L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Train movement halted for 4 hrs
Miscreants cut signal wires; copper theft suspected
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
All movement of trains from the city railway station remained suspended for nearly four hours early this morning following a major security breach when some miscreants managed to sneak into the locked relay room near the Lakkar bridge and cut several metres of wires that controlled signals.

With the signal system failing completely, the movement of trains came to a standstill at 1 am. It was restored partially by 5 am but it was only around noon today when the entire system could be made functional.

Trains were operated on the manual signal system after 5 am. The relay room is situated on the outskirts of the station.

The Government Railway Police is suspecting that the theft of copper in the wires could be the main motive of the miscreants. Interestingly, though many wires were found cut, no portion of it was found missing.

There are not many takers in the police or in the Railway Department about the possibility of a sabotage attempt. The police ,however, has not completely ruled out the suspicion.

The relay room was locked. Therefore, the police suspects that the miscreants could have entered from the exhaust fan outlet. The police was also probing if some railway employees could be involved.

Hundreds of passengers were stranded at the railway station all these hours, sending officials in a tizzy. They had a hard time answering queries and managing railway traffic. Many trains had to be stopped at other stations also.

SI Tarlochan Singh of the Government Railway Police said a case had been registered. He said the theft of copper in the wires seemed to be the main motive so far. Earlier also, a gang of copper thieves had stolen fish plates and hooks from the Dhurri line with this motive.



Busy in Vikas Yatra, govt forgets martyr
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

The part of the structure on which the statue of martyr Kartar Singh Sarabha will be installed
The part of the structure on which the statue of martyr Kartar Singh Sarabha will be installed.
— Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, November 15
Diversion of manpower and resources towards the Congress rally in the city made the local government machinery and political leadership forget the installation of martyr Kartar Singh Sarabha's statue on Pakhowal Road that was to be done by November 15.

City Mayor Nahar Singh Gill had announced that the statue, presently kept at the local War Museum, would be shifted on the road leading to his village by November 15 and a function would be organised after the installation.

But neither the statue was installed nor a function was organised. The statue was shifted from under the newly constructed elevated road at the last minute of its inauguration. It was temporarily kept in the War Museum after some local leaders took up the matter, stating that it would be a disrespect to the martyr if traffic would flow over his head.

It was then that the Municipal Corporation had removed the statue in a jiffy. The operation went on throughout the night before the inauguration.

Investigations revealed that the statue was still at the War Museum, but a tent was erected over it. The place where it was to be reinstalled at Feroze Gandhi Market was being spruced up. Workers on the spot, where they were constructing a podium, said that work started three days ago but nobody could concentrate on it due to the Congress rally.

The secretary of the PPCC, Mr Parminder Mehta, who has taken up the matter, said it was a matter of shame that putting up of statue had no priority with the local administration as well as Congress leaders.

"If the leaders failed, at least the well-educated and aware officials should have accorded respect to the martyr. But who cares?" asked Mr Mehta.

Mr Mehta had earlier met the Deputy Commissioner, urging him to order the shifting of the statue. The DC had ordered the shifting of the statue to a respectable place immediately. "I am pained to point out that nobody has cared about the statue."



Farmers asked to apply for CM’s award
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
The Punjab Agricultural University has invited applications from farmers of the state for the Chief Minister’s Award in agriculture and horticulture. These awards were started in 2005.

The Director of Extension, Dr S.S. Gill, has sent a circular to all field units of the PAU, besides Chief Agricultural Officers and Deputy Directors of horticulture in the state and Directors of regional stations along with prescribed proforma for the proposed awards. The last date for the receipt of applications in the Directorate of Extension Education is January 10, 2007.

These awards are for crop production, crop related enterprises and cultivation of fruits, vegetables, flowers and related entrepreneurs.

So far, 23 farmers have been given either the Chief Minister’s Award or other awards instituted by individuals in the memory of progressive farmers. The Centre for Communication, Languages and Culture has compiled the profiles of all award winners in the form of a book “Safal Kisan Punjab De”. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, released this book at the PAU Kisan Mela on September 21. This compilation is an inspiration for other farmers to imitate the experiences of the award winners and transform their own agricultural and horticultural operations for better economic returns.

The prescribed proforma/form can be obtained from either the Directorate of Extension Education at the PAU or offices of Krishi Vigyan Kendras, farmers’ advisory service scheme, Chief Agricultural Officers and Deputy Directors of horticulture in all districts in the state.

Meanwhile, Dr Gill said the state level horticultural officers’ workshop for vegetable crops would be held at the PAU on December 21, 22.



Four hurt in road mishap

Jagraon, November 15
Four persons were injured in an accident between a Mohindra jeep (No. HR-31A-8672) and a Maruti car (No. PB-10AS-0108) at Mullanpur village on last Saturday night. Those injured were Kulwinder Singh Dango, Jasvir Kaur, Harjinder Kaur and Surinder Kaur of Talwandi Khurd. Surinder Kaur was admitted to Deep Hospital, Ludhiana. — OC



Unite to protect workers’ rights: MP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana November 15
A state-level employees’ convention was held at the Pal Auditorium in Punjab Agricultural University here today. It was jointly organised by the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation, the Punjab and UT Employees Joint Action Committee and the PAU Employees Union.

Addressing the convention, Mr Gurudas Dasgupta, MP and general secretary of the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), said the public sector was being destroyed under the policies of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation, downsizing and anti-labour revisions in labour laws.

He said, “Snatching the right to strike is an obvious example of this and the contributory pension scheme is another anti-employee step of the government”. He demanded a raise in the interest on provident funds.

He observed the main objective of these policies was to weaken the trade union movement both from qualitative as well as quantitative point of view. He said the common people were being deprived of the basic needs of life such as education, health, housing, employment, electricity, water etc.

Mr Dasgupta called upon the trade union leaders to reach Delhi on November 23 to gherao Parliament.

Mr Sajjan Singh, chairman, Punjab and UT Employees Joint Action Committee, demanded an end to the policy of privatisation of public sector units. He also demanded the implementation of 4-9-14 years promotional scheme with scale with effect from January 1, 1996, the grant of interim relief at the rate of five per cent along with minimum of Rs 1,000 with effect from January 1, 2006, enhancement in medical allowance up to Rs 500, regularisation of work charge/daily paid workers, need-based grants to universities in place of block grants and the regular appointment of contractual teachers and other employees etc. He called upon the delegates to go to the masses and expose anti-people and anti-employees policies of the government.

In his vote of thanks, Mr D.P. Maur, president, PAU Employees Union, said an organised struggle on a joint platform was the dire need of the hour in order to face the present crisis-ridden situation.



All set for today’s SAD (B) rally
Our Correspondent

Khamano, November 15
All arrangements have been completed for the Shiromani Akali Dal (B) rally to be organised tomorrow at Dana Mandi here. This was stated by SGPC member Jathedar Kirpal Singh Khirnia and senior Akali Dal leader Lakhvir Singh Kalal Majra.

Mr Lakhvir Singh, a member of the party working committee, said they had visited all villages of this circle, including Jabana, Mansurpur, Bilaspur Barwali , Nanglan.

He claimed that the proposed rally would be a historic one and party activists were campaigning in the villages to moblise people in large numbers.

He alleged that the Congress government had failed on all fronts. He claimed that not even a single power production project had been set up in the state. Harnek Singh Chari, Baldev Singh Barwali and some other leaders were also present on the occasion.



Allotment of ration depots: scrutiny schedule
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 15
The District Food and Civil Supplies Controller, Ms Gurmit Kaur, has announced that the scrutiny of papers pertaining to the persons who had applied for the allotment of ration depots would be held from November 21 to December 1, this year.

She has appealed to the applicants to reach the sub-office situated backside Arora Palace on the date fixed for different categories.

On November 21, the applicants of the general category,whose names starts with alphabets A and B will be entertained. On November 22, the persons whose names starts with alphabets C to H and on November 23, applicants whose names begin with alphabets I, J, K and L will be entertained.

On November 27, applicants’ names starting with the alphabets M, N and O will be entertained. On November 28, alphabets P, Q and R will be considered.

On November 29, applicants’ names starting with the alphabet S will be considered. On the next day, it will be the turn of the names beginning with alphabets T to Z .



Rs 500 honorarium for Namberdars
Our Correspondent

Khamano, November 15
The Punjab Government has released Rs 20 crore to pay honourarium of Rs 500 per month to every Namberdar. Out of this grant about Rs 18 lakh has been released in Khamano subdivision.

This was stated by the MLA of Samrala while distributing cheques for Rs 3,500 each to Namberdars at Lily Resort, Khamano, as honourarium for the past seven months. He said the state government had taken care of all sections.

In his address, the SDM, Khamano, Mr Devinder Singh, said the role of Nambardars was very important. He said all officials of the Khamano subdivision would do their duties in letter and spirit. Around 250 cheques were distributed during this samagam. The function was also addressed by the Chairman, Market Committee, Khamano, Mr Parminder Singh, and others.

The Tehsildar, Khamano, Ms Savita, the Naib Tehsildar, Mr B.S. Longia, and some other officials concerned were also present during the function.



Tricycles, sewing machines given to needy
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, November 15
SSP Shiv Kumar Verma inaugurated the new office of the Nishkam Kirtan Sewa Society at a function here today. He also distributed tricycles to four physically challenged persons and sewing machines to six needy women of the area.

He said NGOs and social organisations should come forward to help the needy. He appreciated the initiative of the society to service the humanity, especially the downtrodden. He said youth should take the initiative and form such organisations to help poor people.

Society president Karamjeet Singh said the society was formed seven years ago. In the beginning, it used to organise religious functions but later on took up the noble cause of helping the needy.

Society secretary Som Dutt Sharma said the society had solemnised marriages of 51 poor girls so far and was set to solemnise five more in December.

Society vice-president Ravinder Singh pointed out that it was an NGO dedicated to the service of society.



Net fraud: South African in police snare
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
In a first-ever breakthrough against cyber criminals, the city police has nabbed a South African national from Chandigarh who had been operating from his country and had pocketed millions of rupees by offering profitable investment worth lakhs of dollars through fraudulent schemes on the Internet.

The accused, David (24), is just a small fry in a huge network involved in making fraudulent offers on the Internet.

Internet users frequently receive mails claiming they have won a lucky prize in a random cyber survey and are offered to cash their “prize” by depositing a certain amount in a specific bank account or give their credit card number.

SP City-I Rakesh Aggarwal told mediapersons that a city businessman, Vinay Mittal, had received one such mail recently.

Being an exporter, who frequented the African country, he knew something was wrong right from the start. He was told that he had won a profit of $ 12 lakh that he could cash only if he deposited $ 3,500.

Mr Mittal approached the city police, which laid a trap to catch the accused by inviting him to India to collect the sum.

Mr Mittal lured him by offering him to pay in Chandigarh. Once the accused landed there, the police swooped down upon him and arrested him.

The police hopes it has cracked a major Internet network of such fraudulent deals with the arrest of the accused.



Proclaimed offender held
Our Correspondent

Khamano, November 15
The Khamano police has arrested a proclaimed offender (PO), who was absconding since 1999 in a case of forgery. He is a proclaimed offender in some other cases also.

The DSP, Khamano, Mr Satinder Pal Singh, gave information that the proclaimed offender, Kuldip Singh, of Khamano Khurd was nabbed by ASI Harminder Singh from the local bus stand on a tip-off. He had come here to take some money from his house, but was nabbed. SHO Khamano Sukhjit Singh Virk said a case was registered against Kuldip Singh, his wife Manjit Kaur.



Spice Telecom to add 350 more sites
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
With a view to cater to the expanding customer base, Spice Telecom will add 350 more sites in the coming three months. The Chief Operating Officer of the company, Mr Man Mohan Nandwani, while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune today said the company had set a target of adding one lakh customers every month to its existing base of 16.5 lakh in Punjab.

“So far only 10 per cent of the potential has been tapped. There still is tremendous scope,” he said. Increasing competition in this segment, he added, was only facilitating betterment of the overall market.

Talking about customer complaints regarding network problems of mobile phone companies, he said with the expansion in network, such problems would be tackled. “The addition in sites would tackle it. In fact, network now is better than earlier and even in basements there is no network problem unlike earlier when mobile phones did not even function in such places.”

He said the company had also expanded its call centres to handle customers and currently it had 900 customer care executives. It was also laying an equal focus on rural markets.

Mr Nandwani also launched a new Handset Bundling Offer today under which the company would provide a handset with a new Spice connection having 18,000 minutes of free talk-time and three years of free incoming calls for Rs 1,999. “The target is entry level customers,” he said.

Giving details of the new offer, Mr Nandwani said the offer applied to billing as well as pre-paid customers, who would get much lower call rates in this case.

“Through such offers, while the company gets to add to its customer base, people also get benefit as they are able to avail of mobile services at much lower rates. The idea is to revolutionise mobile services in this state and reduce price barriers to entry.”



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