L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Police still in dark about attack on key witness
Reema Jain murder case
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
Makhan Singh, an important witness in the high-profile Reema Jain murder case, who was shot at by four persons last evening is suspecting that he was either attacked by members of the main accused in the case, Avtar Singh Taari’s gang, or by some relatives of two persons for whose murder he had been sentenced to life imprisonment by a local court.

While the police was yet to arrest Taari, the main accused, Makhan Singh, a former member of his gang and an important witness in the murder case was attacked by four persons, who came in a white Esteem car, near Aliwal village chowk on Ludhiana-Hambran road late last evening.

Makhan Singh, who was also an informer of some senior police officials, had suffered gunshot wounds on his neck and chest. He was rushed to DMC hospital where he was stated to be out of danger. Doctors attending on him said that he would recover soon.

According to police sources Makhan Singh was suspecting that the attack had been made by members of Taari gang or by some relatives of Darshan Singh and Binder Singh, for whose murder Makhan Singh has been convicted too. Makhan Singh has appealed to the High Court against the sentence awarded to him and the case is still pending.

The Jagraon police has registered a case at Hambran police station in this regard. Though sources said Makhan Singh’s key role in helping the police in Reema Jain murder case could be the reason behind the attack, senior police officials of Jagraon and Ludhiana said the attack could be the handiwork of some other persons. Makhan Singh has a lot of enemies. He was an undertrial in a murder case besides being involved in poppy husk smuggling too.

The SSP, Jagraon, Mr R.K Jaiswal, said so far the police was not in a position to say for sure as to who was behind the attack. He said the police was also suspecting the role of some persons whose relative Makhan Singh had allegedly murdered way back in 1989.

Makhan Singh had immensely helped Ludhiana police in the Reema Jain case. He was the witness to the meetings of Avtar Singh Taari and Micky Jain in Central Jail here, where allegedly the conspiracy to murder Reema Jain was hatched.

Micky Jain is the brother-in-law of Reema Jain. He is the only accused arrested in her murder case. SP-Detective Ludhiana Gurpreet Singh said Makhan Singh was a secondary witness in the case. He also said persons other than the Taari gang seemed to be involved in yesterday's attack on him. 



Raj Babbar’s bid to relive
Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s era
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 20
Bollywood star and Samajwadi Party MP Raj Babbar yesterday urged the masses and historians to pool any information about “Sher-e-Punjab” Maharaja Ranjit Singh so that the golden period of the Sikh rule was authentically presented before the world through a mega serial being produced by him shortly.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune after offering prayers at a “mazaar” at Ranjit Paints and Milk Products factory, the actor said he wanted to collect all possible facts about the various aspects and places visited by the king.

“In my opinion, money and manpower alone were not everything to produce a film or a serial on any historical personality. So I started my hunt for ascertaining the feelings and sentiments of the people through my friends and acquaintances,” said Babbar.

He said he had received overwhelming response from people of the state who had shared their views and information about historically important places connected with the king in their respective areas.

Though he desired to produce a serial on Sikh history a long time ago, none of the Sikh organisations, including the SGPC, ever asked him or his associates to work on such a project, he added.

“In 2001, the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Trust persuaded me to produce a film. As events of an era, from the rise of the ‘misls’ and the creation of a confederation of the ‘misls’ led by the Maharaja, could not be condensed in a mere three-hour film, we decided to produce a mega serial,” he revealed.

But now that he has already started work on the serial, both the SGPC and the Punjab Government have offered to extend help in this cause. Babbar stressed that the significance of the serial should not be confined to Punjab only.

“I wonder why the country still visualises him as a Sikh ruler only. Since it will be an effort to emulate any international period serial, we wish to tell the masses that he, like Akbar, was a secular ruler who had ruled for 40 years. People belonging to various castes and religions, even foreigners, occupied high positions in the administrative setup during his rule,” he said.

He said the main thrust of the serial would be to project how a vast kingdom was administered by the ruler by adopting people-friendly and secular policies. Apart from this, the fact that he was one of the few rulers of India whose domain extended up to Afghanistan from the Cis-Sutlej region would be highlighted. Babbar was accompanied by actress Dolly Ahluwalia, who would visit various units engaged in manufacturing of garments and textile to search materials suitable for the period costumes.

Commenting on the trend of movies being produced, Babbar said: “As viewer’s taste is fluid, a producer has to keep in mind the viability of the film. But it needs no testimony that only movies supplemented with moral and social theme have a longer play at theatres.”



CITU to support CPM campaign
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
Demands of labourers are on the top of the 13-point demand charter of the CPM, that would start public awareness dharnas across the country for five days beginning tomorrow. The local unit of CITU would also hold a rally and a dharna in front of the DC’s office.

CITU would raise its demands pertaining to the closure of cycle divisions of Rockman Cycle Industries and Highway Industries and also implementation of labour laws. The rally by CITU would start from Giaspura Talaab and Rockman Cycles and would culminate at the DC’s office.

The union would also present a memorandum of demands to the Deputy Commissioner, said CITU joint secretary Jagdish Chand.

He said the workers rendered jobless following the closure of the cycle divisions of the two companies had been sitting on dharna since the closure and were demanding that the factories be restarted. “We want them to restart their operations. Besides this, we would also raise the demand of payment of salaries for October,” he said.

On the compensation that was being offered by the companies, he maintained that it was not acceptable to the workers. “Workers have refused to accept the compensation and would continue with their struggle till their demand is met,” he said.

In its demand charter, the CPM seeks a curb on the closure of industrial units that renders workers jobless. The party has also advocated implementation of labour laws apart from a hike in the basic wages of the workers.

The party would also raise issues like reservation for women, filling vacancies in government departments, stopping privatisation of education, and compensation to farmers hit due to natural calamities.

“As the party aims at the welfare of the masses, we would be raising issues concerning industrial workers, agricultural workers, farmers, women, education, health and other spheres that affect common man,” said CPM district secretary Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon.

The dharnas would continue till November 25.



Chinese delegation visits Textech 2005
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
A four-member Chinese delegation from Jiangsu Juzhou Textile Company, Jingsu Province, Peoples Republic of China, led by Mr Phenix visited CII’s Textech 2005 here today.
The delegation visited various stalls of textile machinery and exhibitors put up at the exhibition.

“Over 1,000 manufactures from India visit China annually to buy machinery and such exhibitions which showcase the latest in textile, knitting, hosiery and garment technology under one roof are of tremendous benefit to exhibitors as well as customers. They also play a very significant role in strengthening bilateral trade relations, as this exhibition is doing,” said Mr Phenix.

Talking about the world markets he said: “Both India and China are not really competitors but are copartners as, we, together supply a majority of the textiles to the world.”

India is more into traditional clothes and has been able to promote its traditions worldwide. The Chinese industry caters more to western style fashion and is able to do so at high speed as it believes in building factories with huge production capacities. 



Ludhiana Calling

The mall culture, it seems, would still take a couple of years to be a hit with city residents. While high-profile functions mark inaugural of almost every outlet in the newly opened malls, curious residents just find that as an opportunity to have a look. However, what is interesting is that denizens only go window shopping at the jazzy looking malls but still prefer the good old Chaura Bazaar or for that matter Ghumar Mandi for shopping. This preference is attributed to a wide variety offered in the old bazaars. Now that’s what is called a good consumer sense!

Marriage time

Thanks to the not-so-auspicious Navratras this year, marriages are happening in abundance now. Almost daily does one get to witness one or the other wedding processions in the city. This brings cheer not only to the friends and families of those connected with festivities but also to businessmen who are making good money now. The short slump appears to be over and flamboyant Ludhianavis are back to shopping and on spending money on festivities.

Venue needed

The industrial town has been progressing leaps and bounds in terms of the growing purchasing power. So much so that every company appears keen on opening shop here. But what comes as a disappointment is that the city still lacks a proper venue to host exhibitions and conferences. The absence of this facility is glaring, particularly for those who frequent cities like Delhi and even Chandigarh for such events. Barring a couple of hotels and grounds like PAU, those keen on holding exhibitions complain of lack of sufficient space in the city for such events. In time of privatization, may be industrial houses themselves should take the lead.

Excess payment

Even as the government keeps talking about its efforts to curb tax evasion, many segments, particularly shopkeepers, are yet to get accustomed to new systems. Not only is it common to receive handwritten or computerised bills, which any aware customer knows only contribute to tax evasion, there are shopkeepers who simply refuse to give you even that. When Sentinel questioned one such shopkeeper who refused to furnish an invoice, he said issuing a bill would mean an extra amount would be paid. Now that is where most customers compromise as who wants to pay extra?

Poor network

Network problem with mobile phone companies seems to be never ending. Pending SMS and calls that never get through are something companies have not been able to do away with even after so many years of beginning their operations. Customers complain that most companies only give assurances in case of network problems. Perhaps a little more investment on infrastructure would do them no harm!

Real talent

They are the ones who exhibit difficult feats to earn their livelihood. Practicing such a feat for years together and perform in road shows does not come easily but they choose this way of life for their bread and butter. Nomads or gypsies can actually do the country proud if their gymnastic talent is recognised and they can be given some training to represent the country. But for them keeping their kitchen fire burning is the most important thing.

Defiant cop

While the local police boasts about its drive against the helmet-less drivers the cops themselves drive a scooter without donning a helmet on the city roads. It’s a very common sight to see the cops in uniform driving or riding pillion without a helmet. The other day a senior cop was seen driving a motorbike without wearing a helmet near Bharat Nagar Chowk and he did not seem to have any qualms about it. Usually many cops are seen without the helmets wearing their uniform caps. Will they ever understand it sends a wrong signal when the law enforcers are the law breakers?

Novel games

Bored with the usual games, boys find it quite absorbing to try walking on stilts. A boy got a pair of stilts and was trying to walk on them but apparently it was not an easy task. The other children were seen awaiting their chance to try their skill on using the stilts and felt that they would be more successful.

— Sentinel



Complaint against leakage in water supply pipe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
After suffering from sewerage overflow for some days, residents of Urban Estate, Dugri, phase-I near Ram Lal Bhasin School have now complained that a water supply connection given in an open plot in their neighbourhood had become a cause of concern for them.

The residents said that the supply line was leaking for the past many days and water was accumulating in the plot making it a perfect breeding ground for pathogens of various diseases.

Mr Ashok Sood, a resident, said dengue and many other diseases were spreading in the city and they were scared that they may also become victims of such diseases. He added that due to intermittent water supply, water, after getting mixed with sand and other particles, was flowing back into the pipe line and was getting contaminated.

‘‘We can suffer from any water-borne disease as our drinking water is getting contaminated due to the leakage. Anytime a disease can spread in our locality and the authorities would be responsible for it,’’ said Mr Sood.

He added that an owner of a private building, which was under construction in their area, was storing the material on the road itself and it was causing problems to the commuters everyday. He said he did not know whether he had taken any permission from any authority but the material was a cause of inconvenience to the nearby residents.



Political patronage “behind crime”
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 20
Warning law violators, the Sangrur police has sought the cooperation of local social and political leaders in identification of anti-social elements and curbing crime.
Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, Senior Superintendent of Police, said the police had observed that undue political shelter by local leaders was root cause of petty crime.

The police officials, who usually hailed from far-off places did not know antecedents of the violators and depended on local leaders for establishing facts, he said. “It is in the interest of public at large that the leaders should furnish true information about the suspects of their respective areas so that timely can be taken to curb crime,” said Mr Chahal.

Referring to information received from Mr Gurjant Singh, SHO, the SSP said traffic chaos and eve-teasing near educational institutes were major problems projected by the representatives at a public meeting held today.

He directed the local police to ensure that no vehicle, two-wheeler or four-wheeler should be parked on the busy roads of the town. Patrolling near educational institutes should be enhanced during the opening and closing times of these institutes.

Showing concern over the increased sale of drugs and narcotics in the garb of medicines, Mr Chahal directed the Circle Officer, Mr Rachhpal Singh, DSP Malerkotla, to check that owners of drug stores maintained complete records of purchase and sale of scheduled drugs that were being used by addicts.

Meanwhile, the Municipal Council has assured to extend cooperation in maintaining law and order in the town.

Appreciating the steps taken by the police, Mr Jatinder Kumar Bhola, President, Municipal Council, appealed to the traders that they should persuade their clients to avoid parking of their vehicles in the markets. 



Ludhianavis relish winter favourites
D. B.Chopra

Ludhiana, November 20
With the onset of winter, the famous dish of Punjab — ‘makki ki roti with sarson ka saag’ — has once again caught the fancy of city residents as is evident from the number of customers thronging various roadside outlets specialising in the dish.

Bhindri, who has opened his outlet in front of the air-conditioned market in the busy Bhadaur House area recently, says he enjoys making the dish every winter.

Earlier, he used to sell the winter delicacy near Society Cinema, but he has shifted the outlet near the cinema because of its proximity to the air-conditioned market, which attracts a large number of visitors daily.

He makes rotis with hand. He is happy with the business and is looking for a partner to cope with the rush of customers.

Ashok Kumar, a resident of the nearby Nalli Mohalla, who was having the delicacy along with a friend, said he was a 
regular at the Bhindri’s outlet. He was very fond of the winter delicacy, which Bhindri served along with radish and green chilly salad.

To top it all, customers also enjoy the luxury of having a piece of sweet jaggery at the end of the wholesome meal, he added.

Another outlet, operating near the old Lakkar Bridge, is also doing a brisk business these days. One reason for the growing popularity of these outlets may be that making sarson saag to perfection is not an easy job for the modern housewives. Peeling off the sarson stalks one by one is a job that requires lots of patience, otherwise the result is a mess.



“Fault in dispensing justice remains”
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 20
Lt Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (retd), president, Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, today said it was imperative to first ensure justice for all and then debate on abolition of death penalty.

In a statement, Col Dhillon said there was lot of debate on the issue of clemency on cases of individuals and the direction of the President to scrutinise the recommendations in this regard. One could safely deduce that sentiments were weighing over the underlying spirit as to what exactly the President had desired by sending the cases for serious consideration. Certain political parties had also gone out in favour of completely abolishing the death penalty and some had even mentioned the regime of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who did not hang anyone during his regime.

He maintained that the present governance was based on democratic rule which offered a plethora of liberties for the ruled. Although the Constitution enjoins complete freedom for its citizens but the basic human instinct remains self centred. “Open and wide social responsibility towards society as a whole is absent in the majority of citizens which includes powerful and wealthy too. This has been causing a drag on the social evolution even after nearly 60 years of Independence. The death penalty is awarded in the rarest of the rare cases but the fault in dispensing justice remains,” he added.



‘Path’ held at police station
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 20
Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SSP Jagraon, has called upon the youth to follow the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib and contribute in restructuring of society free of all evils.
While addressing a gathering on bhog of an akhand path organised at Sudhar police station, Mr Jaiswal said that the teachings of the holy book of the Sikhs, if followed in letter and spirit, would create an evil-free society.

“If everybody starts giving due respect to the women, and joins crusade against the addiction and other vices, the word, ‘crime’ would be found in the dictionaries only,” emphasised Mr Jaiswal. 



Textile makers launch export cell
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
The Indian Textile Accessories and Machinery Manufacturers Association (ITAMMA) launched an export cell in the Northern region at a function held on the occasion of the ongoing exhibition on textiles here late last evening.

The cell was inaugurated by Mr Manish Bagrodia, Chairman, Textech 2005 and Managing Director, Winsome Yarns. It is the association’s first export cell in the region and fourth across the country.

Mr Prashant Gandhi, president of ITAMMA, said: “With the ushering in of the free quota regime, the association has been involved in boosting and facilitating exports. The export cell is an important step in this direction.”

He said the cell would facilitate sharing of critical information, resources and data on global market conditions, vendors and even specific overseas companies among its members. It would help members to gain knowledge on ways of tapping global markets.

“Experiences in global markets would be freely shared between the members as they present a united front to cope with competition from other countries in the global arena,” Mr Gandhi said.

Inaugurating the export cell, Mr Bagrodia stressed on the need for sharing the best practices in the textile industry in India to enhance competitiveness in the textile sector. He said the Indian industry needed to take significant measures to improve its technology, quality and reduce delivery time to remain globally competitive and explore new export opportunities.

Mr Amit Shah, convener, Ahmedabad Export Cell, and Mr J.M. Balaji, convener, Coimbatore Export Cell, were also present.


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