L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


PAU pension fund in deficit worth crores
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
The financial crunch being faced by Punjab Agricultural University seems to have percolated to the pension fund of employees as well. The fund is learnt to be running into a deficit of several crores. The university authorities have constituted a sub-committee headed by Prof S.K. Singla, Head of the Department of Management Studies, to explore remedial measures.

The president of the PAU Teachers Association, Prof H.S. Brar, and the president of the Punjab Agricultural University Employees Union, Mr D.P. Maur, are the members of the committee, besides experts from various fields.

Mr Maur today claimed that the employees union was on the war path as the deficit had touched Rs 10 crore. He maintained that in case no remedial measures were taken, no employee of the university would be able to draw pension after three years.

He claimed that the union had suggested some measures for tackling the problem. They had been insisting that pension should be made part of the regular budget of the university and some grants should be allocated for the pension fund.

He said if some measures had been taken earlier, the problem would not have aggravated to this level. He regretted that the management of the university had not taken note of the gravity of the situation.

The union would hold a demonstration on December 22 where this issue would be the main agenda.

The Registrar of the university, Mr V.K. Sharma, admitted that there was some problem. He said the authorities were seized of the matter. A representative subcommittee had already been constituted. Various options were being explored to bring down the deficit and ensure that the employees did not face any problems, the Registrar said.



MC puts up complaint boxes at zonal offices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has put up complaint boxes at all its four zonal offices and directed the Zonal Commissioners to handle the complaints personally.

The complaint boxes would be under the direct control of Zonal Commissioners, who would be opening these daily and solve the problems of residents in a time-bound manner.

The residents would be given receipts in lieu of the complaints.

Municipal Commissioner, S.K. Sharma has already entrusted the Zonal Commissioner with powers to solve the residents’ problems in connection with the MC Residents, who feel that their grievance has not been redressed can meet any of the two Joint Commissioners.

For problems related to house tax and tehbazaari, residents can contact Ms Babita Kler, Joint Commissioner, and for other problems like water, sewerage, electricity, horticulture, buildings and roads and general administration, Dr Jaswant Singh can be contacted.

If the residents feel that their problems have still not been solved at the Joint Commissioner level, they can contact the city Mayor and Municipal Commissioner.



Bar poll: campaign hots up
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
“Hello brother! Kya haal chal hai? Ghar mein sab thik thak hai? Mera bhatija kaisa hai? Badi der hou gayi yaar bhabiji se mile hue, kisi din time nikal kar sham ko meri taraf aajao!’’ Similar sentences are being repeated in the district courts these days which are going to witness elections.

As canvassing reaches a crescendo, advocates are seen greeting one another warmly to woo voters.

With the scene hotting up, the candidates are visiting the houses of voters to woo them. Besides invitations for lunch parties, which are being sent through SMS, the candidates are even roping in relatives to request the voters to cast a vote in the favour of a particular candidate.

The voters too have learnt the art of not annoying the candidate, as they promise their support.

Lunch diplomacy is also in full swing for the past four days.

Meanwhile, the Organisation of Young Lawyers has started a campaign in favour of Mr Rana Harjasdeep Singh, a contestant for the post of secretary.

The Chairman of the organisation, Mr Malwinder Ghumman, convener S.K. Bawa, and general secretary Rohit Thapar campaigned in his favour today.



Sambar enters Sundernagar area, dies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
Delay in action by the Wildlife Department reportedly led to the death of a sambar in a park in the Sundernagar area here today. The carcass of the sambar, which died around 3.30 pm, was sent for post-mortem.

It was around 12 noon that residents in Basti Jodhewal noticed the sambar, which might had escaped from forest areas near Nelon or Mattewara. The animal, which appeared frightened, entered a few houses.

After that it went to the Sundernagar area where it got injured while jumping over an iron railing of a small park.

It was around 1 pm that area residents noticed the injured animal and called the People For Animals (PFA). The police also reached the spot.

“The sambar was injured and appeared frightened,” said Mr Sandeep Jain, president, PFA, who was present on the spot. He said they informed the wildlife officials at around 1.30 pm but help did not reach even till 3.30 pm when the animal succumbed to injuries. “It could have survived if help had reached in time,” said Mr Jain.

ASI Harbans Singh, in charge of Sudnernagar police post, said : “An employee from the Wildlife Department reached the police post around 3.30 pm. It is they who are now handling the case.”

Meanwhile an official of the Wildlife Department, said help was sent as soon as they received information but the animal had died by then.



Akali leader killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 17
Malvir Singh Khattran (22), a Block Samiti member, and his two relatives were killed in an accident near Chehalan village on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road today morning.

The car of the Akali leader was hit by a truck (HR-37A-4379). Four other vehicles also rammed into the car. Pritam Kaur (75), aunt of the leader, was killed on the spot, while Malvir Singh and his cousin, Gurmit Singh (35), were seriously injured. They were taken to the Civil Hospital, but the doctors referred them to the CMC, Ludhiana, where they died.

Those injured were identified as Gurdarshan Kaur (52) of Mohali, Chand Singh of Ranike in Moga district, Manjit Singh and Monika of Chandigarh. The identity of one injured person could not be ascertained.

The local grain market remained closed today as Malvir Singh was also an arhtiya.



Driver runs away with Rs 5 lakh, car
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
A driver of a prominent city industrialist has run away with Rs 5 lakh and a black Lancer, belonging the owner when he had gone to Feroze Gandhi Market to deposit the money in the bank last evening. The driver, Jagdeep Singh, was booked today by the police on theft charges.

An accountant, Daljit Singh, and Jagdeep, working with Bonn Bread Industries, had gone to the bank. They had Rs 9 lakh with them out of which Rs 4 lakh were to be deposited in the bank. Daljit Singh had gone in the bank while Jagdeep was in the car with the remaining amount.

When Daljit Singh returned the driver had fled with money and car. He informed his employer, who gave a complaint to the police.

The driver had been employed just four months ago. He belongs to Khanna and had lived in Uttar Pradesh for three years.

The police is getting a sketch of the driver prepared.



Judicial remand for Directors of Duggal Cos
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr S.S. Thaliwal, today remanded two directors of the Duggal Group of Companies Sunil Duggal and Subash Duggal in judicial custody till December 31.

The duo were accused of duping the government by wrongly taking “draw back” in crores in export transactions. Officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had raided the premises of the company yesterday.

It is learnt that the bank accounts of the company had already been sealed by the officials. The prosecution today claimed that incriminating evidence had been found against the accused.



MC demolishes illegal structure
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
Swooping down on an illegal construction on the Rani Jhansi Road, officials of the Ludhiana Municipal corporation today razed a structure to the ground.

Led by Dr Jaswant Singh, Joint Commissioner, MC, a team of officials visited the spot and ordered the demolition of the structures in the form of pillars that had come up during the day.

Following a complaint by area residents that the owner, Mr Bhola Ram, was illegally constructing a godown in violation of building bylaws, the MC officials took action.

The residents alleged that the construction was being done without getting the map approved and was trying to construct a godown in the area. They said any accident could take place in the godown as it had no proper exit or entry point.

The construction was stopped in August when the owner had attempted to construct it. He had then stalled his plans. But suddenly he started doing the same today.

The district administration and the MC had banned the construction of illegal godowns in the city and had sealed all existing ones following a major fire tragedy in Khud Mohalla in May 2003 in which 14 persons had died.

Mr Bhola Nath said the complainant in the case was a property dealer who had sold off the land to him at a very high price. He alleged that he was sold an area of 9x30 sq feet and no construction could be carried out on an area less than 11 feet on the Rani Jhansi Road. He claimed that lakhs of rupees were wasted in the deal and the property dealer was also demanding money from him, failing which he was making complaints against him.



X’mas spirit catches up in city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
Preparations are on to celebrate Christmas in the city by over 1.5 lakh Christians. To make the day memorable, residents in areas near Brown Hospital, old part of city and Kidwai Nagar, besides convents and churches, are making various arrangements.

Rev John P Mall, Chaplain and head of the Fellowship Department of Christian Medical College and Hospital, said the main focus was on organising worship services at local churches. Carol singing remained the favourite because of its importance.

Sister Nancy of Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Sarabha Nagar said they celebrated the day by praying for the welfare of humanity.

To make children feel special and to mark the beginning of Christmas carnival, a prominent hotel has made a yule log hut of chocolate flakes, candies, cream and coffee powder. The delicacies at the hut include nutty-fruity chocolates, plum cakes with rum, black forest cakes and pastries. Assistant Manager Nandita Pandey said yule log symbolised traditional Christmas. “Each year, we have different themes. This year’s yule log will be an attraction for the kids because Santa Claus will entertain them from December 20-24 for one hour from 7.30 pm, she said.

Rev Mall said people had started exchanging gifts and sweets but the emphasis remained on prayers and well- being of fellow humans.



Pensioners’ Day celebrated, several honoured
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
Under the aegis of the Pensioners Information Centre Management Committee, Ludhiana, the Pensioners Association of Ludhiana district celebrated Pensioners’ Day here today.

Mr P.S. Sidhu, Zonal Manager (North) IFFCO, Chandigarh, presided over the function. He congratulated pensioners and said they should keep themselves involved in social and nation-building activities by NGOs as they had vast knowledge and administrative experience.

He expressed happiness that the pensioners of district had built Pensioners Bhavan in the mini secretariat at a cost of Rs 20 lakh, and a seating capacity of 300 persons. The project was unique not only in Punjab but also in the country. Information relating to pension and pensionary benefits could be accessed from the centre.

He lauded the efforts of Mr B.R. Kaushal, the Chairman of the Bhavan Management Committee.

He said they could always look upon IFFCO for assistance.

Earlier, Mr Kaushal, also Chairman of the Punjab State Pensioner Confederation, said Pensioners Day was celebrated as a tribute to the Supreme Court for its historic judgement in the case of Mr D.S. Nakra v/s Union of India delivered in 1982. The judgement delivered by a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by the then Chief Justice Y.V. Chandrachud, gave sanction to basic facilities and benefits to government pensioners. The pensioners now had rights and pension did not depend on the discretion of the government but was governed by the rules.

The pension scheme ensued that a pensioner was able to live with decency, independence and self-respect and maintain a social and economic standard. “Thus , the judgement can be termed as a sort of “Magna Carta” for the pensioners, he said.

Mr Sidhu honoured a dozen pensioners with shawls and mementos. Prominent among those who were present in the function were general-secretaries and managing committee members of various associations of the Punjab and Central Governments, including ex-servicemen, and personnel of the Railways and public sector undertakings.

Col H.S. Kahlon, Vr C. Awardee and Senior vice-chairman of the Bhavan’s Management Committee thanked the chief guest, IFFCO officers, media and the pensioners.



Protest against telecom tower installation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
Residents of Hira Nagar on the Kakowal road here have sent an SOS to the local Municipal Corporation to not to allow a private telecommunication company to put up a tower in their residential area.

In a representation to the commissioner here today, the residents claimed that the telecom company did not have the approval of the MC to erect a tower. They claimed that it was illegal to put a tower in a residential area.

The residents met the councillor, Mr Bhai Raj Singh, who referred them to the Commissioner. They stated that the 100-foot-high tower, to be put up on the roof of a house would pose a threat to their lives.

They claimed that even the foundation of the area, where the tower was to be installed was not constructed with a strong material. They added that the building which was to support the tower had a 11,000-KV electricity cables passing nearby which could lead to tragedy.

Demanding an immediate stoppage of work, the residents have also urged upon the Commissioner to take legal action against the resident on whose house the tower is to be installed.

The residents threatened to launch a protest if the construction was not stopped immediately.



Six hurt in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 17
Six persons were seriously injured in a collision between a Punjab Roadways bus and a Maruti car near Ladhran village, 3 km from here, yesterday.

According to a report, the Punjab Roadways bus of Chandigarh Depot was going from Chandigarh to Ludhiana when it hit the Maruti car while saving another vehicle.

The injured persons have been identified as Shahdeep Singh, Hardeep Kaur, Amrinder Singh, Yadavinder Singh, all travelling in the car, bus conductor Charan Singh and bus passenger Ram Avtar Singh.

The injured were admitted to Civil Hospital.

A case has been registered.



Protest by federation members
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
Members of the Subordinate Services Federation Punjab and UT staged a demonstration in the mini secretariat today in protest against the “anti-employees” activities of the state and the Union Government.

A press note of the Action Committee formed by the federation to fight against the alleged repressive policies demanded the withdrawal of the pension commutation notification, sought new buses for the roadways and cancellation of the privatisation move.



Girl denies she was abducted
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 17
The Buraj Littan minor girl abduction case took a U-turn after the girl stated that she had left her home willingly and was not abducted as alleged by her parents.

As she refused to go with her parents, she was sent to Nari Niketan, Jalandhar, by the Sudhar police. The police maintained that her statement would not affect the case registered against the accused as the deponent was minor.

Sources at Sudhar police station revealed that Kuldeep Kaur (fake name) was produced by one of the relatives of Achhar Singh of Lohatbaddi village, who along with his three others had allegedly abducted her from Buraj Littan village on November 28. She was recovered from Jagadhari in Haryana.

The girl was produced in the court of Mr Jatinder Walia at Jagraon yesterday when she deposed that she had left her house willingly and no body had abducted her. She refused to go with her parents and the police had to sent her to Nari Niketan in Jalandhar. She did not let the police get her medical examination done.

Commenting on the situation, Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, Jagraon, held that the girl’s statement would not affect the fate of the case as she was a minor.”As the statement of a minor has no weight in the eyes of the law, the case already booked on the statement of her father would be persued as usual,”claimed Mr Ahir.

The Sudhar police had registered a case under Sections 363, 364 and 34 of the IPC against Achhar Singh and three unidentified youths for allegedly kidnapping Kuldeep Kaur. Manjit Singh, father of the girl had told the police that the accused had kidnapped her daughter from the outskirts of the village on November 28 when she was returning from fields. 



Boy sodomised
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 17
Gurpreet Singh, alias Tinku, son of Mohinder Singh of Mahit Garh, during his stay at the Manav Seva Charitable Trust, Nanaksar Kaler, 5 km form here, allegedly sodomised Teja Singh who had come there to live with him.

The local police on the complaint of Mohinder Singh, father of the victim, and belonging to Preet Nagar, Shimla Puri, Ludhiana, has registered a case under Section 377, IPC. After an inquiry by the police, Gurpreet Singh was found guilty. The accused has been arrested.



Biz Clips

UTI Bank: UTI Bank inaugurated its eighth ATM at AFWWA Complex here on Friday. Air-Cmdr V.K. Bali was the chief guest. Mr Vikas Malhotra, Branch Manager, UTI Bank., Adda Dakha, said the bank was dedicated towards customer services.

LIC pensioners: Pensioners of the LIC and GIC staged a dharna in front of the divisional office of the LIC here on Friday. The pensioners said their demands like 100 per cent DA neutralisation as to serving employees, increase in ex gratia amount and medical allowance of pre-January 1986 retirees, increase in family pension and pension of widows of pre-January 1986 retirees, were being ignored.

Ticketing: Hutch, along with the Indian Railways, on Friday launched railway ticketing on Hutch, that would enable Hutch users in Punjab to book railway tickets from their mobile phones by giving simple voice commands. A company press note stated that after dialling 123, a customer needs to say Railways, register with name, age and address, and follow other commands and get his ticket booked. The registration would be confirmed within 48 hours, the press note said.


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