L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bandh passes off peacefully
Dalits plan nationwide stir on Sept 11
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 5
The call for Punjab bandh for today made by various Dalit organisations in protest against the Gohana incident evoked a mixed response in the city today. The bandh passed off peacefully amidst heavy police security with no organisation making any attempt to turn violent.

While some areas in the city especially those in the old city comprising the Chaurra Bazar, Chowni Mohalla, Bhadaur House and Basti Jodhewal area, observed a near-total bandh till 3 pm, shops and business houses in parts of the new city, including Sarabha Nagar, Bhai Randhir Singh , parts of Model Town and Ghumar Mandi remained largely open.

There was some tension in Ghumar Mandi in the morning when a group of Dalits went around shouting slogans criticising the Haryana Government. Shopkeepers downed the shutters but the market opened after a few hours, thanks to the large police presence.

However, by the evening all markets and business houses were open in most parts of the city.

Hotels and shops also kept half-open shutters and did business from back or side doors as was witnessed in Bhadaur House. In other parts of the city like Model Town, shopkeepers downed the shutters when they spotted a group of Dalit youths

The main form of demonstration took place in form a massive rally carried out under the aegis of the Bharatiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj which was an umbrella organisation having representatives of various Balmiki and Ravi Dass organisations, including the Vishva Guru Ravi Dass Mission.

The rally began from Mata Rani Chowk and went through several parts of the city before culminating at the Clock Tower chowk in the afternoon. A demonstration was staged at the chowk where a number leaders addressed the activists. An effigy of the Haryana Government was also burnt.

Addressing the rally, the leaders criticised the Haryana Government for the Gohana incident in which houses of Dalits were torched. In a press statement, the Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj has threatened to launch a nationwide agitation on September 11 if the Haryana Government does not accept the demands of the organisation.

The organisation has demanded immediate re-habilitation of the dalit families whose houses were torched and they were forced to flee the village, registration of a case under the SC-ST Act against the Deputy Commissioner and SSP of Sonepat, compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the victim families and adopting measures to prevent such incidents in future.

The city police had made elaborate security arrangements in the city to prevent any escalation of tension due to the bandh call. Anti-riot squad of the police department and mounted police marched in several areas of the city to maintain law and order. The police came to the rescue of those shopkeepers who resisted the bandh call and kept their shops open.

A large contingent of police also accompanied the main rally organised by various Dalit organisations. The police did not make any attempt of confrontation with the Dalit activists.



Gang of robbers busted, 7 held
Our Correspondent

Khanna, September 5
The local police claimed to have busted a gang of robbers by arresting seven members during a press conference organised by SSP Naunihal Singh at his office here today. SSP disclosed that the members of the gang were working like the gangsters of Mumbai, who settle personal scores of people by taking ‘suparis’.

The SSP said the police succeeded at tracing dozens of cases of Mobile and Chain snatchings and taking away of trucks with the arrest of the robbers. He said the accused were identified as Rahul Sharma, Krishan Kumar Sharma, Balwinder Singh, alias Bindi, Mahesh, Rakesh Kumar, Inder Pal Singh and Avtar Singh Utalan.

He said the police had first arrested a youth while trying to snatch a chain from a woman near Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha.

The SSP said on September 1 three youths came on a motor cycle and snatched a chain from the owner of Beauty parlour shop. When the woman raised an alarm the police succeeded in arresting a youth. During interrogation the youth told about his accomplices.

A case was registered under Sections 392 and 307 of the IPC and Sections 25, 27, 54, and 59 of the Arms Act at city police station.

The SSP said in the same connection the police received an information that a truck had been taken away forcibly from the driver on the Malerkotla road near Rasulra village. The SSP said the police started a search operation and the truck was recovered near Dhak Da Kotla village.

Two robbers were arrested. The accused told the police that they had planned to meet at the local railway station in the night. The police conducted a raid and arrested Mahesh.

The police said the accused had confessed to their involvement in the incidents of firing in Chandla Market, Khanna, snatching of mobile phone near Rattan Heri village on pistol point, chain snatching near Rahouni Darwaza, Khanna, looting incident of Medical Store on the Samrala road, Khanna, and many other cases of theft, snatching and robberies.

The police said some of the accused had already been booked earlier in different cases.



Man, son get RI for murder
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 5
Sessions Judge Harbans Lal has sentenced a man and his son to rigorous life imprisonment for killing a truck driver in Chotti Haibowal in July last year. The convicts — Khushi Ram (65) and his son, Kishan Dev (21), of Chotti Haibowal, near Dairy Complex — have been sentenced on charges of murdering Munna Lal of Jabalpur following suspected illicit relations.

The court has also ordered them to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 each. The two had been booked under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC at Haibowal Police Station on July 17, 2004, following a complaint by Nachattar Singh of Partap Singh Wala village.

The complainant had submitted to the police that Khushi Ram had been working as labourer on the truck of Munna Lal.

They used to live next to each other’s house. Khushi Ram suspected Munna Lal of having illicit relations with his wife.

As a consequence of this, the two had had an argument once, which was later settled. On July 17, 2004 Khushi Ram along with his brother, Shamsher Singh, went to the house of Munna Lal to take him with them to Kiratpur Sahib, the complainant added.

On reaching Kiratpur Sahib, the accused armed with an iron rod and a stick beat up Munna Lal.

Before they could be stopped, Munna fell on the ground and died at the spot. Meanwhile, the accused fled the scene, the complainant added. However, the accused pleaded innocence and claimed false implication.

But convinced with the written arguments submitted by District Attorney Amar Ashok Pathak and evidence adduced by the prosecution in support of its contentions, the judge found the accused guilty and sentenced them accordingly.



Teachers hold rally against govt policies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 5
“Six per cent schools are without any teacher whereas 12 per cent schools have only one teacher. 30,000 posts are lying vacant. Education is being commercialised and under the Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan crores of rupees are being spent by the government on seminars", were some of the grouses held by the spokespersons Baldev Mangat, Bhajan Singh, Joginder Azad, Harinder Mangat and Baldev Mangat for four teachers’ organisations, namely Democratic Teachers’ Front, Government Teachers’ Union, SCBC Teachers’ Union and Adhyapak.

They were addressing a rally held at the front of Mini Secretariat today in protest against short-sighted policies of the government.

Hundreds of teachers had assembled to protest against the government policies on education. They said crores of rupees was collected from the students who had to appear for ETT entrance examinations, which were scrapped. “Return the money or restart the course,” they demanded.

They said B.Ed had been totally commercialised. They demanded that ETT teachers should be given jobs and teachers of aided schools should get regular pension.



Passing Thru

Rajdeep Singh Gill
Rajdeep Singh Gill, ADGP and president, Punjab Basketball Association (PBA)

What is your opinion on the recent controversy over selection of Arjuna awardees?

In my view, the committee which decides Arjuna awards has not done justice to a number of ‘deserving’ sportspersons. The names of the ace shotputter Bahadur Singh and the pugilist Harpal Singh should have been figured in this year’s list of the prestigious award.

How does the PBA plan to further promote the game in the state?

The association is doing its best to promote the game in the state. We have put extra focus on organising tournaments in the rural areas of the state so that the youth there are attracted towards the game. Our efforts have also been yielding results as more and more young boys and girls have been coming up for the trials, conducted from time to time. The PBA, in association with the Punjab Sports Department, had also started an academy in Ludhiana a couple of years ago where upcoming and talented boys and girls are getting the state-of-the-art training.

How does PBA solve the problem of funds?

For the purpose, we owe a lot to the media as it had highlighted the achievements of the cagers which helped us to rope in sponsors. Mr Harjinder Singh Dhanoa, an NRI from the UK, has been the sponsoring the Baba Lodhiana Basketball Academy being run in the city which had produced players of international repute, besides extending us the assistance in organising Nationals in the state.

— Anil Datt



Above normal rainfall in August
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 5
The total rainfall during August in Ludhiana was 197.6 mm as against 179.7mm of normal rainfall. During the first week of August 103 mm rainfall was received while a rise in temperature both minimum and maximum was recorded. In the second week, both minimum and maximum temperature remained below normal while the rainfall was 19.1 mm against 55mm (normal). In the third week, rise in temperature up to of 0.5-1-5°c was noticed. In the subsequent week the rainfall of 52.7mm was received with the same trend of temperature increase.

According to Dr L S Brar, Professor and Head Department of Agronomy and Agrometereology, Punjab Agricultural University, the fluctuation in rainfall and temperature had no adverse effect on the kharif crops, including rice, maize, cotton, sugarcane and pulses. In a few pockets of the state attack of BLB(bacterial leaf blight) was noticed, which was because of undescriptive variety having its susceptibility to the BLB grown by the farmers. Because of rise in temperature the irrigation demand of crops was met by giving timely irrigation to all crops.

Dr Brar said the present weather conditions were quite favourable for the growth and development of crops, especially cotton. The farmers had been advised to prevent any water stress to rice and maize as it affects the grain setting.

The NCMRWF’s predictions suggested little chance of the revival of monsoon flow and consequently no preceptible change in the weather conditions during the next two or three days. Rather conditions were conducive for the withdrawal of south-west monsoon from extreme west Rajasthan during the next three or four days. Mainly dry weather is likely to prevail over North and North- west parts of the region .



Units flay PSEB move to shut down furnaces
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 5
Condemning the Punjab State Electricity Board’s (PSEB) decision to shut down arc and induction furnaces, industry associations here said the board should take measures to increase generation and curb wastage instead of taking drastic measures like these. “Thousands of units would shut down, resulting in an adverse impact on the economy. The decision has come as a bolt from the blue for engineering industry consuming iron and steel in the state,” said Mr V.P. Chopra, president of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association.

There are over 10,000 units in cycle and cycle parts manufacturing units, auto ancillary units and engineering goods manufacturing industry that are dependent on the arc and induction furnace industry for their raw material. The association said shutting down of units would render lakhs of labourers jobless, which can lead to unrest.

The Federation of Tiny and Small Industries said the board had not initiated any measures for additional generation of power.

“A large amount of funds were spent towards Mukerian Hydel Project. It should be completed on a war footing. Besides, the state government can take up the issue with the Planning Commission for taking measures like setting up a gas plant in the state,” Mr Joginder Kumar, president of the association, said.

The association said the board should stop issuing new connections if it was facing the problem of excessive demand. “The PSEB attributes the ongoing situation to excessive demand. If it is not able to manage an equal supply, it should take measures to reduce consumption.”

Lamenting that the Capt Amarinder Singh government had not shown any serious concern over the issue, industrialists said the government should have taken steps to handle the crisis.

“Consumers are made to suffer due to inefficiencies of the PSEB. Even the government does not appear to have any serious concern. Some immediate steps must be taken to avert the problem,” said Mr Chopra.

Meanwhile, around 150 arc and induction furnace units in the state remained closed. Members of the arc and induction furnace units are planning to meet the Chief Minister, who would be here to attend an industry function on September 7.

“We hope the CM understands the gravity of the situation and would take up the matter with him on his visit,” said Mr K.K. Garg, president, Induction Furnace Association of North India.



Industry, residents resent power cuts
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 5
Unscheduled power cuts being imposed for hours daily have caused resentment among local residents and industrialists. Industry representatives alleged in addition to the compulsory cuts, the industry is suffering due to unscheduled power cuts.

The residents of the town and surrounding villages termed the day as the worst in the summer as the power remained suspended for more than 18 hours today. In addition to the scheduled cuts, a major breakdown in the grid situated on the Pohir road caused related interruption in different parts of the town and villages.

Mr Jagwant Singh Jaggie, president, SAD, said: “Regular power supply seems to be an unachievable task for the PSEB now. Unscheduled cuts not only affect the facilities available to residents, but also their health and routine.”

Mr Jatinder Kumar Bhola, councillor, said even services provided by the Municipal Council were also affected as water supply and the disposal of waste water was also dependent upon the power supply.

Mr Sanjiv Singla, an industrialist, said, “The unscheduled power cuts not only affect production and margins, but also the credibility of industrialists who are not able to meet their orders. Poor power situation has caused heavy losses to industry in this part of the state”. He said regular power supply should be ensured otherwise many industrial units would be compelled to close down their units.



Jains seek ban on slaughtering
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 5
The Jain community of the city today demanded a ban on slaughtering of animals and selling of meat products on September 8, which is a special day of religious importance for the community.

A delegation comprising members a number of organisations today submitted a memorandum to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ajmer Singh, seeking the closure of slaughter houses on the day.

The organisations, including the S.S. Jain Sabha, the Chaturma Parbandhak Samiti, the Mahavir Jain Yuvak Sangh and the People for Animals, informed the ADC that the Jain community observed its week-long ‘Parynshan Mahaparav’ from September 1 to 8. They claimed that the sale of meat was banned for the nine days in various states, including Gujarat, Rajasthan and some places in Punjab also.


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