L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Industry suffers heavy losses due to power failure
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
The industry suffered production losses to the tune of crores of rupees as production came to a sudden halt following power suspension on account of a snag in the northern grid today. City residents too kept shivering due to suspension of power supply for more than 10 hours.

Power supply in the city was disrupted at around 7 am reportedly due to some snag in the northern grid. It was only around 3 pm that the electricity board started restoring supply.

The industry, that was the major sufferer, complained of heavy production losses and said the government should have sufficient alternatives to cope up with such snags.

“It is our peak production time as industrial units are fast completing orders for government departments and also for export purposes, besides the routine work. Sudden halt in production due to such snags delay processing of orders. It is a pity that during summers excessive demand creates power problems and in winters such a problem has occured. There should be alternatives to ensure supply remains smooth as it is the consumer who is the ultimate sufferer,” said Mr Narinder Bhamra, president, Fastener Manufacturers Association of India.

Industrialists also condemned the PSEB for increasing power tariffs and at the same time failing to ensure regular supply of electricity.

For hosiery industry, though it is not the peak period, industrialists said as they were in the second phase of completing the orders that were in the pipeline, such snags created problems for them. “It is true that production these days is almost 25 per cent lesser in comparison to what it is during peak time. But that does not mean that the industry suffers. It means a daily loss of over Rs 80 crore,” said Mr Vinod K Thapar, President, Knitwear Club.

He said in case of suspension of power supply, the industry had to rely on supply through gensets which increased the cost of production. Besides, computerised machines being used in textile industry are sensitive to fluctuations and parts have chances of getting damaged. “In case of sudden suspension or fluctuation, computerised machines that are quite costly could get damaged. The government and the board should take care that people do not suffer,” he said.

Industry representatives said such failures put a question mark on the available infrastructure. “In times when we are facing global competition and the government does not fail to publicise whenever any MNC happens to even disclose its plans of starting operations here, such snags should be the last thing to occur. They only show we lack competitiveness,” another industrialist said.

Induction and Furnace Association president K.Garg said despite it not being the peak period, such disruption meant a loss of 7,500 tonnes of production in furnace units across the state.

As the cold wave continued, in the absence of electricity supply, many did not go to offices. “It is extremely cold and due to power failure one could not even switch on heaters or blowers. I kept sitting at home as I learnt power would remain suspended throughout the day,” said Varinder Singh, a resident in Civil Lines area.

For those residing in areas where PSEB had announced a cut from 9 am to 5 pm, sudden suspension came as a bolt from the blue. “We knew there would be no electricity from 9 am onwards and thought we would finish our work before that. But power went off at 7 am only halting all day’s work,” said Sunita, a resident of Model Town.

PSEB Chief Engineer D.B. Arora, when contacted, said”: “We started restoring the supply from around 3 pm onwards.”

KHANNA: Power cut imposed for more than 18 hours in the city and the adjoining areas upset residents, business community and industrialists.

The power failed in the area at midnight on Thursday. The employees working at the out station towns faced problems to get ready to reach their destinations.

Most of the people went to their duty without bathing. The industrialists’ suffered a huge loss due to unannounced long power cut. A, cattle feed mill owner said he had suffered a heavy loss as he had paid the salary to all employees without any work. He said he had also failed to reach their orders booked for Yesterday. He added further that all orders booked for the next day could be cancelled.

The shopkeepers of the area were with out power.

No officer of the P S E B was available on telephone to comment on the situation when contacted.



Punjab’s first theme mall to be operational by 2008
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
Aeren R Enterprises today announced that it would come up with the first theme destination mall in Punjab here. The company would invest Rs 250-300 crore towards the mall, which promises to offer an international retail, entertainment and leisure experience. The mall would also have Punjab’s first IMAX theatre.

“It would among the biggest malls and is planned over 2 million-square feet of covered area. People would be introduced to the latest concept of ‘malls within a mall’ through it,” said Mr Sujit Kumar, president and CEO, Aeren R Enterprises.

Located on the outskirts of the industrial town off the Delhi bypass chowk on Ludhiana-Jalandhar GT Road, the company aims to attract customers from the city and around including Phagwara, Jalandhar and Amritsar.

The mall, Mr Kumar said, would be operational by April 2008.

Elaborating on the company’s plan, he said the mall would have seven floors and several malls. It would have 3 lakh-square feet dedicated to interiors mall, where one can shop for home an office needs. Besides, there would be specialty malls like kids lifestyle, fashion, hospitality, entertainment and leisure malls.

“The IMAX theatre would offer a giant screen, nearly 10 times the size of ordinary multiplex screens, DMR technology and 14,000 watts of finest acoustics to provide world class movie experience to cine-goers,” he said.

Aerens would also offer an ice skating rink in the mall. Mr Kumar said the company made a thorough study on spending power and habits of people before coming up with the mall. “Growing prosperity and improving lifestyles are fuelling demand for lifestyle products, leisure and entertainment activities. We are quite hopeful of the mall’s success as it would be quite unique and people would get to see a lot of new things here,” he said.

He said besides the environment-friendly design with large open sky spaces, landscaped greens with water bodies and fountains , the company would take special care for safety of kids, elderly and differently abled.



Raids to check sale of intoxicating drugs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 23
In a bid to check the unrestricted and unregulated sale of intoxicating drugs, the district drug authorities, along with the police, conducted raids on a number of chemist shops in Samrala town of the district yesterday.

The raiding party made a big haul of psychotropic drugs, which were sealed at the spot and taken into custody.

The raids were conducted on the directions of the Civil Surgeon, Dr Rajinder Kaur.

Giving this information here today, Mr Sanjeev Garg, District Drug Inspector, informed that four chemist shops were inspected in Samrala and an adjoining village, where stocks of cough syrups, tablets of generic drug Lomotil, aphrodisiacs and intoxicating capsules were found with no records of purchase.

The sales records of these products, which were meant to be sold against prescription, were also missing or incomplete.

According to Mr Garg, the drugs seized during these raids included 24 bottles of cough syrups of different brands, 4000 tablets of Lomotil, 500 capsules of Proxyvon, 180 tablets of Suhagra (aphrodisiac). The list of seizures were produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate today for taking custody and a detailed report had been submitted to the State Drug Controller for further action.

It may be recalled that Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma, at a meeting of the district officials, had expressed his serious concern over the sale of intoxicating drugs to the youth and had impressed upon the health administration to take effective measures to check the same. 



Industrial group surrenders 3 cr concealed income
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 23
The Vishwakarma Group of Industries, which was under survey by the Income Tax Department here yesterday, has reportedly surrendered a concealed income of Rs 3 crore and has undertaken the additional tax liability during the current financial year.

According to sources in the department, teams of IT officials had launched a survey of the business premises of Vishwakarma Steel, Vishwakarma Udyog and Vishwakarma Brick Kiln on the Kanganwal road here. Tax sleuths carried out inspection of books of accounts, computer data, stocks of finished goods and raw material.

The survey continued till late evening and during this period, the entry to and from the business premises as well as phone calls were restricted. The survey was a smooth affair and no resistance was offered by the owners, sources added.

In the wake of the collection till now falling short of the targeted revenue collection of Rs 1150 crore by the end of this financial year, the department would continue its survey operations and in selective cases. Raids were also not ruled out in the near future to improve tax compliance, the sources maintained.



2 black bulls stray into city
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
With the winter getting foggier by the day, a number of animals have started straying into areas inhabited by humans in search of food. Two black bulls strayed into the city this morning in search of food but were left badly confused in the concrete jungle.

While one such trapped black bull was rescued with the joint efforts of residents of Guru Vihar Colony, activists of the Wildlife Department, the other black bull, trapped in Bharti Colony near Bahadar Ke road, was yet to be rescued.

Dr S. P. Singh Ahuja, in whose farmhouse the animal had taken shelter, said he had informed the Wildlife Department in the afternoon, but no one had come to rescue the badly shaken animal.

Dr Sandeep Jain, president, PFA, said that an adult male bluebull strayed in Guru Vihar Colony on the Rahon Road Ludhiana in the morning today. Around 9 am, a few residents of Indira Colony saw the animal and soon a large crowd of curious onlookers started assembling, making the black bull more nervous.

Sohan Singh a milk vendor of Sasrali village on the Rahon Road, informed the PFA president Dr Sandeep K. Jain, who, in turn, instructed PFA veterinarian to reach the site.

The police, wildlife guards and a team of the People For Animals Ludhiana reached the site. Meanwhile, the shocked animal ran into the house of Mr Jarnail Singh. Fodder and water was provided but the animal didn’t touch it due to fear.

After the animal was tied, the PFA veterinarian, Dr Bhupinder Singh, provided him first aid. The animal had sustained injuries and was bleeding from its mouth also. After treatment, it settled down and was loaded into a four-wheeler to take the animal to Mattewara Forest Range.

Dr Jain said it seemed that it had come from Matterwara Forest, as many a time these animals lose their track due to fog and run out of forest, where these are chased by dogs so they run in the wrong direction for safety and reach the urban jungle.

Last year too a female sambhar was rescued from Havas village in Rahon Road Ludhiana. It was sent to Deer Park Neelon after treatment at Jeev Kalyan Kendra and Bhagwan Mahavir Abhayshala run by PFA Ludhiana.

He said more such incidents were anticipated in the coming days but it seems that the Forest Department was not bothered to conserve and rehabilitate the precious wildlife.

Even after the leopard incident last year, the department has not equipped itself with tranquilizing gun, adequate cages and vehicles etc.



Badal sends Bhunder to sink differences
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, December 23
Irked by the reports of growing differences among the local leaders of the Shiromini Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal sent Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, general secretary of the Akali Dal here to sort out the issues with the warring factions.

Mr Bhunder held meetings with different groups last night and heard their grievances. One group led by Mr Hira Singh Gabria, President, city Akali jatha and comprising Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, vice-president of the Akali Dal, Mr Kamalinder Singh SGPC member and Mr Ajit Singh Baba met Mr Bhunder and complained that the Garcha group was interfering in the functioning of the Akali jatha and was creating division among the workers and the leaders.

They alleged that this group was causing a harm to the Akali Dal when there was a need for the unity in the party in view of the ensuing election to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in February 2007.

The Gabria group assured that they would not interfere in the functioning of the rural jatha and was keen on strengthening the unity of the dal in the district.

The opposite group comprising Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, president, SGPC and Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha MLA also met Mr Bhunder and complained that the Gabria group was not cooperating with them and they had opposed the Akali candidates in the election to the local gurdwara committees.

Mr Bhunder after listening to the warring groups appealed them to maintain unity. They should work in unison and plan strategy to defeat the Congress in the next Vidhan Sabha elections.

Mr Bhunder also advised Mr Garcha to work in his constituency and stop interfering in the Ludhiana city unit.



Ahrar Muslims burn Ahmediya leader’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
Activists of the All-India Majlis Ahrar (Party) today burnt an effigy of the Ahmediya religious head Mirza Masroor, who was recently on a visit to India. They also demanded the removal of the PWD Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, from the Cabinet for entertaining Mirza Masroor as a state guest.

Addressing the Friday congregation here today, the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid Ludhiana, Maulana Habib-u-Rehman Ludhianvi, who is also the chairman of the Ahrar party, demanded a ban on the activities of the Ahmediya sect.

He criticised Mr Bajwa for entertaining Mirza Masroor as a state guest. He said the Ahmediyas had been questioning the basic tenets of Islam and alleged that the sect had been created deliberately by the British to weaken the freedom struggle.



Showroom burgled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
Burglars broke into the Blue Mount showroom on the GT Road during the wee hours and reportedly decamped with goods worth about Rs 10 lakh. A case has been registered at the Salim Tabri police station.

According to Mr Sanjiv Jain, proprietor of the showroom, the burglary took place at about 5 in the morning. The thieves broke open the locks of the showroom and ransacked goods lying there.

The burglars apparently took advantage of the dense fog in the area during that time as the visibility was very poor.

The showroom is located near the Jalandhar byepass on the GT Road and is one of the most frequented places in the city.



Proclaimed offender arrested
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 23
Gurmel Singh, son of Bachan Singh of Nangal Khurad village, was arrested by the Sudhar police on Thursday. He has been booked under Sections 302, 323, 324, 325, 326, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC along with others, for allegedly murdering Ujjagar Singh, his brother, and former sarpanch of the same village.

According to an FIR lodged with the Sudhar police and revelations made during investigations, Ujjagar Singh had been attacked with rods and crude weapons by Surinder Singh sarpanch and his associates at Kutia Jamuna Dass on September 19, when an inquiry was being conducted by Mr Karam Singh Dhillon, District Social Security Officer, Ludhiana. Ujjagar in his complaint, made during his lifetime, had claimed that he had been assaulted due to political rivalry. Surinder Singh, sarpanch, who had been arrested earlier had contested the civic body election against him.

The case took new-turn when Gurmel Singh confessed before an Executive Magistrate at Raikot on September 24 that he had joined hands with the assaulters with an intention to take revenge from his brother. The reason being land dispute and his brother had got him humiliated by the police.

On the basis of confessional statement made by him, Gurmel Singh was booked in the case already registered on the statement of Ujjagar Singh. Surinder Singh was arrested by the police while Gurmel was in hiding to evade arrest. The police declared Gurmel a proclaimed offender. He was arrested from the house of Mohinder Singh, a resident of same village on Thursday. The police had struck at the target on the basis of secret information. He has since been sent in judicial custody.


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