L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Five arrested for stealing vehicles
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
The police has arrested five members of an inter-state gang of vehicle thieves. Five cars stolen from Chandigarh, Patiala, Panchkula and Ludhiana in the past six months were recovered from them. The recovered cars were Skoda Octavia, which was taken away at gunpoint from Sector 19, Chandigarh; Maruti car stolen from Sector 17, Chandigarh; another Maruti car stolen from Panchkula and sold to Malkiat Singh of Patiala; Tata Safari; and Ford Ikon. Several two-wheelers were also recovered.

Addressing mediapersons this afternoon, the SP (City-I), Mr R.K. Jaiswal, said the gang members were identified as Amarjit Singh, Amninder Singh, Kalyan Singh, Harinder Singh and Manjit Singh.

All of them, travelling in Tata Safari, were arrested near Jawaddi yesterday. However, the kingpin, Sukhwinder Singh Gill, who was also travelling in the car, escaped.

A country-made pistol, a Chinese toy pistol, a purse, iron rods, baseball bats and packets of chilli powder were recovered from their possession.



Kolkata police raids house, seizes dowry articles
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
The Kolkata police today raided a house in Civil Lines area near Arya College and seized dowry items from the possession of Aggarwal family in the infamous Chandni dowry case here today.

The girl, Chandni Bansal, a resident of Kolkata had committed suicide in that city two years ago after allegedly suffering mental and physical torture at the hands of her in-laws here. The goods were seized and taken to the Division Number 8 police station.

A team of Kolkata police led by Sub Inspector D.D. Banerjee, along with the local Division Number 8 police conducted the raids and recovered 11 dowry items.

Mr Joginder Bansal, Chandni’s father, accompanied the team. He expressed dissatisfaction at the number of items and claimed that the in-laws had not handed over gold ornaments to them.

The case had been hogging headlines in Kolkata as well as Ludhiana since the day she committed suicide. Her father had been making rounds of police stations in both the cities to get a case registered. The case was finally registered in Kolkata on the basis of letters written by the girl as well as the statement of a psychiatrist, who was treating Chandni. It is now pending in the apex court.

As per the FIR lodged at the Karaya police station in Kolkata, the accused named in the FIR were the victim’s husband Gaurav Aggarwal, father-in-law Anil Aggarwal, mother-in-law Uma Aggarwal and maternal grandfather Mahavir Prasad Lohia. The family owns a cyber cafe and steels financing business. The family has a huge house in Civil Lines here. Police sources said today’s raid was conducted after a Kolkata court rejected the bail application of the accused.

According to the FIR, Chandni’s in-laws allegedly started demanding household items in the wedding. ‘‘I gave her everything except a car and they had been demanding a luxury car. They even told her that a girl’s parents were giving them two petrol pumps in dowry and they were regretting not marrying their son to her. She was tortured physically and mentally. We were told not to call her or meet her and were accused of undue interference in their family,’’ alleged her father.

He alleged that Chandni went into depression after some months of her marriage. Her consultant psychologist had also told her parents in writing that if she continued to live in ‘‘unsupportive and hostile environment it would be fatal for her. ‘‘But I still hoped she would settle down soon.”

He further alleged that she was kept in isolation by her in-laws for three months. She was neither allowed to visit any of her relatives nor was she allowed to make or receive calls. ‘‘My son came to see her from Bangalore at her in-laws house here and went back to tell me that she was in bad shape. And within a week she killed herself.’’ he added. 



Acquitted after 11 years of trial for stealing sweater
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 1
After facing a trial for 11 years on the charge of stealing a woollen jersey worth Rs 100 from a railway platform, a railway employee — superannuated two months ago — was acquitted by a local court.

The orders of acquittal were passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr S.S. Dhaliwal, with the observation that the prosecution had failed to prove the charges levelled against the accused beyond any doubt.

Sukhdarshan Singh of Haibowal Kalan was working as a driver under the Loco Foreman Railway, Ludhiana, when he was booked by the Railway Protection Force in December 1993, under Section 3 of the Railway Property (Unlawful Possessions) Act.

The case file of the accused passed through the hands of seven Chief Judicial Magistrates, who remained posted in Ludhiana during different periods.

According to prosecution, on December 13, 1993 at about 3.30 a.m. the accused was nabbed by Constables Dharam Pal and Dalbir Singh, when he was found stealing a woollen jersey from a wooden box at platform Number 1 of the station. The wooden box containing the woollen garments was booked for Kanpur by one Ram Lal.

Thereafter, when the accused was interrogated, he confessed to have committed the theft.

The prosecution had examined five witnesses to prove its case. However, the accused had pleaded not guilty and claimed false implication.

He had stated before the court that he was booked, as he was having some enmity with the RPF personnel. 



Tourism industry ignored in Budget, says Nanda
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
The Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association criticised the Budget 2005-06 and said the Finance Minister had not done anything for the small scale industry sector. Mr G.S. Kahlon, president of the association, said issues like steel prices and complications of VAT had not been addressed. He also said the exemption of Rs 4 lakh in the case of service tax would be of no use and de-reservation of 108 items would be harmful for the industry.

Mr N.S. Nanda, president, Hotel and Restaurant Association, said the Budget was disappointing as the Finance Minister had not done anything to encourage tourism. “This is the third biggest industry and also has huge potential to generate employment. The industry earns over Rs 17,000 crore annually and we had expected that the FM would certainly include certain provisions for the benefit of this industry. However, he has not even touched the sector,” he said.

While the overall Budget would be beneficial for many sectors, the proposal to impose tax on cash withdrawals of Rs 10,000 and above would not only be harmful for individuals but would put industry and banks also in trouble, Mr Nanda said.



DMCH staff body for talks with management
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 1
The ad hoc committee of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) Employees Union has called upon the managing committee of the institution to initiate dialogue with the employees across the table to diffuse tension prevailing in the organisation.

According to Ms Amardeep Jakhu, convener of the committee, a memorandum had been submitted to the management focussing on several issues concerning the employees and highlighting their problems and demands.

The DMCH employees, she pointed out, were being harassed due to old police cases and litigation, which should be settled amicably. Further, the cases of those employees, who had either been sacked or had been issued charge sheets, should be reviewed and trade union rights of the employees, both inside the hospital and outside, be restored.

Ms Jakhu claimed that the employees had approved the election of other office-bearers of the ad hoc committee which were Mr Sukhjinder Singh as co-convener, Mr Satish Kumar as cashier and Mr Bhupinder Singh as assistant cashier.



HC warrant officer raids police station, gets 2 freed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
A warrant officer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court got freed two city residents detained by the police here at Basti Jodhewal police station at midnight last. Manoj and Lallu Prasad were allegedly being questioned in the police station when a warrant officer raided it on the complaint of a local scrap dealer, Satnam Singh. He had alleged that the police had illegally detained the two persons and was implicating him as well as the two detained persons in a criminal case.

SHO, Basti Jodhewal, Jaswinder Singh Mangat, however, claimed that the two persons were not detained. He said they were sitting in the visitors’ room and were being questioned about their relations with two persons caught on the charges of committing thefts in the city.



Ludhiana Calling

What is in a name? Too much. At least if the name is Dharmendra. The leaders of the Bharatiya Yuva Janata Morcha weaved the magic of the name to pull the crowds for their rally on Sunday. Actually it was Mr Dharmender Pradhan, the national president of the morcha, who was to address the rally along with the cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu. Realising that if the Pradhan word was kept quiet, it will convey that film star Dharmendra was coming. They performed the trick and it worked. People did not turn up in large numbers but it certainly added to their interest. But at the end of the day, everybody was disappointed as the star was seen nowhere and it was Mr Pradhan instead. Some people felt they were taken for a ride. Interestingly enough, one vernacular carried the news that Dharmendra had actually turned up, which he had not, much to the chagrin of those who had gone there and had returned disappointed. They thought that they had missed him and returned before the rally concluded.

Not a slip!

Keeping things short and simple, it seems, is what many people attempt in order to convey the maximum in minimum words. Such attempts at times could create humorous situations. In a recent meeting with industrialists where Punjab Pollution Control Board Chairman R.S. Bajwa was present, industrialists were expressing their gratitude for regularisation of industry in residential and other non-designated areas. An overwhelmed industrialist said: "Honourable chairman of pollution board..", to which Mr Bajwa immediately reacted, "Pollution Control Board, please", leaving everyone present in peels of laughter.

Too many scribes

The organisers of press conferences in the city have begun to feel the heat about the ever-increasing number of mediapersons following the blossoming of large number of TV channels and newspapers. So much so that the city police had to recently convene separate press conferences for the electronic media and the print media to accommodate both. It was amusing to see that a top police official had to repeat his address to cater to the need of the different media. The organisers are worried as more TV channels are springing up and now some local websites have also started recruiting reporters. Handling such large number of mediapersons would definitely be an arduous task.

Implementation vital

The Budget received a mixed response from city residents. While some termed it as'' hopeless and disappointing'', a few said it was growth oriented, while others said it was insipid. A section of residents, however, had an interesting and important point to make. "We Indians are too good at planning, but lag behind when it comes to implementing plans," they pointed out, emphasising the need for implementation of all that was proposed. "Lets hope this time the focus does not remain on rollbacks and proposals are implemented."

Irony of fate

Life is not a bed of roses as goes the common saying. It takes a long haul to earn bread and butter. But these truths of life seem to be more true for the children of the poor, especially those who are ready to brave several problems to earn than just begging on the roads. Similar is the case of a boy, Ranjit, who sells candy-pop and pop-corn near Tiger Safari on the outskirts of the city. He prefers walking all the way from the city to Tiger Safari to sell his goods. Irony of his life is that while the children of his age visit Tiger Safari to enjoy with their parents and munch on his candy-pop, he depends on their money for his survival.

Going Bihar way?

The sensational train dacoity on board a running train near Khanna has brought the worst fears of the state residents true. Punjab is going the Bihar way where such dacoities, kidnappings and robberies are just a matter of routine. With no check on the influx of labourers, many criminal elements enter the state posing as daily wagers. But no one had ever dared to rob train passengers in Punjab till now. The only silver lining was that the police has nabbed the accused unlike Bihar.But it remains to seen how would it prevent such future incidents.

Please be respectful

A local NGO is known to help some poor widows by providing them with monthly rations, clothes and other necessary items free of cost. A function is organised every month and the widows are given the goodies. Needy widows line up at the venue to take benefits from these people. But what hurts the sensibilities of human mind is that in order to get a little publicity, the NGO invites a VIP to distribute the rations and the destitute women are made to huddle up together in a small place waiting for hours for him to arrive. Besides harassment to these needy and elderly women, the function, otherwise aimed at helping them, belittles most of them. Three cheers for the spirit behind the cause but the organisers, at the same time, should ensure that the rations are distributed in a respectable manner.

Mini Bihar

Going by an ever increasing number of migrants, especially Biharis, in the city, a common joke goes around that if Mr Laloo Prasad contests the parliamentary elections from Ludhiana constituency, he would win. After his party could not get majority in the recent Assembly elections, Biharis were heard discussing that had Laloo contested the elections from Ludhiana, he would have certainly won.

— Sentinel



CM unhappy with ADGP over Waqf Board issue
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 1
The Chief Minister Punjab has reacted sharply to the reported representation of some members of the Punjab Waqf Board led by a senior police officer and a member of the board against his decision to cancel the meeting called to remove chairperson of the board.

Sources revealed that the meeting called by Mr Izhar Alam ADGP and a member of the Waqf Board at Chandigarh to discuss a motion to ‘relieve’ Ms Razia Sultana Parliamentary Secretary of her charge as Chairperson of the board, had been cancelled by the Chief Minister at the last moment obviously to save her position.

Mr Alam along with members owing alliance to him had reportedly called on the office of Governor of the state obviously to show his resentment against the Chief Minister’s action to get the meeting cancelled.

Talking to a section of the press Captain Amrinder Singh confirmed that the meeting had been cancelled due to technical reasons and the matter would be resolved soon.

Showing ignorance about the reported representation of members of the board led by Mr Alam he said he would not tolerate such reaction by any of his officers. He further said that he did not believe that Mr Alam could go to the Governor of the state against him.

“I don’t believe that an ADGP could knock at the door of a Governor against his Chief Minister and that was not required even. We can resolve such petty matters on our own,” reacted the Chief Minister.



Couples prefer male child for adoption
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, March 1
Girls, it seems, are low on city residents’ priority list. Even when the matter is as serious as adopting a child, city residents have shown a marked inclination towards adopting a male child. The fact is substantiated by data available with Shishu Sewa Sadan of Nishkam Sewa Ashram here where a majority of couples look for a male child for adoption.

Mr Shrawan Kumar of Shishu Sewa Sadan said it was the only adoption centre in the district. Another such centre, Nari Niketan, was in Jalandhar. Six children had been adopted in the past seven months. “The centre has been authorised by the government of India for adoption of children. We have 11 inmates at the centre but they are above one year of age. According to the rules, the couples can adopt a child who is below one year”, said Mr Kumar.

He said a procedure had to be followed for adoption. On the basis of the Central Government scheme, couples were required to register their names with all the details, including education, marital status, medical reports, family history, etc. They had to deposit Rs 1,200 as registration fee for which they were given a receipt.

Most of the couples were from the middle or the upper middle classes. Uneducated couples were not entitled for adoption. “The couples can mention their preference for a male or a female child on the forms. More than 32 issueless couples have got themselves registered with the centre, a majority having a preference for a male child”, said Mr Kumar.

He added that the centre gave Rs 500 as shagun and a rosary as a token of love to the children before they left the sadan. “A follow-up is conducted for the next three years to see that the children were in good hands and had happily adapted to the new environment”, he said.

Ms Pappo Abnash, a social activist, said gender bias prevailed among people. She said many abandoned babies were found from garbage dumps, railway tracks and remote areas. A “majority of the babies are females. Not only this, many people from the lower strata of society sold their girl child for a petty amount which was unfortunate. Educated couples should happily adopt a female child and set an example”, she said.



Bypass in bad shape
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
After the National Highway Authority of India, (NHAI), started charging heavy toll tax on Ludhiana-Doraha road, the road along the Sidhwan canal, connecting city with Doraha town is bearing brunt as smart drivers take this road to evade tax.

The upper layer of the road has been almost vanished as the traffic on it has increased manifold but the state government has no funds to recarpet it. Craters, potholes and bumpy ride mark this road which is incidentally the southern bypass of the city.

Things have come to such a pass that the road is broken giving rise to huge craters, almost three to four feet deep, making it difficult for commuters to drive. The situation worsens at nights as there are no lamp posts on the road. Rains also compound the problem as water gets collected in these craters giving rise to small ponds.

“The vehicles become uncontrollable at times in the night as we cant see potholes on the road. Driving becomes dangerous as one can lose control over the vehicle anytime and it can fall into the canal resulting in a tragedy.” rued a commuter.

The road is mostly used by the private vehicles like cars and jeeps. Heavy transport vehicles like trucks are also seen on this road. Surprisingly only the two wheelers and light vehicular traffic has ruined the road to such an extent.

An official of the Public Works Department (B&R) said they had made a proposal to repair the road and sent it to state government a year ago. But the state government had not released any funds. He added that the PWD was again going to take up the matter to repair all major roads in the periphery of city.

He admitted that the condition had worsened after the setting up of a toll tax barrier at Doraha.



Countrywide strike by bank employees on March 22
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
Bank employees across the country would observe a full day strike on March 22 in protest against government policies regarding FDI, private participation and other issues.

They will also organise a morcha and march to the Parliament on March 11 in which over 50,000 employees would participate, said Mr N.K. Gaur, secretary, All-India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), while addressing a press conference here today.

“The Finance Minister recently announced that the government would encourage merger of public sector banks, takeover of Indian private banks by foreign banks and bring down government equity. These proposals are retrograde moves that have been made without any consultation with trade unions and have led to resentment among bank employees,” Mr Gaur said.

He said reducing government capital in banks would dilute government ownership, control and monitoring of public sector banks, which is not a good move.

This would be particularly detrimental to the interest of common man as total deposits in banks are over Rs 16 lakh crore.

The government should have instead, focussed on reducing non performing assets in banks which stand at Rs 1,30,000 crore.

Mr Gaur said AIBEA was launching a nationwide campaign through meetings, seminars, rallies, demonstrations, etc, on these issues. He said the association would approach all central trade unions and political parties for their support towards the campaign as the demands are in the interest of common man.



Conference on commerce & management ends
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 1
Three-day national conference of the Punjab Commerce and Management Association (PCMA) concluded here yesterday with a message to industry, academic, social and political organisations to change their attitude to compete with the organisations at the world level. It was unanimous view that the liberalization process in India had heralded in a new era and had opened up many opportunities for business community.

To start any business venture in India, it was important for all business people to understand the qualitative transformation underway in all major spheres: culture, knowledge, wealth generating activities. Researchers also concluded that the challenge facing international business collaborators was to understand the impact of the transformation, resulting in the changed present-day scenario, where transformed values co-exist with traditional values in India.

As many as 90 research papers were presented in this conference spread over in six technical sessions. Major themes of these technical areas were: Transformation of services, marketing, banking, competitiveness and technological change in the new market economy, change management in the wake of WTO, spirituality, creativity, culture and change, restructuring traditional business and education and technology, transformational ‘leadership strategies’ and case studies.

Dr Prem Kumar President of the Punjab Commerce and Management Association said that PCMA was making efforts to collaborate with the Punjab Technical University, the University Grants Commission, the All-India Council of Technical Association and the other universities at the local level to start short duration Faculty Development programmes (FDP) to update the knowledge of the teachers working in the colleges and Universities of Punjab and its adjoining region.

Prof Ashwani Bhalla, Joint Secretary of the PCMA, said that the association was going to start “PCMA Best Project Report Award Competition” from next academic session in which students of M.Com, M.B.A will be eligible to compete and submit their research project report for evaluation. This effort will generate the environment of encouragement for the students and researchers working in the field of commerce and management. The important people from the industry and academic world who spoke in the various technical sessions included: Mr D.L. Sharma (President and Executive Director, Mahavir Spinning Mills Ludhiana), Mr V.K. Goel (Secretary Ludhiana Management Association), Dr Zora Singh (Chairman Desh Bhagat Institutes ), Dr Satish Sharma (Member Senate Punjab University Chandigarh), Mr V. K. Garg (IRS and Commissioner Customs and Excise), Dr S.K. Singla (Chairman Department of Business Management Punjab. Valedictory Address was given by Dr S.P. Singh a renowned managerial expert and former head of University Business School Punjab University Chandigarh.

He said that there was a need of academic forums to connect the people in the field of research-academics and industry to collaborate and generate new ideas and vistas so that a country like India could excel in creating more employment opportunities, sophisticated ways of doing business and more generation of wealth while preserving the spiritual ,creative and moral values. He made a call to students, teachers, industry people and researchers to join hands to work for the development of the country. Vote of thanks was extended by Dr Vijay Asdhir (Conference Secretary of PCMA Conference 2005) and he said that next conference will be organised in Jalandhar with the collaboration of Industrial houses working in Jalandhar. 



MCPI conference on March 6
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 1
A district level conference of the Marxist Communist Party of India will be organised at New Shimlapuri, near Harkrishan Public School, Ludhiana on March 6. Mr Lakhwinder Singh Buani, secretary district committee, MCPI, and Mr Jandeep Kaushal, said a minimum of 100 delegates would participate in the conference to raise their voice against the “anti-farmer, anti-employees and anti-worker policies” of the government.

The delegates would focus on the demands of workers and farmers. They would protest against the policies of privatisation, liberalisation and globalisation. Further, the delegates would pressurise the government to end its capitalistic approach.



Shiv Sena’s student wing set up
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 1
The Shiv Sena’s (Hindustan) student wing termed the Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena for Punjab was constituted this morning at a function arranged at Haibowal here yesterday. The function was supervised by District President Krishan Sharma and presided over by Mr Pawan Sharma.

The Shiv Sena (Hindustan) constituted a Vidyarthi Sena. Suraj Ahluwalia was given the charge. Mr Pawan Sharma and Mr Krishan Sharma said that the Shiv Sena was active in social activities in India, but they felt that youth, too, should be involved in nation building. The Sena was formed to check drug menace in Punjab.

Mr Suraj Ahluwalia was appointed as chief and the right to elect his team.



Bharat Vikas Parishad office-bearers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 1
Mr Rajesh Nauhria, Mr Kewal Bansal and Pawan Bansal were elected President, Secretary, and finance secretary of Bharat Vikas Parishad, Shivanji Branch, at a meeting held at Marriot Hotel here on Sunday.

The election was conducted by Brij Bhushan Bansal, State Observer to the Parishad. After the election, cultural programme was presented by Sachin Sharma, Amit Batra, Jasmeet Kaur and Arvind Chahakar artists were honoured by the parishad.



Farmers flay Budget proposals
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 1
Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, national general secretary of the Bharti Kisan Union said that decentralisation of procurement of wheat and paddy indicated that the government was ready to run away from the procurement system.

Cess imposed on diesel and petrol in the Budget prove that prices of diesel and petrol would not come down in the near future, despite a fall in their prices in the international market. Mr Rajewal further said that the increase in the steel prices would result in the increase in prices of farm machinery.



LSE holds investor awareness workshop
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
The Ludhiana Stock Exchange has completed the 100th investor awareness workshop, being conducted by the exchange as part of the Securities Market Awareness Campaign launched by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), in the region.

“The theme of these workshops is ‘empowering investor through education and these workshops are being conducted under the aegis of SEBI,” informed Mr H.S.Sidhu, executive director, LSE. He said the LSE had been allotted 117 such workshops by SEBI which are to be conducted before March 31, 2005.

Investing in capital market is becoming increasingly popular particularly after interest rates on bank deposits have begun declining. Earlier investors either relied on word of mouth advice or on whatever information they managed to gather, such workshops are providing an opportunity for investors to invest intelligently.

During these workshops, participants are given tips on investment and financial planning, keeping in mind the aspects of liquidity, safety and returns, Mr Sidhu said. He explained that through the workshops investors are told about precautions to be taken while investing and while dealing with brokers, sub-brokers. There are also interactive sessions in which queries of investors are answered.

The LSE conducts awareness workshops in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and also adjoining areas of Haryana and Rajasthan. “The exchange, through these workshops, has tried to fulfil aspirations of small investors who looked for opportunities to be educated bout stock market.

With such workshops, investors have also been able to realise the need for financial planning so that they can invest in suitable avenues and also earn return on idle resources,” Mr Sidhu said.


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