L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Vigilante group had beaten youth with chains, rods
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 24
Members of the self-styled vigilante group, who allegedly murdered a youth yesterday, had allegedly detained and beaten him with rods, sticks and a motor cycle chain for over an hour besides beating the parents of the girl accompanying the youth, latest police investigations have revealed.

Conducting a police-like investigation, the youths had recorded a conversation in their mobile set with the parents of the girl that the accused had not beaten the victim. The recording was later uploaded to a personal computer of one of the accused, Mandeep Singh, Model Town, police sources have revealed.

The post-mortem examination of the deceased, Gajjan Sahni, belies the claims of the accused that he could have died in a road accident. SI Rajesh Sharma, SHO, Model Town, told the Ludhiana Tribune that the autopsy found seven injuries on the body. The accused had claimed to the police that they had only slapped him twice and released him. Later, he could have met with some accident.

Gajjan’s family receives threats

Even as the cremation of Gajjan Sahni, allegedly murdered by a group of youth, took place this afternoon, a group of over 20 persons, including musclemen, descended on the house of the deceased and threatened his family.

His brother, Vijay Kumar, said the group offered them a huge amount to “settle” the case, but when they refused, the group threatened them with dire consequences.

Three lethal injuries were found in the centre of the head. Doctors say that some heavy rod or stick was struck on his head, causing the injuries. Accident injuries are caused on the sides of the head and not in the centre. The other injuries were on the left ear, abdomen and lower limbs.

Narrating the sequence of events in an exclusive interview with the Ludhiana Tribune, Ranni, 15-year-old girl who accompanied Gajjan on that fateful day, claimed that the deceased was like a brother to her.

She said the accused riding two motor cycles had stopped and teased her that evening and when they found her later with Gajjan on his motor cycle on the Dhandra road, they started making all kind of inquiries. “They slapped Gajjan and forced him to sit on their motor cycle. One of the accused Ajaypal, alias Rubbal, forced me to sit on his motor cycle and misbehaved with me.”

She said Rubbal took her to his house and directed Gajjan to follow them. However, he took her through a longer route. Gajjan reached home before her. When he told her parents about the incident, they all went to an accused Mandeep Singh’s house, who lived nearby.

Mr Ram Dyal, father of Ranni, said he, his wife and Gajjan reached Mandeep Singh’s house at about 10 pm. Mandeep along with two other accused — Vicky and Tanveer — were present there while Rubbal who had gone with Ranni was missing.

When they questioned about Ranni, a woman claiming to be the mother of Mandeep abused them. Ranni’s mother was beaten also and threatened with dire consequences. The three accused also removed the starter plug of Gajjan’s motor cycle so that he could not run away. SI Rajesh Sharma corroborates the incident, claiming that colony residents have confirmed the visit.

The woman and other relatives took Ram Dayal and his wife in a car to his house to see whether Ranni had reached there or not. Gajjan was left with the three accused. He was found lying unconscious near the Jawaddi bridge three hours later by some passersby who called the police.

The police has recorded the statement of the girl and said it would take action against the woman also.

Meanwhile, the accused told the Ludhiana Tribune that Gajjan could have died in an accident and they had just slapped him. The accused claimed that a group of persons was already questioning the girl and the boy on the Dhandra road and they also started questioning them.

The accused, however, had no explanation as to why they went to leave the girl at her house, and later remove the plug of the motor cycle. They claimed that Gajjan ran away with the motor cycle whereas without the starter plug, the vehicle could not be taken. The police is on the lookout of the missing plug.



Some answer to why youth burnt himself
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 24
The mystery surrounding the circumstances that led a 24-year youth, Gurdeep Singh, son of Darshan Singh, of Dalip Nagar, to sprinkle kerosene on his body and burn himself in the Motia Khan Bazar yesterday seems to have lifted somewhat.

Yesterday, he had walked up to the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital with his charred body and died there. At the time of the incident, a big crowd witnessing the scene followed him. Some thought he was an impostor, but soon realised the gravity of the situation and tried to put out the fire, but by that time it was too late.

He was married. His wife was living at her paternal house. He had allegedly developed relations with a girl employed at a mobile-phones shop here. He is said to have gone to meet her in her office and after some time when he came out, he sprinkled kerosene on his body and was soon in flames.

When the girl saw this she fled the office. The proprietor of the mobile phones, shop said that the girl was alone in the office.

The parents of the boy live at Nandi Colony, Khanna. The police has taken action under Section 174, Cr PC. His body was handed over to his parents after the post-mortem examination.



Unscheduled power cuts back, industry suffers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 24
Sudden rise in power demand has resulted in increased cuts lasting for even more than eight to nine hours in several areas.

While official cuts vary between four and six hours, residents complain that the duration of these cuts is much more. Industry, majority of which gets supply from residential cum industrial feeders, is badly hit due to unscheduled cuts.

“It seems power woes would never end and the PSEB would never be able to provide regular supply. Not merely during the day, there are cuts even at night, and that too without any prior information by the electricity board,” rued Mr Sewa Singh, a resident in Sarabha Nagar.

Owing to scanty rainfall and non-functioning of several hydel projects, there has been a shortage in supply. On the other hand, demand is soaring, resulting in power shortage. According to officials, the duration of power cuts varies between four and six hours. Officials also say there are no cuts in case of industrial feeders. However, residents cry foul.

“Industry is badly hit due to unscheduled cuts. Even in case of industry that has to observe compulsory weekly off for 48 hours, unscheduled cuts continue,” said Mr Narinder Bhamra, president, Fastener Manufacturers Association of India. “The situation is worse in residential areas. With over 70 per cent of small units getting supply from industrial-cum-residential feeders, small and medium enterprises are suffering,” he added.

Troubled by the poor power situation, the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has even written to the PSEB to improve the situation. “We have urged them not to impose unscheduled cuts. If they want they can increase the duration of scheduled cuts, but there has to be a prior information about power cuts,” said Mr Inderjit Singh Navyug, vice-president, CICU.

He said such cuts meant reduced working hours making it difficult for industrialists to meet orders on time. Processing units like electroplating suffer badly as they require continuous supply.

“An electroplating unit has to re-start the entire process if there is a cut. Since the cuts being imposed are unscheduled and of long durations this industry is suffering heavy losses.”

Industrialists said if the power board imposes scheduled cuts, it would not have to suffer on account of additional labour costs and other expenses. “When we know about a cut, we can at least organise operations accordingly. In case we don’t know, we can’t even let the labourers leave, it would only add to our problems,” said an industrialist.

Meanwhile, residents have little hope of improvement. Officials say since generation is low, situation would improve only when the demand reduces.



MC XEN ‘violates’ building norms
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 24
In the absence of slack enforcement on the part of building branch of the Municipal Corporation and lack of clearly defined policies in this regard, the construction of commercial complexes and other institutional buildings in residential areas of the city continues with impunity. More often than not, the enforcement machinery is not only aware of the unlawful construction but the junior and middle rung civic officials are in cahoots with the builders, if the city residents are to be believed.

The land being a scarce commodity in the industrial capital of the state, the city has witnessed proliferation of a large number of multi-storeyed commercial buildings in several parts of the city which are still defined as residential areas in the site plans and the MC was yet to move the cases for change of land use to commercial. In other words, all such commercial complexes being raised in such ‘residential’ areas are in clear violation of the building bylaws, that too of non-compoundable nature.

One of the under-construction commercial building on the Model Town main road, leading towards Model Town Extension here, is a glaring example of the scant respect for law of the land and misuse of official position by the very persons who are responsible to regulate building activity in the city. According to area residents, the said complex was being constructed by one Mr Surinder Singh, an executive engineer with the MC here, that too with a building plan approved for residential building.

Interestingly, the front elevation of the old residential building facing the road has been left intact while the entire rear portion has been demolished and a multi-storey complex raised on this site with cent percent coverage, which is yet another gross violation of building norms even where commercial buildings were permitted under the relevant law.

Several area residents lamented that the officials of building branch of the MC were constantly harassing many other owners of the commercial buildings under various pretexts, including excess coverage and they were being threatened with demolitions. However, the same officials have turned a blind eye to the building being constructed by one of their senior officers in this locality.

Inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that even though the posh residential locality of Model Town, like many other colonies around it, was dotted with commercial building, the MC had not taken up the matter for allowing change of land use to commercial with the state government despite the fact that lawfully constructed commercial buildings would bring in a lot more revenue by way of building fee and composition fee.

It was further disclosed by residents of Model Town that all commercial buildings, including a number of nursing homes and hospitals in the area, were constructed either without any approved building plans or the plans were got approved for residential buildings and a commercial complex was put up with the connivance of enforcement officials.

Officials of the Town Planning Department of the MC were not available for comments.



Passing Thru

Ms Swati Sood
Ms Swati Sood, Fox Entertainment (wedding planners) 

People generally believe that wedding planners are meant only for the rich. What do you say?

It is only a myth that we want to break. Having a wedding planner is much economical than doing the entire thing yourself for it not just saves one a lot of botheration in terms of arranging things, one can also have the best stuff without hunting much for it. Talk of costs and we are willing to arrange a wedding for as low as Rs 2 lakh.

What all would a wedding planner manage?

Right from the bride’s trossueau to food, decor and even events like sangeet. We even rope in celebrities if our client desires so. In short, entire affair can be left to a planner giving one the opportunity to enjoy a wedding without any botheration of organising things.

Does your company offer its services in Punjab?

Yes, we have now tied up with Honii Sandhu of Chandigarh and our office would cater to clients across Punjab. We are keen on tapping this market which has high potential.

Which segments would you focus on?

Our key focus would be middle and upper middle class, tapping which is a must for any industry to survive and flourish.

— Shveta Pathak



Beggar kids become thinner addicts
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, August 24
In the unfrequented lane sandwiched between the Bhadaur House market and the Society Cinema, a dozen uncouth children are huddled together. Each of them has a pad of crepe bandage cloth clutched in their hands. A small plastic bottle is being passed around, the contents of which are poured onto the cloth pads by turns and inhaled deeply. While some of these boys are in their early teens, there are at least three of them who are not even 10 years old.

When approached for scrutiny, the boys disperse in a jiffy, leaving behind the emptied bottle. The bottle smells of thinner and going by the label, it is an eraser. Apart from erasing a printed word or two , the thinner has found a new use. Erasing out whatever little chances these children have of making it good one day. These deprived and poor children, who should otherwise be going to a school, have become addicts at a tender age.

While an entertaining programme of song and dance is on for the guests at a marriage function on the nearby Deepak Cinema road, there is a brief commotion at the far end of the shamiana. Someone familiar with the same bunch of boys spots them standing behind the last row of chairs and shouts: “Sunghan wale bachey Kick them out”. The children start pleading for some food and they are told to stand and wait.

When this correspondent tried to talk to the boys, they shrank away.

However one of them, Ajay agreed to talk, but only after he was assured that he would not be handed over to the police if he came clean.

Holding a thinner-smelling pad in his hand, he informs that he has come to the city from Jalandhar and he is from a family of beggars in Bihar. He left home when he was around five and came to Jalandhar where he took to begging for survival. Sometime ago, he got word that it was better in Ludhiana, so he came here. He and the other members of this begging tribe spend the night at the local railway station. When they do not get enough alms, they start collecting saleable junk, discarded plastic items, card board and so on.

Since one small bottle of thinner costs Rs 20, does he spend all his earnings on smelling the thinner? No, he says. “Khana bhi kha letey hain”. There are a number of stationery shops around Ghanta Ghar at which this erasing thinner is available but these children are getting their supplies from a particular shop only. Maybe it is time for the authorities concerned to regulate the sale of this killer thinner. And also for some NGO to come to the rescue of these children.



Bhanohar village cries for attention
Outlet channel of pond blocked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 24
A year after The Tribune highlighted the plight of residents of Bhanohar village, things are back to square one as the pond near the main gurdwara is full to the brim.

The water may spill over to the streets anytime, as was the case last year, and the threat of an epidemic looms large.

Last year, the BDPO had visited the village and had ordered opening of the channel linking the pond, to an adjacent pond known as Jamana Chappar.

However, with the passage of time, the channel got choked resulting in the present situation. What has aggravated the situation is that the Jamana chappar, which has been leased out for fish rearing, is being managed by a contractor, who has blocked this channel meant to carry extra water from the other pond into it.

Moreover, the fish being reared, Thai Magur, is a species banned by the Government of India since it not only poses a threat to the flora and fauna, but is also a source of many diseases.

Last year dirty water from the pond had spilled over into the village streets making the lives of people miserable. An artificial embankment, which had come up on the fringe, also aggravated the problem. Since the natural flow of water had been checked, the dirty water spills into nearby streets and houses much to the annoyance of local residents.

The rising water level not only poses a threat to adjoining houses, but has also affected landed property of residents. Last year the water had entered courtyards of some houses located on the fringe of the pond bringing along leeches and pests which posed a serious threat to livestock.

Some plots of land adjoining the pond belonging to local residents have been submerged due to the rising water level.

Mr Kirpal Singh, whose house is located on the village periphery, pointed out that a part of their lane was submerged under water during the recent showers cutting off approach to their land.

‘’If a permanent solution is not found, a day will come when the dirty water will enter our houses’’, he said.

The stagnant water has become a permanent breeding ground for mosquitoes, pests and snakes. The foul smell emanating from the pond has also become a nuisance for the people.

Meanwhile a team of district officials today visited the village to take stock of the situation.

Bhanohar village, which has produced a large number of Army and civil officers, is located about 18 km from Ludhiana on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore road.



Public body to educate people
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 24
A group of eminent citizens have organised themselves into People’s Awareness Forum. They have undertaken to educate people about civic awareness, conservation of environment and protection of human rights.

At a meeting of the forum held here today, it was decided to draft a constitution and formulate the objectives of the forum. Dr D.R. Bhumbla, former Vice- Chancellor, Haryana Agricultural University, and a renowned soil scientist, Prof Prithipal Singh Kapur, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, and an eminent Sikh scholar and Prof Gurcharan Singh, retired principal, was asked to perform the duties of Chairman, president and general secretary of the forum till regular elections.

The meeting was attended by Mr A.R. Gupta, retired DET, Mr S.S. Gill, retired Deputy Chief Engineer, PSEB, Mr J.P. Dhingra, retired DET, Dr P.S. Sohi (Government College), Dr A.S. Bhullar (PAU), Mr Nirmal Singh Grewal, retired XEN, Mr Dilawar Singh Pannu, retired professor, Mr B.S. Grewal and Mr T.S. Sidhu, social activists and philanthropists.



Shobha yatra taken out

Ludhiana, August 24
The 58th shobha yatra, a day prior to janamashtmi, was taken out with fanfare by the Shri Sanatan Dharam Committee (regd) from Ram Lila Maidan here today.It started from Sita Mata Mandir , Daresi.

A large numbers of devotees had assembled in Daresi Grounds since morning. They came from the neighbouring areas in tractor-trailers, tempos, jeeps and other vehicles.

After performing the aarti, the inauguration of the yatra was done by Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, while the religious flag was hoisted by Mr Narinder Pal Singh, SSP , Ludhiana.

The ground, resounded with chants of ‘Jai Shri Krishan, Gobind Bolo , Koi Gopal Bolo, Radhe, Radhe’. The sweet sounds of conch shells and the colourful flags added a great deal of festivity to the occasion.

A large number of religious persons, including Mamandleshwar Swami Ved Bharati, Jagad Guru Shankracharya Swami, Madhavan Ji Mahraj, Shri Onkar Dutt Ji, Pandit Bhim Sen Vashshist, and Shri 1008 Dandi Swami Nigam Bodh Ji Tirath blessed the yatra as it started .

Bhajan mandalis , school children singing bhajans shopkeepers’ associations, a number of bands playing tunes followed. Beautiful tableaus tastefully depicting different phases of Krishan’s life were really appreciated.

While the long columns of the procession marched, the devotees had put up stalls serving water, milk, fruits and kheer on the route The procession passed through Pratap Bazaar, Chowk Mata Rani, Chowk Ghanta Ghar, Chaura Bazaar, Chowk Vaishno Devi, Division No3, Kothi Khawaja, Sangla Wala Shivalya and ended at Shri Hardev Mandir. OC



8 held for attack on union leader
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 24
The local police has booked eight persons under sections 341, 323, 324, 120, 109, 148 and 149 for allegedly obstructing and assaulting former president of the Truck Operators Union.

The accused, on the other hand, have complained that the Truck Union leader had attacked them.

Mr Harvinder Singh Mangi, former president of the Truck Operators Union, complained to the police that he was assaulted by a group of 10 persons near the old office of the union last night.

Narrating the sequence of events, Mr Mangi told the police that the assailants had allegedly acted on the instance of two operators who opposed him on the issue of working of the Tempo Union. Mr Mangi had mediated in resolving a tempo union dispute.

“Though I took threats by them lightly, they attacked me when I was going near the old Truck Union office at about 10 pm yesterday,” stated Mr Mangi before the police.

The leaders of the other faction, Mr Sohan Lal Pathak and Mr Nirmal Singh, on the other hand, accused the complainant of furnishing false information to the police. They held that Mr Mangi and his associates had attacked them while they were sitting peacefully near their houses. Ajit Goel was injured in the incident.

The police registered an FIR under Sections 341, 323, 324, 120, 109, 148 and 149 against eight persons, including Ajit Goel, and Ranvir Goel, sons of Mr Khazan Chand, Gurpreet Singh, son of Gurmel Singh Raj Kumar alias Raja, and Mukesh Kumar, a local resident.

Mr Harinder Singh, SHO, city police said investigations into the case had been started. “As both warring groups have made claims and counterclaims regarding the incident, further action would be taken after the verification of facts,” he said SHO.



Missing man’s body found; kids untraced
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 24
The Sudhar police has found the body of a dalit labourer who had been reported missing along with his two minor children on Sunday. The body was fished out from the Abohar branch of the Sirhind canal near Sudhar bridge today. The wife of the deceased had said that her husband may have committed suicide along with his son and daughter.

Sources revealed that the Sudhar police fished out the body of Jagdev Singh of Halwara, who with his children Amandeep Kaur (4) and Bablu (3) had disappeared under mysterious circumstances three days earlier.

Shinder Pal Kaur, his wife, had told the police, “My husband, a drunkard, is suspected to have committed suicide along with the children as their clothes have been recovered from near the canal bridge,”

Jagdev Singh was upset due to financial constraints he was earlier serving with the Punjab Home Guards.

The police recovered his bicycle. The search for the bodies of the children is on till. A case under Section 174 of Cr P C, has been registered.



4 carrying poppy husk held
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 24
The police is reported to have arrested four persons and impounded their scooter. They were carrying poppy husk for sale. Cases under Sections 15, 60, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act have been registered.

The Humbran police arrested Gurcharan Singh of New Rajapur from Aliwal village while he was allegedly going on his Bajaj Chetak scooter carrying 20 kg of poppy husk.

In a similar incident, the Dakha police arrested Kulbir Singh of Sangowal with 20 kg of narcotics on his Bajaj Chetak scooter from the area of Pamal. The Sudhar police arrested Kuldip Singh of Sangowal from Nangal Khurd carrying 32.7 kg of narcotics and the Sidhwanbet police held Paramjit Singh of Gidderwindi from Tihara carrying 30.2 kg of poppy husk.

In spite of increased vigilance, the smugglers have adopted the method of selling the narcotic while moving on their scooters, selling the same from village to village.

Illicit liqour found

Surjit Singh of Parjian Biharipur was arrested from Kotumra by the Sidhwanbet police and illicit liqour was recovered from his possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.

Killed in collision

Swaran Singh of Bhatian, a scooterist (PB - 25 A - 7804) was killed when a truck (PB - o8 H - 7369) driven by Santokh Singh hit his scooter in Baseemee.



Cloth merchant found murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 24
The body of a cloth merchant, missing for the past two days, was found near the Dhuri rail line passing through Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar. It seemed his body had been dumped there to make it look like a rail accident.

Jagdish Singh Chabra, a cloth merchant running a shop in Chaura Bazar here, was missing since August 22. His body bore marks of sword injuries on the head and other parts.



2 injured in attack
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 24
A minor argument between a tractor driver and a woman over the issue of blocking a street by the woman with a chair on which she was sitting led to an alleged murderous attack on the driver and his brother in Shimla Puri today afternoon.

The victim brothers — Resham Singh and Kulwant Singh — who are under treatment at civil hospital here have alleged that Resham Singh was driving a tractor last evening and told a woman who was sitting in blocking the way in the street to move aside but she refused. A bitter argument followed between the two. Area residents intervened and sorted out the matter.

However, a group of persons allegedly armed with sticks and swords attacked Resham Singh in his house today morning. He suffered stab injuries. His brother Kulwant was also injured when he came to his rescue. The police was investigating the matter.



PCO holders demand cash counter at Amloh
Our Correspondent

Amloh, August 24
PCO-holders at a meeting yesterday urged the Telecom Department to open cash counters at the SDO office, Amloh, for collection of telephone bills. The meeting was presided over by Mr Rajiv Kumar Verma. Twentyfive PCO-holders participated.

Later, a deputation consisting of Mr Rajiv Verma Mr Vipan Kumar and Mr Ravinder Puri presented a memorandum to the SDO, Amloh, copies of which were sent to Chief General Manager Telecom (CGMT), GMT Patiala and DET, Mandi Gobindgarh.

It was mentioned in the communication that the Amloh telephone exchange at the sub– division head quarter covered 72 villages. It had issued 5700 telephone connections, including 100 STD connections. Telephone holders had to deposit bills at Mandi Gobindgarh 10 km from here, while telephone holders of Paheri area had to cover 35 km to get their bills deposited.

It caused inconvenience and wastage of time and money. The association of PCO holder had decided that in case the BSNL authorities did not pay heed towards their demand, they would be forced to close their establishments and demand refund of 



Penalty irks industrialists

Ludhiana, August 24
The Fastener Manufacturers Association today condemned the Punjab State Electricity Board’s (PSEB) move to impose penalties on small-scale industrial units on account of maintenance of power factor by consumers. Mr Narinder Bhamra, president of the association, said the PSEB had extended the last date for maintenance of power factor by one month. TNS


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