L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Four of family die in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 16
A pall of gloom engulfed the town within minutes of receiving the news of the death of four members of a family of ward number 11, including twins, after the Maruti car they were travelling in collided head-on with a truck carrying gas cylinders near Barnala town last evening.

Inconsolable women, wailing children and shocked residents were seen on the streets. The four victims had left for Sirsa town in Haryana.

Sanjiv Sharma, son of Raj Kumar Sharma, a Food Supply Department official, had come to his parents’ house to celebrate Lohri of his son, who was born two months ago. He, along with his wife Rita and two children, wanted to return to Sirsa in Haryana, his place of posting, by bus, but Rajiv Sharma and Devinder Sharma insisted that they would drop them by car.

The victims had hardly reached Handiaya Chowk that a truck (PB 10 X 9943) collided head-on with their Maruti car (PB 28 13-3364). The Barnala police shifted the victims to the Civil Hospital where doctors declared four of them as brought dead. They were identified as Sanjiv (35), his twin brother Rajiv and two children — two-month-old son Abhishek and four-year-old Diksha. Devinder, who was driving the car, and his sister-in-law Rita, wife of Sanjiv, were taken to a private hospital in Ludhiana. As the four bodies were brought to the town for cremation, relatives started wailing.

As fate would have it, the twins, who lived together and died together, were cremated together along with the son and daughter of one of them.



Marriage celebrations turn into grief
Our Correspondent

Amandeep and Jaswinder Singh who were injured in an accident near Dehlon on Monday
Amandeep and Jaswinder Singh who were injured in an accident near Dehlon on Monday. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 16
Celebrations turned into wails for the family of Mukhtiar Singh of Dehlon that lost its son, Paramjit Singh, who was scheduled to get married after a fortnight. He died when the Scorpio in which he along with his two friends were travelling, collided with a truck on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, near Sayan village, last night.

The condition of Amandeep and Jaswinder Singh who were admitted to a private hospital in Ludhiana is stated to be stable.

Paramjit Singh (24), Amandeep and Jaswinder were returning home when their Scorpio collided with a truck.

“So powerful was the collision that Paramjit, who was occupying the rear seat, was thrown into the truck, an eye-witness told the police. They were shifted to a hospital in Ludhiana where Paramjit was declared brought dead.

Preliminary investigations by the police revealed that the accident was caused due to the high speed of the Scorpio and the sudden emergence of the truck on the road. “As the youths were in a joyous mood, the driver could not apply brakes promptly.

It resulted in the collision of the vehicle with the rear tyres of the truck,” said Mr Amarjit Singh Khaira, SHO, Dehlon.

Sources said the victim, a physical education teacher, was scheduled to marry on January 29 and the celebrations had already begun.



Punjab’s first paediatric ICU inaugurated
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 16
Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) today opened a state-of-the-art paediatric ICU, first in Punjab. The new facility has been set up in addition to the existing 3-bedded intensive care area. Giving details, Dr Jugesh Chattwal, Head of the Department of Paediatrics at the CMCH, said the 6-bedded facility was equipped to provide care to children of all age groups.

"The intensive care unit is centrally air-conditioned with one to one monitoring. All beds have infusion pumps, multifunction monitors, assisted ventilation, and round-the- clock assistance by trained paediatricians. Transport incubators for shifting the sick newly born babies and assisted ventilation for children with difficulty in breathing will be available with hospital ambulance for shifting these children," she added.

The paediatric ICU was built with the help of an eminent industrialist and the contributions from residents of the city. Dr Sewa Singh Lehga, world renowned oncologist from Houston, USA, was the chief guest on the occasion. He appreciated the efforts of the CMCH management in bringing the world class medical facilities to the Punjab. He added that though the state was progressing in other areas, a lot was still to be done in the health care sector.

Mr M.S. Arora and Mr Bhushan Jain, prominent industrialists of the city, were the guests of honour on the occasion. The plaque was unveiled by Mr S.N. Maini, an eminent industrialist of the city, who is also the Chairman, Advisory Committee, Business and Development of the CMCH. In his address, Mr Maini appreciated the efforts of the city residents in supporting the institution and helping to build a much needed health care facility. He expressed hope that the new paediatric ICU would serve as an oasis and help in saving many valuable lives. 



Robbery case solved, one held
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 16
The police claimed to have solved the robbery case that took place on January 5, with the arrest of one accused here today. While addressing a press conference, the SSP, Mr Naunihal Singh, said the police had arrested one of the accused and identified remaining five accused.

The robbery was carried out due to personal grudge, arisen due to a martial dispute, not for the purpose of looting, he claimed.

He said the marriage of Kamal was settled with the daughter one of the accused, Pyara Lal. But Kamal refused to marry with his daughter, Savita. However, some prominent persons from both sides intervened and marriage was solemnised. After some time, Savita left her husband's house and started living with her father.

The SSP further said the arrested person, Sewak Ram, had confessed that Pyara Lal and his three sons— Mohinder Yadav, Gajinder Yadav and Mannu Yadav —along with Babli had hatched a conspiracy and called his father for compromise. On the day of robbery, Kamal and his father reached Buchki.

Meanwhile, the six accused reached Kamal's house and ransacked it as per the plan. They injured Kamal Kumar's mother and sister. They also looted gold ornaments and cash from the house. 



No mini-bus to run on February 1
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 16
Mini-bus services across the state will come to a halt on February 1. Over 6,000 mini-buses that operate in various districts will not run on that day as their operators in the state have decided to observe strike in protest against the alleged government apathy.

The operators, who have been demanding a fresh policy, will hold protest rallies in various districts, beginning January 20, and a major rally on February 1 in Chandigarh where they have threatened to set afire a mini-bus in protest.

“We have submitted more than 300 memorandums to the government so solve our problems by framing some concrete policy. Even as diesel costs have risen manifold, the government has done nothing to help mini-bus operators, as a result it has become impossible for us to operate,” Mr Harinder Sharma, president, Punjab Mini-Bus Owners Association, told Ludhiana Tribune.

He said mini-buses were started by the state government with a view to generate self employment, but mounting expenses are only ruining that objective.

While bus fare at the first stage is a minimum Rs 2, operators are demanding it to be Rs 5. “Diesel costs have risen. There is no other way for us to generate revenues.” The private owners also say that entry fee per trip for a mini-bus varies between Rs 15-25, which erodes most of the revenue earned. Demanding a fixed monthly entry fee, they said it would be feasible to them.

“The government is supposed to be using revenue from entry fee for development of bus stands. However, it has started taking it as a source of income, only adding to the burden of mini-bus operators,” they said, adding that annual taxes, which were only Rs 9,000 when mini-buses were launched in 1980, have now increased to Rs 40,000. “Even if the government reduces these taxes by Rs 10,000, it will be of great help,” they added. Private operators said they had been putting these demands before the government for over four years, but to no avail.

Beginning January 20, rallies will be held in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Ferozepore. These would culminate into a total strike on February 1 and a large protest rally.



Badal suspects politician-bureaucrat nexus in property boom
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 16
Former Chief Minister and leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today said the boom in real estate prices was the result of manipulation by members of the ruling party and some senior bureaucrats in the government.

He alleged that politicians belonging to the ruling Congress and some senior bureaucrats, who had amassed huge wealth during the past four years had started investing in the real estate.

Mr Badal, who had come to inquire about the health of senior party leader and former SGPC president, Jagdev Singh Talwandi admitted to Hero DMC Heart

Institute here today, said the SAD was preparing a white paper on the corrupt practices of these politicians and the bureaucrats. It would be released soon.

The former Chief Minister welcomed the CBI investigation against Mr Sajjan Kumar. He claimed that it was the SAD which had launched a sustained campaign that had prompted the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre to set up the Nanavati Commission.

On the issue of Kashipur, Mr Badal said he wanted that the land be restored to the people settled there for decades. He said while on the one hand the government was trying to settle tribesmen and provide them with ownership rights to land, on the other people who had turned a wasteland into a fertile one were being forcefully evicted.

He demanded compensation for the damage caused to the houses of these people.

Mr Badal said his party was prepared for the Assembly elections scheduled early next year. The party had already held several rallies. Two more rallies would be held on February 2 and 17.

While on February 2 the party would hold a traders rally at Bathinda, on February 17 a Dalit rally would be held at Kartarpur. Similar programmes had been planned for the coming months.



Rs 150-cr plan for Buddha Nullah
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 16
The municipal corporation has chalked out a Rs 150-crore comprehensive plan for Buddha Nullah falling within its limits. Besides checking pollution in the city, the plan is also aimed at easing out congestion, especially in the residential areas lining the nullah.

The MC authorities will be submitting the plan to the Union Government since the city has been selected under the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JLNURM) for overall development.

Mr S.K. Sharma, MC Commissioner, said they were submitting a Rs 911-crore city development plan to the state government under which the old city would be developed in such a way so as to ease congestion.

He said a stretch of 13.5 km of the nullah would also be covered. The rough plan had been submitted to the government and a project report was being prepared with the help of professionals. The latter had to submit the report till January 15 and after working on it the MC would send it to the government for onward transmission to the Union Government for approval.

Mr Sharma said under the mission, the state had to provide 50 per cent of the funds, 20 per cent of which were to be given by the state government and 30 per cent by the MC. Half of the funds would be provided by the Union Government.

The announcement has brought cheers to the residents, especially those living alongside the nullah. Several studies had revealed that people were contracting tuberculosis from the nullah and those dependent on ground water for drinking purposes in villages alongside the nullah were contracting jaundice and other gastric problems. 



Ramoowalia keeps options open over alliance
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 16
The Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) has kept its options open about its strategy to be adopted for the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state. The party has already launched a statewide programme.

Stating this here last evening, the party president, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, maintained that there was still scope for a third front in Punjab. Mr Ramoowalia, who has been advocating a third front, maintained that people of the state were not happy with the Congress government and at the same time they did not want the Shriomani Akali Dal to come to power.

Mr Ramoowalia pointed out that the performance of his party candidates during the last Lok Sabha elections had a decisive impact on the outcome of four seats. He said his party was working out on a similar strategy in other parts of the state.

The party leader said it was too early to make any commitments about aligning with any political party or group as yet. 



Police verification drive
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 16
The Khanna police has launched a campaign to verify employees working at private houses, shops and factories, SSP Khanna Naunihal Singh said here today while talking to newsmen at the Police Lines.

The SSP said the police planned to distribute 30,000 stickers with important phone numbers. The police had printed verification forms to get information about employees of private firms. This campaign was being introduced in six towns — Khanna, Samrala, Machhiwara, Payal, Doraha and Malaud — of the Khanna police district.

He said eight types of forms have been printed. Information given by the public through these forms would be treated as secret.



Bhai Taru Singh Divas celebrated

Ludhiana, January 16
The central zone of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle celebrated Bhai Taru Singh Divas at Baba Isher Singh Public School here today. Dr Charankamal Singh, Chief Secretary of the circle said under ‘kes pyar muhim’of the study circle, 700 students were honoured by members of SGPC with gold medals.

Several students from different schools and colleges of the city along with their principals participated in the function. Principal Ram Singh, chief organiser of the study circle, said the function was a historical event.

A book and photo exhibition put up on the occasion was a huge success.

Around 11 dadhi jathas recited kirtan and impressed the audience. Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla, PPSC, appreciated the efforts of the study circle to preserve Sikh tradition.

Mr Maheshinder Grewal, president, Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Model Town, announced an award of Rs 2,100 for 51 of the honoured students. OC



Stress on need for non-violence

Ludhiana, January 16
Rick Ufford Chase, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of the US, who was on a visit to Ludhiana on the invitation of the Church of North India, has said that it was time the world appreciated the value of non-violence. He was addressing a gathering here yesterday.

Paying tributes to Martin Luther King Junior, the Moderator said: “He is known for his teachings of non-violence and justice. For Martin Luther King Junior the inspiration came from Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi.”

“Before I became Moderator, I became committed to non-violence, after reading sermons of Martin Luther King Junior. After that I read the struggle for justice here in India”.

He said: “ There is violence at every level of society. There is violence against children, there is violence against women, there is violence against the weak and there is hatred among people, terrorist violence, all over the world and overwhelming violence of the US government against terrorists.” TNS



Sonia Bathla’s death mourned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 16
The faculty, staff and students of the Centre for Communication, Languages and Culture, PAU, today expressed sorrow at the demise of Ms Sonia Bathla, an alumnus of the Journalism Department in Delhi last night. She was 41. Ms Bathla died after protracted illness.

At a condolence meeting, the former Head, Department of Journalism, Languages and Culture, Dr Amarjit Singh, recalled the accomplishments of Ms Bathla who had won the prestigious Jawahar Lal Nehru Commonwealth Scholarship. She had done her doctoral degree from the University of Licester, UK.

The centre will hold an annual seminar in memory of Sonia Bathla. A copy of the condolence resolution was sent to the bereaved family.



Readers write
Gandhian only in name

Mr Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, has rightly pointed out that 200 universities of the world have established centres/departments to educate people about the philosophy, and teachings of the Mahatma.

Compared to this, in India not even a single university has been established. Portraits of the Mahatma hang in government offices but corruption is rampant.

Not many people know that he was a strong believer of naturopathy whereas this science has been grossly ignored.

S.R. Mittal

Self-serving politicians

Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular are being dragged into confrontational politics. The leadership which thrived on the “spoils” of Operation Blue Star is again stoking the fire among gullible Punjabis and Sikhs for its narrow and political interests.

It is the duty of those who got the mandate to represent the SGPC and the majority to ensure that self-centred politicians do not highjack religious ethos and traditions.

Lt Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (retd)



Delhi taxi driver’s body found
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 16
The body of a taxi driver from Delhi was found near Libra village this morning. The deceased has been identified as Kamal, son of Dalit Chand. According to information, some villagers noticed the body lying near the GT road and informed the police.

A police party led by SP (D) Dalbagh Singh and DSP Khanna Balwant Singh reached the scene. On inspecting the body, the police found some injury marks on the face and neck. The SP said a team of experts had been called in to examine the body.

The exact cause of the death was not known but it was suspected to be a murder carried out to grab the car. The taxi was found missing from the scene.

The police identified the deceased by using the mobile found on him.

It added that the deceased was a taxi driver and was coming from Ludhiana after dropping passengers, who had hired the taxi from Delhi, there.

The police has started the investigation.



Industrial Organics declares results
To spend 6,500 lakh on expansion
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 16
Industrial Organics Limited, a supplier of industrial chemicals, organic chemicals and drugs, has recorded a 234 per cent increase in its profits (after tax) for the quarter ending December 31, 2005, in comparison to the corresponding quarter next year. The company said it would spend Rs 6,500 lakh towards expansion.

The company, which announced its quarterly results for the period ended December 31, 2005, stated that its profits went up from Rs 1.05 crore in the corresponding quarter last year to Rs 3.52 crore at the end of this quarter.

The operating profit increased by 155 per cent to Rs 6.45 crore against Rs 2.53 crore whereas the total income registered an increase of 57 per cent during this year.

Regarding earnings per share (EPS), it said the same had increased to Rs 4.37 from Rs 1.31 and the annualised EPS on December 31, 2005 was Rs 8.61.

The company is in the process of increasing its capacities for acetic acid from 30,000 TPA to 50,000 TPA, ethyl acetate from 18,000 TPA to 33,000 TPA, acetic anhydride from 7500 TPA to 1500 TPA and ibuprofen from 720 to 1500 TPA.

This expansion would be done at a cost of Rs 6,500 lakh, which is being partly financed by term loans from banks and issue of securities.

The company would also put up a 4 mw co-generation power plant for captive consumption.

The company has been awarded the National Energy Conservation Award -2005 (2nd prize ) in the chemical sector by the Ministry of Power, a press note said.



Battery-operated scooters launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 16
The latest from the Chinese basket to hit the Indian market are electric scooters. Techno Bikes, an Indian company, today launched battery-operated two-wheelers in Indian markets. The company is importing these vehicles from China’s PTS Motors.

“Rising fuel prices and problems like pollution have necessitated vehicles that are safe and solve these problems. These battery-operated two-wheelers, that include scooters and a bicycle, use no petrol and are, hence, pollution-free and also noise-free,” said Mr Rajiv Setia, CEO, Techno Bikes.

He said the new bikes are available on booking and from next month onwards would be available in the market. The company, which launched the bikes in Punjab today, would gradually market them throughout the country.

Priced between Rs 17,000 and Rs 29,000, the company today launched four models, Eco City, Eco Sonic, Eco Jadoo and Eco Sporty, powered by 250 watts to 450 watts engines. The company is targeting school-goers, youth and office-goers.

“They give benefits of speed, are maintenance-free, run on battery that give 40-80 km of ride once charged and can be charged anywhere,” said Mr Setia.

Besides, these bikes have storage space and if battery runs out, one has the option of peddling the scooters. “The 250 watt bike does not even need a licence.”

Asked about the durability of Chinese products, he said: "In the Chinese market too you can buy products of different qualities. There could be a similar product that is low on quality. But we would not compromise and these bikes are of superior quality,” he added. 



Biz Clips
ITC launches new range

Ludhiana, January 16
ITC has launched a new range of products for the winter. A company press note issued here said jackets in corduroy, moleskin and fleece had been launched under the brand Wills Sport. The company has also come out with a new range of sweaters in cashmere, merino, angora and lambswool blends.


Maruti Suzuki Swift is the Automobile of the Year 2006 as per the NDTV Profit, CarIndia & BikeIndia Awards 2006. In this category, the nominated cars were Maruti Suzuki Swift, Toyota Innova, Ford Fiesta, Skoda Laura, Hyundai Sonata Embera and Hyundai Tucson., a press note said. Hero Honda Achiever bagged the Motorcycle of the Year 2006 award. TNS


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