L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


3 jail guards suspended
Convict escapes from Patiala hospital
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
The Ludhiana Central Jail authorities have suspended three jail guards on charges of dereliction of duty leading to the disappearance of a convict from Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, where he was undergoing treatment for an ailment for the past few weeks.

The Patiala police has also booked the three guards — Angrej Singh, Swaranjit Singh and Mahinder Singh — under various Sections of the IPC for negligence of duty.

Surjit Singh, a convict under the NDPS Act, hoodwinked the three jail guards and some policemen of the Patiala police last night and slipped away.

A senior official in the jail here told Ludhiana Tribune that the three guards were supposed to keep a vigil on the convict. He said though the primary responsibility of the convict’s escape fell with the Patiala police, the jail guards could not escape the blame.

They have been booked under Sections 223 and 224 of the IPC.

The convict had been suffering from a urinary bladder ailment and was permanently on a catheter.

The jail authorities are, however, intrigued at how the convict managed to escape with the catheter despite him being declared unfit to move around by doctors.

The convict is a resident of Mohi village, near Jagraon, and was caught smuggling poppy husk. He was sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment.

Earlier also, he had remained hospitalised for over two months in the same hospital. He was then discharged but his condition worsened in the central jail. He was then shifted to the local Civil Hospital here from where doctors referred him to the Patiala hospital.

The police is also suspecting the role of the wife of the convict behind the escape. She was with him when he took an endoscopy test in the hospital. Now, both have gone missing.

Sources said the convict’s wife had visited him on Friday evening. She was a regular visitor and allegedly violated norms by staying longer than the permissible hours.

The role of the jail guards and other policemen on duty has also come under suspicion, though none of the guards has been arrested so far.

The police has sounded an alert and is keeping a watch on the village of the convict.



Tributes paid to Mahatma Gandhi
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 30
Rich tributes were paid to Mahatma Gandhi and other martyrs at a special function organised to mark the martyrdom day of Father of the Nation at Mini Secretariat here today. Two minutes silence was observed in memory of the martyrs. A police contingent presented salute by reversing arms as the bugler sounded the last post.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, who presided over the function, said using of non-violence by Mahatma Gandhi as a weapon during the freedom movement, was unparalleled in the history of the world. At the same time, the great leader had always stuck to the path of truth and moral values.

Paying homage to other martyrs, who had made sacrifices to attain independence from the British rule and later while defending the frontiers, the Deputy Commissioner exhorted people to rededicate themselves to build a country which Mahatma Gandhi and other martyrs had dreamt of.

Among others, Mr Sumer Singh Gurjer, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ajay Sood, Assistant Commissioner (general) Mr M.S. Jaggi, SDM and Mr A.K. Sharma, Deputy Director, Small Savings, attended the function.

Meanwhile, Congress workers paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi and other martyrs at a prayer meeting held in Congress Bhawan under the presidentship of Mr Jagmohan Sharma, president, District Congress Committee (Urban). The party workers observed two minutes silence and offered flowers at the portrait of the Father of the Nation. Later, hundreds of party activists marched to the old town hall compound where floral tributes were offered at the statue of Gandhiji.

The DCC chief and other speakers called upon people to follow in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi and other great sons of the soil and to remain prepared to safeguard the hard- won freedom of the country.

Led by Mr Parminder Mehta, secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, a large number of Congress workers took out a prabhat pheri to observe the Mahatma’s martyrs day. After garlanding the statues of martyrs Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru at Jagraon Bridge, the party functionaries marched up to the statue of Gandhiji in old town hall compound to offer flowers. The ruling party workers took a pledge to defend the unity, integrity and freedom of the country.

Prominent among others present at this occasion were Mr Kewal Arora, Mr Ravinder Bittu, Mr Nek Chand, Mr Goldy Sabharwal, Mr Nirmal Virk, Mr Rajesh Rajja, Mr Harbinder and Mr Amarjit Bhatti.



Woman ‘harassed’ for dowry, in-laws deny charges
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
When her matrimonial match was made she was overjoyed and had looked forward to a happy married life. Little did Neetu Rani, daughter of a physically challenged Khanna-based businessman, imagine that she would become another alleged victim of dowry.

When she finally decided to take up the matter with the police, she was disappointed as the latter failed to take action against the accused allegedly at the behest of a former SSP of Khanna. Moreover, policemen pressurised her and her parents to effect a compromise stating that she did not have any proof of marriage, she alleges.

In a complaint to the police, Neetu Rani, mother of one-year-old son, claimed that her father had spent over Rs 10 lakh on solemnising her marriage. Yet her in-laws allegedly demanded Rs 5 lakh from her father stating that her husband needed money to expand his business.

She said she was married to Vivek Loomba, son of Sunita Rani and Trilok Loomba, in November, 2001. The match was made through a common friend who had stated that the family did not want a pompous marriage ceremony as Trilok Loomba had just lost his brother.

No invites were printed and the marriage took place at a marriage palace where her family gave expensive gifts, including gold ornaments, to all members of the Loomba family, she claimed.

She alleged that her husband allegedly demanded a car two days prior to their marriage and her father, Shanker Dass Setia, fulfilled the demand.

“Soon after the marriage, my in-laws started harassing me for bringing insufficient dowry.” She further alleged that whenever her sister-in-law visited them, her husband would beat her up, asking her to bring Rs 2 lakh in cash. When she did not relent, her sister-in-law and brother-in-law would assault her.

She finally yielded and brought Rs 1 lakh from her father and gave it to the in-laws. The in-laws allegedly took her signatures on a blank stamp paper and prepared a suicide note, she alleged.

Finally, after the intervention of some close friends, a compromise was reached and her husband promised to live peacefully with her. But the quarrels restarted after some days.

She was sent home and she later gave birth to a son through Caesarean section in a Ludhiana-based nursing home. All expenses of the delivery were borne by her father.

“In June last year, I was beaten up by my husband who sought Rs 5 lakh from me. My father was called home and I was sent with him. They kept my son with them. He was left at my father’s shop only after the intervention of some friends.”

She has demanded action against her husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law Tarun Loomba, his wife Monika Loomba, Babita Rani, Radha Rani and Ranju, all daughters.

Mr Vivek Loomba, her husband, has however denied the allegations and said Neetu wanted to go abroad and was trying to break the marriage. He said a DSP and the Marital Disputes Cell had given a clean chit to his family.

DSP Desraj, who had looked into the matter, said he did not remember anything about the case.

Mr Loomba further said he had filed a petition in State Commission for Women under Section 9 urging upon the court to unite him and his wife for the sake of their son.

He added that he had never demanded dowry and denied the involvement of any police official in the case.



Bid to rob bank
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
An attempt to commit a burglary in the Central Bank of India branch in thickly populated Madhopuri, located just 100 yards away from Division No III police station, was made last night but the burglars could not break open the strong room.

There were Rs 7 lakh kept in the strong room besides expensive ornaments of clients in the lockers of the bank.

The burglars left their gas welding equipment, including 5 kg welding gas cylinder and an iron rod, in front of the strong room of the bank. Four burn marks were found on the strong room door and a ventilator grill was pulled with the iron rod.

The bid has exposed the weak security arrangements as the burglars entered the bank with a cylinder and other equipment by opening the grills and breaking a windowpane in a thickly populated street in Madhopuri but nobody could notice anything.

According to Mr Manjit Singh, Station House Officer, Division No III police station, the burglary might have taken place after 1:45 am as this was the last time he had patrolled outside the bank.

At around 7:30 am, residents of the area spotted the broken grill and windowpane of the bank and informed the police. The police saw the equipment in the basement of the bank. The wires of the alarm bell were also cut by the burglars.

Mr J.S. Arora, Assistant General Manager of the bank, said a sum of Rs 7 lakh was kept in the strong room and there were lockers of various clients there.

The police has registered a case under Sections 457, 380 and 511 of the IPC.



Govt Pensioners Association demands more facilities
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
The Government Pensioners Association has demanded more facilities for its members. It has appealed to the Finance Minister to incorporate some benefits for the retired persons in the ensuing Budget.

Mr R N Sehgal, president of the outfit, said thousands of its members, who were not covered by Central Government health schemes, were facing a lot of hardship. They were suffering from serious disability in respect to medicare facilities as they were not being reimbursed for the expenditure incurred by them on treatment for various ailments with the exception of Rs 100 per month as fixed medical allowance, which was grossly inadequate in view of prevailing consultation fee, diagnostic charges and cost of medicines.

On the other hand, Central Government pensioners settled in big towns served by CHSHS were in comfortable position as by paying a one contribution they were getting treatment, free of cost, in various dispensary and hospitals on a par with the serving Central Government employees.

Similarly, government employees posted in places not catered by the CGHS got full reimbursement for the treatment (outdoor and indoor) under the Medical Attendant rules, 1944, but the pensioners settled in such areas were also deprived of reimbursement.

He said on the recommendations of Fifth Pay Commission the government had tentatively decided to apply medical attendance rules to the pensioners. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare stated that they had no objection to the application of medical attendance rules to the pensioners residing in non-CGHS areas.

As non-CGHS pensioners were incurring heavy expenditure on medical treatment out of their meagre savings, they had approached their parent department to grant reimbursement as envisaged by the Ministry, but their request was not entertained, he alleged.

In the interests of justice, MA Rules should be extended to cover non-CGHS pensioners so that they could also collect reimbursement of the expenditure from their parent offices as was already available to the serving employees. This would solve the matter to the satisfaction of the pensioners concerned in consonance with the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission.

Mr Sehgal said the Central Government Pensioners, while in service, were subjected to transfers from one corner of the country to the other. The paying capacity of the Central Government to its pensioners was also better than the state government as the former wielded the powers of taxation. In view of this, it was legitimate for the Central Government pensioners to expect pensionary package at least equivalent to the best offered by any state government in the country.

He pointed out that the Punjab Government was paying Rs 250 per month or outdoor treatment to its pensioners whereas Central Government was shelling out only Rs 100 per month as fixed medical allowances to its non-CGHS pensioners. The amount may be enhanced to Rs 250 per month at least, he added.

In their advanced years, the pensioners required more money to purchase nutritious diet and increase their intake of easily digestible food besides engaging domestic help. The state government was already increasing the pension amount of its retirees’ by 5 to 10 per cent in the age group of 65 -75 years. Similar addition may be sanctioned by the Central Government to its pensioners also, he said.

To enable pensioners to go for pilgrimage or meet their relatives, the Punjab Government was paying one month’s extra pension to each of their pensioners after an interval of two years. The Central Government should also accord similar benefits to its pensioners.

He said they had, in a memorandum, to the FM urged that necessary changes should be made in the existing rules so that the long-pending grievances of the Central Government pensioners were redressed expeditiously. It would also bring some consolation to the older pensioners who had waited for long to get their dues enhanced.

He also added that senior citizens, on attaining the age of 75 years, should be treated as super senior citizens and accorded special care in all public offices. Arrangements should be made by the administration to collect payments regarding water, electricity, telephone bills, and house tax at their residence only.

The government should also exempt citizens above 75 years from filing their income tax returns, he added.



Dharna against poor drainage system
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 30
Some residents here today staged a dharna in protest against the accumulation of sewer water outside their houses. Led by Ms Satwant Kaur, all residents of street number 6, Krishna Nagar, raised slogans against the Municipal Council, Khanna. They said everytime rain water accumulated on the main road here and other streets also.

Claiming that they were forced to live in unhygienic conditions, Ms Satwant Kaur said water had collected in front of their houses since it rained on January 27 night and the street had no proper drainage system.

Angry residents said they had tough time during the rainy season as their streets were turned into virtual ponds of dirty water. “Have you ever seen rain water collecting for around three days in a city,” asked Mr Inderjit Singh Bhasin.

“We have registered our complaints with the MC but nobody pays any heed,” he added.

No MC officials were available for comments.



BKU seeks action against urea hoarders
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 30
The Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) today demanded strict action against hoarders and black marketers of urea as the same is not freely available in the open market these days.

Stating this here today, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president, and Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, working president, of the union, said during the sowing season too, farmers bought DAP fertilisers at higher rates as it was not freely available in the market. And now, when the wheat crop needs urea fertiliser due to the recent rain, fertiliser dealers are again harassing the farmers on the pretext of shortage of the fertiliser.

The union leaders maintained that the shortage is an artificial one. They demanded that the government should conduct raids on fertiliser dealers’ godowns and bring out hidden stocks of urea.

The union leaders stated that the union’s campaign of “Zameen bachao, pagri bachao, zameen bachao, kisan bachao’ , was receiving full support from the farming community of 



PNB observes security awareness week
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 30
In order to enhance security consciousness among employees, Punjab National Bank (PNB) observed security awareness week from January 24 to 29. A wide range of activities were undertaken during the week in the entire state.

According to a press note issued by the zonal office of the PNB here today, a demonstration of security equipment was arranged at the zonal office here, which was attended by top executives of the bank and a large number of its employees. Mock drills were conducted in selected branches all over Punjab, which were aimed at educating the officers and staff about the action to be taken during a robbery in a bank and any other exigency.

A quiz competition was arranged at Zonal Training Centre (ZTC) of the PNB, in which 68 employees from different branches in the state took part.

Mr Harmit Singh of the ZTC, Ludhiana, got the first prize in the competition.



Talent search organised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 30
It was an occasion for a motley group of people ranging from age group of 3 years to 60 years as they got a chance to fill colours of happiness and bring out their latent talents. A contest “Khushi Ke Rang First Flight Ke Sang” was organised by a courier company here today.

The company had organised an inhouse painting competition with the sole aim of identifying and motivating people to bring out their talent. About 90 participants had taken part. Mr Kavindra Pant, manager of the firm, said they were giving a platform to those who had the talent but were not getting the opportunity to express and utilise it.

The participants were divided into four groups, 3 to 6 years, 7 to 14 years, 15 to 21 years, and 21 years and above. Each prize winners’ painting from each group would be used on the calendar made by the firm next year.



De-addiction camp ends
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 30
A fortnight-long de-addiction camp organised by the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle ere at Model Town, concluded today during which 25 addicts were treated. Mr Gurpinder Singh, general manager of the circle, said the addicts were given free medical assistance and counselling. Ms Kuldeep Kaur, former Principal, Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women, was the chief guest.

Dr Mehaswant Singh and Mr Gurwinder Singh provided counselling and medical assistance to the campers. Mr Jasvir Singh, convener of the circle, expressed thanks to the visiting panel of doctors.



Free ration distributed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 30
Manna Singh Manufacturers Association organised a free ration distribution function at Manna Singh Nagar here today. Mr Ramesh Takkar, chairman of the association, supervised the distribution of ration to 101 needy and widows. Mr Gurdev Singh, SHO was the chief guest on the occasion.

The president of the association, Mr Jaspal Singh, said that helping the poor and needy was extending help to humanity. He said soon the association would start a sewing school for poor girls. From April this year, five poor children would be adopted and would be provided education, free of cost. The association would pay for their fee and books for the entire year. 



Rana Sodhi’s resignation sought
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 30
The Anti-Corruption Council of India (ACCI) and National Consumer Awareness Group (NCAG) have asked Congress legislator and Chief Parliamentary Secretary of Punjab Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi to quit the post on moral grounds.

In a statement here today, Mr Dev Dutt Sharma, Chairman, and Mr Shiv Gupta, secretary-general, of the ACCI, and Mr M.P. Singh Gogia, president, NCAG, said in the wake of serious allegations of corruption, levelled against Mr Sodhi, it would only be fair on his part to quit till his name was cleared in an inquiry. Such a step would also lend strength to the Chief Minister, who had vowed to cleanse the political system.



One more held in extortion case
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 30
Parmjit Singh, a member of the Manav Commando Force, involved in an extortion case, was arrested by the Khanna police yesterday. The police had seized three letterheads of the commando force from him. The accused was produced in the Court of Duty Magistrate K.K. Goel today who remanded him to police custody for two days.

The Khanna police had arrested two members of the Manav Commando Force some days ago on the charges of threatening some doctors of the city of dire consequences if they did not pay the demanded amount to them. Following the threatening letters written on the letterheads of commando force the police started investigation and arrested two members of the force. Both were remanded to police custody till Saturday.

After interrogation police succeeded to arrest the third associate Parmjit Singh of Bhatian village near Khanna.

The accused confessed his association and involvement in the extortion case while fourth member of the force Surinder Singh of Khanna Khurd village was still absconding.

Mr Rajan Parminder Singh, SHO, city police station, said, while confirming the arrest of the third accused, the interrogation was on and the police would arrest the fourth accused soon.


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