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Residents campaign for clean city
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Tired of looking up to the local civic body to provide clean environs in the city, residents of New Janta Nagar on Gill Road have taken it upon themselves to educate the masses to keep their surroundings clean.

After forming an organisation —Environmental and Welfare Association — the residents have now launched a pamphlet campaign under which they would distribute bills advising people not to dump garbage around their houses.

“As the Municipal Corporation has failed to provide us with civic amenities, it is now up to us to live amidst dirt or cleanliness. The responsibility falls on us for our immediate environs,” said a pamphlet of the organisation designed by Sher Singh, president of the organisation.

Secretary general of organisation Amarjit Singh Saini said there was litter all around, layers of sand had deposited on various streets and yet the MC claimed that it was doing a commendable job.

Both said they had written to the civic authorities a number of times but to no avail.

“We cannot go to the MC for removal of every heap of garbage. This should be cleared without any complaints. But who cares. We are habitual of living in dirt now. Now we urge upon the residents themselves to follow our advise. If we can make even 10 households change their habit of littering, we will think we have been successful.”

They added that the condition had come to such a pass because the civic body had failed to act tough against the defaulters.

“There is no discipline. People were depositing garbage on the roadside. It was not lifted for days together. If the defaulters are challaned, they would never falter again.”

Many other residents in the old city also complained of silt removed from gutters being piled up in the middle of the road and not cleared for days together.

Things came to square one after the silt made its way into the manholes, choking the sewerage.

The organisation suggested that the civic body required more sweepers in the city.

“They can hire more sweepers since we need more manpower to keep various parts of the city clean. There are areas where not even a single sweeper is seen for days at end. If there is a shortage, more of them can be deputed on contract basis.”

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10-year jail for raping minor
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 18
Manjit Singh (32) of Joshi Nagar, Haibowal Kalan, has been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years on the charge of raping a minor.
Pronouncing the judgement, Mr B.S. Sodhi held that the prosecution had proved the charges against the accused beyond any doubt. So, he did not deserve any leniency. The court also ordered the convict to pay a fine of Rs 11,000.

The accused was booked under Sections 376 and 506 of the IPC at the Sarabha Nagar police station on September 17, 1998, following a complaint by Bindu (name changed).

The complainant had alleged that on July 7, 1998, her family members were not at home. The accused, who was their neighbour, came to her house and raped her.

The prosecution examined six witnesses to prove its case.

On the other hand, the accused denied the allegation levelled against him. He said he was working as a mason. He along with his brother and some labourers had constructed the house of Mohan Lal, father of the girl.

Her father failed to make the payment. When he insisted for making the payment, he falsely implicated him in the case. Three witnesses were examined by the accused in his favour.

Assailing the prosecution story, the defence counsel argued that there was an inordinate delay in the lodging of the FIR, which itself made the case doubtful. Apart from this, the police failed to record the statement of prosecutrix under Section 164 of the CrPC before any magistrate, which was necessary.

But the court was not convinced with the pleas of the defence side. Convinced with the prosecution case, the accused was held guilty and awarded punishment.

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Cops fail to crack Devgan case
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The investigation into the four-month-old sensational Prem Nath Devgan murder case, owner of the over Rs100-crore assets worth MEFA Needles, is turning out a major embarrassment for the city police .

Like the Reema Jain murder case certain cops have named the suspect . Even members of a local police team, who had gone to Bihar for the investigation claimed to media persons there that the case had been solved with the arrest of a factory watchman, Rajiv ,alias Bholla, from Navgachia town in Bihar.

However, the claim proved hollow as the watchman was quietly sent to judicial custody last week after being brought to the city. Intense police questioning failed to extract a confession and there was no evidence against him. The embarrassed cops are shying away from the media .

DIG Parag jain had formed a special investigation team to crack the case. The watchman had gone missing on November 27 last year when the murder took place.

As in the Reema Jain case,the watchman Rajiv was proved innocent.

The city police officials are also silent on taking any action against the members of the police team who posed for pictures in Bihar with the watchman as the 'prize catch'.

Septuagenarian Prem Nath Devgan was found murdered in a room of his office -cum residential apartment in the factory premises on the morning of November 27.

There were seven deep stab wounds on the body of Devgan. The Division No. 6 police had detained a nurse employed with a local hospital for questioning in the case.

The police has ruled out robbery as the motive behind the murder. A wallet containing a few thousand rupees was found intact in the pocket of a trouser worn by the deceased. There were no signs in the room to suggest that the assailants had tried to search for valuables.

His grand-daughter Natasha, 23, who lives in Delhi, had come to attend a marriage here, and a servant were the first to spot the body.

He had two wives,Nirmala Devi in Ludhiana and Kulwant Kaur, an advocate in Chandigarh. He had two children each from both the wives.

The police has found out that Devgan's relationship with his second wife Kulwant Kaur had gone sour in the late 1990s, but for the past one year, they had started seeing each other again.

Devgan had made some changes in the will recently. Unlike the first will, he had given Kulwant Kaur and his children more share in his property.

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Missionaries allege bias
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The Punjab Christian Movement, a missionary organisation, today accused the Punjab Government of conniving with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Bajrang Dal, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bharatiya Janata Party by not allowing their religious congregations.

Addressing a press conference here today, the leaders of the movement, including president Hamid Masih, general secretary Tarsem Masih and patron Fredick Joseph, said because of the pressure of these organisations, the state government had not granted permission to 23 congregations that it had planned.

The movement denied the allegations that there were any conversions with allurement.

He alleged that these organisations were spreading canards against Christian missionaries who had never went against law. He said there movement had always worked strictly according to the law of the country and they were being wrongly victimised.

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Comedy brings cash to city cinemas
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Comedy movies have staged a comeback in the city. Cinema owners who had been banking on Bhhojpuri movies for good business lately, are now shifting towards quality comedy movies that have hit the screen recently.

Close on the heels of the moderate success of comedy flicks like “No Entry” and “Hulchul”, the latest in line, “Malamaal Weekly”, is running houseful in a local cinema here.

Owner of the cinema Kanwaljit Singh said the low-budget movie had done a good business.

“The movie, with no big stars, has proved much more successful than those of other genres. The movie does not thrive on absurd imagination, which makes the plot or scenes hard to believe. Instead, it has aptly exploited the craze of lottery among Indians and brought out a hilarious plot.”

Dalbir Kaur, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh, who had come with her family to watch the movie, said: “It is a clean movie, a rare thing these days. The flick leaves everyone in peels of laughter. The film made me laugh so much.”

Sonia Singh, another resident, said comedy seemed to be the favourite genre these days. “While TV channels are thriving on laughter shows, movie makers seem to have got a hint from them. What is best is that such movies do not seek business on violence, lascivious dances and double-meaning dialogues. The movies are clean and come with a message.”

Kanwarjit Singh said the theatre business in the city needed movies that brought families back to cinemas.

“Soft porn or adult movies that were made in dozens cater to only a section of society, whereas such movies are watched by families.”

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Controversy over path at dera
Our Correspondent

Maherna Kalan (Ahmedgarh) March 19
Controversy arose over the installation and akhand path of Guru Granth Sahib at Dera Baroti Sahib here .
Organizers insisted on continuing the practice while the officials of Gurudwara Manji Sahib, Alamgir, said that the continuance of the path at the dera was against an Akal Takht edict .

The Alamgir gurdwara manager , Nirmal Singh, maintained that the organisers had gone back on their written assurance that the path would be stopped.

Devotees attending the bhog of three paths of Guru Granth Sahib at Dera Baroti Sahib observed , a team led by Bhai Atma Singh and Bhai Ghingi had asked to them stop the path as it was against the Takht edict. Residents of the village maintained that the practice had been continuing since
decades.

They felt that in case the path was stopped they would be harmed. “Today also, three paths were performed, one jointly by the villagers and other two by individuals,” said Kewal Singh, one of the organisers.

The situation became tense when Bhai Atma Singh, an official of Gurdwara Manji Sahib was stopped from addressing the sangat. He was made to leave the place after the organisers declared that the practice would continue .

Mr Nirmal Singh on the other hand claimed that some of the organisers had agreed to discontinue the practice . He saida team of officials had found the practice against the Takht directives . 

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Ludhiana Calling

Discount sales that managed to attract a large number of customers earlier, appear to be losing sheen. With such sales continuing almost throughout the year consumers feel it is the companies and not they who stand to gain. The consequence is that one can see several retail shops hanging boards of heavy discounts only waiting for customers.

Insensitive corporates

Corporates can be quite insensitive when it comes to hogging the limelight. On Holi several companies tried to encash the occasion for some free publicity. One such company that celebrated Holi with hearing and speech impaired kids, claimed that the kids with whom it had celebrated the occasion had an opportunity of their lifetime and went on to explain how it “added colours to the deprived kids’ lives”. Wish such companies were taught that there was more to life than publicity.

Chicken lovers’ dilemma

Fresh news of bird flu have dampened spirits of chicken lovers who were expecting things to be better with time. What has added to their woes is that unlike a few weeks ago, retail prices are almost back to normal. One such person, who expected chicken dishes to be back on hotel menus, was heard saying it was quite disappointing as he would have enjoyed having chicken dishes either at low prices or if the flu was over. His lot would have to wait for some more time it seems.

Copying cases

Several cases of copying in examinations were registered in schools this time too. Despite claims by the government and several educational institutions regarding improvement in the education system, things do not seem to be going in the right direction. If only the education system was such that it burdened students less while giving them more expertise in their field of interest could we expect such problems to be a thing of the past.

 Poor banking services

In the initial phase of privatisation, banks were seen running after customers. But these days it is a thing of past as many private banks have a large number of account holders complaining of poor services. Not only do customers of such banks complain of high charges on account of various services in comparison to nationalised banks, these banks do not even encourage the customers to visit branches and are rude in their dealings. The ultimate sufferer remains the consumer.

Weather fluctuations

Weather fluctuations have been quite frequent this time. Last week, warm days were followed by a mild drizzle that brought back the chill in the weather. As many people had already packed their woollies, they took the woollens out again only to find the weather sunny again. Many confused residents can be spotted carrying sweaters and jackets to avoid the weather variations.

Bovine rule

Bovines literally rule the roads in Ludhiana. Be it a busy road or a narrow street the stray cattle do not let anybody feel their absence. Even during the peak traffic hours, the strays relax in the middle of a road much to the chagrin of those who want to reach their destination in time. The other day a bull charged at a passer-by and injured him. The man had to be hospitalised. His fault, he was trying to cross the road without taking note of the bull’s presence.

Off the protests

The government can finally have some relief as far as protests by farmers are concerned. Not because there is no unrest among them. But since they are busy in their fields they don’t have the time to organise protests. As April approaches the farmers would be busy harvesting their crops which have started turning golden in the fields. They would be too busy to register their protest in any way. A politician rightly said something very interesting about them, ‘‘The ruling party in the state should try to find out some crops which require labour all the year round instead of diversification so that the farmers are at least busy in their fields whole year ’’

Printer’s devil

A newspaper goof up had the city Mayor fuming. Instead of writing ‘‘Mehar immolates himself’’ the headline claimed ‘‘Mayor immolates himself’’ instead. After reading the news, many crime reporters almost had a heart attack thinking they had missed the immolation by the First Citizen of the city. It was only after reading the entire news item that they came to know that one Mehar Chand had tried to set himself afire. But this did not go well with the city Mayor who was ‘burning’ with rage. — Sentinel

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Demand to compensate terrorism-affected families
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
Activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Suraksha Samiti, led by their state president Rajiv Tandon and district chief Vijay Kumar Agnihotri, observed a fast at Jagraon Bridge here today. The fast was in protest against the alleged discrimination against the Hindu community by the Central and the Punjab Government.

The samiti leaders, while emphasising the need for a comprehensive package of compensation for victims of terrorism in the state as also sought adequate relief for the police officers who fought a relentless battle against militancy in the state.

Mr Tandon said the Union and the state governments had provided financial compensation, residential plots and flats to the victims of 1984 riots, whereas the families of nearly 35,000 Hindus killed in militant violence were being neglected or maltreated by the government.

He said it was rather shameful that the brave police and paramilitary officials, who had rendered exemplary and gallant service in the war against terrorism had been either left to fend for themselves in cases registered against them, or in some cases were being needlessly persecuted.

He said a large number of terrorism-affected families from the city and elsewhere also joined the protest and assured their support to the struggle to seek justice for the Hindu community.

He threatened to intensify the agitation all over the state if the government continued its biased and discriminatory attitude towards the community.

The functionaries of the suraksha samiti further asked the government to take effective steps against acts of blasphemy for commercial motives by a large number of industrial groups. He called for tight security at places of worship to guard against mischief mongers and those making attempts to flare up communal tension in the country.

Prominent among others present on the occasion were Mr Rakesh Kapoor, Mr Subhash Bobby, Mr Gopal Joya, Mr Deepak Kumar, Mr Parkash Khatri, Mr Bansi Dobby, Mr Madan Lal, Mr Ravi Kumar Singh, Mr Dharmendra Kumar and Mr Satish Kumar.

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RJD flays BJP policies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Leaders of the Rashtriya Janata Dal today condemned the Bhartiya Janata Party for its "communal politics". The leaders alleged that the BJP had lost the public support and was now desperately harping on communal tones.

Talking to reporters here today, senior RJD leaders ,including Ms Saroj Dubey, the national president of the women's wing, Mr K Alam ,in charge of Punjab and Abdul Qayum, the general secretary ,regretted that at a time when there was peace and communal harmony in the country ,the BJP leaders like Lal Krishan Advani and the party president Rajnath Singh had decided to embark upon the rath yatra "to divide 
people".

They warned that such programmes only divided people along communal lines and hoped their designs would be defeated this time again. They asserted that the RJD would not allow the communal forces to raise their head in the country.

The party leaders claimed that they had gained considerable influence in the state and would be contesting quite a number of seats in 
Punjab.

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Campaigning hots up for club poll
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
The campaigning is at its peak for the control of state’s biggest club, the Sutlej club. Set up more than 100 years ago during the British era, the club was originally known as Officers’ Club with the Deputy Commissioner as its president.

With more than 3000 persons as its members, the club has affiliations with many other clubs all over the country. The who’s who of the city have been vying for the membership of the club. Little wonder that the election for the control of this elite club tends to turn into a fierce battle of wits and resources.

With polling for various posts slated to take place on March 26, poll fever has begun to grip the club. The posts at stake include that of the vice-president, general secretary, mess secretary, bar secretary, cultural secretary, sports-secretary and joint secretary, besides the executive committee. Most crucial among them is the electoral battle for the post of general secretary.

Four persons are in the fray for this post, including Mr Sanjay Arora ‘Balla’, Mr Varinder Goyal, Mr Jiwan Dhawan and Mr Ashok Soni. All contenders are businessmen with wide contacts and influence among local people. Given the developments in the last few days, Balla seems to be having an upper edge over others with many leading industrialists backing him.

Mr Varinder Goyal, the outgoing sports secretary, is also getting support of many members. Mr Jiwan Dhawan, another contender, had served the club a few years ago as joint secretary. Mr Ashok Soni is relatively a new entrant to the club politics.

For the post of mess secretary, the three contenders are Mr Rajan Sood, Mr K.Bains and Mr R.Bhambi. For vice-president, the candidates are Mr A.S.Chawla, Mr Sanjiv Thapar and Mr Raju Sharma. Mr Sanjiv Dhanda, the present cultural secretary, is again contesting for the same post against Mr Tunnu. For sports secretary, the contestants are Mr Ruby Nota and Dr Nitin Gilhotra. For bar secretary, the candidates include Mr Charanjit Singh and Mr Navtej.

Interestingly, several government officers and politicians are also evincing a keen interest in the club politics and are backing their ‘favourite’ candidates. All candidates are leaving no stone unturned to influence people and win friends in their bid to corner votes.

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Acharya Mahapragya felicitated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 19
A large number of persons today participated in felicitation ceremony of Acharya Mahapragya, chief of Shri Jain Shwestamber Tera Panth Sabha. The ceremony was held at MGMN Senior Secondary School, Ahmedgarh, near here. Mr Bansi Lal Surana presided over the function and Dr Indu, SDM Malerkotla, was the chief guest.

Addressing a mammoth gathering Acharya Mahapragya urged the people to be aware of their social and moral responsibilities to ensure emotional development of their wards besides getting them formal education.

Showing concern over the declining human values and morality, the Acharya claimed that unconcern of parents about their wards was a major reason behind this situation. He said the parents should be a role model for their wards.

In her welcome address Dr Indu said people should understand the essence of teachings of great saints. She assured help to the organisers on behalf of state government.

Earlier, organisers had also arranged a shobha yatra that was attended by representatives of various religious, social and educational institutes of the town. The Ahmedgarh Vidya Parcharak Sabha, running Gandhi School, Janta College for Women and Lal Bahadur Shastari Public School dedicated one wing of the school to Acaharya Mahapragya. Dr Indu inaugurated the wing.

Mr Mangat Rai Jain, president, passed a vote of thanks on behalf of Tera Panth Yuval Parishad, Terapanthi Mahila Mandal and Tera Panth Kanya Mandli. Mr Jatinder Bhola President, Municipal Council, Mr Mukesh Sharma, Executive Magistrate, Mr Vijay Kakria, Mr Kedar Nath Kapila, Ms Chiter Rekha, Mr Pardeep Sharda and Ms Surinder Kaur, were also present. 

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Book fair for children
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
A children’s book fair began at Magazine Shop, Ghumar Mandi, here today. It offers a big range of books of children’s interest.
According to Mr Vinay Mohindra, organiser of the fair, the books include comics, story books, short novels and activity and puzzle books.

He said the purpose was to cultivate reading habit among children. These days children mostly remain glued to the television and usually do not develop good reading habits. He said special discounts were also being offered at the fair.

The fair would continue for two weeks.

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