L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Former sports star held on theft charge
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
From the champions’ podium to the line-up of alleged criminals. That is the tragic transformation of Vipin Kumar, alias Vicky, a former state champion in bodybuilding who has been done in by drugs and reduced to the status of a vehicle thief.

Vipin was arrested by the CIA wing-I of city police today while he was planning, with four other accused, to graduate to the higher crime of looting a big industrial house or a petrol station. He is a resident of Haibowal here.

The gang was allegedly found to be involved in many cases of vehicle thefts in Ludhiana, Haridwar and Delhi.

SP-Detective Harish Kumar said it was unfortunate for a gifted player to succumb to drugs in such a manner and later resort to lifting vehicles when the parents and friends refused to give more money.

He was caught in minor thefts and jailed. There he met bigger players in the crime world and began stealing vehicles.

The other accusesd were identified as Rajan Kumar, alias Raja, Vicky Kumar, alias Bobby, Chamkaur Singh and Vikas Verma, alias Vicky. They were arrested from the Civil City, Sham Nagar colony.

All the accused belonged to the city only. Unlike most of the gangs which have majority of migrants as the members, this gang was typically a gang of local criminals only.

The police has found a stolen Maruti car and three motorcycles from the possession of the accused apart from two knives, one pistol, one small sword and a baseball bat.

SP Harish Kumar said Rajan, Vikas Verma and Chamkaur had been arrested earlier by the Haridwar police also in snatching cases in June 2004.

The SP said the accused were lodged in Haridwar jail where they came in contact with each other. They formed a gang after their release from the jail.

The acused had stolen one Maruti car from the Mall Road, Ludhiana, one motorcycle each from near Dandi Swami, Haibowal, Kitchlu Nagar and SD School areas in Ludhiana. They had also stolen one Maruti van from BRS Nagar in the city.

The accused, Vicky, was also wanted by the Delhi police also in other cases.



PHRC slams door on MC apathy victim
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
Dashing all the hopes of a local resident who was paralysed after allegedly falling into an open manhole, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission has closed the proceedings stating that his case was subjudiced.

The direction has come as a blow to Mr Rakesh Talwar, who claims that the PHRC closed the case after a year although he had clearly mentioned in his petition that he was fighting for justice in a Ludhiana court also.

Despite his handicap, he travelled to Chandigarh on every date hoping justice would be meted out to him but he was only to be disappointed.

The closing order states that the commission examined the case very closely and though it is a case of hardship for the complainant and that he has suffered multiple grievous injuries incapacitating him permanently to enjoy his life yet the commission cannot pass any orders in his favour for the simple reason that he has filed a civil suit in a court.

“It is the consistent policy of the commission that when the matter is in the court, it does not take cognisance of the matter and resultantly the proceedings are closed, added the order.

Mr Talwar had moved the commission last year after his pleas to MC to compensate him had fallen on deaf ears. “I am left with no hope now. Court battles take years to reach a conclusion. I do not know what would be the end of my fight,” said a shaken Mr Talwar struggling to contain his tears.

A resident of Anand Nagar in Haibowal Kalan, Rakesh was rendered physically challenged on July 7, 1998, when he had fallen in an open manhole that was uncovered on a rainy day. Since then he had been fighting his battle alone, but failed to move the authorities, which refused to compensate him.

He had been claiming that he was driving his scooter through a flooded street in the Dhobi Ghat area the day of incident. He was not able to anticipate the open manhole and his scooter had got stuck in it. He fell on the road and the cover of the manhole hit his head badly. He was injured on his head and the right side of his body was totally paralysed.

Recalling the fateful day that left him crippled for life, Rakesh said the injury was so serious that he remained in coma for a year. He did not know who had taken him to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, where he remained admit for a year and the family spent all its resources on his treatment.

It took him almost a year to regain consciousness. But that too was not a very good day for him. He discovered that he was unable to move both his legs and they were paralysed. His right arm was also not properly functioning. His jawbone and his right eye had also borne the brunt of debilitating injury.



Power continues to play truant
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
With prolonged power cuts continuing, there seems to be no end to the woes of residents and industry.

This Monday morning was no better as most areas suffered unscheduled cuts that stretched up to even seven hours in various localities. Industrial production, too, continued to suffer.

“We had thought that such prolonged cuts would end in a week or so, but there seems to be no end to them,” rued Mr Mahinder Singh, a resident, adding, “due to unscheduled cuts, children are not able to study, household work suffers and the sultry weather makes it difficult to even work in offices.”

Industry, which is suffering heavy production losses, stressed on the need for the government to take measures to improve the situation on an urgent basis.

Condemning the government for the ongoing crisis, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr P.D. Sharma, said: “First the Akali government and now the Congress have destroyed the industrial economy of the state. To garner votes, they announced free power, but sacrificed economic prosperity of the state. And now, all sectors of the economy are suffering as the state is going through its worst power crisis.”

Industry representatives said they apprehended that the situation would worsen in the coming days. “Two days weekly off and four hours of daily cut. That is official. Despite such drastic measures, unscheduled cuts, too, continue. We fear things would worsen in the coming days and if the government does not take immediate steps to control it, industry would be doomed,” said Mr G.S. Kahlon, president, Auto Parts Manufacturers Association.

He said due to power problems, prices of raw material were also going up, which put industry in a highly disadvantageous position.

Questioning the government’s announcements of mega projects, industry representatives said they doubted how such projects would manage to sustain given the high costs they would have to incur in order to fulfil their power requirements.

“The future of industry in the state is only bleak and uncertain. It is beyond understanding how mega projects would come up when even basic infrastructure to run small units is not available,” commented Mr Surinder Singh, secretary of the Auto Parts Manufacturers Association.

Asserting that contenders for power gave affidavits to the general public by publishing their promises to give regular power supply, Mr Sharma said the least people deserved was a certain commitment. “Instead of making false and vague promises, they must outline their strategies on paper and people should vote only on basis of such efforts.”



Murder case solved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
Following the murder of a factory worker in Chowni Mohallah on late Saturday night and the arrest of a co-worker, the police today gave a stern warning to industrialists to register their workers with the police or face action.

Addressing a press conference at Division No 4 police station here today, DSP Simratpal Singh Dhindsa and SHO Krishan Kumar said it was a minor argument between two co-workers that had led to the murder of one of them.

Accused Sumit Kumar alias Sunny had allegedly stabbed victim Mohd. Harun with a screw driver in factory on Saturday night. The accused had then absconded from the place and was arrested by the police from near his house this evening. The police has also found the screw driver used in the crime

DSP Dhindsa said the police encountered problems in tracing the whereabouts of the accused as the factory owner had not registered his address with the police.

He said the industrialists would have to register the workers at the earliest or can be booked for violating the orders.

The issue of the registration of the workers is a controversial with the police not succeeding in making the industrialists to toe its line.

Factory owners were not registering the workers as the records had the potential to hold them accountable by the Income Tax or the labour department.

The police had earlier even tried to convince the industrialist to at least maintain their own records and furnish the credentials of the wanted labourer. But still the orders were not followed.



Drug De-addiction Day
Call for 2-pronged fight against drug abuse
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, June 26
The district health administration, in association with the Mohalla Health Welfare Society, organised a district-level seminar at Janta Nagar dispensary to observe “Drug De-addiction Day” here today.

Dr Kuldip Kaur Sahni called for a two-pronged strategy to fight the menace of drug abuse. She said besides treating and rehabilitating drug addicts, there was a need to educate the youth about the devastating effects of drugs and other intoxicants.

She said the Health Department had chalked out an elaborate action plan against drug abuse. Besides carrying out a comprehensive awareness and education drive against drug abuse, de-addiction centres had been set up in all subdivision-level civil hospitals.

Dr Renu Airy, Medical Officer, Janta Nagar dispensary, and Mr Harjinder Singh, Deputy Mass Media and Education Officer, also focused on the increasing incidence of drug abuse among the youngsters.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr Sat Pal Sharma, cautioned the people to guard against common diseases of summer and rainy season. He asked the city residents to drink boiled or chlorinated water, keep the eatables properly covered and check water stagnation in the vicinity of their houses.

MANDI GOBINDGARH: Desh Bhagat Ayurvedic College and Hospital observed “Drug De-addiction Day” by organising a community awareness programme with the help of the Gram Panchayats of Nasrali, Ajnali and Kuked Majra here on Monday.

Ms Kamal Kapilesh, councillor, Mandi Gobindgarh, inaugurated the programme.

Dr Sanjeev Kumar, in charge, CRI (Ayurveda), Patiala, and Dr Loveleen Kaur Ahuja, were present on the occasion. People were made aware about the ill effects of drugs. Role of ayurvedic therapies in drug de-addiction was also highlighted.

Dr Sanjeev Kumar said the government was taking initiative to popularise ayurveda in rural areas.

Sarpanches and people of neighbouring villages attended the function. Dr Kulbhushan, Dr Harbans Singh and Dr Ajai Kumar Yadav also shared their views.



Roads cry for repair
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 26
Tall claims by the Punjab Government about development projects in the state have become meaningless for the residents of the Malwa belt here as the condition of almost all roads here is pitiable.

Even the alternative routes being taken up by the commuters are equally risky for the traffic. Fear of approaching monsoon has made the commuters apprehend that motoring would not be safe during the months to come.

Observations showed that majority of the roads leading to the local town and surrounding civic bodies were in bad condition. The condition of the Jandali T-point road, which joins the town and surrounding village with Ludhiana and Malerkotla, is very bad.

Interestingly, organisers of chhabils have exploited the pitiable condition of certain stretches of link roads to stop vehicles that otherwise would have passed by without stopping there.

Link roads to Dehliz, Jagera, Dhulkot and Jandali are also in deplorable state.

Same is the condition of approach roads to Dehlon. The stretches between Khera and Lehra, Dehlon and Sahnewal and between Kilaraipur and Dehlon are in bad shape.

Majority of these roads have potholes greater than the size of tyres of heavy vehicles, making it difficult for drivers to manoeuvre their vehicles around these pits.

Many commuters have found alternatives in link roads passing through various villages. Those who have to reach the Chandigarh road via Sahnewal now motor through Ludhiana city.

Though these routes seem more comfortable to local residents, outsiders find them to be cumbersome, as they have to enquire about the route to reach their destinations.

The problem has been aggravated by the diversion of heavy vehicles carrying goods from neighbouring states to Punjab. To avoid the tax authorities and check barriers, drivers prefer the tough terrain. The increase in the number of private vehicles and school buses has added to the burden on the already stressed roads.

The deteriorating condition of the roads causes monetary loss to residents by way of extra fuel expenses and maintenance charges.

SAD leaders led by Mann Singh Garcha have threatened to launch an agitation in case the roads were not repaired before the monsoon sets in.



Resentment over renewal of surety bonds
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
The issue of demand of surety bonds renewal has caused resentment among the industry. Industry representatives say that the Sales Tax Department, that has sought fresh surety bonds to the tune of Rs 50,000 each, is being unjust and causing them undue harassment.

“The department has asked for surety bonds worth Rs 50,000 by June 30. The government has replaced the Sales Tax Act with Value Added Tax (VAT) in April, 2005. Registered dealers already gave sureties to the department. Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) were allotted to registered dealers without any surety bonds. Why should the department seek renewal of surety bonds,” said Joginder Kumar, president, Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India.

Industrialists also said while implementing the Value Added Tax (VAT) system, the state government gave them several assurances on doing away with other taxes, but none of those were fulfilled.

“The government clearly announced while implementing VAT that the clause pertaining to surety bonds would not be imposed on the industry but it behaved to the contrary. Such measures also add to complications whereas the government continues talking about simplification of procedures,” said Narinder Bhamra, president, Fasteners Manufacturers Association of India.

The industrialists urged the government to withdraw this clause so that the industry was able to function smoothly. The issue of “C” forms, required to be submitted on a quarterly basis, is also creating problems.

“Traders are required to submit “C” forms every quarter but due to shortage of these forms with the Excise and Taxation Department, they have to make repeated visits to the department to procure it, which causes them inconvenience,” said Jatinder Khurana of the Tax Lawyers Forum.

The forum, at its meeting on the problems being faced by the industry due to VAT and income tax, pointed out that the delay in VAT refunds, too, was adding to the industry’s woes as huge amount of capital was blocked.



HR bus impounded; passengers stranded
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 26
A bus (HR-68-5308) belonging to Haryana Roadways, Chandigarh, was today intercepted by the local traffic police and about 30 passengers were stranded for about 20 minutes. The bus was bound for Chandigarh when the local traffic police intercepted it near the Civil Hospital on the Ludhiana-Moga road for checking the documents. Mr Sadhu Singh, driver of the bus, showed photostat copies of all the documents but pleaded that the originals were in the head office. The bus had about 30 passengers at that time. The police was not satisfied with the photostat copies shown and advised the passengers to board some other bus and later challaned and impounded the bus under Section 207 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Information Act

The right vested with the common man for disclosure of information under the Right to Information Act, 2005, seems to be losing its significance since the required information is never disclosed by the officer concerned at the other end.

Similar is the case when a local advocate sought information from the executive officer, Municipal Council, Jagraon, vide application dated February 2, 2006. Certain information was called for with regard to property bearing MCJ No. 2977/14 AB, which is just situated opposite the Municipal Council office. The reply given by the Assistant Municipal Engineer contained advice to be present in the office, check the file and later obtain the copies and the said letter did not contain any information which was sought. The information was never supplied but another letter dated May 9, 2006, from the Executive Officer was received by the applicant stating that the information was under process and the since information is in bulk, the same was consuming time and would be sent as and when ready.

The Act which envisages the provision of supplying information within 30 days of the receipt of the application has already consumed about five months and the officer bound under the law has ignored the provisions of the Act.

Scooterist killed

Ramesh Kumar (55) of Shastri Nagar, Jagraon, was hit by a stray cow near the main octroi post on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore road late last night. He sustained serious injuries and was later brought to the Civil Hospital, Jagraon. While being taken to Ludhiana he expired. The local people, however, blamed the doctors of the Civil Hospital for negligence in holding the patient.

Ramesh Kumar was shifted from the place of occurrence to the Civil Hospital which is at a distance of about 200 yards. The doctor on duty who attended on him put the injured on oxygen but finding the condition to be serious referred the patient to a hospital in Ludhiana but before the patient could be sent in the ambulance, the oxygen cylinder was removed on the pretext that it was the only oxygen cylinder available in the hospital.

According to the relatives, Ramesh Kumar expired within 10 to 15 minutes thereafter. The relatives and the people complained to Mr H.K. Singla, SMO, Jagraon, with regard to the attitude of the erring doctors, who promised necessary action.



Crusade against female foeticide
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 26
Kirtani Sewa Society, an NGO functioning at Ballowal village in Ludhiana district, launched a crusade against drug addiction and female foeticide. The declaration was made on the conclusion of Guru Arjan Dev’s martyrdom celebrations on Sunday.

According to Mr Gurmukh Singh, president of the society, office bearers and activists of the society have vowed to launch a move to make aware people of the consequences of social evils including drug addiction and female foeticide. The declaration was made on a call by Mr Mann Singh Garcha, senior leader of SAD.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Mann Singh Garcha urged leaders of various social and political organizations to create awareness among masses about the ill affects of addiction and female foeticide. Referring to the teachings of Sikh Gurus, Mr Garcha reminded that social boycott of ‘kurimaar’ and Narimaar (smoking hukkah) had been advised. He cited a number of examples from Sikh history to support his claim.

Office bearers of the organisation assured that a crusade would be launched against these evils that had generated a number of allied problems.

Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, MLA, Mr Raghbir Singh Saharanmajra and Dr Jarnail Singh Narangwal member SGPC spoke on the occasion.



Senior citizens irked at lack of civic amenities
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Senior citizens of Kidwai Nagar are a harassed lot as their pleas to the civic authorities to provide basic amenities like drinking water and clean surroundings have fallen on deaf ears.

Mr R.R. Katyal, general secretary of the association, said they had sent representations to the Zone B office of the corporation on numerous occasions but the civil servants were callous and have misbehaved with them on many occasions.

Whenever we go, officials send us away by saying that we are retired people and have nothing to do except create problems for others. This behaviour comes at a time when the government have recently issued strict instructions to all civil servants at all levels in the state to be courteous to the public, especially senior citizens”, he pointed out.

While the condition is no better in all of Kidwai Nagar, the problem is worse in the area in and around the Improvement Trust flats. The officials concerned have failed to provide clear drinking water, proper sewerage disposal, roads, traffic and streetlights in the area”, he added.

Katyal further stated that sewerage water had piled up on the roads in the area with a smell pervading all around. Since sewers were choked, dirty water had overflowed on the roads at many places making it impossible for people to use the roads. The condition of roads was also pitiable as even newly carpeted stretches had been damaged as substandard material had been used, he alleged.

He also added that the matter was also brought to the notice of Parvin Bansal, Councillor of the area, but nothing came out of it. For us it is a cruel joke to read the tall claims to the civic authorities of providing a responsive administration for the benefit of the people”, he added.

He said if the needful was not done at the earliest they would resort to an agitation to get their demands redressed.



IDPD calls for an end to arms race
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 26
The Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) has made a fervent appeal to the Government of India to take a leading role for control of small arms in the world and put an end to arms trade during the UN Review Conference, beginning in New York on June 26.

Dr L.S. Chawla and Dr Arun Mitra, president and general secretary, respectively, of IDPD, said in a joint statement here today that there were around 640 million guns in the world with 8 million new ones manufactured every year. Between 10 to 14 billion units of ammunition were made every year, enough to kill every one on the planet twice. But still, there were no global control on the transfer of weapons between countries.

They said despite the enormity of this global crisis, it was not until 2001 that the United Nations decided to draw up a ‘programme of action — a set of very basic measures aimed at controlling gun violence. It was a very modest effort, and in the five years since that meeting, 1.8 million people had died.

Dr Chawla and Dr Mitra commented that as the UN programme of action was to be reviewed in the conference, the governments round the globe, ought to go much further and agree on measures that would truly protect people from gun violence. “Concerned with the health and well-being of the people, IDPD is of the opinion that such measures should include global criteria to prevent the sale of arms to places where these may be used for human rights abuse.”

Our government would join its peers for two weeks of negotiations, but during this period, another 12,000 people would die from gunshots. If the participating governments did not take decisions necessary to improve this situation, the toll would continue for another five years, they added.



Piramyd Megastores launches ‘denimania’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 26
Piramyd Megastores at Ansal Plaza here has launched a ‘denimania’ festival for denim lovers. The leading fashion and lifestyle retail chain has introduced an exclusive denim exchange offer with lot more excitement packed in it. The festival which opened to a huge response here on June 23 will remain open till July 9 across all Piramyd stores, not only in this city, but also at Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Ahmedabad and Delhi.

According to officials of the outlet, the highlight of the festival would be ‘Easy Denim Xchange’. The buyers could just walk in with their old tattered jeans and get Rs 251 off on new purchases. In addition, one could get a stylish belt or a bean bag absolutely free on minimum purchases. The lucky ones would also have a chance to win a Royal Enfield bike.

“To add to the excitement around the DeniMania, Piramyd has put up a ‘Best Buy Corner’ where one can buy denims at rock bottom prices starting at Rs 399. What’s more, you can win some cool prizes; all you have to do is to SMS DENIM to 3636. Certainly the excitement can not get better than this.”

Mr Bipin Gurnani, CEO, Piramyd Megastore said: “We are constantly creating abuzz at our stores with interesting activities to attract the youth. It is through promotions like denimania which offer super value, latest fashion and exciting add-ons that we connect to this large base which forms a core part of our target.”



Body to take up cause of Punjabis settled abroad
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 26
The Global Punjab Foundation, an international organisation engaged in rationalisation of problems being faced by overseas Punjabi fraternity, has launched a multidimensional programme to provide them a platform, according to Dr Harjinder Walia, chairman of the foundation.

After interacting with relatives and friends of NRIs from local town and surrounding villages, Dr Walia said the foundation had been launched after releasing that majority of organisations were concerned mainly about inland Punjabis.

“Though a number of organisations have been working for understanding and solving problems faced by Punjabis in India, there was none to bring overseas Punjabi fraternity on one platform. So we constituted have the foundation by inducting energetic members from various countries, including Canada, England and USA,” said Dr Walia.

Dr Walia said the foundation would take up projects to enhance coordination among Punjabis settled abroad. “Besides recognising services of outstanding Punjabis, we will also organise seminars, conferences and debates on issue related to promotion of Punjabi culture and preservation of our heritage,” he said. He said a website, a weekly newspaper and a radio service would be made universally available soon.

He said an effort would be made to make overseas Punjabis aware about democratic set-up. Female foeticide, education for all, AIDS, drug de-addiction, reservation and need of industrialisation, were the avenues which would be taken up on priority, he added.

Dr Walia urged the relatives and friends of NRIs from the area to work for making the programme a success.



Relief claims of 250 riot-hit families cleared
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
Two hundred fifty more claims of riot victims for payment of compensation of Rs 2 lakh per family have been approved by a district-level subcommittee. A recommendation in this regard has been sent to a state-level committee and the sanction for the same is expected in two weeks, according to Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Gupta.

He said the list of 250 recommended cases would be displayed on the notice boards of the respective SDM offices, the DC offices and the Assistant Commissioner (General) offices and out side the RRA branch of his office.

The list would be on display from 11 am tomorrow. The list would also be available on the website of the administration, i.e. www.ludhiana.gov.in.

So far, compensation had been disbursed to 3,778 riot victim families and the sanction for 880 cases pending with the state committee was likely to be received within a few days, he said.



Sanchar Nigam panel
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 26
Mr Harbahajan Das and Mr Sanjeev Kumar were elected president and secretary of the district unit of the Sanchar Nigam Executives Association (SNEA) in the general body meeting held here yesterday.

According to Mr Sanjeev Kumar, newly elected secretary of the body, it will have five vice-presidents, six assistant secretaries, three organising secretaries, a cashier, two assistant cashiers and an auditor.

Following are the new office-bearers: vice-presidents — Mr Basdev, Mr Devinder Singh, Ms Seema Gupta, Mr Chaman Lal and Mr Sukhwinder Singh; assistant secretaries —Mr Mukhtiar Singh, Mr Jasbir Singh, Mr Harinder Singh, Mr Karamjit Singh, Mr Harjit Singh and Mr Mukand Singh; organising secretries — Mr Kamaljit Shankar, Mr Raj Kumar and Mr Amarjit Sharma; — cashier — Mr Deepak Kumar; assistant cashiers — Mr Nirmal Singh, Mr Nardeep Singh; and auditor — Ms Anjali Kajal.



Lobbying on for educational body poll
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
Hectic lobbying is on for the elections to the Sri Atmanand Jain Educational Board. The elections will be held on July 2. The society, which runs two schools in the city and will be constructing a college on the Jalandhar bypass in the coming days, has over 2,600 members.

According to members, groups led by Kashmiri Lal Jain, Ashwani Pubby and Tilaj Raj Jain are contesting the poll. The campaigners are concentrating on house-to-house canvassing.

The aim of the society is to construct more schools and colleges in the area that would fulfil the education needs of the children of not only the community but others as well.



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