust land in the area had been lying vacant for the past many years. In 2002 the trust had taken out a draw of lots and allotted MIG flats to some residents.

But no construction could be carried out on the plot due to the encroachers, amid allegations that they were being patronised by some influential political leaders who were eyeing the prime property.

Mr Vijay Kumar Bansal, office-bearer of the Shakti Nagar Enclave Association, said the residents would at a meeting in the evening decide on the issue to be taken up at the meeting tomorrow.



Marriages become too ostentatious
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, December 12
Marriage season was at its peak recently. It saw invitation cards that were a class apart. An exclusive wedding card came with ‘kundan work’ on it. Since it was a unique card, the invitees were requested to preserve it. Another card came in a sleek wooden box with a panel of coloured mythological figures and Vedic mantras printed on it. Inside were sleek cards for various occasions.

Everybody wanted the marriage in his or her family to be the most talked about in the city. In some marriages elephants were put in service to carry the most important guests. These elephants walked through streets and in many cases led to traffic jams. Little did the organisers of the marriage parties bother about the inconvenience caused to the public.

Marriage palaces were in great demand this year. Florists also did a roaring business. In some cases, flowers and orchids were imported from other countries.

The drapes of brocades, velvet cushions and comfortable sofas, specially brought in for the guests, added a great deal of pomp and richness to these marriages.

Mr Vijay Singhania, a popular social figure, says, “According to caterers, Mexican, Italian, Thai, Chinese and Continental food, besides ‘desi khana’ was served at these parties”.

“Marriage functions are getting more and more ostentatious,” say city residents. Yet, when it is their turn, they want to be one up on the others

Ms Sodhi, a college lecturer, says, “A lot of food is wasted by people. When millions of our countrymen go hungry, it hurts to see people wasting food. If people develop a will to reach out to the helpless by having simple marriages, society will gain”, she says.



Plaques from martyr’s statue disappear
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
While Vijay Diwas celebrations are just a few days away, the plaques on the statue of 1971 war hero Major Bhupinder Singh, installed near the Jagraon bridge, have gone missing.

Mentioning the history of the war and the contribution of the Major who laid down life in the 1971 Indo-Pak War, the brass plaques have been taken away by some miscreants. These are, however, intact on the statue of Flt Lieut Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, another martyr, who was awarded Param Vir Chakra posthumously.

The plaques were seen on the statue about 15 days back. The local Sainik Welfare Department has no knowledge about it whereabouts. Officials said that the upkeep of the statues was with the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.

Every year a tank, a fighter plane and the statues of the martyrs of the 1971 war put up outside the Mini Secretariat are given a fresh look before Vijay Diwas on December 16.

Major Bhupinder Singh, Commander, Hodson’s Horse, had led his squadron with distinction in the battle of Phillore and Sodreke in Pakistan between September 11 and 19,1965. With skilful deployment and bold action his squadron was able to cause large-scale destruction of Pakistani tanks and other equipment. Although his tank was hit on several occasion, he continued to remain in affective command and by several acts of bravery inspired his men to fight courageously.

On September 19, 1965, in the battle of Sodreke his tank was hit and it caught fire. While abandoning the tank, he received burns and succumbed to these.



Bid to rape widow
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 12
A farmer of Seelon Khurd has been booked under Sections 376, 354, 506, 511, 376 and 323 of the IPC for allegedly attempting to rape a widow of Doraha town.

According to Mr Jatinder Singh Khaira, DSP, Mullanpur, Jarnail Singh of Seelon Khurd had allegedly attempted to rape 23-year-old Mandeep Kaur (name changed), a widow of Doraha town, on Friday night.

According to a complaint lodged at the Dehlon police, Jarnail Singh used to live in the neighbourhood of the complainant at Doraha.

On Friday, Mandeep had come to visit Jarnail Singh’s family on the invitation of his wife. In the evening, she was asked to stay at Seelon Khurad to which she agreed.

In the night, Jarnail Singh allegedly tried to rape her. The victim got injured in her attempt to save himself. She was taken to the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, for a medical examination. The medical report is awaited.

No arrest has been made so far.



Extortion case solved, two held
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 12
The Sidhwanbet police has claimed to have solve the case of extortion of Rs 50,000 from Balkar Singh of Bhundri with the arrest of Ajmer Singh, of Humbran and Bikramjit Singh of Majri within 24 hours of the occurrence of the incident.

The entire amount has been recovered from them. They have been booked under Sections 382, 356 of the IPC.

Balkar Singh was reportedly on his way to home carrying a bag that contained money and bank pass books, when the incident took place. Inquiries by the police gave some clues to the identity of the accused.

Bikramjit Singh was arrested while riding a Bajaj Chetak scooter in the Swaddi Kalan area. One .12-bore pistol and 2 cartridges were also seized from the accused. Ajmer Singh has also been booked under Section 25/54.59 of the Arms Act.



Lathi charge invites BJP wrath
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 12
The BJP has criticised the police lathi charge on peacefully agitating party workers here on Friday.
Presiding over a meeting of the office-bearers here last evening, the district president of the party, Dr Subhash Verma, said it was reprehensible that the police did not even spare mediapersons, who were also lathicharged and their cameras damaged during the dharna at the Mini Secretariat. The government ought to launch a high-level inquiry into the matter and the erring police officers be dealt with sternly, he said.

The party has set up a committee, headed by Mr Ashok Loomba, which would hold a probe and submit its report to the Punjab Human Rights Commission, he added.

The BJP district unit chief maintained that the police authorities allegedly at the behest of the Congress had made a bid to curb the democratic right of a political party of protesting against the deteriorating law and order situation and partisan attitude of the local police.

Dr Verma asked the Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues to desist from indulging in political vendetta, which could have far reaching effects on the law and order situation in the state and to take necessary steps to restore the rule of law in the state.

He said a detailed report of the police repression against party workers had been sent to the party high command.

Prominent among those present in the meeting were Mr O.P. Bhardwaj, Mr Subhash Bhatia, Ms Santosh Kalra, Mr Kamal Chatley, Mr Pushpinder Singla, Mr Uma Dutta Sharma, Mr Jitendra Mittal, Mr Rajinder Khatri and Mr Prem Sagar.



2005 — Desh Seva Year for society
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 12
The Shaheed Memorial International Seva Society has decided to celebrate year 2005 as Desh Seva Year. Citizens will be urged to serve and worship the country. People, including children, will be motivated to serve the country with patriotic feelings.

A beginning was made today by distributing patriotic posters which were released by Mr Manish Tiwari. Mr Tiwari hoped that the next year would be a milestone in the progress of the country.

Mr Viyjender Singh, general secretary of the society, said this poster would be given to all offices as a New Year gift. Similarly, post offices, police stations, schools and colleges will be presented this poster. He said. “We will request every officer to put up this poster to motivate people to serve their country well. We want to spread this message in the region.



1 held for abducting minor girl
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 12
The Dehlon police has arrested a person for allegedly abducting a minor girl of Jand village on the pretext of getting her married into a prosperous family.
According to the SSP, Jagraon, Mr Rajiv Ahir, Lakhwinder Singh of Guram village in Ludhiana district was nabbed by the Dehlon police yesterday at a naka.

Lakhwinder, his wife, Balbir Kaur, and their accomplice, Gurdeep Singh of Latala village, were wanted by the police in connection with the case registered under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC.

The trio had allegedly abducted Simranjit Kaur (name changed), Class XI student of Government Senior Secondary School. Manjit Kaur, a widow of Jand village, had informed the police that her daughter had been living at Ghabaddi village with her relatives. Lakhwinder Singh and Balbir Kaur used to force her daughter to agree for a marriage.

The girl told her mother about it. Later, the girl was shifted to her native village. On December 7, the couple, along with Gurdeep Singh of Latala, came to their home at Jand.

At that time, Manjit Kaur had gone to Ahmedgarh for getting some medicine. Finding an opportunity, the accused allegedly abducted Simranjit in a car (PB 10E-0792).

Manjit Kaur reported the matter to the police on Friday. While the main accused has been nabbed, the abducted girl is yet to be traced.



Bottles of liquor seized, 3 held
Our Correspondent

Khanna, December 12
The Khanna police has seized 56 bottles of countrymade liquor and arrested three persons from two different places yesterday night.
According to the police, a police party was patrolling near Boothgarh village late last evening. Head Constable Jarnail Singh, who was leading the party, signalled a tractor-trailer to stop. During the search, the police seized 24 bottles of country-made liquor. The driver, Jaswant Singh of Boothgarh village was arrested.

In another case ASI Malkit Singh conducted a raid at a shop in new Narotam Nagar and seized 32 bottles of liquor. Two persons were arrested from the shop who were identified as Sadhu Singh of Billanwali Chhappri, Khanna, and the other as Amarjit Singh of Faizgarh village.



Truck-tempo collide one killed, 3 hurt 
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 12
One person was killed and three others were injured when a tempo and a truck collided on the GT Road near Kothe Baggu, 3 km from here, today.
According to information, the collision beween tempo (PAR-2356) and truck (HR-55B-3921) took place around 8 a.m.

Pawanjit Singh of Talwandi Malhian, who was driving the tempo, died in the accident and three other persons, Amrik Singh of Kaler, Naib Singh of Galib Kalan and Thakur Das of Talwandi Malhian, who were travelling by that tempo, sustained injuries.

Those injured were taken to the local Civil Hospital. The driver of the truck fled away leaving the vehicle there. Fog is said to be the reason behind the accident.

A case under sections 279, 304-A, 337 and 427 of the IPC has been registered.



Trade unions protest against govt policies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 12
Activists of more than six trade unions today held a demonstration at the local office of the Labour Department to protest against price rise, unemployment and repressive policies and to focus on pending demands of the workers.

The speakers called for intensifying the struggle against anti-poor and anti-labour policies of both Centre and the state government. They alleged that in the name of so-called economic reforms multinational corporations and the local industry giants were exploiting workers to make huge profits while the labour class was being pushed towards unemployment and starvation.

The trade union leaders lambasted the government for selling public sector units at throwaway prices in the name of privatisation.

Through separate resolutions, the rally called for immediate steps to curb the price rise, strengthening of public distribution system, simplification of issuing of ration cards, providing health cover to workers, proper implementation of labour laws, scrapping policies of privatisation and withdrawal of repressive laws.

It was also decided to support the proposed strike of PSEB employees on December 16 and to submit a memorandum to the district authorities, demanding acceptance of all pending demands.

The workers later took out a march from Gill Road to Bhagwan Chowk, passing through Campa Cola and Partap Chowks.

Those who addressed the rally included Mr Mohinder Pal, secretary, Moulder and Steel Workers Union, Mr Vijay Narain, Mr Harjinder Singh, Mr Suresh Kumar, secretary, Hosiery Workers Union, Mr Gallar Chauhan, Mr Triveni Prasad, Mr Rajinder Singh, general secretary, Punjab Roadways Employees Union, Mr Bhajan Singh, district president, Democratic Teachers Front, Mr Joginder Azad, Mr Jaswant Zeerakh, Mr Vinod Sharma and Mr Jasvir Singh.



Biz Clips

fan models launched:
Khaitan, a front runner among manufacturers of consumer durables in the country, launched a new range of designer ceiling fans, Tarang, besides introducing 24 and 56 inches ceiling fans in the local market. The executive director of the company, Mr Ram Awtar Lohariwala, unveiled the new models at a dealers’ meet here. Others present on the occasion were Mr Ashok K. Agarwal, manager, Mr Ujjwal Jain, branch manager, Mr R. Ahuja, senior area sales manger, Mr Gopal Madhogaria, commercial manager, and Mr Vikas Gupta, senior sales executive. OC

Mandi Gobindgarh
Mr Jens Erik Sendergaard, a delegate from Denmark, visited Mandi Gobindgarh to study industrial activities for bilateral industrial promotion. Mr J. P. Sharma, president of the Steel Chamber, afforded all facilities to him to study industrial activity here. OC


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