L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


City girl’s body found in Sukhna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
A pall of gloom engulfed New Kundan Puri Colony today with the news that a girl of the colony had drowned in Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh, with a male relative of her family.

The police investigation has so far not ascertained if the girl had committed suicide with the youth or they had drowned accidentally.

The body of Sonia Verma, an undergraduate student of Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, here was recovered from the lake late last evening. The youth has been identified as Amit Kumar, a resident of Chandigarh.

It was a twin tragedy for the family. Amit’s sister is married to Sonia’s elder brother.

The Chandigarh police has reportedly conducted proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPc. Sub-Inspector Jaswinder Singh, in charge Sukhna Lake police post told Ludhiana Tribune over the phone that they were investigating if they had committed suicide or had drowned accidentally.

The two had reportedly booked a room in a hotel in Chandigarh.

The keys of the room were found in a pocket of Amit Kumar.

The parents and relatives of the deceased have stated they had no knowledge about a relationship between the two. They said they did not have any inkling about the reason for suicide.

Her parents and other relatives reached Chandigarh this morning after reading news reports about the incident.

Sonia was identified on the basis of a book recovered from the hotel room. The book was issued in her name from the library of the Khalsa College for Women.

The college authorities claim that they had no knowledge if the girl was missing or had taken leave.



Parents suffer as school buses stay off road
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
Following the administration’s crackdown on vehicles ferrying schoolchildren, hundreds of students and their parents suffered inconvenience today as vehicles remained off roads.

In the crackdown yesterday, the district police had challaned hundreds of drivers for violating District Magistrate’s orders pertaining to carrying the number of children.

Peeved at the crackdown, vehicles fetching schoolchildren kept off the city roads, forcing parents to drop their wards to schools themselves.

“I waited for almost half an hour and when the school bus did not arrive, I had to drop my 10-year-old daughter to the school myself. It upset my schedule as I am a working woman. If the bus was not to arrive, we should have at least been informed. Why should parents or children suffer because of the drive,” rued Shama Bharati, a mother.

Parents expressed resentment over “arm-twisting tactics” adopted by drivers of school buses. “One does not really feel safe sending kids in auto-rickshaws or regular buses, which do not hesitate to violate norms. Since we have our own limitations, we send kids and such an attitude is least called for,” said Ranvir Singh, another parent.

As a result of the absence of information, most of the children arrived late at schools today.

Parents also said schools should have relaxed school timing or made alternative arrangements to prevent such a situation from arising.



Vehicle challaned thrice in one day

Ludhiana, January 21
The challaning spree against transporters ferrying schoolchildren allegedly went into “overdrive” when a private vehicle carrying a student was reportedly challaned three times at separate places under different violations.

Mr Dinesh Chander, district president of the Punjab Masihi Lok Dal, said his private Trax jeep was challaned at three places. He claimed that the police issued the challans under false violations. The driver was challaned for not wearing uniform even when he was wearing it.

He also claimed that the cops demanded route or time table period from the driver telling him that he had been hired by the school for ferrying passengers. All pleas of the driver, Sheetal Kumar, that he was just transporting one student did not find any weight with the cops.

Mr Dinesh Chander has demanded an inquiry into the challaning spree in which only commoners were being harassed. — TNS



Miscreants break into bank
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 21
The Sudhar police has registered an FIR under Sections 457, 380 and 511 against unidentified miscreants who unsuccessfully attempted to remove valuables and records by breaking open a branch of the Punjab and Sind Bank situated in the high-security area of Halwara village. A special team of forensic experts failed to get any clue about the miscreants.

According to information, some miscreants attempted to remove valuables and documents from the Halwara branch of bank on the intervening night of Friday and Sunday.

According to Mr Shawinder Singh Dhillon, SHO, Sudhar, the miscreants entered the main building by breaking open the grill and entered the manager’s cabin through a window. Though no loss of property was reported, the miscreants frisked the records and crucial documents kept in the custody of the manager.

“The fact that the miscreants had frisked vital records stored in the custody of the manager shows that they were more interested in taking away some documents regarding some loan,” maintained Mr Dhillon.

The police was informed about the incident by the bank officials today. A special team of forensic experts and a dog squad from the Jagraon district police failed to trace any clues.

Investigations revealed that the bank authorities had been ignoring instructions of senior police officials, including the SSP, Jagraon, who had directed them to depute a night watchman at the branch.

“Though we have been passing instructions received from our seniors to the bank officials, they did not take enough notice of our suggestions. Had the miscreants got more time, they could have succeeded in removing cash too,” said Mr Dhillon.

He said the police would focus its investigation on persons who had availed substantial loans and their accounts were in bad shape.



Cold wave affects field crops
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
Cold wave conditions in the first fortnight of January not only made people shiver and duck for cover but also adversely affected field crops, particularly vegetables which are likely to affect agricultural productivity.

According to agrometeorologists at PAU, it is the weather which has over-riding impact on agricultural productivity, besides, of course, the dependency of yields on bio-physical and socio-economic factors.

What needs to be understood is that western disturbances during winters than in other seasons, are an important weather phenomenon impacting agricultural production, year after year in West-East regions of the country. Therefore, the need to understand climate and weather system was critical for sustainable agricultural production. Though nature enabled plants to adapt and adjusted to the vagaries of weather and grow under optimum conditions or to remain dormant in light temperature conditions due to limited metabolic activity. However, beyond these limits plants get damaged due to exposure to extremes of weather. Over a long period of time damage gets severe and becomes irreparable and plants die.

Besides, cold weather conditions, bone chilling winds and frost also affect field crops. Fog, a secondary source of plant growth, promotes wetness of leaves. During the first few weeks of January, the average minimum temperature in the first standard agrometeorolgical week (January 1 to January 7) remained above normal at 70 C and maximum temperature remained below normal at 2.30 C. However, during the second standard agrometeorological week from (January 8 to January 14). Minimum temperature decreased to 20 C below normal, whereas, the maximum temperature increased by only 0.80 C.

Comparing the daily actual minimum temperature with the daily normal minimum temperature it was observed that from January 1 to 9 cold conditions prevailed and remained at 0°C for at least three days — January 6, 7 and 8, and the temperature went down to minus on January 7.



Woman alleges murder attempt by husband
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 21
The Dehlon police has booked a youth of Salem Tabri, Ludhiana, for allegedly attempting to murder his wife, whom he had married against the wishes of their parents five years ago.

According to an FIR registered on the statement of Monica (24) of Kilaraipur, the mother of two daughters, her husband Amit Nagpal had tried to murder her by setting her on fire yesterday.

“Amit Nagpal, who had been physically battering me for a long time, sprinkled kerosene on me and set me on fire when I refused to bow to his wishes yesterday,” Monica told the police.

Sandeep and Vishal, brothers of the victim, said the couple had married about five years ago against the wishes of their parents. Amit, brother of Vishal’s wife, used to come to their house frequently and allured her on the pretext of a brighter future.

“As Amit was unemployed, our parents declined his proposal but he along with his mother mesmerised Monica and the duo started living as a couple after eloping,” Sandeep said.

Though the couple had two children, Amit carried on with his old routine and remained jobless. “With persistent reports of starvation and harassment of Monica and the children, we brought them to Kilaraipur and opened a general store for them after taking a loan,” he said, alleging that even then Amit kept harassing her. Monica has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana. The police registered an FIR under Section 307, IPC, against the accused.



PSEB training employees
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is conducting exhaustive training programmes for employees at all levels. It aims to build an environment where the customer is the king.

Over 4,000 employees have been trained so far and the training has been made compulsory for all employees.

“Right from Chairman to lineman, all are being trained. This will be a compulsory one-week training every year for all employees,” said Mr Varinder Singh, Chief Engineer, HRD, PSEB, addressing a press conference on the conclusion of a two-day workshop on customer service orientation for PSEB distribution staff here yesterday.

Mr Singh said the board would spend Rs 1 crore by the end of this financial year towards various in service training programmes and planned to enhance this Budget next year. A 12-month contract for consultancy and implementation had been awarded to CRISIL.

“The board has realised that despite huge investment, the service is not up to the mark. The employees are not very positive”.

Mr Singh said the training programmes had been successful in building a positive approach. “Employees have come out with recommendations. For instance, they have recommended implementation of IT projects, simplification of sales manual, improvement in infrastructure and reduction in corruption at all levels.”

Mr D.B. Arora, Chief Engineer (central zone), said: “We would soon come out with feedback from customers too. The employees who are performing well are being given appreciation letters.”

He also said the proposal to implement IT initiative in Ludhiana was to approved by the board and the complaint handling system needed to be re-designed on modern lines.

“Though losses in Ludhiana are 11 per cent, which is among the lowest in the country, we cannot stop here and we need to introduce HVDS, IT and massive installation of shunt capacitors to improve customer service.”



Software to monitor vehicle movement
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
Micro Technologies (I) Limited has launched “Micro VBB Marshal”, a customised software for vehicle customers that will help monitor a vehicle’s location and facilitate a two-way communication, emergency messaging, intrusion detection and vehicle immobilisation.

The company, which claims that the software is the first of its kind, says it will help not only in real-time tracking of vehicles and employees who travel in them but also provide immediate alert and relief to passengers through the cell and GPS and RFID-based technology in time of emergency.

Commenting on the new product, Dr P. Sekhar, chairman and managing director of the company, said: “This product would particularly suit ITES/BPO company managements, fleet operators and taxi companies in giving better, secured and efficient service to their customers.”

It will also help companies in tracking the movement of employees, ensure better safety and maintain exact record of the employee whereabouts with the use of RFID technology.

Also, the GIS-based Vehicle Tracking System disallowed misuse of individual vehicle by drivers, he said.



Lala Pandey’s death anniversary
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 21
The Nehru Sidhant Kender Trust commemorated the 19th death anniversary of Shaheed Joginder Lala Pandey here on Thursday. The shardhanjali samaroh was largely attended by family members, friends and admirers.

Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of State for Science and Technology, accompanied by his brother Mr Deepak Pandey, was present at the function Floral tributes were paid by Mr Prem Nath Gupta, president, of Nehru Sidhant Kender Trust, and other trustees.

Lt-Col (Dr) D.B. Sharma described Shaheed Joginder Pal Pandey as a great leader who had braved terrorism and strived for the unity and integrity of the country.

Dr Kewal Dheer talked of his great qualities. Mr Prem Aggarwal, general secretary of the trust, said Mr Pandey had shown the path to bravery and patriotism. 



Bajrang Dal protest
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 21
The Bajrang Dal has decided to launch a statewide movement to make the masses aware about the significance of Sanatan Dharam, organisers of a state-level convention commencing at the local MGMN Senior School said today.

Mr Mohit Dheer and Mr Rajesh Jindal, president and vice-president, respectively, of the local unit of the Dal, said a symbolic torch light march would be taken in the town and surrounding areas on the first day of the convention which would be presided over by Mr Vijay Chabra, state president of the Dal.



Economic growth will be poll plank: Sukhbir

Jagraon, January 21
The next elections in Punjab will be on the basis of economic growth of the state and not on personal vendetta. Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal said this when he visited Gurdwara Nanaksar Sahib, along with his wife.
Criticising Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Mr Badal said he was working on personal vendetta which he said would not draw voters. — OC



SBP staff to go on strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
Employees of the State Bank of Patiala will observe a three-day strike from January 23 in protest against the “rigid” attitude of the bank management.
Over 10,000 employees, clerical and sub-ordinate staff, across the country would go on strike.

“It is after repeated requests that failed to obtain any action from the management side that we decided to go in for a strike,” said Mr Naresh Gaur, joint secretary, State Bank of Patiala Employees Union, Punjab.

He said employees would hold protest demonstrations outside the bank’s branches. The bank had 17 branches in the city and a total of 485 branches in the state.

Alleging that the management’s attitude was highly negative and no initiative was being taken to resolve issues raised by employees, Mr Gaur said instead of working for the development of the bank, the management was focussing only on profit motive “by making recoveries and deductions from the wages of employees.”

The employees of the State Bank of Patiala had held protest dharnas from December 5 to December 9 and later strike from December 16 to December 23 last year.

Among the issues raised by the employees was core banking system, the introduction of which, they said, had only added to customer complaints instead of bringing them convenience.

“After the implementation of this core banking system, bank employees have to sit late as there are a lot of problems arising due to poor connectivity and slow processing.”

The association alleged that the management was focussing on the profit motive also “by making recoveries and deductions from the salaries of employees”.

Mr Gaur said several branches of the bank were suffering due to scarcity of security guards. “Security of a bank is critical and the management needs to take it seriously. A few contract-based guards who are not fit to do this job have been employed.”

The association also condemned unilateral deduction of allowance of single-window operators and said no tests had been conducted in the past two years for promotion of the sub-ordinate staff to the clerical cadre.



Watch industry sees good growth
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 21
The four-day 13th India International Watch and Clock Fair — Samay Bharti 2006 — which got under way at The Ashok Hotel in New Delhi would be one of the largest and biggest watches and clocks fair to be organised in the national capital after a gap of 19 years.

The fair, jointly organised by the Trade Post All-India Federation of Horological Industry, the All-India Electronics Watch and Clock Manufacturers Association and the Delhi Watch Material Dealers Association will witness participation from over 70 Indian and international brands.

Mr Mihir Kharod, chief organiser of the event, said here yesterday that the fair, which made a beginning in 1974, had seen a 700 percent increase in participation. The per capita consumption for horology products in India was poised to grow from 22 per cent to 35 per cent by 2008, translating into a 30 or 35 percent growth for all products in this field.

According to Mr Kharod, for the watch and clock segment, pegged at approximately 35 million watches and 60 lakh clocks in the country, Samay Bharti 2006 would provide a unique opportunity to all manufacturers, distributors, traders and professionals to meet and interact at one platform for the all-round development of the industry.


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