L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Couple killed in cylinder blast
Tragedy leaves children shattered
Tribune News Service

Subhash and Sangita Bajaj, who were killed in a cylinder blast in Ludhiana on Monday
Subhash and Sangita Bajaj, who were killed in a cylinder blast in Ludhiana on Monday. — A file photo

Ludhiana, May 16
Two persons, including a woman, died when a man was trying to transfer a coolant gas from one cylinder to another at their house in Kot Mangal Singh area here today.

The deceased have been identified as Subhash Bajaj, (40) and his wife Sangeeta, (36). A loud blast took place in the house which caught fire. The couple received burn injuries and was rushed to hospitals where they breathed their last.

The incident took place at 8 a.m. Their children, Neha, (12) and Sunny, (9) had left for the school minutes before the incident took place. They were brought back by their relatives after the incident. Both were crying inconsolably.

Police sources said Subhash used to repair refrigerators and air conditioners. He was transferring the coolant gas for some repair when the blast took place. His wife was cooking in the kitchen and when she heard the blast she rushed outside. Their house caught fire within a few seconds and both sustained severe burn injuries.

After hearing the blast, their neighbours reached their house and took the couple to hospitals. Subhash was taken to CMC where he succumbed to injuries at around 9 a.m. His wife died at DMC at around 9.30 a.m.

The police has filed the case under Section 174 CrPC. Officials said storing of combustible commercial gas in a house was illegal and Subhash was not only storing it but was illegally transferring it also. They, however, said that they could not take action against anybody as Subhash had already died. The children had already seen the worst tragedy of their lives at a tender age.

Panic gripped the area in the morning when residents heard a blast. They saw house on fire. One of them informed the Fire Brigade. But before the fire engine reached the residents had doused the fire. They only rushed the victims to hospitals and informed the police.

Police investigations revealed that ammonia gas had caused the fire that ultimately killed the couple. They said the bodies were sent for post-mortem to the local Civil Hospital. The cause of the deaths would be ascertained after the report.



6 notorious criminals nabbed
Role of Bardeke sarpanch under scanner
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jagron, May 16
The residents of Bardeke village in the Jagraon police district today heaved a sigh of relief following the arrest of six notorious criminals of the area who had created lawlessness in the area.

The Jagraon police is investigating whether the sarpanch of the village, Mr Kuldip Singh, was sheltering the criminals one of whom is an accused in a bank dacoity. At least two others are facing trial in attempt to murder and rioting cases. The villagers have also moved the Punjab Human Rights Commission in this context.

Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, said the police would not succumb to any pressure and the law would take its course. We acted on the complaint submitted by the villagers and have arrested the accused and if investigations prove the complicity of the sarpanch in criminal activities, he too would be arrested, he added.

Today, a team of villagers led by Talochan Singh, Harbans Singh, Jagdev Singh, Surinder Kaur and Paramjit Kaur, approached the police and submitted a representation regarding the tense circumstances in the village. The villagers alleged that Kuldip Singh was patronising criminals and harassing the law abiding residents. In the past he had got false cases registered against some villagers who had defied his writ, they added.

Referring to the recent incidents where the henchmen of the sarpanch attacked the house of a villager, they alleged that Kuldip Singh had tried to implicate some persons of the village in false a case registered under Sections 452, 324, 323, 148 and 149, IPC. The case was got registered by misrepresenting facts to the police.

“The accused went to the extent of threatening the witnesses who had told the police that the clash had occurred on a street of the village and not inside the house of the complainant as reported to the police. For the timely intervention of the police, the assailants could have entered the house of the villagers and attacked them with crude weapons recovered by the police from their vehicles,” naratted the panchayat members at the police station.

They urged the authorities to probe the matter and take action against the sarpanch who was trying to pressurise the police by threatening to approach the PHRC.

Mr Randhir Singh, DSP, said he had deputed Mr Dharam Pal, SHO, to investigate the case registered against some persons at the village.

“Instead of cooperating with the investigating team, Mr Kuldeep Singh started supporting some persons who had threatened the witnesses in the presence of the police,” the DSP added.

Mr Kuldeep Singh claimed that timely action of the police to nab the miscreants had averted an incident that could have harmed many villagers. The sarpanch was trying to pressurise the police, he added.

Police sources further revealed that the arrested persons included four persons who had been booked for serious offences at various police stations. While Manjit Singh was involved in a bank dacoity at Ferozepore, Davinder Singh Lamma was facing four cases including theft, narcotics smuggling and disrupting peace. Balraj Singh Patwari was booked in three cases of attempt to murder, illegal detention and rioting. Manjot Singh was booked for attempt to murder.



Man arrested for killing wife
Suspect claims death was accidental
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
A property dealer of New Vishnu Puri near Shiv Puri allegedly murdered his wife after firing a shot from his licenced rifle, following an altercation over a personal issue in the morning here today.

The deceased, Ms Gurmit Kaur (35), died on the spot. Her husband, Narinder Singh, was arrested by the police from his house and her body was sent for post-mortem to the local Civil Hospital. The police has recovered the rifle used in the killing.

Narinder Singh, who did not flee from his house after the incident, claimed that the shot was fired accidentally. However, Gurmit’s brothers claimed that the two were fighting over the marriage of her children from the first marriage, for the past many days.

Following the statement of her brothers, the Salim Tabri police has registered a case under section 302 of the IPC against Narinder Singh, who is in police custody. DSP Satbir Singh and SHO Arvind Puri, who visited the spot, said preliminary investigations revealed that Narinder Singh allegedly killed his wife in a fit of rage and later pretended it to be an accident.

Ms Jagmohan Kaur, a niece of the deceased, who was staying with the couple for the past some days, said that at around 7 a.m. she heard a fire shot when she was sleeping in another room along with the three-year-daughter of the couple. When she rushed to their room, she saw her aunt’s body lying in a pool of blood on the bed, she claimed.

She, however, refused to say anything on the issue. When a Ludhiana Tribune team reached their residence, Narinder Singh was crying bitterly and claiming that he had gone for a walk in the morning. When he returned, he picked up his .12 b rifle from his bedside and a shot was accidentally fired, he claimed. He added that he used to keep his rifle on his bedside every night.

The body of Gurmit was lying on the bed in a blanket. She was fired at from a point-blank range. The bullets had hit her back, piercing through chest. Family sources said it was the second marriage of both husband and wife. Narinder Singh, had, at the time of their marriage, promised Gurmit that he would arrange for the wedding of her two children from her first marriage. But, later he had allegedly refused to help her.

They further said that her 19-year-old son, Billu, who worked as an autorickshaw driver at Chandigarh, wanted to get married and Gurmit wanted Narinder to help him. But Narinder had refused to do so. The issue had strained their relationship to some extent and finally, Narinder allegedly got rid of her.



Marriage service providers open shops
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
The industrial town could soon be a witness to flourishing “marriage business”. Leading companies have realised “this potential” of the city and now it is time for marriage service providers to open shops in Ludhiana.

The latest one is Shaadi.com, which plans to open a shaadi point here. The outlet would provide matrimonial services right from match-making, astrological advice to organising matrimonial events, wedding planning and services like honeymoon planning etc.

Recently, Aerens Goldsouk International Ltd, announced the launch of a wedding souk. The souk, that would come up within two years, aims at attracting customers not only from Ludhiana, but also from Chandigarh, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Phillore, Phagwara, Patiala, Moga, Gobindgarh and other neighbouring areas.

“The city gives us a tremendous potential to grow, not just because it is developing rapidly in terms of population and income, but also because of the growing cosmopolitan culture here,” said Mr Rajiv Dudi of Shaadi.com.

It is these factors that have prompted the company to set up not one, but two centres within this month, he said. These factors apart, corporates feel the city also attracts customers from neighbouring areas, which increase the potential.

Besides, the preference for entering into an alliance with Indians settled abroad is another reason that could contribute towards increasing business volumes.

Mr Dudi said their site had over two million registered members that helped bridge gap between geographically dispersed Indians and South Asians and provided a diverse platform. The company, which plans to set up a network of 250 centres within a year across the country, would also open such centres in Jalandhar and Chandigarh.

The Shaadi Point centre would offer people the facility of adding their bio-data to the central database, search for a suitable match from the central pool, and get contact details of people of their choice. 



Man accused of possessing charas acquitted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 16
The court of Special Judge, Mr B.S. Sodhi, has acquitted Vikram Sood, alias Neetu, of Samrala from the charges of possessing 5 kg of charas, as the prosecution could not prove the charges levelled against the accused.

The accused was booked under Section 20 of the NDPS Act on January 10, 1989, at Sadar Police Station, Ludhiana. The accused had jumped bail and was later on declared proclaimed offender by the court in 1993. Thereafter, the accused had surrendered before the court in August, 2002.

Now after the trial, the court found that the charges against the accused were not proved beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. 



Passing Thru

T.S Kler
Dr. T.S Kler, Director, Escorts Heart Institute, Delhi and Amritsar

How is the Escorts reaching out to common man?

We are regularly holding free heart camps in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and MP to help those patients who cannot come to Escorts, New Delhi.

Is there any some facility for economically weaker sections, farmers and villagers?

Yes, I have initiated “Kisan Yojna” under which poor farmers and the villagers can get relaxations for getting their treatment done. I myself come from an agricultural background and feel that if we are in a position to help others, we must do this noble work. Providing concessional heart treatment is one way I thought I could contribute my bit towards a certain section of society.

Treatment of heart ailments is beyond the reach of common man. Do you think there are ways such treatment could be made affordable?

Certainly, it can be made affordable. For instance, the medical equipment industry in the country could provide heart devices / gadgets, so as to help reduce cost of surgery. Presently these devices are imported from the other countries.

— P.S. Batra



SAD to stage dharna against govt policies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 16
The Shiromani Akali Dal will hold a district-level protest dharna at Mini Secretariat here on May 20 to focus on anti-people policies of the Congress government in the state. Besides other prominent leaders of the party, SAD president Parkash Singh Badal and party general secretary Sukhbir Badal will address the rally.

This was stated by Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, president, Youth Akali Dal and member of the Lok Sabha, while addressing a meeting of party workers at Gurdwara Manji Sahib at Alamgir here today. The meeting attended by activists of SAD and youth wing, took stock of the preparations for the proposed dharna and rally. Mr Dhillon claimed that the party would ensure that the rally turned out to be the launching pad for a concerted campaign to root out the Congress from the state.

Making strong attacks on the ruling party, Mr Dhillon alleged that the Congress had never wished well for the people of Punjab and it had repeatedly betrayed the interests of Punjabis at the instance of ‘Delhi Durbar’. He said the three-year rule of the Congress in the state had been a total failure. The process of development had come at a stand still, roads and other infrastructure were in a bad shape and attempts were being made to deprive the poor people from education by proposed move to privatise the educational institutions.

The youth wing president of the party reiterated the commitment of the SAD and its front organisations to stand by the people of Punjab and carry out a relentless struggle against the insensitive and anti-people government.

Prominent among other speakers at the meeting were Ms Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, a former MP, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, MLA, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, secretary, SAD-B, Mr Kewal Singh Badal, vice president, SGPC, Mr Balwinder Singh Bains, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur Sokhey, Mr Gurmel Singh Sanghowal, Mr Raghbir Singh Saharanmajra, Mr Gurbaksh Singh Pudain, Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, former MLA, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, former mayor, Mr Jagdev Singh Tajpuri, Mr Darshan Singh Shivalik, Ms Gurdip Kaur and Mr Ujagar Singh Chhapa.



Police told to protect children
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 16
The Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) has observed that the human rights of children had not been protected in the state during the recent past. Taking note of the spurt in the incidence of child abductions for ransom and subsequent murders, the commission has asked the Punjab Police to educate the masses about the precautions needed to be taken to protect the lives of children.

Meanwhile, the SSP, Jagraon, and SSP, Sangrur, have claimed that the recommendations of the commission had been implemented in their respective districts.

Referring to the communication received from the department of ADGP (Law And Order), Mr Rajiv Ahir, Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagraon, and Mr H.S. Chahal, SSP, Sangrur, said the Home Department of the state government had observed that the safety of children, especially school-going children, had become a grave problem.

“As the commission has observed that the human rights of children had not been protected in the state during the recent past, we would have to be vigilant about the safety of children,” Mr Ahir said.

The PHRC has suggested some points, which should be made public to all sections of the society, including educational institutes, social orgaisations and the parents of the children. “To get maximum results the SHOs or other police officers should visit the schools and spread awareness among all concerned about the precautions needed for the safety of the children,” read the orders.

Commenting on the points suggested by the commission, the police officers claimed that the problem would be controlled if we work on the principle of ‘prevention is better than the cure’. The children and the parents should be made aware about the thirteen tips given by the commission and these points should be displayed prominently at all public places.

Meanwhile, the SHOs at the local police stations and surrounding police stations under Sangrur and Jagraon police districts have visited the schools under their respective areas and called upon the social and educational organisations to help the police implement the directions of the commission in letter and spirit. 



INA soldier awaits release of film on Bose
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Lalton (Ludhiana), May 16
Ajaib Singh Grewal a former Indian National Army soldier is 86. He has never been to a cinema hall to see a movie. But he is awaiting the release of Shyam Benegal’s movie on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. According to him, it is probably for the first time that a tribute was being paid to the great hero of India’s freedom struggle.

Ajaib Singh recalls having seen Netaji for the first time in 1941 at Vidyavali Military Camp in Singapore. He heard Netaji for the first time. He recalled, “as we were serving the British army and fighting on their side, Netaji told us not to support them as they had committed atrocities on us...we were inspired by his speech and we decided to join the Indian National Army”.

Ajaib Singh disclosed that there was instant impact of what Netaji said. He recalled, “till that all Indian soldiers who were Sikhs, Dogras or Pathans would greet each other by saying Sat Sri Akal, namastey or salam alaykum, but Netaji made everybody to greet each other with ‘Jai Hind’. He created a bond of Indianness among us”.

He is not bothered whether Netaji “is physically alive” or not. “He lives in our minds and hearts...he is my hero”, Ajaib Singh asserted. He believes that had it not been for Netaji’s aggressive nationalism, the British would never have given Indians the freedom. “They started being afraid of him and the INA and ultimately decided to leave India”, Ajaib Singh believes.

He regrets that Netaji did not get his due as his contribution seems to have been forgotten. He expressed relief that Shyam Benegal had tried to portray his character in a commercial film. “I am happy that someone has tried his bit and I hope it will make people aware about the life and contribution of Netaji”, he said.

Ajaib Singh, however, does not like the objections being raised over the screening of the movie. He said, whatever be the reasons, these are not justified. “After all they are trying to tell our generation about the great hero who rebelled against everyone and who opted to stay out of the race for the post of president of the Congress just to avoid a split”, he observed, while adding that the cry being raised about the film was not proper.

After Independence Ajaib Singh joined the Indian Army and retired in 1961. He has a lost of INA tales and villagers love to listen to his stories. He says, he wants to inspire the youth to join Army by telling the heroic tales.



Determined youth needs financial help
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, May 16
Twentythree-year-old Surjit Singh is polio afflicted. He may be unable to walk but is not a shattered youth. It is his determination that helped him complete his graduation this year. Now he wants to pursue his career in computer designing but the family’s financial condition does not allow him to fulfil his dreams.

A resident of Ravidas Chowk, Surjit has taken exams of BA final this year from SCD Government College here. “I belong to a poor family. We are a big family with six sisters and two brothers. Things went on comfortably till my father got a massive heart attack. He had to discontinue with the job and was bedridden. My brother, already married with two kids, had to work hard to meet both the ends. He was a daily wager and recently lost his job too. And now I feel helpless”, said Surjit, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune.

Surjit had political science, economics and elective Punjabi as his subjects in BA III. “I had requested the college authorities for extending help and they waived off my fee for three years. I always got above 60 per cent marks and my teachers were always encouraging”, said Surjit.

He said that he wanted to try his luck in computer designing. “For six months course, I will have to pay approximately Rs 4,000. Once I learn the basics, I think I will be able to design for people and earn a living. But I can not ask for help from my family members. They want me to leave studies for obvious reasons but I am adamant”, said Surjit.

At present the family is passing through a crucial phase. A lot of money is spent on the treatment of his ailing father.

His two sisters are married but other four, all young, are sitting at home and there is not even a single bread winner in the family.

“The family members want me to stand on my own but I feel I cannot really help them”, said Surjit Singh.



Movement on protection of Sikh identity picking up
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 16
The movement for protection of the Sikh identity and the Sikh symbol seems to be gathering ground outside Punjab. Those who are opposed to the Akali Dal (Badal) are trying to cash in on the minimal role, the SGPC has been playing in respect of the turban issue in France currently engaging the attention of Sikhs all over Europe. On the heels of this came the conviction of a Sikh youth in Denmark for wearing kirpan. These are sensitive issues and they have been addressed by the Sikh leadership. Even the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh at one stage wrote to the French President in this regard.

In a way Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, has thrown a challenge to the leadership of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal and Bibi Jagir Kaur, president, SGPC, who are being accused of neglecting Sikh affairs and paying more attention to their own political survival. Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna has appealed to all Sikh intellectuals to coordinate their individual, organisational and collective efforts so as to attract the attention of the world. He has also appealed to Sikhs abroad to resent such cases in a manner that they are not dubbed as a restless community.



BKU gears up for ‘kisan panchayat’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 16
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has stepped up mobilisation of farmers from all over the state for the kisan panchayat to be held at Chandigarh on May 18. According to functionaries of the union, more than 50,000 farmers were expected to attend the meeting and discuss in detail the problems being faced by them.

Giving this information in a press note here today, the acting president of BKU, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian said during a tour of Moga, Ferozepore, Faridkot and Muktsar districts, the BKU leaders had received tremendous response for the proposed rally. He said the entire team of the union had been divided into three groups to undertake tours of all the districts and mobilise the farmers to make the rally a success.

The BKU acting president said the state-level rally of farmers would discuss, among other things, the burning issues of handing over cooperative sugar mills to private parties, proposed privatisation of education and health departments, increasing debt burden on farmers, erratic power supply to agriculture sector and grant of compensation of Rs 100 per quintal on wheat crop due to low yield.

Maintaining that the BKU would fight a battle to the last against bid to privatise education and health, he further said that depending on the response of the government towards these genuine demands of farmers, the union might resort to an agitation after May 30 to achieve justice.



Championing the cause of Hindi
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, May 16
The government and NGOs working for the promotion of Hindi should for a year desist from organising functions and conferring awards on people for the use of our national language and instead spend the money thus saved on the promotion of the language across the length and breadth of the country,

This was stated by Uttaranchal’s Advocate-General (AG) Chander Shekhar Upadhyaya, who is not only one of the country’s youngest Advocates-General but also a champion of using Hindi in everyday life. He was addressing a gathering at a function organised by the Punjab Hindi Sansthan in his honour.

The AG emphasised on the need to give priority to the use of the national language.

Our elders struggled to mobilise the masses for getting rid of the British and they achieved success after numerous sacrifices. In the same way, we will have to launch a nationwide movement to restore the dignity of Hindi. This is not to say that I am against English but the need of the day is to create positive awareness among the public, said Mr Shekhar.

He said he was not against the use of other languages but believed that Hindi must be given preference in all spheres, whether it is education, the legal system or professional courses. He admitted that a number of times he faced hardships for using Hindi, but every hardship made his belief stronger that the national language must get its due share.

Prominent among those present on this occasion were Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, District Bar Association president Balwinder Goel, Regional Manager of New India Assurance Company S.K. Jain, Mr Ram Kumar Jain, senior Congress leader P.D. Sharma, freedom fighter Diwan Jagdish Chander, Mr K.K.Dhir and senior lawyer B.C. Chibber.

The students of different schools presented a cultural programme and highlighted the importance of the national language through patriotic and devotional songs.

A number of social organisations honoured the Advocate-General of Uttaranchal for his strenuous efforts to promote the use of Hindi. The function ended with the National Anthem.



Steel prices on the decline
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 16
Prices of steel are witnessing a downward trend.
The price of steel in the country rose sharply not due to the demand and supply mismatch but due to speculation. This speculative aspect has been checked by China as iron are suppliers were quoting higher prices in chain. Now China will publish the reference rates of iron and anyone charging more than the reference prices would be blacklisted.

Mr P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, said here today that unfortunately the Government of India was not taking any steps but had been encouraging speculation. According to Mr Sharma prices of steel are now fast coming down as there is a slowdown in economies in the world. China which consumes 70 to 80 per cent of steel produced in the world is now turning into exporter of steel.

Brazil and Australia are already surplus in steel production. The prices of rolled coils are likely to fall to $ 450 to $ 480 from the present more than $ 600 per tonne.

According to OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) report, the Indian steel consumption is not going to grow much this year against the growth of steel in the country.

Mr Sharma pointed out that the Ministry of Steel was trying to give a helping hand to the main steel producers to keep the level of prices high. SAIL, which has 25 per cent share of steel in the market, has not yet signed the MoU with the buyers. The MoUs should have been signed on April 1.

He further disclosed that the government had imposed a duty in 2001 to check the crash of steel prices.

Now there was a flood of imports of steel and this duty should be withdrawn, he said.

Mr Sharma has called upon the government to reduce import duty on secondary and defective steel from 20 per cent to 5 per cent.


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