L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Robbers kill 75-yr-old jeweller, injure wife
Decamp with cash, ornaments
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 27
Two unidentified armed robbers with muffled faces killed a septuagenarian, injured his wife and decamped with gold and cash worth lakhs from their house in Taj Ganj Mohalla on Gaushala Road near the Division No. 3 police station in the wee hours today.

Jaswant Rai, a 75-year-old jeweller and financier, was killed after being stabbed a number of times in his stomach and chest. Hiw wife, Bhagya Devi (70), was injured as the robbers snatched her necklace and earrings. She has been admitted to the CMC and is in a state of shock. The police said the exact loss would be ascertained after she recovered.

Jaswant Rai was declared brought dead at the CMC.The elderly couple used to stay alone in their house. Their two sons lived with their families near their house only.

The police said the incident came to light when the couple’s milkman entered the house and saw both of them lying unconscious. He raised the alarm and informed the neighbours, who called up the couple’s sons. The couple was rushed to the CMC.

Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SP, City-I, who reached the spot, said the robbers probably entered the house in the wee hours today after ringing the doorbell. The elderly man might have offered resistance to them and was stabbed.

The spot presented a ghastly sight with blood spilled all over the bedroom. Almirahs were ransacked. The police pressed a dog squad into service. The house was sealed as forensic experts were on the job to lift finger prints. The SP (D), Mr Gurpreet Singh Toor, the DSP Mr R.K. Sharma and the SHO, Mr Manjit Singh, were conducting investigations on the spot. The police has registered a case under Sections 302 and 307 of the IPC.

Mr Toor said the loss had not been ascertained as yet, but the family had a very big safe. They said they might have had a lot of gold in it as they had five or six jewellery shops in the city. He added that the elderly woman was not in position to give a statement to the police.

Neighbours, who did not want to be identified said they saw a man with muffled face carrying a bag on the street during the wee hours today. The couple’s sons are jewellers and have independent shops.



LPG agency sealed
Consumers left in the lurch
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 27
Even after five days of a local LPG (cooking gas) agency catering to nearly 10,000 consumers in Haibowal locality in the city was sealed by Department of Food and Civil Supplies here for various irregularities, no alternative arrangements for supply of refill cylinders to the residents has been made, so far.

The office of Harprabh Gas Agency and its godown were put under lock and key by the department after an autorickshaw carrying cylinders was intercepted and some cylinders were found under-weight on Friday last. Neither the department, nor the oil company concerned, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), has taken steps to make alternative arrangements for maintaining the supply of gas refills to the consumers.

According to information gathered by the Ludhiana Tribune, each gas agency in the city supplies anything between 300 to 450 gas refills everyday. This includes home delivery of cylinders and sales made at the 

In other words, 2,000 consumers of this particular gas agency have no one to turn to for the supply of LPG refills.

The District Food and Supplies Controller, Ms Harsimrat, was not available for comments despite repeated attempt. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, was out of town to attend a meeting at Chandigarh.

Mr Ashu Bharti, Manager (LPG) and Mr Surjit Sandhu, Senior Sales Officer, BPCL, both based at Jalandhar, visited Ludhiana today to deal with the situation arising from closure of the agency.

Mr Bharti rued the fact that officials of the Department of Food and Supplies had made no attempt to get in touch with the company during the intervening 

“The company (BPCL) is virtually the custodian of the LPG being supplied by its distributors and we should have been officially intimated by the department about closure of the agency so that we could have taken timely measures to make alternative arrangements and save a large number of LPG consumers from harassment.”

He said some mechanism to resume the supply of LPG refills to consumers of this agency would be in place in a day or so.



5 booked for intimidating IT officials
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 27
The police has booked five persons, for alleged obstruction, assault and criminal intimidation during income tax raids at the residence of Sunny, employee with G.K. Estates in Lajpat Nagar locality here yesterday.

While no arrests have been made so far, it is learnt that two persons, Manish Kumar, brother of Sunny, and Ms Shweta had been rounded up for questioning by the police. Other accused facing criminal charges under Sections 353, 186 and 506, IPC including Sunny, his mother Neena Babbar and brother of Gulshan Kumar, a coloniser, are stated to be at large.

In a complaint lodged with the police by Mr Harcharan Singh Sidhu, Income Tax Officer with the Directorate of Investigation of the Income Tax Department here, it was alleged that the raids commenced at 7.30 am on Tuesday and search warrant issued by the Director General (Investigation) was shown to Sunny and his family members.

According to the complaint, at around 2 pm, when IT officials seized, valuables, cash and other incriminating documents, the accused started threatening them, if anything was taken from the house.

“Not only Sunny and his family members made attempts to obstruct the officials from performing their duty, but they also refused to sign the “panchnama” (inventory). Somebody threw a packet of seizures down from the first floor of the house in the street which was taken away allegedly by a brother of Gulshan Kumar, who was waiting outside the house,” the complaint added.

While the officials refused to speak about the seized items, they confirmed that the only item they could take along from their house were two fixed deposit receipts of “unspecified amount” which could be a part of the concealed income of the coloniser.



Eight injured in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 27
Eight members of two families were injured seriously when the Tata Sumo they were travelling in collided with a private bus. The accident took place on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla state highway near Akbarpur Chhana village, near here, today.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 338, and 427 of the IPC against the driver of the bus.

According to the police, Nirmal Singh of Mehta Chowk and Sukhwinder Singh of Gillanwali village were going to Patran town to see an NRI relative. They, along with their family members Amarjit Kaur, Sarabjit Kaur, Gurpreet Kaur, Harpreet Kaur, Prem Jot and Jatinder Pal Singh, sustained serious injuries when the Sumo (PB 09 C 1603), heading towards Malerkotla, collided with the bus (PB 31 A 9525), which was on way to Ludhiana.

According to eyewitnesses, the accident took place when the bus coming from the Malerkotla side went out of control while negotiating a curve.

A passerby informed the police, which shifted the injured to the Civil Hospital, Malerkotla. Three of them were referred to a private hospital in Ludhiana.

The bus driver and conductor reportedly fled the spot after the accident.



Gulabi Bagh — victim of MC apathy
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Residents protest against lack of civic amenities in the locality in Ludhiana on Wednesday.
Residents protest against lack of civic amenities in the locality in Ludhiana on Wednesday. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, July 27
Threat of an epidemic is looming large over Gulabi Bagh Mohalla on Tibba Road, thanks to an overflowing sewer, mixing of drinking water with sewage and prevailing unhygienic conditions in the colony.

Repeated complaints to the civic authorities by residents have fallen on deaf ears.

A number of residents staged a demonstration and burnt the effigy of the local civic body in protest against its inaction in providing them with basic civic amenities.

Claiming that many residents had fallen sick due to contaminated water being supplied to them, Mr Moqueed Alam, Chairman of the Aman Seva Society in the area, said local doctors continued to receive cases of water-borne ailments.

He said many residents had been suffering from dysentery and vomiting for the past many days and repeated requests to the authorities to drain water had not been taken notice of.

Mother of Aashmeen, a woman who has been suffering from the same problem for the past two months, said there was no improvement in her condition and doctors were saying that it was due to contaminated water.

The residents allege that it was the ‘‘vote-politics’’ that was forcing them to live amidst stink and dirt as the councillor of the area was allegedly meting step-motherly treatment to this colony as they had not cast votes in his favour during the last elections.

‘‘Everytime we go to him, he says it is an undeclared area. There are a number of colonies that fall in undeclared areas and those are being provided with civic amenities. If we have already been provided with water supply and sewerage despite being residents of undeclared colonies why cannot the manholes be cleaned?’’ asked Mr Mohammad Ashraf, an employee of State Bank of Patiala.

He said in December, development work on a street had started and only 20 per cent of the work was completed after six months. Mr Narinder Singh, another resident, said they had complained to the Deputy Commissioner, the Commissioner, MC, and the Joint Commissioner a number of times. Some sanitary inspectors had also visited the area, but in vain.

Mr Kuldeep Janda, area councillor, said the sewerage was being cleaned and workers were employed to do the job. He said the manholes had choked some 15 days ago and it would take some time to clean those.

It was the political vendetta against him that was forcing some people to demonstrate against him. ‘‘Actually, this is an undeclared area and I have started the proceedings to get it declared soon. Some people were angered that this would give me a leverage and they are playing it up against me, ’’ the concillor said.

He added that residents were falling ill because of their unclean habits. ‘‘What can the civic body do if there are 20 persons staying in a house which has the capacity of five. They would fall sick only. ’’



Montek: Gurgaon incident unfortunate
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 27
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, describing the Honda incident at Gurgaon as “unfortunate”, allayed fears that it would affect the inflow of foreign investment to the country.

Mr Ahluwalia was here last evening to attend the installation ceremony of the president of the Rotary Club.

Talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the function, Mr Ahluwalia said there was an urgent need to implement labour reforms to ensure cordial industry environment. However, the government, labour and political leaders needed to be consulted before taking any decision in the direction.

He said the government would take necessary measures to bring the situation back to normal and an isolated incident of labour unrest was not a reflection of industrial environment in the country.

Talking about the 11th Five-Year Plan, he said an average annual growth rate of eight per cent would be the target. While feasibility reports were being prepared, such growth would be possible by focussing on education, health and infrastructure.

He also said the next Five-Year Plan would emphasise on rural development. The contribution of rural India towards economic development could be ignored.

To a query on free power, Mr Ahluwalia said only if the benefit went to the needy, would free power be justified.

Mr Ahluwalia stressed on the need to make Punjab industry-oriented. He expressed concern over declining sex ration in Punjab. Strong measures were needed to improve the deteriorating health and education system in the state, he said.



Says rural growth must
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 27
The Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia has stressed on the need for close coordination between agriculture and industry for accelerated economic growth in the country.

He said, given the fact that Indian economy was primarily agrarian, it was important that the agriculture sector was taken due care along with the industry.

Dr Ahluwalia was addressing a meeting of Deans, Directors, Professors and senior scientists of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here last evening. The meeting was presided over by the Vice- Chancellor, Dr KS Aulakh and attended among others, by the Vice-Chairman of the Punjab Planning Board, Dr SS Johl, and the Deputy Chairperson of the board, Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia.

Dr Ahluwalia, was accompanied by his wife, Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia, as they “wanted to see PAU for its extraordinary contribution in transforming the agriculture economy of Punjab”. He was impressed with the research work conducted by the PAU over the past four decades.

The Planning Commission Deputy Chairman was emphatic about the need to focus on rural development. He pointed out, that India resided in villages and it was important to ensure growth and progress in rural areas.

He laid special focus on rural education, which he said, would set the path for rural development. At the same time he expressed grave concern over the sorry plight of the farmers who were forced to commit suicide.

The PAU Vice-Chancellor brought to his notice the financial problems being faced by the university. He said it was of paramount importance that research institutions like PAU were given sufficient grants for research. The university had made substantial contribution towards agricultural development and had developed 511 varieties and hybrids of different crops, fruits and vegetables.

Dr Johl and Dr Isher Ahluwalia emphasised on the need for diversification. Dr Johl disclosed that a Rs 1000 crore crop diversification project in Punjab had been submitted to the Central Government and hoped it would be approved soon.



ETTs end fast on Dullo’s assurance
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 27
The fasting unemployed elementary trained teachers (ETTs) today end their fast following an assurance by the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, that their problems would be solved at the earliest.

Mr Dullo went to the Civil Hospital, where some of the detained ETTs were admitted, and to the Central Jail and offered juice to them. He said, modalities of their release would be completed and they would be released soon.

Mr Dullo asked police officers not to be harsh with the Elementary Trained teachers.

He reportedly called a senior police officer yesterday in presence of the parents of several agitating and arrested unemployed ETTs and told him in clear terms, “We should not be so harsh with children and must treat the ETTs with kindness and sympathy”.

He reportedly assured the parents of the unemployed ETTs that he would ensure that justice was meted out to everybody. 



Passing Thru

Lisa Ray
Lisa Ray, model and actress 

What do you feel about the growing craze among Bollywood film actors to act in Hollywood films?

I feel it is a good trend. But only if the role is good and it suits the actor, should one go in for it. Besides, the work culture in Hollywood is entirely different. A lot more professionalism is required there to be successful. Merely bagging a role does not assure success.

Of late, you have been engaged in foreign ventures only. Any special reason?

True, I have been busy shooting for films abroad. But not all ventures are foreign ventures. Among my forthcoming films is Deepa Mehta’s ‘Water’.

Any plans to act in Hindi films?

I am happy about the new wave in Hindi films. Movies like “Parineeta”, for instance, are a combination of style and substance. Such roles are an actor’s dream. I would definitely like to be involved in good ventures.

You are a trained actor yourself. Is training important?

The art of acting comes for within, but it is certainly important to polish that art through proper training.

—Shveta Pathak



Migrant finds city cruel, longs to go back to UP
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, July 26
Manoj Kumar Gupta, a young native of Uttar Pradesh, who landed in the city about five days ago in search of work, is desperately longing to be back with his family .

Like thousands of migrants from UP and Bihar, who arrive in the city every day, he had also come to the city with high hopes. However, the unpleasant experiences he went through soon after emerging out of the railway station have made him homesick. First of all, he says, he was beaten up by some cops outside the railway station for no fault of his

And as the night fell, he was chased around by stray dogs.

He did not have enough money to find an accommodation in a city slum.

When told that he could go home by train without a ticket like so many other migrants, a sobbing Manoj Kumar says firmly that he will not travel without a valid ticket. At the same time, he starts pleading for a temporary job which could provide him with enough money to buy a train ticket to go back home. However, he would not like to stay in the city longer than required.

What if he is given a decent job? No, says a broken Gupta. He would not like to live in this “cruel” city. He would thank God when he gets united with his two brothers and parents. He has made up his mind to assist his family in whatever little agriculture they have in the village , he adds. He may leave the city soon, but it seems memories of his Ludhiana days will haunt him for long.



At the Crossroads
Remembering Puran Singh Hunar

Ludhiana, July 27
Exactly a decade ago, Puran Singh Hunar breathed his last in Amritsar on July 3, 1995, at the age of 90. He was an eminent Urdu poet who composed his first ghazal in 1920, when he was studying for his matriculation in Dyal Singh High School, Lahore. His contact with Maulana Tajwar Najibabadi, who taught him Urdu and Persian in that school, proved to be a blessing. The pen-name ‘Hunar’ had also been suggested by his mentor. Luckily, another prominent poet, Pandit Mela Ram Wafa, resided in the same street in which the young Puran Singh lived with his parents in Lahore. So quite early in his life, he came under the influence of a maulana and a pandit. As a result, he was a rare symbol of the composite culture of Punjab that flourished during the pre-Partition days.

He shifted to Amritsar in the early thirties of the last century to take up the editorship of an Urdu monthly, Chaman. In 1935, he passed his honours in Urdu (Adib-e-Fazil) examination from Panjab University, Lahore, and took up the job of a language teacher at a district board school in Amritsar. He retired in 1962 with the record of a meritorious service. Shortly afterwards, Languages Department, Punjab, appointed him as an Urdu teacher for the neo-literates in this language. In right earnest, he took up this job with the sole aim of popularising the language of Mir and Ghalib among the new generation as well as the government officials. He performed this duty till his last breath, so to say.

His first collection of ghazals, Aahang-e-Ghazal, was published in 1960 and thereafter his other collections, comprising both ghazals and poems, appeared at regular intervals. Interestingly, all of his works such as Aahang-e-Ghazal (1960), Jaam-o-Sandaan (1968), Shaakh (1977) and Mata-e-Dard (1989) were adjudged the best books in the years of their publication, either by the Languages Department of the Punjab Government or the Urdu Academy of Uttar Pradesh. Even his collection of short-stories, Motiyon ka Haar (1975), received a prestigious literary award. In 1982 he was honoured with the Shiromani Sahitkar Purskar, which is the ultimate award conferred by the Punjab Government on an eminent litterateur.

During the past seven decades of his life he had been untiringly engaged in thinking new thoughts and devising new methods of expression. Whereas most of his contemporaries appeared outdated, he was forever fresh in his approach to life and letters. He had moved with the times with verve and vigour. In the words of Firaq Gorakhpuri: “Hunar’s poetry, in which his own personality is mirrored, is a ‘guiding light’ for the new generation.” As such there has always been a new charm in what he seeks to convey:

Zehr-aalud awaz hai sab ki

Kis se shagufta lehja maangun

Main hun ‘Hunar’ kaisa diwana

Ik katre se darya maangun

(From whom should I expect a delightful expression, when the voice of everyone is tinged with poison? What sort of a fool I have been to demand a stream from a drop?)

During his visit to Ludhiana in 1992, for participating in an Urdu mushaira, I had the temerity of asking him if he ever had the feeling of being old. He gave a disarming reply, without batting an eyelid: “Yes, at the time when someone touches my feet out of reverence, otherwise I am never conscious of my age.”

In response to another question as to what ambitions of his have so far remained unrealised, he raised his hands towards the sky and said: “God has bestowed on me more than I had ever asked for.”

When asked as to what time was most suitable for him to compose his verses, he remarked: “Whenever I am in a contemplative frame of mind. I have composed verses in classrooms when there is a lull during the teaching work. In long journeys, my mind is best set for such a task. In dreams too, I have composed certain couplets which, on waking up, I jotted down. Loneliness is a pre-condition for attuning my mind to rhyme and rhythm. Take, for instance, this sher of mine:

Aai ‘Hunar’ yakeen jaano, raat ke andhere main

Khahishon ke lashkar se mein ne jung ki tanha

(O’ Hunar, take it as a sheer fact. I have to wage at times a war, in the darkness of the night, against a host of desires.)

By nature he was a loner and craved for the freedom of slipping at will into the world of imagination. He had lived in a three-storeyed building in a congested locality of Amritsar for 65 years at a stretch. He was the only person in living memory who had treaded that street for such a long time.

— N.S. Tasneem



Traffic awareness camp
Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 27
A traffic awareness camp and a camp for the aged was organised by B.S.B. Welfare Society at Dashmesh Public School here which was presided over by Dr Rajesh Kumar, senior official of Helpage India.

The chief guest, Mr D.R. Bhatti congratulated members of the society for organising such seminars and camps from time to time, apart from educating people on traffic rules.

Mr Gursharanjit Singh, general secretary, Punjab State Apex Body of N.G.O.s, highlighted the achievements of the society.

As many as 25 aged persons were given aid in cash and kind by Helpage India. There children were provided books from a book bank being run under the charge of the Human Rights Commission.

An exhibition on traffic rules was organised and posters displaying rules and regulations put up.



Rally in support of Gurgaon workers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 27
A large contingent of the Northern Railway Mazdoor Union marched in procession from the Jagraon bridge to the local railway station here this morning in support of agitating workers of Gurgaon.

The contingent held a rally outside the railway station condemning the police brutality on workers. Among those who addressed the rally was Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, prominent communist leader.



PCCTU gives memo to CM
Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 27
As per the directives of the executive committee, the district councils of all districts of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) have decided to submit a memorandum regarding the problems of teachers working in more than 60 non-government colleges in the state to their respective Deputy Commissioners.

The union has threatened to launch a statewide agitation in case the government fails to act.

Stating this, Dr R.S. Brar, president of the union, condemned the “anti-education” policies of the government which, he said, had tried to phase out the grant of aided private schools.

A deputation of the PCCTU, led by Panjab University Area Secretary Parminder Singh, submitted a memorandum yesterday to Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma for onward submission to the Chief Minister. 



Sikhs handcuffed in New York
Mayor tenders apology
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 27
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has apologised to a group of British 
Sikhs who were on a tour of the US and were handcuffed by the police in New York on Sunday. They were also forced to kneel down.

According to Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Akali Dal (Amritsar), who received information from New York today, the Mayor asked the authorities concerned to ensure that such incidents were not repeated in the future. “It turned out that these people did not present any threat whatsoever and it is a shame that they were harassed. I apologise on behalf of New York,” the Mayor said.

A group of five Sikhs was on a tour of the US, said Prof Jagmohan Singh.

New York City has been on high alert since the London bombings on July 7.

Meanwhile, Sikh representatives have met Mayor of London Ken Livingstone to discuss issues pertaining to the Sikh community in the UK in the wake of the London bombings.

Prof Jagmohan Singh said Ken Livingstone had shown willingness to support the Sikh community. During the meeting it was pointed out to the Mayor that Sikhs were disappointed by the lack of concern by senior politicians for attacks on Sikhs due to their identity.



Postal worker booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 27
A woman employee of main post office, Jagraon, is alleged to have committed a fraud on at least 18 post office account-holders by withdrawing Rs 10,62,972.

She has been booked under Sections 409, and 420, IPC. The employee had been absent from duty since July 15.

According to a press note by Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, Jagraon, Miss Jyoti Bala, a resident of Mohalla Suraj Nagar, Moga, had allegedly committed a breach of trust by withdrawing money from 18 accounts.

This was discovered when Jyoti Bala remained absent from July 15 and another employee was assigned her work.


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