L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


10-year-old girl gang-raped
Bid to rape another minor; two held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 3
The safety of minor girls of migrant labourers in the city came under scrutiny today when a 10-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped in Basti Jodhewal and an attempt was made to rape another girl, employed as a domestic help, in a house in the Kochar Market area.

Both incidents took place in broad daylight. The only redeeming factor was that alert residents near the crime scene nabbed an accused each in both cases.

Tension gripped Gautam Colony in Basti Jodhewal around 1.30 pm when Sunita (name changed) came out of a godown crying and in battered condition. She later told her parents that five persons had called her in the godown after luring her with free supply of timber for use in kitchen.

A number of area residents, including her parents and relatives, reached the scene and got hold of one of the accused who was trying to escape.

A PCR team of the city police also reached the spot and took him into custody.

The police, however, claimed in the evening that it was still unclear if the girl was gang-raped. Though the parents of the girl and area residents insisted that the girl was gang-raped and that two local residents were involved, the police investigation confirmed rape by only one man.

The police has identified the man arrested as Dinesh Pal (35).

SHO (Basti Jodhewal) Jaswinder Singh Mangat told Ludhiana Tribune that the police had formed a five-member committee to assist in the case.

He said the girl was yet to make a statement to the police as she was petrified.

The girl was admitted to a local hospital and was stated to be out of danger.

In the second incident, a middle-aged man tried to rape an eight-year-old girl in his house in Jawahar Nagar around 1.30 pm.

The accused, identified as Varinder Kumar, had found the girl alone in the house where she used to come to work with her mother.

The girl raised the alarm, at which neighbours and area residents reached the scene and caught the accused. He was later handed over to the police.



Shawl units go on 72-hr strike
Protests against imposition of VAT
Tribune News Service

Shawl manufacturers and traders protest against the imposition of VAT on shawls at Cheema Chowk, Ludhiana
Shawl manufacturers and traders protest against the imposition of VAT on shawls at Cheema Chowk, Ludhiana, on Monday. — Photo: I.V.

Ludhiana, October 3
Protesting against the “sudden” imposition of value added tax (VAT) on shawls without prior notification, shawl manufacturers and traders went on a 72-hour bandh from today.

Manufacturing was stopped in over 1,000 shawl manufacturing small scale units across the city as a result of the bandh, being observed under the banner of the Joint Textile Action Committee.

According to industrialists, shawls manufactured by them were being treated as tax-free till September 8. “However, on September 9 Excise and Taxation Department officials started stopping trucks carrying shawls to other states at the Shambu barrier claiming that VAT was applicable on shawls too,” said Jagjit Singh Sarna, convener of the committee.

Shawl manufacturers and traders said as VAT was not applicable on shawls earlier, they had booked advance orders to supply goods. “However, if VAT is imposed now, we would have to incur heavy losses on the sale of goods,” they said.

The committee has also submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh apprising him of the alleged misinterpretation of a circular by the VAT department on shawls.

“Being part of Textile Fabrics, shawl is considered tax-free under the VAT Act and shawl dealers have been conducting their business accordingly from April 1, 2005, and have been getting their goods cleared from barriers without having to pay the tax,” the action committee stated in the memorandum.

“The sudden decision to impose VAT has caused panic among manufacturers and dealers,” said Jagdish Bajaj, chairman, Mochpura Supreme Shawl Association.

The city is home to around 1,000 small scale shawl manufacturers and almost 2,000 traders are engaged in the business. The industry provides direct employment to over 1 lakh persons and indirect employment to another 3 lakh.

Manufacturers and traders said the action of the government would render these people jobless. The members of the committee will meet the Deputy Commissioner tomorrow.



Farmers block traffic for two hours
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, October 3
Farmers and activists of various kisan unions held up traffic for over two hours on the main Ludhiana-Ferozepore national highway at Mullanpur in protest against the inability of the state government to speed up paddy procurement in the state.

The protesters from the Punjab Kisan Union, the CPI, the CPM and various labour organisations besides the Bharti Kisan Union held two separate rallies and blocked the highway bringing all vehicular movement to a halt from 11 am to 1 pm.

Addressing the rally, Sukhminder Singh Sekhon, general secretary, CPM, said the grant of free power and water to the farmers was just an eyewash as the present government was shielding the interests of the sheller owners who had embezzled billions of government funds.

Roop Basant Singh said due to the anti-farmer policies, a debt-ridden farmer of Nadala in Kapurthala district had committed suicide and more would follow suit if paddy was not procured in time.

“Ironically, defaulter sheller owners are allowed to go free, while farmers have to spend sleepless nights in police station for not paying installments of Rs 500 from cooperative banks and societies,” he added.

The rally was addressed by Darshan Singh Khaira, Dharminder Singh Humbran, Hardial Singh, Kuldip Singh Khalsa, Baljit Singh Birmi.

The other rally, organised by the Bharti Kisan Union and the SAD, was addressed by senior leader Sukhminder Singh Kadian.

He said the paddy had not been purchased by any agency during past one week on the plea that grains were discoloured, for which the farmers were not responsible.

The discolouration was because of the inclement weather during the harvesting process and the government must compensate farmers instead of forcing them to resort to distress sale, he said.

He said if their demands were not met, they would intensify their stir all over the state.

SAD leaders Darshan Singh Shivalik and Manpreet Singh Ayyali expressed their solidarity with the farmers and assured support to them.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Jagir Singh Noorpura, Ajmer Singh, Maghar Singh Waraich, Gurdev Singh and Sukhpal Singh.

Mullanpur Naib Tehsildar Joginder Singh, Food Supply Officer Ramesh Pangalia and AFSO Balbir Singh convinced the protesters to lift the blockade and assured them of procuring paddy soon.

Khamano: Vehicular traffic was blocked at Khamano and Sanghol on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway by farmers, commission agents and labourers against the non-procurement of paddy. The protesters were raising slogans against the Punjab Government and the procure agencies.

The traffic jam at Sanghol was more effective and it continued from 10.10 am to 2.35 pm when the blockade was lifted only after the assurance by Khamano SDM Ravinder Kumar that the procurement will start shortly. The protesters were led by Kisan Union leader Bhinder Singh Ranwan and Akali Dal (A) leader Gurmukh Singh Shamshpur. In their address, the leaders alleged that the farmers were forced to sit in the mandi from past many days despite the assurances by the government.

Due to the non-procurement, about 22,000 quintal of paddy is lying at Sanghol Mandi and about 24,000 quintal at Khamano. They warned of intensifying the stir if the procurement failed to start by tomorrow.

At Khamano, the protesters were led by SGPC member Jathedar Kirpal Singh Khirnia and BJP Punjab secretary Rajinder Bhandari. The traffic jam started at 10.30 am and lasted till 12.30 pm. The protesters opened the blockade on their own and no one turned up to give any assurance.

There was a huge pile-up of vehicles on both sides of the road. The Khamano police tried to divert the traffic from other routes, but it proved futile as the farmers had even blocked link roads with tractor trailers.

Amloh: Farmers blocked traffic on the Amloh-Nabha road for two hours in protest against the slow procurement of paddy at the local grain market today. The blockade was lifted after a memorandum was handed over to Executive Magistrate Sohan Singh Mann, who promised to submit it to the government.

SAD leaders Karamjit Singh Bhagdana and Jora Singh Haripur were among those who addressed the gathering.



MLAs to get development funds by Oct 5
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 3
Panchayat, Rural Development, Irrigation and Power Minister Lal Singh has announced that constituency development funds of Rs 50 lakh each will be released by October 5 to all MLAs in the state so that they can utilise these funds as per the local requirements of the villages falling in their constituency.

He was addressing a meeting of the District Planning and Development Board at Bachat Bhavan here today.

Mr Lal Singh informed that the government had already released funds for the repair of link roads and other development projects in the rural areas and directed the officers to execute these in consultation with the MLA or representative of the constituency. The minister also asked the MLAs to monitor the developmental projects and welfare schemes in their constituencies so that the proper utilisation of funds could be ensured.

A resolution was passed to express thanks to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for announcing a special plan to develop Ludhiana as a model city of North India. He said with the announcement a comprehensive plan for Ludhiana was being chalked out.

On a point raised by Mr Malkit Singh Dakha, MLA, regarding the shortage of panchayat secretaries in each block, which is creating a major hindrance in the development process, the minister informed that more than 4,000 panchayat secretaries were being recruited shortly so that the panchayats could successfully perform their role.

The board also accorded approval to the grant of Rs 187.36 lakh released earlier for the different development projects, besides releasing funds of Rs 108.95 lakh for different development projects and pensions under social security department. Out of these funds, grants of Rs 104.89 lakh have been released to provide nutritious diet to the children below the age of six years and lactating mothers.

The minister also asked the MLAs to inspect aganwari centres to ensure the proper utilisation of these funds. A sanction was also accorded to release untied funds of Rs 65.04 lakh, out of which Rs 28.74 lakh are to be spend in rural areas and Rs 36.30 lakh in urban areas.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, assured that grants released by the board should be utilised within the fixed period and the quality of the works would be ensured." "

Others who attended &the meeting included Major Nahar Singh Gill, Mr Surinder Dawar and Mrs Harbans Kaur Dullo (both Parliamentary Secretaries), Mr Malkit Singh Dakha, MLA, Ms Mohinder Kaur Dangian, Chairperson, Zila Paroshad, Mp Narindar Paul Singh, SSP, Mr S*K. Sharma, Commissioner, Mr R. K. Jaiswal, SSP, Jagraon.



5 held for robbery in girls’ hostel
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 3
With the arrest of five robbers the police has succeeded in solving the case of robbery on the night of September 29 in room number 209 of the girl’s hostel of the Punjab Institute of Management and Technology (PIMT) according to Mr Varinder Kumar, police chief, Fatehgarh Sahib, at a press conference held at local police station today.

They were identified as Bal Krishan, alias Chottu, son of Ram Parkash Thakur, resident of Ugarpur, Rajesh Chauhan, alias Surinder, alias Chottu, son of Shiv Nath Chauhan, resident of Khangri tehsil, Munna, son of Bhatel, resident of Rajpur village (all from UP), and Sunni, son of Mannu resident of the Panjpara, Gawalpur police station. 



Passing Thru

Sonjay Dutt, the only TNA wrestler of Indian origin in the professional wrestling circuit
Sonjay Dutt, the only TNA wrestler of Indian origin in the professional wrestling circuit

For how long have you been in this profession and what made you take wrestling as profession ?

I was fascinated by the game of wrestling since my childhood days. I had been watching wrestling shows and trying to imitate the popular stars so I decided to adopt the sport professionally. I have been in this profession and enjoying the same for the past more than five years.

How did you find the response from this part of the country during your maiden visit ?

I was overwhelmed by the audience's response in my native country. The interest shown by many fans especially on the technical aspects of the game has really impressed me and my colleagues. It is promising to see TNA wrestling getting so much encouragement within four months of its showcasing here. The knowledge of Punjabi language was an advantage for me as the fans in Ludhiana were at ease to interact with me.

For how long would you like to be in this profession ?

There is no time bar in this profession. There are a number of international stars who continue to perform after attaining the age of 50 or so. As long as I am fit (physically as well mentally) and viewers accept me, I would continue with this profession which is a passion for me.

— Anil Datt



Lab technicians stage dharna to press demands
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 3
Laboratory technicians of the Health Department, led by activists of the Medical Laboratory Technicians Association, staged a protest dharna in favour of their demands at the office of the Civil Surgeon here today.

Speakers, including state president of the body, Mr Sikander Singh, and office-bearer of the district unit, Ms Rajni Bala, while addressing the protesters, charged the state government with adopting delaying tactics in accepting their demands, which had forced the laboratory technicians to adopt the path of agitation.

They alleged that the government was deliberately flouting the High Court directive in favour of the employees about disparity in pay-scales which had created a situation where three different pay-scales were being given to similar category of employees.

The union leaders further maintained that the laboratory technicians were being discriminated by being denying residential accommodation at par with other para-medical employees and risk allowance of Rs 600 per month as recommended by the Directorate of Health Services.

Other demands put forth by the association included introduction of a three-year degree and two-year diploma course in medical laboratory technology in medical colleges, payment of share from laboratory income to technicians on the pattern of doctors and radiographers, sanction of posts in newly-carved districts and regularisation of contractual laboratory technicians and grant annual promotions to them.

According to Mr Nirmal Singh Bhinder, press secretary of state unit of the association, the agitation would continue in a phased manner till their demands were accepted and it was proposed to hold a state-level dharna outside the residence of the Punjab Health Minister in Hoshiarpur if the government continued with its indifferent attitude.



Anganwari workers hold protest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 3
The Anganwari Workers Union and the Anganwari Maha Sangh held a massive dharna in front of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Jawahar Nagar, where Mr H.D. Johar, Education Minister, was launching a new scheme of pre -nursery education.

In a joint rally by the two organisations under the leadership of Ms Santosh Kaur and Ms Darshana Rani, a protest rally was held against the launch of pre-nursery schools.

District President Santosh Kaur said during the rally held by them on September 27 at Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall, Jalandhar, Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, Minister for Women and Child Development, had assured them that she would present the view point of anganwari workers before Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. But the scheme was given a go-ahead and the anganwari workers, who were looking after children between 3-6 years of age, would become unemployed if such schools started, she added.

Ms Darshana Rani said pre-nursery schools came as a big threat to anganwari workers as they were assured that the government would look into the matter. She warned of intensifying the stir.



Members of Film Censor Board felicitated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 3
Mr Rajnish Sahota, advocate from Jalandhar, and Mr R.R. Gill from Chandigarh, the newly nominated members of the Central Board of Film Censors, were felicitated at a function organised by the Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj (BVDS) here last evening.

Mr Vijay Danav, national convener of the BVDS, said in the wake of distorted image of Maharishi Valmiki being presented in films and TV serials, the Union Government had done well to nominate two prominent members of the community to the censor board.

In doing so, the government had conceded to a long-standing and genuine demand of the Valmiki community.

Giving details of the programme chalked out for celebrating Valmiki Jayanti, he said a ‘shobha yatra’ would be taken out on October 14 from Daresi Ground here. It would comprise a large number of tableaux depicting life and mythological creations of Maharishi Valmiki, band parties, schoolchildren, bhajan and kirtan mandlis.

Prominent persons from all walks of life, including functionaries of political parties, social and religious bodies and bureaucrats, would participate in the yatra.

Prominent among others present at the function were Dr Dev Singh Asur, Mr Raj Kumar Hamdard, Mr Lakshman Dravid, Mr Ashwani Sahota, Choudhry Yash Pal, Mr Mohan Vir Chouhan, Mr Surinder Bali, Mr Vikram Chouhan and Mr Raj Kumar.



Maneka rescues injured dog
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 3
On her way back to Delhi after attending functions in Ludhiana district, Ms Menaka Gandhi, MP and former Union Minister, came to the rescue of a dog whom she saw bleeding profusely near Sirhind on the GT Road. She stopped her convoy and directed her aides to inform the People For Animals (PFA), Ludhiana, to treat the dog.

The aides of Ms Gandhi called up the office-bearers of the PFA. In the meantime, they tied the dog in a shady place and informed a nearby shopkeeper about this.

PFA ambulance with first-aid gadgets was rushed to the spot. The dog, with a wound over its head with heavy maggot infestation, was given first-aid and was taken to Jeev Kalyan Kendra and Bhagwan Mahavir Abhayshala run by the PFA at Khwajke, Rehon road, here.

Ms Maneka's aides remained in contact with the PFA president until the dog was lifted from the spot for treatment.



Conference on dispute prevention
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 3
The Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA) will provide an opportunity to the professionals of this region on October 8 when the city will be hosting a conference on “Dispute Prevention and Resolution”.

Giving this information during a press conference here today, Mr B.K. Goyal president, District Bar Association, said Mr Justice Ashok Bhan, Judge of the Supreme Court would inaugurate the conference while Mr Justice D.K. Jain, Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court, would deliver the key-note address.

Mr Rana Harjasdeep and Mr S.R. Mittal, secretaries, DBA, and various chartered accountants were among others who attended the conference.



5 hurt as factory roof collapses
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 3
Five labourers were injured, two of them seriously, when a portion of an under-construction roof of a factory collapsed in Durga Colony, Chotti Dhandari, here today.

The construction work was under way at Shiv Raj Wire Ltd. factory. The owners, Amit Gupta and Happy Gupta, said the welding work was on when the portion of the roof fell accidentally. Some labourers working on the roof got buried under the debris.



Father, sons booked in firing incident
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 3
Karnail Singh, his two sons Iqbal Singh and Raghbir Singh and Beera of Kular village allegedly injured Mandip Singh, alias Manga, and Navnish in a firing incident. The local police has registered a case under Sections 307, 342 and 341, IPC, and 25, 54 and 59, Arms Act, on a complaint of Darshan Singh. According to information, some old rivalry existed in two factions of the village — one led by Karnail Singh and the other by Manga of the village. Manga was released from the jail only two days ago .

Manga, along with his brother Amandip and cousin Parminder and his son Navnish, was going to the village when they were allegedly intercepted by Karnail Singh and two sons.

Meanwhile, Karnail Singh has been arrested.


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