L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Return of the natives
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
Two long years of despair turned into happiness for an Aman Nagar family here, whose son, after undergoing imprisonment in Pakistan, finally reached home today. Bharat Bhushan, a 28-year-old son of a dairy instructor, who was released from Kot Lakhpat jail yesterday, reached his house at around 11 am amid celebrations.

Not only family members, but also area residents gathered at their house and danced to bhangra beats soon after his arrival. Emotional scenes were witnessed when the youth’s sisters came to meet him. A number of people kept pouring in throughout the day to congratulate the family. It was literally, a day of dance and sweets in Aman Nagar.

“This is the happiest moment of my life. It seems that God has blessed me with a son once again,” said Santosh, mother of the youth, who had spent last night at a temple in Phagwara as thanksgiving.

“I will never send my son again to any other country. He will be happy here. I only know how I spent two years praying for his well-being. May no mother in the world undergo such an ordeal,” she said hugging Bharat again and again.

When the family had left for Amritsar yesterday, their hope for his arrival was eclipsed with the disappointment they had to undergo when many youths had walked into the country along with the Chief Minister, but their son was not a part of that team.

“Till I saw him, I did not open my eyes at the border. I was praying and praying. Then he came, touched my feet and hugged me. I opened my eyes and saw him. I was on the top of the world,” she said.

Narrating the turn of events, Bharat, who had emigrated to Lebanon in search of greener pastures, said he was lured by a travel agent to migrate illegally to Italy for a better life. But he had something else in store for him. He landed in Pakistan and had to suffer.

Stating that it was the worst experience of his life, Bharat said around 60 prisoners were made to live in a single room. “Although they did not torture me, some persons were tortured to such an extent that they lost their mental balance,” he said adding that around 50 youths from Jammu and Punjab were still languishing in jails.

“I have to make a clarion call to the youths of the state. Look for job opportunities here or if you must emigrate then it should be legally. Otherwise, you live like dogs.” he said, urging the Indian government to take up the matter with the Iraq government so that whenever an Indian national was deported, he should be referred to the Indian embassy and not sent to Pakistan. He alleged that the Pakistan government wanted to exchange prisoners with India that was why all illegal immigrants found their way to Pakistan.

Bharat remained behind bars for two years starting from October 2003. ‘‘I had never hoped I would be home again. It is an experience, which cannot be described.’’ he said. 

Hardip Singh, along with his mother, after knowing about his father’s death at Seelon Kalan village in Ludhiana on Tuesday
Hardip Singh, along with his mother, after knowing about his father’s death at Seelon Kalan village in Ludhiana on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

Seelon Kalan: Moments of happiness mixed with grief were witnessed following the return of a youth of this village after his release from Pakistan.

Feeling of happiness proved too shortlived for Hardip Singh alias Sony, after some village elders told him about his father’s death who died of shock at his detention in Pakistani from where experiences suggested it would be near impossible to return.

‘‘The first thing I wanted to do after reaching India was to hug my father. But he did not come to receive me there. I was told that I would never be able to see him again. Things have not proved to be any better for me back home. I have lost my father, ’’ said Hardip struggling to control his tears.

‘‘I wish I had not gone abroad. Now I have lost my property and my father also. It is all because of my greed to earn dollars. Otherwise, I would have been a happy man today, ’’ he added.

While there were sweets and dances at the houses of all other Pak prisoners released yesterday, a pall of gloom had descended on this house.

The news of his release had, however, spread in the countryside. With many people coming to see him, it seemed all roads in this village led to the house of Balwinder Kaur, wife of a former sarpanch and transporter Harcharan Singh.

‘‘I am happy that at least my son is back. Though I have lost my husband but I can still look forward with Hardip walking by my side during the twilight of my life, ’’ said Ms Balwinder Kaur.

Narrating his experiences in the Pakistan jail, Hardip said the authorities at Baluchistan jail were more humane than those at Pakistan Punjab. “Though they were of the view that Pakistani prisoners were not being treated well, we received good treatment there. But the officials at Punjab jails behaved very rudely even after the completion of sentence,” said Soni.

“Besides sweeping the floors and odd places, we were forced to lift gunny bags containing wheat weighing more than quintal,” exclaimed Soni. Otherwise, the behaviour of the Pak national was also normal.

Responding to a query, Soni said most of the prisoners were not questioned about the strategic points. “We never felt that they were at all interested in extracting any information other than personal particulars. They used to keep a vigil on more educated and technical Indians imprisoned there,” he elaborated.

He said around 20 Indians had landed recently in Pak jails in connection with illegal border crossing." As the Biloch authorities understand that these youths had attempted to adopt illegal means just to earn livelihood, they did sentenced them,” he said.

Hardeep Singh (25), had left his village for Italy for greener pastures two years ago. His emigration, could not bring anything except debt and misery to the family. He could not reach Italy despite paying Rs 5 lakh to travel agent and only landed in various jails. Moreover, his father could not bear the shock and passed away.By Mahesh Sharma



Cong defends MC bypoll candidate Taina
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
The Congress today came in strong defence of its candidate for Ward 66 Municipal Corporation byelection, Mr Subash Taina, after a local court issued an arrest warrant against him. Incidentally the complaint had been lodged against Mr Taina by Mr Satpal Puri, who was the councillor from the same ward and had been disqualified. Only after his disqualification the bypoll was necessitated.

The Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, who is leading the party campaign for the byelection, claimed that there were no charges against Mr Taina. Moreover, the charges were not serious and the police had already moved an application for the cancellation of the FIR against him. He observed it was unfortunate that the issued came up during the election campaign only. He claimed that this will not have any adverse impact on the prospects of the party.

He declared that the entire rank and file of the party was supporting Mr Taina and he was sure of the victory. He pointed out with the opposition divided as the Bhartiya Janata Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal (SAD-B) had gone separately, there was no doubt about the success of the Congress candidate.

Meanwhile, the district president of the SAD(B), Mr Hira Singh Gabria today claimed that his party was supporting the BJP candidate Mr Charanjit, only. He said although Mr Ajit Singh Dhillon, who enjoyed Akali support, has been contesting as an independent candidate, the party has decided not to support him since he was not contesting on the party ticket. He claimed that the party will support the BJP candidate whenever and wherever the support was needed.

But not many in the BJP are prepared to buy Mr Gabria’s argument of his party’s support to their candidate. Several BJP leaders pointed out he (Mr Dhillon) had been fielded by the SAD(B) only and most of the workers are campaigning for him. Outwardly, the SAD(B) leaders are holding that they were supporting the BJP candidate, but everybody knew in the ward as for whom the SAD(B) leaders would like their supporters to vote. The BJP leaders maintained that the sincere commitment towards the alliance would have been proved if the SAD(B) had asked Mr Dhillon to withdraw, which they did not.

However, Mr Gabria claimed that the party had tried its level best to motivate and convince Mr Dhillon to withdraw. But he refused since he had already started his campaign. He said the BJP must not question their SAD(B) sincerity. 



Students allotted seats in CMC denied admission
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 13
The controversy regarding admissions to undergraduate medical and dental courses in the three private colleges here refuses to die down even after the counselling conducted by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) at Faridkot.

Students of PMT merit list who were allotted seats in undergraduate medical and dental courses in Christian Medical and Dental College here were facing a piquant situation after the management of these colleges refused to admit them till appropriate directions from the Supreme Court of India.

Candidates for the 12 MBBS and seven BDS seats comprising the government quota in CMC institutions were in for a shock when they were refused admission today on the plea that the process for filling vacant seats had already been initiated by the college in keeping with the directions of the apex court.

The Principal, CMC, Dr Mohan Verghese, said in accordance with the deadline fixed by the apex court for completing admissions by August 30, the management had decided to fill 25 per cent seats of government quota from its own merit list on the basis of this all-India entrance test. He pointed out that the college was well within its right to complete the admission process strictly in accordance with the timeframe as directed by the Supreme Court.

“We had intimated the university and the admission supervision committee about filling the 25 per cent government quota seats in undergraduate level in medical, dental and nursing courses. Now that the university has allotted these seats to candidates which were not on the PMT merit list, we shall find a way out to seek directions from the apex court. The modalities are being worked out,” added Dr Verghese.

The agitated students, most of whom were accompanied by their parents, however, maintained that they were being harassed for no fault of theirs. They said the fault for delay in declaration of the result for PMT and consequent delay in holding counselling for admissions lied with the universities concerned. In a written representation to the BFUHS they have demanded that the matter be taken up with the CMC authorities and admission granted to them.

On the issue of annual fee for medical and dental courses in the two privately run medical and dental colleges in the city, the college managements appeared to be on a collision course with the state government over fee fixation by the Majithia Committee.

Meanwhile, the confusion over the annual tuition fee for MBBS aspirants in Dayanand Medical College (DMC) here is suggestive of the lack of coordination between the fee fixation committee and the state government. The college authorities claim that directions on this subject had not been communicated to the college. According to DMC Principal, Dr Daljit Singh, the college had already issued a public notice asking the MBBS candidates to deposit a fee of Rs 2.42 lakh as per the prospectus and quite a few students had already deposited the stipulated fee. He maintained that the annual fee determined by the DMC management was based on actual calculations of the expenditure incurred by the institution.

Requesting not to be quoted, a functionary of Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College made similar remarks. The college authorities claimed that the kind of faculty, infrastructure and sophisticated equipment needed for quality dental education was impossible to maintain at the fee recommended by the Majithia committee.



Two crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
Two persons were killed when a private bus carrying a marriage party from Delhi went over a central verge, breaking an electricity pole, and crushing a scooter and a bicycle rider in the opposite lane before it came to a halt near Sherpur Chowk today morning.

Police sources said the bus driver seemed to have lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a curve on the road. The driver and the conductor fled from the spot. All members of the marriage party escaped miraculously.

The deceased have been identified as the scooterist Sudarshan Kumar (55). He was a resident of Moti Nagar. They cyclist could not be identified. Police sources said a case of negligence against the driver has been registered. The accident disrupted power supply in the area for a few hours.



Fake degree racket busted, two held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
The city police today claimed to have busted a fake degree racket with the arrest of two members of a three-member gang. DSP (Detective), Bhupinder Singh said the accused were Varinder Singh and Naresh, who lived near Tibba Road here. Their accomplice Devinder Kumar was absconding.

The accused had used a computer to print fake degrees and certificates for the past one-and-a-half year The police has seized over 15 fake certificates of Uttar Pradesh School Board, Punjab School Education Board, and several universities of the country. These fake documents were mainly supplied to youths who wanted to go abroad.



Anganwari workers block traffic
Our Correspondent

Amloh, September 13
In response to a call given by the state committee, anganwari workers of Fatehgarh Sahib district held a dharna here today. The workers blocked traffic for an hour and burnt the effigy of the Director (Education) Punjab. They marched through bazars and streets of the town and later they submitted a memorandum to the SDM.

Ms Harjeet Kaur, district chief and state secretary of the union, flayed the policy of the Punjab Education Department to introduce child care education centres in the village to provide pre-primary education under the Sarv Sikhya Abhyan Scheme, while anganwari workers are already working under Centre sponsored ICDS scheme in villages to provide education to children under three to six years age group.

Amloh block chief Bhupinder Kaur said with the implementation of the new policy, thousand of workers would be out of jobs. They would not allow the government to go a head with this scheme and would intensify the stir against, she said.



320 attend ‘suvidha’ camp
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
As many as 320 persons benefited from the special Lok Suvidha Camp organised at Jagraon today. The camps, a regular feature in the district, aim to take the administration on the doorstep of villagers.

Mr. Sukhwinder Singh Gill, SDM, presided over the camp and 18 departments relating to public services set up counters to dispose of complaints. People from 19 villages of mlik Kanungoi turned up in large numbers.

As per the directions of the Deputy Commissioner, sarpanchs and lamberdars of all villages remained present at the camp and verified documents on the spot.



PSEB staff hold rally

Ludhiana, September 13
Junior Engineers (JEs) of the PSEB held a rally here today. In a memorandum to the SE (East), the JEs demanded reimbursement for 30 litres of petrol per month and also said the facility of mobile phones should be provided to JEs and AAEs. They also demanded the filling of vacant posts. TNS



Thefts at five rice mills
Our Correspondent

Amloh, September 13
Machinery parts worth lakhs of rupees from five rice mills of Amloh town have been stolen. This has been stated by Mr Randhir Singh Gill, president of rice shellers union, in a complaints to the Amloh police. Mr Gill has stated that the rice mills had been closed during the off season period. As the paddy season is near the owners opened their mills to prepare the machinery for the new season but to their surprise parts of machinery were missing.

The thefts were committed at Demesh Rice and General Mills, Bhagwati Rice Mills, Bharat Modern Rice Mills, National Rice Mills and Goel Rice Mills. On the same night when the report was lodged with the police, three persons tried to commit theft but one of them was nabbed by Mr Diwan Kumar of Goel Rice Mills and handed over to the police along with his moped. His 2 accomplices managed to escape. The police has rounded up some persons in this regard.



3 booked for assault
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 13
Baldev Singh Devi , Hoppy and Binder of Mullanpur have allegedly assaulted Rateesh Kumar Rishu of Mandi Mullanpur. All three assailants have been booked under Sections 324, 341, 506 and 34, IPC.

In another incident, the police has registered a case against Ram Singh, Jit Singh and Gurmukh Singh of Chakkar at the instance of Gurcharan Singh of their village as they allegedly assaulted him with sharpedged weapons. Old enmity is said to be reason.

The injured have been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Jagraon . No arrest has been made so far.

Patwari held for corruption: Bikkar Singh patwari of Halqa Dalla, was arrested on Tuesday by the vigilance team headed by Mr Sajjan Singh, DSP, while accepting Rs 4,000 from Sukhdarshan Singh of Dalla. According to information, land mutation had to be done for which Rs 4,000 was demanded from Sukhdarshan against the legal fee of Rs 150.

No trace of body:
  More than 48 hours after a seven-year-old boy drowned after falling inside a manhole, all efforts by the police to recover the body have not borne fruit.

Even as the Focal Point police had registered a case of causing death by negligence against the MC, the investigation in the case has been held up till the recovery of the body.

The police and the MC had got sewers blocked for some hours and searched for the body but there was no trace of it.

The police is now keeping vigil at the sewerage’s outlet in the Budda nullah, hoping that the body would eventually flow into it.



Rs 75,000, drafts worth 3.25 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
Two persons stole Rs 75,000 and drafts worth Rs 3.25 lakh belonging to a trader in Mochpura bazar here this morning. Nitin Kumar had parked his scooter outside his shop in the morning when two persons broke the boot lock and fled with the money and the drafts. The police has registered a case and investigations were on.



Industry loses 5,000 cr, courtesy power cuts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 13
The Punjab State Electricity Board has withdrawn all restrictions on the power consumption by the industries, thanks to the rain god. But the industries in Ludhiana alone have suffered a production loss worth Rs 5,000 crore. The industries were forced to observe two compulsory weekly off.

The worst hit by the power crisis was the arc and induction furnaces which were completely shut down from September 1 till September 10. According to Mr R.P. Bhatia, zonal chairman, All-India Induction Furnaces Association, the daily production loss of the induction furnaces alone was of Rs 200 crore besides the loss suffered by the arc furnaces and the steel re-rolling mills of Mandi Gobindgarh and other parts of the state.

Mr Bhatia estimated that the total loss of induction furnaces and the arc furnaces and the steel mills was to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore. According to Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, the PSEB authorities have relaxed the power restrictions only for three days to begin with from Monday. If the state witnessed more rains, the power supply was likely to ease.

Meanwhile, resentment continues among industrialists over the failure of the state Excise Department to pay refunds of VAT which the Finance Minister had promised to clear without delay. Mr Avtar Singh disclosed that the arrears of refund were worth Rs 300 crore.



SBI launches Core Power
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
The SBI has launched a new service, “Core Power”, for its savings and current account holders in personal segment. With this, the bank’s customers in core banking solutions (CBS) branches can operate their accounts from 55 branches in the Ludhiana module and 1,500 branches across the country.

“Under this facility, funds can be transferred from one CBS branch to the other same day on real-time basis. For the same station, there is no limit of amount, but in case the amount is to be transferred to another station, the transaction amount limit is Rs 20,000, which is free of any charge,” a bank official said.

Customers can also deposit cash up to Rs 20,000 at any CBS branch. Outstation cheques drawn of CBS branches would be credited on the same day without any charges. Besides, withdrawals up to Rs 20,000 can also be made at any branch without payment of any charges, he said.



Biz Clips

Free-service camp:
Godawri Motors, authorised dealers of Hyundai Motor India, conducted an “Appearance Care”, free-service camp here today. Mr Jaiswal, service manager, said in a press note that during the camp no charges were taken from customers. He said the customers were also told on how to maintain their vehicles. He said the company would continue conducting such free-service camps.

Bonne colour: Bonne Care has launched hair colour under the brand name “Gabbles”. A company press note issued here today said that the product came in 10 different colours, including five fashion hair colours apart from basic colours.


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