L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Property dealer booked in land grab case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 17
On the directions of the SP City-I, the Sarabha Nagar police has booked a property dealer and unknown accomplices in an alleged land grab case, in which the role of the Sarabha Nagar police had come under the scanner.

The property dealer, identified as Kalsi, was booked for house trespass, criminal intimidation and damage of property after the aggrieved family of a labourer approached SP City-I Nilabh Kishore.

The labourer, Radhe Shyam, in a complaint made to the police official had alleged that even as the property dealer and others, including some policemen, had beaten up women and minor girls of the family, the Sarabha Nagar police kept them under illegal detention in the police station for three hours.

Nilabh Kishore said the allegations against the policemen were yet to be proved and the police had so far registered a case against the property dealer only. He said he found prima facie reason to register a case and ordered it.

The alleged incident took place on the night of January 14, when a group of persons forcibly pulled the labourer’s family out of plot No. 375, Block-J, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar. The group allegedly beat up the women and girls and dragged them out of the plot.

Radhe Shyam also alleged that his brother-in-law was detained for over three hours in the Sarabha Nagar police station.



Extortion bid by labourer 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 17
The Salem Tabri police today nabbed an alleged extortionist from Bihar, who was threatening to kill a local industrialist if he was not paid Rs 1 lakh. The accused, Raman Kumar, had been threatening the owner of Vijay Yarns Ltd. He made the threats over the phone and claimed to be a professional contract killer who had taken “supari” for killing him.

The trap laid by the police, however, proved too much for the “professional killer”. He was nabbed at about 4 am when he had come to collect a bag containing the money at an earmarked place near Greenland Public School.

Sub-Inspector Gurbans Singh Bains, SHO, said the industrialist had been receiving threatening calls for a few days. The caller spoke in Hindi with an accent of labourers from Bihar.

The family approached the police which traced the calls to a PCO in Salem Tabri. The police then found how many labourers working in the factory stayed near the PCO.

The extortionist, meanwhile, directed the industrialist to place a bag containing the money in a bush near the school. He came to pick up the bag at 4 am today. A police party in mufti was waiting for him there.

Mr Bains said other police parties had been deployed near the house of the extortionist and outside the house of some other suspects.

The accused had joined the factory two weeks ago. The police said it seemed that he had come to the city only recently. The police was in the process of tracing his past criminal record, if any.



PAU experts explore alternative sources of diesel
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 17
The PAU Department of Forestry and Natural Resources is evaluating 35 different source varieties of Jatropha, which scientists believe will turn out to be an effective alternative source of diesel.

To encourage cultivation of Jatropha on “degraded and marginal land” and to educate Agricultural Development Officers and Forest Range Officers, a two-day training camp under the national network programme of Jatropha concluded here today.

The programme was funded by NOVOD Board, Government of India, Gurgaon. About 50 officers from the State Departments of Agriculture and Forest participated.

Head of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources Dr. S.S.Gill explained various aspects of Jatropha cultivation.

He said since petroleum products played an important role in the Indian economy, PAU was experimenting the possibility of popularising Jatropha.

At present India imported more than 70 per cent of oil. The Principal Investigator of the Jatropha Project, Dr R.I.S. Gill, explained to participants research programmes at PAU.

Director of Extension Education Dr S.S. Gill, who presided over the concluding function, emphasised that in view of the global situation Jatropha offered a good alternative and its potential needed to be exploited.

He, however, had a word of caution. He said Jatropha should not be grown on irrigated land suitable for rice and wheat. Farmers should, however, sow it only on degraded and marginal land. For irrigated land, Jatropha could be grown only as a “living fence”.

A bulletin on Jatropha was released on the occasion. Jatropha is a tropical plant. It is a hardy plant and has wide adaptability to varied climates and soil. Jatropha has a long productive life and yields harvest from the third year onwards.

It can be commercially cultivated if managed intensively with fertiliser, need based irrigation and other cultural operations.



Rights being violated, admits DGP
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 17
Perceiving limitations of the police, including the reported violation of human rights at some police stations and custodial deaths in the state, Mr Sarabjit Singh Virk, Director General of Police, Punjab, has reminded the officers of their obligations towards various avenues of professional and social policing, the state police chief asked them to pay attention to the welfare of members of the force so as to build their confidence and morale of junior colleagues.

Perusal of the copy of the demi-official letter written by Mr Virk to the senior officers, including SSPs, showed that he had asked them to remain in a state of preparedness and maintain pressure in order to neutralise the remaining modules of terrorists and also to apprehend those who had been eluding arrest.

The police chief stated that there was gross violation of human rights at police stations as well as at higher levels.

Referring to three custodial deaths reported during the last calendar year, the DGP claimed that these could have been avoided, had the victims, who were in lock ups, been kept within range of visibility or some basic precautions had been taken “This issue often gives extremely adverse publicity to the police and negates the good work done over prolonged periods, not only in a district but in the entire state.

All SSPs or GOS at the time of police station visits should invariably talk to the persons in police lock-up to ensure that there is no misuse of the legal process,” maintained Mr Virk.

Prevention and detection of crime, attending to public grievances, checking corruption at police station level, maintenance of peace and public order, problem of social tension, action against organised crime and war against drug trafficking were other facets that attracted the attention in the communication addressed to senior officers on the commencement of new calendar year.



Four hurt in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur Dakha, January 17
Four persons, including a woman, were injured when a Mohindra Jeep jumped over the road divider and rammed into a streetlight pole near Main Chowk in Mullanpur Dakha last night.

While two of the injured were travelling in the jeep, the other two were a couple from Ludhiana who were riding a motor cycle coming from the opposite direction. It crashed into the over-turned jeep minutes after that. Poor visibility might have caused the accident, the police said.

The incident occurred at 2.40 am. The injured included Jeep driver Amarjit Singh of Abohar and Parhalad Singh. The jeep (PB 05 B 9730) belonged to Chahal Fruit Farm near Abohar. The driver was returning after delivering kinnows in Ludhiana. Their condition is stated to be serious.



Slums thrive while residents cry
Encroachments up near city centre project
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 17
With the shooting up of land prices in E-block of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar due to an upcoming city centre project, more and more slum dwellers have started encroaching upon the land near the project.

Following statements by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust chief that they were doing something to rehabilitate the slum dwellers and the latter getting a feeling that the authorities would have to find a solution to get them evicted, the number of shanties in the area has risen from 250 to around 750 within the past three months.

Interestingly, a number of migrants to the city have started erecting shanties in the area and they are being provided with power supply through kundi connections, thanks to a nexus between the slum dwellers’ leaders and officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board.

Inquiries by the Tribune revealed that the jhuggi dwellers’ in the area had started threatening residents who had been complaining against them with dire consequences. The dwellers had recently staged a dharna in front of the house of an office-bearer of a welfare society of the area when he had complained to the authorities against the encroachment.

‘‘They do not let anybody complain against them. If a media team comes to report about the encroachment they sit outside our houses till late at night and do not allow anybody to come out.

They are not scared of the law and can harm anybody,’’ said a member of the welfare society, who claimed that the other day he had to seek the intervention of the local police to get them dispersed.

He added that they had come to know that the land prices had skyrocketed near the project site so they did not want to leave the place. ‘‘They have come to know that by being located near the city centre their slum would be cleared and if they would raise hue and cry, they would get something out of it. They were even asking their relatives to come and start living with them.’’ he added.

Sick of knocking at the trust’s door, the residents have filed a complaint in the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC) also. In their complaint they have stated that there was no official action against the encroachers despite protests.

Two years ago the residents had returned the keys of their houses to the Chairman of the trust as a mark of protest.

The then Chairman had promised to take prompt action against the jhuggi dwellers, but to no avail. Even after the new Chairman took over, their grievance had been not redressed.



Abolish death penalty, forum urges Kalam
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 17
The Punjab Rights Forum has sought the abolition of the capital punishment. In a memorandum to the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, through the Deputy Commissioner, it sought the “immediate intervention to prevent the unfolding of yet another inglorious chapter in the relationship between the Sikhs and the Government of India”.

The memorandum also raised the issue of “continuous unlawful detention” of Sikh detainees in prisons and the forced eviction of Sikh farmers from Uttaranchal. “We warmly welcome your initiative to ask the Congress government to review all cases of death penalty pending before the government. We honestly believe that your insistence on a moratorium on death penalty till all the issues regarding death penalty are resolved is a right step towards upholding human rights. India is marching ahead to meet world standards in every sphere. We believe that it is time for India to match world standards in respect of human rights and fundamental rights also”, the memorandum said.

Taking up the case of Devinderpal Singh Bhuller who is facing death sentence, it said: “After his extradition from Germany, Devinderpal Singh was sentenced on the basis of a confession extracted under police duress and his death sentence has been confirmed by the Supreme Court through a 2-1 split judgement.”

The memorandum requested for the release of the Sikh detainees. The forum sought the president’s intervention in saving Sikh farmers in Uttaranchal from being displaced. It said: “We respectfully submit that this direct attack on Sikh farmers will lead to a very serious situation. We fear that the present attack influenced by the electoral politics is a precursor of a very dangerous move by the Uttaranchal government to enact and implement ceiling laws which will divest Sikhs of whatever progress they have made over the years over there”.

The memorandum was submitted to the DC by a delegation comprising Mr Daljeet Singh, Mr Sevak Singh, Mr Jaspal Dhillon, Mr Kanwarpal Singh, Mr Sarbjit Singh, Mr D.S. Gill, Mr Jaswinder Singh Bhaliawal, Prof Jagmohan Singh, Mr Charan Singh Lohara and Mr Amrik Singh.



Multi-utility store coming up at Dhandari Kalan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 17
Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Cooperation and Horticulture Minister, Punjab today laid the foundation stone of a modern integrated multi-utility cold store-cum-pack house at Dhandari Kalan, Ludhiana. The cold store, to be set up by Markfed at Dhandari Kalan, Ludhiana, as part of the AEZ for potato, will cost Rs 846.12 lakh, of which APEDA has sanctioned a grant-in-aid of Rs 2.81 crore.

Giving details, Mr S.S.Channy, Managing Director, Markfed, said the cold store would have two chambers of 1,000 MT each for potato (1000 MT regular storage, 1000 MT CA, CTPC treated storage) and one chamber of 500 MT for fruit and vegetables, grading lines for potato, and a shrink wrap unit for other vegetables, five reefer vans with a further expansion of 2500 MT in 21 phases at Dhandari Kalan.

The multi-utility services are to be provided to growers and cooperative societies at subsidised rates to be fixed by APEDA. This will be a state-of-the-art unit, the first of its kind, and will give a boost to the production and export of fruits and vegetables. The salient features of the pack house will be a pre-cooling facility with cleaning and grading of the produce, 2000 MT capacity chambers for potatoes, exclusive 500 MT capacity chamber of fruits and vegetables, five reefer vans. The pack house will be made operational within 180 days and will have connectivity by rail and roads.

The minister said Dhandari .Kalan had been selected for setting up the facility as the site was found suitable in view of its locational advantage. It was well connected with all important modes of transport like the national highway (Delhi-Jalandhar road), proximity to the railway station, as also to the container-freight station.

There are 10 market committees in Ludhiana district, Ludhiana being the biggest one having a share of around 77 per cent of the total sale in the district. The major markets for fruits and vegetables are Ludhiana, Khanna and Jagraon.



ST team raids jewellery shop
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 17
A team of officials from the Excise and Taxation Department, led by Mr D.K. Verma, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, raided the business premises of Raju Jewellers in Mandi Mullanpur yesterday and seized incriminating documents indicating unaccounted transactions worth Rs 25 lakh and evasion of value added-tax thereon.

Giving details, Mr Verma said the firm had filed a tax return showing sales of Rs 5 lakh and purchases of Rs 5.34 lakh during the last quarter. Thus, a claim for input tax credit on Rs 34,000 was lodged by the firm.

However, inspection of books and relevant record had showed that the firm was indulging in sales without proper invoices and was evading tax.

He said the department was determined to ensure tax compliance and check evasion of tax by the business community.



Forum for measures against female foeticide
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 17
The People’s Awareness Forum, an NGO, today expressed its concern over the increasing incidents of female foeticide in Punjab and called upon the state government to take stringent measures to check the practice.

The executive of the forum, which met with Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former Pro Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, and president of the forum, felt that there was a need to launch an awareness programme to educate people about the need to protect the girl child.

It decided to organise a seminar on female foeticide in February to educate people and launch a campaign.

The forum also expressed concern over the prevalence of drug addiction among youth in the state.

It was felt that the political leadership was doing little to take measure in this regard. Voluntary organisations were called upon to launch a campaign against drug addiction.

People were urged to boycott those political parties that distributed liquor and other drugs during elections.

The forum also decided to observe water management day on March 22 and organise a campaign to conserve water.



Attempt-to-murder accused held after 17 months
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 17
The Sudhar police has arrested a person who had been evading arrest for more than 17 months and was wanted in connection with a case registered under Sections 307, 326, 148 and 149 of the IPC for allegedly attempting to murder a resident of Shehzad village in Ludhiana district.

Beant Singh, son of Pritam Singh, of Narangwal village, who, along with his accomplices had been booked on August 28, 2004, for allegedly attempting to murder Bishan Dass (60) of Shehzad village, was nabbed by a police party, led by Mr Shawinder Singh Dhillon, SHO, Sudhar, on Monday evening.

Investigations had revealed that Beant Singh, along with his accomplices Kala, Pappu and Hans Raj had assaulted Bishan Dass with an intention to kill him. Besides sustaining other injuries, the victim had lost one of his hands in the attack. While the other accused had been arrested earlier, Beant Singh had been evading arrest for 17 months.

The police had received a tip-off that the absconding accused had been visiting the area.



PO held after 14 years

Ludhiana, January 17
Fourteen years after a man was declared proclaimed offender in a murder case, he was nabbed by a team of the CIA from his native village, Dhanda, where he had come to meet his mother.

He was hiding all these years in the dera of a religious sect in Himachal. He was living in the garb of a sadhu.

The accused Pyare Lal, was booked in 1992 for allegedly murdering PSEB lineman Sukhdev Raj. TNS



Cong leader held with opium
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 17
The CIA, wing-I, Ludhiana, has claimed to have arrested a Congress leader-cum-vice-chairman of a co-operative sugar mill on a charge of possessing opium .

Dharamjit Singh of Jandiali village was caught near Bharat Nagar Chowk by a CIA team, led by Sub-Inspector Nishan Singh. He was travelling in his Ford Ikon car.



Conference on services sector in February
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 17
The Punjab Commerce and Management Association (PCMA) will organise its second International conference on the “Services sector-the next wave” at D.A.V. College Jalandhar, on February 25-27 in collaboration with the Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes, Chandigarh and Mandi Gobindgarh.

Giving details of the conference, Prof Ashwani Bhalla, joint secretary PCMA, in a press note today said 500 delegates from various parts of the world like Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia and India were expected to take part in the conference. The participants would deliberate on various issues of the services sector in the Post-WTO regime.

Dr Prem Kumar, president of the PCMA, said the service sector accounted for half of India’s GDP. This sector was growing at a fast pace. Service firms were emerging bigger than manufacturing firms e.g. Walmart, AT&T, Microsoft, TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Satyam, ICICI Bank and other Banks, Insurance firms etc. The contribution of the service sector to India’s GDP had increased from 36 per cent in 1980-81 to 44 per cent in 1997-98 and 54.4 per cent in 2004-05. The conference would provide an opportunity to researchers, academician, management professionals and other stake-holders to discuss various issues regarding the growth and problems of this sector.

Dr Kumar said the Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Technology, Mandi Gobindgarh would look after the logistics and other issues relating to the conference and act as a key partner in organising the conference.

Prof Bhalla said the association had received 75 “very good” research papers. Dr Khawaja Amjed Saeed, Principal, Hailey College of Banking and Finance, Lahore, Pakistan, would deliver the keynote address and speak on emerging dimensions of the services sector in Asia.

Mr Rajesh Marwaha, city president (Ludhiana) of the PCMA, said Ludhiana would take a lead by sending maximum delegates to the conference. The organising committee of the conference includes Dr Prem Kumar, Dr Vijay Asdhir, Prof V.K. Sareen, Prof Ashwani Bhalla, Prof Rajesh Marwaha and Prof Sandeep Vij.



NABARD awards for 2 kisan clubs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 17
Two kisan clubs, one at Hukran in Hoshiarpur and the other at Kaulseri in Sangrur, have bagged NABARD awards for their contribution to scientific agriculture and for giving a new impetus to rural youth.

The Hukran Kisan Club was given the second prize, a cash award of Rs 4,500 for “exposure” of its members to resurgent farming. The third prize was bagged by the Malwa Honey Producers’ Club, Kaulseri. The awards were presented by the NABARD Chief General Manager, Mr A. Ramanathan, at a state-level review meeting held in Chandigarh on Monday.

The kisan club movement in Punjab is the brainchild of the Directorate of Extension Education at Punjab Agricultural University. At the cutting edge of the directorate are 15 krishi vigyan kendras (KVK), which lend technical support to kisan clubs. There are 375 kisan clubs in the state at present.

The Additional Director, Extension Education, Dr Sat Paul Mehra, represented PAU at the state-level review and development meeting in Chandigarh. He said the Hukran Kisan Club, under KVK, Bahowal, chief volunteer Sikander Singh has deposits worth Rs 1 crore. The money is used to further the cause of agriculture and give a new direction to farmers and club members through training and field visits to farms of progressive farmers in the state.

Likewise, chief volunteers Kuldeep Singh and Darbara Singh of the Kaulseri Club, under KVK, Kheri in Sangrur, have formed the Malwa Honey Producers’ Club, where stress is on beekeeping and honey processing, packaging and marketing. PAU will shortly start special training camps at Kheri for the benefit of beekeepers.



CICU hails govt’s statement
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 17
The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has hailed the statement of Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Punjab, that VAT refunds will be given to trade and industry from January 16, 2006.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary of CICU, in a press statement today said it was a welcome decision provided VAT refunds were released while doing away with Form C and Form H as promised earlier by the minister. He said in the absence of relevant notification by the Punjab Government in this regard, the statement of Finance Minister would be “futile and misleading”.

Mr Pardhan also said that promises made by the state government to issue VAT refunds within a month of filing of quarterly returns the entrepreneurs, had so far proved false and trade and industry was suffering due to blocked working capital.


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