L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Recovery of human skull part causes panic
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 23
Panic gripped the Civil Hospital staff and patients today with the recovery of the upper part of a human skull, suspected to be over five years old, from an abandoned plot near the mortuary of the hospital today morning.

With no trace of other body parts, all kinds of theories ranging from a murder case to indication of some tantrik activity in the backyard of the hospital to more serious charges of negligence of the staff in handling human bodies both for post-mortem purposes or for medical teaching spread like wildfire.

No one from the hospital staff dared to touch the part of the skull and even a couple of cops who arrived there stayed away for some time fearing touching the skull could bring some bad luck.

Sonu, an employee with a cycle stand at the hospital, said the skull part was recovered at about 9.30 am. Some persons related to a patient had seen the skull and raised an alarm.

SMO Manjit Kaur called the police and later also wrote an official letter to SHO Gurpreet Singh, of Division No 2 police station, calling for a thorough investigation into the incident.

SHO Gurpreet Singh said he got the skull removed from the place. Sniffer dogs searched in vain for hours to recover other body parts or traces of any other body from the hospital backyard. Wild shrubs and plants made the search quite cumbersome.

He told Ludhiana Tribune that the police had questioned some hospital employees about the possibilities under which the upper part of the skull could have reached here. He said the skull would be sent to the Medical College in Patiala for examination.

He said the examination would be conducted to determine whether it was the part of a skull of a male or a female. The police hoped that the examination could also reveal the cause of death of the unknown person. The police was also hopeful that the examination could point out if the body part was used for some tantrik activity or for how long it remained in the backyard here.



PPCC seeks reduction in liquor rates
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, November 23
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee is understood to have pressed upon the Punjab Government to bring down the prices of liquor in the state and that country-made liquor should be the first priority. This move is aimed at attracting rural votes for the Congress during the ensuing Vidhan Sabha elections in Punjab in February, 2007.

Sources close to the liquor trade and the PPCC revealed today that the Pradesh Congress president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, has already taken up the matter with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and also sought the help of the Congress high command.

It may be mentioned here that the liquor prices of both the country-made and Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) are quite high as compared with the prices prevailing in the two neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

In Punjab the liquor trade has monopoly control and the trade is in the hands of very few persons thanks to the political patron age of the state government. Even some of the senior Congress ministers and leaders are also having their share in the liquor trade in the state.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress chief is understood to have pleaded that the present rates of liquor in Punjab are very exorbitant and are not within the reach of common man as a result of which there is resentment among the ruralites in particular. The pradesh Congress chief feels that reduction in the sale price of liquor in the state will fetch votes for the Congress.

The Tribune has learnt that even some of the legislators are also in favour of reduction in the prices of liquor in the rural areas. The excise revenue from the sales of liquor in Punjab is the biggest source of income to the state exchequer and the state is expecting a revenue of Rs 1400 crore this year from this source.

Enquiries reveal that the prices of liquor have increased by 25 per cent to 30 per cent this year as compared with the prices of last year. The rise in the prices of liquor has resulted in the less sale of liquor quantity wise and the liquor contractors have huge stocks piling up with them. They have to lift the quota of liquor according to the agreement with the government. In order to help liquor contractors, the state government this year deleted the clause of ' maximum price' for a bottle as selling the same beyond that limit was entailing penal action by the state Excise Department. Now under the new rules, the liquor contractors can raise the prices to their liking. The present price of country-made liquor per bottle is Rs 120 to Rs 130 per bottle in the retail whereas the minimum price fixed by the state government is Rs 85 per bottle.

Similarly the IMFL economy brands are being sold for Rs 190 to Rs 200 per bottle against the price of Rs 120 per bottle. McDowel is being sold for Rs 290 to Rs 300 per bottle against Rs 250 last year. Bagpiper is being sold for Rs 200 against Rs 150, Royal Stag for Rs 320 against Rs 290 and Peterscot for Rs 500 against Rs 400 per bottle last year. Royal Challenge, which has become quite popular, is sold for Rs 5400 per case of 12 bottles against Rs 4000 last year. Enquiries further show that sale of liquor has picked up now due to the wedding season. Because of high prices of liquor, this reporter was told that the people in rural areas had started consuming drugs which were more harmful than consumption of liquor. There are certain drugs like 'bhukki' (poppy) which are available freely in villages.

Meanwhile smuggling of liquor is continuing from Himachal Pradesh to Punjab towns because of cheap availability of the same. The liquor is quite cheap in Himachal Pradesh as according to a liquor contractor, the smugglers supply a case of Royal Challenge for Rs 3500 which is sold by the contractors for Rs 5400 per case of 12 bottles. Moreover, the smugglers have their contacts with the consumers and they make the supply of liquor at their premises.

Interestingly the liquor smugglers have their regular contact with the lower rung police officials as the monopoly holders of liquor do not make any payment to them. The monopolists only feed their political bosses. The smuggling of liquor from Chandigarh has now been checked because the contract for the Chandigarh territory is with a liquor king of Punjab . However, some smuggling of liquor is taking place from Haryana where there is no monopoly control over the sale of the liquor. It is pertinent to mention here that Haryana had earned more than 17 per cent increase in the liquor revenue while Punjab had got only 1 per cent increase due to the monopoly contracts during the auction of the liquor vends.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress president is also understood to have pressed upon the state government to introduce the license system for the allotment of liquor shops and dispense with the auction system which results in monopoly control. There are only three states now which have auction system for the vends and Chandigarh and all other states have license system.

Officials of the Punjab Excise Department have also studied the license system of other states in order to switch over to the license system but the decision will be taken keeping in view the political considerations. The present Congress government in Punjab will be able to conduct only one more auction of liquor vends in February-March next as the Vidhan Sabha elections will be held in February, 2007, as the new government will decide about the next course. But one thing is certain, if the Amarinder Singh Government changes the system to license raj, it will be in the interest of the state and if the Akalis come into power, they will not do it as they would also like to earn the goodwill of contractors and fill their coffers. 



“Arrest of innocents reminiscent of terrorism era”
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 23
Picking up innocent people and declaring them as terrorists or militant harbourers by the Punjab police is an alarming development and is reminiscent of the days of terrorism when hundreds of youth were eliminated in fake encounters.

Stating this here today, Mr Swaran Singh Khalsa, a senior leader of the central committee of the Shiromani Khalsa Dal (SKD), said the claims of the Punjab police were exposed when it was reported in a section of the media that the youths arrested from Jagraon and Bathinda were innocent but had been implicated in false cases to create an atmosphere where the police could justify their excesses.

He said the arrest of Jagtar Singh Hawara had provided an excuse to the police to label undesirable persons as his sympathisers. This is a reminder of the old days when picking up youth and entire families, torturing them and killing them was the norm. In those days, male members of affluent families were illegally detained and let off only after a ransom was paid. If not, they were shown possessing arms and ammunition and arrested but in most cases simply bumped off in an encounter, he pointed out.

It is a matter of record that most of the cases in the recent past have failed to stand scrutiny in courts leaving many red faces in the police department. In the aftermath of the arrest of Hawara, the race among the district chiefs to show the maximum number of arrests of human bombs and recoveries of arms and RDX from so-called terror modules prompted the DGP to direct his men to act with restraint and register cases only after a thorough investigation, he added.

He said their party also condemned the practice of granting pardon to convicted "uniformed murderers" by the Governor. This is a disturbing trend and the statement of the DGP yesterday that they would provide every help to cops accused of gross human rights violations was alarming in a democracy. If this is the case, why carry out the charade of putting such people on trial. Instead, the government should promulgate an ordinance granting pardon to all those who had served in those dark days, he remarked. 



Villagers rescue injured sambar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 23
Residents of Chak Sarwan Nath village on Ludhiana-Chandigarh road today rescued an injured one-year-old sambar (antelope) that had strayed into the village from Mattewara forest today afternoon.

The sambar had injured its leg and had hid itself in a sugarcane field where the villagers spotted him and rescued him. Dr Sandeep K.Jain, president of the People for Animals organisation, said if the villagers had not taken action in time then the young antelope could have been killed for meat, devoured by dogs or crushed under some vehicle on the busy road.

Wild Life Inspector Varinderpal Singh Chawla who took the injured animal to the Tiger Safari later in the evening said such animals usually stray out of the forest areas into villages at the onset of winter season. He said the animal would be treated at the safari and released in its natural habitat afterwards.

Mr Sukh Kanwar Rai, a resident of the village, who had seen the animal and protected him said the animal was limping and was quite scared. He said the villagers fed him after which the animal calmed down.

The unexpected visitor attracted a large crowd. Residents of other villagers also flocked the place. 



95 cases settled at Shikayat Nivaran Divas
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, November 23
We are motivating the people for settling disputes without going to the court and the police is ready to help in solving your problems. This was stated by Mr Prag Jain, DIG, Ludhiana Range, here today at ‘ Basant Palace’ on the Sidhwan Bet Road, while addressing the gathering.

He was here on Shikayat Nivaran Divas, Mr Jain stated that as many as 95 disputes were settled. As for the remaining complaints were concerned these required some legal opinion and the police would take steps to redress the same, he added. 



Police for action against Home Guard jawan
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 23
The district Sangrur police has written to the Punjab Home Guards Department to take action against a constable whose alleged misbehavior had put the local police in an embarrassing position yesterday. An irate mob had demonstrated against the local police after a driver was allegedly slapped by the said constable. The Home Guard employee on the other hand denied the charges and held that the driver had tried to overrun him when he tried to stop him at a naka at the Dhulkot chowk.

According to Mr Rachhpal Singh, DSP, Malerkotla, Balwant Singh of Nathowal village had alleged that a Home Guard official had beaten him unnecessarily at a naka at Dhulkot yesterday. The situation turned ugly when a mob started demonstrating against the alleged ruthless behaviour of the local police. The DSP had to come from Malerkotla to control the situation.

“Though the exact sequence of incidents could not be ascertained, we have sent the erring official to his parent department and written to his superiors to take appropriate action against him as his behaviour had put the police in an embarrassing situation,” said Mr Rachhpal Singh.

In the written complaint made to the circle officer, Balwant Singh had alleged that the policeman had first slapped him and then beaten him mercilessly when he refused to bribe him. Jagtar Singh on the other hand stated before the officer that Balwant Singh, who was driving a Qualis bearing registration number PB 01 4201, carrying members of a marriage party and tried to flee when he was asked to stop at naka for routine checking.

“I saved my life by running away when he did not stop. And when we insisted to search the vehicle and asked for the necessary documents he got irritated and created a scene that attracted the attention of passersby,” Jagtar Singh reported to the DSP.



82 complaints redressed at police camps
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, November 23
With an objective to provide speedy justice to complainants and decrease the burden of litigation on the people and the police, the Jagraon police organised Grievance-Redressal Camps simultaneously in three subdivisions, including Jagraon, Raikot and Mullanpur Dakha, today.

More than 82 complaints, out of 205 were redressed with mutual understanding of complainants and defendants.

While addressing a gathering at the main camp organised at Basant Resorts on Sidhwan Road here, Mr Parag Jain, DIG, Ludhiana, claimed that the process of settling disputes through arbitration and mutual understanding saved both public and police from unwanted wastage of energy and money.

‘‘While the money saved by the litigants would help increase their living standard, the police would be able to give more attention to fight crime,’’ claimed Mr Jain.

Mr R.K Jaiswal, SSP Jagraon, urged the leaders of various political and social organisations to play a positive role in restructuring of a healthy social system by not exploiting the innocence of residents of their areas. ‘‘Instead they should harness energy saved thus for productive projects,’’ suggested Mr Jaiswal.

According to Mr Gurjit Singh Romana, DSP Jagraon, 95 complaints were received for adjudication here and more than 40 of these were settled amicably. ‘‘As in case of most of the leftover complaints the parties showed positive attitude we hope to settle a majority of them by close follow up,’’ said Mr Romana.

According to Mr Gurtejinder Singh Aulakh, DSP Raikot, the camp for his division was held at Nihang Samsher Singh Hall G H G Khalsa College at Sudhar village. In all 19 complaints out of a total of 70 complaints received, were disposed off under the supervision of Mr R. K Jaiswal, Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagraon. The settled cases included nine cases of money transaction disputes, two land disputes, one marital issue, two concerning clash and three cases of alleged harassment. Two cases earlier registered under Section 420 were also resolved amicably.

Only 40 complaints were received for arbitration at camp organised at Dilbar Palace Mulanpur. Mr Harjit Singh Brar said 23 complaints were redressed with the persuasion of local social and political leaders. The police observed a decline in land dispute cases in this subdivision whereas matrimonial disputes were on increase. 



Bihar result expression of democracy: BJP
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 23
The BJP has congratulated the people of Bihar for giving a clear majority to the NDA combine, comprising BJP and Janata Dal (U), in the Assembly elections and rejecting the “jungle-raj” of Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and his wife Rabri Devi.

Mr Rajender Bhandari, spokesman and state general secretary of the party, said in a statement here yesterday that the clear mandate of the people was an expression of strength of Indian democracy.

Coming down heavily upon the Lok Janshakti Party chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, the BJP leader remarked that the masses had also given a rebuff to Mr Paswan for his communal approach in wooing the Muslim votes by projecting a Muslim as the next Chief Minister of the state.

Mr Bhandari also demanded the resignation of Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav from the Union Cabinet to honour the massive verdict against him in his state. He retreated his party’s demand for the resignation of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister Shiv Raj Patil.



Ludhiana’s dominance in SGPC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 23
Probably for the first time in the history of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) Ludhiana district has got a dominant say. There are at least six persons from the district who have been appointed to prestigious posts in the SGPC.

Besides the president, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, the junior vice president, Mr Kewal Singh Badal, also belongs to Ludhiana district. He lives in Jagraon. The Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, also hails from Talwandi village near Mullanpur in Ludhiana district.

Others include SGPC secretary, Dalmegh Singh, who belongs to Khanna, Media Adviser to the SGPC, Mr Harbir Singh Bhanwar, who belongs to Pakhowal in Ludhiana district and Mr Simarjit Singh, editor of the Gurmat Parkash, who also belongs to Khanna in Ludhiana district.



Members of gurdwara panels elected
Our Correspondent

Amloh, November 23
Under the provisions of the Gurdwara Act, elections of members of gurdwara committees of Gurdwara 6th Guru Mandi Gobindgarh and Gurudwara Guru Gobind Singh at Hargana village in Khamano subdivision under Amloh SGPC constituency, were fixed for December 11.

Nominations were filed in the office of SDM Amloh and SDM Khamano on November 7 for election of four members of each committee. Yesterday was the last day of withdrawals and 16 members filed their nomination papers for the Mandi Gobindgarh gurdwara but after withdrawls four members were declared elected unopposed.

As stated by Mr Ravinder Singh Khalsa, SGPC member of Amloh constituency, he succeeded in bringing about unanimity over Mr Satnam Singh, Mr Revinderpal Singh, Mr Bhupinder Singh and Dr Nasib Singh (Independent).

The first two members are from Akali Dal (Amritsar) and the third member belongs to SAD. Mr Jagpal Singh Bhangoo was nominated by him in the capacity of SGPC member.

All four members of Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara at Hargana village were also elected unopposed. The office-bearers will be elected from amongst them.



Vashisht on technical panel for waste
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 23
Mr Vinod Vashisht president of the All-India Steel Re-Rollers Association, has been appointed member of the technical committee formed by the Government of Punjab, Department of Science and Technology, Environment and Non-Conventional Energy, to handle hazardous waste of Punjab factories.

The waste of all the units of the state shall be processed at Nimbuan Green Field Punjab Ltd, Dera Bassi. Releasing the copy of order issued by Ms Romila Dubey, Principal Secretary of the department, Mr Vinod Vashisht said the committee would approve all crucial matters like selection of operators, pre-qualification of bids, design of TSDF (treatment storage, disposal facility) and charges to be fixed per tonne of hazardous waste etc.

This technical committee will also oversee the development and operation of TSDF at Nimbuan village near Dera Bassi. Under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary, Department of Science and Technology and Environment, the other members nominated are Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board, General Secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, Chairman, CII Chandigarh, representative of Central Pollution Control Board, President, Industrial and Electroplating Association, Ludhiana, President, Mandi Gobindgarh Induction Furnaces Association, President, Punjab Mould Manufacturing Association, Mandi Gobindgarh, Chairman, Nimbuan Green Field Punjab, Dr Dharambir of Chandigarh, Dr Manoj Datta of IIT New Delhi, Senior Scientific Officer, Punjab Pollution Control Board, Head of the Department (Chemistry) Panjab University, Chandigarh, Head of the Department (Chemistry) Panjabi University, Patiala.

In this regard the Ludhiana officer of the Pollution Board has already issued notices to the units situated in Khanna to obtain the consent under the newly implemented waste and hazardous rules. The units have been asked to store their waste in a room particularly constructed to store the waste. The completion of the unit at Dera Bassi will take about one year. Till then these units have to store the waste in their units.



City dharamshala at Chintpurni to be expanded
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 23
The Ludhiana dharamshala at Mata Chitpurni shrine in Himachal will have six new rooms and a hall and the ongoing construction work will be completed by February 2006 at a cost of Rs 1 crore. In addition, extensive renovation work had been carried out at the dharamshala at a cost of Rs 25 lakh.

This was stated here today by Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal, who was unanimously re-elected president of the managing committee. The election of office-bearers from among the 15 elected members of the committee were conducted under the supervision of the SDM here today.

According to Mr Aggarwal, the election of members were conducted by the Deputy Commissioner under a standing order of the Himachal high court every two years.

He said the committee had raised the problem of sewerage and drinking water at the dharamshala with the respective state government and a positive action by the authorities was awaited.

Among other elected office-bearers of the committee are Mr Surinder Kumar Gupta, senior vice- president; Mr Om Parkash Malhotra, vice-president; Mr Devinder Kumar Gupta, general secretary; Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, treasurer; Mr Rajesh Bansal, joint secretary; and Mr Pradeep Gupta, press secretary.



Cycle rally marks heritage day
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 23
A cycle rally was organised to celebrate World heritage day by A S College Khanna from Khanna to Ropar today. The rally was organised to motivate the public about environment issues, check pollution and to create awareness about the benefits of cycling.

Mr Sanjiv Dhamija, secretary of the college management, flagged off the rally. The Principal of the college, Dr R.S. Jhanji, said the participants had covered a distance of 120 km under the leadership of Dr Charn Kumar and Prof Ravinder jeet Singh.

The Principal said the cycle rally would be organised every year by the college authorities. 



Workers’ dharna enters third day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 23
The dharna by CPM and CITU against the Centre and state government policies entered its third day here today.
The workers were addressed today by Mr Charan Singh Virdi, member, central committee, CPM, Mr Rashpal Singh, president, Punjab Kisan Sabha, and Mr Raghunath Singh, CITU general secretary.

Reiterating their demands, party leaders blamed the government for non-fulfilment of its promises and threatened to intensify their struggle if their demands were not accepted.

Addressing the workers, Mr Virdi said: “We want closed units to re-start. Thousands of workers have been rendered jobless after closure of several units, which is highly unjust.”

CITU raised the issue of re-starting cycle divisions of Rockman and Highway that were closed earlier this month.



IT surveys on cycle units yield Rs 25 lakh tax 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 23
Income Tax surveys conducted by teams of officials at a couple of cycle parts manufacturing and export units owned by the same family in Dhandari Kalan here, had yielded a concealed income of around Rs 80 lakh. The owners had agreed to deposit an additional tax of little more than Rs 25 lakh.

According to sources, several teams of income tax officials, headed by Mr Himanshu Sinha, Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, had descended on business premises of these firms yesterday morning and the survey operations had continued till last evening.

The tax officials had barred all movement through the entry gates and phone calls were also restricted. Books of accounts and computer data of these firms was thoroughly inspected.

While the officials refused to divulge any details of the survey and the concealed income surrendered by the assesses, it was learnt that certain incriminating documents were seized by the officials which made the owners agree to the additional tax liability. It was further indicated by the sources that the surveys were initiated on the basis of inconsistencies witnessed in the income tax returns filed by the firms during the past couple of years.

Without giving any further details, senior officers of the department asserted that certain high income assesses, suspected of not disclosing their true income in the tax returns, were under the scanner and the department intended to take necessary steps to check the tax evasion and generation of concealed income in an effective manner. 



Security of banks discussed
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 23
The DIG (Ludhiana range), Mr Parag Jain, today organised a meeting of bank officials of the district with regard to security. More than 50 bank officials attended the meeting.

Mr Jain said the police wanted to provide security cover to all banks of the district but due to lack of resources it was difficult to provide security guards to each bank. Joint committees comprising bank and police officers would be set up.

The SSP, Khanna, Mr Nau Nihal Singh, said the police was willing to provide security to the banks but they did not have sufficient number. When the Khanna police district came in existence, the number of police personnel was 1,500 while now it was only 1,100.

He said the number of bank branches had increased to 87 from 38 in the past years. If the banks were ready to pay some money for security, the police would give professional training to their employees. A nodal officer would be deployed in each subdivision to beef up security arrangements, he added.


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