L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Drug addict groom sent without bride
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 2
A day after a vigilant woman thwarted her husband’s attempt to remarry, a Ludhiana girl refused to marry her bridegroom when she and her family discovered that he was a drug addict. He was visibly under the effect of narcotics during the wedding ceremony here last night.

The groom, hailing from Faridkot, was shown the door after the girl and her parents decided that she would not live life in misery. Despite various pleas of the groom and his family members to send the bride along, with a promise that he would leave drugs, the family decided not to jeopardise the future of their daughter.

Threatening to take the case to the police, the girl’s family took a promise from them that they would pay the cost of organising the ceremony last evening only. However, the money is yet to arrive.

The family, living in the outskirts of the city, refused to identify themselves, fearing ‘‘social stigma.’’ A few hours after the incident, a Tribune team caught up with the bride and her family trying to digest the happening amidst wrapped gifts and blankets lying packed in the house.

Weighing the pros and cons of the hard decision, the bride was trying to come in terms with reality. Narrating her tale, she said that they had realised that the boy was a drug addict when he was acting like a zombie. He was not responding properly and even fell from his chair.

“Earlier we thought that he was just feeling nervous but when he started smoking after filling some black coloured powdery substance in it, we decided he would not be our son-in-law,” said the bride’s father.

Overcoming some pressure exerted by relatives that sending the baraat back would bring problems of its own kind to the girl, the family said though the decision was difficult, it was right. “We urge upon all the parents of girls that they should marry their daughters to a suitable and deserving man only. There is no point in buckling under any pressure.”

“Although I felt bad that this had to happen to us, we thank god that we came to know about him yesterday only. Otherwise, the life of our only daughter would have been ruined,” said her mother.

The family members said the match was struck a month ago with the help of a middleman. They had seen the groom for two hours where he was acting normal.

“When we confronted his sister, she confessed that he had been smoking something of late. Then she said that he would be allright after the marriage. But why should our daughter become a scapegoat?”

“We spent around Rs 1 lakh on the ceremony. Gifts like television, refrigerator, music system and other knick-knacks of everyday use are lying with us. We are happy that the life of our daughter is safe. If they pay us the money it will be allright, otherwise we cannot go after them,” they added. 



NRIs, villagers join hands to impart quality education
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Issru, May 2
At a time when the state is facing an uphill task to ensure quality education in government schools across the state, the example of Shaheed Karnail Singh Memorial Senior Secondary School here is worth emulating.

NRIs of this historic village have joined hands with the Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA), Village Education Development Committee (VEDC) and staff to bring about substantial improvement in the infrastructure and teaching standards of the school. As a result of the joint efforts, the number of students have increased from 270 to 350 in the past three years.

Realising that community participation was necessary for what the government could not provide, Mr. Harjit Singh, Principal of the school, persuaded NRIs and local philanthropists for liberal donations with the result that this once ignored school has become a model institution.

Giving details of the projects taken up in the school during past three years, Mr. Harjit Singh, Principal of the school, said with the financial assistance from the people and Rajya Sabha member Kirpal Singh Libra, a multipurpose hall, the first of its kind in an rural area at an estimated cost of Rs 15 lakh was under construction in the school.

He claimed that with the completion of this multipurpose hall, the multi-faceted education related activities, including seminars, workshops, science exhibitions, cultural programs could be organised in this rural area and more than 50 villages surrounding Issru would be benefited.

He informed that with the persuasion of PTA and VEDC another NRI, Dr Darshanjit Singh had donated Rs 50,000 on behalf of his daughter, Harinderjit, for setting up a library for the students in the school for which a spacious room has been arranged.

Today, a function was held in the school to inaugurate the newly installed generating set and a water cooler donated by NRI, Mr Iqbal Singh. Mr Magar Singh Kalia, Circle Education Officer, Nabha, and Mr Darshan Singh, DPRO, inaugurated the equipment. They also paid rich tributes to Shaheed Master Karnail Singh Issru who laid down his life to liberate Goa in 1950. Students were exhorted to cultivate the principles of patriotism and nationalism.

Earlier, Mr Kalia said the government was concerned over the decline in Education standards in government schools and had started imparting computer training to the students in 1300 senior secondary schools from this academic session. He said the excellent achievements made in this school jointly by the staff, PTA and PSWK had shown good results and set up an example for the other schools to follow.

The efforts of the Principal and staff to create a good rapport with the NRIs and villagers have proved that the efforts made in the right direction always bear fruit. He stressed upon the need to provide computer based vocational education to students, so that they could acquire access to the vast knowledge available through the Internet.

Mr Mohinder Singh, president, Village Education Development Committee, informed that a separate hall for setting up a computer center had already been constructed by PTA and VEDC with the help of villages. He demanded that the Education Department should satrt a computer centre in this school for which the contribution by the school had already been made.

On this occasion, Mr. Buta Singh Mann, who had been providing free uniforms and shoes to poor students every year, donated Rs 15,000 for the construction of cycle stand in the school.



Gang using human excreta during snatchings
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 2
“Yuk.... eeeekk........” is the first reaction as one encounters or hears about a gang using human excreta while snatching valuables from unsuspecting victims. The gang carries one or two polythene bags carrying human or animal excreta.

The gang members use the foul smelling excreta both for snatching valuables from a victim as well as to save themselves if caught. The gang members usually strike in a group though individual crimes have also come to light. The gang members are mostly minor boys.

They apply the excreta on their face, head and other parts of the body when cornered by victims or passers-by after a chase. As a result nobody touches them and even if some one knowingly or unknowingly hits a gang member, he is put off by the foul smell.

Before that they just soil the clothes of a victim, or his vehicle and then point out the stain to him to divert his attention. The disgusted man thanks the gang member usually a minor boy and pays attention to removing the stain. The boy uses the opportunity and snatches his bag or lifts some valuables, including mobile phones, clothes, and in one case even sweets kept in a car.

In one case even two PCR cops let one gang member go after their clothes were soiled. Among the victims is Mr Sanjay Sikka, a polythene bag merchant and a resident of Chander Nagar here. On Friday last, he was collecting dues from shopkeepers along the Dandi Swami road as per his daily routine, when a 12-13 year-old -boy pointed to a stain on his clothes. “I was holding a bag in my hand. As , I kept it on the footpath to have a look at the stain, the boy lifted the bag and ran away. He was unaware that there were only polythene bags in the bag’’

Mr Sikka ran after him along with some passers-by and shopkeepers. They cornered him after few hundred metres. The boy swiftly took out a packet from his pocket and applied some thing on his face head, and other parts of the body. Mr Sikka realised it was human excreta when he slapped the boy. He was so disgusted that he could not touch him further. No other person went close to the boy.

Two PCR cops stopped by seeing the crowd. When they went close to the boy, he fell on their feet and begged forgiveness, The excreta on the boy’s body soiled the cops uniform and they too let him go. Mr Sikka claimed that the boy slipped away and no one followed him. He was informed by the area shopkeepers that the gang had four or five members all minor boys

This is not the first instance in which excreta has been used. There have been instances where a gang used to snatch valuables by first soiling a victim’s clothes to divert his attention but this gang has improvised on the modus operandi.

Mr Sushil Raju Thapar, Municipal Councillor, Civil lines, told Ludhiana Tribune that there had been some similar instances in the past too. He said a couple of snatching incidents took place in Tagore Nagar also.

Most of the cases have gone unreported at police stations. So far the gang members have not succeeded in snatching major valuables or huge cash but they have been successful in lifting or snatching bags. It is their ill luck that the bags did not contain anything valuable.

DSP City-II , Simrat Pal Singh Dhindsa said he had heard reports of activities of such a gang some time ago but no fresh cases of this kind had been reported in the recent past to the police. He said the modus operandi of soiling someone’s clothes and snatching the valuables is employed off and on by thieves but applying the excreta on one’s own body to prevent arrest was quite a disturbing thing. He said the police was making all efforts to catch these criminals and appealed to the public to help in this direction.



SMO’s transfer revoked
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 2
With the Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of the Civil Hospital, here, Dr Manjit Kaur, back in the saddle in less than a week’s time, the outburst of the Punjab Health Minister, Mr Ramesh Chand Dogra, over the pathetic condition of the 100-bedded hospital, has virtually turned out to be just a storm in the tea cup.

Following an unannounced visit to the Civil Hospital here on April 24, the minister had been upset over the poor upkeep of both the building and the equipment as well as pathetic delivery of medical care to the patients. He had ordered the immediate transfer of Dr Manjit Kaur to Phillaur, while the SMO Phillaur Dr K.K. Jindal, was posted here in her place.

On the condition of the Civil Hospital, Mr Dogra had told Ludhiana Tribune that there were numerous complaints from patients and other quarters about the poor upkeep of medical equipment, denial of proper medical care and several other irregularities in running the hospital. The minister had also expressed his displeasure at the condition of bathrooms and dirty bedsheets.

The minister had also taken serious note of several diagnostic machines lying in a state of neglect and complaints from the patients and their attendants that they were made to purchase medicines from outside. He said there were also complaints to the effect that the patients were referred to private diagnostic centres even for routine clinical examinations and diagnostic tests.

However, the tough stand taken by the minister proved to be short-lived. Soon after the new posting orders were issued on Monday to the SMOs at Ludhiana and Phillaur to swap places, political pressure was mounted from various quarters and the PCMS Association also came out in support of the shifted SMO. In a communication to the Health Minister, the state president of the association, Dr Hardeep Singh, pleaded that the poor condition of the Civil Hospital was more due to bad infrastructure, disproportionate bed strength and inadequate funding and manpower rather than administrative failure.

Efforts to talk to the minister on the issue proved in vain as he was stated to be out of Chandigarh and his cellphone was switched off.

However, the Principal Secretary to Punjab Government, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Mr D.S. Guru, when asked about the reversal of transfer orders said it was a political decision and only the minister could shed light on it.



The thrill of flying as airhostess
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, May 2
“When I look down the cockpit and see houses look like miniatures and roads like ribbons, I just adore this scene,” said Ms Mamta Sachdeva, the first airhostess to land up with a job with Etihad Airways. She was a student of the Frank Finn Institute of Air Hostess. She was in the city to express her gratitude to the institute faculty and meet her teachers and friends. She joined Etihad Airways in January and in the past four months had flown to quite a few countries.

Mamta is from Moga and little did she know that she would travel to far off places like Munich, London, Riyadh, Behrain, Colombo etc. She is based in Abu-Dabhi and feels life is just a pleasant dream-to-travel, to meet new people, visit new places and then earn in five figures. She says,”I love London of all the places.”

At just 21years of age Mamta feels the life could not have been more pleasant. She is not scared of challenges like getting difficult passengers on board. She says,”Well, we are trained to handle any sort of emergencies. So far life has been a real bed of roses. Only in the first month , I felt home sick. But now I have adjusted well.Moreover, there are a few girls from here with me. “

Mamta says she intends to fly for a long time as she does not want to get married as for now.

Mamta’s mother also is thrilled for her daughter as she is able to fulfil her dreams of travelling. But her only complaint is that she sees her daughter for four days only. Mamta flies for 21days and is allowed to return to India for four days. She says that girls should opt for the job of airhostess as it provides opportunities to go round the globe.



3 held for duping car dealer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 2
The Kochar market police has arrested three persons who had duped a car dealer in the car bazaar in the local car bazaar, Feroze Gandhi market, by selling him a stolen Tata Safari vehicle. The accused later filed a false FIR with the Gurdaspur police claiming that the vehicle was stolen.

ASI Jatinder Kumar, in charge, Kochar market, said the arrested accused were Gursahib Singh, Ajit Singh and Pream Chand, all resident of Tarn Taran district. They had sold a Tata Safari to a car dealer here in February. They took Rs 50,000 cash and a Fiat Uno car .

Later the dealer learnt that the car number was fake.



Thief breaks legs in escape bid
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 2
A suspected thief broke his legs while jumping from the rooftop to escape being caught by the area residents in Basant Avenue this afternoon. He had allegedly broken into a house when the owners came.
He jumped from the first floor to escape, but broke his legs. He was admitted to Civil Hospital, here, with multiple fractures.



19-year-old ends life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 2
A 19-year-old youth committed suicide due to unknown reasons at Shimla Puri last night. The police has registered a case.
Narinder Singh consumed some poisonous substance according to the police. He was admitted to a local hospital by his parents but he could not be saved. 



Lok Bhalai Party blasts govt on privatisation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 2
The Lok Bhalai Party (LBP), headed by former Union Minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, has pledged to continue its fight for socio-economic development and democratic rights of the people in Punjab. In particular, the party has reiterated its staunch opposition to the policy of privatisation being pursued by the Congress government in the state.

Addressing a meeting of central working committee and other party functionaries here yesterday, Mr Ramoowalia expressed serious concern over vitiation of political climate by sections of traditional leadership of both the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), whom he charged with blatant promotion of self interest and their respective families, while ignoring issues vital to the state and its people.

Those voted to power were shamelessly betraying the people over the years by their complete failure to provide employment to the youth, relief to the working classes, protection to the self-employed and to save the public sector undertakings, educational institutions and government hospitals. The LBP chief said both the Congress and the SAD (B) were supporting privatisation so as to grant undue benefits to their favourite players in the private sector.

Mr Ramoowalia, a member of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, further lamented that as a result of negative political approach and dangerous anti-social postures of the ruling classes, a climate of confrontation had vertically divided the rural Punjab, not on ideological grounds but by blatant misuse of powers by the police and the revenue officials.

“The anti-social elements are patronised and encouraged in large scale illegal trade and sale of narcotics and drugs and then they are targeted for help during elections by the political leaders.”

Castigating the policy of privatisation, Mr Ramoowalia stated that the party would stand with the employees of Punjab State Electricity Board, the cooperative sugar mills and many other government departments in opposing the move to privatise these institutions. While handing over the public sector and cooperative ventures to the private sector on a platter, the government had also failed to sustain the industrial growth and safeguard the interests of the industry which was evident from large scale shifting of industrial units to Himachal Pradesh and other states.

He also focused on the plight of Punjabi youths, who were either being fleeced by unscrupulous travel agents in the name of being sent abroad or were facing exploitation and inhuman working conditions in several foreign countries. Similarly, thousands of Punjabi girls had been ditched by their NRI husbands and their efforts to get justice had failed to bear fruit as the government continued to watch the grave situation like a mute spectator.

Mr Ramoowalia condemned the government for its apathy towards the farmers, who were being given a raw deal by not getting the right prices for their produce and further through sale of spurious seeds, insecticides, fertiliser and adulterated diesel. He also stressed the need for providing better infrastructure like roads in urban and rural areas of the state.



PM urged to take up Denmark-based Sikh student’s case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 2
A socio-academic and cultural organisation here has urged the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the case of Ripudaman Singh, a Sikh student in Denmark, who has been declared guilty of carrying a six-inch kirpan by a local court there.

Dr Charan Kamal Singh, chief secretary, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, in a letter to the Prime Minister and to the Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, Mr Tarlochan Singh, said such incidents against those from minority communities had become a regular feature in various countries.

“There is a need to take a holistic view of the matter and undertake an exercise wherein ambassadors of various countries, whose embassies are situated in India, can discuss such issues,” Dr Kamal Singh said.

Ripudaman Singh, a Sikh student, pursuing higher studies in Denmark, has reportedly filed a petition seeking the permission of a city court of Copenhagen to file an appeal in the higher court against the judgement which had declared him guilty and fined him for carrying a six-inch kirpan in the second week of this month.

A baptised Sikh, he had been moving about in Denmark to educate people about Sikhism. He reportedly himself declared his kirpan to the security at the US Embassy in Copenhagen a year ago.

Expressing concern over the rising number of discriminatory incidents in various countries against people from minority communities, the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle emphasised on the need to take quick action in the direction.

“His case is unique as it was not the police that caught him for possessing the kirpan, he had himself declared it before the security a year ago,” Mr Kamal Singh said.

Reports state that Ripudaman was assured by the security that his kirpan would be returned. However, the security called the police which, in turn, charged him with carrying a dagger exceeding the length of 7 cm. Ripudaman Singh contested is case in court but lost.

Urging the PM to help Ripudaman, the said that premier Sikh institutions like the Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (DSGPC) and leading NGOs, along with representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, be involved so as to ensure a action.



Warm send-off to DSO
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, May 2
Mr Harinder Singh Malhi, District Sports Officer, Amritsar, was given a warm farewell by officers and other staff members of the Sports Department here on Saturday. Padma Shree Kartar Singh, Director Sports, Punjab, led his team of officers and other staff members in giving a warm send-off to Mr Malhi who retired after putting in more than 30 years of service.

Appreciating the services of Mr Malhi, Mr Kartar Singh said during his tenure there, sports dignitaries and players from across the country had come to India and Mr Malhi handled the job efficiently. He also produced a number of players of international repute.

Mr Malhi joined the Punjab Sports Department in 1973 as hockey coach and was promoted as District Sports Officer in 1985. He passed his B P Ed, MP P Ed and diploma in hockey coaching. Ms Surinder Dhir, former Deputy Director, Sports, Punjab, Mr Sudesh Vaish, Deputy Director, Jalandhar Division, Mr Sohan Lal Lotey, DSO, Ludhiana, Olympian Ramandeep Singh Grewal, Deputy Director, Physical Education, Punjab Agricultural University, international hockey players Sharanjit Kaur and Pritpal Kaur along with family members of Mr Malhi and coaches of the Sports Department, Ludhiana, were present.



Badungar flays Haryana AG’s statement
Our Correspondent

Khanna, May 2
Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar former President of the SGPC, today condemned the statement of Mr H.S. Hooda, Advocate-General of Haryana, in which he had claimed to constitute separate Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee for Haryana at a press conference.

He said the statement of Hooda was a direct interference of the Congress Government in the religious matters of the Sikhs and outcome of a conspiracy to divide the Sikhs. He said Mr Hooda should divert his attention towards the development and law and order situation of the state.



Small industries demand exemption from service tax
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 2
The Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India (FTSII) has apprehended the mass closure of small and tiny units if the Union Government insisted on covering them under the Service Tax Act.

It has emphasised the need to exempt the units engaged in electroplating, zinc plating, painting, heat treatment and similar other services, which were a part of the manufacturing process.

A deputation of the federation, comprising Mr Joginder Kumar, its president and Mr Ajit Singh Kular, among others, met Mr Parthasarathi Shome, advisor to the Union Finance Minister. A copy of the memorandum submitted to Mr K.M. Chandershekhar, Secretary Revenue, Government of India, was also given to Mr Shome.

Earlier, the deputation of the FTSII also met Mr K.M. Chandershekhar to make a strong plea for the exemption of small ancillary units from the purview of service tax. Dr Anupam Dass Gupta, Secretary, SSI, Agro and Rural Industries, Government of India and Mr Satyananda Mishra, Additional Secretary and Development Commissioner (SSI), were also present at this occasion.

Giving this information here yesterday, Mr Joginder Kumar remarked that the manufacturing of engineering goods involved various processes, most of which were out-sourced through units specialising in these jobs and these works were very much a part of the chain of manufacturing processes.

He further said tiny and small scale units had specialised in one or the other process and had been able to reduce the cost of production while at the same time promoting the process of employment generation through ancillary units. He apprehended that in case exemption from service tax was not granted to these units, there could be mass scale closures, which would in turn lead to unemployment among industrial labour.

Mr Joginder Kumar maintained that the government had already exempted agriculture, printing, textile processing and education from levy of service tax and claimed that there was no difference between the textile processing and processes like electroplating and zinc plating.

The president of the federation made an appeal to the Union Secretary, Revenue, to suitably amend the concerned notifications since as it was not the intention of the government to levy service tax on exempted goods and thus save the industry from utter collapse.


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