L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Highway robber strikes again
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 20
A highway robber, in his mid 30s, continues to strike at will on National Highway No.1 from New Delhi to Ludhiana for the past two months.
After looting several persons, including local residents, he made a PWD employee from Khanna his latest victim late last night. The robber snatched Rs 15,000 from the employee, Mr Ram Prakash, alias Baankey, after attacking him with a hammer and a knife.

He is under treatment for stab wounds at the Sidhu Hospital, Doraha. Some passers-by had admitted him to the hospital. He was found lying unconscious on the GT road, near Doraha.

Police sources said the description of the robber given by the victim matched with a miscreant who had looted other victims. While, earlier, the robber was operating alone in a white Indica car, this time he carried out the loot with the help of an accomplice in a Maruti car.

Mr Ram Prakash told Ludhiana Tribune that he travelled almost daily to Khanna. He parked his motor cycle at a parking stand, near Sherpur Chowk. Last night he got late and took lift in a Maruti car. The car driver and his accomplice behaved nicely till they crossed the Doraha toll tax barrier. Just beyond the barrier, they pulled off the car at a desolated place and looted him of cash, mobile phone and other valuables.

The Payal police has recorded the statement of the victim and a case registered. The police claims they had set up traps for the accused. However, he had remained silent for a couple of weeks before his latest strike.

The robber had looted two residents of the city earlier also using the same modus operandi.

On September 3, he looted Dr Ravinder Chopra, who was employed with the Mata Vaishno Devi Charitable Hospital, here while he was returning from his in-laws’ house in Ambala. He was waiting for a bus when a person, wearing white salwar kameej, offered him lift in his Indica car.

After crossing Rajpura, the driver took out a pistol and made him part with Rs 3,700 and a mobile phone. The victim had to travel on foot for nearly 7-8 km to approach the Basantpoura police station. The doctor came to learn that the Indica car, in which the robber was travelling, belonged to an ex-serviceman from Sangrur and was stolen some time ago. He passed the information on to the police, but nothing was done.

The second victim was Mr Dharmender, a trader, who runs a shop in Ghumar Mandi here. He had taken lift in the same Indica car on September 5 and was robbed of Rs 6,500, besides a gold bracelet. 



Cloudy Divali expected 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 20
This Divali is likely to be cloudy with the possibility of mild showers as well. According to PAU agrometeorologists, the weather is expected to remain generally cloudy with scattered rain and thundershowers over Punjab and its adjoining areas during the next 24 hours.

As the weather is expected to remain generally cloudy on Divali tomorrow, smoke produced by fireworks and crackers will get wrapped in the lower layers of the atmosphere, close to the surface, leading to the formation of smog. Atmospheric pollution caused in this way will be contaminating tremendous quantity of suspended particles, sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, which will be very harmful to health. People are advised to exercise restraint towards fireworks for keeping the environment and air quality clear for their own benefit.

The PAU agrometeorologists, Dr Paramjit Singh Sehra and Dr Kulwinder K. Gill, disclosed that Punjab experienced 437 mm monsoon rainfall against the normal of 502 mm, showing a deficit of 13 per cent. This year rain was not well distributed.

During September, they said, the maximum temperature was only 0.8°C below normal and the minimum temperature was 1.0°C higher than normal. But after this in the first week of October, the maximum and minimum temperatures were nearly 2°C above normal without any rainfall.

The rainfall is beneficial from agricultural point of view as it is good for vegetables during the current week. It is the right time to sow peas, carrot, radish and turnip and also rabi season crops.

According to the IMD forecast, the rainfall activity over the northwest India is likely to decrease from tomorrow onwards.



Garbage generation up five times
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 20
The garbage generation of the city has gone up by as much as five times in the city, courtesy the festivities associated with Divali.
While the residents greet each other with tastefully decorated and wrapped gifts, clean and whitewash their houses, the additional litter and waste has not only played havoc with the environment, the sewerage disposal but also put a huge burden on the employees who have put on the round-the-clock duty to clean the mess.

The MC is grappling with the huge piles of garbage by assigning concerned employees to lift the garbage at least three times a day. Otherwise, garbage is lifted only once everyday.

“The trucks pick up garbage from a spot at least thrice a day now. Otherwise the city would have been a huge garbage bin by now. We have warned the employees that if they took their work carelessly they would be paying for it. So they are on the job,” said Mr B.K. Gupta, Joint Commissioner, MC.

The official said for the last fortnight every type of waste was being generated by the residents in plenty. “We are surprised at the waste being produced everyday. It has been a record of all seasons. Polythene bags, papers, card board boxes, malba, tin boxes, buckets, lime residual and what not, residents are throwing everything. They are cleaning their houses and dumping the garbage outside. We are taking care of the rest,” he said.

To make sure that the surroundings remain clean on the Divali day, the employees have been asked to remain on duty tomorrow and day after also. The MC will give all of them a compensatory holiday on some other day.

“We have not been given a holiday tomorrow. We will be posted round-the-clock till night. But we do not mind. Duty is a duty and we are getting appreciation from the higher officials for doing well this season,” said an employee. 



Punjab tops in wheat yield

Ludhiana, October 20
Punjab continues to lead the country in per hectare yield of wheat. Among the top ten wheat producing states, Punjab is at No.1 with a yield of 4179 kg per hectare. It is followed by Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh.
The PAU Senior Wheat Breeder, Dr G.S.Dhindsa, says that the share of Punjab has gone up to 61 per cent of the Central pool. — TNS



BJP eyeing Ludhiana West segment
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 20
The Bharatiya Janata Party is learnt to be eyeing Ludhiana West Assembly segment for the forthcoming elections in the state. Currently under the seat sharing arrangement between the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party, Ludhiana west is with the former.

Of the four assembly segments in the city, BJP and SAD share two each. Besides, Ludhiana West, SAD fields its candidate from Ludhiana rural, while the BJP has been allotted Ludhiana north and Ludhiana east.

The party is reportedly inclined to field senior leader Balramji Dass Tandon from here. The party has been arguing that Mr Tandon could prove to be a strong candidate from the Ludhiana West Assembly segment. Given the equation of Mr Tandon with the SAD president, Mr Badal, the party is learnt to be quite optimistic about the Ludhiana West Assembly segment.

In the last Assembly elections in the year 2002 the party had fielded Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, currently the president of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhik Committee, from here. He had lost to Mr Harnam Dass Johar by a considerable margin of over 15,000 votes.

Although Ludhiana West was considered to be a Congress stronghold apparently because of the Hindu majority votes, still SAD managed to win it in 1997, when Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal defeated Mr Johar by a margin of over 10000 votes.

There is a strong opinion within SAD that Mr Grewal could prove to be stronger candidate than anybody else, even Mr Tandon, this time as well. In 2002 the Tohra faction, of which Mr Grewal was a senior and influential member, was opposing the SAD (Badal).

However, there are other ticket aspirants from this segment. They include Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, president of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla and Mr Gurcharan Singh Grewal.

Mr Dhanda’s candidature is reportedly being opposed by the supporters of Mr Makkar who blame him for his (Mr Makkar’s) defeat in 2002. Mr Dhanda had contested independently as a rebel candidate and polled over 10,000 votes. Moreover, he had been too critical of the SAD leadership over denial of ticket, going to the extent of saying that he was denied the ticket just because he did not have a turban on his head. He has since returned to the SAD fold having got quite close of Mr Badal. In fact he happens to be one of the important members of the team of lawyers defending Mr Badal in the cases of corruption he is fighting.

In case Mr Makkar gets a second term as the SGPC president, he would most unlikely stake his claim for the ticket. Mr Chawla who is also a strong contender from Ludhiana west is also banking upon his proximity with Mr Badal, while Mr Gurcharan Singh Grewal, who heads the Sikh Students Federation, remains close to Mr Sukhbir Badal.



Lord Dhanwantri Jayanti celebrated with fervour
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, October 20
The incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the originator of Ayurveda, Lord Dhanwantri, was remembered in a colourful manner at the Dhanwantri temple in the premises of Pentavox Herbals here yesterday.

The jayanti celebrations commenced early in the morning with the religious purification of the ceremony site with panchgavya and gangajal. This was followed by the offering of prayers by 108 devoted families before the holy basil plant (tulsi) and the chanting of Veda mantras by seven pandits for ‘poojan, havan’ and offering of ‘aarti’.

The incarnation of Lord Dhanwantri was celebrated with ‘shankhnaad’, drum beats and live musical band playing religious tunes. The celebrations were attended by a large number of citizens and Ayurvedic physicians, prominent among them the 10 devotees of Ayurveda who had specially arrived from Holland, Belgium and Turkey, under the leadership of Dr Anil Mehta, an NRI Ayurvedic practitioner, based in Holland.

‘Amritvani sankeertan’ was performed on the occasion under the auspices of Shri Ramsharnam’s local head, Mr Naresh Soni, in the factory. He quoted various excerpts of Lord Dhanwantri, as available in ancient mythological books.

A musical CD of ‘aarti and mangal-stuti’ of Lord Dhanwantri, lyricised and conceptualised by the Ayurvedacharya, Dr Pradeep Nagrath, founder of Pentavox Herbals, was also released on this occasion.

The concluding part of these religious celebrations, witnessed a colourful maha-aarti in the evening. The Dhanwantri temple in the factory premises was thrown open for people.

Prominent among others present at the function were Dr Sanjeev Goyal, Registrar, Punjab State Board of Ayurvedic System of Medicine, Vaidya Jagjeet Singh, member, Central Council of Indian Medicine, and Mr Jaideep Nagrath, Executive Director of Pentavox.

The event concluded with grand fireworks and crackers display at night.

MANDI GOBINDGARH: Desh Bhagat Ayurvedic College and Hospital celebrates the Dhanwantri Jayanti at the college complex here on Friday. Dr Zora Singh Chairman, Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes, was the chief guest. A ‘havan’ was performed with the recitation of ‘mantras.’

Prof Dr H.S. Banipal and Prof Dr Dinesh Kumar of the college were honoured for their services towards the success of the college which has been winning distinctions in the field of education.

Principal Dr Lovleen Kaur Ahuja spoke on the importance of Dhanwantri Divas and extended congratulations of Divali to the audience. Dr Ramesh Kumar and Ms Tenjinder Kaur also addressed the function. Students presented a cultural programme. 



Passersby, cops rescue bus passengers
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 20
Timely help by passersby and the police rescued around 20 passengers and driver of a private bus that had collided with a tree near Dhaipaie village on the Ludhiana-Pakhowal road, near here, last night.

The rescuers had to struggle for more than 40 minutes to free Mr Nirmal Singh driver of the bus, who was entrapped due to collapsing of the front portion of the vehicle. He was later shifted to a private multi-specialty hospital of Ludhiana.

At least 20 passengers and the driver of bus (PB 10 V 9155) and owned by the Malwa company were injured after the vehicle had collided with a tree on roadside near Dhaipaie village on the Ludhiana-Pakhowal road at around 8.45 pm yesterday.

The mishap was first noticed by Dr Davinder Singh of Pakhowal, who along with his associates was returning in his car from Ludhiana. Besides calling villagers for immediate help, he informed Mr R K Jaiswal, SSP, Jagraon. Joint rescue operations by the public and the police, supervised by Mr Gurtejinder Singh Aulakh, DSP, Raikot, were launched and all occupants were shifted to various private hospitals by passersby. However, the rescuers had to struggle for more than 40 minutes to free Nirmal Singh, the driver of the bus. The police was yet to record the statement of the driver.



‘NRIs keeping children linked with native culture’
Our Correspondent

Suman Parsad
Suman Parsad 

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 20
Contrary to common belief, the NRIs settled in Canada and America are more concerned about keeping their wards linked with their native culture and rich heritage, claims Ms Suman Parsad.

She, like many other NRIs, timed her visit to her parents with the festival season so that her children could experience rich culture of her native state.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Ms Parsad claimed that the majority of NRIs settled in Canada and the USA were concerned about maintaining cultural heritage of their native land among their wards. “Contrary to the common belief we have been trying to inculcate norms and values of our native culture among our children who cherished learning about their roots”, said Ms Parsad. She wanted her children Navi Parsad (12) and Priya (10) imbibe elements of our Indian social system.

Ms Parsad said reports of declining level of respect for culture among local residents had been upsetting NRIs in the recent past. “When we come to learn about humiliation of elders at the hands of their children living in Punjab, we, besides getting upset, become more conscious about teaching our children fundamentals of humanity”, remarked the NRI. She claimed situation was better at Canada and the USA than in India.

Her children had shown interest in knowing the background of festivals like Dasehra, Divali, Karva Chauth, Jhakari and Vishawkarma Day. “When a wife fasts for the life of her husband and a mother fasts for long life of her son, how could they ignore each other on this earth,” Navi and Priya told their mother.



Social bodies felicitate SDM
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 20
Recognising her outstanding contribution in mobilising various social and religious organisations of the area to help members of lower strata of society and implementing welfare schemes launched by the governments, office-bearers of these associations felicitated Dr Indu, SDM, Ludhiana (West), at a function held at MGMN Senior Secondary School here yesterday.

The function was organised after her transfer from Malerkotla subdivision. Various speakers said during her stay as the head of Malerkotla subdivision, she succeeded in involving a majority of social and religious organisations in various projects undertaken by the civil administration from time to time.

“Besides performing her duty as a government official she tried to motivate social, political and religious leaders to serve the underprivileged. The organisers of various projects felt rejuvenated when she used to participate in functions being organised from time to time,” said Mr Jatinder Bhola, MC president.

Mr Ravinder Kumar, president of the local unit of the Congress, Mr Kedar Nath Kapila, group leader of the Ahmedgarh Vidya Parcharak Sabha, Mr Harjinder Singh Pandher, chairman of the market committee, Mr Jagwant Singh Jaggie, district general secretary of the SAD, Mr Ramesh Ghaie, president of the local unit of the BJP, Mr Dev Raj Sofat, working committee member of the SAD (A), and Mr Ravinder Puri, a former councillor, spoke on the occasion.

Marriages of poor girls, medical camps, de-addiction camps, save environment projects, adult education and crusade against social evils were cited as major projects launched by various organisations following persuasion by Dr Indu.

Recognising cooperation extended by residents of the area towards achieving her target, Dr Indu said she was able to bring about social reforms only due to the active involvement of the office-bearers of certain organisations.

The office-bearers of the Municipal Council, Ahmedgarh, MGMN Senior Secondary School, the Janata College for Women, the Bharat Vikas Parishad, the Vishwakarma Mandir Committee, Shri Ram Mandir, the Eco-Club Ahmedgarh, Shri Sukhmani Sahib Sewa Society, Shri Ram Mandir Committee, Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Muslim Youth Front, the Oil and Cattle Feed Manufacturers Association, the Journalists Association, the local unit of the Congress, the SAD, the BJP, the Bharatiya Yuva Morcha, the SAD (A) and the SAD (A) Youth Wing presented mementoes to Dr Indu on the occasion.



Samiti stages mock hanging of Afzal Guru 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 20
Activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Suraksha Samiti staged a mock hanging of Afzal Guru, who has been sentenced to death for his role in the attack on Parliament, near Clock Tower here today. His hanging, scheduled to be held today, has been postponed.

Samiti leader Rajiv Tandon, who was leading the activists, condemned the “selfish politicians”, who were seeking clemency for Afzal to appease the minorities. He alleged that those who were supporting clemency for Afzal were betraying the nation.

Afzal had been sentenced to death after a trial. He also ridiculed the arguments that his hanging would spur violence in Kashmir and provoke more youth to join militant ranks.

He said, compromising country’s interest would simply mean betraying the nation and those martyrs who were killed while protecting Parliament.

He said there was resentment among the people across the country over the delay in Afzal’s hanging. Terrorists, who had been threatening the unity and integrity of the country, must be punished according to the law, and there should be no leniency.



Youth killed in road accident
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 20
A youth of local town was killed and another injured when the scooter they were riding collided with a rickshaw at Maherna Kalan, near here last night.
The Dehlon police has registered a case under the appropriate sections of law and handed over the body of the deceased after getting post mortem.

Harjinder Singh son of Shaminder Singh was killed when the scooter he was driving collided with a rickshaw on the outskirts of Maherna Kalan village near here last night. Pillion-rider Manmohan Singh, alias Mithu, was injured in the incident. 



Festive season brings little cheer to fresh fruit traders
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 20
Increased shopping might have resulted in an upsurge in trade, but fresh fruit vendors are yet to witness the impact. Prices of fruits have remained unchanged in the past fortnight, thanks to the stability in demand.

“Preferences of people have changed. Fruits are not on the priority list of people these days. Gift culture has adversely affected this market which has witnessed no rise in demand this festive season,” said Mr Amarbir Singh, general secretary, Punjab State Fruit and Vegetable Commission Agents Association.

In the wholesale market while the rate of apples was almost stable at around Rs 350 per box of 15-16 kg that of oranges was hovering around Rs 400-450 per a box of 141 pieces. For bananas the per dozen rate was around Rs 20-22 . In case of retail markets, the prices are 15-20 per cent higher. Pomegranate prices rose to around Rs 70 per kg in the past few weeks from Rs 35-40 due to bad crop.

The situation is a little better in comparison to last year when prices came down. “Last year, estimating a high demand, traders had almost doubled supply as a result of which rates declined. This time the rates are relatively stable,” said Suresh Kumar, a fruit vendor in Old Subzi Mandi.

Traders said after the demand for dry fruits picked up in recent years, this time other products like biscuits and chocolates had further created a dent in the demand for fresh fruits. “Companies are coming out with attractive looking packages at economical rates. One can buy these gifts, which also last longer, for as low as Rs 50 which is why a majority of the people are opting out of fresh fruits,” another vendor said.

Besides being perishable, residents feel that attractive packaging is a major factor in purchase decisions. “The gifts we buy are a couple of days in advance which is why the preference goes to biscuits, dry fruits and other gift items. The fruits that are attractive looking are very expensive due to which it doesn’t give one reason enough to buy them,” said Payal Gupta, a Maya Nagar resident.

Market for dry fruits, on the other hand, is flourishing with prices touching an all-time high. Rates of almonds have registered a major increase. The prevailing rates per kg are Rs 430 for almonds, Rs 300 for cashewnuts, Rs 410 for pistachio and Rs 160-200 for kishmish in wholesale markets. In comparison to last year, prices have gone up on account of an upsurge in demand.

“Demand is very high this time and traders are doing a good job. Prices are higher compared to last year, but this factor does not affect consumers much,” said Mr Ashok Kumar of Darshan Karyana Store.



Taiwan bicycle exporters visit Avon unit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 20
Aiming to explore opportunities for technological upgradation and boosting trade, a delegation of exporters from Taiwan visited Avon Cycles here yesterday. Members of the delegation visited manufacturing facilities of the company.

“The 17-member delegation visited the manufacturing facilities in order to get a fair idea of technology. The aim was also to find out possibilities of collaboration with bicycle companies,” said Mr Onkar Singh Pahwa, Managing Director, Avon Cycles.

The delegation was led by Mr Ying Ming Yang, Chairman of the bicycle association from Taiwan.

The delegation also visited the Indian Bicycle Manufacturers Association. (IBMA) “Taiwan ranks high among the technological advanced countries of the world. However, on account of escalating costs of production many of industrialists there have extended their production units to Mainland China. We told them of the benefits of investing in India as there are no anti-dumping duties in Europe for Indian exports and the cost of production here is also low. Besides, skilled and unskilled manpower is easily available,” said Mr Satish Dhanda, president, IBMA.

He said investment from Taiwan would help industrialists in that country diversify their base from China, and India would also stand to gain on account of their superior technology.

Mr R.D. Sharma, general secretary, IBMA, gave details on Indian industrialists engaged in exports to European countries.



SBI takes possession of property
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 20
The State Bank of India (SBI), Stressed Assets Resolution Centre, officials took physical possession of property mortgaged in the account of M/s Raytex Cycle Components in New Shimplapuri and in the account of M/s Raynolds India, also in New Shimplapuri here today for alleged default in the repayment to the tune of approximately Rs 23.29 lakh and Rs 46.36 lakh each.

According to bank officials, the two parties had availed cash credit facilities from the Link Road branch and defaulted in repayment of dues to the tune of Rs 23.29 lakh and Rs 46.36 lakh, respectively, as on July 31, 2006. Even as the bank served a 60-day demand notice, the borrowers failed to respond following which the bank decided to take physical possession of properties mortgaged in their names.

Bank officials said the premises of the two parties were duly locked and sealed and the entire process was carried out with the assistance of M/s GATS Financial Reconstructors Limited.

The authorised officer warned defaulters of a stringent action under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Assets (SARFAESI) Act in case they failed to repay their dues.



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