L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Manhole case mystery deepens
MC claims under cloud; search on for boy’s body
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
The mystery shrouding the whereabouts of a seven-year-old boy, who allegedly fell to death in an open manhole, has deepened with the police failing to recover his body and municipal corporation (MC) employees making a startling claim that the boy was recovered the very next day of the incident.

However, the ground reality is that the family is still searching for the body. The MC even claimed that the boy was hale and hearty and the family had fled the next day fearing that a “false” police complaint filed by it in the case might boomerang.

A Dhandari police team went to the house of Nepalese labourer Lal Bahadur this evening to verify the claims of the MC. It found the family members in gloom, who had no information about the boy.

ASI Jatinder Kumar, in charge of the post, said the police found that the relatives from whose house the MC had claimed to have recovered the boy were also in a state of mourning.

The police is still searching the body and the MC has not submitted any report in this regard to it.

Responding to queries by Ludhiana Tribune over the issue, a senior official of the MC claimed today that his staff had informed him that the boy never fell into the manhole.

“I was not present in the city when the incident took place on September 11. However, MC employees who visited the spot have reported that the boy never fell into the manhole. He had actually gone to a relative’s house and was recovered the next day,” he claimed.

Giving credence to the claims, he said if the boy had fallen into the manhole, his body would have been recovered by now. He said the family had fled as it could be booked for making a false complaint.

However, when Ludhiana Tribune told the senior MC official that the police had visited the family, which was still there, he said he would conduct an inquiry on why the MC employees were making false claims to seniors.



MC, Health teams visit diarrhoea-hit areas
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
In the wake of some deaths, allegedly caused by diarrhoea in Jawahar Nagar and Labour Colony, the authorities of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, (LMC), today warned residents of the area to get their old water supply pipes replaced otherwise action would be taken against them.

Talking to The Tribune today, Dr Jaswant Singh, Joint Commissioner, LMC, said some residents had not replaced the water pipes for the past many years. He said that could be the cause of turbid water being received by the residents.

Dr Jaswant Singh led a team of MC officials who visited the spot after reports of deaths. He maintained that the residents were falling ill after consuming some contaminated food and not due to potable water.

A team of Health Department officials visited the area to find out the exact cause of the disease that was gripping the area. The residents were distributed chlorine tablets and advised to boil water before drinking it.

Mr Ram Lal Mehra, husband of the area councillor, said he had chalked out a plan for the area to remove all underground water supply pipes and supply water through over-ground pipes so as to avoid any contamination.

He said he would send an estimate of the total work to the MC and, if need be, all pipes would be replaced and fixed in the open. The problem, he said, was caused due to the narrow lanes (which were as narrow as 3 feet) and could not be cleaned properly.

He added that they had checked water pipes after digging at three or four places in gali No. 12, Jawahar Nagar, but not a single sample showed any problem. He said he was getting the water supplied through MC tankers also in case residents were demanding one.

Mr Mehra said some pipes were very old and the bleaching powder used for chlorination was causing some particles of rust to travel along with the water. Therefore, there was suspension in the water in some residents’ houses who were raising a hue and cry.

He said more water samples were also collected and sent for testing by the Health Department.



Residents protest against choked sewers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
To protest against the choking of sewerage system in their area, residents of Rarri Mohalla, near CMC Hospital, staged a dharna at Brown Road here today.

Residents claimed that whenever it rained they had to suffer as the sewerage got choked and caused problems for them. They said this had been happening for the past four years and their complaints to the authorities were not being heeded to.

The angry residents blocked traffic on the road also for some time. A senior BJP leader, Mr Satpal Gosain, also joined dharna and gave an ultimatum to the local civic body that if their grievance was not redressed by September 29 they would be forced to intensify their agitation. 



Fast by PAU employees enters 11th day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
Two fasting employees of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Mr SP Sharma and Mr R.S. Arora, continue to lose weight as their indefinite fast entered 11th day today. The employees said they were shocked that nobody appeared to be bothered about them.

But they asserted that they would take their struggle to the logical conclusion and not succumb to pressure.

They had been examined by a team of doctors deputed by the district administration a couple of days ago. Since then nobody had come to see them. However, they expressed gratitude to other employees and organisations who had come to their support and who have been visiting them daily.

They reiterated their allegations of alleged victimisation at the hands of the university authorities. They said they were prepared to sacrifice themselves to ensure that the “atrocities and the harassment going on in the university” were stopped at the earliest. They claimed that since they had been trying to point out the corrupt practices in the university they were being victimised.

While Mr Sharma has lost 9 kg weight during the past 11 days, Mr Arora has lost 7 kg. They said although they were feeling physically weak, they would continue their fast as long as they could.



Nothing to offer, PM belied hopes
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
Prime Ministers do not come to Ludhiana too often. And when they do, people have great expectations. However, during his visit to the city yesterday, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, did not offer anything, belying the expectations of the people.

The only thing he could offer was an assurance of 50 per cent grant from his government in case the state government submitted a proposal for developing Ludhiana into a model city. However, that again is not special to Ludhiana as model cities are being developed all over the country and each state has to identify one.

As the Prime Minister said Ludhiana was the financial and industrial capital of the state and it needed a lot of infrastructure, everybody expected some special package for the city, but Dr Manmohan Singh did not offer anything to the industry either.

Representatives of various industries had already submitted a number of demands, particularly highlighting the incentives being offered to neighbouring states like Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. In fact, the Prime Minister did not touch the issue.

Even the idea of the outer ring road in the city is not new. The plan for the ring road has already been drawn up. The Prime Minister again just assured 20 per cent of the expenses after the state submits the project. And for the mass transportation system, the Prime Minister did not say anything either.

However, local Congress leaders are trying to make a lot out of the visit claiming that the announcement of developing Ludhiana into a model city was in itself a great “package”. The Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, said, “Once Ludhiana is developed into a model city, everything will follow.” He thanked the Prime Minister for his announcement as he desired that Punjab should identify Ludhiana for developing it as a model city.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Member of Parliament Lala Lajpat Rai said the Prime Minister had left everybody disappointed. He pointed out that there was nothing concrete that the Prime Minister announced or committed. “These are just run-of-the-mill assurances, usually doled out by typical Congress rulers, which Dr Manmohan Singh appears to have turned out to be.”

The Shiromani Akali Dal general secretary and former minister, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, also regretted that the Prime Minister did not announce anything for the city. “People had great expectations of him, but he belied all those hopes,” Mr Grewal said, adding that local Congress leaders appeared to have failed to present their case.

Reacting to the model city announcement , Mr Grewal said, “It is the prerogative of the state government to identify the city for developing it into a model city and who knows whether the government will identify Ludhiana only or some other city.” 



Poor response to Punjabi Idol auditions
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
When it comes to performing arts, artistes are often heard complaining of less opportunities the state has to offer. The situation today at Megha Resorts, where the audition for Punjabi Idol, a talent show to be aired on Doordarshan was held, however, portrayed an entirely different picture.

The talent hunt that began today received a lukewarm response as barely 50 persons turned up for the audition, putting a question mark on the availability of talented performers the city.

“We decided to conduct our first audition in Ludhiana, as we had heard that the city had a rich pool of talent. But sadly, the response is far from encouraging,” said Mr Raman Tandon, managing partner, Indoscreen Films and TV Productions, the company that is producing the programme.

The auditions, that started today at around 11 am, had a turnout of less than 40 till 2 pm. The response for the show, which, according to the company, has been conceptualised by experts from Bollywood, came as a surprise to the organisers too. “There are chances that not many people are aware of the auditions. We hope more participants will turn up tomorrow,” Mr Tandon said.

Punjabi Idol, he said, would break away the tradition of having artistes from one field (read singing) only. The show would give opportunity to singers, dancers and actors. Those selected would get a chance to perform in the show, that would contain 52 episodes.

Two winners and two semi-finalists would get opportunity to work in the serials produced by this company. An album or audio cassette of their songs (in case the winners are singers) would also be brought out by the producers. Prizes would be given in every episode of this show. “The best part of it is that we would groom the artistes so that opportunities for them would not be limited,” Mr Tandon claimed.

“Our aim is to provide a platform to Punjabi artistes settled anywhere across the globe.” He emphasised that the company’s productions would “not be vulgar and stress would be laid on presenting art in its best form”.

Jury members would involve artistes, but audience voting and SMS-based public voting would be the main criterion. “The TV show will have a limited number of audience during the show. They will have red and green placards, using which they will show their approval or disapproval for a certain candidate. Ratings will be done accordingly,” Mr Tandon said.

After Ludhiana, the company will conduct auditions in Chandigarh, to be followed by Bathinda.



Passing Thru

Ramneek Paintal, model
Ramneek Paintal, model

Being a model, what do you do to keep your skin glowing?

We, as models, have to be very particular about our appearance. The secret of my glowing and healthy skin is that I drink a lot of water and work out regularly. I am very particular in choosing my skin-care clinic. I make sure that the services are effective, safe and best suited to my skin. Plus, the clinic should be very hygienic.

For how long can one be a demanding model?

As many years he or she wants. People feel that models have a very limited career time. No, I have been in the profession since 1997. I am still in demand. Besides modeling, if one is versatile, she can do acting, compering and anchoring as well. The important thing is how you maintain yourself. You have to be very particular about your diet plan, exercises, skin and hair-care etc.

How far do you think are the skin clinics helpful?

Taking care of the skin should be part of a daily routine. For a clear, flawless and attractive skin, one has to depend a lot of good skin-care clinics. The skin clinics help to uncover and rejuvenate a person's natural, healthy, glowing skin.

— Shivani Bhakoo



Murder case solved after eight years
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 24
The Crime Branch, Patiala police, has claimed to have solved the murder of Jaswant Singh of Rasulpur, which was committed in May, 1997, with the arrest of prime suspect Paramjit Singh, an NRI based in the United Kingdowm. The accused was produced today in the court of Ms Jatinder Walia, SDJM, Jagraon, who remanded him in police custody till September 26.

Jaswant Singh of Rasulpur, his wife Paramjit Kaur and their three children were residents of the UK. He was working at a saw mill where Paramjit Singh was also working. It is alleged that Paramjit Singh and Paramjit Kaur developed illicit relations. They later decided to eliminate Jaswant Singh while he was on a visit to India . The duo then hired Manjit Singh to kill Jaswant. As per the plan Manjit Singh murdered Jaswant Singh in his village and escaped. The Sidhwanbet police registered a case on May 28, 1997, under Sections 302 and 34 IPC. The police later presented a challan against some persons who were acquitted by the Sessions Court as it was not able to prove their involvement.

Pritam Singh, father of the deceased, then moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court to get the murder probed by the Crime Branch which the HC allowed and the branch started fresh investigations.

Paramjit Kaur and Paramjit Singh then invited Manjit Singh to the UK and later got him settled there so that he would not give evidence against them.

Paramjit Kaur later claimed Jaswant’s huge insurance policy and got money running into lakhs of pounds.

The investigation then flashed messages about Paramjit Singh and Manjit Singh. Paramjit Singh’s arrest could only be possible when he came to India after eight years and was arrested.

The Crime Branch then sought police remand for further investigation about the other aspects of the murder and involvement of a supari killer and any other associates involved.



Ghosh to shape budding models
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, September 24
Kaushik Ghosh, the “godfather” of celebrities like Sushmita Sen, Gracy Singh and Shweta Kwatra, is in the city to train and provide valuable tips on modelling to budding models.

The fashion choreographer has been invited to conduct seminars and workshops by the JD Institute of Fashion Technology.

Ghosh is running one of India’s most prestigious and oldest modeling schools — The Roots — in 65 cities the worldover. He has groomed a number of models, Bollywood stars and renowned television and fashion personalities.

“I have started conducting a workshop for boys and girls in the age group 15 to 30. There will also be a unique modelling workshop for children in the age group 4 to 14. A special professional fashion designing and image-building workshop will be designed for budding designers,” he said.

Ms Pragati Taneja, Centre Director of the institute, said 250 students came for auditions of whom 70 had been selected by Ghosh and would be given a platform by means of fashion shows and advertisements. Ghosh said he was in the profession for more than 15 years now and had done more than 600 shows. He believed Punjabis were good-looking and dashing. He said they had a lot of potential, but needed grooming. 



Satinder finds UK experience unique
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, September 24
Satinder Sati, anchor and Punjabi actor, is back after successful shows in various cities of the UK.

She was in the city for a private show yesterday. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, she said, “It was my first performance in the UK. We visited many cities where Punjabis and Pakistanis live and are crazy about Punjabi music. Though I have been to Canada, the USA and Hong Kong, yet the experience in the UK was unique as people went wild over our shows.”

She said she, along with Sardool Sikander, Noorie, Satwinder Bugga and Nachhatar Gill, were invited for musical concerts by the Desi Music Corporation. They had left for London on August 25 and returned last week.

“We performed in London, Leicester, Birmingham and Coventry, and the response was overwhelming. In London, we performed in Albert Hall and the response was wonderful. My two shows on Alpha Punjabi — “Excuse Me” and “Kuch Pal Tere Naal” — have made me popular with Punjabi audience in the UK too. I was pleasantly surprised when young girls mobbed me in shopping malls and asked me for my autographs. It was indeed wonderful to be recognised and lauded for my anchoring.”



At the Crossroads
Poet of socio-cultural tensions

Pritam Singh Rahi
Pritam Singh Rahi

DURING the '60s of the last century, some avant-garde Punjabi poets emerged on the literary scene. They had been nurtured on the concept of romantic revolution and unrequited ladylove. They wanted change in the social scenario as well as the political structure. While poets like Misha, Jagtar, Gurcharan Rampuri and Ajaib Chitarkar were in the mainstream of Punjabi poetry, Pritam Singh Rahi waited in the wings to play his role a little later. Romance and revolution attracted him all the same, but he was concerned, to a greater degree, with the social mores of his milieu. The rural scene attracted him and he tried to store its sights and sounds in his mind. Ultimately, his psyche helped him perch on the top branch of poetic expression.

Pritam Singh Rahi has come up recently with a volume of his collected poems entitled 'Ik Kuknus Hor' (Yet Another Phoenix). The other volume of his collected ghazals is in the offing. This eagerness to present to Punjabi readers his complete work is no doubt appreciable, but it also indicates some sort of literary stocktaking. He will, of course, go on writing and perhaps 'the best is yet to be'. With a creative writer, publication in one form or another seems to be a continuing process as there is probably no facing the dead wall during the lifetime. Still to me, it appears as if Rahi can claim 'Lifetime Achievement Award' on the basis of what he has already composed. It is rare that a Punjabi reader comes across such a poet as can depict so candidly the socio-cultural dimension of his milieu.

He published four collections of poems from 1960 to 1968 and made an indelible mark on the reader's consciousness. He refused to be swayed by sentiments and tried to provide a solid base to his emotions. He never lost sight of the stern realities of life. At the same time, he was not cynical of the warmth of human relationship. His lyricism helped him view life's oddities, paradoxes and contradictions from the corners of his eyes. Yet, his focus was on the brighter side of human existence :

The doors are open Every thought is permitted

To walk in.

On my door

I have inscribed -


In another poem, 'Darwaze Khol Deo' (Open the Doors), he gives expression to his optimistic ideas in a more forthright manner :

Open the doors

Let the light step in

Why have you confined yourself

Within the room bolted up?

Light will filter through chinks

Why do you hesitate then?

Take an axe in your hand

And break open the doors.

Get up and unfasten the bolts

Let the light step in

Open thy doors.

Professor Rahi craves for a change in the system that has divided the people into the haves and the have-nots. He realises that political and social change will come about through cultural awareness. The process may be slow but it is bound to be a lasting one. Mere slogan-mongering cannot help when the mind needs a solid base to act upon. By conjuring up the plight of the suffering people, especially those who have been marginalised, the poet aims at sensitizing the section of the society that has ignored blatantly its responsibilities.

Way back in the late '60s and early '70s, Pritam Singh Rahi started publishing poems of upcoming Punjabi poets, particularly of the Malwa region, in his quarterly, 'Muhandara'. Before long, the Barnala School of Poetry emerged on the literary scene. Recently he has revived the publication of this journal which has again received good response. His versatility in composing poems, ghazals and geets, with equal ease, has been widely acknowledged. His main poetic concern is to give expression to people's aspirations through folk idiom and rural imagery.

— N.S. Tasneem



Lions Club function today

Ludhiana, September 24
Members of more than 140 Lions Clubs of District 321-F will attend the district cabinet installation ceremony to be held here tomorrow.

The function will be presided over by Mr K.S Sohal, District Governor, and Mr A.P Singh, International Director, from Kolkata would be the chief guest on the occasion. TNS



2 months on, police yet to register case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
Despite two months having lapsed after a man was allegedly duped of Rs 50,000 by way of a forged document, the police is yet to register a case.

The victim had lodged a complaint with the SP City-I, Mr R.K.Jaiswal, who referred it to the Kochhar market police post on July 25 last along with photo copies of the forged document supplied to him in lieu of the money.

The police has not even summoned the accused for recording their statements. It is learnt from reliable sources that the police is dilly-dallying following instructions from someone in the DIG’s office not to register a case.

The complainant in the case, a practising lawyer, Mr Surinder Pal Moudgil, had stated in his complaint that in 1999, he had applied for the permanent residency status in Canada after depositing the necessary fees.

However, in 2004 he came to know about the IELTS examination which was necessary for passage to that country. So he subsequently appeared in the test , but fell short by just one mark.

In the meantime, an advocate known to him, Mr Satish Kumar Sharma, who knew about his efforts to settle in Canada, told him that he knew a man who could give him a certificate.

It was on his recommendation that he reportedly paid Rs 10,000 to Pardeep Verma, owner of Jyoti Electronics in Neelkanth Complex near Greatway Hosiery in the Civil Lines on April 18, 2004, and another Rs 40,000 on May 5 the same year after he was handed a clearance certificate of the IELTS.

He attached the certificate given to him along with his application to the Canadian immigration authorities. However, he was shocked when he received a communication from the Third Secretary (Immigration) of the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi, vide a letter dated July 26, 2004, saying that the certificate sent by him was a fraudulent document. Later, he was informed by the Deputy Programme Manager (Immigration ) of the Canadian High Commission that he had been barred for two years due to the fraudulent document sent by him along with his application.

The investigating officer, Head Constable Harmesh Singh failed to give a satisfactory reply today except for saying that the chowki in charge should be contacted for comments.

Meanwhile, Mr Moudgil told Ludhiana Tribune that in the absence of any police action so far in the case, he was being threatened by the accused who were allegedly enjoying the patronage of certain police officials.



Decomposed body found
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 24
The local police has recovered a decomposed unidentified body of a middle-aged man from a deserted shop on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road near here. The body was cremated after conducting post mortem under Section 174, Cr P C.

A passerby reported to the local police that pungent and foul smell was emanating from a deserted shop situated near Akbarpur village on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road.



Laghu Udyog Bharti holds national conference
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
The national conference of Laghu Udyog Bharti was held here today. Mr H.P. Kumar, CMD, National Small Industries Corporation, inaugurated the conference. Mr Kumar spoke about the facilities being provided to the small-scale sector. Among those present on the occasion were Mr R.C. Chopra, Director, Small Industries Service Institute, Mr Harbans Singh, General Manager, Punjab National Bank, Mr M.K. Sharma, DGM, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Mr balwant Rai Gupta, national president, Laghu dyog Bharti, and Mr Sushil Kumar Gupta, general secretary, Laghu Udyog Bharti.

Ion Exchange: Ion Exchange India, a water treatment company, on Saturday said it would open 200 Water Marts in the country, including 70 in the North. Mr Rajneesh Chopra, General Manager, Consumer Products Division, said to tap the potential of Punjab markets, the company would open more outlets and it has already reduced process of its products.



150 SSI units avail credit rating facility
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
More than 150 small-scale units across the country, including 20 from Ludhiana, have got their credit rating done ever since the same was started for the SSI sector by the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC).

“Over 450 have applied, whereas more than 1,000 such units have collected application to get their credit rating done,” Mr H.P. Kumar, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, NSIC, said.

NSIC started credit rating, for the first time in the country, for small-scale industries in April this year. The rating, aimed to be a proof of a company’s credit worthiness and credibility, was formulated in consultation with various small industry associations, Indian Banks Association and credit rating agencies.

Introduction of a rating scheme in for the SSI sector assumes significance in view of fast-changing global economic scenario where, with the opening up of opportunities, SSI industries are also facing various challenges that have necessitated upgrading their competence.

While the rating is not compulsory, the government is providing 75 per cent subsidy to companies going in for such rating so as to encourage the practice.

“A rating enhances bargaining capability of a company, both for availing credit and also for fresh orders. It infuses a sense of confidence among buyers too,” he said.

The credit rating agencies engaged by NSIC are ICRA, CRISIL, Dun and Bradstreet (D&B), Fitsch, Care and ONICRA.


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