L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Suspect shares stage with Dullo
‘Victim family’ sits on fast
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
While the condition of a family of a kiryana merchant from Kanganwal deteriorated on the fourth day of the hunger strike which is seeking the arrest of a financier, the suspect shared the stage with PPCC President Shamsher Singh Dullo at a political rally in Kanganwal village. He was seen proudly posing for pictures on the stage.

This happened in the presence of scores of cops, who were providing security to the political rally. Police sources later said they were not arresting him as the case was under investigation. Other Congress leaders, including Mayor Nahar Singh Gill and District Congress President, Jagmohan Sharma were also present with the financier on the stage.

Interestingly, the only way to avoid arrest after the registration of a FIR was to seek bail from the court concerned. No police official confirmed that the suspect was on bail. His presence in the rally raised many eyebrows.

On the other hand, the condition of the alleged victim, Hira Lal, and his wife deteriorated considerably on the third day of their fast unto death. The family has been demanding arrest of the financier, Shambhu, who alleged kidnapped them, beat them up and forced them to sign on some blank papers.

DSP R.K. Bakshi tried in vain to convince them to end their fast but the couple refused. On the other hand, activists of the All India Hindu Suraksha Samiti, blocked traffic for over an hour at ferozepore road by lying on the road.

Mr Rajiv Tandon, President of the Samiti, said they had been left with no option but to block traffic as no official from the district administration or the police department came to listen to their grievances till today morning. He said the officials came when they blocked road.

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Adequate steps taken to check malaria
Tribune News Service

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 5
The district health department has made adequate arrangements to ensure hundred per cent screening and treatment of suspected malaria patients by the end of the ensuing month.

Despite a large proportion of slum population in the district, only seven malaria cases were reported during first five months of the current year.

Meanwhile, authorities at civic bodies have been asked to take extra precautions in the areas of drinking water supply and waste management.

Dr K.C. Goel, district health officer (DHO), Sangrur, claimed that adequate arrangements had been made for the observance of the anti-malaria. "Besides taking aggressive steps to detect and treat suspected patients of malaria, we would concentrate on creating awareness among masses about probable causes of the disease," said Dr Goel.

He also informed that 146 malaria workers had been deputed to detect suspected cases through a door to door survey. 909 drug distribution centers, 76 fever treatment depots and 53 malaria clinics had been equipped to handle the problem in a phased manner.

On the current situation of the problem, Dr Goel maintained that coordinated efforts by the health department and social organisations had created a wide awareness. As a result, only seven cases of malaria had been detected in a population of 21 lakh in the district. These cases were reported from Bhawanigarh, Sherpur and Dhanaula PHCs.

The executive officers and sarpanches had been asked to ensure proper management of drinking and waste water. They were directed to check leakage of water and ensure proper chlorination.

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PSEB staff to hold dharna on June 8
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
In protest against the Electricity Act 2003, employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) will observe a strike on June 8 across the state.
In a protest dharna organised here today, Mr Naurang Singh, union leader, said even though PSEB management had extended the date of implementation of the Electricity Act 2003 several times, it has already begun the outsourcing of department-level work.

The employees alleged that private companies were being given the work of distributing bills, taking meter readings, installing meters etc. “Thousands of vacancies have not been filled in the electricity board. Instead of fresh recruitments, the management is resorting to temporary and more expensive measures through outsourcing,” they said.

They said if such policies continued, the day was not far when the electricity board would not be able to sustain itself. The protesting employees said they would observe strike on June 8.

They also condemned the privatisation policies of the government.

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Drug addiction on the rise in Ludhiana, says psychiatrist
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
The incident involving suspected overdose of intoxicants by Rahul Mahajan and his friends in Delhi which landed Rahul in the hospital and claimed the life of PA of late Pramod Mahajan, had once again brought to the fore the increasing use of intoxicants.

While making these observations, Dr Rajeev Gupta, a city psychiatrist claimed that a similar trend was fast catching up in the industrial capital of Punjab as well. Drug addiction was fast spreading its deadly tentacles in the city and surrounding areas, thereby taking a heavy toll of the young population of the region.

Dr Gupta said children of the affluent families, having access to unlimited money, commonly misused expensive drugs like smack, heroin and cocaine etc.

“Most of such addicts routinely spend over Rs 30,000 a month in procuring these drugs”, he said.

While maintaining that smack was freely available in the city, he revealed that some of the addicts had established a supply line from places like Delhi and Rajasthan.

He pointed out that it was not only in the big city alone but youth in smaller towns like Phillaur, Khanna, Samrala and Moga were also falling prey to smack and other intoxicants and in the process shattering the peace and tranquility of their families.

“These intoxicating drugs are very hard and regular use of these substances can cause severe depression, acute violence and paranoid tendencies. To get a higher kick, drug cocktail is often used by many addicts. In fact, the urge for getting a stronger kick, happens to be the main reason for the youth to get hooked to these intoxicants”, he said

Asserting that the risk of death or serious illness either due to overdose or use of injudicious drug cocktail was not uncommon in the case of drug addicts, Dr Gupta said that in most of the cases, the addicts themselves entered the drug trade or indulged in petty crimes when they run out of money to maintain the supply of drugs.

The continuous misuse of drugs further led to marital problems like separation and divorce among the drug addicts and in the long run, the addicts quit their jobs or business and lived a pathetic life of despair and penury, he added.

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Man released on HC intervention
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 5
Gurcharan Singh of Shrowal village was released from the custody of the Sidhwanbet police last evening on the intervention of the warrant officer appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The police claimed that the man was involved in extortion cases in Faridabad.

According to Mr Lakhbir Singh, a panchayat member, the police came to his residence on June 2 and took Gurcharan Singh into custody without assigning any reason. He said Gurdip Singh, victim’s brother, moved the high court for his release, following which Mr R.S. Khero was appointed as warrant officer. 

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Mayor takes lead with mass contact programme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
Hoping to contest from the Ludhiana Rural Assembly segment in the forthcoming elections the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, has set the poll activity ball rolling.
Interestingly, neither of the sitting legislators from the city, two of whom are ministers and two parliamentary secretaries, initiated the party campaign. It was initiated by the Mayor who otherwise has much less stake.

The Mayor organised a number of meetings in the Ludhiana Rural Assembly segment here yesterday which were addressed by the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, and the District Congress Committee, Ludhiana (urban) president, Mr Jagmohan Sharma. The response to these meetings was reasonably good. In fact at some places the turnout was much higher than the expectations of the organisers.

However, it is not that there is no party activity in the city. In fact the Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, and the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawer, have remained in constant touch with the people, but the mass contact programme at the party level was organised for the first time yesterday only.

The party leaders said yesterday’s mass contact programme had shaken off the inertia which had plagued the party for quite some time. Other legislators are likely to organise similar programmes in the near future. There are several other leaders who have reportedly sought time from the PCC president for similar mass contact programmes in their respective areas with the obvious purpose of strengthening their claim for the party nomination in the forthcoming elections.

Mr Nahar Singh Gill said, he was glad that the people had shown so much ‘‘love and regard’’ for him. He claimed that in the due course of time the party activities would be strengthened. He announced that similar mass contact programmes would be organised in other wards in the city with the PCC president addressing all such meetings.

Mr Gill claimed that he had organised yesterday’s mass contact programme purely as a ‘‘humble servant of the party’’. He said, ‘‘as the Mayor of the city, I am responsible for mobilising the workers at grass root level and I have done the same’’.

When asked whether he was eying the Ludhiana Rural Assembly segment, Mr Gill said, ‘‘Yes I am and what is wrong in that?’’. He asserted that as a loyal Congress worker, who had dedicated his entire life to the party, he had every right to nourish the ambitions for getting party nomination. ‘‘It is up to the party to take the final decision, but I have the right to stake my claim with all justification’’, he said. 

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Woman in need of help 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
A young Nepali woman, Ms Bouri, who is just 20 and also has a girl child of two years, needs immediate medical treatment which is way beyond her means.
The woman is suffering from severe infection of valves of the heart, due to which her heart is failing and lungs are also getting damaged.

Ms Bouri was initially attended to by Dr R.S. Maheshwari at Life Line Hospital. Sensing the gravity of the situation, the patient was thereafter referred to Dr Harinder Singh Bedi, a prominent heart surgeon of Northern India and presently Chairman of Cardiac Science at Ludhiana Mediciti Hospital here.

According to Dr Bedi, there were four valves in the heart which needed to function normally, otherwise blood started leaking back. This led to pressure on the lungs, heart and liver and the growth of the patient was hampered.

"Ms Bouri can hardly walk now without getting short of breath and with the disability taking a heavy toll on her body, she looks much below her actual age. Her growth is hampered and all her vital body functions are under great stress."

Dr Bedi said a major heart surgery was immediately required for this patient in which three cardiac valves would have to be replaced. Even though the hospital and the team of cardiac surgeons had agreed to waive of their fees and other charges but still a lot of expensive material, including heart valves, were needed for the surgery. The heart valves were very expensive and the total basic cost was likely to run to about Rs. 3 lakh.

The only ray of hope for this hapless woman were the good Samaritans from the region who could come forward with donations so that corrective surgery puts her back on road to recovery. Donation can be made to Ludhiana Mediciti Hospital, Ferozepore Road, Ludhiana, by crossed cheques with 'Donation for Ms Bouri' written at the back of the cheques. 

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NGO vows to make city polio-free
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
Narayan Sewa Sansthan Trust, an NGO engaged in providing free polio corrective surgery in several major cities of the country, has announced to extend its activities to the city with the intention to make it polio-free.

Ms Kalpana Goel, director of the trust, said here last evening that the Udaipur-based organisation had been working for the welfare of polio victims for the past 21 years and during this period, more than 50,000 corrective surgical procedures had been carried out at Manav Kendra in Udaipur.

“In addition to extending the facility of free surgery and follow-up treatment, we also aim at the rehabilitation of the needy polio-stricken persons through financial assistance,” Ms Goel added.

She informed that the trust would soon organise a free check-up camp for polio patients where those in need of corrective surgery would be identified and thereafter taken to Udaipur, where operations would be done. The trust would also arrange to distribute tricycles, wheel chairs, artificial limbs and calipers to the polio victims at free check-up camps to be organised on a regular basis in the city.

Prominent among other functionaries of the trust present at the occasion were Ms Swati Bassi, Mr Abhay Kumar, Mr Sandeep Goyal, Mr Suresh Kumar and Mr Sat Pal Heera.

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Mystery shrouds farmer’s death
Our Correspondent

Khamano, June 5
Baldev Singh, a 60-year-old farmer of nearby Hargana village, was found dead under mysterious circumstances near his tubewell today.
According to information available, he had gone to his tubewell for sampling of water in his fields and had slept there. When his son Skattar Singh reached at the motor with tea at around 5 am today he found the door locked from outside.

When he opened the door he saw that his father was lying next to a wall. On checking on him he found that his father was dead. He had some burn injuries on his stomach. The bed in the room and other belongings had been reduced to ashes due to fire. An outside portion of a window also showed some signs of fire thus making the matter mysterious.

DSP of Khamano Satinderpal Singh and SHO Harmeet Singh Hundal reached the spot and sent the body for post mortem examination after registering a case under Section 174, IPC. The police, however, did not rule out the possibility of foul play in the death.

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Newsmen seek land for press club
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
The Ludhiana chapter of the Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists has sought space for setting up of a press club in the city. A delegation of the union led by its local president, Mr Karan Kapoor, and the general secretary, Mr Yogesh Kapoor, met the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Gupta, and urged him to allocate some space in way of land or building for housing the club.

The delegation members brought home the point that Ludhiana was one of the important news centres and a number of publications had started from here.

A number of national newspapers had their bureaus and local supplements. With the result there was quite a good number of journalists representing the print and electronic media working here.

The Deputy Commissioner assured the delegation that he would take up the matter with the higher authorities so that a way out is found at the earliest. 

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Trucks flagged off for Amarnath Yatra langar
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 4
Sukhdev Singh Walia, president, Truck Operators Union, flagged off 10 trucks loaded with ration for langar to be organised at Bal Tal, a pilgrimage spot in Jammu and Kashmir.

Volunteers of the local unit of the Shiv Shakti Seva Dal monitored the collection of food grains and other eatables from the town.

Tarsem Garg, an office bearer of the organisation, claimed that the association had been extending help to the langar committee that organised langar for pilgrims during the Amarnath Yatra. “It is merely a humble attempt to enable local residents to contribute in the process that needs massive manpower and resources,” said Mr Garg.

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Ramandeep wins Maruti contest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
The Maruti-Suzuki Grand Treasure Hunt, Wheels of Fortune, contest was win by Ramandeep of the city here today.
The fun-filled drive was attended by Maruti customers and their families and friends. It was flagged off in the morning from Hotel Park Plaza by S.R. Rath, zonal service head, Maruti.

As many as 200 Maruti-Suzuki customers participated in the event. The participants were required to decipher clues during the 60 km. route around Ludhiana. 

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6 booked for assault
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 5
Sakinderi, Ravi, Ghallu, Hani Sani and Bhakhi, all residents of Dhuman Mahalla, Jagraon, allegedly assaulted Hardeep Singh of Dasmesh Nagar, Jagraon, with a sharp-edged weapon. The police has registered a case under Sections 324,323,148,149 of the IPC on the statement of the injured.

The sarpanch and four others charged with assaulting Sukhpal Singh. Sarpanch, Bhag Singh former sarpanch Raju Harjit Singh and Lalsingh of Chakar allegedly entered the shop of Sarbjit Singh of their village and assaulted the complainant with hockey and sticks. Balbir Singh Jagjit Singh and Makhan Singh are also alleged to have been assaulted.

Sarbjit Singh, the complainant, is admitted to Civil Hospital, Jagraon, along with three other injured. Some old enmity is alleged to be the reason behind the incident. No arrest has been made so far. 

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3 booked for stealing

Khanna, June 5
The Sadar police has charged Jaswant Singh, Ranjit Kaur and Surjit Singh under Sections 457 and 380 on the complaint of Gurinder Singh of Kotla Dhak village, presently residing in Mohali, for taking away domestic goods from his house in the village in his absence.

The complainant told the police that he had purchased a house in the Kotla Dhak village from Jaswant Singh, Ranjit Singh and Surjit for Rs 1.55 lakh and the advance money of 84,000 had been paid and the balance amount had to be paid on May 22 for necessary legal documentation. While he reached the court on the fixed date the sellers were not present. — OC

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Two houses burgled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
Two houses were burgled in Baba Deep Singh Nagar and Guru Nanak Dev Colony, respectively, last night when the owners were away.
Unidentified thieves broke into the house of Mr Palwinder Singh and decamped with 150 gm gold, a DVD player and Rs 5,000 cash. The owner of the house had gone to Barnala and found about the theft today morning.

Theives burgled the house of Mr Puran Singh in Guru Nanak Colony by breaking open the door locks and took away Rs 12,000 cash and other household items. He was also not at home last night. He returned in the morning only to find his house burgled. The police is investigating both the cases.

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Student commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
A first-year student at Engineering Research and Development Centre, Focal Point, Phase-V, today committed suicide after hanging himself from a fan.
The student has been identified as Pardeep Kumar, a resident of a village in Patiala. A suicide note recovered from him said that he was depressed due to his cousin’s death in an accident a fortnight ago. His parents were informed about his death in their village.

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80 kg of poppy husk seized

Khanna, June 5
The Payal police has arrested a man and seized 80 kg of poppy husk from him. A police team headed by ASI Satwant Singh stopped an Opal Astra car (DL 3 CH 7135) at Shahpur village and seized poppy husk. The police has impounded the car and a case has been registered under the NDPS Act against driver of the car Hardev Singh. — OC

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Rise in steel prices causes concern
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 5
The continuous rise in the steel prices has been causing great concern among the small scale industrialists and they fear that if the rising trend continues, the small scale units would be wiped out.

The steel producing units in the country have been raising the steel prices by Rs 2000 per tonne every month since March.

The increase in the prices of steel has been to the tune of Rs 8000 per tonne so far according to Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, president and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, of the chamber of industrial and commercial undertakings, Ludhiana.

They maintain that the small scale units are facing lot of difficulties in in the face of rise in the steel prices and the severe financial crunch being faced by the industry as a whole.

They said the financial crisis was deepening day by day as the banks and other financial institutions were not ready to extend credit to the small scale units.

CR coil was quoted at Rs 39,500 per tonne while HR coil was being sold for Rs 31,500 per tonne. Ms round has witnessed an increase of Rs 3000 per tonne and is being sold for Rs 24,000 per tonne.

Mr Pradhan and Mr Avtar Singh lamented that the state and the Centre were not bothered about the plight of the industry.

All representations sent to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister had failed to evoke any response from them, they alleged..

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E-bike launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
Avon Cycles became the first Indian bicycle company to offer battery operated bicycles with the launch of Avon e-bike here today. The battery operated cycles, for which the company manufactures most of the parts, would come at a cost of around Rs 15,000 for consumers.

The launch assumes significance as the market for battery operated bicycles was so far dominated by Chinese manufacturers.

E-bikes are available for sale in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi and the company plans to export them to other countries after analysing markets post the test launch. ‘‘We plan to manufacture around 10,000 e-bikes in the first year of launch and would start with one model and add on other models, that would be more economical,’’ said managing director of the company Mr Onkar Singh Pahwa.

Avon Cycles, which has invested Rs 10-12 crore towards infrastructure for these bikes, expects an increase of around 30 per cent in its turnover with this launch. ‘‘The expected sale is around Rs 150 crore, which would add up nearly 30-40 per cent to our turnover. Our last year’s turnover was Rs 275 crore,’’ Mr Pahwa said.

Available in four colours, fully charged battery in these bikes would result in a 40 kilometre ride, extendable upto 60 kilometres if accompanied by peddling. The weight of these bicycles, that come with a warranty of two years, is 46 kg with batteries and a full charge would take six to eight hours. The maintenance cost works out to be 10 paise per kilometre. ‘‘Besides advantages like being environment friendly, no use of petrol, no registration etc, all parts used in the bikes are available with us, which adds to customer convenience. It means cheaper and easily available parts.’’

E-bikes would run at a maximum speed of 23 kilometres per hour and for safety m reflectors have been provided in front and rear in addition to lights and a strong brake system. The company is targeting children in the age group of 12 to 16 years and working women as its potential customers.

Regarding competition from Chinese counterparts, Mr Pahwa said durability would be a key factor that would go in the company’s favour besides availability of e-bikes’ parts within the country at an affordable cost.

When asked about the cost, Mr Pahwa said it included excise duty and VAT and the company would urge the government to include the bikes in the category of ‘‘bicycles’’ and not under ‘‘other bicycles’’ category, so that excise duty factor can be done away with.

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Bank grants 53 crore loan to farmers
Our Correspondent

Mr Allen C.A. Pereira, ED, Oriental Bank, inaugurates currency chest at the Cheema Nagar branch of the bank in Ludhiana on Monday Ludhiana, June 5
Allen C.A. Pereira, executive director, Oriental Bank of Commerce, inaugurated a currency chest of the Cheema Nagar branch of the bank here on Monday. Mr Pereira also attended a credit camp organised by the bank at Jagraon. He appreciated the role of farmers in the economy and sanctioned spot loans worth Rs 53.06 crore to 1,063 farmers and entrepreneurs from SSI and SME sectors.
Mr Allen C.A. Pereira, ED, Oriental Bank, inaugurates currency chest at the Cheema Nagar branch of the bank in Ludhiana on Monday. — Photo by I.V.

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