L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Overflowing pond triggers panic
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Gill (Ludhiana), April 1
Panic gripped residents of Gill village following the overflowing of the village pond, with the water threatening to enter the houses of villagers. The flooding continued for more than 10 days following which the district administration launched an operation to drain out the water to a depression in nearby fields.

Officials said it would take around five days for workers to drain out the water. They added that the situation was under control as the water level of the pond had been lowered considerably after the start of the operation.

The Ludhiana-Mandi Ahmedgarh road, passing alongside the pond, which is also the main road to Gill village, was flooded for the past many days, resulting in inconvenience to commuters and traffic jams. Last evening, some cars broke down in the middle of the flooded road and had to be pulled out with the help of a recovery van.

Residents had been complaining against the flooded road for the past many days. The authorities were also in a fix as the source of water of the pond could not being identified.

DDPO Mohinder Singh Grewal said the cause of overflowing was leakage in the main pipe supplying water to the tank in the village. He added that some farmers had installed motors on the main pipe illegally to irrigate their fields and had later removed these.

There were holes in the pipe and the leaking water was making its way into the pond through a temporary sewer line. He added that the leaks were plugged today and the water was being drained out. The BDPO had been directed to supervise the entire operation, he claimed.

Residents complained that the water on the road had made their lives hell as they were not able to pass through the road. Showing a patch of the road that had caved in following the flooding, villagers said they would to suffer on this account.



Spotted at court, robbery suspect gives cops the slip
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
A Punjab police constable and prime suspect in the UCO bank robbery case, which took place last year, managed to give the slip to a team of Ludhiana and Chandigarh police in Chandigarh yesterday after he was spotted at the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The accused allegedly took off in a car damaging another car parked in the High Court, jumped several red lights before getting stuck at traffic lights near Mani Majra.

The suspect, Kulwinder Singh, then broke the windscreen of the car to escape as the doors of the vehicle could not open due to traffic congestion.

A case under Sections 379 and 279 of the IPC has been registered against him in Sector 3 police station, Chandigarh, on the complaint of Inspector Navreet Singh, SHO, Focal Point, here.

Kulwinder Singh has been at large ever since the robbery. The police has been under fire for illegally detaining his brother, Harmesh Singh, alias Kala, for 10 days at the CIA here in March.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered a CBI inquiry into the case on the petition of Kala’s mother. The local police was in the process of challenging the orders, police sources said.

Interestingly, the petition on which the CBI inquiry was ordered had stated that Kulwinder Singh was also picked up by the Ludhiana police in March and his whereabouts were not known.

According to the FIR, Inspector Navreet Singh and his gunmen were in the High Court yesterday to attend a court case.

They spotted the suspect in the crowd, at which he ran towards the car parking from where he took off in his car. He damaged another car while reversing his vehicle there.

Policemen pursued him and alerted the Chandigarh police, which sounded a red alert. However, all efforts to intercept the vehicle at traffic intersections proved futile as the suspect kept jumping red lights.

He finally stopped the vehicle at the traffic intersection near Mani Majra. Other vehicles stopped close to the car due to which the suspect could not open the doors of the vehicle.

He then allegedly broke the windscreen of the car and fled on foot. The police impounded the vehicle but later a woman came to the police station claiming that the car was hers and had been stolen.

She, however, could not produce the keys to the car. The police sources claimed that the woman was close to the suspect.

The sources revealed that the Ludhiana police was awaiting a report from the Chandigarh police about the documents recovered from the car.



Vegetable agents’ strike partial
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
Wholesale vegetable and fruit markets, after opening in the morning till 11 am, remained closed on the first day of the strike by commission agents. The commission agents are protesting against the privatisation of fee collection.

Mr Amarbir Singh said “of the 250 commission agents in Ludhiana, five or seven agents, who were not willing to participate in the strike, continued trading.”

The commission agents, who had opposed the auction for the privatisation of market fee collection on March 28, contended that fixing the market fee would be unfair as the prices of perishable goods kept fluctuating and agents would not be able to afford the fee if turnover was low.

Meanwhile, the commission agents today held a meeting here in which they decided to chalk out the future course of action at another meeting on Sunday.



Pranks galore on Fool’s Day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
“Our friend Sona had been hospitalised as she had a nervous breakdown. She had started remembering incidents from her past life and had started forgetting incidents of the present life. After a week’s stay in hospital, she is back home”, Sheetal told her friend Swati on the phone.

A worried Swati promptly called up Sona. She asked her how she was. Sona replied she was still not well. So Swati said she would visit her in the evening to which Sona said she did not know any Swati. A baffled Swati put down the phone. Soon she got a call from Sona. “Don‘t mind, we were playing an April fool prank on you”.

At Baba Than Singh Chowk, a person saw a purse lying on the road. There was money in the purse. He went to grab it, but he did not see the thin wire attached to the purse. The moment he touched it, the purse was pulled away by a group of mischievous boys, which had been playing pranks on unsuspecting passers-by. He felt embarrassed when the boys said ‘April fool’.

A reputed national daily today carried five shocking stories, which flabbergasted readers. However, on the last page, it told the readers that these were mere pranks.

How did the day originate? April fool’s day is one of the most light-hearted days of the year, yet it stems from a serious subject — the adoption of a new calendar. Ancient cultures, including those as varied as the Romans and the Hindus, celebrated New Year’s Day on April 1. Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar (the Gregorian Calendar) to replace the old Jullian Calendar. The new calendar called for New Year’s Day to be celebrated on January 1.

Many countries, however, resisted the change. In fact, some European countries held on to it for centruries.

In 1564, France adopted the new calendar and shifted New Year’s Day to January 1.

However, many people either refused to accept the new date, or did not learn about it, and continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1. Other people began to make fun of these traditionalists, sending them “fool’s errands” or trying to trick them into believing something false.



Travel agents held for duping youth of Rs 13 lakh
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 1
Two brothers of the town and a farmer of Buarhai Kalan village, who connived with a kingpin and duped a youth of Kilaraipur village by getting him fake visa to Canada for Rs 13 lakh have been arrested. The kingpin, Mr R.K. of New Delhi, is still at large.

In a complaint to Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, Jagraon, Mr Harminder of Kilaraipur had accused Darshan Singh of Baurhai Kalan village and Viney and Neeta of the town of duping of Rs 13 lakh on the pretext of sending his son Gurpreet to Canada.

They had doubt that his visa was fake just before entering the airport otherwise Gurpreet could have landed in jail instead of leaving for greener pastures in Canada.

In October, 2004, Darshan Singh, a relative of the complainant, had introduced Viney and Neeta as “reliable travel agents” to the family and they had assured that Gurpreet would get job in Canada if they were paid a sum of Rs 17 lakh. After receiving amount, they took Gurpreet to New Delhi and got him trained for an interview. Mr R.K. had told them that his sources in the US Embassy would ensure visa to Gurpreet.

On November 25, Gurpreet was sent to the Canadian Embassy for an interview. Gurpreet had been granted visa for Canada. The accused arranged a ticket for January 20 of Japan Airlines.

The family had gone to see Gurpreet that day and when they came to know that the visa was fake they returned with gloomy faces. By this time the victim family had given Rs 13 lakh to them.

When the victim asked them to return their money they started threatening them of dire consequences.

Harminder Singh then reported the matter to the SSP, Jagraon, who referred the case to the CIA.



Students lament exam cancellation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
The state government’s decision to cancel the examinations scheduled for April 2 has come as a jolt to thousands of students. The decision has caused stress and harassment among students appearing for the BA, B.Sc, B.Com, BBA and BCA examinations.

According to sources, the examinations of all three universities — Panjab University, Punjabi University and Guru Nanak Dev University — scheduled for April 2 have been cancelled and a fresh date has not been announced yet. The government has cited “certain administrative reasons” for the cancellation of the exams. However, it is learnt that the decision was taken in response to the boycott call given by the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) for April 2.

Mohit Kumar, a B.Com student, said it was not less than a shock. “We are being harassed without any reason. Students have prepared themselves well for the exams and the decision regarding cancellation is unfortunate. We will be under stress till a fresh date is announced”, he said.

Meanwhile Mr Jaipal Singh, general secretary of the Punjab Government College Teachers’ Association, has criticised the state government for forcing the universities to postpone all examinations on April 2 and harassing students. He said instead of taking students for a ride, the government should have released the agreed-upon grants and 50 per cent DA merger to teachers.

The Punjab Government College Teachers’ Association has also authorised its president and general secretary to give a call to boycott examination duties on any day. “The students will be harassed again. Why can’t the government initiate a dialogue to sort out the problem once and for all?”, asked Mr Jaipal Singh.



Dipesh Class V topper in dist
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
The results of Class V examinations conducted by the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) were declared last evening. Dipesh of SD Senior Secondary School, New Shakti Nagar, stood fifth in the state. He scored 494 out of 550 and was the topper in the district.

This year, the pass percentage was 98.13 per cent compared to last year’s 97.48 per cent.The second position was bagged by Manjinder Singh of Sant Krishan Singh Memorial School, Sidhsar Bhiki. He secured 491 marks. The third position was shared by Mehal Goel of Rashtriya Bal Vidya Mandir and Manoj Kumar of MD Public School, Mangat Block. They secured 490 marks each.

The DEO (E), Ms Harvinder Kaur, said 50,466 students had appeared for the examinations, of whom 49,521 students had passed.



Passing Thru

Vandana Luthra
Vandana Luthra chairperson, VLCC

What are the latest trends in the field of beauty care?

A wide variety of new treatments have been introduced in India. The latest among them are body contouring, an inch-loss treatment that helps do away with the excess flab; face lift, a specialised treatment to lift and tone sagging skin; and microderm abrasion, a treatment which causes superficial skin exfoliation and helps in skin rejuvenation and removing pigmentation and acne scars.

What is beauty according to you?

It’s your entire being that reflects your beauty. The inner poise reflects itself, but what assumes importance is taking care of oneself, mentally as well as physically.

What role does diet play?

I truly recognise the importance of dietary nutrition in helping create a feeling of body confidence. There should be an expertise on health foods, herbal beverages and mineral enriched water.

— Shivani Bhakoo



Bandh against Vat loses steam
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
Most shops here remained open on the third day of the bandh in protest against the implementation of Vat. While the first day witnessed a near total bandh, followed by good response on the second day, the response was not good today.

Traders held protest demonstrations and demanded Vat to be deferred. Industry associations also submitted a memorandum to Mr Manmohan Singh, Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner.

A procession, in which 18 industry associations participated, began from the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association office, passed through Campa Cola Chowk, Gill Chowk, Vishwakarma Chowk, Bharat Nagar Chowk and culminated at the Sales Tax office in Mini Secretariat here. The protesting industrialists raised slogans against the Punjab Government.

“Within a week we will hold a meeting with the Akhil Bharatiya Beopar Mandal to chalk out the next action,” said Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association. He said the industry would wait for the government to take action on their demands.

Condemning Vat, industry representatives said it should be withdrawn. “Either the government should withdraw Vat or ensure same provisions are implemented in all states,” the industrialists said.

Mr Sunil Mehra of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal said Vat would be detrimental to the interest of the industry and would create more problems.

“Though the Sales Tax Department has issued tax identification numbers, we will not get books printed as per the new proforma till we receive directions from the beopar mandal,” said Mr Kapoor. He said the industrialists and dealers had downloaded new proformas from the Internet but the government was not taking any measures to generate awareness on Vat.

Industry associations also burnt the effigy of Vat at Vishwakarma Chowk here.

Meanwhile, shops in the nearby villages also remained open.



Rs 3,498 cr credit plan for city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, introduced the Annual Credit Plan of Rs 3,498 crore for the district for 2005-06 at a special meeting of bank officers held in Bachat Bhawan here today.

The outlay for this year is 11 per cent more than the previous year. Mr Verma said the plan for Ludhaina was the biggest in the state. He said nearly 70 per cent of the total outlay, that was, Rs 2,640 crore, had been earmarked for the priority sector. Of which Rs 1,352 crore would be lent to the agriculture sector, Rs 624 crore to the SSI sector and Rs 664 crore to other priority sectors.

He revealed that the allocation for the non-priority sector had been enhanced to Rs 857.94 crore from the previous year’s Rs 681 crore

He said keeping in view the Union Government’s policy to double the credit to the agricultural sector in three years, an increase of 30 per cent had been ensured in allocation for this sector in the plan. Talking about the performance of the district in implementing the plan, the DC said till December 31, 2004, the district had achieved 111 per cent of the fixed target and the performance was likely to improve further for the whole year ending March, 2004.

He said the aggregate deposits of banks in the district touched Rs 12,227 crore , which was Rs 308 crore more than the last year.

The credit deposit ratio in the district was also much higher at 73 per cent over the national average of 50 per cent, he said.

The DC urged bank officers to maintain the performance during the current year and emphasised the need to fix realistic targets.

Mr G.S. Rekhi, Deputy General Manager, Punjab and Sind Bank, while addressing the meeting said the credit plan for 2005-06 had been prepared keeping in view the potential of each sector.

Mr Jeet Singh, Lead District Manager, said national targets of priority sector advances was 40 per cent whereas in the plan of Ludhiana, 75 per cent of the total advances had been earmarked for the priority sector. This would give a boost to agriculture and small scale industries. 



More bridges for city, says MC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation today announced several new development works in the city aimed at improving the civic conditions, providing better roads and more bridges for smooth traffic flow.

This was announced by Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner MC, at a function in Guru Nanak Nagar where he laid the foundation stone for a work on roads. The colony falls in Ward No. 61.

Similarly, the Municipal Corporation has chalked out a plan to provide potable water in all undeclared areas of the city at an estimated expenditure of Rs 13 cr. Twenty-six more tube-wells would be added to the existing 355 in the city.

To ease the traffic problem in the city, five new flyovers — Bharat Nagar Chowk and Bhaiwala Chowk at a cost of Rs 35 cr each, and Gill Chowk and Partap Chowk at a cost of Rs 40 cr each and Samrala Chowk at a cost of 38 cr — had already been approved by the house.



Lawyers mourn death of ministers
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
The District Bar Association (DBA) today mourned the death of Haryana’s Agriculture and Revenue Minister Surender Singh and Power Minister O.P. Jindal, at a condolence meeting held here in the District Courts.

Mr Balwinder Goel, Bar President, said it was a shock, particularly for the legal fraternity, as he was an advocate and had served lawyers as Chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana.

Punjab Pradesh Congress Legal Cell former chairman Parshotam Sharma, District chairman Dharamjit Singh Khera, convener Ashok Bhakri, general secretary Kamaljit Sharma, Harish Rai Dhanda, Member, Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana and Mr Harish Narang also mourned their death.



Theft in police colony: 2 held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
Two youths, including a son of a Home Guard with the Punjab Police, have been arrested by the police today on the charges of committing a theft in a police colony a few days ago.

Inspector Navreet Singh said the youths were Jashandeep Singh, son of Home Guard Jagtar Singh and his alleged accomplice Sanjeev Thakur. Both had allegedly stolen gold jewellery and Rs 4,000 cash from a cop’s house a few days ago.


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