L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Friend-turned-foe murders old couple in Jagraon
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, October 19
A septuagenarian ex-serviceman and his wife, who had been found brutally murdered at Malsihan Bhai Ke in Jagraon two years ago, were allegedly killed by a friend-turned-foe with an eye on their jewellery and valuables.

The double murder that had remained a mystery all these years was solved with the renewed police attention on old cases. Addressing a press conference in Jagraon today, SSP R.K. Jaiswal said he shared shock of the city residents at the arrest of Gurjeet Singh who was one of the closest persons to the murdered ex-serviceman Mohinder Singh and his wife Balwinderjit Kaur.

The mystery began on October 18, 2004, when Mohinder and his wife went missing. Their house was locked from outside and their car was found missing. His brother Mangal Singh and other neighbhours thought the couple had gone somewhere.

However, a week later, they found their bodies in the house only. Mangal, who had also gone away on some trip, felt smell near the house of Mohinder. The main gate was locked. They broke the locks and found that the body of his brother was lying on a cot covered with quilt. The body of his sister-in-law, covered with a quilt, was lying in another room. There were injury marks, inflicted by some sharp-edged weapon, on the bodies.

Mr Jaiswal said various theories about the motive of the murder were propounded and followed. The file of the case had remained closed for a considerable time till now when the DGP, Punjab, S.S. Virk ordered the investigation in the case to be started from scratch.

Mr Jaiswal said the police concentrated on new theories and found the activities of Gurjit suspicious. This led to important evidence and Gurjit was arrested. Mr Jaiswal said in the face of certain evidence the police confronted him with, he allegedly confessed to the crime. The evidence could not be disclosed as it could affect the trial in the case, Mr Jaiswal said.

The accused told the police that he had an electrical shop at Kalsian village. When he suffered a huge loss, he made a plan to loot Mohinder Singh Fauji, who has having enough money.

He thought, being a frequent visitor to the house of Mohinder, nobody would doubt him for the crime. On October 17, 2004, he shut down his shop and told his parents that he was going to meet his friend at Jagraon. He left his scooter at Raikot bus stand. He reached the house of Mohinder at Malsihan Bhai Ke when it became dark.

Mohinder and his wife were at home. He and Mohinder went to sleep separately while Balwinderjit was sleeping in other room. When Mohinder went into deep sleep, he stabbed him with a knife repeatedly. Thereafter, he also killed Balwinderjit with the same knife. He removed the gold chain, including locket and a pair of earrings, from Balwinderjit’s body and one gold ring and Rs 4,200 from that of Mohinder.

Then he covered both bodies with quilts and searched the house for valuables. He took away cash, two rifles, one TV, one stabiliser, one wrist watch, one CD player, one cordless phone and other documents, which were in an envelop in the car of Mohinder. He could not search the whole house.

He locked the rooms and the main gate. After hiding the valuables in his fields, he hid the car in the house of one of his friends. Later on, he took the car to Ambala City and abandoned it there.

The stolen TV, stabilizer, CD player, wrist watch, cordless phone, Army canteen card of Mohinder, the voter cards of the couple and a 12-bore gun had been recovered.

A case under the Arms Act has been registered separately against the accused for the possession of the illegal arms.

The SSP said the Mohinder’s car was lying in the malkhana at the Ambala police station.



Dengue claims one more life
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 19
With one more patient, resident of Faridkot district, succumbing to the mosquito-borne viral infection in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital here, the toll taken by dengue in different hospitals here has gone up to nine.

In the past 24 hours, 45 fresh dengue patients were admitted to local hospitals, taking the total number of dengue patients from September onwards here to around 550.

According to sources in the DMCH, Swatantar Jain, resident of Faridkot, suffering from dengue, died in the hospital last evening. Till now, this hospital has reported five deaths due to dengue.

Of the earlier victims, two were from Jalandhar and other two from the city. The disease has claimed two lives each at Christian Medical College and Hospital and Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Hospital.

Health Department officials, however, continue to claim that the number of dengue deaths in the city is four.

During the past 24 hours, the number of fresh dengue patients admitted to different hospitals was put at 45, with 16 patients reporting to Christian Medical College and Hospital, 15 to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, six to SPS Apollo Hospital and four each to Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Hospital and Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital.

Even though the number of dengue cases in the city has not shown any decline so far, medical specialists are of the opinion that the viral infection might show a downward trend in the next couple of days if the day temperature dropped a little bit more.



Divali spells doom for owls and white bats
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Tantriks of the city are on the lookout for owls for sacrificing the birds to please the gods.
PriZed catch: Tantriks of the city are on the lookout for owls for sacrificing the birds to please the gods. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, October 19
The existence of the already endangered owls and white bats is threatened in this city of the rich, where residents invoke the goddess of wealth by sacrificing these during Divali days.

Every year, owls go missing in this city during the festival of lights, but there seems to be no respite for the poor birds, who have to look for hide-outs to save themselves while the entire city enjoys festivities.

Falling in the trap of tantriks, who advise the sacrifice of white bats and owls to those suffering financial losses, the latter do not mind killing these creatures for their goals. In return, the tantriks make lakhs of rupees while owls and white bats lose their lives.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that bird sellers, who normally catch parrots and sparrows during most part of the year, start looking for owls and white bats during the kartik month of the Indian calendar.

They sell an owl for around Rs 20,000 which is sold by a tantrik for as high as anything between Rs 2 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. A white bat is sold for a whopping Rs 25 lakh and the catchers get any price demanded by them, said a Rajasthani nomad, who is into this business for the past many years.

He said his area of operation was Old Lodhi Fort where owls were found in plenty during Divali days. ‘‘Finding a white bat is a near impossible thing. We go to deserted places to look for one. But even if we find one, the price we get is enough for us to sustain for a year. ’’ he said.

‘‘But we have to be very careful as a number of animal rights activists keep an eye on old buildings during these days. One of our competitors was caught two years ago. Since then we are very prudent,’’ he said sitting around near his place of work.

He said after seeing that the business was quite lucrative, a number of his friends had also started catching owls and bats. Being experts in catching monitor lizards, catching owls comes easy to them. A jhuggi dweller, known for his penchant for it, was approached by some disillusioned industrialists every year to perform the black magic.

The habit of owls to nest in dark places like tree cavities and old buildings spells doom for them as they are caught with a little effort only. These are found in certain old buildings where bird catchers camp during this month.

Their favourite places are Madhopuri, Lodhi Fort, Purana Bazar, Shiv Puri and Ferozepore Road and many other dilapidated buildings in other parts of the city.

Owls and bats were either sacrificed directly in front of disillusioned residents or used for performing black magic on at least 10 persons. Dried flesh, beak, claws, feathers and blood of owls and bats were used for the purpose.

Maximum number of bats and owls will be sold and sacrificed on Divali night and lakhs of rupees will exchange hands.



Over 170-yr-old Kotwali in a shambles
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
The over 170-year-old building of the city Kotwali, also known as the Division No. 1 police station, is in a dilapidated condition. Declared unsafe in 1994 , the police station can come down anytime and cause some major mishap.

The police station building is in a shambles even though it technically qualifies for being preserved as a protected monument as any building of historical importance has to be preserved as a heritage monument if it is over 100 years old.

Almost half the portion of the building is closed with wild vegetation having grown there. Even though the office of a DSP of the Punjab Police is situated in the unsafe building, yet the dilapidated building is not on the priority list for repair and renovation.

Though the city police has started renovation of the relatively newer Division No 5 police station, the plight of the Kotwali police station has been ignored. Sadly, like other historical buildings in the city, not much history is available about the Kotwali police station building.

An inscription “1834” on its huge entrance door is the only indication that it was built in this year.

In the absence of proper historical evidence, many theories about the building are heard. It is said that the building was actually a stable built by the British to keep their horses . The British had a sizeable Army stationed in the city as Sikh rulers were in possession of the area on the other side of the Sutlej river. In order to keep a large number of horses, the British had built several stables and the building was one of them.

However, during the 1860s the city expanded. With the separating of a police force from the civil administration in the late 19th century, the need to have a police station was felt. The building suited the requirement and was converted into a police station in the 19th century itself.

The Kotwali police station has seen the city taking shape around it. Several freedom fighters of considerable prominence had been jailed here. It had also served as a platform for residents of the city for the redressal of their grievances.

Police sources said they could not renovate the building because of lack of funds. The department had got limited funds and the building of the Division No 5 police station was chosen on a priority basis. Officials said some repair was being carried here and there.

Cops posted at the police station admit that they always have a the fear that the building may collapse on them. They have put up supports on walls and the roof. 



Pleasing the goddess of wealth
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, October 19
If the crowd of people, specially women, that thronged shops dealing with silver, gold and kitchen articles today is any indication, then everybody is trying hard to please the goddess of wealth — Lakshmi on Dhanteras.

Dhanteras marks the first day of the five-day-long Divali festival. On Dhanteras, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped for prosperity and well-being. The festival holds more significance for the business community.

To mark the auspicious day, houses and business premises have been renovated and decorated in the city. People are making their entrances colourful with lovely traditional motifs of rangoli designs to welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Ms Sonu Kapoor, a homemaker and wife of a businessman, who celebrates the festival with religious fervour, said they started their Divali puja on Dhanteras. “To indicate her long-awaited arrival, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the house. Lamps and lights are kept burning all through the night to welcome Goddess Lakshmi”, she said.

Reena, another homemaker, who belongs to the Sikh community, said she considered it auspicious to purchase gold or silver articles or at least one or two new utensils on Dhanteras. “It is believed that new dhan or some form of precious metal is a sign of good luck”, she added.

Shopkeepers selling utensils, silver or gold articles have employed more salesmen to cater to their customers today. One of the salesman on Rani Jhansi Road said they were given instructions by their employers not to talk much with co-workers. “They are right because there has been a huge rush since morning and we do not want that any customer goes empty-handed”, he said.

Dhanteras is celebrated with gusto and enthusiasm in this industrial town. Lakshmi — puja’ is performed in the evening when diyas are lighted to drive away shadows of evil spirits in various houses. Bhajan and devotional songs - in praise of Goddess Lakshmi are sung and sweets are offered to the goddess of wealth on the day.



Precautions during Divali Days

Ludhiana, October 19
Divali days are crackers days. Saying ‘no to crackers’ not only has environmental references, but health implications as well. The extensive use of firecrackers during Divali is one such ritual which is causing serious pollution and health problems, especially with an increase in urban wealth and population and growing atomisation of the society.

Divali adds to pollution in a big way and literally turns our towns and cities into gas chambers apart from totally disturbing peace with maddeningly high levels of noise pollution. It is important to understand the health impact of the air and noise pollution caused by Divali.

To avoid mishappenings, precautions are a must while handling fireworks:

— Cold water is the best immediate treatment for minor burns. Use water to douse fire and cool the skin. Body fluids are lost after a serious burn, which often results in electrolyte imbalances. The more mineral water, fresh fruit juice and lime water is drunk, the better.

— If your clothing catches fire, do not run as it will fan the flames. Stop, drop and roll on the ground to smoother the flames. Further, smoother the flames with a blanket or a coat.

— To avoid congestion, asthma patients should cover their mouth with cloth or mask.

— No doubt, children are the main users of crackers. Keep all inflammable substances, including kerosene and match boxes and lighters, out of the reach of children. Don’t give fireworks to a small child. Supervise children closely. Never allow children to handle explosives.

— Don’t stand too close to fireworks. Use large phuljharis for anaars and atishbazi.

— Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas and in a cool place. Dispose of used fireworks.

— Always wear goggles.

— The vapours or fumes of strong chemicals can also burn or irritate the eyes. Immediately flush the eyes with water to wash out chemicals. After that cover the eyes with a clean cloth or bandage.

— To avoid eye and stomach infection, wash your hands with soap before taking food .

— Place a bucket of water nearby to put out fires or douse devices that fail to ignite.

— In case of major burns, consult your doctor immediately.

— Dr Anil Dheer



Council fails to give information under RTI Act
Our Correspondent

Doraha, October 19
Two of the local residents, who had applied to the Executive Officer of the Municipal Council for specific information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, have been awaiting reply even after the expiry of the stipulated period of 30 days.

Jandeep Kaushal, a resident of House No. 41, Ward No. 8, Kaushal Street, had asked for the details of the expenditure incurred on making the Beant Singh’s statue installed at the entrance of the town and setting up of the adjoining small park and decorative lights. He had also asked from the department concerned for reasons behind decorative lights being non-functional even after several months of their installation.

He had sent his application for that information through registered post on September 7, 2006.

Another applicant, Pawan Kumar Kaushal of House No. 42, Ward No. 8, Kaushal Street, had asked for the information as to how many times Kaushal Street that falls under Ward No. 8 and Ward No. 10 and the Bhainan Wali Gali that falls under Ward No. 9 and 10 had been repaired, and if no repair had been undertaken yet, he may be specified the reason for the same. Pawan Kumar Kaushal, too, had sent his application for the information on the same date in the similar manner as the first applicant.

Mr Jandeep Kaushal, who is a social worker of the area, has alleged that even after the expiry of the stipulated period of 30 days, within which the information should be provided under the RTI Act, they have not got any reply from the authorities concerned.

The Executive Officer was, however, not available for comments. 



Cracker sale at peak
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 19
Though everybody feels use of crackers on Divali should be restricted to check air and noise pollution, crackers worth crores of rupees are sold during the festival days every year.

This year too local markets are flooded with crackers and decorative lights. The crackers are not only being sold at the places, including Grain Market, Pakhowal Road, Dugri, Jail Road, near Field Ganj, Model Town, etc, where the sale of crackers has been allowed by the district administration, but people have also put up small stalls outside their houses and shops to sell ones.

Mr Kamal of M.L. Fireworks, Mangarh, near here, said many fancy crackers had been introduced this time. Some of the crackers, including “jolly jingle” that throws out 240 multi-coloured stars, platter 64 and titanic 72, were very expensive. The price for each ranged from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,500 and above. The sale of those expensive crackers made up to 20 per cent of the total sale.

“Also, they do not cause much pollution”, he added.

There light-weight crackers, which included anar, chakri, phuljhari, parachutes, etc, made up to 50 of the total sale. “Since these have reasonable prices, the majority of buyers buy them. Those, who knows a bit of crackers, ask for “kaleshari” crackers, which is a reputed brand”, said Mr Kamal. 



Let’s care for animals this Divali, appeals PFA
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
This Divali, give a thought for the health and comfort of animals. The People For Animals (PFA) has given a clarion call to city residents to celebrate Divali without bursting loud crackers as it terrifies animals.

It has urged the residents not to encourage manufacturers of crackers by buying their products as most crackers are employing child labourers.

In a communication to the residents through Ludhiana Tribune, Dr Sandeep Jain said Divali was a festival of lights, sweets and joy. “We celebrate it by lighting candles, lamps and bursting crackers. The sound and smoke emitted from crackers not only pollute the atmosphere and pose a threat to the life of heart patients and those suffering from asthma, but are also stressful for animals like dogs, cats, donkeys cows and birds.”

Frightened by the noise and fireworks, animals run here and there for safety and during the process they become prone to accidents. During this period of stress, they can become furious too. Birds and their nests also become victims of fireworks.

The communication said that by buying crackers, “we encourage the fireworks industry, which employs millions of children in their factories, exposing them to harmful chemicals used in manu facturing. Child labour is a crime as per law”.

“Shun crackers and come forward to help these animals by keeping them indoors. Close your windows and curtains and turn a radio/TV on to mask the noise. Keep in mind that your animal is wearing a collar with an identity tag, as there are chances of it escaping the home and getting lost. Stop bursting crackers especially with loud sound,” says the PFA.

“Stop persons abusing animals and complain to the police or the administration or animal welfare organisations if anybody uses firecrackers to torment animals.”

“Instead of dangerous, polluting and ear-splitting crackers, light up your house and the surroundings with diyas. You can share your festivity with the deprived and needy. You can feed stray animals or inmates of animal shelters/gaushalas.

So, it is our humble request that the festival should be celebrated with the spirit of caring and sharing. This will add a festive glow without frightening our friends,” the PFA adds. 



BJP seeks information about City Centre under RTI Act
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Punjab Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party has sought detailed information and documents relating to Ludhiana City Centre under the Right to Information Act. The state BJP president, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, has submitted the application to the state Public Information Officer, Punjab, Chandigarh, in this regard seeking the various details and certified copies as.

The state secretary of the party, Mr Anil Sarin, said the BJP had sought the certified copies of original the layout plan of the scheme and layout plan of the centre approved by the state government concerning to material alteration and change of use in the original layout plan.

It has sought copies of approvals of the state government as warranted after sanction for charges and alterations in the layout plan, certified copies of resolutions passed by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, but rescinded by the government.

The party has demanded copies of rules framed ‘if any’ by LIT in the matter of the City Centre with or without prior sanction of the state government (Section 74), copies of request for proposal (RFP) issued to bidders of the City Centre, copies of modification/classifications made or altered in the tenders of City Centre and certified copies of memos from the Director, Local Bodies to LIT, Ludhiana.

Among other copies sought by the party include proceedings of meetings chaired by Mr B.R. Bajaj, along with remarks/notings, copy of annulment order issued by the PSLG (Punjab state local government) to LIT, Ludhiana, in the matter, copies of order/remarks/noting/ concurrences etc made by the LGM (Local Government Minister) from time to time, copy of concession agreement signed between LIT and Today Homes. 



Divali greetings in advance to avoid network congestion
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Unlike previous years when city residents used to wait for the exact day of a festival to send greetings through SMS, now they have begun doing so in advance fearing network congestion.

‘‘Earlier, I used to get messages on the festival or at times a day or two later. Surprisingly, this time, most of the people I know have already sent me Divali wishes via SMS,’’ said Shaifali, a college student.

Congestion in the network of cellular service providing companies in the past results in delayed messages and at times messages are not delivered at all. ‘‘Message failed’’ reports irk all those who depend on this mode to convey their greetings. ‘‘Last year on Divali, many of the people to whom I sent text messages said they did not receive any message. There were several others who got them much later. It ruined the very purpose of sending a message which is why this time I decided to send my greetings in advance,’’ said Sahil Sharma, a resident of the city.

Mobile phone companies witness a four to five fold rise in SMS traffic on occasions like Divali and New Year. Commonly sent SMSs these days, that also mention network congestion problems, read: ‘‘Before the sun sets on this year, before memories fade and before networks get jammed, wish you a very happy 

Besides SMS, the popularity of e-greetings too has grown manifold, particularly if you want to wish friends and relatives in far off places. ‘‘I find sending an e-card quite convenient and a much easier way to communicate feelings. It is also reliable and since you can personalise these cards as per your choice, they are quite an effective way to send greetings,’’ said Garima Chadha, another resident.

E-greetings have emerged popular among corporates too. ‘‘In comparison to an SMS I find e-greetings more sober. These are a good way of conveying greetings when you want the person to remember you and maintain seriousness at the same time. In case of SMSs, since people get a large number of these they are also not very reliable, e-greetings are a much better way of conveying your greetings and moreover, these are easier to send as you can send a card at the same time a several users,’’ said Raj Bhatia, an entrepreneur.



Blair urged to return Sikh relics
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 19
Mr Kartar Singh Garib, president of the Guru Gobind Singh Sevak Jatha, has in a letter to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair asked him to send back historical articles like the sword and kalgi of Guru Gobind Singh, Kohinoor diamond and the golden throne of Maharaja Ranjit Singh that were taken to England at the time of annexation of Punjab in 1849.

These objects are stated to be kept at Victoria and Albert Museum, Tower of London and other places. He said the Sikhs of India requested Mr Blair to return these objects as Sikhs were religiously and psychologically attached to these and wanted to pay homage to the plume of Guru Gobind Singh.

He has urged Mr Blair to return the articles to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) through the Government of India.



MCPI(U) stands by North Korea
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
The Marxist Communist Party of India (United) has criticised the Government of India and the Prime Minister for condemning North Korea for the nuclear test. Reacting to the criticism against North Korea by certain certain countries, including the UPA government led by Dr Manmohan Singh, Mr Jagjit Singh, general secretary, and Mr Kuldip Singh, member, Politburo of MCPI(United ), in a joint statement here said North Korea’s acquiring nuclear technology and conducting a nuclear test should be considered in the face of danger to its security from the ‘‘US imperialism’’ which has set up its bases and stationed 28,000 soldiers in South Korea, 50,000 in Japan, 20,000 in Afghanistan and 1,40,000 in Iraq.

Moreover, the people of North Korea had direct experience of attack by the US and its allies just after the Second World War and has been a target of attack and conspiracies.

They observed that it was unfortunate that in view of the threat to their sovereignty and security, North Korea,Iran and other countries were also forced to develop nuclear technology. In this situation, it was unjustified to raise a hue and cry against North Korea and Iran.



Celebrate ‘safe’ Divali, kids told
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 19
The local chapter of the Burns Association of India organised a series of school education programmes to make children aware about safety while burning crackers and to prevent burn injuries due to fireworks and crackers during the festival of divali.

Addressing the students of DAV Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar and DAV Senior Secondary School, Sarabha Nagar Extension here, yesterday, Dr Sanjeev Uppal, president of the association and professor of plastic surgery at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital here, emphasised observation of safety tips while igniting fireworks.

Dr Uppal asked the children to always burst crackers and fireworks in an open space, ignite crackers in the presence of elders, wear tight fitting clothes, preferably made of cotton, keep a bucket full of water nearby, keep rockets in a relatively big sized heavy bottle with their tip should facing upwards and crackers like fire fountains (anars) be lit with a sparkler ( phuljhari) sitting parallel on floor and not bending over the cracker.

He cautioned children never to explode crackers and other things in hand, to store crackers away from the place and in a metal container with a lid on, never try to explode crackers with empty cans over these, keep sparklers away from body and to purchase good quality crackers with ISI certification.

Dr Uppal said in case of fire, douse the fire with water and if alone, to lie down on ground and roll sideways to put off the fire. Later on pour water on the burnt surface till burning sensation was over.

Speaking at the occasion, Prof B.D. Kansal cautioned about the environmental and noise pollution. Dr Ajay Shahi stressed that the role of parents and elder siblings was very important in educating the children about being cautious during diwali celebrations.

Later a hands-on workshop was conducted by Nupur, a medical student volunteer from DMCH,on how to burst crackers and ignite fireworks with safety to avoid serious burn injuries. During the workshop nearly 700 children were imparted practical training. The children took pledge that they would form a team and spread this message of ‘safety saves’ to the people of their respective localities.

A booklet on elementary knowledge of burns in Punjabi and English was released on this occasion by Principals of the two schools, Mr R.S. Patial and Mrs Sidhu, respectively, for free distribution amongst children and general public.



Lovers commit suicide
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 19
A man and a woman allegedly committed suicide by throwing themselves before a running train on the Ludhiana- Jagraon rail track, 1 km from here, today.

According to the information, Jasbir Singh (23), son of Tara Singh and resident of Janetpura (Sidhwan Bet), was a compounder with Dr Kulwant Singh here. The woman, who was, later, identified as Baby (21) of Mandiani, used to visit her aunt’s house, which is situated near to that of Jasbir Singh. They developed relations.

Sources said all members of the Jasbir’s family lived abroad and they wanted Jasbir to join them. In the morning hours today, Jasbir took the scooter of his maternal uncle, who also works at the clinic of Dr Kulwant Singh, and went towards the railway track. On the way Baby joined him. Both were seen sitting on the scooter and talking.

A Ferozepore-Ludhiana bound train when reached near the outer signal, both jumped before it. Baby was cut into pieces while Jasbir was hit in the head. He, too, died on the spot. The railway police took the bodies for post-mortem.

Illegal arms seized

The Raikot police arrested Gurjit Singh of Kalsian on the charge of possessing a .12-bore double-barrelled gun without a licence on Wednesday. A case has been registered under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

Two booked

The Dakha police has booked Jagtar Singh of Mullanpur under Section 448 of the IPC on the charge of trespass. Roopwinder Singh of Chak Kalan had rented his shop situated in Dhaliwal Complex, Mullanpur, to Jagtar Singh, but the latter did not pay the rent to the complainant and locked the shop from outside.

In another case, the Jagraon police registered a case under Sections 323 and 294 of the IPC and Section 3 of the SC and ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989, against Bhupinder Singh, alias Bhinder, of Agwar Rahlan on the charge of abusing Hari Singh, Sarpanch of Kothe Rahlan, and for passing castiest remarks on him. A dispute over street water was said to be the reason behind Bhupinder’s act.

Two killed

Two youths were reportedly killed when their motorcycle hit a stationary truck near the Roomi bus stand on Wednesday evening. Gurwinder Singh and Goba, both residents of Roomi, were returning to their village when the accident took place. Both were taken to Kalayani Hospital, Jagraon, where doctors declared them brought dead. 



Meat shop owners happy as demand soars
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Thanks to the ongoing festivities, meat shop owners are a happy lot these days. The demand for meat and poultry products, which had plummeted in the pre-festival season period, has been witnessing an increase of roughly 20 per cent during the past fortnight and the trend is expected to continue.

Prices too have recorded an increase. A dressed chicken, that was hovering around Rs 60 per kg less than a week ago, is now available for Rs 70-85, whereas mutton in the retail market is available for around Rs 115-130 per kg.

Market experts, while foreseeing a further rise in the demand, say prices are not expected to increase much as the supply is matching demand. ‘‘Post Navratras, the market for meat and poultry products started picking up. It will reach its peak within a month. However, this time prices are not likely to increase much as there is no shortage in supply,’’ said Mr Bhupinder Singh, Chairman, Punjab Broilers Association.

After poultry farmers in this region suffered heavily on account of the avian flu, a few big players entered into contracts with farmers promising them assured returns. As a result of the contract and due to the competition among big players, supply has touched an all-time high. ‘‘The net result, at least for now, is an increased supply. Normally during this part of the year, an increase in supply remains relatively stable while demand witnesses a stupendous rise which leads to an upward trend in rates. However, now as the supply has risen significantally, chicken and egg prices are not expected to increase much,’’ said Mr P.P.S Gill, general secretary, Punjab Poultry Farmers Association.

In the wholesale market, the prevailing rate of a broiler per kg, which had reduced to Rs 24-25, is Rs 42 and that of eggs per 100 is around Rs 150.

In the case of mutton, even as supply has come down, retailers say prices are not likely to rise as demand is relatively low. ‘‘People prefer chicken, even after the demand for mutton has not risen much,’’ said Subhash, a retailer.

‘‘The market for chicken and eggs is in the recovery phase now. The demand for fish and mutton has also increased and will rise further as the temperature declines in the coming days and the marriage season progresses,’’ added Mr Gill.

With the demand following a northward trend, fish too is abundantly available in the city markets. Compared to last year, fish rates are relatively low and sol fish is available for around Rs 120-160 while the price of a dressed one is hovering around Rs 320 per kg.



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