L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

High tension at rly station
Leaking water pipe puts passengers’ lives on the line
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
Posing grave danger to the lives of passengers visiting the local railway station, a water pipe along one of the railway tracks developed a leak today as a result of which water gushed out of it and started touching the overhead high-tension cables that run electric trains.

Owing to high water pressure, which is used to clean railway coaches as well as tracks, the fountain touched the cables carrying 25,000 volts of current, while hundreds of people, oblivious of the danger, walk around the danger zone to reach platform No. 1 or crossed the railway line.

The problem continued for hours but none of the station authorities did anything to repair the snag. Some passengers said they had complained to the authorities but nobody listened to them.

A railways employee present on the spot said there was some problem with the joint of the pipe.

He said he had reported to the staff concerned but they were finding some difficulty as the water pressure in the pipe was too much to handle.

He said getting the water supply disconnected from the department concerned was consuming some time.

He added that repairs would be carried out as soon as the supply was disconnected. He said the leakage apparently occurred due to high water pressure.

To make the matters worse, a number of persons crossed the railway track to reach the Old Kacheri road from Bhadaur House.

Earlier, they used to cross the line from Lakkar Bridge. But after it was torn down and a new bridge was not in place, they were taking the shorter, but risky, route.

‘‘Fortunately there was no untoward incident. The power cables carry very high voltage and can even pull a human from a distance. The water that touched the cables and fell to the ground could have caused a major tragedy,’’ said a railways official on the condition of anonymity.

He added that even passersby continued to cross the line, unmindful of the danger lurking over their head.



SAD-BJP to hold joint rallies across state
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana November 26
The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party alliance will hold joint rallies across the state. The alliance will also mobilise public opinions against the Congress government after working out a joint strategy.

Disclosing this here today, the SAD leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said the alliance was functioning smoothly. He claimed that there were no differences on the seat- sharing arrangement between the BJP and his party. He said the arrangement had been finalised and would be announced soon.

Asserting that the alliance would come back to the power in the forthcoming elections in the state, Mr Badal claimed that the people of the state were quite disillusioned with the Congress government. He said no development had taken place in the state, while the problem of unemployment had worsened during this regime.

The SAD supremo claimed that the vikas yatra being taken out by the Chief Minister had failed as it had not been able to come up to the expectations of the people. He said the Chief Minister had not provided any relief to the masses. He said people were coming out not to receive the Chief Minister "but only to see, how he looks as they never got to see him during the last five years".

Later, addressing a public function organised to honour Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla, who retired recently as the member of the Punjab Public Service Commission, Mr Badal urged the party workers to be ready for the battle. He expressed his happiness over the enthusiasm among the party cadres.

Prominent among others present on the occasion included, besides Mr Chawla, Mr Sukdhev Singh Dhindsa, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha.



'Harassed' by cops, man approaches PHRC
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 26
"Harassed" at the hands of certain policemen, a resident of Sihar village, near here, who has since been declared innocent by senior police officials in a case registered against him at the Dehlon police station, has approached apex authorities in various departments to protect his human rights.

In a communication addressed to the Chairman Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC), the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Chief Minister and the Director General of Police Punjab, Amritpal Singh has sought protection from certain low-rank police officers who, he alleged, were bent on implicating him and his family members in a false case.

The complaint had recently been declared innocent by higher police officials in a case registered against him at the Dehlon police station.

Police Chowki Sihar in-charge Malkit Singh, however, maintained that a party had raided the house of the complainant in compliance of the orders received from higher officials.

He claimed that Amritpal Singh had been declared a proclaimed offender (PO) in connection with the case.

"As part of the statewide campaign to nab POs, we have been directed to act against such persons in our area. We have acted on the orders passed by our seniors and the court. Until the accused gets himself discharged from a relevant court of law his status remains that of a PO," maintained Malkit Singh, adding that the complaint was misleading the media and higher officials.

After being booked under Section 25, NDPS Act, for allegedly smuggling poppy husk under the guise of carrying liquor from a distillery in UP to an Army base in Jammu and Kashmir, Amritpal Singh had sought a probe to prove his innocence.

An inquiry conducted by SP (H) Fatehgarh Sahib Harbhajan Singh on the directions of IG Patiala Zone had declared him innocent in the case.

Perusal of copies of the inquiry report submitted by Harbhajan Singh revealed that he was falsely implicated in the case.

"Amritpal Singh, son of Tikka Singh, is not concerned with this poppy husk. Neither has he loaded the contraband nor does he know about it. He is not guilty of bringing poppy husk. Avtar Singh, son of Charanjit Singh, Gurjant Singh, son of Surjit Singh, and another person who had evaded arrest, were responsible for the illegal act and appropriate action should be taken against them," reads the concluding paragraph of page 5 of the report.

The inquiry had revealed that Avtar Singh, driver, and his brother Soni had allegedly smuggled a load of poppy husk under the guise of carrying military rum, being transported in a tempo owned by Amritpal Singh last year.

Avtar Singh had deliberately concealed his identity at the time of taking the delivery from a distillery in Rampur, UP, and had signed as Harpreet.

The two on reaching Punjab tried to extract a ransom of Rs 33,000 from the owner of the tempo.

However, their attempt was foiled by the Sihar police, which laid a trap on the basis of information provided by Amritpal Singh.

A member of the investigation team of the Dehlon police, SI Chaman Parkash, had also deposed in a special court in Ludhiana in the favour of Amritpal Singh.

The complaint has accused two policemen of misbehaving with members of his family and intimidating them.



Panchayat cremates body found in Sirhind Canal
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 26
The body of an unidentified person was spotted last evening in the Sirhind Canal near Dehliz village near here. The police, with the help of volunteers, took out the body from the canal. Later, the village panchayat cremated the body after getting the post- mortem examination conducted at the civil hospital, Malerkotla.

The body was spotted by Lal Deen, a chowkidar at the village. There were no external injury marks on the body. The victim wore dark coloured pants and shirt.

A black pocket diary in the victim’s pocket contained a picture of a religious guru but provided no clue about the identification of the deceased. He seemed to have drowned about four or five days ago.



NRIs vow to improve education, health facilities in state
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
At a religious congregation on the second day of the World Gurmat Samelan yesterday, being organised at Gurdwara Nanaksar Samrala Chowk under the guidance of Sant Baba Jaswant Singh, Sikh organisations and Non-Resident Indian devotees from all over the world decided to launch a movement for the improvement of education and health care facilities in Punjab.

There are many towns and villages in the state that lack basic infrastructure and the task to identify these has been entrusted to the Baba Jaswant Singh Trust, Ludhiana.

Baba Jaswant Singh called upon devotees to work hard toward providing quality education, including medical and technical education, to the future generation, so that the intellectual level of the nation could be improved.

He said people from other countries were willing to contribute on a large scale toward building better hospitals and educational facilities in the state.

He observed: “We should shoulder the responsibility of providing excellent management to the institutions so that the standard of education could be brought on a par with good institutions in other countries like the US, the UK, Canada, etc.”

He pointed out that the Sikh Gurus had given a unique philosophy of universal brotherhood, equality, tolerance and service to the suffering humanity.

Expressing concern over the deviation of the Sikh youth from the basic principles of Sikhism, the Sant called upon religious preachers and heads of religious bodies to concentrate on educating the youth about the importance of the Sikh philosophy.

Daljeet Singh Sagoo, Baldev Singh, Surinder Singh Jagdev, Jarnail Singh Flora and other eminent NRI devotees representing Gurdwara Gurupanth Prakash, Leicester, UK; Gurdwara Shri Guru Amardas Ji Southall, UK; Istri Satsang Sabha Gurdwara Shri Guru Amardas Ji, UK; and from Canada, Dubai and Norway took part in the event.

Patients also visited a free dental and medical check-up and treatment camp being organised by Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College, Hospital, under the supervision of its Principal Dr Rana V.K. Patients on the second day yesterday.



Virasat Award for Canadian MP

Ludhiana, November 26
Mr Sukh Dhaliwal, Member Parliament from Surrey, Delta Newton North, Canada, was honoured with Virasat Award by the Punjab Cultural Promotion Council for his contribution to community development in British Columbia.

The award was presented by PCPC Chairman-cum-Director Davinder Singh Chhina, PCPC patron Devinder Singh Garcha (former Olympian), coordinator Prof Balvinderpal Singh and council’s chief adviser Dr Rajoo Singh Chhina at a function held on Friday. — OC



Ludhiana Calling

Police role under scanner

The city police seems to be expecting the public to don the cap of a Sherlock Homes to combat crime. While the detection expertise of the cops is already under a scanner owing to the non-cracking of several cases, the police is now telling many complainants to trace the crime on their own. This was proved in the case of an alleged threat to shoot a local journalist. When he went to a police station to lodge a complaint and furnished the car number, the cops on duty at Division No 5 police station allegedly told him to trace the car on his own and then the police would catch the culprit.

Thankfully, sky is clear now

With the farmers having already cleared their fields of paddy residue, the sky in the city has also got cleared. Just a week ago, when they were putting the stubble on fire, the sky was overcast with smoke clouds. It was difficult to breathe in the air. But now thankfully the sky is very clear.

Journalism a hired service?

Some villagers were organising a function and all arrangements were being made to make it a success. Services of singers, caterers, tent houses and whatever para phernalia required for a successful function were hired. Soon one of the organisers realised that they had not invited the Press. He was seen telling another organiser: “We have not hired any journalist. It is just a pointer that journalism has also become a “hired service”.

Poor cellular network

Despite tall claims by cellular service providers, subscribers to mobile phones are an irked lot these days due to heavy incidence of call dropping and other network-related problems. Subscribers complain that calls are often dropped during talking and cases where they get a message of ‘network busy’ too are high. The charges, in any case have to be borne by the subscriber himself.

‘Selective’ encroachments

The district administration recently removed encroachments by vendors in the mini-secretariat complex. The step was welcome but it left the residents wondering if the administrators would only remove the encroachments in other parts of the city as well. The entire city is full of illegal occupation of pavements, roads, parks.

Holidaying mood

With December barely a few days away, city residents are busy planning their holidays. It is tough to get train as airline bookings to popular holidaying spots. Travel agents and planners are surely happy with the big moolah pouring in.

Sudden chill

Winters this time as if took just a day to arrive. A small shower was all that lowered temperatures, forcing even the stubborn lot to take their woollens out. The hosiery industry is finally feeling relieved as customers have started pouring in and markets too, wear a festive look as shoppers have got engaged in their favourite activity.

Book lovers’ grouse

The city does not have sufficient number of good book stores. Most of the times latest books fail to arrive, book lovers complain. It is best sellers, that too relatively old ones, which are commonly found.

Playing cards in sun

As the mercury is dipping, bringing chill in the weather, residents look to sun for some relief. The sun attracts people and they want to enjoy it. So much so that some coolies on the railway station were seen sitting under sun, instead of earning their usual bread and butter. But instead of lazing around they chose to play cards and enjoy. (see picture)                                                                 

Conman Jagminder

Jagminder Singh, alias Aman Verma, nabbed as the main accused in the Vikramjit murder case, is alleged to be a master in forming new identities. He created one just the moment he was nabbed. When asked by an ASI named Sumeet, the seasoned conman seeing the cops’ name on his batch, just took on the identity saying that he was Sumeet too.

Transport system

The city is one of the three cities chosen for a modern transport system. This has brought cheers to the residents but one wonders whether the system would be ever functional in the city. It has been several years when the successive governments have been announcing that they would launch an effective public transport system to ease congestion but all have remained pipe dreams only. The shortage of space for constructing flyovers is also a major challenge. The absence of space offering alternate route during the construction is another major engineering challenge that has delayed the constructions.

Drivers don’t halt at stops

Bus Stops have been set up at almost all required areas in the city. Slip roads, too, have been provided for easy boarding. Yet, the bus drivers seldom halt at these places. They prefer road crossings or turns to stop and load passengers. This causes traffic snarls at the places while the bus stops and passenger shelters created for the purpose have been encroached upon. One wonders what allows the traffic cop to ignore this irritant.


A truck driver seemingly bitter and dejected over a love affair vent his ire by scribbling this at the rear of the vehicle in chaste Punjabi, ‘‘Mohabbat pishachni, dakni hai’’(Love is a blood sucking witch)

(Contributions by Shveta Pathak, Jupinderjit Singh and Kanchan Vasdev)



Ex-servicemen deprived of health scheme benefit
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 26
Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) was launched to provide comprehensive and quality medical care (covering all possible diseases) to pensioners and their dependents, as well as to widows and family pensioners. This is the only health scheme which, in addition to the hospitalization, also covers OPD, diagnostics and investigations.

However, in the case of those Army personnel, who had retired before 1986, the benefits of this health scheme are being denied to them and they are facing harassment for not being able to produce pension payment order (PPO) to the ECHS authorities.

According to an affected retired Army official, those keen to avail this scheme had to fill an application form and produce their respective PPO as one of the essential documents for membership. But in case of the Armymen, who retired before 1986, PPOs were not issued to them at the time of retirement.

Earlier, the ECHS authorities were accepting a copy of pension book in their case in lieu of the PPO. But about two months ago, the submission of PPO was made mandatory even for the pre-1986 retirees. In the absence of this document, their applications were not being accepted for the ECHS membership.

The affected ex-servicemen contended that prior to 1986, the retired Army personnel were given a pension book at the time of retirement. At the same time, a copy of PPO was sent to the Defence Pension Disbursing Officer (DPDO). In view of this, there was no reason why the DPDO concerned should not issue PPOs to the pre-1986 retirees.

Some of the ex-servicemen, who have retired before 1986, claimed that when approached for issuing PPO, the DPDOs had declined to issue this document. The affected persons made a fervent plea with the Army authorities to intervene and help the needy retired personnel by approaching the Principal Controller of the Defence Accounts, who should issue executive orders to the DPDOs in this respect.

It is pertinent to mention here that the scheme was wholly financed by Government of India from public funds through the Army budget, with only marginal contribution from retiring and retired service pensioners.



Unparalled response to yatra, claims Bawa
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
'If the response of the masses to the Punjab Vikas Yatra, being undertaken by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is any indication, the Congress will once again score a landslide victory in the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state.'

Making these observations in a statement here today, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, Chairman, Punjab Housefed, said that Captain Amarinder Singh had proved that he ruled not only over the state of Punjab but also the hearts of its people.

The love and affection shown by the people in Malwa and Majha regions to the yatra, he claimed, was unparalleled in the recent political history.

The ruling Congress, Mr Bawa said, had shown its concern for the common people, especially for the farmers, not only through words, but practical steps.



RSS volunteers hold march
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana November 26
Volunteers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh today held a march to mark the birth centenary celebrations of Madhav Sadashiv Golwarkar, popularly known as Guruji in the Sangh Parivar.

Although the RSS was founded by Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, the ideological foundations and the network of the organisation were laid down by Golwarkar.

With the RSS lying low for quite some time, the organisation has been trying to use the occasion to revive its cadres. It has been organising frequent programmes to mark the birth centenary celebrations.

Hundreds of volunteers participated in the march today. The participants included senior and common workers of the Sangh.

A spokesperson for the RSS said the march passed through various parts of the old city where it was received by local residents.

The RSS volunteers were attired in their traditional uniform - khaki shorts, white shirt, black cap and saffron scarf. They also beat drums as they marched through the city.



Guru’s martyrdom day observed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
The 331st martyrdom day of Guru Tegh Bahadur was observed at Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib here on Friday. Devotees visited the gurdwara to pay their obeisance to the Guru.

A kirtan darbar was organised in the evening. Prominent kiratani jathas recited hymns of Gurbani and preachers shed light on the life, teachings and philosophy of the Guru. They remembered how the Guru protected the religious rights of the Hindus and laid down his life in November, 1675 at Chandani Chowk, Delhi. A community kitchen was also organised.



100 widows get ration
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
The 10th widow ration distribution ceremony was held today at Yogidham 3K Road Swami Narayan temple under the guidance of Shri Anand Swami.

At the ceremony, over 100 widows were handed over free ration. Earlier, ration was given to 25 destitute women.

Shri Anand Swami said: "Serving poor, helpless and needy people is the best service toward humanity. It is a noble cause and a small contribution could save a number of lives. So everybody must contribute to this noble cause.”

Tirath Ram Gandhi, Parvin Bhargav, Pawan Sharma and Vinod Bansal were present on the occasion.



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