L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


8000 illegal power connections detected, lineman suspended
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has detected 8000 illegal power connections in some areas of the city including the Focal Point, Industrial Area, Tajpur Road and the Police Colony, Jamalpur. One lineman has also been suspended for collusion in facilitating the illegal power supply to these households.

The PSEB has neither imposed any penalty nor initiated any action against the defaulters. Instead all these connections have been regularised. The board officials maintained that it was found advisable to generate regular revenue after getting these regularised.

Superintending Engineer of the PSEB K.B. Chaudhary, said here today that the board had launched an intensive campaign to find out the illegal connections in these areas as the transmission losses were going up. With the legalisation of these connections, the board expects to bring down the losses from 60 to five per cent only.

Mr Chaudhary disclosed that the board had found that the lineman of the particular area was also involved in facilitating the illegal electricity supply to the defaulters. Surprisingly the illegal connections had been found in some households which had telephone connection and also owned cars but did not get the electric connections legalised as they were managing it unauthorisedly.

During investigation it was found that the lineman used to help the defaulters by intimating them about the possible raids in advance. The lineman would also instal meters at these households to mislead the raiding parties as they could never doubt that these meters were installed temporarily only. During a raid on his house several meters and wire were recovered from his possession.

Mr Chaudhary said that now individual meters have been installed on a common board for all households found getting electricity illegally. These meters cannot be tampered with, the SE said, while adding that the board hopes to generate additional revenue.



Book seed firm, DC to SSP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma has asked the SSP, Ludhiana, to register a case against seed dealer Garg Seed Corporation of Sarabha Nagar here for allegedly fleecing farmers by selling spurious hybrid cotton seed.

Mr Verma said eight farmers of Dhanola village, Sangrur, had submitted a complaint to him on January 10, 2005, complaining him that they had been fleeced and cheated by Garg Seed Corporation by selling them spurious hybrid cotton seed and they had suffered loss as the cotton crop could not yield the desired cotton.

The farmers had also submitted the copies of bills of the firms. The farmers said owners had sent two expert doctors for inspection, who also reported that the seed was not of good quality.

The complaint was marked to the Chief Agriculture Officer for an inquiry, who in his inquiry had established the allegations made by the farmers against the firm.

In the report, the Chief Agriculture Officer said he had sent the Agriculture Development Officers of Dhanola, Sirsa and Barnala to make on the spot verification, who had submitted their report to SDM, Barnala, that the hybrid cotton seed which was purchased from the firm was found to be spurious and as a result the yield decreased by 60 to 80 per cent.

On this, the Block Agriculture Officer, Ludhiana, was directed to submit an inquiry report and acting on his report, the licence of the firm had been cancelled under the Seed Act, 1966, the Beej Rule, 1968 and the Beej Control Order, 1983. The Chief Agriculture Officer had recommended the registration of an FIR against the firm for cheating the farmers by selling spurious seed.

Mr Verma said legal opinion in the case had been taken from the District Attorney, Ludhiana, who said a case u/s 420, IPC, should be registered against the firm.



Villagers resent shifting of bank’s branch
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 16
Residents of nearly four villages falling under the Raikot sub-division have resented the shifting of the Jhordan branch of the Central Cooperative Bank to Nathowal village, which is situated at a considerable distance from Jhordan.

On the intervention of the district administration the management of the bank has assured to review the decision.

A deputation of the villagers led by Mr Gurcharan Singh, sarpanch, Achharwal village, and president, Kirti Kissan Union had apprised Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, at a sangat darshan, held at Raikot recently of the problems faced by the residents of the Achharwal, Jhordan, Pherurai and Bassian villages after the shifting of the branch.

The residents had been moving from pillar to post to get the decision reversed.

The reason given for shifting of the branch was that the villagers had not deposited sufficient money in their accounts maintained in the branch.

“Had we got surplus money why should we borrow from financial institutes and money lenders at exorbitant interest rates,” argued a kissan union activist.

Around 2000 persons who had accounts in the bank are affected.

Mr Harmohinder Singh Pardhan, Director, Central Cooperative Bank, Ludhiana, and a former MLA said he would take up the matter with authorities concerned and the matter would be reviewed in the interest of the residents.



Campaign against Aulakh fails to get support
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
A campaign launched by the Joint Action Committee of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) for the past several months against the Vice- Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, has been finding little acceptance in the university and among PAU Teachers Association (PAUTA) members.

Interestingly, the president of the committee, Dr Balwant Singh, is a retired teacher of the university, while some other members are already suspended.

The PAUTA president, Dr H.S. Brar, said it was an open secret that Dr Balwant Singh was a rival of Dr Aulakh and in 1993 he was suspended for allegedly withdrawing "fictitious TA".

Dr Aulakh at that time was the Dean, College of Agriculture, and had recommended his suspension following which the then Vice- Chancellor, Dr Khem Singh Gill, had suspended him. However, he was reinstated after the new Vice- Chancellor, Dr A.S. Khera, took over.

After retirement, Dr Balwant Singh did not give up his campaign against Dr Aulakh. He joined the International Human Rights Organisation, an NGO . He became its secretary. However, he allegedly used this forum against Dr Aulakh to settle personal scores with him. He was expelled from the IHRO for misusing the platform .

Subsequently, Dr Balwant Singh joined the Nationalist Congress Party and also headed its kisan cell. Now he allegedly used this platform against Dr Aulakh making representations to the Chief Minister, the media and other organisations. He was again expelled from the NCP for misusing the platform for personal interests.

Dr Balwant Singh also went to the Lokpal, Punjab, listing various allegations against Dr Aulakh but the Lokpal also dismissed the complaint on August 22, 2002.

Dr Balwant Singh also made a representation to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala, for his alleged involvement in a seed scandal. The inquiry conducted by an officer of the rank of the Deputy Superintendent of Police found Dr Aulakh innocent.

Later, Dr Balwant Singh made a representation to the DGP alleging that Dr Aulakh had influenced the outcome of the inquiry. Another inquiry was got conducted by a senior officer of the rank of an IGP which also found Dr Aulkah innocent.

Dr Balwant Singh alleged that this had all been manipulated by Dr Aulakh. He alleged that he had been expelled from the IHRO and the NCP at the instance of Dr Aulakh only. He claimed that he had nothing personal against Dr Aulakh and only wanted to expose his "misdeeds".



Bank robbery bid: police still clueless
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 16
Even after two months the police has no clue about the burglars who had broken into a bank at Latala village and attempted to loot cash by breaking open cash chest with gas cutters. Interrogation of prsons allegedly involved in robbing banks and nabbed by the Ludhiana Police bore no fruit.

A futile attempt to loot a branch of Union Bank of India situated at Latala village was made on December 19. The bid had failed, as the cash box could not be cut.

Incident was noticed next day by the staff of the bank.

Mr Balwinder Singh, Manager, Union Bank of India, Latala, had said that 3.41 lakh was saved. The police had seized gas cylinders, gas cutters and the broken pieces of the windows and doors.

Sources say the gas cylinder used by robbers belonged to one of the suppliers of the town but the police did not proceed to establish link between the supplier and the suspects.



Stone of bridge over Budha Nullah laid
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA and former minister, Punjab, said today that in the Dakha Assembly segment, development projects of Rs 7 crore have been taken up during the last three years. These included widening of roads and pavement of PC on link rural roads, construction of bridges over Budha Nullah, laying of sewerage and water supply in the urban area.

Addressing a function after starting the construction work of a bridge over Budha Nullah on Varnhar-Talwara road here, Mr Dakha said the Mallan-Ludhiana road was also being widened and it would be made four laned. He said work was started recently for widening of the Ladowal-Nurpur road to be completed at a cost of Rs. 1.48 crore.

He said major projects included two roads, widening of Ladhowal-Nurpur road costing Rs 1.46 crore, construction of two bridges over Budha Nullah, construction of bridge over Budha Nullah on link road Baranhara-Talwara to Bagga Khurd at a cost of Rs 60.11 lakh and construction of approaches of newly constructed bridge over Budha Nullah on the link road Malikpur to Nurpur costing Rs. 23.50 lakh. He said the work on Laddowal to Nurpur road had also been started.

He further claimed that the Congress Government was committed towards the welfare of the society. He said the stress was being laid to completely involve panchayats by giving more powers. He asserted that from November, 2004, the government had started pensions to 14,800 old-age men and women of Rs 200 per month each and for this purpose funds amounting to Rs 360 crore were being spent per year in Punjab.

Among others who were present included Mr Manjit Singh Hambran President, District Youth Congress, Mr Gurnam Singh Azad XEN, PWD, and Mr Davinder Singh, Sarpanch Varanhara, Balbir Singh, sarpanch, Barewal, Hardev Singh, member, block samiti, Mandeep Singh Virk, Kuldeep Singh and Manohar Singh Gill.



Boparai is PAUSA chief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Mr Sarwan Singh Boparai was today declared new president of the Punjab Agricultural University Students Association (PAUSA). Khushwant Singh quit the post following completion of his degree.

Other office-bearers are Jatinder Kumar — senior vice-president; Navraj Mann — junior vice-president; Sunny Verma — general secretary; Jaswinder Singh Cheema and Ravinder Singh — secretary and convener, Sandy and Jaskaran Singh — press consultant, Gurjeet Singh — cashier, Ruchika and Harpreet Kaur — representative girls, Gagan Sandhu, Amir Wani, H.S. Bhullar, Paviter Singh, and Gaurav Thapar — spokesmen.



Pedalling their woes away
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

A rickshaw-puller on his daily grind in Ludhiana.
A rickshaw-puller on his daily grind in Ludhiana. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, February 16
They pedals all day to help commuters reach their destinations but they are often viewed as the ones causing traffic congestion in the city. They are rickshaw-pullers who lead a tough life to earn their livelihood.

Bahadur, a rickshaw-puller from Bihar, says he came to the city a few months back, seeking greener pastures. Taking a cue from his friends who were already here, he hired a rickshaw at Rs 450 a month and an accommodation at Kishnapuri for Rs 400 per month. Father of three, Bahadur earns Rs 50-60 daily and at times even Rs 100. Vagaries of weather also take a toll on his earnings. “On a rainy day like this I hardly earn Rs 10-20.” He has a family of nine, including his brothers and sisters to support and he is left with little after paying for the rickshaw, accommodation, and other expenses. In some cases these “other expenses” include liquor and gambling. Bahadur yearns to send his children to school.

Mahesh Kumar, a rickshaw-puller in his 50s from Siwan district of Bihar, is here along with his family to earn for his daughter’s marriage. While his wife works as a domestic help, his son has also hired a rickshaw. Mahesh said he had a small piece of land in Bihar, but floods ruined him a few years back. He lost his property to an arhtiya from whom he had taken debt for marrying off his elder daughter. “I can’t paddle a rickshaw for long due to the age factor, but my son earns about 2,500 a month a part of which we save for her marriage,” he avers. Mahesh cannot sleep at night owing to some pain in his shoulders and knees. Lamenting the “inhumane behaviour” of some commuters, he says that they don’t get down while going up the road below Domoria Bridge.

Employment opportunities is the answer when asked as to what brings them to Punjab. “Our state is in a shambles. Factories have been shut down and development works have come to a grinding halt,” say Arjun and Naresh Kumar.

These rickshaw-pullers also had some bad experiences in the city. Bahadur once came across an inebriated man who took him around for hours and didn’t pay him a penny. On top of that he thrashed Bahadur when he demanded money.

Meanwhile, as Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav faces the toughest challenge ever in the ongoing Assembly elections, it’s thumbs down for him from the city’s rickshaw-pullers, most of whom are from Bihar and think that Mr Yadav has ruined the state in the past 15 years. “We won’t be able to vote, but our families have a chance to vent their ire at him,” said a group of rickhaw-pullers. Though caste factor weighs heavily on their minds, still a number of them hold him responsible for their exodus.



Toll evaders give villagers hell
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, February 16
Rajgarh village, that served as a major alternative route for the toll evaders at Doraha has been reduced to a virtual hell as there is no respite for this ‘doomed’ village from the heavy vehicular traffic pouring in day after night and night after day.

Life being ever restores normalcy seems to be a far fetched dream do the villagers. No government authority has hither to come to their rescue nor is expected in the distant future. Completely robbed of sanitation, cleanliness safety and security, peace and isolation, the Rajgarhians are left with no choice but to wait and watch for the toll-plaza to shift from the place, one ‘fine day’.

A majority of the vehicles, including four-wheelers, tempos, trucks and even tankers pass through this village and play havoc with the village roads that have disappeared all of the village said, “The major problem we are encountering at present the deteriorated roads. When no government department starting accepting same sort of monetary help from the commuters for their repair works.

But our action was turned illegal by the authorities and our work came to a naught.”

“The road from all over the village canal has been completely broken for which we demanded pipe from the local administration but no aid has arrived till today, he added.

Sore over the government’s indifference, Mr Yashpal Singh sad that we have no hopes of the existing government coming to our rescue at any point as he alleged that the panchayat members are of Akali-government for which step-motherly treatment is meted out to us. “Every time we try to repair the road to some extent, by throwing bricks the heavy vehicular traffic throws every attempt aside by merciless treading upon it and damaging it to the extent of invisibility.’

Mr Narinder Singh, the existing sarpanch told that out of a total of six outlets to Rajgarh village, only one s secure to some extent. The Kanech vias Bilga road which was hitherto not being used by the heavy traffic, has also been invaded all passages, from the National Highway road side, Baba Shaheedan side, Ajnaud and Gurthali Pull-side, have been badly disrupted due to damaged roads. We too have to follow the Kanech-Barwala-Heeran road to for towards Chandigarh as the straight passage is blocked fro the villagers.

“We are being robbed very second of our clean and hygiene life. During summers must accumulates on the roads and during winters the water.” What should be do ad where should we go. A villager has been killed and another has got his leg fractures in the accident caused due to the heavy traffic. We have been robbed of our peaceful and secured life. The traffic is a threat to the lives of children who are otherwise used to a careful life. The worst sufferers are the school and college going children whoa re occasionally late due to the blockage of traffic and at times because their clothes get defiled by some speedy vehicle. Moreover, the women folk have to listen to the indecent remarks of truck drivers and conductors.”

A villagers alleges that the frequent rains have worsened the situation all the more. similar is the condition in monsoon days. The accumulated water when raised by big vehicles near the houses. Moreover, the villagers are falling sick occasionally. the accumulated water causes jaundice, typhoid, malaria, gastroenteritis and the raised day dust is giving rise to asthmatic problems.

“We know this liability is imposed n us and shall continue forever, but if the road is constructed properly and widened to a considerable, our problems can be solved to a great extent. This is possible only if the government is ready to given us a patient hearing which seems to be impossible in the near future, said Mr Yashpal Singh, the former Akali sarpanch.



BSF jawan cremated with honours
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 16
Body of Inderjit Singh, a BSF jawan of nearby Sudhar village who had died along with five others when an avalanche had hit their post near Line of Control in the Kupwara sector on February 11, was cremated with state honours at his native village today afternoon. Besides personnel from the BSF the district administration and the police officials paid tributes to the brave jawan.

Body of the deceased was brought by BSF Jawans to Sudhar village today morning. A number of local people and representatives of various organisations had gathered to pay tributes to the jawan. Police and BSF Jawans reversed arms in the honour of the jawan and fired 24 rounds.

Mr Prem Chand, SDM Raikot, Mr H.S. Brar DSP Raikot, Mr Shawinder Singh Dhillon SHO Sudhar, Mr Hirdey Singh Executive Magistrate, Mr Kesho Ram and Mr B.S. Yadav (both BSF Personnel) Mr Inder Singh Chairman Block Samiti and Yadwinder Singh Sarpanch paid tributes to the jawan.

A pall of gloom descended on Sudhar on Saturday when news of the death of Inderjit was broken to his family. Body was flown to Jammu where a post-mortem examination was conducted on it. It was then flown to Delhi from where BSF personnel carried it to his village by road.

Mr Inderjit had left home after celebrating Lohri of his three-month-old son Navdeep on January 20 and the family was shocked to learn of his death on Saturday.

He had joined the BSF nine years ago and served for a long time in the Kupwara sector.

On Friday the upper reaches of the Tangdhar area near LoC had recorded over nine feet of snow that triggered an avalanche which later cut off two forward posts where 19 personnel of the force were deployed for guarding the borders.

Six personnel including Inderjit Singh were trapped in snow while other 13 were rescued.



Jagraon lacks proper roads, sewerage
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 16
The birthplace of Punjab Kesari Lajpat Rai, with a population of one lakh, has become the victim of indifferent attitude of various departments, including the local Municipal Council, Market Committee and PWD, resulting in lack of basic amenities like proper roads, drainage and sewerage system, etc.

In spite of the fact that various elections to the local Municipal Council were held, none of the team ever cared to maintain roads. The drainage system has remained chocked and dirty water overflows filling up pits on the roads making them hard to walk over. The roads fall within the limits of the Municipal Council, the Market Committee and the PWD. People are astonished that none of the three agencies have cared for the repair of these roads.

Recently, Mr Parshotam Lal Khalifa, local Municipal Councillor, observed a fast against pitiable condition of the town and Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, assured him of immediate action towards the amenities of the town, but nothing has been done so far.



Noise — a headache
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Sound pollution by loudspeakers, hosiery and sewing machines, generators and microphones in residential areas and silent zones is not only a major nuisance but also causes discomfort to the city residents.

It is not uncommon for city residents to remain awake the whole night when a jagrata or some other religious function is underway. Enquiries revealed that it is not only the old localities that face the brunt of the problem but the newer areas are not free from the menace.

The general feeling is that despite instructions from the administration, little is being done to enforce the Punjab Noise Control Act, 1956, which stipulates that the noise should not exceed 40 decibels in the residential and 60 decibels in the commercial areas.

The same can be operated only between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Similarly, no loudspeaker can be played in the silence zones which means any area within 100 meters from hospitals, educational institutions and courts. Ironically, religious places too fall in the same category.

Mr Achhra Singh, a retired government official and Mr K.S. Bhattal from Bhanorr village, who have been raising this issue, said no one had any right to create noise pollution on religious grounds. Prayers on full volume by outdoor speakers disturbs peace and tranquility of neighbourhood and should not be permitted in the city or the villages in the state.

Mr Gurkirat Singh, a resident of Field Ganj, pointed out that no religion permitted disturbance to old, ailing and infirm persons, students or small children. “One should not forget that small babies, old persons and youngsters have every right to enjoy their sleep in a peaceful atmosphere. The ailing persons too need peace and quiet to recuperate. Why should they be disturbed ? The noise pollution in the city is increasing day by day,” he added. One is rudely awakened by the sudden noise and it is impossible to sleep after that. Since requests to the gurdwara managements committees have failed to have the desired effect and it now upto the district administration to enforce the law. Strict action should be taken against the defaulters. Similarly, villagers of Basti Gujran, said that the noise caused by the hosiery and sewing machines was very irritating.

Other residents complain that the labourers in Basti Jodhewal area were very rude to the residents. In addition to the din of the machines, the labourers listen to tape recorders at full volume the whole night.



PSEB move to cost industry dear: chamber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
“The PSEB, while submitting its annual revenue report for 2005-06 to the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission, has recommended an additional clause of fixed charges per kilowatt of the sanctioned load per month for all categories of consumers.

With the addition of this clause the average monthly bills of customers will increase by 14 per cent to 23 per cent,” said Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings president Inderjit Singh Pardhan today.

He said the clause would ruin the industrial sector which had been already reeling under recession for the past several years and was also facing the threat of VAT.

According to the chamber, while average monthly bill of a domestic consumer would increase by 23 per cent, this increase would be 20 per cent for commercial consumers, 18 per cent in case of small power consumers, 15 per cent for medium supply consumers and 14 per cent for large supply consumers.

Condemning the proposal, the chamber said it was likely to encourage corruption as well. Urging the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission to dissuade the PSEB from adding the clause, the chamber said the implementation of the clause could also result in shifting of the industry from Punjab to other states.



Pritpal gets calipers free of cost
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
The Viklang Sahayata Kendra (VSK), of the Bhartiya Vikas Parishad here has provided a pair of calipers to 19-year-old physically challenged Pritpal free of cost.

The kendra will also give him a Xerox machine for setting up a photostat shop to make him self-sufficient.

Calipers were provided to him by Mr R.P. Gupta, secretary of the VSK. He said the organisation would buy a Xerox copier machine worth Rs 60,000 for Pritpal within 3-4 days.

Pritpal’s plight was highlighted in these columns a few days ago. Pritpal, who had contracted polio and damaged his legs due to the disease.



Goods worth Rs 1.50 lakh stolen
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 16
Some thieves had stolen goods worth Rs 1.50 lakh from two shops yesterday.

According to owner of Chanan Mal Prem Chand, the thieves entered his shop from the roof after breaking the iron net. They stole almond and desi ghee from the shop. From other shop, the thieves also stole almonds and desi ghee.

Minor boy missing

A minor boy (13) is missing from the city. 

According to information, a migrant labourer had brought his son to Khanna last week. Satrohan was working at a tea stall. Today he went to the shop alone but did not reached there. After inquiry, parents of the children informed the police.



Clerk booked for cheating students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
A clerk with a public school near Mundia village was today booked by the city police for cheating a number of school students by not depositing their examination fee for Middle and Matric examination.

Accused Jagdeep Singh of Kherri village had pocketed the amount due to which more than 20 children could not take the examinations yesterday.



MD of knitwear firm booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
A managing director with a knitwear firm was booked today on charges of cheating the firm of over Rs 6.42 lakh, which he took from different parties but did not deposit it in the firm’s account.

Harwinder Singh , a resident of Bathinda, has been booked for cheating and forgery on the complaint of Ajit Lakra of Superfine Knitwears.



Seminar on VAT held
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 16
Traders and industrialists suggested to amend some provisions of VAT with their consultation during a seminar on VAT - 2005 organised at A.S. College Khanna. Taxation expert and writer P.C. Garg, Advocate, was the main speaker. He made a detailed presentation on the concept and the provisions of the Punjab VAT Act.

His presentation was followed by a lively discussion in which at least 100 students and members of the staff participated. Some traders and industrialists said that the VAT act of Haryana, which was introduced in 2003, could serve as model for effecting the necessary modification on the Punjab Act.

Prof C.D. Jain, coordinator, foreign trade, of college welcomed the speakers. Principal V.C. Sachdeva proposed a vote of thanks. Prof Nishant, Prof Darshan Singh, Prof P.J. Sharma, Prof K.K. Sharma, Prof Sanjeev Kumar, Prof Jagroop Singh, Prof Sanjay Talwani and Prof Narinder Singh were also present.


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