L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

No clue to kidnapped son of industrialist
Car found abandoned at Alamgir gurdwara parking lot
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
The car of the son of a bicycle industrialist, who was kidnapped on Monday, was found abandoned in the parking lot of the Alamgir gurdwara here. However, there has been no clue to the kidnapped youth so far.

Vikramjit Singh Vicky, 22-year-old son of the owner of Frontier Bicycles, was allegedly kidnapped by some unidentified persons. He left his Model Town residence in his Honda Accord car for Sarabha Nagar market at 4.30 pm, but did not return.

His car (PB-10-BT-0775) was recovered by the police today. Mr Hardip Singh Dhillon, IG (Zonal), said there was no clue to the youth yet.

Sources said 10 teams of the police were sent to various parts of the country on the look out for the youth. The police was working on various theories to zero in on the kidnappers.

Sources close to the family said the family received a ransom call for Rs 1 crore yesterday morning. This was, however, denied by the police officials and youth’s immediate family members.

His family had complained to the police yesterday and a case of kidnapping was registered at the Model Town police station.

Visitors and close friends of the family kept pouring in at the house of the kidnapped youth in the Model Town area here. The main gate of the house remained closed during the day. The media was not allowed inside the house and the family members refused to comment on the issue stating they were too shocked to say anything.

Neighbours said the youth had recently returned from England after completing his BBA degree. He used to remain aloof and did not interact much with the neighbours.

A special investigation team (SIT), comprising IG (Zonal) Dhillon, Ludhiana range DIG Parag Jain, Jalandhar range DIG P.S. Sarao and Ludhiana SSP A.S. Rai, was created yesterday to investigate into the case.



37 immigrated youths missing
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Chasing the dollar dream proved costly for 37 families of Doaba region of the state, who sent their sons abroad by spending lakhs of rupees two years ago and are now left to knock at various doors to find out whether their sons are dead or alive.

As these families from various villages in Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Jalandhar district struggle only to hear from their beloved sons, they do not know what happened to their sons who called them on December 4, 2004 after reaching Mali in South Africa. There was no call or the news about their whereabouts after that.

In October 2004, 37 youths from various villages in Doaba region had left their houses for greener pastures in Italy after some travel agents belonging to their villages promised that they would immigrate legally and get lucrative jobs there.

Their families, hopeful of better future, agreed to pay Rs 4 lakh to Rs 6 lakh to the agents and left their sons with the travel agents only to be shaken out of stupor after two months that their sons were stuck up in Mali in South Africa from where they were to be immigrated illegally.

‘‘That was the last call. There was no news after that. Our greed has left us half dead. I had only one son and I cannot think what could have happened to him during the last two years,’’ said Mr Jarnail Singh of Mahitpur village in Nawanshahr. Though he got an FIR registered against the travel agents, they were out on bail after some time.

He said all the youths were duped by two South Africa based agents, Satnam Singh and Ajay Kumar, through their sub agents in their villages. All the youths had reached together at Mali after boarding flights from Delhi and Mumbai on different days.

‘‘There seems to be no end to our woes. We just want our sons back. They can earn better here, ’’ said Mr Lal Chand of Kultham village in Nawanshahar. His son, Kulwinder Kumar, had left for Italy on the behest of Raghbir Singh, a travel agent of Talwandi Jattan village. He was in the city today along with members of 33 families to meet Mr B.S. Ramoowalia, president, of Lok Bhalai Party urging upon him to take up their cases at various platforms. Mr Avtar Singh Mullanpuri, acting president of the party, said they would follow the route of the youths and write to various authorities to search for them.

‘‘We do not know whether they were caught or met with some accident. We only know that we have been duped and pray that they are alive, ’’ said Mr Mangat Singh whose 22 year-old son, Arun Kumar, was among the immigrants.

He added that his son had given a phone number after calling on December 24, 2004 but they could never contact him. ‘‘I tried calling up from all the PCOs in the district. But I could not get through to the phone. I do not know what to do. Me and my wife cannot sleep at night. She cries and I console her.

There seems to be no solution, ’’ said Mr Mangat Singh struggling to contain his tears.

The families demanded that there should be a legislation to punish the travel agents rigorously so that they do not play with the lives of innocent youths and their parents.



PAU in dilemma over fund utilisation
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, June 28
The authorities of the Punjab Agricultural University are in a dilemma over the use of special grant of Rs -100 crore given to it by the Central Government. While the authorities of the PAU had suggested creation of a corpus fund in order to earn some interest to sustain the research programmes of the university, the Planning Commission of India had agreed to the proposal, but the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) did not agree to the same. The ICAR which is the nodal central agency has rejected the proposal of the PAU.

Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, in his letter to PAU has stated,“I agree that given the funding constraints that the universities have to contend with, there is much to be said for investing the large part of a special grant in a corpus so that the earnings from it could be utilised to ensure that selected projects are protected from funding uncertainties. My suggestion, therefore, would be that you could identify fewer, high priority areas which may be adequately funded to deliver significant outputs in a mission-mode operation. You may also like to include a component of human resource development in the selected projects so that skill resources generated can continue to attract additional funding on the merit of scientific standing.”

However, Dr Mruthyunjaya, Deputy Director-General (education ), ICAR, in his letter to PAU has maintained,“The matter has been examined and it has been decided in consultation with the Ministry of Finance that since the announcement in the Budget 2006-2007 to provide special grant of Rs 100-crore to the university is intended to upgrade the infrastructure of the university, it will not be appropriate to utilise about Rs 78.70 per cent of the grant for creation of corpus fund. This fund has been sanctioned for creating state of art laboratory infrastructure, instrumentation for cutting edge research, assistance to faculty for facilities to facilitate programmes for enhancing international collaboration. The university is therefore advised to work out a proposal as indicated above and on the lines of the proposal of the Indian Institute of science (IISC), Bangalore, which has also been sanctioned a special grant.”

Enquiries show that even the Punjab Government had agreed for the creation of a corpus fund with a sum of Rs 87.70-crore after spending some money on the upgradation of laboratories.

Dr B.S.Dhillon, Director, Research, PAU, when contacted told that they were reframing the proposals for the utilisation of the grant.

Dr Dhillon said the priorities would remain the same with emphasis on biotechnology , food processing and value addition, management of natural resources in soil health, water quality and efficient use of water, bioenergy, farm power and machinery and integrated pest management upgradation of laboratories and development of human resources . Dr Dhillon said the emphasis would be on commercialisation of technologies so that funds could be generated. Farm power machinery workshop would also be strengthened for commercial purposes. 



Mayor hails abolition of water, sewerage cess
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, a former minister and general secretary of the PPCC, and Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, Ludhiana, have, in a joint press statement issued here today, welcomed the decision of the Punjab Cabinet to abolish water and sewerage charges in case of residential houses up to 5 marlas in municipal towns.

The move would benefit the poor living in urban areas and would cost the government around Rs 195 crore, they have said.

Both leaders said the Congress government had earlier also taken effective steps for the welfare of the weaker sections. During the budget for 2006-07, the government had allocated Rs 1,154 crore to implement welfare schemes framed for these sections of society.

They said the state government had created a corpus of Rs 450 crore to ensure regular and timely disbursement of pension/financial assistance to 11 lakh aged, widows, orphans and physically challenged beneficiaries.

They said Rs 60 crore had been released to provide toilets in the houses of SC families in rural areas. They also claimed that the government had also enhanced the amount of “shagun” from Rs 5,100 to Rs 15,000 on the marriage of daughters of SCs.

They also welcomed the decision of the Punjab Government to abolish octroi thus fulfilling another important promise made in the manifesto during the elections.

The leaders appreciated the decision of the government not to impose any alternative tax in place of octroi and to compensate the municipal corporations/ municipal councils from the revenue collections.

They said the excellent management of finances and proper implementation of VAT had enhanced the collection of revenue to Rs 5,500 crore against the target of Rs 4,600 crore. They said with the increase of Rs 900 crore in the taxes through VAT against the fixed target, the government was in a position to bear the expected loss of Rs 645 crore due to the abolition of octroi in the state.

They said almost all promises made in the manifesto had been fulfilled with the improvement in the economic condition of the state.

They said the government had also formulated a plan to strengthen the foundation of development and prepared a blueprint to augment the power supply to 7,200 MW.

The said with substantial improvement in the financial condition of the state, a fast flow of big investments had come to the state and the state was emerging as the most favoured destination for investment.

So for, the empowered committee on mega projects had approved 203 projects worth Rs 73,000 crore, they claimed. These projects would generate 16 lakh jobs for the unemployed.



Guru Arjun Dev’s 4th martyrdom centenary observed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 28
The women wing of the Guru Angad Dev Educational and Welfare Council observed the fourth centenary of martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev at Gurdwara Urban Estate recently.

The principal speaker was Ms Manjinder Kaur, Principal of Mata Ganga College, Kotan.

She dwelt on at length on the evils prevalent in Sikh society. She advised the audience to pay heed to the Sikh way of life as laid down by gurus.

Dr Pratap Singh appealed to the persons present on the occasion to lead a pious life. Referring to history, Mr Harbans Singh said problems were always there for Sikhs but they came out victorious under the guidance of Gurbani.

Mr Ikbal Singh, president of the council, said service and sincerity were the keys to salvation. Mr Sukhdev Singh, general secretary, Guru Angad Dev Educational and Welfare Council, summed up the proceedings of the functions and said it would be efficacious only if all followed the principals of Gurmat.

At the end, Mr Karamjit Singh Aujla thanked the audience for attending the programme.

Meanwhile, the martyrdom day of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was observed by Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Sarabha Nagar, yesterday.

Speakers dwelt on greatness of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. Mr Harjit Singh Bhanwra presented “Gatha Baba Banda Bahadur”. Mr Sukhdev Singh spoke on Banda Bahadur’s life.

Mr Gurmail Singh Barnala and Mr Mohinder Singh Prabhakar presented a kirtan. The function lasted for three hours. The audience remained spellbound listening to great deeds of Banda Bahadur. The management of the gurdwara declared that the martyrdom day of Banda Bahadur would be observed every year.



At The Crossroads
Remembering a renowned painter-poet

Ishwar Chitarkar In 1961 Ishwar Chitarkar left Delhi for London at the age of 50 to carve out a niche for himself in the world of art. He struggled hard there, held two solo exhibitions of his paintings and earned kudos for his novelty of expression on canvas. The press hailed him as ‘Sikh makes art history’, as he was at that time the first Sikh to hold an art exhibition in the UK. On August 20, 1965 Middex Country Times and Middex Gazette reported — “History was made on Monday afternoon when Lord Sorensen opened a Southall artist’s one-man show at a South Kensington gallery.” The painter was Mr Ishwar Singh who used to be a senior artist in the Indian government’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Lord Sorensen said he was much impressed by the colours, textures, imagery and depth of meaning in Mr Singh’s work. And he went on to praise the cultural and spiritual heritage of ancient India which was displayed in the paintings.

Like Van Gogh, he could not sell his paintings to the admiring visitors. Later, he diverted his attention to literary activities in the United Kingdom. He started editing a Punjabi monthly ‘Savera’ in the mid-sixties, besides presiding over the monthly meetings of Punjabi Sahit Sabha in Southall. Already a tall figure in the literary world of Punjab, he conquered the ‘realm of gold’ there without any effort. But things could not go on like that for a long time. He had to do odd jobs which took a heavy toll of his health. Gradually, he became a victim of high blood pressure that ultimately led to his demise on December 2, 1968 in a London hospital, after having fallen unconscious at a wayside railway station.

Incidentally the commemorative volume, Ishwar Chitarkar Simriti Granth, that has been published by Jaswant Printers, Ludhiana, to keep alive the memory of this great Punjabi painter — poet, falls short of merely six years to his birth centenary in 2012. This hefty volume comprising 336 pages and 70 photographs and paintings in colour as well as blank and white has been well received by the world of literature and art. Memory has helped a lot of his contemporaries in delineating wonderful pen-portraits of Ishwar Chitarkar, besides grabbing the opportunity of reassessing his literary as well as artistic contributions. In a way the reader of this volume has the feeling of passing through an art gallery, while his ears are attuned to the recitation of poems and ghazals in Punjabi. The painter-poet did not die young but the circumstances so conspired that his works remained unnoticed and unappreciated for about four decades after his death.

Three years ago Purdaman Singh Bedi, printer and publisher, edited a commemorative volume of the renowned artist, Sobha Singh. Ishwar Chitarkar Simriti Granth can be termed as its companion volume. Taken together these volumes celebrate the achievements of two great Punjabi artists of the last century. Sobha Singh earned renown by painting portraits of the Sikh Gurus and the legendary figures like Heer Ranjha and Sohni Mahiwal. On his part, Ishwar Chitarkar was more interested in landscapes and socio-cultural aspects of Punjabi life. During his formative years in Lahore, in the thirties, he came under the influence of Abdur Rahman Chugtai who had revived the classical Iranian art of painting at the beginning of the 20th century. In the late fifties, Ishwar Chitarkar was drawn to abstract painting. Before leaving for London, he had held in 1958 a solo exhibition of his paintings in New Delhi. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru could not inaugurate it but he found time to visit the venue sometime later.

The artist’s daughter, Animeshwar Kaur, and her husband Jatinder Singh, managed to establish an Art Gallery in New Delhi, in the name of Ishwar Chitarkar, some years ago. But there are not many paintings in this gallery as most of the creations have been lost over the period of time. The paintings which his son Tarun (who has now settled in Rome) had brought from London in December 1969 were first detained at the Delhi airport and later dedicated to All-India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New Delhi, of which Ishwar Chitarkar had been a life member. Now most of those paintings are decorating the drawing rooms of ‘the admirers’ of the artist who got the opportunity of acquiring these somehow after their exhibition in 1971 at Punjabi University, Patiala and later at New Delhi. An appeal has been made to donate all these paintings to the Art Gallery at New Delhi so as to perpetuate the memory of this unassuming but highly talented artist of this land of five rivers. Ironically his fame now rests on his literary contributions, particularly poetry, although he considered himself first an artist and then a poet or writer.

When he took pen in his hand, he could think only in terms of colours and images. He was always haunted by the thought of his lost love. The pain of separation was too excruciating to be expressed in words. In his poem Yaad (remembrance), he epitomized his feelings in an incomparable image — Yaad kise dee seene andar/Aes taran nit tarfe/Paani wich jyon machhi koi/Kundi wich paroti hoye/Tut gyee hai dori jis di/Bahar khare shikari nun par/Tarfan uss di nahin hai disdi. (The memory of someone writhes with pain in my heart, like a fish caught in the hook of a fishing rod, the chord of which has been snapped. It suffers excruciating pain, unknown to the fisherman standing on the shore.)

— N.S. Tasneem



Dharna by BSNL staff
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 28
In pursuance of a decision taken by the central committee of the National Federation of Telecom Employees (NFTE) at Jamshedpur recently, employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) organised a demonstration and staged a dharna at the office of the General Manager, Ludhiana Telecom, here today.

In a memorandum submitted to the authorities, the district branch of the NFTE demanded that all agreements signed between the DOT and the BSNL and the decision taken at the time of conversion of the Department of Telecom into a corporation, should be given effect.

Further, the BSNL administration should be given full executive authority, accorded the status of ‘navratna’ and wage anomalies of senior employees should be settled.

Addressing the protesting employees, Mr Prem Singh and Mr Mohinder Parshad, president and secretary, respectively, of the district unit of the NFTE, called upon the BSNL management to enforce standing orders on similar service rules for industrial and non-industrial workers, deposits under group insurance scheme be disbursed immediately and policy of disinvestment of the BSNL be scrapped forthwith.

Among others, Mr Prem Singh, Mr Pritam Chand, Mr Sarbjit Singh, Mr N.S. Sodhi, Mr Sanjay Walia, Mr Nand Kishore, Mr Dwarka Prasad, Mr Sudhakar Rai, Mr Ram Lal, Mr Uma Shankar, Mr Tribuvan Rai and Mr Rajinder Prasad also addressed the rally.



“I’d rather give my body to medical college than to kin”
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 28
Once, a proud father of a top rank CRPF officer, Mr Ujjagar Singh Gill of Achharwal village in Raikot subdivision, urged the authorities at the Sangrur branch of Pingalwara to donate his body to some medical college instead of handing it over to his kin for cremation after death.

Though Mr Ujjagar Singh Gill has been living at the old-age wing of Sangrur branch of Pingalwara for years, he was forced to take the decision after his grandsons refused to meet him on his visit to their home recently.

“ When I have been forced to live at the mercy of an NGO what right do they have to perform my last rites after death,” reacted Mr Gill.

Mr Gill joined the Indian Army in 1944 but had to leave the job in 1952. He then studied further and completed his bachelor's degree in Arts.

The Gill couple was blessed with a male child and gave him best of education. The things were not the same after his marriage said Mr Gill. He said he could not adjust himself according to his daughter-in-law, whom he considered like a daughter. Today Mr Gill, despite having a prosperous son, daughter-in-law two grandsons and two sisters living in Canada, is staying in pingalwara along with 212 other inmates.

One of his sisters has assured him that he would be taken to Canada or America.“But I don't think this dream will come true as the authorities have refused to attest the documents required for preparing passport on the pretext that I do not have a ration card ," lamented Mr Gill.



Food joints raided
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 28
Health officials, including Dr Avtar Krishan, Mr Manoj Khosla and Mr Ravinder Garg, conducted raids on several places and took eight samples of food items which were sent to a government laboratory for analysis.

Giving this information, Dr Sat Pal Sharma, Civil Surgeon, said food joints, provision stores and aerated water factories at Vishwakarma Colony, Moti Nagar, Mundian, Shingar road, Ranjit Park, Chandigarh road and Bhadaur House were inspected.

The team took samples of vanaspati ghee, aerated water, coffee and other eatables. A large quantity of over-ripe fruits, vegetables and uncovered eatables were destroyed by the health officials at many places.

In the wake of monsoon, the eateries had been given strict instructions to maintain desirable standards of cleanliness and hygiene. Owners of eating joints were asked to get their staff medically examined and stress on personal hygiene.



A village that respects its girls
Our Correspondent

Samrala, June 28
Girls are respected at Otalan village, about 2 km from here, and for this reason, the brick-laying ceremony of the repair work of a huge gate at the entrance of the village, was performed by seven girls.

Mr Ashok Kumar Saddi, an NRI, has contributed Rs 1.25 lakh as the first instalment for the purpose. The Kar Seva Committee has appealed to villagers to contribute towards the project that would cost about Rs 5 lakh.

The village has a history of 12 “darwazas” and was once the capital of Sodhi dynasty believed to be the progeny of Lov, son of Lord Rama.



Problems of Sikhs discussed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 28
Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle (GGSSC) and the chairman, Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), USA, Dr Rajwant Singh, organised a joint press conference at GGSSC, head office, Model Town Extension, Ludhiana, here today. Dr Charan Kamal Singh warmly welcomed him and said that both the organisations could serve the religion and society better by collaborating in various social projects.

Speaking to mediapersons, Dr Rajwant Singh explained about the various problems, which the Sikh community faced in the post 9/11 period. Punjabi’s, especially the Sikh community had to face racism, hatred and job discrimination in the USA. He said most of the people identify Sikhs as Muslims due to lack of awareness about Sikh religion. To overcome this, they have started a project under which they are interacting with students in universities and holding group discussions to propagate Sikhism.

Appreciating the activities carried out by GGSSC, he said, the circle was one of the few socio-religious organisations in Punjab, working actively for the upliftment of the society and the Sikh religion. He said SCORE would like to collaborate with GGSSC on various projects, including awarding scholarships to poor students for higher education and other social projects. He said the NRI community was prosperous enough and now they were planning to utilise that prosperity for the betterment of the people of Punjab. Dr Charan Kamal Singh, chief secretary, GGSSC, Bibi Harkirat Kaur, Secretary, Directorate of Language and Literature, Mr Satnam Singh Sallopuri, Director, Youth Services, Dr. Harbans Singh and other senior members of GGSSC were also present.



‘I belong to no political party’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana June 28
Sant Asa Ram ji Bapu addressed lakhs of saadhaks here today on the campus of the Government College for Women. During his discourse ,he said he belonged to humanity and not to any particular party or sect .

Devotees from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and J & K were present to listen to his sermons.

He spread the divya bhagwat gyan and bhakti sandesh to his disciples. Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister (Punjab), was also present among the audience.

Bapu Murari further said “Respect others wishes to be respected.” 



Workshop on personality development
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
A four day workshop on personality development ended here yesterday. Organised by Dr Varminder Kaur and Ms Navpreet Dhillon, both lecturers in local colleges, the theme of the workshop was: “Good looks catch the eye but a good personality catches the heart”.

Other than these two Dr Kanwalpreet Kaur and Ms Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu were the resource persons at the workshop. “The aim was to highlight self-assurance, orientation, communication, grooming, etiquette and entertaining as crucial facets of personality development. They believe that moving ahead is the mantra of life and for that self- confidence and positive thinking is a must,” said Dr Kanwalpreet.

“The idea has grown from the small, informal group meetings which they had in their house where they encouraged a small circle of friends, especially women (homemakers as well as working women) to respect themselves,” pointed out Navpreet. 



Search life partner through SMS
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Now your mobile phone can assist you in your search for a bride or a groom. Jeevansathi.com, a matrimonial website, has introduced its services through SMS. The company aims to make search for a prospective partner (bride or groom) faster and simpler, thereby giving the consumer a platform for easy and quick connectivity.

“Mobile and telephone penetration in India now is far higher in comparison to the Internet usage. There is a huge population which cannot access the Internet, but do have mobile connectivity. To include a larger section of people, we decided to offer our services through SMS,” said Mr Vivek Khare, business head of the company.

One need not necessarily be a registered user of the site to avail oneself of this service. Anyone with a mobile phone can access it by simply typing JS on a given mobile number and send it to get back a message that gives you a search option to specify the format of your reply via SMS like gender, age, and then your preference like caste, location, profession etc.

The user will receive an SMS from the site giving details of the matches found and also the steps to take the search forward. The basic services offered are search for a partner, express interest in a profile, chat through mobile and check your status.

Commenting on the development, Mr Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder and CEO, Info Edge (India) Ltd, added, “SMS service has been introduced keeping in mind the constant innovation and endeavour to give our customers more offerings and helping them simplify their procedure for searches in terms of technology.

This will also enable a wider reach, as we are essentially an SMS-driven nation.”



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