L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cop, Home Guards jawan get life term for killing woman
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 15
A Punjab Police Constable and a Home Guards jawan have been sentenced to rigorous life imprisonment on the charge of killing a woman, Shaveta, hailing from Jalandhar, in a firing incident in 1999.

Delivering the judgement, Mr Inderjit Kaushik, Additional Sessions Judge, held that the prosecution had successfully proved that the Home Guards jawan, Dinesh Chaturvedi (35), hailing from Bihar, and Constable, Baljit Singh (27), of Ranipur village, Kapurthala, murdered the woman for no fault of hers.

“There is no ground to take a lenient view, as the accused had committed a serious offence”, observed the judge while dismissing the plea of leniency of the accused. A fine of Rs 10,000 each was also imposed on them.

The accused were booked under Sections 302 of the IPC and 27(3) of the Arms Act at the sadar police station on March 30, 1999, following the statement of Vinod Kumar, husband of the deceased. The prime accused, Dinesh Chaturvedi, was in custody since the case was registered.

The complainant had stated to the police that he was a shopkeeper in New Grain Market, Jalandhar. On the fateful day, he along with his wife, daughter, Taniya, and niece, Alisha, were going to Jalandhar from Ludhiana in a Tata Sumo. When they reached near the Sutlej bridge, a police official signalled him to stop.

He stopped the vehicle. The Home Guard jawan asked him to come out of the vehicle. Meanwhile, Constable, Baljit Singh, shouted in a loud voice and asked them to come out, or else they would shoot. He was coming out of the vehicle but the “drunk” cops started firing. A shot hit her wife on the chest. He took her wife to Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, but she died there.

Dinesh Chaturvedi, while pleading innocence, deposed in court that the vehicle had been reversed. They suspected that “narcotics” were being carried in the vehicle. It was the Constable who fired the shot from his rifle, which hit the woman.

Another accused said they were checking the vehicles, as a child had been abducted. He was not carrying any rifle at that time, as no rifle had been issued on the said day. When the driver of the Tata Sumo stopped the vehicle, a shot was fired from the rear side of the Sumo, which hit the woman. Thereafter, he along with another accused took the woman to hospital.

However, convinced with the prosecution evidence, the court found that the Home Guards jawan had fired and the Constable had exhorted him to do so and awarded the punishment.



Plaques replaced on martyr’s statue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 15
The district administration today replaced the plaques on the statue of martyr Major Bhupinder Singh following the orders of the District Magistrate (DM), Mr Anurag Verma.

Instead of brass, granite plaques were fixed on the statue to avoid the attention of thieves who removed these for their scrap value. The plaques which had gone missing in December last year had become a major cause of embarrassment for the administration.

Acting with alacrity, the district police had nabbed the thieves, who had stolen plaques from martyrs’ statues. The thieves had confessed to have removed the plaques and selling these to a scrap dealer.

The police had recovered the plaques also.

Mr Verma asked the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation to replace the plaques a month ago. While the plaque on the statue of Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon was replaced prior to Vijay Diwas, the other two statues awaited the plaques.

While the plaques were replaced on Major Bhupinder Singh’s statue, the other statues of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were still seen without the plaques.

The missing plaques continue to give an ugly look to the statue. Some ex-servicemen expressed happiness at the putting up of plaques but at the same time they say that even the DM’s orders were complied with after a month. They added that it was disappointing that the plaques were put up after a month though it was a question of 2-3 days.

‘‘This shows how much we respect our martyrs. Firstly, some persons had stolen these. Later the government machinery did not bother to install these fast enough so as to convey a message to the residents that they respect the martyrs,’’ said an ex-serviceman.

The missing plaques case saw many developments in the past. The district administration moved promptly in the case when media had reported it. The DM directed the SSP to order an inquiry and then directed the MC to replace the plaques. He had even asked the Deputy Director of Sainik Welfare Board to assist the MC in doing so.

The police also acted fast and nabbed the thieves and unveiled the story behind the theft. A case was also registered against the unidentified persons for stealing the plaques.



Kundi connections galore in slums
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, January 15
A team of officials from the Punjab State Electricity Board, which visited a slum in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar yesterday to check power theft by way of kundi connections, had to beat a hasty retreat in view of the opposition by the slum-dwellers.

According to information, about 500 shanties in this slum are using free power under the wings of a kundi mafia which has installed some private meters in the area to silence grumbling residents opposed to the open theft of power. These meters are only being used as decoys as no power bills, hefty or otherwise, are involved.

The residents of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar have formed an action committee in this regard. According to a spokesman of the committee, the slum-dwellers living in F-block have been duping the PSEB of lakhs of rupees since time allegedly in connivance with the JE and SDO concerned. As a result of the open pilferage, the power load in the are a keeps fluctuating all the time resulting in damage to refrigerators and other domestic electrical appliances in the locality. The residents have complained to the PSEB authorities about this power theft a number of times but the authorities have failed to curb the menace.

There are reports of widespread power theft in other slums of the town too, mainly in the Sherpur and Focal Point areas which have the maximum concentration of migrants. In one of the slums adjoining the Vishwakarma Colony, shanty-dwellers have been paying Rs 50 a month as cable connection fee to a man who assured the slum-dwellers of a hassle-free power supply. This man was responsible for putting up the kundi with the help of a bamboo and also removing it whenever necessary to evade detection. Reliable sources told this correspondent that bulk of this monthly collection from the slum-dwellers was passed on to unscrupulous PSEB employees.

There are also reports of widespread kundi connections in Salem Tabri and the area on both sides of the Rahon road and the Tajpur road.

Theft of power is not a new thing in the city. If in the past, huge fines had been slapped by the PSEB against top ranking industrial houses of the city for stealing power, it is the collective theft by slum-dwellers of the city which is currently causing a huge loss to the state. Residents rue that while the city was reeling under severe power cuts in spite of inflated power bills, the slum-dwellers were enjoying the privilege of free kundi connections.

Since the density of slums already existing in the city in the Focal Point area and at Sherpur is increasing at a fast pace due to the constant influx of migrant labourers, new slums are also coming up in outer colonies as well. 



Jagraon couple murder case: accused was mentally ill
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, January 15
The tragic murder of a couple by the girl’s father could have been avoided if the administration had been alert while issuing an arms licence to the accused even though he was taking treatment for a mental illness.

The accused Ravinder Kumar Sabharwal, who shot dead his daughter Rajni and her fiance Rajesh Kumar alias Ricky, had a history of a mental illness which was well known in the town and he had medical certificates in this regard.

Informed police sources have revealed to the Ludhiana Tribune that the revolver used by the accused in the crime was a licensed weapon. The arms licence was cleared by the district administration, Ludhiana. The revelation was shocking as it amounts to allowing “mentally-challenged’’ persons to carry weapons.

Town residents said that he had no reason for defying the collective decision of the other family members and the relatives about the marriage but was just adamant of blocking the marriage.

A senior police officer has said that the police was also amazed as to how the man got an arms licence. Police verification is also required for the purpose. A police official is supposed to visit the applicant’s house and gather information about him.

Meanwhile, not allowed to meet in life, the two lovers could not be cremated together also. On the advice of the Jagraon police, which feared a law and order problem if the relatives of both met at the cremation site, the two families performed the last rites at different time and places.

While the girl, Rajni, was cremated at Shivbaari grounds at 11:00 a.m.; the last rites of the boy, Rajesh Kumar, were performed at a cremation ground near the grain market in the afternoon.

Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the cremation grounds with some relatives blaming the couple for their defiance while others blaming the accused for taking such a drastic step.



Garbage dump makes residents’ life hell
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 15
Residents of F-Block of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar are facing problems on account of a commercial site being converted into a garbage dump by the sweepers of the area. The dump is in front of CFC Public School and students have to study amidst flies and foul smell.

The residents said a huge plot, which was earmarked for shops-cum-offices was being used as garbage dump though the value of per square yard of land was more than Rs 20,000.

They claimed that they were not able to sit in the lawns of their houses as flies made their lives a hell. On a windy day, the entire garbage comes to their houses with air. They said they had made various representations to the Municipal Corporation to solve their problem but to no avail.

Dr B.D. Kansal, a retired Professor from Punjab Agricultural University, said the residents could not sit outside in the sun as smell and flies could not let them do so. “You cannot have a cup of tea while sitting in the lawn. The cup would be filled with flies. I think this area should be awarded as the one having maximum number of flies in the city,” he said satirically.

The teachers and students of the CFC school said it was a difficult time for them when the garbage was stinking. They said the dump was becoming a perfect breeding ground for germs of various diseases.

Inquiries revealed that the private sweepers who charged Rs 20-50 from the residents for throwing their garbage were depositing the same at this site everyday there was no check on them.

Residents said in all colonies there was a huge bin which was cleaned by the MC everyday. But in this area there was no such system.



Sick child needs financial help
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, January 15
A child is a bundle of joys for parents. But this is not true for Mr Pradeep Kumar and Ms Rani, whose one-and-a-half-year-old son Rahul is ailing since birth which required a difficult surgery.

Three months back the child suffered from fits and he had to be hospitalised for a month. His father had to sell his scooter to meet the medical expenses. But that was not the end of their suffering. Rahul contacted high fever and following which he was admitted to the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH). He was diagnosed for cerebral palsy pneumonia.

“The baby was sick when admitted and we had to keep him on ventilator for many days. He responded to the treatment and his condition improved”, said Dr Tejinder Singh, a pediatrician.

Ms Kamla Rani, grief-stricken grandmother of the kid, with tears rolling down her cheeks, said,” We are planning to sell our house to save the life of our family’s only grandchild. Our little one is going through so much pain and agony at this age. God should not be so cruel to us. A poor man cannot afford such diseases”, she said.aAbout Rs 80,000 is expected to be incurred on Rahul’s treatment after financial assistance from the hospital. All those, who wish to help Rahul, can contact the Medical Superintendent’s office, CMCH. All donations should be made in favour of the Christian Medical College and Hospital with “Treatment of Rahul” written on the back of cheque or draft.



Tax consultants demand cash discount scheme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 15
The Tax Consultants Association has submitted a list of suggestions to the Finance Minister, relating to the direct taxes for the forthcoming Union Budget -2005, which will redress some of the long pending problems of the industry.

Mr S. R. Mittal, president of the outfit, said there should be the cash discount scheme for advance tax compliance and the government must ensure stability of tax laws for five-year terms. Controversial rulings on tax matters should be nullified through appropriate positive amendments.

He suggested a simplified tax table with the initial exemption of Rs 1.5 lakh. The second slab should be 10 per cent between Rs 1.5 to 3.0 lakh, 20 per cent from Rs 3 to 7.5 lakh and 25 per cent for income exceeding Rs 7.5 lakh. All surcharges should be withdrawn.

Other suggestions include reducing the corporate tax to 25 per cent and all surcharge and MAT should be withdrawn. All exemptions u/s 88 should be withdrawn. Alternatively, if deductions continue, then the same should be upgraded to logical application.

In case of partnership firms, 90 per cent of first Rs 10 lakh to be allowed as remuneration.

Deductions u/s 80-D and 80-DD to be doubled for undertaking treatment under the Indian system of medicines, including ayurveda and naturopathy.

He also demanded old age security to taxpayers out of past taxes paid, wealth tax be abolished and income equalisation scheme be introduced to overcome the problem of the fluctuation of incomes resulting in heavy taxation.

He also said the voluntary disclosure scheme should be re-introduced to eradicate black money and all pending disputes should be resolved and a part of the money be used for productive purposes, like rehabilitation of the tsunami victims.

Mr Mittal also pointed out that since VAT was going to be introduced in the country from April 1, therefore, an opportunity to clear past irregularities was the need of the day for the smooth implementation of the scheme.

He also said the threshold limit of tax exemption in VAT as well as in service tax and had suggested institutional arbitration in all pending disputes under the Income Tax Act, Central Excise and other taxes to clear the desk of assessees and assessing authorities. 



Getting ‘cured’ through astrology
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 15
Medical astrology seems to be coming of age with astrologers coming out with “remedial measures” for various diseases. And if they are to be believed, they are getting good results. The number of people seeking consultation from astrologers about health has grown considerably.

Rachna Sharma, a local astrologer maintains that stars exert an influence on people’s health. She says that sometimes people are in a jovial mood without any reason and sometimes they are upset without any reason. The mood of a person depends on the circumstances and situations he is placed in. She argues that the mood varies with the placement of stars and planets which have been exerting regular influence over the affairs of men.

She said that people have been feeling “relieved” after performing various “upaays” (remedies) suggested by astrologers. Astrologers even claim to have remedies with “exceptionally good results”, for serious diseases. However, it depends on the faith of people, she adds.

Dr R. Vatsyayan, an ayurveda expert, maintains that it is difficult to establish whether placement of stars does make a difference. But on a psychological level, it certainly helps patients. He pointed out that once a person starts believing in certain things with faith, he becomes positively inclined. And positive attitude does help a lot in overcoming various problems, including those related to health.

Ms Sharma argues that there are certain stones which yield impressive results. She says, that stones consist of matter and human body constitutes of matter only. The stones perform the supplementary role.

They help in overcoming various deficiencies faced by the body, which lead to a better health. She said that just because it has not been scientifically proved, it cannot be rejected or ignored. “If it has not been proved right, it has not been proved wrong either”, she argues. 



Function in honour of Namdhari martyrs on Jan 17
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 15
A state-level function to commemorate the martyrdom of 66 Namdharis, who were blown with cannon by British rulers in Malerkotla in 1872, would be organised at Bhaini Sahib on January 17. Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, would be the chief guest and Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, PPCC, would preside over the function.

To give final touches to the arrangements, a meeting of the officers concerned was held here today under the chairmanship of Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana. Mr Verma directed the officers to ensure the proper arrangements relating to their departments. He directed the EO, Municipal Council, Sahnewal, to ensure the cleanliness around the venue of the function.

The Deputy Commissioner appealed to the people to participate in large numbers to pay homage to great martyrs who had made sacrifices to liberate the country from the British rule.



MCPI criticises long power cuts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 15
The Punjab State Committee of the MCPI has expressed its concern about the deteriorating power situation in the state.

This was stated by Mr Kuldip Singh, state secretary of the Punjab MCPI.

He said the student community was the worst sufferer as examinations were round the corner and their study hours were being wasted due to long power cuts, particularly during nights.

Opposing the proposed hike in the power prices, Mr Kuldip Singh said it was ironical that such a proposal was made when the power supply was most irregular and scarce in the state. The Punjab MCPI has urged the state government and the PSEB to regularise the power supply in view of the commencing examination season of students.

The Punjab MCPI also condemned the ever-rising prices of sugar in the market which had touched all-time high these days.



Two vet officers honoured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January15
Dr Baljeet Singh Sidhu, newly appointed Director, Animal Husbandry, Punjab, today honoured two senior veterinary officers at the Satluj Club here today. The Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association also honoured Dr Sidhu on the occasion. More than 100 veterinarians of the Animal Husbandry Department gathered to welcome Dr Sidhu. Dr Harprem Singh Gill, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Ludhiana, welcomed the chief guest and highlighted the achievements of the department. Dr Ashok Sharma, president of the association, and Dr Paramjeet Singh, member of the Punjab State Veterinary Council, highlighted the demands of the association and requested the Director to solve the problems faced by veterinary officers in the field.

A press note of the association claimed that Dr Sidhu had assured that their all demands would be met soon and problems faced by Ludhiana veterinary officers would be solved on a priority basis.

Dr Sidhu also asked the doctors to work for the benefit of public and animal wealth in general. He stressed on eradicating rabies. He honoured two senior veterinary officers, Dr Amarjit Singh, SVO, Samrala, and Dr Satjeet Singh, SVO, Raikot, on the occasion.



At the Crossroads
Retirement blues

It is always too early to retire. Just like the sudden brake applied to a fast-moving vehicle, the person on the eve of retirement receives a big jolt. It is difficult for him to come to terms with the idea of retirement. Both the flesh and the spirit are no doubt strong but age proves to be the Achilles’ heel. A time comes when it is not possible to withstand any more the onslaught of the advancing age.

Farewell parties create the illusion of having accomplished the task in a laudable manner. Glory seems to have descended on the person being garlanded so profusely. The retiring person regards for the time being such shows of thanksgiving as the end-all and be-all of life.

The city can boast of having such Principals in private colleges as having occupied the chair for more than a quarter century. This ensures smooth working of the institution as well as stability in the policy matters.

All this seems to be the fair as the pace of time is even and smooth. But there is always a steep bend in the road. This brings a screeching halt to the onward movement. Something unusual happens and the mind is not willing to come to terms with the new situation. Twice or thrice it has happened in the city colleges in the recent past. The speed of work slowed down for a while only to gain back its momentum.

Now the news that three or four Principals are retiring during this year has again set my mind thinking as to what should a person do in such a situation. It is very easy to deliver homilies like an elderly person who has seen many seasons changing colour. The fact is that one can merely show the path to others but they have to cover the distance themselves. On my part, I had felt to be left midstream when I received the retirement orders. There were a number of strands, which had been dangling still and needed to be rounded off.

I knocked at two doors but the response was not encouraging. Taking courage in both hands, I approached an august personality. He welcomed me and accepted all my demands without any hesitation. In fact he looked into my eyes as if to ask - “what more?”

That crucial time in my life passed without much ado. Once again I fell back on my hobby of writing the biographies of individuals in the form of novels. Now I intend to give unsolicited advice to the persons approaching the age of superannuation that they should write down their autobiographies in their vacant hours. This thing will keep their morale up. No slowing down in the pace of life as it saps the creative energy.

There should be something to look forward to when one gets up in the morning. No anxiety psychosis should boggle the mind. Expectations of high awards and rewards ultimately lead to frustration. Interest in small matters defies the dictates of the advancing years. Advice is the last thing that the younger generation expects from the older one. Speak out your mind when it is necessary but never expect its acceptance.

On the first day of his retirement, a colleague of mine got ready as usual at nine in the morning. He took his breakfast and proceeded towards the scooter. Suddenly he realised that he was to go nowhere. It was something he had never envisaged. He was simply a teacher, not a writer or an artist. His foot that was already on the kick, became restless. At long last, he pressed his foot down and climbed up the saddle. He proceeded towards his former college without any aim. On the way he noticed a women’s college in which his own daughter was studying. He went in and met the Principal who was acquainted with him -

“How are you, Professor Sahib?”

“Fine, Madam - I need your help.”

“Welcome, what can I do for you?”

“You perhaps don’t know that I have retired from the government college.”

“No, I don’t - particularly when you do not seem to have reached the age of superannuation.”

“Personally, I am also skeptical of such a stage in my life.”

“Well, we have to accept the verdict of age, willy-nilly.”

“Could you kindly allow me to take at least one period a day of M.A. English class in your college?”

“But we don’t have a vacancy as yet.”

“I shall work in an honorary capacity, just to keep myself busy. Maybe for two or three months only.”

Dr Mohammadd Iqbal says: “Kaare jahan daraaz hai, abb mera intizar kar”. Still a long way to go before saying - ‘Hesper’s work was done’.

— N.S. Tasneem



MC gets Rs 8 cr from octroi auction
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 14
The local Municipal Council has given a contract for octroi collection to a contractor for Rs 8.35 crore at an auction held at Bachat Bhavan here today. The auction was held under the supervision of Ms Sarojani Sharda Gautam, Deputy Director, Local Bodies.

Earlier, the auction was postponed twice as no one was ready to pay the minimum reserve price of Rs 8.75 crore. After that the Local Bodies Department had reduced the reserve price to Rs 8.35 crore.

Nine bidders participated in the auction. M/s Sanjeev and Company has got the contract.



PO arrested

Khanna, January 15
The Khanna police has arrested a proclaimed offender (PO) absconding for the past 10 years. The police chief of Khanna, Mr Pramod Ban, appointed the CIA staff in charge, Mr Gurdeep Singh, to nab the accused.

The police party conducted a raid and arrested the accused, identified as Jugan Jit Singh, resident of Toba Kashmiria in Patiala, when he was boarding a bus. The accused was wanted by the police in a case under the Arms Act. OC



‘Succession plan must in family business’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 15
The Punjab Commerce and Management Association (PCMA) organised a lecture on ‘Family Business in Global Regime’ by Prof M.A. Zahir at the Government College for Boys here today. The PCMA has initiated a lecture series covering various topics at different districts. Today was its inaugural lecture here.

In his lecture, Prof Zahir said the business environment was changing all over the world and businesses were subjected to major changes. But for the past many years, family businesses have not flourished. To be a success story, businesses have to create a sense of competence.

He also discussed issues relating to technology. He said many family businesses still did not involve much technology. Neither they changed their process technology for the past 20 years, nor did they use new business technologies. Today, the market forces were changing and there should be a market led professional approach to the family business.

He emphasised that involvement of women was necessary in family business during the present time. He gave many examples where organisations had gained due to involvement of women.

He stressed that a succession plan should be laid where everything should be made clear to everyone.



Cycle makers resent poor power supply
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 15
The United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association has criticised the poor power supply by the PSEB which has affected production levels in the state. Mr G L Pahwa and Mr Varinder Kapoor, president and general secretary of the outfit, said the industry had been affected due to the power fluctuation and daily unscheduled power cuts. Such supply hits target levels, as the orders cannot be completed on time.

Mr Kapoor said he had contacted Mr Hari Om, Chief Engineer, Operation, besides the Chief Engineer, Systems, Patiala, regarding these problems and suggested the entrepreneurs were prepared to bear a weekly off instead of daily frequent and unscheduled power cuts, he added.

He said the Chief Engineer assured him that he would recommend their case to the higher authorities for consideration. The Chief Engineer, Systems, also assured that he would consider their case as remedial steps needed to be taken to avoid frequent power cuts in the interest of the industry and the public, he said.


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