L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Drum explodes in factory; 13 hurt
Tribune News Service

A fire victim undergoes treatment at the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Ludhiana on Thursday.
A fire victim undergoes treatment at the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Ludhiana on Thursday. — Tribune photos by Sayeed Ahmed

Ludhiana, April 6
Thirteen persons were injured, five of them critically, when fire broke out following the explosion of a drum carrying thinner, here today.

The incident took place in the afternoon at Balwindra Tools, a hand tools factory on the Giaspura road.

According to information available, drums carrying thinner were being unloaded when one of those fell near a furnace at the factory, due to which there was a blast.

The victims were standing near the spot at the time of the incident and were trapped in the fire.

The injured were rushed to the Christian Medical College and Hospital here.

Two of them — Dev Raj and Hari Chand — suffered 100 per cent burns while Balwinder Singh and Ram Vilas received 90 per cent burns and Nekchand Singh suffered 85 per cent burns.

Four other victims — Varinder Pal, Ravi Kumar, Pawan Kumar and Garinder — received between 25 per cent and 55 per cent burn injuries.

Chief Parliamentary Secretary Malkiat Singh Birmi said the cost of treatment of the victims would be borne by the state government.

A compensation of Rs 10,000 each for the victims was announced by Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma.

He ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, which would be conducted by SDM (East) M.S Jaggi.

SSP Narinder Pal Singh and Mr Verma visited the victims at the hospital.

The SSP stated that various aspects of the incident would be taken into account, for which assistance of the safety cell of the Industries Department would be taken.

In case of any lapse or negligence, a case would be registered, he added.



Gupta to be new DC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
The Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, and the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr S.K. Sharma, have been transferred.

Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta will be the new Deputy Commissioner and Mr Vikas Pratap the new Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation.

The orders to this effect were issued in Chandigarh today.

Mr Verma has been transferred to Jalandhar as Deputy Commissioner, while Mr Sharma will be MD, MILKFED. They will replace Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta and Mr Vikas Pratap, respectively.



B.Com (III) question paper incomplete
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 6
Students of B.Com third-year found one incomplete 15 marks question in the management accounting and business finance paper held yesterday, stated Mr Deepak Dhingra and Mr Manoj Arora of the Department of Commerce of Kamla Lohtia S.D. College.

According to Mr Deepak Dhingra, one question of cash flow statement (VII question in section B of the paper) of 15 marks of above said paper was incomplete.

In this question, statement of proof was not given. In this kind of incomplete question , it was not possible for students to solve the question with direct method as mentioned in the question paper.

According to Mr Manoj Arora, the paper was found to be unbalanced as two questions (one practical and one theoretical) of 15 marks each in section C and one question of 5 marks in section A were from the same chapter (capital budgeting).

Mr Deepak Dhingra and Mr Manoj Arora stated that this was a serious lapse on the part of the university and demanded at least 15 grace marks for all students. 



Private schools’ body ignores closure notice
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 6
Mr Sadhu Singh Randhawa, Director, Education, had issued a notice in newspapers regarding the closure of non-affliated private schools in residential areas from April 1.

Dr Deepak Manan, president of the Association of Private Schools, decided to take no notice of this report.

He said in a press note that they had obtained a copy of the ruling given by the high court in this regard on February 11 last year and had been consulting a lawyer.

The high court had ruled that schools functioning in PUDA and HUDA colonies had to be closed.

He claimed that this ruling was not applicable to other private schools in other residential areas.

He alleged that the Director, Secondary Education, had hatched a conspiracy to increase the number of students in government schools.

He said if private schools were closed, government schools were likely to get at least 7.5 lakh more students.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered closure of all non-affliated and unapproved private schools running in residential areas in 2002, but no action had been taken.

He said the government suddenly issued notices in newspapers in the last week of March that no fresh admissions would take place in such private schools from April 1.

This notice had caused panic among managements of private schools and parents, he said.

Dr Manan lauded the notice issued by Dr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, and Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, that private schools would not be closed.

Dr Manan demanded strict action against Mr Randhawa for causing harassment to parents.

Dr Manan said the association would hold its general body meeting on April 9 to review the decision of the high court and would request it to direct the Chief Secretary of Punjab to constitute a committee of department secretaries.



Daba-Lohara gets Rs 13-lakh fund
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
Former minister and Dakha MLA Malkiat Singh yesterday asserted that Punjab was all set for fast pace of development in urban and rural areas, for which the government has launched development projects worth more than Rs 6,000 crore.

Mr Dakha was addressing a function organised to distribute cheques of grants for development works at Daba-Lohara here, last evening.

He handed over the cheques of grants for 13.49 lakh for various works and urged the people to compare the performance of the present government with that of the previous regime.

Mr Dakha said the Congress government had fulfilled almost promises made to the people during the election and brought investment of more than Rs 63,000 crore in the state, which would create government opportunities for 10 lakh youths.

He claimed that in the coming months, many big projects, would be sanctioned and the government would achieve the target of investment of Rs 1 lakh crore in the state.

He said that fast flow of funds had been ensured under the Punjab Nirman Programme Rs 700 crore and funds were being given in each constituency for development projects.



850 given new ration cards
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 6
The ruling Congress has claimed success for its ongoing drive for ration card preparation and distribution to city residents, with the assistance of the Food and Supplies Department officials here.

President of District Congress Committee (Urban) Jagmohan Sharma said here today that more than 2,000 persons filled up application forms and completed required formalities for new ration cards at a special camp organised by the party at Zone A office of the Municipal Corporation on Wednesday.

As many as 850 new ration cards, for which applications were submitted by the residents at a previous camp, were distributed among the people. The Deputy Mayor, Mr Sushil Gupta, was also present at the occasion.

He said a large number of party activists, present during the camp, went from door to door in the area to inform the people about the ration card camp and helped them with necessary formalities. 



18 mega malls approved in city
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
Ludhiana is no longer the promised destination only for the migrant labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. It has turned out to be the investment destination for mega malls. So far, 18 mega projects for malls have already been approved with an estimated investment of about Rs 5000 crore. Of this, Rs 2000 crore has already been invested on 11 mega malls, some of which have already come up while the remaining are reaching completion.

The massive turnaround is being attributed to better infrastructure facilities available in the city as compared to other parts of the state. After Mohali, Ludhiana is considered to be the most preferred destination for investments. With the economic focus having shifted from the manufacturing to the service and retail sector, Ludhiana also appears to have adjusted itself well, with a number of leading retail houses having set up shop here.

Much against the prevailing impression about the lack of infrastructural facilities in Ludhiana, the city has been rated among the top 10 cities in the country in terms of industrial friendly infrastructure, particularly the road network, which has doubled during the past four years. It also got top ratings from CRISIL and the ICRA.

Although a little late, the city is likely to have a few flyovers and elevated roads which would also provide relief from the regular traffic jams. However, the city is still faced with one of the worst problems of parking. With the road network having increased to over 2400 km from about 1200 km in 2002, the parking space has not increased much. The number of vehicles has also increased substantially. According to the Municipal Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, the corporation has chalked out a comprehensive multi-storey parking plan for the entire city.

He revealed that in prime areas like Gurdev Nagar, Sarabha Nagar, Model Town, BRS Nagar and other investment destinations, the corporation has laid out an extensive drainage network. He said the routine problem of waterlogging which was witnessed during the monsoons in these areas would no longer be there.

Mr Sharma claimed that lot of credit for making the city investment-friendly goes a great deal to the Municipal Corporation’s progress during the past few years. He pointed out that the World Bank has appreciated the efforts of the LMC for various reforms.



Forum urges govt to save Medha Patkar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 6
Members of the Bharat Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha have urged the government to agree to the demands of Medha Patkar, who is on fast unto death for the demand regarding rehabilitation of persons displaced as a result of the Sardar Sarovar Project.

Dr Arun Mitra, general secretary, said in a press statement issued here today that he was of the opinion that when developmental projects were undertaken people get displaced, but it was the duty of the government to see that such people did not suffer.

Failure on the part of the government to sustain the displaced persons had forced people like Medha Patkar to resort to agitation and raise demands in a peaceful Gandhian manner.

Dr Mitra stated that the Supreme Court and the awarding authority had given sufficient time to the government to settle the displaced people, but the government failed to do so.

The members also appealed to the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to interfere and save Patkar’s life.



BJP warns Badal against cosying up to ultras
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
The Bharatiya Janata Party is learnt to have warned its alliance partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) against cosying up to extremists, particularly those having militant links in the past or having been proclaimed militants themselves.

The party is believed to have conveyed it to Mr Badal that while it did not mind accommodating such elements in the party or the government, but it was firmly against fielding them in the elections.

With the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, having highjacked the Panthic agenda from the SAD (B) by organising several religious functions, Mr Badal is believed to be getting worried.

Moreover, most of the splinter Panthic and radical groups have been supportive and appreciative of Capt Amarinder Singh and have been condemning and criticising Mr Badal. Even a person like Jagtar Singh Hawara, the main accused in the Beant Singh murder case, described Capt Amarinder as a better Chief Minister than Mr Badal.

These developments have reportedly led Mr Badal to rope in radical elements and ex militants also into his party’s fold. While a section within his party is opposed to such a move, the BJP is said to have made it clear that such candidates must not be fielded in the elections. More so in the urban areas where there is a considerable number of Hindu voters, the main support base of the BJP.

Well-placed sources in the BJP revealed that it was made clear to Mr Badal that he was free to offer them party posts and also various nominations like the membership of the public service commission or the chairmanship of various boards and corporations, he should not field them in elections as it would be difficult for the party to support and canvas for them. The party leaders disclosed that although it was too early as the electoral adjustments were yet to be worked out, the apprehensions were conveyed to the alliance partner quite in advance.



FIEO seeks govt intervention in SBI strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
Urging the government to find a solution to end the strike by State Bank of India (SBI) employees, Mr O.P. Garg, president, Federation of Indian Exporters Association, said the strike was adversely affecting business.

“An indefinite strike by employees of the country’s largest commercial bank, SBI, which has a network of 9,000 branches and 30 per cent customer base is detrimental to economy and is partially crippling exports,” said Mr Garg, in a press note.

He said the export of commodities subject to cess had been held up as in most of the places , the cess is to be deposited with State Bank and LCs to be negotiated with SBI were lying unattended.

Mr Ajay Sahai, Director General, FIEO, said, it had affected business transactions of the bank in foreign exchange and the money market. Since most of the clearing business was with the SBI, the strike had impacted inter-bank transactions also, he stated.



Commission agent case to be probed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 6
Ms Razia Sultana, MLA and Parliamentary Secretary, has directed the Circle Office of the police to probe the incident in which a fruit and a vegetable commission agent, had inspired a contractor to participate in an auction for the collection of market fee at the local market committee office, was allegedly assaulted by a commission agent and his henchmen a week ago.

Directions came after Roshan Deen, the complainant, urged the MLA to impress upon the police to expedite investigation and Manmohan Singh who had been named as suspect alleged that he had been harassed.

Though no FIR has been registered so far, Mr Rachhpal Singh Hara, DSP, Malerkotla, said he had summoned the record in connection with the incident and would be investigating the case personally.

Roshan Deen, alias Pheel, complained to Ms Sultana, that he along with his associates had been attacked by a group of miscreants led by Manmohan Singh, another bidder for the auction.

"As I had inspired Jagtar Singh, a contractor, to bid in the auction and not enter into a pool with Manmohan Singh, the latter threatened me with dire consequences and attacked us along with his associates," alleged Pheel.

Pheel alleged that the suspects had assaulted him and his associates as they had stretched the auction bid from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 8.25 lakh. "They were infuriated as we had refused to pool a contract with them and they had to pay an extra amount of Rs 4 lakh for the contract," explained Pheel.

It is notable that both complainant and the suspect claimed to be Congress workers and urged the MLA to side by them. When both of them pleaded their innocence before the leader in presence of their supporters she chose to direct the DSP to bring the truth to surface and initiate action against the culprits. 



Octroi contractors booked for assaulting agent
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 6
The local police has registered a case against some miscreants, including a councilor, under Section 323, 324, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC for allegedly assaulting and threatening a commission agent and his employees.

Meanwhile, the activists of various trade associations protested against the octroi contractors for their alleged assault on three persons, including two traders of the town.

According to an FIR lodged on the statement of Mr Rajiv Kumar, a commission agent, Yaseen Mohamad, a councillor, and his associates who had identified themselves as employees of octroi contractor, had allegedly assaulted complainant, his friend Rajinder Kumar Matti and an employee.

Mr Rajiv Kumar told the police that some persons who introduced themselves as employees of octroi contractor had intercepted one of his employee who was carrying a can containing some diesel. As the diesel had been brought from their rice sheller falling under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Council, no octroi was to be paid.

But the interceptors, who were allegedly wielding swords and lathis, captured the employee and asked him to call his masters who would get him freed by paying a fine.

"When I reached the spot and asked for the authenticity of their authority, Mr Yaseen Mohamad councilor, who claimed that he had a share in the contract for collection of octroi; and his henchmen began thrashing me and my associates and fled when shopkeepers and passersby came to our rescue," reported Rajiv to the police. He stated that the interceptors were not accompanied by staff of the Municipal Council.

Meanwhile, Mr Abhai Kumar Jain, president Pesticide Dealers Association, Matti, Mr Tarsem Garg, president, Chaura Bazar Welfare Association and Mr Surinder Jatt have demanded a probe into illegal activities of the employees of the octroi contractors.

Mr Bahadur Singh SHO, City, said further action would be taken after verifying charges levelled by the complainant.



Fly to Malaysia to hold weddings
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
Malaysia Tourism is keen on promoting Indians to organise weddings in Malaysia. While two Indian weddings, both from South India, recently took place in that country, two more weddings are expected, this time from Punjab.

The initiative, that is promoting tourism by organising weddings, has been taken for the first time ever by any country. “Indian wedding market stands at an estimated Rs 50,000 crore and we are very keen to tap this market,” said Mr Roslan Abdullah, Director, Tourism Malaysia.

He said Tourism Malaysia had tied up with event managers and was offering various packages for those intending to hold weddings there.

“Besides providing exotic locations the cost of a wedding would not be very high in comparison to India”.

“A wedding involves hundreds of people and our idea is that once they visit Malaysia, they would like to stay and enjoy holidaying there, shopping etc, which is how we would promote our tourism”, he said.

It also launched “Visit Malaysia Year 2007” campaign in Punjab today.

The campaign is a prelude to the actual campaign, the year when the country commemorates its 50th golden anniversary independence year.

“The board plans an investment of Rs 120 million in the Indian market through this campaign,” said Mr Abdulla. Special packages are being offered to popularise the campaign in conjunction with Sagger Holidays and Singapore Airlines.

Through the campaign the ministry expects to attract more than 20 million global visitors and 35,000 Indians to Malaysia.

In order to surpass its 20 million mark, the Tourism Ministry of Malaysia has identified eight specific regions in the world and it expects India to figure in the top seven in terms of revenue contribution.

The country, which received 2.10 lakh tourists from India of the total 17 million across the globe, aims at 5 lakh tourists from here within a few years.


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