L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Dengue material distributed
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
With more than 100 patients already reported to various hospitals with dengue, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has finally woken up and started educating the public by distributing pamphlets to create awareness about the fever.

The irony starts from the first line of the pamphlet only which states that the fever spreads in the month of September and October while the local body has started issuing handouts in the second week of October.

Residents feel that the MC should have started such a campaign before the onset of the fever so that the victims could have been spared of the agony and many people, who lost their lives to dengue could have been saved.

Though the pamphlet gives just an elementary knowledge about the disease, had it been issued well in time it could have helped matters. “We welcome such a step but it is definitely very late. Still we are thankful that someone has actually thought about educating people. It was never done in the past,” said Mr Raghbir Singh, a resident of Dugri.

The pamphlet has been issued by Mr Vikas Partap, Commissioner, MC, and educates the people about how to prevent dengue and the symptoms of the disease.

“Had this effort been done a month earlier it would have really saved a number of people. Though many people know about the disease and how it spreads a warning by local body well in time comes handy. Had they just issued a warning in September or in the end of August it would have been much better,’’ said another resident.

Some residents felt that just awareness would not help in the prevention as people do not bother about anything till an action is taken against them.

“The officials should start visiting the houses and if water filled containers are found, the owners should be challaned. The best way is to punish them only then things would improve. I have seen many houses where water is not drained from the air coolers but nobody cares,” said Mr N.K. Khera, another resident.

Meanwhile, the MC is distributing pamphlets in a big way. These are being inserted in newspapers and handed over at various traffic chowks.

These appeal to the people not to allow water to stagnate in any container, pot, cooler, tyre, washing machines and should be changed everyday if it could not be drained.

The residents have been asked to wear full sleeved and full length clothes.

Mosquitoes repellents have also been advised and at the same time residents have been asked to report to a nearest doctor in case of high fever.



68 more dengue cases in city
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 13
As many as 68 fresh dengue patients were admitted to various hospitals during the past 24 hours. However, health officials said the number of cases during this period was 41.

Information gathered by Ludhiana Tribune from hospitals revealed that the CMCH had reported 26 suspected cases of dengue while 16 patients were admitted to the DMCH, seven to Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Hospital, four to SPS Apollo Hospital, five to Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital and 10 to local nursing homes.

Under attack from the media for its attempts to suppress information on dengue, the Health Department today released a detailed break down of dengue patients in the city hospitals. According to the District Health Officer, Dr Harcharan Singh, with 41 fresh cases of dengue being reported till this evening, the total number of patients had gone up to 370.

The list put the figure of deaths at four while the actual loss of lives until now had been eight, including two in Jalandhar who were referred to a city hospital.

Meanwhile, a seminar on dengue was held at the DMCH and focussed on prevention, control and management of the mosquito-borne viral infection. It also discussed technical aspects regarding transmission, management, prevention and control of dengue as well as dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF).

Dr Daljit Singh, Principal, DMC, presided. He said the viral disease transmitted by aedes aegypti mosquito was endemic in more than 100 countries. The major large-scale outbreaks in 2006 included the Philippines, Dominican Republic and India.

Dr G.P.I. Singh said the disease was earlier restricted to metropolitan cities but now cases were being reported from the rural areas also. The disease had about 5 per cent mortality, being more severe among children.

Dr Sandeep Puri outlined the details of manifestation of fever and techniques of management. Dengue was heralded by sudden onset of high fever, severe body ache, pain in muscles and joints, besides extreme weakness.

“The disease may progress to a severe forms like the DHF and Dengue Shock Syndrome. Severe forms of the disease are characterised by bleeding in the form of a rash, or bleeding through nose,” he said. 



IT raids on colonisers
Benami property papers, cash seized
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
Several teams of the investigation wing of the Income Tax Department yesterday conducted raids on nearly six business and residential premises of a group of colonisers and property developers in different parts of the city, besides Dhuri and Malerkotla

The raids, which began early in the morning at Dugri, South City and Aggar Nagar localities, continued till late evening. Though no official information about the outcome was available, it was learnt that IT sleuths had seized cash worth Rs 30 lakh and incriminating documents pertaining to sale and purchase of benami property to the tune of Rs 2 crore.

The Director of Investigation, Mr Roshan Sahay, supervised the operations which were carried out by at least 60 IT officials from Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Amritsar and Chandigarh.

The raids were extended to some other business associates of the company who were said to have transacted high-value property deals in the recent past.

While officials refused to divulge details of the concealed income, sources indicated that the seized documents, books of account and other relevant information about property and wealth of the coloniser, family members and business associates were being processed to arrive at a figure, which was likely to touch several crore. 



Rumour of Raikot-Barnala merger irks residents 
Mahesh Sharma

Raikot, October 13
Speculation is rife here that Barnala township will soon be a district and Raikot will be separated from Ludhiana revenue district and included in the new district.
Though no government official or a minister has aired the idea, political circles and government departments are abuzz with activity over the news.

The speculation is based on the fact that ancestors of the Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, belonged to Barnala. He may gift the district status to Barnala before the elections, source said.

The suspected merging of this subdivision of immense historical and religious significance has bring residents, irrespective of their political alliance, closer. They have decided to launch a joint protest against the decision.

While Congress leaders hoped that the Chief Minister would keep his promise not to transfer the area to Barnala district at any cost, leaders of opposition parties said they would give tooth and nail fight to save merger.

Proximity to Ludhiana and decades-old economic and social association were cited as main factors for keeping their area attached with the present district. Degradation of development due to proposed association with relatively backward headquarters was the other reason for showing resentment.

According to Mr Sudarshan Joshi, president of Municipal Council, all councillors and office-bearers of various political, religious and social organisations wished to remain with Ludhiana as headquarters for all administrative purposes.

Showing ignorance about the process initiated by the government on the recommendations of a committee headed by Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Joshi claimed that Captain Amarinder Singh had assured a delegation of local residents that the subdivision would not be merged with Barnala at any cost.

"However, we will act according to the wishes of the majority of residents and will join any organisational move to oppose government's decision to play with the sentiments of people of the area," said Mr Joshi, adding that he understood that the decision would have adverse effect on the assembly poll.

Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi, SAD leader, threatened to launch an agitation in case an attempt was made to merge even a part of the assembly constituency in the proposed district. He said the activists of his party were prepared to pay any price for saving their integrity.

Dr Parveen, president, the Presidium of All-Trade Associations, argued that the decision was impractical as majority of public offices were situated either at Ludhiana or at Jagraon.



Son wants transfer of father’s murder case
Mahesh Sharma

Jaspal Garg with a photograph of his father
Jaspal Garg with a photograph of his father

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 13
Jaspal Garg (13), whose father Sushil Garg was murdered by one of his friends at Alipur village, near Delhi, three weeks ago has called upon leaders of various social and political organisations to impress upon the Ministry of Home Affairs, Union Government to arrange the transfer of the murder case registered at Alipur police station to an agency, that might provide him justice. He apprehends that the accused may manage to evade the consequences.

Sushil had married Seema Rani about 15 years ago. Seema died about 12 years ago when Jaspal was hardly 18 months old. Since then Sushil had been bringing up Jaspal with great difficulty. “I remember the days when my father used to drive taxi with one hand while embracing me with the other,” narrated Jaspal, with tears rolling down his cheeks.

Sushil was so concerned about the future of his son that he had declined all proposals of a remarriage. As he could not afford to look after Jaspal for the whole day, he admitted him to a day boarding school in Ludhiana. Jaspal now is in class X.

According to Jaspal, his father along with his friends Rakesh and Gopal had left for Delhi on September 21 and was found murdered near Alipur village the next day. The murder could have remained untraced if some residents of Bakhtawarpur village had not informed the police about the culprits who were trying to dispose of a Qualis (PB 10 BH 5842), for Rs 70,000.

Preliminary investigation by the Alipur police revealed that the accused had strangled Sushil with a rope and thrown the body at a deserted place along Tazpur link road. The mobile phone and the pocket directory helped the police reach the owner of the vehicle.

Though two of the accused have been arrested, the victim’s family apprehends that the main person who owes a huge amount to the deceased may be shielded by the police.

“The police, instead of investigating the case properly was trying to please the accused by recording whatever they said,” said Jaspal. He said the police had informed a section of the Press that the deceased had developed illicit relations with the wife of Gopal, the main accused. “When my father did not go in for a remarriage for my sake, then how can this be true”, reacted Jaspal.

Sat Pal Garg, elder brother of the deceased, also reiterated the charges levelled by Jaspal.

Meanwhile, Mr Jagjit Singh, SHO, Alipur, denied charges levelled against the investigating team and claimed that these were being done without any pressure. 



SMS-ing his way into record book
Tribune News Service

Deepak Kumar
Deepak Kumar

Ludhiana, October 13
A local youth has staked claims to the Guinness Book of World Records by sending as many as 50,000 SMSes in one day besides sending over 6 lakh SMSes in a month. Obsessed with the record, the mobile of the youth, Deepak Kumar , a resident of Haibowal here, goes on transmitting Shot Service Messages for almost 24 hours with his wife Shivani chipping in for some time.

The youth does not only sends jokes or thought of the day but also gives live cricket scores and circulates SOS messages, like if somebody is in need of blood or other medical care.

Deepak revealed to Ludhiana Tribune that he had started the hobby about a year ago and had got encouraged when his friends appreciated his effort. Soon, more people fond of SMSes urged him to send him also. The youth initially even charged Rs 20 for supplying SMSes per month. He had to discontinue this practice as the mobile company objected to it.

Thriving on a free unlimited SMS package, the youth has earned the ire of the mobile company many times. Besides maintaining record of the SMSes sent by the company had to give him the details free of cost. However, later the company changed rules to charge him for the printouts.

Deepak is interestingly in no position to pay for the ever-increasing expenses of the bill details. For the latest bill, the company has asked him to pay Rs 20,000.

Deepak said his effort would not have been possible without the help of his wife Shivani, “She not only tolerates my indulgence with the mobile phone but also helps me occasionally.”

Deepak’s hopes of sending more than 7 lakh SMSes this month have, however, been dashed to the ground with the mobile company telling him the free service would deactivated from October 25.



Amended VAT forms irk taxation lawyers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
Persistent changes in VAT rules and introduction of amended forms at a short notice by the Department of Excise and Taxation has led to widespread resentment among members of the taxation Bar.

Drawing attention to complications arising from changes in VAT return forms, Mr Jatinder Khurana, president of Taxation Young Lawyers Association, said though the department had introduced the amended form No. 15 for quarterly return of VAT, which was to be filed by October 20, but these new forms were not available with the department.

Similarly, several other forms like VAT-18, VAT-19, VAT-23 and VAT-24, which were also amended, are not available. Even the computer software is unable to generate the amended forms because the VAT account software has not been updated till now.

Supporting the plea made by Mr Khurana, chairman of the Taxation Advisers Association Inderjit Sachdeva and president Satish Aggarwal pointed out that since the amended form did not, in any manner, affect the revenue collection, the department should accept VAT returns as well as its attachments in form Nos. 18, 19, 23 and 24 to facilitate the timely filing of VAT returns.



Kirtan samagam held in gurdwara

Ludhiana, October 13
“Propagation of Sikhism and Sikh tenets would be on the priority of the SGPC and it will help the Shriomani Ragi Sabha organise kirtan samagams in any part of the world. Ragis, Dhadis, and Sikh preachers deserve commendation for their role in highlighting the Sikh way of life worldwide,” said Jathedar Avtar Singh, president of the SGPC, last evening at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Model Town Extension, here.

The Nirban Kirtan Samagam was organised by the Shiromani Ragi Sabha by Bhai Ravinder Singh and the samagam was dedicated to the tercentenary celebrations of Gurta-Gaddi purab of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. — OC



Bodies cremated without identification
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
The Government Railway Police today cremated four members of a migrant labourer’s family, including two minor children, who had allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a train on Wednesday. The cremation was done even as the bodies were yet to be identified.

A local NGO helped the police in the cremation of the bodies.

Railway police sources said they could not identify the bodies despite efforts. The police tried to get the body identified by showing photographs in several labour colonies in the city, Sahnewal, Mandi Gobindgarh and Khanna, besides other places, but no one came forward to identify the victims.

ASI Rajinder Singh said in the absence of identification, the motive of the extreme step could not be known.



Mayor gets notice

Ludhiana, October 13
Charging the Mayor with delaying monthly general house meetings, two councillors of the SAD have given a legal notice to him for not conducting a meeting for the past two months.

Mr Bhairaj Singh, secretary of the Opposition in the MC House, and Mr Jaswinder Singh, councillor of Ward No 39, have stated in the notice that if the meeting was not held soon, they would go to the high court.

Mr Bhairaj Singh had moved the HC some months ago and the court had directed the Mayor to organise the meeting. It was finally held on August 16. — TNS



Two booked for assault
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 13
The Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case under Sections 323, 307, 34 of the IPC against Bahadur Singh and Daya Singh of Galib Kalan village on charges of assaulting Tarsem Singh of the same village with sharp-edged weapons yesterday evening.

The injured has been admitted in the Civil Hospital, Jagraon. Land dispute is said to be the reason behind the assault. No arrest has been made so far.

Cash stolen: The Raikot police has booked Ajit Singh, recovery agent, ICICI Bank, Ludhiana, and some unknown persons on charges of stealing Rs 2 lakh lying in an Indica car belonging to Dr A.K. Bannerji of Raikot yesterday.

A case has been registered under Section 379 IPC. The police has not been successful to nab the culprits so far.

In a similar case, the Raikot police has registered a case under Section 454,380 of the IPC against Fateh Ali Khan of Rampura Phul.

The accused allegedly burgled the house of Avtar Singh of Raikot on October 11 and decamped with two empty gas cylinders.The police nabbed the accused and recovered the cylinders.

NRI duped: The Dakha police has booked Balwinder Singh of Kular on charges of committing fraud upon his NRI relative.

According to the information, Gurcharan Singh of Kular had gone to Norway and handed over his power of attorney to accused Balwinder Singh but the accused sold the land belonging to Gurcharan Singh by making a forged sale deed and there by causing loss of Rs. 39,60,000 to the complainant.

A case has been registered under Section 420,406 IPC. No arrest has been made so far.



Credit card potential still untapped: HSBC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
Even as the country has more than 20 million credit card users and is registering an encouraging annual growth of 20 to 25 per cent, a large potential still remains untapped, said Mr Nick Winsor, country head, financial services, HSBC Group, while talking to reporters here on Wednesday.

Mr Winsor said usage of plastic money was still far below the potential and considering the country's population this number could be increased with efforts from the banking sector.

"The growth in numbers, no doubt, is good, but it can be much more," he said, adding that HSBC had a credit card base of over 1.7 million across the country, which translated into a market share of 7 to 8 per cent.

Talking about the bank's initiatives, he said a special focus was being laid on the NRI segment for which HSBC recently launched ''One World'', an account package that included features like money transfers through ATMs, opening of accounts in India while being in the UAE and vice versa and free money transfers, across the UAE and India through cheques.



Max launches unit-linked plan

Ludhiana, October 13
Max New York Life (MNYL), a life insurance company, today launched Life Invest, a flexible Unit Linked Investment Plan (ULIP) that promises to provide flexibility to manage one’s financial needs by including protection, investment and liquidity.

The new plan offers a customer choice from two death benefits, Level Insurance Cover and Increasing Insurance Cover. In case of Level Insurance Cover, nominee will receive higher of the sum assured or fund value while in the case of Increasing Insurance Cover, the nominee will receive the sum assured plus the fund value.

Mr Gary Bennett, Managing Director and CEO, Max New York Life Insurance Company, said in a press note : “This product is designed to provide long term wealth creation and valuable life insurance for high net worth individuals.” — TNS



People on shopping spree for Divali 
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
With less than 10 days for the festival of lights, city residents are busy purchasing gifts for the occasion. Ranging from relatively expensive household gadgets, jewellery and silverware to chocolates and dry fruit, city markets are offering varied options.

"Since it is barely 10 days for the festival we want to be over with the task of sending gifts to our major clients following which we are being giving personal gifts. "

For the corporate, it is electronic items, crockery, home decorative stuff that is most commonly being bought. "Selecting a gift is a task as there are chances that the one to whom the gift is given may not like it or might already be possessing it. Hence, while deciding apart from keeping the budget in view, we prefer items like crockery where chances of duplication are not much," said Shobha from a public relations firm.

City markets are offering diverse options. In case of bakery items, chocolates et al, opted for by a large section of people, options start from Rs 100 onwards, renowned companies have come out with packages, especially meant for the occasion.

"Options in quality and pricing are diverse. Earlier, people used to give a single pack of dry fruits, but these days, biscuits, chocolates and dry fruits, in many cases, are given along with another gift due to competitive pricing," said Gurpreet, a shop owner.

For corporates, other common gifts are blankets, bed-sheets,etc. "Mink and polar blankets, which start from Rs 100 onwards are quite in demand. Companies are placing bulk orders for bed-spread sets also which start from Rs 475.

Kamal Kwatra, president, All-India Blankets Manufacturers and Suppliers Association, who has a wholesale shop in Mochpura Bazaar, said people considered these attractive gifts which they got at a fairly affordable rates from wholesale markets.

Jewellers too are happy as sale of silverware is up. Popular in silver items are glasses, bowls, pens and coins that are being used for gifting purposes. Youngsters are going in for light jewellery as well.

"There is a huge demand for lightweight jewellery. In diamonds, small pendants are available from Rs 1,500 onwards, which is not expensive and these are quite popular among the youth. Gold sparkle items too are popular," said Mr Vineet Dhanda of Prem jewellers.



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