L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cong govt incompetent, says Badal
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
Senior Akali leaders, including former Chief Minister and the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) Mr Parkash Singh Badal and others today lashed out at the Congress government in the state, accusing it of “allround failure”. They alleged, “the government has proved to be incompetent, inefficient, corrupt and authoritarian”.

Leading the attack, Mr Badal alleged that he had never seen a worse government than the present regime. He observed: “The Chief Minister had the most easy-going attitude and he never took governance seriously”. He pointed out that when the state coffers were empty, the Chief Minister was relaxing abroad along with his team of loyalists.

Mr Badal presented a dark picture of the economy, agriculture and development in the state. He claimed, the farmers were “most desperate” as the input costs had increased by a significant proportion while the output had decreased. He said, there was unrest in the industry and the industrial production had fallen.

He alleged that the money allocated for agricultural diversification was handed over to a private television channel which was acting as the propaganda centre for the government. He claimed that the government was giving away land at throwaway prices to its favourites. He said, people like Mr Ponty Chadha were shown undue favours.

The former Chief Minister warned the government against any move aimed at privatisation of health and education in the state. He said, “privatisation was not suited to Indian conditions as we cannot imitate the west which is quite developed”. He said, such decisions would prove counterproductive for the government.

Exhorting people to rise against the “dictatorial functioning” of the Chief Minister, he said, the bureaucracy had become all powerful and the common man was not being heard. “The grievances of the common man including the farmers, Dalits and the industrialists alike remain undressed as the Chief Minister and the government had other priorities”, he observed.

Although the presence at the protest rally was not impressive almost the entire leadership of the SAD-B from across the state had reached here. Prominent among those who addressed the rally today included Mr Sukhbir Badal, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Mr Gurdev Badal and others. People had been ferried from the neighbouring towns and villages to attend the rally. Although there were strict security arrangement, but the protesters were allowed a free movement to reach the Mini Secretariat, the venue of the protest rally.

KHANNA: On a call by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD president, more than 400 Akali workers of Khanna and surrounding villages today went to Ludhiana to participate in a protest rally organised in front of the DC office, Ludhiana.

The Akali workers were led by Bibi Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, Mr Devinder Singh Khatra, Mr Iqbal Singh, both former municipal councillors, Mr Lakhvir Singh and Major Singh Pallah.

Another jatha of workers from Bija joined the party activists from Khanna under the leadership of Prof Gurbax Singh Bija. The third group joined the workers convoy from Gurdwara Manji Sahib. 



NRI couple attacked, purse snatched
Tribune News Service

Mrs Bhagwant Kaur being attended to by her husband, Mr Baldev Singh, at SAS Grewal Hospital in Ludhiana after she was injured while trying to resist two purse snatchers in Gurdev Nagar on Friday
Mrs Bhagwant Kaur being attended to by her husband, Mr Baldev Singh, at SAS Grewal Hospital in Ludhiana after she was injured while trying to resist two purse snatchers in Gurdev Nagar on Friday. — Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, May 20
A US-based couple currently on a visit to Ludhiana was reportedly assaulted by two motor-cycle-borne youth apparently with a motive to snatch the purse being carried by the wife. Despite lot of resistance by the woman, the youths managed to snatch away her purse. The woman also suffered a fracture in her arm and has been admitted to a hospital.

According to Ms Balwant Kaur, a resident of the United States, she along with her husband, Mr Baldev Singh were riding a rickshaw in Gurdev Nagar area, when two youth riding a motorcycle followed him and started driving their bike close to the cycle rickshaw. One of them tried to snatch the purse being carried by Ms Balwant Kaur. She tried to resist but they dragged her down.

She fell on ground but refused to part with her purse which carried considerable cash. The youth pushed away her husband also. They overpowered the woman and took away her purse. By the time the couple could raise and alarm, they managed to escape.

This is the second incident in the same area during in the past two weeks. Earlier, two youths snatched the gold chain of a woman while she was strolling in a park.

Ms Balwant Kaur is admitted in the SAS Grewal Hospital. Her arm has been fractured and she would be operated upon tomorrow. She said they were based in Ohio state in the US and come to India every year. Here they have a house in Sarabha Nagar. 



Fate of 22 CMCH students hangs in the balance
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 20
Deviating from its admission policy for the first time, the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here has admitted 50 per cent students through a common entrance examination conducted by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFU) on the directions of the Supreme Court. However, the fate of 22 postgraduate students, admitted in this category, still hangs in the balance till the constitution Bench of the apex court delivers its final verdict on the entire process of admissions in minority institutions.

According to Dr John Abraham, Medical Superintendent of CMCH, the Supreme Court, in its interim order, while directing the CMCH to take 50 per cent candidates from out of those qualifying the entrance test of the BFU, had also made it clear that depending on the final verdict the candidates admitted to the PG courses in the institution might have to forfeit their seats even if they had attended classes during the intervening period.

Dr Abraham told Ludhiana Tribune that in a way the candidates were granted provisional admission and all of them had signed an agreement to abide by the final orders of the apex court. While there was no time frame for the announcement of the orders of the court as after completion of the hearing, the judgement was reserved by the Bench. But the process could take even a couple of months because the court would close for summer vacation in next couple of weeks.

It was learnt that the CMCH authorities had signed an agreement with the state government way back in 1955 under which 50 per cent of the total seats in the institution would be reserved for students with domicile of Punjab. Further, 25 per cent of the total seats would be offered to students from other states and the admission under this category would be made purely on merit. Under the said agreement, the governing body of the CMCH had the discretion to fill up the remaining 25 per cent seats to accommodate candidates from the minority community.

The ground situation, however, was entirely different. The CMCH management, till now, was admitting 50 per cent students from amongst the Christians and other 50 per cent non-Christians that too on the basis of merit in its own national level entrance examination.

Even last year, the institution was under immense pressure from the state government and a committee was set up by the government to regulate admissions to minority institutions and to earmark a percentage of total seats for candidates to be taken from common entrance examination. But at the last minute, the Supreme Court had intervened and allowed the CMCH to go ahead with its own entrance examination and fill the seats in medical and dental courses.



One killed, two hurt in cylinder blast
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
The death of three persons in separate cylinder blasts in less than a week has raised serious doubts on the handling and transport of cylinders filled with oxygen and other gases in the city.

Today, one person was killed and two others were injured in an oxygen cylinder blast in the city. A leaking cylinder and unsafe method of loading and unloading are said to be the reasons behind the incident.

According to eyewitnesses, deceased Parminderpal Singh (32) was a supplier of oxygen cylinders in the city. He had his shop in Bhardwaj Market near the Sangeet Cinema. Today, when he was supervising the unloading of a truckload of cylinders, one cylinder exploded killing him on the spot. His employees, Mangal and Soni, were also injured and were rushed to a hospital. They are stated to be out of danger.

Such was the impact of the blast that pieces of twisted metal were strewn more than 25-30 metres from the site.

This is the second such blast in the city, which has proved fatal. On May 16, a similar incident took place killing a couple in their residence in the Kot Mangal Singh locality. 



Jain’s death: panel presses for case registration
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 20
The Joint Action Committee constituted to expose the ‘killers’ of Sham Sunder Jain, former vice-president and local councillor, resolved to launch a struggle against the district police that is allegedly hesitant to register a murder case in connection with his death. The decision was taken at a protest rally organised near the Gandhi Chowk on Wednesday.

Terming the death of Jain as a cold-blooded murder, leaders of various social and political parties alleged that the police had been acting on the behest of killers. “Though circumstantial evidence points towards the murder, the police was still hesitant to register a case. So we impress upon the authorities to depute some agency to probe the matter,” said the leaders.

The rally was attended by a large number of persons, including activists of the BKU (Ugrahan), Arhtiyas Union, Beopar Mandal, Congress and SAD.

The leaders of these organisations held a meeting at the Market Committee Office after the rally and constituted an executive committee that would take up the matter with the higher authorities.

Mr Balwant Singh Ghudani, general secretary, BKU (Ugrahan), Mr Sinder Singh Kanganwal, Chairman, Market Committee, Mr Jagwant Singh Jaggie president of SAD unit, and Mr Bittu Singla, president, Beopar Mandal spoke on the occasion.



Mother, daughter missing since July
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, May 20
Gurbachan Singh, a resident of Karamsar, Rara Sahib, apprehends foul play in the mysterious disappearance of his wife and daughter since July, 2004. In a complaint to the DIG, Ludhiana, he has alleged that his wife Sangita and 14-year-old daughter Mandeep Kaur went missing under mysterious circumstances from Gurdwara Kalgidhar here on July 7, 2004.

Mr Gurbachan Singh suspects that both his wife and daughter were allegedly murdered by Inderjit Kaur, a resident of Katahari Road, Rara Sahib, as the family had a dispute with the latter and she had threatened him of dire consequences.

The complainant said he had approached a number of senior officials, including the SSPs of Khanna and Ludhiana and the DSP of Khanna regarding the case but no action had been taken against the accused and they were moving about freely. He further said he and other members of his family too felt insecure, both physically and financially at the hands of Inderjit Kaur and her accomplices.

He demanded that a probe be conducted by the SSP of Khanna as his wife’s statements were recorded with him.



Vet doctors, pharmacists on collision course
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 20
Taking strong exception to the demand by veterinary pharmacists for rights to treat sick animals, the Punjab State Veterinary Officers’ Association (PSVOA) has urged the state government not to bow to the pressure tactics of pharmacists.

Addressing a meeting of the state executive of the body here last evening, Dr Ashok Kumar Sharma, president and Dr Paramjeet Singh, secretary of PSVOA observed that the functionaries of the state veterinary pharmacists union were trying to mislead the government by claiming that they were performing the entire work of the department and therefore, they were entitled to the right to treat sick animals.

Dr Paramjeet Singh, who is also the member of Punjab State Veterinary Council said the pharmacists appeared to have reacted to the public notice issued by state veterinary council under the Indian Veterinary Council Act 1984. The notice says that no person, other than registered veterinary practitioner, would hold office as veterinary physician or surgeon and further practice veterinary medicine in any state, provided that the state government by order, permit a diploma or certificate holder to render minor veterinary services under supervision and directions of registered veterinary practitioner.

The PSVOA functionaries further maintained that the demand by the pharmacists to be given right to treat animals was ridiculous since providing medical care to the animals was a job needing expertise. “If the demand by the pharmacists is accepted, then some class IV employees, who render assistance to the pharmacists in minor veterinary procedures, may also demand similar rights (to treat animals) in future.”

Dr T.P. Saini, senior president of the association said the pressure tactics being used by the pharmacists to make the government concede their demand were reprehensible. In a bid to show the veterinary doctors in bad light, the pharmacists were publically saying that the disease, haemorrhagic septicemia (HS) would spread among animals during this season because the vaccination was not being administered properly. “The government must realise that vaccination is the job of veterinary pharmacists and if someone is not doing his duty properly, strict action should be taken against him.”

He denied the allegation of pharmacists on the work of vaccination, which he claimed, was being done in the desired manner. Dr Saini asked the veterinary doctors to send the schedule of HS and FMD vaccination in writing to their senior officers and also submit reports if the pharmacists were not complying with their orders.

Other speakers at the meeting, including Dr Nirmaljit Singh and Dr Sandhu, secretaries of PSVOA, asked the government to initiate strict disciplinary action against those veterinary pharmacists, who were neglecting the work of vaccination and those found treating the animals without seeking direction and supervision of veterinary doctors.



Adopt e-system for speedy tax refunds: Bar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 20
The Income Tax Department will act speedily on the matter of pending refunds and grievances if the applications are submitted and registered through computerised Assessees Correspondence Management System.

Stating this, Mr Ashok Juneja and Mr Ajay Paul Singh, president and general secretary, respectively, Taxation Bar Association, apprised the general house meeting here today of the new computerised system working at Aaykar Bhavan here. They asked all Bar members to switch over to the new system so that the department could dispose off all pending cases without any delay.

At the meeting the new office-bearers and executive members of the association assured the house that they would put in their best efforts to improve the prestige and working system of the association. Mr Juneja said the association had constituted a study circle panel and a tour and sports committee so that programmes for professional interaction and other issues could be chalked out efficiently.

Mr B.R. Kaushal, convener, and Mr Satish Aggarwal, member of the study circle, highlighted the provisions of Section 80 of the Income Tax Act and fringe benefit tax, respectively. The bar members were told that as part of modernisation drive and to bring more transparency, the department had entrusted National Securities Depository Limited to establish a nationwide tax information network and five facilitation centres had already started accepting TDS returns in the city.



Rajiv Gandhi remembered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
An impressive function to commemorate the martyrdom of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was organised in Bachat Bhavan, here today.
Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, presided over the function and administered the oath to denounce terrorism and to work for the strengthening of unity and integrity of the country.

Addressing the gathering, he said the objective behind observance of this day was anti-terrorism day was to wean people away from terrorism and the cult of violence.

He further said that Rajiv Gandhi had sacrificed his life for the unity and integrity of the country and while drawing inspiration from his martyrdom, we should strive to carve out a harmonious society.



30 acres demarcated for new grain market
Our Correspondent

Doraha, May 20
A total of 30 acres of land has been demarcated for the establishment of a new grain market on the out- skirts of the town. Mr Jasminder Sandhu, chairman of the Market Committee, Sahnewal, today said the flooring would be completed by the coming paddy season and sale shall be initiated in the new grain market.

“Many problems encountered by the farmers, would now be resolved,” he said. “The new grain market shall also end the problem of the frequently closed level crossing of Sahnewal. Farmers of 59 villages, bringing their produce to Sahnewal, shall now face no such problems,” Mr Sandhu added. 



10 injured in mishap
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 20
A major accident was averted when a private bus hit pedestrians and vehicles near the bus stand here today. As many as 10 persons were injured who were discharged after first aid.

According to the police, the bus had left the terminus and was on its way to Payal when the accident occurred. The brakes of the bus failed following which it rammed into pedestrians and vehicles, injuring 10 persons.

Several scooters and autorickshaws were damaged. The police and authorities concerned are investigating the road worthiness of the vehicle.



Father held for ‘raping’ daughter
Our Correspondent

Doraha, May 20
A case of a father allegedly raping his 14-year old daughter thrice in four days has come to light.
The victim, who is a minor, has alleged that her father, Mr Narinder Singh, son of Mr Dilip Singh of Siora village abused her physically on May 9, then raped her thrice on May10, 11 and 13.

He was under the influence of drugs at that time, she alleged.

She said that her mother, Rajpal Kaur, helplessly watched the whole incident as she was under constant threat from her father.

The victim had been staying with her maternal parents till now at Aasi Kalan. It was only in April this year that she came to stay with her parents at Siora and got admitted in standard X at Government High School, Siora.

Relating her story, she said: “On May 14, I along with my mother and brother Gurdeep Singh, who is a ninth standard student, returned to my maternal parents house at Aasi Kalan, I wished to run away from the harsh reality that stared me in the face.”

It was only after her return yesterday that she narrated her story to the police, which in turn registered a case against the accused.

Mr Balkar Singh, ASI, Payal police station, who is dealing with the case, said the accused Narinder Singh has been arrested and has admitted to having committed the crime. 



Girl missing

Khanna, May 20
A minor girl of Guru Ravidass mohalla has gone missing since yesterday. Mr Sohan Singh, father of the girl, lodged a complaint today that her daughter Hardeep Kaur (15) was alone in the house with a relative. She went out of the house to meet her friend but did not return. OC


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