L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Gang of robbers busted, 7 held
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, April 18
Seven members of the ‘Kala Kachchhewala’ gang have been arrested and at least 15 others detained for questioning and verification of their involvement in incidents of robbery, snatching and dacoity in 11 districts of the state for the past 10 years.

Announcing this at a press conference here today, Ludhiana Range DIG Parag Jain and Jagraon SSP R.K. Jaiswal said the gang was involved in nearly 90 unsolved crime incidents in the past decade.

The main area of operation of the gang was the Malwa and Doaba regions of the state, they added.

Those arrested were Chand Mohd Channa of Meerut (Uttar Pradesh), Ali Jan of Meerut, Mohd Yusaf Saleem of Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh), Mohd Saleem Kaka of Malerkotla, Raj Kumar of Rishi Nagar (Ludhiana), Kundan Singh of Nawanshahr and Sohan Singh Raja of Kaunke Colony (Jagraon).

The accused belonged to Meerut and Muzaffarpur districts and their local addresses were temporary.

The police recovered a Tata 407, a Canter, two pistols of .315 bore and 10 cartridges, one pistol of .12 bore and two cartridges, one sword and two rods.

The police officials said Channa was the gang leader and most of its members belonged to the Banzara community.

They said members of the gang used to sell bangles initially and trade cattle from Punjab to Uttar Pradesh.

They added that the gang used to commit crimes earlier in Uttar Pradesh and later in Punjab.

Members of the gang had looted Muslim shrines despite being Muslims, they said.

The robbers used to do a recce of the area in the daytime and commit the crime at night, they added.

Members of the gang used to lock family members in one room and take away cash and valuables, not hesitating to shoot at those who resisted, they further said.

The gang usually targeted mazars, deras and houses located out of villages and migrants labourers living at tubewells, they added.



Chandigarh resident posing as Major held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
The Model Town police has arrested a resident of Chandigarh, who allegedly has been masquerading as a Major and fleecing youths on the pretext of facilitating their recruitment in the Army.

Besides duping a number of youths, the alleged conman, S.S. Ghuman, also exploited private security guards by posing as an Army officer appointed to check them.

This conman is a graduate and claims to be unmarried. He is a resident of Sector 44-A, Chandigarh.

The Army has been cautioning youths interested in recruitment in the Army to beware of touts, who promised recruitment in lieu of money. The Army has been issuing warning advertisements, besides senior officers issuing press statements to educate youths about such conmen.

Model Town SHO Jogi Raj told Ludhiana Tribune that the accused was nabbed near the Chattar Singh park on a tip-off about his activities.

The police claimed to have recovered a fake identity card of the Army, a toy pistol, a chequebook of Punjab National Bank, a passbook of post office and NCC certificates.

The accused has been booked under Section 420 and 171of the IPC. The police said the conman’s claims were verified from Army sources, which confirmed that he was a fraud.



Wheat arrivals continue despite boycott call
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
The joint call for the boycott of mandis given by various factions of the Bharatiya Kisan Union and supported by the Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal evoked a mixed response today as the wheat arrivals continued in most of the mandis, although at lower pace, on the second day of the boycott today.

However, the BKU leader, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, claimed that only those farmers had brought in the wheat to the mandis who were ignorant about the boycott call or had some other compulsions. He said the boycott of the mandis was complete today.

The wheat trollies continued to arrive at the biggest grain market here on the second day of the boycott. The volunteers of the BKU continued picketing the entrance points today also.

A number of volunteers were also moving around inside the mandi. However, in most cases they avoided confrontation with the farmers who were not willing to cooperate. Arguments were also heard between the volunteers and farmers as some of them expressed their helplessness for selling off their wheat today only. The BKU volunteers stopped and returned a number of wheat trollies today. Only those trollies were allowed into the mandi (for unloading purpose only) which had been hired by the farmers as that would add to the farmers' losses.

Some of the farmers who had arrived at the mandi today said they could not afford to wait since they were not able to store the stocks in the fields. Moreover, they pointed out since the weather was playing truant with thick and dense clouds scattered all over, they feared rains could damage the crop. That was the reason, the farmers said, for their bringing the wheat to the mandi today even when they knew about the boycott.

Ranbir Sood, a leading broker, also claimed that the wheat kept on arriving in the market. However, he admitted that the trading was quite low as compared to the normal days. He said the farmers who had various compulsions had come for selling their wheat and they were allowed to do so by the BKU volunteers.

The BKU on the other hand claimed that the government agencies had deliberately stocked the wheat in the mandi much in advance to make out that the boycott had failed. The union said the boycott would be complete tomorrow as more and more farmers were learning about it only now.

The union also thanked all those who cooperated with it for the boycott. The union made special mention of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal, which had supported the boycott call.



Workers, industry trade charges over labour unrest
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
Even as industry in this region complains of rising labour unrest, workers blame the industry for the situation. According to union representatives, an aware worker, who raises his voice against the alleged violation of labour laws, has become an eye sore for the industry.

“The fact is that it is the industry that is violating labour laws. For so many decades, none even talked of it, there were no measures taken to ensure that the industry implemented laws. But when workers are raising their voice against this gross violation, all are blaming them. It is the violator of law who is to be blamed and not the one who raises his voice against it,” alleged Mr Raghunath Singh, vice-president, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).

Union activity in the past few years has been on the rise here. The last two years particularly witnessed a couple of strikes, which initially happened in the cycle industry but later in various other industries as well. Protests by workers, while on one hand, had an adverse impact on industrial productivity and profits on the other hand it left many workers jobless.

Troubled by heightened activity, the industry approached the government time and again demanding strict action in this direction. Industrialists, who allege that union representatives were provoking workers to satisfy their own political ambitions, even tried to form a joint platform to “fight unionism”.

“Union leaders are only provoking workers. The industry is not violating any labour laws. Such an activity is harming the industry and also the workers,” said an industrialist.

However, even after being rendered jobless, workers remained undeterred. “Earlier we were not aware. Now we know that they are not giving us our dues. We will continue fighting for our rights even if we are left without jobs,” said Bal Krishan, a worker who lost his job around a year and a half ago. He said being a member of the union gave him a platform to raise his voice, which is why despite losing his job he continued being a member.

Not only have members of unions increased manifold in the past few months, one can witness workers participating in dharnas, rallies and conventions in large numbers.

While both sides continue blaming each other, experts emphasise the need for an amendment to labour laws and ensuring the implementation of the same for a better industrial environment.



Man held for rape bid
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
The local police today arrested a 30-year-old man, Parwasan, on a charge of attempting to rape a 6-year-old girl at the Focal Point today.

The girl has been hospitalised. She was playing in a park opposite a factory where her mother worked. He lured her to accompany him to a vacant plot. But the girl raised the alarm when he tried to rape her.

The suspect was nabbed by some labourers working nearby and handed over to the police. SHO Surinder Mohan said he was a married man.



ASI shifted to police lines
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
The city police today shifted ASI Bikramjit Singh, in-charge, Ramgarh police post, to the police lines for allegedly illegally detaining and beating a Dalit resident of Bhaura village.

SSP A S Rai said stern action would be taken against such misuse of authority if allegations were true. However, no case has been registered so far. The police was awaiting the medical examination report of the alleged victim.

SP, City-II, Kuldip Singh, deputed to conduct investigations into the case recorded the statement of the alleged victim Balwinder Singh alias Teetu.

He was picked up by the police from his residence in Bhaura village and tortured to allegedly extract confession of stealing seven cows from Ramgarh village.



Traffic bottlenecks IV
Roundabouts obstructing traffic in city
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
Roundabouts in the city are posing a major challenge for the traffic police to ensure smooth flow of vehicles. With their large circumference and location mostly at staggered junctions, the rotaries offer a piquant problem for the traffic management.

These may be the only green spots visible in the concrete jungle but a survey by the traffic police has singled out 8 of the rotaries that have become obsolete in smooth flow of traffic and were in fact turning into traffic chokepoints.

Installing of traffic points after removing the rotaries is being proposed as the only alternative after several experiments, including setting up the lights without removing the rotaries, like being followed in Chandigarh, have not been of much help.

The city residents already suffer the choking jams at these places. Instead of providing orderly movement of traffic and preventing direct conflict, the rotaries are not sufficient for the volume of traffic entering from all approaches.

DSP, Traffic, Sandeep Goel, quoting from survey by the traffic police said: "All possibilities, including posting traffic police round the clock, have not yielded the desired results. The only solution seems to be to remove the roundabouts, provide more slip roads and change the location of some bus stops near some of the roundabouts. Only this would reduce traffic congestion."

The traffic survey points out that the traffic exceeds crossover of 2000 vehicles per hour. When this figure is reached, traffic signals are the only solution.

But this is more easily said than done. It is mainly due to the staggered junctions like the Fountain Chowk where 6 roads meet that the installation of traffic lights without removing the rotary had proved a failure. Interestingly, even if the chowk is removed, the staggered junction still poses a problem.

Manning 6 roads with traffic lights cannot be done without blocking at least one or two roads. Residents and shopkeepers affected by the blockade have always been objecting to any such idea.

Further, there could be religious controversies if roundabouts like Vishwakarma Chowk or the Basti Jodhewal Chowk, where a highly revered mazaar is located, are removed.

It is the combination of factors like those that makes the job of traffic police more difficult. Mr Goel adds that for solution of traffic problems at these places the whole-hearted help of the residents and organisations is required.



Rs 336-cr sewerage plan for city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
Local Bodies Minister Jagjit Singh has said a plan costing Rs 336 crore has been prepared under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM) to lay sewerage in the entire city.

He was addressing a function after laying the foundation stone of the main sewer in the outer area from Chandigarh road to the main pumping station at Jamalpur, costing Rs 744.61 lakh, here today. He stated that under the JNURM, development projects costing more than Rs 1,300 crore would be executed.

He said all main roads would be widened, drinking water would be provided to all, houses for weaker sections would be constructed, streetlights would be fitted in all parts, flyovers and overbridges would be built and a local transport system would be provided.

He said 50 per cent of the cost of the JNURM projects would be borne by the Centre, 30 per cent financed by financial institutions and 20 per cent contributed by the state government and the municipal corporation.

The minister claimed that the state government had set up a municipal development fund of Rs 990 crore, under which 100 per cent sewerage and water supply would be provided in all cities and towns.

He said over Rs 600 crore was being spent on implementation of welfare programmes for Scheduled Castes and weaker sections and a corpus fund of Rs 450 crore had been set up to ensure regular pensions to 11 lakh beneficiaries.

He claimed that Rs 700 crore was being spent under the Punjab Nirman Programme.

The minister added that the government had enhanced the amount of ‘shagun’ to Rs 15,000 on the marriage of Scheduled Caste girls.

He said the Chief Minister had decided to provide five-marla plots for the construction of houses for homeless Scheduled Caste families and toilets were being constructed in houses of Dalits at a cost of Rs 60 crore.

The minister said the state government had sanctioned 162 big industrial projects with an investment of more than Rs 63,000 crore, which would generate around 10 lakh job opportunities in the state.

He handed over a cheque for Rs 18.74 crore to municipal corporation Commissioner S.K. Sharma for development projects in the city.

Mr. Malkiat Singh Birmi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, said the sewerage and water supply project would be completed on a war footing.



Orientation cadre for NCC staff begins
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
The Group Commander of the Ludhiana group, Col S.K. Varni, today inaugurated a week-long cadre for the Army staff, which has been newly inducted in the Ludhiana NCC group, at 3 Punjab Girls Battalion NCC at Krishna Nagar here. Participants from the eight units of the group including 13 Punjab Bn NCC Ferozepur, 5 Punjab girls Bn NCC Moga, 2 Punjab (independent) company Abohar, 3 Punjab Bn NCC Ludhiana, 19 Punjab Bn NCC Ludhiana, 1 Punjab R and V Sqn NCC PAU Ludhiana and 3 Punjab Bn NCC Ludhiana would be trained during the week-long cadre.

In his opening address, Col Varni motivated the staff and explained to them, their role in grooming the youth of the country through NCC. The participants were briefed about the organisation, the NCC syllabus, the important training events and conduct of NCC activities. At the end of this cadre, all participants will be put to a test and would be expected to know about the history, aims, organisation and activities of NCC. The training programme would guide the participants about finer points of handling of girl cadets, escort duty, enrollment process, training syllabus of cadets, camp duties like safety and security, administrative and special arrangements, scale of clothing authorised to cadets.

Finally, the group commander wished the new staff a great tenure ahead and encouraged them to participate whole heartedly during this training session so that they contribute effectively in all future events.

Lt Col Avtar Singh, Commanding Officer of the unit, Lt Kulbinder Sandhu, Administrative Officer, Sub Major and Hony Lt Madan Lal were also present.



Forum asks govt to stop wasting money on ads
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
The Forum for Public Cause has condemned the daily reckless spending by the Punjab Government on big advertisements about inaugurations of new projects and other achievements in almost all English and vernacular newspapers.

Mr B.B. Goyal, General Secretary of the forum, in a press statement today, demanded immediate intervention of the President of India to stop the government from looting the taxpayers’ money which, otherwise, was supposed to be spent on developmental activities like building rooms in schools, providing equipment in hospitals, repairing village roads and for ensuring clean environment.

“Perhaps, the government had forgotten the fate of ‘India Shining Campaign’ by the NDA which failed miserably to garner votes. Let the leaders ask the bureaucrats to go to the public to sort out their grievances rather than pampering the public by false promises,” said Mr Goyal.



5 booked in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 18
The police has registered a case under Sections 406, 498 A of the IPC against Jagjit Singh of Biwipur village, Fatehgarh Sahib, his mother, brother and two sisters-in-law on the complaint of his wife Rajwinder Kaur, a resident of Mohanpur, near here, today.

According to information, Rajwinder was harassed for dowry by the accused. Frustrated, she returned to her parents’ house and has been staying there for the past three years.



Sify revises ISD rates
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
Sify Limited today announced new ISD rates for its Talk Net phone service at iWay cyber cafes in Punjab.

According to the company, the new rates were Rs 2.49 per minute for calls made to the USA, the UK and Canada, Rs 3.99 per minute for calls made to Australia and New Zealand and Rs 4.99 per minute for calls made to Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Mr Sushil Luniya, vice-president, Access Media, Sify Limited, said their prime objective was to enable high quality phone calls that were affordable.


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