L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Army deserter (cook)ed the plot alone: police
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, November 3
The Army-deserter cook, who had allegedly taken 24 girls to Goa on the pretext of getting them recruited as nurses in the Indian defence forces, had weaved the entire plot on his own and no official of the Army has been found involved in it so far.

Announcing this at a press conference in the Police Lines here today, SSP R.K. Jaiswal said there was no concrete evidence suggesting that the accused, Amarjit Singh, had taken the girls to Goa for selling them off to those running brothels there.

The SSP said the accused was arrested from a religious place near Jagraon late last night. He had been on the run for the past few weeks. He had confessed to the crime, but the police was yet to find out why he chose Goa for the crime.

A Jagraon court has, meanwhile, remanded the accused in five-day police custody. The police wanted to interrogate him further as many significant keys as regards the crime were yet to be ascertained.

There was still no guess as to how the accused managed to fool the girls for over a month. He kept them in a hotel in Goa and even took them to Lucknow for five days on the pretext of getting their medical examination conducted. Interestingly, six of the girls had been with him for over two months. The accused never took them to any Army cantonment or introduced them to any contact, especially the women officer whose name he used to flaunt as one of his main contacts for the recruitment. Yet, the girls stayed with him and followed his directions.

The SSP said the investigation had also revealed that the accused, a resident of Deharka village, near Jagraon, had wrongfully posed as being a serving Lieutenant in the Army. “He was recruited as a cook, but had deserted the force a few months ago. The regiment with which he was posted had informed the police about his new status of being a military deserter.

The accused has been booked under Sections 406, 419, 420, 344, 346, 347 and 506 of the IPC and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act at the local police station.

Impersonating as an Army Lieutenant posted at Goa, the accused had lured credulous residents of Kamalpura village to send their daughters with him to get them recruited as nurses in the military.

In the first batch, he took Simarjit Kaur, Lakhwinder Kaur, Rupinder Kaur, Baljit Kaur and Sandip Kaur to Goa for a consideration of Rs 8,000. He kept them in Hotel Goa Pride for some days there.

Lakhwinder Kaur called up Sukhvir Kaur on the phone and persuaded her, Sharanjit Kaur, Amandip Kaur, Harmandip Kaur, Kamalalep Kaur, Kirandip Kaur and Gurjit Kaur to come to Goa.

On August 29, Iqbal Singh and Jagdish Singh of Kamalpura accompanied the girls to Goa. On reaching there, Amarjit Singh and Baljit Kaur received them at the station and took them to Hotel Goa Pride where Amarjit Singh took Rs 5,000 from Kirandeep Kaur and Rs 13,000 from other girls.

The next day, the accused, on the pretext of a medical examination, took the girls to Lucknow where they stayed in Hotel Gitaanjli for five days. From September 11 to September 29, they stayed at Hotel Good Sheffard. Since more than 15 days had elapsed, the parents of some girls became furious and started doubting the motive of the accused. They started getting back their daughters from the clutches of the accused.

The police has seized some certificates of the girls, two receipts of Gurdwara Santsar Sahib, Sector 38, Chandigarh, where he stayed, one mobile phone, Rs 8,100 etc.



Youth shot
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
Some unidentified persons robbed a 26-year-old youth late last night in Jamalpur before they shot him.

The body of the youth, identified as Harbhagwan Singh, was found on a roadside and his motorcycle also found lying nearby. He had a bullet wound on his back.

The SP city-II, Mr Dinesh Pratap Singh, said the youth was shot in the back in between 11 and 11.30 pm while he was returning home from his office. He was employed in a private firm.

Some passers-by had spotted his body and informed the police.

On conducting a search on the body, the police found a purse and a mobile phone was missing.

The police said though robbery seemed to be the main motive so far, yet the police was also probing if he had personal enmity with anyone. The police said there was just a bullet mark on the body. There were no other injuries to suggest that the deceased had struggled with the robbers.

The police suspects that the assailant/assailants seemed to be waiting for the youth at the place and had shot him.

The deceased is survived by his wife and a one-year-old daughter. 



Varsity to set up dairy science college
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) has decided to set up a dairy science college. This was decided at a meeting of the Board of Management of the university held here yesterday under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor, Mr D.S. Bains.

According to Dr Simrat Sagar Singh, Registrar of the university, the board approved the annual budget of the university for the year 2006-07 with a total outlay of Rs 33.08 crore, which includes Rs 25 crore from the Punjab Government-funded schemes.

He said keeping in view the additional requirements of funds of the newly established university, Principal-Secretary (Finance) had assured that additional funds of Rs 5.32 crore would be provided to the new university in the current financial year in addition to the funds which were already available with the Veterinary and Animal Sciences schemes.

The Board of Management also approved the university administration scheme for the appointment of various officers in the university and also approved the filling up of various teaching and technical posts.

The board discussed the expansion plans and decided that the university should establish a dairy science College in Ludhiana. A committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Dr O.S.Parmar, Director of Extension Education, GADVASU, to prepare the project proposal.



Stubble burning sends ban up in smoke
Kanchan Vasdev

Tribune News Service

Sidhwan Bet (Ludhiana), November 3
The environment is degrading with each passing day, but farmers continue to keep their eyes closed while setting paddy residue in their fields on fire.

The ban orders by the district administration are also going up in smoke as enforcement agencies prefer to look the other way, ignoring the dangers posed by the practice.

This despite the fact that not only Ludhiana but the entire region continues to be engulfed by a blanket of smog and residents continue to report to hospitals with allergic disorders.

A survey by a Tribune team in some parts of the district today revealed that despite so much of hullabaloo created by environmentalists for the past so many years, stubble burning was continuing. Remaining insensitive to the ever-increasing pollution, farmers had either cleared their fields of stubble by burning it or were doing so.

Almost all fields in villages, including Sidhwan Bet, Kishanpura, Gaur Sianh Karim Bakht, Salempur, Bhundri, Hambran, Issewal, Birmi and Jhammat, were showing telltale signs of residual burning by turning sooty. In others, thick smoke was billowing out as burning was in process. It was difficult to breathe in the air on the road.

Farmers who had burnt the stubble said they knew about the problem very well. But nothing could be done as they cited the same old reason of increasing inputs.

“I know it affects the soil health as well as environment. We have been putting our fields on fire every year. Nobody has ever come to us to stop the practice,’’ said Mehtab Singh, a farmer.

He added that it took a few hours to get rid of the stubborn stubble by burning it otherwise one had to make an effort to clean the fields.

Another farmer said if they went by the advice of scientists to incorporate the stubble into fields by chopping it, it would lead to severe pest attack in the next season. ‘‘The only successful way is to pull out every root. However, it will take a lot of time. Moreover, the advantage is that a number of pests are destroyed in the fire.’’

Besides the administration, scientists have also proved ineffective in impressing upon farmers the need for not burning the stubble as it would cause a loss of micronutrients present in the top layer of the soil, death of microorganisms and other friendly organisms.



Body fished out of canal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
The police today fished out the body of a middle-aged man from Neelon Canal. He was allegedly murdered by some persons over a money dispute on October 31, .

The police claimed to have identified Tilak Raj and Sonu as persons who perpetrated the murder. They, along with their four accomplices, have been booked under Section 302 for the murder of Surinder Kumar.



Mayor cooks political chapatis on public money
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
The city Mayor’s “political rally”, which was organised in the garb of the inauguration of elevated road, has cost the public exchequer Rs 5 lakh. The expense would be borne by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.

The road, set up at a cost of Rs 51 crore, was inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on October 25. The formal inauguration function was organised in Sherpur Kalan, which falls in Mayor Nahar Singh Gill’s ward, on the same day.

Eyebrows have been raised on the locus standi of organising the function (read rally) in Sherpur, which was quite far from the elevated road. The Mayor plans to contest the Assembly elections from this area.

The list of expenditure on the entire function was presented before the Finance and Contract Committee of the corporation that met here last evening. It was passed unanimously.

The shamianas were installed at two places in Sherpur Kalan and on the Jagraon bridge at a cost of Rs 3.37 lakh and Rs 23,000 respectively. The Chief Minister had inaugurated the road near the bridge.

The corporation has to pay for Rs 1 lakh to caterer and florist, Rs 18,000 for sound arrangement, Rs 10,000 to photographer, Rs 6,000 for a military band, Rs 1,000 for utensils and Rs 20,000 for preparing identity cards and invitation cards.

Amidst allegations that the Mayor on purpose organised the function in his ward and passed it as a public function, the Opposition in the corporation has decided to take up the issue at different platforms and take it to a logical conclusion.

“This was public money and the Mayor had no business to spend it for his political goals. Why did he organise the function in Sherpur Kalan, kilometres away from the inauguration site? “ asked Mr Parvin Bansal, a senior BJP councillor and leader of the opposition in the House.

He added that it was sad that a political function addressed by none other than the Chief Minister himself was organised with the corporation money that could have been spent on some development work.

He said councillors of the BJP and the SAD would take up the issue during the next general House meeting.



Vegetable prices likely to stabilise in 10 days
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
Sky-rocketing prices of vegetables would take at least 10 days more to normalise a bit with an expected increase in supply. City residents have been quite disappointed as vegetable prices have continued to rise even after Divali.

In retail markets, vegetables like french beans are priced at a high of Rs 40-45 per kg, the price of green peas is also almost the same. Tomatoes are available for Rs 20 per kg.

"Due to a sharp increase in prices the vegetables have become unaffordable. What is worse is that even pulses are getting dearer. I was hoping that rates would come down after Divali, but the prices have only increased. There is a dire need to control the prices of these commodities because they directly hit common man," said Kamlesh Sharma, a Haibowal resident.

The news that onion prices are going to increase has further increased the apprehension of the residents. "Even last year, onion prices had risen tremendously. Now we are hearing that they are again increasing in South. We only hope rates remain stable here," Ravinder Khanna, another resident said.

In wholesale market, while cauliflower was priced at Rs 8-9 per kg, cabbage at Rs 9-10 per kg, gourd was available for around Rs 11-12, green peas for Rs 11-12 per kg, whereas french beans remained highly priced at Rs 30 per kilogram and tomatoes at Rs 12-13 per kg. Price of potatoes is hovering between Rs 13-15 per kg, while that of capsicum was Rs 20 per kg. Retail market prices are higher by 30 to 40 per cent in comparison to the wholesale rates.

Dealers attribute high prices to shortage in supply. They said as the local supply, largely catered to by the area around Malerkotla, was yet to begin, it would take some time for prices to get down to normal.

"Most vegetables available these days in the market come from Himachal Pradesh. It would take around 10 days for the local supply to start. That is when one can expect the prices to normalise a bit," said Mr Amarbir Singh, general secretary, Punjab State Fruit and Vegetable Commission Agents Association.

Moreover, as the marriage season too would begin only in December, the prices can be expected to remain slightly low for a month or so, said Mr Amarbir Singh.

As for onions, the dealers ruled out the possibility of any rise in the prices of onions. "Majority of the supply here comes from Rajasthan and so far things are normal and the price of onions is unlikely to rise."



Nagar kirtan taken out
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 3
A nagar kirtan was taken out here today to mark the forthcoming Parkash Utsav of Guru Nanak Dev, falling on November 5.

The nagar kirtan started at Dukh Nivaran Gurdwara and passed through Chaura Bazar and other parts of the city.

Devotees turned out in huge numbers to join the religious procession. The procession was led by Panj Piaras, riding horses.

Sangat and kirtan mandalis from all over the city followed them on tempos, tractor-trailers and foot. Bands playing martial tunes accompanied the nagar kirtan.

Devotees were served sweets, fruits, etc.



Welfare panel’s plea on overbridge
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, November 3
The Mohalla Development and Welfare Committee, Jagraon, has submitted an application to the Chief Minister regarding the proposal of constructing a rail overbridge on the Tehsil road here.

The committee has sought that the length of the bridge be kept minimum so as not to affect the business of the shopkeepers whose shops are going to be sidelined in the wake of the purposed overbridge. It has demanded that the slope of the bridge towards the bus stand be ended before the church situated near Centurion Bank. It will also save Rs 2 crore on the state exchequer. The length of the bridge should not be more than 275 m on either side, the committee has demanded.



Honour for photographer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 3
Photographer Rakesh Syal of Ludhiana has won the second prize for August in the prestigious photography contest sponsored by betterphoto.com, the site's founder, Jim Miotke, announced yesterday. This is the 12th time he has won an award for his photographs.

More than 26,100 entries were submitted in the online photography contest, which attracted contestants from around the world and featured 10 separate categories.

Syal's stunning image, "The Confessor", garnered top honours after being submitted in the people category. 



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