L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bid to burgle ATM
Guard drugged
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 14
Alert police control room personnel foiled a unique burglary attempt in which a man had almost managed to cut open an ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) of Bank of Punjab near RK Machine Toll factory here in the wee hours today.

Two police control room personnel (motor cycle No 52) on routine night patrolling spotted the accused Lal Bahadur, alias Babbu, alias Vijay Kumar, cutting open the ATM at about 3 a.m. today. When the policemen caught him, the man had cut almost 70 per cent of the lower portion of the machine.

The accused had allegedly drugged the security guard posted at the ATM counter by administering a drug-laced ‘ladoo’ to him. The unconscious guard, Surjit Singh, was later admitted to the Oswal Hospital.

The police has also recovered a stolen car (PB 36- 4100) which the accused had parked outside the counter. The car had been stolen from Phagwara four months ago.

DSP R.K. Bakshi told Ludhiana Tribune that there were Rs 9. 16 lakh in the machine when the burglary attempt was made. He said it was only because of the alertness of the policemen that the burglary attempt was foiled.

Police sources said the attempt must ring alarm bells for bank officials who need to put up some kind of alarm system at the ATM counters. The police would take up the matter with the banks.

Mr Bakshi said the attempt came to light when the two cops saw the car parked outside the ATM booth. They initially thought it could be some customer though the time of operating the machine was unusual. Thinking that the man could be having some emergency, the policemen moved on. However, when after 15-20 minutes, they again passed near the counter, they saw that the car was still parked there. The cops went to the counter to check and caught the man red handed.

The accused has been booked under Sections 328,457,380,511 and 427 of the IPC.



Grass hopper attack likely
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 14
Scientists of the Entomology Department at the Punjab Agricultural University have informed that attack of grass hoppers have been detected on various crops like maize, bajra, sorghum, sugarcane, rice in various districts of Punjab.

Farmers are much worried as the grass hopper feeds on the leaves or green matter of various crops. Owing to its habit of feeding only on leaves and remaining confined to border area of tall crops, it has not been categorised as a serious pest.

Scientists said that in rice and sugarcane, it generally did not cause any economic damage and can be managed by keeping the surrounding area free from weeds.

Because it first develops on weeds and then attacks cultivable crops.

However, the scientists have advised that if chemical control measures are required on rice, the pest can be controlled by spraying 800 ml Ekalux 25 EC or 1000 Coroban/Dursban 2OEC or 560 ml Thiodan in 100 litres of water per acre.

They said farmers could spray sorghum, maize fodder crops with 250 to 500 ml of Malathion 50 EC In 100 litre of water.

On bajra crops, dusting the crop with Malathion 5% dust @ 10 kg/acre is recommended. If attack is only on borders then apply insecticides on border rows only.

The scientists have also cautioned the farmers not to feed the fodder to cattles for at least two weeks after spraying.

Also they have advised against the use of melathion dust or monocrotophos on sorghum as it may burn the crop. 



High security for Halwara air base
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 14
Security has been strengthened at the Air Force station, Halwara, in view of apprehensions of subversive activities by terrorist groups. Besides beefing up the security, the authorities have coordinated with the Jagraon police also to enhance surveillance near the strategic base depot.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Police has made elaborate security arrangements in the area to avoid any untoward incident.

Spread in a large area of Ludhiana district, the Air Force station, Halwara, is considered strategically sensitive.

The authorities have been supervising the security arrangements more intensively after the Ayodhya attack on July 5, bomb blasts near an Army camp in Nalbari and blasting of an oil pipeline in Sibsagar district in Assam by the ULFA militants.

The authorities had also taken notice of a rally organised by the activists of SAD (A) near the Air Force station recently.

Wing Commander Rajwant Singh, security in-charge at the Air Force station, claimed that sufficient arrangements to fight any situation or threat had been made.

"Though we have received no specific threat of any kind, we have been keeping a watch on the situation. Besides beefing up security inside the camp we have coordinated with the Jagraon police to enhance surveillance in the proximity of station," he said.

He further said he had been in touch with the circle officer of the Punjab Police and the concerned SHO.

"Besides enhancing patrolling in the proximity of the station, they have provided us with a police party headed by an ASI," said the Wing Commander.

Sophisticated electronic gadgets have been installed at the main entrance to check the entry of any dubious person.

Meanwhile, the security has been enhanced in this area falling under police districts of Sangrur and Jagraon.

Mr Rajiv Ahir, Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagraon, said that supplementary arrangements had been made in view of the Independence Day celebrations.

"Though no special force has been provided, we have tried to make maximum use of the sources at our disposal," said Mr Ahir.

He informed that inter-district coordination had been strengthened and disaster management teams had been constituted to face any situation.

The authorities have already restricted the entry of civilians. 



Relief sought for martyrs’ kin
Mahesh Sharma

Lapran (Ahmedgarh), August 14
Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA, Dakha, urged the state government to expedite the payment of grants and compensation to the families of martyrs who had laid their lives during Kargil war.

Addressing a gathering on the occasion of the fourth martyrdom anniversary of Shaheed Major Singh celebrated at local Shaheed Major Singh Memorial Government High School, Mr Dakha said it was the prime duty of all to look after the families of the martyrs.

“Though it is our moral duty to recognise the sacrifice of all martyrs and their families, more attention should be paid towards the needs of those poor families who had scarified their lone breadwinners,” emphasised Mr Dakha.

He said memorials should be raised to commemorate the sacrifices of martyrs. 



Hospital sans rabies vaccine
Our Correspondent

Macchiwara, August 14
A 7-year-old girl was attacked and injured by stray dogs in the nearby Panjeta village, about 12 km from here, today. Jyoti, a student of Class I, was wounded by the dogs.

Her Father Kesar Singh could not procure anti-rabies vaccine from Government Hospital, Koomkalan. He was told that the supply of these had been stopped by the government. He later approached the Social Care Society which managed anti-rabies vaccine for his daughter.

Several incidents of dog-biting have already been reported from the surrounding villages but the administration is turning a blind eye to all these incidents in spite of being approached by residents of various villages in this regard. Residents have appealed to Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana Anuraag Verma to take immediate steps in this regard.



Passing Thru

Apara Mehta
Apara Mehta, theatre and television actor.

Don’t you think women are shown in a backward manner in Ekta Kapoor’s serials?

I think Ekta brought women into the forefront. You know which actors play the role of Tulsi and Parvati, but do you remember the names of men who essay the role of Om Aggarwal or Sujal? At times, women are shown in a way that is larger than life but that is how they can make more impact.

Were you keen to do theatre in Punjab?

Yes! I was very keen to do theatre in Punjab, but somehow I have missed out on it. I am sad that Punjab severely lacks theatre culture.

— Asha Ahuja



Ludhiana Calling

The Punjab Police has an adamant attitude of following its own system in any work area — be it busting crime, catching criminals or organising functions or press conferences. Policemen behave in their own whimsical manner with journalists too. It has become a practice for them to make telephone calls five or 10 minutes before a press conference. Despite requests by the journos, the policemen call them for the press conferences at the last minute. They believe that journos travel by some supersonic planes in which they will reach the venue of the press conference within minutes.

Paucity of ideas

Is it telepathy or paucity of ideas that made all schools perform a dance on “Nanna munna rahi hoon, desh ka siphai hoon”. Almost all schools had chosen this song for children to dance on. The schools held functions in connection with Independence Day to get media coverage. All schools made the children dance on patriotic songs with tri-coloured flags in their hands.

Missing Mahatma!

A Principal of a nursery school told Sentinel that in view of Independence Day she thought she would just familiarise the children with Mahatma Gandhi and the National Flag. She searched the entire market but could not find any poster of Mahatma Gandhi. At one shop, she found Anupam Kher dressed up as Mahatma Gandhi. She felt amazed that posters of film stars were available in abundance but no poster of Mahatma Gandhi was available. Finally she downloaded a picture of Mahatma Gandhi from the net and got it framed.

Pleasant time!

Rain Gods smiled throughout the week on the Ludhianvis. It rained cats and dogs in the city. Earlier, it poured at one place or the other. But during the last seven days, it rained all over bringing relief from scorching heat. Though water inundated several low-lying areas, people were generally happy at the continuous showers. Even the skyline remained overcast throughout the week, making it one of the most pleasant times of the monsoon season.

Making do

Some students of Khalsa College for Women found humidity killing the other day. But they had to stay in the college as the Teej function was going on. So to get relief, they threw water at each other from the fountain in the college. Obviously this prank made them happy. One of them tried to capture her friends on her mobile camera and the group promptly started posing for a picture.

— Sentinel



Issru poised for Congress-SAD showdown
Tribune News Service

Issru (Ludhiana), August 14
This small and sleepy village comes to life once in a year only. On every Independence Day, leaders of major political parties descend on this village to attend the conferences of their respective parties in memory of Shahid Karnail Singh Issru.

This year, the Independence Day promises to be more tumultuous with the ruling Congress and its arch rival and the main Opposition in the state, Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal, heading for a massive showdown.

Besides, other political parties like Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Lok Bhalai Party of Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and the Communists also ensure good participation in their rallies.

However, it would be the Congress and the SAD-B that would try to weigh each other’s potential in terms of the workers they are able to mobilise. With elections to the state Assembly less than one-and-a-half-year away, for both parties the conferences matter a lot.

Besides, their performance would be viewed in comparative terms. That probably explains as to why both parties are leaving no stone unturned to swell the crowds in their rallies.

For the newly elected president of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC), Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo it would be the first major political conference in his home district after assuming the new job.

He is getting full cooperation from the administration with hundreds of vehicles having been pressed into service to ferry the party workers to Issru. Mr Dullo has promised that the Congress ‘conference’ would need to be seen to be believed as it would be the biggest-ever rally of the party in the countryside, otherwise predominantly considered as Akali bastion.

All the senior party leaders, including the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and other ministers and office-bearers are expected to attend the political conference here tomorrow.

Last year, the Chief Minister had not been able to come here. However, this year he is expected to fly straight to Issru from Mansa, where he would be hoisting the national tricolour.

The SAD-B president and former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the secretary-general, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, and other senior leaders will be addressing the rally tomorrow.

According to the party general-secretary, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, who is supervising the arrangements for tomorrow’s rally, it would be the largest-attended conference and it would set the tone for the further political process in the state.

The SAD-A would be missing its leader, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, who is in jail facing the charges of sedition.

And for the Lok Bhalai Party of Mr Ramoowalia, attracting crowds is no big problem with the comedian Bhagwant Mann and singer Harbhajan Mann likely to be present and perform at the rally.



Rakhi designers’ ingenuity
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, August 14
Rakhi is just a few days away and the markets are already flooded with strings and rakhis to be tied on the wrist of brothers. There are rakhis to suit all pockets. The price range is variable. One can buy a modest thread for Rs 2 and for the affluent who want to pamper their brothers, a diamond-studded rakhi can cost thousands.

A custom from Rajasthan has been adopted by Punjabis. Rajasthani women carry ‘kuppi’, an embroidered cone-like thing or some gifts for their sisters- in-law. Colourful ‘kuppis’ are available in plenty. Another new feature is the availability of an attractive earthen plate with four small containers for keeping rakhi, kumkum, rice and sweets.

One shopkeeper said, “We do not have a single pattern of last year. All of them are new. This year we have special rakhis for children. To attract them, we have Mickey Mouse, jokers, and other popular figures from cartoons.”

“These rakhis are huge and will look funny on the tiny wrists of children. Moreover, they have used artificial fur to make them look like miniature soft toys. Some children may even be allergic to them”, said Mrs Prema, who had come to purchase some rakhis. The market is inundated with rakhis of different kinds. There is immense variety which confuses the buyer. The cost has also risen,” she added.

Big musical rakhis are also available. Surprisingly the song heard is Chal chhaiyan chhaiyan’ or some other number. Silver bracelets with a silver coin and faces of Ganesha and Lakshmi imprinted on these are for those who want to spend more money. Those who like finesse can buy rakhis with silver beads and rudaraksh beads. Some of the rakhis have been embroidered with ‘zardosi. Sandalwood beads have also been used in making rakhis. Ganesha is a very popular figure on the rakhis. Even multicoloured threads have new designs. The ingenuity of rakhi designers from Kolkata has to be seen to be believed.

No more sending a rakhi overseas by mail. Sisters can now send not only rakhi online but also sweets, kumkum and rice too. 



Printouts of tax returns acceptable
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 14
The facilitation centres of Tax Information Network (TIN) established by National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) have started accepting quarterly statement of ‘tax deduction at source (TDS) and tax collection at source (TCS) in computer printout format also. Previously, only computer e-mail statements were being accepted by these centres.

This was stated in the general house and study circle meeting of the Taxation Bar Association held under the presidentship of Mr Ashok Juneja, here yesterday.

Mr B.R. Kaushal, convener, Study Circle, TBA, was also present in the meeting. According to Mr Juneja, the NSDL facilitation centres were providing services relating to PAN, TAN, annual information returns, TDS and TCS returns and at the same time were also accepting applications for rectification of PAN, TAN data.

Mr Raj Paul Gupta, senior advocate, who was the main speaker at the meeting, highlighted the provisions of tax deduction at source. Recent judgements and latest position of law relating to TDS were also discussed at length.

TBA members were of the view that on one hand the government was professing to make the income tax laws simpler, whereas on the other hand, more and more returns and paper work was being made compulsory.

Several speakers pointed out that fringe benefit tax (FBT) had put extra tax burden on companies, firms, AOP or body of individuals (incorporated or otherwise ) and local authorities. FBT provisions had also created just another parallel Income Tax Act by virtue of which paper work and compliance procedure had increased manifold.

Mr Juneja remarked that past experience had shown that whenever tax rates were cut down or tax burden on assessees was reduced, the tax revenue and the number of assessees had gone up. “Unreasonable tax burden and excessive rates of tax always encourage evasion.”

The association urged the government to rationalise the tax structure and reduce the burden of taxes in the larger interests of economy. It further wanted withdrawal of FBT in the wake of a higher taxation burden already prevailing in the country.



Forum seeks better amenities
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 14
The Forum for Public Cause has demanded better governance from all departments to improve the city further. In its executive meeting here today, forum congratulated the city residents on 59th Independence Day. The members said city had progressed due to efforts put-in by its residents. Still, a lot had to be done for further development, feel the members of the forum.

Members also expressed concern over the indifferent attitude of the concerned authorities to common man’s grievances and problems. They said residents were getting contaminated water in number of areas. Unscheduled power cuts had made the lives of people miserable. The administration had failed to check the auto menace in the city, which was a major source of pollution besides a cause for increasing accidents and messy traffic in the city. The members also called for strict action against the encroachers in city markets, which added to inconvenience of common man.

The members requested the Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, to be in touch with city residents so that the lost faith of people is restored. They also urged the authorities concerned to complete the Clock Tower fly-over project at the earlist.



Dean, Punjab Police Academy, to be honoured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 14
The state government has announced an award, Punjab Sarkar Parman Patra 2005, for a Deputy Director-cum-Dean of the Punjab Police Academy under the Science, Technology and Learned Professions category. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will present the award to Dr D.J. Singh at the state-level Independence Day function at Mansa.

Dr D.J. Singh has done pioneering work in areas related to police education, research and training including protection of human rights of weaker sections of society. The citation reads that the government has specially chosen him for his qualitative and innovative contribution in the field.

He was the first academician who had joined the Punjab Police and had made a path breaking and significant contribution in the field of higher police education, research and training.

An elated Dr D.J. Singh, who lives in Ludhiana, said the award was for the entire Punjab Police, which was one the best uniformed force in the world. He was officially deputed by the Government of India to help the Ethiopian Police Department in police training.



‘Anti-employee’ policy flayed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 14
More than five lakh Punjab Government employees and pensioners are up in arms against the Amarinder Government’s alleged anti-employee policy. During its 41-month rule and four budgets later, it has utterly failed to fulfill its promises made in its poll manifesto in February, 2002.

Promises included a raise in medical allowance and grant of house-rent allowance to pensioners, says a press statement issued by Government Pensioners’ Association .

It is further pointed out that the MLA pensioners in Punjab have been allowed old-age allowance at the rate of five per cent, 10 per cent and 15 per cent of their basic pensions on attaining the age of 65, 75 and 80 years, respectively. However, the Punjab Government pensioners are given this benefit only at two steps i.e. 65 and 75 years.



Plea to rehabilitate ‘dharmi faujis’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 14
The Sant Sipahi Front has criticised the Shiromani Akali Dal and the SGPC for ignoring the plight of “Dharmi faujis”, who had rebelled in the aftermath of Operation Bluestar in 1984. The president of the front, Col (rtd) H.S. Kahlon, said here recently that these soldiers had left their ranks in response to a call given by the SGPC at that time.

Col Kahlon, a decorated soldier himself for his outstanding contribution during the Bangladesh war, had left the Army in protest against Operation Bluestar. 



One held for bootlegging

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 14
The Sudhar police has arrested Manohar Singh of Rajsukhdeshar village of Rajasthan, presently serving with a marble shop in Ludhiana, for allegedly smuggling liquor meant for Defence personnel. He has been booked under the Excise Act.



CITU threatens strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 14
The issue of non-registration of trade unions in the cycle industry here is getting hotter each day with the workers’ unions here now threatening to “observe strike in the Ludhiana industry”. The Centre of Trade Unions (CITU) has also decided to take up the matter at the national level and hold a rally and demonstration in front of Parliament.

During the CPM Politburo member, Mr Sitaram Yechuri’s visit on July 31, CITU had threatened to launch an agitation if the unions were not registered within 15 days. With the above deadline coming closer, the union is planning to intensify its efforts in the direction.

Unions have been alleging that the state government and the Labour Department authorities have not been registering their unions, a demand unionists have now been pressing for long.

“It is over one and a half years now that applications from workers in various cycle manufacturing units were submitted to the Registrar, Trade Unions, Punjab. However, none of the unions has been registered till now,” said Mr Jatinder Pal, vice-president, CITU, Punjab.

CITU has demanded registration of three trade unions, the Lal Jhanda Hero Cycle Mazdoor Union, the Lal Jhanda Rockman Mazdoor Union and the Lal Jhanda Mangli Division Hero Cycle Workers Union.

The union said these applications were submitted in February 2004 and it even took up the matter with Capt Amarinder Singh. A deputation also met Ms Sonia Gandhi and Mr Harkishen Singh Surjit. Besides, there have been various protest dharnas and rallies.

“Despite all these efforts, these unions have not been registered so far whereas during this period several other trade unions were registered”, alleged CITU.

Accusing employers of violating labour laws unabashedly, CITU said workers were being subjected to ruthless exploitation.

“It is the first time in the history of Punjab that a government has so shamelessly supported employers and did not allow workers to organise a union of their choice, which is their basic right as specified in the Trade Union Act, 1926,” the union rued.


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 |