L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Hosiery trader found murdered
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The half-burnt body of Rakesh, a hosiery trader and a resident of Sham Nagar colony, was found from the fields at Sangowal village in the outskirts of the city today. He was reported missing since last evening.

His case is the seventh in the city in which a man was murdered and then his body was mutilated in order to hide his identity.

However, in this case, the attempt to hide the identity proved unsuccessful as the body did not burn to a level where identification becomes impossible.

Police sources said if all the seven murders were part of a series, then vital clues can be picked from the investigation in this case.

Sources said that apart from the serial murders theory, the police was investigating personal enmity as the cause of the murder. Sources said Rakesh was quite close to some police officials. He allegedly passed some information about some gamblers who could have killed him to avenge police action against them.

The deceased had left his house in Sham Nagar colony at 4 pm yesterday . His family had reported to the police late in the evening that his whereabouts were not known. The Sadar police got information today morning that an unidentified body was found in Sangowal village.



Govt urged to review decision on
closure of 17,000 private schools

Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 2
Leaders of various social and educational organisations have urged the state government to review its decision to close more than 17,000 private schools, including those affiliated to statutory bodies like the Punjab School Education Board and Central Board of Secondary Education.

Prof Amarjit Singh Sidhu, director, Guru Har Krishan Educational Trust, said the government should give adequate notice to the concerned institutes which, in order, to protect interests of their students and teachers would either make necessary arrangements or shift responsibility to other organisations according to their convenience.

“Though the government had been given a year’s notice by the court, the former failed to identify defaulters and convey the message to them properly,” argued Prof Sidhu. Claiming that the institutes run by the organisation directed by him had received affiliation with the CBSE through the state government, Professor Sidhu feared that ambiguity about the closure of the institutes would create confusion among parents of the students studying there.

Mr Dharam Pal Sharma alleged that the authorities had intentionally chosen the pre-admission period for making such an announcement. “By creating confusion about the authenticity of private schools, the authorities have tried to recapture admissions in state run schools,” he said.

Darshan Singh Rai, an educationist, accused the government of misinterpreting the orders and creating unnecessary chaos. “By equating affiliated schools with unauthorized ones, authorities have failed to identify the defaulters,” said Mr Rai.

He claimed that the majority of schools facing closure had been affiliated to the respective boards after fulfilling certain conditions laid down in the law.

“While making such an announcement, the government has ignored the fact that representatives of the State Education Department had inspected the institutes before granting them approval,” said Mr Rai.



Front hails decision
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 2
The decision of the Education Department to close the non-affiliated schools in residential areas from April 1 and shift eight lakh students studying in these schools to government schools has been welcomed by the Nijikaran Virodhi Adhyapak Front. The front is made up of 32 teachers' bodies.

Its leaders Piara Singh Dhillon, Baldev Krishan Moudgil, Sucha Singh Ajnala, Mahinder Singh Heer, Karan Raj Singh Gill, Rajinder Singh Garcha, Ajit Singh Mand and Charan Singh Halwara while welcoming the move said the decision would offer a big relief to the poor parents, as the managements of private schools charged too much money under the garb of tuition fees, admission fees and building funds etc.

The leaders, however, wondered as to how the government would accommodate eight lakh students, as neither it had the buildings nor the teachers. Already there were thousands of vacancies in schools and with more students joining in, there would be an acute dearth of teachers, which would mean the standards of education would decline.

These leaders have demanded that thousands of teachers should be recruited, and this process should start on a war-footing so that the needs of students are fulfilled. Moreover, they said that those schools which the government was thinking of closing should be made use of now.

The teachers want that the government should recruit the teachers, as it is the State responsibility to provide education to one and all. The vacancies of teachers should not be filled by panchayats but through the Education Board.



Opening of liquor shop irks residents
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The opening of a liquor vend and drinking place in a residential area in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar here has evoked protests from the residents of the area.

Following their complaint, some officials of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust removed the banner announcing the opening of liquor vend in the morning. But soon after they left, banners came back after some time.

Residents threatened that they would not allow the opening of any liquor vend in their colony. They said that they would oppose the move tooth and nail, as it would affect the healthy environment in the locality.

While a worker at the place argued that the area was commercial, as there were shops and offices all around, the residents said that it was being set up on a plot meant for residential purposes.

They started sending SOS calls to various authorities in the morning when the owner put up a banner announcing the opening of a wine shop and air-conditioned drinking place.

Residents were surprised to see the development as the plot had two rooms which appeared, as a residential accommodation. Labourers started demolishing a wall to convert the rooms into a big hall.

‘‘We will not allow anybody to spoil the peace of our area. If a liquor shop and a drinking place is opened it would be a source of nuisance in our area. Our women and daughters walk on this road in the morning and they follow this route to reach their destinations. It would be difficult for them to pass through this place if a liquor vend is opened there. ’’ said a resident requesting anonymity.

‘‘What would our children, who are in impressionable age, learn if there is a vend in the neighbourhood?

The residents have called an emergency meeting of the welfare society tomorrow. They threatened that after the meeting, they would decide the further course of action. They would sit on a dharna outside the vend tomorrow.



MC sends bills after four years
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Even as the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has started disconnecting the water and sewerage connections of residents, who have not paid their bills, many of them complained that they had not received the bills.

Reacting to the action against the alleged defaulters ,the residents of Phase-II, Urban Estate, Dugri claimed that theyhadn't recieved the bills for the past four years .

The MC had decided to act against the defaulters because the collection of water and sewerage revenue had come down .

Blaming the MC for the delayed action , the residents said that they would neither pay the bills in one go nor any interest on those.

Mr Naveen Sharma, a resident of Phase-II said that they had not received the bills since the constructed of the house in the locality.‘‘Now they will want us to pay the hefty bills which we will not pay,’’he said.

He added that MC officials didnot even entertain their queries properly.

Another resident said that they had made a representation to MC some months ago. At that time around 500 houses were issued the bills. ‘‘But the rest are still pending and nobody has bothered. ’’said the resident.

Some residents even said that they were being assured by some politicians that the interests would be waived . ‘‘What if we pay the amount and then others get a concession?’’ asked a resident.



Projects worth Rs 62,000 crore cleared: Birmi
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Jails and Defence Services, Punjab, has called upon the office-bearers of various front organisations and workers of the Congress to make all-out efforts for the success of the party rally to be addressed by the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, on April 16 at Grain Market Salem Tabri, Ludhiana.

Mr Birmi was addressing a well-attended meeting of the office-bearers and party workers of his constituency at Circuit House, today, to assign various duties for the preparation of the rally.

Mr Birmi asserted that a large number of people would participate in the rally which would be addressed by the Chief Minister, a number of Cabinet ministers and senior leaders of the Congress. The people would be apprised of the achievements of the Congress government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh.

He claimed that with the efficient management of finances and improvement in the environment for the industrial growth, 166 new big projects with investments of more than Rs 62,000 crore had already been cleared by the high power committee. They had the potential of generating more than 10 lakh jobs in the state.

Apart from these, a large number of other projects with investment of less than Rs 100 crore had also come to the state, Mr Birmi added. He said the steep rise in the prices of agriculture land had substantially benefited the farmers.

He said that Akalis had been claiming the only representatives of the farmers, whereas, in reality they had been looting the farmers in the mandis. He claimed that the Capt. Amarinder Singh had ensured the purchased all the crops of farmers without any hassle and the promise of free power for tubewells of the farmers had also been met.

Mr Birmi claimed that the state was all set to witness fast development this year as funds amounting to more than Rs 4000 crore were being spent on the execution of various development projects and strengthening of the infrastructure in the state.

The Chief Parliamentary Secretary claimed that government had launched the “Punjab Nirman Programme” for urban and rural areas at a cost of Rs 700 crore, under which funds amounting to Rs 7 crore were being released for development projects in each constituency.



Pensioners seek release of enhanced DA
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 2
The Punjab Pensioners Association today sent a letter to the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, urging him to release the DA/DR instalment for its employees and pensioners which is due from January 1, 2006.

More than five lakh employees and pensioners are waiting for the enhanced dearness allowance.

Employees should get the arrears in cash, the communication stated.

It added that the Central Government had already sanctioned the DA/DR hike for its staff and pensioners.

The Election Commission, too, has given its nod for the raise, writes Mr Yashpaul Ghai general secretary of the association in a press note.



Seven buffaloes stolen
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, April 2
In a daring incident of robbery at Jandiali village last night, seven buffaloes were allegedly taken away after tying the dairy servant with ropes.

According to Dr Harbag Singh, the owner of the buffaloes, "Around15 unidentified persons came to my fields last night and started misbehaving with my dairy servant, Baba. They threatened him with dire consequences and tied him with a rope. After that they took away seven buffaloes costing above Rs 7 lakh."

The matter has been reported to the police. An FIR is, however, yet to be registered.



Ludhiana Calling

Election to the managing committee of the elite Satluj Club has turned out to be quite an interesting affair. Basically an Officers' Club set by the British, the club has opened up its membership to civilians.

No wonder, of over 3000 members in the club just less than a hundred happen to be the officers. Only a few years ago the club elections remained a low key affair.

But now things seemed to have changed. It has become a million iare's affair. Scores of lavish parties were thrown by the supporters of candidates. The conservative estimates put the total cost at about Rs 5 crore. As during the preceding couple of weeks on an average a couple of lavish parties were organised daily with expenditure no less than Rs 20 lakh on each party. Liquor flowed quite freely. Even the officials of various departments took keen, rather more than keen interest in these elections.

The enthusiasm of some officials of the Income Tax Department for the ward of one of their ex -colleague didn't go unnoticed.

A large number of IT officials had descended on the club on the election day asking (not requesting) the members to vote for the particular candidate. A candidate remarked, had these officials put in such efforts in their own job they could have conveniently achieved the revenue targets. But club is always for extra -curricular activities!

Bad timing

While organising Press conferences, there are organisers who ignore informing correspondents well in time.

Recently, one such organiser informed media persons about a Press conference, well, 15 minutes after the scheduled time for the conference. Though the attitude left reporters fretting and fuming, the person was heard telling someone that these days, even if there is a small news, media persons have to come as they fear they will miss out on news and their competitors would get it. Smart organiser indeed!

Over cautious

Schools too leave no stone unturned to ensure that their functions are covered by newspapers. One such school, which organised a function late in the evening, realised it could miss out on coverage due to the deadline factor. The school, hence, clicked pictures of the final rehearsal and made a detailed Press note in advance, urging newspersons to carry those pictures even if they were not able to make it to the function!

Hello driver

The support staff of a Punjab officer often, act more than their bosses. But one driver of a woman medical officer took things too far when he kept answering calls of city journalists at her mobile phone and even insisted to know the reason for the calls. The journo wanted to ask the medical officer about the why of the death of a farmer. But the driver claimed she was driving the vehicle hence unable to take the queries.

Cockroach killers

Come summer ,the cockroaches pose a ‘‘creepy problem’’ in hospitals, commercial establishments and residences. These come out of drains and give creepy feelings ,especially to women and children. With their appearance, cockroach killers are in great demand. They clean the gutters, spray insecticide and control the evergrowing population of these insects. Some of them are sweepers or some other MC employees . One wonders if there is some connection between this profitable job and the apathetic attitude of the MC towards the problem.

Mule nuisance

A rehra- puller crossed all limits the other day. He tied his mule to a tree on a busy road. The mule made itself comfortable in the middle of the road for hours together. (see pic)

Fashion show

The road leading to a school in Sarabha Nagar turned into a ramp of a fashion show.Not losing the chance to show off their fineries, the young mother were bound for the school to take annual report card of their wards .

Market looks up

Markets here are wearing a colourful look as Navratras have begun. Not only eatables but also clothes, jewellery and home appliances too are selling well as people consider it auspicious to make purchases during this period. The days of Devi bring cheer to traders indeed.

Lack of taste

The Wadali brothers' concert here opened to a half -full hall.There were not more than 30 lovers of the traditional music to hear the Sufi singers. Singer Surjit Kaur even pointed out the waning taste for the traditional art. She wanted schoolteachers to take up the challenge.

Little activist

A pig was being taken to a slaughterhouse in an autorickshaw. A boy bound for school astride his father's scooter heared oinks at the Pakhowal Chowk, as the auto driver and his father were waiting for the traffic light to turn green . Unable to ignore the SOS, the boy got down from the scooter and entreated the father to rescue the pig .The red light turned green, the vehicles sped away ,but the boy kept on crying for help at the chowk.



Parminder Mehta apprises Sonia on Punjab
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 2
Mr Parminder Mehta, secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee yesterday met Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, in Delhi and apprised her of the political situation prevailing in Punjab.

Mr Mehta reportedly told Mrs Gandhi that there was an urgent need for mobilising the Congress workers and the people for the February 2007 Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections.

He also impressed on the Congress president to take steps for the redressal of the grievances of the people particularly traders and industrialists of the state, who are feeling ignored.

Mr Mehta, who is also the coordinator for Hoshiarpur district for the implementation of the national rural employment guarantee scheme informed her about the weak links in the scheme.

Mr Mehta also met Mr Janardhan Dwivedi, General Secretary, All-India Congress Committee and incharge of Punjab affairs and discussed organisational matters of the Punjab Pradesh Congress.



Ex-services League criticises political parties
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, April 2
The Indian Ex-services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, today criticised the political parties for exploiting the ex-servicemen without giving any financial or social benefits to them.

Lieut-Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (retd ), president of the Punjab and Chandigarh league said here that in the election year in Punjab, political parties were trying to rope in the ex-servicemen to seek their votes and were making false and tall promises. The political parties while saying that soldiers were a disciplined lot were trying to divide them. “The political parties try to impose senior officers on the other ranks by creating ex-servicemen cells. The Congress and BJP have been doing such things and now the Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal has joined them,’ he said.

Colonel Dhillon said the SAD had first given a job to the senior officer during its rule in Punjab and now he had been inducted as in charge of the ex-servicemen cell in the party. “This is immoral on the part of the political parties. Senior officers who have been in the political parties have been misleading the other ranks and this amounts to cheating of the innocent ex-servicemen who normally respect their seniors,” he said.

Colonel Dhillon observed that he had been a veteran of World War II and the wars of 1948, 1965 and 1971 and his long experience had shown that the political parties were not sincere to the ex-servicemen or serious in tackling their problems.

Moreover, he said, the problems of the ex-servicemen were related with the central government like the separate pay commission for the armed forced and lateral induction of ex-servicemen in the para-military forces. He called upon the other ranks to maintain their unity and not to fall prey to the propaganda of the political parties. They could earn their respect and dignity by remaining united.



Why import wheat when godowns
full, wonders Dhindsa

Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
A former Union Minister and secretary general of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, today ridiculed the idea of importing the wheat from abroad when the procurement had started and huge stocks were arriving in the grain markets in most parts of the North. Mr Dhindsa expressed surprise as to what the union government wanted to prove by importing wheat from abroad.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Dhindsa maintained that instead of spending the money on the import of wheat, the Government of India should provide incentives to the local farmers who could enhance the wheat output. He added that when huge stocks were already pending in the godowns and fresh arrivals of the grain had started, there was no logic in importing it.

The Akali leader also opposed the converting of the Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, into a public sector undertaking. He said it was unfortunate that despite the assurances of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the government went ahead with its plan. He expressed sympathies with the employees and said the party would support them at all levels.

Mr Dhindsa did not agree with the government in closing down primary schools run from homes. He said while it was necessary to enhance the standard of education in the state, at the same time the government should realise the grass-root level realities. He pointed out that the standard of the government education in the rural areas was not good either. He wanted the government to explore alternatives before going ahead with the decision to close down the “small private schools”.

On the issue of elections, the Akali leader asserted, his party was “quite prepared” and would return to power with a thumping majority. He criticised the government for its failure on all fronts. He said the Congress in the state had been left with no issue. 



Website of Bairagi Mandal launched
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 2
The All-India Bairagi Maha Mandal launched its website here today to bring the members of the community, settled all over the globe, a bit more close and to enable them have easier access to the history of sacrifices and rich heritage of the Bairagis.

The web site was formally inaugurated by former legislator and advisor of the body, Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal, in the presence of Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, president of the mandal and several other functionaries of the state and the district unit.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jassowal said that in the present IT savvy world, the Bairagi community would be able to have its own identity through the website. Not only this, people all over the world would be able to know about the saint soldier and founder of the first Sikh empire Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.

Mr Bawa, while addressing the function, announced that launching of the website was the first of several steps intended to be taken to facilitate better interaction between members of the community. He expressed confidence that the Bairagis, particularly the young members of the community, would draw inspiration from the unparalleled sacrifices made by Baba Banda Bahadur in his war against the Mughal rulers to avenge the martyrdom of the sons of Guru Gobind Singh.

Prominent among others present at the occasion were Mr Ravinder Nandi, Mr Jiwan Das Bawa, Mr Baldev Bawa, Mr Surinder Singh Kooner, Mr Hari Das Bawa, Mr Balwinder Singh Namdhari, Mr Pawan Garg, Mr Surjit Singh, Mr Ravinder Bawa, Mr Narinder Bawa, Mr Gurmel Singh Brar and Mr Baljit Singh Jassowal.



SAD to remember martyrs on Monday
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 2
Leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)has decided to observe death anniversary of 12 who died in police firing on the eve of a dharam yudh morcha on April 4, 1983.

As many as 12 persons were killed and 65 were wounded during the rasta roko stir. The 23rd anniversary function is being held on Monday, as senior party leaders have more important engagements on Tuesday.

Earlier years, including those during SAD regime had been witnessing callous attitude of leaders towards the martyrs. No leader of the party, organised a function or even contacted the kin of the deceased during these years. The bereaved families offered prayers in their homes and village gurdwaras.

Those who died in the firing were Bhag Singh (Jandali Kalan) ;Inderjit Singh (Dudhal); Gurmit Singh (Manvi),GurcharnaSingh (Kanganwal), Ujjagar Singh (Jogi Majra), Jagir Singh and Aman Kumar (Khanpur), Mohammad Ismail (Ranwa), Mohammad Rafiq (Malerkotla), Amarjit Singh (Madiala), Gurdial Singh (Uppal Kheri) and Maghar Singh (Lasoi).

The Dharam Yudh Morcha Shaheed and Peerit Committee had been taking up the issue of martyrs for over 20 years ,but to no avail.

Majority of the workers and leaders associated with the movement were disappointed over the role of political leaders. A senior SAD leader who had lost his father in the firing at Kup Kalan Chowk said, "What can we expect from the present regime when our own people have deserted us?

I have been pursuing the cause of the families of the martyrs for the past 22 years but to no avail. All promises made by Mr Prakash Singh Badal as CM have not been fulfilled. Some of the families of the martyrs are finding it hard to eke out a living." 



Renovation project at Police Lines
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 2
The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Ludhiana range, Mr Parag Jain, inaugurated the renovation project at the Police Lines here yesterday.

Delivering his inaugural speech,Mr Jain praised the working of community police officers(CPOs). He said the joint working of the police and the CPOs would help in checking crime. He appealed to the police officials to win the trust of the public.

Mr Jain honoured the community police officers who had set an example while doing their duties. All 22 such officers working under C2 Jarnail Singh were honoured for making collection in time.

SSP, Khanna, Naunihal Singh, S P(D) Dilbagh Singh, SP(H) D.S. Mann, DSP,Payal, Kuldeep Singh and DSP, Samrala, Sushil Kumar were among the police officials present on the occasion. 



ISKCON yatra in steel city
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 2
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) organised Lord Jagan Nath Rath Yatra in the steel town with religious fervour.

Sri Jagan Nath, Baldev and Subhadra were seated on a well-decorated rath with a colourful canopy. Devotees from all over the country pulled the rath, amidst the chanting of bhajans and sankirtan.

The entire city was decorated with colourful flags and devotees welcomed the yatra at various points with flowers. Prasad was served and chhapan bhog and maharti offered.

Senior devotees of ISKCON encouraged the local residents to practice the values of life as mentioned in our scriptures and being followed by ISKCON devotees all over the world. 



Petrol pump owner booked
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 2
The Sadar police has booked Mohinder Pal, owner of a petrol pump, and its Manager, Sat Pal, under Sections 420 , 447, 468 and 471 of the IPC for illegally taking the possession of a piece of land and getting the site plan approved from the Municipal Council by using fraudulent means.

According to information Rajvir Singh Dhillon of Chandigarh complained to the police that he along with two brothers were the owners of a one-kanal plot adjacent to the Bharat Petroleum petrol pump, Shiv Oil company, at Bhatian village. The petrol pump owner had illegally taken the possession of their land. Mohinder Pal and Sat Pal had connived and managed to have its site plan approved from the Municipal Council. The construction had also started and the petrol pump machinery had been placed there.

As per the complaint, the revenue records also indicated their ownership. He requested the SDM for demarcation, upon which the Consolidation Department officials visited the site for the purpose. Mohinder Pal, though present at the site, did not sign the paper.

The matter was investigated by Inspector Wazir Singh of Economic Offences Wing upon whose recommendation a case was registered. No arrests had been made till the filling of the report.



Youth beaten to death
Our Correspondent

Khamano, April 2
A youth, Jagtar Singh (24), of Mansoorpur village, near here, died in a quarrel due to severe beating by some persons of the same village at about 7 pm on Friday. According to information, Jagtar Singh was in his house when suddenly Jeet Singh, alias Bola, Jagtar Singh and some others came in and started beating him up. Jagtar Singh was seriously injured and died on the way to the Civil Hospital, Khamano. When he was taken to the hospital , no doctor was on duty at 7.30 pm. At 9.30 pm his body was lying in a car and the doctor still had not reached.

The police reached the spot, but the alleged attackers had managed to escape.

A case under Sections 302 and 34, IPC, has been registered against Jagtar Singh, Jeet Singh and Dheeraj Kaur. The cause of quarrel is yet to be known.


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