L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Living in hell with none to care
Mahesh Sharma

Takhar Kalan (Ahmedgarh), June 7
The residents of this non-descript village are grim after learning that their hamlet would be known as an entity where political and social leaders had been exploiting the trust of the visually challenged surviving members of a business family for political gains but none bothered for their rehabilitation.

Moved by the suffering of the trio from an undiagnosed disease, they have now been adopted by Sangrur Pingalwara.

‘Breathing corpses’ could be an appropriate description for Rani (45), Chaman Lal (40) and Raj Kumar (35), a daughter and two sons of the late Pyara Lal and Seo Devi, who were so well-off that the family fulfilled economic needs of a majority of the villagers only two decades ago.

While Rani used to move from door to door to collect eatables for her physically and mentally challenged brothers, the latter had been confined to their rooms in a crumbling house.

According to Mr Amar Nath Sharma, a social worker of the village, Pyara Lal was a prominent grocer of the village. “Besides being honest and God-fearing, he was extraordinarily hardworking and used to even cut grass for supplementing his income. Nobody could imagine that such a family would ever face such a situation when their own relatives would start denying their ties to the family which had fallen on bad days,” said Amar Nath, claiming that the children had imbibed similar traits from their parents.

Everything went smoothly till the end of the last century when Raj Kumar’s wife deserted him. Fortune ceased to smile after the demise of Pyara Lal and Seo Devi. “After losing hold on the business, Raj Kumar and Chaman Lal withdrew themselves from the society and ultimately were confined to their rooms. Not bearing the plight of her brothers, Rani also started showing abnormal behaviour later on.

Villagers failed to recollect the time when the family had stopped cooking. Only what they remember is that Rani used to collect food for her brothers and ultimately the family of Amar Nath started sending food thrice a day regularly. What pained the villagers most was that the trio used to howl at full volume during night and children in nearby houses were scared of staying at homes.

Sukhwinder Kumar, a religious leader, said he had asked some relatives of the victim family and local leaders to allow permit of his association to take them to a hospital but none vouched for owning the consequences. “Though we had made all arrangements of shifting and subsequent services, we were afraid of putting our signatures as their relatives for obvious reasons,” said Sukhwinder Kumar.

Mr Chhajju Singh, sarpanch of the village, was not available for comments but his son Kuldip Singh maintained that the supporters of candidates for various elections had been taking them to polling booths. Neighbours pointed out that the certain residents had been availing of the facility of fare price shop in the name of the family but none came to their rescue.



Hindu samiti men burn effigy of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 7
Activists of the Hindu Surakhsha Samiti today burnt the effigy of the Hizb-ul- Mujahideen, a militant group working in J & K, for its alleged threat to the samiti leaders.

A protest march was held by the samiti workers through different areas of the city which concluded at Clock Tower, where they set afire an effigy of the Hizb-ul- Mujhaideen.

The leaders of the samiti alleged that the Hizb-ul- Mujahideen terrorists had threatened to target its national leaders and also the Kali Mata temple at Patiala. The leaders warned all terrorist groups against any such misadventure. They said, in case they resorted to any such action they would launch direct action against them (the terrorists) in Kashmir itself. The samiti leaders appealed the Punjab Government to take adequate security measures in view of the threats. They demanded that the government must take stern action against the terrorists so that they were not able to strike at will and kill innocent people.



Don’t nose around, railway station stinks
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, June 7
As one steps inside the entrance to platform number one of the local railway station, trendy neon signs advertising various products greet the visitors. Just like the railway stations of any metro city. But a few steps further in the direction of the tracks and the semblance dies. Too fast, rather.

The stench that invades a person forces him or her to make a hasty retreat to the other end of the platform where this stench is not felt so much.

Commuters catching trains from platform number one is relatively luckier but the plight of those who have to catch trains from other platforms (two to seven) is certainly miserable as they have no escape from this perennial stench that pervades everywhere. The tracks are full of shit and garbage as if cleaning the tracks has been prohibited by the railway

The Station Superintendent, Mr Ashok Kumar, was not available for comments. But Ludhiana Tribune learns from sources that safai karamcharis employed for the purpose of washing the tracks everyday do not take their jobs seriously.

Garbage and filth on the railway station is not limited to the tracks only. Heaps of garbage can be seen at both the ends of platform nos VI and VII. The migrant factor also adds to the filth. While they are waiting for trains, the migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar relieved themselves in full public view.

Platform nos VI and VII because of lesser number of trains arriving and leaving from there have become home to a horde of miscreants who hang around the place all day.

Senior officials of the Northern Railway, including the General Manager, have been saying for more than two years that they are going to make the Ludhiana railway station a model station but going by what they have achieved so far one wonders if they have got the meaning of word “model” right.



Protest against hike in petro prices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 7
BJP activists today staged a dharna against the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel. The activists took out a procession which passed through various areas and concluded at Clock Tower. The also burned an effigy of the UPA government. The procession was led by the district president, Dr Subash Verma.

Addressing the dharna, leaders said this was the record hike as never so far had any government increased the prices of the petroleum products that much. The speakers maintained that the hike in the prices would hit the prices of other essential commodities and the common man would be made to suffer.

The leaders said the Left-supported United Progressive Alliance government had betrayed the common masses. They expressed shock and surprise that the Communists who claimed themselves to be the guardians of the interests of the common masses had not opposed the decision.

They said the Communists were adopting double standards.

They had failed to prevail over the government against hike in the prices. They said the slashing of the petrol prices by Re 1 was just an eyewash and had been done deliberately to project as if the Congress was not party to the decision.

They pointed out that the prices of all essential commodities like the wheat, the pulses and the sugar had shot up in alarming proportions during the UPA government. They said it was difficult for the common man to survive under this dearness.



Police raids to nab killers prove futile
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 7
The Sadar Police today conducted several raids, albeit in vain, to arrest a tenant shopkeeper who had allegedly stabbed to death the owner of a shop in Phullanwal village late last night.

The suspected murderer managed to escape from the spot despite the presence of several persons, none of whom tried to catch him. This has become a regular feature in the city with the people always wanting the cops to arrive and nab the culprits.

A tenant-shopkeeper dispute had allegedly led to the crime. The tenant, Sanjay, had taken a shop on rent from Jarnail Singh. However, after a few weeks the owner wanted him to vacate the shop as both did not no go along well.

Sources said Sanjay was upset as he had just started selling invertors from the shop. He feared loss of business if he had to shift at the height of the season.

Both had gone to the police to sort out the matter. A team of Sadar Police had affected a compromise between the two last evening only.

However, just a couple of hours after the police left both fought again. Sanjay who was highly agitated struck Jarnail Singh several times with a long and narrow knife (kirch)

Jarnail Singh’s wife Surinder Kaur also sustained minor injuries on her hand when she was trying to save her husband.

She and her badly injured husband were rushed to DMC hospital by neighbours. However, Jarnail Singh could not be saved.

The police had registered a case of murder against Sanjay last night.



Dhuri MLA’s charge against Amarinder
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 7
Dhanwant Singh, former Congress MLA from Dhuri, who has recently joined BJP, has accused the Chief Minister, Punjab, of adopting coercive policy in dealing with leaders of all political parties, including the Congress leaders. He maintained that he along with his associates had joined a national party for the development of his area and not for achieving some political goal.

Meanwhile the district unit of the BJP has resolved to demand party tickets for at least two leaders of the party in Sangrur district during the forthcoming Assembly elections.

While talking to the Ludhiana Tribune Mr Dhanwant Singh said he had joined the BJP for the sake of development of the area. “Though I had won election as an Independent candidate after being ignored by the Congress Party, my supporters felt that desired development of the area could not be achieved without association with a national party,” argued Mr Singh. He said he like many other leaders had left the Congress party due to dictatorial and arbitrary policies of top leaders, including Captain Amarinder Singh CM. “Instead of convincing leaders and workers of his party the Chief Minister had been using coercion to win their support. False cases were lodged against many, leaders including me just to blackmail them,” alleged Mr Dhanwant.

On the issue of probable Assembly constituency of his choice Mr Dhanwant Singh said: “From now onwards I am a loyal soldier of the BJP and will obey orders of my seniors. Getting a ticket is not my ambition,” he clarified.

Meanwhile, the district BJP unit has resolved to seek two seats in the BJP-SAD alliance in Sangrur. Referring to a resolution approved in district level meeting held at Malerkotla recently Mr Mohan Lal Singh, president, Malerkotla unit said, “We have forwarded a resolution demanding two seats in district Sangrur, including one for the Malerkotla; to the state body and have been assured that the state leadership would impress upon the SAD leadership to leave Malerkotla and one another seat in the district for BJP candidates.”

Mr Parminder Singh Goga, Mr Hira Lal Goyal and Harbhajan Singh were also present on the occasion.



Projects will improve city infrastructure: Mayor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 7
Various development projects in the city, including laying of sewers and water supply lines and construction of railway over bridges, flyovers and elevated roads, would be completed within seven years in a phased manner under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

The Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, and the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawar, said these projects worth Rs 3,995 crore were passed by the State-Level Steering Committee.

Under this programme, 50 per cent amount would be provided by the Centre, while Urban Local Bodies would provide 30 per cent and 20 per cent by the state government.

They said in the past four years special attention was given for the development of the city. With the implementation of the 62-km-long Ring Road project, the traffic problem of the city would be solved.

The High Powered Committee had also approved a project costing Rs 64 crore for setting up a stadium, besides the sanction had also been accorded to three elevated roads and two flyovers costing Rs 235 crore.

The state government had also given sanction for the construction of 20 small bridges over the Buda Nulla at a cost of Rs 17 crore.

They said the open drain passing through areas of Transport Nagar, Shivaji Nagar and Gurdwara Dukhniwaran would be covered.

Elaborating on various projects, they said a project for setting up of an electric crematorium and development of the other cremation grounds had also got approval.



Salsa hot favourite at summer camp
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 7
Salsa dance classes have been introduced for the first time in the Sutlej Club and it is getting an excellent response from kids, youngsters and married couples. “We are learning Salsa not only on English numbers but on hit Punjabi and Hindi numbers, too”, said Nishita, a young college going girl who is attending a summer camp at Sutlej Club here. The 15-day summer camp will conclude on June 17. On June 18, a final show would be held in which students will showcase their talent.

Giving details of the camp, the Cultural Secretary of the club, Mr Sanjiv Dhanda, said the camp had got an excellent response this year. The classes which are being run at the club include western dance, music instrumental, gift packing, beads and threads, dance classes, theatre workshop, candle-making, screen printing, block printing, cooking classes, calligraphy, beauty and dental talks and internet classes etc. “More than 600 members, their children and dependents are taking the benefit of these classes. The Salsa dance introduced by Ms Sangeeta is getting marvellous response.The members had requested to start it in the evenings also. There are both morning and evening classes. This is something new in the city and majority of evening learners are professionals like doctors and engineers who come with their wives to learn the dance”, said Mr Dhanda.

He further added that final show would be of two-hour duration in which a fashion show will also be organised. “A prize giving ceremony would be held and club members would enjoy this grand finale”, claimed Mr Dhanda.

As part of the summer camp, a seminar on beauty and hair designing was also held here yesterday in which an expert of beauty from Alpha Punjabi Channel, Ms Indra Ahluwalia, gave valuable tips to the members. She talked about latest trends in make-up, hairstyle, hair colouring and nail art.



Chabeels organised to mark Nirjala Ekadashi
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 7
Several roadside stalls served sweetened and flavoured cold water to passersby throughout the day in the city on the occasion of Nirjala Ekadashi here today.
People started thronging various temples in the town since early morning with offerings of musk-melons and hand fans made of straw and these sweetened-water stalls were organised almost everywhere in the city by shopkeepers associations, various religious bodies and even mohalla committees. Since it was a hot sunny day today, these stalls attracted almost every passerby.

Even the autos, scooters and cars were seen halting at these stalls.

Special ‘katha’ sessions were held in the afternoon at various temples for those devout who were observing a fast today.



BKU seeks OBC status for Jats
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 7
Close on the heals of ongoing controversy over reserving 27 per cent seats in institutes of higher learning for Other Backward Classes (OBCs), the Punjab chapter of the BKU has demanded that the Jats (both Hindus as well as Sikhs) be included in the list of the OBCs.

The union said most of the Jats in Punjab, who are traditionally farmers, were debt ridden and quite a number of them had even been forced to commit suicide.

In a statement here today, the working president of the Punjab BKU, Prof Manjit Singh Kadyan, argued that the Jats had already been included among the OBCs in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and New Delhi. He observed that there was no reason as why the Jats in Punjab should not get the same benefit.

He said the Jats in Punjab were no better off than their counterparts in the states were they had been included in the category of OBCs. He urged the Punjab Government to take the initiative and include the Jats in the OBC category.



Banger elected president of BSNL body 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 7
Mr Amarjit Banger (DET) and Mr M.S. Dhaliwal (DET) were elected president and secretary, respectively, of Ludhiana Telecom district branch of the All-India Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited Executive Association.

The general body meeting of the association, which elected the new office bearers, was convened under the chairmanship of Mr R.S. Walia, circle president, Punjab, and Mr Mohan Lal Saudi here on Monday.

Among other office-bearers were Mr Nirmal Singh (CAO) — vice president, Mr R.M. Rai (DET), Mr Sukhminder Singh (CAO), Mr R.K. Goel (DET), Mr Gian Singh (DET) — all assistant secretaries, Mr Balram Dutt (AO) — finance secretary, Mr Satish Gupta (DET), Mr Baljinder Singh Khalsa (JTO) — organising secretaries, Mr Ghanshyam (AO) — auditor, Mr A.K. Deora (DET), Mr Ajay Kumar (AO), Mr Jit Singh (DET) — executive members.



‘Vatawaran’ award for Sant Balbir Singh
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 7
Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal will be presented with 'Vatawaran Sambhal' (environment conservation) award by Bairagi Maha Mandal, Punjab, on the 290th martyrdom day function of Baba Banda Bahadur to be organised at Gurdwara Cheiween Paatshahi at Rakba village in the district on June 9.

Giving this information here today, conveners of the martyrdom day preparatory committee, Mr Baldev Bawa and Mr Devinder Singh Sidhu said, Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala will also be felicitated at the function. The function would be organised under the presidentship of Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, president, All India Bairagi Maha Mandal and chairman, Punjab Housefed.

According to Mr Bawa, Sant Balbir Singh had made significant contribution with the cooperation of 'sangat' to check environmental pollution as also to educate people about conservation of environment. ‘‘A healthy society can flourish only in a pollution-free and clean environment,’’ he observed.

The Bairagi Maha Mandal will organise a series of functions at different places in Canada during this month, Mr Bawa added.



Top police posts filled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 7
The city police has got a new face with the posting of four new officials on key posts, some of which were lying vacant for quite sometime.
SP Harish Kumar has been posted as SP (Detective) in place of Gurpreet Singh, who was posted as SSP (Vigilance) Ludhiana last week.

SP Rakesh Aggarwal is the new SP-City-I. The post was lying vacant for over a month now. SP Dinesh Pratap Singh has been posted as the new SP-City-II.

SP Rupinder Singh has been posted as SP-Traffic in place of SP Gurdial Singh.



BKU men meet DC, SSP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 7
A delegation of the Bharatiya Kisan Union led by its acting president, Prof Manjit Singh Kadyan, today met the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Gupta and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr A.S. Rai.

Prof Kadyan said that the delegation apprised the two officers of various problems being faced by the farmers in the district. The BKU delegation assured all cooperation to the two senior officers of the district.



Farmers attend Kisan Goshthi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 7
Punjab National Bank organised a Kisan Goshthi at Miani village today.
According to a press note, the meeting was attended by nearly 200 farmers from different villages. The farmers were told about benefits of diversification and how they can increase their income. The meeting was presided over by Mr Harmesh Kumar, DDM, NABARD. Mr Ashok Arora, district coordinator, PNB, was also present, among others.



Aviva plans road shows on security
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 7
With a view to generate awareness about life insurance among people, Aviva Life Insurance has kicked off a series of road shows across 12 cities, including Ludhiana, in Punjab and Haryana. Beginning Bahadurgarh in Haryana, the road show will travel through Rohtak, Sonepat, Panipat, Karnal, Patiala, Chandigarh, Faridkot, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar and finally conclude in Jammu on July 14.

Elaborating on the initiative, Mr Vivek Khanna, director marketing, Aviva, said: ‘’The theme of this road show is the common man’s need for security in view of the unpredictability of life. Although the awareness about the need for life cover is increasing in India, with the industry growing at 32 per cent last fiscal, there is a need to do much more. Through innovative efforts such as these, we aim to educate people about the benefits of a life insurance policy and the kind of security blanket it can provide in times of need”.

Revolving around the theme of a man’s desire to predict the future, the road show would offer exciting gifts for the participants.’’

In each of the 12 locations road shows would touch popular points to reach out to the maximum number of people.

The company also expects its customer base to increase as a result of this initiative.



Rittal Impex to set up plant in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 7
Rittal Impex Limited, a Rs 30 crore dry fruit company, would set up its plant for manufacture of juices and ‘namkeens’ in Industrial Estate here. Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, vice-president (marketing), Mr Ajay Kumar, said the company would invest Rs 18-20 crore initially towards the plant.

“We opted for Ludhiana as it is a central place for other northern states. Besides, the government has been supportive,” said Mr Ajay Kumar.

The company, which has now started manufacturing juices and namkeens under the brand name Coco Joos and Coco Shriram, expects its turnover to rise by 50 per cent with this launch. “As awareness regarding health has increased, market for juices has high potential.

The Rs 700 crore juice market has recorded a year-on-year growth of 30 per cent and is expected to continue with the same for another five years at least. We are expecting a good response and have also started exporting to a few countries.” The company exports its dry fruits to over 100 countries.

Talking about the new products, Mr Ajay Kumar said the juices are health drinks that would be available in tetra packs and pet bottles. The company has forged a tie up with Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Manufacturing Corporation (HPMC) for packaging of 200 ml packs and with Godrej for slim packs of one litre. The snacks on the offer are low calorie, said Mr Ajay Kumar.

Regarding the distribution network, he said the company has chalked out an aggressive sales strategy under which it would appoint 60 distributors and 10,000 outlets in Punjab only. “Our current focus is North and it would be after three months that we would concentrate on expansion in West and Southern parts of the country.”



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