L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Murder of Beant’s kin: vital clues found, says SSP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
Police investigations into last night’s murder of a woman relative of late Chief Minister Beant Singh suggests that robbery seemed to be the main motive but other theories like the involvement of some person known to the family have not been completely ruled out.

At least four assailants had killed a septuagenarian woman with sharp-edged weapons and had seriously injured two other women relatives in Jagjit Nagar near Thrike village at about 11 pm last night.

The deceased woman was identified as Jaswant Kaur (72), maternal aunt of late Chief Minister’s wife. Gurdeep Kaur (60) and Amandeep Kaur (30) were injured seriously in the attack. Both injured women gained consciousness late in the afternoon and provided some clues to the police.

There was no confirmation whether the assailants actually took some jewellery or cash or had ransacked the place to make it appear as a robbery attempt. The police has ruled out the possibility of a terrorist attack. Some neighbours have told the police that they had seen a motorcycle and a scooter parked outside the house.

In what could be an important clue, sources revealed to Ludhiana Tribune that a relative, Mohinder Singh, had sold some prime property in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar last week. One of the assailants had allegedly demanded Rs 30 lakh from the victims after entering the house.

Mohinder Singh had, incidentally, gone to Uttar Pradesh, where he owns farms. He had left at 6 pm yesterday only. He has been called back by the police and was expected to reach here by evening.

It seemed the deceased woman, Jaswant Kaur, had recognised one of the assailants and she was apparently killed because of this.

The police, however, did not find any other motive behind her murder. She used to move with the help of a walker and was in no position to fight the robbers.

Most of the family members of the deceased had gone to Rajgarh in Rajasthan to attend the marriage of a relative.

SP (Detective) Gurpreet Singh, who lives near the colony, and SHO Sardar Police Station, Inspector Sandeep Sharma, told Ludhiana Tribune that the assailants had used sharp-edged weapons and were at least four in number.

The assailants has stabbed the deceased in the neck and had slit the wrists of the injured with a long and thin knife. The three women were found in different parts of the house.

The police believed that the assailants did not use any force to enter the house. It seems that one of the women had answered the doorbell and had let them in.

Jatinder Bajwa, son of the deceased who in working as a manager with a immigration firm-British Consultancy, was the first to know about the crime.

He told the police that he had left the house in the evening in order to attend some social and business obligations. He returned around midnight and was shocked to find the doors open and the gory scene inside.

SSP Narinderpal Singh also reached the site immediately. He expressed confidence that the police would nab the assailants soon.

He claimed that some important clues been found. A team of fingerprint experts and a dog squad also helped the investigators, sources said.

Meanwhile, body of the deceased woman has been kept in mortuary on the request of her relatives.

The police sources said the family wanted to wait for their relatives to return from Rajasthan and were also waiting for the arrival of some other relatives settled abroad.

The police was also gearing up for the visit of several VIPs in the house. Late Chief Minister’s daughter and Minister for Social Security Gurkanwal Kaur and his eldest son and Congress MLA Tej Prakash Singh among others were likely to visit the house as well as the DMC hospital where the injured are admitted.



Cracker from Ravana’s effigy injures boy
Tribune News Service

According to Dr Wander, the following precautions should be taken to avoid accidents:
  • The crackers should be burst away from the eyes, as these are the most vulnerable parts of one’s body.
  • Hands should also be protected as these sustain maximum burn injuries.
  • Use of rockets should be avoided or these should be kept at appropriate angle in the bottle.
  • The elderly and heart patients should stay away from high decibel crackers, as this could cause problems to them.
  • In case of injury, the patient should be immediately rushed to hospital. 

Ludhiana, October 13
Dashera celebrations turned sour for a Mandi Ahmedgarh-based family here last evening when their 11-year-old son was seriously injured after a fire cracker burst on his chest after the effigy of Ravana was set on fire.

The class VI student, Harvinder Singh, sustained severe burn injuries on his right lung. Fortunately, his heart was not involved. The injury was so grave that his pumping heart was visible in the body cavity.

According to his parents, Harvinder had left the house in the evening for Gandhi School, where Dasehra celebrations were under way. At around 5:30 pm, the effigy of Ravana was set ablaze by the organisers. Accidentally, a burning rocket hit Harvinder on his chest and blasted there only. The impact of the blast was so much that it resulted in an open chest hole.

Bleeding profusely, he was rushed to Sood Nursing Home at Mandi Ahmedgarh, from where he was referred to Hero DMC Heart Institute (HDHI), Ludhiana. Dr Sunil Dawka, who performed surgery on Harvinder, said they had never received such a case of fire cracker injury.

He said the boy was fortunate that his lung had not leaked due to burns, otherwise he would not have reached the hospital alive. His lung had a big blood patch and we had to insert two chest tubes to drain it. We performed surgery on him and now his condition is improving, said Dr Dawka.

Dr Gurpreet Singh Wander, Director, HDHI said this was a very peculiar case in itself. ‘‘Otherwise during Divali days we get patients with eye and hand burns. We could never think that a fire cracker would hit somebody in chest also. We can only say that he was lucky that his heart did not sustain burns and that he was brought to the hospital in time, ’’ said Dr Wander.

His father, Mr Hardeep Singh, said they did not know how he sustained the injuries, but he was told by Harvinder’s friends that he was standing near the Ravana when a rocket hit him and he started crying and bleeding profusely.

Working as a labourer in Mandi Ahmedgarh, Mr Hardeep Singh said the festival had left him debt-ridden. ‘‘I had not even dreamt in my wildest dreams that my son would be injured on a festival day. Otherwise, I would have never let him go.

I am a poor man and affording this treatment is out of bounds for me, ’’ he said.

Dr Gurpreet Singh Wander said that Harvinder’s case had come as a warning for children and their parents to keep away from fire crackers.

He said the accident could have cost him his life. He advised the parents to ask their children to believe in peaceful Divali, and if they went to burst crackers, this should be done under adult supervision.



Residents get more ransom letters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
Even as a number of city residents are still receiving letters for ransom after the arrest of an accused, the police has found that the accused was working on another plot of terrorising, harassing or blackmailing police and civil officers besides judges.

The police has learnt that apart from making ransom calls to industrialists, accused Tarandeep Singh had also written letters to the CBI against several judges and law enforcing officers, seeking high-level inquiry against them.

The police has in its possession one such letter sent to the CBI in which the accused had levelled corruption charges against a judge of Ferozepore.

The accused had allegedly posted several letters in the last two or three days, which a number of residents received today. They approached the police fearing there might be some other persons who are running the racket.

The police tried to pacify the residents after going through the letters which were same as those sent by Tarandeep. The police has requested the residents to remain calm and approach it if they receive more such letters.

One of the recipients of the letter, Paramjit Singh Juneja, has received a letter in which the accused again posed as wanted terrorist of the Khalistan Commando Force Paramjit Singh Panjwar and sought a ransom of $50 lakh. This was incidentally the highest amount sought by the accused.

Meanwhile, a city court today sent Tarandeep to judicial custody.



Most offices in dark about Right to Information Act
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
Except the office of Deputy Commissioner, all other offices involved in public dealing in the city remained in the dark about the Right to Information Act (RTI) that came into force from today.

In the absence of any guidelines issued by the state government, the officials of such offices said they were waiting for the directions before going ahead with the implementation.

Surprisingly, while the Act was given assent by the President of India on June 15, many local offices were not prepared to bring it into force from today. Officials showed their ignorance about the Act, while many were surprised to get a query regarding the same, asking whether their offices would also come under the purview of the RTI.

As one official put it, “When the Information Commissioner was appointed yesterday, how do you expect us to work on day one only? This happens in government officials. Nothing gets a kickstart here.”

It was Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma only, who appointed Public Information Officer (PIO) and Additional Public Information Officer (APIO) in the morning only.

He said the offices of Additional Deputy Commissioner and General Assistant to Deputy Commissioner would be used as public information offices and these officers would be given the additional charge of the PIOs.

“We do not need to do anything more. Anybody can come and ask for any information from the office and he would be provided it,” he said.

The Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) would do something in this direction only after receiving proper guidelines from the state government, said Wing Commander Paramjit Singh Sibia (retd), Chairman of LIT. He said he had no information about what was to be done in this direction. “It will take some days when we would actually be in a position to know what are we supposed to do,” he said, adding that he would provide whatever the government would ask from him.

A Ludhiana Tribune team conducted a survey of a number of public offices today. None of the office had put anything on notice boards providing information to the public about the Act nor were any offices having designation plates of the PIOs. The officials were taken for a surprise when they were asked about the arrangements.

Additional District Transport Officer B.S. Rana said there would not be any change in their working as one of the three transport officers was always present in the office. “We provide information within a few days to whosoever wants it. If our clerk is on some official duty, it is delayed for a day. Otherwise for us, the Act was into practice before it came into existence,” he said.

The Public Works Department, Punjab State Electricity Board, Police Department, Education Department, Registrar office and many other offices had not appointed any PIOs.



Govt has fulfilled poll promises, says Dawer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
Parliamentary Secretary Power, Housing and Urban Development Surinder Dawer today exhorted the youth Congress activists to highlight the achievements of the government besides getting the problems of the people redressed by the administration.

He was addressing a special meeting of youth workers organised by Mr Dimple Rana, President, DYC at the Circuit House. He asserted that the government had fulfilled all promises made to the people in its election manifesto and a fast development programme had also been launched in the state.

Reiterating his resolve to ameliorate the lot of the Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and economically weaker sections of the society, Mr Dawer said the state government had created a Dedicated Social Security Fund of Rs 450 crore to ensure regular and timely pension/financial assistance to 10,07, 386 beneficiaries, including the aged, widows, orphans and the physically challenged.

He said out of the backlog of pensions of nine months, arrears of six months to the tune of Rs 57 crore had been paid to the beneficiaries under various schemes and the remaining arrears of three months would be paid to them by next month. After this all eligible beneficiaries under different categories would get their pensions regularly.

The state government had also decided to implement the 85th Constitutional amendment as a fulfillment of the poll promise. The Parliamentary Secretary said fulfilling the aspirations of the Scheduled Castes, the state government had decided to allow 200 units per month of free domestic electricity to all those SC families with electricity connected load of 300 watts or less.

Mr Dawer said the government was giving a subsidy of Rs 50 crore per year on this count to the PSEB. He said 5 marla residential plots had also been allotted to Dalits out of village common land. So far, as many as 26,059 such plots have been allotted to SC houseless families and 80,000 additional residential plots would be given to dalits by 2007.

The government had also earmarked Rs 886 crore for special component plan for the year 2005-06. Apart from this the state government was already in the mode of implementing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to provide gainful employment to the unemployed people in the rural areas, he added.

Mr. Dawer informed that on the agriculture front, the state government had allowed free power to all farmers in the state with effect from September 1, 2005, and would give additional subsidy of Rs 439 crore to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). The state government had also ensured hassle free procurement of eight crops in succession in the mandis of the Punjab. The state government had impressed upon the Union Government to bring more crops under the Minimum Support Price (MSP) scheme rather than dismantling the MSP.

During the past three years, PSEB had released 78,482 tubewell connections besides 47,000 temporary connections. As many as 80,000 new tubewell connections would be released during the next two years, he informed.

Mayor Nahar Singh Gill said development works of more than Rs 200 crore were in progress in the city and Municipal Corporation was going to provide drinking water facilities in all areas in the city.

He said with the awareness of adoption of Ludhiana city under Urban Renewal Development by Dr Manmohan Singh with major funding by Centre Ludhiana city would emerge as a preferred destination for industry, textile, hosiery and traders in the country.

Mr. Dimple Rana informed that Youth Congress workers would launch a grassroot programme to educate the people about the policies and development of the government and would distribute the pamphlets highlighting the achievements of the government among the people.



Notification creates anomalous situation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
The notification issued by the Punjab Finance Department in August, 2000, allowed the benefit of “notional pay” to pre-96 retirees while rationalising their family pensions.

However, a recent notification issued by the department for rationalising pensions and family pensions of pre-96 retirees is silent on the benefit of notional pay. This has resulted in an anomalous situation, according to a press note issued by the Government Pensioners Association (Regd).

Pre-96 retirees fail to understand how their pensions will be rationalised without the benefit of “notional pay” when their family pensions have already been rationalised with the benefit of “notional pay” according to the previous notification and as per orders issued by the Accountant-General, Punjab.

The Punjab Cabinet, at its meeting on July 27, provided Rs 40.58 crore for the payment of arrears to pre-96 retirees for the period of 1-1-1996 to 31-3-2005 on account of rationalisation of pensions. However, the finance department’s recent notification, without the word" notional pay” has virtually nullified the Cabinet decision.



Bairagi Mandal jatha leaves for Nanded
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
More than 25 functionaries of the All-India Bairagi Mahan Mandal, led by its president Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, left for Nanded in Maharashtra today to participate in the 335th birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur from October 14 to 16.

In a warm send off to the jatha at the railway station here, Mr Surinder Davar, Parliamentary Secretary, Housing, Urban Development and Power, Punjab, and Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA, lauded the initiative taken by the Bairagi Mahan Mandal to perpetuate the memory of the saint soldier Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, who valiantly fought the tyranny of Mughal rulers.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bawa, who is also the chairman of the Punjab Housefed, said the bhog of akhand path to mark the birth anniversary of Banda Bahadur, would be performed at Gurudwara Hazoor Sahib in Nanded on October 16. The mahan mandal would also organise a felicitation function on this occasion in which several distinguished persons would be honoured for their contribution in their respective fields.

Among those who left for Nanded with Mr Bawa included Mr Hari Das Bawa, Bawa Ravinder Nandi, Mr Bhagwan Das Bawa, Mr Jiwan Das Bawa, Mr Pradeep Bawa, Mr Balwant Singh, Mr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, Mr Joginder Singh, Mr Surjit Singh Albela, Dr Krishan Baldev, Mr Kewal Singh Bangi, Vaid Swaran Das, Mr Nand Bawa, Mr Tarlochan Bawa, Ms Rajni Bawa, Mr Kartar Bawa, Mahant Gian Das, Mr Surjit Singh, Mr Bhajan Singh and Mr Mohan Das.



World Food Day celebrations in Kakrala Kalan
Our Correspondent

Samrala , October 13
The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Samrala, is going to celebrate World Food Day on October 14 at Kakrala Kalan village, 10 km from here. This information was given by Dr Ranjit Singh, in charge of the kendra, here today. This will be the first such programme to be organised in the city.

The aim of celebrating the day is to make the farmers aware of the importance of nutritious food, Mr Ranjeet Singh added.

Mr Kewal Krishan Sharma said a training programme would be organised on the occasion to the train the farmers and farm women to prepare nutritious food.

Experts from Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Samrala, and from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, will take part in the training camp.

A nutrition quiz will also be organised for farmers and farm women. The winners of the quiz will be honoured by the experts.

The local MLA, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, appealed to the residents of the area to actively participate in the programme. 



Crafts bazaar inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
Kaarigiri Crafts Bazaar has brought a host of aesthetically designed handicraft items from all over India to the city. The bazaar, with 50 artisans giving live demo of their skills, was inaugurated here today. The bazaar will be on till October 23 at Nehru Sidhant Kender.

The artisans showcasing their skills at the bazaar are all certified for excellence in their respective fields by the Government of India. The exhibition showcases lovely and unique pottery from Khurja, beautiful terracota items, hand embroidered suits, handloom kurtas and pyjamas, and costume jewellery.

Furniture made out of bamboo and leather bags, belts, wallets were other attractions at the bazaar.

The organiser of the exhibition, Mr Iqbal Singh, said at a press conference held at Nehru Sidhant Kender that India is well known for its traditional crafts but due to rampant commercialisation the artists and artisans are not getting due recognition in spite of the government efforts to offer new schemes for their upliftment. A large part of their earning is grabbed by the commission agents. So in order to keep the middlemen out, the government has formed Akhil Bhartiya Dartkar Samitis. These samitis organise exhibitions of several artisans under one roof so that they can directly sell their products to art lovers.



SBI capital begins operations in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
SBI Capital Markets Limited has entered into retail equity broking services. The company has begun operations here and in Chandigarh for in retail and institutional clients.

The Ludhiana centre would operate from the State Bank of India, Civil Lines branch, the bank informed today.

“Opening of the retail equity broking centres is part of the company’s drive to cater to the economic growth occuring through investors participation in equity markets, the company, said Mr Inderjit Gupta, MD, SBI Caps.

He said the company plans to increase the number of broking centres to 30 by the end of this year.


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