L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Drug smugglers in hiding as police steps up vigil
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
A number of import-export companies of the city are under surveillance of the security agencies after three such companies were found to be used as fronts for an international drug smuggling chain.

The city is one of the main transit points for the drug peddlers, especially those operating between Punjab and Canada, said sources with the Delhi Police that recently arrested two persons operating from the city.

But no fresh arrest could be made after the initial success two weeks ago. The contacts of the accused and other smugglers went underground before the sleuths of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) of the local police could lay hands on them. The Delhi Police also could not conduct more raids with similar success.

The Delhi Police busted the gang to some extent with the arrest of a Canadian citizen of Indian origin, Gurdish Toor, a resident of Surrey, B.C., on August 21.

The alleged narcotics smuggler has revealed that the gang was formed so that all narcotics smugglers could reap profits instead of competing with each other.

DCP (South Delhi) Ravindra Yadav said drugs were being smuggled from India through fake export-import companies.

These were supplied in Ontario from where these were further supplied in Canada.

DCP Yadav said apart from Gurdish Singh Toor, the Delhi Police had also arrested his alleged close aide, Paramjit Singh of Ludhiana, Delhi-based businessman Amrit Aggarwal and Indore-based newspaper agent Kailash Jindal.

The police seized 100 kg ephedrine and 3 kg hashish, all worth around $5 million in the international market.

According to Mr Yadav, smuggling was taking place under the garb of import-export business run by three Ludhiana-based companies of Parmjit Singh. The companies were: Golden Shields Limited, Supreme Rice Limited and Blue Horse Trading Limited. These firms were apparently dealing in export of rice and drugs to Canada and the USA.

He said the smugglers paid Canadian $500 for charas per kg in India and sold it at around Canadian $ 3,000 per kg in that country. Ephedrine, used for increasing the quantity of various drugs, was also available at cheaper rates in India. This also brought rich dividends to the peddlers when they sold it in the Canadian market.

An alleged international gang of Canadian drug peddlers was the central force behind the peddling of expensive narcotics from India to that country, sources added.

The India-Canada route has become quite porous of late with a number of narcotics smugglers in Punjab peddling drugs like smack, heroin and charas to Canada through fake import-export companies, investigation by the police revealed.

The arrest of Gurdish Singh Toor follows the arrest of another Canadian citizen of Indian origin, Gurwinder Singh Dhaliwal.

A team of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Amritsar, arrested him earlier this month from the Raja Sansi airport in Amritsar for allegedly trying to smuggle heroin worth Rs 35 crore to Canada.

A truck driver carrying the same drug for handing it over to international smugglers somewhere in Ludhiana was also caught by a team of the directorate.



She tied the knot and left them in knots
NRI woman dupes several youths
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 3
The local police has registered an FIR under Sections 420, 494, 406 and 120-B against an NRI married woman for allegedly duping a Punjabi youth of Rs 12 lakh by marrying him and deserting him later.

Promptness of the police saved another youth from being caught in her trap but the accused succeeded in running away with gifts and cash she had received from him as shagun for her proposed third marriage.

According to the FIR lodged on the statement of Kuldip Singh son of Nachhatar Singh, a resident of Manakwal village, he was duped of Rs 12 lakh by Parwinder Kaur, daughter of Gurdeep Singh Sandhu of Marwah Khurad, Yamunanagar who married him and then ran away with money, valuables and a new Scorpio car.

Kuldeep Singh, the only brother of three sisters, had taken up insurance business to supplement his earning, During his insurance business, he came in contact with Bhupinder Singh of Dhulkot village and Baljinder Singh Kuku of Koom Kalan who suggested him that he should marry an NRI girl and go to Canada or America to earn handsome income.

The duo introduced him to Parwinder Kaur and mediated the marriage that was solemnised at Raj Palace, Cheema Shergarh, on March 12, 2006.

“Before settlement of marriage, Parwinder had told me that she had come alone and asked me to spend the required money on the ceremony on behalf of her parents and that she would return my money later. Besides spending Rs 3 lakh on celebration, clothes and jewellery I paid her about Rs 7 lakh at various times,” said Kuldeep Singh to the police.

Parwinder stayed with Kuldeep for two months and the left on the pretext of visiting her relatives. Before going she convinced Kuldeep to buy her a new Scorpio, as a hiring taxi would be expensive.

Though Parwinder promised to return Manakwal after a week, she did not do so. With passage of time, the Manakheri family became suspicious and reported the matter to the local police.

Mr Rachhpal Singh Hara, DSP, Malerkotla, told the Ludhiana Tribune that Mr Darshan Singh, SHO, Sadar, had been deputed to investigate the case. Preliminary investigations revealed that Parwinder Kaur had been married to an NRI Gurdeep Singh Chahal of Langar Chhani (Ambala) settled in Toronto (Canada).

Though he was a divorcee and was 35 years older to Parwinder Kaur, she agreed to marry him,for greener pastures in Canada.

Not feeling contended with her lot, Parwinder started visiting India in search of young boys, desirous of marrying foreign girls. She succeeded in alluring Kuldeep Singh and got married to him in March this year.

Investigations revealed that after leaving Manakheri, Parwinder began living with one Viney Brahamchari, a self- styled tantrik, at Sital Narwaha. A major part of the money minted from Kuldeep Singh was, used to construct an ‘Ashram’ run by the Yad Sewa Trust floated by the duo to grab money from government agencies.

The police received information that Parwinder had come to Ludhiana in search of a new prey. The Shagun ceremony was scheduled to take place at Queen Flower restaurant at Neelon Bridge near Samrala on Saturday.

“Acting promptly, a team raided the place and found enough evidence to establish that the ceremony had taken place but Palwinder Kaur succeeded in dodging the police,” said Mr Hara.



Govt teachers to hold protest tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 3
The Government Classical and Vernacular Teachers Union, Punjab, held a meeting here today under the presidentship of Bibi Sakura Begum Dhillon. The meeting was addressed by Mr Harbhajan Singh Dhindsa, president of the north India wing of the union.

They criticised the alleged anti-teacher policies of the government. They said they would observe Teachers Day September 4 as “Protest Day” to slam the government for not meeting their demands. They said they would hold protest meetings from September 17 to October 8 at all district headquarters and also submit a memorandum of demands to Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Dhindsa said a demonstration would be held in front of the office of the DPI (Secondary) in Chandigarh on October 17. If the demands were not acceded to, the state convention would announce teh future course of action on October 29.



Octroi abolition spells misery for dhaba owners
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
While the Municipal Corporation is going to lose on revenue with the abolition of octroi from today, the business of dhabas near octroi posts was affected as not many truckers stopped there for having meals.

All dhabas, which had strategically mushroomed near octroi posts to attract truckers, wore a deserted look today.

The owners of the dhabas said with the abolition of octroi, their 75 per cent business would be affected.

Mr Jaswant Singh, a dhaba owner near an octroi post on the Jalandhar road, said he had set up his business near the post eyeing truckers, who used to halt at the place to deposit octroi. In the meantime, they would have tea or meals at his dhaba. But, now that the octroi had been done away with, they would not halt at his dhaba.

“Earlier, other dhabawalas used to envy the location of my outlet, but now I am also like them. We have served only 15 guests since morning. Yesterday, there were around 100 persons who had food here”, he added.

Joining him were Mr Surinder Pal Singh, running a tyre repair shop near the post. “I used to earn Rs 200 by the end of the day. But, today I could make only Rs 25. How will it work? ’’ he asked.

Some labourers, who used to earn their livelihood by unloading goods from trucks, were also an unhappy lot. They said they had been standing outside the post throughout the day, but not even a single truck stopped for hiring their services.

However, the development left the truck drivers a happier lot. They said there were no hassles now. “Instead of paying money, it was the treatment and harassment that used to affect us. Now, there is no stopping us”, said Mr Nahar Singh, a truck driver.



Narrow escape for family as tree falls on house
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 3
Mr Jairam Misra and his family members of ward No. 4 here had a narrow escape when a fully grown neem tree was uprooted by strong winds that lashed the area yesterday and fell on their house, causing damage to it.

The winds uprooted a large number of eucalyptus trees in the area, which blocked roads along the Sirhind canal as well as the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, near here. The blockade was cleared in the this morning. The neem tree damaged a parapet and caused cracks at several places in the building of Mr Misra as it landed on the roof of the house.

The trees also blocked the street, which was cleared by volunteers and employees of the municipal council. the rescue operation.



Scooterist dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 3
Lakbir Singh (28) of Rachhin village was killed while Nachhatar Singh of the same village was injured seriously when a vehicle hit their scooter (PB 28-3708) on the Guga Mari Rasulpur link road, near here, today.

Passersby informed Mr Rashpal Singh Dhindsa, SHO, Dehlon, who pressed a rescue van into service and got the injured shifted to a private hospital in the town, where Lakhbir Singh died.



Ludhiana calling

Clashes over trivial ego problems between college and school students have become a routine in the city. Hardly a day passes when there is no minor or major problem between the scores of student groups that have mushroomed all over the place. If earlier, college students were a problem for the administration, now school students have also become one. It seems a special police and social drive has to be launched to handle the problem till it turns into a bloody battle.

Cop sets example

A police officer recently set an example by taking to task his son for allegedly taking part in a students’ clash. While men of his tribe protect their children and thus encourage them indirectly, this officer first took on his own son before other school student leaders for indulging in violence. His action sent right signals as parents of over 20 students involved in the incident admonished their children instead of using power and money to defend them.

Traffic cones

After a gap of over three years, traffic cones have resurfaced on city roads to help regulate traffic. These are of utmost importance as they divide the roads without consuming much space. Despite the fact that the issue of their removal was raised by the media a number of times in the past three years, the authorities did not budge from their stand. Suddenly these resurfaced, perhaps after a change of guard.

ATM blues

ICICI ATM card-holders, beware! Next time you go to withdraw money from ICICI ATMs at Fountain Chowk, Feroze Gandhi Market or the one near DMC Hospital, make sure you have enough time and petrol in your car as in all likelihood you will have to make several rounds of these and everywhere you will be told “sorry, no cash” or “machine out of order”. Worse, if you ask the security guard about the problem, he will say, “Kya karen aap log complaint hi nahin karte ho, hum khud jawab de kar dukhi hain (What can we do? You people do not complaint. We, too, feel irritated while answering your queries)”. Or does it mean that Ludhiana people have become so spendthrift that ATMs have run out of cash!

Risky poles

Poles installed in the middle of various roads continue to pose problems for commuters. A number of minor accidents keep taking place in all parts of the city, but the authorities concerned look the other way. Though recently the municipal corporation and the Punjab State Electricity Board authorities together decided to shift them on the roadside, nothing has happened on the ground. (see photo)

Cellphone menace

Beware while giving your cellphone number to strangers. It can be dicey and may take away your goodnight sleep. A girl had a tough time when somebody scribbled her phone number on the wall of a public toilet in the local bus stand. She started getting obnoxious calls from unidentified callers. Despite complaining at various platforms, nothing came out of it. It was only after surrendering her phone that she could have some relief.

Waterlogging woes

When it rains in Ludhiana, it seems the entire drainage system gets jammed. Roads get so waterlogged that commuters find it difficult to reach their destinations. A number of vehicles break down, causing inconvenience. There seems to be no solution for the problem even as some officials say that if old sewers are replaced with new ones and the storm water sewerage cleaned religiously well before monsoons, the city can get rid of the problem. Does anybody care?

It’s cool

Two days of rain in the city has brought the temperature considerably down, relieving pressure on underground water and electricity. The temperature fell so much last night that even fans were not required. Some people even took out their woollens for a day. Residents wish such pleasant could continue.



Choked sewers lead to water accumulation on streets
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, September 3
Water accumulation and choked sewers in some of the localities of the town continue to stare the residents in the very face and multiply their problems.

A slight downpour and the town seems to be flooded with water. Bhaina Wali Gali, Vishkarma road attaching Araichan road, Railway road, Lakkar Mandi, etc, become pools of water, thus making passage impossible for the daily employees as well as the school and college-going students.

In spite of the regular clearing of the sewer blockages by MC officials, water continues to accumulate and emit foul smell.

Mr Jandeep Kaushal, chairman of the local Youth Forum and resident of the area, complained, “The partially open gutters at some places add to the problem of choked sewers. Many a times have the officials been informed about this state of affairs.

“If once in a while the blockage is cleared, fresh water accumulates with each downpour. Regular reminders and pleas have borne negligible results as the authorities have failed to find a permanent solution to this grave problem for years together.

“As the streets are filled with water, it is proving a congenial breeding ground for mosquitoes and the people may be exposed to grave health hazards.

“Moreover, during monsoon season, the risk of people falling a prey to various diseases, increases manifold,” he said.

“As the people are residing in such unhygienic surroundings, water-borne diseases and gastrointestinal infections may become a cause of epidemic outbreak in the area,” residents apprehend.

The situation in Sahnewal town is no better. The streets here become so flooded with water that water enters the houses of the residents, thus making the situation unbearable. Residents have to erect temporary blockages in front of their outer doors, to prevent the foul-smelling water from entering their houses. The situation is rally pathetic as the dirty water of the nalas after mixing with rainwater plays havoc in the streets.

“As Sahnewal town is making quick progress as more and more people now prefer to reside on the outskirts of Ludhiana, a proper sewerage system is the need of the hours,” says Mr Jasminder Sandhu, chairman, Market committee, Sahnewal.

Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu, president, Nagar Panchayat, Sahnewal, when contacted said, “It is really a grave problem we are facing. We applied for loan to several banks for the purpose but are refused every time due to lack of adequate property. Several times have we put forth our demands before the government but to no avail. For drainage we have two wells of the council and that too have outlived their capacity. If excess of water is drained in ponds, the residents complain of ever flowing water. We too are at our wits ends. Due to lack of financial resources, we are forced to just wait and watch.”

The problem is really intense in the grain market, main bazaar and model town areas where knee-deep water brings life entirely to a halt. The water on the sides enters the shops thus rendering the sale of goods next to impossible.



‘Zinda dance’ banned at Chhapar Mela
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 3
The Jagraon police has sought cooperation from the social and political organisations of the area in managing the affairs of Chhapar Mela, commencing on September 6.

Addressing a meeting of the leaders and representatives of various organisations of Chhapar and adjoining villages and towns yesterday, Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SSP, Jagraon, said the natives could help the administration in maintaining law and order at the mela venue. “As the local leaders are familiar with the people and areas around the place of worship at the mela, they can cooperate with the administration by involving themselves in different committees to be constituted for managing various events this year”, elaborated Mr Jaiswal.

The SSP said there would be a complete ban on the sale of liquor and those agricultural implements that could be used as crude weapons. Zinda dance stalls, that had been reported as centres of hooliganism in the past, would not be allowed, added Mr Jaiswal.

Mr Jaiswal urged the leaders to arrange spacious parking places near their respective conference sites. The vehicle passes for entering the mela place would be issued on the basis of capacity of the parking places, he added.

During inspection of proposed sites hired by the organisers of various political conferences, the SSP suggested certain alterations, which the leaders promised to follow. Mr Suhinder Pal Singh Bawa, SP (H), and Mr Raghbir Singh Sandhu, DSP, Dakha, were also present.



Johar gives away bags of flour to the poor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
Public Health Minister Harnam Dass Johar has exhorted party workers to launch a statewide campaign to apprise people of the achievements of the Congress government on the basis of which the state of Punjab had again been adjudged the best government in the country by a national publication.

He was addressing a well-attended workers' meeting at Manjit Nagar here last night. The minister also distributed bags of flour among the poor of the area.

Under Capt Amarinder Singh, the state has witnessed record development and care has been taken that all sections of society substantially benefited by the implementation of various welfare schemes.

He claimed that Punjab had emerged as a favoured destination for big industry for investment and 235 big projects costing Rs 80,000 crore had already been cleared by the cabinet which would generate employment for 11 lakh people in coming days.

Mr Johar said a new scheme - water supply and environmental sanitation - with the assistance of World Bank facility would be started in 6,500 villages of the state at a cost of Rs 1819.35 crore and the projects would be completed within six years.

Referring to the welfare of weaker sections, the minister claimed that the government had taken effective steps for the welfare of weaker sections and said that during this year, funds amounting to Rs 1154 crore were being spent to implement welfare schemes framed for these sections of society.

Ludhiana was being developed as a model city of North India and funds amounting to Rs 3995 crore had already been sanctioned for different development projects.

The government was strengthening the public distribution system in the state and various food items would be made available to the poor at subsidised rates though ration depots, he added.

The minister said Rs 45 crore had so far been spent on various development projects in Ludhiana West constituency and more grants of Rs 6 crore were being spent on the execution of various development works in the constituency. He announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the Mohala Welfare Society.

Others present on the occasion were Mr Dimple Rana, president, DYC, Mr Ajay Johar, Mr Jagdish Marwaha, secretary, DCC (U), and Dr Kamal, Mr. Kashmira Singh, Ms Manjit Kaur and Mr Rakesh Bhandari.

This morning, Mr Johar also visited the site of a huge crater created as a result of the collapse of storm water sewerage system in Shashtri Nagar and inspected the damage.

He assured the residents that once the weather cleared, effective remedial measures would be taken.



Car dealers defy orders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
Cocking a snook at the orders of the district administration for not holding a car bazar, car dealers today removed barricades put up by the authorities and parked cars on pavements of the market.

The district administration had banned the holding of car bazar in the posh market following orders by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The car dealers removed some barricades this morning so that old cars could be displayed on pavements meant for pedestrians.

The car bazar was run throughout the day amid silent protests by traders and property dealers’ association of the market. They said they would take up the matter with the higher authorities. 



Lions Club holds workshop
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 3
The Lions Club International 321-F organised workshop on ‘Sight First-Jot-2006’ at Lions Bhawan, here today. The function was held under Lion K.M. Goyal. He was the chief guest and the function was presided over by MJF Lion R.K. Rana, district governor 321-F.

Lion Jagjyoti Jain, chairman, Sight First MD 321, spoke about the work being done by all Lion Clubs under Lion Club International 321-F. He emphasised the need to help the poor and downtrodden suffering from eye ailment.

The former Lion Clubs under the banner of district 321-F had done pioneer work by organising eye cheekup and eye operation camps all over the district.

This year it had been planned that 15,000 free eye operations would be performed on cataract patients and they would also be given spectacles .

Lion I.S. Khanna, committee chairperson, was appreciated for his excellent work in motivating all Lions Clubs to do their best in helping the poor.



Road mishap leaves one dead, 2 injured
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, September 3
In a road mishap, which took place near the local octroi post on the Rahon road at 8.15 pm on Thursday, a woman was reported to have died and two persons were injured.

One of the injured has been admitted in the CMC, Ludhiana, as he has received some head injuries.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, ASI Gurmail Singh said three motor cycle-borne persons — Rampaul Singh, Gurdeep Singh and Harpreet Kaur — were on their way to Panjgrain village when an unidentified tempo hit them from the rear near the octroi turn.

As a result, the driver of motor cycle, Gurdeep Singh, resident of Takkar Colony, and his two companions Rampaul Singh and Harpreet Kaur, both residents of Gaushala road, Machhiwara, fell on the ground and were injured.

All three injured were immediately taken to the PHU,Machhiwara, where Harpreet Kaur succumbed to her injuries.

Gurdeep Singh was referred to CMC, Ludhiana, as he was in a very bad shape. Rampaul Singh was also under observation in the local PHU.

The deceased, Harpreet Kaur, was a mother of two children, a son aged 10 and a daughter aged 8.



Biz Clips

Duke showroom: Duke Fashions (India) Limited opened its fifth exclusive showroom in Ludhiana at Chowk Girija Ghar, Chaura Bazar, here on Saturday. Mr Kuntal Jain, director of the company, was here to attend the opening ceremony. — OC

Michelin outlet: The Michelin group announced its first priority partner in the city on Saturday. The products to be offered at the outlet include Pilot Preceda tyre, Certis, LTX A/T tyres and Energy EMI tyres. Mr Herve Dub, CEO of the company, said, “We aim to refine the way tyres are sold by offering convenience, choice and transparency to the consumer.” — OC



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