L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Man kills daughter, her fiance
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, January 14
Unhappy over the decision of his daughter to marry, a 45-year-old man shot her and her fiance in Reethian Mohalla here today. The accused, Ravinder Sabharwal, a Congress worker, pumped four bullets into his 19-year-old daughter, Rajni, and five into her 27-year-old fiance, Rajesh Kumar, from a licensed weapon of his nephew, Amit, alias Kala. Some used and unused cartridges were also found from the scene of the crime.

He was later arrested when he was trying to flee. He told the police that he planned to murder the boy and one of his friends who was instrumental in their engagement. However, in a fit of rage he told his daughter in the morning that he would kill them. So she went to the boy’s house to alert him.

He shot the girl and the boy and left the house. Then he returned after a few seconds and shot at them again. He even reloaded the revolver and fired at their bodies too.

SSP Rajiv Ahir said though the girl’s mother, relatives and the boy’s family had agreed to solemnise their marriage on January 30, the accused was against the match. All arrangements for the marriage were final with the invitation cards were being printed.

Family sources told the police that the accused raised objections to the marriage this morning too. He had a heated argument with the girl in their house in Mahanta Mohalla and threatened to kill the boy.

Alarmed, Rajni left the house and bolted the door from the outside saying she was going to her fiance’s house. The accused came out after jumping from the roof, took his nephew Kala and went to the boy’s house.

The mood in the boy’s house changed within minutes. A number of friends and relatives were present there in joyous mood over the marriage preparations. The laughter soon turned into wails when the gunshots were heard.

Rajni had two elder brothers and a younger sister. They too had accepted the match.



Soldier returns home after 20 years
Army had declared him deserter
Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Surjan Singh tries to recognise his colleagues in a photo of his Army unit with his wife, Surinder Kaur, and elder brother, Gurmail Singh
Surjan Singh (centre) tries to recognise his colleagues in a photo of his Army unit with his wife, Surinder Kaur, and elder brother, Gurmail Singh. — Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Tugal (Sudhar), January 14
Lohri celebrations turned merrier for a family in this village when a missing soldier, declared deserter by the Indian Army, returned home. He had disappeared over 20 years ago from his unit in Nagrota, Jammu and Kashmir.

The timing of the return of the ex-soldier Surjan Singh, who had gone missing from his regiment, Bengal Engineers, in October, 1984, would not have been better for the family. His daughter, Harpreet Kaur, who was just three when he had disappeared, is getting married on January 30. ‘‘My father has been sent back by God for blessing me on my marriage. I was missing him,” she said.

The family had searched for him till 1989 and then left all hopes. They had made up their mind to apply for his death certificate after the girl’s marriage. Under the rules, a man missing for seven years can be declared dead.

Though the joy of the family knows no bound at the return of Surjan Singh, they are disappointed and worried as he does not remember where he lived all these years and how he thought of returning home.

Elder brother and son of Surjan Singh, Naib Subedar Gurmail Singh (retd) and Lance Naik Avtar Singh, respectively, informed the police about his return. Surjan Singh had come on a six-day leave in October, 1984. Then he returned to his unit in Nagrota and spent a night there, but went missing next morning.

The police as well as the Indian Army had been conducting investigations about his whereabouts for almost five years after his disappearance.

After that, the Army had declared him a deserter. He had completed about 14 years of service by then, but the family did not get any benefits. The family had to face some harassment as many Army men had left the Indian Army during the terrorism years especially in 1983 and 1984. However, no agency found any evidence to suggest that Surjan Singh was involved in any such activity so far.

Surjan Singh has not disclosed anything about his life in the past 20 years and why he went away from the Army camp. He has only said he came to Mullanpur Dakha on a bus, took a tempo and reached Sudhar from where some persons brought him to his native village.

It was at 8 pm on January 12 when Surinder Kaur, wife of Surjan Singh, answered a knock at the door. She was taken aback at the sight of a frail man.

“A shiver went down my spine when the stranger said he was Fauji, as my husband was known as,’’ she recollected while talking to Ludhiana Tribune today at the house. She called up her husband’s elder brother Gurmail Singh who recognised him.

Surjan has not talked much after that. He speaks Hindi and Punjabi both. His rugged feats and hands suggest that he was doing some kind of labour work. 



‘Dead’ woman traced with paramour
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
A married woman who had gone missing from Haibowal five years ago and was later declared dead by the Ropar police was traced alive with a paramour by the city police today.

The SP (City) Mr R.K. Jaiswal, said in a press conference that her appearance had turned tables on her husband, Prem Parkash, a resident of Haibowal here. He would be now booked for making a false complaint before the police about her kidnapping and murder.

He had made a complaint to the local police in 2000 that her wife, Simmi, had been kidnapped by her alleged lover Baljinder Singh in connivance with her relatives, including her parents and a servant.

Later, he identified the pictures of a dead woman published in some newspapers by the Ropar police as his wife and alleged that her father, two other relatives and alleged paramour Baljinder had killed her.

On his complaint, the Ropar police had booked the suspects listed by him murderers. The case file was sent for further investigation to the city police. However, the parents of Simmi revealed that the dead woman was not their daughter.

During investigations, the police learnt that Simmi was in the city with her alleged paramour and they were staying in a local hotel. The police raided the hotel and found the two.

The woman reportedly revealed that she was not happy with her husband and left him with their two children. However, she longed for them and had returned to see them.



Single teacher for five classes
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Basraon, January 14
There is a single teacher for five classes in Government Primary School at Basraon village, near Burundi, here. For the past four years, since two teachers superannuated from this school, the students have to make do with one teacher only.

Things have come to such a pass that the strength of school has fallen from 100 to 70 in past two years. Only the parents, who cannot afford to send their children to private schools, are forced to send their children to the school.

The village panchayat has made various representations to the Education Department to take up a positive step but those have fallen on the deaf ears. There are two more vacancies in the school. Sarpanch Mewa Singh said he was told by the Education Department that many teachers were appointed by the department but nobody wanted to be transferred in the village school.

A visit to the school by The Tribune team today revealed that the students were sitting in the playground with a single teacher attending to them. The Sarpanch said at times the students were huddled together in a single room to refrain them from creating mischief.

Mr Urvinder Singh, the teacher, said he was appointed three years ago. He added that he was concentrating on the fifth class students only as their board exams were nearer. “At times I do not have time to check their class work. I single-handedly have to manage my students and if their result is poor, I will be held responsible.’’

Sick of knocking at various doors, the panchayat had appointed a matriculate woman of the village to look after the needs of children in school. She was being paid Rs 400 per month.

“We ask the children to pool in money to pay the teacher. The students of three classes pay Rs 10 per head and the junior students are asked to pay Rs 5 per month. There are many parents who do not want to pay even a single penny. So the teacher is somehow paid Rs 400. What else to do?” asked Mewa Singh.

He added that the condition in Lakha and Kishangarh Chhanna village schools were similar. “Actually the villagers of those villages support the Akali candidates in the election. So we are all at the receiving end. They want to keep troubling us at one instance or another. The leader of the opposition party in the village is doing a propaganda against me saying that I am not able to provide proper education to our children. He is surely going to get political mileage out of this issue.’’ he added.

The Sarpanch also said the work of distributing wheat among the children was also being done by the teacher. “He has to first weigh the wheat and then distribute it among students,” he added. 



VHP activists stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Nearly 200 activists of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) today staged a two-hour dharna against the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms J. Jayalalithaa, for her “vindictive attitude” towards the Kanchi mutt. They also burnt her effigy and shouted slogans against her.

The activists were carrying banners and placards denouncing Ms Jayalalithaa for her “anti-Hindu” attitude. They submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, to be forwarded to the President seeking the dismissal of her government.

The speakers alleged that Ms Jayalalithaa was going against the Kanchi mutt with a vindictive attitude. They pointed out that despite the Supreme Court having released the Kanchi seer, she was now targeting the junior Shankaracharya. They warned that in case she did not desist from her activities she would have to face the repercussions.

Seeking the dismissal of the Jayalalithaa government, the VHP urged the Prime Minister to take action against her as she had hurt the sentiments of crores of Hindus across the world.

They claimed that the Tamil Nadu Government had failed to pin point the evidence against the Shankaracharya before the Supreme Court. Now it has resorted to implicating other people just to harass the mutt. They said the entire Hindu society would rise against Ms Jayalalithaa and she would have to face the wrath of the nation. They said the VHP would soon launch nationwide movement against her.



Crafts mela a big draw
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
In the world of fast-driven technology, the craft of hand does make a difference. And fortunately there are people who can appreciate this art which demands care and attention. “The difference between a handmade product and one made by machine is like between a picture and a painting. You only need an eye and taste to appreciate it”, remarks Pokhar Ram, a puppeteer from Rajasthan, who is participating in the Karigari Craft Bazar at the Nehru Sidhant Kender along with 40 other artisans from across the country. The exhibition is being organised by the Akhil Bhartiya Dastakar Samiti.

The samiti seems to have done a lot of work to bring 40 artisans from across the country under one roof to exhibit their work and skills. The exhibition has got a good response. Pokhar Ram said, “He was a traditional puppeteer having inherited the art of puppetry from his father, who in turn inherited it from his father and so on. Although there was no great demand for his creative craft any more and some people did help him to carry forward his tradition in this mechanised world.”

These artisans have come from different parts of the country and are recognised by the Central Government. The arts and crafts on display at the exhibition include pottery, hand embroidery, handloom sarees, artificial jewellery, leather goods and other hand-made products. They said, their work was still not being properly appreciated. “People assess the price of the product in terms of mechanical production, but they usually do not value time and delicate skill it needs to make a product with hands”, an artisan pointed out, while regretting that they were not getting adequate price for their creations.

President of the samiti Iqbal Singh said although the number of visitors to the mela was substantial, it seldom translated into substantial sales. He observed that there is a misplaced impression among people that the products were “expensive”.



Their kite is flying for more than 24 hours
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, January 14
The colourful kite of Sohail (15) and Viren Chabbra (10), both brothers, is flying high for more than 24 hours now. Not only the two brothers are surprised but also their parents and grandparents are surprised as well. They feel that it is a kind of miracle.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Roopi Chabbra, their mother, said that it is very hard to believe but it is a fact that their kite has been flying for more than 24 hours. “My elder son studies in a day-boarding school. He was here on holidays. Both brothers bought some kites and string (dor) before Lohri. They started flying this kite yesterday around 12 noon and the kite is still flying. It’s not that they were awake the whole night. They did not want to pull it down in the evening, so they tied the string of the kite to a small plant on the terrace. In the morning when they got up, they were ecstatic to see the kite still flying. The incident has really surprised us”, said Roopi.

Roopi said that in the morning when the children saw their kite flying, they shouted to call their parents. “We were all surprised. I think it has been possible as there was no fog or dew drops for the past two days”, said Roopi.

Meanwhile, Viren, Class VII student of Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, while talking about the kite said that he was very excited to see it flying. “The colour of my kite is black, yellow and pink and it is tied with an ordinary dor. I will not pull it down myself, let us see for how many more days it will be there up in the sky”, he said.



Petition against cable TV operators
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 14
Residents of Rajguru Nagar have filed a petition with the Deputy Commissioner, Anurag Verma, seeking the fixation of uniform rates of cable TV connections. They have also sought action against cable TV operators for allegedly fleecing people without providing good services. The cable TV operators are raising connection charges arbitrarily, the residents have alleged.

A four-member delegation of Rajguru Nagar comprising Mr Charanjit Singh Aulakh, Mr Satish kumar, Mr Daljit Singh and Mr Karminder Singh recently met the Deputy Commissioner and presented the petition.

They presented the petition to the Deputy Commissioner since he is also the Chairman of the District Consumer Protection Council.

The residents have alleged that the cable TV operators are raising the charges arbitrarily and have fixed the same at Rs 280 per month without supplying proper receipts to the consumers. They have now told the residents that the charges will be raised again next month.

The residents have pointed out that the cable TV operators are giving services in the nearby areas at the rate of Rs 110, Rs 100 and Rs 150 per month at the PAU campus and the Housing Board Colony, respectively. The services have been bad as the subscribers are not able to watch many channels.

The Deputy Commissioner has been informed by the residents that the general body meeting of the Rajguru Nagar Welfare Association has proposed the rate at Rs 150 per month. The operators have snapped the cable connections of several residents.

The Deputy Commissioner promised to take action in the matter within a week. 



Makar Sankranti celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 14
Makar Sankranti was celebrated by a large number of devotees at Shri Ayyappa Temple, Jamalpur, Focal Point, today. Today, apart from routine poojas and havans, special poojas like Makara Sankranti Abhishekham were done. A special Ganesh havan and the Mahabhagwat path were performed by the devotees.

The devotees after performing havans took out a shobha yatra that left the temple at 4.30 pm. The yatra was led by 101 thalapoli (pooja thalis with jyothi) were carried by women and children.



Kin of ex-SSP booked for carrying liquor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
A local liquor contractor of Amritsar, who is a close relative of an ex-SSP of Amritsar, has been booked by the Model Town police here for carrying three cases of wine without permission and threatening the employees of another liquor company with a revolver when he was stopped.

The accused, identified as Vicky, has been booked under Sections 341, 506 of the IPC and under various sections of the Excise and Arms Act on the complaint of Hardeep Kumar Joshi, an employee of the Chabra and Randhawa company, which owes allegiance to liquor baron Ponty Chadha.



BSNL to launch broadband service in city soon 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 14
With the formal launch of broadband service by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited all over the country today and the service slated to go operational in the city in the beginning of next month, the telecom major is all set to give the Internet service providers (ISPs) in the private sector a run for their money. One only hopes that the BSNL should be able to deliver what it has promised to the users.

Officials in the marketing department of the BSNL told Ludhiana Tribune that booking for broadband service, named “DataOne”, has commenced and the connections would be offered on the first-come-first-serve basis in the beginning of next month.

“The BSNL broadband service with a speed upwards of 256 kbps will virtually revolutionise the concept of internet since the data transfer will become quicker by two to four times than the prevailing speed, ranging between 64 to 128 kbps. Another major advantage of DataOne will be the simultaneous use of the telephone and internet on a single phone line,” claimed the officials.

The broadband service would reach around 200 small and big towns in 24 telecom circles all over the country by March, 2005, under a comprehensive plan aimed at bringing quality Internet service within the reach of the people at affordable prices. Once the service made its entry at the targeted urban, semi-urban and rural areas, Internet would no longer remain the domain of the elite and upper class, the BSNL officials maintained.

The DataOne service of the BSNL would be offered in eight different tariff plans, four each for domestic and business purposes. For home usage, the service would be available at a rental from Rs 500 to Rs 3300 and for business purposes between Rs 1200 and Rs 9000.



Chamber submits pre-Budget proposals
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
In its pre-budget proposals to the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambram, the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has recommended withdrawal of service tax on job work activities which form part of manufacturing process of the final product in various industries.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan and Mr Avtar Singh, president and general secretary, respectively, of the CICU, also emphasised on control over steel prices. The chamber said the government can control steel prices by reducing import duty on defective scrap.

It also said the DEPB incentives being given to the five big manufacturers exporting steel to China should be withdrawn and a steel consultative committee should be formed at the Central level which should include representatives of steel consuming industry.

The chamber further stressed on the need to constituting a steel price control and regulatory commission to monitor and control arbitrary hikes made by five big manufacturers.

Mr Pardhan said the chamber recommended that the Draft Vat Act, 2004, should be reviewed to eliminate harsh penal provisions.

Other recommendations include withdrawal of service tax on users of service in case of transportation of goods. The manufacturers or the owners of the goods should not pay the service tax and if at all it is to be levied the service providers i.e. transporter are the right agencies to pay the service tax on transportation of the goods, it said.



Bank starts clearing house services
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
“By the end of financial year 2006, Punjab National Bank will be able to implement core banking solutions in more than 2,000 branches which will make it the first bank in the world to have such a large number of branches under core banking solutions,” said Mr K.C. Salota, Deputy General Manager, PNB, Punjab zone, while inaugurating the services of clearing house here last evening.

A spokesperson for the bank said Mr S.C. Kapoor, Senior Manager, would be in charge of the clearing house.

Mr Salota said the bank would be responsible for conducting the return house, settlement of accounts of member banks and will provide discounting of TT facilities to ensure smooth functioning of the clearing house.

Each member will open a current account with the bank branch at the Mata Rani chowk for the purpose of clearing settlements.

Mr R.K. Sharma, Senior Regional Manager, Ludhiana region, and Mr Anil Sama, Chief Manager, were present, among others, on the occasion.


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