L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Petrol dealers up the ante with near-total strike
Plan to intensify agitation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
City residents had a tough time today as majority of the petrol stations in the city remained closed on account of a nationwide strike by petroleum dealers.
While most of the petrol pumps remained closed on account of the strike, a few company-owned pumps were open.

"Over 95 per cent of the petrol stations remained closed," said general-secretary of the Ludhiana Petroleum Dealers’ Association, Mr Ashok Sachdeva.

Protesting against the government's inaction on the long-standing issue of increase in dealers' commission and grant of temperature variation allowance, over 1,300 petrol stations across the state remained closed.

On a call given by the Federation of All India Petroleum Traders (FAIPT), the Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association observed strike today.

"The further course of action would be decided by FAIPT and we plan to intensify our struggle if the government fails to meet our demands," Mr Sachdeva said.

According to dealers, while on one side increasing prices of crude oil were resulting in a decline in their commission, on the other side, taxes being imposed by the Punjab Government had made petrol and diesel the costliest here in comparison to other states in this region which has led to a substantial decrease in sales.

Dealers have been demanding five per cent commission, which currently is fixed at around 1.58 per cent.

According to dealers, their commission was far less in comparison to the commission being given to petroleum dealers in other countries like Pakistan and Thailand.

Dealers also resented inclusion of petrol and diesel in VAT by the Punjab Government.

They said petrol and diesel had become the costliest in the state in comparison to other states in the region which was resulting in shifting of demand to other states.

They also demanded implementation of VAT in all states across the country so as to ensure uniform pricing.

The other issue raised by dealers was temperature variation allowance, for which, they said, oil marketing companies (PSEs) had signed an accord with the FAIPT in August 2001 as per which a rational formula was to be worked out to calculate losses on account of variations in temperature and the benefit was to be passed on to the dealer.

"However, nothing has been implemented so far in this connection," said dealers.



Man sets wife on fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
A two-and-half-year-old love marriage went wrong when a man torched his wife over some dispute in Tagore Nagar here today. The woman was admitted in critical condition to the DMC Hospital with about 90 per cent burn injuries .

The police has booked Rajneesh, employed as branch manager with Ebony stores, under Section 307 of the IPC for setting her on fire after pouring kerosene on her at their house last night. The case has been registered on the statement of the victim, which was recorded in the presence of an Executive Magistrate, DSP Simratpal Singh Dhindsa said.

The girl, Shweta, belonged to Abohar. Making the statement, she kept worrying about her one-and-a-half-year-old child Eshaan about who would take care of her.

In her statement she alleged that she had an bitter argument over some minor issue, “Rajneesh told me to commit suicide. I told him that why does not he kill me. At this he doused me with kerosene and set me on fire. “ She was rescued by neighbours and brought to the hospital.

Jagdish Lal, father of the victim, who arrived from Abohar today said the couple had met at Chandigarh three years ago. Rajneesh was employed with a private company while the girl was doing her computer course. They fell in love and decided to marry with the consent of the parents.

However, for the past few months, the couple was quarrelling frequently over one issue or the other. He said he had never thought that Rajneesh would try to burn Shweta alive.

He claimed that Shweta had told him that she was set on fire by Rajneesh, “They had a fight over some matter and Rajneesh got so agitated that he doused her in kerosene and torched her.

Rajneesh has absconded. The police inquired about his whereabouts from Ebony also but he had not reported for duty today.

SHO Gurpreet Singh said the police was conducting raids to nab the accused.



Abandoned baby finds new home
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, April 18
This is not a scene from a Hindi blockbuster, it is a reality. When the biological parents of a new born baby girl had thrown her near Budda Nullah about two months ago, little did they know that the Almighty had stored for her a bright future as today, she is being legally adopted by a city-based issueless couple.

The baby was found by some policemen near Budda Nullah a few months ago, who handed over the child to Nishkam Seva Ashram. The child was sent to a nursing home for her tests and better care. Now she is back and ready to leave Nishkam Shishu Kendra.

The proud parents Mr Rohit Chopra and Ms Divya have adopted the girl to give all her love and attention, that she needs and deserves. A Sales Tax Officer in Nahar Group of companies here, Rohit said it was his dream to adopt a baby girl. And he had told about it before marriage to his family. “Perhaps it was the wish of God also. We were not blessed with a child even after seven years of our marriage. I came here yesterday, got all details, completed all the formalities. By the grace of God, we will return home with this little angel today”, he said.

When asked whether their parents had objected to their decision, Rohit said, “No not at all. They are all very supportive. They are eagerly waiting for the baby. My wife Divya has always loved children. Since she is educated and has no work, she takes tuitions. But now she will have to concentrate in bringing-up the child well and we both are extremely happy”.

Mr Rohit stressed that adoption was for forever. It was a permanent proposition that required a permanent commitment by everyone involved. It was extremely important that one adopted for right reasons." If you are looking to adoption to save your marriage or for other external pressures, then this might not be the right time for adoption. The task needs a lot of commitment”, said Mr Rohit.

The couple has decided to name the child Nandini as they had adopted her during Navratras. “She is really cute”, murmured mother Divya with tears rolling down her cheeks.

Mr Kewal Krishan Sood, chairman Nishkam Seva Ashram said when the baby was brought here, she was just a few hours old as her umbilical cord was also not cut. “She was thrown with a motive that she would die. But God is a great saviour”, said Mr Sood. He said before giving the child to the new parents, both the parents’ HIV test and other blood tests were conducted and formalities were completed. “She has been the eighth child from the ashram adopted by issueless couple”, said Mr Sood.



BSc physics paper C riddled with mistakes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
Students writing the B.Sc physics, paper C were horrified when they found that the question paper was full of mistakes and was very ambiguous.
Prof Jaipal, Head Department of Physics, Govt College for Boys, said usually this paper on electricity and magnetism has numericals up to 30 per cent of the total paper. But today’s paper had 90 per cent numericals.

Ms Surinder Bajwa, teaching physics in Govt College for Women, said the students were puzzled as instead of cube, sign of square was written and similar kind of mistakes were made. Besides the 90 per cent numericals in the paper left students with hardly any theory questions.

Prof. Virinder Virdhi, Member, Board of Studies, Panjab University, talking to The Tribune said the paper was divided into four units. And the questions had to be put in certain order. But today’s paper had done away with the sections . He said they were going to make a representation to the university and ask them to compensate the students by awarding them grace marks.



A tale of deceit and love
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
Maltreated by her husband, allegedly sold off by her paramour and finally held captive by her second husband. This is the sordid tale of a 29-year-old woman, whose quest for love and sense of belonging has brought her to this juncture of her life.

The woman, a mother of two minor sons, was recovered by a team of local police from her husband’s house in Chhoochak village near Ferozepore yesterday. Her husband, Jaswant Singh and his mother, Rani were also arrested. The main accused and her paramour, Ranjeet Singh and Jaswant Singh’s uncle Harnek Singh, who had allegedly felicitated the trafficking of the woman.

Narrating her tale of woes, the woman, while crying inconsolably said she was wronged by three men in her life. First it was allegedly her husband, Dalbir Singh of Partap Singh Wala village, who used to beat her up after consuming liquor, then it was her paramour, Ranjeet Singh, who had promised to marry her and allegedly sold her off for Rs 1 lakh and finally it was her second husband, Jaswant Singh, who did not allow her to come back despite her wish.

‘‘Ranjeet Singh kept on living with me in local Janta Nagar and Dashmesh Nagar for many years by promising me that he would marry me. Finally, Ranjeet brainwashed me to marry Jaswant Singh as the former had fallen on bad days. He promised me that once things improve he would come back.’’ she alleged.

Finally, the marriage was solemnised on February 2, 2005 and Jaswant Singh had agreed that her younger son, Gagandeep would be staying with them. ‘‘Only after a few days I learnt that Ranjeet had sold me for Rs 1 lakh in connivance with his friend who was incidentally Jaswant’s uncle. Jaswant Singh was a bachelor and he was not able to get married due to some reasons so he had decided to buy me. I was shattered at the revelation.’’ she claimed.

‘‘I found that Jaswant Singh was not allowing me to talk to anybody. He was completely averse to my idea of visiting my mother in Ludhiana. I tried my level best to persuade him but he did not relent. Finding an opportunity, I called up my mother, who complained to Senior Superintendent of Police and the police came to my rescue.’’ she further claimed.

DSP Simrat Pal Singh Dhindsa said that the woman and her son were recovered from Ferozepore. The team had arrested Jaswant Singh and his mother. He added that investigations were on to nab other accused.

Jaswant Singh, who is in the custody of the police, denied the allegations. He said he had married the woman and spent Rs 1 lakh on ceremonies. He claimed to possess a video film of his wedding ceremony also and alleged that she wanted to come back because Ranjeet had started calling her up now. ‘‘I had told her that now she was a married woman and she should not go anywhere. She did not like the idea and she complained against me,’’ he said. 



Strike at Hero Cycles called off
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
Workers resumed work at Hero Cycles this morning as the strike was called off last night. The matter was settled by the Labour Department, the legal adviser of Hero Cycles, Mr B.D.Arora said.

“Both parties amicably settled all issues,” he said. While 19 workers “who resorted to violence”, remained suspended, two of those charge sheeted apologised and were taken back. Thirtyone workers furnished a written apology.

The two workers, who had “misbehaved” as they had been transferred, gave a written apology. “They have now agreed to work at the place of transfer.”

The company had charge- sheeted a total of 50 workers.

Mr Arora said a couple of demands of workers like the formation of a committee with representatives of workers as well as the management to create a cordial atmosphere had been accepted. “However, there were no issues like hike in wages or bonus etc.,” he said.

He blamed workers’ unrest on “outside parties with vested interests”. Certain unions, in an attempt to gain grounds in this region, had been instrumental in provoking workers to go in for a strike, he said.

He said the company was now focussing on generating awareness among the workers.

The workers went on the strike on April 11 after a show-cause notice was issued by the company to a couple of labourers. While the workers alleged manhandling by management members, the management blamed “\anti-social elements for the unrest.

The management also alleged that the workers had resorted to violence. After the communication between the two reached a deadlock, the matter went to the Labour Department.

After a couple of meetings, the matter was finally resolved yesterday.

The previous strike at Hero Cycles had lasted for over 70 days. During the strike, Hero Cycles recorded a major fall in production from the daily around 14,000 cycles on a normal day to less than 4,500 cycles during the strike.



Doc told to pay 80,000 as relief
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 18
A doctor who had negligently left a forceps in the abdomen of an old man of Chhapar village during an operation at the Civil Hospital of Sudhar village 10 years ago and was told to pay Rs 40,000 as compensation earlier, has now been asked to pay Rs 80,000.

Deciding an appeal, that came up for final hearing, Mr Harbans Lal, District Judge, Ludhiana, decreed the suit for the recovery of Rs 80,000 instead of Rs 40,000 with proportionate costs against Dr Gurdeep Singh, who had been found guilty of negligence.

The old man, Mehar Singh, had approached the SMO at the Civil Hospital, Sudhar, in 1995 in connection with inguinal-hernia. The doctor, who also had a private hospital at Sudhar, had demanded Rs 3,000 as expenses, to which the then sarpanch of Chappar, Mr Zora Singh, was a witness. The doctor, however, conducted the operation for intestinal obstruction, which was never there. The operation for correcting inguinal-hernia was performed by another doctor of the same hospital after two weeks.



30 booked for burning down school
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
Three days after a mob had set a school on fire in Kot Mangal Singh Colony, Shimla Puri here, the city police has registered a case of rioting and violence 25 - 30 persons of which two have been identified.

The police was delaying registration of the FIR as it could have flared up tempers in the colony. “However, the law had to take its course and people have to be booked for taking law in their hands” DSP R.K. Bakshi said. The police was, however, not disclosing the names of the persons booked, saying that this could cause problems.

The accused, Principal Sukhpal Singh, has been remanded in judicial custody till April 30 by a Duty Magistrate. However, his wife and two children are still in hiding due to the fear of mob attack. Their house remained locked today.

Uncertainty, however, prevails about the future of nearly 700 students studying in Guru Angad Dev School, which was burnt down by the mob following the death of a student, Satnam Singh who had died on Saturday after being allegedly beaten by the Principal, who reportedly wanted him to discontinue his relationship with a female teacher.

The police and the area leaders were making efforts to get the school re-opened so that the students do not suffer. The school management was trying to hold classes in three other branches of the school in the same area.

Meanwhile the three branches of the school, Sharp Primary School, Sharp High School and Sharp Senior Secondary School, opened today. 



Passing Thru

Diep Sayeeda
Diep Sayeeda, peace activist, Lahore

Has the status of women changed in Pakistan?

The position of women has changed a lot in Pakistan. They are getting educated and are self-dependent and confident. They are position holders, much ahead from their male counterparts. The women have learnt to put their foot down. Today, she can fight for her rights. and wear whatever she wants. I have been visiting India for quite sometime now and I hardly see any difference between the women of the two countries.

Is the Pakistan film industry attracting Pakistani women?

I feel the Pakistan film industry is far behind Bollywood. That is why, the Indian industry attracts young women in Pakistan. They believe that Hindi films can bring them in limelight. They have every right to try their luck here. We should not stop them.

What do you have to say about Pakistani actor Meera, who is in a controversy in Pakistan because of her “bold” scenes?

We have come to know that certain maulvis have issued an edict against the actress. I personally feel that she has every right to do whatever she wants. If she has a good figure and wants to show it to public, it is her wish. We are nobody to interfere in that. Secondly, the film has not even released yet, why raise a hue and cry at this moment?

— Shivani Bhakoo



Muslims urge PM to simplify visa process
for Pak nationals
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 18
Muslims of the area have urged the Indian Prime Minister and the Pakistan President to take forward and sustain the bilateral talks so that the visa process for Pak nationals visiting Punjab could be simplified.

Mr Munir Mohamad, president of the Muslim Youth Front said the decision of the Union Government to continue the ban on direct entry of Pakistan nationals into Punjab was unwanted. He said,

“It is astonishing that the government has lifted all bans imposed during the terrorism days except one on the direct entry of Pakistani visitors who wished to meet their relatives.”

Everybody coming to this part of the Muslim-dominated area of the state has to first go to Delhi and seek permit to meet his or her relatives in Punjab.

Mr Gulzar Ahmed human rights activist and advocate, said.

“It is ridiculous that a citizen of Pakistan can visit all other states on the basis of visa granted by our embassy but he or she was not allowed to enter the area of his or her origin, for which the visa had been sought.”

Mr Nusrat Akram Khan Bagga, former SAD Minister, said the government should review the decision that had been taken in view of terrorism in the state.

“Now when the terrorism had been curbed it is impractical to restrict entry of relatives of local Muslims, after the visa had been granted,” he said.



MP promises Rs 2 lakh annually to his alma mater
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
A meeting of the Old Students Association of Arya College for Boys was held under the chairmanship of Dr S.M. Sharma Patron of the Association and Principal, Arya College, Ludhiana in the college premises here yesterday to honour the old brilliant students .

The students honoured were Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Member Parliament, Dr Satish Sharma, Principal, LRM DAV College, Jagraon, and Mr Balwinder Goel, advocate, president, district bar association and member Punjab and Haryana Bar Council. Parshotam Dass Sharma, Advocate, Secretary-General, Arya College Old Students’ Association (Regd), Ludhiana, said a press statement .

Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon appreciated the efforts made by the organisers and recalled the days that he spent in the college. He announced that he would contribute a minimum of Rs 2 lakhs every year from his MP fund to the college.

He further assured the association that he would do everything for the development and welfare of the college.

Mr Balwinder Goel, advocate, announced that he would always be at the beck and call of all old students of this college and the institution.

Dr Satish Sharma, principal, LRM DAV College, Jagraon, announced that he would contribute from his own pocket a sum of Rs 5000 for the association.

Mr Darshan Arora, president of the Association, presented bouquets and mementos to the dignitaries.

Mr Satish Malhotra, DSP, also shared his views with the gathering. Mr Balkar Singh Sandhu, Municipal Councillor, passed the vote of thanks. 



SAD to issue ‘white paper’ against govt
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
The SAD will issue a white paper against the alleged anti-people policies of the Congress government in Punjab on May 15 followed by an agitation to focus on the problems of the people which would commence from Ludhiana on May 20.

This was stated by party president Mr Parkash Singh Badal while talking to mediapersons here last evening. He said the Congress government had failed to fulfill its poll promises and there was resentment among all sections of people over the inability of the government to deliver.

The prices of essential commodities had risen, unemployment had touched a new high and at the same time the government had burdened traders with VAT.

Earlier, addressing a function in connection with Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations here, he paid tributes to the Dalit Leader, describing him as the father of the Constitution. The function was organised by Dr Ambedkar Sangharsh Morcha and Bhartiya Valmiki Dharama Samaj.



Afghan cops to undergo training at PPA
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, April 18
A batch of cops from Afghanistan has begun undergoing a month-long training in fingerprints at the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur. This is the second time when cops from that country have come for training here. Earlier, a batch had taken training in a different course in 2003.

These cops will be taught about scientific technique concerning fingerprints its recording, classification, pattern, developing, lifting and comparison. In the inaugural address at a function organised to commencement of the course, Mr Chander Shekhar, ADGP, Training-cum-Director, PPA, said the police investigation all over the world needed to be a systematic and authentic investigation technique.

The fingerprint bureau, Phillaur, is the second oldest and the largest bureau in the country.

Mr P.P. Singh Sidhu, DIG of the academy, briefed Afghan police personnel about various aspects of the academy. Mr Bal Krishan, Director, Finger Print Bureau, extended a vote of thanks. 



Employees’ unions to protest against privatisation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
The Punjab Subordinate Services Federation (PSSF), associations of teachers and employees’ unions of several institutions held a special meeting recently at its union office here. The agenda was to discuss the preparations of a rally being organised in Mini Secretariat on April 19.

The federation and other organisations felt that the government should honour the Article 21 of the Constitution, which says that all children between ages of 6 to 14 years should be given free and compulsory education, stated a press note issued by Mr Bhagwan Singh Bhangu, district general secretary of the PSSF.

It alleged that the government was going against the Constitution for both the Education and the Chief Minister were in favour of more private participation in the education sector.

It said many organisations would support the strike called by the PSEB on April 19 and 20. The federation would also march with the striking employees. Similarly protest marches would be organised at all district headquarters.

The meeting was attended by a number of leaders of different organisations including chairman of the PSSF Harmail Singh Gill and president PSSF Gurmail Singh Maleday.



Installation of idols on April 23

Ludhiana, April 18
The annual installation ceremony of idols in Shri Durga Mandir Urban Estate, Dugri, will be performed by Swami Chinmayanand Bapu ji. A week-long bhagwad katha and gyan yagya has been arranged .

President of the temple Ramesh Garg said in a press note that swami ji would be arriving on April 23 and at 5.30 pm the same day, 250 women will carry ‘kalash’ and kalash yatra would be taken out with great fanfare. Swami ji will give a discourse on Bhagavad Gita from 8 pm to 11pm from April 24 to 30. On May 1 the idols will be installed between 9 and 12 noon, and at 12.30 p.m. community langar will be served. OC



Gayatri Club celebrates Baisakhi 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
The Gayatri Ladies Club celebrated Baisakhi in a city hotel here today.
The members danced merrily on the beats of bhangra and giddha. Members of the governing board of the club thanked the participants for making the function a success and lending great charm to Baisakhi.

Ms Surinder Dhiman, the president of the club, thanked Rimpy, Rimple, Kavita, Guneeta, Ms Thapar, Ms Bawa, Ravneet, Vinita, Rimple, Aman Ms Sheena, and Urvi for putting up a lively performance.


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