L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Dacoits strike at house 
Decamp with Rs 20 lakh, jewellery 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 21
In the biggest dacoity of this year, nearly 10 armed dacoits struck at the house of a landlord in Country Homes, South City, here last night and decamped with Rs 20 lakh cash and jewellery after tying up the landlord, his wife and four servants. The landlord is a former patwari.

The landlord, Mr Bawa Singh Pandher, and his wife, Amarjit, were alone in the house while their son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren were away to a hill station. Four servants, Prem Bahadur, Titu Ram, Bhajan Singh and Ramesh, were present at the time of the incident.

The dacoits forced their way into the house after scaling the wall at about 9pm and left the house at 4am. The clean-shaven dacoits were speaking both Hindi and Punjabi. They left the couple shocked.

Surprisingly, no police official was available for giving details about the incident. Policemen even prevailed over the victims to keep mediapersons at bay. Panic engulfed residents following the dacoity as palatial but isolated houses are prone to such strikes.

One of the dacoits rang the bell at the entrance gate to divert the attention of one of the servants doing night guard duty. The dacoit claimed that he was a relative of the landlord and his car had broken down. The guard went inside to ask the landlord.

When he went in he was overpowered by the dacoits who had already tied up the servants and the couple.

Sources said the family had just sold off some property worth Rs 9 lakh. The dacoits were interestingly aware of the money and asked the owner about it. The dacoits also took away Rs 3 lakh, jewellery items and four mobile sets. A Fiat Uno car taken away by the dacoits was later recovered near the railway station.

They also took away a revolver but left behind an airgun which was recovered by the police. A case under Sections 392, 457 and 342 of the IPC has been registered.



PUDA Act being flouted
High-rise violation in periphery area
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 21
In violation of the Punjab Urban Development and Planning Authority (PUDA), Act, 1995 several multi-storeyed buildings are coming up outside the limits of the Municipal Corporation.

Though the PUDA Act, 1995 does not allow the construction of any building within 30-metre radius of the outer boundary of the Public Works Department, (PWD), land outside the municipal limits, construction of many such structures is going on in violation of the Act.

A survey along the entire Ferozepore Road, which has been declared a scheduled road by the PWD, has revealed that a number of new buildings, shopping malls, automobile showrooms, marriage palaces and banks with ATMs had thrown the norms to the winds.

Although the PWD had issued notices to many building owners asking them to demolish the disputed structures themselves within a stipulated time, owners had not paid any heed to the notices.

While new markets are mushrooming, old buildings are also being transformed into multistoreyed complexes. This despite the fact that the PWD authorities had put up a notice board boldly stating that such constructions were illegal. Interestingly, a building, which is being elevated to a five-storeyed complex is just 300 metres away from the board. Here, the construction work is in full swing, but the authorities concerned out seem to be overlooking the violations.

In fact so many structures have come up on a stretch of road between octroi post and Threeke-Aiyali Chowk that on entering the area one gets the feeling of entering a big city with multiplexes.

Surprisingly, even though the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities cannot provide electricity connections to any building constructed on scheduled road till a no-objection certificate in issued by the PWD, almost all buildings have power supply connections.

While the violations are in abundance, the PWD officials are sitting easy after issuing the notices. Although these buildings came into existence years ago, no action has been taken against anybody so far.

Mr Ajmer Singh, SDO, PWD said the department had issued notices to as many as 50 owners, who were asked to raze the illegal structures themselves within a period of 60 days. When asked whether any action would be taken against the violators for not responding to the notices, he said he would just refer the case to senior officials. ‘‘Then it would be their prerogative to deal with the matter, ’’ he added.

Those constructing such buildings within the MC limits have to produce various NOCs besides paying many taxes to the civic body. But owners of these illegal markets do not have to fulfill such formalities and pay any tax.

Moreover, the garbage generated by the complexes has become a problem for the panchayats of nearby villages as most. Panchayats do not have the required infrastructure to dispose off the garbage.

Due to the parking of vehicles outside the complexes, trees do not survive along the roadsides. Many young saplings planted by a Baddowal-based voluntary organisation this year have been damaged due to this only.



Police keeps newsmen at bay
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 21
If you cannot check crime, “check the queries” of the mediapersons. This seems to be the new mantra of the city police as was suggested by the way in which the police avoided media queries over the south city robbery throughout the day. The police also prevailed upon the victim family to keep photographers and reporters at bay.

A large number of mediapersons had reached the House No. 1, Country Homes, owned by retd. patwari Bawa Singh to cover the event but the gates were kept locked. The mediapersons learnt that the police had prevailed upon the victim family to keep them at bay. The mediapersons informed the family that they understood their trauma and would not create any scene here.

The police officials of the station concerned and senior officials, including the detective wing, could not be contacted despite several attempts throughout the day. This left the mediapersons wondering if the cops were ducking out of the situation to avoid embarrassing questions.

It is a common knowledge that gangs of robbers or dacoits always strike during or after the paddy or wheat sowing as well as harvesting season. Yet , the police had not launched any night patrolling exercise.

Mediapersons were left without any information about the biggest dacoity of the year for the better part of the day. While the position of the family members was understandable, the stand adopted by the police was not less than baffling. A statement by the police could only have cleared the initial confusion about the exact loss suffered by the family.

Interestingly, during a recent visit of the state Chief Minister, certain city cops had requested the mediapersons time and again for not asking questions about another major robbery that had taken place sometime ago.



Canal tragedy leaves this family shattered
Tribune News Service

A file photo of little Vicky with his sisters and mother
A file photo of little Vicky with his sisters and mother. — A Tribune photo

Ludhiana, June 24
The hopes of a local labourer’s family of finding their 12-year-old son alive, after he had gone missing on last Wednesday morning, dashed to the ground when they learnt that the child was one of the six victims of the canal electrocution mishap.

Pal Singh, an uncle of the missing child, Vicky, today identified his photographs kept with the police. He said Harbhajan Singh, one of the heroes of the tragedy who had saved several lives, had also identified the photographs of the boy. The family lives near Dugri.

With their claim, one of the two unidentified victims of the tragic incident has been identified. The other was a 23-year-old youth.

The news have devastated the family especially his mother, Satnam Kaur, who became unconscious when she learnt about it. Till now, the family had some hopes that the boy would be found alive. Vicky was the only brother of three elder sisters.

Pal Singh said Vicky used to go swim in the canal and had left the house on Wednesday morning but did not return. The mishap took place in the evening on that day. The family did not know that he was in the canal. ‘‘We were under the impression that he could not spent the entire day there and searched him at friends, relatives house.’’

He said today they showed his pictures to the eye-witnesses and the police and learnt that the unidentified body cremated by the cops was of Vicky. 



Scorching sun hits life
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 21
Normal life in the city has been virtually paralysed , due to the prevailing heat-wave which is taking its toll in the plains.
Otherwise busy commercial centres of the city, as also the city roads , are wearing a rather deserted look for the past week or so due to the severe heat-wave conditions, Yesterday, the season’s hottest day at 45°C was the toughest for those working during day time. Even after the sunset at 8 pm temperature was sizzling at 42°C.

Added to this was the six-hour power cut. Swimming pools of the city and the canals other water channels around it are attracting youngsters and others in large numbers. While those who cannot go to a water channel, are preferring to stay indoors during the day.

Though weather experts have predicted scattered pre-monsoon showers in the next 48 hours, they have not so far given any tentative date for the arrival of the monsoons which reached Mumbai a couple of days ago.



Heat wave may continue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 21
There will be no respite from the intense heat wave that has gripped the northern India for last several days. The heat wave is likely to last for some days more. The sources in the Meteorological Department disclosed that the intense heat was likely to prevail along with humid atmosphere.

While the day temperature recorded yesterday was 44°C today. It was slightly less at 42.4°. But the intensity of heat remained the same as the atmosphere was slightly humid. The temperature according to the experts, is likely to remain the same during the coming days.

The met experts said although everybody expected the monsoons to arrive in time, around the end of this month, yet nothing was sure and certain. This year there were not even the pre-monsoon rains leaving the weather hot and dry.



All set for BEd entrance test
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 21
Last minute arrangements are being made by Panjab University here to conduct the BEd entrance test smoothly and peacefully. More than 40,000 students from all over the state are expected to take the exam tomorrow, out of which 5,000 students will take the exam in Ludhiana district alone.

A total 160 centers have been set up by the university at all district headquarters. A team of Ludhiana Tribune visited some of the colleges and centers for the BEd entrance examination.

Panjab University has set up 20 centers in various colleges in Ludhiana. These centers are divided in two zones. Two co-ordinators are appointed to monitor the zones with 10 centers each.

Three centers each are set up in Government College for Women, GGN Khalsa College and Arya College, four centers in SCD Government College, two each in SDP College for Women, Ramgarhia College and Guru Nanak Khalsa College, Model Town and one center in Malwa College.

Mr Tarsem Bahia, former Principal AS College, Khanna and Fellow, Panjab University and Mr Amarjit Singh Dua, Dean Colleges, Guru Nanak Dev University, have been appointed coordinators for the entrance exam.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Bahia said they wanted the test to be smoothly conducted at all centers. “For this we are getting help from Principals concerned and senior lecturers. Last minute arrangements are being monitored minutely so that students do not face any problem tomorrow”, said Mr Bahia.

It may be mentioned here that the paper will start at 10 a.m. and students will be required to occupy their seats 15 minutes before the exam. The first paper will be of one and a half duration and there will be a break of twenty minutes. But students will not be allowed to leave their seats during the break. The second paper will finish at 12.50 p.m.



BJP, CPI criticise hike in petroleum prices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 21
The local units of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) have condemned the hike in the petroleum prices. They said it would hit the common man and there would be consequent rise in the prices of essential commodities.

Dr Subash Verma, district president of the BJP, Mr Pran Bhatia, president of the Urban Development Cell, and Mr Anil Sarin, state secretary, regretted that the Congress led United Progressive Alliance government had continuously raised the prices of the petroleum products. Mr Sarin said during the past one year of the UPA rule the prices of petrol had risen by Rs 10.50 and the diesel by Rs 7.25.

Mr Kartar Singh Bowani, Dr Arun Mitra, and Mr OP Mehta, secretary, assistant secretary and city secretary, respectively, of the local unit of the CPI have also condemned the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel. They said this would put extra burden on the ordinary man and lead to rise in the prices of all essential commodities.

They said the government had done this despite the CPI’s and other the Left parties’ suggestion that ways and means to avert hike should be explored. They said the party would launch a nationwide stir against the hike. 



MCPI criticises petrol price hike
Our Correspondent

Doraha, June 21
The Marxist Communist Party of India has criticised the hike in petrol and diesel prices along with the recent increase in power tariff, terming it as highly “unfortunate” for the farmers and sheer “exploitation” by the Congress government.

In a statement, Mr Lakhwinder Singh Buani, district unit secretary and Mr Pawan Kumar Kaushal, state committee member of the MCPI, have criticised the hike, especially in the rates of diesel at a time when it is most required by the farmers for irrigation purposes .

“The worst hit is the farming community, which is already debt-ridden. The recent hike shall only help in rubbing salt on their wounds.

The withdrawal of 10 per cent discount for rural sector and an additional burden of 10 per cent in the farm of power tariff, has literally broken the backbone of the farmers.”

The Congress government, they allege, have throughout worked for their personal gains much against the common interests.

The MCPI leadership has asked the CPM and the CPI to withdraw support to the UPA government if they really wish to serve the common man and stand for their rights and just demands. “In the wake of such crisis , they said,” We can pressurise the ruling party only by planning some joint strategy and working for the common cause by forming a joint front.” 



SAD(A) criticises Badal’s statement
Our Correspondent

Mandi, Ahmedgarh, June 21
The SAD (A) has reacted sharply to the statement of Mr Parkash Singh Badal in which the he had alleged that Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh were disturbing the hard earned peace in the state.

Mr Charan Singh Lohara, general secretary of the party, today said Mr Badal had arrived at an understanding with the Congress to project Mr Mann and his associate leaders as antinational and disruptive leaders.

Accusing the former Chief Minister and Bibi Jagir Kaur, president of the SGPC, of getting their hidden agenda to suppress the movement launched by SAD(A) to get more constitutional powers and freedom for Sikhs through a peaceful struggle, he said they were trying to do so by using government machinery and the police.

“Acting at the instance of the two leaders the Punjab Police had registered false cases of sedition against Mr Mann and other senior leaders on June 8. Had the police acted on its own the cases could have been registered on the respective days when the said speeches were made,” argued Mr Lohara.

Reacting to repeated reference of the relationship of Mr Mann with the Chief Minister Mr Lohara said, “The relationship of Mr Mann and Captain Amarinder is only through their in-laws and that has been there much before Mr Mann stepped into politics, but how would Mr Badal explain marrying his own daughter to the grandson of former Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Partap Singh Kairon.”

He cited many examples proving how Mr Badal had willingly established marital relations of his relatives in renowned Congress families.

Mr Lohara accused the SGPC and the SAD of acting on the behest of Hindutva organisations. “The case against Mr Mann was registered on the complaint of Harjinder Singh, an employee of SGPC, who mentioned the name of Beant Singh as an assassin of Indira Gandhi and father of Sarabjit Singh, whereas the Jathedar of Akal Takht had presented a siropa to him only two days earlier,” said Mr Lohara.

The language used by the complainant showed that some RSS leader had dictated the contents of the report, he pointed out.

He called upon the leaders of various political and social organisations to impress upon the Centre and state government to invite the leaders of Sikh organisations which had earlier been banned as extremism in the state was a political issue and not a law and order problem. 



Oppn warns govt against spread of militancy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 21
Cutting across ideological affiliations, leaders of various opposition parties have warned the government against any complacency in dealing with extremism in the state. The leaders of the SAD, the BJP and the Left organisations have expressed concern over the reported network established by the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) across the state.

Senior BJP leader and former MP Lala Lajpat Rai observed that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, should own moral responsibility and resign from his post. He pointed out that it was the “total failure”of the state police, particularly its intelligence wing, that Jagtar Singh Hawara, Indian head of the BKI was leading a comfortable life in Punjab only. “How is it possible that the local intelligence network of the Punjab police failed to mark him out?”, he asked, while adding, “Let us not forget that it was the Delhi Police that arrested Hawara from outside the Punjabi University campus in Patiala”.

The BJP leader observed that questions were being raised over the efficiency of the Punjab police, which had earned accolades across the country for crushing militancy. He said, the entire police and the intelligence set-up needed to be overhauled and the responsibility fixed as to how Hawara went unnoticed even after his marriage.

Senior Akali leader and general secretary of the SAD, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, also warned against the spread of militancy in the state. He said the issue needed to be given a serious thought.

A senior Communist leader and national general secretary of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI), Mr Jagjit Singh Lyalpuri in a statement condemned the Congress government for encouraging “religious extremism” in the state. 



Jhuggi dwellers draw free power
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 21
Even as the Punjab State Electricity Board has hiked the power prices in the state, jhuggi dwellers of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar are drawing free power through kundi connections the PSEB authorities prefer to sleep over the problem.

Despite the fact that the area residents have taken up the matter with authorities a number of times the jhuggi dwellers continue to draw power illegally cocking a snook at the authorities.

Taking up the matter once again with Chairman of PSEB, Mr Pran Nath Bhatia, former councillor, said the jhuggi dwellers had hundreds of kundi connections and were enjoying free power though the residents had to suffer as the power cables were not able to take that much of load.

A visit to the area revealed that slum-dwellers had erected their own poles and connected their own wires to get the electric supply. Almost all jhuggis had television sets, high power music systems, room coolers, refrigerators and many other electric gadgets.

Mr Bhatia said their children could not study as they played music very loudly. They gather at one place and then watch a movie and indulge in hooliganism.

The residents said the jhuggis had sprung up in the area seven years ago and following protest by residents, the jhuggis were razed during the tenure of former Chairman, Mr M.M. Vyas. These came up again before the elections and some candidates got their names included in the voters’ list. Later, nobody was able to remove them.

They said more than 250 jhuggis had come up on an area of 475 acres belonging to the Improvement Trust. The jhuggi dwellers were creating problems for them by drawing electricity through kundi connections thereby increasing the load on the power supply in the area. They also reared pigs, which created nuisance by entering the green belts of the houses.

Moreover, the dwellers used the parks as urinals and open toilets, creating breeding grounds for disease.

The residents threatened that if the LIT authorities did not redress their grievances they would be forced to agitate. They added that it was the duty of the LIT to provide proper environment and proper amenities to the residents as the area was developed by it.



Claim on power supply hollow, says Pandhi
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 21
All claims of the Punjab Government to provide regular power supply during paddy season to farmers have proved hollow, said senior Akali leader and former minister Dalip Singh Pandhi while talking to mediapersons after a tour of several villages today. He visited Machhrai Kalan, Kaul Garh, Bhadal Thuha and Bharpurgarh, and found that power supply there was found negligible.

Bharpurgarh village is attached with urban feeder to ensure 24-hour power supply but the transformer out of order for the past 10 days. All efforts of villagers for its replacement have failed. Bhadal Thuha village was also brought under urban supply scheme.

The former minister who had represented this constituency in the Vidhan Sabha several times in the past was unhappy over the
deteriorating sanitation condition of Amloh town which was surrounded by gardens, water tanks and known for quality sanitation during erstwhile Nabha State.

During the tenure of the Akali government he had taken initiative to provide drainage system on the Chandigarh pattern. Now there is only one drain which had never been desilted since its laying around 18 years ago.

It fails to carry drainage water to the disposal pond. Mr Pandhi pointed out that he had also brought this matter to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib and the SDM, Amloh.

Mr Pandhi was critical of the hike in petrol and diesel prices which has hit the peasantry as costs of inputs in farming has increased manyfold as compared to the prices of the farm produce.



Ludhiana district fared in giving loans: ADC (General)
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 21
The district has performance well in lending loans through banks under different schemes during the year 2004- 2005 by achieving 111 per cent above the fixed target by lending loans amounting to Rs 2802 crore to the priority sector against the fixed target 2514 crore.

This was stated by Mr Ajmer Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner (General), while addressing the quarterly review meeting of the district level review committee of the bankers held at Bachhat Bhavan here today.

He informed that during the last year all banks in the district had done commendable work in achieving the target under all schemes and created awareness among the people regarding the schemes by organising 532 awareness camps in different villages. He asked the district officers of different government agencies to ensure that the proper co- ordination with the banks so that the maximum number of beneficiaries could be covered.

He said keeping in view 30 per cent increase in the credit for agriculture and allied activities by government, the banks should accord priority to this sector during the current financial year, so that the fixed target of Rs 1272 crore of loans could be achieved.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner informed that aggregate deposits of the banks in the district have touched to Rs 12227 crore, which is Rs 308 crore more from the last year.

Mr Jeet Singh, Lead Manager, Punjab and Sind Bank, giving the details of the achievement of the banks in the district.

Those present on this occasion included Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, MP, Mr Harnesh Kumar, DDM, NABARD, Mr R.L. Khera, LBO RBI, and Mr Gurmit Singh Lead Bank Manager.



Mystery over the missing boy continues

Ludhiana, June 21
Mystery shrouds the whereabouts of a student of the BVM school who was allegedly drowned in a river near Sunder Nagar where he had gone with a school trip.
Though the family of the missing boy was informed that the boy, Dikshit Dhanda, had drowned after falling accidentally in the river, the exact cause of death or whether he had died or survived the fall was not known till date.

Mr Ashok Dhanda, father of the missing boy, was camping in Sunder Nagar. He told Ludhiana Tribune over the phone that some divers were pressed into service but could not find his body.

The local police said they cannot investigate the role of the school management till the aggrieved family complains formally to the police seeking some action. TNS



Motorcyclist killed
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 21
One motorcyclist was killed and another was injured seriously when their vehicles collided.
It is learnt that Paramjit Singh of Gure village was returning home from Jagraon when his motorcycle collided with Taranjit Singh’s motorcycle at chowkiman on the Jagraon-Ludhiana G T road, 10 km from here. Taranjit Singh belongs to Mann village. 



Farmer falls into well, dies
Our Correspondent

Khamano, June 21
A farmer of nearby Bhari village died when he fell into a well, while coming upstairs after some repair. According to information, Harbhajan Singh who was coming out of the well through iron stairs, lost his control and fell on the motorfan , resulting severe injury on his head. He died on the spot. His body was handed over to his family members after inquiry under section 174 IPC. 



Five booked for assault
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 21
Pritam Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Harchand Singh, Balwinder Kaur and Ranjit Kaur of Birmi village allegedly attacked Bhupinder Singh of the same village and injured him. A dispute over land is said to be the cause of the assault. The police has registered a case under Sections 323, 324, 506, 148, 149 of the IPC. No arrest has been made so far.



Commerce chamber alleges hoarding by steel plants
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 21
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, has alleged that government steel plants are indulging in hoarding as their inventory levels are rising. Sail, in particular, has a very high level of steel inventory hoarding.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber, has drawn his attention to this serious offence and sought a probe. The hoarding of commodities lead to a hike in the prices and other malpratices, he has alleged. Hoarding is taking place despite the fact this is considered an anti- social activity.

Mr Sharma has said that the inventory level of steel by SAIL during the past two months was reported at 365 per cent. This inventory level was 1,19,000 tonnes in April which went up to 5,54,000 tonnes in May and sail managed to reduce the pig iron inventory marginally by 10 per cent from 21,000 tonnes to 19,000 tonnes.

Another government plant, RINL, has a similar built-up of inventory which stood at 1,75,000 tonnes on April 1 and went up to 4,14,000 tonnes by May-end, registering a rise of 136 per cent. Similarly the pig iron inventory of this plant rose by 103 per cent. TISCO, in private sector, however, marginally reduced the inventory of finished steel by 2 per cent from 101000 tonnes to 99,000 tonnes in the same period. This was a clear case of speculation, he charged.

While pointing out the profit margins of these companies, Mr Sharma has stated that for sail the increase in net sales was 32. 36 per cent and increase in the price of raw material was 23.58 per cent but the net profit rose by 171.37 per cent. For Tata Steel, the net increase in the sale was 35.74 per cent and the net increase in the raw materials cost, 1.97 per cent.

Mr Sharma has further pointed out that steel production in chain has risen by 22 per cent and the steel prices there are falling rapidly due to over production. The steel prices in India have not fallen they have in the international market.

The chamber has urged upon the Prime Minister to order a high-level inquiry into these practices by the steel plants so that the consumers get a fair deal. The irony is that the steel plants were trying to get the import duty raised on steel in the face of large profits.

The chamber has sought reduction in the import duty as the government was making more and more trade agreements with other countries.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |