L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Please-all Railway Budget hailed
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 24
The third Railway Budget presented by Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav brought cheers to city residents and the industry, who termed it a populist Budget. Experts, however, felt that the Budget was not a ‘future-oriented’ one and would put a financial burden on the government.

The Railway Minister’s decision not to increase passenger and freight tariffs and to slash AC I and II tariffs were highly appreciated by the common man.

Said Mr G.S. Batra, Divisional Engineer (Phones), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited: “It is a Budget for the common man. The Railway Minister has taken care that the Budget does not add to the burden of the middle class by not increasing fares. Besides, slashing of fares in AC I and II would make travelling by railways more convenient and affordable.”

A similar sentiment gripped the industry, too. “We were afraid that there could be an increase in freight tariffs. It would have led to an increase in input costs, thereby making competition tougher. However, there has been no increase, much to our relief,” Mr Inderjit Singh Navyug, president, Small Manufacturers Welfare Association.

Residents felt that slashing of AC fares was a move in the right direction. “Budget airlines were posing a stiff competition to railways and people had begun preferring them. It was critical for the railways to make such a move with a view to retain its passengers,” said Mr Jatinder Khurana, an advocate. He said the middle class as well as industrialists, who travelled frequently would derive benefit from slashing of AC fares.

The starting of 55 new trains and equipping railway platforms with modern facilities, too, were appreciated.

However, a certain section of residents felt that the Budget should have laid an equal focus on facilities related to safety for passengers. “An increase in capacity should also have been a prime focus. That, because, in AC coaches, there are already long waiting lists. At times, the waiting period is even as long as a month, causing high inconvenience. The need was not as much to slash fares than to increase capacity to increasing volumes,” said Dr Gurinderjit Singh, chief dermatologist, Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation.

Experts also opined that the Budget would cater only to the middle class and neither focussed on the low income group nor on economic aspects.

“If there was no increase in fares or a reduction, a cross-subsidisation should have been done by generating revenues from some other source. The generosity of the Railway Minister would only put a financial burden on the government,” felt Mr Ashwani Sharma, a financial adviser.

However, several residents felt the Budget would not add to the government’s financial burden. “Increasing fares is not the only way to generate revenues, there can be a focus on controlling non-profitable areas that exist in all organisations. Overall, it is a good Budget,” opined Mr H.S. Sidhu, executive director, Ludhiana Stock Exchange.

Students said the Railway Minister needed to introduce some special schemes for students.

“He should not have focussed only on the middle class. There are several other groups like senior citizens that need to be paid attention to,” said Mr Ramesh Walia, a pensioner.



Reema drugged, strangled: report
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 24
Adding more gory details to the macabre Reema Jain murder case, the latest police investigation has found that she had survived the high dose of insulin injected into her body and had to be strangulated to death allegedly by the prime accused Anil, alias Micky Jain, along with the three contract killers hired by him.

The doubts looming over the skeletal remains of Reema were also cleared to some extent with the forensic examination report confirming that the bones recovered from a septic tank in the factory of Micky belonged to a woman, who was aged between 35 and 45 years. The family members of Micky have been alleging that the police got the bones planted in the factory to falsely implicate him.

The examination, which was conducted at a medical college in Amritsar, also stated that the bones belonged to a woman of medium built. “It matches the description of the deceased but for final confirmation the DNA profile was under process,” DIG Parag Jain told Ludhiana Tribune.

Mr Jain said Micky had also confessed that he had torn off Reema’s clothes using a blade. “Micky has not admitted of raping the victim, but has revealed that Reema had gained consciousness when they were about to dump the body in the tank. She had made a loud cry and we had to strangulate her”.

He later burnt the clothes. According to the DIG, Micky had also revealed that his mother was a diabetic. He got the idea of using the insulin injection when he learnt that a high dose of insulin could cause instant death, especially to a non-diabetic.

Before his arrest Micky was in the process of going abroad. The police has found more documents which suggested that he planned to leave the country after taking over Reema’s wealth.



Undisclosed income worth crores unearthed
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 24
In a series of surveys launched by Income Tax officials at a steel rolling mill, an auto part manufacturer and an engineering goods unit in the city, and a paint and chemicals unit in Jalandhar, the department has unearthed a rich haul of undisclosed income. For the first time in the region, Central Excise officials were also associated with the I-T surveys.

According to Mr K.J. Singh, Joint Commissioner of Income Tax (Headquarters), the local auto parts making firm had surrendered an undisclosed income of Rs 2 crore during the current financial year on the basis of quantified discrepancies in the books of accounts and stock inventory.

During the current year, the surveys conducted till now in the jurisdiction of the Chief Commissionerate, Ludhiana, had resulted in the detection of undisclosed income exceeding Rs 80 crore, he added.



Experts take Punjabi songs seriously, find them vulgar
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, February 24
Nasha and sharab, jatt and jatti are among the most common words frequently used in the Punjabi pop songs. The experts feel that reference to such words make the songs vulgar, besides promoting drug addiction and casteism.

In a case study conducted by Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle on Punjabi pop songs, the use of words like nasha and sharab was found in more than 52 per cent of the songs while 26 per cent of the songs contained words making reference to a particular caste. To the top of it, around 76 per cent of the songs were found having vulgarity content in it.

The study was conducted on the depiction and glamorisation of drug abuse and casteism in Punjabi pop videos with the aim of ascertaining the extent of vulgarity being depicted in these videos.

Dr Deepinder Kaur, Director, Directorate of Social and Health Services, GGSSC, Prof Paramjeet Kaur, a social worker associated with Aas Kiran De, a de-addication centre, and Dr Meharwan Singh, Medical Officer of the centre have conducted the research.

For the case study, around 150 Punjabi songs were selected randomly and viewed on four different channels, namely ETC Punjabi, Zee Punjabi, MHI, and Balle Balle on separate days. The information was then collected as regards reference to drug-addiction, casteism and vulgarity and studied in composition and actions. A proforma was prepared and percentage was calculated and tabulated.

What the members found shocking was that reference to the use of alcohol and drugs was done in glamorous way. These songs depict that not only drugs are given social permission , but the users are good looking and rich and the audience was made to believe that drugs and alcohol made one rich and powerful.

According to the research out of 150 songs, 44 per cent songs either used the word alcohol or bottles of liquors were shown in the video albums. Around 76 per cent of video albums had vulgar picturisation or use of double meaning words.

In 52 per cent of songs, the use of drugs was referred to directly and indirectly. Songs like “Rann Botal Vargi”, “Ghar Di Sharab” etc make extensive use of such words. The researchers feel that singers and writers have become a puppet in the hands of traders. They feel the government should make effective laws to curb the degradation of Punjabi pop songs.



Leaving chicken for Chakor
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 24
Even as some states have banned the entry of poultry products from Punjab following reports of bird flu in Maharashtra, guinea fowls ,chakors ,are being brought here from other states .

These birds are not checked for any disease before being sold in market. And while the local population is staying away from chicken and eggs, these fowls are selling like hot cakes. The locals are consuming these without knowing that the fowl could be carrying the flu strain.

Though Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) experts have advised the poultry farmers not to allow any stray birds to make nests on trees near their farms .

These birds are transported from Allahabad and sold at Rs 200 for a pair. Sellers say that the birds have a good market in Ludhiana and Chandigarh .

Experts say the dealers should have a licence for entering the region. Ranikhet disease that killed lakhs of hens in the northern region a year ago, spread because of the unchecked transportation of poultry.

As many as 50 guinea fowls are stuffed in a single tray covered by net and brought in trucks to the city at night. They are sold at the local grain market and on the Chandigarh Road.



Shilpa wants to work for AIDS patients
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 24
Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty now wants to graduate from her reel life roles to noble acts in real life.
In the city late last evening to inaugurate Geoffrey’s Restobar, she said she wanted to work towards the cause of AIDS and HIV-positive patients.

“It was during my role of an AIDS victim in the movie ‘Phir Milenge’ that I realised the cruelty of life towards such patients. I now want to work for them as it is a cause close to my heart,” Shilpa said.

She attracted fans in large numbers at the Ansal Plaza and all floors of the mall were crowded with people, jostling to have a glimpse of her.

She was overwhelmed at the response. Despite the inconvenience caused as a result of the heavy rush, the actress said she was moved by the warmth of Punjabis.

“I am happy to be in Ludhiana for the second time. Punjabis are very warm and loving. I will love to visit the city again,” she said.

She added that she was acting in a movie in which she was playing a Punjabi girl. She said she tried to imbibe in the characters she played in the best manner possible.

“I try to give my best and look different in every movie. You will see a different Shilpa every time you watch a new film of mine,” she said.

Asked on her plans to marry, she said it was not on the cards. Talking about her experiences beyond acting, she said she had enjoyed doing a show for Army men along with her sister Shamita the most.

“It was then that I learnt how difficult their lives were. They have dedicated themselves to the nation, something which really needs a lot of grit, determination and involvement. They are real life heroes,” Shilpa said.



Bridge of hope falls
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Kanya Hussaini (Jagraon), February 24
The collapsing of a bridge, constructed over the Jassowal drain by residents of 20 villages here, has not only resulted in their herculean effort going down the drain but also dashed their hopes to get a bus route approved.

The Sherewal village, situated across the drain, is probably one of the few places in Punjab where no bus has ever reached since the country’s independence.

The Punjab Roadways officials could not start the bus service along the route for the want of a bridge.

‘The bridge of hope’ constructed this month survived for two weeks only after excess water released from the Sidhwan Canal into the drain brought it down.

For two weeks, the villagers did not have to travel 25 to 30 km to reach their fields divided by the drain. There were no drowning incidents also. Now they are back to square one.

The villagers have proved to be third time unlucky. Last year too, a bridge constructed by them had collapsed. A feeble attempt to reconstruct it in September last year had also not succeeded.

The villagers did not lack anywhere in spirit. But the ‘missing’ engineering skills seemed to have done them in.

‘‘We would succeed one day’’ says ex-sarpanch Prem Singh while expressing disappointment at the continuous apathetic attitude of the government.

The drain was dug up in 1954 to clear water-logging in the area. However, it soon turned into a drain of sorrow when, fed by the Sutluj, water started flowing upstream and inundated all routes to these villages.

Mr Prem Singh said since 1954, villagers have been demanding a bridge over the drain.

The bridge would also prevent deaths due to drowning as more than 15 persons have died in the past five years while crossing the flooded drain.

The Tribune has been regularly taking up the cause of the villagers but the government is yet to swung into action.

Only, a Block Development and Panchayat Officer of the district visited the bridge site which proved to be a formality only.

An Akali MLA, Mr Bhag Singh Mallah, has meanwhile promised villagers that he would get the bridge constructed if Shiromani Akali Dal comes back into power in the state.

The BDPO only wrote a letter to the Deputy Commissioner citing the urgent need for the bridge. Scores of such letters by officers, villagers, politicians have already been piling up in the DC office.

Once functional, the bridge would have become the life line for villages like Kanya Hussaini, Sherewal, Baghian, Bahadar Ke, Mand Tihara, Subhajpur, Patti Multani, Kaker, Parjian Biharipur, Khurshedpura, Hujra, Bhaini Gujran among others.

The government had not carried out much development in these villages though certain foundation stones can be seen in the villages. One of such foundation stone stands just near the bridge site on the Kanya Hussaini-Sherewal road.

It claims that former Akali Member of Parliament Amrik Singh Aliwal had donated Rs one lakh for starting the construction of the bridge.

The work never started.



Be within limits, Kokje asks state bodies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 24
Mr V.S. Kokje, Governor of Himachal Pradesh, has called upon the intelligentsia of the country to come out with suggestions for the healthy growth of democratic traditions and to avoid unnecessary conflicts between the three wings of democracy i.e. Legislature, Executive and Judiciary in the country.

He said it was necessary that all these three organs of the system function within their respective limits and avoid transgress in their fields of operation.

The Governor said in order to ensure that the Legislature and the Executive did not transgress the powers delegated to them in the Constitution, a referral neutral body to hear and redress the grievances about the infringement of the constitutional limits had to be created and the Judiciary fulfilled the purpose.

Mr Kokje was addressing the delegates at a two-day national-level seminar on “Relations in working of the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary — an introspection and prospective vision,” organised by the University Institute of Law, Panjab University Regional Centre, here today.

Over 100 academicians from all over the country are participating in the seminar. He inaugurated the seminar by lighting a lamp.

Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Chandigarh, highlighted the academic activities of the university.

Dr Balram Gupta presented the keynote address and Mr J.K. Chauhan, Director, Institute of Laws, Ludhiana, presented vote of thanks. 



Rs 920-cr plan for weaker sections
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 24
Former minister and MLA Malkait Singh Dakha has said the government has implemented a Rs 920-crore programme for the welfare of weaker sections of society.

He has also said the facility of free power upto 200 units for domestic purpose to Scheduled Caste families will be given from September 1.

He was addressing a function at the Baloki road in Haibowal Kalan here today.

Mr Dakha said the state government had created a Rs 450-crore corpus fund to ensure regular disbursal of pension and financial assistance.

He added that Rs 60 crore had been released to provide toilets in houses of Scheduled Caste families in rural areas.

He said the government had launched the Punjab Nirman Programme, under which funds amounting to Rs 700 crore were being spent on development projects in urban areas.

Mr Dakha added that 122 big industrial units with foreign investment of Rs 53,000 crore had been sanctioned.

He said farmers had been provided free power for tubewells and all eight crops had been purchased without delay.

He said eight-hour regular power supply had been ensured to farmers for irrigation of paddy.

He added that about 90 per cent of link roads in Dakha constituency had been repaired.



Sewers overflow 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 24
Residents of South End Park in Phase-II of Urban Estate here have complained that the sewerage system in their area has failed completely and water is overflowing on the roads.

In a statement here today, Mr G.P.S. Walia, president of the Residents Welfare Association, said they had complained to the authorities a number of times but to no avail. He said it had become very difficult for them to use toilets and bathrooms as the overflowing water collected there and emanated foul smell.



CPO killed Iqbal Singh

Khanna, February 24
Nirmal Singh, Community Police Officer (CPO) posted at Khanna, was killed in an accident near Samrala Chowk this morning.
According to information, Nirmal Singh (50) was coming from duty.

When he neared Samrala Chowk, a vehicle crushed him to death. The body was handed over to the family members after conducting postmortem examination. Mr Jagraj Singh, managing director of Indian Security Agency, with which the deceased was working, announced a grant of Rs 10,000 and the expenses of cremation.

He also assured a pension of Rs 1,000 per month to parents of the deceased. The police registered a case in this connection.



Diamond jewellery boutique opened

Ludhiana, February 24
Orra today inaugurated its exclusive diamond jewellery boutique here. Mr Vijay Jain, CEO of the company, said it was the 33rd boutique launched in the country by the company. The new outlet would have diamond necklaces, bangles and other jewellery. A range of rings, earrings and pendants had been specially crafted for the season and were available from Rs 5,000 onwards. — TNS


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