L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Blast in cracker unit damages 4 houses
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 5
A powerful explosion in an illegal firecrackers manufacturing unit ripped apart walls and roofs of four houses besides causing cracks in several adjoining houses in Sant Tehal Dass Nagar, Peeru Banda Colony, around 8.10 am today.

It was sheer providence that saved residents of these houses. Most of them escaped death or serious injuries by a whisker. The unit owner and workers ran away after locking it. It could not be known if any worker was injured in the incident or not.

The Additional SHO of the Salem Tabri police station said the owner of the unit, Prakash, along with his unidentified partners and workers, had been booked under Section 9 of the Explosives Act and Section 427 of the IPC.

They have also been booked under Section 188 for violating orders of the District Magistrate that banned manufacturing and storing of crackers in residential areas.

Police sources said the illegal unit was sealed several times earlier also and the owners were booked, but they managed to run it illegally.

Naib Tehsildar Navdeep Singh Sidhu also reached the spot and recorded the statement of those who had suffered huge property losses. The police also collected samples from the house in which the blast took place.

Mohinder Kaur, who lives in the adjacent house, said the explosion was so powerful that the walls of their houses trembled as if there was an earthquake. “We all ran out of the houses,” she said. The wall of the first floor of their house caved in immediately afterwards, she added.

Sukhdev Kaur, who lived behind the factory, was still under shock. “There was some vibration before the blast. I rushed out of the house with my two children. The moment we stepped out, the entire house came crashing down,” she added. Her two-room house was reduced to a pile of debris.

Aslam, a tenant on the first floor of a house, was performing namaaz along with two others at that time. They had placed their breakfast on a bed placed near a wall. The explosion blew off the wall with bricks and debris piling up on the bed.

The walls of the house of another resident, Mr Om Prakash, also developed cracks due to the explosion.

Meanwhile, residents of Peeru Banda Colony where a blast took place in an illegal fire crackers manufacturing unit this morning are sitting over a tinderbox of explosives as about 10 more such units are running illegally in the colony.

Informed sources revealed the area is quite notorious for such illegal manufacturing and a number of minor blasts or fire incidents have taken place there in the past too. The sources said the units stopped manufacturing whenever such incidents took place. They resumed the work soon.

The sources said the district administration had gathered information about the factories and was in the process of taking stringent action against the manufacturers. The administration had also directed the police to take action against such units.



I have not violated any law: Mayor
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 5
The summoning by a court and registration of a case at the behest of the Election Commission of India against him notwithstanding, Mayor Nahar Singh Gill appears to be unapologetic and unrepentant. He said he had not violated any law or flouted any EC directive about the Rae Bareili byelection being contested by the party president, Ms Sonia Gandhi.

In an interview to The Tribune here today, Mr Gill maintained that he had only identified the voters from the Rae Bareili parliamentary constituency. He said as a Congress worker he had every right to campaign for the party candidate there. “There is nothing wrong in using your personal relationships to persuade the voters”, he observed.

He pointed out he had not enticed the voters nor offered any benefits to them. He said he has been knowing each and every person settled or living in his area in Sherpur. “I have not forced anyone to vote for the Congress”, he asserted, while adding, “I do not think that there is anything wrong in requesting and pleading the voters to vote for a particular candidate”.

Mr Gill is reportedly being envied by a number of party leaders who find that in this controversy he has turned out to be a hero for the party. A local leader said, after the EC directive, Mr Gill has become a familiar name in the Congress headquarters in Delhi. He said the result of the legal proceedings against him notwithstanding, he has scored a point of “unfailing loyalty” towards the Congress president. And personal loyalty pays good dividends in politics.

The Mayor, who had seemingly adopted a defensive approach when the issue came to the notice of the EC, has not turned into an aggressive campaigner. He was reportedly advised by his well-wishers to stick to his guns as this was going to serve him in good stead with the party High Command. This gave him added confidence and instead of being apologetic and defensive he started justifying himself and his campaign.

Mobilising about 3,000 voters enmasse is no mean task although it may not be of much consequence in a parliamentary constituency like Rae Bareili. But Mr Gill seems to have scored a point over his rivals. Besides it has been noticed by all and sundry in the party, making him a hero overnight. 



Tribune Impact
Jagraon SDM orders closure of school
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 5
The SDM, Jagraon, has directed the management of Little Star Public School, Bhamipura village, to close the school till necessary arrangements for accommodation of the students were made. Ludhiana Tribune has carried a report on the school in its today’s edition.

Sources at the office of the SDM, Jagraon, confirmed that the management of the school had been asked to close the school.

The SDM had asked the District Education Officer, Ludhiana, on Thursday to initiate appropriate action against the management of the school and ensure safety of the students in case it was allowed to run under these circumstances.

Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill, SDM, Jagraon, said he had asked the DEO, Ludhiana, to initiate action the Principal and the office-bearers of the body running the school.

Mr Gill also directed Mr Manmohan Kaushik, Executive Magistrate, to visit the spot and submit his report. It was on the basis of his report that Mr Gill had directed the DEO, Ludhiana, to take appropriate action against the school authorities.

As the DEO had shown his inability to initiate any action in that regard directly, the SDM served a notice on the school authorities to close the school till necessary arrangements were made as per the norms laid down by the Education Department. The school authorities have reportedly assured the administration that suitable arrangements would be made soon.

The school was established in 1995. It is being run by a registered body. Earlier, it was being run from a rented building, but the owner of the building had got it vacated recently.

Though the construction of the school building has begun, the management, instead of arranging another building for the time being started taking classes in the open and in tents.



Muskmelon hit by viral diseases
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 5
Muskmelon is under threat from viral diseases and downy mildew in Kapurthala, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur districts. The diseases have appeared again with vengeance this year, say PAU plant pathologists.

The head of the Department of Plant Pathology, Dr (Mrs) S.K. Mann, yesterday informed the farmers that the currently cultivated varieties of muskmelon did not have resistance against viral diseases.

Therefore, the only way to control these was through rouging of infected early vines which carry seed- borne infection and control of its vector, aphid, which spreads the disease. This could be done by spraying Malathion 250 ml in 100 litres of water.

As for downy mildew, farmers have been advised to spray the vines with Indofil M-45 at weekly intervals.

Under heavy disease situation, where farmers have not sprayed Indofil M-45, Ridomil MZ or Aliette @ 600g per acre in 200 litres of water should be sprayed at 10-day interval followed by yet another round of Indofil spray. 



Police told to ensure safety of martyr’s mother
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 5
Dr Indu, SDM, Malerkotla, has directed the local police to ensure security of life and property of Fatima Beghum of Dehliz Kalan village, near here, mother of Sowar Mushtaq Khan, a martyr, who had sacrificed his life during Operation Rakshak in Jammu and Kashmir on April 24, 2000.

The SDM has acted after receiving complaint from the victim that an accomplice of Akram Khan former sarpanch, already indicted for harassing her, had been threatening her to withdraw complaints lodged against the former sarpanch.

The Tribune had first highlighted the alleged misdeeds of the former sarpanch on January 30. He along with three other persons was booked under Section 420 and 120 B of the IPC for allegedly defrauding a widow of Dehliz Kalan village. The Tribune had again highlighted the plight of Fatima Beghum, mother of Sowar Mushtaq Khan, and the outcome of an inquiry conducted by Dr Indu SDM, Malerkotla, on April 23.

Though the local police had immediately swung into action immediately after the report submitted by Dr Indu to the DC, Sangrur, and was published in the columns of The Tribune, it failed to nab the accused. Fatima Beghum, along with the office bearers of the civic body of the village, had reproached the SDM and alleged that the accomplice of the former sarpanch had been threatening her of dire consequences in case she did not withdraw the case.

“After listening to the grievances of the martyr’s mother I talked to Mr Rachhpal Singh, DSP, Malerkotla, who assured me that adequate arrangements would be made by the Ahmedgarh police,” claimed Dr Indu, while talking to this reporter. Mr S.R. Ladhar, DC, Sangrur, had been apprised of the latest position, she claimed.

Mr Rachhpal Singh Hara, DSP, Malerkotla, said the accused had been absconding immediately after the registration of an FIR under Sections 406, 384, and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Fatima Beghum. “Though the accused had been evading arrest, we have made adequate arrangements for the security of the victim’s family. Recognising the contribution of the family in the service of the nation, we have offered them security also,” claimed Mr Hara. Perusal of the records revealed that Akram Khan had been booked under six criminal cases at the local police station and the Sangrur police station.

Dr Indu had earlier indicted Akram Khan in the case related to harassment and extortion threats being given to a martyr’s family. Strict action and registration of a case had been recommended against the accused, who had earlier been facing five cases under various sections of the law.



Children’s home comes to rescue of 8-month-old
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 5
An eight-month-old boy, who was found abandoned in Sarabha Nagar Mini-Market, found a new home at the SGB Children’s Home located in Dham Talwandi Khurd. The boy was found crying outside a doctor's clinic in Sarabha Nagar on Tuesday night. He was picked up by a shopkeeper, who reported the matter to the police.

The police reported the matter to the children’ home, which is an authorised agency to adopt children found abandoned in various circumstances.

Dr Jagdeep Singh, Director of the home said the boy was safe with them. He added that he would be looked after like other children of the home.

He said the home would not appeal for the adoption of the boy in near future as it looked as if the boy was not abandoned but somehow got lost from his parents.

‘‘It has never happened that parents would desert an eight-month-old boy. May be some communication gap has resulted in whatever has happened to him.

“We will wait for his parents first. If they do not come back within some days, we would look for some family who would adopt him,’’ said Dr Jagdeep Singh.

He added that already three families were willing to adopt the child, but he would be given to them after following the legal adoption procedure.

He also said if his parents came to know the whereabouts of the child, they could claim him from them anytime.

The boy was with a migrant woman till yesterday. She had volunteered to keep the baby till some alternate arrangements were made.



Agro economy in for makeover
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 5
The agricultural economy appears to be in for a major transformation.
With the coming of the corporate giants like Bharti, a new revolution appears to being scripted in the countryside.

The Fieldfresh Foods, a Bharti-Rothschild Enterprise, which has already acquired 300 acre of land in Ladowal village near here, has introduced new varieties of crops which offer better price and prospects to the farmers.

“We want to bring innovation and industrial pattern into agriculture,” Rohtash Mal, Chief Executive of the company, said adding that they had established a chain right from the sowing of seeds upto the marketing of the produce.

He said they were setting up a pattern for other farmers to adopt. Moreover, they were also offering farmers an assured market for their products, however, with certain quality specifications at the pattern of industrial outsourcing. At Ladowal, he said, it was “trial and experimentation” where different varieties of crops were being sown.

For example, the Field Fresh Foods had sown about 20 varieties of chilies which was not possible for the ordinary farmers.

Mr Mal maintained that besides setting a pattern for the farmers to go for diversification from the paddy-wheat cycle, they were also creating jobs for the rural farm labour.

He disclosed that in a small village like Ladowal they had already employed about 500 persons.

The labourers were provided all the facilities that could be described among the best in the industry.

“We want to tell the farmers that if we can do it from the same soil, why cannot they,” he pointed out adding once the trend picks up it would spread across the entire state as there was an undying entrepreneurs spirit among the Punjabis.

Currently, the Field Fresh Foods is cultivating about 1200 acre of land across the state and is likely to expand its base.

Besides, it is also working on an arrangement with the farmers providing them with a pattern and parameter within which they can produce various crops while maintaining all the quality standards.

Mr R.P.S. Dhaliwal, head technical services, who looks after the operations at Ladowal village said the entire process was carefully monitored with each and every workers being trained in skill and techniques.


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