L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Diesel dump gives residents sleepless nights
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 22
Residents of Beantpura on the Chandigarh road here are having sleepless nights due to the presence of a diesel dump with a capacity of 1,55,000 litres in area. They claim while they are sitting on a tinder box, the authorities have failed to shift the dump.

While the owner of the dump claims that the area was commercial and he had the permission and licence from the department of explosives, a city DSP, who had conducted an inquiry into the case said that he had recommended immediate shifting of the dump. The Senior Superintendent of Police, has of late ordered a fresh inquiry into the case.

As the dump remains in the thick of controversy, DSP R.K. Jaiswal, who has been asked to re-look into the matter said that he had started initial investigations and had asked the District Food and Supply Controller to provide some details.

He said that he did not know anything about the case and had summoned the owner. He added that he was yet to visit the area.

A Tribune team visited the area today and found the dump locked. It was found that the dump, owned by Gopi Chand Roshan Lal, located in congested street number zero of Beantpura. While the street, in which it was located had some hosiery units. It was surrounded by houses at its back.

Residents said that it was earlier a kerosene dump. Later it was converted to diesel dump.

They claimed that they had been spearheading a campaign against oil dumping for many months but to no avail.

Following the complaints of the residents, District Magistrate Anurag Verma had ordered an inquiry and directed the SSP to look into the matter. He had in turn assigned the inquiry to DSP R.K. Bakshi.

DSP Bakshi, told the TNS that in the inquiry he had found that the owner, Mr Sushil Khanna had produced a licence but the address shown on it was fake.

He added that as per the licence, his dump existed in a non-residential area. He said that he had submitted the report to the SSP, Ludhiana a month ago.

In a written complaint to the Deputy Commissioners, the Beantpura Shopkeepers Association and Residents of Beantpura had said that a minor fire could lead to a major tragedy resulting in loss of lives of thousands of people. The complaint is also signed by Councillor Sardul Singh Grewal of the area.

Claiming that they had been sitting virtually on a “volcano”, the complainants had demanded immediate closure of the dump. Mr Vipan Thapar, an industrialist, said that there was a minor fire in the dump some months ago and it was he who supplied some extinguishers that the fire was controlled.

Mr Sushil Khanna, the owner of the dump, who claimed that he was in Delhi, while talking to The Tribune over his cellphone said that he had a licence from the department of explosives.

He also said that the area was not residential but commercial. He claimed that the dump existed there for past 20 years when there was not a single house in the area. Later, people started constructing houses and hosieries here.

He also said that he had complained against DSP Bakshi to the SSP and had refused to accept his inquiry report levelling some allegations against him. Calling the report “false and fabricated”, he said that the SSP had assigned a fresh inquiry following his complaint.

He alleged that the complaint was motivated and some complainants were dancing to the tunes of a police officer in the case. Later, he claimed that he had closed down the dump for the past two days.



Payal police station sans phone connection for 2 years
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, December 22
Residents of Payal and surrounding villages have demanded the restoration of telephone activation at the Payal police station in the absence of which they are facing a real tough time.

For the past two years, the telephone connection has been snapped due to non-payment of bills which, according to sources, was running into thousands. Police officials too have demanded the release of funds from the government, but to no avail. Some police stations have, however, been provided only the incoming facility, the Payal police station is yet to get it.

Till things work out well and “incoming” is finally restores, ultimate sufferers, however, remain the innocent people, who can be victimised any time in the absence of police security, as they feel.

The Payal police station provides security to a total of 128 villages. The residents as well as the villagers have complained against the callous attitude of the authorities as far as their security is related.

A villager of Gurditpura expressed, “People are facing inconvenience due to the non-availability of any telephone links with security officials. Even in case of making general complaints or providing information, we have to go to the police station.”

“Moreover, if we try to keep their cell members with us, it is not necessary that they will always attend our call, he said.

The residents are forced to spend sleepness nights as the fear of miscreant, mainly on the periphery, haunts them day and night. Some view that such a situation is more congenial for criminals who can carry out their “evil design” fearlessly.

SP (Headquarters), Khanna, said “in the wake of this crisis, we have introduced a group scheme in which cops from the highest to the lowest rank have been supplied with mobile phones so that they can be contacted in need. Also, they have been directed to keep their mobile phones in working position. Regarding the provisions of giving incoming facility, we will give a thought and trying to make it available for the convenience of the residents as soon as possible.”



Husband and in-laws booked for murder
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 22
A married woman is alleged to have committed suicide with the help of a cable wire by hanging herself from a ceiling fan hook in her in-laws’ house Jania Raikot Mohalla.

According to a press note by Mr Rajiv Ahir SSP Jagraon, Samriti Jain alias Rimpy daughter of Mr Prem Chand Jain of Ambala married Rajiv Jain of Raikot eight years ago. But the in-laws and the husband maltreated her. She was even turned out of the house on various occasions but on the intervention of respectables was not living at her in-laws’ house.

According to the parents of the deceased, the inlaws without informing the police about the incident, removed the body from the hook and accused her husband Rajiv Jain, his parents Sunita Jain and Sheetal Jain having killed their daughter Samriti. The Raikot police on the complaint of Prem Chand, has registered a case under Sections 302, 34 of the IPC against the husband and his parents.



Fog disrupts rail, road traffic
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 22
Dense fog disrupted life here today. While the railway and road traffic was severely affected, markets also wore a deserted look. The attendance in schools and government offices was also affected as people could not reach their places of work in time.

Most of the region remained engulfed in dense fog till noon. The entire schedule of the up and down trains passing through Ludhiana was disturbed. Some trains were running late by several hours. The railway authorities were not sure about the duration of time by which the trains would be delayed.



Gensets add to pollution in city
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, December 22
With electricity playing traunt again, people are using generators, in spite of the Supreme Court’s judgement on air pollution in April this year. But this has not shaken the Ludhianvis and the district administration if the use of diesel-run generators is any indication in the city.

Officials of the district administration are yet to wake up to the alarming situation prevailing in the city that tops the list of most polluted cities in India. Its residents too are yet to realise the fact that they are poisoning air.

The pollution in the city has already crossed the alarming proportions, thanks to the industry as well as the public transport system that is running on diesel that are emanating poisonous gases. The condition can improve but long and frequent power cuts have made people use generators.

The pollution caused by diesel generators has compounded the degrading environment condition in the city. Already the vehicular and industrial pollution has crossed all limits.

While these gensets emanate thick smoke it becomes near impossible to pass though them.

A visit to any of the domestic areas, industrial areas or the markets is enough to witness the menace of pollution caused by these generators. In some area, according to rough estimates, every house has a generator. Some residents have even installed them on their roofs with the long exhaust pipes discharging poisonous gases up in the air. The entire Chaura Bazar has gensets installed as the shopkeepers say business is not possible in darkness.

According to figures accrued by Ludhiana Tribune from the district administration, which has conducted a thorough investigation in this field, the suspended particulate matter (SPM) is between 500 and 600 microgram while the permissible limit is only 200 microgram. These are the startling revelations of the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

The data of the presence of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen is also not less alarming. Both pollutants are equivalent to 80 microgram, while other cities in the state do not have more than 10 to 12 micrograms of these pollutants. These pollutants are considered border line but the way the environment is deteriorating, the things can only be worsened.

Mr Mani Nagpal , an NRI who is on a trip to Ludhiana, said that he was shocked to see that the city had become polluted. “When I was coming here I was thinking that something would have changed for the better. Rather I am disappointed to see the rising airpollution. I am scared to see that all houses in my vicinity switch on their generators that emanate a lot of smoke and it becomes very difficult to breathe in the air.. I am waiting to go back, “said Mr Nagpal. 



PAU employees’ body issues ‘chargesheet’ against VC
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 22
The Joint Action Committee of the Teaching and Non-Teaching Employees of the Punjab Agricultural University brought out a ‘chargesheet’ against Vice-Chancellor, Dr KS Aulakh accusing him of various omissions and commissions.

The JAC sought an inquiry into the functioning of the VC to find out the truth.

While the VC was not available himself for comments, a spokesman of the university rubbished these allegations as a personal vendetta of selected group of people who had no concern with the university and were trying to settle personal scores with Dr Aulakh. He also questioned the locus standi of these people to issue a ‘chargesheet’ against 
the VC.

Addressing a press conference here today, convener of the JAC, Dr Balwant Singh and some other leaders accused Dr Aulakh of nepotism and favouritism.

They alleged that while the VC was promoting his favourites in the university, at the same time he was resorting to the victimization and witch-hunt against those who did not succumb to the way of his working.

They alleged that Dr Aulakh had done special favours to his son, Dr RS Aulakh, who is working as an Associate Professor in the University.

They revealed that the junior Aulakh went on a foreign tour on the university expenses, as his father held the chair of the Vice-Chancellor while other deserving candidates were 
left out.

Denying all these allegations, the spokesman while referring to this particular charge maintained that all the mandatory procedures are followed whenever someone goes on foreign tour at the university expenses. He said, just because that Mr RS Aulakh is the son of the VC does not mean he was not an eligible candidate.

He was only one of the several others teachers and scientists who went abroad and no undue favour was shown to him in this context.



Dharna by PAU non-teaching staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 22
The Non-Teaching Employees Union of the Punjab Agricultural University today staged a dharna against the authorities for the “non implementation” of various decisions reached between the two in the month of October. The union warned that in case the authorities failed to implement these decisions within a specific period of time it would intensify the agitation.

Employees gathered in front of the administrative block on the campus. Most of the employees of the university joined the demonstration. They also raised slogans against the authorities alleging that their “long-pending demands” were not being taken seriously.

Briefing reporters, the president of the union, Mr DP Maur, maintained that the employees of the university were overworked as a number of posts were vacant. He demanded that these posts be filled at the earliest to ensure that employees were not overworked.

The union president said, for long the university employees had not been granted promotions. With the result, the non-teaching employees were facing stagnation. He also alleged that the authorities were resorting to victimization of the employees by way of transfers, suspensions and chargesheets. He called for an end to this.

Mr Maur demanded an end to the system of “computer test” made mandatory by the university for the special secretarial allowance to the employees. He maintained that no such test was mandatory for the employees working in the Punjab Civil Secretariat.

He said that the university was also violating the minimum wages order of the Punjab government. He claimed a number of daily-wage employees in the university were being paid less than Rs 1600 a month against the minimum monthly wages of Rs 2260.

Mr Maur also drew attention of the authorities to the declining pension fund which was running into deficit. He called for urgent remedial measures to ensure that the employees did not face any problems after their retirement.



SAD(A) youth wing questions Bibi for siropa to CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 22
The district unit of the Youth Wing Shiromani Akali Dal (A) has questioned the separate religious practices followed at gurdwaras under the SGPC. A meeting of the executive was held here today.

Pointing out a recent instance, Mr Ajit Singh Rana, president of the Ludhiana unit, said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was denied a siropa by the committee on the grounds that he dyed and tied his beard. But yesterday, the head granthi of Chamkaur Sahib has presented him with a siropa.

Mr Rana said such dual practices created confusion among people. It is high time that all such practices were standardised and adopted by all gurdwaras in the country. Since the committee chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, was present on both occasions, she should clarify whether who had erred in giving a siropa to the CM, he pointed out.

Although the committee ran several schools, colleges and universities, yet they were not playing a missionary role.

Anoop Singh Sandhu, Kulwant Singh Heran, Pritpal Singh Doabia and Jaswant Singh Cheema said the Youth Wing Shiromani Akali Dal (A ) wanted to alert the Sikhs because these decisions confused the religious matters. With this, he appealed to all youths to join the Youth Wing Akali Dal (A ) under the patronage of Mr Simranjit Singh Maan.

The youth wing also expressed its grief on the death of Jathedar Major Singh Bains and other passengers who died in the rail recent mishap.

He also appealed to all people to join the Sikhi Sidak March that is going to Fatehgarh Sahib from Damdama Sahib on December 23.

Those present on the occasion included Gurmeet Singh Chani, Paramjit Singh Chani, Amarjit Singh Aulakh, Bhupinder Singh Vimpi, Surinder Singh, Amarjit Singh Sadiora, Manjit Singh Syalkoti, Raghbir Singh, Balwinder Singh Billa, Kuldeep Singh, Kamaljit Singh Billa, Balwant Singh Chaney, Kulwant Singh Amar Nagar, Professor Charanjit Singh, Dr Aneja and Pritpal Singh Chandi.



Parneet Chhabra is Mrs Ludhiana 2004
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 22
Over 50 married city women sashayed down the ramp to contest for ‘Riwaz-Mrs Ludhiana 2004’ title here today. The programme was organised jointly by Intime Promoters and Rangoli Ladies Club.

The participants from more than 10 ladies clubs of the city took part in ‘Riwaz Mrs Ludhiana 2004’ contest. The show had a good display of traditional yet stylish outfits. Reds, oranges, magentas, pinks, maroons, goldens, blues, Turquoise etc colours with intricate embroideries, mirror work, sequin work, dabka and salma work remained dominant throughout the event. For more than three hours, the contestants held the audience spellbound.

The event was divided in two categories i.e. above 35 and below 35 age group.

In below 35 years age group, Ms Parneet Chhabra was crowned Mrs Ludhiana 2004 while Kirandeep was the first runners up. Ms Jyotsna Walia became Mrs Ludhiana 2004 in above 35 years age group. Mrs Alka Khanna was the first runners up and Mrs Harpreet Garcha was the second runners up.

The chief guest was Mr Surinder Dabar, Parliamentary Secretary, Government of Punjab. The judges were Ms Radhika, Ms Rashmi Gangvani, Mr Gargi, Mr Randhir, Ms Gargi and Ms Kulwinder Gill.

The presidents of other ladies clubs, including Roopika, Oorja, Ramgarhia, Venus, Geetanjli, Aastha, Gayatri and Niharika were honoured by the organisers of the show.



Employment guarantee Bill condemned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 22
Condemning the proposed employment guarantee Bill and reservation in private sector Bill industry leaders today said both would hit the industry.

“The employment guarantee Bill will put heavy burden on industry through unjustified and heavy taxation. Although the government is proposing guarantee for employment but the fact is that the government itself is destroying employment generating segments like labour intensive industry,” said Mr P.D.Sharma, President, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He said small-scale sector, which also had the advantage of requiring low investment, provided large number of employment opportunities. Even the National sample Survey has revealed that there is more employment this segment compared to the organised sector. While organised sector requires around rupees five lakh of investment to generate employment for one person, SSI sector employees seven persons with the same investment, he said. However, sickness in this sector is increasing and the government is not doing much to help it, said.

He said the sector was facing heavy burden in form of plethora of taxes levied on it. “For instance, the government has levied service tax and is not even clear on the applicability of service tax,” he said.



Four gangs operating in Ludhiana
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 22
As many as four gangs of robbers and dacoits, including migrant labourers and local criminals, are operating in the city as suggested by police investigations in the recent crime incidents in which one person was killed and three were injured.

Apart from launching a manhunt for the accused, the police has revitalised night patrolling and set up special ambush parties on the outskirts of the city.

The gang members have been identified on the basis of their modus operandi, description by the accused and the weapons used by them. Four main crime incidents have taken place in the city in the past week.

These were a robbery attempt at the house of a dera head in Banda Bahadur Colony, dacoity at the house of a cardboard box-maker and his murder, robbery at the house of a karyana merchant in Mahadev Nagar and snatching of Rs 30,000 from a fish merchant near Sherpur last night.

Sources said the incidents were “a headache” as four gangs were involved. The gang that had struck at the house of a dera head was said to be of local criminals having guns.

The gang that struck at the house of the box-maker and killed him comprised migrant labourers. They carried countrymade pistols brought from Uttar Pradesh and were speaking a Hindi dialect. These gangs are ruthless and kill the main family member in order to smoothly go about looting the house.

The third gang is also suspected to be of migrant labourers only but this gang does not possess guns and uses iron rods or sticks. The gang usually looks for families of migrant labourers only and is believed to be behind the attack on the family of the karyana merchant. The police also suspects that the attackers could have personal enmity with the victims.

The fourth gang which looted the fish merchant, reportedly consists of some youths. These could be migrants or local. Police suspects that the gang members might be some drug addicts who indulge in snatching.



Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 22
A report in The Ludhiana Tribune on December 19 stated that a woman was allegedly duped by employees of Bank of India, Miller Gunj branch. The woman in fact was defrauded by employees of Bank of Punjab in Miller Gunj. The error is regretted.



What’s On
Sarvdharam Bhajans

SRI Sathya Sai Sewa Samithi, Ludhiana will organise Sarvdharam Bhajans at Shri Krishna Mandir near Prince Hostel, Civil Lines, at 6.00pm to 7.15pm.



Opium and poppy husk seized, two arrested
Our Correspondent

Khanna, December 22
The police here has seized 350 gm of opium and 38 kg of poppy husk from two different places and arrested two persons.

According to the police under a drive against anti-social elements on the direction of SSP Khanna, Mr Parmod Ban, the police has intensified patrolling in Khanna police district. As the result of the drive Payal police arrested Bahadar Singh son of Babu Singh resident of Bhadewal village. Police had recovered 38 kg of poppy husk from his possession and registered a case under Sections 15/61/86 of the NDPS Act against him.

In the Machhiwara area a police post was created to check anti-social elements at Tee Point of Bhatian village. A person was stopped. The police recovered 350 gm of opium from him. The accused was identified as Bhupinder Singh son of Kuldeep Singh resident of Machhiwara. A case under Sections 18/61/85 of the NDPS Act is registrered against him at Machhiwara police station.



Seminar on banking held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 22
Issues and challenges of small and medium enterprises are significant as more than 90 per cent of the industry in the country falls under this segment. This was stated by Mr Kumar Ashish, head, business marketing group, ICICI Bank, at a seminar on banking and foreign exchange organised by the Ludhiana Management Association here last evening.

Mr Ashish said logistics, human resource development and availability and management of finance were key challenges this sector was facing. Industrialists in the region he said they had managed to master many problems. but, it was important to increase horizons for growth.

Mr V.K. Goyal, general secretary, LMA, talked about the need to tackle various industry-related issues.

On management of foreign exchange Mr Sanjeev Sherawat, country head-SME markets group, ICICI Bank, said those in import and export could, in no way, ignore the threat of losses that could arise on account of volatility of foreign exchange.

He said dollar had depreciated by 40 per cent in the past three years which could mean that some business entities lost more money on account of this depreciation than they even earned due to their business deals.


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