L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Businessman done to death
Octogenarian victim owned assets worth over Rs 100 cr
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
Even as the dust is yet to settle on the high-profile murder case of businesswoman Reema Jain, another rich businessman, Prem Nath Devgan, who owns assets worth over Rs 100 crore and was one of the leading manufacturers of needles in the country, was found brutally murdered in his factory this morning.

There were seven deep stab wounds on the body of octogenarian Prem Nath. He was found dead in the bedroom of his house on the premises of his factory, Mesa Needles, near Dada Motors, Dholewal Chowk. He was stabbed in the heart, abdomen and back.

The Division No. 6 police is learnt to have detained a nurse employed with a local hospital for questioning in the case. Sources said the woman was probably the last one seen with the deceased at about 10:30 last night.

The police has ruled out robbery as the motive behind the murder. A wallet containing a few thousand rupees was found intact in the pocket of a trouser worn by the deceased. There were no signs in the room to suggest that the assailants had tried to search some valuables.

The police suspects a property dispute or illicit relations as the possible cause of the gruesome murder. The SHO of the Division No. 6 police station, Mr Balwinder Singh, said the police was working on these two theories, besides the angle of personal enmity with an employee and a former worker.

His granddaughter, Natasha, 23, who lives in Delhi and had come to attend a marriage here, was the first to spot the body at about 8 am. She raised the alarm, following which the police was called.

The deceased is learnt to have married twice. He had two sons from his first marriage and the wife lives near Mall Road here. The second wife and another son and a daughter live in Chandigarh.

Senior police officials also visited the spot. The incident was the talk of the town with people, mainly industrialists, calling up newspaper offices to find out the details. His sons and grandchildren figure high on the list of socialites and were regular party buffs.

The police said the exact time of the murder would be known after the post-mortem report was received tomorrow.



Rs 500-cr upgrade programme under way: Rana Sodhi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
Chief Parliamentary Secretary Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi today said the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board had initiated a major infrastructure upgrade programme worth Rs 500 cr which would cover the construction of seven railway overbridges, 1,100 km of high traffic corridors and six new high-level bridges on rivers.

Mr Sodhi was addressing a rural conference organised by the Rajput community to honour him at Boothgarh village, around 15 km from here.

He said recarpeting of 355 km of major roads was under way, besides 1,755 km of the state and district roads and 22 bridges, with an investment of Rs 543.66 cr, had been completed.

He said the state government had also planned to invest Rs 978 cr to upgrade additional 4,197 km of roads and 99 bridges during the next two years.

In rural areas, Mr Sodhi claimed, 17,000 km of link roads had been repaired at a cost of Rs 700 cr and 1,500 km of new link roads would be constructed at a cost of Rs 150 crore by mid next year.

Reiterating the government resolve to help Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and economically weaker sections of society, Mr Sodhi said the government had created a “Dedicated Social Security Fund” of Rs 450 cr to ensure regular and timely pension assistance to 10 lakh beneficiaries, including elderly, widows, orphans and physically challenged.

He said the government had also implemented a plan for the fast industrialisation of the state, under which 60 mega projects of Rs 17,000 cr had been approved by the empowered committee on industries.

An amount of Rs 200 cr would be allocated to improve the infrastructure growth and development of Mohali to develop it as a hub of IT industry in North India.

He said 24-hr power supply was being assured in rural areas on the urban pattern and out of total 13,123 villages, 10,089 had been covered and remaining 3,034 were likely to be covered by December, 2005.

He said a Village Development Fund of Rs 750 cr had been created under the Punjab Accelerated Infrastructure Development Programme that would cover 1,500 villages with complete sewerage and sanitation facilities within the next two years.

A World Bank Project of Rs 1819.35 cr had been approved for providing rural water supply and sanitation facilities in 4,900 partially covered habitations and 1,600 non-covered habitations.

Appreciating the efforts of Mr Mewa Singh Chauhan, a leader of the Rajput community, Mr Sodhi said he was striving hard to bring more development projects to the area.

He announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for development projects.

Mr Chauhan demanded funds for the development of the area and stressed the need for according priority in recruitment in government jobs to the youths belonging to the community.



For him, change is constant
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
An accomplished lyricist, a master of narrative, an acknowledged dialogue writer, a film director par excellence and above all a continuous thinker. Everything is woven together into one in Gulzar.

The only constant thing in his life is change and experimentation. That probably explains why he moved from films to directing television serials.

Gulzar, who was here to participate in the Jashan-e-Sahir, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune pointed out that a writer kept assuming multiple identities with the passage of time.

For the time being, he is not making any films. He made films like “Machis” and “Hu Tu Tu”. Both films had powerful theme. While “Machis” did phenomenally well, the latter was not that successful.

For anything classic, like the presentation of the life of great Urdu poet Ghalib in a television serial, “Mirza Ghalib”, or presentation of some of the works of Munshi Premchand, it gets identified with Gulzar only.

His television serial on the works of Premchand was telecast on Doordarshan. He is now working on a similar project on Rabindranath Tagore.

Gulzar, who has taken a long sabbath from producing and directing films, is not tired of them.

He likes to don only what appeals to his intellect the most. His pursuit remains creative and approach imaginative. Be it films or television serials. In fact, he has also directed a two-hour ballet for children.

The versatile maestro is all praise for the trend of globalisation in Indian movies. He said the Indian film industry had already joined the global mainstream.

Not just Hindi films, even other regional films have had the positive impact of globalisation. This was long overdue, he said, while praising the directors who were making it big. On what brought him to Ludhiana, Gulzar remarked: “Sahir”, the master poet and lyricist from Ludhiana, who immortalised the city itself.

Gulzar feels nostalgic about his association with Sahir. And why not. They have a lot in common. Their roots are in this soil and their mastery over the art of poetry remains the same.

About the present status of Urdu poetry, he is not cynical. When asked as to how he felt about the growth of mediocre poets who made it regularly to the television channels, Gulzar remarked: “Such poets have always been there, but now they have become more visible, thanks to the television.”



BKU blasts govt on paddy payment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 27
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has sharply reacted to the inordinate delay in payment to farmers for the paddy procured by government agencies which, it observed, had led to widespread resentment and a sense of uncertainty among the farming community.

In a statement here yesterday, the BKU vice-president, Mr Shamsher Singh Gharooan, and the general secretary, Mr Sharanjit Singh Mehlon, regretted that contrary to tall claims by the state government of making the payment against purchase of paddy to the farmers within 24 hours, the procurement agencies had failed to make payments after October 29.

The BKU leaders said harassed farmers, along with commission agents, were being made to wait indefinitely for payments in lieu of their paddy sold to the government agencies. The delay was not only adversely affecting the relations between farmers and commission agents but farmers were also finding it difficult to go ahead with sowing of wheat as a result of financial crunch.

They reiterated the demand for linking the support prices of the agricultural produce with the wholesale price index without any delay. On this basis, the price of wheat worked out to be at Rs 1,080 per quintal, cotton and oilseeds at Rs 3,180 per quintal and that of sugarcane at Rs 165 per quintal.



Ludhiana Calling

Drivers not giving two hoots to traffic rules are a common sight in the city. Jumping traffic signals, wrong overtaking and driving on the wrong side of single lanes is something people appear to have grown used to. One victim of such callousness was an old man with one arm amputated. While who was attempting to cross the road near Aarti cinema, was hit by a scooterist who took a wrong U-turn. The poor fellow lost his balance and fell down. All he could do was feel frustrated and curse the driver. People need to learn that a little traffic sense would do them no harm.

Role models?

In their aim to gain publicity, corporates many times simply ignore the impact their publicity campaigns could leave on the youth. Tele and movie stars can commonly be seen at various promotional campaigns. Such companies, in their aim to target the youth, even go ahead and take these screen stars to schools and colleges. Recently, when one such TV actress visited a college in the city, students left their classes and even their teachers joined them. Students turned up in large numbers (see pic) to have a glimpse of the actress. No wonder today’s film stars have become role models for our youth, that is going astray. A serious thought on who the role models of our youth should be the need of the hour.

Fashion conscious

Caring little about the change in weather, even at the onset of winters many “brave souls” do not cover themselves properly. Fashion conscious damsels brunting the chill of the weather in short clothes can easily be spotted and so can be many men showing off their biceps. Doctors leave a warning: Such acts of bravery would fetch no admiration, they would only leave you sick!

VIP status

Recently, when the city police blocked a few roads due to a minister’s visit, one could find residents going to police personnel and trying to convince them to let them go through those blocked roads. It was interesting to note that a man who, after an unsuccessful attempt at wooing a policeman, came back cribbing and said, “Imagine, I am a municipal corporation employee and I too have to put up with such rules”. One kept wondering as to what royal treatment he expected?

Time wastage

Poorly organised press conferences turn out to be time-wasting events for journalists. Recently, at an inauguration of an outlet, reporters were forced to sit through a bhangra performance, which was followed by a very lengthy presentation on the company’s history and other details, not really required. The effective conference lasted for only around 10 minutes whereas the event took an hour and a half.

Tail piece

An SMS which angered a police cop in the city read, “Punjab police constable asks his son: Why have you scored so badly in the exams? Son takes out Rs 50 note and says-Papa ah lo 50 rupaye te case rafa-dafa karo!”

— Sentinel



Abhijit Sen new president of ISAE
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
Prof Abhijit Sen, a member of the Planning Commission of India, is the president-elect of the Indian Society of Agricultural Economics (ISAE). This was announced by the society’s outgoing president Dr S.S. Johl, Vice-Chairman of Punjab Planning Board and renowned economist.

Summing up the conference deliberations that spread over three days, Dr Johl said the recommendations on three themes would be submitted to policy makers.

He said the next conference would be held at Shillong.



Canadian council to adopt quake-hit Pak village
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 27
The Canada-based Ontario Sikh Gurdwara Council will rehabilitate Guru Nanak Nagar village in Pakistan, which was devastated in the recent earthquake.

A sum of Rs 4 crore from the Guru Nanak Relief Fund, contributed by the Sikhs of North America, would be utilised in the rehabilitation of the village. After the Indian Government showed its inability to get the amount transferred to a bank in India, a delegation of Sikhs visited quake-hit areas in Pakistan and launched relief work there by getting the amount transferred through private financial organisations.

After returning from Pakistan, Mr Harbans Singh Jandali, president of the council, asserted that the relief work had been launched and the council had decided to adopt the village besides continuing relief operation in various camps there.

“It was with the persuasion of Ch Shabib Mohamad, Chairman, Pakistan Waqf Board, that the Pakistan Government consented to our proposal to name the village as Guru Nanak Nagar,” said Mr Jandali. The village would be provided with all necessary basic amenities of life and technical knowledge in this regard would be provided by the Pakistan Government.

Commenting on the role of the authorities concerned, Mr Jandali said they had received no response from either Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh whom they had urged to impress upon the Ministries of External Affairs and Finance to expedite the transfer of Rs 10 lakh Canadian dollars (Rs 4 crore) from the council’s account at the Toronto branch of the State Bank of India (SBI) to any bank in India.

“Ultimately we got the required money transferred through private organisations for which we paid charges. Though it may seem more cumbersome and uneconomical, it would please the sangat who wanted that a 15-member team perform seva and oversee relief arrangements.”

The delegation will now visit the Poonch area in India.



Child welfare dominates seminar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
Children are nation’s asset. Equal opportunities for their development is of paramount importance.

With this aim in view the Department of Social Security, Woman and Child Development, Punjab, conducted a seminar at SGB International Foundation Dham, Talwandi Khurd, here recently. This seminar was held as a consequence of new guidelines issued by central adoption work related to adoption and rehabilitation of needy and destitute children.

The seminar was inaugurated by Swami Shankranand Bhuriwale.

Mr S.R. Ladhar, Director of the above said department, was the chief guest. He also read out a paper on the role of voluntary coordinating agency on adoption in Punjab.

Mr Jagdeep Singh, executive director of the SGB International Foundation, read a paper on inter country adoption. He said adoption of children outside India should be the last resort. Every care must be taken that Indian children were integrated into Indian families.

Col (Retd) N.S. Behl, chairperson of Child Welfare Committee, Gurdaspur, presented a paper on the role of child welfare committees in adoption.

Col. (Retd) R.C. Mehandroo, director, Nari Niketan, Jalandhar, also spoke on the occasion.

The chairperson of the child welfare committee, juvenile boards and members of voluntary coordinating agency, Punjab, were present at the seminar. Also present were district social security officers of all Punjab districts.

A joint declaration on behalf of government and non-government functionaries was read out by Mr Jaspal Singh, Deputy Director of Social Security Department, which appealed to all residents of Punjab to be sensitive to the needs of orphaned and abandoned children in general and girl child, in particular.



Shoes, blankets donated
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, November 27
Zenith Welfare Club, Jagraon, yesterday organised a shoe distribution function on the premises of a basic training school.

The function was presided over by Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill, SDM, Mr Sudershan Sharma, chairman of the club, said about 600 pairs of shoes had been distributed among deserving students.

Blanket and flour were distributed to the inhabitants of the hutments which got destroyed in a fire some time back.

The people present on the occasion also made their contributions.



Banks urged to promote lending to SMEs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
Urging banks and the government to promote lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry said here yesterday that low interest rates would go a long way in helping the small-scale industrial sector.

“By charging interest at high rates, banks themselves enhance the risk factor,” said Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber.

He said banks were losing out or reducing their margins for lending to large borrowers at low interest rates and tried to make up the loss from small and medium borrowers.

“The RBI and the government have decided to have a mechanism for rating of SMEs so that interest rate can be reduced, but no action has been taken so far on the issue,” he said.

The chamber said sufficient credit flow was important for the growth of this sector.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |