L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


A wave of indignation, disgust grips residents
Video-filming of couple by hotel staff
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Reports of alleged video-filming of intimate moments of unsuspecting young couples in a local five star hotel, Park Plaza, in the wee hours today sent shock waves and outcries of indignation among city residents today. They are feeling insecure and angry at this alleged racket of the management of the hotel.

The incident became a talk of the town with everyone expressing their disgust.

The report spread like wild fire in the city and in other parts of the state. The Tribune office was flooded with the calls from worried residents from Ludhiana and other cities. Anxious, they wanted to know since when the video-filming was going on in the hotel. Some of them who had stayed in the hotel room three-four years ago were apprehensive that they too might have been filmed.

Many persons, who had been frequenting the hotel to mark their important occasions were shocked by the report. They were trying to know from various sources whether they, too, have been filmed by the hotel staff in similar fashion.

Organising parties and staying during nights in the five-star hotel had become a status symbol for local residents .It also reflected the trust of the customers in the hotel.

‘‘We could never imagine that staff of this hotel would behave in such a manner. I think the hotel should be closed down so that others may take a lesson from it, ’’ said an angry resident.

Enraged, women of the city said that they were disgusted with the episode and vowed that they would never visit there for any purpose. ‘‘I had been visiting the hotel with my fiance and used to feel great that we were having the luxuries of a five-star hotel but the action of the staff had been shocking. They should not be spared and strictest action should be taken against the guilty,’’ said a girl.

Girls students of a college said the incident had shaken them and they could not study throughout the day .They said it was a kind of violence against women. They were feeling that they were not safe even with their husbands. They could be blackmailed and it was shameful that a reputed hotel was involved.

The residents were sympathising with the newly wed couple who had helped in unearthing the alleged racket. The incident would be etched on the minds of the victim couple, said Mr Jaswant Singh, a resident.

He added that he did not buy the theory that the management of the hotel did not know that such a thing was being done on the premises. He alleged that the racket was well organised, he said. 



It was the bitterest experience of our lives, says couple
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
They had checked in in the hotel room for a memorable time together, but the night became the bitterest experience of their lives. In the end, not only they but scores of their relatives, many of whom were NRIs, were left highly traumatised by the shocking invasion of the couple’s privacy.

Mr Harpreet Singh, a software engineer, and his wife, who had got married yesterday were left in a well-decorated room by their relatives after a party in Park Plaza itself. There were flowers all over the room but when they returned in the morning, there were pools of blood on the floor and blood stains splattered all round.

While praising the bravery of the youth who spotted and took on the accused, the relatives were left wondering what if the miscreant had succeeded ? What if the couple’s intimate moments were sold off to pander to people’s voyeuristic instincts?

The relatives, who had rushed to the hotel in their night suits, were shocked to see the honeymoon suite of the couple splattered with blood and a broken windowpane. Instead of welcoming the happy couple back home, they had to rush them to the CMC Hospital.

Recalling their night of terror, that has left its mark on the minds of the young couple, Mr Harpreet Singh’s wife said the moment she heard her husband shouting “camera” she lost her composure and fell unconscious. She only regained consciousness when she saw her husband injured and blood oozing out from his wounds.

Then she had called the reception in emergency. “Though I begged of them to shift my husband to hospital, they paid no heed to my requests. Then I realised that they were not going to help me and we called at home,” she said.

The unsuspecting couple received the shock of their lives when the groom spotted three peeping toms outside the window of their room. While he was seeing through the glasspane, he was attacked with a sharp-edged weapon that left him injured in the head, neck and arm.

Despite the grievous injuries and bleeding, Mr Harpreet Singh caught hold of the persons and grappled with them through the broken windowpane. In the process, he saw one of them holding a cordless camera.

“It was just by chance that I saw a curtain withdrawn from a window. Before that, I was in the bathroom and my wife was watching the TV. I asked her if she had touched the curtains but she said no. Then I went closer to the window and found three men standing outside. I could see their faces. They also thought that I had identified them so they tried to kill me with a sharp-edged weapon. It was sheer providence that I was saved, otherwise anything could have happened. The weapon could have injured me deeply in the head,” said Mr Harpreet Singh.

While recuperating at the CMC Hospital, he said this was the most bitter experience of his life. “I will forget my injuries over the years but I will never forget the expression on the face of my wife while our privacy was being invaded. On our wedding night, she was made to see blood in possibly the worst-ever incident that could have shaken a newly wed couple,” he added. 



Birth-control device found in urinary bladder
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 4
An intrauterine birth-control device that was implanted by a staff nurse, posted at a rural health centre of a renowned multi-specialty hospital of Ludhiana six years ago, remained ‘lost’ for around five years and was detected in the urinary bladder during a medical examination held at a local hospital. Besides having an unplanned family, the poor family will have to bear the expenses to be incurred on the surgical removal of the device now.

Sukhwinder Kaur (name changed) of Ghabaddi village was married in Pohir village about eight years ago. The couple had a male child and decided not to have another child for a considerable period and got a copper-T implanted in consultation with the doctors at a rural health centre of a multi-specialty hospital of Ludhiana. According to the information provided by Sukhwinder Kaur to the hospitals at Pohir and the town, a staff nurse had implanted the intrauterine device in absence of a gynaecologist.

The family was surprised to observe that the woman had conceived another child contrary to their expectation. The baby born was a girl child. The doctors attending on her could not locate the copper-T in the reproductive tract. As the second child was also a girl, they went for another issue and now they have two daughters and a son.

After some years, Sukhwinder started experiencing complications relating to the urinary tract. Frequent infections of the tract made them visit a number of doctors in the area and they were astonished to find the six-year-old copper-T in her urinary bladder.

Dr Jyotsana Kapoor, attending to the patient at the local Hind Hospital, apprehended that the patient could have suffered the irreparable loss if the device was not detected now. “The physical examination of the patient suggested that some foreign element was present in her bladder. The ultrasound examination confirmed the report. The only remedy left with the doctors is surgery,” claimed the gynaecologist.

Though the family of the victim accused the hospital authorities of negligence at the time of implantation of the device, Dr Sunit Hind, Director of the Hind Hospital, said the device could have entered the bladder through a fistula formed due to consistent penetration of the former.



Disposal of bio-medical waste stirs up row
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 4
Christian Medical College and Hospital here has been charged with violation of the provisions of biomedical waste disposal rules by the Punjab Pollution Control Board authorities, whereas the hospital management has denied the allegations.

Through a show-cause notice issued to the hospital, the board has directed the hospital management to appear before the Chairman of the board at Patiala on March 1 to explain several acts of omission and commission on its part in the course of the implementation of Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998. The board team visited the hospital on July 30, 2004.

The notice had pointed out that while the incinerator was in operation, no proper record for its operation was maintained and further it was reported that incinerator ash, along with other waste, was being dumped at the municipal corporation dumping site. The autoclave and shredder, though installed on the hospital premises, were non-functional. The board officials had found that no record for generation, storage or disposal of waste related to several different categories was being maintained.

Other violations of the rules included the treatment plant for laboratory used liquid waste being under-capacity, its filters being non-operational and many parameters of the effluent sample taken from the hospital being in excess of the prescribed limits.

During a subsequent visit by the board officials to the hospital on January 11, 2005, certain irregularities in disposal of biomedical waste were detected.

In a reply submitted on behalf of the hospital, its acting Director, Dr John Pramod, observed that the institution had always been eager to implement the relevant rules and was rather the first hospital in the state to obtain authorisation for disposal of biomedical waste as required under the law.

The hospital asserted that complete record of incinerator was being maintained by an operator and the autoclave and shredder were fully functional. As far as disposal of liquid waste was concerned, the acting Director submitted that the state government had constituted an advisory committee under Rule 9 of the relevant Act to identify the proper technology for this purpose.



Leak of Class X paper a rumour
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, March 4
Panic gripped parents and students, the latter appearing for the Hindi examination of Class X of the Punjab School Education Board here today, as there were rumours that the four sets of the paper were being sold openly for Rs 400 to Rs 500 in the market on late Thursday night. The rumours caused a great deal of consternation among the education circles but also gave sleepless nights to the students who were unable to get the papers.

A round of the examinations centres revealed that the examination was going on smoothly and that the Hindi paper was not leaked. Mr Mewa Singh, Controller of Examination Centre, Government Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar Chowk, said they were also flooded with calls about the leakage of paper but there was no leakage. “This time a lot of strictness has been observed to stop mass copying, too. The imposition of Section 144 has helped to keep crowds away from the centres. Some unscruplous people have sold papers to make quick money.”

The Ludhiana Tribune spoke to Mr Yashpal Mehra, District Education Officer, who said the leakage of the paper was a mere rumour. The papers were sold but they were old papers and the code names were quite different. The questions are different. Gullible people were taken for a ride.”

Some of the teachers said that obviously it was some mafia that wanted to take advantage of the situation. It procured an old set of papers, got them xeroxed and then planted the rumour. They made a quick buck in the bargain. Henceforth, it would be good if students do not yield to such pressures.



CM interacts with farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today shared some moments with farmers at Kisan Mela. During the visit to Punjab Agricultural University, he said he felt very comfortable in the company of farmers.

He lauded the efforts of the university for the success of the Green Revolution. Inaugurating the two-day mela, the Chief Minister said the university needed to take further research for better agricultural growth in the state.

He honoured three progressive farmers — Mr Mohinder Singh Sidhu (agriculture), Mr Harbans Singh (animal husbandry) and Mr Daljit Singh Gill (horticulture) —for their achievement in the respective fields. They were honoured by presenting them a shawl, a citation, a certificate and a cash award of Rs 25,000 each.

Mr Manjit Singh Ghuman was also honoured with the Sardar Dalip Singh Dhaliwal Memorial award. The award was instituted by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhaliwal in the memory of his father, Sardar Dalip Singh Dhaliwal. The Chief Minister also honoured Dr Amrik Singh Sandhu, Director, Extension Education.

On the occasion, some PAU publications were also released.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary, Agriculture and Cooperation, said economic condition of the farmer was deteriorating.

He advised the farmers to decrease the expenditure and other agricultural costs.

In his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, underlined the need for crop diversification.

Earlier, the Chief Minister showed keen interest in fruit crops and wheat varieties in demonstration fields. He also saw the demonstration of various agricultural machines. He also visited a dairy farm.



Bogus voting helped Cong win in Ajnala, says Dhillon
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 4
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) MP from Ludhiana, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, has termed the Congress victory in Ajnala byelection as a win of money power and government machinery.

In a statement issued here today, he said after winning the Kapurthala Garhshankar byelection by show of force, money power and distribution of intoxicants, among other unfair practices, the Congress government, headed by Captain Amarinder Singh had orchestrated its victory in Ajnala in the same way.

“The voters were prevented from exercising their right to vote by creating a fear psychosis in the entire Assembly segment. Instead, bogus voters from outside were ferried to the polling booths. Election duty officers and police personnel were ordered to make sure that the Congress candidate should win at all costs.”

Mr Dhillon, who also heads the youth wing of the party, further said that it was now time to ponder whether the byelection system needed to be changed to give way to a new system of nomination either by the government or by the party whose candidate vacated the seat so that innocent people were not subjected to repressive and coercive methods of the ruling party.

He was of the opinion that by winning the Ajnala byelection through gross misuse of power, the Congress government in Punjab had done a great dis-service to Indian democracy.

The SAD-B, along with its allies, would see to it that at the time of next Assembly elections in the state, no one dared to tinker with established democratic election norms.

He further claimed that the people of Punjab will give a befitting reply to the Congress policies in the days to come. 



Residents protest unhygienic disposal of sewerage
Our Correspondent

Amloh, March 4
Residents of Amloh town organised a protest march to the court complex here today to protest against the disposal of sewerage on the by-pass road and streets of ward No. 4 and 5. Women also participated in the march.

Three councillors, Mr Rajinder Rozy, Mr Baldev Sedha and Ms Usha Garg who accompanied the march announced that they will resign if things do not improve.

Mr Shiv Kumar Garg, vice-president, Sangmeshawar Sewa Dal, Mr Parshottam Dass Mittal, vice-chairman, Manav Bhilai Manch, Mr Rakesh Garg and Naresh Jindal of Mohalla Sudhar Committee, Mr Lal Chand, Contractor, led a deputation to the SDM’s office and presented a memorandum to Tehsildar Tejender Pal Singh. A copy of the same was presented to SDO, PWD, Amloh. It was mentioned in the memorandum that municipal land meant for storage and disposal sewerage had been encroached upon in connivance with the administration. They demanded action against persons responsible for it.

Mr J.D. Bector, Chairman, Punjabi Human Rights Committee, has separately criticised the government for its failure to save people from a condition where epidemic may spread at any time.

An official of the PWD said 700 feet of circular road had been damaged due to overflow of sewerage in Ward No. 4 and 5. He further said the department will claim damages from the Municipal Council for damage caused to the road.

Later, Municipal Council Chief Baldev Singh Aulakh and councillor Ramesh Kumar told reporters that a water pump would be arranged within 24 hours for pumping out the water.



Consumers seek early delivery of water bills

Ludhiana, March 4
A meeting of Voluntary Consumer Organisation, working for the interest of consumers, was held today at Circuit House, Ludhiana.
This meeting was called to submit the details of suggestions and complaints related to the agencies, corporation, PSEB, mobile companies etc.

It was suggested by the house that LPG delivery boys should wear proper uniforms and carry their I-cards. They should also have weighing balance with them and must give a cash receipt. The vehicles supplying gas cylinders should have the name of the dealer painted on it.

The corporation was advised to send water and sewerage bills on time and signature of the customer should be taken at the time of delivery. The PSEB was told not to send wrong bills based on wrong calculations of load. The entries of bills paid at Sukhmani Centre should be made in time. The PSEB should not charge octroi on electricity for premises which are existing beyond the corporation limits, it was suggested.

The consumers were told to cross check their monthly mobile bills especially for roaming usage.

Er G.D. Bansal, Dr S.B. Pandhi, Er. B.S. Dhaliwal, Dr Jagjit Singh Ahuja, Mr U.K. Sharda, Mr J.S. Dhillon, Mr S.S. Sidana and Mr Santokh Singh were present in the meeting.

Ms Simarjot, DFSC Ludhiana, encouraged the house to organise seminars in colleges for general awareness of the consumers. It was also informed that a state level function is to be organised to celebrate the forthcoming Consumer Day on March 15. She also said the concept of Lok Adalats should be encouraged for the speedy redressal of the grievances.



LIC launches new pension plan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) introduced its new plan, Future Plus, here today. The plan was launched by Senior Divisional Manager D.K. Bhagat.
“Future Plus combine retirement benefits with unit linked benefits which would not only provide security, but would also ensure higher returns as well,” Mr Bhagat said.

Talking about the performance of the Ludhiana division, Mr Bhagat said the division had collected Rs 63.40 crore as first premium income, showing a growth of 64 per cent and was very close to attaining its annual target of Rs 79 crore.



140 kg of poppy husk seized 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 4
One member of an inter-state gang, involved in smuggling narcotics and banned psychotropic substances, was arrested by the Dehlon police while the mastermind and owner of the vehicle, used for the transportation of material, fled. The police seized a tempo containing around 54 lakh millilitres of rum and 140 kg of poppy husk. The liquor was brought from Ramgarh in UP and was supposed to be sent to a military unit in Jammu.

According to Mr Rajiv Ahir, Senior Superintendent of Police at Jagraon, the Dehlon police received the information that a gang was actively involved in the supply of drugs and narcotics in the area. Members of the gang used to sell bottles of wine also that carried the stamp of military supply.

On receiving the information, Mr Ahir directed Mr Jatinder Singh Khaira, DSP, Dakha, to increase patrolling in the rural area. A party led by Mr Amarjit Singh Khaira, SHO, and Mr Sukhdev Singh, Additional SHO, intercepted a tempo with a placard showing it to be carrying military supply. Occupants of the tempo tried to run away but Avtar Singh, alias Tari, of Sihar village was arrested after a brief chase while Amritpal Singh of the same village fled in the dark. Four bags of poppy husk weighing 140 kg were seized along with 7,196 bottles of XXX rum meant for defence supplies.

Comparison of goods with the documents showed that the accused had already sold four bottles of rum. The seized liquor will be handed over to the military authorities after release order from some court.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the gang had been transporting banned products in the vehicle along with military supplies. No police or excise official dared stop their vehicle. To avoid involvement, Amritpal used to travel by train or bus and take possession of the supply when it reached his home area.

Sources at Sihar village revealed that the owner of the vehicle and his staff had a tiff over the share. Avtar Singh and his accomplice had asked for a ‘ransom’ for releasing the vehicle carrying liquor and poppy husk. They were caught and beaten up when they came to receive money. Later a panch of the village informed the Dehlon police, which intercepted the vehicle near Shankar village.



Man murdered by driver over money
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 4
The local police claims to have solved a blind murder case within hours of receiving a complaint from relatives of the deceased. The suspects are yet to be arrested.
According to Mr Harjinder Singh Sandhu, SP (D), Baljit Singh, a farmer of the local Dhulkote road, was found murdered in his house this morning. He was allegedly murdered by his driver.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, a relative of the deceased, informed the local police that Baljit Singh had been killed by his driver Dharam Pal Singh of Ghungrana village for snatching Rs 3.5 lakh, the former had got after selling his house.

Mr Sidhu said the suspect had stayed with the deceased last night after they had returned from the market. Baljit Singh had kept Rs 3.5 lakh in the almirah and both, deceased and the suspect, drank and dined together. They had a tiff over some issue at around 10.30 pm.

As Baljit Singh had been living alone in his house after separation from his wife and children, Dharam Pal used to stay with him usually.

Besides paying him good a salary, Baljit Singh had bought a tempo to help him.

A part of the payment was yet to be made. While Baljit Singh wanted to deposit the whole money in a bank, Dharam Pal wanted that the balance payment of the tempo should be made first.

They had a tiff over this and the suspect killed Baljit Singh with a sharp-edged weapon while he was asleep.

The murder was detected in the afternoon when Mr Sidhu got the door opened and found the body of Baljit Singh lying in a pool of blood on his bed.

Interestingly, the suspect kept watching the situation as part of the crowd and only ran away when the local police, led by Mr Harjinder Singh, SHO, Sadar, and Mr Harinder Singh, SHO, city police, started investigating about his antecedents. Perusal of the records had revealed that Dharam Pal Singh had been a member of a notorious inter-state gang, involved in selling of stolen vehicles brought from Dehli, Haryana and Rajasthan. Further investigations revealed that the suspect had used a hammer and a spear that the deceased had kept as weapons for his own protection.

The police has handed over the body after a postmortem examination to the relatives of the deceased. Mr Mukand Singh Mahli, who had supervised the investigations today, said the police had raided many hideouts of the suspect, but to no avail. 



Jewellers call off strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The nationwide bandh by jewellers in protest against the levy of central excise duty ended today.
“While the Finance Minister announced the duty on branded jewellery in his Budget speech, the notification included jewellery bearing private mark of jeweller as well. However, now we have been informed that the duty is only on branded jewellery,” informed said Mr Anand Prakash Sikri, president, Ludhiana Jewellers Association.

He said the inclusion of jewellery bearing the mark of a jewellers’ name would have led to an increase in prices and would have affected common.

“However, now that the government has levied 2 per cent duty only in case of branded jewellery, common man would not be affected much as branded items are mostly purchased by the upper income group,” Mr Sikri said.

He said over 90 per cent of the demand for jewellery was for non-branded items.

As the strike was called off this evening, a few jewellery shops opened.

The bandh had begun yesterday in protest of the levy of two per cent excise duty following which the entire Sarafa Bazaar and jewellery shops on the Mall Road and in Fountain Chowk had remained closed.


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