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PSEB staff protest against manhandling
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) could find itself in a tough spot as employees responsible for snapping electricity connections in case of defaulters of bills have decided not to go for withdrawing the connections.

The decision was taken by employees in technical services section following an incident of manhandling of board employees at Guru Nanak Nagar on Dhandran road here yesterday.

“Two employees who were on duty and had gone to snap a connection in that area were manhandled. It is not the first time that such an incident has happened. The security of employees is at stake. We have decided not to go for disconnections. Our further course of action will depend on what the administration and the PSEB authorities do in this regard,” said Mr Harjit Singh, circle secretary, Technical Services Union.

While the process of identifying defaulters of electricity bills and disconnections continues throughout the year, the exercise is more intensive in the months of September February as the board has to detect recoveries and defaulters at the end of six months.

Employees said defaulters did not pay bills and then manhandled PSEB employees. “The issue has been discussed time and again with the board authorities and we have been demanding some security because of the risk involved. It is now for the board authorities to take decision pertaining to the security of employees,” Mr Singh said.

Board employees have demanded that a case be registered against the guilty in yesterday’s case. “We want appropriate action to be taken in this case so that such incidents are not repeated. If action is not taken, we will intensify our struggle, “ the employees, who staged a dharna in protest today, said.

PSEB officials,when contacted, said that no information about manhandling had been received by them.

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Abandoned child found in temple
Tribune News Service

The infant girl, who was abandoned in Krishna Mandir, after being handed over to Mr Sharvan Kumar, president, Nishkam Sewa Ashram in Ludhiana on Friday
The infant girl, who was abandoned in Krishna Mandir, after being handed over to Mr Sharvan Kumar, president, Nishkam Sewa Ashram in Ludhiana on Friday.— Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, February 3
A two-week old girl was found abandoned in the Kali temple, New Krishna Mandir complex, Model Town Extension, here last evening. Priests handed the over infant to the Nishkam Sewa Trust at Dad village with the intervention of the police.

Initially it was presumed that the baby could have been left there by mistake, but when no one came to look for her the police believed that the infant had been abandoned.

The Model Town SHO, Mr Rajesh Kumar, said the baby was seen by priest Om Prakash Mahajan. A “sewadaar” of the temple volunteered to keep the baby for the night hoping her parents would return.

The president of the temple management, Mr Khairati Lal Behal, informed the police this morning.

The SHO said the police enquired, from police stations in the district about any missing child but no one had responded positive.

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Five cops get PM’s bravery award
Khud Mohalla fire incident
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
Five cops of the city police have been selected for the prestigious Prime Minister’s Police Medal for Life Saving for their heroic work in the tragic Khud Mohalla fire incident that took about 20 lives and left 83 others with burn injuries in August 2003.

The cops, one of whom got the award posthumously, are the first from the Punjab Police chosen for the award. This is the only award in the name of the Prime Minister and presented by him for those cops who risk their life while saving others in natural and man-made catastrophes.

DSP Sandeep Goel, SI Paramjit Singh, ASI Amrik Singh and Head Constable Gurmeet Singh will receive the award and a citation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on February 8 at the concluding function of the 49th All-India Police Duty Meet at Madhuban in Karnal.

Ms Prem Lata, wife of late HC Kuldip Kumar, will receive the award on his behalf. He had sacrificed his life while saving the life of an officer besides showing exemplary courage in rescuing several injured from the ravaging flames.

DSP Sandeep Goel, who is now posted as DSP Traffic Police here, said when he and other cops had made an opening in a house on fire, the flames suddenly leapt out, “Kuldip Singh pushed me aside and bore the brunt of the flames. He kept rescuing the house inmates and ultimately sacrificed his life.”

The DSP and other cops also suffered burn injuries on several parts of the body, especially the feet and arms.

DSP Goel was earlier awarded by former Punjab DGP M.S. Bhullar for the successful conceptualisation and implementation of the PCR-motor cycle scheme along with former SSP Ludhiana Harpreet Singh Sidhu.

He said the real hero, in his opinion, was late HC Kuldip Kumar, whose courage motivated others to perform in the worst inferno he had seen in his life, “ I could not sleep for days. The badly charred bodies, many of which were reduced to ashes when we lifted them, haunted me and others.”

He informed that the two sons of martyr Kuldip Singh had already been given jobs in the Police Department. He said the award would go a long way in encouraging cops to perform such acts of bravery.

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City gears up for national handball meet
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 3
Arrangements are being made for the 34th Senior National Handball Championship to be held at the indoor multipurpose hall of Guru Nanak Sports Complex here from February 9 to 15. To assign various duties, a meeting of the officers and representatives of the Punjab Handball Association (PHA) concerned was held here today under the chairmanship of Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, who is the chairman of the organising committee of this meet.

According to Mr Anurag Verma, more than 30 teams from across the country are expected to take part in this event. To make arrangements for the accommodation for visiting sportspersons and officials, various sub-committees, including reception, board and loading, transport, technical, media, ceremonies, souvenir and others were constituted during the meeting.

Mr Verma said Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Punjab, would inaugurate the championship on February 9. The Deputy Commissioner directed all officers to ensure foolproof arrangements concerning their departments at the earliest. He said a media centre would be set up at the venue to facilitate mediapersons to file their reports promptly.

Mr Verma asked the health authorities to station a medical team at the site of the championship on all days.

Mr Manjit Singh Brar, organising secretary, said the teams would be divided into four groups and they would play round robin league matches in their respective groups. Two teams from each group would participate for the last eight stage. About 100 matches would be played during the championship.

Among others who attended the meeting were Dr Jaswant Singh, Joint Commissioner, MC, Mr Teja Singh Dhaliwal, secretary, Punjab Handball Association, Mr Balkar Singh Brar, Additional Organising Secretary, Mr Gian Inder Singh, District Sports Officer, Mrs Harvinder Kaur, DEO (P), and Mrs Manjit Kaur, Deputy DEO (S).

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Parents join issue with bus operators
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
Joining the issue of overloading of school vehicles, parents today claimed that they were already paying huge transportation charges to the vehicles owners.
In a reaction to the statement of autorickshaw drivers that they had to overload their vehicles otherwise they suffered losses, the parents claimed that they were paying Rs 500 per child to the vehicle owners, who were compromising with the security of their wards.

The drivers claimed that they were feeling helpless as school managements had failed to come to their rescue.

They said the school owners claimed that the transportation of children was not their headache and they were only allocating the contracts to the drivers.

A resident of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, whose children study in DAV School, said he was paying Rs 500 per month to the school van driver.

“The drivers pack the children like sardines,” said another parent. Meanwhile, the police continued with its challaning spree.

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Coffee machine explodes, eight hurt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
At least eight persons were feared injured when a coffee machine exploded under mysterious circumstances in the Khushi Ram Food Complex near Ansal Plaza last night.

The ring ceremony of Mr Navin Pahwa, a resident of Rishi Nagar here, was under way when the machine exploded, shocking the guests present. Police sources said three waiters and some guests, besides the Mr Naveen, suffered minor injuries in the incident.

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BJP rues price rise
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
Bharatiya Janata Party Punjab state secretary Anil Sarin today said the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre had proved to be a total failure. He expressed concern over certain economic indicators.

He pointed out that an effective increase in the prices of daily consumption items, rise in interest rate for housing loans and slipping growth rate of the core sector coupled with slackening in demands of certain fast-moving goods were indicators of imbalance in the economic scenario of the country which needed immediate attention.

This required some short-term as well as long-term measures. Mr Sarin held that Mr Manmohan Singh, being a “weak” Prime Minister, and the two power centres responsible for this scenario.

“The Prime Minister has no control on his ministers and all ministers carry orders from the 10 Janpath and don’t hesitate in ignoring the orders of the Prime Minister or the PMO,” he alleged.

Mr Sarin said the UPA had declared in its agenda to serve the common man but had failed to do so. He said the UPA government was directly responsible for this economic scenario. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi owed an explanation in this regard to the nation.

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City suffers due to ego clash among those who matter
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
Claims of development by the government notwithstanding, none would buy the argument in Ludhiana. The sole elevation project that was proposed during the previous Akali-BJP regime between Jagraon Bridge and Chand Cinema was scheduled to be completed by 2004 remains incomplete.

This is just an example. The completion of other couple of flyovers, including one at Dhandari, remains a distant dream.

The much needed elevated road between Jagaraon Bridge and Chand Cinema is turning out to be a bane instead of a boon for the people. Since the construction of the flyover is taking place in the heart of the city, the city remains divided into two parts. Not many people prefer to cross over to the old part since it requires crossing the under construction fly over. People rue the delay in the completion of the work. There are other development projects that have also been made to suffer due to ego clashes between the people who matter.

Residents and traders of areas have been crying hoarse for the past couple of years for early completion of the project. They claim that local representatives mostly remain inaccessible. Even if they are accessible, they remain ineffective as they are seldom heard.

While criticism of the government and the local administration from the Opposition is understandable even ruling party members have been ruing the state of affairs. A senior Congress leader said the issue had not been raised at the local level alone but even at the national level. But nobody seemed to be bothered. He pointed out this would cost the party dear in the coming elections and it was already too late.

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Akal Takht move assailed
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, February 3
The Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, has criticised the action of the Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti, for asking the Sikhs to socially boycott Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna and his younger brother, Mr Harvinder Singh Sarna.

Speaking on the phone from Fatehgarh Sahib, this morning, Mr Mann said the Sikhs had always believed in the principles of natural justice and they had never deviated from the same.

Akal Takht could not ask anyone to socially boycott a person, unless he was excommunicated. This was an arbitrary order passed by the Jathedar of Akal Takht.

Making a plea for following the principles of natural justice, Mr Mann warned that if this was not done, there would be confrontation between the Sikhs and the Sikh church which would be unfortunate for the community. The dictates given by the Akal Takht Jathedar could no longer be tolerated.

Mr Mann said a meeting of the sikhs had been convened at Fatehgarh Sahib, at his residence, Kila Harnam Singh on February 6 and called upon all panthic bodies to participate in the same.

Mr Prithipal Singh Kapoor former pro-vice chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University and a renowned Sikh scholar also maintained that Akal Takht should not interfere in such disputes where the court was involved been attracted.

Mr Kapoor said moreover, Akal Takht need not entertain any complaint when one section had already gone to the court. Both parties in dispute must give in writing that they had faith in Akal Takht and would abide by the decision.

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Relief sought for victims of poisoning 
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 3
Various social and political organisations working for the welfare of the Dalits have demanded a compensation for the victims of the Kalyan poisoning tragedy. They have urged the state government to compensate the family and arrange treatment of the survivors, who are struggling for life at the CMC Hospital in Ludhiana.

Jasvir Singh, a Dalit farmer, had allegedly poisoned his wife, three daughters and self.

Mr Raj Singh Kheri, a Bahujan Samaj Morcha leader, has demanded that the government should come to the rescue of the family. He said Jasvir Singh had been induced to take such step by the circumstances having genesis in faulty social and political system.

“It is not the question of one family, the desperate family represented a class of downtrodden and took the harsh step when all their steps of survival failed,” he said.

Mr Kheri demanded a compensation of Rs 20 lakh and free treatment for his family.

Mr Zora Singh Cheema, a former president of the BSP, Sherpur block, said poverty was the reason behind the tragedy and the state should be held responsible for his act.

“What else a person can do whose source of income had been snatched and his family had been starving for months,” Mr Cheema said.

The panchayat of Thulliwal village, the paternal village of Gurmeet Kaur, wife of Jasvir Singh, has urged the Chief Minister to help the family.

Mr Gurcharan Singh, a panchayat member, said relatives and friends of the family had collected some money for their help but the amount was not sufficient to meet the expenses of the hospital.

Meanwhile, the administration has maintained that appropriate steps would be taken after getting the report of the sequence of events that led to the incident.

Dr Indu, SDM, said she had deputed officials to prepare a report of the antecedents of the family and the sequence of events that led to unfortunate incident.

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Announcement on new pay panel hailed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s announcement to setup the Sixth Central Pay Commission shortly has been hailed by employees as well as pensioners. This was stated by Mr Yash Paul Ghai, general secretary, Government Pensioners Association, in a press note here.

In view of the rising prices of essential commodities and various other factors, the existing pay-scales, recommended by the Fifth Central Pay Panel, had become outdated and constitution of another pay panel was the only way out. Also the Fifth Central Pay Panel had recommended next revision after 10 years, which was, now due in January, 2006.

The Punjab Government was urged to announce the setting up of a Pay Panel for its staff and pensioners as recommended by the Fourth Punjab Pay Panel. Several state governments, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, have already set up their own pay panels, said Mr Ghai.

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One held with 5 kg opium
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
The Dehlon police arrested Karamjit Singh of Latala from Brundi village and recovered 5 kg opium from him. A case under Sections 15, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered.

3 booked for assault: Mehar Singh, Badhu Singh and Baljinder Singh of Lakha allegedly assaulted Jarnail Singh of their village with a spade. The police has registered a case under Sections 324, 323 of the IPC against the trio. The injured has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital. No arrest has been made so far.

3 booked for theft: Bant Kaur, Hardev Singh and Ranjit Singh of Pheru Rahian have been booked on the charge of committing theft under Section 380 of the IPC by the Dehlon police . According to information, gold ornaments were allegedly stolen after breaking open the almirah of Nirbhai Singh of Pheru Rahian. No one has been arrested so far.

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Traders welcome ICICI bank move
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 3
A section of local traders and industrialists engaged in manufacturing of agricultural implements have welcomed the decision of the ICICI Bank to open a branch here.
Various functionaries of the bank, including Mr Gurpreet Nagam, Mr Manav Preet Singh and Mr Sat Paul Goel, said the branch was ready to cater to needs of the industrialists engaged in manufacturing of agricultural implements, including combine harvesters, thrashers and sickles.

The bank observed that a large number of small and middle-scale units were not growing at a desired a speed due to lack of funds.

“So we took the decision to commit financial support to existing and prospective units that wish to expand business,” they said while addressing a gathering here yesterday.

The officials claimed that there was a wide spectrum of services, including insurance services, deposits, transaction banking, investment and merchandise credit limits that could be availed by the constituents.

Mr Prem Chand Jain, president, Cattle Feed Manufacturing Association, Mr Pawan Sharma, former president, Aartia Association, and Mr Avtar Sharma, a petro products dealer, welcomed the banks decision and maintained that the move would further improve the services of branches already functional in the town.

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